HC Deb 08 March 1841 vol 57 cc17-34
Mr. O'Connell

did not mean to detain the House with any discussion as to the yeomanry corps, yet be could not but regret, that almost the last vote of these estimates should be proposed without the attention of the House having been more decidedly down to the conduct of the Horse Guards with reference to the Earl of Cardigan, and to the conduct of that person towards his regiment. He believed the public opinion was excited to such an extent, that be was convinced if one of the officers bad not written a letter which had put him without the pale of their sympathies, the House would have been compelled to enter into an inquiry as to the conduct of the Horse Guards. Still he felt bound to make some observations, because, when the conduct of Lord Cardigan had been impeached upon the court-martial of Major Wathen, who was found to be entitled to a most honourable acquittal, and when Lord Cardigan was also condemned with out any chance or opportunity of entering upon a defence, he (Mr. O'Connell) had commented upon the proceedings as deserving all reprobation. But the conduct of the court-martial upon Captain Reynolds was infinitely more to be condemned. They had the decision of what the sentence was to be within their own breast; they had sedulously excluded from consideration every ingredient that should ester into the judgment, and cause the heaviest sentence to be commuted; they had not considered the provocation which he had received before he had violated the commands of his superior officer. The nature of the sentence ought to have depended upon the provocation. If the disobedience were without any provocation no sentence could be too severe, but if, on the other hand, so strong a case of provocation could have been made out, the lightest possible censure was the utmost punishment that ought to be apportioned. He took it that it was impossible lo defend the course adopted in this matter. Let them, however, see what protection Lord Cardigan had received from the Horse Guards—a protection and a promotion that would not have been given to any inferior. Then there was the case of the other Captain Reynolds, who was ludicrously called," Black Bottle Reynolds;" he was imprisoned three or four days most illegally. Yet these days of false imprisonment were slurred over. He (Mr. O'Connell) had hoped, that some person of more influence in the House than himself would have already called for inquiry into these cases, and be still hoped, that the Session would not pass by without some person pressing it. He confessed, that he had looked with great regret at the heavy estimates which the Government had thought it necessary to bring before the House. His hon. Friend, the Member for Kilkenny, had complained of the expenses with respect to Canada, and of the misconduct of the House towards that colony on the proposition of her Majesty's Ministers, and he had been answered in a way, that was not at all satisfactory. Now that the rebellion in Canada was a matter of history, and now that they could not be accused of encouraging rebellion by making observations, it was their duty to look to the cause of the civil war; and he was bound to say, and he must express his thorough conviction, that upon the origin of that civil war, the Government were entirely in the wrong. They had provoked the insurrection. This country was not justified in the vote to which the House had come at the instance of the Government, for the application of money belonging to the people of Canada, without the sanction of their representatives. In his opinion, it was a most unconstitutional vote; it was against first principles, and it was not justified by the circumstances and necessities of the case. This was no palliation or excuse for the insurrection. That was worse than a crime—it was a folly. M. Papineau was at the head of a large constitutional party in Canada; he had an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives; he had, therefore, constitutional means at his command to force his proper and fair claims, it was wickedness, it was a folly, to enter upon an insurrection. That rebellion had been deservedly crashed, but his country had suffered for his crime. The Imperial Parliament had passed a bill for the union of Canada, which was based on injustice. It gave as many representatives to Upper Canada as to Lower Canada, although the population was much less in the upper than in the lower province. When in the course of the discussions on the bill, he had objected to this, he was met by the noble Lord by a statement that it was probable that the relative proportions of the population of the two provinces, would probably alter? That was a matter of prophesy: it was no answer to the fact of the disproportion. If the relative population altered afterwards, it would be easy to remedy the disproportion of the representatives. But there was another more important grievance. Lower Canada owed no debt, and yet it was saddled with a portion of the heavy debt of Upper Canada. This injustice would fester in the public mind, and probably, at some future time, when it would be most inconvenient to us, we should hear of it again. What was the period selected for the change? It was when Upper Canada, indeed, was protected by her own Parliament, but when Lower Canada had no representatives, and was under a Governor appointed from England. They had better be cautious how they proceeded further. He did not happen to know what had passed in the other House, but he had read speeches which were said to have been delivered in debates, not of course, spoken in Parliament, for every body knew, that it was not permitted to publish speeches delivered in either House of Parliament. But he had heard, that there had been debates, in which the Bishop of Exeter had attributed to him in the public prints a speech, for which he ought to bring an action for libel, because it advocated the perpetration of the grossest injustice; it advocated the taking away from the Seminary of St. Sulpice its property, and it was advocated on the excellent pretence, that the violation of property would be favourable to the Protestant religion in Canada. In a great public debate, too, one of the highest personages in the realm had said, that the possession of this property was contrary to the principles of the Reformation. A pretty explanation of the principles of the Reformation, to say that spoliation would be in accordance with the principles of the Reformation! Take away the property from a community which had not only been exonerated from all blame, but had been greatly praised! The mode in which they spent their revenues was charitable in the extreme; the number of persons they educated was considerable; there was not a blot upon their character, nor a tarnish on their name. But they were robbed, forsooth. They had enjoyed possession of the property for eighty years. So long ago as 1763, the French seminary of St. Sulpice made over all its property to the present seminary at Montreal. The Canadian Act of 1774 was one which was based upon a principle of wisdom, because its object was to conciliate the people. The effect of that act had been highly advantageous, for while all our Protestant colonies had revolted, this Catholic colony had remained with us, because they saw a chance of justice being done. In 1775 a general ordinance was sent out, pointing to this property in the hands of the seminary, and the seminary had enjoyed the property ever since, under circumstances which showed how advantageously its members had been entrusted with it, but some inconveniences had been felt, and the seminary had offered a compromise so fair and mitigated in its nature, that it was at once acceded to by every one interested in the property. A new ordinance had now been passed, turning the seminary into a corporation, and that which before might have been deemed to be only an equitable title, was now, by the effect of this ordinance, clothed with the importance of legal right. The ordinance had effected this, but no more. The seminary had no deeds to produce, it was true, but they had had possession of the property for eighty years, and the House would be aware, that after so long a possession much would be presumed in favour of their right. Cases had occurred where an act of Parliament had been presumed, and where gifts or grants from the Crown had been presumed and, the law would favour a right attempted to be sustained upon such grounds as here existed. But their equitable right was admitted, their possession for eighty years was admitted, and now they were to be turned round upon, and he was to be told by a bishop of the establishment, that because they were Catholics they were to be robbed of this property, and another grievance was to be inflicted upon Canada. But if that were to be done—if any part of the Le- gislature here would submit to the infliction of such an act of injustice, he bid them prepare themselves for even higher estimates, for they assuredly would be brought upon them. From Canada he would take his flight to the last Indies, One half of the soldiers in the East Indies were Catholics—so a newspaper which he had received from Bengal said; and the same newspaper complained of the neglected state of the Bengal army on the subject of the measure of religious comfort afforded them. It was odd enough, that the first regiment which had been sent to China was the Royal Irish, two-thirds of the soldiers in which probably were Irish. He had had numbers of letters addressed to him by soldiers in our East Indian army, complaining most bitterly of the want of religious comforts, Every one knew that the Catholics required the assistance of a priest frequently, and in his dying moments more especially; and the aid which they received from such an individual was most constabulary. The same paper spoke of the Protestant and Presbyterian religions, and of the assistance which was afforded to this members of those churches. No men more cordially concurred in the propriety of affording every aid to such persons than he; but he said, that the aid which was tendered to such persons, contrasted most painfully with the total neglect which was exhibited of the Roman Catholic soldiery. The paper to which he referred was dated March, 1840, and he would read to the House that portion of its contents to which he alluded. The article to which he referred first complained of the neglect of the Catholic soldiers; and he was proud to say, that almost every commanding officer had striven to redress their grievances. It was said, All the commanders-in-chief, from the Marquess of Hastings down to Sir H. Fane, were favourably disposed to the claim of the Catholics in the array, to be provided by Government with British chaplains. He believed that Sir H. Fane was sent oat by the right hon. Baronet opposite during his administration, and he was the man who had discountenanced this claim. This claim, however, though deemed reasonable by the Marquess of Hastings, was vehemently opposed by Sir H. Fane, who even refused to forward to Government a petition on the subject from the Catholics of her Majesty's 13th Regiment. The late commander-in-chief peremptorily refused to lay before Government a petition for British pastors from the Catholics of her Majesty's Thirteenth; but did they, for that reason, exhibit any back wardness at the storming of Ghuzni? That they were not indifferent as to the practice of their religion, may, I think, be safely inferred from the fact of their having contributed, from their scanty means, about 6,000 rupees towards the erection of a chapel at Kurnaul. They were fully aware that in Afghanistan they would find no chapel nor priest to succour them, in sickness or death, with the helps and consolations of their religion, while they beheld the tender care with which their Protestant comrades had been provided with a chaplain. Nevertheless, on they went without a murmur. I have already mentioned the extent of provision made by Government for the spiritual wants of the majority of its European soldiers, before the passing of the New Charter Act. From the remarks which fell from the President of the Board of Control, during the discussion of that measure, Catholics were naturally led to expect that some suitable provision would be made for their religious necessities. This reasonable expectation has hitherto been grievously disappointed; for, with the exception of an occasional donation of the paltry sum of 500 rupees, towards the erection or repair of a chapel, nothing, absolutely nothing, has yet been done in redemption of Sir C Grant's (now Lord Glenelg's) pledge. Much importance cannot, I think, be justly attached to these parsimonious donations, which do not, in their aggregate amount, much, if at all, exceed two thousand rupees, when it is borne in mind that the poor Irish soldiers have to contribute from their slender resources nearly as many thousands as the Government give hundreds; and also that Protestant chaplains and places of worship are provided entirely at the public cost. Catholic soldiers, with the exception already mentioned, continue solely dependent on the nearest Catholic missionary for spiritual aid. The station of Hazareebaugh may, probably, be deemed an exception, inasmuch as the missionary there has, I believe, no charge but the soldiers. He, however, receives only fifty rupees from government, and his expenses beyond that trifle are, I presume, defrayed by the voluntary contributions of the poor soldiers." …. "With reference to the above observations regarding the Government expenditure on account of the Church of England and Scotch kirk establishments, I beg to annex the following items of information, which I have obtained from sources which leave no possible doubt of their accuracy. You will observe, that with the exception of the bishop, the clergy under the Bengal presidency only are included. I have no immediate means of ascertaining the payments made on account of those under the Agra presidency. An allowance of 1,045 rupee;, paid monthly to the bishop as 'visitation allowance,' is not included, though I think it ought. I have struck out an item of 48 rupees for regulating the clock from the establishment of the kirk, because that is for public convenience. The government pays 853 rupees a month as rent for the site of the kirk!

Church of England salaries. Rs. 19,552 9 1
Establishments 3,484 2 3
Expence to Government monthly* Rs. 23,046 11 4
St. Andrew's Kirk, salaries of two Ministers 1,926 2 0
Ground-rent 853 5 4 2,779 7 4
The monthly expense to Government of the churches in Calcutta, not including repairs, is as follows:—
Cathedral, salary of two chaplains 2,627 5 3
Establishment 972 7 8
Total, Rs. 3,599 12 1
Mission Church salaries 1,600 0 0
Establishments 485 15 5
Total, Rs. 2,085 15 5
5,685 11 6
St. James's salary. 750 12 0
Establishment 405 4 5
1,156 5 0
St. Peter's Fort salary 900 0 0
Establishment 162 10 9
1,062 10 9
Monthly expense of Church of England in Calcutta Rs. 7,904 11 3
Add expense of Kirk 2,779 7 4
Total, Rs. 10,684 2 7
The handsome pensions to which chaplains become entitled must not be forgotten, nor the enormous expense of building and repairing churches, &c, the Kirk and St. Peter's, for example. He submitted to the House, that if they wished to encourage the Irish population to enlist in the army, and so to render themselves liable to be sent to the East Indies, they must make some provision which should render it probable at least that when they arrived there they should * The Church of England and Presbyterian establishments cost the East India Company upwards of ten lacs and a half per annum, independently of the expense of building and repairing churches. obtain some spiritual instruction and assistance. With these observations he should sit down. The right hon. Baronet the other evening had been rather angry at his suggesting, that the system which was adopted by the party of which the right hon. Baronet was the head—if indeed he were the head of it—was impolitic, but there was not a day which passed which did not convince him more and more that he was right, and the intelligence of that day afforded him additional proofs of the error of continuing the present insulting system of policy towards Ireland. He would not enter into details of what had already been frequently before the House, and of what would be again brought under their notice; but was it not wise, he asked, at such a time as this, when they might wish to augment our military force, first to make their alliance with Ireland firm. Let not the right hon. Baronet suppose, that he could have the cordial co-operation of the Irish people without doing them equal justice with the people of England. He warned the House, as it was his duty, against the consequences of the policy which was now adopted, in case of the receipt of further such menaces as had been received from America that day; but no man, he thought, would be so reckless as to continue to persevere in the course of policy now adopted towards that country. These subjects, he thought, were apposite to the subject of the army estimates, because he thought that they might lessen their amount, by attending to the views of the country.

Sir George Grey

would not enter at large into the questions which had been broached by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, but he rose for the purpose of saying a few words in reference to what had fallen from that hon. Gentleman, in allusion to the subject of the court-martial on Captain Reynolds. The hon. and learned Gentleman, in the observations which he had made, seemed to imply that the court-martial had excluded altogether the evidence which was proposed to be called before them upon the subject of circumstances which had occurred before the matter which was the subject of their immediate consideration. He thought it due to the members of that court to say, that was not the case, because they admitted evidence of the immediate provocation which Captain Rey- nolds had received, and on which he had written the letter; bat in reference to the conversation which it was in the recollection of the House was alleged to have taken place, and on which a breach of discipline had arisen, he admitted that they had refused to take it into consideration, and in his opinion they had refused to receive evidence upon that point rightly. If they had received the general evidence relating to the whole provocation which was alleged to have been given, they must have gone into an inquiry referring to circumstances which had occurred months and years before, and which had no reference to the act with which Captain Reynolds was charged; and he must say, that he thought that the rule which they had hid down was perfectly consistent with the justice of the case, and with their duty. The court-martial, it was to be observed, was convened for a specific object, and its members had no right to go back to events of long standing, and they would have exceeded the bounds of their duty if they had done so. He felt bound to make these observations in justice to the members of the court, and he did not think that they could have adopted any other course than that which they had taken. He had been absent from town at the time of the court-martial, and had, therefore, been prevented from attending that inquiry; but he entirely concurred in opinion that the recommendation of the court-martial was strictly in accordance with justice.

Sir De Lacy Evans

said, that he had the honour to be personally acquainted with several members of the court-martial, and undoubtedly he knew no men in whose honour he should place more reliance; but when he said this, he could not but express his regret that where a court was called for the examination of the conduct of a captain, so many of its members should be persons of the rank of commanding officers. The right hon. Judge Advocate-general had stated his opinion, and he did not question it with regard to the finding of the court, but although it was highly inconvenient that courts-martial should be prevented from expressing their opinion in many cases, yet this court-martial did assert an abstract principle, which it was difficult to carry out, which was, that no provocation at all could excuse disobedience to orders. He did not think that it would do to countenance the belief that any circumstances could be altogether considered excusatory of insubordination; but he thought that it would have been better to have omitted the assertion of this abstract principle. He did not wish to go into this question now, because it was subject which was extremely disagreeable to military men, but he could not help making a few observations, and he confessed that he was rather surprised at the view taken by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, who had expressed his belief that the clamour which had been raised was to be attributed to the fact of the commander of the 11th Hussars being a noble Lord; and he was the more surprised, because he conceived that such a rank was of very great advantage in any profession whatever. It was much easier, in his belief, for a noble Lord to render himself popular and agreeable with thaw who were of inferior rank than other persons, and he could not but allude to the fact that many men, who had procured for themselves the highest popularity, were noblemen. There were few men who had been more popular than the Marquess of Anglesey, and he would venture to say, that no Commoner had attained a greater degree of general favour than the Duke of Gordon. The adoption of this argument by the noble Lord, considering his ingenuity and talent, afforded, in his opinion, a convincing proof of the weakness of the case. The right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary at War, in the observations which he had made the other evening, had spoken of the Earl of Cardigan being placed upon the half-pay list, and of such a course being never adopted in cases where any species of punishment was intended to be inflicted; but he believed that if the right hon. Gentleman would inquire into the former proceedings of the army, he would find that officers who had fallen under the displeasure of the Commander-in-chief had been placed on the half-pay list without any discredit being attached to it. There were men now in the army of the highest honour, in reference to whom this had been done without discredit being by such a course cast upon the purposes for which the half-pay list was maintained. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin, had alluded to the subject of the great want of religious attention to the Catholic soldiers in the East-Indies. He was not so capable of entering into that question as the hon. and learned Member, but he begged leave to point out to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, another reason why this subject should receive the attention of the Government, which, as affecting the maintenance of order in the army, was, he thought, worthy of attention. It was well known that the greater part of the want of subordination in the army arose from intoxication, and he could not point out any more effectual means of checking this crime, than that of creating new opportunities among the soldiery of religious worship.

Mr. Warburton

thought that there were facts enough before the House to leave room for great regret that the inquiry into the conduct of the Earl of Cardigan had stopped where it did, and that no further inquiry was to take place. What was it that appeared on the face of the documents Which were before the public? That Lord Hill wrote a letter which was to be communicated to the officers of Lord Cardigan's regiment, in which it was stated that the regiment was in that condition that was not fit for domestic purposes, nor to be trusted in the field. So the regiment was to be in the state in which it was described to be, and yet no inquiry was to be made into the causes which had produced the existing state of things. What had passed the other night in the debate upon this subject? The right hon. the Master-general of the Ordnance, had stated that there was that, though not in the matter, yet in the manner of the commanding officer which had led to the results which had taken place. What had been stated with regard to the officers? An hon. and gallant Officer opposite had said that there was a cabal Amongst them against Lord Cardigan. So there was to be that in the manner of Lord Cardigan so offensive as to produce these results, and there was to be a cabal amongst the officers against that noble Lord, and Vet no inquiry was to take place, although they were told that the regiment, in consequence of these circumstances, was unfit for domestic or for active service. He considered these matters not as reflecting upon Lord Cardigan or upon the officers of his regiment, but as reflecting on the Commander-in-Chief of the army, and unless the inquiry which was suggested was to take place, nothing could put a stop to the continuance of a state of things highly detrimental to the service.

Lord John Russell

said, that it was not very regular for the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster, to answer arguments on that evening, which had been used in a former debate; but he could not regret that the hon. and gallant Member had, afforded him an opportunity of setting him right as to a misapprehension which he appeared to entertain, of what had on a former evening fallen from him. The hon. and gallant Member appeared to suppose that he had said that the clamour which had been raised in reference to this fact, was to be attributed to the circumstance of the commander of the 11th Hussars being a Peer. Undoubtedly the Earl of Cardigan was a Peer of the realm, and was a man of high rank; and he admitted to the hon. and gallant Member, that the fact of the Lieutenant-colonel of a regiment being a man of high rank was rather in his favour than otherwise, and that he was more likely, on that account, to conciliate the officers under his command. But what he had said, was, that disputes having arisen between such a noble individual and his officers, it was much more likely that any complaints which were made should be pushed before the public, and that public attention should be drawn to them, than if he were of inferior standing in society. In the case of a person of inferior rank in society, matters upon which disputes had arisen would have been referred, as in this case, to the Commander-in-Chief, and he would have declared his opinion upon them, and there it would have rested; but it was his opinion that, in consequence of the rank which the Earl of Cardigan held, there had been a great deal more made of the matter than there would have been in any ordinary case. He did not wish to enter into the details of the case; but if he were asked what were the merits of this question, he should say that they consisted of matters extremely frivolous in themselves, and he did not believe that if the same occurrences had happened with respect to any other officer, there would have been the same degree of public attention and excitement created. The hon. Member for Bridport, had urged that there ought to be a solemn court of inquiry upon this subject. It was the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief that these dissensions might be better composed by his stating his sentiments fairly and solemnly upon this subject, and he had sent the Adju- tant-general, an officer of high rank, to declare his opinions. He thought that, having received such an admonition, both the commanding officer and the subordinate officers were more likely in future to attend to their duties and live in harmony, than if there had been a discussion from day to day, before a court of inquiry, upon which the public mind would be much excited. He did not now wish to go further into the question than to explain that which he had said the other night. With regard to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, he did not wish to enter generally into the affairs of Canada. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, truly that the origin of the disturbances in Canada was now matter of history, and to the judgment of history he was content to leave it. But, with regard to what he had said as to the seminary of St. Sulpice, he would take this occasion to express his opinion that the ordinance agreed to by the special council, with the concurrence of the officers of the Crown, and of the Secretary of State, was founded upon a principle of justice towards a most deserving body of men. He thought that that ordinance was likely to give general satisfaction concerning a question which had long been matter of dispute, and he could out but conceive that any interference with it would be attributed to the benefits which might arise under it to the Roman Catholics; but he should look upon an interference upon such a ground, considering what was the present slate of Canada, and that it was our policy as well as justice to the Roman Catholics of that colony, and of every other place, to afford them all the protection that was due to the loyal subjects of the Crown, as involving a serious mistake. With regard to the other subject to which the hon. and learned Member had alluded as to the insufficiency of religious instruction to the Roman Catholic soldiery in the East Indies, be knew not what might be done by the East-India Company or the Government in India; but he admitted that they required the presence among them of ministers of their religion. He thought that every measure should be taken which could be properly adopted to secure the object pointed out by the hon. and learned Member; and that men acting in a military as well as a civil capacity should have every assistance afforded to them which could be given.

Sir A. Dalrymple

said, that having an intimate acquaintance with the neighbourhood of Brighton, in which the 11th hussars were quartered, he could slate, upon his own observation, that the men of that corps were as well-conducted men as toy he had ever seen in Brighton.

Sir H. Hardinge

desired to add that he could state, upon his own observation, that the officers and men of the regiment were in the best state of discipline.

Mr. Hume

wished to put a question to the right hon. Judge Advocate General. He begged to ask whether, at the courtmartial held upon Captain Reynolds, evidence was not tendered of a long series of insults alleged to have been offered by Lord Cardigan, to show the degree of provocation given by the Earl of Cardigan to his officers, and whether it was not usual on such occasions to note down the evidence tendered, in order that, when the subject should be brought before a higher tribunal, it might become the subject of; further inquiry? Officers were men, and were not to put up with insults without possessing the means of redress. It was because there was a refusal of all redress to them that he had said on a former occasion that he blamed Lord Hill more than the Earl of Cardigan. But he blamed the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War also, for he thought that it was his duty to see that justice was done, not only to Lord Cardigan, but to every individual, On the face of the proceedings he thought that there appeared to have been a gross act of injustice committed, and he thought that Lord Hill should retire from the office of Commander-in-Chief, being unfit to perform its duties. He had long entertained this opinion on other grounds, and he candidly stated that it was his opinion, without meaning any offence to Lord Hill, that that noble Lord should never have remained one hour at the head of the army after Earl Grey assumed the Government, But quitting this part of the case, he could not sit down without saying, that he thought that an inquiry aught to take place, and that, notwithstanding what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, public opinion was not to be set at defiance.

Mr. Macaulay

said, that he would appeal to the House whether he had said that public opinion should be set at defiance. He had used no such words. But he had said, and he always should say, that when he was satisfied that a certain course was required by his public duty on a case, the circumstances of clamour being raised, which was in a degree unjust and intemperate, was only an additional reason why a man of spirit and confidence should firmly do that which he considered himself bound to perform. No one respected the opinion of his countrymen more than he did, and he did so because he believed that they were willing to hear what was to be said on both sides of a question, because he believed that there was a disposition in this country to respect men who, even in opposition to a strong public clamour, should discover and act upon their conscientious feelings. He believed that the course which the Government had taken, was that which was just to the service, and which would really promote the true interests of the country, and, because he thought so, no clamour and no intemperate view of the case should drive him on. He had not intended to rise upon this occasion, and he had only addressed the House in consequence of what had fallen from the hon. Member for Kilkenny. He believed, that he could make many corrections as to matters of fact which had been alluded to in the course of the evening. He would refer to the expressions attributed to him by the hon. Member for Bridport, which Were not such as he had used. He believed that the communication of Lord Hill was a general admonition to the regiment, to the effect that the dissensions between the commanding officer, and some of the other officers, had a tendency to render the corps inefficient. There was, on the other hand, abundance of evidence to show that Lord Cardigan, whatever might be the grounds of complaint against him, had brought the regiment into the highest state of discipline, and that this had occurred within an extraordinarily short time after its return from India. He could not sit down without adverting to what had fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, on the subject of the condition of the Roman Catholic soldiers in the army. He quite agreed with the hon. and learned Member, that whatever opinions we might hold, or whatever measures we might adopt, as to our religious establishments at home, the recruit of the Roman Catholic persuasion who was taken up in Ireland and conveyed 15,000 miles off, into the midst of a Pagan country, ought to be provided by the State with the comforts of his religion. Not only the happiness and virtue, but the discipline also of the troops would, he was satisfied, be promoted by such a course. The government of India had always acted upon the same view, but he would make it his duty to make a representation to the Court of Directors in order that it might be, if found necessary, more fully acted upon.

Sir R. Peel

rose only because the hon. Member for Kilkenny had admitted that he entertained a strong prepossession against Lord Hill. It appeared from what the hon. Member said, that with him the original grievance was, that Lord Hill should have been continued in the command of the army on the accession of Earl Grey to office. These two admissions of the hon. Member unfortunately did lead to the inference that it was highly probable that the hon. Member's prepossession against Lord Hill had exercised some sway over his judgment with regard to the case of Lord Cardigan. He did not consider that the Government could have acted otherwise than they had done with regard to Lord Cardigan. It would certainly have been unwise to have placed him on half-pay. They had been informed that, according to the custom of the service, there was not sufficient in the case to justify a court-martial, still less was there ground for a court of inquiry. Indeed, he thought it a matter for grave consideration whether, under any circumstances, a course of inquiry should be instituted. He considered the Commander-in-Chief a much better authority, as to that matter, than the House of Commons. Where matters so vague as the manners, or looks, or casual expressions, of an individual, were to form the subject of inquiry, a satisfactory result was not likely to be come to, and he thought a wise discretion had been exercised in letting the case be decided by a man holding the station of Commander-in-Chief, whose public services entitled him to the highest respect, and whose private character exempted him from any suspicion of partiality. He was bound also in justice to say, that he could not see what motive the executive government could have to protect Lord Cardigan. He was not connected with them by political ties: on the contrary, it was quite evident that some temporary popularity was to be gained by making a sacrifice of Lord Cardigan. He did not think that Lord Cardigan was entitled to any particular favour, but it was quite as inconsistent with fairness that he should, because he was a man of rank, be exposed to that injustice which he had met with from the greater portion of the press, from which a man of inferior rank would have been exempt. He hoped that the same sense of justice which had induced the Government to act as they already had done in this case, would induce them to continue in the same course.

Colonel Salwey

thought there was great inconsistency in the statements made relative lo the present condition of the regiment commanded by Lord Cardigan. The right hon. the Secretary at War had spoken of that corps as being in a high state of inefficiency, whilst on the other side of the House an hon. and gallant General (Sir H. Hardinge) had stated that a cabal existed among the officers of that regiment. That was, in his opinion, the most unfortunate expression that could have fallen from any gallant Officer in that House. He never heard it stated that any cabal existed in that regiment. Though he had not the honour of being acquainted with Captain Reynolds—better known as "black-bottle" Captain Reynolds—yet he believed that Gentleman would be the last to form any cabal against his commanding officer. He was sorry to hear such an expression from the hon. and gallant General opposite.

Sir Henry Hardinge

said, that the expression he had really used was, that the differences in the regiment partook of the nature of a cabal among a few of the officers—a statement he was quite justified in making, because the same expression had been used by the Horse Guards. So far from his being in a position to state that all the officers in the regiment were in a state of cabal, the fact was, that, with the exception of three or four, there did not exist any difference or misunderstanding between the officers and their commander. No doubt circumstances might have occurred which were magnified into undue importance. He did not mean to eater into a justification of Lord Cardigan, but he must say, he thought that he had been treated with undeserved severity, and that his conduct had not merited that severe censure which it bad met. It was admitted, that the regiment which the noble Lord commanded was organised and conducted with the greatest propriety, and that it was in as good a condition as any regiment in the service.

House in committee of supply.