HC Deb 13 June 1856 vol 142 cc1402-3

said, at the request of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Boldero), he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty that, as, since the peace was ratified, upwards of sixty naval officers of every rank under that of flag officer have been promoted, why no officers of the Royal Marines have been noticed; and while, on the 6th day of June, 1856, twenty-eight majors and ninety-one captains of the army have received brevet rank, no marine officer has been included: and, if the marine force employed in the Baltic and Black Sea have done their duty to their Sovereign and country, if it was his opinion they should be excluded from favourable consideration?


said, he had no difficulty whatever in answering the question, but although the observation did not apply to the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Buck), who had asked it, he did not think it was quite the form in which questions ought to be put. It was not quite fair for the hon. and gallant Member for Chippenham (Colonel Boldero) to insinuate blame without taking the trouble to ascertain the facts. The marine force had done their duty. It was not his opinion that they should be excluded from favourable consideration, and they had not been excluded from favourable consideration as a short statement would show. It was not a fair mode of stating the question —that "as so many officers in the army had received brevet rank, &c." Brevet rank was no test of merit. It might happen that officers in the army would not receive, and that marine officers would receive, brevet rank, or vice versâ, because brevet rank depended on the services performed by individual officers, and had not the slightest reference to the numbers engaged in the campaign. But in point of fact, for services in the Baltic, eight, and for services in the Black Sea, ten marine officers had received brevet rank. Eighteen officers of marines had, therefore, received brevet rank for their services during the last two years, and if the number of officers employed, the nature of the service, and the greater opportunities which officers in the army had of distinguishing themselves were taken into account, he thought the marine corps had no ground of complaint.