§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he rose to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty, If it is the intention of the Admiralty to make any increase in the pay and allowances to the Naval Commander in Chief in India in consequence of the stoppage of the allowance hitherto paid as batta to the Naval Commander in Chief by the Indian Government: if any inconvenience has arisen in the selection of an Officer for that command in consequence of this redaction of pay? and, to move an Address for Return of the pay and allowances of the Military Officer in Her Majesty's Forces in India of similar rank to the Naval Commander in Chief in India. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for India had, owing to some embarrassment in the finances of the country, thought fit to reduce the pay of certain naval officers serving in India, and among them that of the naval Commander and others, to the extent of £8,000 a year. Without going into details, he might observe that the pay of the Admiral commanding in chief on the Indian station was, up to a recent date £5,221 a year, and that by a stroke of the pen the sum had been reduced to £2,190, or by considerably more than half the amount of the salary which he had hitherto received. It had been the custom to pay a certain amount to the naval Commander in Chief as batta money, and the commodore received half that sum, and the other officers in proportion. The whole of those allowances had now been taken away. He should not have alluded to the subject, had it not been—and the gallant Admiral the Member for Devonport would bear him out in the statement—that under ordinary circumstances it was impossible for the naval Commander in Chief in India to perform the duties of his station and pay the expenses which necessarily devolved upon him for a sum of less than £2,000 a year; and whoever accepted that command under existing circumstances would, in all probability, be £400 or £500 a year out of pocket in the performance of his duty to the Crown. That the naval commander should be placed in such a position could not he, he felt assured, the wish of the House. It might be said that the amount was sufficient, inasmuch as there was no difficulty in procuring officers to fill the command; but he should like to know from the Secretary for the Admi- 1428 ralty whether there was any truth in the rumour that several distinguished officers had, in consequence of the reduction to which he adverted, objected to go out to India as naval commanders in chief, feeling that their moans would not enable them to undergo the expense attendant on the appointment. The officer who now served in that capacity was, no doubt, a very able man, but he never had had the advantage of commanding a fleet previously, or of having performed the distinguished service by which officers hitherto selected for the appointment had been characterized. He might add that the military Commander in Chief and the Commanders of Presidencies received from £8,000 to £10,000 a year, or five times the sum paid to the naval Commander in Chief. Under these circumstances, he hoped to receive some satisfactory assurance from the Secretary to the Admiralty on the subject.
§ SIR MICHAEL SEYMOUR
said, he was enabled to confirm all that had fallen from his hon. and gallant Friend. The naval Commander in Chief in India and China would in future have to serve under a salary of less than half the amount formerly paid, while the expenses in that part of the world were larger than the expenses of any other station. He trusted that the subject would receive the attention of the Admiralty, and that the injustice alluded to would be removed.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, it was perfectly true that an allowance called batta money used to be granted to all classes of officers of the navy while serving in the Indian waters, but that it had ceased and determined ever since the transference of the Government of India to the Crown. There was no doubt that the position of the naval Commander in Chief in India was therefore very much less advantageous in point of pay than it was before; but it should also be remembered that the circumstances of the present day were no longer precisely what they were when the batta money was granted. In those days they had a squadron in the Indian seas. Undoubtedly living was very expensive in India, and it was thought fit that naval officers should have allowances in consequence; but at the present time the Admiral on the Indian station was practically stationed at China, and there was no necessity for him to visit India. Then came the question whether, these allowances having been 1429 done away with by the Indian Government, the Admiralty should recommend any allowances in lieu of the batta money. Upon what principle was the Admiral serving upon that station to be paid very considerably more than the admirals on other stations? If on the ground of the cost of living, he would only say that that cost was very high at the Cape of Good Hope, where there was an Admiral, and also on the West India station; and he could scarcely think it right, therefore, that the Admiralty should select India as a favoured station, at which a higher rate of pay should be given than at others, without any sufficient reason. Such, at all events, was the principle on which the Admiralty proceeded in not proposing extra allowances for the naval officer in command in India and China. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had asked whether the Admiralty had found any inconvenience in getting officers to take the command in India and China in consequence of the reduction, and he was sorry that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, in referring to that point, had cast some reflection upon the Admiral who had recently taken command of the India and China station.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
, said he understood the hon. and gallant Gentleman to have said that he was not so distinguished an officer as others who had gone before him, and upon that point he must beg to differ with him. The gallant Admiral had greatly distinguished himself in China. [Sir JOHN HAY: Hear, hear!] With regard to the difficulty of finding officers to take the command in India, the station was one with respect to which there would always be some difficulty. It was not everybody who wished to go to so remote a quarter of the world, and one or two officers to whom it was intended to offer the command had declined to accept it on the score of health—possibly, also, because of reasons connected with their private affairs. Practically, however, there had been on the part of the Admiralty no difficulty in finding an officer to take the command on the China station, and it was not the character of the service for officers to make any difficulty in going anywhere they were ordered. It was impossible to continue the batta money to officers of the navy in India unless they had duties on shore; but if they were employed on shore, they would receive the 1430 same allowances as officers of corresponding rank in the army. He understood that his hon. and gallant Friend did not press for the Returns, and he hoped, therefore, that he would be satisfied with the explanation he had given.
§ SIR JOHN HAY
said, he wished to say one word in explanation. It was far from his intention to cast any slur upon the present naval Commander in Chief in India. What he meant to say was, that it used to be the practice to appoint to that command only such persons as had served as flag officers, and that though the gallant Admiral had distinguished himself in China, he had not attained that position.