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laid before the House the information respecting Genoa, simply to protect the interests of the country from the injury which the hon. gentleman was doing to them by his accusations; but he was not therefore to be tempted to go incidentally and collaterally into other questions not yet in a state of determination.
Mr. Whitbread defended himself from the charge of perverting the rules of Parliament, in order to throw calumnies on the different Governments of Europe.. What he had complained of, in the present instance, was, the inadequacy of the return which had been made to the Address of the House, and in support of that complaint he had stated that it was impossible for him to suppose that no annexations had taken place save that of Genoa, which latter the noble lord had confessed in the papers that (as it seemed against his will) he had laid on the table of the House. As to Saxony, he should be satisfied if he could hope that the noble lord would, at some time, give them information which should let them peep behind the scenes, and see what all the noble plenipotentiaries (the noble lord among the rest) had really been doing. The noble lord had talked against throwing suspicions on the conduct of the Allied Powers. Why, what was the noble lord himself about, when in the letter which had that day been published, and which he had acknowledged to be his, he spoke of "the alarming and dangerous pretensions of Russia"? At the same time, however, the noble lord, it appeared by that letter, thought it perfectly consistent with political morality to give up the whole of Saxony to Prussia. [Lord Castlereagh. "Quite the reverse."] Really it was impossible, writing or speaking, distinctly to understand the noble lord's meaning. If the noble lord were permitted to withhold information from the House on these important subjects, in what situation did they stand? The noble lord was absent from the country on confidence. He had no instructions. He was to be governed by his own discretion. He was omnipotent. "He would not allow the machine to stand still while waiting for an impulse from his own Government." Let the House look at the letter of that day, and see how the noble lord expressed himself. "I attach importance to such and such a principle:" "I conceive the King of Saxony to have placed himself by his acts in a situation to be fairly sacrificed to the tranquillity of Europe:" " I shall not regret making
an example of one of the German States :" "I can have no hesitation to the principle of the proposed arrangement:" "I have no objection to confide Saxony to the provisional administration of his Prussian Majesty," &c. &c.; and yet after all this assumption, and after the lapse of many months, the noble lord returns re infecta as far as regarded that House, having no communication to make to it. He waits until a member of parliament, having in vain interrogated him, embodies his questions in a motion, to which motion he accedes, and he then complains of perverting the ordinary course of Parliamentary proceeding. The noble lord, he presumed, would have Parliament do nothing but vote money. He expected a continuance of the confidence of the public after the letter which had that day appeared, which it seemed was a translation of a translation. He should like to know in what language it was originally composed. [Lord Castlereagh-" In English."] In English! He thought the noble lord must himself have been the translator, for really it was very like his style--it might be put by the side of the Genoese communications. The noble lord declared that he would not be diverted from his course, neither would he (Mr. W.) be diverted from his course. As the noble lord would use the privileges of the House for defence, so he (Mr. W.) would use them for offence against those who appeared to him to misconduct themselves in public situations; and this the more especially when a motion was about to be made for the Speaker's leaving the chair, for the purpose of enabling the House, in a committee of supply, to vote twenty millions of Army Extraordinaries, including large sums to Foreign Powers. It was no abuse of the privilege of Parliament, to inquire into public affairs. The noble lord said, "wait till the papers are before the House." Did he mean to give them? It happened fortunately enough that the veil which the noble lord was anxious to keep over certain transactions, was some how or other removed. This was instanced in the publication of the letter of that day. Another celebrated instance was the publication, by the American Government, of the negociations which were at that time pending with Great Britain, to which publication was probably owing the termination of the war with the United States. There would, indeed, be little control over the exercise of the power of congregated monarchs,
were it not for the voice of public opinion; and highly, therefore, to be desired were all communications by which the public were informed with respect to the proceedings of governments. The noble lord, and prince Talleyrand, and prince Hardenberg, and the other princes, seemed to treat each other much more fairly than they did the world. There had now been an attack and a counter-attack between him and the noble lord. The noble lord might do as he pleased; for himself he should pursue, undeviatingly, the course which he had hitherto prescribed to himself.
man, or any thing unparliamentary, he would say, that contemplating the mode in which the hon. gentleman had lately thought proper to attack him and the other members of his Majesty's Government, he must be content to sacrifice the confidence which the hon. gentleman had reposed in him, and to be guided solely by his sense of public duty. He was perfectly prepared to defend his own conduct, and that of the other members of the Congress, in a parliamentary and legitimate manner; but not by deviating inte that course which the hon. gentleman, with a due regard to his own honour, ought to quit, and not to continue to lower the character of his country by unfounded and dangerous representations, which, circulating in Europe, were most prejudicial to that moral influence in which the power of Great Britain on the Continent so essentially resided.
Mr. Whitbread would make no farther reply to the noble lord than to say, that in giving up the confidence which the noble lord said that he (Mr. W.) reposed in him, the noble lord had given up that which he never possessed. Once more reverting to the subject in which the conversation which had just taken place had originated, he observed, that the Address requested" an account of the progress made at the Congress now sitting at Vienna." Of this progress no return had been made.-Why not?
Lord Castlereagh still maintained, that no public transaction of an important nature ought to be partially discussed on imperfect documents. His return to England afforded no justification whatever for a departure from the ordinary course with respect to communications on public affairs. The Congress which he had re'cently attended, was not the first that had assembled in Europe. It had happened in former meetings of the same nature, that our negociator had frequently been changed. Under such circumstances would it have been tolerated that every individual negociator so returning, should be compelled to state to Parliament the progress of transactions not brought to a close? There could be no pretence for such a thing. He was perfectly aware that nothing he could say would have any effect on the hon. gentleman; but he Lord Castlereagh asked, how it was poswas sure the House of Commons would sible to make any circumstantial return on feel the value of these observations. To the subject? the hon. gentleman it was, no doubt, easier to calumniate his Majesty's ministers and the Allies of the country on im-dress? perfect documents than on full information; for experience had shown that when he proceeded on the latter, no one had been less fortunate than the hon. gentleman in establishing the charges which he had thought proper to adduce against public men. He was sure, therefore, that he should make no impression on the mind of the hon. gentleman; and he abandoned the hope of preserving the confidence which it was now evident had been given to him by the hon. gentleman, only because he felt that at the moment when it was given, he (lord C.) was unassailable. Having thus given his confidence, the hon. gentleman turned round, and made his previous candour the ground for a more virulent assault. Without meaning any personal disrespect to the hon. gentle
Mr. Whitbread.-Why, then, did the noble lord second my motion for the Ad
Lord Castlereagh observed, that by the words of the Address the discretion of the Crown was to be exercised on the information to be communicated. All the information had been given which could diplomatically and constitutionally be afforded.
Mr. Whitbread begged the noble lord would dissever the two terms, for they had nothing to do with one another. Here the conversation dropped.
ARMY EXTRAORDINARIES.] The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, to which the Army Extraordinaries were ordered to be referred,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, that it would be necessary for him to enter into a few explanations, lest some
of the sums included in the amount he was about to move for, might not be sufficiently clear in the accounts before the House; but he should trespass upon the time of the House as little as possible. From the accounts in question, it would be seen that the amount of the Treasury bills that had been issued for the Army Extraordinaries for 1814 was very considerable; but he trusted that when the arrangements which had been made in that year for the public advantage were considered, that the expenses would be admitted to be indispensable. There was this difference in the accounts for the last and former years, that instead of the bills for the Army Extraordinaries being drawn both by the Paymaster-general and the Commissary-general, the whole of them had been drawn by the latter, and paid over to the former. Thus, though the amount appeared much larger than when the sums were drawn for by different persons, the total was not more than if the former system had been adopted, while the public service was benefitted by the change. The total amount drawn for on the Treasury for the service of the year -1814, was 20,931,8261. which included 5,000,000l. that had been paid over to other departments and for distinct purposes. The whole amount, therefore, of the Army Extraordinaries was 15,931,000l. and upwards; which exceeded the amount of the preceding year by about 600,000l. If this excess were thought considerable, he could only intreat the House to recollect the extraordinary circumstances of the time. In the course of the last year, and even after the peace, it was not only necessary to continue our establishments to their full extent, but also to make provision for the payment of arrears which had occurred long before, and of which it had not been possible at that period to get accounts. Of the bills that had been drawn, a considerable part of the amount was for foreign subsidies which our liberality had granted to the Allies, and which had produced such great results. It was also satisfactory to him to be able to state that there was not any sum, except about '200,000l. but what had arisen out of the items already recognised by Parliament. This sum was one which, under more favourable circumstances than the present, was granted to the King of France, to enable him to return to his kingdom, and it was included in the amount drawn for by the Commissary-general. The total amount
of the bills drawn in 1813, was 17,780,000l. which was reduced by sums applied to other military and naval services by about 5,400,000l., so that 12,300,000l. remained for the purposes of the Army Extraordinaries. In the year 1814, the total amount of bills drawn was 15,590,000l. from which, when the sums for the subsidies, &c. were subtracted, there remained 12,500,000l. for the Army Extraordinaries. The first head of the accounts on the table contained the whole of the bills paid by the Treasury, which, as he had before observed, amounted to nearly 21 millions. The next general head was for the conveyance of officers to foreign stations. Another head was for the conveyance of specie, for which service it was customary to allow the commanders of ships of war one half per cent. to answer for any slight embezzlement that might occur, and to pay for insurance. For many cases had occurred in which embezzlements had been made, which it had not been in the power of the officers to prevent. There was another head of extra pay to officers on foreign service; and the account was closed with the heads of the excess of the grants for the Commissary in Chief, and the Storekeeper-general; the first of which amounted to 4,685,000l. and the latter to 16,600l. The amount voted for the Commissary in Chief merely for the services in his department towards the close of last year was 3,000,000l., yet the amount of the expenditure was 3,478,000l. So that the actual expense had somewhat exceeded the vote, and was about 200,000l. short of the estimate; though larger than the sum voted by Parliament, including all the purchases of stores. The House was aware, that with the Commissary-general's department rested all the means of procuring those great supplies which were necessary for our military service abroad. Although, therefore, there was an excess in the branch of the Commissariat, yet if the articles which caused it had not been raised by the Commissarygeneral, they must have been raised by some other means; and by those which had been adopted last year, of placing the whole accounts to the charge of the Commissary in Chief, he was confident the public service had been benefitted. amount of the sums of money raised by the Commissary-general exceeded 3,000,000l., and the sum of about 10,000,000l. passed through his hands in the course of the last year. But when the House recollected
The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered, that such extraordinaries as were incurred before the 25th of March, must be made good in the present session. He presumed the amount would be about three million. He intended to move for six million on account of army extraordinaries, in the present year, of which three million would be wanted for the exceedings incurred previously to the 25th of March.
Mr. Tierney observed, that there then appeared to be an intention to propose an additional vote of six million-of which three million might be said to be appropriated to the extraordinaries of the last, and three million to those of the current year. This, however, was only the expense of the Army Extraordinaries. Independent of this, he supposed, there would be Extraordinaries in other departments. He should be glad to know whether the million of dollars, which was to be paid monthly, was included in the three million sterling, which would be deducted from the vote on account?
the nature and importance of the war carried on in the Peninsula, and the expenses with which it was necessarily attended from the extreme difficulty of procuring supplies, the badness of the roads, and various obstacles which the Commissariat had to encounter, they would cease to wonder at the expenses of this branch of service. The great Commander, who had conducted the war in that country, had, by his energies and foresight, been able to solve a paradox which nobody before him could understand. It had been said, that if a great army was to enter Spain, it must be starved, and that a small one must be defeated. But he had led a large army to victory, by pro: curing for it all the supplies that were necessary, in a country which had appeared to be totally incapable of affording them. The House were now called on to make good the winding-up of the sum that had thus arisen, and a part of which remained to be voted. A right hon. gentleman opposite had, on a former occasion, asked him a question respecting the amount of the Extraordinaries incurred since the end of last year. He had wished to know what was the amount of the Army Extraordinaries which had been paid since the close of 1814? The amount was, after deducting from it certain items, 2,200,000l. in the course of the last three months. The deductions were, the sums for the ordinary services, and the bills paid for our Allies. The whole issue amounted to 4,400,000l., of which 2,200,000l. were properly belonging to the Army Extraordinaries. There was a payment still making on account of the army in Spain, at the rate of a million of dollars per month; the whole of whichment had obtained all they wanted. The account would be wound up in six months, the amount that remained to be paid being about six millions of dollars. The right hon. gentleman concluded with moving, "That a sum not exceeding 3,985,4351. 9s. 3 d. be granted to his Majesty, for defraying the Extraordinary Expenses of the Army from the 23rd December, 1813, to the 24th December, 1814, both included."
Mr. Tierney wished to know, whether the twenty-one million, a part of which had been already provided, and for the residue of which the right hon. gentleman now moved, included all the Extraordinaries? Would no farther addition be wanted? Would not the public be called upon to grant more than this twenty-one million?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he had not yet any account of the windingup of the war in America. They had always found means of meeting the demands of the American service by raising the money as the service required. The monthly payment of one million of dollars formed the largest part of the sum of three millions to which he had alluded.
Mr. Tierney said, that all discussion on this subject was only a waste of time. The total sum now voted by the House was twenty-one millions, and of seventeen millions of this the Treasury already possessed the money. It was useless to discuss a matter of this kind when Govern
enormous scale of the expenditure in the Peninsula required the investigation of a committee up stairs. Such a committee could alone do justice to this subject, and see that punishment should fall where it was due; for he believed in his conscience that great peculation had been going on in the Commissariat department. It was in vain, however, to enlarge upon these subjects, as he saw no encouragement in the present temper of the House. He had no intention of preventing gentlemen from employing their time in a more agreeable manner. It was useless to be talking of a few hundreds to this or that individual, when seventeen millions were in this way voted without inquiry.
Mr. Baring thought the expenditure of
the Peninsula ought to be made the subject of inquiry. He did not mean to cast the slightest suspicion on the Government, but it was impossible for any member to understand the accounts before the House; all they could make out would be, that so many millions were drawn by different individuals. If a committee were appointed, they would see that the manner in which our Commissariat system had been carried on in Spain was the most absurd commissariat system on which any country had ever carried on war. The immense expenditure in the Peninsula called loudly for inquiry. The persons who furnished the means of transport to our army were chiefly of the lowest classes of the people in Spain; and they ought to have dealt with such a description of persons in a way which would have been intelligible to them. But instead of this, the mules and services were paid to them by bits of paper, or draughts of the deputymittee up stairs would be agreed to. commissary on the commissary-general in Lisbon. When an ignorant man in the mountains got one of these pieces of paper, from being used to the currency of his own government, he attached but little value to it, and it was generally purchased by persons in the suite of the Commissariat at an enormous discount. He could bring persons before the committee who had made 50 and 60 per cent. by buying up this paper, and who had not even had it at first hand; and at every intermediate stage a great profit must have been made on the same paper. If the London dealer got 50 per cent, profit, the sum actually received by the Spanish muleteers could not have been one-fourth part of the sum paid by Government. This was not a system of a day, but a system of several years. He should be answered, that there was a difficulty in getting specie; but in the first place he would observe, that there was no plan of getting specie, which could be compared with the discount on the bills to these poor people, who only got onefourth of them. Paper in Europe seldom went beyond 25 or 30 per cent. discount; but here was a discount of 75 per cent. This mode of paying, in what might be comparatively termed a savage country, created the very difficulty which was felt; for it forced Government to spend twenty millions where only five millions was wanted; it created the very scarcity; and Government were obliged to pay for it at last. All this originated in a completely false system of commissariat. But the
deception to the poor people did not stop there. Bills were given on the commissary at Lisbon, and the people had no means of knowing good from bad bills. At this day bills at Lisbon could be bought at 20 per cent. discount. What possible benefit could be derived from thus having a mass of floating paper which must at last be paid off at par? The consequence of all this had been the grossest peculation. A person by getting the ear of the Commissariat, knew what bills were likely to be first paid. One gentleman in a house at Lisbon had made an enormous fortune, and many persons had enriched themselves by the same means. Government must pay for all the discredit attached to this paper. He hoped, that now that we were on the point of entering on a new war, this system would be inquired into; and he trusted that the suggestion of his right hon. friend for the appointment of a com
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not think that a committee up stairs could be productive of such advantage as a committee on the spot, armed with power to examine on oath. He did not deny the facts stated by the hon. gentleman, but they had not come to his knowledge. Those gentlemen of the committee in the Peninsula having for years been exclusively employed in this work, must necessarily prosecute the investigation with greater advantage than gentlemen who had other avocations could be supposed to do; upon the whole, therefore, he thought that it would be better that the substance of this investigation, when completed, should be laid before Parliament. He wished that any gentleman possessed of information with respect to any peculation would furnish it to those commissioners, who would avail themselves of it.
Mr. Baring thought the right hon. gentleman had quite mistaken him in the kind of inquiry he wished to be instituted. He had nothing to state against those who were attached to the Commissariat, but against the system pursued by the commissaries under the sanction of Government. Any person might remit money to Lisbon to morrow, and buy up the government paper; and this might be done with service to the country, as the discredit of that paper should not be suffered to exist. The commissaries had issued a paper discredited to the amount of 75 per cent.; and he had heard, that the lower classes of commissaries were followed by persons