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some were in Sicily, and some were in Ire- carrying on in that quarter. He could land; and 1,500 were to be reduced. positively state, so far from this being deThe use of the horses however was not cessary, that the works there were a comconfined to the dragging of the guns. mon jest to the whole neighbourhood. He They were necessary for the purpose of had heard them ridiculed within the very training the drivers. The battles on the walls of the arsenal, about which he continent lately, it would be recollected, scarcely ever rode without observing some had been decided chiefly by the rapid new piece of architecture. The land movements of artillery. The drivers too, which lay on the side of the Thames had upon occasion might be drafted into the been, he declared, purchased by governartillery, where they proved very useful. ment at a sum above ten times its value; With regard to saltpetre, it had been and this purchase was not more to be conthought necessary to have a quantity in demned than was the expenditure of the country equal to seven years consump- 20,000l. on a wharf. He had said thus tion, and hence the large sum demanded much on a subject with which he was lo. under that head; when this augmentation cally acquainted, because he knew those had been proposed by him there was but estimates were now (not, as formerly, a supply for two years consumption in the confined to the House) canvassed by the country, The artillery horses could not country at large. He hoped every memdo the business now performed by con- ber would examine them, and express his tract horses. The contract horses were opinion on those with which he was acemployed in the works which were carried quainted. He could not sit down, with on only in sammer, and it was at that sea- out again declaring, that the buildings at son that the drivers were trained, so that Woolwich were particularly objects of the artillery horses could not be employed disgust for their inutility and extravagance. instead of the contract horses. The works Mr. Wardle rose, not for the purpose of of Dover were almost finished, and there canvassing each individual estimate, but fore there would be a reduction under that of remarking on the entire mass of charge, head.
as it stood before him. He confessed he Mr. Calcraft said, that 30,000 guineas had had some hope, that a retrenchment was a most extravagant sum for the house would have taken place, from the decla. purchased for the board. No individual ration of an hon. member opposite, last would have given such a sum for it. The session, that there would be a saving this expence of it altogether was 51,000l. in. year of a million and a half. An ostensi. dependent of the house for the Inspector- ble diminution had now indeed taken General of the engincer department. As place; but if any one took the trouble of to the work of the contract horses, he examining the estimates carefully, he was still fully persuaded, it might be per- would see that it was but ostensible. The forined by the artillery horses. One set saving had been made only by using old of the horses might be at work while the stores, &c.; but in any new estimate, a others were in training, and different sets real diminution by no means appeared. might thus relieve each other alternately. Throughout the entire list, indeed, the ut. He observed the enormous sum of 16,000l. most affectation of minuteness was ob. for contract horses in the London district. servable, even to the calculation of pounds, He had not heard of any public works shillings, and pence. But he had particarrying on in that district. There might cularly to condemn one head which con. be such however, but that ought to be stantly appeared in the ordnance estistated.
mates, even although it had been disapMr. Smith said it seemed to be the in- proved of, by a Resolution of the Finance tention of government, like rich men, to Committee, so far back as 1797 ; he meant lay in a store of every thing which might the head denominated Unprovided for." by any possibility bě wanted; not, like a close inquiry into those estimates was men of economy, to say to themselves, now essentially necessary, particularly as " Can we by any possibility avoid this any account of the application of the ex. expence.” (Hear! hear!) But he rose penditure was to be refused hereafter. He chiefly from his local knowledge of Woolhoped, however, that the day when the wich, to make some remarks on the ex- House should have a full and fair account pence and utility of the works now car of the expenditure of every sum voted for rying on there; and 700,0001. he observed, the public service, was not får distant. was the estimate for various buildings To show the affected winuteness of the
present estimates, he had only to refer to , lery in England. He should be glad to two items, which he had accidentally ob- hear this accounted for. The number of served. The first was the estimate of the horses, too, in Ireland, were the same as expences at Cumberland Fort, in which a
last year, and he had been informed penny was calculated; and the next was 10,000l. was to be demanded for an infor a fortification at Gosport, estimated at crease of them; yet he saw that the esti5,600.. and sixpence. (Hear! hear!) mate for forage for this year was not less This was really so ludicrous, that it did than for last year, which appeared unacnot deserve a serious comment. The ex. countable, if the number of horses was cuse of the hon. gent. for the enormous the same. As long, however, as the head estimate of 6,000 artillery horses, was, that of “unprovided for” was allowed to reindeed they were necessary in order to main in the estimates, any charge, either train and exercise the drivers ! This, as to forage or any thing else, might be surely, could be done just as effectually introduced. At Waltham Abbey the sum by 100 horses. (Hear!) Last session he of 104,0531. was estimated as the expence had moved for an account of the contin- in erecting powder mills for four years. gent expences of this drivers corps; and Now he could by no means see the neces. though his motion bad been agreed to, the sity of any such expence. The French and account had not as yet been laid upon the Germans, it was well known, used barns table. He had heard they amounted to 6 or any other temporary building for the or 7,0001. annually. The waggon con- manufacture of powder, and every body tracts he had also expressed his disappro- knew what an effectual use was made of it. bation of; and it would be incredible, if He admitted, indeed, tbat he had heard the account had not been taken from the the foreign powder was not so good as estimates of the years themselves, that the ours. In those estimates it was the cuscontracts for those waggon horses for four tom to vote large sums under the head of years, had amounted to 674,000. Com-different buildings ; and yet a sweeping paring this year with the former year, a charge was made for these afterwards, as reduction of 60,0001. did, indeed, appear for the “defence of the country.” Variin this estimate ; but this was compen- ous charges were included under this head, sated for in the very next estimate, by an
which had been made before under the addition of 30,0001. He was informed, head of depots, fortifications, &c. &c. that a rumour had reached the ordnance, For four years indeed, commencing at copcerning these very horses, and that a 1807, 4,103,000l. had been voted for person had been in consequence sent on buildings, repairs, &c. (" Ammunition inan investigation, but that he never had cluded” from the ministerial bench). No, made his report, and that there the busi- said Mr. Wardle, for buildings and depots; ness was allowed to end.
The complaint and in the next four years it would be no was, that many of the horses had been doubt in the same proportion. As to the taken from the public business to be em- minuteness of the estimates, it signified ployed on the farm of Mr. Welling, and very little whether they were minute or sent down for inspection on the days of not, as any mistake might easily be obvi. muster.
ated, so long as the head of “unprovided In the estimates with respect to Ireland, for" was allowed to continue. He hoped he saw that in the contingencies of this these were the last estimates, in which train, those of other corps were included, such head of expenditure would be al. although the expences of these other corps lowed to be brought before the House ; were afterwards introduced in the army and he hoped also, that an account of the estimates. In the contingencies of the expenditure of every sum voted in the esIrish artillery, between the years 1808 timates would hereafter be produced, and 1809, he observed a difference of He was sure there could be no difficulty in above 7,000l. the reason of which he could thecomputation, as it would be much easier by po means comprehend.
to give an account of how the money had also another circumstance which, he con- been expended, than to make out an abfessed, perplexed his calculation : it was, struse estimate in the beginning: that there were in Ireland but 2,400 artil- Mr. A. Cooper said, that the House were lery men, and in England 25,000, and not to understand by the term “unproyet in one year the contingent expences vided for,” that there was to be no account of the artillery in Ireland amounted to given. He allowed, that with respect to half as much as the expences of the artil- land purchased in the neighbourhood of
Woolwich, the price was exorbitant, but , Waltham Abbey, as he passed by them it was extorted from the public necessity. once or twice every week : and he was The land was absolutely necessary for the really astonished at hearing that they cost range that was acquired for the artillery. 100,000l. for there was nothing about As to the increase which the hon. gent. them which to him appeared to require took notice of in the corps of drivers, it such an expence.
He was afraid that proceeded from a mistake in the estimate there was, in no instance, a sufficient of last year when the number was stated check on the expenditure of the public at 5,000, whereas it was really 5,600. money; and that the public generally The expence, however, had not been in- paid 10, 20, or even 30 per cent. more creased except in giving increased allow- | than individuals, for the same work. He ances. The hon. gent. appeared to him remembered, that when those works at to confound the draft horses for the artil. Waltham Abbey were going forward, he lery with the contract horses. The con- was perpetually threatened by his worktingencies of the artillery in Ireland in- men that they would leave him, and go to cluded the contingencies of the horse ar- Waltham Abbey, where they would be tillery, of the corps of engineers, and of sure to get whatever they choose to ask. all other corps connected with the ord. When government also consented to give mance. When the hon. gent, complained a sum of 12,0001, for 45 acres of ground of the expence of the powder-mills at near Woolwich, they submitted to what Waltham Abbey, he should have recol. I appeared to him a most extortionate delected the period of the American war, mand. Now he could not perceive any when government powder was prover- good reason for this. They might have bially bad. Bad as it was, we were then either purchased at a fairer price other entirely dependent for a supply upon the ground nearly as eligible; or, if this partimerchants. Even at the time of lord cular piece of ground was necessary, Nelson's celebrated victory, the stock of there were means to which the public gunpowder was so small, that the ord- might have recourse to purchase it at a fair nance could have hardly issued enough for and reasonable price. An expence of another battle of the same sort, and were 12,0001, had also been incurred, in purabsolutely obliged for a time to suspend chasing the lease of a house to be fitted their issues for foreign service, in the ex- up for the secretary of the admiralty. pectation of a scarcity. This was a fact, This appeared also io be a profuse waste which it would have been dangerous to of the public money, The purchases of the public service to have been stated at wood in the four last years appeared that time ; but the evil was now, in a enormous; as did also the money perpe. great measure corrected. The hon. gent. tually expended for building store-houses, had spoken of the practice of the French military buildings, and quarters for officers to make powder in barns. If he would take at Woolwich. This amounted to no less the trouble to examine the works at Wal than 422,0001. in the four last years. It tham Abbey, he would find thai we also appeared to him that the heads of the use, for that purpose, many buildings that ordnance had acted on no settled system, resemble barns.' Under the general head but according to their own caprice, which of " the defence of the country," was in- was too much indulged. He remembered cluded the expence of building batteries that when the late duke of Richmond and martello towers along the coast. brought in his celebrated plan of fortificaAnd as to the sum voted for building and tion for all England, it was supported by repairing depots, it had lately been judged government and by so many gentlemen in necessary to have a large quantity of artile that House, that it was only by the castlery and ammunition in depot, to guard ing voice of the Speaker that the country against invasion or unforeseen contin- was then saved from a most enormous burgency.
den; and he belived, that if the whole Mr. W. Smith said, that as it was impos- expence of the martello towers had been sible for gentlemen on his side of the stated to parliament at once, they would House to have the same means of infor- hardly have agreed to the present extenmation on this subject as the gentlemen sion of them. He was afraid that in no on the other, their objections must come department of the government was there from what appeared on the face of the es- a sufficiently strict hand kept over the ex• timates. It happened that he had made penditure, and that in every item of the some observations respecting the works at expenditure there was a consideration of
gain to some individual. In one instance, ing evil by procuring an ample supply s man had been dismissed from an office, from some other quarter ?" They felt it to and yet received a pension of six or seven be their duty to ascertain what the royal bundred a year, which was calculated on powder mills were capable of producing. emoluments that were at the time not The works at Feversham were first exsupposed to be fair. It was high time there. amined, but those were found in such a fore that the country should now see, that state that but little aid could be expected the House was resolved to attend to public from them. The state of the Waltham economy, and not merely to keep up the Abbey mills was next inquired into, government by the influence which con- whicb were found capable of making but tructs and jobs procured. The person 10 or 11,000 barrels yearly. Now, in who was allowed to defraud the country consequence of the arrangements made in a sinill instance, would be thus pre- they did not produce less than 22,000 anvented from giving information against nually. To effect such a change, it had persons committing great abuses. They been found necessary to double the extenwould conceive themselves parties con- sire works of that place. This had been cerned, and a sort of esprit de corps would done at as cheap a rate as might be, but it prevent them from detecting grealer was physically impossible to produce so abuses. He thought, therefore, that too great a change without incurrmg a conmuch publicity could not be given to
siderable expence. The buildings for every iiem of public expenditure, as pub- that purpose though they were slight licity was the best remedy for abuses. (as had been stated) were very expensive.
Mr W. Pole admitied the impropriety of In the first place the corning-bouses were conniving at peculation. The man who filied with mill machinery of the nicest did so could be no friend to his country. quality, so nice, that if one of the present Much had been said of the expence in- works at Waltham Abbey were blown up curred by the works at Waltham Abbey. to-morrow, it would take six months, emIt was but fair that the circumstances un- ploying the best workmen that could be der which those expences were incurred | found, to put up the machinery of another should be taken into consideration. The before powder could be made. Of these annual expenditure of gunpowder was buildings, at the present time, we possesfrom 50 to 60,000 barrels; and at the sed five or six at Waltham Abbey. A commencement of the present war he great improvement had been made in the (Mr. W. Pole), on being appointed to the drying of powder; formerly gloom stoves Ordnance, saw with inexpressible anguish were made use of, in which 40 barrels of that we had not in store more than 14,000 powder were dried on shelves by a most for all the services of the country, and a dangerous process ; now an improvement considerable portion of that was not ap- having been made by General Congreve, plicable to the navy. It might be proper the powder was dried by steam in perfect to state to the House the quantity of pow. security. The benefits accruing to the der commonly expended in a battle. In country from this improvement were imthe battles of the 29th of May and the 1st mense, but the apparatus required in conof June not less than 5,000 barrels were sequence was very expensive. The adexpended. Had another action occurred vantages however were such, that he trustat ibat period, the distress of the country ed they would give full satisfaction to the for gunpowder would have been extreme. Committee and to the country. Another Under these circumstances, the Master instance in which an increase of expence and the Board of Ordnance were bound to had occurred was occasioned by the imdo all they could by possibility effect to provements in refining of salt-petre, which wards alleviating the evil. They called on had been refined to a degree almost increthe merchants, in the first place, to state dible. For this also the country was inwhat quantity of powder they could produce debted to General Congreve. Great exin a given time. They were engaged to fur- pences had however been sustained in nish the greatest quantity they could pos- consequence, as they had been obliged to sibly make in five years, but even this pro- double the establishment of the melting vision was insufficient. Thus situated houses, and an additional expence had when the country was exposed to such ex- been incurred by canal works, &c., which treme distress, did it not become impera- thus became necessary. The mills also tively the duty of his Majesty's ministers had occasioned an immense expence, and to exert themselves to avert the threaten. much difficulty had been found in procur
ing mill-stones. Those were very expen- cuse for neglecting his duty. Lord Chat. sive, and here he had to notice a great ad- ham had planned the improvement of the vantage derived from our Irish works, as wharf which had been so successfully exformerly we were obliged to gain all our ecuted. Gentlemen opposite had no right mill-stones from Flanders. We began to to blame government for not laying ibe be in great distress for the want of mill- whole of the plans for the improvement of stones, when happily a [quarry was disco- Woolwich Warren before them when they vered in Ireland. This discovery how had not been moved for. All the heavy ever was not made till those works were work of an expedition lay on the Ord. begun. One advantage arising from the nance. In the late expedition the number establishment of those works was, we were of ships they had laden with battering enabled to make powder at a less expence trains and other Ordnance stores amountthan that the merchants furnished us at, ed to seventy. He had been called on to and of a superior quality to that they sup- know how soon be could load fifteen or plied. It was of consequence to keep up a sixteen ships, when he replied, that if he rivalship between the merchants and the did not set them off in three days after crown, and to avoid materially depressing they were sent to him, he would lose bis either the one or other. The manner of right hand. Formerly his answer would supp ying ships with powder was not so have been, that he would have sent off good as it might have been. Powder, two or three in a fortnight after they were take what care they would of it, would not sent to him, and possibly the whole in keep for any great length of time. The about six weeks. Was the increased ex. damp, in a long voy age, would get to it. pedition with which such a force could be Buildings were therefore erected at Ports- sent out nothing, was it worth no additional mouth and other places for drying and expence ? At ihe time lord Chatham was mixing powder, so that now when ships placed at the head of the Ordnance, there came in their powder was sent to the was no covering for the carriages of vesmagazines and changed with more facility sels, now there were carriages for thirty than formerly. At the period to which he sail of the line, sheltered in wooden store had alluded, the exigencies of the coun- houses. They had even no place for the try were such, that he thought no time storing of timber at the breaking out of was to be lost. He would not suffer any the present war, the carriages were, in delay to arise from their not being able consequence made of green wood, which to obtain workmen through the pay being did not last half the time they would have insufficient. If men could not be procured lasted had the wood been properly seato work for their usual wages, sixpence or a soned. It was well known that if wood shilling a day ought not to be suffered to were painted before it was perfectly dry, oppose an obstacle. Whether the expence it would not do half the service it ought. were 50 or 70,000l. in the then circum- He therefore contended that, it was true stances of the country, he thought of little economy to keep a proper stock before importance when the object in view was hand. He was responsible for the in.considered. He had next to speak of creased expence attending a two years Woolwich. When a noble lord, whom he supply of wood in slore. At the period to should ever be proud to call bis dear which he had alluded, the means of the friend (lord Chatham), and who, whatever Board of Ordnance to construct field car. might have been said of him, had proved riages were so circumscribed, that they himself a good servant to the country, was forced to contract for the number was placed at the head of the Board of they had occasion for at a great expence, Ordnance, he found Woolwich in a state while an inferior article was supplied. very different to what it is now in. It Contemplating this inconvenience lord had pot even a covering for the stores Chatham had ordered a new carriage yard which were there deposited. He (Mr. W. to be made on a large principle. This Pole) had been charged with the equip- measure he contended was creditable to ment of an expedition, and the state it the country and consonant to the dictates was in at that time was such, that not an of true economy, as the carriages were officer went down who was not of opinion now made under the eye of an officer cathat the Ordnance would be a month be- pable of giving a proper judgment on hind the other parts of the armament. them, instead of their being obliged to There was not a person in any department have them from London. He had been of the state who did not make that an ex- the cause of 1,000l, being expended on a