§ Viscount Howick
then rose to make his statement upon the subject of the army estimates. He said, that in answer to a question put to him on a former evening by the right hon. Gentleman, he had stated, that he should this evening move for the remainder of the amount of the vote which he first moved, and he should, in accordance with the intention which he had expressed, proceed to make his general statement as to the difference which existed between the estimates he had this year the honour of laying on the Table of the House, and those which he had proposed on former years. Those hon. Gentlemen who were in the habit of attending to this subject, must be aware, that in a mere regimental establishment, there was little difference of importance between the estimates of this and any preceding years. The apparent change in the number of cavalry proposed, arose from the circumstance of a regiment of cavalry being ordered to India, in order to increase the establishment there; and in the same manner there was also an apparent increase in the Cape corps, which resulted from the transfer to the establishment of the corps, of so much as it has been found necessary to retain of the provincial force, which was raised during the Caffre war, and which has hitherto been provided for by a supplemental estimate. The charge for the increase of the regimental establishment would amount altogether to 29,700l.; but the greater part of that increase was merely nominal, inasmuch as a large propor- 1121 tion consisted of cavalry about to proceed to India, the expense of which would fall upon the East India Company. But, although apparently there was little difference in the regimental establishment of this year compared with former years, he felt bound to inform the House that there was a very considerable difference as to the real amount of force, for the expense of which they were this year called upon to provide, compared with that of former years. In the estimates of two years ago, a reduction was made of five men to each troop of cavalry, and of eight men to each company of infantry. A similar decrease took place in the West-Indian regiments. The real force proposed to be kept up two years ago was, as he stated at the time, 8,036 below that which was voted upon the regimental establishment. In the course of last year, in consequence of the disturbances which took place in Canada, it was found necessary to increase that force to some extent. Accordingly the whole of the cavalry was completed to a full establishment, as were in like manner all those regiments serving in North America; five men being added to each troop of cavalry, and eight men to each company of these regiments of infantry. The increase which was thus effected last year in consequence of the disturbances was 2,263 men, but beyond this in moving, the estimates for that year he had stated to the House, that it might be necessary, before Parliament should be again called upon to discuss the army estimates, to make a further augmentation of the army. Accordingly, to provide for this contingency instead of deducting the whole amount of the charge of that proportion of each regiment, which it was then proposed to keep non-effective a smaller diminution only was made, so as to give the Government the power at the latter end of the year, should circumstances require it, to make a further augmentation by completing the regiments which were still kept upon the reduced establishment. In the years 1837–38 a reduction had been made from the regimental charge of 181,000l., on account of non-effective men, which was last year reduced to 110,000l., and of the power with which Government had been thus invested use had been made during the last winter. In consequence of the renewed disturbances in Canada, it was deemed expedient, in the month 1122 of December last, to give directions that all infantry regiments should be raised to complete establishments, in the same manner as had been already done with those serving in North America. This would create an augmentation of 5,648 men. He ought also to inform the House that, in comparing the present force with that which had been maintained two years ago, there was a further addition to be considered. Some considerable time ago his attention had been attracted to the state of the recruiting for regiments abroad. It had been the practice to recruit only for vacancies actually reported in the ranks of regiments on foreign service, and as fresh casualties had always occurred before the first had in this manner been supplied, the army, was constantly kept below its estimated strength. This circumstance having been brought by me under the notice of the Government, it was considered advisable to take measures for keeping the army more nearly up to its estimated strength, and that recruiting should go on, not merely for the vacancies which had actually occurred, but in anticipation of those vacancies which might be expected from a comparison of the usual averages in former years. Accordingly the Commander in-chief had been directed to recruit 1,500 men in anticipation. The result, therefore, was, that last year an increase had been made by completing, to their full establishments, the whole of the cavalry and the infantry regiments serving in North America, of 2,263; that there was a further addition of 1,500, which he had just alluded to, and that by completing those regiments of infantry of the line which had not been previously completed to full establishments, but which it was deemed necessary to do, in furtherance of the measures which had been in progress since December, there would be a further increase of 5,648 rank and file; making a total increase of the army, as compared with former years, of 9,411 men; and, of course, a proportionate diminution in the deduction usually made on account of non-effective men. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir H. Hardinge) had asked him a few nights ago whether the estimates now proposed would cover the whole increase which it was the intention of Government to make in the army. In answer to that question he 1123 had to say, that those estimates did provide for the increase which at the time they were prepared the Government had conceived to be necessary. It had, however, since further augmentation of the forces in India; but, as the right hon. Gentleman was well aware, that augmentation would not create any additional charge upon this country, and therefore did not require to be provided for by a supplementary estimate. The increase would be one chiefly, if not entirely, of rank and file, and of additions to regiments already serving in that country; but in whatever manner that augmentation should take place, it would not be necessary to provide for it by an increased expenditure. It would be necessary hereafter to propose a supplementary estimate in order to provide for the expenses incurred by keeping up a very considerable irregular force in Canada of militia and volunteers, which it had been found necessary to raise in that country. What the estimate of that augmentation of force was, he could not say as it had not yet been received. Beyond these additions, he was not at that moment aware that any further increase of the army was likely to be required; but of course he need not tell the right hon. Gentleman that in making that statement he did so with reference only to the present time, and to present circumstances; as it was impossible for any Government or any Secretary at War, to say that it might not be necessary, in the course, perhaps, of a short time, to make a further augmentation. He could only say, that he was not aware of the existence of any circumstance creating such a necessity, and that, should such necessity hereafter arise, it would be to him a matter of great surprise and of deep concern. He believed there was no further explanation necessary respecting the difference in the amount of forces of this and preceding years. As he had already stated, the increase, as compared with last year, was about 5,600, and, as compared with the year before, about 9,400 rank and file. Upon the remaining heads of the estimates, he had very few observations to offer. There were, however, some additions to them which he would shortly mention to the House. The first he had to point out was that of the good-conduct pay. The amount of the estimate taken for it last year was 4,745l., and he was extremely 1124 happy to be able to inform the House that since then a considerably greater number of men had established their claim to the advantages held our by it, and that this year's estimate would be the increased sum of 6,396l. He thought it right to call the attention of the House to this part of the expenditure, having had occasion to refer to the subject on a former evening. It appeared to him that the working of the warrants which he had had the honour of submitting to his late4 Majesty as far as it had hitherto been tried, had been extremely satisfactory. The House must be aware that according to the provisions of those warrants, soldiers who enlisted previous to 1833 would not have any advantage in point of pension from the enjoyment of the good conduct pay. Those who enlisted since 1833, under the warrant issued during the administration of the war department by his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Control, would be allowed under certain regulations either the whole or a large portion of the good-conduct pay in addition to their pensions. Men who enlisted previous to 1833, were obliged, if they accepted the good conduct-pay, to give up their right to the additional 2d. a-day at the end of fourteen years; so that soldiers who had enlisted under former warrants had no great inducement to claim the good-conduct pay. It frequently happened that they declined doing so, being unwilling to forfeit their right to the additional pay; but notwithstanding that inducement to decline preferring their claim for the good-conduct pay, he was happy to be able to state, that the number of soldiers who had done so had done so had gone on progressively increasing. The year after the warrant had been established the whole number who preferred their claim was 1,944; last year it was 2,491, and this year it had increased to 3,284. In addition to those soldiers who had claimed the advantages of this warrant, a considerable number had also claimed badges of good conduct, who did not wish to give up their right to the additional pay at the end of the fourteen years, by accepting the good conduct pay. The whole number who had preferred this claim was 11,764. In these, however, a considerable number of soldiers, which I have no means of ascertaining, must have been counted more than once. He could not help saying, that the number of soldiers who had made good their claim to the advantages 1125 held out under this warrant was in the highest degree satisfactory; and he trusted that hereafter it would be found to be a very powerful means of assisting commanding officers, in maintaining the discipline of the army without having recourse to means of punishment. There was also an increase in the estimate for beer money of 8,816l. With respect to provisions, forage, fuel, and light, there was a considerable increase upon the actual expense incurred—an increase of from 190,000l. to 240,000l. A portion of that increase, however, was only a transfer from one estimate to another. The House was aware that when cavalry was serving at home, the expense of forage, &c., was paid out of the ordnance estimates; but when serving abroad, out of the army estimates. A considerable number of cavalry having been despatched to Canada, a transfer took place of 11,500l. The remainder of the difference between the vote of last year and this arose, from the increased amount of force which it was found necessary to maintain abroad. The regimental contingencies, arising principally from the additional activity used in recruiting, would be increased 5,000l. There would also be an increase of 15,000l. in the expenses of recruiting, which, however, would be in part met by a diminution of the sum for the purchase of cavalry horses to the amount of 13,100l., leaving the increase, therefore only 1,900l. There were also some new charges this year introduced for the first time into the army estimates. One of them was for the sum of 4,500l. for warm clothing for the troops in Canada. He conceived that one of the causes which had produced a very considerable and injurious effect upon the soldiers in Canada was that of their having been compelled to purchase certain articles of winter clothing, such as fur caps, gloves, and mocassins; in consequence of which they were placed frequently for a long time under stoppages, and thus many of them became disgusted with the service, and deserted. Regulations had been adopted, by which all soldiers serving in Canada should receive from the commencement of the first winter's service 1l. 10s. to furnish themselves with those articles; and the further sum of 5s. a-year afterwards to keep up their stock. It was found impossible to make arrangements for it in time for the estimates of last year, and he had to inform the House that a consider- 1126 able sum had in consequence been issued out of the army extraordinaries. It was obvious the expense would be much larger the first year than subsequent years. He believed that a sum of about 18,000l. had therefore been issued from the army extraordinaries, and that not more than about 4,500l., which was placed upon the estimates of this year, would be required for keeping up the stork given to the troops. Another new item was the sum of 2,000l., which it was proposed to grant for the purpose of forming libraries in the barracks of this country and the colonies. This was a part of that general policy which had been strongly urged upon the Government in that House, and in the propriety of which he entirely concurred, of endeavouring by all indirect means possible to abate crime, and the consequent necessity of corporal punishment. One of the best ways of preventing crime was by filling up the hours of leisure by some kind of light employment or amusement, and thereby removing the cause of intemperance, to which men were driven when their time hung heavily upon them. He found that for a very considerable period libraries for the soldiers had been established in the territories of the East India Company, and, as he was informed, with the very best effect. In concert, therefore, with the Commander-in-chief, and his right hon. and gallant Friend the Master-general of the Ordnance, arrangements had been made by which libraries would be provided at all the principal stations at home and abroad. They did not propose to take a very large vote in the present year, because there was necessarily some difficulty attending the first introduction of such a system; it would be much better to begin by establishing libraries in particular places; experience would then show how the thing worked, and the system might afterwards be extended or improved, as circumstances might suggest. The proposal at present was, that a room should be set apart in the barrack, to be kept lighted and warmed, and be in charge of the barrack-master, the soldiers being allowed to have the use of the books contained in it. He believed the soldiers who availed themselves of the indulgence would not value it the less for having to make a very trifling and almost nominal payment as a remuneration to the barrack-master for his trouble. Arrangements were already actively in progress, 1127 and he hoped in a very short time books would be purchased and despatched to the different stations at which it was proposed the plan should be carried into effect.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
inquired whether the selection of the books would be uniform for the different regiments?
§ Viscount Howick
said, it was not proposed, that the libraries should be regimental, because that plan would involve considerable expense in removing it along with the regimental baggage. The better plan seemed to be to have fixed libraries in all the principal barracks, where the selection should be varied as much as possible, so that the troops changing in the course of service from one station to another, might take advantage of the variety. He had been in communication with some of the principal booksellers and publishers, who had very handsomely offered to make a considerable reduction in the retail price of the books which might be required for the purpose of establishing these libraries; in the meanwhile a good deal of detailed arrangement was necessary, and he hoped soon to be enabled to say, that the plan was ready to be carried into effect. With a view also, to maintain the discipline of the troops without resorting to flogging, the estimates contained a vote of 10,000l. towards improving the means of punishment by imprisonment in particular barrack stations. He hoped, that every barrack station at home and abroad, would shortly possess adequate means of inflicting that punishment without having recourse to the present system of confining soldiers in a gaol along with ordinary offenders for every breach of military discipline. There was an increase in the land force vote of 168,421l., together with a net increase on the staff of 2,793l. He did not think it necessary to go into any details on the heads of the non-effective estimate; they were stated so fully in the printed papers, that any Gentleman taking an interest in the subject would be fully able to understand them. He would only say, that after deducting the amount of the decrease in the non-effective from the increase of the effective estimate, there was a net increase of 140,852l., including, however, the whole force at the Cape for the present year. He should now move, that the sum of 421,383l. being the balance of the amount required beyond the sum voted upon account the other evening be granted to her Majesty, for 1128 defraying the expenses of the land forces in the United Kingdom, and in the colonies.
§ The Chairman then put the question, that 421,382l. be granted to her Majesty to complete the sum of 3,476,609l. for the expenses of the land forces from the 31st of March, 1839, to the 31st of March, 1840.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said he had heard nothing from the noble Lord which could induce him to change the course he had given notice that he should adopt, and if no larger force was to be employed, he must state his reasons to the House for thinking that force inadequate to the emergency in which the country was now placed. The army was now called upon for such services, that if not increased, those services must press with unusual severity on the soldiers, and knowing this, he felt it to be his duty to state it to the House. In entering upon this subject, he found himself compelled to go into details which, however tedious, were almost inseparable from the consideration of the army estimates. The course he should pursue was that of showing what the army now did, and by so doing to lay sufficient grounds for coming to the conclusion that the present force was wholly inadequate for the proper discharge of those duties. The noble Lord stated, that there was an increase in the land force establishment; but, in point of fact, there was no real augmentation. There was nothing more than an anticipation of the numbers requisite to meet the recruiting for the regiments abroad. The Duke of Wellington had laid down the principle, in 1829, that the best mode of saving expense was by suspending the recruiting; and in 1830 it was accordingly suspended, and a considerable reduction made in consequence. In 1831, 1832, and 1833, under Earl Grey's government, the recruiting department was increased to the establishment of 1829, but in 1834 it was again suspended by Lord Melbourne's government. Since that period the diminution had gone on increasing, and the recruiting had been suspended until the diminution of the forces in 1837 amounted to 8,036 men. In November, 1837, when the insurrection broke out in Canada, the army, was, therefore, 8,000 men below even the number of a peace establishment. In 1838 the noble Lord brought in an estimate to augment the army by the number of 2,000 men, owing to the civil war which had broken 1129 out in Canada; but so fathom this being an addition to the army, even after the present proposed augmentation of 5,700 men, there would be a deficiency of the proper peace establishment. He repeated that the noble Lord now brought forward an estimate proposing an augmentation of 5,500 men; but even that would only bring the army up to the proper number of its peace establishment, and could, therefore, be considered as no augmentation. In his opinion this number was wholly inadequate for the present exigencies of the service, and the pressure would fall chiefly on the troops of the line. There were 103 battalions of infantry, consisting of 740 men each. The foot guards were 4,656 men, inclusive of those in Canada. The number of infantry of the line might be taken at a total of 76,000 men, exclusive of 20,000 in the East Indies. In the West Indies there were 14,800 men, in New South Wales 2,960, in Canada and North America, 13,000, and in the other colonies about 20,000. This would make up about 50,000 men. The number of men belonging to regiments of the line employed abroad, was 50,000; the number of the line at home amounted to 26,000; thus the number of men serving in regiments of the line, exclusive of those in the East Indies, was 76,000, divided into 103 battalions. The regiments at home were composed of twenty-one battalions, each of which contained fifteen companies, and there were fifty-six dépôts. The result was, that there were two men serving abroad to one at home. It would be worth while to know the number of the deficiency that arose from casualties, and besides this, there was 8,000 to be deducted for recruits at home. They might, then, take one-third of the 26,000 for recruits. Allowing, however, for casualties and absences, instead of 26,000 men there would be only 21,000 at quarters, of which only three-fourths could be termed soldiers, as the elder soldiers were constantly being sent abroad. Thus they would have, instead of 26,000, only 17,000 men at home that could be properly termed soldiers. They might, then, say that there were twenty-one complete battalions at home; he believed that one battalion had returned in 1835, and also another in 1836, and they were now called for again for foreign service: at this rate, a regiment after serving twenty years in India might be sent in two years to Gibraltar, 1130 the Mediterranean, or the West Indies. This, he was convinced, the committee would agree with him in thinking was a heavy pressure on the soldiers and recruits, and was most severely felt on our establishments. Taking the cavalry in the same way, there were twenty-six regiments, twenty-one of which were at home. Excluding the three regiments of the household cavalry, they had 5,700 cavalry at home, and 3,500 in India. Taking, then, the number of infantry of the line abroad at 56,000 and those at home at 26,000 men, with the number of cavalry he had just stated, as well as the number in India, they had altogether 96,000 men. In Great Britain he could not help feeling that the number of men was too small; and although there had been an increase of 10,000 men in the army estimates, there were not more men at home than there were in 1832 and 1833, during Earl Grey's administration. In addition to this, the noble Viscount, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, having chosen to take 1,000 marines from their duties at home, and send them to the coast of Spain, the soldiers of the line had also to perform the duties of these men at home. Taking, then, the account as he had just stated it, they would have 21,000 for the number of soldiers of the line at home, 3,000 for the number of Guards, and 5,700 for the number of cavalry, making altogether 29,700; or, taking them at round numbers, at 30,000 as the number of effective men for England and Ireland. If, then, this was to be taken as the number of soldiers, there would be 10,000 men at home less than there was at the commencement of 1794. Allusion had repeatedly been made to the state of excitement that prevailed in several parts of the country, and her Majesty in her gracious Speech from the Throne, had denounced the persevering efforts that had been made in some parts of the country, to excite in the minds of her subjects feelings of disobedience and resistance to the laws, and to recommend dangerous and illegal practices; in addition to this, the noble Viscount, the Prime Minister, thought himself called upon in the other House to say that the manner in which the meetings were carried on in some of the manufacturing districts by torchlight, and in the night, was most formidable and alarming, and was most favourable to those inclined to distract the public peace, and that it 1131 was necessary that great care and watchfulness should be exercised with regard to them, and this had been confirmed in that House by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Home Department. Was it, then, a proceeding that could be justified on the part of the Government to come down to that House, when the country was admitted to be in a state of great excitement, and that there were persons endeavouring to disturb the public peace, and ask for a force of 10,000 men less than they had in 1794? He would not dwell upon the proposition recommending warm clothing for the soldiers serving in Canada, further than to say that he was extremely glad, that it had been made, and he was well satisfied that it would prove a great consideration to the soldiers having to serve in inclement climates. The noble Lord was well aware that for many years he (Sir Henry Hardinge) had not opposed the army estimates, whether proposed by the noble Lord or by any other Secretary at War. But looking, then, at the change that had taken place both as regarded our colonies and also the events that affected our foreign relations since the administration of Earl Grey in 1833 and 1834, and in allusion to the circumstances that he had just alluded to at borne, he thought that he was bound in stating that a much stronger force was required than they now had: that was, that the estimates brought forward by the noble Lord were inadequate. Independently of everything that had occurred at borne he felt that the circumstances that had recently happened abroad, and which were so deeply interesting to the nation, rendered it necessary that they should have a larger number of men. He should not object to the proposal of establishing libraries made by the noble Lord, nor to the other minor improvements made by him; but he thought that the present estimate, which was merely the peace establishment which Earl Grey had maintained in 1833 and 1834, was a force quite inadequate to the services to be performed. There were circumstances of a very critical nature passing abroad, which rendered it necessary that this country should be fully prepared. He would call the attention of the Committee to a consideration of the state of affairs in India. That required Parliament, as he conceived, to make an immediate addition to the number of our forces in that part of our empire. He had been told that that matter was of no im- 1132 portance to the House of Commons, as the East India Company paid the expense of any regular troops which we sent there. Allowing that to be the case, it was still a matter of importance to the army, as the additional regiments which we sent out there were sent out at the expense of the other regiments which had left here on service, and to any regiment which was kept in India beyond its regular time it was little satisfaction to be told, that the East India Company would defray the expense of its being kept there. On the other hand, if the regiments now in India and in Ceylon were brought home on the completion of their regular period of service, that would occasion an additional pressure on the troops which remained there. He would not enter on the present occasion into a consideration of the political state of India. It was one, however, which was the subject of deep anxiety to every man who reflected upon it. Neither would he enter into a consideration of the treaty which the Governor-general had made with Runjeet Singh, as his right hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke had already given notice of a motion upon it. He would not say whether it were wise or prudent in Lord Auckland to promulgate the terms of that treaty throughout the whole of India. He would merely allude to that part of it in which the British army in India was concerned, and he found from that document that the British army was on its march from the Indus to Cabul, a distance of 600 miles, to put Schah Soojah on the throne of Cabul, and to remain there until he was firmly fixed on his throne, and until the independence of Afghanistan was established. That would be an operation of great difficulty; but whoever went there—and he was glad to find that Sir John Keene had the command of the expedition—he was certain that everything would be done which courage on the part of the men and talent and experience on the part of their commander could possibly effect. He should be sorry to say a word that could discourage those who had the charge of that operation; but, as its fate would be decided before the reports of their debate could reach India, he thought that he might be permitted to say even now that the operation was a delicate one. Having to march so far from their lines of communication, and to make arrangements along their line of march for their supplies of provisions and for their means of trans- 1133 port, the army would undoubtedly have a difficult operation before it. But before he stated his opinion on the state of India, he would address a few words to the Committee to show that our army there was not in that state of preparation in which it ought to be. The right hon. Gentleman opposite on a former occasion had said that he would avail himself of the opportunity to correct a statement which had been made elsewhere respecting the deficiency of troops in the East Indies, and respecting our carrying on a war there upon a reduced peace establishment. He (Sir H. Hardinge) would not say whether the force now in India was sufficient or not for the emergency in which our empire there was now placed; but this he would say, that it was less now than it had ever been on any previous occasion. If he could show, that the state of India now was more critical than it had been during the last Burmese war in 1825, he imagined that he should satisfy the committee that the statement made elsewhere was not so incorrect as the right hon. Gentleman had asserted. The right hon. Gentleman had also stated that 3,000 additional men were to be sent to India,—namely a regiment from the Mauritius, and another from Ceylon. Now, the right hon. Gentleman might be able to get a regiment from the Mauritius, although 6,000 slaves were about to be emancipated there, and he might also be able to get two battalions from Ceylon 3 but he (Sir H. Hardinge) thought that even then he should be able to show that our force in India was less than it had been on any previous occasion, while the difficulties of India were infinitely greater. Let them look at the state of the army which was under orders for Can-debar. There were two corps which were to march upon that country. It happened however that these troops had not moved during the months of December and January, in consequence of a want of provisions, and of the means of transport. He would not enter into the political question, whether we had any right to go among the Ameers of Sinde, and to invade their territories in order to proceed against Afghanistan, but he thought that he had shown decisively that our military enterprise in that quarter would be one of very great difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman had also said, that he should move an armament to the Nepaulese frontier, in consequence of the military activity of that people. He (Sir H. Har- 1134 dinge) would only remind the Committee, that the last time our army was in Nepaul we were under the necessity of collecting a force of 30,000 men, besides the reserves. That army operated in three divisions: and only one of them was successful, namely, that under Sir David Ochterlony. Nepaul had a frontier of 600 miles: and if it were true that there was a hostile feeling against us throughout the whole of that part of India, it might be well for us that we had our own territories to fall back upon. With the King of Ava, who had refused even to see our envoy, Colonel Benson, we had been for some time on such terms, that if we were not absolutely at war at present with the Burmese, all the preparations for war were ready. He would not say that it would be necessary for us to operate, as we had done before on the river Irraquoddy: but be recollected that the last time we had done so 30,000 men were employed, and such a loss of life took place during the operations, from the insalubrity of the climate, that he believed Sir A. Campbell had never been able to set more than 5,000 men in line at any one period. Rajah-Pootana was then quiet. Burtpore had been captured by assault, and it was merely on our eastern frontier that we had anything to fear from an attack on the Burmese. He contended, then, that as we had jealousy within and hostility without our territories in India, and as a feeling of discontent had been generated among the native population of Bengal in consequence of our late proceedings respecting the resumption of lands, he had made out a case for looking at the state of our military preparations in India. Now, what was that state of preparation? He would take the amount of our force during the last war in which we were engaged in India—the Burmese war of 1825 and 1826—and would compare it with our force in 1837, which, after Lord W. Bentinck had made his military reforms, was to be our paramount peace establishment. The numbers were taken from certain tables published by the East India Company, and he would add to our force in 1837, 24,000 men, which had since been added to the Indian army. In the year 1826 our army in India consisted of an European force of 30,782 men, and of a native force of 260,273 men, making an aggregate of 291,055 men. In the year 1837 it consisted of an European force of 30,340 men, and of a native force of 150,000 men, making an aggregate of 1135 180,340 men. There was a difference, then of more than 110,000 men between the number of troops we had in India in 1826 and in 1827. He ought to add, that in the latter year all those troops which might be considered as supplementary troops, might be taken at 16,000 men. He must repeat, however, that the result to which he had come from his calculations, was, that we had 110,000 men less in India in 1837 than we had in 1826. Now, giving the right hon. Gentleman credit for the augmentation of 24,000 men, which he had made to our Indian army, he found that there was at present a diminution in our forces of 86,000 men as compared with the year 1826, and giving him further credit for the 16,000 supplementary provincial troops, there was a diminution of at least 70,000 men. He found this position of his corroborated by the evidence given by Colonel Salmond, the military secretary of the Bengal Government, before a Committee of the House of Commons in 1832, in which he admitted that there had been a reduction of 71,000 in the army of the Presidency of Bengal in the interval between the years 1826 and 1832. He had thought it right to call the notice of the Committee to this point; but the right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, had information which would satisfy the House that the state of India did not require 70,000 men in arms more than what we had at the present moment. There was another point connected with this part of the subject, on which he wished to say a few words. He found that in 1827 there were in India 26,000 King's troops; by the present estimate he saw that there were now only 20,000 King's troops there. From what the noble Lord had said respecting his plan of anticipating casualties—a plan of which he (Sir H. Hardinge did not disapprove, as he thought it wise to be prepared with the means of filling up casualties as soon as they took place)—he would suppose that, instead of the 20,000 King's troops mentioned in the estimate, he had 21,000 of them in India. The noble Lord had said that he had an addition of 3,000 troops to send to India [Lord Howick, "No!]—well, then supposing that the noble Lord had 21,000 King's troops in India, which was 1,000 more than his estimate, he (Sir H. Hardinge had made out that we had at the present moment, under all the circumstances of emergency in which India was involved, 5,000 less King's troops in that 1136 country than we had in 1827. If then, under such circumstances, they had such a diminution in their military establishments in India, it was a matter well worthy the consideration of the House and the Government, and he felt that he should not have done his duty to the country if he had not brought it thus prominently forward. He would say nothing at present of our occupation of the island of Karak, or of our attack upon Aden, or of the manifesto of Lord Auckland. He would not enter at present into the consideration of the question whether that manifesto did or did not contain Lord Auckland's real and genuine sentiments. He would not even allude to the hostile designs of Russia and Persia. He would only say, that we were engaged in offensive operations in India both on the side of Arracan and on the side of Persia, and would leave the Committee to judge whether our present amount of force was adequate to such undertakings. Having thus disposed of the state of India, he would now proceed to the consideration of the state of Canada. The noble Lord had informed the Committee, that it was impossible for him to give any estimate of the expense of the irregular forces now in arms in Canada for the ensuing year. But the noble Lord must he aware of the expense which was incurred on their account during the last year, and which amounted, it was said, to half a million. He thought that the noble Lord ought to furnish the Committee with an account of the expenditure of last year, in order that it might be able to form some judgment as to the expenditure of the present year. He was well aware of the difficulty that there was in forming an estimate of expenses not yet incurred; but he hoped, that the noble Lord would inform the Committee what number of militia was kept up and paid by the Government in Canada at the present time. The Earl of Durham had stated in his report on Canada, that the expense of these irregular forces was one third more than the expense of the same number of regular troops would be. Now, if the Earl of Durham, the late Governor-general of Canada, were of that opinion, it became the duty of her Majesty's Government to lose no time in entering into an examination upon that point: for if the expense of the irregular forces was to that of the regular forces as three to one, it became a question whether we ought not to increase our army to that amount, 1137 rather than occupy the farmers of Canada in military service, to the great detriment of the agriculture of that province. He entirely agreed with that part of her Majesty's Speech in which she declared her firm determination to maintain the authority of her Crown in Canada. He was one who was prepared not only to maintain the authority of the Crown in that country, but also to show to our British fellow-subjects there that we had a high opinion of their loyalty and attachment to this country, and that we should do all in our power to rescue them from the dreadful state of suffering in which they were now involved. Whatever might be the difference of our opinions as to the causes of the late insurrection, and as to the conduct or misconduct of this or that Administration towards Canada, no man could deny, that our unfortunate fellow-subjects there were entitled to our assistance in the most effective way in which it could be given. Besides, it was not only good feeling, but good policy also, that required us to do this, for there was something in showing the sympathizers and the land pirates of the frontier states of America, that we were determined at all hazards to maintain the sovereignty of the Queen and the security of her subjects. The sooner we placed Canada in a state of security, the more honourable would it be to the Crown, and the more conducive to the prosperity of our fellow-subjects there. He should conceive, that by this time the Government ought to have placed Sir John Colborne in a state of security against all attack, and though he was sure that that gallant officer would do all that man could do for the defence and preservation of that colony, he was afraid that the number of troops at present there was not more than sufficient, if indeed they were sufficient, for that purpose. When he looked at the state of the colony of New Brunswick, he saw that there, beyond all question, we were not in that state of preparation in which we ought to be. He would ask any Member of her Majesty's Government—he would ask the Under Secretary for the Colonies, what was the state of our military force in New Brunswick when Sir John Harvey, a man whom he loved as a private friend, and respected as a gallant and experienced officer, felt it his duty to inform the Government of Maine, that he had received the commands of her Majesty to repel 1138 aggression by force, and that he must carry his orders into effect, if he (the governor of Maine) did not immediately withdraw his troops from the disputed territory? There could not, he conceived, be any doubt that Sir John Harvey never would have stated, that he had received the commands of her Majesty to repel by force any incursions from Maine unless he had received instructions to that effect. If he had received such instructions, let the Committee consider what was the state of military preparation in the province of Maine. That province was as large as half Ireland. Its militia consisted of 42,000 men. Its legislature had granted 800,000 dollars, which was somewhere about 170,000l. sterling, to equip 10,000 militia, to take and defend the disputed territory. When under these circumstances the Government ordered that gallant officer, Sir John Harvey, to repel force by force, one would suppose, that it had provided him with an amount of force sufficient to carry her Majesty's commands into full effect. What, then, was the peace establishment of the two colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick? Those two provinces—for there was no military communication between Halifax and Quebec, which were 600 miles apart—were completely isolated from the Canadas, and depended on nothing but their communication with the West Indies, or with the mother country by sea. Having stated the situation of the two provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and also the military force of the province of Maine, he would ask the Committee what they thought was the probable amount of force under Sir John Harvey's command. That gallant officer had four battalions as a peace establishment for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Under these circumstances, every one would suppose, that Government before it issued these orders to Sir John Harvey had placed under his command eight, ten, or twelve battalions. Now the fact was, that when Sir John Harvey made that threat to the governor of Maine, he had only one weak battalion under his command in Nova Scotia. He believed that, at the moment when this letter was written, Sir J. Harvey had not 350 bayonets at his command. Sir Colin Campbell, at Halifax, had only four companies, and Sir John Harvey not more than six weak companies, with some thousand militia. He must say 1139 that, under these circumstances, it was a very great dereliction of duty in Government to leave this gallant officer in a state so degrading, for thus he must term it, as to be incapable of giving effect to the declaration he had made. Sir John Harvey, writing to Governor Fairfield, in February last, asserts, that he must either fail in his duty by "abstaining from the fulfilment of the command of his Sovereign, or, by acting up to those commands, place the two countries in a state of border collision, if not the two nations in a state of immediate and active hostility." Did this passage not prove, that the governor had received those orders? If he had received those orders, it was the bounden duty of Government to have given him the means of carrying them into effect, and not to have left him in the degrading position of one who had made a threat which he was unable to carry into execution. Mr. Fox, the British Minister Extraordinary at Washington, had since issued a memorandum, in which he cancelled the orders of her Majesty, and said to General Harvey, "although you have told the Governor of Maine that you will move in obedience to the commands of her Majesty, and repel force by force, the Minister at Washington tells you, that you shall do no such thing, and, therefore, you must not move." He knew nothing more childish or degrading in the conduct of Government than to give orders of a warlike description, which in reality, the Minister at Washington was afterwards obliged to cancel. For his own part, he quite approved of Mr. Fox's conduct; he thought it was in the highest degree, prudent and wise—he thought, that Minister had no alternative, for there was nothing he (Sir H. Hardinge) should Move deprecate than a war between Great Britain and America. Notwithstanding the provocation which was given by the hostile speeches made in the Senate of the United States, he should be sorry if anything escaped any hon. Member of this House which could have the effect of irritating the public mind on this subject. He understood we were to have an accession of force in each of the two provinces of North America, and from what quarter did the House suppose it was to come? Two battalions, in the depth of a north American Winter, were to come from the West Indies to those provinces. One had come from Barbadoes, and had actually arrived at its 1140 destination, after Sir J. Harvey had written the letter to which he had referred. After such a change of climate it was impossible that the battalion could undertake the duties of soldiers at this season of the year. He was sure any hon. Mem-who had served in Canada, and he saw a noble Lord opposite who had just returned from that country, must know, that no man just come from the West-Indies, was capable of standing sentry at night in Canada. He had in his possession some facts, which he did not choose to mention to the House, proving most strongly, and more than strongly, very unpleasantly, the effects of climate on these men. If this was to be the mode in which the relief of the forces now serving in Canada was to be accomplished, it might be as well to look at the state of the West-Indies themselves. One battalion was removed from Barbadoes, another from Jamaica. It had been the custom, when he (Sir H. Hardinge) was in office, to keep one of these islands as a reserved station, whence, in case of need, a reinforcement might be sent to any garrison which stood in need of it. Therefore, he should not have the smallest objection, in any ordinary circumstances, to the removal of regiments from the West-Indies to North America. At the proper season of the year it might be a very advisable plan; but the objection he entertained was, to removing them at this season of the year in consequence of the emergencies of the public service. To expect them to do the duty of soldiers under such circumstances, was perfectly futile; it was impossible the men could be equal to it. When the letter to which he had referred was written, the battalion coming from Jamaica appeared to be expected. He rather thought, that instead of being able to spare a battalion for New Brunswick, Jamaica was just now in a condition to need an additional battalion very much itself. The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies had given notice on the part of Government, of a bill to suspend the Assembly of Jamaica, and he bad read a letter written by the Marquess of Sligo, ex-governor of that Colony, in which that noble Lord stated most distinctly, that the Government and the Legislature being at variance, it was absolutely impossible they could go on; that the police would not execute the order of the magistrates, and that no law at present existed in Jamaica. This was the state 1141 of things in which Government ventured to remove from Jamaica a battalion which could not possibly perform efficient service in Canada. He understood, that the Jamaica battalion had been ready to embark for a considerable time, and why could it not sail? Did the House wish to hear why it had not been able to move? The reason why it had not been able to sail was, that the whole of her Majesty's squadron belonging to the North American station, the whole of the squadron usually divided between Halifax, Bermuda, and the West-Indies, with the exception of one or two small vessels, had gone to Vera Cruz, so that in fact there was not a single ship of war able to convey the battalion from Jamaica. When the battalion got to its destination it would be inefficient; a single invalid battalion was to assist another battalion in repelling the aggression of the whole force of the northern states of America. He must say, that it was a most wretched, a most miserable business, involving too, the character of her Majesty, to issue in her name commands to her officers, which the Government at home would not afford them the means of executing. This was a step which, in his opinion, would attach discredit to her Majesty's councils. Such were some of the reasons why it appeared to him, that her Majesty's forces should be increased. He might go to other stations Bermuda for instance. All who were conversant with the interests of our West-Indian and North American possessions must know that Bermuda was one of our most important posts—a station where the navy could be refitted with the greatest ease, where during the last war we had about 2,000,000l. value in stores, where our ships (such was the safety of the anchorage) could at all times take refuge. This island had been fortified at very great expense; for some years 5,000 convicts had been engaged on the works, and it was most important in every point of view that this island should be maintained in a state of perfect security. For a long time even after the determination of the sympathisers in the United States to attack us had been known, the force at Bermuda was never greater than a small battalion of 480 or 500 men, perfectly inadequate to do the duties of the station. Considering that this post was one of great consequence, that immense sums had been expended upon it, and that the efficiency of 1142 the navy in those seas was chiefly to be secured by means of it, it was indispensable, that it should be in safe keeping. To what quarter were they to look for further reinforcements, should they be needed, to increase our army in America, in the event of the dispute between New Brunswick and Maine becoming more serious? Not to the West Indies, from which two battalions had already been withdrawn. Not to the Canadas, for communication between these provinces and New Brunswick was impracticable, separated as they were by a wilderness of 400 or 500 miles. In the other colonies every man was required. From the Ionian islands not one could be spared, from Malta not one. From Gibraltar, perhaps, one battalion more could be squeezed, if they could bring themselves to inflict great additional hardship on the troops now in garrison there, It really appeared to him absolutely necessary, that Government should look to the state of the army—should fairly consider the amount of work done by it, and apply themselves to the question, whether it was their duty to increase the military force. He had now shown, that of the infantry 50,000 were abroad, and only 26,000 at home, and that they underwent in consequence the most severe hardship. They were three years at home, and ten abroad. In ordinary circumstances they endured great privations, and when an emergency arose, the number must be increased to maintain the efficiency of the force unimpaired. If the pressure were only temporary, he should say, as a military man, let the increased labour fall upon the army rather than any permanent augmentation of the force should occur; but if it were not temporary, then he said, it was the duty of Government to be prepared for the increased difficulties that must result from any emergency, and he contended they were not prepared. He had shown the condition of our weak force in New Brunswick at the time when collision with Maine was about to occur. He had shown the inefficient state of the garrison at Bermuda, which they ought to keep under sure lock and key. He had referred to the present condition of the West Indies, which loudly demanded, that the force there stationed should not be diminished. He had established his assertion of the extreme danger resulting from the circumstances of an army in India, and he thought he had said 1143 enough to show, that it was incumbent on Government to turn their attention to the subject, and that the statement of his noble Friend regarding the deficiency of troops was not a mere haphazard assertion. He could assure the House, that he looked on the amount of force proposed in the present estimates to be inadequate, because he knew what soldiers had to encounter abroad. In ancient or modern history there was no instance of any army having done so much service as the British. The noble Lord and right hon. Gentleman opposite ought to reflect, that that army had conquered for this country, and now kept possession of, one-tenth part of the globe, and 150,000,000 of subjects, and they ought not to place it in a position that must overwhelm it with risks and difficulties, which it ought never in justice to be required to encounter.
§ Viscount Howick
said, the right hon. Gentleman had made a statement, which no doubt, deserved very serious attention and consideration. In endeavouring to meet that statement, he would first address himself to the particular points touched upon by the right hon. Gentleman, and then say a word upon the general principle involved in his remarks. The right hon. Gentleman had adverted to the pressure of the colonial service upon the infantry of the army. He had stated, most truly, that the important point to be considered was, the pressure upon the infantry of the line, since the pressure of the cavalry and guards could not be considered in any respect excessive. He (Lord Howick) agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, and he had himself stated to the House in former years, that the pressure of service on the infantry of the line was extremely severe; but he begged to observe, that the pressure at the present time, as shown by the proportions of troops stationed at home and abroad, was not greater than it had been at former periods. He would call the attention of the House to a statement of the proportion of infantry stationed at home and abroad in different years, which, anticipating this discussion, he had taken care to procure, and he could select those years which gave the clearest view of the average state. In 1820 there were, on the whole establishment of the army at home, 26,650 rank and file; abroad, including India 41,770; showing the proportion to be sixty-one per cent. abroad, and thirty-nine at home. 1144 In 1823 the proportion was sixty-three per cent abroad. He took the amount of strength up to which the regiments were severally allowed to recruit—
§ Viscount Howick
said, his statement related exclusively to the infantry; and he was taking the actual number of men ordered to be kept up by the Government. In 1823, the number of men in India and the colonies was 38,700, at home 23,000, showing the proportion to be sixty-three per cent, abroad, and twenty-seven at home: In 1830, there were 41,440 in India, and the colonies, and 28,140 in this country; giving a proportion of sixty per cent. abroad and forty at home. In the present year the number abroad, including India was to be 47,000, at home, and coming home 29,137. The right hon. Gentleman he perceived objected to his including among the troops at home the regiments on their passage from foreign stations; but, at all events, for the purpose of the comparison he was now instituting, there could be no objection to the principle on which the statement was made, since it was the same for the present as for other years. In 1830, when the right hon. Gentleman was Secretary at War, and in the present year, the proportions of infantry of the line stationed at home and abroad were precisely the same. In each year the proportion abroad was sixty, that at home forty per cent. He thought this statement would show, that there was no such very greatly increased pressure of service on the infantry of the line as the right hon. Gentleman would lead the House to imagine. It was but fair to admit, however, that this statement must be received with some allowance, for it was perfectly true that although the per centage of the force at home and abroad, had not varied to the disadvantage of the army, the number of years for which the service of battalions abroad continued had been augmented. This effect had resulted from the establishment of the dépôt system, which had been only five years in operation in 1830. With a similar proportion of force abroad, no regiment had been so long abroad in 1830 as at present, and the regiments next for foreign service in that year had been a longer time at home than was 1145 now the case. The right hon. Gentleman, who was an advocate of the dépôt system, would recollect, that it had been adopted for the purpose of diminishing the pressure, allowing the interchange between men in regiments and in dépôt companies. How far it had answered that purpose, it was not now his business to inquire, but he knew, that the proportion of infantry of the line abroad was not greater now, even with the exigencies of Canadian affairs, than it had been when the right hon. Gentleman was Secretary at War; and if it were true that the proportion of years spent abroad by the regiments had been increased, against that was to be set the relief, which it was the object of the dépôt system to afford to the men of these regiments. Certainly if the dépôt system had not afforded additional relief to the soldiers of the various regiments in proportion to the increased period spent abroad, it must be allowed not to have succeeded; but, as long as the whole proportion of the force stationed abroad had not been increased, he did not think they had a right to assume that the pressure caused by colonial service had been augmented. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that though it was possible to augment the force stationed in India without any increase of expense, that was by no means a matter of indifference to the infantry of the army, because it would increase the period of foreign service to the regiments employed. [Sir H. Hardinge: If the regiments were coming home.] Undoubtedly, that would be the case, but the right hon. Gentleman would see, that it would be practicable to increase the present force of the line above 5,000 men, without making each regiment stronger than it was at one period in India. Therefore, he trusted there would be no demand for an additional force that might not be met by adding to the number of men in each regiment without increasing the number of regiments now in India. As to the distribution of the forces in India, that was a point on which the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Control, would be much more able to give information than he (Lord Howick) was. The right hon. Gentleman had argued, that the force in Canada was very inefficient, and that Government was liable to very great blame on account of its present state. He believed the right 1146 hon. Gentleman had quoted a passage from Lord Durham's report relative to the increased expense of militia as compared with regular troops, and had said, if the passage was borne out by facts, this proved extremely bad management on the part of Government in not having a larger regular force in Canada. He begged to inform the right hon. Gentleman that the whole number of regular troops, in British America and on the point of arriving there, at the close of last year, amounted to 13,000, rank and file. That, he was sure, the House would admit, was a very considerable army indeed, and this was in addition to the irregular troops. That force had been thought so amply sufficient for the exigencies of the Canadian service, that orders had been issued by Lord Durham, in concurrence with Sir J. Colburne and Sir G. Arthur for disbanding almost the whole of the militia and volunteers. And those proportions of this particular force which were maintained, were maintained for a particular service, which it was thought by Sir John Colborne, they were better adapted for than the troops of the line. The service was one that required numbers of small detachments scattered over a frontier, whose extent the right hon. Officer had himself stated at 1,500 miles, and it was a service which the hon. Gentleman well knew was found to be exceedingly detrimental to the discipline of regiments of the line; and which, in a country presenting such extraordinary temptations for deserting as British North America, would be a peculiarly objectionable mode of employing the regular troops. It would have been necessary, too, to have sent these troops from England at a great expense, and a very considerable loss of time. This necessity it had been deemed possible to remove, if they called into active service a very large force of militia and volunteers. He asked, could any other method, equally effective have been devised to meet the emergency? The right hon. Gentleman said, that we had 1,500 miles of frontier in the Canadas to defend. Well, what was the amount of force which Sir George Arthur and Sir John Colborne had thought necessary for the defence of the frontier? No less a body than 38,000 men, which was the force raised, and which consisted of militia and volunteers. He begged the House to bear this in mind; and he was glad to be able to assure them that he 1147 found both from public documents, and from private accounts, that this large body had been rendered highly efficient and well disciplined, and that the men in it were animated by a very great degree of spirit and determination to defend their country against any attacks which might be made upon it. He might add, that ha had communicated with more than one officer who had seen them, that many of them might have appeared side by side with the regiments of the line, without any disgrace. Now, he need hardly observe, that to raise a force of that amount in this country would have been attended with an enormous expense, and, therefore, that although the expense of these militia and volunteers, which actually on service might be somewhat greater than would have been the expense of the same number of regulars on service.
§ Viscount Howick
said, that if not a mistake or misquotation, it was at all events a very inaccurate statement on the part of the Earl of Durham. He was persuaded that it was far from being the fact. During the time of actual service, the Canadian militia were assuredly more expensive than regular troops of the same amount would be; but then it must be remembered, that the mere expense of transporting an equal number of troops across the Atlantic would be very large, and that when their service should have ceased to be necessary, they could not be pot clown and laid aside with the same ease, or at so small an expense as the colonial militia. He did not know whether it had been made public, but he knew from private intelligence that Sir John Colborne, in consequence of the comparatively tranquil aspect of affairs at present, had been enabled to put a part of these troops, he (Viscount Howick) believed it was Montreal, on what was there called a "sedentary footing;" that was to say, the men were only called out for drill on a single day in the week, and were only paid for that one day. It ought to be observed, therefore, that though the country was at a greater expense for the maintenance of these men while on actual service, than if the same number of troops of the line had been employed, yet that they saved the expense of raising these corps here, the expense of sending them across the Atlantic, and the expense of 1148 reducing and disbanding them. But this was not all; for, in addition, we had the advantage of having at this moment these troops ready to be called out, and in a condition to give efficient support to any operations which might be adopted for repelling hostile attacks. He now came to what the right hon. Gentleman had advanced with respect to the situation of affairs in New Brunswick. The right hon. Officer had stated, that the force at present on foot in that colony was quite inadequate for the security of the inhabitants at the present juncture; and he had given the House a description of the force of the State of Maine, and of the numbers of men who might be made available in case of hostilities. But he begged to point out, that this whole force consisted of militia, while the right hon. Officer, on the other hand, in stating the amount of force we had ready in New Brunswick, in case we were called upon to repel an hostile attack on that province, wholly omitted to take into account the New Brunswick militia. That militia, however, ought by no means to be left out of the enumeration of troops available, in case of the occurrence of a necessity for hostile operations in New Brunswick. But, more than this, it must not be considered that this body of men ought to be left out of the enumeration of forces available for military purposes in the Canadas, because Sir John Colborne, on whose judgment, he believed, the right hon Officer opposite was disposed to rely, had had opportunities which he had no doubt used, of calculating what would be the amount of troops necessary for the security of the Canadas, and he had included these militia in his computation.
§ Viscount Howick
knew that troops could not be sent from one to the other very easily; but he did say, that as Sir John Colborne had had opportunities of making his calculations for the purposes he had mentioned, he must, before he concentrated on Canada so large a portion of the disposable forces there on foot, have been aware what provision it was necessary to make, with a view to the security of New Brunswick. But he would say, that both with respect to what had fallen from the right hon. Officer in regard to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, 1149 he felt great difficulty in answering fully the statements of the right hon. Officer, arising from the circumstance that he did not think it would be prudent, with regard to the public service, to tell the House what were the amount of forces at Halifax and in New Brunswick, at that moment. The right hon. Officer had been pleased to be extraordinarily sever on the arrival of certain regiments in Canada, in what he called the depth of winter, and he stated, that it was impossible, after arriving from the West Indies, any troops could be fit for service in such a climate as that of Canada at that season of the year. The right hon. Gentleman particularly referred to the arrival of the 36th regiment. But this regiment, in fact, did not arrive in Canada in the depth of their winter, because the vessel which transported them from the West Indies got back in the month of December; nor did they as the right hon. Gentleman stated, go to meet a sudden emergency, but they went at the usual time in the usual course of relief. With respect to the 9th regiment that certainly did arrive at Halifax in the winter, in consequence of new disturbances having arisen in Canada. But so far from the men being in the condition described by the right hon. Gentleman, the Lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, Sir Colin Campbell, reported that the whole four companies which had arrived were "in exceedingly good order"—that was the expression used. It appeared, therefore, that this regiment was in excellent order, instead of having arrived in a miserable state, as was asserted by the right hon. Officer.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
I beg pardon; I said that the climate made the service miserable to men just arrived from the West Indies.
§ Viscount Howick
thought there was a great and marked difference between the report of the Lieutenant-governor Sir Colin Campbell, that the men were in excellent order and the impressions which the remarks and statements of the right hon. Gentleman on the subject were calculated to convey. But this was not all; drafts of men to that regiment had gone out from this country some time ago. But the right hon. Gentleman asked, how could we take men from the West India Island? And he had asserted, that the troops in the West Indies required increase rather than diminution. Now, this he was 1150 confident the right hon. Officer would not have asked, had he taken the trouble of reading the papers on the Table of the House, in explanation of the present state of Jamaica. Had the right hon. Gentleman taken this step, he would have seen, that though, owing to the conduct of the House of Assembly, the people of Jamaica were in extreme want of legislative proceedings, for the sake of supplying the laws which became necessary on the late change in the relations of the Negro population; yet, as to anything like violence or insubordination, on the part of that population, the island never was, at any period of history, in a state of more complete security than at the present moment. This he was firmly convinced of; and he would take that opportunity of remarking with reference to the present state of the West India Island in general that Parliament was beginning top reap, in the complete tranquility of those colonies, the benefit of the measure which they had passed six years ago, for putting an end to Negro slavery. But on this part of the subject there was another point, as his hon. Friend reminded him, which well deserved the consideration of the House; and that was, that we were now, in reducing our military establishments in the West Indies, only going back to the rate of establishment which existed in those colonies previous to the passing of the Emancipation Act, and which had been increased in consequence of the agitation of society there, and in order to be provided against any evil result which might possibly arise from the first operation of that measure. The good effects of the emancipation, if they had not quite fulfilled the expectations of the authors of the measure, at any rate in this were conspicuous, that the West India colonies never were more free from violence or insubordination on the part of the Negro population than at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman had next gone to Bermuda, where he accused the Government of keeping an insufficient garrison, and said, that it ought to be put in a state of defence. Now, in answer to this charge, he might state his belief, that for a long time we had kept but one battalion there—this he might remark by way of answer to the right hon. Gentleman, but he thought the right hon. Gentleman had sufficiently answered himself when he stated, that Bermuda was a great naval station. Undoubtedly, Bermuda was a 1151 great and important naval station, and therefore, it was the less necessary, that it should be defended by battalions of troops; we might safely trust, for its security from hostile attacks, to the influence of our naval superiority. But here a very serious question arose out of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman. Were we to assume, that we were so near a quarrel with the United States of North America, as to think it necessary, at once to put our establishments in their vicinity, upon a war footing? If that was the opinion of the right hon. Officer, he could only say, that opinion was very different from that which he entertained; and he believed, that if any one thing more than another could tend directly to that result, it would be to show the Americans, that we felt a jealousy of them, and that we took these steps of increasing our establishments without adequate cause. He believed that wax would prove the greatest calamity to both countries that could possibly befal them, and therefore that we were bound to avoid by every means in our power every thing which could by possibility lead to hostilities. With respect to the state of Maine, the right hon. Gentleman must remember, that if the existing dispute continued, it must be with the general government of the United States; because the federal government must be responsible for the constituent States. If a war became necessary, we must therefore make corresponding efforts; and whenever that emergency might arrive, he believed this country would not be wanting to itself in the preparations of vigorous measures; but he thought it would be a highly impolitic and dangerous course, if we were to act as if that emergency had already occurred. After all, if the right hon. Gentleman and his party thought, that the policy of her Majesty's Government exposed the interests of the country to danger, and that due measures were not taken for adequate defence, surely if they thought this, it was their duty, as a great party, not to confine themselves to bringing forward a few remarks on the army estimates, but to take means for obtaining the opinion of the House of Commons as to the real character of the policy of Government; and if the House should agree with the right hon. Gentleman and his friends as to the proper line of policy which should be pursued, then it would be of course, that 1152 they should succeed to the executive Government, and that they should propose increased estimates to Parliament for the purpose of supporting the line of policy they advocated. But he, for one, did object to an increase of the estimates to the rate of war charges, and he was the more desirous to state this distinctly, because, during the whole of the four years he had been in Parliament, previous to the change in 1830, he was one of those few Members on that side of the House who never gave a vote in favour of reduction either of the military or the naval estimates. Though he differed with the then Government he was so unwilling to embarrass them on this head, that he did not recollect ever to have given a vote with the object of diminishing the military or naval establishments of the country. He had never supported the motions which his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny was accustomed to make on those occasions. The only vote he had ever given for diminishing one of these estimates was, upon a motion intended as a test of opinion upon the policy pursued by the Government with regard to Canada, and it was distinctly understood was not meant to lead to a reduction of the force. He, however, thought, that in order to meet the dangers and difficulties of war, the right principle for this country was to husband its resources during peace. The House must know and feel, that if there was to be an increase of our establishments beyond their present extent, there would not only be no reduction of taxation, but it would be necessary to impose new taxes. Now he believed, that they were in a better situation to meet a war from having during the last few years made considerable reductions of taxation, and from having got rid in particular of several taxes which pressed on manufactures and industry, that had enabled the energies of the country to be put forth, increasing the general wealth and general resources out of which they must draw to meet the exigencies of war; and, therefore, they were in a better situation for meeting a state of war whenever it should arise. If they had given way to constant and jealous suspicions of other nations in time of peace, and kept up disproportionate establishments, which would have compelled them to keep up taxation, they would have prevented that increase of the general wealth and property of the 1153 country which, after all, was the true source of any addition to its power. This was his opinion, and one which he felt as strongly on whatever side of the House he sat; and certainly so long as he had had the honour to propose army estimates to Parliament, they were founded on these principles—namely, that while he thought due provision should be made for meeting any danger which was imminent, and while adequate means of national defence should be kept up, he would not press too heavily on the resources and revenue of the country. He did not think there were any further observations of the right hon. Gentleman which called for an answer, and therefore he would no longer trouble the House, except to repeat his opinion, that the force which had been provided was sufficient for the present emergency—and they had the means of increasing it very rapidly whenever occasion should require. He would mention one fact to show to them how much and how speedily the force could be increased whenever the necessity arose. That fact was, that in the course of last year, without any addition to the bounty, or any extraordinary measures being taken for recruiting, the number of recruits in thirteen months was 15,000; and when the order was issued for completing the complements of the army, the number of recruits in December and January was no less than 4,000.
§ Mr. C. Buller
said, on one point he differed from the noble Lord—for he believed there never had been a motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny for a reduction in our naval and military establishments that he had not supported. But he never, by any vote, had supported the absurdity, that peace establishments should be kept up in time of war. He was sorry that he did not see in the present Government one great advantage of a united Cabinet; namely a concert among Ministers as to the matters subjected to their different departments. It was a great pity, when the noble Lord determined on economy in the army, that he did not tell his colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to adopt a more modest and sensible tone with foreign Powers. It was a pity, too, that he did not inform his yet more ambitious colleague, the President of the Board of Control, when he could not afford more troops, that he must not think of conquering fresh empires in India. The noble 1154 Lord had said that it would be, on the whole, more expensive to maintain an additional regular force than to keep the volunteers in Canada. He (Mr. C. Buller) thought, that that question was not to be discussed as one of mere economy. There were important moral considerations involved in the question—whether, in order to keep any colony as a part of the British empire, it was right to have a portion of the inhabitants in pay to keep down the others? Would it not, also, be desirable that the colony should bear the temporary expense? With respect to the reference which had been made to the report of the Earl of Durham, he could not say, that he remembered the expression in question. If the noble Earl had stated, that the mere money expense of maintaining the Canadian militia was three times greater than would have been that of maintaining regular troops, such a statement was certainly inaccurate; but if the noble Earl meant, as he thought was more likely, that the amount drawn upon the whole, from the general resources of the country, by keeping up the one species of force was three times that of the other, then he had not overstated the fact. Lord Durham had read a letter only the other night, in another place, from Colonel Knowlton, in which he had described the intolerable mischief done to the agriculture of the country by keeping on foot the volunteers. With the expense of the militia, in general, he was acquainted; but as regarded the volunteers, and a portion of the militia which had recently been embodied, he had more information. He had calculated with a person in the colony, whose official position and profession rendered his opinion of great value, that the expense incurred by the measure of Sir G. Arthur and Sir J. Colborne, in calling out and embodying 11,000 men, militia and volunteers, could not be stated at less than one-third more than the ordinary expenses of the regulars in the same time. Let the House observe, that Sir G. Arthur was obliged to embody a great many of these troops for a year and a half; they would not serve else, so little was it possible to reduce this corps, and send them back to their homes at pleasure, as the noble Lord seemed to think. But, besides this, he was obliged to pay them a bounty, in order to prevail on them to take arms. He (Mr. C. Buller) said, therefore, that the whole expense of 1155 this force would in the end come to somewhere about the same thing as if the House were to order an addition of 18,000 men to the regular army. But even with all the addition thus made, the force had been insufficient. He should like to ask the noble Lord, if he knew in what state the fortress of Quebec had been left during the insurrection, and whether, with the present force; he could prevent the recurrence of a similar state of insecurity. Sir John Colborne did not think his situation so very safe. By great exertions, just enough of troops bad been brought to Quebec to keep the garrison secure. The noble Lord talked of Sir J. Colborne's admirable arrangements for sending troops from Quebec to Halifax. Sir J. Colborne might be a very good soldier, but he was no conjuror; and that part of the country was almost absolutely impassable in winter time. But the noble Lord did not meet the real charge of neglect made out against the Government—namely, respecting the state in which New Brunswick was left. He did not know how many soldiers the noble Lord supposed there were in New Brunswick; but he had received an American paper that day which stated, that the whole amount of regulars was 500. [Sir H. Herdinge: 350 bayonets effective.] To oppose to that force the state of Maine had been regularly increasing its military force. He (Mr. Buller) had been told by an experienced military officer, that the militia of Maine was totally unlike the other American militia; that they were well kept up; for the Maine people felt very strongly a wish to fight for this territory, and that really they would be no contemptible adversaries of regular troops, to fight man to man. Was the noble Lord aware that there were more than 42,000 of this militia so trained? He had talked of the militia of New Brunswick, They were, he believed, a very gallant body, but they did not amount to more than 15,000, and they had only, this number to oppose to 42,000 men. The noble Lord had said that Sir John Colborne would send troops over there; he would have to do so by a balloon, for he (Mr. Buller) did not know any other mode of conveying them in time. But what was to become of Upper and Lower Canada, if these troops were sent? Did they not suppose that the instant these troops 1156 were sent off, the sympathizers would not rise? He was inclined to say, that the mischief was much greater than the mere want of troops which was experienced in the province of New Brunswick was at present. The fact was, our whole military arrangements were utterly at variance with our foreign relations. He (Mr. Buller) was not afraid of the United States, gallant as they were; he believed the gallantry of England would be as great in a just cause. But there was no one with the feelings of humanity who could contemplate the horrors of such a war—not only a war between men of kindred origin, similar manners, and similar free institutions, but a war against industry and commerce. He really believed it would entail on both countries consequences fearful to humanity; it would seriously endanger and injure the social organization of, both But with these feelings of horror of war, ought our army arrangements to have been in such a state at this time when they might expect by the Liverpool, due on Sunday, the account of some collision, contrary to the, will of both Governments? He would venture to say that never was there a time when the people of the United States were more friendly to us; never was there a time in which the great mass of the people felt more the advantages of peace and security, or a greater horror at the idea of war. But nations were not guided by their interests only, they were often guided by their passions; and the passions of a few intemperate men might bring on a collision, the consequences of which no man could tell. No people in the world were more sensitive of national honour than the Americans; and if a few lives should be lost amongst the lumberers on the borders of their territory, no one could tell what the consequences would be. The Governor of New Brunswick, to whom had been intrusted 500 or 350 men, set up claims never admitted by the American Government. He had set up a claim, equivalent in practice to the whole matter at issue; that until the dispute was settled by negotiation, Great Britain should have jurisdiction over the whole territory, It appeared that the orders of this Lieutenant governor were to enforce this claim with his 350 or 500 men, and it appeared that the Governor of Maine said he would not 1157 submit to it; that he would send militia there. The Governor of New Brunswick said he was ordered to repel force by force. The Governor of Maine said he did not fear that; that the troops of Maine would do their duty. By the arrangement of Mr. Fox, this threatening aspect of affairs had been in some degree averted, and he had withdrawn the pretences of the Governor of New Brunswick. But, what a humiliating position was that which in the last hour retracted the claim set up over the disputed territory! In spite of the apparent imminence of a collision he did not seriously apprehend it. One thing would stop then proceedings, and that was, he believed that the only road up to this disputed territory on the Aroostook river was impassable, and the roads on the New Brunswick side were still worse, and this would prevent the forces getting at each other, unless Sir John Colborne could pass by balloons with his troops. But the grave charge against the Ministry is, that the present emergency had arisen on account of a dispute having been left open from 1815. The noble Lord, at the head of the Foreign Department, might say that was not his fault; that he did not make the treaty of 1783; that he had nothing to do with the treaty of 1815; but the noble Lord ought to have been aware that circumstances had arisen which made the Americans much more bent on having the territory than ever. It was important that this should be known. In the first place, the province of Maine had received a great increase of population. America had pressed on her old means of subsistence, and the population had moved off in to the next vacant country, and had moved towards this disputed territory. Again, it was a very singular feature in the United States that all of a sudden the supply of pine timber had failed all over the, United States; from the Way in which they had wasted the timber they now suddenly found themselves without any fit for building. The whole of this disputed territory, which had been represented as of no value, was filled with the finest and most abundant quantity of this fire timber, which had, for the reason he had just stated, risen immensely in value. Many had gone there to obtain it; it was found that the land was very fine; people Consequently wanted to go and settle there, and hence arose the increased desire of Maine to get possession of this 1158 country. In the present state of things in the disputed territory, it was perfectly obvious that collision must happen. Numbers of men could not live together without law, and they had recourse to the next authorities; and while one party had got the decision of a British magistrate, the other party had recourse to the next. American station, about 100 miles off, and got an opposite decision, so that constant squabbles were kept up by this mode of governing the district. It must be obvious to any man of common sense, that that state of things could not last long between the subjects of two high-spirited nations; they must come to blows at last, and the Governments must take up the quarrel. Such had been the unaccountable negligence of our Government that this was, by no means, the only territory in dispute between us and the United States. The greater part of the frontier, for 1,500 miles, was disputed. That part on which we joined the United States on the east, and in which the territory in question was disputed with the Slates of Maine and Massachussets was a territory equal to the remaining part of the first mentioned State. He had forgotten one reason which made the people of Maine so bent on having this country. It was the sale of this territory which furnished the greater part of the revenue of these States, or almost the whole. Their revenue was, in great part, derived from the sale of lands. These States, therefore, thought it was their property which we were keeping from them, and right or wrong, they were very intent on keeping possession of what they thought was their property. Lower Canada came into dispute with New Hampshire next: a great portion of land there was disputed between us. That had been left as an open question. That might be very good policy for the Government to adopt with regard to questions of internal concerns. The Americans, however, had no idea of this nonsense of open questions; and what had the New Hampshire militia done? They had turned out every British subject who had got property in this disputed territory, and Englishmen were to be seen wandering about, utterly dispossessed of their lands. The States of Vermont and New York had a quarrel with us about the parallel of latitude. He did not know whether that quarrel was settled or not. The only thing 1159 he could state was a matter of fact, that the quarrel, as it was, had left every title of land along that strip of country under dispute. The next dispute was about the island on Lake Superior; but they might congratulate themselves, that dispute would not arise till four or five years hence, when the province of Wisconsin would be inhabited. Then another very important question arose between us and the United States, which would be very easily settled now, but might not hereafter: that was the dispute about the Oregon territory. This was a matter in which the Americans had very great interest, and in which they complained very much of our encroaching upon them; though he must notice as a proof of the pacific feelings of Congress that it had forbore to stir that question this year, in order not to multiply the causes of quarrel with us. Now, he would ask, was it prudent to allow these disputes to exist so long? He said it was the duty of that House to take every measure to compel her Majesty's Ministers to settle these disputes, which had remained so long unsettled, and the inconvenience of which they had so long experienced, that those horrors of war the noble Lord had described might be avoided. These disputes ought to be settled, because, leaving them open, was in every way bringing on quarrels. He wished before he sat down to say one thing, which he said with great pain, because he knew the kind of awkwardness it was for a man in any case, when his own country was in collision with foreigners in such a way that war was likely to be the consequence, to state these things. It was very dangerous and very imprudent for the citizen of one country to state his opinion in favour of the other country; nor did he mean to do so entirely. He believed very few Gentlemen of that House had really attended to the question of the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick and Lower Canada—such was the way in which they managed their foreign business. Circumstances had induced him to attend to it, and he would state that he had never met one Englishman who had read the account who did not agree with him (Mr. C. Buller) in saying, that whatever might be the justice of the claim of the Americans, the claim set up by the British Government was the most preposterous and absurd that ever was heard of in British diplomacy. He wished 1160 to be particularly guarded in not letting it be supposed that he thought the American claim a just one; he did not think it a just one; but he must say, looking only to the claim advanced by us in our negotiation, be could not conceive a rightful cause so much prejudiced by unjust negotiation as our cause had been. What he wanted to call the attention of the House to was, that this was a very general feeling throughout the United States. The people of that country had naturally attended to the question; they had a very strong notion of the entire justice of their claim; he (Mr. Buller) did not say whether they were right or wrong; all he said was, they felt very strongly on the subject. The feeling was very high in the United States, and it was a matter that would not admit of postponement any longer. If we intended to adhere to the pretensions we had advanced, we ought to be prepared for war, and give up the idea of peace. But if we were to do our utmost to avoid the horrors of war, it was our duty to see instantly, and without delay, that negotiations were established on a stable and fair basis, which might secure, not only our rights, but the rights of the United States. That security alone was the only secure foundation of a permanent peace between the two nations.
§ Viscount Palmerston
could not find fault with the hon. Member who had just sat down for having stated his opinions. But, at the same time, he must say, he should entertain some doubt bow far the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman was calculated to afford any additional facilities for the settlement of this question; because, no doubt, horn a high sense of duty, he had made those statements; but when he knew, as everybody did, that questions of great importance to each country had been pending for now more than half a century, it might, he thought, be sufficient evidence that this question would not have remained unsettled so long if it had not been attended with great and inherent difficulties, and he doubted whether those inherent difficulties would be diminished by the tone of levity with which the hon. Gentleman had treated them, or by the opinions which he had expressed. He differed from the hon. Gentleman as to the opinion he had given of the nature of the claims of this country. Our claims had not been put forward by him nor by his predecessor, 1161 nor by the person who went before him; they were claims which had been put forward by Great Britain ever since the treaty of 1783. He must say, that, having given great attention to the nature of these claims, as was his duty, and to the claims of the United States, his opinion differed entirely from the hon. Member's. He must say, that our claims were well founded, on a fair interpretation of the treaty. But the hon. Gentleman had ridiculed the idea of transporting masses of men over a desert by mere volition; but he (Lord Palmerston) thought, when he talked in this easy good-humoured way, that "these questions ought to be settled," and "why don't you settle them, that matters may not be allowed to remain in dispute between the two countries upon which war can arise"—he (Lord Palmerston) thought the hon. Member was ignorant of the question itself, or, for the sake of making some little effect in the debate, he had passed over matters to which he ought to have given more serious attention. It was quite true that there were these questions in dispute. There was, first of all, pending the question of the boundary from Mar's-hill to Connecticut river. It was perfectly true, that there was pending and undecided the question of the boundary between Ingoldstad and Holstein. It was perfectly true, that there was pending and undecided a question, what was the parallel of the 45th degree of latitude, and whether this was to be a question, as we contended, which ought to be settled by astronomical observation; or whether it was to be, as the United States contended, determined by geocentric measurement. These were the questions which were referred, by the treaty, to the arbitration of the king of the Netherlands, two of which questions the king of the Netherlands decided. He decided which was the head of the Connecticut river, and in what way the 45th parallel of latitude was to be ascertained. He did not decide the other point, but stated, that neither the line of England nor of the United States was strictly in the treaty of 1783. The Government had made this one of the first questions they had taken in hand, and whatever they might think of that part of the award, which consisted of a recommendation for a division of territory, and though it was an unfavourable award for England, inasmuch as it gave two-thirds of the disputed 1162 territory to the United States, yet the English Government, from a desire of peace and the desire of a settlement of this question, had, without the slightest hesitation, signified to the United States that they accepted that award, and they were prepared to abide by it. What more could the Government have done? Did the hon. Gentleman know they had done so? And if he did, why did he presume to taunt the Government with an indisposition to settle this? The United States had refused that award. Although two points were clearly and decidedly determined by the king of the Netherlands, because the third point was not determined—and he had only made a recommendation for a settlement between the parties—on that account the award was null. He (Lord Palmerston) said it was their fault, and not ours, that this question had not been settled; and that, therefore, those points to which the hon. and learned Gentleman had alluded, which had remained hitherto, and were at this moment, in dispute between the two countries, remained so not by the fault of the English Government that they could not complete the legal award. Now, there was no doubt, that, as the hon. and learned Gentleman had said, there might be every year an increasing desire on the part of the state of Maine to get possession of the disputed territory, but that was no reason why we should relinquish our claim to it. No doubt each party thought itself right, but what the Government of England sought was, to endeavour to settle the geographical question, and if that could not be done on the grounds stated in 1783, perhaps each party might be disposed to enter into a convention on the question. Any one who had heard the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. C. Buller) would have imagined, judging from that only, that the claim of this country was one which had been set up by him (Lord Palmerston); but if the hon. and learned Gentleman had taken the trouble to read the able note of Lord Aberdeen on the subject addressed to Mr. Lawrence in 1828, and the notes of Mr. Vaughan on the same subject, he would have found that the grounds on which we rested our claim had been fully made out, and that the claim was not of recent date, but one which had been made by those who had gone long before the present Government. 1163 The hon. and learned Gentleman said that our claim of jurisdiction over the disputed territory was begging the whole question on our part; but it was clear that one or other of the two countries must be responsible for the preservation of, order and for preventing a set of lawless borderers on either side from annoying the subjects of both states; to that extent our claim of jurisdiction went, and, as might be seen by the able note of Lord Aberdeen, having had possession of the country before the treaty of 1783, we had a primá facie claim to that jurisdiction; but that claim did not extend to a right of sovereignty, and we had abstained float giving licences to cut timber on the disputed territory, as had also the American government. If the hon. and learned Member would refer to the accounts which lately appeared in the newspapers—and he had no later intelligence from the same quarter—he would see from the letters of Sir J. Harvey that he did not defend the lumberers, and did not sanction their acts, in cutting down timber on the disputed ground. The hon. and learned Member had adverted to the question of the boundary on the Pacific coast, and had asked, why had not that question been settled, as if nothing was more easy than that settlement. Now, if the hon. and learned Member would look back to what took place on that subject, he would find that the settlement of the question was not so easy as he seemed to think. He would, find that the adjustment of it had been put off for ten years, in order to get rid of some of the difficulties attending it; and considering these circumstances, he would probably feel disposed to retract his assertion that the matter was of so easy settlement. But it was said, that, unless, this question was settled by our giving up our claims altogether, we must maintain a much larger force in our American colonies than we at present kept there. He agreed with his noble Friend (Lord Howick), that the parties acting against both countries should be brought to order by each; but if the acts of one party should be sanctioned by the United States government, then would come a state of war, which he agreed would be to be deplored; but, knowing, as they did, the disposition of the government of the United States to avoid a war, they were acting with a friendly Power which was equally with themselves desirous of maintaining peace between the 1164 two countries. He, therefore, could not allow himself to think, that not being engaged, or not being likely to be engaged, in war, we ought to put our army on a war establishment, or that we ought to keep up an establishment beyond what was necessary to keep down internal disturbances. As to the argument of the right hon. and gallant Officer, (Sir H. Hardinge), that we should keep up what might be called a war establishment in time of peace, he thought that was a matter on which the Government would exercise due diligence and precaution, but he did not think that a Government would be justified in prematurely calling on the country to make those sacrifices which a state of war would require; for according to the view of the right hon. and gallant Officer, there was no part of the world in which we now had a military force in which that force ought not to have a large addition—not with reference to peace, but to an immediate probability of war. The right hon. and gallant Officer had said, that Bermuda should be put into a state of more complete defence from the fear of an attack on the part of the United States, No doubt, if we were at war with the United States, that would be necessary; but he, again repeated, that that event was not probable, and that there was no ground to fear its occurrence. He thought, therefore, that his noble Friend (Viscount Howick) was, right in limiting, his demand to what was necessary at present, and if occasion should arise, he was glad to see a disposition on the part of hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side to aid the Government in voting such supplies as circumstances of war might render necessary.
§ Lord A. Lennox
said, that having travelled many hundred miles in America he could bear his testimony to the general wish of the Americans for a continuance of peace between the two countries. With respect to the army he would suggest, that bronze medals should be given to soldiers in substitution for the paltry stripes which were given at present as a mark of distinction or merit. The system of recruiting now adopted was quite unfair towards the soldier; indeed, it was in most cases an absolute fraud, as the man before entering was promised a bounty of 4l. or 5l., and afterwards was brought in debt for five or six months, upon joining his corps, which gave the men a disgust to the ser- 1165 vice, and led to frequent desertion, both abroad and at home. The vote of 2,000l. for establishing libraries for the soldiers was well deserving of support, and as he was upon the subject he should remark, that a great improvement might be effected in the habits of the soldiers by directing the barrack masters to provide quoits and similar means of amusement for the men, which would keep them from resorting so frequently, as they did at present, to the canteen.
§ Mr. C. Buller
said, that the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had misunderstood the spirit in which he had alluded to the boundary question in dispute between this country and the United States. He had particularly guarded himself against expressing any opinion upon the merits of the claim of the United States, though he had stated an opinion that the grounds advanced by the negotiators of this country were bad. The peculiar feature of this question was, that it was not a dispute as to the right to a certain well-defined territory, but as to boundaries which had never yet been defined; and upon this point he still maintained that the position taken up by this country, going by the evidence of all the old charters and acts that at all bore upon the matter, was untenable; and he at the same time expressed a hope that the noble Lord would, with the least possible delay, consult the substantial interests of all parties, by taking up, a fair and tenable position. He begged it to be understood that he did not cast the blame of all the delay which had already taken place in this negotiation upon, the noble Lord; on the contrary, he was aware that a great deal of it had taken place before the noble Lord came into office; but he still thought that the noble Lord had not acted, he would not say with sufficient ability, for no one could doubt the noble Lord's brilliant abilities, but with that degree of promptitude which we had a right to expect from so liberal and skilful a politician.
§ Sir J. C. Hobhouse
said, that he did not wish to enter into the general subjects, which had been under debate this evening, but merely to say a few words in answer to what fell from the right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite on the subject of the army in India. He was inclined to do so the more as the statements which he had on a former occasion made on this subject appeared to have been 1166 misunderstood, and he thought the importance of the subject required that no misapprehension of the kind should exist in respect to it. The statements which he had made on the occasion referred to, on the condition of the Indian army, were these, that since last October there had been a considerable increase made in it, and that an increase had been also gradually going on ever since the year 1834, amounting to 24,000 men. He had never stated that that army was of the same extent as after the close of the Burmese war, and the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was perfectly justified in saying that the military establishments of India, both as regarded the native army and the Queen's troops, were considerably lower than at that period. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman was no doubt aware that a great reduction took place in the year 1828, when the Duke of Wellington was in office, and that up to the year 1834 reductions had been gradually made, but that since the latter period some small augmentations had taken place. But he perfectly agreed with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that further augmentations were still necessary to keep the frontier army in the state it should be; and in reply to Lord Auckland's announcement of the augmentations which had already taken place, the Government had stated not only that they approved of those augmentations, but that if any further augmentations were found necessary they should be prepared to acquiesce in them. Not only had he intimated this to the Government of India, but he himself had taken the precaution so as not to depend entirely upon the local government to require that an additional force of her Majesty's troops should be sent out from this country: and the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, who had indulged in so much humour on this subject, though not perhaps with his usual felicity, would be glad to hear that the rest of her Majesty's Ministers were unanimous in concurring with him in these views. As he stated, he had asked for an increase of the Queen's troops in India, and in making that reinforcement, he should certainly have been glad if it could be done by sending out complete and perfect regiments ready equipped; but seeing that to effect this would be quite out of the question, the next best course was taken, namely, to recruit men with the utmost 1167 speed, and send them out as circumstances permitted. Now, though these troops were paid out of the Indian revenues, he trusted that this circumstance would not be considered as an excuse for any augmentation which was not justified by the occasion, but that any hon. Members who might entertain the least doubts as to the propriety of these reinforcements would use as much vigilance in questioning them as if they formed part of the regular estimates of the army. He hoped the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would excuse him from entering upon a review of the policy of Lord Auckland, on the present occasion; but, out of respect to the high authority of the noble Duke who had been referred to, he had thought it right to say what he had done in regard to our military establishment in India, in order to show that it was not in a lower state than on any previous occasion. It having been thought necessary to draw a military line along the boundary of Nepaul, it was obvious that this could not be effected without a considerable increase of troops; and though he did not pretend to be a military authority, yet he was given to understand by military men of the greatest experience, that the means taken by the Government of India for this purpose were such as if not now absolutely sufficient, yet to hold out every prospect of their being very shortly upon an ample scale of efficiency. He had also the satisfaction to assure the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that the Government were fully alive to the affairs which were passing in the Burmese States, and a force had been sent down to the frontiers of that State, and, as the House was aware, those frontiers were of a nature to require naval as well as military observation, precautions had been taken in both these respects. With respect to this, and some other points of Indian affairs touched upon by the right honourable and gallant Gentleman, he thought that he would find, when all the circumstances were before the public, that a great deal of exaggeration and unfounded alarm had been excited through the agency of the press, with the establishment of which so many Gentlemen appeared to have been so well satisfied. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had alluded to a question affecting the natives of India, particularly of Bengal, namely the resumption law. He knew the disposition which existed in 1168 India on these questions, and how actively the press of India was engaged in discussing them. He had no apprehension, however, of these discussions leading to any danger of our army marching from one end of the Indian Empire to the other. There was no man who admitted the magnitude of this question more readily than himself, and he hoped that the argument made use of by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth at the beginning of the Session would prevail, namely that it was time to give up all party discussions, and to take up those which had been too long neglected and delayed, particularly the question of India. Whenever the day came for the consideration of that subject, he trusted the House would enter upon it in such a manner as would lead to a fair and impartial discussion.
§ Mr. Hume
had no fear about India. There had been different statements published on this subject in the public papers, but he thought, that the advantage of a free press must not be denied, because both sides now and then fell into exaggeration. This was not the time for discussing the question of India, for they had only defective materials on which to ground their estimate of the present state of that country. It was impossible to say what turn affairs would take there on both sides of the Indus; but, if war were declared necessary, he certainly hoped it would be carried on with vigour. On that account it was, that he gave, and did now give, Lord Auckland great credit for assembling an overwhelming force for carrying into effect the diplomatic arrangements in which he had been recently engaged. Nothing was so likely to produce a speedy conclusion of that matter as the immediately assembling an army of 30,000 men; and of course with an alteration of the circumstances, that army was broken up. With respect to Canada, he was amused with the right hon. Gentleman opposite taking up the established principle of 1829 for the army, and he wished he had gone back to former years, to 1822, when the army was 71,000; 1823, when it was 72,000; 1824, when it was 76,000; 1825, when it was 86,000; and also to the next two years, when it was about the same number, all of which were below the present number. The arguments of the right hon. Gentleman did not in any way support the necessity of keeping 1169 a large army in Canada. Was it not lamentable, that we should have 48,000 men sent to the distant parts of that colony, and that from our injustice to her we should be obliged to keep a permanent army there of 13,000 men? He entirely disapproved of the course which the Government, supported by that House, had taken, when they passed that unjust and wicked measure for depriving the colonists of their just rights. It was said, that Sir John Colborne and Sir George Arthur were obliged to engage the men in the militia service in Canada, some for a year, and others for half a year; but was it possible, that we could require more than the 13,000 which the Secretary at War had admitted to be in that country, that was in a state of peace, and when we were looking forward to the Government preserving it in peace for the future. With respect to the interference of the Americans, he thought the Government had acted wisely in not showing any jealousy whatever, and in taking the statements of the President of the United States as being honest. He would also go further and say, that the Government ought to make up their minds, that if the Americans should unfortunately make any attempts against Canada, we were unable to protect her. They might talk of the peace of that country, and protecting the colonist, but he wanted to know for what purpose was it? Was it fair, that we should throw away a hundred millions of money in a war for its protection? It would be utterly impossible to save it; and it was, therefore, a wise policy of the Government which they were taking, not to raise jealousies with America, but to have the dispute about the boundaries settled in an amicable manner as speedily as possible. The right hon. Gentleman had not used one argument to prove, that the Government were acting contrary to that to which he had belonged respecting the present matter. He hoped, that the establishment would now be amply sufficient. He should himself say it was more than sufficient to answer all purposes. The Government had done right to fill up the establishment, to supply the necessary wants of the army, but he thought, they had gone to the utmost extent which the circumstances of the country would warrant. He thought, also, that the arrangement which the noble Lord was about to make, as to the situation and comforts of the soldiers in 1170 barracks was a wise, excellent, and economical measure. As to rewarding the men for good conduct, it was what the country had called for, and the Government might be satisfied, that they would not refuse anything to effect so desirable an object. He would just refer to another point, and that was the odious system of flogging. The Government must not believe, that things could pass now as they did formerly; there might then have been six floggings in a week, but no instance ever took place now without its being noticed in the papers over and over again. That certainly was one advantage of newspapers; for they had brought this subject forward in every shape and form. He was willing to go to any expense in order to put down that system of torture, and thought, that what the noble Lord had pointed out would tend much to effect it. The noble Lord had spoken of establishing libraries in the barracks, and rewards for good conduct, and he wished to know to what extent these rewards were intended to be carried, as to promoting deserving men from the ranks to commissions, and particularly to what extent they had been carried during the last year. There was also another point on which he would just remark, namely, that the proportion of officers to the number of men in the army of this country, was greater than in that of any other, and was much too large. To that he objected; and it should be inquired into how far any reduction could be made. The present staff was also larger than we had ever had before, and, in proportion to the number of men, was greater than that of any other country. This was the only respect in which any reductions could be made. In the English army many officers procured commissions merely for rank and amusement, not intending to pursue it as a profession. The consequence of this was a frequent changing of officers, so that it need be no matter of surprise, that our army was more expensive and possessed fewer officers who had seen service than that of any other country. Whether the army could be reduced without rendering it less efficient, he was not prepared to say. He had rather see it brought back to what it was in the time of the right hon. Gentleman opposite; for he bore in mind, that when we had a strong military force ready, as in Mr. Canning's time, we were too apt to bully our neighbours, and to meddle in 1171 the affairs of others, at the dame time neglecting our own.
§ Viscount Howick
wished just to reply to the questions which had been put to him by his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny. He could not precisely state to what extent the rewards alluded to had been carried last year, but he could say that whenever a quarter mastership had become vacant, it had been filled up from the ranks. The vacancies of ensigncies had not always been supplied in, the same manner, though sometimes it had been the case, and every opportunity had been otherwise taken of promoting deserving men. With respect to the large proportion of officers to the number of men, he did not think his hon. Friend was correct, for he had referred to a return of the French army estimates for the year 1834, and found that in that army there were 10,979 officers to 238,533 men, being in the proportion of one to 21½ whilst in the English army in the present year there were 4,520 officers to 84,831 men, being about one to 18¾. The proportion certainly appeared to be less in France; but the cause was, that all the staff duty was done by the corps d'etat major, and the duty of recruiting was discharged by the conscription, whilst in England the staff duty was performed by subalterns on full pay.
§ Captain Boldero
regretted to hear the statement made by the hon. Member for Liskeard, which, considering the situation that hon. Member had lately filled in Canada, was calculated, in his opinion, to embarrass the settlement of the dispute respecting the boundary. It appeared, from the speech of the noble Lord, the Secretary at War, that the number of militia and volunteers in that colony amounted to 38,000 men. Now, as the expense of this force was one-third greater than that of regular troops, he believed that the cost could not fall short of 1,500,000l., and that the whole amount of the extraordinary expenditure for Canada during the last year would amount to 3,000,000l. He wished to know from the noble Lord why it was proposed to increase the Cape corps of mounted riflemen? It was not long ago that a court-martial had convicted sixteen men belonging to that corps of traitorous designs, and two of them were executed, the rest being punished by transportation for life. He also wished to advert to the small amount of pension allowed to soldiers 1172 after a service of twenty-five and twenty-eight years. The pension was only 6d. a-day for privates, 10d. for corporals, and 1s. for sergeants. He thought the pension ought to be increased, for at present it was no inducement to good men to enter the service.
§ Sir De Lacy Evans
thought that the noble Lord had completely answered the statements of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. With regard to Canada, he (Sir De Lacy Evans) believed that at no period of our history had we there a force so large, so efficient, and so united as it was at present. And then everything in connexion with the present position of the United States was quite satisfactory, so that no serious consequences could be expected in that quarter. There was no sufficient ground for the alarm which the speech of the right hon. Baronet was calculated to create. With respect to Jamaica, he (Sir De Lacy Evans) saw no cause for apprehension there, and he was of opinion that, as far as concerned any attempt on the part of America, the Bermudas had a competent garrison. In India, too, there was little ground for fear, inasmuch as in the only country which war could be apprehended with, Burmah, a rebellion had broken out against the sovereign hostile to Great Britain. He deprecated anything like anticipating discussions on the military operations of our armies in the northeast of that country, and he would put it to the right hon. Baronet whether they were not more calculated to encourage than to repress the native princes opposed to us? There were no grounds for the right hon. Baronet's statement that an insurrection of the interior of India was to be looked for or apprehended. He concurred with the observations of the hon. Member for Kilkenny on the policy of reducing the force on the frontier of the United States contiguous to the disputed territory in New Brunswick, and he felt bound to say that there was not, in his opinion, any foundation for the general charge of inefficiency brought against the military force of the country.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
, in explanation, said, that the noble Lord had refused to state the amount of the military force at present stationed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. This was where was the pinch of the question. He complained that the 1173 force of regular troops in that part of our dominions was too small. We had but 50,000 troops abroad, and 26,000 at home, about the proportion of two abroad to one at home, and this was too hard work. The army was certainly bound to undergo any temporary hardship, but if this arrangement was to be permanent, it would be impossible to go on.
§ Vote agreed to, as were several other votes.
§ On the vote of 102,000l. for the pay of general officers,
§ Viscount Howick
was not called upon to defend the arrangement of 1822, which he thought was a loan in disguise. The half-pay had, in fact, been reduced; and with respect to brevets, they were necessary, in order to bring on young general officers.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, that Mr. Collins, of the War-Office, who had been examined in the Committee, to which the hon. Member (Mr. Hume) referred, had beaten the hon. Meaner in argument more than man had ever been beaten, and had showed the advantages, of the arrangement of 1822; With regard to brevets, since the peace, taking the officers on half-pay and on full pay, there had been a reduction of 7,168 commissioned officers, and a saving to the amount of 1,300,000l. a-year.
§ Mr. Hume
admitted that there was a person who had made some statements in the Committee; but if those statements were examined, it would be found that they could not be maintained. He would prove hereafter, that whilst there were reduction in some departments, there had been an increase in others, so that the dead weight was still 5,000,000l.
§ Mr. C. Wood
said, he had now got the report of the Committee to which he had referred, and he found that, though it confined rewards to officers on half-pay, there was an exception in favour of distinguished services, His conclusion had been formed from the mention of half-pay, that they should be held with half-pay, and not with full pay. If a different practice prevailed in the army, he should 1174 be happy to have, an opportunity of altering it in the navy.
§ Sir J. Graham
agreed with the hon. Member that the arrangement was an exceedingly bad one; but be had not had a doubt, at the time when the report was prepared, that, officers, if their services had been so distinguished as to entitle them lo rewards for merits, would hold them with full pay.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, that, as a Member of that Committee, he had suggested the addition in favour of officers of distinguished merit. It would be a great hardship upon an officer in the receipt of a reward of 200l. a-year, which he would lose on being put on full pay, if, when he returned to half-pay, his vacant situation was filled up; he would have no reward whatever.
§ Sir G. Clerk
Said, that the officers of the navy were exposed to unequal hardship. In the army, if an officer had a staff situation, he could hold it with full pay; but if an officer of the navy was appointed to the command of a ship, it was only temporary, and he returned to half-pay without any reward. He regretted that honorary appointments were done away with, such as that of colonel of marines.
§ Sir C. Adam
said, it was with extreme pain the Board of Admiralty had felt itself bound to read the report of the Committee in the terms, and to put the construction on it stated by-his hon. Friend near him (Mr. C. Wood). It was, however, with extreme satisfaction he had heard the, opinions which had been expressed by hon. Members opposite, and he not only should be glad to see Captain Napier's name restored, but that it should be done to-morrow.
§ Vote agreed to, as were several others. House resumed.