§ Order for Committee read. On the Motion for going into Committee of Supply,
said, he wished to call the attention of the House to one or two points respecting the administration of the Army, previous to Mr. Speaker leaving the Chair. In 1837 a Committee was appointed to consider the various Naval and Military sinecures, and the general pay to colonels of regiments, with a view, if possible, of putting an end to the outcries then being raised against colonels of regiments being tailors, and curtailing the vestments of the soldiers for their own profit. That Committee consisted of a great portion of the members of the present Government, and they recommended that the allowances to colonels of regiments of the line should not be less than 1,000l. But they made a distinction. They agreed that the regiment held by the Duke of Wellington should, in consideration of the great and glorious services rendered by his Grace, be exempt from the alteration proposed by them, and that no change should be made in the emoluments attaching to the colonelcy of the Grenadier Guards, so long as the Duke should hold the command. Agreeably to that recommendation, an exception was made in the case of that regiment and of the Coldstream and Fusileer Guards, and it was agreed that the colonelcies of those regiments should he retained as the reward of long and distinguished services. He complained, however, that the late Government had not attended to the recommendation of that Committee on the demise of the Duke of Wellington, but had conferred the command of the Grenadier and Fusileer regi- 742 ments—the first valued at 3,000l., and the other at 2,000l. yearly—upon Prince Albert and the Duke of Cambridge respectively, without any reduction of the allowances. Now, although he was willing to give all possible credit to Prince Albert, and to acknowledge that he filled the position he now held with credit to himself and advantage to the country, he thought the appointment of his Royal Highness and of the Duke of Cambridge was an interference with the recommendations of the Committee, and that he was warranted, therefore, as a member of that Committee, and the person who had moved for it, to call the attention of Her Majesty's Ministers and the House to a proceeding which was an infraction of the recommendations of that Committee. The right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice) well recollected those recommendations, and he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to state his opinion of them. He begged also to call the attention of the Government to another important point. No one was more anxious than himself to produce efficiency in the Army, and he had therefore for many years pressed upon the House the advisability of removing an anomaly which existed in this country as regarded the civil administration of the Army. In 1837 a Commission was appointed, of which Earl Grey, then Lord Howick, the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell), and Sir John Hobhouse, were members; and they recommended, in page 9 of their Report—1. That the greater part of the authority, with reference to the Army, which at present belongs to the Secretaries of State, should, for the future, be vested in the Secretary at War. 2. An alteration should be made in the form of the appointment of the Secretary at War:—First, that he should in future be always a member of the Cabinet, Second, that he should be the Minister by whom the advice of the Cabinet, as to the amount of the military establishments, should be laid before the King. Third, that he should be the person to consider and act on all points with the Commander-in-Chief on behalf of the Administration, and to be immediately responsible to Parliament for all the measures of the Government with reference to the Army. Fourth, that he should assume all the merely formal duties relating to the subject now performed by the Secretaries of State, such as the preparing and countersigning of military commissions, and the issuing of orders for the delivery of arms to the troops.And at page 10 of the Report:—3. The Secretary of State, to whom the civil administration of our numerous colonies, with all 743 their complicated interests, is intrusted, cannot possibly give the attention to the subject (amount and distribution of the Army) which it requires. 4. The Secretary at War, by whom the Army Estimates are now moved in the House of Commons, seems to us to be the person to whom the important duty of watching over the whole military administration of the country should properly be committed. 5. To give him (the Secretary at War) a direct control over those large branches of business relating to the military service of the country which are now managed by the Board of Ordnance and by the Commissariat department of the Treasury. 6. With respect to the Ordnance, we think this might best be accomplished by dividing the civil from the military duties of that department. First. The latter (the military duties) should be left, as at present, in charge of the Master General, who should exercise the same authority he now has in all matters of discipline, promotion, &c, subject only to the general orders of the Government, to be conveyed to him, as we have already explained, by the Secretary at War, instead of by the Secretary of State. Second. He should also retain under his immediate orders the Inspector General of Fortifications, and be charged with the duty of superintending the execution of all military works. 7. The civil business, on the other hand, should be brought under the more direct control of the Secretary at War, by making the board officers, by whom it is more immediately conducted, subordinate to him instead of the Master General and Board of Ordnance; so that their separate divisions of the business would become branches of the War Office, and the whole expenditure connected therewith would be provided for in the general Army estimates.He wished to see a Minister of War who should be responsible for all matters connected with war and the defence of the country. The Ordnance expenditure amounted to no less than 3,000,000l per annum, and there would be both a reduction of expense and an increase of efficiency in bringing the present establishment in Pall-mall under the control of the Horse Guards. He thought it very objectionable that the Ordnance should be kept separate from the rest of the Army, and also that the function of deciding the number of troops to be voted by Parliament should be committed to the Secretary for the Colonies, instead of the Secretary at War. All these arrangements tended to inefficiency and expense. The Secretary for the Colonies had the charge of forty-two dependencies, any one of which would be sufficient to occupy the time and attention of an ordinary man, and he could not possibly have the leisure requisite for attending to the administration of the Army. He considered that the management of the Army wanted an entire change—responsibility, economy, concentration, and individual action, and that by judicious alterations an enormous saving of expense might 744 be effected. He wished to know whether the Government meant to carry out the recommendations of the Committee, or whether they were prepared with any other suggestions on the subject?
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, in reference to the observations which his hon. Friend made on the question of fusing the Ordnance and Army administrations into one department, he would recall to the hon. Member's recollection that though a Committee had made recommendations tending' to that result, and though during the several years that had elapsed Members of that Committee, whose opinions were favourable to it and carried great weight with the House, had filled various posts in the Government, and yet had not attempted to enforce the views recommended by that Committee, as also by the Commission appointed to inquire into the administration of the Army. He believed that, with the experience they had since acquired, their views had been modified in respect to the expediency of carrying out the recommendations thus made. Supposing that a separate Ministry for the War Department solely were constituted, as his hon. Friend wished, he asked how the Minister could decide what amount of military force would be requisite either for this country or the Colonies, without first of all consulting the two Secretaries of State for the Home and Colonial Departments? That seemed to be rather a question of form, therefore, than substance. His hon. Friend differed essentially from the recommendations of the Committee in one particular, because he thought that the military administration both of the Army and Ordnance should be placed in the same hands, whereas the recommendations of the Committee applied to the civil branch of the administration only. He could not give his hon. Friend any assurance under these circumstances that the Government intended to carry out the recommendations of the Committee as given in their report: for whenever the subject came to be dealt with, those recommendations would require careful revision, and the whole subject to be reconsidered.
said, he wished to say, as his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had appealed to him, that when he accepted the office of Secretary at War, he had done so only on con-condition that a Committee should be appointed to inquire into all the emoluments of the Army. One of the reasons why he moved for that Committee was, that his 745 hon. Friend (Mr. Hume), thelate Sir Henry Parnell, and other hon. Gentlemen, used to keep them four or five weeks discussing almost every item of the Estimates, stating from other official sources very different facts from those given by the persons in authority with reference to the accounts of Army expenditure. It did so happen, and it was a very great gratification to him, that during the whole of the sittings of that Committee, composed as it was of the most eminent Members on both sides of the House, the late Sir Robert Peel, the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell), the present Viscount Hardinge, and other important personages, it was not his misfortune to differ from his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose in respect to any of the questions which were submitted to the decision of the Committee. It was owing to the inquiries made by the Committee that they had been since enabled to pass the Army Estimates in a single night's discussion. In reference to the regiments of Guards, the Committee had recommended that the emoluments of the Duke of Wellington, as colonel of the Grenadier Guards, amounting to between 4.000l and 5.000l., should not be interfered with during the Duke's lifetime. It was also agreed that the allowance for the colonelcies of the three regiments of foot guards should be fixed at 3,000l. for the Grenadier Guards, and 2,000l. for each of the other two, and that they should be reserved as rewards to be given for distinguished military services. To that proposition he (Mr. Ellice) obtained his hon. Friend's vote, and the unanimous vote of the Committee. He could not sit down without expressing his great regret at the statement just made by his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War. He knew as well as his right hon. Friend, the great difficulty of approaching the question of amalgamation of the Army and Ordnance administrations; but he told the House that, unless the question was seriously taken up, and some measures adopted which would ensure responsible control over the Army expenditure in its various branches, the House need not expect to ensure economy in the future administration of the Army. He had sat last year on a Committee for Inquiry into the Commissariat, and he found that there was an immense expenditure intrusted to the civil officers of the two branches of the Ordnance and Commissariat. It appeared that the Ordnance officers in some colonies were doing the 746 same duty as the Commissariat, and he believed that one officer might do the work of both departments. He could not understand why this country should be called upon to pay the expense of police in Canada; for no other purpose could small bodies of soldiers be kept up throughout that country. There was a great disposition on the part of the witnesses connected with the Army, Navy, Ordnance, or Commissariat, to defend their profession, and especially to defend the particular situations they held. But the duty of that House was to take care that the public service was carried on with as few employés as possible. But when they were told that no steps were to be taken to carry out the recommendations of the Committees, and that it would be impossible for the Secretary at War to know what the relative force at home and abroad ought to be, surely that individual, being a Member of the Cabinet, might concert with the Secretaries for the Home Department and the Colonies as to the forces necessary, and then it would be in his power to exercise a general control over the expenditure of the forces, which was all that he was wanted to do. But, if nothing was to be done to centralise or control the expenditure, it made him despair to find we were to go on without the least reform or additional economy in matters in which savings could be made. How was it possible for the Secretary for the Colonies to attend to the constitutional affairs of the Colonies, and at the same time to control their military expenditure? He had so much to do that he could not possibly find time for such matters.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he was afraid that some mistake might arise if he did not say a few words on what had fallen from his right hon. Friend. It seemed to him that the observations of his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War had not been altogether correctly apprehended by the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. His right hon. Friend had no intention whatever of saying that nothing whatever should be done with regard to the great question of consolidating the Army and Ordnance departments. All that his right hon. Friend said was, that it behoved the Government to observe a due and prudent reserve in any determination which they might adopt with reference to the subject. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ellice), however, had travelled into a much larger 747 subject—to one, which he agreed with him, was of vital importance. In his (Mr. Gladstone's) opinion, the main and principal hope which justified the House in looking forward to a reduction in the military expenditure was to he found in the course which our colonial policy might take. Certainly, he should be sorry at that, almost the first moment of their accession to office, if it went forth that Her Majesty's Government felt any indifference on such a subject; and he, therefore, should beg to assure his right hon. Friend that no such indifference existed. But his right hon. Friend would agree with him that it was impossible for those who acceded to office only at the commencement of January to have so framed the Ordnance Estimates of this year as to give adequate consideration to the subject: it was quite impossible to have made the necessary communication with the Colonies. But in the principle? which the right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice) laid down, he most heartily concurred, though none did so more heartily than those who were charged with the destinies of our Colonial Empire. It was impossible, however, for his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies to take extensive measures with regard to the military posts in Canada until he had an opportunity of communicating with the Governor General, and it was impossible to put the Governor General in a condition to examine into a question so important in time to embody the result in the Estimates then upon the table of the House. One little crumb of comfort, however, he could give his right hon. Friend with regard to Canada; and, though the change effected was perhaps of not much value as far as regarded the amount of money in question, still it was important in principle. The House and his right hon. Friend were very conversant with the name of the Rideau Canal. It was very well known that enormous sums of British money were expended in its construction; in fact, it had swallowed up more hundreds of thousands of pounds than he cared to name, and without any commensurate benefit to the Home Treasury. Her Majesty's Government, however, were of opinion that the outlay on this account should be put an end to, and a correspondence on the subject had taken place between the Home and Colonial Government. The Colonial Government pleaded poverty, and though Her Majesty's Government did not return exactly a similar plea, they formed a very 748 strong conviction that things ought to come to an issue. Demands had come from Canada on account of the repairs of certain locks on the Rideau Canal, and it was proposed to provide for them in the Ordnance Estimates for the year; but the Government, holding in mind the determination which had been formed, entirely declined to submit the matter to Parliament, and the charge was therefore struck out of the Estimates. The vote was of no great consequence—a few thousands; but it showed the view which the Government were inclined to take of the necessity of reducing our colonial expenditure as much as possible. He hoped his right hon. Friend would hold this to be indicative of what the feelings of Her Majesty's Government were on the subject he had referred to. There was, however, another portion of the Colonial Empire with regard to which a similar determination had been come—namely, with respect to the West India Islands. It appeared to the Government that nothing could be more ridiculous in a military point of view, or nothing could be more unnecessary in a social point of view, than the maintenance of a vast number of small Ordnance establishments in these islands. His noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies had, therefore, determined to concentrate the Ordnance establishments in the principal West India colonies. He was unable to say that many of those charges were erased from the Estimates of the present year, but he was in a position to state that his noble Friend had come to the conclusion to diminish the number of those establishments. He hoped his right hon. Friend would feel satisfied with the explanations which he had given.
said, he only wished to observe, in reply, that he was the last person in the world to impugn the good intentions of Her Majesty's Ministers; and that if the observations of his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War had been as full and explanatory as those of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he should not have felt it necessary to have said anything.
§ House in Committee; Mr. Wilson Fatten in the Chair.
§ (1.) 17,598l. Ordnance Military Corps.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he trusted he should be able to satisfy the Committee that the expenditure to be provided for in the present Estimates, though in excess of the previous year, could not be reduced without detriment to the public service. He might 749 observe, that almost every recommendation made by the Committee of 1849 had been carried out in reference to the department. The duties of storekeeper and barrack-master had been combined in several additional instances, especially in the West India and other colonies; and, as the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had just announced, it was the intention of the Government still further to reduce the colonial expenditure. With regard to stores, the Committee's recommendation had also been strictly followed, and with the most satisfactory results. The first vote was 807,507l. for pay, allowances, and contingencies for 17,598 officers, non-commissioned officers, and men composing the several Ordnance military corps. This vote was 12,642l. less than the vote of last year. The second vote was 373,217l. for commissariat and barrack supplies for Her Majesty's forces, great coats for the Army, clothing for the militia, &c. The increase in the number of the artillery had been made at the least possible expense: no new commissioned officers had been appointed; the additional strength which had been given to that arm of the service being confined to men and non-commissioned officers. With regard to the state of the artillery, it had never been more effective than at present; and some of the eminent foreign officers who had visited this country on the occasion of the Duke of Wellington's funeral, had, since their return home, expressed their high opinion of the organisation of our artillery, and of its merits as an effective force. He might add, that those improvements to which his right hon. Friend the Secretary at War had alluded on Friday night as having been carried out in regard to the general Army, had been adopted in the artillery also. The schools, which had been added to considerably, were flourishing; and, besides the ordinary schools, there was one at Woolwich in which geometry, mensuration, the theoretical knowledge of fortifications, and other branches of instruction connected with the artillery service, were taught. There were at the present time twenty-four non-commissioned officers in regular attendance at that school. There were also similar schools established in the Colonial and other stations. There were libraries at many of those stations, and at Woolwich. In the Woolwich library for non-commissioned officers there were 3,399 volumes, and it had 426 subscribers, the public contributing only 30l. a year to- 750 wards it, the subscriptions paying the rest of the expense. In the gunners' library there were 4,000 volumes; the number of subscribers was 898, and the cost to the public only 41l. It was gratifying to know that there had been a considerable improvement within the last few years in the health of this force. In 1849–50 the mortality was at the rate of 17¼ in the 1,000. In 1850–51 it was 16| in the 1,000, and in the last year it was only 12½ to the 1,000. With regard to punishment, there had been a considerable diminution, he was happy to say, in the number of instances in which corporal punishment had been inflicted during the last two years. In 1849 the number of corporal punishments had been twenty-three, the average strength of the force being 10,000; in 1850 the number was only nine, the average strength being about 11,000; in 1851 it wag also nine, the strength being more than 11,000; and in 1852 the number was reduced to five, the average strength being 12,000 men. In the latter half of that year there had been no case of corporal punishment in the artillery in Great Britain. There was one point in regard to the practical education of the artillery, upon which, probably, the Committee might consider there was some reason to complain—that was, the absence of a sufficient practice ground at Woolwich. It was true there were practice grounds at Shoeburyness and Sheerness; but they could not be used by more than two companies each, and it was therefore impossible to give the men that practice which was necessary for their perfect efficiency. He adverted to this in order to afford the Committee an opportunity of expressing an opinion on the subject. In this vote there was an increase of 71,528l. over the vote of last year, which was occasioned by the forage of 1,000 extra horses, the increased price of rations, two months' forage for Ireland, which last year was provided for by the Commissariat department, the clothing for the militia, and an additional charge for great coats to make up the stock, which at the commencement of the year was lower than necessary. In the next vote, for Salaries and Contingencies of the Ordnance Office, there was a decrease of 1,611l., but it was occasioned chiefly by the transference of certain parts of that establishment to the Tower. In the fifth vote, Establishments at Home and in the Colonies, there was an excess over the amount granted last year of 3,344l., a portion of which 751 was occasioned by the transfer of certain charges from other departments. For the establishments at home 4,644l. more was required than in the last year; but 1,300l. less would suffice for the establishments abroad, the increase at home being made up by the new charges for the establishment of the Tower. There was an extra charge for storekeepers consequent upon the establishment of a convict establishment at Perth, in Western Australia, which had rendered a military establishment necessary; but there was a reduction in the charge for barrack masters in Canada, Jamaica, Halifax, and Hobart Town. The next vote was for Wages, and the amount was 141,437l., while that of last year was but 124,346l., the excess being 17,091l., which arose principally from additional works at the various manufactories at Woolwich, the charge for which was over 19,000l. That amount, however, was reduced by about 2,000l. in the colonial charge, arising principally from the decision to which the Government had come, and to which his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had alluded, namely, to at once terminate the expenditure, as far as this country was concerned, on account of the Rideau Canal. The next vote was for Stores; but before proceeding to that he would shortly refer to the course now pursued by the Ordnance department in regulating the stores at the various depots. It would be recollected that great dissatisfaction was expressed by the Committee of 1849 at the accumulation of obsolete and unserviceable stores, and the attention of the principal storekeeper was directed to the subject with a view to the removal of the anomalies that then existed. The Committee might not perhaps be aware that half-yearly returns were now required from all the establishments at home and in the colonies of the quantity and description of stores in stock, showing what were serviceable and what were not. But in addition to these, triennial returns—more elaborate and searching returns—were sent in, to test the manner in which the half-yearly returns were made out. The question, however, was, whether the system which had been established had succeeded or not? He believed it had, and he would state why. He had called frr returns of unserviceable and obsolete stores at Quebec, Gibraltar, and Dublin, and in each of these stations there were hardly any of that description. The unserviceable stores had either been sold on 752 the spot, or, if worth the expense, sent home. He believed in the other colonies and stations the same results would be found, and that no stores were now in stock which were not serviceable; and a Committee, appointed by the Treasury last year, had reported that the system was now so complete that they did not think any improvement in the mode of keeping down surplus stores could be effected. That Committee deliberately stated that "it did not appear to them that any improvement can be made in the system under which the depots of Naval and Ordnance stores are at present maintained." One great item in the excess of this vote was the charge for arms consequent on the introduction of a more efficient description of small arms into the service. There was also an additional sum for guns, gun-carriages, and for 200 new shot furnaces. The vote required for works, buildings, and repairs was 695,655l., which was 246,627l. in excess of last year's vote. This excess was caused chiefly by fortifications. One of the principal items was connected with the fortification of our great naval arsenals, which at present were not safe against the assault of an enemy. It was hardly possible to conceive that any person could object to this expenditure; for, whatever difference of opinion might prevail as to the expediency of providing naval arsenals in the first instance, there could be none as to the necessity of maintaining them in a state of efficiency now that they were formed. It was perfectly obvious that in a few hours injury might be done to them, which, as a mere matter of money, putting aside national honour and means of naval defence, would be most serious. The average amount expended on works of defence since 1815 was very small. It would probably cause surprise when he stated that the country had spent on an average only 13,000l. a year in providing for defences. Even in the period since 1846, during which the attention of Parliament and the public had been more particularly directed to the subject, we had spent only at the rate of 32,000l. a year upon works. There were, he believed, few countries which had not during the same period expended larger sums upon single fortifications than we had done upon the whole of our defences. Under these circumstances, and considering that the attention of the country was now, for the first time, roused to the necessity of providing for its defences, the Committee 753 would not be surprised that the sum required for fortifications was larger than munl. The total amount which would be required for fortifications was 85,904l., and for fortifying the arsenals, 57,472l. There was also 60,000l. required for improvements in the fortifications of the Channel Islands, and for barracks connected with those fortifications, 33,400l., amounting together to 236,776l. There was also an item of 7,100l. for the repurchase of a workhouse in Cork, which was originally erected as a barracks, but had been taken, in 1840, by the Poor Law Commissioners, for the purposes of the Poor Law. There was 3551l. for the purchase of the rent-charge of Richmond Barracks. There was a sum of 10,000l. for the purchase of ground for the increase of the Wellington Barracks, which had been rendered necessary by the lease of the Portman Barracks being about to expire. There was also a sum of 3,050l. for repairs of the Ordnance Office, and another of 7,868l. for converting the vacated part of the Ordnance Office at the Tower into a storehouse. It would be remembered that the storehouses were burnt down in 1841, and since then, in consequence of the accumulation of stores, many of which were kept in tents, and some were now suffering serious injury from exposure to the weather, it was essential that these works should be proceeded with without delay. With regard to the buildings abroad, the excess was mainly to be accounted for by the necessity of rebuilding barracks which had been destroyed by a disastrous fire in Quebec, and for which 3,206l. would be required. The Commit-tee was well aware of the fatal fever which had occurred at Barbadoes, and it was considered advisable to endeavour to improve the sanitary condition of the garrison by the building of a main drain at an outlay of 1,893l2. There were also sums of 1,485l. for works in Jamaica, and of 12,981l. for continuing the building of new barracks at Halifax, which were progressing rapidly. These were the principal items of excess, and the Committee would perceive that this excess had principally arisen out of the necessity which existed for placing the defences of the country in a respectable state. And here he might observe that if the different fortifications had not been suffered to fall into decay, the amounts required now would not have been so large. The next vote was for the scientific branch, on which there was an excess of 19,306l. 754 Part of that excess would be found to be for the Ordnance survey, which the Government had thought it best and most economical to have it proceeded with, energetically and rapidly. There was an increase of 311l. at Chatham for the expense of giving instruction to the soldiers of the line in field works. There was also an increase for the Royal Military Academy of 573l. In the next vote, that for the non-effective department, there was a decrease on the last year's estimates of 1,141l. He had thus endeavoured to explain the different items of diminution and excess in the year's Estimates; and he would only add that he should be happy to answer any questions which might be put to him by hon. Members. He would now beg to propose the first vote for 17,598 Officers and Men.
said, that having already made some observations on the subject of the Ordnance on the Motion for going into Supply, and believing that there was no chance of doing anything to decrease these Estimates, he thought the best way would be to have the whole of these Votes read through by the Chairman, and agreed to at once. But he would only say, that if they went on spending money in this way, there could be no hope of any reduction of taxation. The amount of the present Estimates for the Ordnance was 3,053,567l., while from 1829 to 1834 the average was 1,700,000l. Since that time they had risen every year until last year, when they reached 2,529,821l.; and in this year they had increased to their present amount. He would also compare the number of men voted in the present year with that in 1834 and the subsequent years, and which showed a great increase. He must also protest against the expenditure on barracks. It seemed, however, that people were quite mad on the subject of defence, and so alarmed that no one in that House could attempt with success to curb this expenditure. The best course would be to put all the items into one vote, and not enter into any particulars. In 1828 the number of men in the Artillery was 8,682, and now they were 17,598. The increase had been going on from that time, and now we had arrived at the present state of things. Something had been said about the necessity of getting a quantity of great coats, and it was said that it would be difficult to get contractors for them when they were wanted. Did any one ever hear of contractors being wanted?
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that it was not contractors that would be wanted, but that it would not be easy to get the work completed on a sudden emergency, and so the great coats were kept in store.
said, that this was the most objectionable part of the Ordnance. Why should there be three different contracts for the clothing of the Army and the Navy? The Ordnance supplied great coats to the Army, the rest of their clothing was supplied from another source, and the Navy was clothed by a third means of contract. Then, as to their fortifications, what was the use of all their Martello towers? They had built forts in those places which, if there was to be an invasion, would be avoided, and they left 500 places unprovided for. Amongst other things, he would refer to the absurd expenditure of 8,000,000l. during the last war in fortifying the heights of Dover; and he appealed to the hon. and gallant Member for Brighton (Sir George Pechell), for a confirmation of the inefficiency of such means of defence as were proposed for the coast of Sussex. As it was his belief that it was perfectly hopeless to oppose the Estimates as proposed with any chance of success, therefore they had better be passed at once.
§ SIR GEORGE PECHELL
hoped, that the Committee would take the advice of the hon. Member for Montrose, and vote the whole sum at once. Many of their fortifications were only objects of ridicule, particularly those in the neighbourhood of the Isle of Wight. If they wanted to have the country really defended, as it ought to be, it must be by the instrumentality of an efficient Navy, and not through brick and mortar. In 1849, when there was a demand for an increase in warlike stores, he asked for a return of the number of guns lying in the different arsenals of the country. After considerable delay and difficulty he procured that information, and he then discovered that they had 14.961 serviceable guns in the arsenals of Woolwich, Chatham, Portsmouth, Devonport, and Hull. In fact, they had in those four places 23,963 cannon, large and small. He observed an item of 8,000l. for gunpowder. He supposed that this increased demand for gnnpowder was in consequence of the quantity expended in firing over the graves of military men. There were also 50,000 for great coats for the militia; and 41,000l. for accoutrements, colours, &c, for the militia. The Committee were thus 756 called on to vote 100,000l. for fitting out the militia, over and above the large sum they had voted before when the subject of the enrolment of the militia was under consideration; and of this the country had good cause to complain. He had no objection to their defensive measures in the Isle of Alderney, as they appeared to be so much afraid of the port of Cherbourg; but he altogether objected to the expenditure of the public money for fortifications above Rochester Bridge and at the Isle of Wight.
§ COLONEL NORTH
said, he would beg to ask the hon. and gallant Officer whether the report which was prevalent was true, namely, that the reason why the roll in Sussex for the militia force was not filled, was owing to what he must call, if the statement were correct, the extraordinary and improper conduct on the part of the large proprietors in that county, who held out the threat to young men anxious to serve in the militia, that if they did join that force they would never under such circumstances give them employment?
§ SIR GEORGE PECHELL
said, he could not answer for what took place in every part of a county nearly 100 miles long and 30 miles wide; but this he knew, that some landowners there had declared that 100,000 men were ready to march to Manchester or Birmingham. In his district everybody was employed and satisfied. The people no longer put any trust in Protectionist landlords, but relied on their own resources. They were not frightened by the threatened humbug of invasion, but would be ready to come forward when any foe dared to attack their hearths and firesides.
said, he had heard the hon. Member for Montrose suggest on a former occasion that it would be better to take the Estimates in a lump.
imagined that he had heard his hon. Friend say something very like it. He had at least heard him say that the Estimates were such a mass of confusion it was impossible to separate one item from another. He (Gen. Anson) had then pointed out to the House that unless they took the trouble of analysing the Estimates, and looking through them, it would be very difficult to understand them. The first thing was to separate them; and if his hon. Friend would do that, he was 757 sure that his mind was clear enough to see them in quite a different form. He made these remarks because the speeches of his hon. Friend led to the inference that those items were improperly put together, and he was anxious it should not go forth to the public that there was wasteful extravagance in this department. The hon. Member (Mr. Hume) spoke of a large increase in the Artillery; but scarcely another Gentleman in the House but himself would object to an increase of that valuable force, upon which this country must in a great degree depend in case of emergency. He was glad to see that the expense of the Ordnance Office was constantly diminishing. In connexion with the vote for Stores, he was glad to hear from the Secretary at War that a decision had at length been come to by the Government with respect to the musket to be adopted, which he understood would be very nearly two pounds weight lighter, and still carry a ball as heavy as the old percussion musket. He trusted that now the British troops would have a musket not to be excelled by the arms borne by any troops in Europe. His hon. Friend had made some observations about gunpowder. It must not be supposed that they did not require an annual vote for gunpowder. It was constantly being used, and he remembered his hon. and gallant Friend behind him (Sir G. Pechell) making a demand for a quantity to be used on the Sussex coast in connexion with one of the Martello towers. The vote No. 7 was one of great importance, and had, no doubt, attracted the attention of the Committee. But upon such a subject there must be some degree of confidence placed in the Government which undertook measures for the defence of the country. In justice he must say that his noble Friend, who was at the Ordnance when he (Gen. Anson) was there, endeavoured as far as he could to induce the Government to carry out a great many of the works and measures of defence now proposed. Had his recommendations been followed, those works would now have been in a state of great forwardness. He (Gen. Anson) wished to know how it was that the sum for the survey of Scotland was increased from 25,000l., the amount last year, to 35.000l.? He did not in the least object to the increase to complete the survey, for the sooner it was done, provided it was done economically, the better.
§ SIR GEORGE PECHELL
said, the hon. and gallant General had thought proper to 758 amuse the Committee by charging him with having been the cause of an expenditure of gunpowder, and he would therefore explain the circumstances to the Committee. The coast near Seaford was in danger from the inroads of the sea, the mouth of the harbour at Newhaven having changed, leaving a sort of driftway which would enable the sea to come behind this battery and the adjoining land, and do an enormous amount of mischief. A very patriotic gentleman resident in Brighton, having an interest in the neighbourhood, offered to pay the Ordnance a sum of money to assist in blowing up the cliff at Seaford, so as to form a groin, as had been done by the railway company at Dovor. The Ordnance undertook the task. A number of men were sent down, who made several galleries, and not one quarter of the gunpowder was ignited, so that the groin was not formed effectually, and the parties then demurred to paying the money. He believed the hon and gallant General might find some of his gunpowder still in the cliff at Seaford. That which was undertaken by the railway company had the proper effect, and that which was undertaken by the Ordnance had not.
§ COLONEL BLAIR
said, the people of Scotland felt very great interest in the completion of the Ordnance survey in that part of the Kingdom, and he had no doubt they would agree with him that that object was now likely to be effected. He cordially approved of the Vote for that purpose.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that it was the conviction of Her Majesty's Government that if the Ordnance survey of Scotland was to go on, it ought to be pushed with rapidity and efficiency. At the same time, he was anxious that it should not be taken for granted that it would be carried out exactly on the same system as had heretofore prevailed. There were several counties in which the arrangements already made would be adhered to; but the Government thought it their duty to take a deliberate and comprehensive view of the whole subject, to make the best provisions in their power, and to press it forward with vigour, in order to place it on the best footing it was susceptible of, with reference to the interests of the Scottish counties, and indeed the country at large. They were considering, in fact, what improvements could be introduced in the manner in which the Ordnance survey had been hitherto carried on.
§ CAPTAIN SCOBELL
said, no man was 759 more deserving of the gratitude of the country for his watchfulness in that House over the public money than his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume). The Committee should remember that these estimates were increased in the present year by a sum of from 400,000l. to 500,000l.; and that it was duo to those who had to supply the money that the fullest explanation should be furnished upon the subject by the Government. He (Capt. Scobell) approved of the increase of 5,000 men in the Navy when it was proposed last year, regarding that branch of the public service as the natural and proper defence of the country. On the same occasion, however, he objected to the increase in the number of the Artillery. He found in the present Estimates, under the head of "levy money" for the Artillery, a sum of 8,444l., and "marching money," 3,355l. Now, as the number of men raised was only 1,210, that would give an average bounty of about 9l. 15s. to each man, which was he believed far beyond that paid in the other branches of the service. Either this bounty was too high, or that for the line was too low; but in either case he thought the amounts ought to be equalised.
§ ADMIRAL WALCOTT
said, that at this moment, in the fortresses of Gibraltar and Malta, where he believed they had not a greater number of guns than were necessary, not more than one artilleryman would be found to a gun, and he understood that the same was the case in many other of our colonies. He was perfectly convinced there was no military force in this country which ought to be kept in a more efficient state than the Artillery. The principal question with him was, how we could best prevent the occurrence of an invasion at all; and he thought that any sum of money which that House could vote that would effect that object, would be a cheap sacrifice in the end. Of the corps of Artillery he had been an admirer from his earliest years. Year after year he had watched its increasing efficiency with the deepest and intensest interest. He was satisfied it was a most important branch of our military defences; and there was no assistance which that House could grant still further to augment its value that he would not gladly concur in. Upon the whole he was disposed to give the present Government credit for a determination to lay out the money which might be voted for the promotion of the best interests of the country; and until he saw that they took any other 760 course he was willing to repose faith in thorn.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he begged to say in reply to the observations of the hon. and gallant Member for Bath (Captain Scobell), that the same sum was paid as bounty and travelling expenses for recruits in the Artillery as was paid in the case of recruits for the regiments of the line.
said, he agreed that the corps of Artillery was a most important arm of our military service; but he begged to remind the hon. and gallant Member (Admiral Walcott), that in the time of Pitt 4,846 men was the whole number of the Artillery establishment of Great Britain. And after the war, from 1815 to 1828, the number of men did not exceed 8,000. In his opinion the Artillery had been increased most immoderately since that period.
said, in reference to the Ordnance survey of Scotland, he begged to express a hope that the question of the cost of survey for towns would be reconsidered. In a sanitary point of view he deemed it of much importance.
§ Vote agreed to; as was also—
§ (2.) 807,507l., Pay Allowances, and Contingencies.
§ (3.) 373,217l., Commissariat and Barrack Supplies.
§ COLONEL LINDSAY
said, he wished to draw attention to the present system of lighting barracks, which he considered a most objectionable one. The practice was to allow two candlesticks to a room, and if more were required the men were obliged to use ginger-beer bottles. An attempt had been made to light the barracks with gas; he wished to know whether it was the intention of the Government to adopt that mode of lighting? The existing mode of letting canteens, too, was not a good one. They were now let by tender, the highest bidder being usually accepted. The result was, that the canteen keepers screwed the soldiers to the greatest possible extent, and occasionally, as was the case not many days ago at Portsmouth, resorted to the use of false weights and measures. He thought a better system, and one more conducive to the comforts of the soldier, might be adopted; and he trusted the attention of the board would be directed to the subject.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, in some cases gas had been introduced, but in many instances the introduction of it would be so much more expensive, that they had been 761 obliged to forego it. With regard to canteens, it was a mistake to suppose that they always accepted the highest tender. They always inquired into the character of the party tendering.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he could assure the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Lindsay) that the Government were disposed to do everything they could for the comfort of the soldiers. The use of gas in the barracks had been a subject of consideration; but there existed some difficulty as to that mode of lighting being adopted. He might also state, that he believed gas would be more expensive than candles. With regard to the letting of canteens, it was always the practice of the Government to inquire into the character of the person whose tender was accepted.
said, he did not consider the Government were entitled to derive a farthing from letting the canteens. The soldiers ought to be provided with reading and refreshment rooms similar to the coffee-shops, where they could have tea and coffee and read the newspapers, instead of being obliged to go to public-houses. Means of amusement, occupation, and instruction, should he afforded them.
§ Vote agreed to; as were also the two following Votes:—
§ (4.) 73,969l., Ordnance Offices.
§ (5) 291,657l., Establishments at Home and Abroad.
§ (6.) 141,437l., Wages at Home and Abroad.
§ VISCOUNT MONCK
said, he had to call the attention of the Committee to the great grievance under which his constituents at Portsmouth laboured, owing to the exemption of Government property from the poor-rates, the effect of which was, that the rates were much heavier on the inhabitants. The property in question was occupied by the Government for national purposes, and it was unfair to throw the burdens which it ought to bear on the locality. If the place was not occupied by the Government docks, no doubt it would he the scene of great private enterprise, which would contribute largely to local taxation. It had been proved by a return in 1840 that the poor-rate at Portsmouth amounted to 6s. in the pound on the average, while it was only 1s, 3d. in other places on a similar rating. The exemption of the Government property was not statutable, but arose from the absence of beneficial occupancy of the premises. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, but the short an- 762 swer to that argument was, that in the Portsmouth dockyard certain officers, such as the naval storekeeper, &c, were made rateable, and the same might be done for the poor-rates.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, the question raised by the noble Lord was one of great difficulty, and could not be discussed incidentally in a Committee of Supply. Would the people of Portsmouth, if they complained of this exemption, consent to having all these great public establishments, which gave work to so many inhabitants, withdrawn, and the land left idle?
§ VISCOUNT MONCK
thought the same argument would apply quite as well to any private manufactory, or to the land occupied by any great private establishment.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) 371,697l., Ordnance Stores.
§ COLONEL LINDSAY
said, he wished to inquire whether it was not the case that nearly half the new muskets served out to one regiment in the service had been returned to store, because the sights had not been put on properly? He was afraid the stores of another description served out sometimes were not very efficient, particularly the axes and billhooks. He knew an instance where two companies were set to clear a road through a wood, and the edges of all the axes and billhooks turned immediately.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he was not aware of any complaint against the axes and bill hooks, but he would inquire into the matter. He was sorry to say, however, that the statement of the hon. and gallant Officer respecting the sights on some muskets lately issued was too true. One-half of the muskets issued to a regiment of the Guards had been returned because they were not properly sighted. The Ordnance Board had at once given directions to their officers to inspect the guns, and had called in the assistance of two of the first gun-makers in London; but, as yet, they had not received any reply which would enable the Board to ascertain the quarter in which such culpable negligence existed.
§ COLONEL NORTH
wished to know if it was the intention of the Board of Ordnance to increase the quantity of practice ammunition, as it was, he understood, the intention of the authorities to hire ground for practice in small arms?
§ MR. MONSELL
replied, it was a subject on which the Master General was extremely anxious, and that he had no doubt 763 every means would be taken to improve the troops in the use of their arms.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, he was not satisfied with the answer of the hon. Gentleman respecting the muskets returned as unfit for service. Why should the Government be obliged to apply to private gun-makers? It was rather hard upon the country to pay so high, and then not to have men who could tell whether the Government guns were fit for service or not, or in what department the mischief was done.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (8.) 695,655l., Works, Buildings, and Repairs.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, he must ask for an explanation of the extraordinary works going on at Alderney, for which a sum of 160,000l. was set down in the present Vote? Alderney was a little island with about 1,000 inhabitants in a most out-of-the-way place, and yet we were spending these enormous sums on it, while the amount to be voted against people supposed to be coming up the river to the metropolis was only 5,000l.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, the right hon. Gentleman must surely be aware that works were going on at Alderney for a harbour of refuge, and that, considering the events which might occur at any time, it was necessary to protect that harbour. It was the opinion of the most eminent engineers and officers that at an inconsiderable expense Alderney might be made as strong as Gibraltar.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
said, no man in his senses would ever think of taking refuge in Alderney in bad weather. No seaman would approach it, unless he sought destruction. It really appeared as if this expenditure was going on without due control or consideration, and he should like to know on whose advice it was taking place.
SIR FRANCIS BARING
said, that certain officers had been sent to report on the state of our defences some time ago, and to indicate those points which were vulnerable. They had made a Report, but the Committee which was sitting at the time, for reasons which were obvious, did not think it advisable the Report should be published.
said, that was the humbug of the day. It was expedient to keep from the House that which any one might come over from the coast of France and see if he wished. All he wanted to know was, whether these officers had reported 764 that the harbour of Guernsey would hold more than one frigate?
§ CAPTAIN SCOBELL
said, that without offering any opinion one way or the other respecting the harbour of refuge, he would beg to remind hon. Members that if they built a breakwater it would be necessary to protect it by fortifications.
§ VISCOUNT GODERICH
said, he wished to inquire if any improvements had taken place in barrack accommodation for our troops? It was but too often the case that the way in which the men, and particularly the married soldiers, were provided for, was a disgrace to the country.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that efforts had been made to give the men as many comforts as possible in the new barracks; but he regretted to admit that, in the old barracks, there was still much to be done to make them fit for the proper accommodation of our troops.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, we had laid out within the last ten years above 3,000,000l. in the erection of barracks in the United Kingdom alone. A Committee that sat on the subject, in 1849, reported that accommodation was then given to about 95,000 men in barracks. Since that year about 300,000l. had been expended in barrack building, and yet the accommodation to the soldiers was bad and inefficient. He did not begrudge the expenditure of large sums of money for public purposes, but he thought that the public should have the worth of their money; and that when large sums were laid out in the building of barracks, our soldiers should not have occasion to find fault with want of room and ventilation in them. He wanted to know if the new barracks contained sufficient space for the men, and were provided with canteens, to which they could retire without being expected to drink, and also if they had washhouses and baths?
§ MR. MONSELL
observed that the complaints which had been made came from the old barracks, and not from the new. He could not say how many cubic inches of air were allowed to each man; but he knew that regulations had been issued providing for sufficient space, and that the Master General had taken care to give the men every possible comfort and convenience in the new barracks.
§ CAPTAIN LINDSAY
said, he willingly admitted that improvements had been carried to a great extent with respect to washing houses and baths, but still the soldiers had not sufficient accommodation.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, he had never heard a word of complaint against the new barracks. He believed that they afforded proper and efficient accommodation to the soldiers lodged in them. The barracks erected in this country within the last ten years had cost not less than at the rate of 100l. for every soldier contained within them. Indeed, that erected at Woolwich had cost at the rate of 150l. for every soldier to whom it gave accommodation.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, he hoped the Government would turn their attention to the drainage of barracks. He noticed that the sum of 2,000l. was required for the drainage of the cavalry barracks at Windsor. This was a large sum to be expended in that way.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, the Windsor barracks were old barracks, the drainage of which had been conducted on the old system, and the alterations necessary were therefore extensive.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
, in answer to an hon. Member, said, there was already a breakwater at Alderney, where men of war and other vessels could take shelter. The question now entertained was as to whether that breakwater should be extended further or not, so as to include a larger area of water. That question had not yet been determined.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (9.) 127,213l., Scientific Branch.
said, he must regret that the right Hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) should intend putting a stop to the naval surveys, which were so necessary and important to this country. Vessels were coming from all parts of the world, and nothing but proper surveys, with the soundings of the coast, could give such ships a chance of safety. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty would reconsider the subject. The right hon. Gentleman said that he had a large number of surveys completed, and it was very desirable that they should be published forthwith. The evidence given before a Select Committee by a distinguished naval officer showed that the want of proper surveys of the west coast of Scotland, from Mull northwards, was most disgraceful.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
said, he was not about to rediscuss the question of the naval surveys. He had already endeavoured repeatedly to express his opinion on that matter to the Committee. He would just say that he had no intention whatever of putting a stop to the surveys, but he 766 had a very fixed intention of reducing the cost. He thought the sum that had been expended for the work done was extravagant; and he believed that the reduced vote that he had asked would be sufficient, while it would neither diminish the efficiency nor the number of the surveyors.
said, he was very happy to hear that explanation; hut if 15,000l. could be saved in the cost of the surveys now going on, he would urge that that sum should be applied in increasing the number.
§ SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE
said, he would beg to ask upon what scale the Ordnance survey in Scotland was proceeding, and when it was likely to be completed? Several of the surveys done in large populous districts were now found to be much inferior to those at present going on, and he thought it would be an economical thing to correct them. In populous districts there would be likely to be such a demand for those corrected surveys that they might cost the country little or nothing.
§ MR. DUNCAN
said, he had presented petitions from Forfarshire for the completion of the surveys there on the six-inch scale, and he would urge the necessity of complying with those requests, for the one or the two-inch scale surveys would be of little or no service.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he was quite aware that there had been many representations made to the Government on this subject from Scotch counties, and the whole question was now undergoing consideration. He was desirous of rigidly and faithfully carrying out all the promises made to the Scotch counties on this subject, and the whole matter would be recon sidered and fixed upon a firm basis, so that the survey might he finished with the least possible delay.
said, that the changes of opinion that had taken place on the subject of the Scotch surveys, made their proceedings look ridiculous. The Committee which sat upon the question was principally composed of Scotch Members, and they decided that the surveys should be made upon the one-inch scale, and that they should be completed in ten years, from an annual vote of 25,000l. As a member of that Committee himself, as being then connected with the Ordnance Department, he dissented from the decision of the majority, and was strougly in favour of the six-inch scale, and he was glad to find that the Members from Scotland were now coming round to his opinion.
§ Vote agreed to; as was also—
§ (10.) 171,215l., Non-Effective Services, Military and Civil.
said, that before these Votes were disposed of, there was one point to which he should like to call attention, and that was the enormous amount of powder wasted in firing salutes.
§ The House resumed.