HC Deb 09 February 1860 vol 156 cc723-5

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will explain the reason for the long delay in issuing Commissions to Officers in the Volunteer Rifle Corps.


said, he had that morning received a letter stating that a considerable impediment was thrown in the way of the enrolment of Volunteers by the delay in issuing commissions to officers.


said, he would take that opportunity of asking the Secretary of State for War whether officers who had been elected by Volunteer corps, and approved of by the Lords-Lieutenant of counties, but who had not received their commissions from the War Office, would be allowed to attend Her Majesty's levee on the 7th of March.


said, he would answer the last Question first. Her Majesty had arranged that she would receive at the Levee to be held on the 7th of March all those officers who had been recommended to Lords-Lieutenant and approved by Lords-Lieutenant, and whose names upon transmission had been approved by the Queen, without waiting for the commissions to be published in the Gazette. With respect to the other Question, as to the tardiness of issuing commissions to officers, he regretted that there should be any such complaint; hut it must be recollected that before the services of a company could be accepted and before the officers could be nominated, the Government required certain preliminaries to be observed. There must be the requisite number of volunteers to form a company. There must also be a practising ground selected and approved by a competent officer, and a storehouse with a person to take care of it, approved by the Lord Lieutenant. It was not always possible to get all these things done off- hand. The correspondence, too, on the subject of Volunteers was not direct, but had to pass through a third channel. Some allowance must also be made for the enormous increase of business which the volunteer movement had cast on the War Office. When he first went into office there were about 20 papers a week on this subject on which it was necessary to give a decision, while the number of papers received last week was 620—the number disposed of 621, and the number of letters written 467. There had never been such an enormous amount of business undertaken for the first time and conducted with so little complaint as this connected with the Volunteer Department, which he had intrusted to Lord De Grey, and he was very glad to have this opportunity of stat- ing the opinion he had formed of the tact, punctuality and courtesy with which the noble Lord had conducted this portion of the business of the War Office.