§ The House then went into Committee of Supply; Mr. BERNAL in the chair.
§ MR. F. MAULE
said, he rose to propose the first vote in the Army Estimates, namely, the vote for the number of men who were to be maintained for the service of the Crown during the ensuing year; and he trusted he would receive on that occasion, as he had received on former occasions, the kind indulgence of the Committee while he entered into many details from which he would willingly abstain, were it not that on such occasions they had a right to expect every information which could possibly he communicated by the individual holding the situation he had then the honour to fill. The number of men whom it was proposed to maintain for the ensuing year was 103,254. In fixing upon that number, Her Majesty's Government had necessarily had to review the condition of the empire, and to look at it in its various interests, foreign, colonial, and domestic, before they could come to a con-elusion upon the subject. Looking at all those interests, and at the general aspect of the country, it had at first appeared to Her Majesty's Government that the country might be relieved from the burden of taxation necessary for the maintenance of 10,000 men, by which number they had proposed to reduce the Army enrolled last year. They had come to that determination after having considered the calls made on them for the protection and defence of our Indian territories. The number of men borne on the Army Estimates last year had been 113,847. But the intelligence which had some weeks since been received from India had called on the Government 965 to supply to that part of Her Majesty's dominions three regiments of infantry, amounting to about 3,300 men; and they had proposed to reduce the Army by the remaining 7,000 men, which were to have been discharged in the course of a few months. Since that resolution, however, had been adopted, the intelligence which had been lately received from India had rendered it necessary that two more regiments should be sent out to that country, in order to reinforce Her Majesty's troops there; and as those two regiments were about to be withdrawn from the force in this country, and as it did not appear to Her Majesty's Government to be desirable that they should reduce that force, they proposed that the reduction of the number of men should be limited to 5,000, instead of 7,000. Orders had therefore been given to reduce to 5,000 the number of men to be discharged. In fixing upon the number of troops to be employed, the Government had, first of all, to look at the position of the country in its foreign relations; secondly, they had to look at the calls made on them for the maintenance of an efficient force in our colonial dependencies; thirdly, they had to consider the maintenance of order at home; and, fourthly, they had to consider the necessity of maintaining such a force as would enable them to give temporary and fair relief to those troops who were called upon to serve in our distant colonies. Now, with respect to the aspect of foreign affairs, he thought there were few persons who would be slow to admit that, although the alarms which had existed in the beginning of last year had to a great extent passed away, and although our shores might not be threatened, in the opinion even of those who were most apt to entertain apprehensions, by any symptoms of foreign invasion—still he thought there were few persons who would be slow to admit that the aspect of affairs abroad was not of such a nature as to induce this country to assume an entirely indifferent and unprepared state. His hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cobden) had stated the other night, that all the Governments of this country had of late years assumed that the position of this country was, as it were, a normal state of war. Now, he (Mr. P. Maule) denied that that could be said to have been the case. Her Majesty's present Government were not comparing our military force with that of other countries, in proposing the number of men they were 966 Then about to ask from the Committee; they were influenced by no comparison with the armies of other States; but they had been influenced by this consideration, that while all the nations around us appeared to be unsettled, it would be neither wise nor prudent economy in the people of this country to leave themselves unprepared to meet the demands that might be made on them, in the event of a general war breaking out in Europe. Then, in the second place, let them look to our colonies, and see the claims which were made on them there. He had carefully looked into the general distribution of our forces over the great colonial empire of this country. In many portions of the empire he might say that our colonies were barely occupied, and could scarcely be said to be in a state of defence at all. But at the same time, all Governments had endeavoured as much as possible to make the military charge of the colonies as light as it could be made to the people of this conntry, if we were to preserve our colonies at all. If they were to recognise the claims of the colonies upon this country for military protection within themselves, and defence against aggression from without, they must make up their minds to maintain, at least, in his opinion, the present amount of force. He would not say that arrangements might not be made in the course of time to diminish that force; but such a course would not be safe or prudent at present. At Gibraltar they had nearly the same garrison as they had in 1833. He alluded to that year as being the one in which a Committee of that House went minutely into all the details of our colonial garrisons, and reported their opinion to the House. They reported that it would not be expedient to reduce the garrison at Gibraltar. At Malta the garrison of 1833 was 2,458, and it was now 2,700. In the Ionian Islands the number in 1833 was 3,090, which was now reduced to 2,700. In Western Africa the number in 1833 was 452; in 1849, 600: but the garrison there consisted of a wing of the West India regiments, and the post was intended as a recruiting point for those corps. At the Cape of Good Hope in 1833 our troops consisted of 1,779 men; at present they were 4,200; but there had been reasons—and the House knew them too well—why the army there had been considerably increased; and he feared—although since 1847, when it was at its maximum, namely, 6,131, it had been found practicable to reduce it to 4,200—he could not 967 say the condition of the colony was such as to enable the Government to reduce the number of troops any lower at present. The garrison at Ceylon was somewhat less now than it was in 1833; but he warned the House that this was not the quarter in which any great reduction could be made at that moment. Looking to the circumstances of Ceylon—looking to the papers lately laid upon the table of the House, and from which he gathered this fact—namely, that there had scarcely been an occurrence of any grave moment in India which had not produced a simultaneous effect in the island of Ceylon—looking at the present state of India, any diminution in the garrison of Ceylon would be a dangerous step for this country to take. In Canada, at present, our troops were 7,708—that is to say, Canada, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. He granted that to be a large force. [Mr. HUME: Docs that include the Canadian Rifle Corps?] It includes the Canadian Rifles and the whole of the force in the North American colonies. They might be able, perhaps, to concentrate this force more than at present; but when they considered the condition of that country, approaching, as it was, to a state of greater contentment than it had known for many years, they might hereafter be able to reduce the garrison within the colony. His hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding had said the other night, that whenever these great increases were made, the Army was never afterwards reduced. Why, in 1838–9, during the rebellion in Canada, the troops in British North America amounted to 13,825, whereas they now amounted only to 7,708: so that, at all events, when troops were sent out on an emergency, they were not kept in the colony, as the hon. Member for the West Riding would affirm. In Bermuda in 1833 the number of troops was 1,080; now, 1,090. In New South Wales the number in 1834 was 2,636; in 1849, 4,000. But then it must be considered that the colony of New Zealand had been added since 1833 to our colonial possessions in that quarter, and it had been found necessary to defend the colonists there against the attacks of a very warlike and skilful body of natives. The number in the Mauritius in 1833 was 2,000, and at present the force was 1,520; and when they considered that it consisted of a people, according to report, not altogether friendly to the English rule, it would be quite evident it would not be safe 968 to maintain a smaller garrison. Jamaica in 1833 had 4,000 (including black) troops, and in 1849 the number was reduced to 1,940. In the West Indies generally, and not including Jamaica, the number in 1833 was 5,281, and in 1849, 3106. At Hong-Kong the garrison was first established in 1846, and he had asked many gentlemen connected with mercantile pursuits and the China trade in those seas these two questions—first of all, whether it was necessary that we should have a post of occupation in the China seas at all? and next, whether, if there was to be a post of occupation, Hong-Kong was well selected? To both these questions he had received distinct answers. First of all, that it was absolutely necessay to have a military post in that quarter; and next, that the best military post which could have been selected was Hong-Kong; and, therefore, for the protection of our commerce and trade, it was absolutely necessary to have a garrison there. This, however, had been reduced from 2,000 to 1,148. The Committee, he apprehended, would agree with him in thinking that it would not be prudent to reduce our forces to a lower standard than at present. He now came to the next consideration—namely, what was required for the maintenance of peace and order at home. He was not one of those who had ever exhibited any disposition to maintain order in this country by means of a military force; and his noble Friend at the head of the Government would be the last man in the world to sanction such an act of injustice. But it was necessary to maintain within the kingdom a certain portion of the military force to which those who were attached to order, and those engaged in commerce and trade, and generally in the pursuits of peace, might look for protection and assistance in the hour of tumult and outrage. It was necessary to have a military force which should support the magistrate in the execution of his duty in enforcing the laws of the country against the refractory. If this force was kept below what was necessary to this purpose, nobody would be so ready to exclaim against the Minister who had so reduced the military arm as those individuals who were so ready to utter loud complaints of the burden of taxation. With reference to the military force in this country, he found that at the present moment it consisted of 52,000 men, of whom 27,000 men were quartered in England and Scotland, and 25,000 in Ireland. This was rank and file. With re- 969 ference to these 25,000 quartered in England—[An Hon. MEMBER: 27,000.] 25,000 in England, with 2,000 for Scotland, made 27,000. With regard to these, they were very generally spread all over the manufacturing and thickly-populated districts in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and counties of that description; and numerous as the body appeared to he, the House would be somewhat surprised when he told them that, not in the present or last year, but generally in all years, going hack as long as he had known anything of the requisitions for military assistance made by the civil power in this country, this number of troops in the various circumstances which had arisen, had had no light duty to perform. He held in his hand a list of applications for assistance made by the civil power in 1848 for military and to preserve the peace on various occasions in different towns in this country. In Brecon, Cardigan, Derby, Weymouth, Durham, Wigan, and from Liverpool, on seven different occasions; from Ashton-under-Lyne, Rochdale, Leicester, Nottingham, Bath, Taunton, Stoke-upon-Trent, Birmingham, Dudley, Sheffield, Leeds, Barnsley, Bradford, Halifax, and Doncaster. No doubt the applications in some instances might have been frivolous and vexatious; but if the troops had not been there to comply with these demands, there would have been complaints that the Minister had relinquished his duty to his country in not providing troops to prevent outbreaks which would otherwise take place. At Leeds, a meeting not very long ago was called by the mayor to support certain resolutions of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose in favour of reform. The mayor first signed the requisition for the meeting, and very properly afforded the lieges an opportunity of expressing their opinions on the subject proposed for their deliberation, and then turned round and signed another requisition, to be furnished with troops, in the event of there being an outbreak at the meeting in question. How was the Government to dispense with furnishing troops? Well, the troops were there in readiness, the meeting took place, and, fortunately, no collision arose. But these were circumstances under which they were compelled to have troops in readiness, and to keep a certain body of troops quartered in the manufacturing districts in England where disturbances might be anticipated; and he believed such an arrangement to be in accordance with true economy, for he be-lieved 970 lieved that in 99 times out of 100 prevention was better than cure. There was economy in preventing riots; and even although it might appear that they were taxed a few thousands extra to maintain a larger number of troops here than might appear absolutely necessary, it was a wise economy if it prevented a collision of the people one with another, and the effusion of blood, from the knowledge of the presence of the troops. With reference to the fourth consideration—namely, that of furnishing relief to our troops in the colonies, if hon. Members would only recall the speech delivered by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth in 1845, they would remember that he insisted, and most properly, upon the bounden duty of those who had charge of the military arrangements in this country to see that those who were sent abroad in the service of their country should not be banished, as it were, into an honourable exile, but that they should within a reasonable time return to their friends in this country. The rule laid down at that time was, that a regiment serving in India should not serve more than fifteen years there—they had been known, however, to serve twenty-six; that regiments serving in the nearer colonies should not be abroad more than ten years; and that every regiment coming home to this country should remain five years. With the present force of the Army they had just arrived at that very desirable end. If the Committee, however, should agree to the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose, and reduce the Army by 14,000 men, that system of relief could not be carried out. He therefore urged, as a matter of humanity, that they should be able to maintain a sufficient number of men here, so as to be able to relieve the troops abroad. On these four grounds he maintained that 103,000 men were not more than they were warranted in placing at the disposal of the Government for the maintenance of the interests of the country, exclusively of the troops in India. Considering the aspect of affairs abroad, and considering the protection we were called on to afford to our colonies abroad, with the view of maintaining peace at home, in Ireland, England, and Scotland, and with a view to a sensible system of relief abroad, he trusted the Committee would not cripple the means at the disposal of the Government by acceding to the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose. He might here put 971 in the hands of the hon. Chairman the vote for the number of men; but the custom of explanations of this kind led him to go into other votes which were included in the Army Estimates; and he would, therefore, proceed to take a rapid glance at the succeeding votes. The gross vote of 1848–9 was 3,971,122l.; this year 3,655,558l., showing a difference of 315,834l. Then there was a charge for the East India Company of upwards of 100,000l. The next vote, No. 3, was for the staff. The gross vote for the staff last year was 172,886l.; this year it was 173,376l.; the increase upon the staff at home being 1606l., and the decrease abroad 1,116l. When they came to these votes more particularly, he should have an opportunity of entering into the various items. On Vote 4, for public departments in 1848–9, the sum was 96,591l., and in 1849, 94,199l., showing a decrease of 2,392l. Vote 5, the Royal Military College, was a self-supporting institution, though all the fees received went into the Exchequer. In this there was an increase of 1,125l.; but this did not come out of the pockets of the public. The 6th Vote was for the Royal Military Asylum. The grant for this, in 1848, was 19,559l., and in 1849–50, 19,298l., showing a decrease of 261l. Vote 7 was the yeomanry corps. The charge under this head last year was 80,309l., and this year 66,286l.; and that arose from this fact—that last year there was a fresh inspection, and the troops were well drilled and were quite ready for effective service; but considering that they were generally out last year on permanent duty, and were most satisfactorily reported on, and that many were out on voluntary service, it was felt, without any imputation derogatory to that body, that it would be sufficient to assemble them for simple exercise, and thereby a saving of 14,023l. was effected. Vote 8 was rewards for distinguished services, and upon that there was a small decrease of 387l. The vote for 1848–9 was 15,507l., and for 1849–50 it was 15,120l. Vote 9 was pay of general officers, and the charge under that head for 1848–49 was 76,000l.; while the charge for 1849–50 was, in reality, only 65,000l.; showing a decrease of 11,000l. But there came that year, in that vote, a charge of a rather extraordinary nature. If hon. Gentlemen would turn to the estimates, they would see it explained in a note at the foot of the page. In the year 1818, the late General Murray was promoted from a Lieu- 972 tenant Colonelcy in the Life Guards to the rank of Major General. He claimed to be retained on the strength of the Army as Lieutenant Colonel of the regiment from which he was promoted. The War Office and General Murray had, however, a dispute upon that point. The consequence of that dispute was, that General Murray had refused to draw any pay up to the present time. The House had regularly voted each year what he was legally entitled to; but from 1818 to 1848, the date of his death, it remained in the hands of the public, being regularly paid back into the Exchequer every year, General Murray refusing to draw it. His representatives had now put in a claim for his pay; and if it was to be paid with compound interest, it would amount to 24,000l. The public had the benefit of that interest, and the vote was now put in for 13,908l., the net amount of the pay, and that would make a real increase in the vote of 2,908l. He now came to the Votes Nos. 10, 11, and 12, and these were votes which referred to the half-pay list. No. 10, was half-pay of reduced and retired officers; No. 11, military allowances to the same class; and No. 12, foreign half-pay. It was right for the Committee to know that what was commonly called the dead weight of the Army was most scrupulously attended to by those who had the administration of the financial affairs of the Army; and he should like to state to the Committee the difference that had taken place between the vote in the year 1821, and the vote for the present year. In 1821, the whole force of the Army, full-pay, unattached pay, retired half-pay, and foreign half-pay, amounted to 17,426; while the same votes for 1849, amounted to 10,514, being a diminution of 6,912. There was a small increase amounting to 1,016l. upon the full-pay; but then there was an increase in the men of equal proportion. The unattached pay, in 1822, was 182,426l., while the same vote for 1849, was 65,000l., showing a saving of 117,426. The retired full-pay for 1822, was 145,235l., it was at present 56,000l. The half-pay, in 1822, was 870,811l., it was now 400,000l., showing a decrease of upwards of 470,811l. The foreign half-pay was, in 1822, 97,000l., it was at present 30,000l., showing a reduction of 67,000l. So that the whole decrease in these three or four votes—from the year 1822 to the present time—was no less a sum than 745,000l. That, he thought, was a clear proof that, so far 973 as the dead weight of the Army was concerned, it had been most narrowly watched by every Government into whose hands it had fallen. The next vote, No. 13, was for widows' pensions. Last year the gross charge was 129,855l.; this year it was 128,778l., being a decrease of 1,077l. Vote 14 was for compassionate allowances, which was 95,500l. this year, against 98,000l. last year, a decrease of 2,500l. The next vote was No. 15, for in-pensioners, and the gross vote last year for that branch was 38,580l., while for the present year it was 35,541l., making a decrease of 3,039l. Vote 16, for out-pensions in 1848–49, was 1,248,810l., while for 1849–50 it was 1,224,053l., making a decrease of 24,757l. He would not go into the various items of that vote; but there was one of them which he was anxious to explain, inasmuch as he thought it had not been understood; and, therefore, it had been misrepresented. It was a vote of 500l. taken for the pay of an officer (Captain Tulloch) to be sent by the Government to Canada to revise the state of the pensioners in British North America, and for the formation, if possible, and if a sufficient number of efficient men could be procured, of a body of men on the same system as the enrolled pensioners in this country. At the present moment little was known of the state or efficiency of the pensioners in British North America—they were paid through the Commissariat—and it might be that many of the same faults might be found in the payment of those pensioners as had been discovered by the investigations that had taken place at home. Captain Tulloch was well acquainted with the whole system of the enrolling of these pensioners; and the Government was of opinion that no more efficient person could be sent out than that gallant officer; and he had no doubt that the sum of 500l., which was voted to him for that service, would be more than amply repaid to the public. The only other vote remaining in the estimate was No. 17, for superannuated allowances. There was a small decrease in that of 232l.; the gross charge for 1848–9 being 38,232l., and for 1849, 38,000l. That showed a decrease, altogether, in the non-effective service, of 48,029l., and if to that were added the 330,529l. decrease in the half-pay and noneffective Yotes, showed a gross sum of 378,624l., as compared with the former year to which he had referred. That was 974 the state of the financial affairs of the military department for the present year. But then it had been said that the charges for the present year should be regulated by the standard of the year 1835. So far as regarded that argument he was glad to see that his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose proposed to arrive at that point gradually, and not all at once. Last year, he (Mr. E. Maule) had gone into details of the difference between the estimates for the years 1835 and 1848; and he would now venture to point out the difference between 1835 and 1849. So far as regarded the difference in the charge to the public, the amount was very small between the burden of taxation upon the public in 1849 and 1835, for the maintenance of the Army. In 1835 the gross charge on the Army Estimates was 5,906,782/., and the gross charge on the Army in 1849–50 was 6,142,211l.; the increased charge on the present year, as compared with the year 1835, being only 235,429l., and no more. Well, but since 1835 there had been many charges placed on the Army Estimates, which, with the consent and concurrence of that House, and after mature deliberation, had been transferred from other departments; and he could almost show that if the same charges had existed and been included in the Army Estimates in 1835—if, for instance, the 50,000l. surrendered last year as poundage upon pensions—if the sum voted for the erection of military prisons, which had been erected in lieu of corporal punishment, which, by the unanimous concurrence of the House, had been almost abolished—if the same votes for education, for military libraries, and other expenses of the Army had been included, the estimates for 1835 would have been considerably greater than the estimates for 1849, while the force in 1849 was actually 30,000 men more than they had in 1835. This was all owing to the Government having paid so much attention to maintaining the efficiency of the Army in all its departments, and their having taken care that the non-effective department should be kept as low as possible—as low as the fair claims of justice and the fair claims for service could by any possibility admit. Since 1835, he was quite willing to admit, the number of staff officers had been increased. But that large addition had been occasioned by the sending of an additional number of troops to various stations. And when the number of troops was increased, his hon. 975 Friend the Member for Montrose must be aware that the proportion of men guided them in the proportion of officers; and where they had a certain number of men combined together they must have certain grades of officers, of different ranks, to command them; otherwise the balance of military power, which it was so essential to preserve, would be entirely lost. He might go through all the details of the votes of the year 1835 seriatim, but really he did not think it worth while to take up the time of the House, further than to give—distinctly and categorically—what were the charges put upon the estimates since 1835, to which he had just alluded. There was the increased pay to the adjutants, in consequence of the recommendation of the Naval and Military Commission in 1840, 3,000l; the good conduct pay, on the recommendation of the Abolition of Punishment Committee of 1836; the charge for military labourers, which had been transferred from the Commissariat, 24,000l.; allowance to regiments in China, 7,860l.; then there was the lodging money to married soldiers, 4,000l. The House had thought it indecent that the married soldiers should be compelled to live in the barracks; they found that the married and single men were living in the same rooms, and they very properly repudiated such a practice. It was accordingly proposed that commanding officers should be authorised to grant the usual allowance to married men, as far as the number fixed by the Army regulations with regard to married men extended, to find lodgings for themselves out of barracks. Then there was, as he had already said, a charge of 2,000l. now to be made for barrack libraries, and also 5,000l. for the education of soldiers' children. There was an additional item of which he doubted not that the House would fully approve. It sometimes became necessary to put soldiers in confinement for offences purely military; and, since secondary punishments had been increased so much as they had recently been, the necessity for military prisons had undergone a corresponding augmentation—an expense which he was sure the House would not repudiate, inasmuch as it would prevent the necessity of sending soldiers, guilty of no moral or civil offence, to herd amongst common felons. The sum added for this purpose was 28,000l. The other votes which he might here mention were on account of Divine service, or rather spiritual assistance, to Roman Catholics, 3,000l. 976 —for regimental savings banks, 2,500l.; for good-conduct warrants, 4,000l.; for the Guernsey and Jersey militia, 2,700l.; and for the St. Helena corps, 11,988l., which, with 5,500l. for other items, gave a total of 253,000l. in the shape of additional charges since 1835; and upon the whole the country possessed the services of a much larger force in 1849 than 1835. He should now come to some other matters relating to the general condition of the troops both at home and abroad, and more especially to the sanitary condition of our military force. He held in his hand a statement from Captain Tulloch on this subject, the substance of which he now proposed to lay before the House, as follows:—In Jamaica, the average mortality per 1,000 of white troops annually during a period of 20 years, ending in 1836, amounted to 121 3–10ths; during a period of 10 years, ending in 1846, 66 9–10ths; the difference in the mortality per 1,000 of troops employed, 54 4–10ths reduction. Windward and Leeward Islands, during a period of 20 years ending in 1836, 71 5–10ths; period of 10 years ending in 1846, 68 7–10ths; reduction, 9 8–10ths. Gibraltar, 20 years ending in 1836, 21 4–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 10 9–10ths; reduction, 10 5–10ths. Malta, 20 years ending in 1836, 16 3–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 14 9–10ths; reduction, 14–10ths. Ionian Islands, 20 years ending in 1836, 25 2–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 15 5–10ths; reduction, 9 7–10ths. Bermudas, 20 years ending in 1836, 28 8–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 29 2–10ths; excess, 4–10ths. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, 20 years ending in 1836, 14 7–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 13; reduction, 17–10ths. Canada, 20 years ending in 1836, 16 1–10th; 10 years ending in 1846, 12 6–10ths; reduction, 3 5–10ths. Newfoundland, 20 years ending in 1836, 41; 10 years ending in 1846, 9 1–10th; reduction, 31 9–10ths. St. Helena, 20 years ending in 1836, 34 2–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 15 4–10ths; reduction, 18 8–10ths. Mauritius, 20 years ending in 1836,27 4–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 24 4–10ths; reduction, 3. Ceylon, 20 years ending in 1836, 69 8–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 41 4–10ths; reduction, 28 4–10ths. New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, 20 years ending in 1836, 14; 10 years ending in 1846, 11; reduction, 3. Cape of Good Hope, 20 years ending in 977 1836, 13 7–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 13; reduction, 7–10ths. In the Windward and Leeward command, the average mortality per 1,000 of black troops annually during a period of 20 years ending in 1836 amounted to 40; 10 years ending in 1846, 30; difference in the mortality per 1,000 of troops employed, 10 reduction. Jamaica, 20 years ending in 1836, 30; 10 years ending in 1846, 26 5–10ths; reduction, 3 5–10ths. Ceylon, 20 years ending in 1836, 24 8–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 24 7–10ths; reduction, l–10th. Cape of Good Hope, 20 years ending in 1836, 10 9––10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 14 8–10ths; excess, 3 9–10ths. In the Household Cavalry the average mortality per 1,000 of troops employed in the united kingdom during a period of 7 years previous to 1836, 14 5–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 11 l–10th; difference in the mortality per 1,000, 3 4–10ths reduction. Dragoon Guards and Dragoons, 7 years previous to 1836, 15 3–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 13 7–10ths; reduction, 1 6–10ths. Foot Guards, 7 years previous to 1836, 21 6–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 20 4–10ths; reduction, 1 2–10ths. Line Regiments, 7 years previous to 1836, 18 5–10ths; 10 years ending in 1846, 17 9–10ths; reduction, 6–10ths. In Jamaica the deaths that would have taken place among the white troops had the mortality from 1836 to 1846 been at the same rate as in the previous 20 years, 1,960; whereas the number who actually died during the periods under review were only 1,082; saving of life during the 10 years ending in 1846, 878; in the Windward and Leeward Islands, deaths that would have place, 2,655; actually died, 2,323; saving, 332. In Gibraltar, deaths that would have taken place, 718; actually died, 364; saving, 354. In Malta, deaths that would have taken place, 348; actually died, 319; saving, 29. In the Ionian Islands, deaths that would have taken place, 660; actually died, 405; saving, 255. In the Bermudas, excess, 5. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, deaths that would have taken place, 396; actually died, 351; saving, 45. In Canada, deaths that would have taken place, 1,472; actually died, 1,153; saving, 319. In Newfoundland, deaths that would have taken place, 154; actually died, 34; saving, 120. In St. Helena, deaths that would have taken place, 95; actually died, 43; saving, 52. At the Cape of 978 Good Hope, deaths that would have taken place, 345; actually died, 327; saving, 18. At the Mauritius, deaths that would have taken place, 474; actually died, 422; saving, 52. In Ceylon, deaths that would have taken place, 1,085; actually died, 644; saving, 441. In New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, deaths that would have taken place, 312; actually died, 242; saving, 70. At the home stations, the deaths that would have taken place among the Household Cavalry, 174; actually died, 134; saving, 40. Among the Dragoon Guards and Dragoons, deaths that would have taken place, 836; actually died 742; saving, 94. Among the Foot Guards, deaths that would have taken place, 865; actually died, 820; saving, 45. Among the Line Regiments, deaths that would have taken place, 2,965; actually died, 2,860; saving, 105. Under the Windward and Leeward Command, the deaths that would have taken place among the black troops, 457; actually died, 340; saving, 117. In Jamaica, the deaths that would have taken place, 164; actually died, 146; saving, 18. In Ceylon, deaths that would have taken place, 498; actually died, 497; saving, 1. At the Cape of Good Hope, excess, 19; total excess, 24. Total of those who would have died, 16,633; total of those who actually died, 13,248: making a total saving of life, in the course of this period, of 3,385 men, which was nearly equal to five battalions. Now, he maintained that that was a most satisfactory proof that the attention that had been given by that House to the subject, and the concessions that had been made to improve the condition of the soldiers in quarters at home and abroad, were attended with results most satisfactory to humanity in the salvation of lives, and that in point of economy also it had been attended with the most satisfactory results. And, now, this point led him to that subject to which the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Drumlanrig) had referred in a series of questions which he proposed to ask him this night—namely, the unfortunate and calamitous visitation with which Providence had afflicted Barbadoes during the last year. He had no objection, if the noble Lord insisted upon it, to produce the returns for which the noble Lord intended to move—namely, returns of the strength, in rank and file, of the service companies of the 72nd and 66th Regiments when they arrived in Barbadoes, and of the number attacked with 979 illness, as well as of deaths. For his own part, while he expressed his deep regret at what had happened, he did not see how any good could result from granting the specific Motion which was asked for by the noble Viscount. Other regiments had suffered considerably by similar visitations of Providence in different parts of the world from time to time; and he believed that so long as they continued to send regiments to the West Indies, they must be subject in one island or another to such visitations. He was afraid that that which had happened to those particular regiments was not different from that which had happened to other regiments that had preceded them in former times. Suffice it to say, that every possible means were and would be adopted to render the West India stations as healthy as possible, and he thought that the statement of mortality which he had just read to the House was evidence sufficient to show that every means had been taken to effect such alterations as advanced as far as possible the sanatory condition of the troops in those colonies. It had been stated that the visitation of the yellow fever had pressed more heavily on Barbadoes in consequence of the peculiar position of the barracks in which the troops were quartered. Now, that might or might not be the case; but for the purpose of showing generally that St. Ann's barracks in ordinary times were not unhealthy, he had ascertained the amount of mortality that had existed there in past years. He found that the mortality in Barbadoes in 1843 was only 2½ per cent; in 1844, 2½ per cent; in 1845, 3 per cent; in 1846, previous to the last visitation, 2 per cent; and in 1847, when the yellow fever existed, not more than 7 per cent. He, therefore, could not admit that the position of St. Ann's barracks was altogether to be blamed for the recent mortality. But even if it were, everything that could be done—tinder the circumstances—to protect the health of the soldiers was done by the present Government. When the Government came into office, he issued a circular letter to all the officers commanding in the West Indies to report most minutely as to what sanitary precautions could be taken to preserve the health of the troops. In Barbadoes there was no elevation to be attained higher than 1,000 feet; and even supposing they had barracks built upon the highest range, and that it was at all 980 convenient to effect such a change, that would not remedy the evil entirely, for, as medical men had informed him, the troops even there would come in contact with what was called the floating surface of the fever; the land, especially in Barbadoes and Antigua, lying lower than in most other islands in the West Indian command. In Antigua they had selected the highest accessible ground for the troops to be stationed. One of the noble Viscount's questions related to the number of deaths that had taken place in the 66th Regiment; another, whether any case of yellow fever had occurred in the 72nd before the 66th were encamped in the rear of their barracks? And also if the officers of those regiments had not been put to great expense for medical advice? In reply to the first of these questions, he should state that the 66th arrived in the island of Barbadoes about the end of February; and, after a day or two, took possession of the barracks of the 88th, which regiment they relieved? They remained tolerably healthy till about the end of August, when disease became virulent. On the 6th of September they were encamped. As many as eighteen had died before the 1st of September, and seventeen had died during the month of September. As to the latter clause of the question respecting Dr. Davy's letter to the medical inspector, he had no information to give. In reply to the noble Lord's second question, respecting assistant-surgeon Simpson's letter to Dr. Davy, he had only to say that no such letter was in the hands of the inspector general. His reply to the third question was this—that no case of yellow fever occurred in the 72nd Regiment prior to the 66th being encamped. The 66th were encamped on the 6th of September, and the first case of yellow fever occurred in the 72nd on the 3rd of October. The 88th were encamped on the same ground as the 66th, while the 7th Fusileers occupied the same barracks, and no case of yellow fever occurred in that corps. The inference was that the 66th did not bring the fever by contagion. Then, with regard to the fourth question, concerning the expenses to which the officers were supposed to be put, he begged to inform the noble Lord, that on encampment the officers became entitled to field allowances, in order to enable them to meet extra expenses; and they had no occasion to pay anything extra for medical attendance. Next in order came the fifth question, which he had no means of an- 981 swering, and he had only to state that the expense of encampment and extra stores would appear in the Ordnance and Commissariat accounts for the quarter. He had ascertained in regard to the sixth question, as to the number of medical officers that were in attendance during the epidemic, that during the year 1848 the number of medical officers on active duty in the island was, in January, 11; in February, 11; in March, 12; in April, 12; in May, 12; in June, 9; in July, 9; in August, 9; in September, 9; in October, 10; in November, 12; and in December, 9. The general officers had, moreover, power, if they thought necessary to exercise it, to send for as many more medical men as could be procured from other portions of the colonies. Considering that the force there was no more than 1,300 men altogether, he thought that the attendance of nine medical officers was sufficient for all purposes. Then, in regard to General Berkeley, it was said that he did not encamp the men, for the want of the necessary power. General Berkeley had the power to do so whenever the medical officers said it was necessary. So soon as the medical men reported that the men ought to be taken out of barracks, General Berkeley immediately caused them to be encamped; and, moreover, he was informed that General Berkeley had visited the hospitals daily; had encouraged the sick by the kindest language; had gone from ward to ward, and thereby exposed himself to the danger of contagion. Everything that could be done was done for the comfort of the troops, and the prevention of the spread of the epidemic. [Viscount DRUMLANRIG said, that he asked whether the 66th Regiment had been taken into barracks at all?] He regretted he could not produce the document that detailed all the facts connected with this subject; it was not in the possession of the director general of the medical department of the Army. He thought, however, that the course naturally would be this—that the medical officer in charge of the regiment would report to the senior medical officer the situation of the regiment, with a recommendation. If that recommendation was one for the removal of the regiment, the report, with such recommendation, would be sent to the general officer in command, without whose order the regiment could not be removed out of barracks. Suggestions had been thrown out in reference to this question of removal. He, however, thought 982 that the smallest consideration would show that it would be the worst policy in the world to remove these regiments by sending out others in their place. He was happy to state that the epidemic had now apparently passed away; for the last account received from the director general of the medical department, which was up to the 9th of February, gave the following statement of cases now remaining in hospital. Of the artillery, none; of the 19th, none; of the 45th, two; of the 66th, none; of the 72nd, none; and none of the 88th. There were, then, only two men remaining in hospital. There would be established in Barbadoes, upon an elevated site called Gun Hill, a station to which the troops could be removed on the first appearance of yellow fever. He now wished to advert to another point, upon which he wished to say a few words—namely, the general conduct of the Army during the past year. He was quite certain of this, that there was no circumstance or no part of the history of the Army in which that House or the country ought to take a more lively interest, or to insist upon more minute inquiries, than that relating to the moral or general good conduct of their troops. After all that House had done for the Army, and after all that it was still ready to do upon good cause shown, they had a right to expect that the Army would not only maintain its character for general good conduct, but proceed regularly in a course of improvement. He had not been able to collect the whole of the information he should like to obtain from every quarter in which their Army had been placed; but he had taken a period of four months in Ireland, namely, June, July, August, and September in the last year, as a criterion by which they could form" a fair opinion of their Army generally. During these months, it would be recollected that a large portion of the army stationed in Ireland had the most harassing duties to perform, and were exposed to considerable annoyance. They were for a portion of that time placed under canvas, and exposed to very bad weather. The barracks were occupied with a much larger number of soldiers than they could conveniently accommodate. All these circumstances were calculated to create discontent amongst them, if they were so disposed, or to induce them to misconduct themselves, if they were inclined to resent the privations they endured. In June, there were in Ireland 28,324. The amount 983 of corporal punishment awarded in that month was one in 3,149. In July, there were 27,954, and the corporal punishment was one in 3,106. In August, the number was 30,906; the corporal punishment was one in 3,099. In September, the number of the army there was 31,343, and the corporal punishment one in 2,403. During the whole year, the punishment inflicted was one in 1,090. He thought that such a statement of the conduct of the army in Ireland during four months proved, at least, that the general good conduct of the Army was such as to induce them to place their greatest reliance upon the honour and fidelity of their troops, and to make that House and the country proud of having under their orders a body of men so well trained, and upon whom they could always look with the greatest confidence for protection. In pursuing this subject further, he would now refer to the number of those sentenced to imprisonment in the military prisons. The total number of men placed in confinement during the last year had been 4,043; and the average number of men in confinement during the year ending the 31st December last, was 784, the total expense of which was 14,801l.; but this money was ultimately repaid the Government by the stoppages that were made from the soldiers' pay. The conduct of these prisoners was reported by the inspector general to have been good. There were twenty-one sentenced to solitary confinement; one to be placed in irons. The number of those who suffered corporal punishment in prison for the offence of striking the governor or officers amounted only to thirteen. He believed that this was a sufficient proof that the efforts made by this House to improve the moral condition of the Army have been most successful, and he hoped would act as a stimulus to them to pursue the same course as they had hitherto done. He was happy to state that the system of training schoolmasters for the education of the soldiers, which had been devised by his right hon. Friend opposite, was steadily acted upon, and they were now about to send forth six trained schoolmasters to take charge of schools in England. He trusted that many years would not elapse before they had one uniform system of instruction for the whole Army—that the soldiers would be educated as they ought to be, and their children obtain the benefit of the same system, which would be found exactly the same, though the scene 984 of their service might be frequently changed. He had now gone through most of the topics upon which he wished to address the House. There was, however, still one other subject upon which he felt he could not avoid saying a few words to the House; and that was for the purpose of refuting many charges and many assertions that had been uttered against the Army in general by a body of individuals who had constituted themselves a financial reform committee. He would not have noticed any of these charges if they had been founded in fact. He did not object, and he was sure that no person in the Army would object, to the utmost scrutiny into the whole expenditure connected with that service. With that the officers had nothing whatever to do. That matter rested exclusively with the officials of Government and the determination of that House. No objection would be made to any scrutiny into the expenditure of the Army, if it had been conducted in a fair or proper manner; but, inasmuch as the statement put forward by this finance committee at Liverpool was not founded on either fairness or justice, and as the tone of it tended to do great injury, not only in the Army, but to those very parties themselves who had put forward the statement, he thought it necessary to say a few words upon the subject. In the first place, the committee had attached the system of clothing the Army. Surely the committee might have attacked that system without imputing motives to persons whose duty it was to provide clothing for their men, not under any arrangement of their own, but under a system that had existed for upwards of a hundred and forty years. Surely they might have pursued these inquiries upon this subject without insinuating that the colonels and quarter-masters of regiments laid their heads together to devise such a plan in respect to the clothing of the soldiers as would enhance their own profits, and that often half worn-out articles of dress were thrown aside. Now, what were the facts connected with this subject? In 1783 the question of army clothing was fully inquired into by the Commissioners for Public Service; and the result of their investigation was a report, stating that neither in point of economy, nor in respect to public satisfaction, could any change be made in the system that was then practised. In 1798 there was a Finance Committee appointed to inquire into the same subject, and it terminated its 985 inquiry with the same result. In 1808, a third Committee investigated the matter, and it was attended with a similar result. In 1833 a Committee of that House—many of whom, he would venture to say, were as prejudiced as any members of the Liverpool financial committee—went into the consideration of the subject, and they agreed unanimously to a report containing these passages:—It further appears that the wholesome cautions and checks by which the supply of clothing by the colonels has been accompanied, have invariably secured the comfort and satisfaction of the soldier, and the complete efficiency of this branch of the public service. The Committee are not, therefore, prepared to suggest any change in this long-established system, which, although at first it may appear anomalous, and to involve the objectionable principle of giving profit to the colonels out of monies ostensibly voted for another purpose, secures the responsibility of those officers for the just and punctual distribution of the clothing to the different regiments, dispersed as they are throughout various and distant colonies, and which at the same time protects the public from the losses to which they would be exposed by the accumulation of stores of this description supplied under the management of public boards from extensive establishments, superannuation allowances to those who conduct them, and from that multiplicity of accounts which a transfer of the charge of this supply from those in whom it is now vested into any other hands must inevitably produce.That was the conclusion this Committee unanimously arrived at in 1833; and it was too hard to charge on these "clothing colonels," as they had been called, the responsibility of a system which had undergone no less than four scrutinies, and for which, be it remembered, these financial reformers had proposed no substitute, But he was sorry to observe that this committee at Liverpool had not confined themselves to groundless assertions against the colonels only. The whole tone and tenor of the pamphlets of the Liverpool Financial Association appeared to be directed to the unworthy object of running down the officer in the opinion of the soldier, and both in the opinion of the public. The system by which the Army was officered was represented as one which had been designed and fashioned for the exclusive purpose of benefiting the aristocracy; and, in a word, nothing was left undone to promote the circulation of errors and misrepresentations, which were fraught with danger, not only to the constitution of the Army, but to the very existence of good order in the country at large. If from any unforeseen accident the soldier should unfortunately lose the confidence which he now 986 happily and most justly reposed in the officer who commanded him; and if, losing that confidence, he also ceased to entertain that regard for discipline which confidence in the officer was sure to infuse amongst the troops, he had no hesitation in predicting that the Army would degenerate into an armed rabble, and the sooner it was got rid of the better would it be for the country. And who were the people who would suffer most severely from that state of things? Not the officers in the Army, nor the landed gentry who resided on their estates in rural districts, but the very men who inhabited the towns, and who were most vehement in their exertions to raise this shameful outcry. If the soldier were inspired with a want of confidence in his officer, and if military discipline were, in consequence, materially impaired, the towns would be the first to suffer. Instead of having soldiers walking through the streets in an orderly, peaceable manner, keeping their hands from picking and stealing, and their tongues from the use of discourteous language, there would be a set of rude ill-mannered fellows, leaning about in every direction, and insulting every one they met, and the well-conducted inhabitants of the towns would be the first to rue the day when an attempt was made to hold up the officer to the odium of the soldier, and to diminish his influence over the men he commanded. He had felt it his duty to make these observations upon the proceedings of the Liverpool Financial Association. So far from shunning inquiry on the subject of the expenditure of the public money, he courted and invited it; but he was most decidedly of opinion that such an inquiry was best carried on, and ought always to be carried on, with a due reference to the feelings of others—with a due reference to the position of the officers of the Army in relation to the soldiery—and, above all, with a due reference to considerations of public safety, which imperatively required that that respect for authority should be maintained which was the vital principle of good order, and without which the British Army would be a disgrace to this empire, and instead of being a terror to the enemies of England, and a protection to her friends, would turn out to be a terror to her friends and an ally to her enemies.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 103,254 Men (exclusive of the Men employed in the Territorial Possessions of the East India Company), Commissioned and Non-Commissioned
Officers included, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from the 1st day of April, 1849, to the 31st day of March, 1850, inclusive.
§ VISCOUNT DRUMLANRIG
said, that he had permission from the hon. Member for Montrose to say a few words in answer to the Secretary at War, before that hon. Gentleman rose to move his Amendment. He (Viscount Drumlanrig) thought that the House would agree with him that this mortality in Barbadoes was no light affair, when he stated that out of thirteen officers who had accompanied the 66th regiment, only two had escaped the fever; and out of these eleven, seven had died. The mortality in the 72nd regiment was quite as bad, and still continued. He was glad to hear that a new station was to be built for troops in that island, who might in future years be again visited by yellow fever; and the House would agree that it was high time something should be done, when they heard what sort of accommodation there was for soldiers in the barracks at St. Ann's. The barracks were built of stone, they were in the form of a square, which prevented any fresh current of air; and there was a graveyard right in the rear of the barrack yard. No officer, except the colonel, had more than one room to himself, and no less than eighty or ninety men were crammed into one apartment—this in such a climate as Barbadoes! He hoped the assistant surgeon's letter to Dr. Davy, the medical superintendent, would be produced, because he (Viscount Drumlanrig) was told on authority he could not doubt, that at least forty men died before orders were given to encamp the regiment, and that assistant-surgeon Simpson wrote this same letter, protesting against the way in which the men under his charge were sacrificed; and in order to remove all responsibility from off his shoulders, caused that letter to be entered on the minutes of the hospital journal at St. Ann's. The Secretary at War had said, that he did not know how the officers had been put to any expense. They were put to great expense in this way: as soon as the yellow fever broke out in the barracks, they were anxious to provide themselves with healthy quarters; but no orders being given that such quarters should be provided for them, they were obliged, at their own expense, to hire houses, for which houses they had to pay at the rate of seven or eight pounds a month—surely this was a hardship.
§ MR. HUME
was glad to hear from his 988 right hon. Friend the Secretary at War the statement as to the improvements which had taken place, with regard to the Army, since the severity of punishments had been lessened; and, above all, when he recollected the severe punishments formerly inflicted by courts-martial. He remembered on one occasion having to state in that House the case of a man tried before a court-martial, who was sentenced to receive 1,700 lashes. On that occasion he stated, if they adopted a milder system they might place greater reliance on the good conduct of the men, and the result of the change which had been made gave him the greatest satisfaction. He would urge upon the House to consider that they now had proofs of the efficacy of mild punishment; and, therefore, whether discipline could not be maintained as well without as with flogging. He was also convinced of the advantages which had resulted from the improvements which had been adopted with respect to the morals and comforts of the soldiers, as stated by his right hon. Friend, and he could not forget that many of them were attributable to his right hon. Friend. It was a matter of satisfaction to consider that they had not laboured in vain, but that the service of the country had been better performed than at any previous period. He was satisfied that there was not one of the changes which had been adopted which was not conducive to the comfort, the discipline, and the good conduct of the soldiers. He had always said, and he then repeated it, that he never would begrudge a proper allowance for such improvements. He had always looked upon the soldiers as an ill-used class in this respect, and that by those who ought to have known better. He recollected many gallant friends of his say that discipline could not be maintained in an army of English, Irish, or Scotchmen, without flogging, and he was now glad that his right hon. Friend had been enabled to give such proofs to the country to the contrary. He felt also that in the barracks in this country which he had visited, there was not sufficient room for the recreation of the men. When they were not engaged in active service, some means should be afforded them for healthy exercise and for mental improvement, which, if not allowed, must deteriorate the condition and prove most injurious to the soldiers. He had been one of the first to propose the establishment of libraries in barracks, which he was told at the time would prove most dangerous; but 989 the result had been most satisfactory, and the country would perceive the advantages of having an instructed army, rather than one in a state of brutal ignorance. The extension of this system would also have a beneficial effect on the health of the men, and any sum thus expended would prove more beneficial than a large amount expended in another way. Some observations had been made with regard to the Liverpool Association. He was not a member of it because he was not connected with the spot; but if he resided in the neighbourhood, he certainly should become a member. He had laid it down as a rule, as regards belonging to societies, that he would confine himself to those which he considered within legitimate limits. That association had done great good. They had opened the eyes of the country to the enormity of the establishments of the country. He had often heard it stated that the man who made two blades of grass grow where one only grew before, was a benefactor to his country; and, upon that principle, if the Liverpool Association could make a five-pound note go as far as a ten-pound note, they would merit the thanks and gratitude of the country. But what had the Liverpool Association done? What was the sum and substance of the charge against them? They had expressed strong opinions on certain subjects, and he thought with a great deal of good sense; and he had no doubt they had opened the eyes of the community to many things to which they had hitherto been blind, in exposing the abuses which existed in connexion with many of the establishments in the country. What, then, was the ground of charge against the Liverpool Association? Was it that they had stated that the colonels were traders?
§ MR. F. MAULE
remarked that what he complained of was, that they had stated that the colonels of regiments were instrumental in cheating the soldiers with respect to their clothing.
§ MR. HUME
observed that that was a great error, and was most unjust. He had moved for the appointment of a Committee in 1833 which investigated the question of clothing the Army, and many other matters connected with it. When that Committee was appointed, both Sir Henry Parnell and himself entertained strong opinions as to the evils of the existing system of clothing the Army; but the evidence of all the officers and other persons well able to form an opinion on the subject, was in favour 990 of the present system. Therefore his opinion was materially affected. It was quite true that the resolution, and other parts of the report read by his right hon. Friend, had passed unanimously; but the reason of this was the good disposition of the officers of the Army and Navy, examined before the Committee, to give up the existing military sinecures on the death of the then holders, and to take one-half the amount to be distributed for distinguished service, and for good conduct to the men. He thought he should have been acting very improperly if he had taken any step which would have prevented the principle adopted by the Committee from being carried out. The report alluded to also stated that such checks had been adopted with regard to the clothing of the troops, that they had proved most beneficial to the soldiers, and had improved their health and added to their comforts. He recollected at the time he alluded to it, that the artillery were better supplied, and had better clothing than the line. Since, however, the period when the Committee sat, there had been a great improvement in the clothing of the Army. There was not a better clothed corps than the artillery; and it did not require the interference of any colonel, but the whole matter was managed by a committee of officers. It appeared to him that the attack that had been made was against the system; but in doing so some errors were committed. If these parties had read the report of the Committee, they would have seen that the management of the clothing was placed in the hands of agents, and the colonels had nothing to do with the matter but to receive the differences on the allowances. When the price of cloth was high, they got less, but when it was low, they got something more; but personally they had nothing to do with the matter. Any one who had not seen the blue book, but had only looked at the surface, might be led to believe that the colonels made a profit in the way stated. But take any of the other items, and they would not find such errors. He had looked into these pamphlets, and more especially into those which referred to the comparative expenses of various establishments in different years, and they appeared to him to have been very accurate. Another point alluded to by his right hon. Friend was in shape of a quotation from a document which he trusted would be laid on the table of the House—he meant the document giving the statistics of the British Army since 1836. 991 He had pressed for such military statistics twenty years ago; but he was laughed at in that House, and was told in that House by military men that they never could be prepared so as to give any accurate information. But Lord Hardinge and other officers had subsequently admitted the full importance of the question, and that was ample satisfaction to him. His right hon. Friend had been very candid in his statement of the reason why so large a force as 103,254 men was required. He (Mr. Hume) had often alleged the same reasons, but their truth had always heretofore been denied. His right hon. Friend stated that there were four reasons for maintaining the force at 103,254 men. The first was the state of foreign affairs. [Mr. F. MAULE: I said the aspect of affairs abroad.] Foreign and abroad were the same thing—at least he used the word in that sense. England had suffered already more than could be described by her intermeddling in foreign affairs. If there was any declaration that gave the people more satisfaction than they would have felt from another, it was in 1830, when Earl Grey declared that the basis of his administration would be the non-interference principle. He could trace the origin of 680,000,000l. of debt to the meddling in foreign affairs since 1792. That meddling had saddled the country with a perpetual annuity of 19,000,000l. So that the principle of 1830 was a good one; but it had been forgotten. A great portion of the naval and military expenditure of late years had been caused by intervention. His hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding had gone into the facts, into which he would not follow him. But if foreign interference were let alone, millions would be saved. He recollected Mr. Canning saying, when he sent 5,000 troops to Portugal, that he would not have done so had he not had a good bottle-holder; meaning thereby that these troops were not wanted in England, where, nevertheless, they were maintained as a surplus force. He objected to a surplus force. There was no object in maintaining such a force; and the mere fact that there was a spare body of troops which might be detached and sent away without impairing the defences of the kingdom, was often a stimulus and an incentive to intervention. His right hon. Friend next said that the force was required to provide for the colonies; but he should be glad to know whore the country was at this moment which 992 would think of interfering with any colony of Great Britain? What troops were wanted in the colonies? Canada now possessed, he was happy to say, a responsible Government; why, then, retain there 7,000 troops? The House must remember that so many men of the line required twenty-two companies of artillery, with a proportion of sappers and miners, and of the commissariat—all went together, and the expense was at least double that which was required for the payment of the men. Why was not the militia enough for it? There was no desire on their parts to separate from us; and why such a military force was wanted there, he could not comprehend. If merely a bodyguard of the line were wanted for the Governor, as the representative of Her Majesty, he would not object; but beyond that, his advice was, withdraw all the forces. Let them relieve the colonies from the eternal meddling of the Colonial Office; and the best remedy he could suggest for them would be, to lock the door of the noble Lord's office, and let the colonies govern themselves. His right hon. Friend had referred to Ceylon, and talked of the insurrection there as a reason against a diminution of the force. But what was the cause of the outbreak? If men were sent out who were incapable of managing themselves or others, such results must be expected. The reserve which was maintained for the change of troops in the colonies was far too great. Supposing they required 40,000 men, who were relieved every ten years in rotation, a reserve of 4,000 men would suffice to effect that. He therefore objected to the number of troops required for the colonies. The next item in the list of his right hon. Friend was the quota of troops necessary for the home service. He must confess that he had always entertained a belief that there was a certain proportion of the whole force which was expressly maintained for the purpose assigned to it by his right hon. Friend; but it had always heretofore been denied that any such intention or purpose existed. His right hon. Friend's honesty and candour had, however, saved him from any trouble in again arguing that point; and he must ask the House whether it was not a very serious matter when they came to reflect that there were 20,000 men employed in the home service more than there had been in the years 1835–6? And this solely to preserve the peace at home. Not a man desired the preservation of peace 993 and order more than he, and no one would go further to maintain it. The question, then, arose, what was it that rendered Englishmen discontented, and so made it necessary to keep up a force of armed men? He had always looked upon England as a civil country, governed by a civil power; and our great boast, from the time of Elizabeth, was, that it was so. When that Queen was asked if she would not have a guard, her answer was, "Every subject I have is my guard." Now, it appears, the note is changed, by our keeping up a force of 50,000 men in these islands. What was the reason? Fear of the working classes? If there were one class which more than another was interested in the maintenance of peace in society, it was the poor—the working class. Nothing like disorder, or an interruption of the harmony of the community, could arise without making the working man the first victim. The rich might hold on; it was the poor man who earned his daily bread by labour who suffered first and most. If he was told by the Government that it was necessary to maintain this force in order to preserve peace, then he had a right to ask what were the causes of discontent which rendered it thus necessary. If there was discontent, it was for the Government to consider whether they would ascertain the cause with a view of removing it; or coerce the people and dragoon them. His right hon. Friend referred to the number of applications he had had for troops, and asked how he was to refuse them. From the time the Duke of York became Commander-in-Chief, this country lost much of its civil character, and the practice grew up of resorting to the troops on every occasion; a system which ought to be put an end to, and reliance placed upon the civil authorities of the country. But now, many of the magistrates, remembering perhaps their old doings, if only the cat stirred in the straw, they sent for the soldiers. Did his right hon. Friend or the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary mean to say that they would answer all such claims, and send a troop of soldiers to see if anything came out of it? With all respect to the Government, he must say that there was somewhat too much of this, and that they seemed to have forgotten that England depended upon her civil government for the superiority she held. He hoped they would discountenance such applications, and rather seek into the causes of any discontent 994 that might prevail. He regretted to observe the absence of the Members of the Government. They had none of them there, so they had it all their own way. But they could afford to be away, for there was no opposition to the Government. It had been said by Members that they were as useful to the country when sitting on the Opposition side as when on the Ministerial benches; but now it was come to a pass that Whigs and Tories were all in one class together, and the Radicals were so dispersed that there was no Opposition at all. However, he would advise the Government—and he hoped his right hon. the Secretary at War would tell them when they came in—instead of keeping up a military force to preserve quiet at home, that it would be much better to yield to the wishes of the masses of the people, and make them contented, by giving them what they had a right to have, rather than to make them discontented by withholding their rights. That appeared to him the proper course to enable the Government to reduce the establishments, and yet leave them amply efficient for the public service. But the array of figures in the military expenditure was terrible to look at. He could show that 185,000 men were supplied last year with small arms from the Ordnance, not including the yeomanry. There were 11,000 Irish police, 12,000 English metropolitan and provincial police, and altogether there were upwards of 200,000 men in arms in the country, exclusive of the Navy. It appeared as if the Government were frightened at their own shadows, and they were bearing down the country with the weight of so enormous an expenditure. In bringing forward his Amendment, he was quite aware he might be accused of a desire to reduce the number of men too much, and for that reason he would state the grounds upon which his Amendment was based. It might be said that a reduction of 14,000 men was too great, but it was only an approximation to the number of men employed in 1835–6. In the three years comprised within 1833 and 1836, the average number of men was 86,547. In the three years comprised within 1845 and 1848, the average number of men was 105,672. He wanted to go back to the average of 1836. The artillery, also, had increased since the peace. There were nine battalions of artillery at the close of the war in 1815. There were twelve battalions now after thirty-four years' peace. He thought that he 995 had made out a case for the Amendment he had to propose, and all he could say was, that if the House went with him in his Motion, the effect would be to reduce the expenditure of the country by 9¼ millions, perhaps 11¼ millions; and he would promise hon. Members opposite, that if they joined him he would soon take off the duties on malt, hops, bricks, soap, windows, and paper. What more could he promise? Many of the prophecies which he had made had been actually fulfilled; and he called upon the House to give him a little trust for the future. Grant this reduction of the force, and there would immediately be a reduction of the amount of taxation, and with that reduction of taxation the prosperity of the country would be improved, and we should be better prepared for war. Next year he would come down for more reductions. If he could only get a Liverpool Association in every town in the country, there would be some hope; he was beginning to be a little sanguine, and, therefore, he now moved to reduce the whole number of men by 14,254.
Afterwards Motion made, and Question put—
That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 89,254 Men (exclusive of the Men employed in the Territorial Possessions of the East India Company), Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers included, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from the 1st day of April 1849 to the 31st day of March 1850 inclusive.
MR. H. DRUMMOND
said, he thought, as there were no Ministers in the House—no doubt they were discussing those subjects over a cool bottle—they might as well have a little quiet conversation amongst themselves. The hon. Member for Montrose had complained loudly of the augmentation of our defensive forces that had taken place within the last twenty years, but he had said little as to the reasons which necessitated that augmentation. He (Mr. H. Drummond) must confess, that in his opinion, the more you increased in manufacturing population, the more you must increase your force of some kind; he did not care whether blue coats or red coats, but a force you must have. It was not the country magistrates, it was the mayors of the manufacturing towns, who called meetings on one hand, and applied for the military on the other; and just in proportion as those merchants and manufacturers who clamoured most loudly on this subject were cowards at one 996 moment, so were they bullies at another. They were the very people who led you into the war with South America. [Mr. GIBSON CRAIG: No, no!] Yes, but they did; and they were the very people who turned pale at the expense of which they were the causes. If you entered into war, you must not come out till you had conquered. Either do not begin to fight at all, or fight till you are dead. Make what apologies you like before you come to the ground, but I beseech you, when you are once on the ground, stand to it. He said to those manufacturing Gentlemen, "Do not enter into these quarrels, or, if you do, do not grudge the expense to the Government." It was said, we had a great many more artillerymen now than during the war, but it was notorious that we had then far too few artillery. There was not a man who had any knowledge of military matters, but must confess that the arm in which the English Army was inferior during the last war, was the artillery; and every one must know that no proficiency was to be attained in such an arm but by long training. It was a favourite doctrine of the hon. Member for the West Riding, and some other Members opposite, that military men were not the best judges of how the country was to be defended, but that civilians were the best judges. This assertion lay at the base of their whole system, and must be examined; it was made last year, at Manchester meetings, and had been repeated in that House. Now, it appeared to him that, however stoutly they might contend for this position, when reduced to its true value, it came to neither more nor less than the burden of the old verse—Who drives fat oxen should himself be fat.So, who pays generals must himself be a general. "I charge you," said the hon. Member for the West Riding, "that this is a question for the taxpayers to decide, not for military men. They were to decide what was the proportion of men necessary for the defence of the country." ["Hear, hear!"] If they did not see the absurdity of this, he could not help it. He said that those who spoke thus were not competent judges. If a board of general officers were to set about instructing them how to make cotton twist, the manufacturers would say they were a parcel of meddling fools; and when the manufacturers said they were the best judges of the manner in which the country was to be defended, and the number of men requisite for that purpose, he told 997 them they were going beyond their border; they were presuming to go into matters of which they were necessarily and essentially ignorant. ["Hear, hear!"] But he had not done yet. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding, the other day taunted the House by saying, "You are the best judges; take care how you perform your duty; you are sent here for no other earthly purpose than to determine upon those economical questions." But he scarcely thought that those whose judgment upon this delicate question was most to be trusted, would pretend to be better able to deal with it than those who were called to the situation of responsible advisers of the Crown. All the various Governments of Europe had agents residing here, through whom they were well enabled to know the condition of England. Ministers told the House that they required a certain number of persons to carry on the government of the country; and surely they had the best means of knowing the truth on this point. But Gentlemen who had no means whatever of knowing or judging beyond what the newspapers afforded, said they could tell perfectly well that the views of Ministers were quite erroneous; they said to the House, "We are like the judges appointed to try a cause, we have nothing to do but to hear the cause before us, and decide." Now, the common sense of the matter, supposing they were all equally stupid, was to put their confidence in those persons who must of necessity be better informed than certain hon. Gentlemen on the other side, who prided themselves so much on their knowledge and judgment. One hon. Gentleman said, that his (Mr. H. Drummond's) noble Friend the late First Lord of the Admiralty was very vague in his evidence when examined before the Committee on the Navy Estimates—that he did not come to the point at all—because he said, the reason for fixing upon a certain number of soldiers and sailors now was not referable to the establishments of the year 1835, but to the general state of Europe; and this phrase he called a vague generality. Now he (Mr. H. Drummond) maintained that this was the only reason of a statesman, and the only reason of common sense. Of all persons in the world, those Manchester Gentlemen had given the most satisfactory proofs of their incompetence to form an opinion on the question. He believed there was no 998 more upright man, nor one more disposed to give evidence as to what he believed to be the truth, than the hon. Member for the West Riding; and yet there was not in that House, nor in the country, a man who stood so completely convicted of his utter incompetency to give an opinion as to the general feeling of Europe, and the general state of every part of Her Majesty's dominions, as that very Gentleman, whose prophecies as to the future had been so glaringly and so thoroughly refuted by the events. Like a peaceable man as he was, he supposed the hon. Member walked into the Zoological Gardens, and saw tigers and baboons lying quietly in their dens, and therefore fancied they had forgotten their natural ferocity. So the hon. Member concluded that the human race had forgotten their martial propensities and habitudes, because they had been for a time disused; and this, he said, was above all the case of our nearest and most powerful neighbours, the French. But, unfortunately, since that time there had been universal suffrage established in France; the whole nation to a man had been able to express their opinion; and what had been the result? Why, they had just run mad after the ghost of a grey great coat and a little cocked hat. They had given us an intimation that the time when they were the happiest was not a time of free trade; but when they lived under the regimen of the Berlin decrees; that the time they were looking back to with the greatest delight was, when they were under an absolute military government, and that to which they were looking forward with the highest hopes and exultation was another thirty years' war.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, that the House had been told last year that it was impossible to spare a man from the military force; but his hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding had predicted that on further investigation many men could be spared; and the project of the Government proved that his hon. Friend's prediction was a right one. His hon. Friend went further, and said that there would be more reductions in the military and naval establishment. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last had told the House that persons in the naval and military service were the only persons competent to form an opinion as to the force of the country. If he wanted to know how a regiment was to be used when brought into the field, or 999 how a ship was to be beaten off a lee shore or handled by the enemy, then he would apply to a professional man; but he did not apply to a professional man to consider what was necessary for the safety of the country. He regarded military and naval men as public servants, and they were not to be the only parties consulted as to how many of their establishments the safety of the country required. One of the difficulties of the Executive Government was to answer the appeals of these professional persons; and if it were not for what the hon. Member called the Manchester school, but which he (Mr. Gibson) called the rising sense of the country—it would be impossible for the Executive to resist the appeals of these departments. They must take care they did not carry their expenses one farthing beyond what the real necessities of the country required. He should support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose, mainly on this ground, that he thought no answer had been given as to the necessity of maintaining so large a military force in the colonies. The highest authorities had stated that the duties of soldiers in the colonies were reduced to those of mere policemen, and the colonies could find their own police. He wished the Committees had been empowered to inquire into the amount of force required, that they might be able to report to the House some intelligible reason for the number that was now kept up.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
contended that the great military force in Canada and Ireland might be reduced, if the Government were conducted in accordance with the feelings and opinions of the people; they might then dispense with three-fourths of that stationed in Ireland.
§ MR. W. P. WOOD
said, that he felt that on this question he had a duty to perform to his constituents, who bad last year presented him with a petition, signed by 1,340 individuals, and printed by the Committee of Selection, praying for a specific relief appropriate to the matter now before the House. The first name attached to the petition was that of Mr. Caudwell, a gentleman who had had considerable experience on the subject of recruiting, and the prayer was, that the militia staff of this country, which was at present of no possible service, might be made available for the purpose of recruiting the Army. It further proposed that the recruits should be formed into special corps similar to the pensioners; that the general 1000 body should be drafted from time to time into different regiments, and in the mean time employed in the same mannner as the pensioners on garrison duty. He must admit that no debates he had ever heard in that House seemed to him so unprofitable as those on the estimates. Those debates, it seemed to him, might be generally stereotyped, for the same observations were repeated on every occasion. A certain number of Members got up on every occasion, and said they supported Government because they had the responsibility of administering the affairs of the country; and therefore must know much more about the matter than themselves, and were entitled to implicit confidence. Now, he was quite prepared to place great confidence in Government; but he found that they invariably came forward and said, that none of the responsibility was to be thrown upon them; that every vote had been made by the House, and every grant. True, they said, there has been great expense and profligate extravagance; but remember that we are not answerable for that; it was the House of Commons and the country. Those two propositions could not both be perfectly correct; and therefore he was rather inclined to think that the Government were in the right, and that it was the duty of the House to watch over the public interests in this matter as in others as well as they could. It was perfectly true, that if this were a question of how the military were to be employed, and what was the best way of defending the country on certain points if threatened with attack, the Government must be best able to decide; but certainly there were some subjects on which they were competent to form an opinion, such as those which had been placed before the House by his hon. Friends the Members for Montrose and for the West Riding of Yorkshire. They were now called upon to vote 27,000 men more than in the years 1835, 1836, and 1837, besides a large corps of pensioners, amounting to 15,000 men, which did not then exist, and a considerable increase in the constabulary of Ireland. He thought that some reason for this expenditure ought to be given, in order that the House might not afterwards be taunted with having been themselves the cause of it. They were always told that they were at peace with all the world, and wished to preserve it; but that the only way of preserving peace was to be strong in our Army; and that, if we were secure in that respect, peace was more likely to be pre- 1001 served. True, it might not be wholly unnecessary to have 20,000 men more than before; but this was to be considered—were there not other matters which made us more likely to be at peace, besides the fact of being prepared for war? The sinews of war were not merely men, but money. If our finances were in such a fearful state that last year we had a deficiency of 2,000,000l., and this year we were told by Her Majesty's Ministers that in spite of all the efforts made by them, we should not do more than make the revenue meet the demands upon us, he said there were grave reasons for pausing upon the consideration of this subject. Was it not to be remembered, that an attempt to increase the income tax broke down under the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Was not there peril in spending more than could possibly be spared, with a view to the contingency of a war? There was great danger in a deficit, and danger in the burden of our enormous debt. If the only two dangers to be much apprehended were revolution on the one side and foreign war on the other, he thought it worthy of notice that every revolution, from that of the Jewish kingdom down to the latest recorded in history—he believed there was not a single instance in which it was otherwise—had arisen from the people being overburdened with taxation. This was a real source of danger, to which he had been trying to look more than to the danger of a future possible invasion of the country. It was said that if Government had been extravagant, it had not been worse than the directors of many railway companies. He did not think such a comparison a very flattering one to the House, for, at the meetings attended by railway directors, they found a body of people who met to be told of a dividend of four or five per cent, who were perfectly satisfied on hearing of it, and went away without further inquiry. He believed that the comparison was apt in one respect, for the most lavish railway expenditure had been occasioned by imaginary dread of foreign invasion by other companies. He regretted most deeply that the hon. Member for West Surrey should have adverted to the probability of a French invasion, and equally regretted his allusions to what he was pleased in that House to call the Manchester school, as contrasted with the agricultural community. If there were any attempt more than another distressing in that House, met as they were to consider the general interests of the 1002 community, it was an attempt to divide the people into classes; and on a recent occasion he had felt this very deeply. A bitter and marked division of class against class would be one of the most fatal things for the interest of the country, and the most likely to bring us into a ruinous condition. Allusions had been made to the fall of the commercial States of Tyre and Venice; but might be not allude to Poland and Hungary, with their territorial aristocracy? No country could prosper that had not a commercial, manufacturing, and agricultural population acting in unison, and endeavouring to do their best for the interests of their country, feeling that they were all involved in one common cause. With respect to France, one important fact had been communicated to him by a French gentleman who had resided here for ten or eleven years in a diplomatic capacity, and afterwards filled similar high stations in other countries; he said that we were entirely mistaken in supposing that the French had an inclination for war—that the people of Paris might still retain that insane delusion, which they had so much suffered from, but the best proof that the dispositions of the French people generally were very different was, that during the reign of Louis Philippe the price of a substitute for the conscription had been doubled. Unfortunately we had gone too far in regarding France our natural enemy. Those who lived nearest to us were, he conceived, naturally our friends, neighbours, and allies. He belonged neither to the Manchester school nor to the Liverpool Finance Association; but certainly he did look forward to commerce as the means of promoting general peace throughout Europe; though he did not regard any other interest as inimical to peace; and least of all did he look upon France as our enemy. He trusted she never would be. He remembered being especially pleased with some fine lines of the most Catholic of poets—Shakspeare, which might be most appropriately quoted relation to this subject:—So be there 'twixt your kingdoms such a spousalThat never may ill office, or fell jealousyThrust in between the paction of these kingdoms,To make divorce of their incorporate league;That English may as French, French Englishmen,Receive each other! God speak this Amen!
MR. H. DRUMMOND
must deny in the strongest terms that he had said anything as to the probability of a French invasion, or that he had drawn any contrast 1003 between the manufacturing and landed interests, because he was as fully convinced as his hon. Friend himself, of the very great evil of such contrasts.
MR. VERNON SMITH
thought the present Ministry honest, and that any honest Ministry would wish an ample discussion of the estimates in that House. At the present moment this question stood on a different footing from that which it had formerly occupied. The doctrines of free trade had made a very great difference in the treatment of our colonial relations. If free trade were to be adopted as our national policy, there was no subject upon which it ought sooner to be applied than to the intercourse with our colonies. We had given up the system of exclusive markets, and had no longer the interest we once had in extending our colonial interests. If, then, we had not the interest we once had, we had no longer any motive for extending to them further military protection, with certain exceptions. Military protection must be given where there might be a prospect of aggression, and, perhaps, of war, and in anticipation of such events, garrisons and fortresses might be preserved. The question next arose what colonies we were to maintain for other purposes. To this he would answer that we were bound to maintain those colonies where we had planted British subjects, and to protect them against the aboriginal inhabitants; but no longer than they were able to protect themselves. In the North American colonies we had given responsible government. The proper name for it, he thought, would be self-government. With the concession of self-government, there ceased the necessity for our protection; and he did not shrink from saying that whenever those colonies came into collision with us, either in interest or feeling, we must look forward to the question of separation. He did not mean separation of the character of our former colonies in North America, but a separation effected amicably, and not by force. He cautioned the House, on these grounds, against laying out money in military expenses, which could be of no avail when the day of separation came. Millions had been spent upon fortifications, to which, the moment danger came, if it came from the United States, troops could not be sent in time to defend them, especially if the attack was made in winter. It was, therefore, the part of a wise Colonial Minister to look forward to this question of separation; and if he were asked whether the people of 1004 this country would think it would be justifiable to send out forces to compel those colonies to unite with us, he should reply that he thought not. The other question was where we ought to protect our colonists against aboriginal inhabitants. There were some cases where this must be done. New Zealand, for instance, where the natives were an intellectual and indomitable race could not, at present, possibly be left without some military force; but the moment there was a sufficient emigration thither, and an adequate organisation of the colonists themselves, or amalgamation with the inhabitants, he thought the military force might be withdrawn. But, in Australia, troops might entirely be dispensed with. There, the aborigines, originally feeble, were almost extinguished. Where convicts were sent, there must be a force kept. He intreated the Government, however, to pause before they sent convicts to such a colony as the Cape of Good Hope without consideration. Emigrants would not go out with them; this was a natural and, in some respects, a virtuous feeling. With regard to the subject of expenditure for the colonies, something must be done; but he regretted to see that no great attention was paid to it. All the House knew of colonial wars and colonial expenditure was when the Minister came down, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer did last year, asking for a vote of 1,100,000l. for the expenses of a war of which scarcely anybody had ever heard. When the papers on the subject were produced, he believed it would be found that a more lavish expenditure had never taken place anywhere at any time than in the Kafir war. And what had we gained by it? Certainly a wide extent of territory, and we had enlarged our frontier; but we should find it would have to be retained by large future outlay. Again, as to the colony of Natal, was the House aware of what was said about it in the papers of last Session? All the governors, including Sir P. Maitland, and Sir H. Pottinger, as well as Lord Grey, had said it would be attended with great expense—and the whole correspondence relative to it was one series of doubts respecting it; and yet it ended in retaining the doubtful benefit of this possession. He only referred to this case to show how these subjects were neglected by that House. Only last year, a strip of land—the Island of Labuan—was taken, and how was that effected? A most intelligent and enterprising gen-tleman, 1005 tleman, Sir James Brooke, went there—and published his travels. They were read and admired; and the consequence was, that an outcry was raised against the Colonial Office to take possession of this land. Sir James Brooke was accordingly sent there, and, for that purpose, a vote of 12,000l. was passed unobserved through the House. If the House believed, now that we were at Labuan, that no attempt would be made to take possession of the continent of Borneo, they were quite mistaken. There would be some quarrel or collision with the natives—and, by and by, we should extend our territory there. For this system of colonial mismanagement there were only two cures. One was, to force upon the colonial governments the duty of protecting themselves, and the other for that House to keep a watchful eye over the expenditure. The first of these would require sufficient notice to be given to the colonies; and until this had been done he should be sorry if his hon. Friend took a division upon the present occasion to force upon the Government to make these reductions. When this had been done, then let the House take up the whole question. Let one Member take up the cause of each particular colony, and insist upon its being heard. There would, under such circumstances, be nothing derogatory to the Crown in proposing that Her Majesty's Ministers should advise Her Majesty when it was meant to extend the colonies, to inform the House that an estimate had first been made of the cost. One great cause of the cost of the Kafir war had been the absence of estimates. He had thus endeavoured to point out in what respect reductions could be made; and he pressed their consideration upon Her Majesty's Ministers.
agreed with much that had fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose upon the subject of economy; but, in this instance, he had put the cart before the horse. He believed it was the tendency of Her Majesty's Government to grant self-government to the colonies; but the House must decide that great question before calling upon them to reduce the number of men employed in the Army. At the present moment, and under existing circumstances, reduction, he considered, was impracticable. With regard to the proposed reductions in the Navy, it had been shown that they could only be effected by withdrawing the squadron from the coast 1006 of Africa. That, however, was a great question, which was now under inquiry, and when the time came he should be disposed to vote against the continuance of that squadron; but, certainly, he should not vote for the reduction of a single man whilst the Government, under existing treaties, were bound to maintain that squadron. These two great questions must first be considered before reductions could be effected; but he believed Her Majesty's Government were going in that direction as fast as they could.
§ CAPTAIN BOLDERO
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton had based most of his arguments for reduction upon the colonial part of the question. But did the actual state of our colonies admit of reduction? Could it be said that Ceylon could be kept without troops? Could the West Indies in their present discontented state be kept without troops? And if we were to believe the accounts of what were passing in Canada, how was it possible our colonists there could be safe without troops? He need not remind the House of what had recently occurred at the Capo of Good Hope. Whence had the necessity for the protection of troops arisen? From a system of mal-government in all our colonies. If the system was changed, he admitted a large body of troops might be withdrawn from some colonies; but there were others where it was necessary to maintain a large force constantly. Gibraltar was one. [Mr. HAWES: That is a military station.] But it was colonial duty. So was that at Malta and the Ionian Islands. Possession of those islands was given to us by the Greeks, upon the understanding that we were to render them military protection; to withdraw our forces thence would, consequently, be a broach of faith. Now, if the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose was carried, what would be the result? A scale was laid down for the employment of the troops upon colonial services; and it so happened that two-thirds of the infantry regiments were discharging colonial duty. A large body of troops was constantly employed in the East Indies. [Mr. HAWES: But we do not pay them.] He knew that; and he only referred to it as bearing upon the question of colonial duty, which pressed upon the troops in an unwarrantable degree. He knew a regiment that had been twenty-three years in the East Indies, afterwards thirteen years in the Cape and Mauritius, 1007 then nine years in England; and it was now under orders for the East Indies, where it would probably remain fifteen years, thus making a period of between 50 and 60 years' service abroad. Now, if the forces were reduced, so long as the present duties remained, the necessary reliefs could not be made, and the regulations of the service would be broken. The troops, however, were not discontented. They would willingly go abroad into any part of the world for seven or fifteen years; but if the reductions were carried so far as to prevent their relief at the proper time, the natural consequence must be dissatisfaction.
SIR W. MOLES WORTH
wished to state briefly his reasons for the vote he was about to give. His hon. Friend the Member for Montrose proposed to make a reduction of 14,000 men in the force of the Army, exclusive of that in India, and to return to the establishment of 1835. Could this reduction be made without detriment to the interests of the empire? Was the number of soldiers excessive, either at home or abroad? At home the military force amounted to about 61,000 men, or about 11,500 men more than in 1835. Was this force too great? When he remembered the events of last year in Ireland—when he considered that reliefs and reinforcements must be provided for 28,000 British troops in India, and that the places of those bravo soldiers must be filled up who were led on to unnecessary slaughter by rash and incompetent generals—when he considered that reliefs were likewise to be provided for 32,000 British troops in the colonies; that the services of those troops were of the most arduous and disagreeable kind: for instance, bush-fighting and driving cattle at the Cape, guarding convicts in Australia, and combating with savages in New Zealand—when he considered that some of those troops were stationed amidst the snows of Canada, others broiling in the tropics—he acknowledged it would be cruel and unjust to compel them to pass the greater portion of their lives in such inglorious services. He therefore could not at present vote for any reduction in the force of the army at home which would lead to a prolongation of the period of military services in the colonies. He should, however, vote for a reduction of the military force in the colonies, on the grounds that if the colonies were properly governed, half the present military force in them would 1008 be sufficient. At present the force in the colonies consisted of about 32,000 British troops, and 10,000 men of coloured corps, making in all 42,000 men, exclusive of artillery and engineers, or about 2,500 men more than in 1835. These troops, including artillery, &c, must cost this country about 2,500,000l. a year. He should first propose to the House to make a considerable reduction in the force in the military stations, which amounted to about 22,000 men. He should begin with withdrawing the troops from the Ionian islands. Great Britain was not bound, either by treaties with the great Powers of Europe, or by convention with the Ionian States, to keep any specific number of troops in those islands. But he considered that the Ionian States were bound by convention to pay all the expenses of the British troops, not exceeding 3,000 men, which had been about the average number of troops in those islands. It would, however, have been impossible for them to fulfil this agreement. It would have required a sum larger than their whole revenue. Therefore from time to time fresh agreements had been made with them for smaller and smaller contributions on account of military protection. Those agreements they had never been able to fulfil for any considerable period of time; at present they must be indebted to this country in a sum of about 200,000l. It was but fair, however, to mention that they had paid since Great Britain became their recognised protector in 1816, about 800,000l. on account of military protection—a sum enormous in proportion to the population of the Ionian Islands, which did not exceed 225,000; enormous in proportion to the revenue, which amounted to about 150,000l. In addition to that 800,000l., Great Britain had expended since 1816 at least 4,000,000l. on those islands, to which our export trade did not exceed 95,000l. a year on the average of the last twenty years. Now, 4,000,000l. were from ten to twenty times what it would cost to send from the country a force to conquer those islands equal to that which originally conquered them in 1809. Therefore, if instead of spending 120,000l. a year on the Ionian Islands, that sum of money had annually been laid by, and permitted to accumulate, by this time the accumulations would have been sufficient to pay the expenses of conquering the Ionian Islands twenty times over, if it were necessary to do so. Now, the best 1009 mode for a nation to put by money was to leave it to fructify in the pockets of the people, by reducing taxation, Therefore, he proposed to withdraw the troops from the Ionian Islands, and to exempt the States from any contribution on account of military protection; for so doing they would bless this House, and by so doing this House might reduce three thousand men. Next he proposed a reduction in the military force at the Cape of Good Hope. The year before last that force consisted of nine regiments; last year it consisted of six regiments; in all 5,000 men, including a colonial corps, but exclusive of artillery and engineers. He doubted whether such a force, including artillery, &c, could be maintained at the Cape for less than half a million a year. He acknowledged at once that if the British empire in South Africa was to be maintained according to the boundaries fixed by Sir Harry Smith, and the frontier was to be protected from the incursions of savages, twice 5,000 men, and an annual expenditure of a million, would in all probability be ultimately required. Did the House know the extent of the British dominions in South Africa, according to the last proclamation of Sir H. Smith? It contained nearly 300,000 square miles. Half as large again as France—equal to the whole of the Austrian empire. Its northern boundary was 1,500 miles long—as far as from here to Naples. On that boundary dwelt the fiercest savages on the face of the earth—the Zooloos, negroes with a large admixture of Caucasian blood, every ready to send forth swarms of cattle stealers; whence all South African wars. Within the boundary were and deserts and impracticable ravines, rendering military expeditions always difficult and expensive, and at some seasons of the year totally impracticable. The more fertile portions of the country were inhabited either by rebel boers, hating British authority, and anxious to throw off British dominion, or by bushmen and bandit tribes wilder than the wild beasts. And, lastly, imbedded in the British possessions were the Caffres, with whom an open or concealed warfare was always raging—who were not yet conquered, though 2,000,000 had been spent in the attempt, but who must be conquered at whatever cost, if the present boundaries of the British empire in South Africa were to be maintained. He proposed, therefore, to withdraw the troops, to let the boers take care of themselves—to let the colo- 1010 nists manage their own affairs—and merely to keep a garrison of 1,000 men at Cape Town. And he warned the House that if they did not follow this advice, they would have in addition to an ordinary military expenditure of half a million a year to vote every few years a few millions for Caffre and Zooloo wars. The reduction, therefore, which he should propose to make in the military force of this colony would amount to 4,000 men. Next, with regard to Ceylon; the military force in that colony amounted to 4,000 men, including colonial corps; a portion of the expense of that force had been defrayed by the colony—a burden they were anxious to transfer to the imperial treasury. Without doubt, if that colony continued to be administered as it had been by the Colonial Office, 4,000 troops were not too many to keep down the natives, and this country must make up its mind to pay the whole expense of those troops. Now, he must reluctantly acknowledge that after the signal failure of so enlightened and distinguishd a statesman as the noble Earl the present Secretary of State for the Colonies, there could be no hope that Ceylon could ever be well governed by the Colonial Office. He therefore proposed to transfer it, and the payment of the troops, to the East India Company; and by so doing he would give the means of reducing the vote before the House by another 4,000 men. Thus, by withdrawing 3,000 men from the Ionian Islands, and 4,000 men from the Cape of Good Hope, and by transferring Ceylon to the East India Company, he would effect a reduction of 11,000 men in the force of the military stations alone. With regard to the troops in the commercial colonies, he agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose in asking where was the use of keeping 9,000 men in the North American Colonies, of whom 6,000 were in the Canadas? These troops cost the country nearly 700,000l. a year. Now, since the Canadas had obtained responsible government, they were virtually independent. It seemed to him as absurd to pay for troops in the virtually independent colony of the Canadas, as it would be to pay for the military establishments in the independent colony of the United States. The fewer troops that were kept in the North American Colonies the better, in his opinion. He should, however, for the present, propose to keep garrisons at Quebec and Halifax, and would, therefore, merely propose a reduction of 5,000 men in the 1011 military force of the North American Colonies. Of the West Indies, which contained 6,000 troops, he should say nothing at present. He had proposed last year to reduce the force in those colonies to 3,000 men, and he had seen no reason to change his opinion on that subject. Lastly, in Australia and New Zealand there were 5,000 troops. In Australia there was no need of troops, except on account of convicts. There was, literally, no one to fight with—the natives were few in num-her, and of the most insignificant character. All that the colonists wanted was labour and free institutions, and they would soon become mighty States, costing nothing to this country, and carrying on with it an enormous trade. It might be true that in consequence of Colonial Office mismanagement troops might for some time longer he required in New Zealand; and for this reason chiefly he should propose to leave 3,000 men in the Australian colonies. Thus he believed that without any detriment to the interests of the empire, the force in the colonies might be reduced from 42,000 men to less than 22,000 men, with a saving to the empire in military expenditure alone of above a million sterling a year. If this reduction were made in the forces on foreign stations, then as the number of troops to be relieved would be much diminished, the question might be entertained of reducing the military force at home. He would not trouble the House with inquiring at present to what extent that force might then be reduced; but he would conclude with saying that for the reasons which he had stated, he should cordially vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose.
§ MR. SHARMAN CRAWFORD
intended to vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose because he believed that the maintenance of so large a force as 52,000 men in Great Britain and Ireland was inconsistent with a free constitution. If the people were justly governed, it would not be necessary to maintain such a standing army to keep them in subjection. It must be misgovernment and mismanagement which caused Ireland to be covered with troops to preserve the peace. He besought the hon. Member for Montrose, and those other hon. Members who were anxious for retrenchment in the public expenditure, to consider well, and to endeavour to remove, the causes that had led to that unhappy state of things in Ireland which required the presence of so many thousands 1012 of armed men. He would tell those hon. Gentlemen that if England was determined to maintain the coercive system as regarded Ireland—if they were determined to impose upon Ireland that unjust burden proposed by the Government (the rate in and), 25,000 men would not be adequate to maintain peace in Ireland. He know what were the real feelings of the people of the north of Ireland with regard to that proposition; and he could assure the Government and the House that the proposed tax could not be levied except with the and of a military force. If they were determined to force that measure upon Ireland, their military force there must be instantly increased. He should, therefore, support the Amendment of his hon. Friend.
§ MR. COBDEN
Sir, I have been delighted to hear the tendency of the remarks which have been advanced to-night in this House. I have been quite gratified at the constant allusions which have been made by one speaker after another to our colonies, for that is the point on which the question of retrenchment turns. I concur fully in all that has been said by my Friend the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark, and by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton. I shall not therefore repeat their arguments, for I could not hope to do so in equally forcible terms. But the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War has alluded to a remark I made on a former occasion as to the number of troops employed in Canada. What I said was, that the number of troops employed in that country previous to the breaking out of the rebellion was only 4,000 men; and that since the rebellion was suppressed, the force which had been added on that ground (as in all similar cases when the cause for the increase has ceased) has not been reduced, and now I find the force maintained there is double what it was previous to the rebellion. That is an additional argument to prove that in the cases when we augment our establishments from any cause, whether by sea or land, we never find that we afterwards go back again to what they were before the occasion for the increase arose. But we are told to-night that this amount of troops is required in reference to our domestic condition at home; and I have heard with great regret the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, as to the necessity of keeping up troops in this country for the purpose of preserving internal order. The purpose for which we 1013 keep up a standing Army at home in time of peace was never before unveiled in this House. Up to this time I believe it has always been denied that the object was to keep down the people. Now, Sir, I look upon that as an alarming state of things, when we are told by a responsible Member of the Government in this House that Englishmen, who have always hitherto been considered as peculiarly fitted for self-government, whether here, in America, or in the colonies, and who have always claimed the privilege of being governed by the civil and not by the military power—I say it is a most alarming circumstance if now, in 1849, we require, as the right hon. Gentleman says, to maintain a large military force in this country in order to keep the people in order, and preserve the peace. [Mr. F. MAULE: I did not say it was for such a purpose.] Well, the right hon. Gentleman said it was for the purpose of keeping peace at home. [Mr. F. MAULE: It was to the manufacturing towns we were besought to send troops.] I do freely admit that troops were desired and sent to manufacturing towns; but I think that there was something faulty in the system which called for this periodical enforcement of the law. It behoves those who are responsible for the Government to devise means for bringing the mass of the working classes, whether in the agricultural or manufacturing towns, into harmony with the middle clashes, and by introducing a large proportion of the working people within the pale of the constitution to remove the cause of that discontent which renders the employment of troops for such a purpose necessary. But admitting there exists a necessity for employing the troops in preventing breaches of the peace, we know that the same amount of force is now much more efficient than it formerly was, in consequence of the railways which we now have to all parts of the kingdom. Since 1835, all the great lines of railway communication have been completed. A great authority on such matters, General Gordon, who gave evidence before a Committee on railroads in 1845, said that a battalion of 1,000 troops might be despatched in nine hours by railway from London to Manchester; whereas before the railway was made, it would take seventeen days; and that while in the one case they arrive as fresh as when they started, in the other they would come in exhausted and fatigued with a seventeen days' march. 1014 Then, if I admitted the necessity, which I do not, of repressing the people by armed force, I say the railroads have given such additional force to your military power, that you are in a condition to diminish the number employed considerably, and still have a sufficient force available at any moment at any spot at which it may be required. But I contend that the peace of the country can be effectually maintained in large towns as well as small by means of the civil power only, if the Government would take means for giving to the command of the mayor of each town an organised body, not of militia or national guards, but of special constables. If the mayor of a large town like this or Manchester knew that he had always on his roll 10,000 or 20,000 housekeepers, with constables' staves at home in their houses, who might be called upon to act in any emergency, I say the peace might always be maintained against all malcontents without military and. How is it in American towns? You have in many of them as large a population as you have in the towns in this country. New York is larger than Liverpool, yet you have there neither a soldier nor a barrack of any sort. They have in New York conflicting interests, opposing classes, and a constant influx of foreigners, as they have in Liverpool; they have an ever-varying population, including emigrants from Germany and from Ireland, as much so as we have in any town in England, yet the peace is preserved there; and I say, what Englishmen can do in New York they can do here, and that there is no necessity for a military force to maintain the peace of the country if the people are fairly represented and properly governed. The hon. Gentleman the Member for West Surrey has made some remarks which I should not have thought it necessary to refer to, if it had not been for the epithet he used in speaking of the French people—an epithet which I fear may not be so well understood in France as it is in this House. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the French people as tigers and monkeys, and compared them to the wild animals caged in the Zoological Gardens. The people of France, in reading that speech, may not be aware, perhaps, that the hon. Gentleman is a sort of privileged person here, and so fitful and changeable in his ideas, that if they watch him closely they may find him next week describing them as doves and lambs. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at 1015 War has referred to the state of things on the Continent as a reason why we should be prepared with a large standing Army to repel any attack that may be made on us. I will admit, if he pleases, that the French people may be about to fight with some other people on the Continent; but that is not a question as to us. What we have to ask ourselves is, is anybody going to fight with us? Is there the slightest symptom at present that any combination of circumstances will arise to require us to go to war, or that anybody is coming to attack us? Well, Sir, that being our condition—having no enemy that we know of about to fight with us—having nobody to dread—I can see no necessity for keeping up a larger military establishment than that which was the average force of the years 1835 and 1836. Therefore I shall have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Montrose.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
Sir, the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has referred to two points: the first, as to the force maintained in Canada; the second, as to that kept up in this country. With regard to the Canadian force, I admit that it may be now nearly twice as great as that maintained in that colony previous to the breaking out of the rebellion; but when that rebellion broke out, the smallness of the force there was a matter of much alarm and anxiety to the Government. It is true that that force acted with great intrepidity, and the rebels, not being well organised, did not make such a resistance as might have been expected, and by the skill of the commander and the bravery of the troops under him, the insurrection was happily put down; but I cannot think that we were not in some degree to blame for having so small a force there at the time; and I should be sorry, therefore, well-disposed as the province now is, to see any very great diminution of the force now maintained there. With regard to the colonies generally, no doubt in some of them reductions in the military force may be made from time to time, and in some the force is now less than than it was in 1835. But the next point on which the hon. Gentleman has touched, stands more in need of explanation. He has objected to the system of keeping up troops for the purpose of keeping down the people, and says that it is now for the first time avowed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary at War, that this is the object of maintaining a 1016 force in this country. I heard what my right hon. Friend said, but certainly I heard nothing fall from him which could fairly bear such an interpretation. My right hon. Friend stated, and stated most truly, that during the past year there were many places—the greater part of them being manufacturing and commercial towns—from which demands were made, not by the military authorities, but by the civil and municipal authorities, for troops to preserve order. But were those troops employed to keep down the people? By no means. They were employed to keep down a certain number of ill-disposed, ill-affected persons who wished to create disorder—who wished to promote tumult—in order that they might obtain facilities for plunder. And it would be a libel and a calumny to confound them with the people. The hon. Gentleman asks, why should not the municipal authorities in the large towns appoint special constables to keep the peace? Why, Sir, they are at full liberty—not only are they at full liberty, but they are invited—to swear in special constables if there exist any apprehension of tumult. But it is after they have sworn them in that they generally make application for the military, in order to aid the special constables. In fact, the state of society has changed from the time when every man was ready to arm to go out into the streets for the purpose of keeping the peace of the town. The great mass of the people in our towns are accustomed to peaceful occupations, industrious habits and trades. You, therefore, look to other forces to enable the peace of those towns to be preserved; and if you refused them all military assistance, and that they were to be harassed night after night, and week after week, in doing the duty of special constables, you would have great discontent manifested against the civil government for not having given them assistance; and in fact, therefore, when you call out the troops in this country, it is not to keep down the people, but it is to defend the majority against the minority. It is to defend the great mass of the well-affected and peaceable people, but certainly a people not well accustomed to arm themselves for military duties—it is to defend them against a small number of the turbulent, very often persons hardly connected with the town, very often a number of young boys, but who, if there were not some assistance given to preserve order, would be not only very mischievous, but would commit seri- 1017 ous injury. I thought it necessary to defend my right hon. Friend and the Government, and indeed, the general government of this country from the charge of sustaining a military force to keep down the people. Nothing can he more unfounded; and I really wonder that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding, who knows this country so well, and understands the feelings of the people so intimately, should have lent his authority to a sentiment which, if generally accredited, would do nothing but mischief in the land. Now, I heard my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark point to many cases—the case of the Ionian Islands was one—where he said the force might be greatly diminished. Well, now, with regard to some of the troops in those places, they may be in certain instances, as I have said, too great; and I have no doubt my right hon. Friend the Secretary at War would be willing to diminish them where it is practicable to do so. But the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark has quite a different object in view to that of the Government. We are in possession of a great empire. The hon. Baronet has shown the way in which it could be diminished. If you pursue the course of policy indicated by the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark, instead of the 89,000 troops as proposed by the hon. Member for Montrose, you may reduce them to 49,000 or 37,000, or any number you please. Our object is to maintain the empire we have inherited. If you say your object is to diminish the empire—to make it less and less, somewhat less this year, and somewhat less next year, until at last we are reduced to our own island, then indeed you may go on with the hon. Baronet's experiment as rapidly as you please. My opinion is, it will turn out to be a costly experiment, and that, if you give signs of shrinking, if you had no enemy before, you would soon find you had enemies who would demand from you something which you could not in honour grant, and that, instead of your present estimates, your estimates then would be vastly increased.
§ MR. HUME
submitted that the noble Lord entirely misunderstood what had fallen from the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark. The object of his hon. Friend was to increase the greatness of the empire, by allowing the colonies to govern themselves, and not ruin the mother country by causing a constant drain upon her resources. Let the colonists he our friends, 1018 and not our slaves; and let them be united to us, enjoying our rights and privileges, without creating a perpetual expenditure upon our parts.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 40; Noes 182: Majority 142.
|List of the NOES.|
|Blewitt, R. J.||Lushington, C.|
|Brotherton, J.||Marshall, J. G.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Mowatt, F.|
|Duncan, G.||O'Connell, J.|
|Ellis, J.||Pearson, C.|
|Ewart, W.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Fagan, W.||Pilkington, J.|
|Fergus, J.||Smith, J. B.|
|Fordyce, A. D.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Fox, W. J.||Sullivan, M.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Greene, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Grenfell, C. P.||Thornely, T.|
|Harris, R.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Hastie, A.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Henry, A.||Williams, J.|
|Heyworth, L.||Wood, W. P.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Hume, J.|
|Locke, J.||Cobden, R.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Abdy, T. N.||Craig, W. G.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Cubitt, W.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Dawson, hon. T. V.|
|Alexander, N.||Dick, Q.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Drumlanrig, Visct.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Drummond, H.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Duncuft, J.|
|Arundel and Surrey, Earl of||Dundas, Adm.|
|Dundas, Sir D.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Dunne, F. P.|
|Baines, M. T.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Baring, H. B.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T.||Estcourt, J. B.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Farrer, J.|
|Bennet, P.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Beresford, W.||Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Forbes, W.|
|Blackall, S. W.||Forester, hon. G. C. W.|
|Blair, S.||Forster, M.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Freestun, Col.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||French, F.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Gordon, Adm.|
|Broadley, H.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Grace, O. D. J.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Callaghan, D.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Carter, J. B.||Grosvenor, Earl|
|Cavendish, hon. G. H.||Gwyn, H.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Haggitt, F. R.|
|Charteris, hon. F.||Hawes, B.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Hay, Lord J.|
|Christy, S.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Heald, J.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Henley, J. W.|
|Coles, H. B.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Compton, H. C.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Power, N.|
|Hollond, R.||Pugh, D.|
|Hood, Sir A.||Reid, Col.|
|Hope, Sir J.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Hornby, J.||Ricardo, O.|
|Hotham, Lord||Rice, E. R.|
|Howard, Lord E.||Rich, H.|
|Howard, hon. C. W. G.||Rufford, F.|
|Howard, P. H.||Rumbold, C. E.|
|Hutt, W.||Rushout, Capt.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Russell, Lord J.|
|Jervis, Sir J.||Russell, F. C. H.|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||Seymour, Lord|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Jones, Capt.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Keppel, hon. G. T.||Simeon, J.|
|Kildare, Marq. of||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Smith, J. A.|
|Langston, J. H.||Smyth, J. G.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||Somerset, Capt.|
|Lemon, Sir O.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Spooner, R.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Littleton, hon. E. R.||Stanton, W. H.|
|Lockhart, W.||Stephenson, R.|
|Lowther, H.||Stuart, H.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Macnamara, Maj.||Tenison, E. K.|
|M'Gregor, J.||Townley, R. G.|
|Maitland, T.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Mandeville, Visct.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Martin, J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Matheson, Col.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Maule, rt. hon. F.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Maxwell, hon. J. P.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Miles, W.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||Ward, H. G.|
|Monsell, W.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Morgan, H. K. G.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Willyams, H.|
|O'Brien, Sir L.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Wilson, J.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Worcester, Marq. of|
|Packington, Sir J.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Wyld, J.|
|Peel, F.||Tufnell, H.|
|Philips, Sir G. R.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ MR. MAULE
said, that for the other sums he proposed to take votes on account, as the items had been sent for the consideration of a Committee upstairs; he should, therefore, propose for the present to take half the sums on each debate. He proposed, therefore, that 1,800,000l. should be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the charge of Her Majesty's land forces.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ MR. HUME
said, he would not oppose this Motion, as the practice had been introduced last year. He only wanted to observe this, that the vote they had just given involved the expenditure of seven 1020 millions of money, for having voted the men they were bound in consistency to pay for them. He had entered his protest against that, he could do no more; having voted the men they must pay the money; and as he believed it would be a considerable time before the Committee made their report, he would not oppose the Motion.
§ MR. F. MAULE
said, if the hon. and gallant Member rose to bring forward the Motion of which he had given notice, he (Mr. F. Maule) thought it would be much better to postpone it at that late hour, and to go on with the other business.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, if the right hon. Member would give him another opportunity of bringing forward his Motion, he had no objection to postpone it now, but he understood that was impossible.
§ MR. F. MAULE
understood that he would have the privilege of bringing it forward on any day of supply,
§ MR. MACKENZIE
said, as this was a vote on account, it was clear that it was the hon. and gallant Member's right to go on.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, he was afraid he would be forced to go on. The object to which he wished to call the attention of the House was, the privilege granted to the officers of the Foot Guards of holding rank in the Army superior to that of officers of corresponding regimental rank in regiments of the line, the lieutenant-colonels and majors in the Guards being colonels in the Army, and the captains, lieutenants, and ensigns lieutenant-colonels, captains, and lieutenants in the Army respectively. And further, to call the attention of the House to an inquiry whether there be anything so peculiarly onerous in the duties of the household troops as to justify the continuance of this privilege, which, by giving more rapid promotion to one branch of the service, insures, among other advantages, an undue proportion of general officers from these favoured corps, to the disadvantage of officers who serve in regiments of the line in every part of the world. This had been long complained of, and during the years he had the honour to serve in the Army, it had been productive of great injury. It was, perhaps, necessary to explain to some hon. Members that ensigns in the Guards held the same rank as lieutenants in the Navy. He meant lieutenants in the Army. This system had proved of great detriment to the officers of 1021 the line, for by means of their rapid promotion the officers of the Guards became field officers at a very early period, thus preventing the promotion of officers of much longer standing in the line. An officer in the Guards obtained brevet long before an officer in the line, although the latter might have won distinction by acts of bravery and skill. There, for instance, was Captain Harris, who belonged to the 24th Regiment, which suffered so severely in an engagement in India a short time since. He had served for forty-two years. His first action was on board a ship in the Mozambique Channel. He was subsequently engaged in the Mahratta war, his son was killed in the late Indian conflict, and yet this brave old officer had only attained the rank of captain. The hon. and gallant Member complained that Captain George, of the 22nd Infantry, who had served in Scinde, at Meanee and Hyderabad, had entered the service in 1825, but had not been promoted further than captain, whilst Colonel Torrens, who had entered the Guards in the same year, was created lieutenant colonel in 1840, although he never served abroad. A great number of general officers were promoted from the Guards, and the reason why there was not a greater number was, because they did not continue in the service. Men were promoted from the Guards into high posts in the line, without ever having had any experience in the field, or having been on foreign service. There were various other circumstances which gave the Guards an unfair pre-eminence over the regiments of the line. They were, for instance, appointed to situations about the Court. He thought the delay in obtaining rank in the Army was a great detriment to the service. An officer in the Guards was two steps in advance of an officer of the line, and the promotion in the Guards was as five to one, whereas in the Army it was only as thirty to one. In the Guards there were sixty-eight lieutenant colonels. No such proportion could be observed in the line. If such were observed, there would be 2,000 lieutenant colonels. The Guards had also advantages as regarded staff appointments and the board of clothing. Such a state of things could not be suffered to go on with justice to the service; and he trusted that the Secretary at War would allow the case to go before the Committee now sitting. He (Colonel Dunne) did not mean to impugn in the slightest degree the discipline or conduct of the Guards. There was no place and 1022 no instance in which the officers of the Guards had served that they had not acted well. But he could not admit that they were more loyal to their Queen than other officers in Her Majesty's service.
§ MR. F. MAULE
said, he did not feel it necessary to enter at that moment at any length into the questions which the hon. and gallant Officer had brought under their notice, as those questions would necessarily fall under the consideration of the Select Committee on the Army Estimates. He was glad to find that the hon. and gallant Officer had not said a word which could wound the feelings of the officers engaged in the household troops. He was quite sure that every one would be ready to bear testimony to the services of the Guards, and to admit that their conduct had everywhere been admirable. No one, however would deny that they were a privileged corps, although it should also be remembered that they laboured under certain disadvantages. But he strongly deprecated the discussion of those matters in that House. It would be difficult to meet at the moment the facts quoted by the gallant Officer, because no one had any notice what those facts might be. He believed that facts of an opposite character might also be adduced in reply to the statements of the hon. and gallant Officer. Indeed, he knew instances within his own knowledge, in which officers exchanging into the Guards from the line had not been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonels quite so soon as the hon. and gallant Member seemed to suppose. But the whole matter would be fully inquired into by the Select Committee; and after that Committee should have produced its report, the House would be better prepared than it could be at present to consider the merits of the question.
§ COLONEL LINDSAY
said, he thought the right hon Gentleman the Secretary at War had disposed of the subject in a perfectly satisfactory manner. fie had come down prepared to make some statements in reply to those of the hon. and gallant Member, and he believed he could show that the Guards did not interfere with promotion in the line so much as the hon. and gallant Member appeared to imagine; but after what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War he should not further discuss the subject on that occasion.
§ SIR H. VERNEY
said, that although the Guards enjoyed advantages, they were 1023 also placed under inconveniences and disadvantages. An officer in the Guards, for instance, paid 1,200l. for his commission, while a commission in the line was purchased for 500l. He had further to observe, in reply to a statement of the hon. and gallant Member, that Viscount Hardinge had never risen to a higher rank in the Guards than the command of a company; and yet that noble Lord had proved that he had been quite equal to the responsible stations to which he had subsequently been raised.
An HON. MEMBER
(on the Ministerial side of the House) said that, as an officer of the line, he thought it right to say that he had never observed in that branch of the military service the slightest jealousy of the Guards.
The following Votes on account were then adopted:—
1,800,000l. Land Forces. 86,000l. Staff Officers. 47,000l. Public Departments. 8,000l. Royal Military College. 9,000l. Royal Military Asylum. 33,000l. Volunteer Corps. 7,000l. Rewards for distinguished Services. 39,000l. Pay of General Officers. 28,000l. Full Pay for Retired Officers.
A Vote of 200,000l. for Half Pay having been proposed,
§ MR. F. MAULE
agreed with his hon. Friend upon that point; but the fact was that no officers were at present put on half-pay except officers who were on the sick list, or officers who had a claim to the privilege in consequence of their distinguished services.
§ COLONEL SIBTHORP
said, he had heard a great deal on the subject of economy from the hon. Member for Montrose; but he confessed he should like to see him take a more direct part in the matter, and he should like also to see him backed by his Manchester friends. Where were the hon. Member's. Manchester friends on the present occasion? He wanted to know why the hon. Member, backed as he was by his Manchester friends, did not persevere in his declaration made the other night, that he would not vote any money until the Government had laid before the House a clear financial statement of ways and means?
§ MR. HUME
said, at present they were only voting part of the money; when the remaining portion came to be voted, then 1024 it would be time to attempt reductions, and he should then test the hon. and gallant Member's sincerity with reference to the support he had volunteered to give him.
The following Votes on account were then agreed to:—
200,000l. Half Pay and Military Allowances. 22,000l. Foreign Half Pay. 64,000l. Widows' Pensions. 48,000l. Compassionate List. 17,000l. In-Pensioners.
On the vote for 600,000l. towards the expense of the Out-Pensioners of Chelsea Hospital,
§ MR. F. MAULE
replied that he could not give the exact number. The number actually enrolled formed but a small part of the whole number of pensioners. Those who had been enrolled were chiefly pensioners about forty-five years of age, still fit for service, and capable of performing duty. He believed the number enrolled last year was 20,000.
§ SIR H. VERNEY
said, it could be proved that even within the last twelve months a superior class of men had enlisted in the Army. It would be well, therefore, to ascertain whether it was not possible to give employment to pensioners in the subordinate departments of our public offices, dockyards, &c., giving them appointments of messengers, doorkeepers, and where manual labour only was required. If a prospect were held out to young men that, after a certain number of years' service, they would have a chance of being appointed to these situations, such a prospect would afford a stronger inducement to men of a better class to enlist than anything which the present system could offer.
§ MR. F. MAULE
said, a great number of pensioners found employment in private service. The great exertions made by these pensioners not to get enrolled, proved the value of the situations to which they had been appointed in the offices and warehouses of private merchants and traders. With reference to the general question of holding out to pensioners hopes of acquiring situations in the public office, he could say nothing conclusive, because the situations in question could only be in depart- 1025 ments of the public service, over which he had no control.
The remaining Votes on account were then agreed to:—
19,000l. Superannuation Allowances.
123,787l. 6s. 10d. Excess of Naval Expenditure.
§ Resolutions to be reported.