ページの画像
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER V.

FINANCE.

Lord Castlereagh's Statement of proposed Reductions, and Motion for a Com

mittee of Inquiry.--First Report of the Committee - Second Report.-The Budgel.-Debate on the War Salary of the Secretaries to the Admiralty. On the number of Admiralty Lords. On the Office of Third Secretary of Slate.- On Mr Canning's Mission to Lisbon.-On Mr Harris's appointment.

The distressed circumstances of the of the question for the present, as these nation during this session, the stag. did not bear upon the estimates of the nation of the agricultural and commer. public expenditure of this country, cial interests, the diminished amount With respect to the land forces, then, of the revenue, all appeared imperi. the numbers for the last year for this ously to call for economy and for re- country, Ireland, and the colonies, duction to the utmost extent possible. was 90,000 men-53,000 for the home The nation, as formerly observed, was service, and 46,000 for the foreign probably mistaken in expecting from establishment. The number at home this source any immediate relief ; still was to be reduced by 5,000 men, the economy being substantially excellent, reduction of the troops abroad was to it was well that government should by be 13,000; making a total reduction this impulse be urged to its full adop- of 18,000 men. He did not at present tion. The Prince Regent, in his open. think it necessary to state the parti. ing speech, had recommended this sub- cular circumstances which had regu. ject to the attention of the House ; lated these reductions ; but had no he. and the 7th February, Lord Castle- sitation in stating, that they were made reagh entered upon it at full length. under a strong sense of the pressure of He premised a view of the reductions the moment. Onthat account, ministers which were intended to be effected in had felt it necessary, in a great measure, the different branches of the public to put out of view the military defence expenditure.

of these colonies against any external First, then, he requested the atten. attack, and to consider merely what tion of the House to the subject of was necessary for internal security. the army expenditure; and, in com. He thought that the present circum. paring the expence for the present year stances of the country justified that with that for the last year, the best policy, because there might be a price mode, perhaps, would be to consider beyond which it would be improper to the troops in France and India as out go for putting these colonies in a com. plete state of defence. But as to the the commissariat and barrack depart. home department, there was no price ments for Great Britain L.580,000, that could be too great for that object; and for Ireland L.300,000, making and the only question was, what was a total for these departments of the proper

and

necessary force for the L.880,000. The army extraordinaries external and internal protection of the for this year would be L.1,300,000. state, and the rights and liberties of The total charge for the army, except the people ? and events had pressed the ordnance, for this year, would be upon them of late which sufficiently L.9,230,000, instead of L.10,564,000, proved, that the magistrates were un. which was the supply for 1816, maable to enforce the laws by means of king a diminution in the supply for the civil power alone, without the aid army service, for the year 1817, of of a military force. The number, then, L.1,334,000, as compared with the for the service of Great Britain, Ire- charge of last year. With respect to land, and the colonies, would now be the ordnance, the supply for last year 81,016 men, as compared with 99,000, for that department was L.1,696,000. the number for the last year, there in the present year, the charge for being reduction of 5,000 men in the that service would be L.1,246,000, home establishment, and 13,000 in the being a saving of L.450,000, as comcolonial, a reduction upon the whole of pared with the charge of last year. 18,000 men. Then, as to the votes, This saving was effected by the rethe total number for which a vote had duction of 3000 men, and other rebeen taken last year was 150,000 men; ductions in the artillery. It was prothe total number for which the vote per to call the attention of the House of this year would be taken was only to the circumstances, that of the 123,000 men. The reason for this L.6,538,000 for the regular forces, a was, by the convention with France, sum of about L.2,551,000 was for the number of our troops there was to services already given. All the halfbe reduced from 30,000 to 25,000 pay and retired pensions had been in. men, and the number of the govern- cluded in the calculation ; so that the ment troops in India, from 20,000 to sum required for the regular forces 17,000 men. So that the vote for the actually on service was only about British, Irish, and colonial establish- four millions. Gentlemen, therefore, ments, would be for this year 81,016 when they talked of reduction, ought men, as compared with 99,000 men to consider, that when reductions took voted last year; and the total number place, the half-pay and pensions for revoted for this year would be 123,000, tired services must, on the faith of the instead of 150,000 voted last year. It legislature, be paid; and, therefore, would be proper, however, to mention, the reduction, in point of expence, that a sum of L.200,000 would be re- has by no means kept pace with the quired for regiments now in progress reductions in point of numbers, as to reduction, but whose reduction had compared with the sums paid to the not yet been completed. Having stated troops when actually on service. When this much as to the numbers of the a body of troops was reduced, the exarmy, he should proceed, in a summary pence was still continued to the amount way, to mention the charge for the of 1s. 3d. or nearly ls. 2d. He now army. The supplies for the regular came to the naval establishment. The land forces would be for this year number voted last year was 33,000 about L.6,513,000, and, including the men; the number for this year would militia, L.7,500,000. The supplies for be only 19,000 men, being a reduction

Ordnance .......

of 14,000 men. On a full view of the For the Army ...........L.7,050,000 state of the navy, and the distresses of

Commissariat .......808,000 the country, those whose duty it was

Extraordinaries ... 1,300,000 to attend particularly to this depart

Ordnance ...........1,246,000 ment of the public service were of opi.

Navy .................6,379,000 nion this reduction might be made

Miscellaneous .....1,500,000 without danger. But it was not intended to make any reduction in the Making agrand Total of L.18,373,000 marine corps; and the reason was, that He might state some reductions which the reduction of that corps would ren- might fairly be anticipated in next der the speedy equipment of the navy year, even of the L.18,373,000, which at a future period a matter of very was the estimate for this. There might great difficulty. The vote, therefore, be expected a saving of was to be taken for six thousand men

In the Army .............. L.223,000 for this year, being the number voted

Extraordinaries................300,000 last year. The charge for the navy, ,

.........................50,000 last year, was L.10,114,000. The

In the Navy, under the head charge for this year would be only

of Transport Service......500,000 L.6,397,000 ; making a saving of L.3,717,000, as compared with the

L.1,073,000 charge of last year. In the charge of L.6,397,000 for this year, there was,

which, added together, would amount it ought to be mentioned, a sum of to more than a million, thus reducing L.500,000, which would not appear included not only the charges for the

the charge to L.17,300,000. This sum in the estimate of the following years. public service of the year, but that It would be proper, also, to mention, that though the number of men was

expenditure likewise required for seronly reduced to 19,000, the charge vices already performed, namely, penwas calculated, with reference to that sions and half-pay. The addition to

what would otherwise be necessary of last year, as if the vote had been only for 18,000 men. The reason was,

for this purpose was under the heads

of that as you reduced the men, you

also reduced the ships ; so that there was a

Army

................L.2,551,000 reduction not only of the expence for

Navy ....

....... .1,271,000 the men, but also of the expence for

Ordnance

.223,000 wear and tear. The reduction in the Pensions

...400,000 estimates for the navy, then, as com. pared with those of last year, would

L.4,445,000 amount to L.3,717,000; to which which being deducted from the estiadding the savings under the heads of mate for the year, would leave little the army, the commissariat, the ord- more than 13 millions for services.Dance, and the other branches of ser. In 1792, the supplies, indeed, avice to which he had previously ad. mounted to only L.5,200,000 ; but verted, would make up the gross saving to this was to be added the separate to L.6,510,000. He meant this, he charge of L.1,000,000 for Ireland, repeated, as compared with the sup- making L.6,200,000. The pay and plies of last year. The noble lord allowances of the army had, since that then recapitulated the separate charges, time, been greatly augmented; the as estimated for the current year :- pay of a regiment of cavalry had risen from L.28,000 to L.38,000. While rate a reduction of the evils felt over he deprecated all gloomy views of our Europe. In the highest quarter, in situation, while he saw no reason for the head of the government of this alarm or despondency, and entertained country, the same feelings and sympa. hopes of an alleviation of our burdens, thies were shared that actuated his even sooner than many would allow, people. He not only sympathized he was as little disposed to deny, as with their distress, but was prepared he was ready to lament, that the coun- to share their privations; and, from try was suffering under the severest the spontaneous movement of his own pressure,

in

every branch of its indus- mind, had expressed his determination try and resources ; that this distress to abstain from receiving, in the prewas as universal as it was severe ; and sent state of distress, so much of the that, from the highest to the lowest civil list as he could refuse, consistentrank, through all classes of society, ly with maintaining the dignity of his the hand of Providence was heavily station, without doing what parliafelt. It was rather an aggravation ment would disapprove of incurring. than an alleviation of the sufferings of His Royal Highness had given his a generous people, to know that they commands to inform the House, that did not suffer alone ; but if our cala- he meant to give up for the public mities could be soothed by a fellow- service a fifth part of the fourth class ship in distress, we need only look into of the civil list, which, it ought to be Europe to find causes of consolation. observed, was the only branch connectNo state on the continent, however ed with the personal expences, or the small or great, no class of society royal state of the Sovereign ; for all were exempt from that pressure and the other heads of charge included exhaustion which were consequent up in the civil list, except the privy on a war of such extent. If he com- purse, were as much for paying pubpared Great Britain with any one of lic services as the sums included in these states, he should be led to de- the estimates he had this night menscribe her as comparatively happy. tioned. That branch of the civil list Comparisons of this kind, however, amounted to L.209,000, and his Royal could not lighten our distress. What- Highness offered out of this and the ever was the lot of other nations, our privy purse, L.50,000 (hear, hear!) sufferings were severe, our calamity for the public service. The servants was great ; but if it was great, the of the crown (as we understood the ardour of those in affluent circum- noble lord to say, for he spoke so low stances to relieve was likewise great. as to be inaudible in the gallery at this (Hear, hear!) That desire to lighten particular time,) had resolved to follow the burdens of the destitute, by sha. the example of their royal master, and ring them

that generous sympathy to surrender that part of their salaries which bound all classes of society to- which had accrued to them since the gether in this happy land, and diffused abolition of the property-tax ; and he a general spirit of beneficence and cha- trusted that the whole of what would rity-had wrought, not only within thus be given up might amount to a the limits of law, but had exerted a sum not unworthy of the acceptance itself in public and in private, with of the country, nor unbecoming their spontaneous efforts, beyond any thing situation. He now came to the proever witnessed on any former occasion. position already alluded to, of a com, The example of England would be mittee to inquire into the income and admired by the world, and would ope. expenditure of the country. Ballot

Mr Tierney,

had been an usual mode of chusing with some who were looking forward
such committees, and he was still in- to office in the event of a change of
clined to think it a good one; but administration, and with others not
as it had been objected to, and Mr looking to office at all. The noble
Brougham had revived an old joke of lord concluded with reading the fol-
Mr Sheridan on the subject, he would lowing list :-
now openly name the members pro. Lord Castlereagh, Mr Arbuthnot,
posed. It could not be expected, that Chancellor of the Mr F. Lewis,
he should name twenty-one individuals Exchequer, Mr Huskisson,
who could be considered as perfectly Mr Ponsonby,

Mr N. Calvert, impartial. He confessed he had not Mr Bankes, Mr D. Gilbert, observed, that the sentiments of that

Mr Long,

Mr Cartwright, small class of men who wished to be

Mr Holford, considered as neutral and independent Lord Binning,

Mr E. Littleton, were treated with any respect by gen

Sir J. Newport,

Lord Clive, tlemen on the opposite side : on the Mr Peel,

Mr Gooch, contrary, the House must have re- Mr C. W. Wynn, Sir T. Acland. marked, that if any class of men were Mr Tierney said, that he could not treated by them with more of con- be expected to be able at once to go tempt, asperity, and sarcasm than an- through the whole of the details which other, it was that which set up a spe. the noble lord had brought forward. cies of claim to independence and The noble lord had professed to give a impartiality. This kind of claim seem- very ample account of the expenditure ed, indeed, to be resented by gentle of the great establishments, but he had men opposite with a peculiar acrimo- left out what might be considered rany: so that he could not expect to ther a material feature in the case, (a form a committee out of that rare and laugh,) and that was the income which pure class of members which would be was to meet this expenditure. From at all acceptable to them. (A laugh.) some expressions of the noble lord, it For his part, he must frankly confess, appeared that it was conceived that that though he did not share that the machine of finance would go on spirit to its full extent with which without any increase to the debt : still gentlemen opposite seemed imbued, there could scarcely be any mode of in. yet he did go along with them to a come devised which would not amount certain extent ; for in his conscience to the same thing : it would only be a he believed that matters would be in question about putting in at one end, no degree better, if there was no party and taking out at the other. He was management in that House ; convin- very far from wishing to encourage aspi. ced as he was, that much of that splen. rit of despondency in the country; but did and comparatively happy situation he felt most strongly, what it seemed his which the couniry enjoyed, was pro. Majesty's ministers were at last brought duced by the fair, manly, and liberal to feel, that now was the time for proconflict of parties, and that it was by bing the subject to the bottom. He the determined competition of public was, however, glad that the ministers parties that truth, wisdom, and public at last saw what every body else had virtue, were often elicited. Men in long seen that the expences of the office certainly ought not to predo. country should be reduced to some minate in such a committee ; but a few reasonable proportion with its means, of them were necessary for giving in. He was gratified by learning the noble formation. He would combine them conduct of the Prince Regent, but

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« 前へ次へ »