20 DECEMBER 1930, Page 21

A Hundred Years Ago



Mr. Hume was happy to observe the increased attention of members to such matters.

He had, months ago, proposed that all our expenditure, apart from that for the interest of the funded debt, amounting to not less than 21,000,0001. annually, should be thoroughly sifted by a committee.

Lord Althorp replied-

" All that I can say at present is, that Ministers intend to abolish all offices, no matter whether they are high or low, which are held by individuals performing no duties. (Cheers.) As far as we have yet gone in the formation of the Government, it must be evident to the House that we have acted upon that principle.. Wo have continued no office that was not known to be useful. We have abolished some which were known to be useless. (Cheers.) And if in any department of the State we can perform the public service efficiently with a less number of clerks, we will not hesitate to reduce them, no matter whom we offend. (Cheers.) Thank God, the time when the country could be governed by patronage is now past. (Loud and continued cheering.) Where the sacrifice of office is the mere sacrifice of patronage, it will be made without the slightest hesitation, and with the most unflinching spirit." Mr. Hume objected to the immense military establishment in the midst of profound peace. He had heard it reported out of doors, that Ministers meant to increase the army by seven or eight thousand men ; he thought, on the contrary, it might bear a reduction of twenty thousand.

Sir Joseph Yorke thought that the man who could diminish the military force at such times as the present, was fit for a strait jacket.

Lord Althorp said, it was not by retrenchment alone that the Government intended to relieve the country, but by attending to the financial state of the country, and the manner in which taxes pressed on the industry of the people, and by reducing those taxes which by their excessive amount reduced themselves. He believed that the revenue would be increased, and relief afforded to the people, not by laying on new taxes, but by altering those which pressed heavily on industry.