§ House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Bernal in the chair.
1. Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum, not exceeding 3,521,070l. be granted to Her Majesty, for defraying the Charge
of Her Majesty's Land Forces in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and on Foreign Stations (excepting India), which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April, 1851, to the 31st day of March, 1852, inclusive.
§ MR. HUME
said, the House would recollect that during the last two Sessions they had adopted the course of giving a Vote on account. If that course were taken now, there would be time to consider the recommendations of the Committee before the Session was closed. He should therefore move as an Amendment, that 2,000,000 be granted on account.
Motion made, and Question put—
That a sum, not exceeding 2,000,000l., on account, be granted to Her Majesty, for defraying the Charge of Her Majesty's Land Forces in the United Kindom of Great Britain and Ireland and on Foreign Stations (excepting India), which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April, 1851, to the 31st day of March, 1852, inclusive.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, on former occasions he had not the least objection to taking a Vote on account; and on this occasion, if he saw any advantage to be gained by adopting the Amendment of his hon. Friend, he should not have the least objection to it; but he did not believe that any advantage would result from having again to go into Committee of Supply on this Vote. It was true the Committee upon Naval and Military Expenditure had yet to make their Report upon the various subjects on which they had been engaged taking evidence during last year; but he did not think that any recommendation of theirs could be carried into effect within the present financial year. The only thing he could promise would be that the Government would be prepared to adopt any recommendation of the Committee in the ensuing year. He, therefore, thought the House would save its time by at once agreeing to the Vote.
§ MR. MOWATT
asked if the right hon. Gentleman would give the Committee some explanation with reference to the troops for the colonies. The Committee was aware that within the last few days there had been published copies of the correspondence that had taken place with reference to withdrawing the troops from New South Wales. That correspondence had been going on for some years, and he believed commenced as far back as 1846. He wanted to know if the right hon. Gentleman would give some information on that subject; for if they were going to 799 withdraw the troops from the colonies, they might reduce the Army without impairing its efficiency. He had had no opportunity of drawing attention to this subject on Friday evening, because the Government had put down every Member who had attempted to say a word. The Government took advantage of the disposition of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House not to permit any discussion. It was only a little while ago that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had made an appeal ad misericordiam to that large portion of the House who supported the same commercial policy as himself, to lay by all minor differences; and he was therefore surprised that the noble Lord should have treated liberal Members in the manner he did. It would have been better policy, even for his own sake, that he should have allowed a full discussion on such a subject, for it was one in which, he must admit, the county took a vital interest. One would have thought that he would have encouraged—nay, that he would have used his authority to have obtained—a fair hearing for all. The House would, no doubt, have given him everything he wanted, even if he had asked for twice as large a force; and therefore he (Mr. Mowatt) felt perfectly astonished that he should have sanctioned the treatment which his hon. Friends had received. He had no hesitation in saving that he felt himself personally aggrieved that the noble Lord should have had recourse to such arts to prevent any hon. Member from expressing his opinions on the subject. After such conduct, he cared not how soon the noble Lord might find himself again in the position in which he was a short time ago, and from which he had so lately emerged. He was in hopes the noble Lord had seen that the position in which he had lately found himself was owing to his neglect of those common courtesies which were due from a Minister of the Crown. To complain of Members walking out of the House! Why, he would walk out of the House with pleasure that night if he saw a question involving nothing more than that of the existence of the present Ministry. He wished to know when it was the intention of the Government to carry out their own proposition with reference to the withdrawal of troops from New South Wales and other colonies, only requiring them as police?
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, that his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War had 800 gone at considerable length into various questions connected with the Army; and he had endeavoured to show what reductions he thought proper to make, as well as why it was thought necessary that so large a force should be retained. He (Lord J. Russell) really did not understand what the hon. Gentleman meant by his charge against himself. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. MOWATT
said, that a large portion of the hon. Gentlemen who cheered the noble Lord were not present on the occasion referred to, and therefore he could not bow to their decision on the point. The Committee would perhaps allow him to explain. The noble Lord would recollect that between twelve and one o'clock on Saturday morning, there having been only three Gentlemen who had made any observations upon the Estimates, it became very evident that the Committee—he would not pretend to investigate or analyse the cause—refused to hear any further observation or argument whatever upon the subject. Upon that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) said that in addition to the unusual course of granting after twelve o'clock so large a vote as 3,000,000, the Committee was wholly indisposed to allow any discussion to take place. Upon that the noble Lord rose and said that they (the Liberals) were very unreasonable. He (Mr. Mowatt), for one, had not opposed the first division—with reference to the number of men, feeling that the period was drawing so near when the Army could not be kept together any longer unless the money and the Mutiny Act were voted. He therefore felt more strongly the unfairness of preventing the further discussion of the subject. He did not mean to say the noble Lord had himself joined in the interruption—looking at the position he held, it could not be expected that he would—but the noble Lord appeared to receive the interruption with much pleasure. He therefore did think that he was not abusing language when he said the noble Lord availed himself of the obstruction to prevent their expressing their opinions.
§ SIR DE L. EVANS
wished to ask a question with reference to the allowance to married soldiers. He had understood the right hon. Gentleman to say he would reduce the number of men to whom such allowance was paid, and increase the sum to each; that then he would wait to see what would be the result upon the morality of the troops; and that he would after- 801 wards consider the expediency of extending the grant. He was anxious to know whether the grant would be made to the six married men in every regiment?
§ MR. FOX MAULE
was understood to reply, that it was intended to diminish, as far as possible, the objectionable practice of married men occupying the same room with unmarried. Now, if he recollected what he stated in evidence, it was this, namely, that he was aware the allowance was insufficient for the purpose of providing them separate accommodation. He proposed, therefore, to double the amount of the sum; and he intended to ask the Committee to double the grant for that purpose. At the same time, he thought that if, by increasing the allowance, three of the soldiers might be withdrawn from the room, accommodation might be found for the other three without making them the allowance.
§ MR. MOWATT
wished to know how many regiments there were in the colonies, and when it was intended to reduce them?
§ MR. FOX MAULE,
in reply to the question of the hon. Member, begged to state, that the force in New South Wales had been in course of reduction for several years; and that Earl Grey had intimated a desire, on the part of the Government, that it should in future be kept as low as the wants of the public service would admit.
§ MR. HUME
must complain that opportunities for bringing on subjects were very rare. He had been trying for three years to bring on a single question, namely, the reduction of the number of admirals from 155 to 100, but without success. Their only chance was in going into Committee of Supply; and, therefore, he wanted hon. Members to interest themselves in these very expensive establishments. He wished to know whether the time had not come when they ought to consider how they could maintain these 98,040 men at the least possible cost, consistently with the efficiency of the force? Why should they, then, keep 351 Guards at home, with an allowance of 32 officers, when they had only 40 officers for 1,000 or 1,200 men engaged in active service abroad? The aristocratic influence, however, was so strong, and their interest in keeping up this useless expense was such, that Government never would alter the system unless the House took the matter into their own hands. He found, on looking at the estimates, the following analysis of our 802 troops: It appeared that we had 98,714 men, of whom 1,300 were Life Guards, 7,000 Cavalry of the Line, and 5,000 Foot Guards; and in these regiments there were double the number of officers in proportion that there were in the rest of the Army. The Household Troops were never called upon to engage in active service, except on some extraordinary occasion, like Waterloo, or in putting down some trifling disturbance, perhaps once in 10 or 12 years. And yet they had as many as 10 colonels for 300 men. He thought it was not right that any particular corps should be called Life Guards; but that every regiment should take its turn of duty at Court, and that all should be placed on exactly the same footing. Was it not very discouraging to the rest of the Army that these men, who did little or nothing besides displaying their uniform, should possess such superior advantages over men who had spent their lives in the service of their country? It had been said that "a soldier leads a merry life;" but he had seen quite enough of service to know that it was often very unsatisfactory and unpleasant, It was, therefore, a most injurious and unfair thing that the bulk of the troops should be treated in a different manner than the Guards. It had been said that the British Army was the finest in existence. He hoped it was so; and if it was, let them do justice to all parts of it. Let some regular system be adopted which would not confine all the benefits of the service to these 15,000 troops, but extend them equally to the whole 98,000. The fact was, however, that there were so many hon. Members connected with the Army, that they dared not go into the question. He presumed that they were afraid. He believed that such an equalisation as he had been speaking of would greatly contribute to the morale of the Force. The Guards were not expected to provide for themselves like other people; but a table was provided for them at St. James's, which cost 5,000l. a year: and this and other privileges had made them look upon themselves as if they belonged to a superior order of beings. He felt himself bound to protest against the whole system. He would have no pet corps; but he recommended the Austrian plan to their consideration. It would not, perhaps, be judicious to talk too much about the Indian army; but he would venture to say, that there had never been a more useful force. In that too, there was no pet corps; 803 but every regiment, from No. 1 to No. 50, took its turn of service, underwent the same fatigues, and had the same chance of distinguishing itself. But the fact was, the aristocratic interests had entered too much into the question; and it was, therefore, high time that steps should be taken to effect a reform. The Guards were completely smothered with patronage. Being always at home, they could look after every thing that was to be given away; and so they were often preferred before men who were risking their health, and even their lives, abroad. He considered that the Army was treated ill, and that both the Government which permitted, and the House of Commons which acquiesced in such injustice, were equally to blame. He had taken a great deal of trouble to get the table provided for the Guards to which he had alluded a little changed; but it still stood in much need of alteration. Another subject to which he wished to refer, was the purchase of the forts from the Dutch on the Gold Coast. Those forts had cost 20,000l.; and we paid 11,879l. a year for the troops, in addition to which, artillery and stores had to be reckoned—making a total annual expense of 20,000l. He wished to ask, whether Earl Grey had had any communication with the Governor of Canada, with the view of relieving us from the burden of troops in that part of our North American possessions. The exorbitant expenses of our colonial corps in Canada would appear from comparing the estimate for the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment with that of the Royal Newfoundland Companies; the latter was only 9,203l. 10s. 2d., while the former amounted to 31,358l. 7s. 1d. The expense of the Ceylon Rifles was 51,000l.; and with out referring to the scenes which had taken place there, he submitted that a great saving might be effected in that island. Canada, he would submit, was a mixed population, but he would extend to it the system on which the Government had decided to act with respect to Australia, namely, to withdraw from it the whole of the troops. Canada was much better able to bear such a policy than Australia. The British Government had done much more for it. It had given it self-government, crown lands, and everything, and it was quite capable of maintaining its own Army. Nevertheless he found the expense of the military establishment in our North American colonies was no less than 800,000l. a year. Gentlemen might talk as they pleased, but 804 it was impossible that the country could be relieved from taxation so long as they spent between four and five millions a year more upon our armaments than they formerly did.
MR. VERNON SMITH
complained that the Debate was very irregular; and that the lion. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had been speaking neither to the original Motion nor to the Amendment. He, for one, must deprecate the practice of taking Votes on account. The result he bad always found to be, that when the first part of the sum was taken, the discussion was postponed; and of course when the other part was asked for, it was always too late to debate upon it. Thus there was no discussion either at one stage or the other. His right hon. Friend the Secretary of War quite chuckled at the idea, and certainly the notion of promoting discussion by taking a Vote on account was the strangest course he had ever heard of. He did not think that the Committee which had been referred to, supplied any reason for a Vote on account. He thought the Committee might be able to report this Session upon some matters, as to the question of the consolidation of offices, with regard to which their opinions might influence the decision of the House, and he therefore considered it advisable that such Votes should be for the present postponed.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, his intention was to proceed with the Army Estimates in the usual way, and to submit each Vote seriatim to the Committee, and he saw no reason why they should take the Vote now before the Committee except as a whole. He agreed that the system of taking Votes on account tended in general to stifle discussion; but the hon. Member for Montrose, although he proposed in this instance that a Vate on account only should be taken, had gone into the whole question. With respect to the hon. Gentleman's objection to the maintenance of the Guards, he entirely differed from him for various reasons. In the first instance, he looked upon the Guards as part of the state and royalty of the Monarch. In the next place, he looked upon them as the guard of this vast and wealthy metropolis; and with respect to the proposition of the hon. Member to make all the regiments do duty at Court in rotation, he believed that the proposition would meet with general opposition from the Army itself. The officers, though they had to live in London, had only a trifle. 805 higher rate of pay than officers of the line; and having no barracks, they had to find their own lodgings. Another point in favour of the Guards was, that, from their almost constant residence in London, they were completely acclimatised, while it would be found that whenever a regiment of the line was brought to London the number of deaths was far greater in proportion, owing probably to the change in the habits of life of the men, than the deaths among the Guards. He might also remind the Committee, that whenever it had been necessary to send troops abroad on an emergency—as in the case of the expedition to Portugal, and the reinforcements required for Canada at the time of the insurrection—the Guards had been assembled and sent off at a few hours' warning, and had discharged their duties in the most satisfactory manner. For these reasons he looked upon the Guards as a force which ought to be retained. With respect to the Gold Coasts, the fact was that half a West India regiment was stationed there, and another regiment had been sent to relieve them. The cost, instead of being 11,000l., was only 6,000l. As to Ceylon, he could not enter into that question fully without raising the whole discussion; but he would say that we got more from Ceylon than from any other of our colonies.
§ MR. HUME
said, he did not wish to cast any reflections on the Guards, he only meant to say that the other troops were as good. He had complained of the number of officers, and the consequent increased expense of the Guards; and to that the right hon. Gentleman made no allusion. The right hon. Gentleman had hinted that it would be very inconvenient for officers of the line to come to London to do Court duty. He should not wonder if it was under the present system by which the Guards were looked on as a superior race, and whose example the officers of the line might feel it necessary to emulate. But it would not be a very difficult matter if it was established as a regular routine of duty. He was ready to admit the great forbearance of the Guards in times of popular disturbance, but here again he denied; that they had behaved better than the other troops. The expense of British troops was nearly double that of the same number of troops belonging to any other country in the world. He could not see what objection there could be to taking a Vote on account, and leaving an opportunity for further discussion.
§ COLONEL REID
said, he must deny that there were more officers in the Life Guards than in the regiments of cavalry of the line. It was the rule that no small detachments of soldiers should do duty in the metropolis except under the command of a commissioned officer, and this rendered a great number of officers necessary. The officers of the Guards, he maintained, positively served the State gratuitously. They paid largely for their commissions; and after deducting the interest of the money, and taking into account the regimental charges, there was positively not a farthing of their pay at the disposal of the officers.
§ MR. MOWATT
hoped to have some further explanation, not only with reference to the troops in New South Wales, but also as to those in Canada. The reduction of these troops would be a legitimate means of reducing the number of the Army without impairing its efficiency; within the last two or three years two regiments had been withdrawn from New South Wales, which had virtually increased the numbers of the Army, just as though they had voted 2,000 additional men in the Estimates. From his acquaintance with New South Wales, he was convinced that the greatest boon and advantage they could render to that Colony was to take away every soldier. When that was done, the Home Government would be compelled to give the colonists what they had been so long promised—the management of their own affairs, and they would then flourish and progress in a ratio of which no idea could now be formed. The Colonies would then become what they were intended by nature to be—the real outlets for the productions of this country. He wished to know whether the remaining troops were to be removed from New South Wales; and if not, whether this country was to be relieved altogether from the cost of their maintenance? Earl Grey, in his despatches, pointed distinctly to the intention on the part of the Homo Government to throw the cost of the troops on the colonists themselves. He wished to know the number of troops left in New South Wales, when they were likely to be removed, and when the same system would be applied to Canada?
§ MR. FOX MAULE
was understood to say that the number of troops now in New South Wales had been reduced, as far as the Government deemed necessary. Earl Grey had been gradually reducing the 807 number; and it was at present as low as it had ever been. It was not intended entirely to withdraw the troops from New South Wales, and he doubted whether the feeling there was in favour of their removal. He had invariably found, whenever it was proposed to remove troops from any place, either at home or abroad, that the inhabitants complained of a vast source of profit being taken from them. It was not the intention of Government at present to remove those troops; but he trusted the time would come when it would be possible to do so. In Canada, they were not prepared at present to reduce the troops any further.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, the large proportion of officers in the Guards was most unjust. The evidence taken before the Committee on the Estimates showed that, in the Guards, the proportion of superior officers to the men was 1 to 74; while in the cavalry it was 1 to 337; and in the regiments of the line 1 to 617. That was a most unjust disproportion; and the result was, that the higher ranks and rewards of the service were given chiefly to Guardsmen. The pay of a colonel of the Guards was 496l.; allowances, 127l.; making a total of 623l.: whilst those two sums in the line only amounted to 331l.. In the Guards majors of the highest class received 670l., of the lowest 552l. 16s., besides allowances. The captains in the Guards, who were lieutenants-colonel, received in pay and allowances 434l.; in the line it was 239l. 10s. 6d., and the former had also the advantage of the stock, purse, and other allowances. It was said the officers in the Guards paid more for their commission; but they got the advantage in rank and higher pay. Putting all these things together, it would be found that they were a very expensive corps. It was most unjust to the officers of the Army that there should be 68 colonels and lieutenant-colonels in the Guards; while in the whole Army the proportion was only 1 to 610. He did not complain of the rank in the Horse Guards, but only in the Foot Guards. Nor did he complain of the way in which the duty was done by those regiments in London; though there were some duties, such as attending the theatres, which might be dispensed with.
§ MR. MACGREGOR
wished to make some observations on this as a financial question. Considering that 3,000,000l. of the taxes were involved in that Vote, he thought it would be trifling with the con- 808 stitution to pass it hastily. The statement of the right hon. Secretary at War was as satisfactory as any he had ever heard; still he thought it possible greatly to reduce the amount of the Vote by limiting military duty in this country and also in the colonies, especially in the North American colonies. No force which could be sent out to those colonies could make them continue their loyalty, unless they were determined to do so, which he believed was the case. In the Canadas alone there was a militia of 120,000,000 men, all as good shots as any in the British Army. In addition to these, a few companies of regular troops stationed at Montreal and other large towns would be amply sufficient. In New South Wales, 100 or 200 men would be quite sufficient. He did not believe that the inhabitants generally had any wish for the retention of the troops on account of the money they spent. In Ireland, exclusive of the regular troops, there was another army in the shape of the constabulary force. Why should Ireland have a greater number of troops, in proportion to its inhabitants, than Scotland? He was certain the number of troops in Ireland might be considerably reduced. He was glad the House had had an opportunity of discussing this Vote, instead of passing it in an intemperate manner at half-past one on Saturday morning. He saw no advantage in dividing on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose, as it was sure to be negatived. He regretted to see that the disposition of the House was such, that if they did anything more rashly than another, it was voting away the public moneys He hoped the Government would apply themselves to economising the army expenditure; by so doing they might easily effect a saving of 25 per cent.
§ MR. HUME
said, it was his intention to divide the House on his proposition to vote 2,000,000l. of this Vote on account, so that they might leave the rest of the amount to be discussed later in the Session, and after they had the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget. They could have no reduction of taxation without first reducing the expenditure; and he had yet hopes of making, this Session, a large reduction in their extravagant military expenditure.
§ COLONEL LINDSAY
could not allow the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member for Portarlington (Colonel Dunne) to pass without expressing his dissent from them. The hon. and gallant Member said there 809 was a difference between the emoluments of the officers of the Guards and the line, to the disparagement of the latter. Now, he did not mean to say there might not be a fraction or so of difference between the two, but it was so small that it could not be any grievance. The rank at present enjoyed by officers of the Guards had been given them at a time when there were only seventeen regiments in the Army, of which eleven were only raw levies, hastily raised by noblemen to resist the Duke of Monmouth. While the Guards had only one field officer commanding a battalion, in the line there were three, and instead of that making-one officer to 677 men, it really made it only one to 283. Allusion had been made to the allowances for hospitals; but the fact was, the officers of the Scotch Fusilier Guards had built their own hospital at a cost of 6,000l.; and his own regiment was about to lay out 1,000l. for a similar purpose, which would not cost the country sixpence. Deducting all the allowances and necessary expenses, the net pay which a lieutenant-colonel of the Guards received was 38l. 3s. 9d.; in the line it was 83l. 5s.: a captain in the Guards, 42l. 17s. 6d.; in the line, 121l. 7s. 11d.; a lieutenant in the Guards, 31l. 6s. 8d.; in the line, 83l. 12s. 6d.; an ensign in the Guards, 40l. 7s. 6d.; in the line, 73l. 6s. 3d. The net pay, together with allowances for a commanding officer (the major), in the Guards, was 205l. 11s.; in the line, 209l. 7s. The allowance for lodgings for officers of the Guards was only 12s. a week, which in London would get them little better than a garret. The hon. and gallant Gentleman then referred to a return moved for by the hon. Member for Montrose, the purport of which we understood him to state to be that the cost to the public of each battalion of the Guards was 1d. less per man than the troops of the line; and he concluded by assuring the House that an examination of the official documents before them would fully show that the country had no cause of quarrel with the household troops on the score of their expense.
wished to draw the attention of the right hon. Secretary at War to the injustice of withholding good-conduct warrants from sergeants in the Army: 1d. a day extra was paid to the private who had obtained a warrant for five years' good conduct in the service, and at the end of ten years the extra good-conduct pay was increased another 1d. a day. 810 This was the case with the private soldier, and when the private was promoted to be a corporal, good-conduct pay was also allowed in addition. But when the corporal was raised to a sergeant, it was said it must be understood that he was a man of good conduct to be entitled to such a promotion, and from the moment he became a sergeant all extra pay for good conduct was taken from him. That, he thought, was an inequality which ought not to be permitted.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
begged to he allowed to explain. There were 68 lieutenant-colonels for the Guards, and only 158 for the whole of the line. That he had called a hardship to the line, and he would repeat it. But the hon. and gallant Member for Wigan (Colonel Lindsay) had considered the majors of the line as if they were lieutenant-colonels. Now, what he (Colonel Dunne) complained of was, that the captains of the line were not allowed to rank exactly like the captains of the Guards. With regard to the amount which the hon. and gallant Officer's regiment had to pay for its hospital, what he (Colonel Dunne) had to say was, that he thought the Government ought to provide these sums for building and repairing hospitals, and he thought Government ought also to provide the Guards with barracks, as they did for all other troops. He wished unfair advantages to be given to none. He did not object to the Guards receiving more pay, because their living in London was an excuse for it; but they ought not to have superior advantages to all other regiments serving in every part of the world.
§ MR. HENLEY
wished to know whether the 94,961l. which the right hon. Secretary at War mentioned on Friday night as the amount of deposits in the military savings hanks included the amount paid in to the benefit societies abolished by the Act which passed a year and a half ago; and whether there should not be some account of the disposal of that benefit society money?
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, that according to the return for the year 1850 the number of depositors in the savings banks had been 7,859, and the amount deposited had been 94,961l.; but that return comprehended neither those interested in the benefit societies, nor the funds belonging to them. The money belonging to the benefit societies was lodged in the public funds, and was administered on the recommendation of the commanding officers, with the con- 811 sent of the Secretary at War. He could have no desire to conceal the manner in which the funds had been disposed of, and he should be quite ready to give an annual account of the way in which they had been expended. With regard to the remarks which had been made on the position of the Serjeants, he had to observe that that was a point of very considerable importance, for it was one which related to the interests of a most meritorious class in the British Army. Various complaints had been made of the treatment of the Serjeants, and some of those complaints he was disposed to think were well-founded, while others were not so well-founded in his opinion. It should be remembered that many of the Serjeants had been but a few years in the Army when they had been raised to that rank, and that, after having attained it, they might become serjeant-majors; and as serjeant-majors were every year being promoted to the rank of ensigns, the highest positions in the Army afterward became open to them. It had been alleged that the Serjeants were subject to a higher charge for messing, clothing, and other items of expenditure than the corporals and privates. But they enjoyed the benefit of a better style of messing, reading-rooms, and other comforts; and if they had not so large a residue of pay as they ought to have in comparison with the corporals and privates, those advantages counterbalanced the reduction. In his opinion, therefore, that complaint was not well-founded. But it was said that Serjeants not only did not get good-service money, but that, if for any reason they were reduced to the ranks, they were not entitled to the good-sevice allowance, while the same rule did not apply to corporals. In that respect he admitted that the Serjeants had some ground of complaint, and he proposed to make some improvement in the system. There was another point, also, on which he thought the Serjeants had a right to complain. A Serjeant could not retire on a pension as Serjeant unless he had for three years filled that rank. Now the number of Serjeants who had served for less than three years in that rank was very inconsiderable, and he was not disposed to deprive the few who might so retire of the right to the usual pension of their comrades.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, he thought that officers of the line laboured under one manifest disadvantage as compared with officers of the Guards. It had 812 been repeatedly stated by the highest Authorities before Committees of that House, that the higher ranks in the Army were obtained in the Guards in about eight or ten years less time than in the line; so that on an average about twenty years' service on the banks of the Thames was equivalent to thirty years' service on the banks of the Sutlej or Kaffirland. In his opinion there was a real grievance in that case. His hon. Friend the Member for Montrose had complained that the British Army cost more in proportion to its numbers than any other army in the World. Now, there was no doubt but it was a costly Army; but it should be remembered that it was subject to many expenses which were unknown in the armies of other countries, and that no other army went through anything like the same amount of work. The practice of purchasing commissions was a heavy charge on the British officers. He could pledge himself to the House that the amount of money they had so paid was near 10,000,000l. He had always opposed the system of purchasing commissions; but it should be acknowledged that it was an economical one for the country. Under that system officers sold their com-missions to other officers, and the public was by that means saved the charge of many a pension.
§ SIR H. VERNEY
said, that officers of the Guards were not always men who led inactive lives. Colonel Mackinnon, who was at present entrusted with so important a command at Kaffraria, was one of those officers; and officers of the Guards did good service on the Sutlej. He did not deny that officers in the Guards obtained promotion more rapidly than officers in the line, but the latter officers did not complain of that. With regard to the expenses of the two kinds of service, he should observe that a return had been made out some years ago of the cost of maintaining 1,200 men in the line, and 1,200 men in the Guards; and he believed, that if that return were produced, it would be seen from it that there was but a very slight difference in the two charges.
§ MR. GRENVILLE BERKELEY
said, that as a former officer of the line, he could say that he believed there was not the slightest jealousy between the line and the Guards.
§ COLONEL CHATTERTON
begged to introduce again to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, the case of that most deserving body of men, 813 the sergeants in the Army. He thought they were hardly, if not unjustly, used, in not having their good-conduct pay continued when they gained their promotion, which they had so dearly earned. In fact, their situation when promoted was much worse than that in which they were placed when holding the rank of corporal, if with three or four badges. The right hon. Gentleman had talked of the spare money of the sergeants of the Army; but that was a fund which existed only in imagination, inasmuch as they were obliged, by the regulations of the service, to pay a soldier one-and-sixpence a week for horse-cleaning; they were compelled to join a mess; and the clothing they were obliged to procure was of a more expensive quality. He therefore trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would take their case into consideration, and, before the next Estimates were presented, would grant them the money taken away on promotion, and give them something more to hope for than a chance of the 2,000l. voted for distinguished services, when there were 7,171 expectant sergeants, amongst whom it had to be distributed. He begged also to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the largo sum of tenpence stopped from soldiers when in hospital. On a soldier going out of the hospital he was rarely placed on full diet, but upon half a spoon diet, the former costing about 5d., and the latter 4d. How great an injustice to the soldier it was, that at the period when the cost of his maintenance was less, he should suffer such an enormous reduction from his pay! The public purse was certainly a gainer, but the poor soldier suffered much afterwards from his reduced funds, and was rendered unable to purchase any little extra comforts to aid his returning strength. He suggested that the stoppage ought not to be more than sixpence.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he believed the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War would find, on further examination, that a sum of 9,600l. was included in the sum of 94,961l., which the right hon. Gentleman had stated as the amount in the military savings banks. It certainly appeared so in the return which had been signed by the right hon. Gentleman itself. He could not, however, tell how far that fact would affect the number of depositors; but the right hon. Gentleman would probably give them some information upon that point on Some future occasion.
§ MR. HUME
said, that the statements which had been made with respect to the position of the different corps, showed that the Government ought to take the matter into their hands with a view to place it on a more satisfactory footing. Another point to which he should direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, was the cost of the recruiting system, which at present amounted to more than 100,288l. It had been proved before the Committee upstairs that that sum might be reduced by one-half if recruiting were left in the hands of the officers of the pensioner corps.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, that he had not yet made up his mind as to the policy of transferring the recruiting system to the pensioner corps. The matter was still under his consideration.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, that it afforded him much gratification to find that there had of late years been a decided improvement in the sanitary condition of our troops, lie was afraid, however, that nothing had yet been done to render the condition of the barracks at Barbadoes less unhealthy than it had been. A dreadful mortality had taken place two years ago in Barbadoes, and that mortality was distinctly traceable to the barracks. He trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would endeavour to rectify that evil.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 31; Noes 135: Majority 104.
|List of the AYES.|
|Alcock, T.||O'Brien, J.|
|Bright, J.||O'Connell, J.|
|Clay, J.||O'Connor, F.|
|Crawford, W.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Fagan, W.||Power, Dr.|
|Fox, W. J.||Salwey, Col.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Smith, J. A.|
|Greene, J.||Sullivan, M.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Heyworth, L.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Humphery, Ald.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Keating, R.||Williams, J.|
|Kershaw, J.||Williams, W.|
|Meagher, T.||Hume, J.|
|Nugent, Sir P.||Mowatt, F.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Berkeley, Adm.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Berkeley, C. L. G.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Birch, Sir T. B.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.||Blackstone, W. S.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Bowles, Adm.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Boyle, hon. Col.|
|Bass, M. T.||Bramston, T. W.|
|Bellow, R. M.||Brockman, E. D.|
|Beresford, W.||Brooke, Sir A. B.|
|Brown, W.||Lewis, G. C.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Lindsay, hon. Col.|
|Burghley, Lord||Littleton, hon. E. R.|
|Busfield, W.||Lockhart, A. E.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Carter, J. B.||Mackie, J.|
|Cavendish, W. G.||M'Taggart, Sir J.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Melgund, Visct.|
|Child, S.||Meux, Sir H.|
|Christy, S.||Milner, W. M. E.|
|Cowan, C.||Moody, C. A.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Morgan, O.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Morison, Sir W.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.|
|Cubitt, W.||Mulgrave, Earl of|
|Davies, D. A. S.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Deedes, W.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Denison, J. E.||Paget, Lord C.|
|Dod, J. W.||Pakington, Sir J.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Parker, J.|
|Duncan, G.||Pigott, F.|
|Duncuft, J.||Power, N.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Pugh, D.|
|Dundas, G.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.||Reid, Col.|
|Dunne, Col.||Rich, H.|
|Estcourt, J. B. B.||Romilly, Col.|
|Foley, J. H. H.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Forbes, W.||Russell, F. C. H.|
|Fordyce, A. D.||Sandars, G.|
|Forster, M.||Seaham, Visct.|
|Frcestun, Col.||Seymour, Lord|
|French, F.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Gilpin, R. T.||Smythe, hon. G.|
|Gore, W. O.||Somers, J. P.|
|Grenfell, C. W.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Spooner, R.|
|Grey, R. W.||Stafford, A.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Harcourt, G. G.||Stanley, E.|
|Harris, R.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Hastie, A.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Hatchell, rt. hon. J.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Hawes, B.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Thornely, T.|
|Hotham, Lord||Tufnell, rt. hon. H.|
|Howard, hon. E. G. G.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Howard, P. H.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Hutchins, E. J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Wilson, J.|
|Jones, Capt.||Wilson, M.|
|Knox, Col.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Knox, hon. W. S.||TELLERS.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Langston, J. H.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
said, that, even after the long discussion which had taken place, he was not satisfied on the subject of the advantages with reference to pay, &c., enjoyed by the Guards as compared with the regiments of the line. The existing distinction he thought detrimental to he public service. He found such items as "Compensation to Officers of the Royal 816 Horse Guards for reduction of pay of their present rank," 3,030l.; and "Allowance to the three regiments of Household Cavalry, for paying the regiments, as borne on the establishment," 3,15l.; making charges to the amount of 3,345l. for the Horse Guards, which did not apply to regiments of the line. The "Table Allowance for Officers on guard at St. James's and at Dublin Castle" was 5,004l. There were two breakfasts served, one at nine, and the other at eleven o'clock. Then there was dinner at seven o'clock, with port, claret, and sherry; and after the removal of the cloth as much claret as they liked to drink up to ten o'clock, after which none was allowed. The special allowance to the colonel of the Foot Guards was 1,083l.; to the quarter-master of the Foot Guards 140l. for making up the accounts. The field officers' compensation for loss of suttling house, which meant public-house, 312l.; allowance to Foot Guard officers in lieu of stock purse, 9,257l.; altogether the Foot Guard items amounted to 15,807l. Much had been said with regard to the difference of pay of the Guards compared with that of the line. The Horse Guards numbered, officers and men, 1,308 men. The two regiments of the line most closely approaching the Horse Guards in point of number were the 1st Dragoon Guards and 9th Light Dragoons, numbering 1,302, or less than the Horse Guards by six. Now the number of officers in the Horse Guards was 96, whilst in the two latter regiments they were only 80—making a difference of sixteen officers. But in the item of non-commissioned officers the difference was still greater. In the Guards they numbered 159, whilst in the 1st Dragoons and 9th Light Dragoons they numbered only 110—making a difference of forty-nine. The allowance to field-officers, captains, riding-masters, and farriers in the Guards, amounted to 6,448l., whilst in the other regiments referred to it was only 3,026l. The clothing of the Guards costs 10,392l., whilst the 1st Dragoon Guards and 9th Light Dragoons were clothed for 5,287l. Thus the total cost of the Guards was 86,728l., against a total of the two other cavalry regiments of 57,028l., showing a difference of 29,700l. excess in the item of the Guards. In the Foot Guards the difference was still more surprising. There were three regiments of Foot Guards, consisting of 5,260 officers and men, whose allowance amounted to 20,737l., whilst the allowance for the two 817 battalions of the 1st regiment of the line, and of the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 13th regiments, consisting of 5,378 men, or 118 more than the three regiments of Foot Guards, was only 1,990l.; that was to say, the Foot Guards, with 118 fewer men, got ten times more than the six regiments of the line. The clothing allowance for the Guards was 20,025l., for the six regiments of the line 14,273l. The total cost of the Guards was 192,413l., of the regiments of the line 160,113l., mating a difference of 32,300l. The number of Guards, horse and foot, amounted to 6,568 men, and they cost the country 81,152l. more than an equal number of men in the line. What he proposed was to reduce the cost of the Guards to that of the regiments of the line, by doing which they could either add 2,800 men to the Army, or save the cost to the country. lie was aware that none but aristocrats of the first water, or their immediate connexions, had much chance of getting commissions in the regiments of Guards; but he did not see what right they had to greater privileges than the other portions of the Army. He thought the time was come when justice must be done to those gallant soldiers who had fought their country's battles abroad—who went through the Peninsular campaign, and bled at Waterloo. The country would no longer be content to see men who had been thirty and forty years in the service of their country unable to obtain that promotion which mere striplings obtained after eleven or twelve years' service in the Guards.
Motion made, and Question put—
That a sum, not exceeding 3,439,918l. be granted to Her Majesty, for defraying the Charge of Her Majesty's Land Forces in tin; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and on Foreign Stations (excepting India), which will come in coarse of payment from the 1st day of April, 1851, to the, 31st day of March, 1852,"inclusive.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
regretted that, after the discussions which had taken place as to the relative merits of the Guards and regiments of the line, the hon. Gentleman had thought it right to renew the attack on the regiments of Guards. He hoped, however, the House, at all events, would not go into that vexed question. Both parties had pleaded their cause; and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Portarlington (Colonel Dunne) put forward the case of the regiments of the line with great fairness and temper. He 818 (Mr. Fox Maule) did not pretend to say there was not inequality; but, as far as he was personally concerned, he had never heard, whilst he was serving in a regiment of the line, of those jealousies which were said to exist as to the privileges of the regiments of Guards. It should be recollected that those privileges existed for many years; and those who entered the service in the regiments of the line were aware of the existence of those privileges—so that they could not complain of any peculiar hardship. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the public table at St. James's Palace; hut that table was not for the Guards exclusively—it was for all troops on duty in London. This subject had been discussed by the Committee upstairs; but they did not think fit to recommend its discontinuance. A similar table existed for those who did garrison duty in Dublin; and it was his opinion that it should be maintained both at the Regal Court and at the Vice-Regal Court. If one went, both should go; but he recommended, in his evidence before the Committee, that both should be maintained, lie should oppose the Motion of the hon. Gentlemen.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, that he could not agree to sweep away a number of the items with which the hon. Member for Lambeth found fault. What he objected to with respect to the regiments of Guards was the rate of promotion, and not the pay which they received.
§ MR. HUME
said, that he never objected to the pay of either officers or men in the Army. He thought that the pay was not enough either in the Army or Navy. What he complained of was this, that a number of men more than was necessary for the service was maintained. He also objected to the inequality which existed between the regiments of Guards and the line. He considered it would be better to have one uniform system for all. It was in that view, and not as regarded particular items, that he should support the Amendment.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 15; Noes 84: Majority 69.
|List of the AYES.|
|Bright, J.||O'Connor, F.|
|Dick, Q.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Greene, J.||Smith, J. B.|
|Humphery, Ald.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Keating, R.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Kershaw, J.||Williams, J.|
|Mowatt, F.||Hume, J.|
|O'Connell, J.||Williams, W.|
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (2,) 159,932l., Staff Officers (exclusive of India).
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, that reductions in the general staff had been effected in Canada, the Cape, Australia, the Leeward Islands, and St. Helena. It was necessary that there should be general officers even where the number of troops was small, to carry out the military law.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
complained, in reference to the pay of the Commander-in-chief, which was 6,016l, that it was given in consequence of the rank and station which he held in the Army. He thought the Commander-in-chief should be paid a distinct salary for his services, without any regard to his rank or station in the Army. He did not make these observations in reference to the distinguished individual who now held the office of Commander-in-chief; but, whenever the office became vacant, he thought that a change should be made.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) 92,747l., Public Departments.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he did not see why the country should be burdened with the expense of a Deputy Judge Advocate General, when the duties were so light.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, that the duties were not so light as the Gentleman supposed, seeing that questions relating to Courts Martial came before the Judge Advocate General, and that he had to see that proper justice was done to those tried by those courts, it was therefore necessary that he should have an assistant.
§ MR. HUME
complained that the recommendations of the Committee, which sat some eight or nine years ago, in favour of the appointment of a Minister at War, were not carried out. These recommendations stood on the books, but that was all. He did not think there was any use in Committees sitting, if what they recommended was not attended to. He believed, if they had a Minister at War, that a great deal of the confusion in their military system would be got rid of.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) 16.901l., Royal Military College.
§ COLONEL REID
thought that military men had great reason to complain of the regulation which had been recently introduced, rendering it necessary for them to 820 undergo an examination previously to promotion. The scheme was in itself objectionable, and the mode in which it was carried out rendered it in the last degree offensive and humiliating to officers. When it was taken into consideration that the position which military men held in this country was different from that which they enjoyed in all other lands—that they were subject to hardships, toils, and privations unknown to the military of other countries—that they had to serve in the most unhealthy climates—that they surrendered their personal liberty, and pledged themselves to a passive obedience—when all this was taken into consideration, it would surely be admitted that some respect should be paid to their sense of honour, and that their feelings ought not to be gratuitously wounded. He entirely denied the necessity of these examinations, and he thought that their introduction was a positive act of ill-faith to those who had entered the service without the least suspicion that their promotion would have to depend upon any such contingency. The officers of the line were fitly and properly educated for the efficient discharge of the duties which devolved upon them, and he entirely denied the practical utility of the abstract sciences in their case. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War to say whether, during his military experience in an infantry regiment, he had known an instance where algebra, Euclid, and logarithms were of practical utility to officers. He (Colonel Reid) had not met any such instances. These studies interfered with the acquirements really useful in the profession; and he might state that he knew officers who thoroughly studied their profession, but who had left the service in disgust because they found that, after all, they were in no better position than steeple chasers, or persons who passed their time in that way. He could wish to see some judicious means adopted to induce military men to study their professions; but this scheme of examinations he denounced as most preposterous. High-spirited and highbred officers would not endure a military pedagogue in their barracks and mess-rooms. They would justly regard such a person as a spy, who would watch their conduct invidiously, and report their proceedings at head-quarters. British officers would not brook such a system. They would not permit themselves to be treated like school-boys. The injustice to those who had entered the service without fore- 821 seeing, the introduction of such a system, was, he must repeat, most flagrant. If such an officer discharged his duty with zeal, efficiency, and regularity, he was entitled to promotion as a matter of right, even though he had an inadequate notion of algebra and Euclid. The mode in which the examinations—especially those for commissions—Was carried on, was exceedingly capricious and improper. The examiners frequently proposed the most absurd questions. As an illustration of this assertion, he would mention that the son of a friend of his, on his examination for his commission, was asked what was the difference between a monk and a friar? This was a matter of which the lad knew nothing, and indeed the loss he knew the better, but he nevertheless was not unprovided in his own mind with a reply, and had it not been that he feared being "plucked" for disrespect to the examiner, he would have answered that it was six of one, and half-a-dozen of the other. He knew another case where a young man was refused his commission because he had not answered an abstruse and irrelevant question in Grecian History, which he (Colonel Reid) should not have been ashamed to have failed in. The system was altogether an injudicious one. The questions and answers were laid down in certain books, and unless those books were purchased and the questions and answers committed to memory, the person under Examination was likely to be unsuccessful. One effect of the system had been to put officers to expense for private tutors to cram them for examination.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, he had heard many objections made to the new system of education in the Army, but the gallant Officer who had just sat down was certainly the first who had had the courage to defend the old state of ignorance among the officers of the Army. The fact was that now that they had begun to educate the private soldiers of the Army, it was quite requisite that the officers also should be more highly educated in proportion, or else the men would speedily be excelling those who commanded them in all the branches of information requisite for the profession; and if that ever happened, the next step would be that the men would begin to entertain a thorough contempt for the officers who were set over them. The Commander-in-Chief had, however, taken steps to avert such a state of things, by affording to officers every opportunity of acquiring in- 822 formation necessary to pass their examinations at different parts of their career. With regard to the preliminary examination of officers before receiving their commissions, he was sorry to hear that they had become such mere matters of form; but he would take care to inquire into it, and would see that none of these books of question and answer, to be learned by rote by officers about to undergo examination, should be of use, but for the future officers should he required to answer, at a moment's notice, any question which should emanate from the imagination of the examiner. The examination at the next step, when a cornet or ensign received his lieutenancy, was purely professional, and all that was required then was a knowledge of the general regulations of the Army, and a certain acquaintance with drill. The last examination which an officer had to undergo when he got his company, was, he admitted, of rather a serious character; but the complaint of the Army was not directed to the fact, that officers were subject to this examination, but that opportunities of acquiring the requisite information were not afforded to them. That they did not look down upon the information, was amply proved by the fact, that at Portsmouth, where there was a garrison master of high character and abilities to instruct the men, the officers themselves had solicited him to give them instruction in the various branches in which they were required to be examined. The time would soon come when he should have to come down to that House to ask for means to afford opportunities to officers to obtain those advantages for persons of their own rank and condition; and so far from such an officer being looked upon with suspicion by his fellow-officers, as had been insinuated, he was sure that his society would be courted more than that of any other officer in the regiment. With regard to the whole question, he hoped that the C mmander-in-Chief would not only not draw hack, but that he would continue to proceed with this system of education, by which officers would be made able to instruct their men, besides being instructed themselves in all the practical branches of their profession.
§ COLONEL REID
wished to explain that he had not intended, for an instant, to display the presumption of setting his own opinion against that of the greatest military authority of the age. But, in truth, he did not view the measure as emanating 823 from the Commander-in-Chief; he cast the whole responsibility of the measure on the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down; because, if the Duke of Wellington had considered such steps necessary or advisable, would he not long ago have introduced them during the forty years of peace, in the greater part of which he had been at the head of military affairs? He was disposed, therefore, to consider it more in the light of a concession, on the part of that illustrious individual, to a Government with which he stood in rather a delicate position; and if he had been perfectly free, he (Colonel Reid) believed, would certainly have put his veto upon it altogether.
§ MR. HUME
said, if there was any one thing in the conduct of his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War which entitled him to the gratitude of the country, it was the arrangement he had introduced for the better education of the Army. To hear a gallant Officer complain of Government having adopted a course of instruction for the officer of the British service, was to him a matter of astonishment. Still more was he surprised to hear the gallant Officer say that because the Duke of Wellington had not during the forty years he had been at the head of the Army thought proper to introduce the system, therefore it was wrong for any one else to bring forward such a measure. It was to be regretted that the Duke of Wellington had not long since taken the course which had at length been adopted. The British Army was noted for its ignorance. ["Oh, oh!"] Its officers were, at any rate. ["No, no!"] He would say, "Yes." Take the officers of any battalion of the British service, and let them compete with the officers of a battalion of the French Army; and the former would have no chance whatever in regard to professional knowledge. The French officers went through a much more severe course of professional study than the British officers, and their education was of a higher quality. He did not blame the British officers for their inferiority to the French in these respects, for they had not the opportunity of acquiring the same degree of knowledge. When instruction was being given to the non-commissioned officers and privates of the British service, was it right that the officers should remain uninstructed? In the Royal Military College there were only 180 cadets, and he did not think it was necessary for that 824 small number to maintain a governor, at 1,000l. per annum, a deputy governor, and a large staff of officers. The establishment was far too expensive. With respect to the mode of examination, he would prefer having a Committee constituted of an officer of engineers, an artillery officer, an infantry officer, and a professor, to examine the candidates, than the system that was in use at present, This was a blot which he was glad to find his right hon. Friend intended to correct. As far as regarded those officers who had been already ten or twelve years in the service, he was of opinion the proposed rules of examination ought not to be rigidly applied. It would be unjust to make the introduction of a system which would form a new era in the history of the British Army operate as a check to the promotion of men who had served their country for years under quite a different system—but as far as concerned new candidates for promotion, he would institute the strictest examination as to their qualifications.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
had not had the opportunity of hearing the whole of the speech of the hon. and gallant Officer (Colonel Reid), but he understood the gallant Colonel had endeavoured to cast odium on the right hon. Secretary at War for the introduction of a system which, if the right hon. Gentleman were responsible for it, would, in his (Sir De L. Evans's) opinion, greatly redound to his honour. It would, as his hon. Friend (Mr. Hume) had said, be a new era in the history of the British service. Hitherto money alone had been the means of promotion, but henceforth they might expect that efficiency and merit would be taken into consideration.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
wished to express his great gratitude for this measure of education. With regard, however, to what had been said about the professors writing books and publishing them, he thought that such a course was absolutely necessary, because we really had no manuals on such subjects in this country, and officers were obliged to pick up their information from French and German works.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) 18,016l. Royal Military Asylum and Hibernian Military School.
§ MR. HUME
wished to draw attention to the fact that it required 114 persons to take care of the 350 boys in the Royal Military Asylum, and 41 persons in the 825 Hibernian School to the care of precisely the same number. The building of the Royal Military Asylum was quite large enough to accommodate the whole body, and he did not see why the two institutions should not be joined in one.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, it must be borne in mind that this asylum was for the instruction of those children of soldiers who could have obtained instruction in no other mode, and that the education which they there received was such as would train them for becoming schoolmasters in their turn, which was the case in not a few instances. With respect to the Hibernian School it was peculiarly defensible, because from the number of Roman Catholic soldiers in the Army the number of orphans of that persuasion was very great, and in the Hibernian School they had an opportunity of receiving instruction in the tenets of their own religion without any interference from the authorities. He thought that this establishment stood on grounds different from Kilmainham Hospital, to which he had alluded on a former evening. He believed the school was a model institution, and that it was regarded with the deepest feelings of interest by all the public authorities of Ireland.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) 65,000l. Volunteer Corps.
§ MR. W. MILES
expressed himself much satisfied with the just tribute which his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War had paid to the services rendered by the yeomany of this country, and felt sure that his right hon. Friend would not do anything that would impair the efficiency of that body of men. Having himself (Mr. Miles) the honour of commanding a regiment of yeomanry, he wished to call the attention of his right hon. Friend to the short period which was allowed for them to exercise during this year, and also to the insufficiency of the pay. The period for which a regiment was called out was only five days for this year, and the pay for the man and his horse was only 5s. a day. Was this calculated to maintain either the number or the efficiency of the corps? He thought not; and his opinion was that 826 the allowance to each man ought not to be reduced from 7s. a day. Unless the regiments were placed upon that footing, he did not believe there were many colonels who would call their men out. The Government ought to have an efficient body of men, or none at all. Having stated thus much, he would proceed to make a few remarks upon a speech made last year to the House by the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. F. H. Berkeley) relative to the yeomanry. Hon. Gentlemen would recollect that he had no notice that any such speech was about to be made, by which ridicule was thrown on a corps to which he had the honour to belong. Quoting from Hansard, he found the hon Member saying—He (Mr. Berkeley) would now show the Committee what the yeomanry were worth on an emergency. They all remembered the Bristol riots; and he thought hon. Gentlemen were not so ignorant of geography as not to he aware that Bristol was in two counties, Gloucestershire and Somersetshire, in both of which counties yeomanry abounded, arid very finely-dressed gentlemen they were. They wore a vast deal of hair on their faces, and they looked desperately fierce. But Bristol was on fire for three days, and was, during that time, completely at the command of lawless men, while the yeomanry were of no more use than a set of old applewomen. What aid did Bristol receive, in her three days of dolour and distress, from the voluntary heroes of Somersetshire? During that time about ten of the Somersetshire yeomanry marched into Bristol, and they were kindly locked up by the authorities to pre vent the mob from harming them."—[3 Hansard, cxiii. 374.]In reply to that portion of the hon. Member's speech, he had to say that orders were issued by the magistrates of Bristol to Captain Shute to call out his troop. This was at ten o'clock, and at three o'clock the troop was mustered, but only seventeen men turned out. This was reported to the magistrates, whose orders were then asked for. It was at the same time stated to the magistrates that the stores were left at the Riding-house, which was the troop's quarters, where there was a considerable quantity of ammunition. The troop was ordered to march to the Riding-house, and wait there for further orders. Captain Shute obeyed that order, but no other order was sent to him. At the same time the regular military were ordered out of the city. This was on the Sunday, between nine and ten o'clock at night; and Captain Shute, having placed all the stores in safety, marched his troop to Brislington, being about a mile and a half from Bristol. The horses remained saddled all 827 night, and the men were ready to mount at a moment's notice. Early next morning Captain Musgrave marched into Bristol, and Captain Shute, without orders, joined the rear-guard and marched into Bristol with Captain Musgrave. This single troop of regulars and single troop of yeomanry assisted in clearing the streets: and an hon. Friend of his (now no more), the then Member for the western division of Somersetshire, being at Bristol, and acting as a county magistrate, assured him (Mr. Miles) that Captain Shute cleared a bridge, and made way for him to pass over in his carriage on two successive occasions during the disturbances. So much for that. He would now come to the regiment which he had the honour to command. Orders were issued for assembling the regiment on the Sunday morning. These were sent to Bath, being the head quarters; then sent round to the different men, many of whom had to march forty-six miles to join the regiment. Between four and five o'clock on the Monday evening the whole regiment, under the command of Colonel Horner marched into Bristol. All he could state was this, that at the expiration of the time their services were required in Bristol, not only were thanks issued to them by the magistrates, but they also received the thanks of the general in command, who particularly specified the service of Captain Shute's troop when acting with the regulars. He had thus made his statement as briefly as he could, but he trusted he had shown that Captain Shute's troop was not deficient in doing its duty. He ought to add, that the men of that troop who did not turn out on the Sunday were dismissed on the Monday morning. Such was his plain answer to the rather violent speech of the hon. Member for Bristol. ["No, no!—humorous."] Well, it might have been a humorous, but it was certainly a very sarcastic speech. Of course he should have felt it his duty, if he had been present last year, to have given the answer which he had now done. He hoped when the hon. Member again made an attack on the yeomanry, he would have the courtesy of making hon. Members who happened to belong to the corps acquainted with his intentions. Whenever he (Mr. Miles) had been out with the corps which he had the honour to command, to assist the civil force, he had always found them ready to a man to do their duty. He was happy to say that during that period they had never been called upon to act 828 against the people; but at the same time they had always shown a readiness to assist the civil power.
§ MR. F. H. BERKELEY
said, it might be expected he should say something, but he would not occupy more than two minutes, in answer to the attack made upon him by the gallant General—he begged pardon, he did not exactly know the dignity of rank held by the hon. Member—[Mr. W. MILES: Colonel.] Well then, in answer to the attack of the gallant Colonel, he need occupy but little time. He hoped, however, that the gallant Somersetshire corps would not prove to be merely the vanguard of the enemy, to be followed up by the mournful and dangerous troop to which he had occasion to allude last year; because it would be a sad affair to have to encounter the whole band of yeomanry Gentlemen in that House. His ease reminded him of Hudibras, when he exclaimed—Oh! what dangers do environThe man that meddles with cold iron!But to the speech of last year. What was the object of that speech? In the first place, he endeavoured to show to the House that the yeomanry, as military men, were perfect impostors; and, in the next place, he endeavoured to show that, as a constabulary force, they were not of the least use. That was the position he took up, and he did his best to maintain it. In doing so, he had occasion to refer to the Bristol riots; but he made no accusation or assertion as coming from himself, but quoted from the Bristol Gazette, an old established paper, which the hon. Gentleman must know had been published in Bristol many years. The editor was a most respectable individual, and a town councillor of the city of Bristol, a man without reproach. The paper had since descended to his son. From that paper he quoted a statement to this effect—that a body of men from the North Somersetshire Yeomanry had been called upon by the magistrates on Saturday—the three days riots being Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. [Mr. W. MILES: They were not called out till Sunday.] He would be able to show that they were called upon by the magistrates on the Saturday, but they never appeared until the Sunday. And when they appeared they showed in such small numbers—[Mr. W. MILES: It was only a troop.] He knew it was only a troop. It was the Bedminster troop. The Bedminster troop, being the nearest to 829 Bristol, to whom therefore should the magistrates apply but to them? They came up (as he had said), but in such small numbers, that they were locked up in the riding-house in Portmore-lane, by consent of Captain Shute, not S-h-double-o-t, but S-h-u-t-e. A letter appeared in the Bristol Gazette at the time, stating that Captain Shute concurred in opinion with the magistrates that his troop, having assembled in such small numbers, should be shut up. That was the statement of the editor of the Bristol Gazette, referring to his files of the year 1831. He held the statement in his hand, and any hon. Member who wished to read it was welcome to do so. He had the greatest respect for his hon. Friend (Mr. W. Miles), the gallant leader of gallant men; and be believed as to his gallant corps, that take them off their horses, and take them out of uniform—in which they looked like hogs in armour—put hem into smock frocks, and put a stick into their hands, and they would make excellent special constables. But, as a county constabulary—faugh!—they never did distinguish themselves, and never would. They would always be a most unfortunate defence against riots if they were called into action.
§ MR. W. MILES
explained. The yeomanary could not be called out without a magistrate's order, and it was by order of Alderman Daniels that they retired to the riding-house.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
could not agree with the hon. Member for Bristol in the aspersions which he had cast upon the yeomanry cavalry. He could not concur with him in thinking them "impostors" as soldiers, for the reports which he had seen from experienced officers of the Army warranted him in stating, that if well drilled and well disciplined, the yeomanry would perform any duty that any body of men could be called upon to perform. He regarded them as an admirable force.
§ COLONEL CHATTERTON
said, that having had the honour of being frequently appointed inspecting officer of the yeomanry cavalry, and having performed that duty sixty-nine times, he was anxious to address a few words to the House on this subject. He could assure the House with honour, truth, and sincerity, that he had ever found the yeomanry a most zealous, active, 830 loyal, and efficient body; admirably drilled. considering the very short time allowed for training and exercise, and he was fully persuaded the tranquillity of England could not be preserved without the yeomanry cavalry.
§ MR. EDWARDS
It was not my intention to have offered a single remark upon this question; but finding, as I do, that the hon. Member for Bristol, notwithstanding the severe castigation j lie received last year from various Gentlemen in this House, has again reiterated the insults he then offered to every member of the Yeomanry Service here and elsewhere, I cannot remain silent; and I only regret that we have not a division, so that the country might judge of the support the hon. Member would receive at our hands. In referring to the services of this | arm of the service, I have only to quote the authority of the two Gentlemen who have I just sat down—the right hon. the Secretary at War, backed as he was by the hon. Member for Cork, who has himself been appointed no fewer than sixty-nine times Inspecting Officer of Yeomanry Cavalry, for: convincing proofs of its efficiency in times of general disturbance. Being myself connected with the Yeomanry, I hope and trust we may never have the hon. Member for Bristol amongst us. The hon. Member, in speaking of its officers and men, has thought fit to designate us as "impostors," "hogs in armour," &c., &c. Now, I ' wonder what he himself would look like, arrayed in any yeomanry uniform of the I country? Very unlike an officer and a soldier, I should imagine!
§ Vote agreed to.
§ MR. FOX MAULE
said, he did not propose that evening to bring forward any more of the Army Estimates, as it was now necessary to proceed with some of the Votes on the Ordnance Estimates.