HC Deb 20 April 1860 vol 157 cc2056-7

said, he rose to put a question to the Secretary for War upon a subject of great importance to many persons. On Saturday last the ordinary examinations for commissions in the army were concluded, and many of the candidates, as he was informed, left town on Saturday evening. On the Monday morning, at 10 o'clock, when the candidates for supplementary examination entered the room, a letter was delivered to the examiner, who upon perusing it said he was informed that the examination paper had been previously placed in the hands of many of the candidates, and therefore he could not proceed further until he took the directions of the Commander-in-Chief. After communicating with his Royal Highness the examiner announced that all previous examinations would be cancelled. Many of the candidates, however, lived at great distance, and would be put to great expense by being compelled to return, on account of no fault of their own, but of an irregularity in a public department. He understood that this was not the first time the examination papers had got into the hands of candidates before the examination. It was notorious that upon the last occasion those papers were on sale at a house not far from that where the examinations took place, at prices varying from £2 to £5. He knew the names of the persons who were instrumental in selling these papers, and thought the term "irregularity" was too mild a term to apply to such a transaction. If it were true that the papers had been obtained, as he had heard, for some time past in that way, a great injustice had been done to some young men, and great injury to the public service, by creating a false standard of efficiency. He wished to know whether the Secretary for War would make a full investigation into the circumstances, and publish the names of the guilty parties, if they could be dealt with in no other way. He therefore wished to ask the Secretary of State for War whether due notice has been given to the Candidates for Military Commissions that the late Examinations are null and void; and, as many of the candidates have left London, and will be compelled to return from distant parts of the country at considerable expense, whether such expenses will be made good to them?


said, he would also beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether he is aware that during the recent "examination for direct Commissions for the Army," it was discovered that the Examination Papers had been stolen or surreptitiously obtained from the Office of the Council of Military Education, for the purpose of being sold to Candidates for the said Examination; and whether any steps have been or will be taken for the detection and prosecution of the person or persons by whom they were so stolen or obtained?