HC Deb 17 February 1860 vol 156 c1233

in rising to put a question to the Secretary of State for War relative to the arming of the Volunteer Artillery Corps, observed that his attention had been called to a circumstance which had occurred at Liverpool, which afforded a pretty good indication of the feeling entertained by the Volunteer Artillary Corps with respect to the question of the arms which they were to carry. When Colonel M'Murdo, who had been appointed inspector of the Volunteer Artillery Corps, proceeded some days since to Liverpool to inspect about 1,500 of the corps, the major commanding and the officer of an artillery corps consisting of 640 men, which had been raised there, had impressed upon him the absolute necessity of arming the volunteers with the rifled carbine, and not with the old musket. It appeared that a majority of the force had joined on the express understanding that the artillery corps would be armed with the carbine and bayonet, and under those circumstances it was not to be expected that they should march through the streets of Liverpool armed with an antiquated Roman sword? The thing was utterly ridiculous. The major had also reported to the inspector that unless the men were properly armed he anticipated the utmost difficulty in keeping the corps together. He (Lord Elcho) should have thought nothing of this had it been an isolated case, but the fact was there were the same complaints in every volunteer artillery corps. The Government had intimated that volunteers raised in sea-board counties should be formed into Volunteer Artillery Corps, but he thought that it would be found impossible to do so unless they consented to issue a proper description of arms. With that view lie begged to ask the Secretary of State whether there was any intention on the part of the Government to arm the Volunteer Artillery Corps with the carbine and bayonet?