HC Deb 27 February 1843 vol 66 cc1358-76
.Sir H. Hardinge

rose to move the Army estimates. The estimate proposed for the present year ending on the 31st of March, 1844, was 6,225,1032l., which showed a decrease as compared with the former year of 139,323l. The number of officers, noncommissioned officers, and rank and file proposed to be maintained, exclusive of the troops employed in the East Indies, was 100,846l. It was, however, intended to effect a reduction in the rank and file of the above numbers by suspending the recruiting in fifty-nine regiments at home and abroad, until their numbers were reduced to 740 rank and file each. The total reduction intended to be effected as compared with the numbers provided by the supplementary estimate of July, 1842, was 5,740 rank and file. To aid in effecting the reduction, three regiments, intended last year to have been raised from 800 to 1,200 rank and file each, would not be augmented. It was also intended to bear on the present estimates four regiments returning from India and China at 740, instead of 1,000 rank and file each, by allowing them to fall through casualties to 740 rank and file each. He believed the hon. Member for Montrose approved of the mode in which it was intended to effect this reduction, not by making any reduction of regiments, but by not filling up the casualties as they occurred. It was necessary in the estimates to put the number of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men at 100,846, because that was the number of the establishments of the regiments as they at present existed, and it was necessary to insert that number in the Mutiny Act, but the reduction would be effected during the year. A saving of 133,000l would be the result of the diminution of 5,740 men. Her Majesty's Government had made this reduction in consequence of the satisfactory termination of the late events in Affghanistan and China, and, he might add, the improved state of affairs in British North America, as well in consequence of the settlement of the boundary question as of the internal quiet of Canada. In China there had been five Queen's regiments. Two would be withdrawn during the present year, and three would remain in the island of Hong Kong. From India two regiments would return to Europe during the present year. From Canada, three regiments would be withdrawn as soon as the season permitted, and would not be replaced. Since he had last laid the estimates before the House, two battalions of the guards, one regiment of cavalry, and another regiment of infantry had been withdrawn; making a reduction of 5,000 troops in Canada, exclusive of the reduction of 2,300 paid volunteers in Canada, the present expense of which was 105,000l. When hon. Members asked why there had not been on the whole force a greater reduction, he must remind them that the force at home did not so much depend upon the necessities of the home service, as on the required relief of our troops abroad. He did not shut his eyes to the state of this country, and to the amount of distress in Manchester and elsewhere; he recollected that under like circumstances, three years ago, the noble Lord opposite had come forward and asked for 5,300 additional men, expressly on account of the disturbed state of England; at the same time he had always argued that the amount of the force at home must depend upon the necessity of the numbers employed abroad. About two-thirds of the force were employed abroad, and it required at least one-third to be at home to supply the necessary reliefs for those abroad. And here he would shortly allude to the state of our troops on foreign stations. If they took the state of India and China during the last four years, they would find that nine additional European regiments had been employed in those quarters beyond the ordinary peace establishments. In Canada, during the last five years, there had been ten additional battalions; that was to say, there were nine battalions in Canada in 1837, and there were nineteen battalions in 1843. So that in these two quarters alone there had been employed nineteen battalions beyond the ordinary peace establishments of the country. He would ask whether it were possible to adhere to the number of 103 battalions which was the peace establishment to perform all the duties of war, without disturbing the relief of other battalions in other colonies? It was the pressure of these nineteen battalions employed in these two quarters alone that had disturbed all the reliefs. The House would see, too, from these circumstances, that it was quite impossible to make a reduction in the number of troops and with the same rapidity as they received the news of their successes. Two regiments were coming home from China; but it was impossible to make the reduction till the troops should arrive in this country. So with respect to Canada, the troops could not be withdrawn till the season permitted. Under all circumstances, therefore, he contended that the present reduction of 5,740 men was as large as could reasonably be expected. It was very important for the well being of the troops, and for the discipline of the army, that they should be periodically relieved, and that they should not remain abroad for a very long period. He would instance three regiments coming home from India: one had been there twenty years and a half, another had been twenty years, and a third had been twenty one years and a few months in India. Was that a fair and reasonable proportion of time for service abroad? When he informed the House that Lord Liverpool's Government had laid down the principle that troops should serve ten years abroad and five years at home, that the same principle had been adopted by the Government of the Duke of Wellington, that it had been maintained by the Governments of Lords Grey and Melbourne, and had been assented to by his right hon. Friend the present First Lord of the Treasury, he would ask whether such long service abroad as that which he had stated was proper? It was necessary for the maintenance of the discipline of the troops, and for their health, that their hopes of relief should not be disappointed. The arrival of the battalions on these shores would give future relief to the army at large, of which at present they were greatly in need. Of the twenty-three regiments in England, except one which was under orders to go abroad, there were none which had been more than three years at home. It must take some time to recruit the energy of British soldiers; and if they looked at those regiments which were three years at home, and from fifteen, eighteen, or twenty years if abroad, they must see that previously the required relief not being forthcoming, those energies could not be repaired. Without entering upon the question of the distresses of the people, or of the large establishments obliged to be kept up to coerce the people alluded to by the hon. Member for Coventry, it was necessary for the well-being of the army, and for the health of the men, that there should be an interval of repose from colonial service; and these considerations which had been concurred in by all Governments, had rendered it necessary to regulate the number at home by the larger number employed abroad. With regard to the West Indies, they had been enabled to effect the reliefs regularly, every battalion had been relieved in three years. This regulation had been pressed by the noble Lord opposite the late Secretary-at-War; it did the noble Lord great credit, and it had had the effect of conferring great, benefits on the service. His noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Lord Stanley), whose absence, and particularly the cause, of it, he much regretted had been able also to withdraw one battalion from the West-Indies, which would not be replaced. During the last year there were two companies added to the 3rd West India regiment which enabled the Government to withdraw one European battalion from the West Indies, with regard to the Cape of Good Hope, another battalion was on its way to the Cape, and a cavalry regiment would be sent; these were required in consequence of the state of things at Port Natal, to which it was not necessary further to refer. In Australia there would be 1,000 more troops than last year. There were in that colony 17,000 or 18,000 convicts, men of desperate characters and of vicious propensities, and the lives and properties of the settlers were not safe unless they were protected by an additional force. The force had been necessarily increased from time to time. In 1820 the whole force, was only 550 men; in 1822 there were 600 or 700; and the number had gone on increasing till there were 5,000 men in Australia. But at the same time that there had been this progressive increase in this colony, the numbers of the regiment of the infantry of the line had been in a great degree stationary. He admitted that, since 1835, there had been an increase of 13,000 men. He had, however, shown how they were disposed of. The vote he proposed for the charge of the land service in the United Kingdom and in the colonies was 3,619,3257l., being 133,592 less than last year. The vote he proposed for the staff at home and abroad (exclusive of India) was 165,301l being a decrease on the year of 1,721l. There had been a decrease in this vote for the staff abroad of 5,330l. He admitted, however, that there had been an increase at home, and for the following reasons: — During the disturbances of the last year, it was necessary for the direction of the movement of the troops, and, in consequence of the large force which was collected in the manufacturing districts, that another lieutenant general and major general should be employed in that service; for, notwithstanding the ability and the efficiency of his gallant Friend in command of the northern district, it was impossible, from the general character of the disturbances, and the great extent of country over which they extended, that one man, with a small staff could regulate all the movements. It might, perhaps, be mentioned, that the force drawn together at the period of those disturbances was 10,000 troops, and from 6,000 to 7,000 Yeomanry Cavalry. In all duties and emergencies of this kind it was of great moment that every thing should be well conducted, and that there should be no delay in sending the orders direct to the point mentioned. He hoped that he had given sufficient reasons for this increase at home, The next vote was for the public departments, for which he proposed a sum of 88,075l. being an increase of 5,608l. This was a great increase, but it arose partly from the increase of the postage charge which he was afraid would show an increase every year, for the correspondence increased, and although the departments paid their postage, there was a great unwillingness on the part of their correspondents to pay the penny, and the letters coming to the offices were, therefore charged twopence. The consequence was, that there was an increase for postage of 3,000l.; there was, likewise, an addition of 360l. for clerks, and also an increase of 2,515l. in the pay of the Commander-in-chief, because hon. Members must be aware that the Duke of Wellington, as a field marshal, received larger pay than a lieutenant-general when acting as Commander-in-chief The next vote was, 13,606l. for the Royal Military Asylum and Hibernian School, being a decrease of 1,403l. The next vote was for the Volunteer corps, Which, last year, was 82,458l., and was raised this year to 117,787l, being an increase of 35,329l. This large increase arose from the pay and allowance to the troops called out for service during the late disturbances. 19,000l. was required to defray the expenses incurred for their duty in aid of the civil power beyond the amount provided for that service in 1842- 43. There were also 1,407 additional men, to whom it was necessary to pay three years in advance for clothing and equipments, amounting to 12,663l but this expense would be diminished in future years. There was also an increase in this vote of 3,600l., upon account for the expense of corps when assembled for exercise or for permanent duty, or in aid of the civil power, and expense of inspecting field officers. There was also this year a new head of unprovided services of former years, amounting to 1,373l. He had transferred the army extraordinary to the ordinary estimates for future years, under the head of unprovided services: a practice which he had seen established with success in the Ordnance department. These eight votes closed the whole of the votes for the effective service, and amounted together to 4,005,469l, being a diminution since last year of 94,836l. He came now to the votes for the non-effective services. The rewards for military services amounted to 14,451l., being a decrease on the year of 830l. The vote for the army pay of general officers was 89,000l., being a decrease of 9,000l., owing he lamented to say, to the decease of general officers. There had been a decrease of 15,000l. in the vote for the full pay of retired officers, the whole vote being 457,000l.; and a decrease of 2,508l. in the foreign half-pay, the vote for which this year was 55,925l. The hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Williams) had complained of the small decrease in the half-pay since the year 1818. He had not the amount for that year; but he would take for comparison the year 1821, because he believed it would be found that the half-pay was still heavier in that year than in 1818, a larger proportion of troops having been disbanded. The half-pay of retired officers, general officers, and foreign half-pay, had been diminished since 1821, owing to the death of 6,949 officers, by the sum of 647,416l. The reduction under another head since he (Sir H. Hardinge) was Secretary at War in 1829, including the commutation of 20,000 pensions, had diminished the estimates 281,000l.' Under two heads alone he found that the half-pay to officers and men, and military allowances, as compared with the year 1821, had been diminished by the sum of 928,416l. He hoped that, in the opinion of hon. Members opposite, this statement of diminution would be satisfactory. The vote for widow's pensions was 140,760l., being a decrease on the year of 733l. As that vote reached 148,000l. some years ago, and was now only 140,760l he trusted that it had reached its maximum, and that hon. Gentlemen would not now grudge the vote when they recollected that, by this provision, they aided the families of many poor but distinguished officers, such as Colonel Dennie, for whom he had to apply to the Treasury, and her Majesty showing the utmost anxiety to provide for his mother's and daughter's support. The proposed vote for compassionate allowances this year was 118,000l., being a decrease of 2,500l. upon the whole of the non-effective service. He could show that there had been a diminution in the dead weight of 1,000,000l. With regard to another important item, for the in pensioners of Chelsea and Kilmainham hospitals, and the out-pensioners of Chelsea Hospital, the proposed vote was 1,239,498l. for 73,500 pensioners, being a decrease on the year of 11,916l. He had said before that there had been a diminution of 20,000 pensioners during the last thirteen years, and he believed that the diminution was going on at the rate of 1,200 or 1,300 men a-year. In the course of the year he had appointed a certain number of staff-officers to be attached to the large towns in Scotland, to superintend the pensioners there. He hoped to be able to adopt the same plan in other large towns for although no decision had yet been come to, the question was under the consideration of the Treasury whether the same plan should not be extended to Great Britain. In his opinion the system had proved completely successful in Scotland. At the time of the appointment there were 200 pensioners receiving parochial relief, and now there were not more than 19 or 20. This superintendence had improved the condition of the pensioners, by the substitution of weekly for quarterly payments. He had also established the same principle in six of the principal towns of England such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, Bristol, and Halifax. He believed it would answer very well, and that the good effect would fully compensate for the extra expense in the estimates. The last vote was for superannuation allowances of 41,000l., being the same vote as last year. The total decrease of the non effective services was 44,487l. The sum required for the nine last votes was 2,219,634l. The sum required for the effective services, as he had stated, was 4,005,469l making total charge for 1843-4 of 6,225,103l., and showing a diminution of 139,323l. on the charge of the present votes compared with the charge in the year 1842-3. He would not detain the House by any further remarks, but would conclude by moving,— That the number of land forces not exceeding 100,846 men, exclusive of the men employed in the territorial possessions of the East India Company, commissioned and non-commissioned officers, be maintained for the service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from the 1st day of April, 1843, to the 31st day of March, 1844,

Mr. Hume

was of opinion that the country was entitled to reduction beyond that which had been announced by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary at War. He thought, that the colonies, and the Canadian colonies especially, were entitled to complain that they were subjected to the burthen of too large a body of troops. Canada was now in a state of perfect quiet. She wanted no troops at all; the colonists were quite capable of defending their own territory; or, at all events, a body of 1,500 men would be amply sufficient for her defences. For her internal government the presence of troops was no longer necessary. The new system of policy which had been introduced by the present Government, had done much to re-establish peace and contentment, and the colonists themselves were most thankful for the change. He called upon the right hon. Baronet to withdraw the troops from that colony; and he begged to point out that if this were done, the duties on cotton and wool might be repealed, and thus two most important branches of trade might be relieved. With regard to the Cape of Good Hope, he believed, that no increase of our military force was necessary there. He believed, that the grossest acts of injustice had been committed there, and that if this were not so, 3,000 men would not have been found to quit their homes and fly to the wilderness rather than remain the slaves of unjust power. Why were fresh forces being now sent out? It was to undertake fresh operations against these unfortunate men— to hunt them down and destroy them. He believed, that the present position of this colony was owing to the course of management which had been hitherto pursued towards these persons; and that neither contentment nor peace would be restored until they were allowed to have a voice in the management of their own concerns. Our Australian colonies had now arrived at that point, he thought, when they should bear their own expenses. He admitted, that if we sent convicts to them, we were bound to send the means of their maintenance. If a smaller number of troops were kept in our colonies, the reliefs on the system proposed by the Government of keeping the troops ten years abroad, and five years at home, might be carried out with a considerable reduction of the army. In a general point of view also, he thought, that the time had come for a reduction of our military force. Our position in Europe, he felt, called for such a step. We gained no respect by maintaining such a large body of troops. Our power only led us into aggression, such as that of Affghanistan, and our aggressions made all the world rejoice at our defeats. He believed, he was sorry to say, that our disasters in that country had been heard of with pleasure throughout Europe. It was our interest then to assume a position of independence, and show that we feared no unexpected attack. Why not follow the example of France? What had she done in the last two years? Her force had been reduced from nearly 500,000 to 344,000 men. Let her Majesty's Government display its magnanimity; let there be an immediate reduction from 97,000, which was to be the standing force, to the old number 75,000 men. Considering the distressed condition of the country and the present state of peace, he thought a reduction might be made in the force of the army to the extent of 20,000 men. If the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government would consent to reduce the military forces of the country to what they were in 1835, he would at once be enabled to get rid of the Income-tax. With a view Of entering his protest against the maintenance of the proposed force, he should move to reduce the number of men from 100,846 as proposed by the right hon. and gallant Member opposite, to 90,846 men.

Lord A. Lennox

could not, as a soldier, allow this opportunity to pass without expressing his grateful thanks to the right hon. and gallant Member below him, for the great boon he had conferred upon the service by the warrant of the 19th of October 1842, regulating the passage al- lowance to officers in the army. He was also happy to find, that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was prepared to carry out the intention of the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland (Lord Howick), as to the formation of libraries in the various barracks, and of making arrangements for manly exercises and games among soldiers, in order to fill up their vacant time when not engaged in duty or at drill. By these means, it could not be doubted that the moraleof the army would be much improved. He could not avoid also calling the attention of the right hon. and gallant Officer to a subject which he had before pointed out as one of the greatest evils in the service— he alluded to the retiring pension of 6d. per day granted to discharged soldiers. It had been said, it was a great object to get a better class of men to enlist; but was it to be expected that good men would enlist, when all they had to look to for their support after the service of a quarter of a century, was the miserable pittance of 3s. 6d. per week? After such a period of service, often in unhealthy climates, they could not go back to the plough or to the loom, from which they originally came. He asked for some advance to these deserving men, and hoped the Government would not leave them to the tender mercies of the hon. Member for Montrose. Again, he wished also to point out another matter for the attentive consideration of the Government—he meant the subject of the pensions to the widows of officers of the army. The right hon. and gallant Member below him (Sir H. Hardinge), was well aware that under certain limitations every officer's widow was entitled to a certain pension. The widow of a major, for instance, was entitled to 70l. a-year; but if that major had purchased unattached rank, paying double the actual value of the commission—namely, 1,300l. for half-pay rank, and 1,300l. more for full-pay rank, and if he happened to die before he was put on full-pay, his widow was prevented from obtaining any pension whatever. Many cases of great hardship had occurred in this respect, and he trusted the subject would meet with due attention from the Government. He could not help remarking upon that part of the speech of the hon. Member for Montrose, in which he made the extraordinary statement that all Europe had rejoiced at the recent dis- comfitures of the British army, especially in Afghanistan; and then, in the same breath, the hon. Member called upon the Government to reduce the strength of the army. This was an argument which would not hold good in the committee he had now the honour of addressing.

Captain Layard:

I trust the kind indulgence of the House will be granted to one who having been twenty years in her Majesty's service, has made it his pleasure, as well as his business, to inquire in what manner the comfort and happiness might be best consulted of those to whom, in my mind, the country is so much indebted—I speak of the private soldier; and I trust the House will give me credit for sincerity while pleading their cause, however I may be found wanting in ability. When the right hon. Baronet the Secretary at War last Session of Parliament brought forward the army estimates, I then stated my belief that considerable advantage would arise to the good discipline of the service by allowing men of good conduct a free discharge at the expiration of ten years. I believe that by such being the case, desertion would be much less frequent, a better description of men would enter the service, and that many a man now, who is a worthless character from the utter hopelessness he has of getting a release from a service for which, for many reasons, he may find himself totally unfitted, would, from having such a prospect before him become a valuable and efficient soldier. And I can truly say I was greatly delighted by finding this opinion was coincided with by that of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary at War. I, therefore, have every reason to hope that this beneficial measure will be carried into effect. The next circumstance to which I wish to call the attention of the House is the benefit that would be derived by allowing the wives and children of soldiers when suffering from sickness, to be received into wards of the regimental hospital, set apart for that purpose or, if that could not be done, that a separate hospital might be built at each military station for their accommodation. The women and children of the private soldier, when taken ill, are obliged to be sent out of barracks for fear of infection to the men. When suffering from disease they naturally conceal it as long as possible, well knowing the misery they will have to endure, when depending on the pittance, which is all they can expect, from the pay of a private soldier; and I do think, that it is shocking to the feelings of humanity, that it is not unfrequently the case that these unfortunate women have to undergo the pains of childbirth in the room with five or six men. I believe that the men would be very glad to pay, as far as in their power, to meet any additional expense, and it is my firm conviction that the extra trouble which must arise to the surgeons would be cheerfully borne by them. I feel convinced that this would be the case; because all who know them can bear witness that no set of men in the world are more actuated by the feelings of humanity, kindness, and generosity, than the medical men in the British service. There is another circumstance that weighs very seriously upon the good conduct of the soldier, upon his first entering the British service, which is the smallness of the bounty. A cavalry soldier's bounty and equipment money comes to 6l 17s. 6d.—his whole kit costs 8l. 3s. 7½d an infanty soldier's bounty comes to 3l 17s. 6d. his kit to 4l. 9s. 10½d., leaving him in debt 12s. 473x00BD;d. Now, the man upon enlistment is not aware that this money is to be laid out upon equipments; and on being, after his first joining, settled with by the officer of his troop, he is greatly disheartened at finding a debt against him, which, to a man in that situation, is considerable, instead of receiving a sum of money he had a right to expect; and it is my belief that many a man has deserted soon after his joining by thinking he has been deceived from this circumstance, and and therefore thinking it less harm to deceive others. I am happy to say, that desertion, like all other crime, is becoming less prevalent in the army. I believe that a system of rewards would still more lessen all crime. I can bear witness to the excellent effects of the distinctions for good conduct and extra pay, which measure was brought forward by the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland. But every one who is interested in the welfare of the soldier must most deeply deplore that it should ever for a moment have been thought necessary to reduce the pension to the miserable pittance of 6d. a day. What! can this country, the richest in the world, afford for her gallant defenders no better reward? Are those who have carried her standard to victory in the most remote climes, have never flinched before the enemy, or, what is still more trying, have never hesitated to ex- pose themselves to the vicissitudes of climate, who have brought to a happy and prosperous conclusion the wars in Affghanistan and China, and by whose discipline and good conduct the late unhappy risings in the manufacturing districts were brought to so happy a termination—I call upon you, at a time when honours and distinctions are being given to those who commanded them on those occasions, and deservedly given, not to forget those on whom these successes have so mainly depended; and when it is remembered that the life of a soldier does not average above forty years, I feel persuaded, that the country will not think it too much to ask for a shilling a-day retirement for the few who escape so many viscissitudes. Since the last time the right hon. Baronet brought forward the army estimates, that army has suffered a very severe loss from the death of that excellent and brave man, Lord Hill; but while we drop a tear to the memory of the soldier's friend, there is no reason we should sorrow as men without hope. In having our present: Commander-in Chief, who can for a moment suppose that the nterest of the private soldier will not be attended to? Far from it; we have every reason to believe that he who has been their victorious leader through 100 fights, having proved their merits and deserts, will use that influence which he so largely possesses in seeing those merits properly rewarded. I now sincerely thank the House for the attention it has granted me, and shall feel that I shall be well rewarded for the attention I have paid to this subject, for the number of years I have been in the service, if anything that has fallen from so humble an individual should be the cause of the country rewarding more adequately the deserts of the private soldier.

Mr. W. Williams

observed, that in 1822, which was like the present year in one respeet, namely, the prevalence of distress, but which was hot, as now, amongst the working and manufacturing classes; it was amongst the rich agriculturists; the Government were compelled to make a great reduction in the army. This was just at the time when the Currency Bill began to produce such direful effects, and the right hon. Baronet the present Secretary for the Home Department was most active in his exertions to cut down the expenditure of the country. In 1822 the army was 91,700, in 1823 it was 92,000. and in 1824 it was increased to 96,000. The average of these three years would give the number of the army at 93,000, exclusive of those in India. He could not conceive that there could be any sound reason for having upwards of 13,000 men more now in the army than was deemed necessary in those years. The right hon. Gentleman had shown that, with the three regiments he had alluded to, there could be a shorter period of relief, but this could not justify them making such an enormous addition to the army. He was satisfied that, if the landed interest was in a similar state of distress to what it was in 1822, there would be a ready expression of feeling in that House to reduce the army even to a greater extent than was proposed by his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, but as distress prevailed at present only amongst the manufacturers and working classes, there was no expression of sympathy on the subject. With respect to widow's pensions, he would only observe that he would be the last person in that House to refuse them in cases where the officer had served the country, but he complained that they were too often made a matter of patronage, and were often bestowed in cases in which no service had been rendered to the state, but were conferred merely from the aristocratic connection of the party.

Sir H. Hardinge

denied, that the bestowal of pensions on the widows of officers had anything whatever to do with the aristocratic connection of the parties. The hon. Member was altogether mistaken as to the principle on which the pensions were granted, and the regulations were of such a nature, that pensions could not be granted unless proofs were given of the service of the officer whose widow applied for it. There were some hardships at present as regarded the pensions to officers' widows. For instance, there was a regulation under which a widow forfeited her pension if she re-married. He had known several instances of great hardship arise out of this regulation, and it was one that was not framed by the Government, but the adoption of it was forced on the War office by the recommendation of a Finance Committee of that House. He recollected, that soon after the war, some such regulation was found to exist, and was considered to be a great hardship on officers' widows. The matter was brought under the notice of Parliament by Lord Littleton in that House, and by Lord Lansdowne in the other; and the regulation appeared to be of such a harsh character, that it was rescinded. The Finance Committee of 1828, however, recommended that it should be again adopted, and this recommendation, of course, was equivalent to forcing the adoption of the rule on the War-office. By the regulations now in force, no officer's widow could get a pension, if her late husband had not served on full pay for ten years, nor could any officer's widow obtain a pension whose husband married her after he was sixty years of age. With respect to the observation of the hon. Member for Montrose, that the reliefs should be so regulated that regiments should serve ten years abroad and five years at home, and that this arrangement could be effected, if they kept a smaller number of troops in the colonies, the hon. Gentleman said, that the number of troops in our colonies was much too great, and that the force in Canada should be reduced to 2,000. He would not go into the question of Canada, as that was a point so involved in political considerations, that it would require separate discussion; but he must express his entire dissent from the sweeping observations of the hon. Gentleman, that the force kept up in all our colonies was too large. He would challenge the hon. Gentleman to point out a single colonial possession belonging to this country in which the number of troops was too great. A committee sat upon this subject a few years ago, in 1834 and 1835, of which the hon. Gentleman was a Member, and it most carefully and zealously investigated the whole question of military expenditure in our colonies, and also as to the amount of force which was kept up in each of them; and the result was, after two years' investigation, that they came to a resolution, that there could not, with safety to the colonial interests of this country, be any reduction of troops in any of them. In some of our colonies it was found that they had been left with fewer troops than was deemed necessary for their safety. The result of the committee of 1834 and 1835 was, that there was not a single regiment too many employed in the colonial service. His noble Friend, the Member for Chichester, had alluded to the small amount of pensions given to the veteran soldier, after twenty-four or twenty-five years' service. He could assure his noble Friend, that the matter had not escaped the consideration of the proper authorities, and although he could not make any further announcement at present, still he might observe, that the subject would not be lost sight of. With regard to what fell from the gallant Officer opposite (Captain Layard) on the subject of the free discharge of soldiers after a certain number of years' service, he would observe, that in 1829, he carefully considered the whole subject, with the view of seeing whether some means could not be devised for lightening the dead weight of the army. In consequence of this arrangement, a man could obtain his discharge after fourteen years' service, and on the payment of a certain sum, after a smaller number of years service. When this graduated scale for purchasing a soldier's discharge from the army, varying between seven and fourteen years, was first suggested, it was strongly objected to, but experience had proved the advantage of the regulation. The existence of this regulation had tended to remove much of that dissatisfaction which formerly prevailed in the minds of persons against their relations entering the army, and it was also found to work beneficially in diminishing the inducement to desertion. He found that the number of men, who had purchased their discharge from the service, under the regulation of 1829, was not less than 13,000, and the amount received for the purchase of their discharges was 252,000l. But if the amount that was saved by the savings of pensions was also taken into account, the benefit that had accrued to the public under this regulation, would be found to be not less than 450,000l. As far as he could judge from the data in his office, the regulation with respect to free discharge after fourteen years' service, had been found to be attended with the greatest advantage. He was not then prepared to say whether the period of service under this regulation might not be reduced from fourteen to ten years; but he would promise the gallant Officer that the subject should receive due consideration in the proper quarter. With respect to raising the bounty on enlisting, he would only say, that he was aware that it often happened that many of the soldiers were unhappy for several months after entering the service, in consequence of being in debt for their kits, and that this often induced men to desert from their regiments; this was a matter which deserved consideration. He trusted that the House would not sanction the amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose; and he must say, that he never recollected an instance where a case for reduction was so badly made out.

Colonel Peel

merely wished to make one observation with respect to the complaint that had been made as to the defective state of the muskets in the British army, and as to the assertion that the British soldiers were worse armed than any other European army. The matter had excited a great deal of attention at the Board of Ordnance, and steps had been taken by which the soldiers of the British army would be gradually armed with percussion muskets.

Sir A. L. Hay

could confirm the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary at War, as to the proceedings of the committee of 1834, and which came to the determination, after the most attentive examination of the matter, that no further reduction could be made in the force employed in the colonies, with any regard to the safety of those possessions. If the hon. Gentleman could prove that the force employed in the colonies was more than adequate for the public service, there would be some ground for the motion, but the hon. Gentleman had done nothing of the kind. The hon. Member said, that if there were only 2,000 soldiers kept in Canada, that it would be much easier to give them relief; but this was begging the question, for the hon. Gentleman must, in the first instance, show that the amount of force that he had stated was all that was necessary for the defence and preservation of that important colony. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the reduction which had been made in the French army, but he should recollect that the colonial possessions of France could not be put on a parallel with those belonging to this country. After the clear and able statement of his right hon. and gallant Friend, the Secretary at War, he felt it unnecessary to trouble the House at greater length, but certainly must say that no case had been made out to justify the adoption of the amendment.

Sir H. Douglas

said, that having lately returned from service in an important possession connected with this country, he felt called upon to say a few words before the committee came to a decision on the question. He could assure the House that the force stationed in the Ionian Islands had been reduced to such an extent as to make the duty most harassing to the troops; and it was found that such was the severity of the service, that the health of the soldiers was rapidly declining under it. He had felt it to be his duty to make repeated applications in the proper quarter for an increase of force; and although the justice of the application was uniformly admitted, yet he was always met with the observation that the exigencies of the service prevented any other arrangement than then existed. He felt a great deal of difficulty in bringing his mind to sanction the proposition of the Government for the reduction of the army, knowing as he did the various and arduous services that it was called upon to perform in all parts of the world; but he certainly should most strongly protest against the adoption of any such proposition as that of the hon. Member for Montrose.

Mr. Hume

, in reply said, that he should have no difficulty in showing clearly that the committee of 1834 had arrived at erroneous conclusions as to awarding the number of troops to the several colonies.

The committee divided on the question as proposed by Mr. Hume, that the number of land forces for the year be 90,846 men.—Ayes 20; Noes 106:—Majority 86.

List of the AYES.
Blake, M. J. Marsland, H.
Blake, Sir V. Roebuck, J. A.
Blewitt, R. J. Strickland, Sir G.
Bowring, Dr. Thornely, T.
Brotherton, J. Turner, E.
Browne, hon. W. Wawn, J. T.
Cobden, R. Wood, B.
Crawford, W. S. Yorke, H. R.
Duncan, Visct.
Duncan, G. TELLERS.
Fielden, J. Hume, J.
Johnson, Gen. Williams, W.
List of the NOES.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Christopher, R. A.
Arkwright, G. Clerk, Sir G.
Astell, W. Clive, Visct.
Baird, W. Clive, hon. R. H.
Baring, hon. W. B. Colborne, hn. W. N. R.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Colebroke, Sir T. E.
Boldero, H. G. Corry, rt. hon. H.
Botfield, B. Damer, hon. Col.
Broadley, H. Darby, G.
Bruce, Lord E. Davies, D. A. S.
Busfield, W. Denison, E. B.
Campbell, A. Douglas, Sir H.
Chetwode, Sir J. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Duncombe, hon. A. Mainwaring, T.
Ebrington, Visct. Manners, Lord J.
Eliot, Lord Marton, G.
Fitzroy, Capt. Master, T. W. C.
Flower, Sir J. Masterman, J.
Forbes, W. Meynell, Capt.
Fox, C. R. Morgan, O.
Fuller, A. E. Neville, R.
Gaskell, J. M. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Gill, T. Packe, C. W.
Gore, W. R. O. Palmerston, Visct.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Granger, T. C. Peel, J.
Grimsditch, T. Pennant, hon. Col.
Grimston, Visct. Polhill, F.
Hale, R. B. Protheroe, E.
Halford,H. Rashleigh, W.
Hamilton, W. J. Repton, G. W. J.
Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H. Rice, E. R.
Hardy, J. Ross, D. R.
Hatton, Capt. V. Rous, hon. Capt.
Hawes, B. Russell, C.
Hay, Sir A. L. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Sibthorp, Col.
Herbert, hon. S. Somerset, Lord G.
Hinde, J. H. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Hodgson, R. Stanton, W. H.
Hope, hon. C. Stewart, J.
Hornby, J. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Hughes, W. B. Tennent, J. E.
James, W. Trench, Sir F. W.
James, Sir W. C. Trotter, J.
Jermyn, Earl Turnor, C.
Kemble, H. Waddington, H. S.
Knatchbull, rt. hn. SirE Walsh, Sir J. B.
Langston, J. H. Wood, Col.
Layard, Capt. Wood, Col. T.
Lennox, Lord A. Young, J.
Lincoln, Earl of
Lockhart, W. TELLERS.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Fremantle, Sir T.
Mahon, Visct. Baring, H.

The original proposition to vote 100,846 men agreed to.

On the vote of 117,787l., for defraying the charge of the Volunteer Corps for the ensuing year,

Mr. Williams

said, that he was so strongly opposed to this most unconstitutional force, that he would divide the committee against the grant.

The Committee divided:— Ayes 98; Noes 28: Majority 70.

List of the AYES.
Acton, Col. Chelsea, Visct.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Chetwoode, Sir J.
Arkwright, G. Christopher, R. A.
Astell, W. Clerk, Sir G.
Baird, W. Clive, Visct.
Baring, hon. W. B. Clive, hon. R. H.
Boldero, H. G. Corry, rt. hon. H.
Botfield, B. Damer, hon. Col.
Broadley, H. Darby, G.
Bruce, Lord E. Davies, D. A. S.
Denison, E. B. Mainwaring, T.
Dick, Q. Manners, Lord J.
Douglas, Sir H. Master, T. W. C.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Masterman, J.
Duncombe, hon. A, Meynell, Capt.
Eliot, Lord Morgan, O.
Escott, B. Neville, R.
Fitzroy, Capt. Nicholl, rt. hon. J. F.
Flower, Sir J. Packe, C. W.
Fox, S. L. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Fuller, A. E. Peel, J.
Gaskell, J. M. Pennant, hon. Col.
Gordon, hon. Capt. Pringle, A.
Gore, W. R. O. Protheroe, E.
Goulbourn, rt. hn. H. Rice, E. R.
Graham, rt. hn. Sir J. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Grimsditch, T. Rous, hon. Capt.
Grimston, Visct. Rushbrooke, Col.
Hale, R. B. Russell, C.
Halford, H. Sanderson, R.
Hamilton, W, J. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H. Sibthorp, Col.
Hardy, John Smith, A.
Hay, Sir A. L. Somerset, Lord G.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Herbert, hon. S. Stewart, J.
Hodgson, R. Sutton, H. H. M.
Hope, hon. C Tennent, J. E.
Hornby, J. Trench, Sir F. W.
Hughes, W. B, Trotter, J.
James, W. Turnor, C.
Jermyn, Earl Waddington, H. S.
Jones, Capt. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Kemble, H. Wellesley, Lord C.
Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E Wood, Col.
Knight, H. G. Wood, Col. T.
Langston, J. H. Young, J.
Lincoln, Earl of
Lockhart, W. TELLERS.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Freemantle, Sir T.
Mahon, Visct. Baring, H.
List of the NOES.
Blake, M. J. Mangles, R. D.
Blake, Sir V. Marsland, H.
Blewitt, R. J. Morris, D.
Bowring, Dr. Napier, Sir C.
Brotherton, J. Plumridge, Capt.
Browne, hon. W. Roebuck, J. A.
Crawford, W. S. Ross, D. R.
Duncan, Viscount Stanton, W. H.
Duncan, G. Thornely, T.
Ebrington, Visct Wawn, J. T.
Fox, C. R. Wood, B.
Gill, T. Yorke, H. R.
Granger, T. C.
Hatton, Capt. V. TELLERS.
Hawes, B. Hume, J.
Hutt, W. Williams, W.

Vote agreed to.

The remainder of the Army Estimates were agreed to.

The House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported,—Committee to sit again.