§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, that though he was prevented by the rules of the House from moving the Amendment of which he had given notice, still he must express a hope that the House would require Estimates of the expenditure for the China operations to be produced in detail, for a portion of the money had been already spent. This Vote of £3,800,000 was called a Vote of Credit, and yet £443,000 had been spent in payment of outstanding debt. This was an important matter, because by such a proceeding the functions of that House in matters of expenditure might be defeated. The best way to extend the privileges of the House was to show a just jealousy of expenditure; but, unfortunately, in the present Session, before deciding what the expenditure was to be, the House had dealt with taxation in a very rough way, making marvellous changes in various directions. In calculating the expenditure for the year at £70,100,000, it was quite clear, from the present Estimate, without saying anything 1809 of the sum that might be required for the defence of the kingdom, that that calculation was wrong to the extent of nearly £3,800,000. The sum of £443,000 to which he had alluded had no business in the present Estimate, for it had reference to a China war long gone by, and must be the settlement of an old account. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer knew of this outstanding debt when he was estimating his surplus for the year at £500,000, it was a matter that ought to have been mentioned. The House ought to know what portion of the present Estimate had been spent, and how it had been spent, for it was impossible that there could be an audit unless an appropriation was made. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War would give some explanation on this head, for if he found in Committee that the Estimate was not more satisfactory to him than it was at present, he should move that the Chairman report progress.
said, he little thought that the statement he made on the 19th of March with respect to the Army Estimates, and the insufficiency of the money voted for the expense of the China war, would so soon have been verified by the facts. He then stated that the sum of £500,000 would be far from meeting the excess of expenditure over the Army Estimates for 1859, and that at least £500,000 more would be required. He also stated that it would require ten times the amount then asked for to defray the excess of expenditure on the China war. He showed that the excess on five Votes depending on the number of men, would more than absorb the whole of the money in the Vote of Credit assigned for the excess on the whole of the army expenditure. What he now wished to know was, whether one single shilling of the sum of money voted to meet the expense of the China war, had been paid to the Indian Treasury. It must be recollected that the whole of the expenditure connected with the Chinese war, had taken place in India. The munitions of war and the transport for the troops were taken up in India at, he believed, prices so exorbitant, that this Vote alone would require nearly the whole of the £500,000. The whole of the Native troops, moreover, employed in the Chinese expedition, were chargeable on that Vote of Credit, not a shilling having been taken for them in the Estimates of last year. They were raised in India; and he himself had seen the Order 1810 in Council, which declared that, from the moment they volunteered for service in China, they were to receive half batta and additional allowances. It was evident that those men became from the same moment chargeable to the British, and not to the Indian, Establishment. It could not be expected that the Indian revenue was to maintain troops which were going to do duty in China; nay, more, the Government must pay for their transport to the scene of operations. With that portion of the force which was drawn from Her Majesty's army the case was different, and an arrangement had been made that, instead of sending the regiments to England, as they were bound to do, the Indian Establishment should defray the expense of their transit to China, which was about equal in amount. They were under no such obligation, however, with respect to the Native troops; the whole expense of which must consequently be chargeable either on the £500,000 voted last year, or on the like sum which had this year been granted to defray the cost of the Chinese war. It was impossible to disconnect the army expenses from the Budget. The Budget represented and included—at least it professed to cover—the whole expense of the country, including that of the Chinese war. If it did not do so, it was, to use the expression of the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself, "a gigantic delusion"—and he had no hesitation in saying the repeal of the paper duties was obtained under false pretences. He knew it might be urged that it was impossible to give estimates for prospective charges. He had never asked for any such estimate. All he had asked the Government to do was, to find means to meet the liabilities they had entered into; and that certainly might be fairly expected at their hands. Although evidence had been lately given before the Organization Committee as to the laxity of the accounts between the Indian Government and the Treasury, it was still hardly possible to believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury were not aware that the expenses of the Chinese war were to become chargeable in the course of the present year. To believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not prepared for this charge of £400,000, when he brought forward his Budget, required an exercise of that charity, "which believeth all things, and comprehendeth all things." The laxity of which he had spoken was not visible merely in the esti- 1811 mates for the Chinese war, but existed equally in those for the present year. On the 27th of February he had pointed out that there were charged on the Indian revenue for the present financial year 92,500 men, for whom it was perfectly preposterous to suppose that the Indian Government would pay. These 92,500 men were entirely independent of those troops who were going to China, and who, according to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary of State for War, were already transferred to the British establishment. It was, therefore, evident that this excess of men must become chargeable on the Estimates of the present year. He did not wish to make any charge against his right hon. Friend; but within a month after these Estimates were laid on the table they were withdrawn, and subsequently to the passing of the Budget the revised Estimates were produced. The additional sum which it became necessary to take in those corrected Estimates for pay and allowances was met by a reduction in the other Votes. That reduction, however, consisted, not in a diminution of expenditure, but in the postponement of services till next year, which he believed it would have been found vastly better to perform in the present. For instance, £80,000 had been taken from the carriage department at Woolwich, though it was notorious that if there was any one department more than another in arrear at the present moment, it was the carriage department at Woolwich. Why, it was in evidence that at this instant there were a number of guns which could not be issued till their carriages were completed. He made no complaint of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War; it was necessary that he should make his Estimates square with the sum which had been introduced into the Budget. He repeated the protest which he had before uttered against introducing the Budget before the Estimates for the year were laid upon the table; he believed that the statement thereby presented was delusive, and that, by giving a false colour to the sum actually required, the service of the country was prejudicially affected.
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
said, he found that by the forms of the House he should be unable to move the Motion of which he had given notice, and which was to this effect, that, in order to remove one great obstacle to peace with China, the British Plenipotentiary be instructed not 1812 to insist on the fulfilment of the third article of the treaty of Tien-tsin, by which his Majesty the Emperor of China agrees that the ambassador, minister, or other diplomatic agent appointed by her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain may reside, with his family and establishment, permanently at the capital, or may visit it occasionally, at the option of the British Government. He should, however, move it on the first Supply night. He should do so, not merely to raise a discussion, but because he considered that if it was agreed to that would go far to promote peace with China. At all events he thought that if the third article of the treaty was insisted on there was great danger that any peace we might make with China would not be of long duration.
§ MR. WARNER
said, the war in which we were now engaged with China was not one in which the House of Commons could be supposed to take an interest, for it was carried on by the Ministers of the Crown in defiance of a deliberate vote of the House of Commons, which had never been reversed. They had heard of an aggression by the House of Peers; but this was an aggression of far greater moment to the interests of the House. An opportunity ought to be taken of putting on record the sentiments of the House with respect to the manner in which the war had been commenced. As it had been undertaken, he hoped it might be attended with success; but he could scarcely hope for any very good results, and he trusted Her Majesty's Government would take advantage of any opportunity that might arise for coming to an amicable arrangement with the rulers of the Chinese Empire. It would, no doubt, be easy, with the resources at our command, to put down the brutal despotism which there prevailed, but the anarchy which would ensue might prove even worse. If results equally beneficial might be expected from our interference in China as in India, all would be well; but he looked forward with apprehension to the result of the pending conflict.
§ Main Question put,
§ The House divided:—Ayes 198; Noes 13: Majority 185.
§ Motion agreed to.