HC Deb 07 April 1864 vol 174 cc624-6

, in introducing the Resolution of which he had given notice, said, that in 1860 the Government instructed General Crawford to proceed to the French camp at Chalons, and to make a Report upon the work carried out by the soldiers of that army. General Crawford reported that men on attaining a certain age were instructed in some trade, and taught to shift for themselves when placed in difficult circumstances; and suggested as a point worthy of consideration, that something of the same kind might be effected for the improvement of the British soldier. The late Sir George Lewis, on receipt of this Report, appointed a Committee, and it was the recommendations of this tribunal to which he was anxious to give effect. The hon. Baronet having read evidence given before the Committee on this subject, concluded by moving his Resolution.


seconded the Motion.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "it is expedient that the recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee on the proper means for the Instruction and Employment of Soldiers and their Children in Trades, and of the Under Secretary of State in a Letter to the Quartermaster General, Horse Guards, dated 23rd May, 1862, be carried into effect, with due regard to the duties and discipline of the Army," —(Sir Harry Verney,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, that with regard to the Question put to him by the hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes), he was under some misapprehension with reference to the 20th Regiment. The first battalion of the regiment was doing duty in India, and therefore was not provided for in the Esti- mates. The second battalion, which was intended for India, but was afterwards diverted for service either in China or Japan, had been provided for in the Estimates. He did not think that he need on that occasion follow the hon. and gallant Member into his fears and prophecies with regard to our military force in Japan. It was not at all correct to suppose that the regiment was or was intended to be quartered in Japan. At one time the aspect of affairs in that country was extremely threatening. Several residences belonging to Europeans there were burnt down, and it was not unlikely that other hostile demonstrations would be made against the Europeans. Colonel Neale accordingly applied to General Brown for a small force of soldiers to protect Yokohama, but General Brown refused to send them without the sanction of the Home Government. That was afterwards given, and 160 men were sent there; and it was now expected, from the present peaceful aspect of affairs in that country, that they would soon be able to withdraw them; and then there would be no English soldiers at all in Japan. No other regiment was under orders for service in China.

With regard to the question of the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. H. Berkeley), the Volunteer Artillery was not raised with the intention of their acting as field artillery, but almost entirely and exclusively as garrison artillery. He was not aware that they had been armed with the extremely imperfect and antiquated weapons described by the hon. Member; on the contrary, the only guns supplied to the Volunteer Artillery were 18, 24, and 32-pounders. It was true that one or two corps had provided themselves with field guns at their own expense, but he was not aware if the particular corps referred to had done so. The Newcastle corps had done so, not, however, because they were dissatisfied with the guns supplied to them by the Government, but because they wished to be able to take part in reviews as field artillery, Up to the present time no field batteries had been granted to Volunteer Artillery Corps; but it was intended in the present Estimates to take a sum of money to enable the Government to provide for a limited number of those corps with field guns. Still it was not intended that the Volunteer Artillery should act generally as field artillery, the main object being that they should take a part, if necessary, in the defence of the coasts as garrison artillery. The guns that had been supplied, although not equal in precision and range to the rifle guns of the present day, were all that was necessary for teaching the Volunteers their gun-drill. With regard to Mr. Clay's gun, he could state that if it had ever been submitted to the consideration of the War Office it would have met with a fair trial. In all that had been said as to the beneficial nature of the recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee on the instruction and employment of soldiers he entirely concurred, and it was intended that a trial of those recommendations should be made as an experiment in the first instance. He trusted that the House would now go into Committee, for though the number of men for the army had been agreed to, not one shilling of the necessary money had yet been voted.


thought, that when the House had once voted the number of men, it was bound to vote the money for them; but the first Vote which would be proposed embraced several important points, and he thought it was now too late (twenty minutes past eleven o'clock) to proceed with the discussion of them.


also stated, that if the House went into Committee at that time of night, it would be impossible to get through any Votes.


hoped that the House would go into Committee tomorrow.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question again proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Committee deferred, till To-morrow.