HC Deb 23 May 1856 vol 142 cc588-9

said, that it was now nearly two years since he brought before the attention of the House the condition of the Military College at Sandhurst, and obtained from the noble Lord at the head of the Government the appointment of a Committee, presided over by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir F. Baring). That Committee, after sitting nearly three months, recommended that ten children, the orphans of officers, should be admitted into that institution free, as a cadet class, every year; there should consequently be twenty orphan cadets now in the institution. Some short time ago it appeared, by an answer to a question put by himself, that the Government found it was out of their power to provide for twenty orphans, the children of the soldiers of their gallant army, and no steps had been taken in the College itself to introduce the class recommended. He now asked whether, when universal joy was spread throughout the land at the return, if not in all cases of dear relations, at any rate, of old and valued friends, the Government were not prepared to provide for the education and the support of twenty or thirty orphan boys, whose gallant fathers had fallen fighting for the honour and glory of their country, whose hearths would be the only desolate ones amid this otherwise universal joy? He begged to inquire whether it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to carry into effect the recommendation of the Sandhurst Committee with respect to the establishment of the orphan class of cadets at that College?


observed, that one of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee, to which his hon. and gallant Friend had alluded, was that means should be taken to improve the education of officers on the staff, and he wished to know what had been done in that direction?


said, that it was the intention of the Government to adopt the recommendations made by the Committee as to the support and maintenance of a certain number of orphans whose fathers had lost their lives in the service. Indeed, they had a claim upon the country, and he was sure the measure by which they were adopted, as it were, by the nation, would obtain general support. He did not, however, know whether his hon. and gallant Friend had forgotten that the funds for the support of the Military College of Sandhurst were derived from the payments made by the friends of the boys receiving their education there, and those funds were not sufficient to enable the Government to provide a gratuitous education for a sufficient number of orphans. It would, therefore, be necessary that Parliament should provide the requisite additional funds. When such a Vote had been agreed to Government would take care to apply the money to the purposes for which it should be granted, and to do so in the best possible manner. The question of improving the education of staff officers was no doubt a valuable one, but its discussion would open up a very large field of inquiry.

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