§ MR. FOX MAULE
said that, in rising to move the second reading of this Bill, he deemed it incumbent on him, as the Bill was introduced without an explanation as to its nature, to make a statement as to its principles, and as to the motives which induced the Government to bring forward such a measure. They might have followed the precedent of 1806, and have introduced the change of the system of enlistment from unlimited to limited service, by simply altering the Schedule of the Mutiny Bill. It had, however, been the practice of late to remove as much as possible extraneous matter from the Mutiny Bill; and they had, year after year, removed much, from a fear that it was likely to excite discussion in that House, and make a clear and distinct law as applicable to the maintenance of the discipline of the Army. The discussions on subjects connected with the Army had been caused in that House chiefly on the Government proposing votes of supply. He thought that in adopting a principle of this nature, it would be better to adopt a special measure rather than take up and discuss the subject year by year; he had, therefore, preferred calling the special attention of the House to it, and asking them to legislate in a definite and formal manner on the subject. His object was, first, the alteration in the principle of the establishment of the Army, which, if adopted by the House, would not, as in the case of the change made by the Mutiny Bill, be repealed without due notice, and without sufficient experience of the principle. It would be in the recollection of the House, that two years after the former plan for a limited enlistment passed, it was repealed, 274 so that by means of it they had no experience of the value of the principle of limited enlistment for the Army. He believed that at the present day there was no one in that House that would start preliminary objections to a standing army in this country. He assumed that this was a matter which none would venture to dispute, and that all would admit that the great domestic interests of the country, its widely-extended colonies, and its position amongst the nations of the world, made it requisite that they should have a permanent Army. The question then was, how this Army should be constituted, and how it could most easily supply any deficiencies that arose in its ranks, and how it could be made to bear with most ease on the community. We could not, however, have recourse to the mode of recruiting the ranks of the Army, which existed abroad. In France they had a system of conscription; in Prussia they had a military instruction and a military law; but in this country the ranks of the Army were filled up on the principle that recruiting was a voluntary act; but in order to make the system a really voluntary and at the same time a really useful one, it ought to be differently regulated from what had been the case hitherto, and be made palatable to those ranks from which the recruits were selected. To understand what this voluntary principle was, the House must look to the manner in which it was carried out. When his hon. and gallant Friend (Major Layard) brought forward his Motion last year, his noble Friend at the head of the Government promised that the question should receive careful consideration during the recess of Parliament. It had been well considered, and it appeared to him that there was no system of enlistment that was really voluntary, except in name. By the practices resorted to, it was deprived of all the virtues of a voluntary enlistment. On looking into the matter, very serious doubts arose whether any one ever enlisted into the Army for the purpose of making it a regular profession for life. He found that there were some classes of their recruits who had readily gone into the ranks, not with any view to the future, but rather with a view of escaping present distress. Their ranks were very much recruited by the idle and the dissolute, who thought that in the life of a soldier they would find that idleness and dissipation congenial to their dispositions. It was too often the case, that the prodigal sought in 275 the Army a refuge from his improvidence; and lads who had got into disgrace, immediately had recourse to enlistment in order to avoid their masters. With that class voluntary enlistment was at an end. All the rest was voluntary only in name: it was in reality brought about by the artifices and promises of recruiting officers towards those who could hardly be said to be responsible for their own conduct. The result of the system was, that the great majority of our recruits entered the Army under circumstances most disadvantageous for the service itself. All kinds of baits were thrown out to catch the unwary, to induce them to become recruits. The place to which they adjourned was the public-house; and men were tempted to enlist by the promise of bounty-money when they knew not what they were doing, and too often found that in a moment of inebriety they had bartered their liberty for life. He did not mean that they became slaves; but they placed their own lives at the disposal of those who commanded them; and when a man found himself in this position, he often deserted in the first moment of disappointment. He was arrested, probably, in the course of a few days; and the man who had voluntarily joined the regiment, was brought back in custody, and involuntarily made a soldier. They had often heard, too, of men who had maimed themselves, under the influence of a dislike to the service. When they considered that a man was taken away altogether from his domestic ties—when he knew he had no hope of regaining his fireside, except under a high fine in the shape of purchase-money—they must conclude that the Army was not supplied with the men most proper for the service. It behoved the House to consider whether, when the Army was so much improved—and more was now done for it than formerly—they could, by revising the system of enlistment, remove many of those painful circumstances which he had described, and make the life of a soldier more acceptable than at present, and improve the character of the Army. He did not pretend to say that limited enlistment would cure all those evils; but it would have the effect of curing many. If accompanied by those other measures of improvement begun by the late Administration, and continued by the present Government, he believed that many of the evils of which they had now reason to complain, would be effectually cured. Many ob- 276 stacles which formerly existed to entering the Army, had been lately removed; the degrading punishment of the lash was now scarcely heard of, and he hoped to hear less of it every day; a system of education had been introduced in the regiments of the line and into garrisons; and there had been other improvements which would form inducements to persons of a higher class to enter the service; and the Government would hold out every means in their power to render the service acceptable to those from whose members it was recruited. What he proposed was, to adopt a system of limited service, and to alter the term of enlistment to ten years for the infantry, and to twelve years for the cavalry, artillery, and ordnance, as the first period for which a man should enter; after the expiration of those periods respectively, it would be at the option of the man to re-enlist, with the benefit of his former service, for eleven years in the infantry, and for twelve years in the cavalry, making the whole period twenty-one years in the infantry, and twenty-four years in the cavalry, which were the present periods required to entitle a man to a pension. He also should take a power by the Bill to provide for the contingency of men's period of service expiring while their regiment was abroad, in which case the officer in command should be empowered to keep the man in service for another year, the responsibility lying on him to show that it was necessary for the public service. And in the case of a state of actual warfare, the officers of regiments in active service should have the power of detaining the men for an additional period of two years. There was also another arrangement by which, if at the end of the terms of twenty-one years and twenty-four years, respectively, the men chose to remain in the service, he proposed to give a power to them to continue, with the consent of their commanding officers, three months' notice being required of them before they should subsequently quit the service. He might be asked why he made such a difference between the periods of service in the cavalry and infantry. The reason was, that the training of recruits for the cavalry, artillery, and ordnance, was much more difficult than for the infantry. It was a matter that required a much longer period of time, and the public was therefore entitled to a longer period of service in those branches of the Army than in the infantry. The Bill went on to provide that after the 277 first ten years of service a soldier should have the option of retiring, if he should think fit, from the Army altogether. But he (Mr. Fox Maule) did not propose to lose sight of him thereby. He thought that such a course would not be for the benefit of the country at large. But the soldier should have the option, if he should think fit to avail himself of the proposal, of enrolling himself again for a deferred pension; and during the time for which he should be enrolled for the deferred pension, he would have to serve, from time to time, twelve days in the year, on the same principle as the enrolled pensioners at present, under the provisions of the Acts passed in the years 6 and 7 and 9 and 10 Victoria. The pensions granted to soldiers at present, at the end of twenty-one years' service, being fixed from time to time at certain amounts by royal warrant, he proposed that those pensions should be fixed at the same amount as the lowest granted by the royal warrant. And if, after ten years' active service, the soldier should enrol himself for a deferred pension, he proposed that he should be enrolled for twenty-two years' service: that was to say, two years of enrolled were to be considered equivalent to one year of active service, to entitle to the deferred pension. The case of the soldier would then stand thus: he would enlist, suppose in the infantry, at eighteen years of age; his first period of service, ten years, would bring him up to twenty-eight years of age; and if at that age he chose to enrol himself for a deferred pension, his service of twenty-two years—twelve days' service in the year—would bring him up to fifty, at which age he would begin to receive a small deferred pension, of which he would be left in the uninterrupted enjoyment for the remainder of his life. That plan would answer a double object. It would induce many men to enter the Army with the full purpose of merely spending the first period of enlistment in its ranks. They would enter under the conviction that their discharge would take place whilst they would still be young — when they might be at the age, say, of twenty-eight—when they would be fitted to enter upon any other mode of life, either agricultural or manufacturing; and they would carry with them into society, after having quitted the Army, those habits of order and regularity which they would have acquired in the service from the very nature of its discipline. Whilst if they enrolled themselves for the deferred pensions, they would form a re- 278 served force for the service of the country, which would be of the highest utility, and would be found of the greatest importance, should this country ever be called upon to defend its shores. Those who combined good conduct with the most considerable proficiency, would be distinguished. The enrolled force would be regularly inspected by the general officers in whose districts they might reside. They would be called upon to do duty for twelve days in the year; and he (Mr. F. Maule) would take upon him to say that they would be found a most efficient force. For, judging by the reports of the general officers who had inspected the enrolled pensioners, it would appear that for all defensive purposes, especially behind walls, and where very active service on foot was not required, those men were as fit for service as when they carried their firelocks at Waterloo (and some of them had carried them in the field even before that period). Those would constitute the principal provisions of the Bill. There were many other matters of detail which it would not be necessary to settle in an Act of Parliament. The prerogative of the Crown could do much in these matters. By the royal prerogative, a soldier could be permitted to quit the service of the Crown whenever it should be deemed proper. But if he were asked why he did not extend the privileges which this Bill would afford to the present Army as constituted?—why he should make the objects of it prospective and not retrospective?—he must reply that it was not necessary for Parliament to interfere to do so. If it should be found necessary that every man of those at present, as of those to be hereafter enlisted, should be placed upon the same footing, it could be done by the prerogative of the Sovereign, and upon the responsibility of the Executive Government. But he was not, he confessed, prepared to recommend the adoption of such a course at present. For, however desirable it might appear, still common prudence would require that they should have some experience in its practical working, before such an extensive alteration could be made. Men in the ranks had not so much reason to complain now, as they had formerly, for his right hon. predecessor had given great encouragement to them. Amongst other improvements in the system, they had the power of obtaining their discharge at an earlier period than before. But let them see what the mode of obtaining discharges from the Army was at pre- 279 sent.After five years of actual service in the infantry, a man might obtain his discharge upon payment of 20l. After five years service, with one mark for good conduct, he must pay 18l.; after seven years actual service, with one distinguishing mark for good conduct, he would have to pay 15l.; after ten years, with two distinguishing marks for good conduct, he might get his discharge for 5l.; and it was not until twenty years service that he could get his free discharge. After fourteen years, fifteen years, and sixteen years service, he became entitled to a deferred pension of 4d., 5d., and 6d. a day respectively. He did not think that those who might complain of the mode he was about to pursue, would have any broad footing to stand upon. But so far as it rested with him, if on the one hand he refused to soldiers at present in the ranks the right which he would give to the recruits ten years hence, he would on the other take care that the warrants which had emanated from his hon. Friend, should be strictly, literally, and honourably fulfilled. The provisions of the Bill he proposed would take effect as soon it could be brought into operation; and he thought it would make the service much more popular than at present in the country. There were not many subjects upon which they should legislate in a merely popular point of view. But if there was one case more than another in which the popular view should be regarded as a very large item, it was that of the Army, because it was from the masses of the country that the ranks of the Army were recruited; and unless the service could be made palatable to the people, it would be vain to expect voluntary recruits. It would be only some distinguished and favoured corps, such as the Horse Guards, the Life Guards, and some others, that would be sought after—corps, the ranks of which were entered at present by respectable persons. They should then make the service palatable. But in an economical point of view, it was also deserving of attention. The expenses of recruiting were, perhaps, little attended to, but they formed a very considerable item in the expenditure of the country. The recruiting service was spread over the whole of the United Kingdom, and there was a very large outlay incurred in the transmission of recruits backwards and forwards, all of which might be avoided by making the service popular, if they had places to which recruits might repair. Another ad- 280 vantage would also be gained by the officers at present scattered over the country, engaged in the recruiting service, being enabled to enter upon active duty, whilst the question of bounty would also be solved if the service could be made sufficiently attractive by the adoption of plans of limited enlistment, good education, and other means which might be adopted for rendering it popular. Mr. Wyndham had said that the Army could never be considered perfect until the whole system of bounties was abolished, and until the Army was sought for by young men, instead of having them bribed by large bounties to enter. He did not think the whole system could be brought into effect and full operation on the day after the passing of the Bill; but he did think that if they were to take advantage of a time of peace, they might improve the condition of the Army; they could attend to the moral training and the education of the men, so that those men should hereafter come out of the ranks well fitted for civil employment. He believed that they might soon attain a condition in which the State would be relieved from the expenses of paying high bounties; and if they allowed those men who chose to retire from the Army to go back to civil employments, well satisfied with the treatment they had received—if, after ten years service, they could send back into the community young men who had passed that time in the Army, with the habits of discipline and regularity which soldiers in the ranks acquired—if they could send such men back, trained, moreover, in good moral habits, and with good order instilled into their minds, how many additional recruits would it not send into the ranks? From such men, too, they would be enabled to select numbers who would be found most valuable in filling those branches of service, such as the prisons and the commissariat, that required trustworthy persons. But many reasons combined to show that a fair trial ought to be given to the plan which he had the honour to propose for their adoption. It was a system which would work well for the benefit of the Army at large; and he was quite sure credit would be given to him that he would not propose any such measure if he believed there existed any danger from it of injury in any way to that service, the interest of which, from what had been hitherto done by Her Majesty's Government, it would be judged they had most sincerely at heart. With 281 the hope that the House would give its approbation to the principle of limited enlistment, in order that he might proceed to embody it in the Mutiny Act of the present year, he begged to move that the Bill which he had the honour to propose be read a second time.
§ SIR H. DOUGLAS
rose to protest most strongly against this Bill. It was not, however, his intention to meet it by a direct negative, nor was he prepared with any Amendment. Her Majesty's Government assumes the responsibility of proposing this measure; the Commander-in-Chief, if he does not approve, acquiesces apparently; and he (Sir H. Douglas) felt that, under these circumstances, he will have done all that his duty imposes upon him, in thus recording his dissent, and requesting the permission of the House to state the reasons on which his objections are grounded. He lamented to see that restless spirit of change abroad, going about seeking what it could destroy. Laws, the wisest of all the commercial regulations of England, the basis of Britain's maritime power, are threatened, up stairs, with repeal or mutilation; and here we are engaged in tampering, as he thought, with the system and condition of an Army, in the highest state of efficiency—an Army, the most successful, the most victorious, the most renowned of any, in the times in which we have lived. He could not concur in what is stated in the preamble to this Bill, that it is expedient to limit the period of enlistment, as proposed. He thought it very inexpedient to do so. It was not called for by any necessity, professional, constitutional, political or economical. It was not justified by any experience, nor does it afford us any good grounds upon which to proceed. The first and greatest object is to provide for the Army, an abundant supply of able-bodied men, of a class which make the best soldiers. This we now have; the supply is in fact, greater than the demand. Had such an experiment been made twenty or thirty years ago, we might now have something to rely upon; but the aspect of the times is not favourable for making any such experiment. In the year ending March 1846, 11,420 men for cavalry and infantry were raised. The establishment of the Army has since been increased, and in the last year upwards of 24,000 men have been enlisted. In the last year, 1,441 men were enlisted for the artillery, and the establishment is complete. The late augmentation of 1,300 282 men will speedily be raised; and all this, as he had taken care to ascertain from the best authority, without an individual recruit having offered or stipulated for limited service, or making any objection to unlimited service. The British Army is complete in its establishment; in the most perfect state of efficiency—the discipline excellent—the moral and physical condition of the soldier improving—degrading punishments falling rapidly into disuse—education attended to—and the health and comfort of the troops meliorating—all this admitted by the right hon. the Secretary at War. His (Sir H. Douglas) negative propositions were, that this measure would not be advantageous to the soldier, nor to the class from which recruits are supplied, nor would it be beneficial to the service. It would be inconvenient and complicated in its working—extremely expensive for this insular and colonial empire—and it is very ill timed. Where then is the necessity for the measure? If, in the late protracted war, limited service had been the exclusive rule, that war could not have been conducted with the same vigour and success. But, if the measure were good, why should it not be carried out to the full extent? It was because there was a latent sense of danger somewhere, that this was not done; if so, it was inapplicable to the service, and ought not to be introduced at all. It had been said, that unlimited service was repugnant to the constitution, and derogatory to a free country; but his answer to that was, to refer to the annual Mutiny Act; and to observe that the Greek citizens served in the armies from the age of eighteen or twenty to forty; and at Rome, during the republic, the cavalry served ten, the infantry sixteen or twenty years. Then it was said, that unlimited service led to desertion. He did not hold that opinion; for he believed, and could show, that desertion was generally occasioned by some immediate cause, excitement, or dissatisfaction. At present six-tenths of our Army were made up of agricultural labourers—children of the soil; these were the best men in the service; and he did not believe that a limited period of enlistment would, of itself, induce better men to enter into it. Referring to the opinions which Dr. Jackson pronounced upon this subject, he certainly had made strong objections to an unlimited period of service as a general proposition, applied to Continental States. But his opinion had been erroneously adduced, to support the doctrine that a li- 283 mited period of service was best suited to the service and circumstances of this empire. Dr. Jackson says, limited service would work advantageously in a country surrounded by hostile States, and liable to frequent invasions. A nation so circumstanced was bound, in self-defence, to train up all its male inhabitants to the use of arms; for how otherwise could they protect the integrity of their soil? But the authority of Dr. Jackson was clearly against applying any such system to the case of Great Britain; because he justly held, that the sea by which she is surrounded would protect her from invasion, so long as she preserved her naval superiority. The following is the passage to which he (Sir H. Douglas) alluded:—Military service, limited or unlimited to time or place, bears a different character, and has a different value, according to differing conditions, in States or Kingdoms respectively. In States surrounded by other States which are hostile, or suspected of hostility, limited service, as serving to fill the country with men instructed in the use of arms, is in every point of view a desirable condition as a security against invasion. In this case, every native inhabitant is to be considered as a soldier; and, under the circumstances stated, he is a soldier trained and ready for defensive war at all times. In a country such as Great Britain, the approach to the shores of which will be difficult, if not impracticable, while the Navy maintains superiority at sea, and which is, moreover, guarded interiorly by a national and constitutional militia, the scheme of limited service, with a view to fill the country with men who had been trained to the use of arms, is comparatively little necessary as a measure of security; and, if not necessary on that account, the adoption of it is inconvenient on other accounts, particularly on account of service in foreign parts—a service which much encumbered the British military machinery. On this ground, perhaps, a stipulation as to the limit of service was not conceded to the British recruit until recent times, when, from urgent necessities, in want of voluntary materials, the scheme of temporary service was suggested as an expedient to lure the reluctant into the military ranks. It had some effect, but not much; the British peasant does not calculate or balance the difference of conditions with much care: he generally takes the direct bait. The condition of limited service did not, therefore, produce so great an accession to the strength of the army as was expected; and while it failed of the end that was contemplated, it became a cause of introducing a condition into the military ranks which tends to subvert the base of military organization; it thus did harm.He (Sir H. Douglas) entirely concurred in this. Limited service, if not carried fully out to the whole Army, would make a dangerous discrimination; give great dissatisfaction to the old Army, and, if fully applied, disengage from the service a very large portion of the Army. It is now contended that it is derogatory to the character of a free 284 man, to enlist in the Army for an unlimited period. But if the party himself enter into that contract voluntarily, and with a full knowledge of its operation and effect, who could contend that there was any violation of personal liberty in allowing him to form such an engagement? It seemed to him the reverse. Then, if the period of service be limited to short periods, and successions of soldiers thrown back upon the country, without recompense for past service, might not an outcry be raised that England would become a military nation; and would not this be fraught with danger? Was not this so treated in the discussions of 1778 on the Militia Bill? It was the opinion of the noble Duke who commanded our forces on the Continent during the most important part of the late war, that one old soldier was worth three young ones; that though soldiers might be well drilled at the depôts, and the utmost care devoted, and successfully devoted, to the training and preparation of recruits; yet that every man who had seen service, well knew, that they were not, under any circumstances, comparable to men who had gone through even one campaign. When it was proposed to bring home certain tried cavalry regiments, the Duke of Wellington remonstrated against the project, and declared that, however reduced in numerical strength those regiments might be, he still preferred them to any new levies. He should now, with the permission of the House, read an extract from a letter to the Duke of York, dated Cadiz, 26th December, 1812:—Experience has shown us, in the Peninsula, that one soldier who has got through a campaign, is of more service than two, or even three, newly arrived from England; and this applies to the cavalry equally with every other description of troops. Under these circumstances, if it should meet with your Royal Highness's approbation, I should prefer to keep as many of the old regiments as I can with the army, reducing the establishments of those which could not mount more than two complete squadrons to that number, and to send home the officers and non-commissioned officers of the third squadron.From the same high authority he begged to read the following extract:—In proportion as the success of the army may clear the country of the enemy's troops, and the inland traffic will revive, we must expect the desertion of this useful class of people, unless we can pay them a part of what we owe them, and their future hire more regularly than we have that which they have earned heretofore. Any desertion of them is very inconvenient, and a very large desertion would be fatal to us. I likewise beg to 285 draw your Lordship's attention to a new head of expense which has begun to occur, and only lately, that is, bounty on the re-enlistment of British soldiers. The demands on the military chest on this head alone, at this moment, are estimated at 800,000 dollars, which you are aware cannot be postponed without serious inconvenience to the service at large. Yet I am sure I do not know how I am to take the field the first week in May, and to defray this demand and all the others for Spanish and Portuguese service which exist on our military chest. I have brought this statement under your view, only because I hope, from what I have heard, that there exist now in England means of relieving our difficulties to a very great extent.At that time, the pay of the army was six and eight months in arrear, and the hire of the muleteers was twenty-six. Now, he did not hesitate to say that if the great body of the British Army had been enlisted for a limited period, the expense and inconvenience would have been such that the war would not have been prosecuted with that vigour and sustained force, which brought it to so glorious a termination. He therefore implored the Government before it became too late, to reflect upon the probable consequences of the course which they proposed to pursue. Did Her Majesty's Government propose to extend this to the sappers and miners, and to the marines? If so, it would prove prejudicial, in the highest degree, to those corps, as indeed it would prove disastrous to the artillery corps in particular. Before he proceeded to one or two other topics, which he intended to notice, he should beg to call the attention of the House to one more extract from the despatches of the Duke of Wellington:—A great number of soldiers of this army having offered to re-enlist (the period of their service being nearly expired), since the proclamation of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent was made known to them, I beg to be informed if they are to be re-enlisted before the expiration of the three years which, by the proclamation they are bound to serve. I take this opportunity of transmitting to you a list of men in the Chasseurs Britanniques who have either completed their period of service, or are within two months of it, and who, as it appears by the enclosed letter from Major General Inglis, were enlisted without reference to any Act of Parliament as to their re-enlistment. I am, therefore, of opinion, that they ought to be discharged; and I will thank you to favour me with his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief's orders on the subject.If, as a consequence of this measure, colonial corps are to be raised, to be substituted for regiments of the line, for the defence of the colonies, to obviate the manifest objection of the inconvenience and expense that must result from the in- 286 cessant changes, transfers, and reliefs under the proposed system, he thought this alternative the strongest objection, and the most convincing proof of the danger of the experiment. He protested against the perilous project of leaving the defence of the colonies, in any great degree, to colonial corps. It would be another step to separation, or loss. He had a very high opinion of some colonial corps, and thought these very serviceable in all colonies; but all sedentary corps deteriorate in the long run; and, without disparagement, he might say, that, upon political grounds, it would not be safe to resort more largely to colonial corps, for the defence of the outward possessions of the empire. No person could be more desirous than he, of opening, more widely, a career to colonists, in the military profession; and this, he thought, had been very imperfectly done. But whilst he had no objection to colonial corps to a limited extent, he thought it would be a wiser policy to encourage, unite, and mingle colonists, in the forces and establishments of the empire, in common with other British subjects; and that this would do more to unite and cement the bonds of empire, than can well be imagined. We have reduced very largely — far too largely — the establishment of British troops, in some of the colonies. It will be too late to strengthen them, when the centre of the empire is suddenly attacked. The security of the empire depends, not only upon the means of pure, absolute defence, possessed by each colony singly, but upon active mutual defence, with disposable forces, by which one colony or possession may assist another; and this can only be effected by troops of the line. When have we lost a colony? How shall we best preserve them? By enabling them to succour and support each other. It is the number and dispersion of these maritime and military stations, if adequately garrisoned, that gives security to British commerce, and stability to the British empire. It is because they are remote, that she is not vulnerable through any, or either. It is because they are distant from each other, that Britain, by command of the seas, can protect them with the disposable forces of the empire; and that they cannot be reduced, by any adversary. To blockade them is impossible, so long as we retain the command of the seas. To attack them, impracticable; to reduce them, hopeless. But, divest them of the means of mutual defence, by withdrawing the 287 disposable forces of the empire, entrusting their custody and defence in great part to sedentary corps, and you will be in a fair way of losing your possessions by thus tampering with the Army. As to combining the laborious undertakings of a settler with the habits and duties of a retired soldier, the attempt has often been tried, and as often proved unsuccessful. He had witnessed many sad proofs, seen painful monuments, of this; and he very much feared that this is a part of the measure which will not prove more successful. With respect to New Zealand, he would venture to advise Her Majesty's Government, not to rely on the experiment about to be made there, so far as to diminish, by one man, the regular force which it may have been intended to send thither. Entertaining this opinion, he could not forbear to adduce, a very pertinent and able passage, which he found in a recent number of a very able periodical:—If the pensioners became good settlers, they would form a better militia than settlers who had not been soldiers; but the 'if' is all in all. They will not become good settlers. Transplanted into a position for which they are pre-eminently unfit—in which the hopes of prosperity that have been held out to them are sure to be disappointed—in which their inevitable lot will be failure, poverty, and the contempt or dislike of their neighbours—those of them who do not die of despondency and drink, will in a few years become feeble vagabonds and beggars; far less valuable for purposes of defence than the citizen soldiers composing a colonial militia, who have to fight for happy homes and a hard-won prosperity.In amending the laws and regulations for improving the military service, to attract to its ranks a better description of men, the great object should be, to induce the good soldiers to remain in the service, and to enable us to get rid of the bad. The effect of this Bill will be the reverse. No inducement is held out to the good soldier to remain, neither by reward at the end of his first period, nor by bounty on re-enlistment, nor by any reasonable or adequate provision, even at the end of the most protracted service. For, as to the deferred pension of 6d. a day to a soldier who, having first served ten years without recompence, shall thereafter perform twenty years' services with old pensioners, as proposed, when he shall have attained to fifty years of age, you might just as well tell him, that having taken the best ten years' service out of him, and enrolled him for twenty-one years more, you would engage in the end to pay his funeral expenses. The House might rest assured that no ad- 288 vantage would accrue to the service from this measure. That, without inducements of a pecuniary description, it will not attract to the service a superior description of men. That it will not be popular, and that do what you like with respect to the period of service, you will not render the service attractive, but by pecuniary reward and provision for old age. Restore the pension to what it was—revise your warrants—encourage the good soldier to remain in the service by the certainty of an adequate provision for him in his old age—continue to attend to his comfort, his physical, moral, and intellectual well-being, as you are now doing—lessen the rigour of foreign service, by more frequent reliefs, which can only be done by an increase of the military establishments; and you will do more to improve the composition, condition, and character of the service, and so make it attractive, than by any abridgment or limitation in the period of engagement; and nothing that you can do in this respect will avail, unless you do this. But this plan is the reverse; the great object of the measure, disguise it as you may, is, to get down the pension list: for this no inducement is held out to soldiers to re-enlist after ten years, neither by bounty, increased pension, nor by improved provision. He is, on the contrary, to be allured away from the active service; but by a prospect so remote, a provision so inadequate and really so pitiful, that it will neither attract better subjects to the Army, nor induce good men to remain in the active service. He would repeat, the Army is in a state of the most perfect efficiency; and the best guarantee the country can have, that it will be maintained in that high condition, is, to leave it to the management of that eminent man to whom, and his able and experienced assistant, it is confided—to that illustrious Commander, who formed and fashioned it to his great purpose, and who had led it in his brilliant career, from victory to victory, in that most righteous and retributive war, in which he laid prostrate that iron yoke under which for so many years Europe groaned. The time taken to try this experiment — for experiment it must be called—is most unfavourable and inauspicious. The effect of this Bill would be to make a dangerous change in the whole system of the Army; and it would prove detrimental to the public service.
had listened with pro- 289 found attention to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Maule), and no one could possibly have a stronger conviction of the necessity for those benefits to the soldier which it was sought to accomplish. By improving the composition of the Army, he believed great results would be obtained, and we should draw nearer the period when it would be safe for the Legislature to abolish a species of punishment odious to the public, and unfairly injurious to the reputation of the service. At the same time he was not prepared to support a measure which he believed would be injurious to the discipline and efficiency of the Army, merely for the sake of conciliating a party in that House, who, in declaiming against the punishment referred to, were, no doubt, impelled by good feelings, but who did not possess one particle of practical knowledge. He objected to the measure on many grounds. He objected to it, first, because it would not accomplish the objects for which it was intended; next, because it was wholly unnecessary, and seriously injurious to the discipline of the Army; also because he thought it would impair and weaken the physical efficiency of the Army; and lastly, because it would produce discontent and jealousy in the breasts of soldiers who had enlisted for unlimited service. A measure precisely similar had been introduced by Mr. Wyndham, and it had not succeeded: it was very soon discovered by the civil as well as the military authorities, that it was likely to be injurious; and it was abandoned. At that time, in order to counteract the evils which were foreseen, the authorities were obliged to offer enormous premiums to induce men to enter the service for longer periods. A regulation similar to that of Lord Hardinge, giving facilities for discharge at any period of service, would render this plan unnecessary. Military discipline was of enormous importance. To the steady discipline of the Army this country owed much of its present power and greatness; and he reminded the House of a celebrated passage in one of the Duke of Wellington's despatches, where he said, speaking of a great battle, "I felt that I had my men in my hand; they performed every movement with the precision of a field day." It was a fundamental principle of discipline, that a commanding officer should have full and entire authority over his men; but by enabling them to claim or demand their discharge at a given period, the command- 290 ing officer was divested of the control he ought to possess. This was a principle which had been recognised by the greatest military authorities in the country, and in the various warrants of successive Secretaries at War. Thus one right hon. Gentleman in that department said, in a warrant, "A soldier enlisted for unlimited service has no claim for discharge either with or without a pension;" and the right hon. Baronet the President of the Board of Control (Sir J. C. Hobhouse), when Secretary at War, in 1833, said in one of his warrants, "A soldier enlisted for unlimited service cannot obtain his discharge as a matter of right; but his discharge will be granted as an indulgence upon certain conditions." He maintained that the discretionary power of granting discharges was essential to the efficiency of every commanding officer. There were men in the ranks who felt the necessity of obedience; but on the other hand there were others ill-disposed, of ungovernable temper, and sullen. A commanding officer had thus to deal with all sorts, and it was necessary he should be armed with the most stringent power over his men to ensure proper discipline. But this measure would deprive him of the most valuable power he possessed. In the Household Brigade—a regiment which he had had the honour to command—the commanding officer had from time immemorial possessed the power of granting discharges—a power most valuable in supporting discipline, for it was the power of rewarding the good soldier, and of punishing the bad. In many cases parents had written to him soliciting the discharge of their sons, who were serving under his orders. He invariably inquired into all applications of this nature. He first ascertained the character of the man in the regiment; next, whether the petition was certified by the clergyman of the parish whence it came, or by some other person of known respectability; and when he was satisfied the application was a proper one for him to entertain, he gave the man his discharge. Under the proposed system, a great number of men would be lost to the Army in a comparatively short period, and, in fact, after the lapse of ten years a whole regiment might be renewed, the tendency being thus to produce an army of boys. He had once had an opportunity of witnessing the exploits of an army of boys at the siege of Antwerp, of which he had been a spectator. He believed that two-thirds of the French army before Antwerp 291 who lined the trenches were not more than 24 years of age. The Dutch made but two sallies during the operations of that cold-blooded and disgusting siege; and the boys to whom they were opposed were panic-struck by those sallies, and ran away as fast as they could, leaving a small party of Dutchmen to upset the works which it took a fortnight to make. The most efficient men in an army were those of ten or twelve years service; and it was important that they should endeavour to retain old soldiers of good character, who were calculated by their example in barracks to maintain a good state of discipline. There was one way in which the character of the soldier might be greatly raised—and it was in his opinion the best way—namely, by raising the rate of pensions, which would be a very great inducement to men to enlist in our Army. If we adopted the theory of Mr. Windham as to limited periods of service, he was of opinion that we ought also to adopt his plan as regarded the increase of pensions. The pensions paid at present to soldiers were most discreditable to the system. What were they? The man who served faithfully for twenty-four years received, when he was worn out and no longer fit for service or for other employment, sixpence per day; and the non-commissioned officer, at the expiration of his period of service, received eightpence. It was true there was the good-conduct pay, but that was not part of the pension, and must have been earned before by the soldier. He hoped and trusted that this part of the subject would receive the attention of the Government, for it was one which was most important as regarded the condition of the Army. He would venture to suggest an arrangement which he thought would be found satisfactory—he would suggest that the pension of the soldier should be ninepence per day, and the pension of the non-commissioned officer one shilling a day, at the end of their periods of service; and he would also propose that the good-conduct pay should be added to this when the person becoming entitled to a pension was also entitled to good-conduct pay, with power to add twopence a day at the end of five years service of the non-commissioned officer, at the end of his service, with a minimum of one shilling a day, and that would make the pensions approach somewhat near the scale proposed by Mr. Windham. He thought that the measure before the House was calculated to be looked on with jealousy, and he would ear- 292 nestly suggest that the true way of improving the condition of the soldier would be to raise the pensions contemporaneously with the introduction of the measure. The only way, in his opinion, to reconcile the Army to the measure was to raise the pension to the Army generally. There was another safe and good way of improving the Army, namely, by improving the social and moral condition of the soldier. Much had been done of late years to improve the moral character of the soldier, amongst which the rewards for good conduct were to be included; but they ought to provide the soldier with proper comforts and with the decencies of life; they ought to make the soldier feel, by their treatment of him, that his country esteemed him and valued his services. It could not be forgotten that much of the grandeur and power of this vast empire had been gained by the valour and intrepidity of the British soldier; nor should it be forgotten that the health of the British soldier was frequently undermined by the vicissitudes of climates to which he was exposed, and by the trying duties which he was called upon to perform at all seasons and all hours; and recollecting those claims upon the country, he thought that the conduct of the Legislature ought not only to be just, but generous, when providing for the condition of the Army. He would briefly allude to the officers of the Army, upon whose conduct and example so much of the efficiency of our soldiers depended. He could bear the testimony of his experience to the kind and generous manner in which the officers of the British Army had always exerted themselves in proposing the good of the men. They were always happy to co-operate with the commanding officer in carrying out arrangements to promote the good of the soldier, and were always ready to promote the amusements of the men under them. He had given his views of the measure; but as he supposed it had received the sanction of the Commander-in-Chief he would not vote against it.
§ SIR DE L. EVANS
said, the proposal of Mr. Wyndham was for seven years' service. At present our term of service was for twenty-one years; but all the other Powers of Europe raised their army for eight or nine years; and the Bill proposed a term of two or three years more than those other Powers had found necessary. It was a mistake to suppose the Bill would affect the whole Army. There were 30,000 men in India, the greater part of whom 293 volunteered into other regiments when their own were ordered home. They would not be affected by the Bill; and the probability was, that if the men at home were in good quarters, and found their comforts well attended to, they would not desire to avail themselves of the ten years' service clause. He had so little fear on this score, that he wished to see the Bill come into operation immediately. There remained only 35,000 men in the colonies, who might avail themselves of the operation of the Bill. But in two of our colonial settlements we were at war—in the Cape of Good Hope and at New Zealand; and the term of service of these troops could consequently be prolonged for two years. He considered it no disgrace that the young French troops at Antwerp were driven out of their trenches. Their own veteran troops at St. Sebastian were frequently driven out of the trenches by the French; and the best men of both armies occasionally took to their heels in trenches. He believed that young regiments after three or four years were as good as any regiments they could get, perhaps better. They had it on the high authority of Major General Napier, that three years' military service were sufficient to perfect a soldier; and under the present Bill the term might be prolonged to twelve. The hon. and gallant Member for Windsor said that one-eighth of every regiment would have the power of retiring every year; but he must remember, that the number of deaths and of invalided men would not be so great as under a period of unlimited service. The hon. and gallant Member for Liverpool (Sir H. Douglas) had stated that he almost despaired of our having a well-conducted Army, because the whole mass of the population of this country was greatly demoralised. [Sir H. DOUGLAS had said that great immorality prevailed among the people.] The hon. and gallant Member had alluded to the conduct of the English troops in the field during the last war; but, if they referred to the despatches of the noble Duke who commanded the British Army, they would see what his estimate was of the morality and regularity of the soldiers. That noble Duke said, there was no army in Europe better capable of fighting; but it appeared from the noble Duke's despatches that no language could be too strong to describe their immoral and improper conduct. The hon. and gallant Officer (Sir H. Douglas) seemed to suppose that that Army was efficient in all its parts; but the very reverse 294 was the case. Two-fifths of the troops were constantly in the hospital; and the noble Duke in some of his despatches said, that the Army was little better than a moving hospital, owing to the irregularity and dissipation in which the men indulged. The noble Duke added, that he could not send out a detachment with any security that they would not rob, assassinate, and commit the most disgraceful outrages; and he believed the noble Duke went so far, in one instance, as to call them a band of robbers. He would ask, then, whether they ought not to endeavour to improve the condition of an Army of which such a description was given? And the best opportunity for effecting that improvement was afforded in a time of peace. The Army was, no doubt, in a very efficient state at present; but if they were taken into the field, he believed many imperfections would be discovered, although they might not exhibit the same extent of demoralisation which had prevailed in the Peninsular Army, in consequence of the improvement which had taken place in the moral character of the great mass of the population. It was clear, however, that unless they rendered the service more popular, they could only expect to get the worst portion of the population, whether from towns or from the rural districts, to enlist. He had entertained some hope that greater reliance might have been placed upon a system of voluntary enlistment, without resorting to bounties, or depending upon the artifices and seductions of recruiting sergeants for filling the ranks of the Army. He was surprised at the attack which had been made upon this Bill, because it had been admitted that the Commander-in-Chief of the Army acquiesced in it; and no one acquainted with that noble Duke could for a moment suppose that he would give his assent to a measure of which he did not approve. He considered that no argument had been brought forward to prove that a system of unlimited service, or of service for twenty-one years, had been in any degree the cause of our success in the last war; and he was satisfied that if it were wished to improve the character of the Army, they must do all in their power to render the service more popular among the people generally. He thought it was extremely desirable that an intimation should be given that the Government were disposed to allow the Bill to come into operation immediately on its being sanctioned by Parliament, and to give a certain pro- 295 portion of men the option of retiring from the service on the recommendation of commanding officers. The hon. and gallant Member for Liverpool seemed to think that he, as the representative of a popular constituency, would be likely to lose their favour by supporting any proposition for training the people to arms; but he believed that the people were desirous of such a measure, and that they would approve of the establishment of a national guard.
COLONEL T. WOOD
thought the hon. and gallant Member who had last spoken, had given an unfair representation of the Army in which he had served when he described it as a moving hospital; for he found that an impartial French author, M. C. Dupin, said, that while the French Army, during the last war, required an annual supply of 150,000 men to keep it in an effective condition, the English Army needed only 23,000 men every year, who not only sufficed to supply all losses, but increased the effective strength of the forces by about 7,000 men. The same author stated that when the endeavours of the English Government to supply all the wants of the soldiers, and the prudence of the commanders in not requiring the men to perform too fatiguing duties, were considered, there was no cause for surprise at the comparatively slight losses sustained by the British Army during the war. He was surprised that the Secretary at War, in proposing the measure, had not given them any data with reference to the recruiting service or to pensions. He thought it was essential that any measure they might adopt on this subject, should be of a permanent nature; but he did not consider that this measure was at all likely to be permanent. It appeared to him, indeed, to be a compromise between two principles; and if he were asked whether he would prefer to have the British Array conducted upon Mr. Windham's plan, or upon that of the present Secretary at War, he would at once declare himself in favour of Mr. Windham's plan. He wished to know what hold the Secretary at War expected to have upon those men who quitted the Army, and who were entitled to deferred pensions? They would be scattered over the whole country, and many of them would, no doubt, obtain lucrative employment. If it should be necessary to issue a warrant to call out the pensioners for service, these men might be unwilling to leave their employments for the shilling a 296 day which they would receive while they were on duty: and what would be the penalty for refusal? They would only lose the deferred pension of 6d. a day, which no man could receive till he was 50 years of age. He thought that the Government would be compelled to revise the system of pensions, for it was most improbable, when a soldier arrived at a period of life when his services were most valuable, that he would re-enlist unless some additional inducements in the way of pay and pension were held out to him. He was surprised that the Secretary at War had not made any statement to the House with reference to recruiting. The right hon. Gentleman had not even explained the number of men who would be required each Year to fill up the vacancies occasioned under his plan. He believed that the number of recruits required under the right hon. Gentleman's plan would be from 10,000 to 15,000 annually. The Government might suppose that they would have no difficulty in raising this number of men; but experience only could show whether their expectations were well founded.
did not believe that this measure held out sufficient inducement for a man to re-engage in the Army at the expiration of his first period of service, nor did he believe that it would at all remove the causes which led to the frequent cases of desertion which happened under the present system. He admitted that there was a feeling prevalent in the Army, he would not say of discontent, but a feeling that the period of service was too long—and that the pension was too small. The warrant which was issued in 1833, provided that soldiers of good character, having served twenty-five years in the infantry, or twenty-eight in the cavalry, might, at their own request, obtain their discharge and a pension, not of 6d. a day, but a pension not exceeding 6d. a day. This had filled the minds of the soldiers with distrust as to the intentions of the Government, as they were not certain whether they would get the full amount of the pension promised or not. There was, also, much ignorance prevailing as to the terms of service, so that it was difficult to persuade men that after a certain period of service they might obtain their discharge; and he therefore ventured to think that if some method were adopted of making the terms of enlistment better known to the public, they would accomplish great service. If the right hon. Gentleman, too, would also draw out his war- 297 rants, not in that twist-about sort of way which was used by legal gentlemen, but in a plain manner which soldiers could understand, it would be productive of much good. A great deal had been said about obtaining a better sort of men; but he thought that was rather theoretical. What did they mean by a better class? If they meant the half-gentlemen class, he must say that he would give no price for them whatever. He had no objection to their obtaining a better class of agriculturists or of operatives; but as to obtaining half-gentlemen or broken-down tradesmen, he thought the Army would not be benefited by obtaining their services. At the same time, he thought that the improved education of the country, with the severity of discipline in the British Army, which must be kept, because they could not afford that waste which might be tolerated in foreign armies where their ranks were supplied by conscription—these considerations, together with the high amount of pay in the police force, and the demand for labourers on railways, would operate to prevent their attaining a better class of soldiers than existed at present. He thought stronger inducements ought to be held out to induce re-enlistment; and if they were to give a man who had served them well for twenty-five years a pension of 10d. or 1s. a day, he would become a useful coadjutor to their scheme, as people would see that he was happy and comfortable living upon the pension, and many young men around him would be ambitious of following his example, and would enter into the service.
§ COLONEL SIBTHORP
said, the present appeared to be a time to alter everything, and to make a total change in the whole system. They had attacked the Church, they had attacked the law, they had attacked physic. All professions were undergoing a change; and even that assembly had changed, and was become the pure and reformed House of Commons, which could do nothing wrong. And what was the consequence? Were they more happy or more contented? Look to the state of Ireland, of Scotland, and of England, and they would see that it was the melancholy reverse. He thought the past services of the Army were sufficient to tell the country that it wanted no change—it was invincible—it was the envy and admiration of all surrounding countries—it wanted no change whatever. And who brought forward this change? He did not mean to 298 say one word against the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary at War; but he knew there was a Secretary at War, now in another place, who scarcely knew the muzzle of a musket from its butt-end. He certainly was surprised to hear the right hon. Secretary speak as he had done of the unhappy men who were in the service. Now, he had served for sixteen years in Her Majesty's Dragoons before he came into this refined society, and he must say that he had met as good men there as he had ever met since, men of as high manners and of as pleasant society. He certainly was not detained there listening to long speeches, which he often wished he had not sat so long to hear; where, if he came in unlearned, he went out again ten times more unlearned than before. Then the right hon. Gentleman said he was not surprised that, under such circumstances, the men deserted. But he was. He was surprised, and he deeply regretted, that men who had once entered the service, should afterwards be induced to violate their oaths and desert the service. He had heard with the greatest delight what fell from the gallant and distinguished Officer the Member for Liverpool, who implored the right hon. Gentleman, from his own experience—and experience ought to make some people wise—to be cautious how he passed this measure. He had heard with the greatest delight what fell from the hon. and gallant Officer, and he coincided in every word he said; and therefore he would not detain the House any longer with any observations of his own.
§ MAJOR LAYARD
felt a deep interest in this subject, because from his first entering into the service, he felt that the bargain made between the country and the soldier was an unjust one; and he had determined, if ever he was in a position to bring about an alteration in that bargain, he would undertake the task. He was willing to make every allowance for the experience and long service of the hon. and gallant Member for Liverpool; but there were authorities as high as that of the gallant Officer, who were in favour of this measure. He might instance, among these, Lord Hardinge, who, when Secretary at War, stated in 1842—at which time he (Major Layard) had brought in a Bill on the subject—that the matter was well worthy the attention of Government. The Government did give their attention to it—the Secretary at War under the late Government took a step in advance; and the present Govern- 299 ment had expressed their sentiments by the present measure. He might also refer to the Military Commission, where they found such old experienced officers as Gen. Golin Campbell and Lord Lynedoch expressing their opinions in favour of limited enlistment. The House had been told of the probable difficulties in case of a long war; but no such difficulty was found to exist in the Continental armies, where enlistment was not for life; Austria had recently reduced the period from fifteen years to as low as eight. It was said, that the system now proposed to Parliament would be more expensive than that which at present existed: he begged to differ from that statement, though he did not rest his support of the measure on any desire for shabby economy. Then, again, it was said, that the Army was in a very happy state, and ought to be left as it was; but he would reply by pointing to 28,000 men in gaol in three years, and 3,500 men undergoing corporal punishment, and 8,000 deserting. Because the men dared not complain and petition, they were said to be happy! It was urged, too, that this was not the time for such a measure as the present; whereas it was always the right time to do justice. The hon. and gallant Officer opposite (Sir H. Douglas) might have seen that the matter could not rest with the change made by the late Government, and he should have opposed that, and not have waited till now to talk about "destroying the British Army." He believed the discipline of the Army would be greatly benefited by limited enlistment, and be was therefore anxious to do all in his power to promote it. It was said the young men would run away. Why, a great number of the regiment to which he belonged were young men, scarcely more than twenty-one in 1815; they were, in fact, considered too young for colonial service, but at the spur of the moment were sent to Waterloo. He should like to know if any of the "boys" ran away there. He believed not. A story was once told him of a soldier who was ordered to be imprisoned for some offence. The colonel of the regiment was asked for how long a period the man was to be imprisoned? whereupon the colonel replied, "For life." "That can't be," said the soldier, "for I was only enlisted for seven years." In 1842, if a man had asked him whether or no he should have enlisted in the Army, he should have felt bound to tell him of the disadvantages under which he would have laboured—that his fire-arms 300 were bad—that he might be sent to India for twenty-four years, and that it was fifty to one if he over returned—that he might be sent for a long period to those of our colonies where the mortality was immense, 21,421 of our soldiery having died in the Leeward Islands and Jamaica since 1817—that they were obliged to live on suit provisions five days in the week—that the old soldier who fought gallantly in the Peninsula got no medal or other mark of distinction—that five per cent of their hard-earned pension was deducted from them—that the number of those subjected to corporal punishment in three years was 4,000—that if he enlisted he was; bound for life—and that, in short, there was little to sweeten the hard lot of the common soldier. He thought that under such circumstances it would be hard to induce any man of common sense to take the shilling. He did not stand there to make the soldier discontented. On the contrary, he was now proud to say that he could honestly give; the man desirous to enlist a very different advice from that which he could conscientiously have given in 1842. He would now exhort him to enlist. The Army had now good muskets put into their hands; they never missed fire, and very seldom missed the target, which perhaps it might be useful for the enemy to know. The places in which soldiers were now confined for offences were not the squalid, damp, wretched dungeons they used to be, but places in which a man's health would be no longer injured, and from which it might be earnestly hoped he would come a better man. There were now also savings' banks, into which they might put their savings, and there were besides rewards for good conduct; whereas formerly, flogging was so customary that it brutalised men and hardened them in crime; but it was now a very rare occurrence. Besides this, through the liberality of the present Chancellor of die Exchequer, there was no longer the miserable deduction of 5 per cent from the pensioner; and, in short, as the present Bill attested, the Government were anxious to do all in their power to better the condition of the common soldier. There was me point to which he felt it his duty to refer on the present occasion. It had been said that the promotion at the Horse Guards was a one-sided promotion; and he must say that that was a view held by very influential parties, and one in which he perfectly concurred. In 1842, the noble Lord now at the head of the Government 301 put a question to the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) with reference to the Duke of Wellington, a Cabinet Minister, being Commander-in-Chief; and on that occasion he quoted some remarks which had fallen from the noble Duke himself, in which he (the noble Duke) had distinctly stated that the office of a Commander-in-Chief and Cabinet Minister ought not to be held by the same individual. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel), in answering the question, said, it was thought necessary that the Duke of Wellington, though Commander-in-Chief, should be a Cabinet Minister, but that this would make no difference as to promotions. Now, he (Major Layard) thought it had made a difference. There were many officers who maintained principles which till lately had not many supporters in the Army; and they all know how few officers on that side of the House had got promotion. He believed that he himself was the only officer, with the exception of the noble Lord the Member for Lichfield, on that (the Government) side of the House who was on full pay. Gentlemen had asked, why, in these circumstances, officers did not leave the Army? But that was not a course which any person would choose to follow, though much dissatisfaction might be experienced. When he saw, for example, a man of the same standing with himself receiving promotion while he was still a captain—[Laughter.] Gentlemen laughed; but he wanted to know why, if a man did his duty, he had not a right to expect that promotion would be open to him? He wanted to know if a man on that side of the House had been twenty-four years in the service, and one on the opposite side only half that time, why the former should not be first entitled to promotion? He could tell the House that when he brought forward his proposals for military reform, Gentlemen often said to him that they would give him their support, but that they had sons or brothers in the service, and that their doing so would militate against them. Now, he maintained, that officers deserving of promotion ought to obtain it whether they voted for or against the Government. It had been said that the Whigs had done nothing for the Army. He denied it. The Whigs had done more for the Army this Session than any previous Government had done for years. The hon. Member then read a letter from a private soldier, who said he was afraid to state his name. ["Oh, oh!"] Yes, it was a fact. Soldiers were afraid 302 to state their names; for, although most commanding officers would not take any unfair advantage of a soldier who had freely expressed his opinions, it could not be denied that there were some who would; and the fact was, they dared not mention their names. The letter was in favour of limited enlistment. Some regulations ought to be made regarding the social comfort of the soldier. They ought not to be debarred from marrying, neither ought they to be prevented from taking their wives and children with them. The parting between the soldier and his family, when he was ordered on foreign service, was heart-rending; and many hon. Members whom he now addressed, must have frequently witnessed such scenes with pain. Respecting the subject of education, he wished to see more efficient measures taken than now existed; for the soldier had sometimes contributed towards the advancement of literature. He saw the right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite, the Recorder of Dublin, laughing. [Mr. SHAW: Not gallant.] If not gallant, he hoped at least grateful. Now, he should like to ask that right hon. Gentleman, who founded the Dublin Library? [Mr. SHAW: What has that to do with the matter?] He would tell the right hon. Gentleman. Was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin actually ignorant of who was the founder of the Dublin Library? A party of soldiers, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, having routed a party of Spanish volunteers at the battle of Kinsale, subscribed 1,800l., which they did not apply to the sculptured marble or engraven brass; but they sent it to Archbishop Usher, who with that gift founded the Dublin Library, of which the learned Recorder knew nothing. The hon. and gallant Officer concluded by saying that he gave his cordial assent to the second reading of the Bill. The Government had begun well, but he hoped they would yet go on and go further.
§ Bill read a second time.