« PreviousContinue »
powers, respecting the propor- engagements now subsisting betion and nature of the force to tween the public and the Bank of form the army of occupation of England, and to consider the adFrance.
vantages derived by the Bank Mr. Grenfell on Feb. 13th, rose from its transactions with the in pursuance of the notice he had public, with a view to the adopgiven of a motion respecting cer- tion of such future arrangements tain transactions between the pub- as may be consistent with those lic and the Bank of England. In principles of equity and good his introductory discussion, he di- faith, which ought to prevail in vided the subject into two branches all transactions between the pubof the public service; the first, lic and the Bank of England, and as the Bank acted the part of to report their opinions thereon bankers of the public by receiving to the House.” the deposits of its moneys; the The motion was opposed by the second as charging commission ministers as unnecessary and danfor the management of the public gerous to the public credit; and debt. With these, as a matter some members interested in the incidentally connected, he took Bank represented the mover's into consideration the immense statements as exaggerated, and in profits made by the Bank, from part unfounded. On the other the restriction of their payments hand it was supported by some in cush, since which period their members of opposition, as likely notes in circulation had advanced to lead to valuable results. On from the sum of 11 or 12 mil- the division there appeared for lions, to an average of 27 or 28 the motion 44 ; against it 81 : millions. In reasoning on this majority in rejection, 37. circumstance, he held, that from The House of Lords having the time of passing the restric- been summoned for Feb. 14th, tion act, the public acquired an Lord Grenville rose to submit a equitable claim to participation motion relative to the peace estawith the Bank, in the profits blishment of the army. He began which that act had created. The with referring to two periods, in subsequent train of the hon. mem. which precisely similar motions ber's argumentation was founded had been made; the years 1742 upon a statement of facts which and 1756; and he then adduced cannot be given in an abridged particular reasons for the motion form. Their general tenor was which he now proposed to make. to afford a proof, that the Bank, Their lordships, he said, were as depositaries of the public mo- now to consider, whether, after ney, had much understated their a struggle of 25 years, maintained profits, and that they had over- at such vast expense, they were charged the rate of commission to obtain the blessings of a real upon which they transacted the peace, or their situation was to public business. In conclusion be exactly the reverse : whether he submitted the following mo- they were still to be charged with tion : “ That a select committee an immense military establishbe appointed to inquire into the ment; to be called upon to take
their rank among the military existed for every measure adopted states of the continent; to aban- in the formation of the peace esdon the wise policy of their fore- tablishment. After some prelifathers, and turn servile imi- minary observations, in which he tators of the system which had endeavoured to confirm the opibrought so much calamity on nion, that Mr. Pitt thought, that those nations who had adopted in 1792, he had too far reduced them? He pledged himself to the peace establishment, he protheir lordships and the country, ceeded to form a contrast bethat he would never fail to give tween the circumstances of the the most strenuous opposition in two periods, which he divided his power, to any attempts to en- into the three heads of the estatail such a monstrous burthen on blishment for the colonies, for the nation, and to lay the foun- Ireland, and for Great Britain. dation of such ruin to the consti- His Lordship then went through tution as must result from it. the items under each head, as His lordship then called the at- first stated by the Chancellor of tention of the House to the pe- the Exchequer, and advanced reariod between 1783 and 1792, dur- sons in justification of the new or ing which the subject of the ex- increased establishment in each. pense of the military establishment The Marquis of Lansdowne rose had been much discussed, and in to controvert several of the arthe last year of which it had been guments of the last speaker, esreduced to 1,500,000; and he pecially those in which he made made some remarks on the as- increased population a reason for sertion, that Mr. Pitt (with whom an increased military establishhe then acted) had blamed hin- ment. He was followed by Lord self after the war with the French King, who asserted his belief, that revolutionists had commenced, the proposal of an establishment for having promoted so low an of such magnitude, was neither establishment Lord G.
more nor less than an attempt to cluded with moving, “ That an place this country on a level with humble address be presented to the great military powers of the the Prince Regent, praying that continent. his R. Highness would be pleased The question being at length to give directions for laying be- put, the motion was agreed to. fore the House the estimates for It will now be advisable to carry the military service of the pre- this subject to its termination, sent year.”
rather than break the thread of The Earl of Liverpool said, narrative by interposing another that he should be so far from op- topic. posing the motion, that he was An abstract of the estimates of ready and anxious to supply all army services having been prethe information required; and he sented to the House of Commons was willing that the question on Feb. 19th, " the Chancellor should be put upon this issue, of the Exchequer on the 26th, after whether a public necessity, or at the order the day was read for least a public urgency, had not a committee of the whole house
to consider further of the supply gument on the subject was exto be granted to his Majesty, hausted. The general discussions moved that the above estimates concerning the necessity, and the be referred to the said committee. mischiefs, of standing armies,
Lord John Russell rose to op- could possess no interesting nopose the motion, his prior pur- velty, and the only really importpose of doing which was rendered ant matter was derived from the an imperative duty by the peti- particulars of the estimate. To tions on that day laid on the table, many of these, powerful objecproving that the people were in tions were raised by the memall parts congregating to compel bers in opposition, whilst they ministers to listen to their sighs were defended by all the skill and and groans under the heavy bure knowledge of the ministers; and thens imposed upon thein. The in fact it was but too clear, that bare proposal, that a standing the fruits of conquest accruing to army of 150,000 should be sup- this country, necessarily saddled ported, must aların every friend it with new expenses for their to the country and constitution ; security; and that all which had not that he was impressed with been added to the grandeur and the ridiculous fear, that a stand relative consequence of the naing army unaided could ever ef. tion, must be regarded as imposfectuate what had been accom- ing upon it additional burdens plished in some of the continental and obligations. states ; but the danger consisted The division of the House upon in the influence of the crown, the the motion for referring the army daily increase of which threatened estimates to a general committee to erase even the remaining ves- took place on Feb. 28th, when it riges of liberty. Ministers (said was carried by 241 to 121, the his Lordship) have for the last majority being 120. twelve years been soothing the On March 4th, the order for country, by asserting, that the going into the committee on the war was continued to prevent the army estimates being read, Mr. necessity of an armed peace; and Wynn moved an
instruction, yet an armed peace was all we “ That the committee make prohad now acquired. At the peace vision for the charge of the army of Amiens, the power of France now serving in France.” He said, was infinitely more dangerous that if there was one principle than at present, yet the establish- more important than another for ment proposed at that time was the Commons of England to ailmuch more economical than that here to, it was, that they should now offered. His Lordship then have complete control of all the touched, in a cursory manner, armed forces kept on foot by the upon other reasons why he should crown. The only means by which resist the "estimates about to be they could effect it, was by conbrought forward.
trolling the supplies for 'mainThis was the commencement of taining it, which would be lost if a debate continued through three the crown were allowed to draw adjournments, in which every ar- supplies from foreign countries
without the consent of parlia- ought to begin with negativing
some preliminary observations, The motion for this instruction he went over all the particulars was agreed to, and the House re- objected to, endeavouring to solved itself into a committee. shew that no reductions could
Lord Palmerston (Secretary at be made consistently with true War) then laid before the com- policy. mittee a statement of the particu- The debate, having been adlars of the reductions and savings journed, was resumed on March made in the military department, 6th, when Mr. Calcraft comthe total of which amounted to a menced the attack upon the estireduction of 74,000 men, pro- mátes. Various speakers followed ducing a diminution of charge to on both sides ; and the debate the public of five millions, to took exactly the character conwhich another million would be formable to Mr. Wilberforce's obadded in the next year. He con- servation, that “This country cluded his statements and obser- was at present in the situation of vations with moving, “ That it a man who wished to reduce a is the opinion of this committee, large and expensive establishment, that a number of land forces not but who, in examining the differexceeding 176,615 nen (includ- ent items of his expense, thought ing the forces stationed in France, that each separately did not admit and also 30,480 proposed to be of much reduction.” Not, indisbanded, but exclusive of the deed, that all the objections were men belonging to the regiments answered with equal strength; employed in the territorial pos. and in particular, the home estasessions of the East India Com- blishment seemed justly chargepany, the foreign corps in Eng- able with excess for purposes of lish pay, and the embodied mi- parade and military splendor. In litia) commissioned and uncom- conclusion,
conclusion, Mr. Stuart Wortley missioned officers included, be having moved as an amendment, maintained for the service of that from the proposed establishGreat Britain and Ireland, from ment of 99,000 men there should the 25th of December, 1815, to be deducted 10,000, the House the 24th of December, 1816, both divided, For the amendment 130; inclusive."
Against it 202 : Majority for reIn the subsequent debate Mr. jection 72. Bankes began with an examina- The original resolution was then tion of the articles of the esti- agreed to. mate, from which he inferred The army estimates continued such a necessity of retrenchment, to be a topic of interesting debate that he thought the 'committee as long as they were passing
through the discussion of parlia. gested an arrangement into three ment; and although it produced heads as preferable. The inotion, little novelty of argnment, the however, was agreed to without progress of the business to its final a division; and the House formdetermination must be regarded ing itself into a committee, the as an important incident in the first resolution was moved, “That parliamentary record of the year. a sum not exceeding 385,2791. be
On March Sth the report of the voted for the household troops for estimates was brought to the bar 366 days." of the House, when, on the ques- Mr. Calcraft, regarding this tion that the said report be brought species of troops as chiefly kept up, a debate ensued in which a for the purpose of parade, and as considerable number of members the fittest objects for retrenchjoined. The subjects were those ment, moved as an amendment a which had already been opened grant of half the sum for their in the committee, including the maintenance. number, kind, and disposition of As this was a particularly trythe troops to be provided for, ing question relative to the army under which heads scope was establishment, it was strongly given for maintaining the different argued on both sides, and termiopinions held by the opposite nated by a division, in which the parties. The report having been amendment was defeated by a read, on the question for reading majority of 82, the numbers being the resolution a second time, Mr. 210 against 128. Wynn moved as an amendment On March 13th Lord Palmerston the substitution of words for re- moved for the sum of 332,6921. committing the resolution. The for defraying the charges of the House dividing, there appeared dragoon guards and the waggon For the amendment 122, Against train. This resolution was agreed it 190 : Majority for the negative to. 68. The resolution was then The subject being resumed on agreed to.
the 15th, Mr. Tierney said, that The order of the day on March he saw no necessity for continuing 11th for going into a comunittee the discussion farther. He, and of supply being read, Mr. Wynn the gentlemen on his side the rose to offer a motion for dividing house, had taken all the pains in the general vote proposed for the their power to prevent the estiestimates into separate questionsmates from passing, without according to the different services having been able to diminish a to which the gross amount of farthing in their amount; and force was to be applied. He the ministers had succeeded, in stated the heads under which he defiance of the sense of the house proposed that the charge of de- and the country, in imposing upon fraying the expense of the troops the people a military establishshould be divided, and which were ment of 111,000 men in time of nine in number. Some ministerial peace. opposition was made to this mo- Lord Castlereagh contended, that tion, and Lord Palmerston sug- no example had occurred in this