« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
noble lord moved accordingly, "That the annual sum of 2000l. nett be granted to his majesty out of the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain, the said Annuity to commence from the 11th Sept. 1803, and be settled in the most beneficial manner upon visc. Lake, and the two next succeeding heirs male of gen. visc. Lake, deceased, on whom the title of visc. Lake and baron Lake, of Delhi and Laswary, and of Aston Clinton, in the county of Buckingham, shall descend."
Mr. Whitbread said, although he had no objection to go with the noble lord in the very high encomiums he had bestowed upon the military character of lord Lake, and to acknowledge that he had rendered important services to his country, yet, whatever might be his own wish that those services should be remunerated with liberality, still he felt it a duty paramount to all delicacy upon the subject to declare his sentiments, when the purse of the country, already so heavily burthened, was in question. His majesty's message proposed to the house merely a provision of 2000l. a-year to the two next heirs in succession of gen. Lake; but the noble lord had now proposed not merely to extend this annuity to another generation, but to give it a retrospective operation, to no less an amount than 9000l. The noble lord had pleaded, in excuse for not having sooner proposed this remuneration, the great distance at which gen. Lake was; but that circumstance did not preclude the knowledge of his services, nor prevent his majesty from immediate remuneration, if it were deemed necessary; but at the end of five years to bring forward this proposition, and to claim arrears for all that time, though no remuneration was till now thought necessary, was what he could not accede to. The noble lord had been in possession of very lucrative employments, which enabled him to receive large sums of money; so large, indeed, as to render it quite indecorous to come forward during his life-time with such a proposition as this; but no sooner was he deceased, than it was found out that his affairs were so embarrassed as to leave his heirs totally unable to support the dignity of the rank they inherited. Certainly, the condition of the family of lord Lake, as represented by the noble lord, rendered the duty extremely painful of disapproving any provision for the successor of the noble lord; and to prevent, as it were, the peerage from being sullied, he would consent to
the 2000l. a-year; but to the, grant of 9000 7. and the expence of a public monument, he should decidedly object.
Mr. W. Dundas supported the claims to the pension and the monument. He thought it the strongest recommendation of lord Lake, that he had returned from filling one of the highest offices in India, comparatively poor.
Mr. M. A. Taylor admitted that lord Lake had had liberal allowances to support his dignity in the station he had filled; but his expences were fully equal to them. The splendour of his appointments, the hospitality of an open table for his officers, and the well-known acts of his private munificence, had prevented him from accumulating money; and when it was recollected, that, at his decease, the only provision he was able to make for his several daughters was 15007. each, he was confident, that a British house of commons would never consider such a provision adequate for the daughters of such a man. Happy would it be for England, and for India, if every commander sent thither imitated the principles and the conduct of lord Lake! He did not use his power for the purposes of plunder to enrich his family. He returned from India with only a fortune of 40,000l. to provide for a wife and seven children. Sir John Stewart had received his pension in consequence of his services; and that gallant general, although single man, had declared to him he never could save any thing from the allowances assigned him; but if military officers who happened to be married were to devote their whole lives to their country's service, and were taught not to look up to their country for any provision for their children, left destitute by their deaths, it were better to pass a law at once, binding them to chastity like Catholic priests, and thereby prevent them from having children to provide for.
Lord Castlereagh had not thought it necessary to be so particular in stating the narrow circumstances of lord Lake's family; but he believed, that in fact, these ladies would take, under the will, little more than half the sum mentioned by the hon. member who had just sat down.'
General Tarleton supported the motion, and detailed the particulars of the storming of the trenches at Lincelles, defended by 6000 French troops, by 1600 British under lord Lake. It was an additional claim, that the noble lord had returned from India in circumstances that formed a direct
contrast with those in which Lucullus returned from Asia, and Massena from Italy. There could be nothing, in his opinion, more honourable to that noble lord's character, than that he returned from India poor, and died honourable. As to the proposed monument, it had his hearty assent, as he was convinced there was not a greater idol throughout the whole army than the late lord Lake.
Lord Folkestone said, he felt disagreeable sensations in opposing this resolution, but he did it upon general grounds. If the argument that had been used as to the late lord Lake's poverty was good for any thing, it must go to this, that if any person who had signalized himself in the service of his country, should, notwithstanding his lucrative situation, die, leaving his family poor, they were to become a burden upon the public. He should forbear discussing the general services and merits of lord Lake, as he had heard no arguments used that could justify the motion that had been made. He could not agree that a monument should be erected to his memory at the public expence, as that was an honour that ought not to be conferred on any officer who had not fallen in the moment of victory.
Earl Temple differed from the noble lord who had just sat down, as he could not conceive there could be a greater claim to public gratitude than that which had been stated. In his opinion, lord Lake's having returned from India to this country, and dying under the circumstances that had been represented, not only entitled his family to the consideration of the public, but shewed that he had acted in a manner highly creditable to himself, and honourable to the nation. He trusted, however, that the house would not suffer his children to remain in such a state of honourable poverty.
Mr. Sumner contributed his testimony to the eminent services and qualifications of the noble general. It was true, that the emoluments of his situation were great, but his private charities, and his generosity to the officers engaged in the same service, exhausted his fortune to an extent which it would be difficult to ascertain. As to the observation, that the application might have been made sooner, he should only remind the house, that so long as lord Lake was in the enjoyment of such emoluments abroad, his disposition was such that he disdained making any application for further rewards at home. This
inclination to withhold his just claim, gave that noble lord, in his opinion, a greater title to the gratitude of his country. He even thought, that what was proposed to be granted was not sufficient, and nothing prevented him from moving for a greater aliowance, but his unwillingness to interfere with those whose duty it was to suggest and propose what they conceived proper upon such an occasion.
Colonel Wood said, that he never rose with greater satisfaction than he did in supporting this motion, for if ever there was a man entitled to the gratitude and esteem of his country, it was lord Lake. He was unwilling to detract from the merits of lord Howe, but he could not help thinking, that the eminent services of lord Lake, in India, were of infinitely greater importance to the country, and well entitled him to that monument which was proposed to be raised to his memory.
Mr. W. Smith said, that he had information which induced him to believe, that although lord Lake might have died worth only 40,000l. he brought with him from India nearer 140,000l. He thought that in all such cases a committee should be appointed to inquire into the actual circumstances of those who claimed pensions. If lord Lake's poverty proceeded merely from his neglecting to embrace the opportunities which presented themselves to him of enriching himself, it would be the brightest jewel in his character. He had, however, reason to believe that such was not the fact. He had, however, no objection to the peerage being accompanied with a pension, as he thought not only dignity but independence should be attached to a peerage. He had understood, that the real cause of lord Lake's dying in such moderate circumstances, was, that he had honourably discharged out of the money he made in India, those immense debts which he had previously contracted in this country.
Sir A. Wellesley said, that it was very true that lord Lake was greatly in debt previous to his going to India, and to the discharge of those debts, the residue of his pay and appointments, after the necessary expence of his establishment was deducted, was constantly applied, and paid over to an agent that went from England for that purpose. As to the circumstances of lord Lake's family, he knew that his family estate only amounted to about 800l. a year, and that the money that he died worth was only from 35,000l. to 40,000,
Such being the actual state of his circum- | stances, it was evident that the dignity of the peerage could not be supported by his successor, nor his family provided for, unless the house should agree to grant the pension.
Mr. Whitbread did not deny that lord Lake had performed great services; but still he did not think those services of so pre-eminent a nature as to be entitled to such extraordinary rewards. In the actual circumstances of lord Lake's family, he could not object to the usual pension of 2,000l. per annum, although he must object to the additional grant. Applications to the house for pensions of this description were made on the ground of services, and not of poverty. When the great duke of Marlborough rendered the nation important services, they were most munificently rewarded. The munificence of the nation in this respect, was not on account of the circumstances of the duke of Marlborough, for he was not a poor man, but it was proportioned to the services he had performed. If lord Lake had performed services of that description, the reward would have gone on the same principle. He believed that lord Lake was a very brave officer, and much beloved by the army; but mere gallantry as an officer did not entitle any man to claim such rewards. If it were so, the hon. generals who had spoken might also claim pensions of 2,000 a year: although the house might be very well prepared to admit their merits, yet they would be very unwilling to grant them the pensions. In the present case, he saw no other plea for the extraordinary grant, except the necessities of lord Lake's family.
Mr. Lushington said, that, as it was stated that the fortunes of lord Lake's daughters did not exceed 1500l. he thought it would be much better to give the sum of 9000l. among the younger children, than make it a present to the inheritor of the title.
Sir F. Burdett rose to enter his protest against the grant. He had two objections; one on personal grounds, and the other upon constitutional grounds. The personal objection was this, that when any individual came forward to claim a pension on the ground of services, those services should be of a very distinguished nature. There ought not to be any necessity for asking when and where those services were performed; but they should be services of that brilliant kind, that the fame of them should ring through the
world. In the present circumstances of the country, when the people of England were burthened and exhausted with taxation, he did not think that any extraordinary grants of money should be voted as a remuneration for services which were not in themselves of extraordinary merit. This was the whole of the personal objection, as he did not deny that lord Lake was a gallant officer, and had performed some services, although he differed with many hon. members as to the value of those services. His great objection, however, to the grant, was upon constitutional grounds. He thought that his majesty had ample resources and means to reward every merit of this nature, and that there was no necessity for applying to parliament to lay a new burden upon the people. He should ask, what had become of all those sinecures which were at the disposal of the crown, and under the patronage of ministers? Whenever they had been alluded to in that house, it was always argued by ministers, that these things were very necessary, in order to enable the crown to reward eminent services; but, whenever there were any eminent services to be rewarded, instead of giving any of those places which it was pretended that they ought to have the patronage of, for the reward of eminent services, the real reward was always made to come by imposing an additional burden on the people. He should wish to ask the gentlemen on the other side, what kind of eminent services those were, for the reward of which those things were given? They were services which never saw the light-services which none but the ministers knew any thing about. When, however, any real service was performed, they applied to parliament to reward it, by laying additional burdens on an exhausted people. On this principle, he felt it his duty to take the sense of the house upon the motion, and call for a division. As to the merits of lord Lake, he thought that was a very minor consideration. Whatever the merits of that gallant officer might be, the remuneration he received was not behind them. There were many other gallant officers who had performed services which had been by no means rewarded in the proportion that lord Lake's had been. He believed that if lord Lake were now alive, he could not consent to put in a claim for additional grants to reward his services, which grants must be another burden imposed upon an exhausted people. If his
merits had been great, the merits of the people of England were not small. They had submitted with unexampled patience to privations and sufferings of every kind. If all merit was to be rewarded, where was their merit to find its remuneration or reward? The only reward which they could receive was from the watchful attention of the house over their purse, and to prevent any unnecessary burdens being imposed on them. From these considerations, he felt it his duty to oppose the motion.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that he should not feel it necessary to trouble the house with many observations, as the grounds stated by his noble friend appeared so generally to meet the approbation of the house. He perfectly agreed with the hon. baronet who spoke last, that the people of England had a right now, and at all times, to claim from that house a vigilant attention to the economical management of their affairs; but he believed the hon. baronet would not convince the house or the country, that parsimony in rewarding eminent services was the best or truest economy. If, as the hon. baronet had stated, the present times were times of great peril, there was the more necessity for marking their sense of distinguished military services. He could not see what practical object could be accomplished by declamations on the merits of the people of England, although it was undoubtedly true that they had considerable merit in bearing so well the burdens which the necessity of the times imposed upon them. But how was this merit to be rewarded? Was it by giving them pensions of this nature? If not, he did not see how that argument bore upon the present question. The hon. baronet had talked of the unexampled means which the crown possessed of rewarding merit of this sort. He knew of no such unexampled means; and the hon. baronet might have known, that the crown was limited in the power of granting pensions on the Civil List, and could not give a greater pension than 1,2007. per annum, which, after all deductions, would not produce more than 8007. per annum clear; and that would be evidently inadequate for the reward of such services as those of lord Lake.
General Gascoyne observed, that while the hon. baronet thought that the merit of lord Lake was no ground for the pension, a noble lord who sat behind him (lord Folkestone) had contended, that the ne
cessity of his family was no g If, then, both the grounds necessity were taken away, must be, of course, rejected. of the merit of lord Lake, f knowledge, he would say, th cool and intrepid as any ma and that his generosity was where in a more conspicuous in the field of battle. Her tinguished himself for his hu tion in visiting the sick and v he often supplied their wants means. His table was not his brother officers, but his the sick and wounded of soldiers. He did not think t baronet would condemn an ex this nature, or think that his fa suffer from his well-directed I
Mr. Bankes said, that, unde cumstances of the case, he m voting for the motion. He beli neral, that the rewarding merit economy; yet although he a propriety of the pension being he did not believe that the ever have been persuaded to if it had been applied for imme the battle of Delhi, and whe held such important and lucr tions. He believed that he wishes as far as any man for ble retrenchment in the publ ture, but he disclaimed the ide cipating in the sentiments whi delivered by the hon. baronet, he conceived would produce effect except to cause disco disapproved, generally, of th discrimination on the part of bestowing titles upon persons V sufficient fortune to support and who must then become sioners of the crown, or burde people. There were more pen sort given to persons of the r guished rank than the country of. As to a public Monument believe there was any case sinc of lord Howe, where that hono ferred on any military offic those who died or received wo field of battle. He begged 1 ever, to assure the military me the personal friends of lord L any observations he made, h actuated by public motives, means wished to derogate fro racter or services of that gallar
to take away any thing from the fame and glory which he had acquired.
Lord G. Cavendish agreed with the hon. member who spoke last, that titles ought not to be bestowed without great consideration, both of the services of the individual and of his means to support the dignity and independence of the peerage. He thought the peerage was often very improperly given to military men, whose services were by no means of the first order. This, however, was not the case with respect to the gallant officer, whose merits and whose claims were now under consideration. He should think the house would act in a niggardly manner, if they were to refuse what was now proposed for the family of lord Lake.
Mr. Lyttleton said, that although he did not pretend to be a perfect judge of the military merits of lord Lake, yet every body had agreed that the merits of the noble lord were conspicuous, and that if they were not of the first class, they at least approximated very much to the first class. Instead of wishing that services of this nature should be rewarded by the crown, without the intervention of parliament, he should wish the rewards of merit and public service to flow more immediately from the people. He wished the patronage of the crown was retrenched; and he thought the ministers would have come down to the house with much more grace, if, when they made an application for this grant, they had pointed out a corresponding retrenchment.
The Secretary at War bore testimony to the professional merit and important services of lord Lake. He thought, that upon constitutional grounds, it would be dangerous and improper that poverty and the peerage should be associated together.
services, a pension should be v that house. He should now take th tunity to lay in his claim to protest this doctrine on a future day, if it s proposed in favour of other ne peers; but as for lord Lake, it mu lowed that it was almost impossible British officer to be placed in a h more responsible situation than and then the question would be, ho perform his duty in that situation been generally admitted, that n could have conducted himself w integrity. He could speak fr means of information which the he had lately held (President of th of Controul) gave him. The m lord Lake were not merely in the battle, but he conducted hims great ability in some delicate nego with the native powers of Ind thought a person placed in a h responsible situation, and who w nently successful, did deserve the and that the grant proposed was much. The utmost pension wh crown had the power of bestowing was 1200l. per annum nomina really no more than 8007. would no means an adequate remunera such services. As to a public mo he could wish that that honour sh reserved exclusively to those gene received their death in the field of The East India company were, b often liberal in those things; an principal services had been perfor India, he thought it would be be in them to take this part of the upon themselves.
Mr. W. Smith said, that from th ments he had now heard, he wishe tract the opinion he had expresse the public monument. He defen observations of the hon. baronet i constructions which had been p them.
Mr. Tierney expressed a fear, that it would be considered, that the house shewed too great a readiness to dispose of the public money. He agreed implicitly with the hon. baronet, that the house should anxiously watch over the expenditure of the public money; but he did not think the people would thank him for his anxiety in watching over the public expenditure, so far as to refuse a well-merited reward to a gallant officer. The first question which he thought ought to be considered was, whether he had deserved the peerage or not; and secondly, whether the granted were necessary, in order to al proposed was a proper one. He would not however allow, that whenever a peerage was granted on account of military
Sir F. Burdett said, that he ha most entirely misrepresented by t hon. the chancellor of the exche to what he had said about the mean the crown possessed of rewarding services. He had not alluded to t sion list, or thought of it; he all rectly to the great offices, sinecures versions, which ministers always p
crown the means of rewarding services. He was surprized that t hon. gent. should have mistaken hi