§ Order for Committee read.
§ House in Committee of Supply.
§ (1.) 3,711l., Statute Law.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he wished to explain the circumstances which had led to the publication of some observations by Mr. Bellenden Ker on the expurgatory list of Statutes as an appendix to the Report of the Statute Law Commission, and in referring to a notice of Motion given by the hon. and learned Member for Ayr, (Mr. Craufurd), he would mention that there would be no objection to produce copies of the replies of Mr. Anstey and Mr. Coode, to that document.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, he begged to express his satisfaction at the explanation that had been made by the right hon. Gentleman.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, that fault had been found with the Commissioners for not having done more than they had done with the expurgated list prepared by them, but the answer to that was that the papers published by the Commissioners pointed out that it was necessarily an imperfect list and was merely a preliminary work. He was inclined to give those gentlemen the praise to which they were entitled for diligence, zeal, and knowledge, though as yet their labours were not sufficiently matured to form the basis for legislation.
§ MR. MASSEY
said, it had been stated that the Lord Chancellor had received Reports from Mr. Bellenden Ker upon various Bills brought before Parliament, he begged to ask whether there would be any objection to publish those Reports?
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
replied, that the Lord Chancellor had informed him that Mr. Bellenden Ker, besides the attention, which he paid to the business of the Commission, had rendered valuable assistance by furnishing Reports upon various subjects of current legislation. The nature of those Reports was not such as to render their production possible, some of them 1639 being verbal and others in the shape of private notes.
§ MR. MALINS
said, he could confirm the statement of the right hon. Baronet respecting the valuable labours in the Commission of Mr. Bellenden Ker, whose remuneration was by no means greater than he was entitled to.
§ MR. NAPIER
said, that the great object of Government was the peace and security of society, and the formation of right laws; and not to have an efficient department in existence for carrying out that object satisfactorily to the public was a state of things both anomalous and unjustifiable. He had given notice of a Motion upon the subject of creating such a department, but he did not think that, at that late period of the Session, and with the anxiety that prevailed to carry forward the public business, he should be justified in proceeding with it now. Early in the next Session, however, he should ask the House to affirm a Resolution in favour of establishing a responsible and an efficient department to superintend all our law reforms and the drafting of Bills, and their conduct through Parliament; and he trusted he should receive the support of the House.
§ Mr. MASSEY
said, he trusted that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would fulfil his pledge, as, from the constitution of the Commission, he had little confidence in any useful result accruing from their labours.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, the subject of a special Department of Public Justice was now under the consideration of the Commission, and he thought it would have been better for his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Napier), being a member of that Commission, to make his suggestion to them instead of to that House.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) 3,000,000l. Vote of Credit.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
In the financial statement, Sir, which I had the honour to submit to the House in April last I stated that, in addition to the Estimates then prepared for the various military departments, I should propose an additional credit of 3,000,000l. to be applied to the purposes of the war. That sum is included in the Estimates which have been published, and has been accounted for in those Estimates which have been already submitted to the House. It now becomes my duty to ask the Committee to agree to a general Vote of Credit 1640 in aid of the military operations of the country.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he understood that the former Vote of Credit had not been expended. He wished to know if that were the fact, and, further, he would observe that the number of men voted for the army had not been enlisted, nor had the 120,000 militia paid for by the country been embodied.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
replied, that the increased expenditure of hospitals, increase of pay to the army, and pay of the Foreign Legion, would exhaust the sums voted, but he did not think it would be necessary to take any additional Vote for army purposes.
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he could not exactly say what amount was drawn upon the Vote of last year, but thought that about 1,500,000l. remained unexhausted.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wanted to know how it was intended to meet an additional expenditure of at least, he apprehended, 5,000,000l. by an additional Vote of 3,000,000l.?
THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
could not see the difficulty which the hon. Gentleman seemed to apprehend. The whole expenditure had been most carefully calculated, and was, he believed, most accurately stated. There was a certain amount voted for Army, Navy, and Ordnance purposes, and in addition, he now proposed, to take a general Vote of Credit for 3,000,000l., all of which would be applicable to the service of the war, and upon which it would be competent for the Commissariat Officers abroad to draw. The granting of a Vote of Credit would not increase the expenditure. If additional expenses were not incurred that Vote would not be drawn upon; but it was necessary to enable the Treasury to meet the draughts drawn upon them by the Commissariat Officers.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) 2,568,335l., Commissariat Department.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that, when he proposed the original Commissariat Estimates, he had explained that in former years it had been found sufficient to take a Vote under that head of 600,000l., which sum represented the expense of the Commissariat in the Colonies, but that for the current year a sum of 2,400,000l. would be required. Of that amount 600,000l. continued, as before, to represent the expense of the Commissariat in 1641 the Colonies, another 600,000l. was required for the new arrangements for the pay and provisioning of the regular army and the embodied militia at home, and the remainder 1,200,000l. was at that time estimated to be necessary to cover the probable demands of the army in the East. The time that had since elapsed had enabled them to form a more correct and accurate notion of the probable requirements of the army; and they now found that, assuming the expenditure for the whole year to be at the rate at which it was for the months of May and June, the actual sum required would be 3,768,335l. But as 1,200,000l. had already been voted, there remained only 2,568,335l. to be voted, and that was the sum which he now proposed that the Committee should grant. It had been observed by some hon. Members that the circumstance of Government having to ask for so large a Supplementary Vote indicated a want of foresight in the arrangements of the Estimates; but it must be remembered that the nature of the services which were to be provided for out of the proposed Vote was necessarily and unavoidably so uncertain as to render it impossible to make anything more than a conjectural Estimate. The Estimate for the army could be accurately ascertained, the number of men being known, and the charge for each man fixed. But it was quite a different thing with regard to the Commissariat, the bulk of which charge depended upon circumstances which were extremely varying. Since the provisional Vote had been prepared to be submitted to the House there had been an additional charge sent in—namely, the provision for the Sardinian army, consisting of between 16,000 and 20,000 men. It was true that would ultimately be repaid by Sardinia; in the meanwhile, however, it was a charge which increased the Estimates. Then, again, England had to ration 20,000 Turkish troops. It should also be borne in mind that the price of provisions was greatly enhanced in that part of the world in which those provisions were to be obtained. The first item in the Supplementary Vote was 1,000l. for the pay and contingencies of the Commissariat division of the War Department. That item needed little explanation. Since the original Estimates were prepared, the Supplementary Estimates rendered it necessary to employ two or three additional clerks. Hence the item of 1,000l. The next item was to the extent of 761,750l. for land and inland 1642 water transport, including the supply of water provided by the Commissariat Department. The larger portion of that sum was required to pay for the purchase of animals attached to the army under the land transport corps, commanded by Colonel M'Murdo. When he moved the Army Estimates, he was not fully informed as to the amount of the Vote which would be required for the transport corps, but he had since ascertained that that corps would require nearly the whole sum voted in those Estimates. An additional transport corps of 3,000 men had been since raised, 2,000 of whom were Englishmen, and the remainder were to be natives of Turkey. The 2,000 English had been despatched to the Crimea, but there had been found considerable difficulty in enlisting the remaining portion of the force from the native population. He could not account for it, unless it arose from the report of the disasters that had occurred in the Crimea. But, in consequence of that reluctance on the part of the natives of Turkey, it had been necessary to enlarge the proportion of Englishmen in that corps. The sum already voted for that branch of the service was 238,250l. At the rate of expenditure during the months of May and June, it was estimated that the cost of the corps would be 1,000,000l., and 238,250l. having been already granted, there remained to be voted 761,750l. To show how necessary it was to provide the army with ample means of transport, he might refer to the number of animals now in the Crimea as compared with the number when the transport corps was first formed. Before the month of May there were about 1,500 animals; on the 1st of May there were 2,500 animals; and on the 26th of June there were 7,000 animals. From that time the number had continued very considerably to increase. He believed that at the present time the army was provided with the means of transport, if it should be necessary to take the field, and there was no doubt that their large transport establishments would be furnished with everything that was required. Those horses had been purchased in different countries bordering upon the Mediterranean. There had been purchased and sent from Spain and from Gibraltar about 3,000 animals; there had also been purchased about the same number in the Sardinian States, 500 had been purchased in Sicily, and others in Syria. Colonel M'Murdo undertook the superintendence of the animal force. He was to take charge 1643 of the chairs and ambulances for conveying the wounded to the hospitals. A large supply of those necessary articles had already been furnished. There was an item of 15,0001. for the freight of specie, including the expense of shipment. That item had reference to the Turkish loan which had been guaranteed by France and England; and that charge was for providing the means of conveying the money to Constantinople. In the original Commissariat Estimate for provisions issued to the army, Ordnance, and Commissariat, at the seat of war, the amount voted was 531,550l., but a further amount was now required to the extent of 823,785l. In that sum was included a charge of 274,500l. for provisions supplied to the Sardinian army, the cost of which the Commissary General had been instructed to obtain repayment of. They had in addition to provide for the provisioning of the Turkish contingent under General Vivian, and for the provisioning of the Foreign Legion. The sum necessary for the support of the Turkish soldier was 6d. a man, but on the Foreign Legion it was necessary to expend 9d. a man. After defraying out of the vote of 823,785l. the necessary charge for furnishing provisions that were required, the remainder would be found necessary to pay the expences of forming depots of provisions for their own army in the East. For the depot at Constantinople 250,000l. was required. That Vote was exclusive of stoppages on account of rations from the pay of officers and men. The ordinary ration of a soldier was 1lb. of meat, and 11b. of biscuit, or 1½lb. of bread a day, for which 3½d. a day was deducted from his pay, and then there was 1d. also deducted on account of rum, making a deduction of 4½d. a day. Complaints had been made of the constant issuing of salt meat and biscuit, instead of fresh meat and bread. He was glad to inform the Committee that arrangements had been made, by means of a bakery being sent out, for issuing to the troops fresh bread three times a week, biscuit being issued four times a week; and, for the future, fresh meat would be issued to the troops four days a week. Then, with regard to forage, the amount already voted for that item was 294,000l.; but a further amount of 786,500l. was required. That increased charge was owing to the necessity of having very large stores of forage for the great number of animals that were to be supported. The cavalry, 1644 the artillery, and the transport corps, had all been largely increased. It had, in consequence, become necessary to send out very large shipments of hay and corn to the Crimea. There were supplies at that moment in the Crimea sufficient to support 20,000 animals for a period of sixty days, and arrangements had been made to keep up a constant supply. With regard to the item of fuel and light, there had been a considerable increase under that head of expenditure. The amount already voted for those purposes was 22,000l.; the further amount required was 78,000l. A great part of the sufferings of our troops during the last winter was owing to their not having a sufficient supply of fuel issued to them. The proposed Vote was intended to prevent a recurrence of such a disaster by providing an ample supply of fuel for the troops. With regard to the cooking, the services of the well-known M. Soyer had been so efficiently applied that kitchens had been established and instructions given to the troops, by means of which every proper supply in that department was secured to the army. The next item to which he had to call the attention of the Committee was one for the payment of the expences of the railway in the Crimea, and for the wages of labourers, &c. The sum required was 24,000l. He was aware that an objection was made to that charge last year; but it could not be denied that the railway corps had rendered the greatest possible service to the army. The time for which the men were engaged had expired, but a sufficient number was retained in the Crimea to keep the railway in a proper working condition. There were two other items in the Supplementary Estimates—namely, a Vote of 54,000l. for the payment of the Croatian labourers employed as scavengers, in making roads, &c., and a Vote of 24,000l. on account of the Heraclea (or Kosloo) coal mines. He had now given all the explanation which he thought the Committee could require respecting the Supplementary Estimates he had brought forward and the ground on which they rested. But, before he resumed his seat, he would for a moment advert to something which had been stated the other evening, when he happened not to be present, respecting the transference of the Commissariat from the Treasury to the War Department. It was very important that the Committee should keep in view the distinction there was be- 1645 tween the financial bearing of the question and its political bearing. It must be obvious that, whatever objection there might be to the duties of the Commissariat being performed under the superintendence of the War Department instead of the Treasury, no advantage could be derived by the War Department from the largeness of the Vote, inasmuch as the Estimates would be the same, and would equally have to pass under the review of the Treasury, whether the money were expended by the immediate authority of the Treasury or by the direction of the War Department. At all events, if it were right to intrust the War Department with the expenditure of 13,000,000l. sterling, the Committee could hardly object to intrusting it with the expenditure of this smaller sum having relation only to the Commissariat. The bulk of the expenditure would take place at the seat of war, under the responsibility of the chief of the Commissariat. The money would be disbursed either by purchases made on the spot or by contracts, and all that the public could require was to be assured that that expenditure was properly made, and that those contracts were fairly entered into. It would of course be the duty of the Commissariat authorities to see that the contracts were faithfully fulfilled and that the public were secured against any possibility of loss. But, with regard to those large disbursements of money, whether directly by purchase or under contract, no doubt the proper course to be taken was, that the accounts should be duly audited. Persons from the Audit Board would therefore be sent out to Constantinople to examine the accounts and to arrange them under their proper heads. That proceeding would apply, not to the Commissariat Department only, but to the Navy, the Ordnance, and the War Office. A person would be sent from England to assist the Commissary General to examine all vouchers and to transmit the accounts home, and the moment they were received they would be sent to the Audit Office for examination. That, indeed, was the system already acted upon, and he therefore considered that there was no expenditure made by the country over which so strict control was kept as was exercised over the expenditure of the Commissariat service. The accounts of all other departments were audited by their own members; but with regard to the Commissariat there was an 1646 independent authority outside, examining and controlling every shilling of expense. There was one branch of the Commissariat duties which was essentially of a financial character, and which, therefore, was very properly appropriated to the Treasury, he meant the replenishing of the Commissariat chest. It was from that chest that all the supplies were drawn, and it was for the Commissary General to see that there were ample funds to meet the demands for the public service. It was his duty either to draw bills, or write home in order that a remittance of specie might be made. No doubt it was at times a very difficult question to determine, having regard to the state of the money market, whether he should take the one course or the other. But that was not a question of the expenditure of money; it was one simply as to supplying means for defraying any such expenditure. Whatever were the Bills drawn abroad, they must be paid out of the Commissariat chest; therefore, the Commissariat chest was most properly placed under the control of the Treasury, and not under that of the War Department. Under those circumstances he thought there was no ground of apprehension as to a want of proper control over the Commissariat Department.
§ MR. HENLEY
said, the statement which had just been made by the hon. Gentleman was one which was not often equalled in interest, if, indeed, in importance, by any statement made in that House. He would not dwell upon the check that was said would be exercised over the Commissariat accounts, because he did not think much could be made out of that; nor did he understand from the conversation which passed the other night that any great objection had been urged against the War Department having the management of the Commissariat. But what was most to be wondered at, in his opinion, was, that the Government should never have looked sufficiently far before them as to thoroughly understand the full extent of the matters they would have to deal with. They must have known in February all that they knew now; and yet in the month of August they were asking for double the amount they asked the House to grant in February. The long explanation of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for war did not in the slightest degree alter the facts. All that, in his opinion, showed a great want of foresight, and of a full comprehension of 1647 what would be the amount of supplies necessary for carrying on the war. There was one item, no doubt, which might not have been foreseen,—namely, the supply necessary to meet the Sardinian contingency. But, putting that aside, there remained 2,000,000l., of money to meet demands which it seemed to him might have been easily foreseen in February last. One great item of expense was, that we had formed a depôt for provisions. But was it in the month of August only, or in the month of May, or of June, that it was necessary he should have a depôt? What the hon. Gentleman had stated respecting the formation of a depôt was about as painful a statement as he had ever heard. It showed in what a strange way the army must have been conducted; when it must have been clear to the whole country that the moment the army landed in the Crimea it was absolutely necessary to have a depôt. Every military man, nay, every person who had read history, knew that the first thing clone when an army invaded an enemy's country was to form a depôt. The hon. Gentleman's speech was the most extraordinary exposure of the ignorance of the Government that it had ever been his misfortune to hear. Talk of the Sebastopol Committee giving an answer to the question, why was it that our army suffered?—why, the statement of the hon. Gentleman was a much more conclusive answer than the whole Report of that Committee. [Mr. F. PEEL said that the depôts were for provisions in reserve.] He could understand having food in depôts in reserve, but ought there not to have been depots for the ordinary supplies, so that in cases of emergency the army might have had something to fall back upon? In December last the Foreign Enlistment Bill was passed, and he thought it should have been ascertained by the month of February that foreigners would eat as well as Englishmen, and that it would be necessary to make provision for them.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that there was no certainty at the time referred to, that in the course of the financial year the Foreign Legion would be engaged in a state of war.
§ MR. HENLEY
But you hoped to raise some, and the charge for them might as well have been foreseen in the month of February as now. It was strange to say that Government should have to ascertain the amount of two months' actual expenditure, before they could state what 1648 the expenditure would be during the future months of the year. That was to him an additional proof of how unfortunate they had been in the conduct of affairs. Then, there were no less than 761,750l. to be expended on land and inland water transport. Might not that have been foreseen in February? Did not the Press teem day after day with statements, that all the animals in the Crimea were either dying or dead? It must have been perfectly well known in February that a large supply of animals would be wanted, unless, indeed, it was intended to leave the army without the means of transport altogether. He really could not help thinking that a great part of the expense now to be incurred might have been prevented had due foresight and skill been exercised in the matter. The Government had based those estimates on what? They had been obliged, in order to get at the expenditure, to have recourse to the expenditure of May and June. It did seem somewhat strange to him that, with an army in the field, its estimated numbers known, and with the vast establishments of England, the Government should have been driven to have recourse to such an expedient before they could place themselves in a position to tell the House what the expenditure would be in the future months of the year. That was, to him, another convincing proof of the unfortunate way in which affairs had been conducted, and that if they had been placed in abler hands they would not at that the eleventh hour have been called upon for that which he was not prepared to deny was necessary. With regard to the amount of supplies and rations, all respecting them was or ought to have been as well known in February as now, at the same time he thought that the Under Secretary for War had stated grounds enough to show that what was now asked for was necessary for the army. With regard to the transport animals, one statement had struck him as rather extraordinary. The Under Secretary for War said that his calculation was based on the numbers of the two months of May and June, and then he stated that 1,500 were handed over in April, and showed the ratio in which they had afterwards increased. What he (Mr. Henley) wanted to know was, if that calculation had been made on that of the expenditure for two months, would six times as much be required for twelve months? [Mr. F. PEEL intimated assent.] As that was the 1649 case, no doubt they contemplated that a great mortality would take place among those animals; but it was to be hoped that ordinary care would be taken of them, and that they would not suffer as they had last year from want of forage and shelter. He was glad to see that steps had been taken to keep up the number of those animals, and he trusted that the supplies for the army would not again fail from the want of means of transport.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he agreed with almost everything which had been said by the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken. He expected something extra, but was not prepared for the great increase shown in the present Estimates. He was most desirous that the soldier should be properly paid, but he thought it was most extraordinary that the Secretary for War should have determined to increase the soldiers' pay 6d. per day without asking the consent of the House of Commons to such arrangement. The only item in the supplementary Estimates to which he objected was the sum set down for the conveyance of specie to Turkey. He thought they had done quite sufficient in advancing the loan, and ought not to be called on to pay its freightage to Constantinople.
MR. FRANCIS BARING
said, he begged to explain, with reference to some statements which had been made, that he (Sir F. Baring) did on a former occasion object to the transfer of the Commissariat expenditure from the Treasury to the War Department; on the contrary, he approved it, but what he did object to was | the Minute making that transfer—as he thought that it had not been sufficiently considered or matured. The Under Secretary for War appeared to think that now everything with regard to the war expenditure would go on smoothly—but if it did, things must be greatly altered from what they were when he (Sir F. Baring) held office in the Treasury. Then he was sorry to say there was such an accumulation of both war and Commissariat accounts that auditing them was out of the question; so by a kind of compromise they were got rid of. He would suggest to the hon. Under Secretary for War that he should make inquiries with regard to the transfer and settlement of the Commissariat accounts, with the view of preventing their accumulation and the difficulties which would otherwise arise. The Under Secretary for War appeared to think that that 1650 had already been done, and he (Sir F. Baring) should be happy to find that such was the case. Judging, however, from the Estimates on the table, he had no great confidence that it had been done; for, if they had the monthly accounts of the expenditure which was going forward he could not understand why the present enormous Supplementary Estimates should be necessary. He was afraid the Under Secretary for War would find that it would have been better to look more carefully into the matter, and that he had been a little too sanguine and had not sufficiently considered the difficulties connected with the subject.
§ MR. WILSON
said, that there could be no doubt that the mode of conducting business had been greatly altered since the right hon. Baronet was at the Treasury. There was at that time a large Colonial expenditure by the Imperial Government, which was checked exclusively by the Commissariat officers, but that system had been entirely changed, and the expenditure in the Colonies had been reduced to a very small sum. The Treasury was unable to control all descriptions of expenditure, for the heads of the Admiralty and other departments were responsible to the House for the expenditure of money, and the only check upon the expenditure of the Commissariat Department abroad was the Board of Audit. The control of the purely financial department of the Commissariat chest rested entirely with the Treasury. He could not agree with the right hon. Baronet that any plan had been suggested which was preferable to that laid down in the Treasury Minute with respect to the transfer of the Commissariat from the Treasury to the War Department.
said, he wished to know what arrangements had been made with respect to the supply of coffee to the troops abroad? He observed that before the Sebastopol Committee the blame for supplying the troops with raw whole coffee was cast by Sir Charles Trevelyan upon the Quarter-master General in the Crimea, an officer who he (Colonel North) believed had done everything in his power to contribute to the wellbeing of the army. Sir Charles Trevelyan, when asked whether applications for roasted coffee were not made before the army left Varna, said, he did not recollect any complaints being made, and added that all pains were taken at home to ascertain whether it would be 1651 better to send out coffee roasted or unroasted. Now, from papers which had been laid upon the table it appeared, that two months after, the authorities of the Treasury would not even take the trouble of sending to London Bridge, where the operations of roasting, grinding, and packing of coffee could be seen in the establishment of Messrs. Collier. Upon the 18th of July, Sir Charles Trevelyan wrote to Mr. Filder to ask what was best to be sent out. Mr. Filder took until the 13th of October to consider, and on that day he wrote to say he could not make up his mind whether it would be better to have roasted or unroasted coffee, and that he was anxious to consult some officers of experience upon the subject. Upon receiving that letter Sir Charles Trevelyan, on the 30th of October, wrote back, saying to Mr. Filder, "You have removed our doubts about the form in which coffee should be sent to the army, and when we have occasion to send out any more we will send it roasted, but not ground." Now, he could not see how the doubts of the Treasury could have been removed by Mr. Filder's letter. In his evidence before the Sebastopol Committee, Sir Charles Trevelyan said, raw coffee was sent because unroasted coffee was served out in the navy, comparing the position of the army in the field with that of sailors on board ship, with fire and every means of roasting the berry. Another reason given was, because raw coffee was issued to the French army; but it was forgotten that that army had a complete establishment for roasting coffee upon the borders of their camp. Sir Charles Trevelyan also said, throughout the Kafir war the troops were supplied with unroasted coffee. He (Colonel North) had spoken to Sir Harry Smith upon the subject, and that gallant officer had told him that he had hundreds of pounds of coffee scattered on the ground, although the troops had means of roasting it, but found it too troublesome to pound. Sir Charles Trevelyan added that, when it was found that there was a difficulty of roasting coffee in the Crimea, orders were given by the Treasury to send it out in a roasted state. It would be recollected that Messrs. Collier on the 15th of December wrote to Sir Charles Trevelyan upon the subject, and received on the 22nd of December anything but a courteous reply from Sir Charles Trevelyan, who concluded by saying, "My Lords are not aware that any additional assistance is required." No one could ima- 1652 gine from that reply that the first order for roasting coffee at the Clarence Yard was given on the 15th of December, and only on the 13th of January, 1855, was an order given to grind 20,0001b. as an experiment, and upon the 22nd of March an order was given that no more ground coffee should be sent out. With respect to the size of packages, Mr. Filder had expressed a desire that they should not exceed 60lb. weight; and if the Treasury had chosen to avail themselves of the information and assistance offered by Messrs. Collier, they would have ascertained how those gentlemen packed their coffee in packages of 25lb. weight, and which bore a voyage to Australia without loss of flavour. He (Colonel North) had had a notice upon the paper for a long time of a Motion for a copy of the correspondence which had taken place between Sir Charles Trevelyan or the Treasury, and any parties here, for the purpose of ascertaining the best form in which coffee should be sent to the East. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Treasury had stopped him the other evening, and suggested that he should put his Motion in the shape of a question, as, in fact, there was no correspondence to produce,—when a Gentleman undertook to cast blame upon the Quarter-master General and upon Admiral Boxer, he ought to be perfect, at least in his own office. Several Members of the House had already noticed the improper mode in which the correspondence of the Treasury was carried on, and now Sir Charles Trevelyan declared he had taken every means in his power to procure information, but could produce no correspondence to show it.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, whenever coffee was now issued to the soldiers, it was in a ground state. Tea and coffee were issued on alternate days to the troops.
§ MR. WILSON
said, he must complain of the mode in which the subject had been brought before the House by the hon. and gallant Member who had last addressed them. It was true that the hon. and gallant Gentleman had had a notice on the paper for a very long time, and he (Mr. Wilson) had come down every night to meet it, but whenever it was called—which necessarily occurred late at night—the hon. and gallant Gentleman was not in his place to move it. [Colonel NORTH said, he did not believe there had been a night when he was absent.] The hon. and gallant Gentleman at least did not bring on his Motion, and therefore, for the 1653 convenience of the hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Wilson) suggested that he should put a question on the subject, as the Return, if ordered, would be nil. Sir Charles Trevelyan had told him there was no correspondence, but that he had had personal communications with officers of the navy, who had served in the Kafir war, and it was upon information derived from those personal communications that it was determined at first to send out unroasted coffee. When the green coffee was sent out no one knew whither the army was going. The first roasted coffee was sent out in July, and, as soon as it was known that the army was likely to winter in the Crimea, an intimation arrived in October, which stated that roasted coffee would be preferable, and from that time no green coffee was sent. Early in November a large order was issued from the Commissariat Department of the Treasury to the Admiralty to send out a regular supply of roasted coffee. A quantity of ground coffee was sent out as an experiment, and thus, when Messrs. Collier tendered their assistance in December, the Commissariat Department had already come to the determination to send out no more green coffee.
said, Sir Charles Trevelyan declared he had taken all means to ascertain the best mode of sending out coffee. It appeared from a return that coffee was sent on the 7th of November roasted, but not ground. Why had not the Treasury made inquiries of Messrs. Collier?
§ MR. WILSON
said, he could not see why Sir Charles Trevelyan should apply to Messrs. Collier. Those Gentlemen only tendered their assistence on the 15th of December, while early in November the Treasury had issued an order for only roasted coffee to be sent out.
said, he thought it was the duty of the Government to make inquiries of every person who was competent to give them information.
said, he considered that Parliament ought not to separate until satisfactory assurances were given by the Government that the war should be prosecuted with energy, and that our army would be properly supplied with those necessaries upon which military success depended. Last year the Ministry made liberal promises on that head, and yet very little had been done to realise them even up to the present moment. Now that it was almost certain our 1654 army would have again to winter in the Crimea, they should be adequately provided in time with land transport, provisions, huts, and tents, ammunition, and cannon, to replace the guns already worn out. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Peel) said there were 7,000 baggage animals attached to Colonel M'Murdo's corps; but our army had, nevertheless, been kept stationary from the want of the means of transport, and now that August had arrived there was little time left for movements in the field. During the present season 1,000,000l. sterling was the estimated expense of those baggage animals, or at the rate of 143l. per head. Moreover, allowing for the casualties that must be expected, 7,000 would be a very insufficient number. Again, we had only two months' forage now at Balaklava, while the French, according to private letters from the East, had a twelvemonth's supply at Kamiesch. Why, he wished to know, was our Government not as prudent as our ally? As to provisioning the army, the period of the year was rather late for forming depôts for the immense body of troops now in the Crimea. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for War had expressed surprise that the Turks would not enlist in the Contingent now being formed under English officers; but our Government had been timely forewarned that Mahomedans would not serve under Giaours.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that no enlistment by us was necessary in the case. The Contingent was to be furnished by the Turkish Government.
said, that Colonel Beatson, a British officer, who had been lately in command of a corps of Bashibazouks, was reported in the papers of that day to have been murdered by his own men. That was the result of endeavouring to enrol irregular forces, by which also the money of the country was wasted. According to a convention with England, the Turkish Government had separated a portion of its army, and placed it under General Vivian. That corps must prove inefficient under English officers; and it would be much better that the men should be sent to Kars under the control of their own Government. While we were lavishing enormous sums in paying Turkish troops and in levying a Foreign Legion, the services of which would yield no corresponding advantage, our own cavalry was neglected and left inefficient from the want of dismounted men. Private intelligence 1655 showed that the vegetables were not served out to our own army with the regularity which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Peel) described; while the mode of distributing the other rations to commissioned officers, who had nothing but their pay to depend upon, was very unsatisfactory. Injustice was also inflicted on men who were brought from India to the Crimea, and placed as supernumeraries in corps where they were deprived of the rights to which they were entitled. Those were matters to which the attention of every military man in the country was now turned, and. unfortunately, the speech of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Peel) would not allay the alarm felt with regard to them. No proper precaution had yet been taken for hutting and encamping our army during the ensuing winter, and the tents previously sent out were completely decayed. Information ought to be afforded as to our communications, the defective state of which produced great misfortunes in our army last year. A flood lately occurred in the Crimea, which he understood had much injured the railway there. Had the damage thus occasioned been since repaired, and were the other roads in good condition? If they were not, there were enough men and labourers out there to make them so. The amount of actual preparation made did not warrant the confidence with which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Peel) had spoken; but, as the House of Commons had done its duty in voting liberal supplies, it was to be hoped that that negligence in every department of the Government which had led to such disasters would be studiously avoided in future.
said, he felt himself called upon to condemn the regulations of the hospital at Scutari, which had caused the loss of many gallant lives. Among other regulations every soldier was bound to find his own knife and fork when he went into hospital, but at Scutari 500 men were without those articles. That, and other arrangements with regard to fuel, ought to be abolished.
§ LORD WILLIAM GRAHAM
said, that with reference to the item of 15,000l. for freight of specie and expenses of its shipment, he wished to ask whether the charge should not be deducted from the loan to be advanced to Sardinia?
said, he would suggest that the cost of freight in all such cases should be taken from the amount of specie shipped.
§ SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE
said, he could not understand the manner in which the various items of the Vote were lumped together. The Secretary for the Treasury described it as a Commissariat Vote for purely army purposes; but, surely, the expense of conveying specie to Turkey or to Sardinia did not come under that category. With regard to forage for our army, a two months' supply would be very insufficient.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he must beg to explain that that was only the amount of provender in the Crimea for immediate issue. There were also large stores at Constantinople and other places.
§ SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE
said, that in the general orders issued to the army while at Varna, the officers were urged to provide themselves with baggage animals; and when the troops quitted that place the Commissariat animals were left behind, and afterwards died in large numbers from sheer neglect. A similar casualty would occur again if we did not provide a larger quantity of provender.
said, he must complain that they had to discuss a very important Vote without having on the table copies of the Order in Council appointing a fourth Secretary of State, and separating the Colonial from the War Department. No answer had been given by the Government to the important questions that had been put to them from both sides of the House, and the remarks of the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. W. Williams) as to the increased pay of the troops had been left unnoticed. The Secretary for the Treasury had contradicted the right hon. Member for Portsmouth. (Sir F. Baring), but the official papers bore out the right hon. Baronet's statement. The Committee ought to know what arrangement the Government proposed with respect to the Commissariat officers who felt themselves aggrieved; and it should also be told who was the actual head of that department. Those and other matters had been left without explanation, and he must protest against that mode of dealing with so important a subject.
§ Vote agreed to; House resumed.