HC Deb 07 August 1855 vol 139 cc1955-70

in moving for an Address for Copies of Returns respecting the Naval and Military Hospitals in the East, said, that one of the first debates of this Session was an eager and anxious debate with reference to the subject he was now about to bring forward; and it was occasioned by accounts which had reached this country from the Crimea relating to the sufferings of our army there and on the Bosphorus, and from a deep desire that the sick and wounded of our army should have every protection afforded them in the hospitals at Scutari and elsewhere. The result was a division, which dismissed the existing Government by one of the largest majorities on record. Six months had passed since that discussion, in which no allusion was made to the nature and objects of the war, but which emphatically confined itself to the conduct of the war; and now that party debates were over, and the Session was about to close, it was not too much to ask the Government for a statement of what had been done to redress the grievances then brought forward, and to ameliorate the evils which were then alleged to exist; seeing that it was on those conditions of redress and amelioration that they ex- pressly accepted and still retained office. The returns for which he intended to move (to which he ought to expect no opposition) related not only to the naval hospital (which the First Lord of the Admiralty had invited him to ask for), but to all the information which was to be obtained relating to the health of the army, and which had appeared from time to time in the public press, having been communicated by the Horse Guards, and which he thought ought to be collected in such a form as to become recorded in that House. He also proposed to move for the Reports of Sir John M'Neil on the sanitary condition of the camp. He could see no reason why they should be withheld, and he hoped that it was not founded in fact he should meet with great opposition. Before he proceeded to state the cases which he intended to bring forward he wished to allude to a circumstance connected with a gentleman who, being now absent from this country, had every right that his friends should be heard as speedily as might be. A near relative of Dr. Hall, with reference to some observations made not by him (Mr. Stafford), but by the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes), was anxious that it should be stated to the House that he had received a letter from Mr. D. Fitzgerald, of the Fusiliers, relative to the circumstances of the death of Mr. Stowe, the gifted and accomplished commissioner of The Times. In that letter, Mr. Fitzgerald staled that he communicated to Dr. Hall at the "same time the illness of Mr. Stowe, and its cause; and on his being asked who he was, he stated that he was the correspondent of The Times." That was in reference to the inquiry of the hon. Member for Pontefract, and this letter contained a complete exculpation of Dr. Hall from the charge of not admitting Mr. Stowe into the military hospital. The letter also referred to an anonymous letter received by him (Mr. Stafford) respecting the treatment of the wounded on the 18th; and it contained this satisfactory language:—"That the inquiry he asked would be the best means of clearing Dr. Hall from blame in this matter." He was glad that it was Dr. Hall's wish that there should be an inquiry. He (Mr. Stafford) knew that some things he was about to say would not be palatable to some persons in the country, who thought it was not wise to bring before the public the sufferings of our soldiers, or the evidence on the subject from those in authority. It was among those people permitted to pray for the soldiers, but it was not permitted to express any commiseration for their unnecessary sufferings, or to condemn in any respect those who were the authors of those sufferings, and who might have prevented them. But, looking to the mass of evidence brought before the commission sent out by the Duke of Newcastle, at the time the statements were made as to what was going on in the Crimea and the hospitals at Scutari, it was certain that state of things could never have been remedied if the system of secrecy and silence had prevailed; and he was of opinion that the men who revealed those things deserved well of their country. He would read a few extracts from the evidence before the Commission, to show that men who have had such experience ought to have their suggestions attended to. The hon. Gentleman then read several extracts from the evidence, which were in substance as follows. The first extract was from the evidence of Mr. Robert Cooper, of the 4th Dragoon Guards, who said— He would express himself freely on the various topics which had been brought under his notice, and was glad to avail himself of the present opportunity. That extract went to show the animus against the surgeons who ventured to express their opinions. Then Mr. Robert de Lisle said— It was impossible for him to state how often he had made requisitions for medicines and medical comforts in vain. His sick asked for soup, &c., and expressed some impatience; but few of them would have been impatient had they had proper food and clothing. He was three hundred blankets short at a time when the thermometer was at 26; rum, which was so necessary, was not forthcoming when wanted; the issue of meat was very irregular, and on Christmas-day it was issued so late that it could not, along with the coffee, be cooked. On the 28th December they were forced to return as a working party to the trenches; as they could not cook their food, they must have been two days without meat, unless they ate it raw. Mr. Eyre, of the 1st Royals, said— Much of the suffering of the troops in the trenches was horrible, owing to the apathy and neglect of the authorities; and that of the sick and wounded equally so. Dr. Anderson, of the 90th, said— That his men had been on salt provisions and raw coffee for three weeks; a great proportion of the sickness was caused by the imperfect preparation of the coffee; the men had no means of cooking, and were ill-fed and overworked. This was not only the evidence of respon- sible witnesses, but it was written, and not oral evidence. Mr. Wyatt, of the Coldstream Guards said— There was great difficulty in getting any medical comforts; he was unable during the prevalence of cholera to get a drop of brandy, though he made a special report on the subject. Mr. Bostoc, of the Fusilier Guards, said— About a month ago Dr. Smith's cots were issued, but they had no framework and no feet, and were quite useless. Previously to that there were no beds or bedding; there were blankets, but not enough to provide one for each man. The consequence was, that they were soon saturated with mud, and in that severe weather there was no alternative for patients suffering from cholera and dysentery but to lie on the wet ground. Colonel Walker, of the Fusilier Guards, said— He had formed a table out of a discarded pork barrel, which had actually been borrowed by Mr. Bostock for an amputating table. Dr. Anderson, staff surgeon, stated— I went in daily to the landing place to see the principal medical officer. On my telling him how we were situated as regarded medicines, comforts, &c., I was informed that 'I was making difficulties.' I replied, 'Those of the Light Division never make difficulties.' He then said, 'Make a requisition.' Dr. Pine, who was present, asked him, 'If one were made, could the same be complied with?' when it was elicited that some supplies were on board some ship, but where she was was quite another thing. With a sick list of 636 of cholera, dysentery, diarrhœa, fever, &c., on the 1st of December, four ounces of opium, and the same of calomel, were issued for the division, which was three doses of one grain of each of these two medicines to each patient. The hideous experience of such men having been before the Government for six months, he would now proceed to read some of the suggestions for remedies which they had made. Mr. Patullo, of the 30th Regiment said— That the subordinate medical officers were deterred from making requisitions for what they needed by their superior officers. Mr. Watts, of the 23rd Fusiliers, suggested— The training of a set of men something like those in the French service, who should be under the surgeons, and be taught how to use a tourniquet, and to place a fractured limb in an easy position till the surgeons could attend to the patient. Mr. Painter, of the 13th Light Dragoons, said— That every medical officer should be independent of his neighbour, and have his own packhorse and panniers for the conveyance of what he required; as it was, the supplies of the different medical men were broken in upon, as the staff surgeons often drew on the regimental surgeons for what they required. Among all the names of the younger officers which had been sent home with honour, there was none more remarkable, as well for his gallantry as his philanthropy, than Lord West's, and in his evidence it was stated— The deputy inspectors and staff surgeons of divisions appear to possess no power whatever. If, for instance, they send an indent to the Commissariat for straw for the patients to lie upon, or for carriage, it is most probably refused. The surgeon must then try to obtain these and similar things through another channel—through the commanding officer of the regiment, who refers it to the assistant quartermaster general of the division, who forwards it to the quartermaster general of the army. It is this perpetual travelling to and fro of requisitions from one department to another—the furnishing of some portion of hospital diet by the Commissariat, and another, including medical comforts, by the purveyor, that creates the delay and embarrassment prevailing at present. Unless the medical board is reconstructed on a basis of greater authority and independence as regards the procuring of carriage, of hospital accommodation, furniture, and utensils, and unless it is provided with an efficient staff of purveyors, clerks, and apothecaries, present on the spot where the army is encamped, or in quarters in the field, the unfortunate scenes of misery and destitution, and consequent loss of life, such as I have witnessed among the sick in the camp during the inclement weather of the last six weeks, will inevitably, under similar circumstances, again occur. The story of these difficulties and defects had been written in letters of blood, to attract public attention to them, and Government had received many suggestions for the remedy of them; and he wanted to know what the Government had done? He would tell them what they had not done. They had not got any official documents, of any kind, from any of these hospitals in the East, since Parliament came together, and except the letters that had appeared from time to time from Dr. Hall, the whole of the past was a blank, so far as the official records of the Government were concerned. He had moved for those papers, and after a considerable time the return was laid upon the table of the House, and that return was, nil. If the present occupants of office were to quit their places, and take away, as they might if they chose to do so, the private letters they had received upon the subject, there would remain no official record of these hospitals except the vast expenditure incurred in the establishment of them. There was no authentic statement of the amount of disease there, of the climatic influences, or those of the site of the hos- pitals, of the nature of the wounds and sickness, of the patients sent there, of the number of deaths, or the causes of those deaths, or of the effect of the different seasons and months upon the condition of the inmates. Two rival systems of hospitals had now been established—he used the word rival not invidiously—those under the management of civilians, and those under military medical authority; but was there any concurrent jurisdiction to prevent the military authorities in the Crimea from sending, if they were so disposed, all the worst cases to the civil hospitals? The civil hospitals, too, were further from the Crimea than the military hospitals were, so that unless there were some concurrent jurisdiction—if the medical authorities in the Crimea were permitted to assign to which hospital the cargoes of unfortunate sick should be conveyed—no fair comparison could be instituted between the operation of the two hospitals, because those which were furthest from the seat of war would receive their patients under a disadvantage to which the others would not be liable. And suppose the military authorities determined to send no patients to the civil hospitals, and to give the civil surgeons no objects upon which to exercise their skill and benevolent attention, then the civil system would not have a fair trial, and the country would have spent there enormous sums of money in vain. There were important questions of situations and climate in comparing the different hospitals; and Scutari might be good for one kind of disease, and Smyrna might be better, as he believed it was, for another. He wanted to know the result of these costly experiments, which now, and as he thought wisely, the Government were trying. If the civil hospitals were at some disadvantage, on the other hand he believed the military hospitals felt themselves, in their relations to the commissariat, to be in a position of greater difficulty, and less assisted by the public funds so profusely expended. What was the position of the army surgeons? The first batch of civil surgeons were sent out at a remuneration of two guineas a day, and if the Government should cease to employ them at the end of the first year, they were to receive a year's pay as a gratuity, upon their return, which would make altogether about 1,600l. for a twelvemonth's service. For less than that sum, assuming them to be thirty or thirty-five years of age, one might buy an annuity of 80l. or 90l. a year for life. But the assistant army surgeon, who must not only have his diploma, but must also have been examined by the Army Medical Board, received 7s. 6d. a day for twenty-five years, at the end of which time he would have perhaps 200l. a year. Could we be surprised, therefore, that the assistant-surgeons were leaving the army, and seeking other occupation? The civil surgeons enjoyed the places which should be given to those young men who deserved promotion. The army surgeons were required to pass an examination; but what examination were the civil surgeons subjected to? Were they required to know something of medicine, as well as of surgery? There were now upwards of a hundred of these civil surgeons with the army in the East, and whether for good or evil, they were a new and a very important element in the service. How was it intended to deal with them, in relation to the army surgeons? or was it intended that there should be none but civil surgeons with the army? It was a singular fact that there was one hospital that was not even named in this Report. It was strange that while the hospital at Gallipoli, where he believed there were only some eleven patients last year, was mentioned in the Commission sent forth by the Duke of Newcastle, the hospital of Abydos, on the opposite side of the Dardanelles, was not mentioned in the instructions given to that Commission, and was therefore not visited by them; yet that was a hospital calculated to hold 400 soldiers, and as it was generally full, must have had thousands of soldiers passed through it within the last few months, although the House had not got any statistics or the slightest information about it. Luckily for the soldiers and for the service, that hospital had been under the direction of one of the most talented and influential medical men that he (Mr. Stafford) ever met, Dr. Jameson, who had been toiling through much discouragement to improve the condition of the poor men under his care, and had obtained their gratitude for his reward. What arrangement did the Government intend to make finally about the female nurses? Would nurses be sent out continually to supply the places of those who came home from failing health or other causes? In the hospital at Woolwich, with 350 patients, female nurses worked most satisfactorily, although the confined and insalubrious sites, both of that and of the General Hospital at Portsmouth, were very disadvantageous. There ought also to be some responsible officer employed to examine all the hospital ships, and report upon their state either to the Admiralty or War office. He wished also to know whether the ships that conveyed home the sick and wounded were sufficiently under the control of the medical officers? Had those officers the power of stopping at different places on the voyage to procure fruit and vegetables when necessary, or were the sick officers and men looked upon as mere cargo, to be shipped straight to England? When they arrived, why should they not be accommodated in the vacant wards of Haslar Hospital? He protested against their being kept in the Britannia, or in any other vessel, for it was impossible to give sufficient ventilation, and soldiers hated being on shipboard worse than anything else. It was a great evil that men were regarded as making the transition from sickness to health too rapidly, and were sent upon hard service when only just recovered. Some place on the South Downs might be provided, where the convalescents might be restored to strength, and made fit to return to their duty, as they were anxious to do. He (Mr. Stafford), while he made these suggestions, acknowledged that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Peel) and the War Office, as well as the Horse Guards, had received in the kindest spirit every suggestion he had made. Mr. Hawes and Lord Hardinge were most anxious for the welfare of the poorest soldier. The appointment of Dr. Storks to the Smyrna Hospital was a most satisfactory one, and if he were now to leave it, he would go, it was hoped, only to take the great charge of the hospital at Scutari. The hon. Member then spoke of the pattern management of two military hospitals in this metropolis—those of the Scots Fusiliers and the Coldstreams, under Dr. Richardson and Dr. Munro. It might be said, the hospitals of the household troops were not under the Inspector-General. This led him to ask, what was to be done with Dr. Andrew Smith? That gentleman was anxious to be relieved of a post of harassing anxiety, for which his age and weakness unfitted him. Why had not a successor been appointed? If not Dr. Guthrie, whose warnings were so disastrously neglected, some other man of energy to effect the needed reforms. He must also urge upon the Government that some mode should be devised of rewarding the army surgeons with special distinctions conferred for peculiar merit. Was it less honourable, he asked, to save life than to destroy it? And were not the men who encountered dangers as great as those of battle, in the attempt to mitigate the miseries of war, entitled to share the dignity of the combatant officers? He would bear testimony, as having conversed much with our private soldiers, to the sincere attachment which existed between them and their superiors in command. One poor fellow, whom he (Mr. Stafford) had known at Scutari, came to him the other day to bid him good bye, as he was returning to his native place, in the north of England, and said to him, "Well, Sir, I'm going home now, nothing but a poor cripple; but if I had my soldiering days to come over again, I would rather be in the camp than in the barrack; for in the camp we see more of our officers. Give me a gentleman to lead me, and I would follow him far and wide." Such were the feelings which these men entertained, and communicated to eager friends and relatives as they told the stories of the war. And though hon. Gentlemen in their clubs might require a new topic of conversation every week, it was not so with the people. They still thought and talked of our army in the East, looking eagerly for news of it, and sternly beholding its unnecessary sufferings. The most trying season was coming upon it, and there was nothing to rely upon but the skill of our medical officers. Let not the Government, therefore, neglect to secure that skill, and prefer to lose a life rather than acknowledge a mistake. Let them not be less jealous of the life of the soldiers who fought our battles, than they were of that of the felons who broke our laws. Better that official etiquette should be violated, and frivolous complaints attended to, than that one soldier should perish. In conclusion, the hon. Gentleman said he was going back to visit the hospitals, not in order to make out a case against the Government, or find materials for invective and recrimination; but as a friend, he hoped to be admitted to cheer the soldier's bedside. He felt this nation was responsible to Providence for a great waste of human life; and that all efforts should now be used to redeem it, lest an awful visitation should one day come upon us for the blood which was lost, and which better diligence would have saved. He concluded by moving for an— Address for Copies of any Reports from the Hospitals at Smyrna, Renkioi, Anydos, Kululee, or Scutari: Returns from the Naval Hospital at Therapia; stating the number of Sailors admitted, the number discharged, and the number who have died; distinguishing the diseases and wounds: Copies of any Reports made by Sir John M'Neill or other Commissioners, in reference to the sanitary condition of the Camp in the Crimea: And, of any Communications on the health of the Army in the Crimea to the Commander in Chief from the Inspector General there.


said, he would endeavour, as concisely as he could, to afford the information which the hon. Member asked, at least on the more important points. There were two prominent cases for which Dr. Hall had been held responsible—that of Mr. Stowe, and the case alluded to by "An Army Surgeon" in The Times. Certainly, when the hon. Member on a previous occasion asked him (Mr. F. Peel) a question with regard to Mr. Stowe, he understood the hon. Gentleman to insinuate that Dr. Hall had, in a most unfeeling manner and in a spirit of vindictiveness towards this Gentleman, refused to admit him into the military hospital, and he was therefore very glad to hear the hon. Member avow that he had received information which satisfied him that Dr. Hall was not chargeable with the conduct imputed to him in regard to Mr. Stowe. On the next point he could not allow that the hon. Gentleman deserved any credit for the way in which he had brought forward in this House the letter which appeared in The Times from "An Army Surgeon." He had stated to the hon. Gentleman that immediately on the appearance of that letter in the newspaper the Government thought it right to direct that an inquiry should be made in the Crimea before an impartial tribunal into the truth of the statements contained in it. This inquiry was now proceeding, and the result, when communicated to the Government, would undoubtedly be made public, but he was glad, in the meanwhile, that the result which he had looked for from the institution of this inquiry had been anticipated by testimony perfectly impartial, and to which no exception could be taken. A letter had appeared from two civil surgeons attached to the staff who were employed in attending to the wounded on the day of the action in question, and who were able, from their own personal knowledge, to declare that there never had been so gross an imposition upon the credulity of the public, or a statement so utterly at variance with what was really done by the surgeons for the benefit of the wounded soldiers on that occasion. The hon. Gentleman, in the next place, proceeded to refer to extracts from a great number of letters written by surgeons attached to regiments in the Crimea, which were to be found in the appendix to the Report of the Commission appointed by the Duke of Newcastle, and sent out to the Crimea at his instance. It appeared from those letters that at the time to which they referred there was a great deficiency of medical stores, medicines, medical comforts and hospital appliances—that the sick were treated in bell tents, and that they were altogether exposed to great privation in addition to the wounds and sickness from which they were suffering. Now, it had not been stated by the hon. Member with sufficient prominence that these Reports had reference to a time which had long passed by. Those letters represented a state of things which existed in the winter of last year, and he could hardly suppose that the hon. Gentleman desired to know from him whether that state of things remained the same at the present time. It was matter of notoriety that these scenes had long ceased to exist, that the sick were now lodged in hospital buildings which afforded perfect protection against the weather, and that there was an abundance of medicine, medical stores, and of every article which could possibly be required. The hon. Gentleman had referred to a statement by Dr. Anderson, which appeared to convey that Gentleman's impression that Dr. Hall had thrown difficulties in the way of obtaining the supplies he wanted; and, judging from this, the hon. Member's object was to leave on the House the impression that Dr. Hall was undeserving of the confidence placed in him by the Government. Now, Dr. Hall had not denied that at that time there was a deficiency of medical stores and of other articles; but the Commissioners themselves hesitated to declare that Dr. Hall was responsible for this deficiency; and when the House considered how much allowance ought to be made for the difficulties of transport, both by sea and by land, he thought it would be somewhat unjust to hold Dr. Hall wholly responsible for that state of things. The hon. Gentleman, in adverting to the course which the Government had taken in engaging civil surgeons, said that it had resulted in the creation of a rivalry between the civil and military surgeons; that the military surgeons com- plained of the civil surgeons receiving a much higher remuneration than themselves and that the civil surgeons complained of being unfairly treated by the military surgeons, in consequence of being placed under the control of a principal military medical officer. It was quite true that a large number of civil servants had been engaged by the Government, though the number mentioned by the hon. Gentleman probably included those who were serving with the army of Omar Pacha and the Turkish Contingent under General Vivian. No civil surgeons were employed in the field or in the general hospitals in the Crimea, or were mixed up with the military surgeons serving there; but they had been added to the medical staff at Smyrna, to the new hospital at Renkioi, and to the staff employed at one or more of the hospitals at Scutari. They had been employed simply because the military medical corps was insufficient to discharge the whole of the duties required from them, but it was quite untrue that the military medical corps had been in any way reduced, or that the military surgeons were quitting the service in disgust at the course which had been taken by the Government. The hon. Gentleman had drawn an invidious contrast between the pay of the civil and of the military surgeons. Undoubtedly the pay of the civil surgeons was very liberal; but the army surgeons had nothing to complain of, inasmuch as the pay of the civil surgeons included everything to which they were entitled, whereas the military surgeons received additional allowances in the shape of field and servants' allowances, which went far to place their pay on an equality with that received by the civil surgeons. Then, again, the services of the civil surgeon might be dispensed with at any moment, while the employment of the army surgeon was permanent. The hon. Gentleman had adverted to the small amount of labour which the civil surgeons had been called upon to perform, and had endeavoured to account for it by saying that the principal medical officer had an interest in sending the great bulk of cases to the military surgeons, and in withholding from the civil surgeons at Smyrna and elsewhere their fair proportion. The assumption of the hon. Gentleman was entirely erroneous. It was quite true that at present there was a very limited number of sick and wounded soldiers in the hospital at Smyrna, and so there was also at Scutari; the chief reason being that the health of the army was much better than it was anticipated some time ago that it would be, and if the Government had provided more surgeons than there were sick to treat, their error was upon the right side, and he hoped they would continue to be, as they had been of late, in advance of any emergency that might arise. It was confidently said at the beginning of the year that great and severe as the sickness had been in the winter it would be still greater when the hot weather set in. The Government had acted upon the assumption that such might be the case, but he was glad to say that their anticipations had been falsified. Cholera, though it had carried off many victims, might now be said to have disappeared, while the epidemics which occasionally showed themselves were kept under by the army surgeons. It would, however, be most unwise if they were to make no provision for any possible increase of sickness, and, therefore, they had endeavoured to supply hospital accommodation for any amount of sick likely to be thrown upon their hands even in the event of the army being compelled to pass another winter before Sebastopol. For his own part, he was inclined to believe that the fall of Sebastopol might occur before the winter set in. It must, however, be remembered that a similar anticipation was entertained last year, and that the Government, who too confidently expected the fall of Sebastopol before the arrival of winter, were much blamed for not having made provision for every possible contingency. They were anxious not to commit a similar error again, and they had therefore made provision for the army upon the supposition that it would have to pass another winter in the Crimea, and that sickness might prevail to a very great extent. It was with that object that great attention was being paid to the hospitals at Scutari, and that every improvement was being effected which could be suggested by the able men who had been sent from this country to the East for the express purpose of superintending any changes which it might be desirable to make. Dr. Sutherland, one of the Sanitary Commissioners recently sent out by the Government, in a report to Lord Panmure, dated July 17, said— Having just returned from Constantinople, where I have inspected the hospitals at Scutari and Kululee, I lose no time in sending to your Lordship the following general report on their present condition. Speaking generally, the barrack and general hospitals at Scutari, and the greater part of the palace hospital and of the hospital at Kululee, in respect of their sanitary condition at the present season of the year, will bear a favourable comparison with any hospital establishments with which I am acquainted. There are no hospitals which cannot be improved by experience; and, no doubt, the hospitals at Scutari may be further improved; but, taking them as they are, I am justified in stating that the atmosphere within them is as pure as it is in any civil hospital I was ever in, and very much more pure than I have found it in most hospitals. Thus it would be seen that as far as the hospitals at Scutari and Kululee were concerned, nothing could be more satisfactory. The hospital at Smyrna would afford accommodation for only 550 sick, although when the building was handed over to them by the Turkish Government it was intended to make arrangements for 2,000, and the hospital staff had been arranged accordingly. Therefore fifteen of the medical officers appointed to that hospital, would be transferred to the new hospital at Renkioi, which would accommodate 3,000 patients, and would be placed under the charge of civil surgeons. As there were now 2,500 beds vacant in the hospitals at Scutari, and there would be room for 3,000 patients at Renkioi, and for 400 at Smyrna, he thought ample provision had been made for any contingency which might arise. He might observe that Lord W. Paulet having been appointed to a command in the Crimea, Colonel Storks, the late commandant at Smyrna, where he had effected very valuable improvements in the hospital department, had been appointed to succeed Lord Paulet at Scutari. With regard to the nurses, he could only say that there was at present a sufficient number of nurses employed in the hospitals in the East, and it was not the intention of the Government to make any addition to that department. Great complaints had been made of the inefficiency of the orderlies who had been employed in attending upon the sick, and steps had consequently been taken to establish a corps of orderlies for service in the general hospitals. The number of the corps had for the present been fixed at 100, and a sufficient number of orderlies for ten hospitals would thus be obtained. The hon. Member for Northamptonshire had referred to Dr. Smith, and to the constitution of the army medical departments. He (Mr. F. Peel) had stated on a former occasion that Dr. Smith had applied for leave to retire from his post. The Government, recognising the justice of the application in consequence of Dr. Smith's long service, had complied with his re- quest, and he now only held office until his successor was appointed. He (Mr. Peel) was unable to announce the name of his successor; but the matter was under consideration, and the vacancy would be filled up as soon as possible. With regard to the Army Medical Department, it was intended to introduce such reforms as would assimilate the constitution of the Board to that of the new Ordnance Department. Officers would be appointed who would be individually responsible for every distinct branch of the department—as, for instance, for the Purveyors' and the Apothecaries' Departments, and who would be responsible to a superior officer, who would exercise a general control. The public might rest assured that there would be good sense in the mode in which this branch of the duties of the war department would be conducted, and might place confidence in the capacity of the medical service to treat in a proper manner the sickness and wounds to which the army in the East might be subjected. With regard to the first paragraph of the Motion of the hon. Member for Northamptonshire, he (Mr. F. Peel) might observe that he had very recently laid upon the table returns relating to the hospitals in the East, and he had no objection to continue those returns. There was, he believed, no objection on the part of the Admiralty to furnish the returns for which the hon. Gentleman asked with respect to the naval hospital at Therapia. The hon. Gentleman also asked for the Reports of Sir J.M'Neill, and the other Commissioners who had been sent out to ascertain the sanitary condition of the camp in the Crimea. He (Mr. F. Peel) believed that no complete Report had been received on that subject, but the communications made to the Government by those Commissioners consisted of letters which had passed between themselves and the Commander in Chief, and which could not be produced; but when the Commissioners made a formal Report it should be laid before the House.


hoped the attention of the Government would be directed to the painful position of many officers of the army, who had arrived in this country from the seat of war sick and wounded. Some time ago he asked whether the Government had taken any steps towards hiring houses for the accommodation of such persons. They all knew that the pay of a subaltern officer was so small that it was quite impossible he could afford to hire lodgings in the metropolis, and yet such persons were obliged to reside there in order to obtain military attendance, gratis. He did hope that the subject would be taken into serious consideration by the Government, with the view of providing the requisite accommodation for a class of officers who were daily and hourly arriving from the Crimea.


observed that he had not stated he had received any complaints on the part of the civilian surgeons with regard to the rate of their pay. He regretted that the hon. Gentleman had not alluded to the state of the transport service, and that he had said nothing as to the intention of the Government to bestow any honours or decorations on the medical department of the army. He would strike out from his Motion that part of it which related to the Reports of Sir J. M'Neill.

Motion for the Returns, as amended, agreed to.