§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That Mr. Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, he felt bound to oppose the Motion, which, he said, took the House quite by surprise. The Estimates had not yet been circulated; and, moreover, after what had fallen from the Home Secretary that evening, many hon. Members had left the House in the full belief that Supply would not come on.
said, he yesterday distinctly announced that the Government would take that opportunity of asking for this Vote, which was merely a Vote on account, the money being absolutely necessary to carry on services that had been repeatedly sanctioned by the House. The remark of the Home Secretary as to Supply being one of the formal orders for that night with which it was not intended to proceed was obviously made through inadvertence. Copies of these Estimates were obtainable that day in the Vote Office, and he trusted there would be no objection to their now going into Committee.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, that as these Estimates included the Educational Vote for the United Kingdom, in which he intended to move a reduction of £500,000, he must oppose the taking of Supply at that hour (a quarter to twelve o'clock).
§ MR. O'BRIEN
said, he thought that perhaps the House would not object to go into Committee, upon an understanding that no Vote should be taken which was opposed.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, the Votes were Votes on account merely; they were really for the advantage of the public service, and he hoped the House would not object to allow them to be taken.
§ MR. LONGFIELD
said, as the Govern- 1546 ment could propose the Votes on Monday night he hoped they would not press them at so late an hour.
§ Question put,
§ The House divided:—Ayes 52; Noes 27: Majority 25.
§ House in committee, Sir WILLIAM DUNBAR in the chair.
§ (In the Committee.)
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £500,000, be granted to Her Majesty, on account, for or towards defraying the Charge of the following Civil Services, to the 31st day of March 1862:—namely,
Printing and Stationery, £100,000.
County Courts (Salaries and Expenses), £40,000.
Constabulary (Ireland), £100,000.
Public Education (Great Britain), £100,000.
Public Education (Ireland), £30,000.
Census of the Population, £80,000.
Civil Contingencies, £50,000.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he objected to proceeding with the Vote, so far as the item of £100,000 for the purposes of public education in Great Britain was concerned on the ground which he had stated, as well as because it had been announced from the Treasury bench early in the evening that the Vote would not be taken.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, he hoped there would be some explanation why the money was required, with the amounts lately granted and the balance there must be in hand. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Treasury had resorted to the practice of asking the House to Vote large sums on account. That practice had been objected to year after year, because they knew when the Government got money on account they could keep the Estimates back till so late in the Session that they could not receive due consideration. He did not object to the one item of £80,000 for the expenses of the census, but he saw no pressing necessity for passing the other items, and proposed, therefore, the reduction of the amount of the Vote by £420,000.
said, there existed this difference between the Miscellaneous and the Naval and-Military Estimates, that the Government had not the power in the case of the former which they possessed in reference to the latter, of applying a surplus in any particular vote to making good the deficiency in another. He might add, that while in dealing with the Votes for the Army and the Navy, the money must be 1547 applied within the year, no such rule was applicable to the Miscellaneous Estimates; so that there was in general a balance remaining under that head which enabled the Government to carry on the civil service of the country until the usual time for asking Parliament to pass those Estimates arrived. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the balance on the 31st of December, but he (Mr. Peel) had an account showing the state of the balances at the present time, from which it appeared that upon the printing and stationery the balance was nil, and, in fact, £20,000 had been advanced for the Civil Contingencies. Upon the County Court Vote there was no balance, Upon the Constabulary Vote there was a debt of £5,000, upon the Education Votes for England and Ireland there were no balances; and, of course, upon the Census Vote there was none. It was clear, therefore, that if the public service was to be performed the House must make some provision.
§ MR. SOTHERON ESTCOURT
said, he thought that the House ought to have been furnished with the information just given by the hon. Gentleman. He would not object to granting the Vote on account under the circumstances, but he hoped in future that no such demand would be made without previous information being given.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
observed, that the Estimates on account of which the Vote was asked had been upon the table for a considerable time, and the paper to which his hon. Friend had referred was not one which was usually furnished to Members. In fact, the Secretary to the Treasury had done more than was the custom in giving the information he had just given, and he might have asked for the Vote on account relying upon the Estimates before the House. After what had been stated with regard to the necessities of the service, he trusted that the Committee would agree to the Vote. There would be so large a margin left on each as to leave sufficient room to move for any reduction. If they refused the Vote, the employé s of the Government would be left without the means of subsistence, and he trusted that those who were in the service of the English Government would not be left without their pay, like those in the employ of the Turkish Government, where the army was eighteen months in arrear and the civil servants were not paid.
§ MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
said, he thought the noble Lord was in error in 1548 saying that it was not usual to furnish information before asking for Votes on account. The noble Lord was also wrong in principle in assuming that the House ought to Vote money on account without having an opportunity of investigating the Estimate. If this Vote was agreed to he hoped it would not be drawn into a precedent.
said, if the public servants were starving it was owing to the improvidence of the Government. He asserted that it was most unusual to ask a Vote in Supply without notice being given upon the paper to that effect. It was still more extraordinary that this demand should be made as the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary that evening had expressly stated that no Vote in Supply would be taken.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that the usual course was to ask for Votes on account, and what his right hon. Friend proposed to do was in accordance with the usual course. The paper which had just been printed was one which had never been given at all until last year; and there was due notice upon the paper that the Votes would be asked for.
§ MR. THOMSON HANKEY
contended that there was nothing contrary to the practice of the House in asking for Votes for the Estimates on account.
asked, whether a Cabinet Minister had not stated early in the evening that Supply would not be brought on to-night? A majority of the Members had left the House, in the belief that no Vote would be asked for. Was it consistent with the dignity of the Government to ask for the Vote after that declaration?
§ MR. O'BRIEN
said, he thought the objection purely technical; the right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, meant that no particular estimate would be taken in Committee.
denied that the error was technical merely. Most of the Members had left the House believing that no money would be asked for.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he thought that all his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department could have said was that the House would not go into Committee to discuss the Estimates. It was impossible he could have said that no Vote would be taken on account, when formal notice had been given. He was sorry so many hon. Members had left the 1549 House, because if a greater number had staid less countenance would have been given to the Motion that stopped the necessary Supplies for the public service. The House was as full as it generally was at that hour of the night; if it had been quite full a strong expression of feeling against the Motion would have prevented hon. Gentlemen from supporting it.
§ MR. AYRTON
complained that the proposed course was an innovation which should not be countenanced; and, with every disposition to assist the Government to pay the public servants, he thought the Government were going too far in asking for so large a sum. Moreover, some of the items of the Civil Contingencies had not yet been laid before the House at all.
said, the whole of the Civil Contingency account had not been made out. Last year this portion of the Estimates was £125,000; this year it was only £75,000. It would only be a single line.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that a Vote so asked for and given was for the purpose of carrying on the public service and did not commit any hon. Member to the details of the Vote. The course proposed was not the usual course, because there had been a reduction in the balances on former years which was a part of a great financial reform. The Votes for Civil Contingencies being just as necessary as for other services, he hoped the Committee would not persist in refusing to pass the vote.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he wished to call attention to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland had informed them that it was intended to take the Civil Services late in the Session, and he would also remind the Committee of a certain letter which had been written to the Premier, asking him to bring those Votes on early in the Session; if, therefore, they voted for the payment of this money on account, they would be stultifying themselves.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, that an appeal having been made to them to pass the Resolution on the ground of urgent expediency, he advised his hon. Friend to consent.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question,
That a sum, not exceeding £80,000, be granted to Her Majesty, on account, for or towards de-
fraying the Charge of Civil Services, to the 31st day of March, 1862,
§ Put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolution to be reported on Monday next.
§ Committee to sit again on Monday next.