§ House in Committee.
§ (1.) £500,000, Land Forces, on account.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, he would now beg to bring under the notice of the Committee the expediency of changing the present system of submitting to our consideration the military expenditure of the year in one Estimate. He considered that the Estimates should be made out in so clear a mariner that they could be easily comprehended; but he was obliged to say that such was not the case in those before the House. It was impossible to master in a week the contents of a, volume relating to a number of items which had no connection one with another, spread over 142 pages. The difficulty of understanding the Estimates in their present form was proved by the fact that the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Monsell) took two or three hours to explain them, and when he ended those who had listened to him knew as little about them as when he began. He had no intention to offer any opposition to any of the Votes; but he would suggest that in future the Estimates should be divided into sections, each section embracing all the items of one subject. In the Commissariat, for instance, no just conclusion could be come to as to the expense of that service, because it ran through twenty or thirty items spread through the entire of the Estimates. An advantage of the classification he suggested would be to enable those Members of the Government who had charge of each particular Vote to state to the House all that was requisite to be known in respect to such Vote. That would also be 1727 an immense advantage to the House in enabling them to understand the particular subject as well as the entire Vote. He would refer, as a pattern, to the Army Estimates laid before the House in 1827; they were signed by the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Palmerston), and the Ordnance Estimates by Lord Hardinge. In the Estimates of that year the Army Estimates contained twenty, the Ordnance fifteen, the militia three, and the Commissariat ten Votes; altogether forty-eight Votes in the whole Estimates, and yet the amount of the cost was not more than half of the cost for the same service in the present year—namely, £35,000,000 and upwards, and yet the present Estimate was divided into only twenty-one Votes. It was therefore of the greatest importance that there should be separate Votes for each subject. Curtailing this number was certainly curtailing the information of the House. He suggested that, taking the present year as a model, there should be a section for the effective and non-effective of the army, a section for the commissariat, a section for barracks, including encampments, and one for stores, which was an item of vast magnitude. It would be seen that there was matter enough in these four sections to classify. There should then be a section for the scientific branch, and he was of opinion that the survey of Ireland, depending for the last ten years, should be closed; that section to embrace also the military college and other departments of a scientific character, of which the importance was admitted, but of which the expense was not known. He had no objection to binding them all up together; but it would, he was satisfied, be found the most convenient course that could be adopted. As regarded the Estimates of the effective force of the army, he did not think them correct; a person looking at them would deem the effective force of the army stronger than it really was. The non-effective Estimate he believed was correct. Then there were the civil establishments (which had nothing to do with the army), and several other items, equally incorrect. With regard to the cost of the army, it amounted to £45 per man per annum for 246,672 officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, For 126,950 officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates of the militia the cost was £25 per man per annum. For the Land Transport Corps some mistake would seem to have been made; 9,002 officers, 1728 non-commissioned officers, and men only were added to the numerical strength of the army; while pay was set down as for 14,729, 5,720 were foreigners, who were not added to the strength of the army. [Mr. F. PEEL said they were natives.] They were natives, but nevertheless they belonged to the force; and they cost £18 per man per annum. The Land Transport Corps was the "old Waggon Train Corps" under a new name; and he did not think the change or the centralisation to which it had been subjected at all for the better. Then there was the Army Works Corps, 3,470 in number. These should belong to the Sappers and Miners, with whom he (Colonel Boldero) had served for twenty years, and of whom he would say with perfect confidence there was nothing which the new corps did that they could not do. He thought, therefore, instead of creating a new corps, the Sappers and Miners should be increased. Well, the Army Works Corps had at its head a chief superintendent, a civil engineer at £1,500 a year, a sum for which three field officers of the Royal Engineers could be obtained, who would be equally useful as regarded the construction of railways, and far more intelligent in the field than a civilian could pretend to be. Then there was a superintendent of works, with a salary of £800, and two assistant superintendents, with salaries of £500 each. In fact, with higher pay than a general in command of a division of the army. He particularly wished to call the attention of the Government to this discrepancy, which would be the cause of great and just dissatisfaction in the army. The 3,470 officers and men of this corps cost on the average £117 per annum per man, and he maintained that the work could be done equally well by the Royal Engineers for far less money—as the excellent reports of Engineer officers employed by the Government to inspect railways, Colonel Wynne for instance, clearly proved. If Engineer officers were competent to inspect such lines as the Eastern Counties Railway, and had the confidence of the Government, he thought there could be no doubt of their capacity to construct a seven-miles line of railway such as that from Balaklava to the lines. He wished to know why the Estimates did not give the number of men in the Turkish Contingent, the Vote for which was £300,000? Then there was the camp at Aldershot, which was a heavy expense that should be kept under control. Money was 1729 absolutely flung away in building huts one day which had to be taken down the next, and in laying foundations which would not answer the purpose for which they were laid. He believed as large a sum as £250,000 had been expended in the erection of barracks at Aldershot. Why, then, was not the whole cost made evident, as in the other items? He should like to know what Aldershot had really cost up to this time, and also who had selected it for an encampment. He would be told, he supposed, that it was the duty of the Engineer's department; but that he denied; it was the duty of the Quartermaster General's department. But there could be no doubt that whoever had selected it had committed a gross mistake. Frederick the Great had given an excellent piece of advice to his staff, and it was an axiom that had been always acted upon by the Duke of Wellington—it was, to take care never to select a site for an encampment unless there were a stream of water or a river running through it. It must be admitted that that was a most essential thing; but here there was only a canal, the water of which could not be made available, as it was private property. It was the same with the camp at Colchester, with the addition that there was not sufficient room there for artillery or cavalry manœuvres. Then there was Woolwich, where the system of centralisation was proposed to be carried on upon a most enormous scale; large sums being to be expended upon making it a grand depot for stores worth millions. Ten years since the stores at Woolwich were valued at £1,200,000, without the buildings, and the Government of the day got frightened at such a mass of property being concentrated under one roof. In the case of fire, either accidental or the act of an incendiary, with a strong breeze, England might have been disarmed in one night. In the fire at the Tower 400,000 to 500,000 muskets were destroyed. Luckily their destruction proved advantageous to the country, by facilitating the introduction of percussion locks into the army. When the Tower was rebuilt, and it was again proposed to make it an armoury, Sir George Murray, then Master General of the Ordnance, with that good sense which always characterised him, protested strongly against it. If Woolwich were to be made the armoury of England, and a similar fate were to befall it, he (Colonel Boldero) shuddered for the consequences. He should also add that muskets now cost £3 5s. 1730 each; Government should therefore distribute the arms in various armouries. There was another mischief in connection with Woolwich as a sole armoury for the kingdom: it was totally undefended. No nation in the world but England would trust such a mass of military stores in a place so completely open to attack from every quarter. Suppose, for instance, in the course of the war that only three heavily-armed steamers of the enemy should escape our cruisers, and find their way up the Thames. The only obstacles in their way would be Tilbury Fort, and another on the other side, which they might knock to pieces in half an hour; and though it might be that not one of the three would ever return to their own country, they would probably be enabled to destroy Woolwich before they were captured or destroyed themselves. He congratulated the Committee on its rejection of the Vote of £200,000 for a small arms factory at Woolwich, proposed two years since, as it would have had the effect of paralysing the armament of the country, the gun manufacturers of Birmingham and Manchester having declined not to erect costly machinery in the face of such competition on the part of the Government. He was opposed to the concentration and centralisation into one focus of all the military stores of the country, and he hoped the House of Commons would put a check upon the propensity of Government to that effect. With respect to the item for forage in the Estimates, he thought it most extravagant, when three tons of hay might be bought and the freight out paid on it for £14; while oats and barley could be had in the countries contiguous to the seat of the war at as low a price, at least, as they would cost in this country. He would conclude by hoping that the Government would give its attention to the subject, and adopt his suggestion.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he must remind the Committee that they were considering the Vote for the charge for the Land Forces; and he thought that the hon. and gallant Gentleman himself had afforded a practical refutation of the objection he had made to the form of the Estimates; for he found no difficulty in embracing a great variety of the items and the total of the Vote in his remarks. He (Mr. Peel) could not lay claim to any merit in the preparation of the Estimates. They were the work of gentlemen in the War Office who had devoted themselves to their preparation with much assiduity, and 1731 who had, in his opinion, presented them in a very lucid and intelligible form. He did not think that any of the recommendations made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Boldero) were worthy of adoption. The hon. and gallant Gentleman wished the Votes for the Army services to be divided into sections, and to be given in greater detail; but it should be remembered the different branches, such as the commissariat and medical departments, were divisible into two branches—namely, the men attached to them, and the supplies granted for them. It was better, he considered, to give, in one consolidated Estimate, the total expenditure for the military service of the country, instead of giving, as was done by the old practice, the expenditure for one portion of the force in one Estimate, and that for another portion in another Estimate; and the present method naturally followed upon the consolidation of all the branches of the War Department under the Secretary of State for War. The first five Votes showed the whole military force of the country, and its cost; one Vote including the regular Army, another the embodied Militia, another the Volunteer forces, and another the Army Works Corps. In this way the first five Votes were disposed of. Votes from 6 to 9 provided for all the civil and executive establishments connected with the administration of the military force, such as the office of the Horse Guards, the office of the War Department, and the other civil establishments, including the pay of all the labourers and artificers employed in them. Then followed the Votes for the expense of the supplies and stores of the army, No. 10 was for the clothing and commissariat, and, in Vote No. 11, the Ordnance stores. Next came the Votes for the educational and scientific departments of the army, which concluded the effective Votes. After those remained the non-effective Votes; and nothing could be more simple and intelligible than that arrangement. As for the remarks which the hon. and gallant Gentleman had made upon some Votes which were not then before the Committee, when he said that the pay of the Superintendent of the Army Works Corps was equal to the pay of three field officers of Engineers, and equal to that of a general officer, he ought to remember that the three field officers would not have altogether under their command as many men as were under the command of the Superintendent of the Army Works Corps, who had as many under his command as a general 1732 of division in the army. It should be remembered also that a general officer got something, in addition to his pay, in the shape of field allowances and other allowances, which altogether nearly doubled his pay, whilst the salary of the Superintendent of the Army Works Corps included all that he received. In answer to the hon. and gallant Gentleman's inquiry about the number of the Turkish Contingent, it was agreed by the convention with Turkey that 20,000 men should be placed by Turkey in the service and under the pay of Great Britain; and by that time, within about 2,000, that amount of force had been handed over to the British Government by Turkey. The force was at present stationed at Kertch.
§ Mr. W. WILLIAMS
said, he quite agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Colonel Boldero), that it was impossible for a Committee of the whole House to make anything of the variety of items which the forty-two closely-printed pages of the Vote now under consideration contained. He wished for some explanation of several items; these were, £34,500, extra allowances to 360 officers of Engineers; £10,000 allowances to the same, for servants; £78,742 contingent allowances to captains; £11,757 allowances to the Foot Guards; and £43,385 to officiating chaplains for Divine service. He wished to know whether these last were ministers of all religions, or only of the Established Church. Were Dissenting Ministers permitted to participate in the grant?
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
replied that the extra allowances to Engineer officers, I at the rate of about £100 each, were given instead of other privileges to which officers of the line were entitled. As the Engineer officers at home were not, like those, of the line, quartered in barracks, they were allowed extra pay to the amount, when at home, of half their ordinary pay; and when they were abroad they had double pay, instead of all the field allowances which were issued to the other officers of, the army. The vote for Divine service was intended to provide for the clergy of all denominations attached to the army in the East—namely, those of the Church of England, of the Church of Rome, and of the Presbyterian Church, at the rate of about £150 a year for each minister.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he took exception to the mode in which the Commander in Chief, Lord Hardinge, was remunerated. He understood that the pay which the Commander in Chief received 1733 was that belonging to his rank in the army. Now when Lord Hardinge was first appointed Commander in Chief he was only a lieutenant general, and his pay in that rank was only £1,383; but immediately after his appointment he was made a full general, in which rank he received £3,458 7s. 6d. per annum; and now he was advanced to be a field marshal (which must be presumed to have been done upon his own recommendation, since it lately appeared that for all promotions the Commander in Chief was responsible); and in consequence of his attaining the rank of field marshal his salary had been raised to the sum of £6,000 a year, less only 6s. 3d. Now, when Lord Hill was Commander in Chief, he received, as a general, £3,458 7s. 6d. a year; and the Duke of Wellington himself filled the office of Commander in Chief for some years, receiving the same amount of pay. He considered that it was desirable that the Commander in Chief should have a fixed salary, like any other Government officer. His duties were not of a very arduous kind; they consisted of the dispensation of patronage and the superintendence of the discipline of the army, which latter would probably depend more upon the generals of division abroad and the commanders of districts at home. Why should the Commander in Chief be paid £1,000 a year more than the Secretary of War, the First Lord of the Admiralty, or either of the Secretaries of State? The Master General of the Ordnance used to be paid a fixed salary of £3,000, for which the duties of that office had been performed by the Marquess of Anglesey, himself a field marshal; and the Commander in Chief should be remunerated in the same manner.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that it was true that the rate of pay belonging to the Commander in Chief had been stated in the Estimates as the pay of a field marshal holding that office; but he was glad to say, and he was sure that the hon. Member for Lambeth would have much satisfaction in hearing, that within a few days of the rank of field marshal being conferred upon Lord Hardinge, he of his own accord notified to the War Department that it was not his intention to draw any other pay than that of a general officer.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he heard that with great pleasure, and if the pay had not been put down in the Estimates as that of a Field Marshal Commanding in Chief, he should not have made those observations 1734 upon it. He noticed also the charge of £179,000 for field allowances to the officers, and £639,000 for field allowances to the men; this, he supposed, was the extra sixpence a day, which the poor fellows had well deserved by their bravery and sufferings. The increase of £12,400 for the staff at home, and the increase of £10,900 for the medical staff, were not to have been expected at a time when the greater part of our army was abroad. He did not think that general officers, who were colonels of regiments, ought to have £1,000 a year for the sinecure office of colonel.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
, in reply, said, that the increased expense of the staff at home, both general and medical, was obviously owing to the increased duties which had devolved upon head quarters, where the business transacted in the offices of the Quartermaster General and of the Adjutant General was now very great, so as to make it necessary to have a Deputy Quartermaster General and an Assistant Adjutant General appointed to carry on the business and correspondence requisite for so large an army. The camps at Aldershot and the Curragh, where a large number of troops were collected, also required a considerable staff. Moreover, it was not the fact that the army now in this country was so much below its amount before the war, but, on the contrary, it was rather larger now, because, the regiments having all been raised to their war establishment, only half the men of each regiment were in the Crimea, and the remainder formed a depôt at home; and those depôts did altogether form a considerable force. To these must be added the whole of the embodied militia, 50,000 men, under the orders of the Horse Guards. The hon. Member was likewise in error if he supposed there was less demand for medical men in this country now than there was in time of peace. He should not forget that the invalids who returned from the Crimea, most of them, went into hospital in this country, and that new hospitals had been established at Portsmouth and at Chichester, which required an expensive medical staff. The pay of colonels of regiments had been of late years reduced; it was formerly £1,200 a year, and now it was at the uniform rate of £1,000 a year, of which from £500 to £600 represent the compensation for the clothing profits, and the remainder was not more than the pay of a general officer unattached. The hon. Member would surely not object to general officers unattached 1735 being paid at the rate of 25s. a day; those who were colonels of regiments did not draw that pay, but received the same amount, with the addition of the compensation for clothing profits, as their colonel's pay.
said, he must also complain that he found the Estimates extremely confused. The explanations of the expenditure were very inexplicable, and the elucidations of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Peel) rather added to the obscurity. He very much doubted whether the Government had shown real economy in their expenditure. The first Vote was for a very large sum, and it extended over forty pages of the Estimates. When they came to the papers relating to the different corps it was impossible to comprehend the state of things. The item relative to the German Legion would show the singular confusion in which the Estimates were framed. There was, after certain other expenses, an item of £52,000 for knapsacks and colours for the German Legion. That appeared to him a very extravagant Estimate. Then the Turkish Contingent was an expensive corps, without affording half the service which an equal number of our own troops would have rendered. He defied any one to comprehend the Estimates, and the more he was acquainted with the subject the greater would be his bewilderment. He thought the organisation of the War Department ought to be explained, and at the fitting time he should put questions on that important subject. Returning to the German Legion; where was the levy money; where were the bounties; where was the pay of the Turkish Contingent officers; where was the Medical Staff pay? If peace took place he was satisfied the country would demand an explanation of the expenses of the war, and he trusted the hon. Gentleman would be able to give some little information on the subject that night. He did not mean to make any opposition to the Votes, as it would not be politic at that moment, but he hoped the hon. Gentleman would favour the Committee with some explanations, and especially with respect to the expenses of the German Legion.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that the pay and allowances in the German Legion were precisely the same as in the British army. With respect to the cost of raising that force, that came under the head of levy money, which was paid under stipulation to certain officers, who undertook 1736 the whole expense of agencies throughout Germany. A certain sum, for example, was paid to Baron Stutterheim for the German Legion, to cover the expense of agency necessary to collect the men and forward them to this country. The men received their bounty on arriving here. A similar arrangement was made with the Committee of Organization who had charge of raising the Swiss Legion, only that the sum was rather less, and it was still less again for the Italian Legion, because the soldiers enlisted in that country would not be brought to England, but would be sent to Malta and other places. Those legions would probably be put into brigades, and attached to English divisions, and the staff would then undergo revision. With regard to the Turkish Contingent, the sum of £300,000 was intended to provide the whole artillery, cavalry, engineers, and infantry of that force, including the Bashi Bazouks. The officers received a high rate of pay, in order to enlist the services of men competent to discipline such troops. Experience had shown that the attempt had been so far successful; and when it was said half the number of English troops would have been as efficient, he should like to be told where to find them. He had also been asked where the pay of the civil medical officers was provided for. It was provided for under the item of "Hospital expenses"—the amount charged being £187,184. If that amount were analysed, it would be found that about £127,000 was for rationing, the remaining £60,000 being for medical men employed here, at Smyrna, and at the civil hospitals at Scutari.
said, he wished to inquire whether the order prohibiting permanent officers on the staff had been rescinded? He found that some of the officers were still retaining permanent staff appointments. For instance, the present Deputy Quartermaster General had £691 19s. 7d. for his staff pay in addition to his ordinary pay, making more than £1,000 a year.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he was not aware of the case to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman alluded; but he should certainly imagine that an officer holding a permanent staff appointment would not receive the full pay of his regiment.
§ MR. OTWAY
said, he heard a complaint the other evening in that House, that various Returns had been circulated 1737 in the morning in which all mention of the services of certain officers was omitted. The complaint he had now to make was of quite a contrary description. It was that the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for War had attributed to certain officers services which they never could have had an opportunity of performing. The hon. Gentleman had alluded to the distinguished services of Captain Smythe in the Sutlej; but as he (Mr. Otway) happened to be smoking the pipe of peace with Captain Smythe, at Chichester barracks, about the time of the Sutlej campaigns, it was clear that officer could not have taken any part in those campaigns. A similar mistake was also made with regard to the services of the Assistant Adjutant General at the Cape of Good Hope. With regard to the salary of the Commander in Chief he was glad to hear the explanation of the hon. Gentleman on the increase of that salary. He would ask, however, not at all with reference to Lord Hardinge, whether it was to be understood that in future the Commander in Chief should, as in other countries, receive a fixed salary instead of receiving increased pay as he might be promoted in rank. In answer to the remark of the hon. Under Secretary for War as to the difficulty of raising troops, he (Mr. Otway) would guarantee to show an effective force of from 6,000 to 8,000 men—Englishmen, who might be had at any moment—well-seasoned and excellent soldiers. He referred to our removing certain troops from India. All authorities were in favour of such men, for they were inured to the climate, and in a high state of efficiency. A very general complaint had been made that the officers now filling the ranks of captains and senior lieutenants, and even that of major in the Crimea were mere lads, in consequence of the casualties of the war. What was the average of service of the subalterns in India? They would find that subalterns served ten, twelve, and even fourteen years in India. The Government, therefore had the power of filling the ranks at the seat of war with experienced officers. The plan which he would propose to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Peel), supposing the war continued in the Crimea, or we had a second war, was this—There were twenty-two infantry regiments now in India, and if out of those they embarked two regiments from the Madras side and two from the Bombay side, the Government would have 4,000 additional effective bayonets in 1738 the Crimea for the reinforcement of their army in the field. He might be told that the Governor General would object to these troops leaving India, but any person who had served in India would be ready to admit that the Indian people took very little note of what a regiment was composed of—whether of old soldiers or young soldiers, whether 500 strong or 700 strong. All the people asked was, "What are the number of regiments at such a place?" He proposed to give all those regiments a second battalion, and to send 400 men from each regiment to the seat of war. Those who remained would form a nucleus for the second battalions, and the young recruits from this country might be sent out to India, where, in course of time, they would become as effective soldiers as those composing the first battalions.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, in reply to the question of the hon. Gentleman, that imagined the precedent set by Lord Hardinge would be followed by any future field marshal commanding in chief at the Horse Guards. With regard to the hon. Gentleman's remarks on the appointment to the office of Assistant Adjutant General at the Cape of Good Hope, he could only say that, as the hon. Gentleman had not given him notice of his intention to bring the subject before the House, he was unable to afford him any information. The hon. Gentleman would find from the Estimates that his suggestion, that the army in the Crimea should be recruited from India, had already been adopted by the Government, for two regiments of cavalry had been conveyed from India for the augmentation of our forces in the Crimea.
§ SIR CHARLES NAPIER
, said, he wished to have some explanation with regard to the charge in the Estimate for the cost of medals. He might observe that he had watched with great attention the last two promotions to the Order of the Bath, and he must say that he had never seen more unsatisfactory promotions in the whole course of his service. The Statutes of that Order seemed to him to have been set totally and entirely at defiance. He believed it was required by those Statutes that a man must be a Companion of the Order before he could be appointed a K.C.B., but officers both of the army and the navy had been appointed K.C.B's. without having ever been Companions of the Order. He had seen officers who had served with him, and who had never seen a shot fired in the whole 1739 course of their lives, made K.C.B's. On the other hand he knew most distinguished officers—old Peninsular officers who went through the whole Peninsular war,—who had received five, six, or seven clasps, and who had been severely wounded, who had not received the distinction of the Bath. He might mention as an instance General Shaw Kennedy, one of the most distinguished officers in the British army, who was regarded by the Duke of Wellington as one of his best officers, and whose name was omitted from the lists of promotions in the Order of the Bath lately issued. Some naval officers who had served with him (Sir C. Napier) in the Baltic had been made C.B's. and K.C.B's., while others, who had performed precisely similar services, had not received the distinction. One Admiral said, "I am ashamed to put the order on. I wish I had not got it. I never asked for it, and I did not want it. I am sorry I have got it, and I am ashamed to wear it." He (Sir C. Napier) intended to move that a copy of the Statutes of the Order of the Bath be laid upon the table, together with a list of all officers whose names appeared in the last two promotions on account of their services, and a list of those officers who had served in the Peninsula, and who had not received the Order of the Bath, with a statement of the number of clasps they had obtained. Me hoped, when that Return was produced, that if the Government would not do anything the House would make a stir, and insist upon the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the manner in which the Order of the Bath was bestowed. He could assure the Committee that that order was now regarded with the most perfect indifference. Many officers looked upon it almost with contempt, and said, "What is the advantage of our service, when there is no chance of obtaining such a distinction except through the influence of a friend at Court?" He might mention the case of another officer, although he was rather chary of doing so, because he was his brother, who served through the Peninsular war, who was in all the principal battles, who was twice wounded, who lost his arm, but who was at that moment only a C.B.
said, he must beg to express his gratification that the hon. and gallant Admiral had brought this subject under the notice of the Committee, and he wished to avail himself of the opportunity 1740 to mention the cases of one or two officers. The first was the case of a most distinguished officer, Major General Freeth, the late Quartermaster General, who served in that office for forty-two years. He did not suppose that gallant officer would be made a K.C.B., because he had for so long a period held such an appointment; but what were the services of General Freeth? The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) had the other evening been pleased to refer to "carpet knights," but it would, he believed, be generally acknowledged that there were few officers in the British army to whom such a term could be applied, for our officers, if they were not exposed to the fire of the enemy, were exposed to the noxious influence of unhealthy and pestilent climates. Well, what were services of General Freeth? He had the war medal and eight clasps for Fuentes d'Onor, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Burgos, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Pampeluna, Nivelle, and Nive; and there was but one feeling of regret throughout the whole army that that distinguished soldier had been allowed to retire from an office which he had so long held with the utmost credit to himself, and with the greatest advantage to the service, without having received any mark of distinction whatever. He (Colonel North) might also refer to the case of a gallant officer whose name he mentioned last year in connection with the good service pensions granted by Her Majesty—he alluded to Major General Derinzy. That officer fought at Walcheren, at Badajoz, at Albuera, at Ciudad Rodrigo, at Salamanca, Vittoria, Pampeluna, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes, and Toulouse. He had seen fifty years' service; he was severely wounded through both knees at Corunna; he was slightly wounded in the left arm at Flushing; he was dangerously wounded through the body at the battle of Nivelle, and was left on the field for dead; he was twice wounded at the battle of Toulouse, and he received the British and Portugese gold medals for his gallant conduct on that occasion; he had gained eleven clasps, and yet, with all his wounds and services, he was not even a C.B. How could the Government or the country expect to get soldiers to serve them when distinguished officers were subjected to such treatment?
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he thought the House of Commons were not the most competent judges of the relative 1741 merits of officers, with reference to the grant of honours to be conferred by the Crown. He was certainly of opinion that if the House should be pleased to take into their hands to pick out the officers who were fitted to receive the different degrees of Orders of the Bath, those honours would become the subjects of canvass in Parliament, instead of being awarded according to the judgment of the authorities at the head of the army, who must be the most competent judges of the relative merits of officers who might be candidates for honours of this kind. He thought such a course, instead of improving the feeling of the army, would lead officers to believe that the way to acquire honours was to get some friend to come down to the House, and to complain that distinctions had been conferred upon certain officers, while others had been passed over. A feeling would thus be created in the army that they must look to the House of Commons for these rewards instead of to the Crown. He would not enter into the merits of General Freeth, who was a very distinguished officer, and who had performed for many years, with great credit to himself, and with great advantage to the country, the duties of Quartermaster-General; but he was sure it must be felt that the performance of the duties of that officer at home was not exactly the kind of service which rendered the person by whom it was discharged the fittest for promotion, on that account, in the Order of the Bath. He did not in the least degree mean to question General Freeth's distinguished service during the last war, but would observe that the distinction of the Bath was conferred for military and naval services, and not for the performance of official duties connected with any department at home. He was also inclined to believe that his hon. and gallant Friend (Sir C. Napier) was mistaken in supposing that an officer could not be appointed to the higher degrees of the Order without having previously passed through a lower grade.
§ SIR JOSHUA WALMSLEY
said, he thought the Committee were discussing the Army Estimates, and not the merits of individual officers, or whether one or the other was most entitled to medals or orders, and he would endeavour to return to the real question before the Committee. His hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Otway) had suggested that it would have been much better had the Secretary at War ordered two or three cavalry regiments 1742 from India to Turkey. He (Sir J. Walmsley) was able to inform him that there were many Indian officers now employed in the Turkish Contingent and Osmanli Irregular Cavalry, and he was enabled to state on undoubted authority that those forces were most effective, and perhaps better fitted for the duty in Turkey Shan any other troops, and especially the cavalry, who were said to consist of Albanians and other of the finest men in Turkey. They were officered by some of the ablest men of our own army, mostly Englishmen. One officer, General Smith, who had recently gone out to take command of that force, was one of the most distinguished cavalry officers in India, where he had served for many years, and at a recent review of the Osmanli cavalry at Shumla, General Shirley expressed his pleasure and surprise at the superior and efficient condition of the force. They were now acclimatised, and the best calculated to meet the Russian Cossacks of any troops that could be found; and if he might take the Estimates for his guide, they cost little more than one-half of our regular army in the Crimea. The cost of transport of cavalry from India, of which his hon. Friend (Mr. Otway) had spoken, would have been infinitely greater. He was not disposed either to subsidise other nations, nor to employ foreign troops more than could possibly be avoided. In the emergency we had just passed through, it was the best and wisest course that could be followed, and he, for one, gave the Secretary at War great credit for the energy and ability he had brought to bear, nor could he forget that he (the Secretary at War) had taken the most efficient means to avoid anything like favouritism by confiding the selection of officers to Colonel Graham, a country gentleman, though a military man, whose independence would not be questioned, and who had been able to withstand every temptation laid in his way. He believed that the Turkish Contingent and the Osmanli Horse were most efficient.
CAPTAIN LEICESTER VERNON
said, he wished to draw attention to a subject connected with the Quartermaster General's department which he thought required explanation. That department last year consisted of General Freeth, the Quartermaster General, Colonel Clarke, Assistant Quartermaster General, but performing the duties of Deputy Quartermaster General, and another Assistant Quartermaster General. The office of Deputy Quartermaster General 1743 had not been filled up for thirty years, but last year Lord Hardinge thought it necessary to increase the staff by filling up that appointment. Colonel Clarke had been brought from Ireland to the Horse Guards upon a distinct understanding that he was to occupy the second place in that department, and when the staff was increased it was natural to expect that he would have been appointed Deputy Quartermaster General. That, however, was not done, but General Torrens received the appointment, from which he was soon afterwards removed and sent to Paris as a Military Commissioner. In course of time General Freeth retired, and General Airey was appointed Quartermaster General. Colonel Clarke might then have reasonably expected that he would succeed to the post vacated by Sir Richard Airey, but he was disappointed, and Colonel Gordon, who had been an ensign at the time Colonel Clarke commanded as lieutenant colonel the Scots Greys, was appointed Deputy Quartermaster General. By that arrangement Colonel Gordon was placed over his senior officer, and to get rid of that difficulty the Horse Guards sent for Colonel Clarke, and inquired his wishes. He desired to have the command of a cavalry brigade in the Crimea, but was refused, as it was not the intention of the authorities to send out officers from home to take commands in the East. Colonel Clarke had long desired such a command, for which he was admirably fitted, being distinguished as a cavalry officer, and well known for his acquaintance with all branches of his profession, his persevering study of which had first recommended him to Sir Edward Blakeney, who introduced him to the Horse Guards, for he had no personal influence to assist him. However, his wish was not complied with, but he went down to Newport, where he died. He (Captain Vernon) wished to know why it was that Colonel Clarke was passed over in the redistribution of the offices in the Quartermaster General's Department?
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
, in reply, said, that no remonstrance had been received at the War Office on the subject to which the hon. and gallant Officer had referred.
§ CAPTAIN SCOBELL
said, he knew that great dissatisfaction existed among officers on account of the way in which the Order of the Bath had lately been conferred. Within the last forty-eight hours an officer of high rank had shown him the names of four officers, two of whom had received the order and two had not. They presented 1744 so signal an example of the mode in which the Order was conferred that he had promised, on the representation being authenticated, to call the attention of the Government to the subject. In fact, it appeared to him that those officers entitled to the Order had not got it, and that those had got it who were not entitled to it.
said, that if they allowed themselves to get into a discussion upon personal matters, the debate would become as confused as the Estimates they were discussing. He really was quite unable to decipher those Estimates. Where, for instance, was the distinction drawn as to the expenditure of the Foreign Legion? It was mixed up with that for our own service. At least, so it would seem. Again, the field allowances were all lumped togegether in one enormous sum of nearly £100,000. The Land Transport Corps would, from the Estimates, seem to have had in its service 24,000 animals, but he did not believe so large a number ever existed at one time in the Crimea. So far from it, indeed, was the real state of the case, that it would be found from the reports of General Airey and Colonel Gordon, that half the miseries which our army had endured were to be attributed to the inefficiency of the supply of animals, and the general incompleteness of the Land Transport Corps. It seemed, moreover, that the number of waggons was entirely deficient, and that the English waggons which had been sent out to the Crimea had been immediately condemned as unfit for use. Yet there was the enormous charge of £1,293,000 put down in the Estimates for waggons. A result so disastrous in its consequences must have proceeded from incompetency in some quarter, and he trusted that our land transport service would be better managed for the future. The Commissariat Department also appeared to be in great confusion. Its duties were not properly defined. On the whole, he thought the public money had been laid out extravagantly. It was to be hoped that the Government, profiting by the lesson which they had received, would speedily organise an efficient Quartermaster General's Department.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that there had certainly not been collected together 24,000 animals at any one time in the Crimea; but he might observe that at the end of last year the number of animals had amounted to upwards of 18,000, while 10,000 had died off during the preceding 1745 portion of the year—a calculation which placed the entire number collected considerably above 24,000. The object of the Vote for the Land Transport Corps was, to make a provision for the organisation of a military train which might remove from place to place not alone the ammunition, but the provisions and ambulance necessary for the army. Supplies of that description could of course be only removed by horses, and those horses must be guided by men who would form a corps whose pay was included in the Vote for the Land Transport Service. The establishment upon any fixed plan of a military train of the description of that to which he had just referred, must of course be an undertaking of no small difficulty, inasmuch as it must vary with the demands of the army, and the nature of the country in which that army might be called upon to act. The Land Transport Corps had in the first instance been under the control of Colonel M'Murdo, but since the return to England of that gallant officer it had been placed under the command of Colonel Wetherall, and had been in several respects remodelled. It was now in contemplation that the corps in connection with the Land Transport Service should consist of 8,000 or 10,000 men, who were to be divided into battalions corresponding in number to the divisions of the army, and that each division should have attached to it one of those battalions. He might, before he sat down, be permitted to say, in reference to the Commissariat Department, that having last year been placed under the direction of the Secretary for War, a recent change had been made in its regard, by which a portion of the duties connected with it had been transferred to the Treasury. The Commissariat officers had previously had two distinct duties to discharge, the one to provide supplies for the army, the other to replenish the military chest, either by means of the receipt of specie from this country, or the drawing of bills upon the Treasury. Now, the latter duty was strictly of a financial character, and ought to be superintended by the financial department of the Government. Some time, however, must be absorbed in the organisation of a staff of Treasury officers to discharge the financial business of the Commissariat, and, pending that organisation, the Commissariat officers would perform the financial duties of their department, but would be responsible for their proper performance to the Treasury, and not to the Secretary for War.
said, that the efficiency of the army, to a great extent, depended upon the organisation of the Land Transport Service, and that the Government were chargeable with the commission of grave blunders in connection with that organisation. Vast expense had been incurred in connection with it, and yet no considerable results had been as yet produced. The fact was, that at the period in 1855, when the sufferings of our gallant troops were at their height, there had not been above 4,000 animals collected for the Land Transport Service in the Crimea. Colonel M'Murdo, it was true, had done all in his power to render it efficient, but he could not effect impossibilities. He had received no assistance in his efforts to organise a Land Transport corps, and the consequence had been that the few animals under his charge had died of neglect and starvation. Now, a similar state of things still prevailed, and it was desirable that the attention of the Government should be carefully directed to a subject so important, with a view to providing a remedy for what all must admit was a great evil. The system which had hitherto prevailed in organising a Land Transport Corps was, in his opinion, most objectionable. Men were collected in this country and elsewhere for that corps, without reference to the question whether they happened to know a horse from a camel, or scarcely a cartwheel from a carriage, and it was notorious that those men thus selected had, during the course of, last winter, been the cause of our losing a considerable number of horses, owing to the absence of proper treatment. Considering that we did not possess a Land Transport Corps sufficient for the removal of an army of 5,000 men, he thought the sum asked for that department of the service was enormous, and he must say that he attributed the great blunders which existed in connection with the administration of the army to the system of "civilianising" it, which now prevailed to so great a degree. It was not into the Land Transport Corps alone, but into the clothing and other departments of the army that that system had been introduced; and unless it was abandoned, and military men substituted for persons who could know nothing whatsoever about military management or organisation, the present state of blundering and confusion must be expected to continue.
§ MR. PELLATT
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary for War a question. 1747 respecting the sum of £75,000 granted for good-conduct payments. He wished to know how far the sergeants were to be considered in that grant. None held a more effective position in the service, and yet that position was an unfortunate one; they have obtained the climax of their rank, they can scarcely hope to rise higher, and that system was justified by the Government. As privates or corporals they had good conduct pensions of fourpence a day. On leaving the lower for the higher rank of sergeant they lose their fourpence, and yet are expected to do higher service, and are put to considerable expense for mess and other things. He wished to know whether any addition to the amount of pension the sergeant was entitled to would be given him for long service?
said, he thought that there ought to be some system by which the sergeant could obtain extra pay after three years' service. Such service ought to carry with it good-conduct pay. He wished to ask a question respecting the Land Transport Corps. He had heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Clerk of the Ordnance, that the non-commissioned officers of the sappers and miners were to be appointed, by preference, to clerkships and store-keeperships, and he hoped that promise would be realised. Now the pay of the Land Transport Corps was generally less than that of the civil service, which, under the circumstances, was natural. But the principle under which he thought the system ought to be organised, was this, that the pay should be increased, while men should not at once enlist into the Land Transport Corps with higher pay, but that men should be promoted into it from the ranks for good conduct. He should be glad if the hon. Under Secretary for War would inform him if a better system was to be organised in the copying department. At present the writing was more than could be done by the sergeant clerk, and he was obliged to have an assistant clerk, who received no extra pay. The Government should consider if the assistant was not entitled to compensation. There was another subject to which he wished to allude, which was that of martial law. Under the present system the proceedings were attended with inconvenience, from the length of time during which prisoners had to remain in prison after conviction, associated with those who had committed great crime. He knew of cases 1748 where prisoners had been left for five weeks in that way.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he might state in reply to one of the observations which had fallen from the hon. and gallant Member for Wigan, that a considerable number of non-commissioned officers from the corps of sappers and miners were at present employed as corresponding clerks in the arsenal at Woolwich. Indeed, all the clerkships in that arsenal which those non-commissioned officers were capable of filling were thrown open to them. Any non-commissioned officer might have his name put down as a candidate for the appointment, and an examination was at stated periods held, after which those who had proved themselves to be most competent were selected for the vacant clerkships by the Secretary of State for War. It was intended to create a large number of clerkships upon the same principle at the out-stations, which would be open to non-commissioned officers of the line, thus affording a good opening for the advancement of men who had conducted themselves well in the service.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that the principle upon which the rate of pay of the men in the Land Transport Corps had been fixed at a higher rate than that of men in the regular service was, that their duties were more varied, and that they had a large amount of valuable property committed to their charge. In reply to the hon. Gentleman behind him (Mr. Pellatt) he might state that no part of the good-conduct pay would be drawn by sergeants, inasmuch as in their promotion from an inferior rank they were supposed to receive more than an equivalent for the privilege of drawing such pay. Besides, when a sergeant was pensioned off, he was allowed to obtain, as an addition to his pension, the whole of the good-conduct pay which he might have earned as a private, and also an addition of 1d. a day for every five years he might have served as a sergeant, and merited the increase upon the ground of good conduct.
§ MR. MASTERS SMITH
said, that with reference to the Vote for the lunatic asylum at Fort Pitt, he wished to call the attention of the Under Secretary of War to the fact, that in that asylum the lunatics, the moment they were relieved from the discipline attached to the wards, were permitted to have free communication in the area of the fort with the invalided soldiers who had returned from foreign ser- 1749 vice. The fact was, that those lunatics were subjected to no active surveillance, and the subject was one which, in his opinion, demanded consideration.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he was not very well acquainted with the arrangements of the asylum in question; but no doubt the whole establishment at Chatham required to be superseded. He believed it had recently been explained by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Monsell) that a site for a hospital had been procured near Southampton, and he hoped that a building would be erected there which would include a hospital, invalid barracks, and a lunatic asylum, open to none of the objections made by the hon. Gentleman.
said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the items for the purchase of horses. He had looked through the Army and Ordnance Estimates, and he was not able to arrive at any exact conclusion respecting their number. The number of horses it appeared for this year were 22,099, while 20,000 had been already sent abroad. The cost this year was £742,688, while last year it was £390,877. The charge this year seemed an immense sum, and he could not account for the difference. Included in the present year's Estimates was an item also of £400,000 for the purchase of animals for the Land Transport Corps, and one of £80,000 for purchasing horses for the cavalry and artillery of the Turkish Contingent. The charge for forage, also, was enormous—no less than £4,961,928, while last year it was only £1,080,000. That excess was enormous, and he wished to know what was the explanation.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, that the number of horses was given in one of the columns of the Estimates. There would be a considerable deduction in the Estimates for this year. The cavalry horses required would be less than was anticipated. The expense of each horse for the Land Transport Corps and for the Turkish Contingent was not more than £25 for each horse, while £40 was allowed for the horses supplied to the cavalry of the line. In the expenses alluded to was included that of conveyance to the Crimea, and the cost for artillery horses was very heavy.
§ SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE
said, he begged to ask whether the Government proposed continuing to purchase old horses for cavalry purposes, as had been done last year, or whether they intended to return to 1750 the practice of buying horses which were only three years old? The great scarcity of horses which at present prevailed was a matter which deserved consideration; and in his opinion the Chancellor of the Exchequer had taken a step in the right direction in removing the taxes upon horses last year. He thought it was well deserving of the consideration of the House and of the Government whether some means should not be adopted, and more especially at the present time, when such enormous sums were being expended in our cavalry, for encouraging the breed of horses in this country. He had felt extremely disappointed on seeing the kind of horses that had been procured for the Government last year, and he could not but think it was very inexpedient that animals should be purchased at such an age that they muat before long become utterly unserviceable.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he believed it was preferable and more economical to purchase cavalry horses at the age of five years than at the age of three years, even though a much larger sum should be paid for the older animals.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, that the subject mooted by the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. M. Smith) was a highly important one. He had minutely visited the lunatic asylum at Chatham some years ago, and was disgusted and horrified with what he saw. After some considerable difficulty he had found a building, an unused barrack at Yarmouth exactly fitted for the purpose; he had reported this to the Government, who had sent down a medical officer, whose report was unfavourable. He was not discouraged; he obtained leave from the Government of the day to take down other officers, and at last he prevailed upon the Government to have the lunatics transferred to that place. He was astonished to find that they had been retransferred again to Chatham. He wished to ask the Government why that change had been made?
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that the reason was simply this. The buildings in question belonged to the Admiralty, and as there was an expectation of a large number of invalid seamen during the war, the Admiralty had reclaimed the property, and the War Department had no choice but to give it up.
said, that as the third item in that Vote related to the medical staff, he would take that opportunity of calling the attention of the Committee to 1751 the state of the medical department of the army. That was a subject which had been most keenly discussed this time last and the late Government had at that been strongly censured for having neglected to introduce a reform in that department. In the course of the evidence taken before the Sebastopol Committee, Dr. Andrew Smith stated that it was his wish to retire from the superintendence of the medical department, and that he only held his office until he should have an opportunity of offering an explanation to the Committee; and the Duke of Newcastle expressed his belief that no department called more urgently than that for reform. During the discussions which took place in reference to the state of the army, the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Abingdon (Major Reed) concluded a speech, remarkable for its energy rather than its length, by addressing to the noble Lord at the head of the Government the rather splendid than novel apostrophe—Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen;and the noble Lord, unable to remain deaf to such an appeal, made a variety of promises which had been extremely satisfactory to the House. Among other things, the noble Lord said—I will next refer to the medical department of the army, which is about to be immediately remodelled at home. New persons will be placed at the head of the department, a military man and a civilian, both under the immediate orders of the Secretary of State for the War Department, with whom it will rest to give all directions for the management of the medical department of the army, and to regulate the appointment and promotion of persons in it."—[3 Hansard, cxxxviii. 425.]That was a very distinct promise, and was received with great gratification and much confidence in the House and in the country. Time wore on, and Army List after Army List came forth; but the name of Dr. Andrew Smith still appeared at the head of the medical department, and there seemed to be no sign of a realisation of the promise of the noble Lord. In the month of August last, he (Mr. Stafford) had called the attention of the House to the subject, and he had requested the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for War to give them some definite assurance of the intentions of the Government with respect to it. The hon. Gentleman had stated, in reply, that Dr. Andrew Smith only retained his office until his successor could be appointed, and that it was 1752 the intention of the Government to introduce such improvements in the medical department of the Army as would assimilate its constitution to that of the other newly-reformed departments of the service. But, again, notwithstanding that announcement, the name of Dr. Andrew Smith appeared at the head of the medical department in the Army List published last Saturday, and there was nothing to show that any single reform had been effected in that department. It was well known, however, that it was not by his own wish that Dr. Andrew Smith remained in office. He (Mr. Stafford) should be glad to receive assurance—not from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, or the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for War. because he could not forget the result of the promises they had before given—but from some other Member of the Government, a distinct assurance, that in some definite time, before Easter or Whitsuntide, or the termination of the Session, some plan of army medical reform would be actually matured and put into operation. He hoped that, as there was now a prospect of peace, it was not the intention of the Government to throw their promises to the winds, and to disappoint the hopes of those deserving men, the surgeons and assistant surgeons of the army, who had so nobly done their duty both to their patients and the service.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he was afraid the right hon. Gentleman himself must assume part of the responsibility for the delay which had taken place in carrying out the reforms in question. The testimony which had been borne by the hon. Gentleman and by other well-informed persons to the admirable order which at present prevailed in our army medical department abroad, and to the completeness of the provisions for the treatment of the sick soldiers, had made the Government less solicitous than they would otherwise have been to carry into effect their contemplated alterations. There were at present two questions under their consideration. The one was the reform of the office of the medical department, and the other was the improvement of the condition of the surgeons in the army. With regard to the first point he had to observe, that reforms in the office of the medical department had been under the consideration of the proper authorities; but some time must elapse before full effect could be given to the intentions of Lord Panmure 1753 upon the subject; and under the present satisfactory state of our army medical arrangements, there did not appear to be any necessity for that removal of Dr. Andrew Smith which the hon. Gentleman was continually urging. In reference to an improvement in the state of the army surgeons, he had to state that such an improvement could only be carried into effect under the authority of a Royal warrant, and as no such warrant had yet been issued, he did not feel at liberty to enter fully into the changes which it was proposed should be made in that direction. But he was willing to admit that the memorial received from the surgeons, and the support given to that memorial by Dr. Andrew Smith, had impressed Lord Panmure with the conviction that it was desirable to make the condition of the army surgeons better than it had heretofore been. When it was represented that the existing arrangements upon that subject were such as to render medical men unwilling to enter the army, and to dispose those who had entered it to leave it, the time had come for considering whether a reform of that department ought not to be carried into effect. The general tendency of the contemplated changes would be an improvement of the status of the surgeons in the army, and an addition to their pay and allowances. With regard to an improvement of their status, he apprehended it would take the form of giving them a higher relative rank in the army, so that an assistant surgeon who should have served for a certain period, should have the rank of a captain instead, of ranking only as a subaltern; and a surgeon who should have served a certain time, should have the rank of a major, and so on through the different grades. With respect to an increase of pay for the medical men in the army, he should observe that that was a subject which required to be submitted to the consideration of other departments of the Government as well as the War Department, and he had only to say that it would, as soon as possible, undergo that consideration.
said, that that consideration might go on for ever, or, at least, so long as the House of Commons would permit it. As to the testimony which he (Mr. Stafford) had borne to the admirable order of the medical arrangements, and to the responsibility which was said, therefore, to rest on him, he had certainly testified to the system working thus far well, that he had no hesitation in 1754 saying that the army surgeons deserved far better treatment at the hands of the Government and of that House than they had yet received. He begged to assure the noble Lord at the head of the Government and the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for War, that although they had disappointed those gentlemen, he would not disappoint them; but that he would bring forward their grievances, and would move for a Select Committee to inquire into his allegations. If the Government refused a Select Committee, he should divide the House upon the question, and then with the Government and the House would rest the responsibility of leaving the medical department of the army in its present discreditable state.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £1,000,000 on account, Embodied Militia.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to inquire how it was that so large a number of men were enrolled when so few, comparatively speaking, were embodied? 163,000 men were enrolled, and he believed that not one-half of them were embodied; notwithstanding which the Estimate included the whole of the expenses.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he must explain that it was necessary to enrol as large a number as possible in order to give free scope to the volunteering principle; and as it was impossible to tell how many would volunteer, it was expedient to take a Vote for the whole number required.
§ COLONEL BUCK
said, that it was most satisfactory to the officers and men of the militia to hear the commendation which had been passed upon them the other night by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He trusted that the country would give the officers of the militia the credit of having organised their regiments under very trying and difficult circumstances. The militia officers, who had sent so many recruits to the line, had had their difficulties to contend with in consequence of orders and counter orders from the War Office. The following paragraph appeared in The Times of the 19th of February, in reference to the Hampshire Militia—The Hampshire Militia has now given to the Guards, Marines, and Line 560 men, and also 300 to the Hampshire Militia Artillery—total, 860 men. The regiment is now reduced to five companies, with five captains; the remaining officers of the above rank have been ordered to retire till the regiment can recruit up to ten companies of fifty men each.1755 A similar system operated in respect to the regiment he had the honour to command, and, though the officers had done in this matter something more than was expected from them in order to recruit the line, for they induced 160 men to volunteer. He heard that they were to be shelved, like the Hampshire Militia officers. Sometimes there were two or three or more regiments of militia in the same county, and there might be some conflicting pretensions among them, and yet, if the lord lieutenant of the county happened to be colonel of one of the regiments, he was the only umpire to be referred to. He thought that no lord lieutenant should be colonel of a militia regiment when there was more than one militia regiment in the same county.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, that nothing could be more discouraging to militia officers, after they had spent their time in drilling and organising their regiments, than to find them entirely dissolved at the fiat of the Minister of the War Department, and punished, as it were, for their services in procuring recruits for the regular army. A sufficient number of men could not be raised by voluntary enlistment, and therefore more officers than were necessary for the service must be employed, or the militia would be entirely destroyed. Nothing more required fresh organisation; and the militia officers deserved better treatment at the hands of Government for doing their duty to the country.
said, he thought that the Government departments had made exertions to render the service of the militia as agreeable as possible, and he believed that arrangements were made to prevent the regulation with respect to the strength of a regiment acting unduly hard on officers, who had done their best to procure men to enlist for the regular army; but, at the same time, he thought that the officers in the regiments which had been reduced by such means below a certain number should be placed on the establishment. He believed that the militia had furnished for Her Majesty's service more trained soldiers than all the rest of the community; and, in saying that, he was paying a high, and at the same time a deserved compliment to the officers under whom the men had attained that efficiency. Notwithstanding that, he thought there was still some room for improvement. Greater inducements ought to be held out to enter 1756 the ranks, and, above all, the services of a superior class of men should be engaged, if possible. He was convinced that if the militia was to continue an effective force, and one which would be creditable as well as useful to the country, they must endeavour to secure the services of such men. If they were to enter the labour market upon equal terms with others they would find little or no difficulty in obtaining men. He thought also, that care should be taken to classify the men when they enlisted in the army, and, instead of an indiscriminate enlistment into regiments of the line from various militia regiments, they should endeavour to place the men as much together as they could, so that old associations should still prevail. Under the influence of their own officers they would not only conduct themselves creditably when on active service, but would be animated by a spirit of friendly rivalry, which would be productive of the best results.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, that, in his opinion there was a total misapprehension as to the purpose for which that force was raised. It was not intended as a nursery for the army, but rather for the defence of the country itself. He objected entirely to the reduction of the body by means of enlistment, for it was his opinion that it was not from that source that Government ought to expect that the ranks of the line should be filled, but that they should proceed with recruiting in the regular way.
§ COLONEL GILPIN
said, he considered that the militia were an extremely useful body to the country, and ought to be preserved as a distinct force. It was said that in some counties they were not able to make up the militia to anything like the full number. He could, however, show a different statement. In the small county which he had the honour to represent (Bedfordshire), since January, 1854, they had embodied 455. That regiment had given 366 men in addition to the regular army, and they had lost 145 by Lord Panmure's circular, and there were now only about fifty men short of the entire number.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, it was impossible, so long as they continued drafting the men from the militia to the line, that they could preserve an efficient corps of militia.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he must complain that, notwithstanding the vast sum voted last year for the militia, the right hon. Gentleman the Clerk of the Ordnance had now come down for a Vote to make up what he called the deficiency.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that the hon. Member ought to be aware that under the Appropriation Act the money was distributed to the Ordnance, the Army, and the Commissariat. There were Supplemental Ordnance Estimates. The militia was placed under the charge of the old Army Estimates.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, what he complained of was, that all the money voted last year for the militia had been expended. The amount was £3,400,000 and odd pounds for 136,000 men, and yet they had never had upon an average more than 60,000 either enrolled or embodied in the militia last year. Therefore, the Government could not have expended half that sum, and yet they were told that all the money had been expended for the general service.
§ LORD WILLIAM GRAHAM
said, he wished to know how much out of the sum voted for the erection of huts to house the men had been expended for that purpose in Scotland?
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he hoped that the noble Lord would postpone his question until they had come to the Vote for works and buildings.
§ MR. COWAN
said, notwithstanding that reply of the right hon. Gentleman, it was very desirable to know what measures had really been taken to build barrack accommodation for the soldiers in Scotland, as the people there were suffering very much from the system of billeting the men upon the householders generally. He confessed he was much disappointed at the apparent carelessness of the Government upon that subject. The only answer they gave to the complaints of the people was, that it was the law, and the people must obey it. He warned the Government, however, to beware of treating the people with that nonchalance upon this question.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that the charge made by the hon Gentleman was most unjust, and he denied it in the strongest terms. The Government had used every exertion possible to relieve the people of the United Kingdom of the burden of the billeting system. The facts, however, were these. The Government were placed in a position of great difficulty and trial, because, since 1815 up to the breaking out of the present war, barrack accommodation for about 90,000 men had been given up. When hostilities broke out they found themselves in a position of great difficulty, and the country was necessarily 1758 put to an enormous expense in consequence of the want of sufficient barrack accommodation. Last year they provided accommodation for nearly 50,000 men and 3,000 horses, and additional accommodation was in the course of being completed. If it should be necessary to keep up the present large force longer, the Government were prepared to provide still greater accommodation, so as to reduce the burdens of the billeting system.
§ MR. W. EWART
said, he believed that the Government had made great efforts in the way of lessening the evil, but they had not as yet succeeded in doing what was wanted in Scotland. There was no barrack accommodation in the vicinity of the place which he represented. He, therefore, strongly protested against the billeting system, and he was convinced that the people of Scotland would not be satisfied until the grievance was remedied.
§ Vote agreed to, as was also—
§ (3.) £88,000, Volunteer Corps.
§ (4.) £250,000, Army Works Corps on account.
§ SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE
said, he must complain that this force had been rendered necessary by the neglect of the corps of Sappers and Miners, which, had it been maintained in a proper state of efficiency, would have been equal to the performance of any service which might have been required of it. The superintendents of the Army Works Corps were paid as much as general officers in the army, and yet he could find subalterns in the Engineers capable of performing their duties. The establishment of the corps seemed to be a slur upon the scientific branch of the army which was commanded by the engineer officers. Had that branch been properly increased, the enormous expense of this force might have been avoided, while the service would have been better organised. He had been informed that in regard to that, branch, some new arrangements had been made. He had been told that the Sappers and Miners had been removed to Chatham; and he hoped that in future care would be taken to maintain the efficiency of that force.
CAPTAIN LEICESTER VERNON
said, he also wished to call attention to the enormous sums paid to the staff of the Army Works Corps. The chief superintendent, who had the direction of only 2,779 labourers, received a salary of £1,500 a year. The pay of a lieutenant general, commanding a division of the 1759 army, was only £1,383 19s. 2d. It was true, as had been stated in explanation by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for War, that that was not the whole pay of a lieutenant general, but it must be remembered that he had to perform more arduous duties than the chief superintendent of the Army Works Corps, and that while the latter did not go under fire, the general was liable to be shot at every day. The superintendents each received £800 a year. The pay of a major general commanding a brigade was but £691. The assistant superintendent received £700; a colonel of the staff only £415 3s. 9d.; storekeepers in the army received but £140 per annum; while those in the Army Works Corps were paid £300. The whole staff for these 2,779 men cost £37,130. Nor was that all, for, adding the expense of the floating factory Chasseur, and the commissariat branch attached to the corps, the total staff payment was £87,491, or very nearly the cost of fourteen regiments of the line. Now he would inquire what was the duty of these men? Had affairs been conducted as they ought, there would have been no occasion for them. The work would have been performed by fatigue parties of troops. But unfortunately we could not spare soldiers for that work, and therefore this corps was required. We were told that they would show what native muscle, without military education, would do when it came in contact with the Russians. That sounded very well, but upon inquiry, however, it was found that the men of this corps could not be taken into the trenches or under fire. The question then arose, what they would do if fire came to them? An officer of distinction inquired of the gentleman who commanded a portion of these men what they would do if the Russians attacked them while they were at work; whether they would stand with their arms folded while the soldiers protected them, or would render any assistance to the military in repelling the attack. The officer in charge of the corps took time to consult with his brother officers on the matter, and the decision subsequently arrived at was, that they had no right to require the men to bear arms. Thus, therefore, we had attached to the army, at an inordinate cost, a body of men who could only do one description of duty. In time of peace they would be of no use, as they could not be sent to the different colonial stations, and if the war continued, how could they be made available when 1760 their base of operations was the floating factory Chasseur? As they were not to go under fire, were they to remain behind at work upon roads which might never be used again by the army? If so, a force must be left to protect them; and it was notorious that nothing could be more embarrassing to an army than a large mass of camp followers. No doubt, being in a kind of cleft stick at the time this corps was originally formed, the Government had no choice but to employ them; but, the particular emergency for which they were called into requisition having passed away, the further retention of their services was perfectly unjustifiable. If it were asked what body they could substitute for this corps, the answer was obvious. The Sappers and Miners were the very best class of men whom they could employ in the performance of such duties. That body, being strictly military, would be equally ready to work and to fight, as occasion required; and, moreover, the raising of a force of Sappers and Miners as large as the Army Works Corps would be unattended with a single shilling of expense for staff, because the Engineer officers were now ready to their hand, and had only to be attached to this service. There would be no difficulty in procuring a sufficient number of men fitted for Sappers and Miners from the ranks of the militia if equal inducements to those held out to the Army Works Corps were offered. At the request of Sir John Burgoyne he had applied to several militia officers of his acquaintance with the view of obtaining their assistance in recruiting the force of Sappers and Miners, and the answer that he had received from those gentlemen showed that the best men of their respective regiments could easily be got for this service upon reasonable terms. It was perfectly idle, then, to talk of the impossibility of finding a corps qualified, not for the execution of one specific kind of work only, but for the discharge of any military duty that could be expected of soldiers.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he thought the best justification for the formation of the Army Works Corps was supplied by the position in which the force of Sappers and Miners stood when the former body was raised. The Sappers and Miners were only about 3,000 strong at the period in question, and from the first not more than 1,000 of them had as yet been sent to the Crimea. The requirements of the Ordnance survey in the 1761 United Kingdom and in the colonies had been such as to render it impossible to despatch more than one-third of this force to the East. That the Government did not under-estimate the value and importance of the corps of sappers and miners was obvious from the fact that in the Votes before the House an increase of 1,100 men in that force was provided for, but it was clear that a large body of trained men could not be got ready to take the field in that branch in the brief space of a few weeks. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite were in the Crimea himself, he would no doubt concur with the general officers now there in thinking the Army Works Corps a very valuable and useful adjunct to the regular army. When that corps was first raised, it consisted only of 1,000 mechanics and labourers; and when it arrived in the East it had so much work to do that repeated applications were made for an accession to its numbers. Those applications had been successively complied with, and the result was, that the force now reached an aggregate of 3,470 men and officers. The military authorities in the Crimea certainly regarded it as a great advantage to have a corps of that description engaged in maintaining the roads and on other works, whereby the soldiers of the line were set at liberty to perfect themselves in their drill and in learning to use the new musket with which they have been provided. The skilled men of this corps received 30s. per week, and the best mechanics 40s.—rates of pay which, compared with the scale of wages in this country, and taken in conjunction with the fact that they had to go abroad and encounter considerable risk, could not be looked upon as extravagant. This corps had been formed with the valuable assistance of the hon. Member for Coventry (Sir J. Paxton), to whom the Government were under great obligations for his exertions in establishing the force.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
said, that having witnessed the practical working of the Army Works Corps in the Crimea, he trusted that its organisation would not be much longer continued. The undue advantages enjoyed by this force excited great discontent in the regular army, and, moreover, its want of proper discipline and subordination rendered it very troublesome to the authorities. Officers who had borne the brunt of the campaign, and 1762 been constantly under fire in the trenches, might well be forgiven for looking with jealousy upon a body of labourers who went out in the receipt of pay, rations, and clothes superior to those which they themselves enjoyed. The pay of these men exceeded that of an ensign, and, being of intemperate habits, many of them sold their superfluous apparel (supplied to them by the Government) to the officers of the army. Labourers might at first have been needful to make the railway in the Crimea, but a corps like this ought not to be permanently maintained. The troops should be taught to discharge their duties. It was to be feared that, no wiser for the experience of the past, we were proceeding on as false a principle as ever. At Aldershot, which should be a school for teaching the soldier the various I duties incidental to his profession, the huts were built, the roads made, and all the operations of mechanism performed, not by soldiers, but by civilians engaged on I contract for the purpose. The soldier should be not only a fighting man, but in some sense a skilled artificer; else how should it be expected that, when landed on a foreign shore, he should be qualified to make the necessary arrangements for his secure and comfortable encampment? As long as he was accustomed to have these things done for him by others he would always be incompetent to do them for himself, and when others were not at hand to assist him the result would be the repetition of such misery as our gallant army had endured last winter in the Crimea. It was to be feared that the Works Corps was but another phase of the same pernicious system from which the British army had long and grievously suffered. He trusted, however, that the Army Works Corps would not be retained upon the permanent establishment.
§ SIR JOSEPH PAXTON
said, as the Government bad done him the honour of confiding to him the task of organising the Army Works Corps, he hoped that he might be permitted to say a few words with reference to the formation of that body. When the corps was first contemplated, the question was, not whether the Government could induce the particular men who now composed it to proceed to the Crimea, but whether it was possible for them to get any men at all to go. There not being sufficient sappers and miners to build hospitals, construct roads and bridges, and do the general mechanical 1763 work of the camp, what he, acting for the Government, had to set about in the first instance was to raise a body of men competent for such duties, to officer it, and to despatch it as expeditiously as possible to the seat of war. The first thousand men sent out were not as scrupulously selected, nor as well trained as could have been wished, and a little confusion occurred when they landed; but the second, third, and fourth contingents were carefully chosen and excellently disciplined, and the whole corps was now conducting itself with exemplary propriety. The pay of the gentleman who went out in the capacity of engineer, Mr. Doyne, was not, he considered, exorbitant. It was the ordinary remuneration of a civil engineer in this country, and he could assure the Committee that he had had no little difficulty in inducing a gentleman of first-class acquirements to go out for merely as much money as he would have been sure to earn if he had remained at home. But Mr. Doyne had a zeal for the service, and consented to undertake the duties for £ 1,500 a-year. Neither was the pay of the other officers excessive; on the contrary, it was in many instances less than they would have realised by their ordinary occupations. Sappers and miners might have been in some respects preferable; but it would have taken a year to organise such a force, and the new corps was required by the Government in four weeks. The officers and men were the best of the kind that could be procured, and the "navvies" were the most powerful of their athletic class. With regard to expense, taking all circumstances fairly into consideration, it was his opinion that this was the cheapest corps ever raised. The men were one and all in condition at the time they were embodied; they did not require to be drilled and instructed for years; they were all thoroughly conversant with their respective trades, and within three months of their return to this country they might be disbanded and completely got rid of. Could as much be said if they had been sappers and miners, or any other purely military corps? With respect to the Commissariat branch, it had been embodied for the general purposes of the army, and it had its origin in the simple fact that the Commissary General, seeing how admirably the Army Works Corps did its business, applied to the War Minister for a body of men to be organised on similar principles for the service of the Commissariat 1764 Department. In conclusion, he would only observe that he had the authority of Lord Panmure himself for stating that that nobleman was of opinion that, had it not been for the Army Works Corps, the army would have had to endure the same sufferings this winter as the previous one.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, the hon. Gentleman told them he found a difficulty in getting any civil engineer to go out to the Crimea—he only wished the hon. Member had never been able to find one. He (Colonel Boldero) could have found a captain of engineers perfectly capable of constructing a railway of seven miles; and when he had constructed that railway, and such services were no longer wanted, he would be too happy to have them transferred to military purposes. He never heard a reply of a more unsatisfactory character than that which had been given by the Under Secretary of War to the hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Captain Vernon). The hon. Gentleman said they had 1,000 sappers and miners in the Crimea and 2,000 at home, and that they would not send out these 2,000 because they were engaged in a survey. Was the country arrived at such a pass that, when it was engaged in a war like the present, the works at home could not be suspended, and the 2,000 men sent out? He should be glad to know, if the men of the Army Works Corps were not to be permanently attached to the army, whether they were to receive half-pay, or upon what terms they were to receive their discharge?
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
They are entitled to compensation at the discretion of the Government, but not to half-pay.
said, he wished to inquire whether the corps was to be continued after the termination of the campaign?
said, he thought it desirable that the Committee should understand whether the corps was temporary or to be interwoven with our military system.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
Having been raised for a special purpose, I should not think that it will be continued beyond the necessities of the war.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) £169,026, War Department.
said, he wanted some explanation of what the War Department really was. He could not see what benefits 1765 had been effected by the change that had taken place in that department, for they had an increase in the expenses of the department of £68,000. Besides this, the whole department seemed to be in confusion. They had two Gentlemen answering for the department in that House; one for one part of the Estimates, and another for another part. It appeared to him impossible to make out what were the respective duties of those two hon. Gentlemen. Some of the duties that it now seemed were performed by the Clerk of the Ordnance were a portion of what he (Colonel Dunne) had thought was to fall to the share of the Commander in Chief under the new arrangement. By papers laid on the table of the House it appeared that there had been an apparently unaccountable changing of officers from military to civil departments. Now he should like to know who had the making of those changes? He thought that the Government ought to give the House some account of the system pursued in reference to changes of that nature.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he could assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the confusion which he supposed to exist in the War Department existed merely in his own mind. The Secretary of State for War was at the head of the War Department, He was the source of jurisdiction and authority, and the duties of the departments were divided among the directors general. There was no confusion, and in place of the former difficulty and delay the army had, since the new organisation, greatly improved, and it was now in a much more efficient state than before the War Department was changed. As to his duties, he (Mr. Monsell) discharged no military duties. The Ordnance was now under the control of the Commander in Chief, who had the same control over the artillery and the sappers and miners as over the rest of the army. That was an advantage that had been long desired, and the result had been to substitute entire simplicity for a system that was formerly very complicated.
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had not told them what the duties of the different directors general wore. The state of the active army he acknowledged had improved, but from different causes to that stated by the right hon. Gentleman; but, on the whole, the civil departments of the army were perfectly disorganised.
§ COLONEL BOLDERO
said, that the 1766 Government had taken credit for a saving of £36,000 in the War Department, as compared with last year. But an item of £60,000 postage had been taken out of the department and transferred to the proper service, and the Government had taken credit for a saving they were not entitled to, for, taking that postage item into account, the increase of expenditure was £24,000.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he was of opinion that the army ought to be under the direction of the House of Commons. [Ironical cheers.] He meant that it ought to be responsible to the House of Commons, I and placed in the hands of the Minister of the Crown. At present the great department of the Horse Guards was totally irresponsible. The Government had nothing to do with the appointments, but they had brought more obloquy upon the Government than any act of the present Administration. The Government were obliged to defend the Horse Guards when they had nothing to do with the responsibility of the appointments. He hoped he should live to see a Minister powerful enough to disregard the power of the Horse Guards.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that with regard to all those secretaries their duties were most laborious. Any comparison between the War Department and the Foreign Office was fallacious. The office of Secretary of the Military Board would not again be filled up. It was now held by a gentleman who had, until lately, more important duties to discharge.
§ In reply to Colonel GILPIN,
§ MR. MONSELL
said, it was impossible to have a smaller number of messengers. The Government intended to propose an estimate for adding to the existing building a sufficient number of rooms to accommodate the whole War Department, and, when that was done, the Estimates in other items besides that of messengers would be reduced.
CAPTAIN LEICESTER VERNON
said, that almost all the salaries had been raised this year. He saw by the Votes that the pay of the Director General of Artillery had been raised from £400 to £1,000, but that no addition had been made to the pay of the Inspector General of Fortifications. He wished, also, to know whether the 1767 Inspector General, the Deputy Inspector General of Fortifications, and the two assistants, were supposed to be performing military duties under the Commander in Chief, or civil duties under the Clerk of the Ordnance.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that the Inspectors of Fortifications had two classes of duties to perform—one civil and the other military. In the discharge of their military duties they were under the direction of the Commander in Chief; in disbursing large sums of money, and discharging other duties of that nature, they were acting under the Secretary of State for War. Before the recent arrangements in connection with the salaries of Inspectors of Fortifications, the salary of Sir John Burgoyne, the Inspector General, was raised, and he (Mr. Monsell) had felt great pleasure in recommending that that distinguished officer should be liberally treated.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £22,791, Head Quarters, Military Departments.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, there were five secretaries in this department, when there were only twenty-two clerks in the offices. He wanted to know why the present Commander in Chief required one more secretary than the Duke of Wellington when he was Commander in Chief?
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, a recommendation was made by the Committee on the Army, Navy, and Ordnance Estimates, and also by the Committee on Army and Navy Appointments, which sat in 1838, that staff appointments at the Horse Guards, and elsewhere, should be only for a limited space of five years, upon the grounds that the frequent changes would bring more men into a knowledge of business, and likewise give the authorities at the Horse Guards greater opportunities of acquiring a knowledge and judging of the qualities of officers with whom they acted confidentially. The same recommendation was repeated by the Committee on Promotions, which sat two years since. He now wished to ask whether the appointments of Adjutant General and Quartermaster General were for life or for a limited period of five years?
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he was aware of the recommendation, but was not able to say whether the late appointments were made for a limited period.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ House resumed.