« AnteriorContinuar »
stated the subject. With regard to Por- had been carried on to so great an extent tugal, the hon. gent. would find that under the Swedish flag. As far as Sweevery thing had been done to induce the den herself was concerned, the advantage Brazil government to concur in carrying she herself derived from that trade was the abolition into effect. But though no certainly very little and he had heard doubt Great Britain had reason to expect with extreme regret that her flag had been that the Portuguese government would lent to our own traders to carry on this pay considerable deference to its recom-commerce in direct defiance of the law. He mendation, yet it would be recollected suggested that some effectual steps should thai Great Britain had no right to dictate be taken by the legislature and the yoto that government. When the abultion vernment to suppress this gross intringe. had advanced so slowly in this enlightened ment of the law by British subjects. With country, with all the aid of popular feel. regard to America, he differed altogether ing, and all the weight of the two great from the hon. gent. as to the mode of proauthorities (Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox,) who ceeding with that government, although concurred in this point, though hardly on he perfectly agreed in all the principles any other. When this measure had been he had stared. The hon. gent. thought 20 years in agitation here before it was that America was anxious for the abolicarried, it could not reasonably be attri- tion. His information led him to a conbuted to a want of zeal or humanity in the trary conclusion. His belief was that the Portuguese government, which has re- Americans had no inclination to abolish moved to the very land of slavery, that it the tradle effectually, and that they only had not in the space of one year done any wanted to take advantage of our abolition. thing decisive. But he believed that when. Under that government it would be kept the papers should be produced, it would in mind that there was a greater siave pobe found that there was an article in the pulation than under any other, and that treaty with the Brazil government, pro- the popular feeling would not therefore viding if not absolutely, at least much go so effectually along wiih its governmore efficiually for the gradual abolition ment in the abolition. The substance than the article contained in the abortive of the article in the abortive treaty to treaty with America. With regard to which he had alluded, was, that the two Spahi, the Slave Trade of which had per governments should mutually communihaps been too bigh.y estimated at iwo cate to each other the steps taken to thirds of the amount of the Portuguese carry the abolition into effect, which was trade, the hon. gent. would find that the hardly doing any thing. But the hon. object had not been neglected in that gent. thought he saw from the corresponquarter. Bit if considerable manage:nent dence some reason to think that there was necessary with respect to the Portu-would be no serious opposition on the part guese government, the hon. gent. would of the American government to an agreebe aware that good management was also ment per.vitring the caplure of their necessary with regard to that of Spain. slave vessels by our cruizers; because There was hardly time to enter into any as such vessels wouid be acting in oppostipulation with that government with res. sition to the American law, they would peet to its colonial policy. But it would have 10 ground of complaint to the Amebe found that the most earnest recom- rican government.
But the hon. gent. mendation had been made to the Spanish had not read the correspondence with his government, to take the subject into its usual accivary. An agreement on this most serious consideration. As to Swe- pomt w ts wh't they parucuierly objected den, it would be found that no return to, as con!rary to their sovereigsy, ale could be made to the address on that though at the same time they had said inat head-unless something had been done if the power of capture should be eserwith that power since he had been in of- cised, persons taken in an illicit traile fice. His object, he confessed, had been could not be intitled to redress. But, in to obtain from the different governments ibis, there was nothing like a convention; a distinct abolition of the trade-and not it was merely saying, that any one might a convention to prevent an illicit trade by kill an outlaw. If this country had legistrade by the subjects of this country, lated upon the idea of any such right of under their flags. He confessed he capture, the American government would bad not been aware, till lately, that the certainly have complained; another conillieit trade in slaves by British subjects sideration was, that this would be liable to abuse. The only way of proceeding | a distinction might be made between the would be by the admiralty, at their risk, slave trade and other branches of comgiving directions to our cruizers, or rather merce, and an arrangement made on that privateers. But what assurance could particular point; but the article in the there be, that this discretion given to abortive treaty could never have answered privateers, would not be abused; and any very good purpose. It ought to be when vessels were found to have been im- kept in view, however, that at that time properly seized under such a system, to the slave trade had not been altogether what perpetual complaints would it not abolished. He believed that there was a give rise. There must also be a recipro- disposition in the American government city in the conduct of the system, and the to concur in this object, and he thought it American privateers would be let loose; but just to state that opinion. and under the pretence of seizing slave- Mr. Brougham was aware, that in order ships might be an intolerable annoyance to effect the object, there must be some to our whole trade. He did not say they arrangement with America, because other. would actually do this: but certainly the wise, there could be no proceedings in the experiment would be most dangerous. prize courts; but what he submitted was, Nothing could be done upon a ground that there appeared in the correspondence like this. In all the principles and objects a disposition in the American government of the hon. gent., he most perfectly to concede so far as to afford bopes, that agreed. He had only risen for the pur- some arrangement might be made on this of briefly stating the principles upon particular point. The right hon. gent. in which he had acted, with reference to his opinion had dealt harshly with the this subject, when in office. He concluded American government. They had given by seconding the motion.
proof of their disposition to abolish the Mr. Stephen wished that his hon. friend slave trade. It ought to be recollected had not thought it necessary to preface that they had set us the example of abolihis motion with any remarks, but had tion, a pretty strong proof that they were spared his observations till the production sincerely anxious for the success of the of the papers. But as the American go- measure. And yet the right honourvernment had been represented as un- able gentleman had said and so grave friendly to the abolition, he was anxious to and serious a charge had seldom been so say a few words on that point. There lightly made, that the only object of the was a great deal of slave population in Americans was to get possession of a part America; but still there was evidence to of our slave trade! He did not beliere that shew, that the American government was this was the case; and if he had believed it, as friendly to the abolition as it could be, he would have been cautious how he in consistency with a due regard to popu- stated it. He would humbly recommend lar feeling. To prove this Mr. Stephen to the right hon. gent., who had so lately mentioned, that a slave ship had been been secretary of state for foreign affairs, brought in by a British cruizer, and con- and might, perhaps, be very soon called demnation applied for in the prize court. to that office again, to be cautious how It turned out that the ship was American he preferred so grave and serious a charge.
must be restored. Mr. Monro, the Ame- nion, that unless the trade was abolished rican minister, stated at that time, that the by other governments it would soon reAmerican government wished to give no vive in our own colonies. It was only by protection to the claimant; but if the ship treaty with other powers that the trade was to be restored then he claimed her for could be effectually abolished. the government, on account of her carry- Mr. Wilberforce expressed his great saing on a trade contrary to the law. He tisfaction that whatever little differences also instanced another case of the same there might be on minor points, there was kind. Among the commissioners under one universal concurrence in the desire to the treaty the majority were Americans, carry the object of abolition into complete and consequently almost all the disputed effect. On that object he himself, and points were carried in their favour; but those who had taken a particular interest when a claim was made for a slave ship it in the measure, had constantly kept their was rejected with indignation. These things eyes fixed. He thought the right hon. went to prove the Americans were not un- gent. (Mr. Canning) had gone too far friendly to the abolition. He thought that when he said that the American goverri
ment was unfriendly to the abolition. It , saving of 123,000l. and under the head had been well stated by his hon. friend of new works, would be found a further (Brougham) who had out of the House saving of 17,0001. The hon, gent. condone so much for the cause, and who now cluded with moving. “ That it is the opiexercised his great talents in its favour in nion of the Committee that a sum not exthe House that the American govern- ceeding 3,819,466.. be granted to his ment had been before us in the abolition. Majesty towards defraying the ordnance There was, he firmly believed, a general estimates for the current year.” disposition in America to abolish this Mr. Calcraft rose and said, he was not traffic-and it ought to be remembered surprised that the hon. gent. had been so that they had done more than ourselves brief upon the subject; but he must request on this subject; for a great many of the the patience of the Committee, while he slaves there had been emancipated-a deviated from the example which had inost favourable omen of their future exer- been given, and went a little more into tions in the cause. He hoped the atten- detail. He found, in looking over the tion of the House would be fixed upon papers which he held in his hand, a rethis great object, and the great benefits duction of 100,0001. from the last year's which it was calculated to confer on hu- expence, and so far as such a reduction gan nature.
could be proved to be real, he was willing The motions were then agreed to to allow the hon. gent. due praise. This
reduction had been made in the expence
for saltpetre, and in those charges which HOUSE OF COMMONS.
were termed unprovided,' a phrase equiWednesday, March 14.
valent to extraordinaries' in the common [ORDNANCE ESTIMATES.] The House accounts of the army. But when he lookhaving resolved into a Committee of ed into those parts of the statement where supply,
extravagance was most unjustifiable and Mr. Ashley Cooper, without any prefa- unserviceable, he found the old spirit still fatory observations, stated to the Com. alive, and as vigorous as ever; he found mittee, that the total saving on the ord-charged in 1809, 4,5861. for a house for nance estimates for this year, amounted the Secretary, in Pall-mall; he next to nearly one million and a half;—under found for a building for a similar purpose, the head of ordinaries, there would be 8,4061. which, with a non-descript charge, found to be an excess for this year, which he could not distinctly trace, at amounting to 7,0001. ;-but under the that time, amounted to 11,0001. The exhead of extraordinaries, there would be penditure in the ordnance department found to be a diminution of charge, in providing apartments for its officers amounting to 1,140,0001. ;-and under the was intolerable; summed up, head of unprovided, there would appear less than 45,000l. It might be alledged a diminution of 352,2091. ;-so that the that a considerable part of this expence total saving under these two heads of ex. had been sanctioned by himself (Mr. Cal. traordinaries and unprovided would con- craft) and his colleagues, while in office : sist of a diminution of expence, amounting but the contract for the house in Pall-mall to 1,492,209l. ;-and the total sum be had been made before they could have meant now to call upon the Committee to any influence over it. As it was, they vote for the ordnance service of the cur- tried to get rid of it, to throw it off the rent year, for the United Kingdom. 'hands of the nation, to exchange, to sell amounted to 3,819,4661. The saving under it; and, in the failure of all their efforts the head of extraordinaries arose from for this purpose, were forced to perform various causes. There was a reduction the contract; but improvements and emfrom the annual charge of the foreign bellishments were going on, which would service, of 200,0001. There was also a make the cost of that onerous fabric at saving in works and repairs of 260,000l. least 50,000l. But the expence of the There would be found a further saving of establishment did not halt here : a miser60,000l. by the reduction of draught able house in Pall-mall was bought up at horses ; and by a diminution of the num- the sporting price of 7,163, for an enber of depots, there was an additional gineer officer; another for the inspector saving of 100,000l. With respect to the general was purchased at a splendid price, estimales for the ordnance in Ireland, in that same most expensive part of the there would be found generally to be a town. He must now advert to an expen
diture which it might seem invidious to | found that an officer had in his service na
, was necessary to notice, be meant the pay of attendants in his house, as his grooms, the superannuated men, and the pensions valets, and for aught he knew, as his cooks, of widows and officers: but under this title, butlers, &c. and four horses. This pere interesting as it must be to the feelings of son's plea, he understood to be, the exerthe House, a large system of peculation cise of an assumed and as yet undisputed was easily concealed; it contained all the privilege ; that he had been guilty only private pensions of the ordnance, and in of what he had known others, and many even the last year had increased by others, to have been constantly guilty. 8,5991. The melancholy events of the Mr. Ashley Cooper stated, across the past year presented but too obrinus a table, that a court of inquiry was sitting reason for this increase. With regard upon the case alluded to by the hon. gent., to the works in the country he found a and if any officer should be found guilty charge for the Cinque Ports, and he re- of such practices he would be punished by quested to know if the fortifications at a court martial. Dover were completed. He found in the Mr. Calcraft resumed; if the circumestimates the Chatham head of expence stances he had stated were true, he trusted diminished, but still the extravagance that the court of inquiry would not rest there had been enormous. He had but to there; but he would not detain the House instance the artillery barracks; those build- any longer upon the circumstance, but ings contained about 1,000 men, with a proceed. The next charge which be few horses, and some sheds for carriages; found was a small one, it was true; but yet the expence of the work had been he found no cause for it, trifling as it inight 150,0001. Another questionable i'em was be thought; 6501. for ordnance expenses that of 19,0001 towards the erection of an at Hungerford. The next objectionable artillery huspital-he wished this item to item of charge, was that for building barbe further explained. But there was racks at Wedenbeck; and here he must another rather extraordinary item of 5,0001 observe upon the general folly of that exfor the construction of a powder magazine travagance, which built such sumptuous in Dorchester; it was natural for the hon. apartments for men whose income could gent. to have his partialities for Dorches. not exceed 300l. or 4001. a year, as would ter, but he (Mr. Calcraft) was at a loss to be fit for men of as many thousands, know why a powder magazine was neces. giving them thereby idle notions of exsary there ; He wished to be informed penditure, and leading them consequently whether it was to treasure up the military into extravagance. He found likewise stores of the town, or to receive the spare in the estimates a provision for artillery powder of the entire district. He hoped, drivers, a corp of between 5 and 6,000 however, that whether or not, it would be men, with 6,000 horses. This great and kept at a safe distance from the town ; most expensive body was and could be, but 5,0001. was a sum undeniably too large of no possible use in the country, exceptfor so idle a purpose.
He next found ing, in case of an invasion, to move the under one sweeping head, for building ariillery from one part of the country to and taking land for building on, at Wool- another. He did not find the sum relative wich, 134,000l. This charge first met to them printed in the estimates. Those the eye in the modest form of 78,6391. and artillery horses were cantoned by five and was gradually inflated up to the aggre- six hundred together in districts on the gate which he stated. The minor abuses coast; yet in these very districts the counthere, were of the same rank with those try was charged with 87,0001. for contract which he had noticed at Chatham. Officers horses, to do the general work; while the were known to make almost a property of driver's horses were idle, totally idle, fat, the hurses provided for the service; and and sleek, and pampered till they would while they had them in actual employ be unfit for even the single service to which drawing their coaches and curricles, re- they were designed. He knew that offifused to pay the tax demanded by the cers had an aversion to putting their horses commissioners, on the plea that they were to any work that sullied the glossiness of the king's horses. The commissioners, their skins, or dimmed the polish of their however, resisted 'such a plea, and harness; but the expence of the corps would allow no more than a single horse amounted to the enormous sum of 400,000l. for each officer. On a late inquiry, it was whilst its services were only useful at the actual moment of invasion ; as if we could , to economy. Their former house had have no notice of invasion, not a moment been at St. Margaret street, and from to prepare; or, as if the species of horses their wish to avoid cxpence, they had long employed in the artillery were not pre- and distinctly refused to contract with the cisely of that description, of which an al-commissioners for widening and improv: most unlimited number might be got at ing the streets about Westminster; a any pressing moment in the country Yet peremptory notice, however, finally obliged for this event, distant, if it should ever them to give up their house ; and they arrive, the country was to be saddled with then called Mr. Wyatt, their architect, an intolerable expence, a permanent and before them, who stated that the lowest certain burthen, to meet an event barely terms on which he could build a house for contingent. The number of the corps em- them was 40,0001., and that he could not ployed on foreign service must be small, do it in a space less than two years. They and there could be no ground for continu- had heard in the mean time, that the ing an useless expenditure at home. The Union Club House was for sale, and that corps should be reduced, not perhaps to the proprietors were distressed for money: tally; it might be advisable to leave a He (Mr. Cooper) was consequently ordered skeleton for an increase of the corps, if it by lord Chatham to treat with the proshould be necessary; but if the number prietors' agent, Mr. Gould, for the purof horses were 6,000, he would reduce chase of the House, not for the public serthem to 1,000. He apologized for the vice, but on the part of a private individual. detail into which the subject had led him, He did so, and succeeded in getting the but it was one to which too keen and pa- house at such a price, that the original tient a spirit of inquiry could not be ap- proprietors' creditors were very indignant plied; it was not becoming the economy when they heard of the terms of the sale, of that honourable House, to yote away and who were the purchasers; the sum immense sums without minutely investi- given for the house was 30,000 guineas, ingating the necessity of the charge, and cluding the furniture, without which the particularly without knowing the applica- house would not be sold, and which was tion of former estimates. The charge for worth 5,000l. With respect to the house saltpetre, in which a reduction was boasted for the Secretary, when he came into ofof, was 600,0001. The charge for artillery fice, he found an estimate, for a new house drivers' horses in Ireland was 10,0001. for the Secretary, of 6,8001. This, as havHe did not comprehend the foundation of ing, he presumed, the sanction of lord a charge to that extent; did it compre- Moira, he had acted upon, and Mr. hend the purchase of horses in Ireland for Cooper sold his interest for 7,1631. The the corps here ! (He was answered in the plan of the Chatham buildings was Mr. negative across the table.) He confessed Wyatt's; and as to the officer alluded 10 himself totally at a loss to account for a by the hon. gent, as having been put under charge which seemed so superior to the arrest at Flushing, he could only say he necessities of the small corps stationed in. I had found that olticer at all times intelIreland; and he must lament to find, that ligent and active. With respect, however, the spirit of economy which had given to the buildings of Chatham, he had reasuch hope of rational retrenchment was son to hope that there would be no further merely nominal at best; a reduction only demand upon the public upon this head. from one degree of waste to another; from The depôt of carriages for sea service was the indefensible extravagance of last year, of wood, and this made it so liable to the to the almost equally culpable extrava danger of fire, that it was thought necesgance of the present one.
sary to build another depôt. With respect Mr. A. Cooper admitted the excess off to the abuse of horses, the hon. gent. had the present year's estimates over those of over-rated the case to which he had allud. 1806; but that excess was imputable to ed, the officer not engrossing the use of the increased exigency of public affairs nine soldiers and five horses, but only lof since that period as well as to the rise in two horses and but two men, but these, the price of every article. With respect constantly: there might have been more to the house in Pall Mall, he entered into occasionally, but it had been determined a minute detail of the proceedings, on the to prevent the continuance of this abuse part of the board of ordnance in purchasing for the future.—Of the artillery borses, to ihat house, to shew, that the board had which the hon. gent. had adverted, some been influenced by an anxious attention had been sent to Spain and Portugal; VOL, XYI.