« PreviousContinue »
that the improvements which to a wonder-fensive to him, he of course must be ful extent had been made in all the private satisfied. He said, there would be no concerns of the country, were so slow in time lost in taking the improvements finding their way into the public establish- which the hon. gentleman had mentioned ments, and especially the dock-yards. He into consideration. The first lord of the particularly noticed the making of ropes, Admiralty had made personal visits to the the improvement in which, he said, was dock-yards for the sake of consulting the known and practised every where outside different officers on the propriety of alteof the dock-yards, but was not at all rations in the present system. attended to within. It was a disgrace to Mr. Whitbread hoped they should see this nation that improvements which were the fruits of those visits, though he was so generally known should not be adopted aware the greatest obstacle existed to the in the dock-yards, where they were per- introduction of improvements, on account haps more than in any other place neces- of the hostile disposition towards novelties sary. The Admiralty were in full force on the part of the old stagers, if they on the opposite side of the House, and he might be called so, of the dock-yards. trusted they would explain away this This opposition was remarkable in the strange neglect. In the same place, and case of the stone basin at Portsmouth, of almost in the same spot, at Portsmouth, which the advantage was now universally where Mr. Brunell's improvements were acknowledged. He was glad to find the carrying on-improvements that, two or hon. baronet restored to good-humour. three centuries ago, would have had their He did not know there was any more coningenious authors hanged for witchcraft-nexion between him and rats, than betrucks were to be seen in a public depart- tween him and cats-[A laugh.] ment that would disgrace one of those American tribes whose boundaries were so lately the cause of contention. He trusted such imperfections would be answered to the public. He hoped the attention of the Admiralty would be turned to this subject, and that he might have the pleasure of witnessing the beneficial consequences of his suggestion.
Sir George Warrender said, that he could not avoid uoticing the very pointed allusion of the hon. gentleman to him, in his observation on the item for killing rats. He should be always ready to meet the hon. gentleman, not only in that House, but on any other ground.
Mr. W. Smith rose to order. The hon. baronet must surely feel that he was wholly unjustified in making any personal allusion to his hon. friend, who was merely discharging a public duty, in the inquiries which he had made.
Mr. Ponsonby, in a vein of pleasantry, observed, that he was not quite satisfied as to this affair of the rats; for in the same page in which 41. was charged for the extirpation of these animals, he saw 21. 2s. expended upon the keeping of cats. Now, if the latter charge were correct, the former was objectionable, for surely the cats ought to have destroyed the rats, without the additional expense incurred in the returns. Why, therefore, should it not to be explained?
Mr. Croker replied, that the cats were kept in a different yard from that occupied by the rats. But quitting that weighty consideration, and coming to one perhaps as important, he wished to defend the first lord of the Admiralty from any indisposition towards the introduction of machinery into the public works. Among the workmen it was first necessary to explode vulgar prejudices, before this Mr. Whitbread was sorry his hon. friend improvement could be made sufficiently had taken the trouble of explaining his operative. This had, however, been in a conduct, as he did not think it wanted great degree effected, particularly in the any explanation. He did not think any sawing branches of work. A basin was in thing the hon. baronet had said was dis progress at Sheerness, similar to that of orderly, and would wish he had finished Portsmouth, and two steam-engines were his observations. He did not see what in forwardness. He hoped, in the course relationship the killing of rats had to the of next year, these would be more genehon. baronet. He was sure he had not ral, and when their effects were fully intended any thing offensive to any gen-visible, that they would be introduced by tleman in what he had said on the sub- degrees into the great yards. ject.
Sir G. Warrender said, that as the hon. gentleman had not intended any thing of
Mr. Forbes suggested, that a great improvement in the manufacture of cables could be introduced. Though not adopt
ed at the public yards, it was well known in the private ones. He himself, in India, had experienced its preference.
Admiral Hope did not approve the plan alluded to.
Mr. Whitbread noticed the great superiority of Huddart's cables, which he had heard naval men say they would sooner trust their lives to, than to the King's-yard cables.
Admiral Hope testified his experience of the goodness of the King's cables. Manual labour might be diminished; but every new plan might not be executed so fast in the King's as in the merchants' yards.
Mr. Whitbread said, that the advantage in the difference between a machine and manual labour was great. The machine was never drunk, never went off to visit a friend, never was idle when wanted, and always made the same thing in the same way. It was not exposed to the difference arising from various hands. Such was the advantage in Huddart's invention. The anchor forges in the dock-yards, he was convinced, might be improved, and that it might be found unnecessary for a man's hand to wield a hammer. Machinery might effect this, and every blow given would be the same, and money and human labour saved. In Sweden the hammer was worked by water. The steam-engine was applicable to all such purposes. Mr. Brunell or Mr. Maltby would be very able to do what was wanted as well as in the present system of the smitheries.
Sir Joseph Yorke approved of the mode in practice for making ropes.
Captain Pellew said, he had procured one of the other cables in China, which he found unserviceable.
Mr. Forbes repeated his own experience of their superior value.
Mr. Croker said, that as soon as they could be exempted from the liability to snap, which they possessed, he hoped they would generally be made use of in the navy.
Mr. Whitbread asked, whether it was in contemplation to give the captains of men of war chronometers, which, he said, would be of great use in long voyages.
Sir J. Yorke said, that that subject was under the contemplation of the board of Admiralty.
The Resolution was then agreed to. On the second Resolution, "That 355,000l. be granted to his Majesty for wages for the said 20,000 men, for ten
lunar months, commencing the 1st April 1815, at 1l. 15s. 6d. per man per month,
Mr. Whitbread said, that as an increased number of seamen had been voted, it was a proper occasion to remark, that complaints had been made of the very inadequate manner in which the navy had been manned during the last American war. He hoped in future the Admiralty would proportion the number of ships to the number of good seamen they could procure, so that we might meet the Americans, if a war unfortunately broke out again with that people.
Admiral Hope said, it was impossible that we could man a navy of 70 or 80 sail as well as five or six frigates were manned by the Americans. If the number of our ships were as small, we could man them four times over equally well. Our ships had always been found to be better manned than the French, and as well manned as a large fleet could be. The hon. admiral expressed his confidence that the best seamen would be found to come forward with alacrity to serve their country, secured as they were of reward for their services from the liberal measures which had been adopted for that purpose, especially with regard to the institutions at Greenwich and Chatham.
Mr. Forbes alluded to the case of masters' mates and midshipmen, which he conceived to be one of extreme hardship, deserving the attention of the House; and observed, that he would, on some future occasion, notice it more particularly.
Admiral Hope stated, that it was the intention of the lords of the Admiralty to keep afloat all those young men who had served during the war, as far as it was possible; and for that purpose a double proportion of inferior officers was to be kept up. He pronounced a warm eulogium on the conduct of the British navy, during which the gallant admiral was loudly and repeatedly cheered.
Mr. Whitbread was glad that an opportunity had occurred for the gallant admiral's paying a tribute to the petty officers of the navy. Nothing could be more grateful to them, than to know that their services had been duly appreciated. He had heard, however, that there were instances in which ships had been sent to sea without their complements: and in one case, a gallant admiral had actually weighed his men, and sent up the account to the Admiralty, that they might know the state of his crew.
Mr. Croker did not deny but that at the latter period of the war many of the seamen were of a very inferior kind, but asserted positively that no ship ever was sent to a foreign station without having her complement of men.
Mr. Whitbread said, that as the hon. Secretary had spoken with such confidence, he should refer to the officers from whom he had received his information upon this subject, and take occasion to state the result to the House.
Admiral Hope, in corroboration of what fell from the Secretary of the Admiralty, observed, that the standing order was, not to suffer any ship to leave the harbour without her due complement.
Mr. Forbes expressed an apprehension that the claims of the midshipmen had not been sufficiently attended to, and therefore he should feel it his duty to bring the subject before the House.
Sir Joseph Yorke stated, that the Admiralty had done much for the meritorious class of officers alluded to by the hon. gentleman, but it had not yet done all that was intended. With regard how. ever to what was urged on the score of length of service, merely as a claim to promotion, he had to observe, that several midshipmen had completed perhaps ten years of service in a French prison, without having seen two years previous service on board; and would any naval officer consider such persons qualified to perform the duties of a lieutenancy? Lord Nugent said, he was informed that among our squadron off the Scheldt in the course of the late war, two sail of the line wanted 130 men each of their full complement, and that the ship of commodore Owen was equally defective.
Mr. Rose expressed a hope that the hon. gentleman would not persist in his motion with respect to the midshipmen, as the only effect of such a motion would be to render that deserving class discontented. He had no doubt that the claims of those officers, in whose favour he felt a lively interest, would be duly attended to. A great number of them indeed had already been promoted, and such as were not promoted were to be maintained afloat, so that at all events such meritorious persons should not be turned adrift.
Mr. R. Ward, to show the impartiality of the Admiralty Board, cited a case in which he had applied to the first lord in favour of a midshipman, who was a relation of his own; but his application was
refused on this ground, that others who had a prior claim from long service were not yet promoted.
Mr. Whitbread observed, that it had been much complained of, that while military officers in an enemy's prison were allowed the discount which, from difference of exchange, they were obliged to pay, the same allowance was refused to naval officers in the same situation. He could not conceive how such a distinction could be tolerated upon any principle of equity. He recollected that when a motion was brought forward by an hon. friend of his (Mr. Bennet), to place the officers of both departments on the same footing, when on foreign service, that motion was resisted upon this ground, that naval officers had opportunities of obtain ing prize-money, from which military officers were excluded; but no such ground could apply, where neither were in actual service, when both were in a prison. begged, therefore, to call the attention of the Admiralty to this subject, and trusted that the naval lords would take measures to have justice done to their brethren.
Mr. Croker said, he had the satisfaction to state, that the moment the case alluded to by the hon. gentleman was represented to the first lord of the Admiralty, measures were taken to place naval officers on the same footing with the officers of the army.
The Resolution was then agreed to. On the Resolution, "That 907,5021. be granted to his Majesty, for defraying half-pay, superannuations, allowances, and pensions to officers of his Majesty's Navy and Royal Marines, their widows and relatives, for the year 1815,"
Mr. Ponsonby took occasion to panegyrise the justice and policy which dictated an advance of the half-pay of naval officers in 1806; observing, that he should have been better pleased if that advance had gone farther, and adding, that he should feel it his duty, on an early occasion, to make a proposition to the House upon this subject.
This Resolution, together with the remaining ones, were agreed to without opposition.
EMIGRANTS.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, "That 60,000l. be granted to his Majesty, to enable him to grant relief to such of the suffering clergy and laity of France, Toulonese, and Corsican emigrants, Saint Domingo sufferers, and Datch naval officers, who may here
tofore have received allowances from his Majesty, and who may not have been enabled to return to their own countries in the course of the present year, or who, from services performed, or losses sus tained in the British service, may have special claims upon his Majesty's justice or liberality." He said, that of this sum 36,000l. was to have been paid by the King of France, but recent occurrences had prevented the performance of that engagement. He thought several of those persons had a peculiar claim on England, as they had been employed by our Go. vernment, and had wasted their property in our service.
Sir M. W. Ridley said, that however ungracious it might seem to make any objection to a motion of this nature, he thought it necessary upon such a motion to suggest the propriety of considering the distresses and burthens of our own people, and to impress upon his Majesty's ministers that no French emigrants capable of serving their King in his present emergency, should be encouraged to withdraw from him by the prospect of a provision from this country.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer assured the committee, that care would be taken to provide against any such encourage. ment as the hon. baronet had stated. The fact, however, was, that it was not proposed to provide for any persons from this fund but such as from old age and infir mity were unable to afford any active support to their Sovereign in his present state.
Mr. Whitbread asked, whether the proposed vote was in addition to the 15,000l. already voted?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered in the affirmative, adding that out of the 15,000l. alluded to, 8,000l. had been granted as a final compensation to some emigrants on quitting the country.
Mr. Whitbread said, that as it had been stated that 1600 emigrants had lately come into the country, he hoped it was not intended by putting them on the Alien list to make those emigrants an additional burthen upon us; for if so, the powers of the Alien Act might be abused, by keeping some foreigners in the country, as they had been heretofore abused by sending other foreigners out of it. The bon. member asked, whether in the course of their government the Bourbons had, according to promise, paid any sum to our Government, as a compensation for the
advances made to the emigrants, and whether any of the persons finally com. pensated, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated, had again returned to this country?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered, that none of them so compensated had again returned.
The Resolution was agreed to.-On a Resolution being proposed for a grant of 6,000l. as a final compensation to the commissioners for examining and ascertaining the boundaries of Windsor forest,
Mr. Whitbread said, that he understood there was another commission which bad been appointed to survey the royal parks and forests, of which a noble lord (Yar. mouth), and Mr. Bicknell, solicitor to the Admiralty and the Prince Regent, were the commissioners. He wished to know who appointed those commissioners, or what authority they had to act?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, that the grant now proposed was the re gular compensations to commissioners ap. pointed under an Act of Parliament passed several years ago, for three years services. As to the other commission, it had been laid before the Crown lawyers, to give their opinion as to its validity.
On the motion, "That 21,000l. be granted to his Majesty, for defraying the extra charge for contingencies of the three Secretaries of State, for the year 1815,"
Mr. Tierney said, he thought there ought to be a more detailed account set forth. He did not mean to say that the sum was too large; but he thought the House ought to be informed of the particulars for which it was given.
Mr. Arbuthnot signified his readiness, upon brnging up the report, to lay the required information upon the table.
Sir M. W. Ridley said, he thought the Secretaries of State were not sufficiently paid, and that the public would be better satisfied if their salaries were increased, instead of having to come to Parliament for those contingencies.
Mr. Arbuthnot repelled the idea that any part of those contingencies was appropriated to the personal uses of the Secretaries of State. They were expended in coals, candles, stationery, and other articles for their offices.
Sir M. W. Ridley explained, and said that he had no intention of insinuating any thing like what the right hon. gen tleman seemed to apprehend.
Mr. Whitbread inquired, whether it was intended to bring forward, on the present evening, the vote of 9,000l. to enable the commissioners to purchase an estate for the family of the late lord Nelson?
Mr. Lushington answered, that the resolution alluded to would not be brought forward until Wednesday next.
Mr. Whitbread said, it was necessary to know precisely when the vote would be proposed, since strong objections existed against it. An estate, it appeared, which the present lord Nelson, and several of the commissioners, considered a very eligible one, was offered for a sum which the original vote of Parliament would have covered, and the individual who had the disposal of that estate, conceived that a contract for its purchase had been entered into with him.
Mr. Rose said, that when the vote came regularly before the House, he should be prepared to state, what he conceived to be satisfactory grounds for the additional aid of 9,000l. deemed necessary for the purchase of a proper estate. He did not think he was now called on to state the reasons which imposed the necessity of applying to Parliament for this grant.
Mr. Whitbread.-Certainly not. All I wish for is, that when the vote is proposed, satisfactory grounds may be stated for the additional grant.
The House then resumed.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
Tuesday, April 25.
TREATY OF VIENNA-RUSSIAN LOAN IN HOLLAND.] Earl Grey, adverting to the allusion in the first article of the Treaty of Vienna, to certain stipulations which had been previously entered into, observed, that unless their lordships were in possession of those stipulations, it would be impossible for them to enter fully into the consideration of the Treaty itself.
The Earl of Liverpool replied, that the stipulations alluded to formed part of those prior proceedings of the Congress which in due time would be submitted to the consideration of Parliament.
Earl Grey said, there was another point with respect to which he was desirous of having some explanation. He had received information of so extraordinary a nature, that had it not come from good, from indisputable authority, he should be inclined to think that it was not true. He had been informed that some time (VOL. XXX.)
ago the Russian Government had negociated a loan in Holland, to the amount of ten millions, for which the Russian Government alone was liable. At the Congress of Vienna, however, an arrangement had been made, as he had been informed, by which it was agreed that Russia should pay only one half of this sum-that a quarter of it was to be paid by Holland, and the other quarter by Great Britain. Now, if this was correct, the British Government and nation had been pledged to the payment of a sum of no less than two millions and a half without any previous communication to Parliament, or any communication to Parliament, having as yet been made on the subject. This was a most extraordinary step in the Executive Government, to engage the faith of the country for a sum, the payment of which must lay so heavy an additional burthen on the people, without any intimation to Parliament on the subject either before or after the engagement had been entered into. He wished the noble lord to explain how this stood, and to state whether such an engagement had been really entered into under the circumstances which he
The Earl of Liverpool said, he was ready to admit, that as no taxes could be raised in this country without the consent and aid of Parliament, no obligations could be contracted of the nature to which the noble earl had referred, except subject to the condition, that Parliament would adopt the obligation, and take the requisite steps for its fulfilment. Further than that, he did not feel himself justified in giving any explanation at this moment; but such a stipulation, if it had been entered into, must come in its regular course before Parliament, by which alone the means of payment could be furnished.
Earl Grey said, he knew perfectly that no taxes could be raised in this country without the consent and aid of Parliament, and that in that sense every such engagement must be subject to the condition, that Parliament would enable the Executive to fulfil it. But in the mean time Parliament, by the proceeding to which he had adverted, was put in this predica ment, that they must either exact the money and impose the burthen on the nation, or they must violate the national faith pledged by the Executive Government. It was on this account that, before such an engagement was formed, Parliament ought to have been consulted, (3 G)