HC Deb 06 March 1862 vol 165 cc1068-72

said, he had withdrawn the Amendment he had proposed on Tuesday evening, on the assurance of the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies that it was needless, as the Government were already acting on the principle contained in it. On turning to the Estimates, however, he found a vote of £28,000 for fortifications for colonies having representative Governments, or which were referred to in the report of the Select Committee of last year. He wished to ask whether these payments were for works already done, or for works in progress. If any portion of the sum to be voted that night was for new works, he should be obliged again to bring forward his resolution.


said, that the Committee on Colonial Military Expenditure recommended that a statement should be appended to the Army Estimates showing the sums received from each colony during the last financial year, and the total military charge on the colony. He should like to know why that return had not been appended to the Estimates. A paper had been handed in to the Committee last year giving the expenditure up to March 31, 1860; and if the recommendation of the Committee had been attended to, there might have been appended to the Estimates the expenditure up to March 31, 1861,


Sir, I will first answer the question of the noble Lord (Lord William Graham). There is appended to the Estimate a statement with regard to the military expenditure of the colonies, and of the amount included in the Army Estimates of 1862–3, the probable sum to be repaid by the colonies. That is framed according to the best information the Government could obtain. The noble Lord asks, I presume, why the Government have not presented an account of the expenditure in the year ending April 1st next.


There was an account given in last year of the expenditure ending March 31, 1860, and I ask for the account for the year after that—the year ending March 31, 1861.


No doubt that account could be furnished. But it was thought that the account appended to the Estimate would give a more satisfactory view of the question for decision in the Committee of Supply. Whether the account ending March 31, last year, to which the noble Lord refers, is ready, I do not know, but I will inquire. If it is, I have no objection to lay it on the table. The account, however, now appended to the Estimates will put the Committee in possession of all that is material in regard to the present Vote.

With respect to the question of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Selwyn) and what has subsequently fallen from an hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Knox), I may state that the sum of £15,000 which was taken last year for Sandhurst has not been expended, and that the sum of £10,787 which stands on the Estimates this year is simply a re-Vote. If the House should agree, it is intended to contract for the enlargement of the building, so as to render it available for the increased number of students at Sandhurst, assuming that the new regulations which it is proposed to introduce with regard to the non-purchase of commissions should be adopted. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Selwyn) says there is no difference between non-purchased and purchased commissions with respect to examination; and that if persons who do not purchase their commissions ought to go through an examination, so persons who do purchase their commissions ought likewise to be examined. Put in that abstract way, the hon. and learned Gentleman may be right; but he must remember that there is a great difference between non-purchased and purchased commissions. In the case of commissions obtained by purchase the patronage of the Horse Guards is very limited. A person gives value for the commission that he receives; but in the case of a non-purchased commission it is absolutely a matter of patronage. Under those circumstances, it was thought desirable to guard against the possible abuse of patronage by requiring the qualifications of a year's instruction at Sandhurst and the passing of an examination. The House will see there is a great deal of difference between the principles of the two cases. I have already stated that it is not my intention to propose any addition to Sandhurst beyond what is necessary for the accommodation of candidates who have not purchased commissions. As to the latter part of the hon. and learned Gentleman's question, I have only to say that a letter has been addressed to the War Department from the Universities both of Oxford and Cambridge on the subject, and an answer has been given stating the terms on which it is proposed that students from those Universities would be admissible into the army; and if the hon. and learned Gentleman thinks fit to move for that correspondence, there would be no difficulty in producing it. In fact, I think it is desirable that it should be laid on the table, and 1 will myself move for it if the hon. and learned Gentleman does not.

With respect to Waterford Barrack being lighted with gas, that barrack has, I believe, been now in use for some time, but it is not one which has been permanently used. The object of the War Department, however, was to introduce gas only where the saving by doing so would be apparent. I would not give any pledge that gas will he introduced into Water-ford Barrack, but the matter will be taken into consideration. As to part of the £3,000 taken for the accommodation of the wives and children of soldiers in the hospitals connected with the barracks, I cannot at present state that it is intended to apply a portion of that sum to the Waterford Barracks.

With regard to fortifications, I did not understand that my hon. Friend (Mr. C. Fortescue) had given any absolute assurance that no Vote would be taken for fortifications in the colonies during the present Session. In fact, the Army Estimates, containing those Votes to which my hon. Friend (Mr. Baxter) refers, were already on the table at the time when my hon. Friend the under Secretary for the colonies made his speech. All that is intended with regard to Mauritius is to complete the work which is already in progress. With respect to Halifax and St. John's, Newfoundland, the Votes are new Votes, but the proposition for fortifying those places was framed at the time of the alarm of hostilities with the United States, and there is no doubt that Halifax in particular is insufficiently fortified. It was on that account those proposals were made.


explained, that in what he said on the previous night he made no allusion whatever to the Army Estimates on the table, but only gave an opinion with respect to the general policy of colonial fortification. He had not referred to any small special outlay which the War Department might think necessary.


said, with reference to the mode of admission to Sandhurst, that he last year took exception to the Vote for that establishment which was then proposed. His objections, however, had been greatly obviated by the assurance that no gentlemen would be required to pass through the College who had not received their commissions for nothing. At the same time it appeared by the statement of Lord Herbert before the Military Organization Committee that so little was the popularity of Sandhurst at that time, that although it was considered that persons gained their commissions there by competition, there was practically no competition, but every one who entered the College in due course received his commission. It was stated before the Committee that the subject was under consideration, whether the entrance was to be by competition or nomination. It was stated last year by the Secretary for War that the entrance should be by nomination, and consequently the nomination would be equivalent to giving a commission. He wished to know whether the entrance was to be by open competition or by nomination?


said, he trusted the opinions expressed on Thursday evening in Committee in favour of giving some assistance to the Volunteer forces would have some weight with Her Majesty's Government. The remark might not apply to the metropolitan regiments; but unless some assistance was given to Volunteer corps in the country towards renewing their accoutrements, the Volunteer force would fall off in a manner which no hon. Member of that House would wish to see. He was anxious to know, then, whether Her Majesty's Government would sanction the issue of clothing at contract prices to Volunteers; and also whether they would consider the expediency of giving a contingent allowance per man (according to the strength of the corps at the annual inspection) in aid of renewal of clothing and equipments?

Motion agreed to.