§ (6.) 70,825l. Additional Men, Artillery.
said, that in explaining the additional means of defence it was proposed to carry out in his department, he would remind the Committee that of those means, none were more important than the artillery force. To that force it was now proposed to make but a very modest addition. In the first place, it was intended to add 2,000 to the number of the men, and to make an addition of 1,000 horses—not 30,000, as had been stated by an hon. and gallant Member opposite. They were all aware that a portion of the artillery force was called the Horse Artillery. At present it was usual to take the horses of the men of this arm of the force, for the purpose of drawing the guns and carriages; and the consequence of this was, that the men had not that constant drill which was necessary to keep them in the most perfect efficiency. It was to remedy this defect that the additional 1,000 horses were required. The charge for this extra force would be 70,825l. for the three months to the end of the present financial year, including pay, bounties, clothing, and what was called levy money. There would be another item of 5,133l. for forage for the horses, and another of 2,700l. for ammunition, and there was a third of 14,000l. for new iron Ordnance—that was, for guns of a larger calibre than those now generally in use—about one-fourth of which would be applied to the Navy. The total vote was 92,658l.
§ MR. MUNTZ
said, that it was of no use having more artillerymen and more horses unless a better practice-ground was provided for them. He had been that day at the practice-ground at Woolwich, and found it to be of small dimensions and at right angles to the Thames, and on inquiry he was told that the men were often compelled to suspend their practice, and stand 1018 still for an hour or two together, in order to allow the vessels in the river to pass up and down without being fired into. He understood that to purchase a practice-ground of sufficient extent, running parallel to the river, and which might be used at times, would cost only 60,000l.
said, he was compelled to admit that the present practice-ground at Woolwich was almost useless; but negotiations which had been opened before he came into office were now going on for the purchase of a practice-ground at Shoeburyness, which he had reason to hope would have the effect of removing the difficulty. It was not an easy matter to get a practice-ground for artillery, seeing that the shot was sometimes thrown a distance of five miles; but he hoped by the success of the negotiations he alluded to, soon to be in a position to submit a proposition for the purchase of a site in every way adapted for the purpose.
thought it told little for the attention paid to the artillery that they had not sufficient practice-ground. He objected to the proposed increase, which would add about 400,000l. to the Estimates on the year, seeing that the vote was only for three months. He would be glad to know, also, why it would be necessary to pay so large a sum as 10l. bounty-money per man, and why it became necessary to cast larger guns when there were so many already in store?
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that, including the dockyard battalions, we had now 20,000 more men trained to arms than we had fifteen years ago, and yet it was proposed to increase the artillery,
said, that the sum of 10l. was not intended to be wholly applied to bounty. Two several sums amounting to 3l. and 1l. 19s., would be applied to the expenses of the removal of the recruit to head quarters, but the bounty would be only 5l. 15s. 6d.
SIR FREDERICK SMITH
begged to say, in reference to some observations of the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) as to the number of men now required for the artillery, that there was a great inequality between the number of guns and artillerymen in such garrisons as Portsmouth and Gibraltar. As regarded the horses required, it required long practice to make them so steady under fire as to stand to the guns. As regarded the strength of the force of artillery, it should be remembered that recent battles had 1019 been, and future patties would be, chiefly decided by that arm, and that our strength in that respect must be made proportionate to such requirements.
said, if there was such a disproportion between the number of artillerymen and the number of guns, what had become of the artillerymen of the dockyard battalions?
SIR FREDERICK SMITH
said, that the dockyard battalions were available only in naval depots, and that artillerymen were wanted in other garrisons as well as in the Martello Towers.
said, he could not refrain from expressing his surprise at anything being said of those monuments of folly.
§ CAPTAIN SCOBELL
said, that there were now 10,000 artillery in this country; and as we had got the militia to take care of us in 1852, and the hon. Secretary of the Admiralty had stated that by his proposed plan the coasts would be safe in 1853, he thought this addition to the artillery might have been left to 1854.
said, that the whole number of artillerymen was 12,408, of whom there were but 5,000 at home.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that by a return which he held in his hand, it appeared that the number of men voted to the Ordnance last year was 15,000, and it was now proposed to add 2,000 more, making 17,000.
said, that he had spoken only of artillery, while the number spoken of by the hon. Gentleman included the Sappers and Miners.
§ Vote agreed to: as were also
§ (7.) 5,133l., Forage for 1,000 Horses.
§ (8.) 2,700l., Charge of additional Labour in making up Ammunition.
§ (9.) 14,000l., Purchase heavy iron Ordnance and for Projectiles.
said, if this vote was for new ordnance or experiments in new guns, he would not oppose it, but he should like to know.
SIR FREDERICK SMITH
said, that foreign Powers, especially France, had of late armed their ships with 10-inch guns, which exploded shells containing 4lbs. of powder, while in this country hitherto we had only used 8-inch guns, which threw shells containing only 2 lbs. of powder. Captain Chads had stated that a 10-inch gun with such shells would at once destroy 1020 a ship, while 8-inch guns would not, In this country we had been introducing 56-pounders in the land service, which had a range of 3,500 yards, instead of the old 32-pounders which had only a range of 2,500 yards. It was very desirable that we should have guns of the largest bore.
said, if the vote was intended for experiments of that kind, he not only had no objection to it, but thought it was only the duty of the Ordnance to attend to such matters. He remembered that the late Sir Hussey Vivian had sent all over Europe to find whether there were any weapons in use superior to our own: and in doing so that gallant officer acted most properly.
§ Vote agreed to.