§ Supply considered in Committee.
§ Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.
§ (In the Committee)
§ (1.) £5,709,733, General Staff and Regimental Pay Allowances and Charges.
thought it necessary, before voting this large sum of money, to have some further explanations of what the capitation rate actually covered. Although there was a less number of men by 3,000, there was an increase in the amount for pay and allowances of £255,000. He believed it would turn out to be an excess of Estimates over Estimates, and not of expenditure over expenditure, and to be owing to an insufficient amount having been estimated for the present year, while the amount was more correctly estimated for next year. He was confirmed in his opinion by the fact that the Estimate for the pay of officers on furlough, in page 12 of the Estimates, which 1427 for this year stood at £45,000, for next year was no less than £130,000, being an increase of £85,000 on that item alone. That was equal to the pay and allowances of seven whole regiments; and there could be no doubt that the Estimate for this year was found to be totally inadequate and not that the Estimate for next year was too high. He had no doubt that the greater part of the officers on furlough had been invalided. Now, he wanted to know whether this was one of the charges that were covered by the capitation? He believed that there was no real increase, but that the discrepancy in the Estimates arose from the improved manner in which they were compiled. They were now framed in the Accountant's branch of the War Office, where some of the most able public servants were employed, and where an opportunity was afforded of comparing past Estimates with absolute expenditure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would, perhaps, be better able to answer him than the right hon. the Secretary of State for War; but he wished to know from some Member of the Government whether the capitation rate was a fixed payment from the Indian Government to the Treasury at a specified period, or whether it was merely a matter of account, in which the Indian Government would have the power of setting off against it any claim they might have for services performed for the Imperial Government? He should like to know, also, whether the Indian Government had ever set up a claim to make any such set-off—because the employment of Indian troops not being limited, and payment being first made by the Indian Government, twenty regiments, instead of two, might, under those circumstances, be serving in China for years before the House of Commons were asked for repayment, and would therefore not know the real amount of the expenditure? Three reasons had been given for not including Indian troops in the number of men voted by Parliament—First, that the number was not known; secondly, that if they were voted, they must be included in the provisions of the Mutiny Bill, which would not he convenient; and, thirdly, that it never had been the practice to include troops of that description in the Estimates. As to the first reason, the number ought to be known; and, as to the second, Indian troops are not included by the present form of the Mutiny Bill, and if they were, nothing would be easier than to ex- 1428 clude them by a special clause. As to the third reason, he was aware that in the Persian and Chinese wars Indian troops were employed which were not voted. The result was that in 1860 there were five open accounts with the Indian Government in regard to the expenses of troops, and that the accounts for the Persian and Chinese wars were not settled at that time. He might quote the authority of Lord Herbert when Secretary for War, given before the Committee, in favour of the principle he contended for—that of giving the House an efficient control over the expenditure.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that he should simply reply to the question addressed to himself individually with regard to the character of the arrangement for commuting into a fixed rate the expenses incurred by the British Government on account of the Indian army. He understood the question to be whether the capitation rate of £10 on account of the effective service was to be considered as a charge which they were entitled to make and receive without reference to any other question between the two Governments, or whether it was liable to counter claims. The best answer he could give to that question was to state, that over since he had been in office, the attention of the Government had been very much given to the expediency, and almost necessity, of winding up the complicated pecuniary relations which had grown up between the Indian Government and the Government at home. With regard to the several wars which had been made matters of account between the two Governments, an arrangement had been made in 1839 that the ordinary expenses of the troops should be borne by the East India Company and all other charges by the British Government. A difference of opinion afterwards arose, and he did not know whether the question was settled when he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) quitted office in 1855 or when his successor held office. Such questions, however, had now almost entirely disappeared. The British Government had received a certain amount during the present financial year for capitation, and had paid the Indian. Government a certain amount, or were on the point of doing so, on account of the claims of that Government for the expenses of the late war with China. The plan which had been pursued was that doubtful claims should stand for discussion, and 1429 that clear claims should at once be met. He believed, that at the end of the present financial year, he should be able to report that substantially almost the whole sum due to the British Government on account of the capitation grant had been received; and that on the other side there was no sum due to the Indian Government still outstanding; and that by that time they would have entered upon a system the continuance of which would afford an effectual guarantee against any recurrence of the very complicated and unsatisfactory state of things which formerly prevailed.
wished to know whether, when Indian troops were employed any. where, in China, for example, they would be paid for out of grants voted for army purposes, or whether they would be paid by the Indian Government, and the amount set off in account between the Indian Government and the British Government. If, as he believed, they must be paid eventually by money voted for army purposes, then the House would have some check; but if they were paid by the Indian Government, they would have no such check. All he required was that the House should know what was done in these matters.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, he believed he could answer the right hon. Gentleman's questions satisfactorily by stating that no part of the capitation grant could be a set-off for any expense voted in the Army Estimates. He could not but think that the point raised by the right hon Gentleman was purely technical, and had no substance in it. The real security was that possessed by the House in voting the money, for there was none at all in voting the men. As a general principle, the custom had always been to vote no money in the Army Estimates except to men included in the British Mutiny Act, which did not include the Indian troops. Every effective security was given to the House by voting the expenses of the two regiments to which the right hon. Gentleman so often referred. With regard to the charges of the Indian Government, if that Government should make a claim upon the home Government during the year, it would be provided for out of the money which the Committee were asked to vote; and if they made no claim, the sum saved would lapse into the Exchequer, and a new Vote would be taken in the following year. The matter, however, did not depend upon him. All he could do was 1430 to ask the Committee to vote the money, in case it were to be paid during the present year. With regard to the capitation rate, which was the material part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, it was true that part of the expenditure for Indian purposes in the Estimates for the current year was for last year; but in extenuation he might plead that the charge was brought upon the Estimates last year for the first time, that in many cases they were obliged to guess, and that there were but few data upon which to found certain calculations. Notwithstanding all that, he believed the total sum voted last year would be sufficient to cover the whole expenses, and that it would not be necessary to ask the House to agree to a supplementary Vote. It was a problem of great difficulty to anticipate by a year anything so fluctuating and uncertain as the expenditure for military purposes of a great empire like this, which had its army scattered over every part of the globe; and à priori it would have appeared impossible to calculate what the aggregate expense might be. But the difficulty had, in a great measure, been got over. However, in some cases a Secretary of State could make but an imperfect prophecy. The great object of the House should be, that if a deficiency should arise on one Vote, there might be an excess upon other Votes which might cover the deficiency, and that the calculations upon which the Chancellor of the Exchequer founded his Budget might not be falsified. But, besides the difficulties he had mentioned, there had been an addition of twelve regiments not included in the capitation rate last year, and the new charge would not take effect to a great extent until the coming year. The principal error was in the item connected with Indian furloughs. During the mutiny, of course there were but few furloughs granted to officers; and, in order to compensate for the rigour which was then necessary, furloughs had been granted with greater liberality when a perfect state of security was established. There had, consequently, been a disproportionate amount calculated for furloughs in the present year. These circumstances would account for the discrepancy which existed between the Estimates of the last and the present year. It had been calculated by the clerks of the War Office that, upon the whole, the arrangement made with the Indian Government in respect of the capitation rate was fair, and that it did about cover 1431 the expenses of the Imperial Government in that particular.
contended that the Estimate of the sum received last year for the capitation rate showed that the view which he had taken of the matter was correct. The twelve regiments were included last year.
MR. T. G. BARING
said, they were not included in the capitation rate of last year. A comparison was made in the Returns between the strength of the army in the then past and the coming financial years, and the regiments were borne on the Estimates of last year only for the purposes of that comparison.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, the statement made by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman (General Peel) had enabled the House to see the difference in the cost of the army at different periods. There was an excess in the Estimates this year of £255,000, as compared with last year, while there was a diminution of 4,160 in the number of men, which, calculated at the rate of £100 per man, would represent a sum of £416,000. The real excess, therefore, was about £660,000. The number of men required for the present year, over that included in the Estimates by Lord Aberdeen's Government, was 45,000, whose extra cost amounted to £4,500,000. It was for the House to consider whether a reduction in the number of men ought not to be made. Some arrangement ought to be made with the Colonies for their defraying the cost of the troops stationed in them.
never intended to say that each man in the British army cost £100, What he had stated was that at a rough calculation £100 per man would give the whole military expenditure.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would find himself deceived if he expected that there would not be a constant, open, and fluctuating account between the British Government and the Indian Government as long as it was felt necessary for Imperial puposes to employ Indian troops out of India. With regard to the remounts, the same detailed information ought to be afforded in the English Estimates as was given in the French Budget, where the number of horses required and the price of each were stated. In the English Estimates money was taken in a lump, as if by haphazard, for the purchase of horses.
§ SIR FRANCIS BARING
hoped he did not understand the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War to say that, in framing the military Estimates, he contemplated to resort to an excess on one Vote to meet a deficiency on another, and that provided the sum expended did not exceed the whole Vote the Chancellor of the Exchequer was satisfied. He (Sir Francis Baring) did not think such a system would be satisfactory to the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but if it were, it would not be satisfactory to the House. It was understood, that when money was asked for a particular service, it was to be applied to that service, and not to any other. This was a question which the Committee on Public Accounts had endeavoured to provide against, and he believed that the recommendation which that Committee had made had been adopted by the Government. The system was most objectionable both in principle and in practice. The Government should keep as near as possible to the amount voted by the House, and its expenditure on the particular service.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
regretted that he should so have expressed himself as to produce misunderstanding in the very clear mind of his right hon. Friend. He had not meant to convey that any of the Votes were framed on the principle of covering a prospective deficiency. What he had stated was that great difficulty existed in framing an exact Estimate of fluctuating military expenditure diffused over so large a portion of the world; and that when the Secretary of State had to administer the Estimate, and found an excess of expenditure on any one item voted, he should endeavour to effect a saving on other Votes, in order to prevent the necessity of a further application to Parliament at the end of the year.
§ MR. C. BERKELEY
asked for some explanation regarding an increase of nearly £60,000 in the Estimate for recruiting.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, the increase was occasioned by the necessity of increasing the number of recruits for India to meet the demand.
§ LORD WILLIAM GRAHAM
requested the explanation promised by the right hon. Gentleman in reference to the increased charge for instruction in engineering.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, the increase was owing to the augmentation of 1433 the salary of the Director, who had been raised to a higher rank.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, that as the discusssion on the details of the Vote appeared to have terminated, he wished to make a few observations on the details of the Vote generally. In the debate the other evening both the hon. Member for Lambeth and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon, appeared to join in the statement that £100 per man represented with sufficient accuracy the actual cost of our army. And it seemed, from the general tone of the debate, to be agreed that any reduction in our Army Estimates was to be looked for more in the reduction of the number of men rather than in the reduction of their cost. Last Session, also, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War told the House that a reduction of cost meant a reduction of efficiency. Now, against that doctrine he wished to protest, and he would take leave to advance a few figures in support of his view of the case. Nobody who looked at the present state of the country could believe that the army would remain on its present costly scale; and if the number of men were reduced, it came to nothing more than this:—That whenever war broke out again, we should witness, as in 1853–4, the melancholy spectacle of boys hurried out to the trenches, and again incur the humiliation and reproach of hunting in every foreign country for volunteers to fill our ranks. He looked, therefore, with distrust and dislike on the doctrine, that reducing the cost of the army must depend exclusively on a reduction in the number of men. How were they to discover whether the alternative of reducing the cost was possible? Last night a discussion regarding the cost of ships had taken place, and the test generally accepted was the expense which would be incurred in private dockyards. There were no private yards to compare with the army yard kept by the right hon Gentleman, so that this test could not be applied literally. [Sir GEORGE LEWIS: The Volunteers.] But a test analogous to that which he had referred to was supplied in the cost of armies kept by foreign Powers. In searching for an authorized statement of the cost of the armies of different European nations, he found one compiled by Von Reden, an eminent German statistician. He did not vouch for the calculations, but he would give them to the House as showing how 1434 strangely paradoxical was the position occupied by England. The document had been compiled about three years ago, for the troops of the "Sardinian" kingdom were included in it. The cost per head of the armies of Europe, according to this Prussian statistician, was in England, £93 15s.; in France, £34 7s.; in Sardinia, £30.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
observed, that the average of £93 15s. for the English army was obtained by dividing the total cost by the total number of men. It was by no means certain that in other countries the same principle was adopted, and unless the noble Lord could show that the foreign estimates were made upon the same principle as the English Estimates, and that the Yeomanry Militia and Volunteers were included, there would be no analogy between them. In some, half-pay was a separate account; unless, therefore, the noble Lord had verified all these details, the comparison he had begun to read was utterly worthless.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, he did not know whether it was habitual for a Minister to interrupt a Member in the middle of his argument. At present he was merely laying what might he called primâ facie evidence before the House; he hoped, however, before he concluded, to satisfy the right hon. Gentleman that there was the closest analogy between them. In Spain the cost of the army per man was £28 13s; in Portugal, £28 1s.; in the German States, £28 12s.; and in Denmark it was only £12 12s. Now, he meant this statement merely as an introduction to further inquiries. He confessed, that when he saw it, he was much startled. Well, there had lately been added to the library of the House, a valuable contribution in the shape of a French "blue-book," which enabled him to make a more detailed comparison between the armies of England and France in regard to cost. The total cost of the English regular army, comprising 148,242 men, was £13,157,000, or £88 per head. The French army included 400,000 men and cost £14,515,702, or £36 5s 10d. per man. Now, that cost was calculated upon precisely the same series of charges as those of the British army. He knew he should here be met by the argument of the conscription which existed in the French army. That, no doubt, was a most important consideration, for the services of the volunteer could not be 1435 secured at the same price as the pressed man. But then it was equally true that the French army occupied a different position to that of ours, for in France it was the greatest power in the State, and upon it the Crown actually rested, and it would not allow itself to be ill-used. But in order to eliminate the objection as to the conscription, he had ascertained what were precisely the non-combatant forces of both armies. There were the fighters and the non-fighters—the element that fought and the elements that wrote and manufactured. There was a very large number of men provided for in the right hon. Gentleman's Estimate who could not in any form be raised by conscription, and a reference to whom in comparison with the same classes in France was both fair and just. Now, he wanted the Committee to deduct from the £13,157,000 the cost of those that must be considered the non-combatant force of our army. They should, in the first instance, take away the pay and allowances of the non-effective force—namely, £5,700,000, deduct also the cost of its food, the commissariat supplies, and also the forage, although it was so mixed up with the other items in the Estimate it was difficult to separate it. Taking away, then, all those items, they obtained the sum total of £8,778,000, being the cost of the combatant force of the British army, whilst that of £4,378,460 was the precise cost of the non-combatant force, giving as the cost of each man £29 10s. Now, let them go through precisely the same operation with the French army, and see what was the expense that was due to the conscription. There were 400,000 men in the French army, the cost of which amounted, as he had said, to £14,515,702. For the combatant cost, taking out precisely the same items as those he had mentioned in connection with the English Estimates, they arrived at the amount £3,883,000 as the cost of the non-combatant force of the French army, being the proportion of £9 14s. 2d. as the cost of each man. And the Committee should never forget that the French army numbered 400,000, whilst ours numbered only 148,242 men. In other words, the English soldier cost two and a half as much as the French soldier, and in the non-combatant force each man in England cost three times as much as the man in a similar position in France. Why, the difference between the cost of the two forces was equal to 1436 threepence in the pound in the income tax. He had shown, he thought, that it could not any longer be said that it was the element of conscription which occasioned the greater expenses of the English army. But let them see the difference in a practical form. Let them suppose the scene to be altogether changed; let them suppose the French to have authority in this country, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of War was supplanted by Marshal Magnan. Let them imagine that the French system of economy in this respect was established in the place of our English mode of expenditure, and that the non-combatant expenses were regulated according to the French model— what would be the result? The proportion of the cost of each man of the non-combatant force of the French army was £9 14s. Let them multiply that by the number of men in the English non-combatant force; the result would be the sum of £1,447,516, which would be the cost of our non-combatant force if we managed things upon the model of French economy. Deducting that sum from the actual cost of that force—namely, £4,378,469, the result would be a saving of £2,930,000 upon the expenses of our non-combatant force, or, as he had before said, a saving equal to a reduction in our income tax of threepence in the pound. He trusted that he had now proved by the most unanswerable arguments that it was possible to reduce the Estimates without reducing the number of our men. In order to illustrate his argument more in detail, he would take the cost of the central administration in each army, preferring, as a civilian, to deal with civil matters. Here the contrast was even more striking. The cost in England for 148,000 men was £182,000; the cost in France for 400,000 men was £76,000. The proportion per man in England was £1 4s. 8d.; in France, 3s. 10d. In other words, we actually paid six times as much as the French. If we could administer the English system as cheaply as the French, the present Vote, instead of being £182,000, would be £28,000. Then as to the number of employés in the War Office, omitting the offices of the Adjutant General and the Quartermaster General, the number in England was 565; in France, 480. But what were they paid? In the English offices there were receiving more than £2,000 three persons, in the French only 1437 one; receiving more than £1,000 and less than £2,000, in England twelve persons, in the French not one. There were in England fifty-seven clerks, in the receipt of from £500 to £1,000 per annum; in France only seven. The French offices were calculated for an army of 400,000 men; the English for an army of 148,000. It was utterly inconceivable how the force of these figures could be evaded. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War might say that the constitution of the two countries was different—and that was an argument which it was impossible to meet, because nobody could tell what it meant. Probably, too, the right hon. Gentleman might state that intellectual wages were higher in England than in France. That was true enough; but as he had always understood the English characteristics they were these — that whereas you must pay twice as much for an Englishman as for a Frenchman, an Englishman did three times as much work as a Frenchman. The peculiarity of our War Office, above all others, seemed to be, that whereas its employés were paid twice as much as those of France, they only did a third of the work. Such was not the system by which our merchants and manufacturers had attained to their present pitch of prosperity, and had been able to beat their foreign competitors in all parts of the world. It was only in the Government offices that so strange a disproportion existed. The Secretary for War might tell the Committee that our War Office managed the affairs of the Volunteers. He did not know whether that entailed much additional work; he should be inclined to think it did not; but what did the French War Office manage? Owing to a form of government which he certainly did not approve, but which must be accepted as a fact, the French War Office had under its care and, control the whole police of France. There was not an assassination, not a burglary, not a riot, not even a forgery committed in any part of France, that was not reported direct to the Minister of War; and whatever labour our Volunteers might throw on the English War Office, it was nothing compared with that involved in the management of the gendarmie of France. He should listen to the reply of the right hon. Gentleman with great attention, but it distanced his powers of imagination to conceive how this enormous disproportion could be justified. Then there was the question of warlike stores. Whatever 1438 doubt might exist as to whether English clerks were better than French clerks, there could be none as to whether English workmen were better than French workmen. In warlike stores, made in great measure by machinery, we certainly ought to be able to do as much for less money than the French. It was in the item for warlike stores that the great reductions so much wanted had been made. The Secretary for War had cut off about £1,000,000 at a blow. He wished to show the Committee what splendid ruins the right hon. Gentleman had left, in order that they might judge of the magnificence of the original structure. The cost of warlike stores was £1,794,000; but £680,000 had to be deducted for naval stores, leaving a balance of £1,114,000. The proportion per man in the army was £7 10s. 3d. In France the warlike stores cost £327,681, and the proportion per man was 16s. 2d. If we could manage our warlike stores as economically as they did in France, instead of £1,114,000, we would expend £119,000, and the saving upon this Vote alone would be £995,000. Such were the results of his examination of the blue-book in the library. For the honour of his country he should be glad to find his figures wrong, because the comparison he had made indicated one of the most disgraceful states of things that could be conceived. He made no personal charge against the Secretary for War. In common with every Member of that House he deeply respected his talents and accomplishments, and he knew that a good workman liked an expensive tool. The blame rested not with the right hon. Gentleman, but with themselves. The evils he had pointed out could not be remedied by any of those small parings which were sometimes suggested. What was wanted was not a saving in this or that item, but the re-casting of a vicious organization. They could not expect the Secretary for War to incur the extreme odium.— certainly from below, probably from elsewhere—of effecting a thorough reform, unless he was fortified by the opinion of that House and of the country. That opinion it was their business to form. Let them first ascertain and sift the truth, and then let them discuss it until they had provided officials like the right hon. Gentleman, with a strength sufficient to complete the work. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman would be glad to move a smaller Estimate, but they could not safely neglect their duty. For the last few 1439 years we had enjoyed great prosperity, and could well afford to keep a few more clerks in a comfortable position; but dark times were at hand. Our principal industry had suffered a reverse, from which there was no prospect of its recovering, and there was every probability, that when that anticipation of future supplies from America was ended, we should feel the effects of the convulsion there far more severely than at present. Then the call for economy would become too loud to be resisted. He was anxious to direct it into a right channel. There was nothing he dreaded so much as the reduction of our army to the point at which it stood a few years ago; but if they could lead the people to believe that they might relieve the taxpayer by diminishing the expense of the army while maintaining its numbers and efficiency, they would be able to accede to the demand for economy, and to mitigate the distress of large classes without doing any permanent injury to the interest of the country.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
said, that the Committee were greatly obliged to the noble Lord for his able and interesting statement, though he thought some of his points might be answered. For example, in going into a comparison of the expense of the War Offices of the two countries, there were points of difference which should not be overlooked. The business of the French War Office was almost entirely conducted by military clerks. [Lord ROBERT CECIL: The whole is charged in the Estimate.] He had no doubt, however, that in many respects the observations of the noble Lord were well-founded. The real point of the noble Lord's argument lay in the system of the administration of the War Office—but as to that he should give no opinion. Some years ago he was staying with General Canrobert, who said to him one day, "You have the finest soldiers in the world, but your whole system is bad and cannot be compared to ours, which is such that French troops are always ready for service." If, he said, he received that moment a telegraphic order to march to Lyons, his men were ready to march, because the provision of food and everything the army wanted were in the hands of the Intendant Général, and the army had nothing to do but to fight. The noble Lord had also omitted altogether the expenses of transports. The expense of transport in the English service was enormously greater than that in the French; and English soldiers, like English 1440 labourers or navvies, were paid at a much higher rate than French ones. While we were put to great expense in erecting huts for our men, the French soldiers when in camp built their own houses; and in the same manner, while the clothing of our army was made by contractors, that of the French army was all made in barracks. From an amendment in this system, and from the development of soldiers' clubs and institutes, and other means for preserving the health and improving the character of our soldiers, he anticipated a considerable reduction in the expense of our army.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, that when, some years ago, he had the charge of an office which involved the provision of the Ways and Means of meeting the expenditure of the War, as well as other Departments, he went through a statistical study very similar to that upon which the noble Lord had so laudably employed himself—namely, a comparison of the detailed expenditure of the English and French armies. He was then very much struck with the difference in these expenses, and especially the lower rate with which the French appeared to accomplish the object which we accomplished at a higher rate. He then sent over to Paris a gentleman who received great facilities from the French War Office, and made a confidential report to the English Government on the very subject to which the noble Lord had called the attention of the Committee. He regretted, however, to say, that he found the inquiry, although interesting in a statistical point of view, altogether barren of practical results, so different were the circumstances of the English and the French armies. The French army was formed by conscription; the English by voluntary recruiting. The rates of wages were totally different in the two countries, and altogether the systems of finance were different. Perhaps any Gentleman who took the Almanach de Gotha, or whatever was the authority the noble Lord followed — [Lord ROBERT CECIL: I followed the French blue-book.] He supposed that the Almanach de Gotha was an authentic transcript of the French blue-book. In it the noble Lord would find, in the first place, that the French budget was framed two or three years in advance, and was made on the system of providing only for ordinary expenditure. There were often extraordinary credits allowed in aid of the ordinary expenditure, and unless these 1441 were taken into account, very erroneous results were arrived at. He held in his hand the work which was readiest to hand —the Almanach de Gotha—a book to which the noble Lord objected, but which he believed to be perfectly accurate; and in it he found that in the years 1862–3, the Minister of War demanded 366,000,000f.; but then there was an extraordinary budget of 7,889,000f. Then there was, for the general government of Algeria, 14,000,000f.; and this, he apprehended, included in part military expenditure. [Lord ROBERT CECIL: It includes no war expenditure.] Then there was an extraordinary budget of 3,000,000f. for Algeria; and he supposed some part of that must be due to war. It was difficult to make a comparison of this kind without minute inquiry; and he did not believe that any practical result could be arrived at from these comparative views. If the noble Lord was prepared to act on his principle, he ought to propose to reduce the pay of the army. ["No, no!"] Then what was the value of the calculation? The noble Lord said that the expenditure for our army was excessive as compared with the expenditure of the French army.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
What I laid stress on was the non-combatant expenditure. I do not want to reduce the pay, pension, or food of the soldiers.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
Then the noble Lord set aside the pay, pension, and food of the army. Well, that cleared away a considerable part of the ground, and narrowed the question. It was now admitted that the pay of the army and the pay of the navy—for the army and the navy must go together in this matter—was moderate and reasonable, and was not to be touched. His argument, then, was directed exclusively to the non-combatant part of the army. As he (Sir George Lewis) understood, this included the Militia. [Lord ROBERT CECIL: No; I entirely excluded all the auxiliary forces.] Then the noble Lord included the wages of the artificers? [Lord ROBERT CECIL: No doubt of it.] Then precisely the same argument applied to the wages of artificers as applied to the pay of the army and navy. It was impossible by any Vote of that House to lower the wages of the artificers. They depended on the market rate of wages in the country, and the Government must deal with those things as they found them. They could not regulate the wages of labour. Precisely the 1442 same argument applied to the clerks in the War Office. It was true, that the clerks in the War Office were paid higher than the clerks in the Office of the Ministry of War at Paris. If the noble Lord wished to diminish the salaries of the clerks at the War Office, he must apply the same process to the clerks in the Treasury, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the Admiralty, and the whole Civil Service of the country. The War Office stood on the same footing as every other branch of the Civil Service; and the noble Lord could not compare merely the War Office of London and the War Office of Paris unless he compared every other office in London with every oilier similar office in Paris. The truth was, all these comparisons were deceptive. They led to no practical result. All we could do was to compare the Estimates of one year with the Estimates of another, and say whether, taking the whole circumstances of England, the circumstances of our army, and the circumstances of our community, we could effect any material reduction in our expenditure. He (Sir George Lewis) had attempted to show, in introducing the Vote, that the Government had this year reduced the army within as narrow a limit as was consistent with the exigencies of the public service. It was with the pay of the army they were now dealing, and he hoped the Committee would vote the amount asked for without entering on the discussion of matters that were irrelevant to the Vote.
said, that the very able and important statement of the noble Lord the Member for Stamford (Lord R. Cecil) ought not to be treated in the manner it had been by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Lewis), who could scarcely have misunderstood the noble Lord to the extent he professed to have done. He believed, with the noble Lord, that undue expenditure was to be attributed to mismanagement, and that great extravagance existed in respect to the non-combatant part of the army. He entirely concurred in that opinion, and he hoped that the noble Lord's speech would have the effect of making them watch the Estimates carefully in Committee, with a view to reduction. When the proper time came, he should himself be able to show one item of enormous unnecessary expenditure— and ex uno disce omnes. The gymnasia and other soldiers' institutes in France were, he believed, conducted much better 1443 than in England, and with much more advantage to the men. It was at our War Office that money was wasted, and, as the noble Lord had pointed out, in other armies there was much more done by military men than there was in ours. Our clothing establishments were now monstrous, and they were a source of outrageous and unjustifiable expense which was saved in other armies, because the clothing system was managed by regimental soldiers. He hoped the Committee would not lose sight of the valuable remarks of the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil).
§ MAJOR O'REILLY
said, that the right hon. Baronet, in his answer to the noble Lord, had fallen into some inaccuracies which he desired to correct. The French War Minister, the right hon. Gentleman said, came down at the end of the year with extraordinary budgets; and he had mentioned one amounting to 3,000,000f. But that was for an extra number of men kept up, and extra war expenses incurred in China, Mexico, and elsewhere—and it should be remembered that that House was not unaccustomed to extra budgets for war expenditure incurred in the period provided for by the Estimates. The French Estimates were perfectly accurate for the number of men provided for. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the large expenditure for Algeria. If he would glance at the budget de la guerre he would find first the charge for the army at home, and secondly that for the army in Algeria; and he would see that the cost of the artillery at home and then that of the artillery in Algeria was included in the War Estimates. The cost of the civil administration in Algeria was a distinct matter. As to the difference in the charge for the pay and allowances of the soldiers of the two countries being caused by the existence of the conscription in the one case and its absence in the other, he must confess he was surprised to find the difference so little as it actually was. The pay and food of the English infantry soldier cost 13d. per day; and the pay and food of the French infantry soldier cost something over 10d. per day. In France it varied in different regiments and according to different circumstances, but it was never less than 10d., and was in most cases 11d, per day. The English cavalry soldier's allowance, and he believed also that of the artillery, was 16d. per day, while in France the artillery's highest pay was 13½ d. While the difference between the 1444 pay of the individual man was only 16 per cent, the cost of the English soldier to the country was infinitely more than that of the French soldier. It was not the conscription which caused that immense difference, although it accounted for some small part of it. It was said that wages were higher in England than in France; but every commercial man knew, that whatever might be the rate of wages per day in England as compared with France, the cost of labour was less in England than in that country. If it were not so, as the noble Lord had truly said, we could not maintain our commercial superiority. Therefore, the item of wages would not account for our excess of expense. Then it was said, that the clerks were paid more in this country; but the higher rate of pay had nothing to do with the number employed. He had made these remarks because he could not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that careful examinations of the cost of our army as compared with the armies of other countries were useless; and he thought, that if the right hon. Gentleman would apply his clear intellect to these practical matters instead of to the abstract inquiries in which he delighted, great advantage might accrue to the country.
§ MR. POLLARD-URQUHART
maintained that though wages might be higher in England than in France labour was much more efficient here than there. The proof of that lay in the fact that in England every branch of business could be carried on at less expense than in France, with the single exception of the business of our Government Departments. The thanks of the House were due to the noble Lord opposite for calling attention to this subject in so clear and forcible a manner; and it was to be hoped that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Lewis), who was not personally accountable for the present system, would direct his energies to its reformation.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the noble Lord opposite, by his lucid, argumentative, and conclusive speech, had done good service to the country, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War, had not answered it—indeed, it would be unfair to expect him to do so on the spur of the moment. All he had attempted to do had been to state one or two things which the noble Lord expressly excluded from his comparison, and which evidently had nothing to do with it. The right hon. 1445 Gentleman stated that the payment of artificers was less in France than it was here; but that could not account for the difference of cost which had been pointed out. He himself as a manufacturer, could meet the French manufacturers with a 15 per cent duty at their back, because, though he could not compete with them in taste, he was able to get things made cheaper than they could. He did not think that they would be able to get people to work at a lower comparative cost than the Government did. They often heard in that House comparisons drawn between the comparative expenditure of the English and French navies; and he thought they ought to be much obliged to the noble Lord for his valuable comparison of the expenditure of the French and English armies.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
observed, that as his hon. Friend wished this matter to be inquired into, he could only say that he had inquired into it in former years and found the investigation a very barren one. The noble Lord's comparison rested on what he called the non-combatant part of the Estimates. Would he have the goodness to state what items he included? He had given the amount at about £4,000,000.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, he had ascertained the non-combatant expenses by deducting the combatant expenses from the total amount of the Estimates; and he had compared the former with precisely similar items in the French budget. He excluded the first Vote—pay and allowances, and food and forage in the Commissariat Vote, but not movements of troops. He also left out the auxiliary forces.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, he was unable to understand the plan on which the noble Lord proceeded. The topographical department was not a combatant one, and there was not a corresponding item in the French budget. Barrack establishments and martial law were necessary to an efficient army, and it appeared to him that they could not be considered as part of the non-combatant expenditure.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, that excluding the pay and food of the army, he took all other expenses and called them non-combatants; but if exceptions were taken to the word, he would adopt any other which meant the same thing. He had included clothing and fortifications.
said, that they were on the first Vote, pay and allowances, and this discussion had been irregular.
§ LORD ROBERT CECIL
said, his object had been to prove that retrenchment could be effected without reducing this Vote. Some said that in order to reduce the army expenditure, you must reduce the army, but he said, "No, you must reduce expenditure without reducing the army."
§ Vote agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,223,936, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Commissariat Establishment, Services, and Movement of Troops, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1864, inclusive.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
moved that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £80,424, the cost of Commissariat transport in the colonies. No greater jobs were perpetrated than in the transport service in the Colonies. In the Kaffir war, in an ineffectual attempt to capture the chief Sandilli, Sir Harry Smith stated that £56,000 had been laid out for waggonhire alone in what he termed "a bit of a brush." The Vote, moreover, was one which might be reduced without inflicting any injury on the Colonies themselves, while a division upon it would test the views of the Committee upon the question whether populations which enjoyed the advantages of self-government should not have fair notice that they must not rely entirely on Imperial resources, which were already very heavily burdened, to defray all the expenditure which they might incur in their own defence.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Item of £80,424, for Commissariat Establishment and Transport of Troops in the Colonies, be omitted from the proposed Vote.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, he thought the Committee would see that it was impossible to pass this Amendment. If the hon. Gentleman thought the expense immediately in question should be borne by the Colonies, the proper course for him to pursue would be to move a specific Resolution to that effect. But even if such a Resolution were carried, it would not be binding on the Colonies, unless embodied in an Act of Parliament. Then came the question, how far the House was prepared to tax the Colonies; which would necessarily be the result of a Vote of this sort. 1447 With respect to the reduction proposed, the regular course would be to vote the money, and then look to the Colonies for repayment, as was done in other cases in which they contributed to military expenditure. The sum asked for, however, was one without the aid of which the movement of troops in our colonial possessions could not he effected; and if the Committee were to strike it out, the result would be to paralyse so far the public service abroad. The Motion would not, therefore, he trusted, be agreed to.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, that the Vote raised the practical question, to what extent it was possible to reduce our military expenditure in those Colonies which were able to bear a larger amount of it than was now imposed upon them? That question was, he contended, in no way mixed up with that of the number of troops which it was expedient we should maintain there. He thought they were in a position to insist on a reduction of this Vote, even in the current year. He believed the Government wore anxious to reduce, as much as possible, the unnecessary military expenditure of the Colonies, and he thought they would be thankful to the House for enforcing such moderate reductions as should indicate that it was the determination of Parliament to proceed in that course. He believed they might, without the least danger or pressure on the Colonies, cut off the sum proposed by his hon. Friend. In dealing with this question the usual course on the part of the Government had been first to call on the Colonies to bear barrack and commissariat expenditure, next extra pay, and only in the last resort the imperial pay of the troops. The present, then, was the Vote which would stand first in order for reduction. Of this Vote, £552,000 was for colonial commissariat expenditure, of which £300,000 applied to the colonies proper. If, then, they could make a moderate reduction in the whole Vote especially applicable to that branch of the Estimates, they would be indicating unmistakably that the expenditure for commissariat purposes ought to be reduced in those Colonies; and he did not think that a reduction of £80,000, which was only about one-fourth of the whole charge, could be considered an extravagant proposition. Take for instance the case of the Mauritius:—The military expenditure at the present time amounted to £151,000, to which the colony only contributed 1448 £10,000, and some extra allowances to officers. According to the last blue-book, the actual balance of revenue over expenditure in the Mauritius was no less than £84,600, and the general financial position of the Colony was stated to be exceedingly satisfactory. There were investments at home in the name of the Government to the extent of £293,000, and they had lent the local banks, by way of deposit, £120,000. The Mauritius had, intact, a cash surplus of £500,000; and surely that was a case in which the Government were, entitled to exact a larger contribution from the colonial revenue towards military expenditure. It might be said that the Mauritius was not self-governed; but in his opinion the case was quite as strong as the case of any Colony having a Legislative Assembly. In Ceylon there was an average revenue in excess of expenditure of £50,000. The local contributions were larger than those of the Mauritius, but still there was a large charge on the Imperial revenue for the Island of Ceylon; and that charge might be gradually reduced without trenching on the legitimate means at the disposal of the Colony. Our commissariat expenditure at the Cape of Good Hope during the next financial year would be £102,000. The Colony had greatly retrieved its financial position. Its revenues were about £400,000 a year; but it only contributed to the extent of £10,000. It would be but fair that the Cape of Good Hope should pay some part of the commissariat expenditure. The case of the West Indies was also a strong one; and Jamaica and Barbadoes should be called on to contribute towards the commissariat expenditure. He should like to have some explanation of the cause of the very large increase of the military expenditure in Jamaica in the last few years. Without going at all into the question of the North American Colonies, where there was going on a sort of anticipatory war expenditure, he thought, in the cases enumerated, ground had been shown for the diminution of the Vote proposed by his hon. Friend (Mr. A. Mills).
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
said, that the question raised by his Motion was a reduction of the gross sum by £80,000. His proposal was not that the Government should be compelled to strike off the whole of the commissariat transport expenditure.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
remarked, that the examples quoted by his 1449 hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers) were not examples of commissariat transport merely, but of commissariat supplies. With regard to the proposition before the Committee, it seemed to him a rather novel mode of reducing the colonial military expenditure to attack this particular item. This sum of £80,000 was not a charge for the movement of troops in self-governed or other colonies, for the internal purposes of those colonies. The rule laid down and acted upon was that when troops were moved within a Colony for any purpose which came under the head of police or the maintenance of internal order, all the expenses should be recovered from the colonial Government. But this sum, which it was proposed to strike off, was for the necessary and ordinary transport, for the purpose of supplying the troops with food and forage in their different stations. It included, no doubt, the movement of troops within the limits of a certain command; but the whole was as much a part of the ordinary and necessary expenditure for troops in the Colonies as any other item in the Estimates, and it would be quite as reasonable to reduce the sums for food, forage, clothing, or pay, as to reduce this charge, which was necessary if troops were to be maintained in the Colonies at all. As to Ceylon and the Mauritius, there was no doubt much that deserved the attention of the Government, those Colonies having recently enjoyed a great degree of prosperity, and the Colonial Secretary was now in communication with the Treasury and the Horse Guards upon the subject, and had also prepared the Governments of those Colonies to receive a requisition from this country for an increased contribution to their military expenditure. With regard to the Cape, the case was not quite so simple. There a force had been maintained—a force capable of protecting the settlers from formidable external enemies —but the duty was now being performed at a much smaller cost than it had ever been before, the force maintained in South Africa having been reduced, within the last three or four years, from 10,000 to 4,000 men; and as the local border force, which the colonists, much to their credit, had established, became extended, the cost to this country for troops at the Cape would be still further reduced; and the Secretary of State would prepare them for such a reduction.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, he thought that 1450 when the Committee were called upon to cut down this Vote, they were asked to act without due consideration of the consequences. It was underlaid by a great principle affecting their colonial possessions. If they asked the Colonies to provide any portion of what was required for the movement of the army in the Colonies, they gave to the Colonies a voice in the management of the army. And he would put this case:—Supposing they had two regiments at Quebec and wanted to move them to Toronto, they being partly paid by the colonial Government, it might object to that removal, and the management would in fact ass out of the Imperial Government's hands; and if they put any portion of the management in colonial hands, they destroyed the home management. He was not unprepared for placing the protection of the Colonies in their own hands, but he did not wish to do it by a side wind. If they wanted Canada to defend herself, they should tell her so, and not come to the House on the Army Estimates and press the right hon. Gentleman to cut down the Estimate by £80,000 in a manner which would divest the home authorities of the management of the army, which was a course he was certainly not prepared to sanction.
said, he feared the Committee were getting into a difficulty. The proposal of his hon. Friend for a reduction was in substance right, but he was not taking the right way to do it. The object was to reduce the amount of the colonial military expenses. If that reduction was to be made, it should be on the whole colonial expenditure, and not on any single Vote such as that for transports or commissariat, because that expense must be in proportion to the number of troops. What was desired was to impress upon the Government, that the number of men in the Colonies paid for by the Imperial Treasury must be reduced. The question of military expenditure was a large one, but he believed that it was not one upon which any inflexible rule could be laid down. Take the case of the British provinces of North America. If it were proposed to throw upon the local Government the whole expense of military defence, the people of those Colonies would reply, "We are not likely to be drawn into any quarrel with anybody except the United States; and if we are drawn into a quarrel with them, it will be in consequence, not of our policy, but of the policy of the 1451 Imperial Government." Such a course, therefore, would not be wise in the case of Canada:—with regard to some of the other Colonies the case was widely different. He did not think it was wise absolutely to guarantee the colonists against Native incursions, for the result was that instead of being deprecated, and instead of every effort to avoid them, Native wars were looked upon as things to be desired by a portion of the European population, to whose advantage they tended. That was the case both of New Zealand and of the Cape. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies spoke in terms of high praise of what the colonists of the Cape were doing, and he said they had actually raised a very efficient militia force for their own defence. Obviously, the impression on the mind of his hon. Friend and on the minds of the people at the Cape, was, that they were doing England a great favour by condescending to protect themselves. This was the state of feeling they were encouraging in the Colonies by this very liberality of protecting them against internal dangers. He repeated, he did not think that they could lay down a uniform rule. He quite agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Roebuck) that they should be careful of putting any portion of the Imperial forces, under the control of the colonial Assemblies. The rule of the Government should be plain and simple; it should be, not to call upon colonial communities to pay for any part of the troops, but to decide without reference to them what number of troops might be considered a fair contribution on the part of the Empire at large to their defence. Having done that, leave them to supply what was wanting by a local militia or anything else, and no question could arise between the Imperial and local Governments. But if any attempt was made to ask the colonial Government to pay for Imperial troops, they would get into an; embarrassing discussion, and they might be placed in the position of calling upon the local Government to make a payment which it declined to make, and which we, had no power of enforcing. He did not think this question was before the Committee in the most satisfactory manner, and for his own part, he would be glad if they did not go to a division upon it, because it would not do justice to the cause —in the main a good one—which the hon. Gentleman had taken up.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, he had not intended to say that the Cape colonists deserved any great credit or praise for forming a local force for their own defence; he only meant that it was the business of the Secretary of State to induce them to substitute such a force for a considerable portion of the Imperial troops now maintained there. The difficulty which his noble Friend the Colonial Secretary felt in fixing the number of troops at such a colony as the Cape was, that if one of the formidable Native tribes made an incursion, the House of Commons would hold the Government responsible. So long as the House expected the Government to protect the Cape from savage wars and massacres, so long would the Secretary of State, feeling the burden of this responsibility, hesitate to diminish a garrison which might undoubtedly be the means of preventing such scenes.
§ MR. BUXTON
suggested, as the question was so wide and important, and was not sufficiently raised by the Amendment proposed, that his hon. Friend should withdraw the present Motion, and bring the whole subject before the House, as was done last year. The dimensions of the question were far too great to be dealt with by mere conversations in Committee of Supply. For one, he was extremely disappointed to see how small a distance the Government had gone in the way which had been so clearly pointed out by public opinion last year. If the subject were brought forward in a more formal manner, the House might be able to give the Government a good shove forward.
said, he quite agreed with the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), and the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), as to placing any portion of the army under the colonial Assemblies, so as to deprive the people of the control of their own army; but that view of the case was not at all incompatible with the Motion of the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Arthur Mills). There was ground for reduction, and he should vote with the hon. Member. He wished to point out, that although there was a nominal reduction in the amount of the Vote, there was an overflowing increase in the staff of officers employed in providing these supplies. Would the right hon. Baronet explain how it was that the Commissariat Staff costs £97,000, against £94,000 last year, while the net cost of provision was only 1453 £463,000 as against £495,000 last year; and also why the pay of Commissariat artificers and others was £17,995 as against £12,860? Every year the expenses in this direction were increasing, while the provisions of the establishment were decreasing in amount; that was in another portion of the non-combatant, part of the British army, which had been before alluded to.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he must admit that the Motion was rather inconvenient, yet if persevered in by the hon. Member for Taunton, he would certainly vote for it. He regretted that the Government had not done more to induce the Colonies to undertake their own defence. It was perfectly true that the objection was connected with a much larger question—that of the policy of this country lavishing both men and money in all the distant parts of the British Empire. He ventured to say that in his opinion every farthing of this expenditure was not only money to the British people absolutely wasted, but it was money spent as injuriously for those for whom it was spent as those by whom it was spent. He knew it might be said that we have the troops there now, and, having the troops there, that we must pay for their supplies and their travelling. Well, that was perfectly true; but he would nevertheless vote for the reduction proposed, and leave it to the Government to find out how they may furnish these supplies during the remainder of the year. The sum was not large, and the effect would be to quicken the pace of the Government in bringing this question to its proper and legitimate issue. They were told by the Under Secretary for the Colonies that this transport was for Imperial purposes. He would like the hon. Gentleman to go a little further, and tell them what he meant by Imperial purposes He told them, that if these troops were moved internally in the Colonies for such local purposes as riots, the expense of such transport would be repaid to the British Treasury. He very much doubted whether that had been the case, though it might have been done in some instances. But what did he consider Imperial purposes? Our troops were in New Zealand to put down Native riots, in the Cape to prevent the cattle of the English farmer from being stolen by the Kaffir, and in the West Indies to keep down the blacks. In these instances, were the purposes for which they were used and transported Im- 1454 perial purposes? The Colonies were, in fact, practically using 40,000 of our troops for their own local purposes. The case of Canada was no exception. It was the position of Canada on the frontier of a country that was in a state of disturbance, and not any policy of ours, that constituted the danger of British North America. The hon. Member for Sheffield had said, "Don't-let the colonists pay for the troops, as it will give them the command of them!" In what sense would it do that? The colonists could no more interfere in the command and use of the troops than we could ourselves—but only by stopping the supplies.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
explained, that he said nothing about Imperial purposes. He merely stated that the sum of £80,000, the cost of transport, stood exactly on the same footing as the provisions themselves, and the clothing and pay of the troops.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
wished to explain the course he had taken, so that he might be clearly understood. It was true he particularly directed his remarks to that portion of the Vote, but he now spoke generally of the commissariat expenditure in the Colonies as being, in his opinion, one of great extravagance, and one which he thought was a fair subject for selection in criticising this portion of the Estimates. He had said that there were eight or ten self-governed Colonies whose revenue exceeded their expenditure, and to which, therefore, they could apply the effect of his proposition as they might think proper. If the Colonies would not take the burden upon themselves of maintaining a proper number of troops, they ought to take the consequences. It had been resolved that the Colonies ought to bear their fair proportion of the cost of defending themselves, and in order to obtain some practical result from that Resolution he had moved this reduction of the Vote.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
thought that the hon. Member had by his Motion put the question before them in a practical way, and he himself thought that it was extremely important that they should come to an understanding with the Colonies in reference to an expense which was so local in its character as commissariat establishments. He was not, however, so sure that his hon. Friend had chosen the best time for bringing his proposition forward. Many items of detail were already paid for by the Colonies; and 1455 if the Committee insisted upon their bearing a larger portion of the cost of the commissariat, the Government would find a way of bringing about an arrangement.
§ MR CAVE
agreed with those who thought that the expenditure on the commissariat in almost all the Colonies was extravagant and ought to be cut down. But the gist of the hon. Gentleman's Amendment was that the Colonies ought to pay for their own defence. He thought the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn put the matter in its true light when he said it was impossible to lay down any general rule on that subject. When Colonies required troops for their own defence, they ought to pay a portion of the expense; but troops might be employed in a Colony when the Colony itself did not want them. This especially applied to Colonies like New Zealand and the Cape, which were threatened by barbarous neighbours. In the early history of the Cape of Good Hope the colonists did defend themselves against the savage tribes around them; but the border warfare in the Cape, like border warfare in every part of the world, was attended with circumstances of atrocity on both sides, and this country insisted that hostilities should be carried on according to the rules of European warfare. Hence regular troops, and even a regiment of lancers, were sent into the Bush, at vast expense, and with unsatisfactory results. Now, if we insisted on Colonies defending themselves, they would demand the right of doing so in their own way and in the cheapest manner. Were we prepared to accede that to them? This was a serious question, and one which ought to be well weighed by the House before adopting any general proposition of this kind.
§ MR. CARNEGIE
said, he thought that the best way of preventing colonial wars, which entailed upon us so much expense, was to take care that it was not the interest of the Colonies to have such wars. At present it was the interest of a colony to have a war; for, however much individuals suffered, the Colony gained by men and money being brought into the colony. If the hon. Member for Taunton pressed his Motion to a division, he should certainly vote for it.
said, that the Amendment, as at present framed, was for the omission of the commissariat and transport expenses alone.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
said, that his intention was simply that the general Vote for the Military expenses of the colonies should be reduced by £80,000.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,143,936, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Commissariat Establishment, Services, and Movement of Troops, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st of March 1864, inclusive."—(Mr. Arthur Mills.)
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, that though the form of the Amendment might be altered, in substance it was still pretty much the same, as the hon. Member in his speech had touched almost exclusively on this item of £80,000. He had since explained that he wished the reduction to be applied only to those Colonies which had Houses of Assembly, and excluded the Crown Colonies. If it had been directed against the Crown Colonies, it would at least have been a practical Motion, since for them the Queen could legislate by Order in Council. But for the colonies having Houses of Assembly the Crown could not legislate, and the Amendment, if carried, would only throw on the Government a duty which they; could not discharge. That could only be done by an Act of Parliament; and to call on any Colony to pay a certain sum into the Imperial Exchequer without their own consent was very like falling back on the old plan of taxing the Colonies. There were only two practical courses open to the House and the Government with respect to the diminution of colonial military expenses. One was for the House to legislate on the subject, which would be departing from the rule religiously observed since the American War; the other was to withdraw our troops from the Colonies. If the House would point out any Colonies where that could be done, the Government would then know how to act. But, instead of the thing being done by a side wind, the question of withdrawing our troops ought to be raised distinctly, and a Vote taken upon it.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he understood the meaning of this Amendment to be that the hon. Member opposite was not satisfied with what the Goverment had done to carry out the Motion proposed by him last year on the subject of military expenditure in the Colonies to which they had assented. It was not just that the mother 1457 country should contribute to the expenses of any Colony which could perfectly well pay for itself, and he could not understand how any hon. Member who was really in favour of a reduction in our colonial military expenditure could vote against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Taunton.
§ MAJOR GAVIN
said, that our soldiers did not wish to go to New Zealand or the Cape of Good Hope, but in the discharge of their arduous duties in a foreign climate they needed supplies, and he trusted the Committee would do nothing prejudicial to the interests of those gallant men.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 65; Noes 71: Majority 6.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £630,385, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Clothing Establishments, Services, and Supplies, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1861, inclusive.
moved that the Chairman report Progress, on account of the lateness of the hour (eleven o'clock).
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
then asked for an explanation of the item of £4,500 for machinery in this Vote for clothing establishments.
moved a reduction of £25,000 in the Vote. This was a Vote for the non-combatant part of the army, the expense of which was constantly increasing without any corresponding advantage to the soldier. The expense of the establishment at Pimlico alone for clothing, with allowance for the proper deductions, was £52,000. There were also various expensive officers connected with that institution, who raised the expense to upwards of £62,000. The same argument was applicable to all the new establishments of the same kind, many of which were utterly useless. The mere cost of superintendence was upwards of £8,000. The clothing of the army in 1458 France was under regimental officers, and nothing could be better managed. He therefore begged leave to move that this Vote be reduced by £25,000.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, it appeared there were clothing buildings at Pimlico and others at Woolwich. It was very objectionable to scatter these buildings about the country instead of having them in one place. The less the Government had to do with manufactures the better, for he believed that no Government establishment paid in a commercial point of view.
said, that every obstacle was thrown in the way of manufacturers by the viewers. In one case the members of two firms in Nottingham were refused a contract to supply 30,000 pairs of cotton socks of a particular pattern, because the machinery was obsolete by which they were to be made. They afterwards found, that an article by no means identical with the pattern had been accepted from other contractors. This showed, that either the viewers did not know their duty, or else that they were accessible to improper influences. In another case, some pantaloon drawers were bought by the War Office, at a profit to those who supplied them of thirty-five per cent on the first cost. There was no man with the feelings of a gentleman to whom the manufacturers, if their goods were rejected by the viewers, could apply to say whether the goods were of the proper pattern or not. He trusted the facts he had brought before the Committee would induce the Government to make some change for the better in the present system.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, there was a diminution in this Vote, as compared with that of last year, of £36,000. The hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Dickson) had unintentionally exaggerated the expense of the establishments, by including the cost of new buildings and other works, to the amount of £20,000, for those items would not be annually required. Expense, of course, there must be in establishments of the kind where work was given out and received in again, and where a close inspection must be maintained. After considerable examination he had arrived at the conclusion that the work done at the Pimlico manufactory was most satisfactory; and, to say the least, colonels did not prefer the work of contractors. There was a small establishment at Woolwich for the supply of cloth- 1459 ing to the Artillery and Engineers, which it was not considered advisable to give up. Very little work was done on the premises at Pimlico; most of it was given out to workwomen and men, who took it to their own houses, and the materials were carefully examined both before and after being made up. The process of inspection was an elaborate one, but the result was generally satisfactory. With respect to the observations of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Paget), he could only say that a few years back the pattern for hosiery was antiquated, and that fact excluded a considerable number of competitors from the tenders. But now a modern sort of sock had been selected, both for woollen and cotton hosiery, and he believed the inconvenience to which his hon. Friend had adverted did not exist.
said, he had the testimony of commanding officers of regiments to the satisfactory work which was turned out of the manufactory at Pimlico. He had at first been opposed to having an establishment of the kind conducted by Government; but he had heard so many officers express their approval of the work produced there, that he had come to the conclusion that it would be well if all the clothing of the army was made at Pimlico. He thought that the double system of private contractors and Government manufacturers should be got rid of, and one or the other adopted.
§ LORD LOVAINE
said, no one who had compared the work done at Pimlico with that of the contractors could have a doubt of the superiority of the former; and as this work materially contributed to the health and comfort of the men, any money laid out upon the establishment would be well spent.
§ MR. MONSELL
trusted that the Secretary for War would appoint some one in whom he had confidence to compare the work produced at Pimlico with that of the contractors, and he was quite sure the latter would be found equal, if not superior. He spoke in the interest of several poor people of the city of Limerick, who were employed by the contractors; but he was quite willing to abide by the issue of such a comparison as he had urged the right hon. Gentleman to make.
§ MR. MACEVOY
said, that Government were making such large workshops it seemed as if they were about to become their own manufacturers. If that were 1460 so, he thought it ought to be stated so in the Vote.
§ MR. CARNEGIE
said, he did not object to the principle of the Government having a clothing establishment of their own, but said he found, on referring to the Estimates, that almost every officer employed at Pimlico had got an addition to their pay during the last year. It was in this way that establishments attained large proportions and became permanently expensive to the country. These persons might, perhaps, be worthy of the increased remuneration; but if the combatant part of the army had asked for an addition to their pay, they would have been told that the country could not afford it, or that others could be got to serve for the existing pay.
§ MR. CAVE
could understand the two hon. Members for Limerick taking this view, because the manufacture of army clothing formed an important branch of industry in that county. Mr. Tait, the Limerick contractor, had, as appeared from his evidence before the Weedon Commission, already a very large share of the contracts; but, being an ambitious man, he wanted to clothe the whole army. Now, as the right hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) had pleaded the cause of the poor there, he (Mr. Cave) also asked for some slight share of the work for the poor people in different parts of the country, for it was a mistake to call the Pimlico establishment a factory; it was only a place where work was given out, inspected, and stored. The inquiry of 1858 proved that the Woolwich establishment, which originated during the right hon. Gentleman's tenure of office, had turned out far better clothing than any then known, and while paying better wages in consequence of getting rid of the piece-masters, had not raised the price to the country. He did not wish to see either the Government factories too greatly increased or the whole of the manufacture of clothing fall into the hands of large contractors. The two systems might exist together, and form a check on each other.
§ MAJOR GAVIN
opposed the item. All that his constituents asked for was competitive examination, the principle so much favoured in every department. An experience of twenty-four years in the army had satisfied him that the clothing made by contract was always the best.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, he should 1461 be happy to furnish any facilities in his power for a comparison between contract clothing and clothing manufactured at Pimlico. But it was exceedingly difficult to institute a fair comparison between them, and it would be necessary, in the first instance, to settle the details on which the investigation could take place. He felt sure that the apparent advantages of any such comparison would appear at the first blush to be in favour of the Pimlico establishment.
§ LORD LOVAINE
complained that the establishment at Pimlico was intended to work not only for the army, but for the Volunteer service, and also for convicts.
Motion made, and Question,
That a sum, not exceeding £605,385, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Clothing Establishments, Services, and Supplies, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1864, inclusive,
—put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported on Monday next.
§ Committee to sit again on Monday next.
- CONSOLIDATED FUND (£10,000,000) BILL. 26 words c1461
- BOROUGH RESIDENCE UNIFORM MEASUREMENT BILL. 39 words c1461
- TRUSTEES ACT AMENDMENT (SCOTLAND) BILL. 33 words