§ House in Committee.
§ Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.
§ (In the Committee.)
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, rot exceeding £133,276, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of Volunteer Corps in Great Britain, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1862, inclusive.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, a notice had been on the paper in his name for a long time, having reference to this Vote, with a view to his calling the attention of the House to the wants of the Volunteer Corps. He regretted that he had not had an opportunity of calling attention to the subject sooner, as much misunderstanding had prevailed as to the views of those who wished it to be discussed in the House. If he had introduced this question at the first formation of the Volunteer corps, the 779 main want to which he would have had to call the attention of the Committee, he would have been to the want of popularity experienced by the Volunteers—for there was no denying the fact that when the Volunteer movement first began it met with little sympathy from the public and little encouragement from official men. He recollected the Prime Minister talking, in his jocular way, about "the Rifle fever;" but a great change had come over the public mind. To be popular a man must now be a Volunteer; the Volunteer service was now always associated at public dinners with the toast of the Army and Navy, and he hoped the Volunteers would prove themselves worthy of the honour; and as for his noble Friend the Prime Minister he was himself a member of a Rifle corps, and they all knew that he could not go through the forms of an election without being attended by a Volunteer guard. It was not, therefore, to any want of popularity on the part of the Volunteers that he had to call the attention of the House, but to more material wants which, if not attended to, would lead to a diminution of the number of the force. He had endeavoured to ascertain the numbers of the Volunteer force, and he was able, on the authority of Inspector General McMurdo, to state the numbers with near accuracy. There were, of Cavalry and Mounted Rifles, 562; Artillery, 20,360; Engineers, 1,482; and Riflemen, 125,551; making a total of 147,955. That statement was made up from returns which had been in the office for two months previous, and since then the numbers had increased by about 2,000, so that altogether the force might be taken as numbering 150,000 men. That was a large force to have been raised by voluntary enlistment. But the Committee would readily see that something more than public spirit and patriotism were necessary to call into existence a force of this description. Such a force had not been raised without a very considerable outlay incurred by those who had either served in or assisted it. The expenses of a Volunteer corps were not confined to the mere uniform, accoutrements, and drill-sergeants. They had to provide themselves with drill and musketry instruction, drill-grounds, ranges, targets, armouries, armourers, head-quarters, and then came advertising, printing, postage, stationery, travelling expenses, and bands. The Committee might smile at this last item, but it was very dull work, and the men could with difficulty be got together, without 780 bands, and although he admitted that they led to a considerable expenditure, bands were really a sine quâ non. Prizes and incidental expenses must also be taken into account; and he did not think he should exaggerate when he stated his conviction that these 150,000 men had spent, or had cost those who supported the movement, the sum of £10 per man—so that about £1,500,000 had been raised by voluntary taxation for the establishment of this force. A conviction existed on the part of those who had the means of forming a judgment, that unless some further assistance was given in addition to that which they now received from Government, a very large proportion of the force would gradually fall away; and he should endeavour to show that Government could give further assistance without in any way interfering with the Volunteer character of the force; at all events, without interfering more than at present. It was said out of doors that if the Government gave any further assistance they would destroy the independence of the force, and alter its Volunteer character. Now he, as a Volunteer, must express his utter inability to understand the meaning of the word "independence" as applied to a military force. If the independence of the Volunteers meant that this force of 150,000 men was not to be under proper control and authority—if it meant that any Volunteer officer, on his own responsibility, and without the consent of the authorities, might at any time collect together 10,000 or 20,000 men in any part of the country, of whom he was to be the self-appointed commander—the sooner such a force was done away with the better; because the day might come when such a force might be a source of danger instead of safety to the State. He was confident, however, that he expressed the opinion of nine-tenths of the Volunteers when he said that, while they wished to retain such an amount of indpendence as was their due, being Volunteers, and as was consistent with the War-Office Memorandum of June last, they felt also that the force ought to be under legitimate control and authority; they felt that they were constitutionally under the War Office, and under the War Office they wished to remain. A great deal had been said about the Horse Guards. The Horse Guards was a bugbear which frightened a great many people, but he did not believe it frightened the Volunteers. As to the illustrious Duke now at the head of this 781 Department, he, from the commencement of the Volunteer movement, had done all in his power to foster it. He was colonel of a Volunteer Rifle regiment; he was president of the National Rifle Association; on all occasions he had given them good advice; and, moreover, he had done signal service to the Volunteers and to this country by setting the example of binding together in a sort of brotherhood of arms the Regulars and the Volunteers. He (Lord Elcho) hoped, therefore, they would hear no more of attempts on the part of the Horse Guards to interfere with the independence of the Volunteer force. It was observable that those who decried further Government assistance, and who declared that it would alter the character of the force, were generally persons who made eloquent speeches in favour of the Volunteers, but who did not further assist the movement either in purse or in person. If the Volunteer character of the force was destroyed by Government assistance that character was gone already. When about two years ago the Secretary of State for War brought into operation the old Act of Geo. III., under which the Volunteer force was Constituted, the only inducement he held out was that if the Volunteers lost an arm or a leg, Chelsea Hospital was open to them, and that, if killed, their widows would receive a pension. On the other hand, they were to clothe, accoutre, arm themselves, and bear all expenses. It was soon found out, however, that Volunteers did not come forward so freely as was hoped for, and the pure Volunteer principle was, therefore, broken in upon. The Government first armed the Volunteers; and then, with a view to teach them the use of their arms, adjutants were provided, with inspectors and a staff, and the Government also provided ammunition. Though, however, there was here a departure from the pure Volunteer principle upon which the force was originally constituted, still assistance was given according to a strict principle, which was that Government gave such assistance as was necessary to secure the efficiency of the men. All they now asked for was that this principle should be extended, and that the Government should give only the further assistance which was necessary to their efficiency. The conviction that something more was necessary in order to maintain this force led to a meeting of commanding officers of the metropolitan corps, and the resolutions passed at that meeting embodied the views both of those were 782 present and of those who did not attend, the latter having subsequently given their assent to them. These resolutions amounted to this:—That the Government, who now gave the Volunteers aid in the shape of adjutants, arms, inspectors, and ammunition, should extend the assistance to drill sergeants, practice ranges, and some allowance for enabling them to take proper care of their arms. For his own part, he confessed that he could see no difference in principle between giving an adjutant and giving a drill sergeant. Drill sergeants were difficult to obtain, each cost £40 or £50 a year, and in the country a company of fifty or sixty men could not incur the expense of providing themselves with drill sergeants. Then, subscriptions from honorary members could not be permanently relied on; they formed a most uncertain source of income; and, what was worse, the Volunteers were put to shifts to obtain money by means of bazaars and balls, to which, though such devices might not be discreditable, the House of Commons ought to save them the necessity of resorting. He had received a letter from Sir Arthur Elton, the late Member for Bath, in which the same views were set forth, and the writer expressed his opinion that the Volunteers ought not to be left to raise the wind in any such way. The assistance asked for being strictly in accordance with the principle on which Government aid had been hitherto given, it was only right and fair that the Government should render such further aid. The resolutions which he had referred to were, as he had said, adopted by the officers of metropolitan corps; but in order to ascertain the views of the officers in the country he, having been chairman of the meeting, took the liberty of circulating these resolutions throughout the country. To his letter there had been between 100 and 200 replies, and, with one exception, all were favourable to the proposals contained in the resolutions, the writers declaring almost invariably that without some assistance of this kind the Volunteer force could not be expected to continue at anything like its present number. The following were found to be the expenses of various corps taken indiscriminately:—The Brecknock Rifles of 347 men expended on drill, maintenance of rifle range, and similar expense, exclusive of orderly room and so forth, £244; the 15th Suffolk, an administrative battalion, 569 men, £516; the 2nd Essex, with 700 men, £830; the 783 15th Cumberland, with 900 men, £850; 4th Gloucester, 800 men, £389; 1st Northamptonshire, 345 men, £415. His own corps, which mustered about 670 men, spent £350. The Inns of Court Corps—[Mr. MALINS: Hear, hear!]—he thought he recognized the voice of, he hoped, an efficient member of that corps, and he would correct him if he were wrong—mustered between 400 and 500 man, and their expenditure on these items was £303; but they expended £1,346 for their share of a rifle range. The members of this corps had peculiar advantages; they lived in barracks at Lincolns' Inn, in the Temple, and Gray's Inn; they had drill grounds close to their own doors, they hung up their rifles with their wigs and gowns, and whenever they had a spare hour they took their rifle off its peg—whether with or without the wig and gown he did not know, for he never saw them at drill—ran down and had an hour's drill on the green in their own courts. Therefore, if at a review they appeared to do better than other corps, it must be remembered that they were very advantageously situated, besides the peculiar intelligence which belonged to gentlemen of the long robe. The 1st Orkney, numbering 56 men, expended £47; the Robin Hood Rifles, of 600 men, spent £531. The result showed that the expenses to which the Volunteers were put on these heads amounted to between 10s. and 15s. per man. A sum of £1 per man had been mentioned at the meeting at the Thatched House, as the amount which should be contributed by the Government, but that was merely meant as an index to the Government of the maximum cost of these things. The additional 5s. was proposed to be expended on what were called travelling expenses. This might be a point open to dispute; but it must be borne in mind that we never could get administrative battalions into a proper state of efficiency unless they were brought together and exercised in battalion and brigade drill. That would, of course, he a source of expense; but it was a matter for the Government to consider whether these companies ought not to be brought together. They certainly never could be efficient without such meetings. There never had been any question of asking the Government for anything so foolish as that each individual Volunteer should have £1 to spend as he liked; though, of course, if the Government thought it most convenient to give the assistance in money, they 784 would take security that it was properly spent. It was for the Government to decide whether they would give aid at all, and if they did give it they would decide whether they would give it in money or in kind. His own impression was that it would be better to give it in kind. It was drill sergeants in particular that were wanted; but in regard to the cost of ranges, the custody of arms, and such expenses, different corps were so differently situated that perhaps it would be simpler for the Government to say that such a sum per man would be a reasonable expenditure to allow. All these points were logically connected with the assistance already given to the Volunteer character of the force, and did not in any way affect the determination which had always been studiously kept in view to preserve the movement from anything like an eleemosynary character. The present Vote of £40,000, spread over a force of 148,000 men, amounted to about 5s. per man, and in addition there was about £4,000 a year for staff and inspectors at the Horse Guards; and if the additional assistance were granted which he asked for, the whole Vote would amount to about 20s. or 25s. per man. The question for the House to decide was whether the Volunteers were worth from 20s. to 25s. per man? There were some persons who thought that through the Volunteers they might bring about some reduction of the regular army; but that was not the feeling of the Volunteers. They wished that the regular army should be maintained at its full strength. The Volunteer force, after all, was only held together by a rope of sand—fourteen days' notice, and your regiment was gone, and the regular army, therefore, ought not to be diminished by a single man. In any remarks, therefore, which he made as to the comparative cost of the Volunteer and regular forces, he had no wish to argue for the diminution of the regular forces. Including in the calculation the four Votes of the Estimates, pay and allowances, clothing, provisions, and barracks, and the expenses of the Horse Guards and the War Office, the annual cost of a regular soldier was £55, and including other items it would come up to about £83 per man. The Volunteer, of course, could never be as efficient as the regular soldier, but he certainly could not be said to be dear at 25s. per head. It would ill-become him as a Volunteer to speak of the efficiency of the force; but he thought everybody 785 must have been surprised by what he saw at the reviews in Hyde Park, at Edinburgh, and at Knowsley. Wherever they had appeared, in fact, they had conducted themselves in a most satisfactory manner. It was said that the opinion of the Continent was the opinion of history. Last year the military attaché of the French Embassy was present at an inspection of the City of London Rifle Brigade at the Horse Guards. That gentleman, looking at the inspection, said to a friend of his, "I came here expecting to see a National Guard, and I see soldiers." In a few words he would refer to the corps to which his hon. and learned Friend opposite belonged—the Inns of Court. Colonel M'Murdo assured him, after he had inspected them in Richmond Park, that it was the best regiment he had ever seen." "Perhaps," he added, "the 60th Rifles, when they went first to Scinde, under Lord Melville, were as active and efficient in skirmishing as the Inns of Court." It showed what intelligence could do, and it was a great comfort to know that if the Inns of Court were ever called into the field they were likely to be as formidable to their enemies as they were to their clients. Being a Volunteer, he would not dwell further on the efficiency of the force, but he would take this opportunity of saying a word in reference to the social and political bearings of the Volunteer movement. He did not believe that it was possible to exaggerate the social good which the movement had done. They lived in a country where the different classes of society had but few opportunities of mixing together and understanding and appreciating one another. They met at cricket, at the Derby, on the Serpentine in a hard winter, and in Scotland at curling on the ice. But in this country the opportunities of meeting were few, and it was a great social want—a want rendered greater on this account, that unfortunately they had in this country men who, by the studied perversion of history and fact, endeavoured to set class against class. He said the antidote to this was to be found in the Volunteer movement which brought men together and bound them together in a patriotic and holy brotherhood of arms. Of the physical good he would not speak, because healthful exercise and improved habits spoke for themselves. But he would say a word on the political bearings of the question. Let them look at the position in which England stood a few years ago, before the Volunteer movement was started. Their fleet 786 was little, if at all, superior in numbers and appointments to that of France. He heard a gallant officer say that in case of invasion they could not put more than 13,000 infantry in line. They had an untrained population, and the result of a consciousness of weakness was to produce periodical panics. He would not attempt to say whether those panics were or were not justified by the aspect of things on the continent of Europe, but he would say that they were justified by a state of weakness which, to say the least, invited aggression. That was not the state for a great country like England to be in—England which, at the commencement of the century had defied invasion and had stemmed and rolled back the tide of French flood of conquest that had desolated and swept over the rest of Europe. The Russian war did not add to our military prestige, notwithstanding the sufferings and heroism of our gallant soldiers, because it was believed that we were defective in military organization. The feeling engendered by such a state of things, rendering the country liable to periodical panics, was intolerable to every man whose love of country rested on higher considerations than their own unrivalled power of producing cotton prints at the lowest figure, and the Volunteer movement was hailed as a deliverance from this state of things. Many persons now claimed to be the authors of the Volunteer movement, and their various pretensions had given rise to some controversy. He had heard a gentleman, in returning thanks for the press, say that he knew personally twenty-seven gentlemen who claimed to be the originators and authors of the movement. But he would name one person who, in his opinion, was the main cause of the improved position in which they now found themselves. His belief was that it was the Nestor of Parliament, the trumpet-tongue of Lyndhurst, that first roused the spirit of the country to a due sense of its position. He should never forget the words spoken by Lord Lyndhurst in "another place"—I will not trust the liberties of this country, its honour and its interests, to any declaration or any promise of any friendly Power or any Power whatever. I will rely on my own power, on my own resources, on my own vigour, and on the strength of my own right arm.Those words ought to be written over the doors of Parliament, as they were engraved on the heart of every Volunteer. But this was, in fact, not a new movement. The spirit of the Volunteers of 1803 survived, 787 and only wanted to be kindled into a flame. The man who gave the necessary stimulus was Lord Lyndhurst. Before the revival England was in danger of losing her moral weight in the councils of Europe, through a disbelief in her physical power. What was her position now? The fleet was reconstructed; the army was perfected and organized; there was on efficient Yeomanry force, and a fine Militia. But, as a French writer recently expressed it, "Behind all this we have the British nation in arms." The position of England was much more honourable and creditable than it was, and if they wished to know what had been the effect of the change, he would say ask public opinion on the Continent, would that he could say, "Ask Cavour." But let them ask the Emperor Napoleon—let them ask the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, whether the state of this country now did not enable them to speak and write as the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary of England ought to speak and write, and whether they had not now that weight in the councils of Europe which a country such as this ought to have. They had had an incidental discussion to-night on the state of Italy, His conviction was that England, by her moral influence, backed by her physical strength and under the able guidance of his noble Friend the Foreign Secretary—and, though he saw sneers on the faces of some hon. Gentlemen opposite, he would repeat, under the able guidance of his noble Friend—the moral weight of England had done more to consolidate the liberties of Italy than the active intervention of France. If, then, they wished to consolidate those liberties; if they wished to retain the French Alliance, they must render England inviolate against attack. It must not be supposed, because he thus spoke of the Volunteer movement, which he believed to be the main cause of the improvement in the position of England, that it was encouraging an aggressive spirit on the part of the people. He believed the contrary to be the fact. He believed that with nations, as with individuals, when not conscious of strength or of the justice of their cause, they were touchy and quarrelsome, and that when strong they could afford to treat with contempt or pass unheeded that which otherwise they would feel bound to notice. In proof of this he might state that some months ago a distinguished diplomatist said to him, "The cause of peace is now greatly strengthened because we diplomatists feel ourselves 788 strong enough, when necessary, to make concessions." He had endeavoured to state the views of the Volunteer force temperately, and he hoped without exaggeration. What reply he should receive from Her Majesty's Government he was unable to divine. He trusted that it would be favourable. He trusted that they would not make those who were working and slaving in the cause bear the whole burden, because they could not rely on the subscriptions of honorary members to the same extent being continued. He hoped the Government would be prepared, without departing from the line which they had chalked out for themselves, and from which they need not depart, to accede to their request. He hoped the Government would be prepared to support and maintain the great force which had thus been raised, and which it had been well said was laid at the feet of the Sovereign as the noblest present ever made to any ruler. He was confident that if by withholding timely assistance and pursuing a shortsighted economy they allowed the Volunteer force to be starved out of existence, a heavy responsibility would rest on the Government and on the House of Commons.
§ VISCOUNT VALLETORT
thanked the noble Lord for bringing the subject before the House, and expressed his concurrence in all he had said; for he fully agreed that the time had come when the Volunteer force had a right to demand some further assistance from the central Government. There was, however, no reason to complain of what the Government had already done for them, because the Government had pursued a wise and prudent course in leaving the Volunteer movement at its commencement to be supported by private zeal and liberality. With regard to the origin of the movement which had led to the great results which no one anticipated, he believed the question would never be satisfactorily settled. It was not the movement of any individual, but of the whole people, who had shown a growing desire that the nation should be secure and not exposed to periodical panics. If, indeed, there was any one who by his zeal, assiduity, and hard work in the cause, coupled with unobtrusiveness, had entitled himself to the gratitude of the public, it was the noble Lord who had brought the subject forward. Thanks to the indefatigable exertions of the noble Lord, and of others who had taken a lead in the matter, and to the liberality of the public who desired to escape from constantly re- 789 eurring panics, the force was now established on, he hoped and believed, a permanent basis. He believed that upwards of £1,500,000 had been spent in establishing the movement, and that mainly by the Volunteers themselves. With regard to further aid from the Government, he reminded the House that it was one thing to get subscriptions for the support of a corps when a general interest was first excited in the movement, and quite another thing to secure a steady annual amount of subscriptions in the future. He confessed he was not one of those who thought that the War Office had exercised any undue control over the Volunteers, and, therefore, he did not join in the complaint against that Department. The movement had produced a great change in the sports and pastimes of the people. A few years ago scarcely any one who did not visit the deer forests of Scotland could use a rifle, but men were now to be found in almost every village who could handle it expertly. The growing popularity of rifle-shooting as a sport would tend greatly to give permanence to the Volunteer force. The bulk of the expense of the different corps of Volunteers had been borne by themselves, and it was only fair, when they paid for their own personal expenses, that they should not be mulcted on every occasion for travelling and other necessary purposes. All they asked was that the permanent expenses necessary for the efficiency of a corps should be paid by the Government, and in such a way that the Government should be no loser. Those expenses came under the heads of instruction, both in musketry and drill, care of arms, and means for rifle practice. But what the Volunteers required more than money was that they should continue to enjoy the cordial goodwill of their fellow-countrymen, which would be jeopardized if the country supposed that any money was granted to them for which they would not give a fair and full equivalent. He, therefore, trusted that whatever the Government did in this matter they would do it cautiously for the sake of the Volunteers themselves, as well as the public.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
was very much in favour of the proposal of the noble Lord (Lord Elcho), which he believed Members generally would consider involved no excessive amount of assistance. The strength of this country had been immeasurably increased in the opinion of people on the Continent since the establishment of the Vo- 790 lunteer force, and he for one expected from it great things. He would trust the safety of the country far more to the Volunteer force than to any fortifications for which they were called upon to vote so much money. But they could not expect that force to be kept up in its present state of efficiency unlesss the Government gave them some further assistance and bore the expense of one non-commissioned officer to every two companies. He looked upon the movement as one of the best which had ever orginated in the country, and he thought they were much indebted to the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) for the energy, temper, and tact which he had shown in promoting it up to the present time.
§ MR. A. F. EGERTON
said, the corps composed almost entirely of working men—one of which he had the honour to command, and the organization of which often involved considerable expenditure on the part of the officers commanding companies—had, in his opinion, a certain claim upon the State for such assistance as was necessary to render them efficient. The want of efficient instructors was much felt. In country places great difficulty was often experienced in obtaining drill sergeants, particularly such as were acquainted with the new drill, and much inconvenience arose in consequence in battalion drill. He thought this was a form in which assistance might very properly be given by the Government. War-office interference was a bugbear of which he was not afraid; indeed, his impression was, that if the War-office had committed a fault, it was in not interfering enough.
§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
said, the question was what was the best way of rendering the Volunteer movement a permanent institution; and he thought that this was not to be attained so much by any grant of money per head, as by contributions in kind—by providing those necessary details which were now defrayed at the expense of the corps: such as practice grounds and instruction, If Government made an annual grant of money to the Volunteers, the public might possibly demand additional surveillance, and require that additional powers should be granted, either to the Horse Guards or to the War-office, in order that they might see that the money was properly expended, but there was a mode in which the Government might give most valuable aid in kind—that was by granting, in proportion to the number of effectives who were present at 791 the annual official inspection, a certain number of drill sergeants to each corps. Those sergeants should be, not retired soldiers, but supernumeraries, borne on the effective strength of their regiments, as that would furnish a security for their good behaviour, and would create a new link between the Volunteers and the regular army. Many a corps that was competent to go through its company and battalion drill had never fired a shot at a target; and working men, who had subscribed for their uniforms and other incidental but necessary expenses, found it impossible to defray the cost of a rifle range. In this respect, especially in the neighbourhood of large towns, where difficulties existed in the way of procuring sufficient space for the purpose, the Government might render material assistance.
§ MAJOR BARTTELOT
suggested that in many corps the officers would find it a very complicated duty to have funds entrusted to their hands for which they would be compelled to render an account to the War-office. If non-commissioned officers of the disembodied militia regiments could be allowed to serve as drill sergeants to the Volunteer force, he thought it would add much to the efficiency of a body which had become a permanent necessity in the country.
§ SIR JOHN OGILVY
said, that at one of the largest and most influential meetings of Volunteers which had ever been held, it was determined to call the attention of the authorities to the fact that, while in England Volunteers had the advantage of access to the musketry establishment at Hythe, in Scotland they were debarred from that advantage on account of the distance. Lord Herbert, under whose attention this subject had several times been brought, had undertaken to give it his most serious consideration; and as he had some little hope that the boon which he sought might ultimately be granted, he ventured to urge it again on the attention of Her Majesty's Government. He hoped the request made by the noble Lord, the Member for Haddington, would be acceded to by the House, as it certainly would be endorsed by the country; and, on the part of the Volunteers, he begged to tender to the noble Lord his thanks for the able and satisfactory manner in which he had made known their wants.
MR. H. BERKELEY
said, he took a very different view of this question from any which had yet been put forward. He 792 divided the subject into two parts. In the Estimates he found a sum of £42,000 to be applied to the requirements of 150,000 Rifle Volunteers, and another of £90,000 for 14,000 Yeomanry Volunteers. He had listened with very great attention to the speech of his noble Friend (Lord Elcho) and concurred in every word of it. It was impossible to overrate the importance of the Volunteer movement, which had achieved safely for the country, had prevented the recurrence of monetary panics, and had given us a position among nations which previously we did not hold. How had these results been attained? By downright hard work; by continual attention to drill; by attendance, night after night, for weeks and months, on the part of men who attended to their shops all day, and gave up their time for recreation in order that they might learn the business of soldiers. Military officers in that House would confirm his statement that these results could only be secured by continued application, and that to think that men, by dint of wearing fine uniforms and congregating for a short time, were to become Heaven-inspired soldiers, was a perfect farce. If, instead of £42,000, a demand had been made for £100,000 on behalf of Rifle Volunteers who worked thus arduously, he would willingly have given it. That was one picture: now he turned to the other, upon which he would not willingly cast his eyes, did not duty compel him to do so. This sum of £90,000 was to be disposed of for the amusement of some eighteen colonels who were noblemen, including three Dukes, and thirteen colonels who were squires, including four Baronets. One of the most respected of those colonels sat opposite—the great Field Marshal of the Yeomanry of the West. For that hon. Baronet (Sir William Miles) he had the most sincere respect, and he had not the slightest intention of saying anything personally offensive to him or the gallant men whom he commanded. But if he found that they had gone backwards instead of forwards, that they did not attend to their drill, his duty bound him to tell the truth. To suppose that by riding forth once a-year with a band of music at their head, or that thirty two hours' drill would make them fit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the regular cavalry, would be an egregious mistake. If it were supposed the Yeomanry could do the duty of regular troops it was a gross error. If it were thought they might be useful as a constabulary force it was a gross delusion. The Yeomanry could 793 not be depended on to quell a local disturbance of a serious character, for it would take twelve hours to collect them in any county. The Volunteer Riflemen would be a much better force to stand by the constabulary in case of need, and, being on the spot, could be summoned in an hour. He had seen a mob of 10,000 run away from the shaking of the tails of a troop of Life Guards' horses. Could hon. Gentlemen show him that the Yeomanry were a successful body in that way? Wherever they had met with anything like opposition they had invariably behaved ill. Why, a whole regiment of them had laid down their arms to an unarmed mob, and a body of Yeomanry had run away, major and all, from a mob armed with stones and a couple of fowling pieces for which they had no ball cartridge. If such was the conduct of the Yeomanry in the face of an unarmed mob, were they of any use in repelling an invasion? In 1798, when 900 Frenchmen found their way from Rochelle to Killala Bay in Ireland a little too late, for the battle of Vinegar Hill had put down the Irish rebellion, a regiment of Yeomanry, to their great honor, found themselves face to face with some of those Frenchmen. How did they act? They turned their horses' heads to where their tails ought to be, and got them into a frantic gallop, which ended in some of themselves being thrown into a ravine and destroyed. No one doubted the courage of Irishmen. It was the want of discipline that led to such conduct; for, when the Limerick Militia came suddenly on the vanguard of these same Frenchmen, the colonel took off his hat and exclaimed, "Here they are, my boys!" and the militiamen went at them with the bayonet and gave them such a handling that they never made head afterwards. At Ballina the Yeomanry were tried again; but they turned their rear front to the French and ran away incontinently. He hoped that so many fine men and horses as the Yeomanry now had would not be thrown away, but that they would consent to dissolve themselves into that more efficient force the Volunteers. The Volunteers had shown that with a little more study they would be prepared to take their places by the side of the Line. The illustrious Duke at the head of the army, whose courage had been tried, and whose professional knowledge no one could doubt, had spoken in high terms of what the Volunteers promised to become, and in eloquent terms enforced on them the ne- 794 cessity of discipline. Let the country refuse to pay for what was worthless. If the Yeomanry did not make themselves good soldiers, they had no right to ask the House to put its hands into the pockets of the people to pay them. Their own officers corroborated what he had said as the non-efficiency of the drill in the evidence given before a Commission which sat at the War Office, evidence from which the hon. Member quoted to prove the impossibility of getting the Yeomanry to attend squad drills. The horses which many of them rode were battered old hacks, hired for the purpose, or borrowed from their friends. He knew cases where omnibuses had been stopped in order that Yeomanry might go forth to glory on their horses. He had heard of a trumpeter who used to drill on a fine black horse which was the pride of the troop. Being one day late the captain of the troop was angry and remonstrated with him; when, with great simplicity, he replied, "Why, sir, I was waiting till the hearse came home." It had been stated in evidence by the Earl of Dudley that this Yeomanry force could be only induced to attend drill by being invited to dinner, and they required a vast deal of that sort of persuasion to do any drill work at all, his Lordship was Colonel of the Worcestershire Yeomanry and gave his testimony of that corps in particular. This was the old way of recruiting doctors' mates for the navy—put down a burgoo tub on the pier at Aberdeen and they came of themselves. So the Yeomanry would not come unless they were fed like animals. Why should the Yeomanry be in a better position than the Volunteer force? It was better for the Yeomanry to dismount from their horses, shoulder their rifles, and let the cavalry business be done by those who really understood it. When he found that such men as the Duke of Newcastle, the Duke of Beaufort, the Duke of Buckingham, and eighteen other noblemen, colonels in the Yeomanry, went knocking at the War Office door for £10 a piece, which he supposed they wanted to pay their expenses with. He thought it was a bad thing to go forth to the country that these wealthy noblemen possessed so little patriotic spirit as to receive these sums, while the Volunteers laid so heavy a tax on themselves. He should propose that the Vote for the Yeomanry force be reduced by £30,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £73,276, be grant-
ed to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of Volunteer Corps in Great Britain, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1862, inclusive.
§ SIR WILLIAM MILES
said, he hoped the Government would take into their consideration the proposal of his noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho). The noble Earl asked for little enough; and he felt certain that when the novelty of the Volunteer movement was worn away, that Volunteer Rifle force, which was at present so efficient and so constantly increasing, would dwindle down both in numbers and in discipline unless some support was given to them either in kind or in money. The Volunteers did not seem to have determined in what form they ought to accept assistance from the State, but he would recommend them to try to keep at their own disposal any money that might be granted to them, for they might depend upon it that they would find their drill-serjeants would be much more efficient if they had themselves the power of paying and of dismissing those men. He should be glad to see our 150,000 Rifle Volunteers increase to 200,000; and he saw no reason why the Government should not make them an allowance at the rate of £1 for each man. He believed that a sum of £200,000 in our public Estimates would be a small sum to pay for the services of so many hearts and hands prepared to defend the country in any emergency. It was for the Government to choose between the Rifle Volunteers and the Yeomanry, and if they thought they could get an efficient corps of Mounted Rifle Volunteers as of Yeomanry, he would gay at once accept the services of the former. The hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. H. Berkeley) had spoken in depreciation and ridicule of the Yeomanry. The regiment that he (Sir William Miles) had the honour of commanding had twice saved the town of Frome—once from burning. He was sorry to say that there was a considerable effusion of blood, but still the Yeomanry preserved the town. That, at least, was one occasion on which the Yeomanry had acted well, and he was certain that other corps would act well, also, if occasion arose. The hon. Gentleman must know very well that the force was more efficient than he chose to admit. They had permanent Serjeants in his corps, almost all of whom were old soldiers or pensioners; they resided in the neighbourhood of the troops; and the result was that the troops could hare squad 796 drill several times between the fixed periods of permanent duty, so that they were sufficiently drilled when they came together to do their regimental duty. If his hon. Friend the Member for Bristol had any doubt upon the matter why did he not ask the inspecting officer his opinion? Surely the Government would be informed by that officer of their shortcomings, and they would be mentioned in the report. The question was whether the Yeomanry force was an efficient one for the purpose for which it was intended? They were not intended to act with the regular army, but he should like to know where the hon. Member would find a better qualified body of men to perform such duties as that of escorts, outposts, and other duties auxiliary to an army in case of an invasion than the Yeomanry, who knew every bye-lane and hedge in the country. That was the duty for which they were designed, and having commanded a Yeomanry force for many years he could vouch for their efficiency. He should very much like to see the Rifle Volunteers, the Pensioners, and the Yeomanry force brigaded together occasionally, as in case of invasion they would be the forces called upon to act together. The Militia was the proper force to act in concert with the regulars, but the Rifles, the Yeomanry, and the Pensioners should be subsidiary. He recollected waiting some years ago upon the noble Lord now at the head of the Government, when he was Home Secretary, on this subject; when the noble Lord admitted that it would be an admirable thing for the force if the permanent duty were prolonged; and he quite agreed with the noble Lord in this. All the common movements were learnt in squad and troop drill, which were entirely voluntary—not a single farthing was allowed for them. But when they were called out for duty, when they were absent seven or eight days, and were thirty or forty miles away from their homes, he put it to the Committee whether 7s. a day was a higher rate of pay for horse and man than they were entitled to. As to the officers' pay, did anybody for a moment think that noblemen like the Duke of Beaufort would care for the paltry £10 or £12? Did the officers decline when the question was put to them whether they would accept the 7s. a day as well as the men? The contrary was the case. Was it likely the colonels cared for the £10 or £12, when they often laid out in regimental expenses as much as £20, £60, and even £150? He thought, 797 therefore, that the hon. Member for Bristol had thrown out a taunt against the colonels of the Yeomanry regiments which they little deserved. Either the Yeomanry force ought to be a paid force, and should be properly paid as such, or it ought to be a purely Volunteer force. They ought to come to some distinct understanding on the matter. The recommendation of the Yeomanry Committee at the War Office was that the allowance clothing and the contingent allowance should be reduced by 30s. He wished to know whether at the same time the Government were going to pay for the clothing? or whether, as now, the colonels were to pay and receive the amount from the Government? It would be easily understood that in a Yeomanry regiment, where the clothing and accoutrements were for a considerable period in the entire charge of the men, and could only be looked after by the staff when the force was out, the repairs would be considerably greater than in a regular regiment; and, as was stated by the officers examined, it was only by putting their clothing and contingent allowances together that they hitherto had been able not only to maintain their clothing in good repair, but to leave a handsome sum in hand when it was necessary to clothe anew. During the sixteen years he had commanded his regiment he had paid to the tailors, accoutrement makers, and saddlers, £8,078, and for repairs, £3,174, making in all £11,252. In the same time he had received for the Government allowance for clothing, £9,990. Therefore, in order to keep the regiment in good order, he had submitted to a loss of £1,260, or about £76 a year. The sum was not much, and it might be said that he had the honour of commanding the regiment. It was not for himself that he spoke, but for those good men and true who were inspired with military ardour and a love for the service, but who had not sufficient money to stand the expense. He should understand if Yeomanry were mounted Volunteers, but they were a corps existing from 1809, and they had always been paid the sum the Government now paid. The question arose, could they not take something less. He had been considering what they could take off without affecting the service. A question was put to the effect what would he say to reducing the contingency to £1. He doubted the ability of the colonels to do it; but on full consideration he found he could pay all the men, and even the sergeants, to be raised 798 from £30 to £36 10s., and he would merely leave to the Government the payment of £36 10s. for the adjutant. That would make a considerable alteration in the estimate, because he found that if 10s. was taken away from the Vote on each man there would be a saving of £7,250 on the whole Vote; to which must be added £3,500, making £10,500. But they must take from that the additional adjutant's pay. They would, therefore, deduct £912, which would leave merely £10,000 saving. It was his desire to meet the wishes of the Government; but if the pay of the Yeomanry for contingent and clothing was reduced 30s. he knew it could not be done for this money, and it would be better to disband the force at once and trust to the Rifle Volunteers.
§ MR. BUXTON
acknowledged that the Volunteers had expended an enormous amount of pains and patience as well as money, and that the movement had added greatly to the reputation of the country. There was no military man who would not allow that, in case of invasion, ten Volunteers would be equal to at least one trained soldier. He was a Volunteer himself, and, therefore, made a modest estimate of their efficiency. In that case 150,000 Volunteers would be equivalent to 15,000 regular troops, and the cost of that number of regular troops would be upwards of £1,000,000. In that point of view the Volunteers had some claim on the liberality of the Government. He did not, however, complain of any want of liberality on the part of the Government, because he thought the Government had always acted towards the Volunteers with great tact and judgment. But if the Government did make up their minds to give additional aid, he hoped it would be in kind and not in money. He was persuaded that if they received money they would lose their prestige in Europe. The thanks of the country were due to the noble Lord (Lord Elcho), who by his speech to-night had crowned his energetic services to the Volunteers.
§ MAJOR EDWARDS
said, that he was extremely gratified by the eloquent speech of Lord Elcho who had brought forward this subject, and he was sure that every hon. Member would be equally gratified with himself, and would acknowlede that they were under deep obligations to the noble Lord for the interest he took both in the Yeomanry corps and the Volunteer corps, and he (Major Edwards) hoped that the latter would increase until 799 it was equal to the old Volunteer corps which was raised at the time of the threatened invasion by the French, in 1803, when their numbers amounted to 400,000 men. The present force did immense credit to the noble Lord, and other noble Lords (Lord Ranelagh for instance) and hon. Gentlemen who took as deep an interest in it as himself, and he was sure that the country was proud of the magnificent body of men which was now attached as a contingent to our regular army. Having said thus much of the speech of the noble Lord (Lord Elcho), he wished he could say as much of that of the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. H. Berkeley), who seemed to labour under one or two remarkable delusions. The hon. Member for Bristol made two great speeches in the Session usually, one in favour of the Ballot, the other against the Yeomanry Cavalry, and on both of those subjects he seemed to entertain the grossest delusions. There were one or two remarks which the hon. Member for Bristol had made which were capable of easy refutation. Three or four years ago the hon. Member, in a more humourous speech than he had made that night, took the liberty of calling the Yeomanry Cavalry—or rather of comparing them with—"hogs in armour"—but that joke fell as flatly on the House as the jokes which the hon. Member had perpetrated that evening as to the efficiency of the Yeomanry Cavalry. Now, he (Major Edwards) could place in opposition to that hon. Gentleman's opinion that of a distinguished and gallant officer, late a Member of the House—namely, Major General Sir James Chatter-ton. He remembered that gallant officer stating that he had inspected more than sixty regiments of Yeomanry, and he could not wish to see, under the circumstances, a more efficient body of men as a contingent to the army. He thought such an authority as that of General Chatterton would perhaps have a little more weight than the authority of any civilian, and even than that of the hon. Member for Bristol. With regard to the number of days during which the Yeomanry cavalry were permitted to assemble, he thought that the hon. Member had got into a little confusion even on that question. It was quite true that they were miserably paid, thanks to the parsimony of the hon. Member and those who entertained similar opinions; but he could tell the hon. Member that the regiment to which he had the honour to belong 800 not only assembled eight days in the year, but had troop and squad drill perhaps as many as fifty, or at all events forty times during the year. It was to be remembered that the Yeomanry Cavalry were not paid for those days upon which they assembled for drill, but that that was an entirely voluntary act upon their part, in order to make themselves as efficient as possible. In point of fact they cared very little comparatively, about their pay for permanent duty. He thought no one could deny that they well deserved their pay; and he was sorry to see Members of that House doing everything they possibly could to rob them of it. In reality it was by no means an efficient pay, but a mere acknowledgment of the services they rendered to their country. He would remind the House that the Yeomanry Cavalry were in a position altogether different from that of the rifle corps. They had to provide their horses; they were under the immediate control of the War Office: and they were bound; at any time they were called upon, to render any services demanded of them by the Commander-in-Chief. How efficiently they had performed that duty in agricultural districts, or in country towns, the hon. Member below him (Sir William Miles) had explained by citing an instance which he thought the House would agree with him ought to be sufficient to convince any hon. Member. However, if that were not sufficient, he (Major Edwards) could cite another case of more importance. Did not, he asked, the Yeomanry Cavalry save Manchester, and had they not the thanks of the country for the service they rendered? He hoped that the remarks and the ridicule which the hon. Member for Bristol had lavished on this force would fall as flatly upon the country as it had fallen upon the House. He had read most diligently the report of the Committee which had been sitting at the order of the Secretary of. State for War, for the purpose, as he believed, of cutting down the expenses of the Yeomanry Cavalry which was the oldest constitutional force of the country, and had been established throughout England during the last two centuries. It was at the command of the Secretary for War that the Committee had sat; but he had failed to find out in the evidence adduced before it any reason why the allowance for clothing or contingencies ought to be cut down in the slightest degree. On the contrary, any one who care- 801 fully looked over the evidence would, he thought, be of opinion that the present rates could not afford to be diminished with due regard to the maintenance of the efficiency of Yeomanry Cavalry. In regard to the officers' pay and the recommendation for its reduction, what, he asked, did it amount to? When they were dealing with money questions in that House they thought very little of £1,000 or even £100,000; and what was the sum which they expected to gain by this proposed reduction? They would simply save £3,500 by placing the officers of the Yeomanry Cavalry on a par with the privates. Were they to understand by this proposition that it was considered that the officers were at no greater expense than the privates? He could tell them that there was hardly a Yeomanry officer in Her Majesty's service who ever saw a shilling of his pay; and not only was he mulcted of all his pay, but every officer commanding a regiment, was called upon annually to make up an enormous deficiency for unavoidable expenses, and, in fact, every Yeomanry Cavalry officer of whatever grade he might be, going on permanent duty, was put to a very serious expense. Those gallant officers, however, did not grumble. They considered it necessary that they should perform their duty, and they performed it to the best of their ability. Something had been said as to placing the Yeomanry Cavalry on a par with Rifle Volunteers, but the House would remember that they were placed in very different circumstances. They had their horses to provide for, whereas the Rifleman had none; nor was he liable to be called out for duty at any moment as the Yeomanry Cavalry were; and that great difference would always exist, and continue to be a difficulty with which they would have to deal. They had heard a good deal about the practicability of raising Volunteer Cavalry rifle regiments. Why, that had been tried and had utterly failed. In his opinion if any such system were attempted to be adopted, instead of having a magnificent force numbering 14,000 mounted men, as they had at present in the Yeomanry Cavalry, they would fail, he might add they had already failed, to raise a force of 500 men as Yeomanry Volunteers. He thought it was absurd—the experiment having been tried and having failed—to have it brought forward as a suggestion in that House. For his part he trusted that it would never be tried again. Whether they looked at the prospect of affairs 802 in the manufacturing districts and considered the probability of large masses of operatives being thrown out of employment, or whether they had regard to the threatening aspect of affairs on the Continent, he thought in either case the House would agree with him that this was of all others the most unfit time to endeavour to retrench so old, so constitutional, and so respectable a force as that of the Yeomanry Cavalry.
§ SIR WILLIAM RUSSELL
said, he rose to bear testimony, as a military officer, to the extreme efficiency of the Volunteers, and would urge upon the Government to give the Volunteer force that assistance which they had a right to expect. But he thought that assistance should only be given in kind. There were four things which he thought necessary for placing the Volunteer force of the country in a state of efficiency—first, the supplying them with good and efficient arms; secondly, the furnishing them with a good and plentiful supply of ammunition for practising; thirdly, the supplying them with good practice ranges; and fourthly, the placing at their disposal good drill instructors, who should be supplied from the regular regiments of the Line. With regard to the Yeomanry, he assured the hon. and gallant Member who had last spoken (Major Edwards) that the object of the Committee appointed by the War Office was to inquire how the position of the Yeomanry Cavalry might be improved. His own belief was that they constituted a very efficient force considering the small amount of money spent on them. The Committee recommended that the annual allowance for clothing should be £1 8s. per man and 2s. per man for contingencies, making a total of £1 10s. per man per annum, as they had gone carefully through the cost of the various articles, and as they had recommended that the Staff of sergeants and one trumpeter should be paid directly by the Government and taken off the contingent fund out of which it was at present paid. The Committee also recommended that the adjutant's pay should be increased.
§ MR. DEEDES
said, the Committee that sat upon the Yeomanry had to consider the smallest amount of expense at which that force could be kept in a state of efficiency. They recommended a reduction under the head of contingencies, in consideration that the Government would allow and pay a drill sergeant for each troop. The hon. Gentleman who had brought forward this 803 proposition (Mr. H. Berkeley) complained of the inefficiency of the Yeomanry when they went out for duty; but the hon. Member now proposed to take away the chief means they had for increasing their efficiency. He should like to have the hon. Gentleman down at Dover with him for drill for eight days, and he had no doubt he should be able to work a great change in the hon. Gentleman, The reason why the Yeomanry were paid when upon permanent duty was, that they were then taken away from their homes, and incurred considerable expense on account both of themselves and their horses. The sum allowed was only 7s. per man; but he could state that it cost the members of his own regiment, when assembled for training, 12s., 13s. 6d., or 14s. per man per day. For the voluntary drills, which also impose some expense upon the members of Yeomanry corps, no allowance was made. He was sorry that this question had been mixed up with the discussion of that which had been so we'll introduced by his noble Friend (Lord Elcho) in all of whose recommendations he concurred. He could not agree with his hon. Friend (Sir William Miles) that the Government had to choose between the Yeomanry and the Volunteers. The duties of the two forces were perfectly distinct, and need not at all clash with each other. He acknowledged the advantage which Volunteer corps had derived from the appointment of adjutants to administrative battalions by the Government; but he thought that the attaching a sergeant to each company, or to two companies, as might be convenient, would be of infinitely greater service. He thought assistance should be given not in money but in kind. He trusted the Yeomanry force would have the confidence of the country, that it would be found increasing, and he for one should be prepared to vote an increased sum, if necessary, to keep it in a state of efficiency.
§ MR. TURNER
said, there was an observation made by the hon. and gallant Member for Beverley (Major Edwards) which he could not allow to pass without some remark. The hon. and gallant Gentleman stated as one of the distinguishing services of the Yeomanry that, in 1819, Manchester was saved by the Yeomanry of Cheshire. It was very true that the Yeomanry of Cheshire attacked a peaceful assembly of persons who had met together to declare their want of bread and of representation. The people complained of 804 want of representation, and that want had been supplied, in part at least, by the Bill of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London; and they were crying for bread, and that want was supplied by the policy of the late Sir Robert Peel, and the repeal of the corn laws but the charge of the Cheshire Yeomanry had created a feeling of ill-will which was not yet allayed. The people of Manchester did not look on Rifle corps with ill-will, though there were now regiments both of Foot and Mounted Rifles. They regarded them with feelings of cordiality and good-will, knowing that they had no disposition to suppress the feelings of their countrymen, even though these might be clamorously expressed, but were united with the sole purpose of defending the country against a foreign foe.
§ MR. CAYLEY
admitted that the reference of the hon. Member for Beverley (Major Edwards) had been a little unfortunate, but wished to say that the discontent referred to by the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Turner) was caused, not by the price of food, which at the time did not exceed 42s. a-quarter, but was consequent on the want of employment occasioned by the Bill of 1819. The hon. Member had made an invidious reference to the cost of the Yeomanry, and to their not paying their own expenses. He should have remembered, however, that the Manchester Mounted Rifles were on the spot, and consequently required no payment; but the Yeomanry had in some cases to be moved thirty or forty miles to their duty. Moreover, as there were but 500 Mounted Rifles in the whole of England, it would be poor policy on that ground to deprive the country of the services of 14,000 or 15,000 Yeomanry. The sneer of the hon. Member for Manchester and the jokes of the hon. Member for Bristol would be estimated, no doubt, at their proper value by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who, he trusted, would give due weight to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Haddington, so admirable and comprehensive in all its parts. He did not think undue assistance was asked on behalf of a force which had enabled the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary—to whose policy he gave his entire approbation—to maintain language more emphatic that British Ministers could previously have held. The Committee should bear in mind that Volunteering, which was a relaxation in towns, was, in fact, an addition to the labour of persons in the coun- 805 try; and it required all the influence of country gentlemen to insure its being introduced with anything like success.
§ SIR JOSEPH PAXTON
said, that he, like so many other hon. Members, felt great satisfaction at the able speech of the Member for Haddingtonshire, and fully concurred in the opinion he had stated, that without some further assistance the Volunteer force could not be maintained in its present state of efficiency. In the country districts in particular, where there was great difficulty in forming full companies, he thought there must be a great defection from the ranks unless they were supplied with the means of learning their duties with less expense. He thought that some erroneous views were held with regard to the sum of money which was claimed for providing for the proper custody of their arms. It was not intended that the money was to be paid to each Volunteer; and, even if it was, did any one suppose that Volunteers would be less independent because the Government povided them with armouries, practice ranges, and more efficient means of studying drill? The noble Lord (Lord Elcho) had seemed to lay the chief stress upon the formation of Volunteer corps in towns. On this point he (Sir Joseph Paxton) was at issue with him, believing that if the entire force was to be efficient, and was to possess a national character, it must be largely made up from the rural districts. He had made some calculation as to the sacrifices which those who joined the corps were required to make, and he had brought out the following results. The Government required that a man should undergo every year twenty-four days drill before he could be considered efficient; and starting on that date a man with an income of £150 a year would pay £11 10s. 6d.; a man with £100 a year, £7 13s.; and man with £75, £6; £50, £3 14s.; and £36, £2 16s. In the country districts they would find very few with an income of £150, and it was quite out of the question that without the assistance of Government the corps could be maintained in those places. He supported the movement on national grounds, but he also supported it because he believed that it would ultimately tend to economy in their Army Estimates.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
I suppose it was inevitable that in the discussion on this Vote the question of the old Yeomanry Cavalry and that of the new Volunteers should have been mixed up; but taking 806 those two subjects together has caused great inconvenience. With regard to the Volunteers, I think that as the matter had to be brought under the notice of the Committee, it could not have been brought before us more appropriately than by my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire, who has been so conspicuous for the zeal, energy, and ability which he has shown in connection with this new force. No man can deny that this Volunteer movement has been a most magnificent, national movement, and that it has been carried on with a spirit of patriotism which is most honourable to the country; and I believe that if occasion should require it—if an emergency should arise—we should see that force amount to double or treble the number who now surround their standards. If it be in the power of the Government to encourage this movement and give it permanency by conceding such a proposal as my noble Friend has suggested, I think they would act well in doing so. With respect to the other subject of this discussion, it is not my intention to follow the hon. Member for Bristol in that annual exhibition—his field-day he might call it—by which he seeks to amuse himself and the House on this topic. I must leave his views to be dealt with by Her Majesty's Government, for if those views go to anything at all, they go to doing away with the old Yeomanry force. I wish, however, to say a few words on the Report of the Committee; and I think I may speak more freely on it than any other Yeomanry officer who has addressed the Committee, for I have not the honour to command the regiment with which I am connected. I have heard the views of many officers in respect to this Report, and I believe I am justified in saying that the gentlemen connected with Yeomanry regiments regard it with unanimous disapprobation. I believe that the Committee were actuated by good intentions, but that they made a great mistake. I look upon the recommendations as of a most paltry and unworthy character; and I earnestly hope that the Government will not adopt them. I could very well understand the Government saying that the new Volunteer force would supersede the Yeomanry—I could understand their saying that whatever the Yeomanry might have been in past times they were no longer required. If that be the view of Government let them say so plainly, and let them part on honourable terms with a force which has existed 807 for so many years and done good service. On the other hand, if they intend to maintain the Yeomanry, let me entreat of them not to take a course which, as a pecuniary saving, it is not worth their while to adopt, but which cannot be received otherwise than as an offence by those whom it will affect. I regret the Report of the Committee, and I hope it will not be acted upon by the Government.
MR. T. G. BARING
said, the House and the country could not but regard it as a novel thing that there should have been three or four hours' discussion of a question with hardly any difference of opinion. No man was better entitled than his noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire to bring this subject before the House, and he had done so with a correct appreciation of the interests of the force which he so worthily represented, with an eloquence which he could not attempt to imitate, while the moderation with which he had stated his views entitled him to the thanks of the Committee. The Committee were aware that Her Majesty's Government had shown their sense of the value of the Volunteer force on every occasion on which they had had on opportunity of doing so, and he was glad to say that, in the whole course of this discussion, not one word had been uttered savouring of jealousy between the Volunteers and the regular military force of the country. He could fully corroborate what had been said by his noble Friend with reference to the desire of His Royal Highness the Commander-Chief to render every assistance which personally he could give to the Volunteer force, and it was well known to the Committee that His Royal Highness had, on every occasion on which an opportunity occurred, exerted himself to improve and extend their efficiency. The position in which he (Mr. Baring) stood that night was a new one—he had rather to defend the smallness of the Vote than its largeness. But the sum of £42,000 in the Vote was very far from being the actual cost of the Volunteer force—it only went to pay the adjutants. There was for the pay of the staff for the inspection of Volunteers and other establishment expenses a sum of £9,000. There was a sum of £2,000 for Volunteer batteries; there was in addition to these sums an expense for ammunition of £64,000: so that in the Estimates of this year there was an actual charge of £117,000 on account of the Volunteer force. In ad- 808 dition to that there were a large number of rifles in the hands of the Volunteers—and in the opinion of the Government there was no place where the reserve of rifles could be better placed, though certainly they would not last so long as if they had been kept in the Tower store. About one-twelfth of their cost was calculated for the tear and wear of the arms this amounted to £43,000 so that the actual expense of the Volunteer force could not be put at less than £160,000 for the current year. There would next year be about £20,000 more, for there were many new corps entitled to adjutants who had not yet received them. The Government did not think the sum proposed for the Volunteer corps too much. On the contrary, they thought that a still larger expenditure might, if necessary, with propriety be devoted towards the maintenance of a force so valuable. The Committee would see, however, that the amount of £1 a head, which the noble Lord proposed to give to each Volunteer, had already been more than equalled by the proposal of the Government; but the real question was how far the present amount of payment was sufficient to maintain the force. The only part of the speech of his noble Friend which he disagreed with was that in which he rather shadowed forth than distinctly proposed that a money allowance should be given to the Volunteers. He did not understand his noble Friend to stand by that proposition. He agreed with those hon. Members who had stated that there were strong reasons why assistance given in kind should be of more advantage to the force than money allowances. His noble Friend argued that, as assistance was already given to the Volunteers, they should not, by increasing that assistance, change the nature of the force. That was true; but, if they were to give a money allowance instead of giving assistance only in kind, that would be such a change as might have an injurious effect on the feelings of independence of the Volunteers, while it might also lead foreign nations to the inference that the force was not, after all, the offspring of patriotism, but was called forth by the payment of money. Therefore the Government were of opinion that it would not be desirable to hold out any expectation of money allowances being given in aid of their expenses. He thought his noble Friend had stated most correctly the objects for which the country might properly incur expense. With re- 809 spect to ranges, however, there was a strong objection to Government interference. He was certain that if the Government bad agreed to provide ranges for the force they would have had to pay ten times the price that was now paid for them. But the instruction of the corps in drill was by far the most important matter, and should, he submitted, be the first object of Government. The Government had had this subject under their consideration, and he hoped that something further would be done in the course of this year towards the promotion of that end, either by the course which had been suggested that evening of employing noncommissioned officers for that purpose—not detaching them from their regiments, but allowing them to be sent back or by some other mode that might be devised. If the course to which he had just referred could be carried out, it would be done at little cost to the country, and greatly to the advantage of the Rifle corps. He would now say, with regard to the permanence of the Volunteer movement, that he saw no symptoms of a falling off. His noble Friend computed the number at 147,000; and while this was a great increase upon the number of last year, hardly a day passed without some applications at the War Office for the recognition of new corps. The Volunteer movement was based mainly, on the patriotism of the people; but he believed that the rifle shooting was one of the surest elements of its permanence; and the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire had done the greatest possible benefit to the movement by the part he had taken in the formation of the National Rifle Association, and in the organization of the summer shooting matches at Wimbledon. There were great differences between the numerous corps throughout the country, as to their financial condition. Some were badly organized at first, no subscriptions for members being required, and in others the members did not pay their subscriptions regularly. A few of such corps might not be able to maintain their position; but looking broadly at the whole force, and believing that £2 a head—£1 for clothing, and £1 for other expenses—was amply sufficient to keep up a corps, he did not apprehend that many corps would fail for want of the requisite support; indeed, he gathered, from a Return which had been communicated, to him by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire, 810 that the average necessary expenses of a Volunteer were about 15s. over the whole country. In Middlesex the average subscription was about £1, and in many other counties it was quite sufficient, added to the subscriptions of the honorary members, fees upon commissions, and other receipts, to defray the charge of the corps. He had no fear, therefore, that the movement would not be permanent. In answer to the remark of the hon. Member for Dundee (Sir John Ogilvy) he would say the Government were not prepared at present to establish a school for musketry instruction in Scotland; but one was about to be opened at Fleetwood, which would be a more convenient locality for Scotch Volunteers than Hythe. He would now address himself to the' Amendment of the hon. Member for Bristol—although he thought he might very well leave him in the hands of the hon. Member for Somersetshire (Sir William Miles), who had pretty clearly shown that his hon. Friend was less acquainted with the details of the Yeomanry force than with those of Parliamentary corruption. He (Mr. Baring) thought it obvious that if the Yeomanry were not occasionally to be called out for permanent duty they had better be given up altogether, and the Motion of the hon. Gentleman would take away the money required to pay the expense of the permanent duty. He could not, therefore, agree with the Amendment. But neither could he agree with those Gentlemen who complained of the Report of the Committee that had lately recommended a reduction in the expenditure for the Yeomanry. Some hon. Gentlemen said that the reduction was too trifling to be worth the making; but he could not agree that a saving of £13,000 a year was a trifling affair. The only question was whether this reduction could be made without detriment to their efficiency? But he could not believe that Lord Eversley, Lord Aylesbury, and his hon. Friend the Member for Kent (Mr. Deedes), who commanded Yeomanry corps second to none in the kingdom for efficiency, could have recommended any reductions that would injure the efficiency of the force. The hon. Baronet the Member for Somersetshire (Sir William Miles), who commanded a corps that was a model for its numbers and spirit, admitted that the contingent expenses might be reduced from 30s. to £1 per man without detriment. This would give for his regiment £400 per annum. From that he would reduce 811 £77 as expended on objects that might he thought be spared; and, if that were done, the hon. Baronet's proposal would give the regiment which he commanded £323, while the Report of the Committee proposed to allow £328. So that he hoped the hon. Baronet would be able to keep up the efficiency of his regiment upon the reduced allowance without any difficulty. It was proposed that the officers should receive only the pay of privates. For his own part, as a Yeomanry officer, he should have preferred receiving no pay at all; but the reason why the Committee had made that recommendation was that if the officers had been asked to give their services for nothing, many of the men would have followed their example, and as others could not have afforded to do so, the result would have been the introduction of a class feeling which could not have failed to prove most detrimental to the interests of the force. The Government regarded the Yeomanry as a body of Volunteer Cavalry, which might be of essential service in time of emergency. It was far from their wish or intention to diminish the efficiency of the force; but they had no fear that such would he the result of the reductions recommended by the Committee. He trusted, therefore, that while the Committee sympathized with the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire in the statement which he had made with respect to the increased efficiency of the Volunteer force, they would not at the same time take a course which would tend to create a rivalry—which he should be sorry to sec exist—between that force and the Yeomanry, by making a deduction from the allowances given to the latter.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he had generally been opposed to the Government in his desire to reduce the Estimates, but in this case he must urge on the Government to agree to the proposition of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire. He fully concurred in the eulogiums that had been passed on the Volunteer movement. That force, it appeared, consisted of 150,000, while the regular army only amounted to 146,000. Yet upon this latter force we spent £15,000,000; though it was stated by Colonel M'Murdo that there were many of the regiments of Volunteers that were fully equal to the troops of the Line. He hoped, therefore, the Government would not hesitate to agree to the proposition of the noble Lord; and if they had any difficulty in procuring the 812 money he would suggest that they should deduct it from the sum spent on the army.
§ MAJOR EDWARDS
wished to say one word with respect to the proposed reduction of the money voted to the Yeomanry. There was a meeting of sixteen field officers held on the subject the other day, and they were all of opinion that the reduction in the Vote was unjust and undesirable. Another meeting had since been called of all the officers of the Yeomanry that could be got together, to discuss the question, and he hoped that this Vote would not be reduced until their mind was known.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
thought that the speech of the Under Secretary for War would afford considerable satisfaction to a large number of Volunteers. It was a mistake, he added, to suppose that the members of that force—at least, so far as he was aware—wished to have aid given them in the shape of a Vote of money; while, if assistance were rendered them in kind, considerable service might be done.
was sorry to hear invidious distinctions made between the Yeomanry and Volunteers, They were both admirable bodies of men. The Yeomanry, he considered, was the finest Volunteer Cavalry in the world. But he wished to point out this distinction between the Yeomanry and the Volunteers. The Yeomanry were liable to be called out at any time by the civil authorities, while the latter were responsible as to the Secretary for War, and could be called out only in case of invasion. This, he thought, justified the difference in the expenditure in their favour.
§ MR. PEACOCKE
observed that the Volunteers in the county with which he had the honour to be connected (Essex) would prefer having assistance afforded them in kind rather than by a Vote of money. The force experienced great difficulty in procuring sergeants, and the consequence was that there was not among the several corps that uniformity of drill which it was desirable should prevail, and which would prevail if sergeants were duly furnished by the Government.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
said, that a short time ago a very successful review was held at Brighton; and that was one of a number of facts which led him to believe that it 813 would be better to leave the Volunteer force to manage their own affairs.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that while he admitted that the review at Brighton was a great success, he thought he was correctly representing the feeling of the large majority of the Volunteer corps when he stated that it was on the whole better that manœuvres on an extensive scale, such as were there executed, should be regulated and controlled by proper military authorities. He felt extremely grateful, he might add, to his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for War for the reception which he had given to the remarks which he had felt it to be his duty to make that evening as well as for the zeal which he manifested in the Volunteer cause. He thought that it might be collected that the Government intended to give to the Volunteers drill sergeants, and he hoped that they would be in sufficient in number and of the best description. There were undoubtedly other causes of expense, such as practice ranges and the custody of arms, and he trusted the Government would consider whether they could not take those burdens from the Volunteers too. He was sorry to find that the hon. Member for Bristol was disposed to act on the principle of robbing Peter to pay Paul. For his own part he believed the Yeomanry Cavalry to be a most valuable force, and if they could possibly be amalgamated with the Volunteers they might act as Mounted Rifles.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £158,185, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of Fortifications at Home and Abroad, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1862, inclusive.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
asked for some explanation with respect to an item of £4,000 in the Vote for the purchase of land at Alderney. It appeared that £30,000 had been already voted on that account, while only £25,000 had as yet been expended. Under those circustances he did not see how a further sum could be required for that purpose.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, he should be glad to receive some explanation of the item for the improvement of the defences of the Mauritius. He believed it to be necessary to complete the defences of Fort 814 George, but there was a plan on foot for carrying out enormous defences on land, which would involve a complete waste of money. He trusted the sum now asked for had nothing to do with that general scheme. With regard to the Ionian Islands, the improvement of the defences was estimated to cost £50,000, and he feared that some general system of fortifying the Ionian Islands was contemplated. In the present state of the navy he did not see the necessity of throwing away this sum, which would not render those Islands impregnable against an attack from France, for instance. With respect to Gibraltar, there had been every successive year Votes for improving the fortifications. Unless satisfactory explanations were given, he should move to reduce the vote for the Ionian Islands, the Mauritius, and Gibraltar.
§ LORD WILLIAM GRAHAM
said that by a memorandum in the account of the receipt and expenditure for Army and Militia services in 1859–60, it appeared that certain sums had been received from various Colonies in aid of the Military expenditure. There had been received from the Ionian Islands, on account of staff expenditure and fortifications, the sum of £49,000; from Malta, £12,400; from Ceylon, £47,954, &c. Could the Under Secretary for War state on what principle these payments had been made; whether these colonies undertook to pay the whole of the staff expenditure and half the amount of the fortifications; and whether the Colonies would undertake to pay the same proportion of the increased expenditure now going on?
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
asked whether the proposed expenditure of £4,000 for Alderney was in addition to the former grant of £1,000,000, and how it happened that the marginal note referred, not to Alderney, but to Guernsey? He also asked what was meant by £2,000 for Volunteer batteries? Further, he called attention to the item of £5,000 for Malta.
§ MR. CONINGHAM
called attention to the Vote of £3,000 for Gibraltar. He believed that this expenditure which the Government had embarked upon was one of the most extravagant possible, and ought to be arrested.
§ LORD HOTHAM
wished to make an inquiry relative to the item of £40,000 for the defences in the Humber. He never had stated, and never would state, the reasons why these works were necessary, but they were perfectly well known in the lo- 815 cality and also to the Government. The necessity for something being done had never been denied. The Secretary of State for War told him last Session, he need take no further trouble, and that a Vote would be taken. Ground was purchased, and everything indicated a commencement of the works. It had, however, come to his knowledge that an alteration had taken place in the intentions of the Secretary of State. Could the hon. Gentleman state what that change was, and for what reason it had been come to?
MR. T. G. BARING
said, he was not aware of any change in the intentions of his noble Friend, the Secretary for War, but he had had no special communication with him on the subject. Land had been purchased, and it was proposed to commence a battery near Hull. The money would be taken in the Vote for commercial harbours. In answer to the noble Lord (Lord W. Graham) he had to state that the sum received from the Ionian Islands had been paid into the Exchequer, and could not be applied in diminution of the Vote. With regard to the Gibraltar fortifications the sum asked for was increased in consequence of less convict labour having been available than had been contemplated. The Vote for the Ionian Islands was to complete certain works of defence on the land side; but it was not intended to enter upon any new scheme of fortifications there this year, and if any such extended scheme were brought forward the House would have the opportunity of deciding upon it in the Estimates of next year. The Vote for the Mauritius was to be spent in continuing the fortifications of Fort George. By agreeing to these Votes for the Ionian Islands and the Mauritius the House would not be committed to any extended plans of fortifications. It was the opinion of Government that the less spent in fortifying distant dependencies the better; and that the best defence of our distant colonies and possessions was the British Navy. With regard to the Vote at Alderney, the sum had nothing to do with the naval works there, but was for the purchase of land necessary in order to unite the works already completed; and if the present Vote were agreed to, he believed that £2,000 would complete the whole sum required at Alderney. As to the plans at Harwich and Newhaven, it had not been the custom to lay the plans for military works before the House, but they had been carefully considered.
§ MR. H. A. BRUCE
said, the Estimate of the proposed expenditure at the Ionian Islands was £50,000, of which £5,000 was asked in the present year, leaving £45,000 to be voted. Now, he thought the House of Commons would utterly object to such an expenditure upon the Ionian Islands. These Islands were kept as a political necessity, but they did not add to the military strength of the country. On the contrary, they were rather a cause of weakness, inasmuch as they caused our force to be distributed.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, he believed the works at Alderney to be a mistake from first to last, and he should, therefore, move the reduction of the Vote by £4,000, being the sum proposed to be spent there.
§ MR. LIDDELL
asked whether Alderney was to be considered as a defensive position or a harbour of refuge? If it was a military position, what was it intended to defend? If it was intended as an harbour of refuge he was prepared to show that it would be uttely useless. It was really a barren rock, which nature had provided with the best defence; but the Government had erected works of defence, and now there were to be new works to defend those previously constructed.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, the answer to this was a very short one. Alderney was not a harbour of refuge. It was a military post connected with the defence of the Channel, and a post considered of the utmost importance by the best military authorities. The Duke of Wellington, who was somewhat of a judge of war, laid great stress on the fortification of Alderney, which, in connection with Portland, would be a station of the utmost importance with a view to the defence of the Channel.
§ MR. GREGORY
reminded the noble Lord that, in the Duke of Wellington's time, the present improvements in maritime war were unknown. In his opinion, Alderney was a source of positive weakness to us. In order properly to defend it, a numerous garrison was necessary, and when in France this very year, a French officer, in speaking to him upon this subject, said, "It will be impossible for you to place a sufficient number of men there to protect it against us; but we con afford a sufficient number to enable us to hold it, and, therefore, every penny you are spending there is spent for our benefit, and not for your own." It was notoriously the opinion of every officer who commanded a 817 ship of war that it would be better to throw the money into the sea than continue this expenditure. The expenditure was not merely useless, but positively detrimental. The harbour was nothing better than a shell trap, for an enemy's vessel might anchor outside and shell every vessel taking refuge there.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, that so far from the improvements in navigation diminishing the value of Alderney they very much increased it. So long as vessels were impelled by sails, communication with Alderney might be difficult; but the application of steam rendered Alderney much more valuable, both as a work of defence, and as a place from which to watch Cherbourg, and as a means of communicating with our side of the water. If the House was to adopt the principle laid down by the hon. Member and go to French officers of the army and navy for their judgment of the value of our defences, it would, no doubt, be very easy to demonstrate that it was ridiculous for England to keep up her army, that we were throwing away money in maintaining a navy, and that, as to fortifying Portsmouth and Plymouth, it was the most childish thing in the world; in fact, that it would be much better to trust to the forbearance of our enemies, to leave everything at their mercy and discretion, and thus save our money.
said, that if it was the opinion of the Commission, of which Sir John Burgoyne was the head, that Alderney should be fortified, there could be no further question about it.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
pointed out that the question now was not whether Alderney should be fortified, as all the fortifications were complete, but whether we should buy a piece of ground lying close to the fortifications, which it was necessary to keep clear of buildings, in order that they might perform their purpose?
§ MR. CONINGHAM
said, that when he crossed over to Cherbourg with the late Sir Charles Napier, that great naval authority ridiculed the idea of Alderney being useful as a post of observation on the French harbour.
§ MR. JACKSON
said, he crossed over at the same time, and he asked the gallant Admiral whether, if the French fleet were in Cherbourg, they could be kept there? His answer was, "Without a doubt."
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, that if the French had possession of the Channel 818 for twenty-four hours we should lose not only Alderney, but all the Channel Islands, and whatever garrisons we might have placed in them.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the item of £4,000, for the Purchase of Land in Alderney, be omitted from the proposed Vote.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 35; Noes 128: Majority 93.
§ Original Question again put,
§ MR. CHILDERS
thought the answer of the Under Secretary as to the item for the fortification of the Ionian Islands was not satisfactory. If only £5,000 were required, they ought to know why £50,000 was put as the total estimate in the first column. The Government seemed to have changed their mind as to the whole work. He moved that the Vote be reduced by this £5,000.
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
said, he wished to remind the Committee that the Ionian Islands were not a colony, but a State that was placed under our protection upon certain conditions. Now, according to the principle laid down by the Foreign Secretary, that the majority of a people had a perfect right to claim their independence, the Ionians ought to be annexed to Greece, as they had expressed their desire for annexation. If, then, they were allowed to follow up the noble Lords' principle, these fortifications would be turned against ourselves.
said, if the people of those Islands wished to separate from us, and if we wished to keep them, the sooner those fortifications were completed the better. The fortifications there belonged to us, although the people might not. Unless the Government finished those fortifications there all the money we had laid out on them would be thrown away.
MR. T. G. BARING
said, he had the authority of Lord Herbert for assuring the Committee that by assenting to this Vote of £5,000 they would not pledge themselves in any way to the £50,000 which appeared in the first column of the Estimates. It would not be expended in any new works, but simply in repairing works to make the town safe against a coup de main on the land side.
§ MR. E. P. BOUVERIE
said, that before Lord Seymour's Committee a few years ago it was stated that if those fortifications had never been begun we should have practically been in a better position, as we had the command of the sea. Did 819 the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary mean that this £5,000 was not part of the £50,000?
§ MR. BAILLIE COCHRANE
asked why in another column it was stated that after this Vote £45,000 would be required to complete the works?
could state of his own knowledge that this Vote was absolutely necessary to complete the fortifications. Whether the Ionian Islands should be held as a military post was a very different question, and should be discussed at another time.
pointed out that £50,000 was stated in the Estimates as the total cost of the works.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
understood that the £5,000 now asked for was required for the restoration of certain works now in existence, and that the rest of the £50,000 was intended for fortifications as to the construction of which the House would have a future opportunity of deciding. On that understanding he would agree to the Vote.
MR. T. G. BARING
confirmed the statement of the hon. Baronet, and repeated that the £5,000 had nothing to do with the £50,000.
§ MR. MONSELL
hoped the Under Secretary would inform them what the definite object was which was to be accomplished for the £50,000. The destruction of the fortifications at Corfu had interfered with the drainage, and caused much pestilence and misery to the people.
explained that a certain part of the fortifications were pulled down in order that they might be held by a smaller body of men, and denied that the operation had been attended with any un-healthiness to the inhabitants.
believed that the £5,000 was to be applied to the enceinte of the principal work, and that the £50,000 was required for the erection of a lunette or covering fort,
Motion made, and Question put,
That the item of £5,000, for the Improvement of Defences in the Ionian Islands, be omitted from the proposed Vote.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 59; Noes 92: Majority 33.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.820
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported on Monday next.
§ Committee to sit again on Monday next.