§ (1.) 112,977 Laud Forces, number of men.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
Mr. Bouverie, I am sure the hon. and gallant Officer who addressed the House a short time ago, making some observations on the distribution of troops, and the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Walsh) who objected to the amount of force proposed in the present estimate will not think me guilty of any disrespect towards them in having waited until the House had gone into Committee before noticing the observations which they had made. Before I do so I will state—and I will endeavour to do it as shortly as I can—the changes which are embraced in the present estimate, stating at the outset 1284 that the present estimate must not be looked to as the final estimate or the year. The Government thought it more consonant with their duty to allow the House to discuss their policy, being a policy on which any large increase of estimate would be necessarily founded, before laying any such large increase before the House. This, therefore, must be looked on as an estimate formed in time of peace, but in anticipation of events which might follow. Now, it will be seen that the proposed increase of men amounts, speaking in round numbers, to 10,600; but the increase really is rather larger than that, owing to the reductions which have taken place in some of the colonial corps, and particularly in the Ceylon corps, in which a large reduction has been effected, because it was found that in the course of years the recruiting ground of the Ceylon rifles did not afford a sufficiently large population to recruit the regiment up to the requirements of the establishment. Allowing for these reductions, we may consider that the increase of British troops—Guards and infantry of the line—amounts in round numbers to 11,000 men, and that the increase of cost will be 300,000l. The increase in the whole estimate, however, will be balanced by very considerable reductions in the non-effective departments of the service. There are some items of increase over which I can have no control, as in the case of the Military Asylum, the Hibernian School, and the hospitals at Chelsea and Kilmainham, where the increase in the price of provisions has of course had considerable effect. By the constant application and vigilance of the military authorities, there is a reduction of something like 33,000l. The attention of the Government has for some time past been systematically turned to the staff, and the reductions in consequence have been considerable; but in spite of that, there has again this year been a reduction at Canada, the Cape, Hong Kong, Nova Scotia, and the West Indies, amounting to about 5,000l.
Before I state the degree to which the concentration and withdrawal of troops from foreign stations has increased the effective power of the army, I should like to mention what changes have been made during the year in its interior organisation. Upon the subject of education in the army, very considerable changes have been made this year. In the first place, the pay of the schoolmasters is about to be put on an entirely different footing from that on which it was heretofore. Hitherto the 1285 schoolmasters have been paid a very small fixed stipend, and have had to trust for the rest of their receipts to what they could get by fees from the men, their scholars. It was thought, as it turned out erroneously, that the effect of that system would be, that, their pay depending on their activity and their exertions, they would, from motives of interest, keep up the numbers of their scholars. But it was found on experience, that this was not so. It was found that the popularity of the school, and the number of men attending it, depended far more on the interest taken in it by the officers than on the degree of efficiency in the schoolmaster; for of his efficiency the great majority of the men were not able to judge, whilst if they found the officers of their regiment taking an interest in the school, they were immediately stimulated into attendance. The result was, that we had some of the very best schoolmasters which Chelsea had produced, receiving the lowest rates of remuneration, and, on the other hand, some of the worst receiving the highest; and there were constant complaints from those who considered themselves in off, and requests from them to be removed to what they considered better regiments, that is, to regiments where the attendance was better. Under these circumstances I proposed to Lord Hardinge that the system, not answering, should be changed, and that, instead of the faulty mode of payment then existing, there should be three fixed rates of pay, into which the fees should be merged applicable to three classes of schoolmasters. I suggested this change, and, at the same time, proposed that promotion from one class to another should be by merit, and by merit alone. I had no doubt that the hope of appreciation and reward would be in this, as in other professions, the very best stimulus to exertion. This system, I believe, will tend to promote zeal among the schoolmasters, and will induce them to use every exertion to keep the schools in a high state of efficiency. I hope that it will also improve the somewhat anomalous position of the regimental schoolmaster, who is at present considered neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. I need not say that the result of this school system has as yet been extremely good, and that the army has derived great advantage from its introduction.
The Committee will perhaps recollect—in reference to the education of officers, to which I propose now to advert—that some 1286 few years ago the late Duke of Wellington issued an order that no candidate for a commission in the army should receive one, unless he had passed a certain standard examination. The Duke of Wellington also stated that it was his wish that no officer of the army should be promoted from a subaltern rank to a company, unless he had passed an examination proving him fit for the transition. The Duke of Wellington then said, that in the first examination all you need wish to obtain was the knowledge that the young man had had the education of a gentleman, and that he possessed the abilities to take full advantage of that education. But of the second examination his Grace spoke differently; and he said that it should show not merely that the candidate had had a liberal education, but that he had applied it by turning Iris mind to military studies, and to an acquaintance with the theory of his profession. The present examination for the first commission is conducted at Sandhurst; and about it I do not wish to enter into details; but my impression is, that the education there is too limited, and within its limits too severe. It is too limited, because certain text books only are required to be studied, and the young man who has not even the best memory, but the quickest memory, is most successful. My own impression is, that that is not a fair or a desirable system, and that it might be thus improved:—By allowing a young man who had had a fair liberal education to be examined in what it is stated that he had learned, by making that the test of his fitness as regarded sufficiency of instruction, and by only considering further his ability to take advantage of the education, the liberal education, which he had received. That is all you want in the first examination. In the second it is different. You then want a professional examination; you want to know that, in addition to a fair gentlemanly education, your officer has applied his mind to mathematical and strategetical studies, to such studies as will render him efficient as an officer. I know there is an objection, which I consider fallacious, to this examination, that, by it, you will get men who are book-worms instead of getting the active spirits you require. There is this answer to that, that if the officer who has studied his profession is the worse for his studies, then you must admit that the whole body of the Artillery and Engineers, who are all men of reading and great scientific knowledge, are unfit for 1287 their profession; and that I am sure you will not do. There remains, however, this difficulty—a more reasonable one, to my mind—that the means of study given to different officers would not be the same, and that they would, on the contrary, vary extremely with the localities in which they were quartered. For instance, the officer quartered in England has access to all the best and newest books, whilst he who is quartered in the backwoods of Canada or elsewhere, is, of course, isolated from all access of the kind. It is proposed, by way of removing this difference of opportunities, to establish at the head quarters of certain districts an officer, whom you may call "Captain of Instruction," or what you please, who will be known as professor of military studies in that district; and on whom it will be arranged that every subaltern officer shall get leave to attend. Thus every such officer would be able to go through a course of instruction before he became a lieutenant, and through another course of instruction before he became a captain. It is intended that there shall be an examination on both these occasions; but, of course, great care must be taken, and will be taken, at first, not to make the standard of these examinations too high, but to arrange it so as to give those who had to go through it every encouragement to qualify themselves. With regard to the instruction and education of the men, I need only say that one proof of the degree to which that instruction is popular among them is shown in the increasing number of volumes which they use, and of the number of persons subscribing to the military libraries. They were instituted in 1840; each man paid a penny per month, and the officers one day's pay in the year. The number of books when the libraries were first established was 5,000, and it is now 118,000, and the number of men subscribing is between 15,000 and 16,000.
It was suggested by the hon. and gallant Officer (Sir De L. Evans), that there is not at present any sufficient means of education for the post of army surgeon. With especial reference to this question, I have made inquiries both at Paris and Vienna as to the training provided for those who are candidates for employment in their armies as medical officers. At Paris I find they have gone into an extreme which works very ill. They take medical students and educate them exclusively for military surgeons, entirely for- 1288 getting that in nine cases out of ten a military surgeon's duties differed in no way from those of an ordinary surgeon. On the other hand here, except at Edinburgh, it is impossible to get instruction of the peculiar character necessary to make a complete military surgeon. Now, what we propose is, not to diminish by any means the general studies of young men wishing to become military surgeons, but to super-add to those general studies a course of lectures on military surgery; these to be given in Edinburgh, Dublin, and London. The House must be aware that no army in the world requires this course of study so much as our own. Last year, for instance, in Barbadoes, a colony which had hitherto been considered as comparatively healthy and the freest from that terrible scourge of all the West India Islands, the yellow fever broke out, and, notwithstanding all that the doctors there could do, it did not abate. To fill vacancies only too frequent we were obliged to send out medical men from England; but what were they? Men who had studied every disease but this, which they had had no means of studying in England. It is most necessary that before young men become army surgeons they should have the opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the diseases of tropical climates, as well as the peculiar diseases incident to the soldier's life. Under these circumstances, we are going to extend to London and Dublin the advantages of the establishment which already exists at Edinburgh, and we hope to make arrangements for a course of lectures there by next autumn. These lectures, I believe, will be attended with a double advantage. Not only will they be of the greatest value to students, but a great number of army surgeons also will gladly have recourse to them for the purpose of adding to the stock of knowledge they already possess.
Now, Sir, let me say, in passing from this subject of the education of the soldiers, that there has been a very remarkable improvement in their conduct. It was the custom for many years to govern in the army almost entirely by the fear of punishment; it has been the custom now, for some years, to govern it by the hope of reward. The difference, I rejoice to say, has been very remarkable. Under the former system the man entered for life, at least for twenty-one years, during all which time the best he could hope was not to be flogged, not to be imprisoned, and so on. 1289 Under the present system he has not this only motive of the dread of punishment—he has the immediate hope of reward, by the increase of his pay, and he has the assurance that ultimately, in the case of long service, he will obtain an increase of his pension, supposing his merits to entitle him to it. Lately, too, we have made a difference with regard to men who have given twenty-one years of good service. The practice was to give them a medal after their discharge; but that, however gratifying to them, had, for the purposes of example, but little effect. We have changed that practice, and now we give this medal after eighteen years, and he who has earned it wears it from that time till the time of his discharge. We have likewise made changes with regard to the accommodation of troops on board ship; and more especially with contract packets. The effect of all these changes has been most marked in the conduct of the men, the excellence of which increases every year. This year I may mention, if anything were wanting to prove the greater than ordinary frugality of the men, that there has been an augmentation in the amount they have invested in the savings banks. In 1844 the number of depositors was 1,890, the amount deposited 14,849l.; in 1853 the number of depositors was 10,723, the amount deposited 124,000l. As to of-fences, the number of persons in military prisons is diminishing; but on this point I will read an extract from the governor of the prison in Limerick:—From a force comprising so many men as that which sends its delinquents to this prison, only 172 have been received during the last year, a fact which, it is my privilege to say, exhibits a decrease in the percentage admitted in former years. That this gratifying result is to be attributed exclusively, or even chiefly, to the dread of military prisons, would not, I think, be a correct conclusion. Mere punishment, however rigorous and severe, will not deter the soldier from offending. I cannot, therefore, but regard the decrease of military offences as, in a great measure, the happy consequence of that system of education and reward which is now so beneficially operating upon the soldier, and teaching him to realise the importance and advantage of respectability and faithfulness. The excellent conduct of the troops serving in this district is additionally gratifying and observable, since during the past year drunkenness has, I regret to say, very lamentably increased among the lower orders in this part of the United Kingdom.Now, Sir, having gone through these heads, let me say that the military authorities, while paying this attention to the individual comforts of our soldiers, and to 1290 the means by which the character of the men could be formed, have not neglected to take measures for securing the general efficiency of the forces. Last year I took from the estimates a sum for the purpose of completing an establishment at Hythe, where we could obtain—what in this country it is now very difficult to obtain—a sufficiently long range for practice in shooting. Before the completion of that establishment the practice of the musket had been extremely neglected, and in some regiments there was scarcely any ball-cartridge used in the course of the year. That state of things is now remedied. To that establishment a certain number of privates and non-commissioned officers go from each regiment in their turn; there they obtain practice and instruction; and then they go back to their regiments, able to instruct those whom they left behind them. The consequence is that there is hardly a regiment which will not soon be thoroughly masters of what lately was so generally neglected. A gentleman, a competent judge, came to me the other day, having spent a day at Hythe, where, he told me, he had seen almost more than he could believe. He saw the men at practice with the Minié rifle, and out of 100 shots seventy-seven were put into a target eight feet high, representing cavalry, at 800 yards distance. He had also seen the men skirmishing—shooting without any measured distance, and obliged to guess at it—which, as any one accustomed to rifle shooting knew, was a great disadvantage, and yet out of fifty shots forty were put into the target.
And now, Sir, I come to the point which was mentioned by the hon. and gallant Officer (Sir De L. Evans), who asked what are the Government's intentions—first, with regard to the troops to be allotted to the Colonies; and secondly, with regard to promotions in the army. I agree entirely with what he said as to the distribution of troops in the Colonies, but I must call his attention to the fact that the return he has quoted is a misleading return. The return of the 1st of April, 1853, really gives the force existing in 1852. The next return which appears will give the hon. and gallant Officer the right figures for 1853, and by it he will find that the number of troops in the Colonies has been very considerably diminished since the present Government came into office. Five thousand men, I think, have been withdrawn in that time from the Cape, North America, and the 1291 West Indies. But you have to put against these the augmentation that has been made in the garrisons of the Mediterranean. During the last year, whilst reductions have been taking place in Canada, the West Indies, and the Cape, an addition has been made of upwards of 1,800 men at Malta, Gibraltar, and the Ionian Islands; and it is obvious that at the present moment these three garrisons form the basis of our operations in the East. I agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the Government were right in withdrawing troops from the West Indies. There have been complaints of that, though; but there always are complaints if you remove troops from any colony. Since the gold discoveries, Australia has maintained a regiment from its our resources. A regiment is given on the condition that they pay all the expenses except arms and clothing; and if they want any further troops they will be sent to them on the same terms, and on the same terms only. In short, the Government have made considerable reductions so far as regards the hon. and gallant Officer's first inquiry. With regard to the hon. and gallant Member's other question, the attention of the Government has also been drawn to that subject. It is certainly true that there have been appointments of colonels and lieutenant-colonels to act as brigadiers in consequence of the advanced age of general officers; but the hon. and gallant Member will be gratified to learn that the Government have decided to issue a Commission to inquire into the mode of appointments and retirements in the army, with a view to see what means can be adopted to bring up men more rapidly in promotion, and at a period of greater vigour. The names of the Commissioners are such as to inspire confidence on all sides. First, there are the two eminent military authorities, Lord Hardine and Lord Raglan; two general officers, Lord Cathcart and Lord Seaton; two colonels, Colonel Buller and Colonel Knowles; two ex-Secretaries of State, Earl Grey and Sir John Pakington; two ex-Secretaries at War, Lord Panmure and Mr. Ellice; and myself. With regard to the observations which have fallen from the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Walsh), I certainly think the hon. Baronet has underrated the military power of this country, and when he quoted the dictum of Napoleon that this country never could be a military Power because it could not raise more than 40,000 men, he forgot one impor- 1292 tant point, that if actually raised 140,000. The hon. Baronet omitted, too, the great augmentation that has been made in the Artillery, which has been increased from 14,000 to 19,000 men. I must remind those who think the present estimate is not large enough, that I do not propose this as a war estimate to the Committee. The Government wished to have their policy discussed before making any great augmentation. It may not be so satisfactory to the Committee as to the hon. Baronet, but I have to state that I must before long bring before you a supplementary estimate. At present I will not delay the Committee any further, but only move that the number of land forces, officers and men, for the ensuing year, be 1,12,977.
said, he cordially congratulated the Government on the great success which had attended the amended system of rewards and punishments. He hoped they would persevere in the system, which was one that he had advocated for many years past. He was also gratified to find so large an increase of depositors in the military savings banks. He was also glad to hear that it was in contemplation to establish medical schools for the Army. With respect to the Colonies, anxious as he generally was to reduce the military force in them, he thought there was great cause why they should not withdraw troops from these Colonies which had been almost ruined by legislation in this country, and which were hardly in a condition at present to maintain even their own police. He thought it likely disorders might arise in the troops were withdrawn thence. But as regarded the whole of the North American colonies, he was of opinion the troops might be withdrawn from then to strengthen our military establishment here. He should be very glad to hear from Her Majesty's Government that they intended to pay some regard to the unfortunate Colonies which had a mixed population and were altogether dissimilar to the Australian or North American possessions. He could not help thinking that too expensive a staff had been retained, and although he admitted that much had been done to reduce the non-effective portion of the Army, yet they still found nearly 2,000,000l. of money paid for non-effective services, while the effective services only required 4,000,000l. This went far to prove that the complaints repeatedly made last year were well-founded. On the whole, however, placing confidence in the improved 1293 management, he had no hesitation in saying that no department of the public service had undergone so much improvement as the Army. The results which had been stated with respect to education, the attention to schools, supply of books, and other matters, were highly satisfactory, and taking what they had done as an earnest, of their future intentions, he was not disposed to find fault with the Government with respect to trivial matters. He must say, on going over the list, that they had added 11,000 men to the Army at the least possible cost, and he would admit that it was possible to double or treble the number, if necessary, at a comparatively moderate expense. Before he sat down, he was very anxious to refer to what had fallen from an hon. Member with respect to Lord Aberdeen. The hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. F. French) took on himself to say, that those around him concurred entirely in the reference he made to that nobleman. That might sound very well out of doors, but hon. Members would recollect that there was not a single Member on the bench with the hon. Member for Roscommon at the time he was speaking. He considered that there had been a settled attack upon the Government, and that gross injustice had been done to them in reference to their reluctance to go to war. He would, as a friend of peace, repeat his opinion, that their conduct in the matter deserved great praise, and he therefore protested against the speech of the hon. Member for Roscommon being supposed to carry with it the assent of the House of Commons, he being entirely destitute of supporters, though he appealed to those around him, as though many were sitting near. In conclusion, he congratulated the country on having an improved Army and better hopes of prospective improvement than on any former occasion.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, he wished to inquire whether it was not the intention of the right hon. Secretary at War to add at least one subaltern to a company. He would remind the House that we were about to enter into a war under peculiar circumstances, to be carried on in an unhealthy climate and under uncertain auspices, and therefore it was our duty to provide for the effective officering of the troops. In this particular the French excelled us, their men being much better officered than ours. He should be glad to know the intentions of the Government on this matter.
§ MR. JOHN MACGREGOR
said, he fully agreed with the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) in thinking that the Government had acted wisely, and with extraordinary prudence, from the first moment of the occurrence of those lamentable disputes in the East. He also considered that the Estimates had been framed with a wise regard to economy and efficiency. He hoped that the Government would take measures to assimilate the law of England and Scotland in respect to the billeting of soldiers. As regarded Scotland, the state of the law upon the subject was most vexatious. He was not going to get up a Scotch grievance, but the billeting of troops on private houses was unknown in England, though it was unfortunately the practice in Scotland.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished, before proceeding to make any remarks upon the Estimates, to call the attention of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) to the great inconvenience which arose from the number of Motions that were brought on upon different subjects on Supply nights previously to going into Committee. It was impossible for the House to do its duty, and go through the Estimate with that care and deliberation which their importance deserved, when they were brought on at so late an hour—the previous portion of the evening being occupied with the discussion of four Motrons, at which not forty Members were present. A few days ago two or three of the most important votes in the Naval Estimates were taken at two o'clock in the morning. He did not wish to stop hon. Gentleman from bringing forward their Motions, but he thought they ought not to bring them forward on Supply nights, but on Wednesday, when but little business was brought on. He did not rise for the purpose of offering any opposition to the effective portion of the vote. He would concede all the men and money that were required, though he must say he heard with some regret the observation thrown out by the right hon. Secretary at War, that if was not unlikely he would come before Parliament again during the present Session with fresh Estimates. He had risen for the purpose of suggesting that if ever there was a time when no unnecessary expenditure should take place, it was now. His hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had last year called attention to the increase of pay to the colonels of the Foot Guards, as compared with those 1295 of the other regiments of the line. Now, no man would object to the increased pay of the Duke of Wellington as long as that illustrious soldier lived, but that was no reason why Prince Albert should enjoy such high emolument as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, in direct violation of the recommendations which a Committee of that House had laid down upon the subject. Now, his Royal Highness Prince Albert, although holding a high rank in the army, was not a soldier, and did not profess to be, and in his (Mr. Williams's) opinion, the giving of that regiment to his Royal Highness was a violation of the principle on which the increase was granted, namely, that it should be conferred on officers as a reward for distinguished services. By the provision of 1833, adopted at the recommendation of the Committee, the pay to the colonel of the Grenadier Guards was fixed at 1,200l. a year; allowance for clothing the regiment, 8,949l. 13s. 6⅝d., making together 10,149l. 13s. 6⅝d.; and assuming cost of clothing to be 7,109,l. 11s., it left an absolute remuneration to the colonel of 3,040l.2s. 6⅝d. The colonel of the Fusilier Guards was the Duke of Cambridge, a very gallant soldier, no doubt, but he was not a soldier who had rendered distinguished services to the country, that he ought to receive increased pay, when they saw veteran officers who had served all through the Peninsular war and at Waterloo, whose only reward was their medals—some with nine or ten clasps—and their simple good service pension of 150l. or 200l. a year. Nobody would object to such a man as Lord Strafford, the colonel of the Coldstream Guards, or to the Marquis of Anglesey, receiving the highest pay and the highest honours, but it was on such men alone both ought to be conferred. The pay of the Duke of Cambridge as colonel of the Fusilier Guards was 1,000l. a year; allowance for clothing, 5,010l.; making together 6,010l.—the net income of the colonel being 2,135l. The pay of the colonel of the 2nd Regiment of Foot was 500l. a year; clothing, 2,186l.; net income, 1,080l. Men of high rank, whosoever they were, however exalted, ought not in the British army or navy to be permitted to elbow out the veterans who had fought and bled for their country. He looked upon it as a positive degradation that a colonel should be also the tailor of his regiment. The colonels ought to have a fixed allowance, and ought not to be allowed any tailoring 1296 perquisites. It was humiliating to see so exalted a personage as the husband of the Sovereign making a profit of 1,800l. a year out of the clothes of the soldiers; it was inconsistent with the character of a soldier, and degrading to the position of a prince. Colonels of artillery received a salary of 1,000l. a year, without tailoring perquisites, and it was found that the clothing of the men of the artillery was obtained 16 per cent cheaper than that of the infantry and cavalry, and that the clothing was of a better description. He was happy to learn that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War bore such honourable testimony to the good conduct of the British army as evidence of the increase in "the good service pay," and the great diminution in the number of punishments. The "good service pay" commenced in 1837, and during the first year the number entitled to it was 1,944 soldiers, who received a sum of 3,600l. It had been gradually increasing ever since, and in the present year the number of soldiers who received good service pay was 30,900, the amount of money 63,900l. This was a large sum of money, no doubt, but still he did not grudge it, since it improved the social condition of the soldier, and kept away the lash. He wished to ask the right hon. Secretary at War bow it was that there was a charge of 12,500l. for encampment expenses? Was that a remnant of the Chobham expenditure? He thought there ought not to be such a charge, since the Government, in reply to a question last year, declared the vote then given was sufficient. He also wanted to know what saving had been effected in the army expenditure in consequence of the number of men on the 1st of January being 12,000 less than the number voted last year?
§ MR. LAING
said, that without wishing to revive the discussion of the Eastern question, it was impossible not to perceive that the present Vote, involving, as it did, the number of men to be added to the army, related to the conduct of that war, and whether it was to be conducted with the energy and decision necessary to bring it to a speedy issue. Conceiving the number of 11,000 to be added to the army, and 260,000l. in the Estimates, by no means sufficient to effect that purpose, it was with satisfaction he heard the statement by the right hon. Gentleman with reference to a supplemental estimate by which the number might be increased. In making that statement the right hon. Gen- 1297 tleman seemed to entertain some misgiving as to the manner in which it might be received by some parties in that House, but his (Mr. Laing's) object in rising was to show the Government, that many hon. Members, who under ordinary circumstances would scrutinize these votes with rigour, and object, with a view to economy, to any increase of the Estimates, thought, under the present circumstances, that the true economy would be to ask for such supplies as to enable Government to prosecute the war with the greatest vigour. Certain parties in that House were of opinion the war ought never to be undertaken; others thought that in its conduct the operations ought to be confined to our Navy; while a third party, and he thought by far the largest majority, were of opinion that, being once forced into a war, the proper course would be to proceed with all our energy, so as to bring it as soon as possible to a conclusion. The amount of injury which the country had already sustained by the mere apprehension of war was far greater than would have been supposed. That floating mass of property which was contained in the funds, railway securities, and such like, and which was generally estimated at 1,000,000,000l. sterling, had suffered a depreciation of not less than 10 per cent, being a total loss of 100,000,000l. He wished, instead of the criticism that had taken place on the past conduct of the Government, some substantial Motion had been proposed, on which the House might have expressed its opinion by a vote. They would thus have shown to foreign countries the unanimity of their feelings on this question; and the Government would have been able with more freedom, and with a more undivided responsibility, to take such steps as they thought necessary for bringing this war to a speedy and a successful termination.
§ COLONEL BLAIR
said, that, in reference to the statement made with respect to the pay of colonels of the Guards, the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. W. Williams) could not have chosen a worse time to make such a statement than the present juncture. The colonel of the Fusilier Guards was no drawing-room soldier, but was about to proceed on foreign service. He could not sit by and hear him called a regimental tailor, and he considered it was speaking in a very derogatory manner of a Royal Prince. It was said that his Royal Highness Prince Albert was not a soldier; he (Col. Blair) had an op- 1298 portunity of observing the internal economy of the regiment under the command of his Royal Highness, and no general officer could command it better. He understood the hon. Member to say that the Duke of Cambridge ought not to have a regiment because older officers were unemployed. He could only say, that no blame ought to be imputed to his Royal Highness, for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War had proved by the Estimates that it was the wish of Government to advance junior officers in the service.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
wished to explain that he did not mention the word "tailors" to impute the least disrespect. He merely described the position, and condemned the practice of placing such distinguished men in it.
§ MR. J. HEATHCOAT
said, he wished to draw the attention of the right hon. Secretary at War to the distinction in the dress worn by the officers and privates, and he would suggest the expediency of not unnecessarily exposing our officers, through this means, to be picked off by the able marksmen of the enemy. He believed the Emperor of Russia had recently made some alteration in the dress of his officers, assimilating them to that of the troops. It was highly inexpedient that the officers should come into the field in blue, and the men in red coats. He thought they would all agree with him that everything should be done to preserve the brave men who were going abroad to lead the British army, and who left so many near and dear to them behind.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War had made reference to a Commission for the purpose of making promotions. He (Sir De L. Evans) thought such Commissions often led to shelving questions, and he could not conceive why the great officers of State should not take on themselves the responsibility of these promotions as heretofore. These Commissions were only devices to remove the responsibility from the shoulders of those who ought to bear it. With regard to the clothing of the troops, he thought it would be very desirable that distinctions of dress, which were a relic of antiquity, should be removed when danger might result from their continuance. The Government were sending troops to the East to serve with the French, who were much more rationally clothed. He wished the Secretary at War would take the 1299 clothing of the troops into his own hands; it was only a question of money. He knew that the Commander-in-Chief had desired very much to make alterations in clothing, and to give frock-coats to officers who wore jackets; but one of the principal causes why nothing had been done was, because it would interfere with the arrangements between the colonels and the contractors, and diminish the profits of the colonels. If the war were to last, was it to save trouble to contractors and to save clothing, that our troops were to present such a contrast to those of our allies?
said, he wished to call the attention of the Secretary at War to the women and children of the troops who had embarked for the East. Every one who had witnessed the embarkation of troops for foreign service must be aware of the misery that was always presented to view upon the beach. Only four, or, at the most, six women were allowed to go with a company, and, from the facility with which commanding officers of regiments consented to marriages, which was, in reality, only a cruelty to the men, there were always accumulated a great number of women and children who could not accompany a regiment. They had no means of support, except what they derived from the subscriptions of the officers, by means of which they were sent to their different localities, where they usually fell upon the poor rates. Sometimes the women, for want of the means of subsistence, contracted vicious habits, and the children were almost invariably deprived of all means of education. This subject ought to engage the attention of Parliament, for the army would never be properly organised, and the men would never go out to fight with proper feelings, so long as they knew that their wives and children were thrown upon the world for charity during their absence. The question of the staff was also deserving the attention of the Secretary at War. Of all the armies of Europe ours had the worst staff in the field, and the reason was, because our officers bad so little experience of staff duties. One of the greatest uses of the camp at Chobham was to teach our officers the nature of staff duties. In the French army, before an officer could serve upon the état major, he must serve by turns in the cavalry, infantry, and artillery, and then, having served in each arm of the service, and gained a knowledge of its peculiarities, he was appointed to the état major. But, 1300 except about fourteen officers who went to study at Sandhurst, but who were not appointed to staff duties any the more because they went there, we had no school of staff officers. There would be a great difficulty in any one Board at present in existence supplying clothing for the whole of the army. The general officers in command of regiments, if they were sufficiently paid, would be satisfied to give up the privilege of clothing their regiments.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he wished to state, in reply to the noble Lord (Lord Lovaine), that the question of appointing additional subaltern officers must stand over for consideration and decision. The attention of the Government had been drawn to the necessity of altering the dress of the officers, so that the officers and men might fight in coats of the same colour, and last year, when the Guards were at Chobham, the officers received instructions to be dressed in a similar manner to the men. With respect to the complaint of the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Williams), as to the appointments to the household regiments, he had on a previous occasion stated that the Committee had reported that the three household regiments of cavalry should be reserved for veteran officers of distinction; but they did not recommend that such an arrangement should be insisted on with respect to the Foot Guards, the appointments to which rested with the Sovereign for the members of her family. In the case of the household cavalry regiments the recommendation of the Committee had been scrupulously followed. But with respect to the household infantry, Lord Strafford had been appointed to one of them, in consideration of his long and brilliant services. With respect to the suggestion for an equalisation of the allowances, he must observe that the three regiments did not stand on the same footing as to numerical force; and he thought the vested interests involved in the question should be respected. He thought it was due to His Royal Highness Prince Albert, to observe that he (Mr. Sidney Herbert) had occasion to make a proposal to him with respect to his regiment. It had been a matter of complaint in that House for a long time that there were a great number of supernumerary officers in the Guards, and he (Mr. Sidney Herbert) made a proposal with respect to those supernumerary officers which involved a sacrifice on the part of the colonels of the 1301 Guards of their patronage. That proposal he submitted to His Royal Highness, who at once consented to relinquish his patronage. He thought it only due to His Royal Highness to state that circumstance.
SIR JOHN FITZGERALD
said, he wished that it could be referred to a commission to inquire, among other matters, into the propriety of doing away with the rank of colonel, which was only a useless rank, and prevented an officer from arriving at the rank of general when his health and strength allowed him to serve with the greatest efficiency. He was nine years a colonel without employment, and that time was altogether lost to him. He was then made major-general. Now, would it not be much better that an officer should be promoted at once from the grade of a lieutenant-colonel to that of a major-general? They would thus have general officers in the enjoyment of all their energies. He fully agreed with those hon. Members who thought that the clothing of the army was not a proper subject of emolument to the colonels. Improvements were from time to time required in the clothing of the army, which the authorities now hesitated to make. It would be much better if it were left to the Commander-in-Chief to alter the clothing, without having to meet the views of the general officers who had regiments. He very much desired to see the cavalry regiments completed to 800 men, for it was much better to have one regiment of 800 men acting together than to have that number made up of detachments from other regiments.
§ VISCOUNT GODERICH
said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the mode of education now adopted with respect to the private soldier, under which he was required to attend school only during the time when he was undergoing the preliminary drill, the consequence being, of necessity almost, that he acquired a dislike for the instruction he received there. He suggested that the soldier should not be required to attend school until after he had undergone that preliminary drill, and then that he should do little or nothing else for three or four months, an arrangement which he (Lord Goderich) thought would tend to make him appreciate the education the more at the time it was imparted, and to use it afterwards as a means of relieving the tedium of garrison duty during his subsequent service.
§ MR. J. G. PHILLIMORE
said, in order to guard against his vote in support of the 1302 Estimates being misconstrued, he felt it necessary to remark at that point of the discussion that, had we adopted a firm and manly tone at a much earlier period of the negotiations on the Eastern question, the same result would have happened which followed the negotiations in 1851, when our remonstrances were backed by a fleet, and the Emperor of Russia withdrew his claims.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) 3,923,288l., Charge of Land Forces.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to move that the emoluments of the colonels of the Grenadier Foot Guards be reduced by 2,000l., and those of the colonels of the Fusileer Guards by 1,000l.
§ COLONEL LINDSAY
said, the effect of the reduction proposed by the hon. Member for Lambeth would be that his Royal Highness Prince Albert, who had nearly 3,000 men under his command, would have to conduct his regiment for the same sum that would be allowed to a colonel of a regiment of the line for a single battalion.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
, in reply, said, that the colonel of a regiment, whether his regiment consisted of one, two, or three battalions, performed no duty; that his office was, in fact, a sinecure, and considered as the reward for distinguished services.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Vote agreed to, as were also,
- (3.) 151,382l., General Staff Officers.
- (4.) 105,093l., Public Departments.
- (5.) 17,401l., Royal Military College.
§ COLONEL NORTH
said, he must complain of the change which had been effected of late years in the rules of this institution, by which the object of its founder was entirely defeated. The college was established by the late Duke of York for the education of the orphans of officers, but now these orphans were compelled to pay the sum of 40l. per annum before they could participate in the advantages of the institution. It must be obvious, when the widow of an ensign received a pension of only 36l. a year, and the widow of a lieutenant only 40l. a year, that the college was now virtually closed to that class of cadets for whose advantage the institution was specially designed by the Duke of York. He did not wish to throw the slightest blame upon the present Secretary at War, for the existing regulations were in force when that right hon. Gentleman succeeded to office. He (Colonel North) hoped, however, some mea- 1303 sures would be adopted for enabling that class of young men for whose benefit the establishment was originally intended to receive education without any expense to their friends. A large surplus, of variable amount, bad lately been derived from the college, but he was confident that, even if the arrangement he suggested caused any deficiency in the funds of the institution, such deficiency would be cheerfully supplied by that House.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, that while he felt the utmost respect for the opinions of the hon. and gallant Officer, and for the feelings which dictated his suggestion, he entertained great doubt as to the propriety of providing an eleemosynary education for such a profession as the Army. He had frequent applications from the widows of officers on this subject, but he did not think a greater disservice could be done to persons in such a position than by inducing them to bring up their sons to so expensive a profession as the Army. He considered that if a person who had no private income entered the Army, he embraced a profession which was not likely to conduce to his comfort in life.
§ COLONEL NORTH
could only say, that many of the cadets of the orphan class who were at Sandhurst at the same time with himself were at this moment among the most respectable officers in the service. He only regretted that the service should be so expensive that the orphans of our gallant soldiers were precluded from entering it.
said that this was, he believed, the only country where the military service was so expensive that the general community were unable to enter it with a fair chance. He thought that the Government ought to adopt means to reduce the extravagance in dress and other matters which rendered the military service so expensive. He considered that the pay of officers of the Army ought to be sufficient to maintain them, and that was the principle adopted in every other country in the world. The present state of things had arisen because the Army had heretofore been a service for men of fortune. Young men had been put into the Army who never meant to derive their livelihood from the service. It suited them very well during their younger years, and in time of peace; but when war occurred, they sold out and left the service. [Cries of "No, no!"] Well, some of them did. ["No, no!"] He hoped those hon. Gentlemen who said 1304 "No," would not differ from him on this point—that the Army was made a convenience, and that the men who actually performed the duties of professional soldiers were deprived of their fair share of emoluments and rank.
§ SIR GEORGE PECHELL
said, he would recommend the Government to economise the expenses of the establishment at Sandhurst, which might be done without interfering with the efficiency of the institution, as by this means funds might be provided for educating the sons of such subaltern officers as died in the service of the country and left no provision for their families. There was a governor and lieutenant-governor, who were both general officers, keeping their four or five horses, at the college, and there were chaplains, sergeants, schoolmasters, riding masters, surgeons, assistant-surgeons, and other officials, all to look after about 150 boys. In fact there were about as many officers as there were boys in the institution.
§ MR. OTWAY
said, that the Sandhurst College was not originally intended for civilians, but was designed for the education of the sons of officers. He considered it very desirable that an ensign's wife should have the satisfaction of knowing that, in case her husband died in battle, her son would be educated at the public expense. Some twelve or fifteen years ago, when he was at Sandhurst, the number of cadets of the orphan class was from thirty to forty, while it was stated that there were now only ten or twelve of that class in the college; he thought it was most desirable that some means should be adopted for extending the advantages of the institution to the orphans of officers.
said, he thought that the expenses of the establishment might be very considerably reduced. He found that the governor received 1,000l. a year, the lieutenant-governor 383l., and a major-superintendent 300l., for the management of a few boys.
§ MR. M. CHAMBERS
said, he had had the happiness of being educated at Sandhurst, and he knew many distinguished officers who had been educated as orphans at that institution. He would suggest to the right hon. Secretary at War, however, that 40l. a year was a larger sum than the orphans of some officers were able to pay. He had been sorry to hear the Secretary at War express an opinion that Gentlemen in that position ought not to enter Her Majesty's Army. He (Mr. Chambers) 1305 thought, on the contrary, that they were the very persons who ought to have the opportunity of entering the Army. He conceived that no class of young men were more entitled to the consideration of the State than those whose fathers had died in its service, and who were left in a position which precluded them from paying a large sum of money for their education. Sandhurst College was founded by the late Duke of York, who thought it the duty of the country to provide for the education of the orphan children of officers, and who proposed that some orphans should be educated entirely at the public expense, while others should pay a small sum for their education. He (Mr. Chambers) considered that, as the country was now on the point of war, the present was a very proper time for bringing this subject under the notice of the Committee, because it would be an inducement to persons to serve the country well and faithfully if they knew that, should they perish in the public service, the State would provide for the education of their children, who would hereafter have an opportunity of entering that service in which their fathers had gained distinguished fame. The Secretary at War had stated, however, that he did not think the army was a service which it was desirable for the orphans of officers to enter. He knew the right hon. Gentleman meant that the Army was too expensive a service for young men who had no private income. That was deeply to be regretted; but he (Mr. Chambers) was old enough to recollect the late war, and he knew many officers who had obtained their commissions in consequence of passing an examination at the Military College at Sandhurst, and he knew also that some of those officers had paid 10l. or 20l. a year, according to the rank of their fathers, while others had paid nothing, but that they had worked their own way to rank and distinction. He would suggest that, as the college was now a profitable establishment, the amounts paid by the cadets should be reduced, and regulated according to the military rank held by their fathers.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ The two following Votes were also agreed to:—
- (6.) 20,756l., for Royal Military Asylum, &c.
- (7.) 88,000l., for Volunteer Corps.
- (8.) 20,500l., Rewards for Distinguished Services.
said that, in the Committee 1306 which had sat upstairs, the abolition of all sinecures in connection with garrison appointments had been recommended. The garrison of the Tower of London was the only one which had not been the subject of inquiry; but it was understood that, on the death of the Duke of Wellington, a complete change would take place. He wished to know why the recommendation of the Committee had not been carried out in that case?
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, that when he came into office he found Lord Combermere filling the position in the Tower which had been occupied by the Duke of Wellington. Since then a warrant had been signed for reducing the Tower establishment for the future, and as the places became vacant the money saved would be divided as rewards for distinguished services.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (9.) 46,000l., Pay of General Officers.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to call attention to the immense number of general officers as compared with the number of regiments. He found from the last Army List that there were 324 general officers to 128 regiments, so that there were more than two generals and a-half to each regiment in the services.
§ COLONEL LINDSAY
said, the hon. Member for Lambeth, in looking over the Army List, had taken all the general officers mentioned there, but there were many whose names were in italics, who were retired officers, and received no army pay. The number of general officers would not be more than 243 or 244, which did not, however, include those belonging to the ordnance, artillery, engineers, and marines.
said, the Government ought to maintain no more officers than were required for the service. The recommendations of the Committee on this point had led to no result whatever. While the Duke of Wellington was alive every alteration was met with the cry of "Oh, you must put it off, the Duke is against you;" but he recommended the Government now to look to the advice of the Committee, and bring down the officers to the number required.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (10.) 49,600l., Full Pay for Retired Officers.
§ COLONEL LINDSAY
said, he would suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should remove the grievance which was 1307 complained of by officers retiring on full pay, namely, that their promotion ceased as soon as they had retired. As the number of these officers was but small, and as the average number of years' service of the retired lieutenant-colonels was about thirty-eight, and of majors thirty-six, it was clear that much addition to the higher ranks could not be made by allowing promotion to go on. He hoped this subject would receive the attention of the Commission to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded.
§ Vote agreed to; As was also
- (11) 356,000l., Half-pay and Military Allowances.
- (12.) 33,671l., Foreign Half-pay.
said, he could not avoid expressing a fear that great abuses existed in this item. One case he had heard of, in which an officer in receipt of a pension signed thirteen or fourteen half-yearly receipts, which his widow regularly handed in after his death and received the money. Personal appearance ought, he thought, to be necessary for receipt of a pension.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, that great care was taken to prevent imposition, and of late years personal appearance had been insisted on.
§ Vote agreed to; as were also the two following Votes:—
- (13.) 115,889l., Widows' Pensions.
- (14) 75,500l., Compassionate List.
- (15.) 30,694l., In-Pensioners of Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals.
§ MR. I. BUTT
said, he begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman what steps had been taken in consequence of the Address to Her Majesty last Session relating to Kilmainham Hospital?
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said that, in consequence of that Vote, he had thought it his duty to act upon the decision of the House, and a Royal warrant in reference to Kilmainham was being prepared. He had made several alterations in the staff there, the effect of which was, in many instances, a reduction of expense, and, in all, an increase of efficiency. The number of pensioners admitted this year had been somewhat larger than last year, and the number would be permanently kept up to 140.
§ MR. I. BUTT
said, this management did not comply with the spirit of the Address of last Session. In 1845 the number of pensioners was fixed by Royal warrant at 200, and the discussion last Session turned upon the point whether the number 1308 was to remain at that fixed upon by that warrant. Now, the right hon. Gentleman, however, had reduced the number from 200 to 140. The Vote of last year had carried with it a very beneficial influence in Ireland, as showing that the Government were not determined to cut down institutions of benevolence merely because they were Irish, but he must say that a great deal of that influence would be done away with when the reduction proposed by the right hon. Gentleman came to be made known, particularly when the Estimate for Chelsea Hospital was increased at the very moment when that for Kilmainham was diminished.
said, he considered the decision of the Secretary of War was most unsatisfactory, and would have an ill effect on the recruiting in Ireland. As an income tax had been placed upon Irishmen, he thought they had at least a right to have their establishments kept up.
said, he would like to see both Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals abolished, and he believed that the pensioners would prefer having the liberty to live where they pleased. Kilmainham kept up a large staff at a most expensive rate.
§ MR. VANCE
said, he had come to a very different conclusion. There were in Kilmainham 140 inmates, and there was a department for out-pensioners, who had their arms and accoutrements there. There was full accommodation for 250 pensioners in the establishment. He believed the hospital had a very advantageous influence in Ireland in favour of the service, and the proportion of in-door pensioners was increasing, having been only kept down by the apprehension of being turned adrift.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that it was stated that there were 144 pensioners in the establishment, but there were only ninety-eight old soldiers, and there were forty-six persons to look after them. There was a matron and nine nurses, an infirmary sergeant, two cooks, two assistant-cooks, two barbers, two lodge-keepers, and so on. It was all very well for Gentlemen from Ireland to wish to keep up an establishment of such importance for ninety-eight old men, when there were 63,000 out-pensioners, of whom at least 25,000 were Irishmen, living more comfortably with their families.
§ MR. P, O'BRIEN
said, that the staff of officers to which the hon. Member for Lambeth had alluded was composed of old sol- 1309 diers and officers who had served, and deserved well of, their country. There was a great disposition to enter this hospital on the part of men who, having served twenty or twenty-five years abroad, had lost sight of their family connections, and were therefore glad to go where they might meet with their old comrades, who were now their only friends. He hoped that they would not, just on the eve of a war, by any utilitarian proceedings in that House, repress the strong feeling which always animated Irishmen to come forward in defence of their country.
said, he would point out that all the officers at Kilmainham could not have served their country, because their occupations showed that they had not been soldiers; besides, some of them—the nurses, for example—were women.
§ MR. I. BUTT
said, that there were few persons in the hospital who had not served their country well. The very nurses were widows of old soldiers who had been killed in the service. But the question was not at present as to the maintenance of the hospital. That question had been decided by that House last Session, and the decision would, doubtless, be confirmed if the question were raised again. Those who complained that there was a large staff and a small number of pensioners, made the very complaint which he did. At an expense of 500l. the hospital could be made capable of receiving twice the present number of pensioners, and that, would tend to keep up the national spirit in Ireland [Mr. W. WILLIAMS: Hear, hear!] Oh, no doubt the hon. Member for Lambeth was a better judge of those matters than the gallant commander of the forces in Ireland, or the Marquess of Anglesey. But the opinion of the people of Ireland was strongly in favour of keeping up this ancient establishment on a proper scale.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, among the differences on both sides of the House, the hon. Members for Lambeth and Youghal were agreed on one point, and on that one point they were both wrong. The number was not 144, but 140; and the staff, so far from remaining the same as it was, had been gradually diminished, and was still in the process of reduction, until it was more suited to the number of the pensioners. The staff was admitted on the very same principle as the pensioners. On visiting Kilmainham last year, he found 127 or 130 men in the hospital; he had altered it to 140, but that was not reduction. It was indeed a reduction from the number 1310 on the warrant which was made some six years ago. He had made that alteration after full consultation with the most likely authorities on the spot, and he was not disposed to reconsider it.
§ Vote agreed to, as were also the two following votes:—
- (16.) 1,215,712l., Out-Pensioners.
- (17.) 38,000l., Superannuation Allowances.