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entail responsibilities he was not prepared to encounter, he forbore to move his amendment.
Mr. B. Osborne, in a humorous speech, taunted Mr. Walpole for having brought a great number of members down to the House, by giving notice of his Resolution, and then saying, "I like economy much, but 1 like Lord Palmerston more." He said that the effect of the whole proceeding would be to make the Government stronger than ever, and more unchecked in their extravagance.
Mr. Disraeli also assailed Mr. Walpole with some sharpness for withdrawing his amendment, and said that, as things had turned out, it would be best to let Lord Palmerston's amendment pass unchallenged, as it was certain that it would exercise no influence whatever.
Sir W. Heathcote briefly vindicated the course taken by his friend Mr. Walpole. Lord Palmerston's amendment was then agreed to without a division, and so the debate, from which important results had been expected, ended in nothing.
A new arrangement for the Parliamentary Revision of the Public Accounts was this year adopted on the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by whom a Resolution was proposed, and agreed to nem. con., to the effect that there should be a standing Committee of the House of Commons to be designated, "The Committee of Public Accounts," for the examination of the accounts, showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure.
Abmt, Navy, And Fortifications—Sir G. C. Leteis moves the Army Estimates, and enters into a full explanatory statement of the Expenditure and Condition of the Land Forces—A Motion to Reduce the number of men, and some other Amendments, being negatived, the Estimates are agreed to—Purchase of Commissions in the Army— <Sir De Lacy Evans moves a Resolution for giving effect to the Report of the Royal Commission—.Sir G. C. Levis opposes the Motion—Speeches of General Peel, Lord Stanley and Lord 1'almerston—The Resolution is negatived by 247 to G2. Tho Naval Estimates are moved by Lord Clarence 1'aget—Much discussion takes place tcith reference to the construction of iron-cased vessels and on the relative strength of our Navy and that of France—Mr. Lindsay and Mr. Baxter contend that the groicth of the French Navy in strength and numbers has been overstated by the Government—Lord Clarence Paget justifies his otcn representation* on this subject, and enters at length into a statement of the operations in our Dockyards, and the plan* of the Government for increasing our naval strength—Further debates on Naval Armaments—Impression produced in this country by the engagement in America beticeen the Merrimac and the Monitor—The question of Fortifications of tiie Coast i* discussed in connection tcith that of ironsheathed vessels—Important Debate in the House of Lords, and statement of the Duke of Somerset, a* to the condition of the Nary and intention* of the Government— The relative efficiency of Iron and Wooden Ship* of tear is again discussed in the tame House, tcith reference to the action beticeen the American vessel*—Speeche* of Earl de Grey, the Duke of Cambridge, Lord Ellenborougk, the Duke of Somerset, and other Peers—The same subject is mooted in the House of Common* by Sir Frederick Smith—Remark* of Mr. Laird, Mr. Gregory, Sir J. Hay, Capt. Jerxit, Mr. Osborne, Mr. Bright, Sir G. C. Leteis, and Lord Clarence Paget. Fortification Op Thk Dockyards And Arsf.nals—Sir G. C. Leteis proposes, on the part of the Government, a Resolution authorizing a grant of 1,200,000/. for these tcork*—His speech—Mr. Jlernal Osborne oppose* the proposition, objecting to the scheme, as ineffectual and extravagant— He moves an Amendment, to give effect to hi* vietct—Speeche* of Sir F. Smith, Mr. H. A. Bruce, Mr. Vivian, Sir J. Sorthcote, Mr. Bentinek, Sir M. Peto, Mr. MontelL Lord Paimerston, and Mr. Disraeli—Mr. Osborne's Amendment it tcithdraten—On a further ttage of the Bill, the opposition it renetced by Mr. Lindsay, teho renetes
the controversy at to the relative strength of the French Navy—He is answered by Lord Clarence Paget—Mr. Cobden impugns the policy of Lord Palmerston, whom he charges with overstating the preparations of France—Reply of Lord Palmerston—Mr. Lindsays Resolution is withdrawn—Mr. B. Osborne again moves the reduction of the proposed vote for the Fortifications —Speeches of Mr. H. A. Bruce, Captain Jervis, Sir F. Smith, Sir G. C. Lewis, Lord Palmerston, Mr. Cobden, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer—After some further debate, Mr. Osborne's Amendment is negatived by 110 to 02—Further Amend~ ments are moved upon the BiU, but the propositions of the Government, with slight modifications, are carried—The Second Reading of the Bill is moved by Lord de Grey in the House of Lords on the 25th of July—Speeches of the Earl of Ellenborough, tlie Duke of Somerset, Duke of Cambridge, Earls Grey and Malmesbury, and Earl Russell—The Bill is passed.
ON the Gth of March Sir G. C. Lewis, Secretary of State for War, moved the Army Estimates in the House of Commons. The right hon. gentleman entered at great length into the expenditure and condition of the army, comparing its present cost with that of preceding periods, and pointing out the causes which had contributed to this result. The total of the expenditure for the financial year he estimated at 10,250,000/., being considerably more than half our total expenditure after deducting the interest on the National Debt. The total number of the English land forces, after deducting 82,523 for the Indian army, was 145,450, being a decrease as compared with the preceding year of 1,194 men. Sir G. C. Lewis then briefly reviewed the progress of our Army Estimates, which were less than 3,000,000/. in 1780, to their present enormous proportions. During what he might term the pre-Crimean period, the highest Estimates were those of 1818, when more than 10,000,000/. was voted. Our military expenditure declined gradually until 1832, when it was not more than
8,400,000/. In 1852 it was 10,000,000/. The break-down of our military system during the Crimean war produced not only increased numerical strength in our army, but various entirely new departments, improved armaments, and greatly-increased outlay for promoting the health and comfort of the private soldier. If, however, repayments from India, and the extraordinary expenses in Canada, China, and New Zealand, were taken into account, the Estimates of the year really exhibited a decrease of 000,000/. on those of the year preceding. Since the Crimean war our Estimates had increased by about 5,000,000/. in money, and 25,000 men. If the army were now reduced by those 25,000 men, the diminution in expenditure would not be more than 2,500,000/., attributable to the indispensable reforms and innovations rendered necessary by the Crimean break-down. After a guarded allusion to the aggressive spirit of France as the apology for keeping up our military expenditure to its present amount, SirG. C. Lewis gave the House explanatory statements on many of the details of votes, and announced a very large decrease in the annual death rate of our forces at home and abroad. He concluded by moving Vote No. 1, for 115,450 land forces of all ranks.
A desultory discussion took place upon various topics. Major Knox moved to strike out from the vote for pay and allowances the sum of 1038J. 14*. Id., the pay of the Major-General of the Guards, which was negatived by 115 to 65. Mr. White moved to reduce the number of men by 10,000, but found only 11 supporters in a House of 150 members.
The Estimates, as proposed by the Government, were eventually passed.
The question of the purchase of Military Commissions, which had been frequently under discussion of late years, and had recently been referred to a body of Government Commissioners, who had reported, though not unanimously, in favour of altering the system, was in the present Session again brought before the House of Commons by Sir De Lacy Evans. The gallant general urged that after the inquiries which had taken place, and the promises which the Government had made to introduce an alteration in the mode of appointing to the command of regiments, no further delay ought to take place in giving effect to so desirablo a measure of military reform. He concluded by moving a Resolution to give effect to his object.
8ir George Lewis, in answer to General Evans, explained the reasons why ho had not thought it advisable at present to act upon the recommendation of tho lloynl Commission, and why he had a
difficulty in acceding to the motion, which was part of a larger question, the expediency of abolishing purchase in the army. He reminded the House of the cost that would attend even the limited change proposed, and of certain advantages accompanying the purchase system, and pointed out the practical inconveniences which would result from appointing lieutenant-colonels by selection. He did not believe, he said, that the army itself was hostile to a purchase system, and he instanced the late Indian native army, which was a nonpurchase force; yet, nevertheless, a purchase system had been spontaneously introduced. He did not say that the question was concluded; but the Government were not prepared to take any immediate step in the direction proposed by the Resolution.
General Peel objected, in limine, to that House being called upon to interfere with the command and discipline of the army. But he opposed the motion, bs said, upon its own merits, and cited the opinion of high military authorities in favour of a system of purchase rather than one of selection.
Lord Stanley, as a member of the Royal Commission, felt bound to support and defend the opinions expressed in the report of the Commissioners. He vindicated the right of that House against the doctrine propounded by General Peel. He had always been under the impression, ho said, that tho House of Commons, which voted the number of men for the army and the Estimates, was bound to see that those Estimates were properly and economically expended, and he did not see how it could be contended that it had no right to deal with the command and discipline of the army. He examined and replied to the objections of Sir G. Lewis, and suggested reasons that should detract from the weight of military opinions upon this question. He showed the practical working of the purchase system, referring to cases illustrating its operation, and discussed the grounds alleged in defence of the system, expressing his belief that the expense attending its abandonment had been very greatly exaggerated. He reminded the Government, in conclusion, that they were, as a Cabinet, pledged to the measure which was the subject of the liesolution.
Lord Palmerston admitted that the English army and the East India Company's army were the only cases in which the system of purchase had prevailed. In the latter it was in the objectionable form of a compulsory contribution to buy-out officers. He admitted, also, that if it did not exist in the English army nobody would have thought of introducing such a system. But if the system worked well, it was no reason for abolishing it that it was theoretically objectionable. A system of selection might be very good for a despotic Government, but in a constitutional country like this, he was afraid that to adopt the general principle of selection would lead to ill consequences.
Alter some remarks from Col. North and Col. Sykes, the motion of Sir De Lacy Evans was rejected by -247 to 62.
The Naval Estimates, which were moved by Lord Clarence
Paget, created much more extended discussion, involving as they did many questions as to the structure and material of ships, and the relative strength and efficiency of our navy to those of foreign Powers, especially that of France. The new mode of casing ships with iron, to enable them to resist the powerful artillery recently introduced, was now operating great changes in the construction of ships of war, and necessitated a large increase of expenditure to keep pace with the rapid progress that was taking place in the science of naval warfare. On several occasions during the present Session these topics were much discussed in both branches of the Legislature. Previously to the House of Commons entering upon the consideration of the Naval Estimates, on the 25 th of February, Mr. Lindsay, who had in the previous year taken a prominent part in the debates upon nautical questions, referring to the statements made by the Government last Session of the strength of the French iron fleet, upon the faith of which a large sum had been voted, complained that those statements had been exaggerated, supporting his argument by an account of the actual condition of the French iron fleet which he had just received, and which showed that we were greatly in advance of France. Seeing this, and that we had more wooden ships than all the world put together, he did not think there was a necessity for so great an outlay as was proposed in the Estimates, especially in regard to wooden ships, and he protested against this large expenditure.
Mr. Baxter took the same view [H]