HC Deb 17 February 1859 vol 152 cc471-2

begged to ask the Secretary of State for India whether extra Batta will be given to the Troops of the successful Persian Expedition, having reference to the privations and inconveniences to which the force was exposed on board ship, particularly the Native portion of the force; whether the recommendations by Brigadier General Jacob, dated Bushire, 13th of July, 1857, of certain Officers and Men for the Victoria Cross, is to be carried into effect; whether the Civilians who have distinguished themselves in a military capacity during the Mutiny in India are to have any specific mark of the approbation of Her Majesty's Government; whether the Report of the Commission upon the Reorganization of the Indian Army will be laid upon the table of the House; and whether, as the maintenance of a Standing Army under the Crown, independently of the Annual Mutiny Act, involves a Constitutional question, time will be given to the House to consider any recommendations in the Report before they are carried into effect?


said, that with reference to the first Question, he understood that it was not usual to grant such indulgences as those to which the hon. and gallant Member referred, except upon the recommendation of the Government of India, and in the present case no such recommendation had been received. With regard to the second Question, he had made inquiries for the list of officers and men recommended by General Jacob for the Victoria Cross, and he was told that it had not been yet officially received from India. With regard to the third Question, two despatches had been sent to the Governor General of India—the last in September, but as yet no answer had been received—to inquire for a list of civilians who had distinguished themselves by military services during the mutiny. It was undoubtedly proper that they should be rewarded; but with regard to the manner the Gover- ment would wait until they had received the recommendations of the local Government. With regard to the fourth Question the Report would undoubtedly, as a public document, be laid on the table of the House. To the last Question, he felt some difficulty in giving a more definite reply than that he thought it would be an ill-advised step on the part of any Government to take any decisive steps in so important a matter without giving time for the full and free expression of public opinion.