timate for the new barracks was 1,534,000l. including premifes purchased. The contract was now before the House, and was framed from a plan which met the approbation of military men of the first experience. The works were to be fubject to the control of a barrack-master, who was to judge and check every proceeding of the contractor, and without whole certificate no money was to be paid to any contractor. Befides this the public would be completely guarded against any lofs for wafte of time, extraordinary wages, or debts contracted, as the work was to be measured, and both that and the materials paid for at the ordinary rate of the vicinage. where fuch buildings were to be erected, unless it were in very remote fituations where extraordinary expedition fhould be required, and where it would be but just to make a reasonable allowance, when the contractor was unavoidably fubjected to extraordinary expence, either in conveying his men to a confiderable distance, or paying an extraordinary price for materials or labour. Having ftated thus much for the fatisfaction of the Committee, he fhould be ready to give any further explanation which Gentlemen might require. He concluded with moving the firft refolution.

Mr. Francis inquired if, in the present estimates, the forces in India were comprehended?

The Secretary at War replied, that they would appear by the accounts to be included.

Mr. Francis remarked on the inconfiftency in the reafoning of the right hon. Gentleman in refpect to the barracks. The expence had exceeded all reasonable computation, and deserved the ferious attention of the Houfe; the extent of the charge did not at all correfpond with the expedients ftated to have been reforted to for the purposes of public economy, and if fome fatisfactory explanation were not given, he should think it right to fubmit the abuses which had prevailed to the attention of the Houfe,

The Secretary at War faid, among the more weighty charges on the barrack eftablithment was the construction of barracks on the coaft; and it was conceived that this meafure, on a variety of accounts, would fave a very confiderable expence in adjacent encampments. It is rather premature to give any decifive opinion on the total charge in this important and neceffary fervice, as the accounts are not yet made up, by which that opinion must be guided. With regard to the execution of the works, if the right hon. Gentleman entertains any doubts on that fubject, it


would be candid if he wou'd advert to fome particulars from which thofe doubts originate; he confeffed he had understood nothing of the kind from the Barrack Office, and he trusted that the hon. Gentleman, on further inquity, would dif cover there was no juft ground of complaint The pavments in that department were conducted with the greatest regularity, at the fame time fecuring the intereft of the public, and providing for the exigencies of the contracter The terms on which the engagements are made, admit the latter to the benefit of inftalments, and he is alfo entitled to money on account, in the progrefs of his undertaking; but 12 per cent. is retained until the conclufion of the bufinefs, to apply to any defect that may be difcovered either in the quantity of the materials, or the ftructure of the edifice. No payment is made excepting it be authorized by a certificate of the officers appointed to furvey the buildings, and bad materials are ordered to be removed, and unfubftantial erections to be pulled down. No day-work is charged at a fixed price, but the price is regulated by the rate of labour paid in the refpective counties where the fervice is performed. With thefe precautions, it is not poffible to fuppofe much neglect can arife, or that the public money is employed without a correfponding advantage from its application.

"Colonel Craufur fignified that he fhould on fome future day take an opportunity of expofing the neglect of Minif ters in every branch of the expenditure for military purpofes

Mr. IV. Smith lamented the magnitude of the burthen in the barrack department, and confidered that, contrary to what the right hon. Gentleman had ftated, the prefent plan was fubject to objections, both on account of the public and the individual. He would mention a fingle fact, by which it would appear the intereft of the laft was not very seduloufly confulted. A fmall contractor delivered in his account, and was furprifed to find a grofs deduction made in it. He applied to the Barrack-office to be informed of the particular items to which the deduction referred; it was in vain that he remonftrated; he could obtain no explanation, and he was at last told, that if he would not take the amount thus reduced, he might bring his action. Although the deduction exceeded the amount of his profit, yet the whole affair was fo fmall that he could obtain no redrets by bringing an action at the expence of 501. or 601. The hon. Member


Member was of opinion, that the large difcretionary powers given to the principal barrack-officers, was neither confiftent with public policy or private convenience; but at leaft it would be expected, where they have fuch extenfive confidence repofed, that they would ufe it with fome moderation, and not only avoid injuftice, but the appearance of it, by explaining to a creditor their objection to his claim.

The Secretary at War explained, that the general character of the officers to whom the barrack depa.tment was affigned, would incline him to avoid haftily concluding that they were culpable in the particular to which the hon. Gentleman adverted. All the corrected accounts he had feen in the courfe of his official duties, had the ground of objection ftated on the face of the account against the item to which it applied. If the hon. Gentleman would privately communicate the circumftance of the grievance to which he adverted, the matter fhould be examined, and any juft ground of complaint fhould be immediately removed.

The following refolutions on the amounts to be devoted to particular services were then put and agreed to:For Supernumerary Officers

Increafed rates of fubfiftence to Soldiers and Innkeepers

British Officers on Half-pay

Chelsea Hofpital

Reduced Half-pay Officers on the British Esta


Militia Officers

Chelsea Penfioners, in and out

L. 36,464







Barracks for Ireland


[merged small][ocr errors]


Volunteer Cavalry


Further charge for Volunteer Corps


Foreign Corps


Military College


Military Afylum


Augmentation of the Military Forces in Ireland


Garrifon Service in the West Indies


(not ufually in the Eftimate)

Barrack Department of Great Britain


Increase for the Commiffary General of Stores

The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, that the excess laft year in the extraordinaries of the army would not apVOL. II. 1803-4.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

pear, under the exifling circumstances, at all extravagant, when he stated it be 339,000l. He then moved, that it is the opinion of this Committee, that there be applied to the extraordinary expences of the army for the year 1804:

In Great Britain

In Ireland

£1,400,000 600,000

Expences of the Journals of the House, and other

incidental charges

Alien Offices

Repairs of Military Roads in North Britain

Board of Agriculture





Extraordi a v Expences of Profecutions

Civil Establ.hment in Canada



[blocks in formation]

For the Lazaretto in Kent, under the act





Thefe refolutions being put and agreed to,

The Chancellor of the Exchequer again rofe-The only remaining refolution I fhall now fubmit to the attention of the Committee, relates to what has been called the Caledonian Canal, intended to connect the eaftern and weftern feas by Invernefs to Fort William, for which the fum of 25,000l. has been already granted. It will be immediately feen that this is a concern of too much magnitude to be undertaken by individuals. This vaft interfection of the country is not to be on the contracted plan of ordinary canals for inland navigation; it is intended to be conducted on a fuperior fcale, and to admit the paffage of frigates of 32 guns. There are many local confiderations connected with this fubject, which fhould not efcape the attention of the Committee. In the year 1801, the Lords Commiffioners of the Treafury directed a furvey to be taken of that part of the Highlands. The fpring and enfuing fummer were employed on this duty. During the laft feffion the report


was made, and the Houfe in confequence adopted the meafure. Commiffioners were then under the fame authority appointed, who purfued their inquiries with great diligence and ability, and they were affifted by a gentleman perfectly converfant in undertakings of this kind, from whom they derived the moft valuable information. The report was directed to two principal objects; the importance, and the practicability of the work The expence was stated at from 4 to 500.0001. The zeal of the country has been fo great to forward the project, that in many inftances the land for the canal has been offered free of all expence. Among the motives, I must not omit to notice the confiderable emigrations from the Highlands, which this improvement is calculated to prevent. I beg it may not be fuppofed that this emigration is in any degree to be attributed to the neglect of the great landed proprietors. A variety of caufes have conduced to incline the Highlanders to abandon their native foil, and it is the duty of Government, as much as poffible, to remove thefe, that this gallant and valuable body of men may be difpofed to liften to the dictates of their own patriotic feelings. This great national work will provide employment for a great number of the people of that country, and it is expected that the bleflings of commerce and of the arts will emanate from the fame spring, and diffufe not only the means of bare fubfiftence, but the comforts, conveniencies, and luxuries of life. I think I fhould detain the Houfe improperly, were I to dwell longer on the importance of this measure. I fhall therefore conclude with moving, that 50,000l. be granted to promote the inland navigation of Scotland, by a canal pafling Invernels and Fort William, and connecting the eaftern and western feas.

The refolution being agreed to, the Houfe was refumed, and on the motion being put from the chair, the report of the Committee of Supply was ordered to be received the next day.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer gave notice, that he would move, on Monday fe'nnight, that the report of his Majefty's civil lift be referred to the Committee of Supply.

Mr. Vanfittart brought up various accounts, which were ordered to lie on the table.

The accounts of the exports and imports, prefented by Mr. Irving, were ordered to be printed.

The ftanding orders were then read, and the House adjourned.

4 R 2


« VorigeDoorgaan »