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made by an hon. member on a former evening, that before ministers called on the House for those enormous supplies, the chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have laid before the country something like a financial statement-that prior to the application for those supplies, the House should have been correctly informed of the situation of the financial resources of the country. Nothing of the kind had been done, and all they had heard, inside and outside of the doors of parliament, was, that there was a great difference between the state of the country in the present and in the last year-that all the happy prospects of wealth and prosperity were unfortunately overclouded, and that distress prevailed in every quarter. Surely, when this was the case, parJiament ought not to tolerate an augmented scale of expenditure. He would call to the recollection of gentlemen the vote of the House of Commons in 1822; and if nothing had since occurred in the foreign or domestic relations of the country to justify an increased military force, then he would call on those who held and ought to guard the purse of the nation, to reduce that augmentation which had unfortunately been made to the army subse quently to the year 1822. He did not mean to contend that the country could not pay it; but he would assert that the country, however able, ought not to pay it. Unless ministers could show that these establishments were necessary for the dignity of the Crown, the tranquillity of the country, or for securing to the nation that lofty position in which it ought to stand, they should be steadily refused by parliament. The weight of proof, as to the necessity of such establishments, lay entirely with ministers. In 1825, the amount of taxation was 52,000,000l. And, what was it in 1821? The amount of positive taxation was then very nearly 1,000,000l. less than in 1825; and yet, in 1821, the House deemed it necessary, under the sanction of ministers, and loudly called on by the agricultural interests, and by none more so than by the hon. member for Dorsetshire (Mr. Bankes), to come to an unanimous vote, recommending that every possible reduction that could be made in the different departments, and particularly in the more extended establishments, without detriment to the public service, should be effected immediately. The noble lord (Castlereagh), then at the head of his majesty's government, de

clared that the business of the country could not be carried on if the reduction of a single soldier took place. The hon. member for Aberdeen moved for a reduction of 10,000 men, and his proposition was negatived. Well, however, did he recollect, that very shortly afterwards the noble Secretary at War came down to the House, and stated that ministers had been able to make a reduction of 12,300 men, and that the reduction would have been carried still further, if it had not been for the disturbed state of Ireland. That country was now in a state of tranquillity. So were the colonies. Why, then, in a period of profound peace, should this immense force be continued? Above all, why should it be augmented? When an attempt was made to keep up the military establishment in 1816, lord Grenville, who was not then in his majesty's councils, but who would not do any thing to thwart unnecessarily the measures of government, had said, in a speech delivered by him elsewhere, that it was useless to discuss minor matters, so long as we kept up this enormous military establishment, which cut at the root of the British constitution. In the last session of parliament, the noble lord opposite proposed an increase of 13,000 men. The noble lord disclaimed the state of Ireland as being the cause; but many others who supported the augmentation, and among others the Knight of Kerry, did consider the situation of Ireland to be the true reason for proposing this increase. The noble lord at that period told the House, that the situation of the colonies demanded the augmentation; and, notwithstanding the vote of 1821, and the reduction effected in 1822, the increase was granted, because the noble lord declared that such an increase was absolutely necessary, if they paid a due regard to the comfort of the soldiers on foreign stations. If, however, such relief were necessary for the colonies, it did not follow that so large a force should be kept up at home. The force kept up here was the very worst that could be devised for giving relief to the colonies. Why were there so many household troops, and so large a number of cavalry regiments? They were not only useless, but, in his mind, it was unconstitutional to continue them. He wished to know when they were to come to an end of this system? At what period were they likely to discover that the standing army was extensive enough? He saw no end to the

system. It was not bounded by 87,000 men, by 107,000 men, or by any indefinite number which might be proposed at any future session. The present was a most opportune moment for those who had joined in the resolution of 1821 to say, not only that there should be no further augmentation of the military establishment, but that it should be brought back to what it was reduced to in 1822, when the number then voted was declared by ministers to be quite sufficient for the service of the country. There were now 32,670 soldiers in England, and no less than 15,000 on the recruiting service; while, in 1792, there were only 17,000 military in the whole country. Ministers had no pretext whatever for the increase of the military force between 1822 and 1826; and the object of his amendment would be to reduce the military establishment to the standard of 1822. The hon. gentleman concluded with moving, by way of amendment, "That it appears to this House, that the regular military force of the country, exclusive of the troops employed in India, amounted in the year 1822 to 69,088 men, and that according to the estimate now presented to the House, the same description of force is stated at 87,240 men, being an increase over and above the number employed in the year 1822 of 18,152 men :-That it appears to this House, that no change has taken place either in the foreign relations, or in the internal condition of the country, since the year 1822, which can justify so large an augmentation of the standing army; and that, in order to return, as early as possible, to the military establishment of that period, it is expedient to reduce the number of regular troops for the service of the United Kingdom and the colonies, exclusive of India, to 77,000 men."

Colonel Johnson seconded the motion. Lord Palmerston said, that although he could not agree in the proposition of the hon. gentleman, yet he was not disposed to object to the general principle which he had laid down; namely, that it was incumbent on the House to apportion, as scrupulously as possible, the amount of the military force to the actual wants of the country. Gentlemen, of course, had a right to make use of these anniversary occasions, for the purpose of making their observations, and of recording the opinions which they entertained on these particular subjects; but though the general principle


on which they proceeded was good, the results to which it led them were often erroneous. He had most distinctly declared last year the grounds on which he called for an augmentation of 13,000 men ; and with very few exceptions the House concurred in the force and justice of the reasons which he then assigned. At that time he explicitly denied that any part of that increase was rendered necessary by the internal state either of this country or of Ireland. The hon. member had asserted, that some gentlemen had concurred in that augmentation, because the state of Ireland seemed to require it. All he could say was, that he did not call for the increase, either then or now, on account of the situation of Ireland. plain grounds were, the state of the colonial service. But the hon. member said, "If a smaller force was sufficient in 1822, why have you asked for a larger force since?" The fact was, that in 1822 the government anxious as they ought to be to yield to the general feeling of the House and of the country, consented to a reduction, which, in their sober judgment, they felt would be greater than they could adhere to, with a due regard to the proper performance of their duty to the country. Having tried this reduced system for two or three years and finding that it did not succeed, they felt it necessary to declare, that the experi ment had failed, and to ask for an augmentation. He did not mean to go into a detail of all the garrisons that were to be supplied with troops. If it were thought necessary, he was ready to do so; and he was persuaded, that after such a statement, any person who was at all acquainted with the number and extent of our colonial possessions, would acknowledge that the force called for was not greater than the necessity of the case required. Much had been said about the force employed in Canada and the West Indies; but if gentlemen would look to the troops employed in those possessions in 1792, they would find the present increase very trifling indeed, when they compared the extent of territory which we possessed formerly with that which we possess now. This was peculiarly the case with Canada, where population and cultivation had been greatly extended, so that it was necessary to protect a larger line of frontiers.-He would now state the distribution of the military force of this country, and gentlemen would then be enabled to judge

whether it was or was not too great. The infantry of the line consisted of eighty-three regiments. Of these, nine were in Great Britain, twenty-three in Ireland, and fifty-one on foreign stations. Besides the nine regiments of the line in this country, there were dépôts for the fifty-one regiments abroad, where recruits and invalids were received. Taking the nine regiments at home at 740 men each, it gave a total of 6,660 men. Supposing 224 men at each of the fifty one dépôts, the total was 11,424 rank and file. Add to these, six battalions of Foot Guards, 4,400 men; staff corps, 300 men; and the gross total would be 22,784 men. Of these 11,424 were not on actual service. They were in dépôt, and were ready to go abroad when called for. The object in keeping up this part of the establishment was, that the places of non-effective men might be immediately supplied; and by that means, that the regiments abroad should be continued in a perfectly complete and efficient condition. In speaking, therefore, of the force at home, it would be proper to deduct this body of 11,424 men. There were fifty-one regiments abroad, of which twenty were in the West Indies. Now, supposing those regiments thus employed on foreign service to be absent only for ten years, then it became obvious, that there must be sent out from this country annually, seven regiments to foreign stations, while seven others came home from foreign stations. And as one regiment did not quit a foreign station until it was regularly relieved by another, it followed that there were in the course of the year, fourteen regiments neither employed abroad nor in this country, but occupied either with their passage out or home. Taking one station with another, he might say that the reliefs sent out were equal to five regiments, which ought to be deducted from the general establishment for the whole year. If, then, the five regiments thus constantly withdrawn for relief were deducted from nine, it would leave at home, independent of cavalry and of 4,400 guards, a disposable force of only four regiments of the line. He would ask whether this could be considered a greater disposable force than the country ought to possess? If these strong grounds were not sufficient to show the House that the augmentation of last year was necessary, he was very much deceived.

The House then divided. For the

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Wednesday, March 8.

DEPOSITS WITH THE BANK BILL.] Mr. Huskisson said, the House would recollect, that when his right hon. friend, the chancellor of the Exchequer, communicated to them that the Bank had agreed to advance money on goods and merchandise pledged to them as security, he at the same time stated that the Bank had signified an expectation, that the law of Merchant and Factor or rather the alteration of that law, which took place last session, and would not take effect until the 1st of October, would be extended to them. He would therefore move for leave to bring in a bill to effect that object, which was simply to provide that any goods or pledges upon which the Bank advanced money, should be considered as a security to the Bank, notwithstanding any supposed power or control which others might attempt to exercise over them. This was conformable to the alteration in the late law, which declared, that notwithstanding the symbols of property exercised by the owner, goods should be held to be the property of the person in whose possession they were, and that his acts over them should be held binding, in preference to the claims of any other person. When Exchequer-bills were advanced, in 1811, for the relief of the distress then existing, on the same sort of security, a provision to the same effect was introduced, which was, in fact,

a departure from the law of the land as it then stood, and goods pledged under the act were made pledges to which the Crown had a claim in preference to any other lien whatever. He would now move, "That leave be given to bring in a bill, to facilitate the advance of money by the Bank of England upon deposits, or pledges."

Mr. J. Smith said, that he approved of the original alteration of the law, and only regretted that it was not carried into effect instantly. It was a mistake to suppose that foreigners entertained any jealousy of the bill.

Mr. Baring said, though he regarded this bill as an important improvement in the commercial law of the country, he had objected to it when it was introduced last session, because he saw no reason why it should not have taken effect immediately on its enactment. He knew of no foreigner having objected to it; nor, indeed, did he see upon what ground any foreigner could object to it, since it only assimilated the law of this country in that respect to the law of every civilized country in Europe. He admitted that an unnecessary delay to the operation of this act had been agreed upon; but as the legislature had decreed, that a certain time should elapse before its operation, he did not think it a sound practice to sacrifice a principle to this particular case. The commissioners of 1811 preferred advancing money on personal security, instead of on deposits of goods; and he hoped the Bank would follow that example. He believed the measure adopted by the Bank, under the suggestion of his right hon. friend, had been productive of the greatest good already; and that the manner in which the Bank was acting was deserving of general commendation. That body was taking the best steps, in the most delicate manner, and with as much rapidity as the nature of the case would admit; and he was happy to say, that there was already in London a renewed confidence, and a freedom of commercial intercourse within a few days, which he believed to be wholly attributable to this measure:

Mr. Abercromby said, that nothing that had been done by ministers had so much met with his approbation, as their determination to refuse an issue of Exchequerbills.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.

Thursday, March 9.

ROMAN CATHOLIC QUESTION.] The Earl of Darnley, in rising to present a petition on this subject from a highly respectable body of individuals, said it had been in his hands for some days, and the reason why he had not brought it forward before was, that he saw the attention of parliament directed towards those measures which were introduced for the purpose of alleviating the commercial distress under which the country laboured. He had therefore thought it better to postpone the consideration of it, until the improved circumstances of the country would allow their lordships to give it that attention which the importance of the question deserved. Moreover, he found that parliament had been engaged on another subject, in which a certain portion of the community took a great interest; namely, those measures which were adopted for ameliorating the condition of the slaves. Though he by no means found fault with the ardent zeal which was evinced on behalf of the slaves, yet he must confess that his humanity was not of so excursive a nature, but that he must consider the state of a great propor. tion of the poor of Ireland quite as interesting as that of the slaves of the West Indies. In fact, the condition of the slaves in those islands was not, in many cases, so bad as the condition of the Irish poor. It was not at present his intention to enter into any discussion on this subject, but he pledged himself to do so on some future occasion. In the mean time, he hoped their lordships would feel as much sympathy for the peasantry of Ireland, as they did for the slaves of the West Indies. It appeared that the prime movers of the petitions in favour of the slaves belonged to a powerful sect, who, by an unnatural alliance with the high

Mr. Bernal objected to the measure, and considered it a very dangerous pre-church, had contributed more than any


Mr. Grenfell considered the precedent a good one, and he thought the mode adopted much better than an issue of Exchequer-bills.

other to that unfortunate decision against the Catholics which their lordships had come to in the course of the last session. While they called upon their lordships to precipitate the emancipation of the

negroes, regardless of the consequences, they would at the same time deny emancipation to the Catholics of Ireland, by which alone the safety of that country, and of the empire at large, could be preserved. The more he saw of the state of Ireland, the more was his mind impressed with the decided conviction, that that country could never be tranquil, nor the empire secure, until the just claims of the Catholic body were granted. The petitioners prayed their lordships to restore them to their just rights; but their prayers had been refused under false pretences. And here he must refer to the argument used against them by the noble earl opposite. His speech was, he thought, the most acrimonious, excepting that of a right reverend prelate, he had ever heard. The noble earl had stated, that he would not treat the question as a theological one, but all the noble earl's arguments went to establish what he regarded as a mischievous absurdity in the Roman Catholic faith; namely, divided allegiance. But if their allegiance was divided, what could be more absurd than to give them the command of our fleets and armies, and withhold their civil rights? They, however, utterly disclaimed the imputation. They solemnly declared that they professed allegiance to the king alone, though in the speech of the noble earl they were accused of giving it also to another. This accusation had created among the Catholics a soreness which was very natural, and for which he could by no means blame them. In his opinion, great allowance ought to be made for any acts of indiscretion which they committed, deprived as they were of their civil rights by false pretences. The noble earl ought to read, without delay, a pamphlet addressed to him by that highly-gifted individual Dr. Doyle, written in the spirit of Christian charity. The petition he had to present came from the Catholics of Drogheda, and was signed by 2,500 persons.

The Earl of Liverpool said, that with respect to what was stated in the petition on the subject of divided allegiance, that such a charge amounted to a charge of perjury, he must disclaim ever having made it. The Catholics declared, that in taking the oath of allegiance to his majesty, they disclaimed any divided allegiance, and he was convinced that in swearing allegiance, they swore what they conscientiously believed to be true. But they VOL. XIV.

also acknowledged a spiritual allegiance to the pope; and the real question was, how far that spiritual allegiance was reconcileable with their civil allegiance. That was fair matter of argument. He had already stated his opinion on the question, with the grounds on which it was founded. That opinion was before the House and the public, and he would never shrink from its avowal; but all that he wished now to say was, that in stating it, he did not accuse the Roman Catholics of swearing to any thing which they did not believe to be strictly true.

Ordered to lie on the table.

CORN LAWS.] Lord King said, he had another petition to present against the job of jobs. It came from the carpenters and joiners of London, and was signed by 1,400 persons, who stated, that the law which excluded foreign corn greatly injured them, by the manner in which it affected the remuneration of their labour, and he agreed with them in the opinion. Some people were very fond of high prices, high rents, and high wages. By high prices they alleged that every thing was equalized; but in his opinion this sort of equalization did not produce any thing like equity or justice between parties. The great desideratum with the supporters of the Corn laws, was certainly at all times high rents. But how were high rents to be obtained without high prices? The real object, then, was high prices; and high prices were not to be had without the exclusion of foreign corn. But, if you exclude foreign corn, you exclude food. Some people, however, said, that this exclusion of foreign corn created more English food. But it could do so in no other way than by forcing bad land; and if bad land was forced to produce food, it must be at the expense of so much additional labour of labourfar more than equivalent to the value of the food produced. Still, however, some persons said, "If you alter the Corn laws you will do no good, because to lower the price of corn will only be to lower the price of labour with it." But this was a very erroneous opinion; as the present state of things, compared with that when corn was cheap, would show. The price of labour now afforded the labourer only a bare existence, whereas heretofore he got enough, not only for his subsistence, but for comforts. It was certainly true that if corn were cheap, the money price 4 H

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