HC Deb 19 July 1864 vol 176 cc1702-5

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 (The Secretary of State for India in Council empowered to make Regulations for the Medical Service of Her Majesty's Forces in India, and to empower the Authorities in India to make similar Regulations).


said, he thought that a certain number of appointments should be given as the result of competitive examinations. He did not wish to oppose the Bill in a factious spirit, but he should feel himself compelled to oppose it unless the right hon. Baronet would consent to give some assurance that the competitive system would not be entirely abandoned.


said, he had no wish to abolish the competitive examinations, but he desired to extend to the medical service in India the same advantages as those enjoyed by the Queen's service, and the proposal of the Bill was that any assistant-surgeon in the Queen's army—all of whom had obtained their appointments by competition—might, if he so pleased, volunteer into the Indian army.


said, that the deficiency of medical officers in the army was so great that acting assistant-surgeons had lately been introduced—a class of medical officers never before heard of.


said, he thought that the competitive system could only have failed from the standard of examination being too high, or the pay too low, and the Bill did not do anything to effect improvements in either of these directions.


said, that the position of the officers had been bettered both as to rank and pay.


complained that many of the Natives of India who were in every respect well qualified for the posts were prevented from entering the service from the prejudice which existed against the colour of their skins.


said, he regarded the Bill as substituting the old system of patronage for the competitive examination, which had been found to work so admirably, and he should therefore move that the House report Progress.


said, he did not see how the difficulty in filling up the vacancies in the Queen's army would be remedied by allowing officers to volunteer into the Indian service.


said, he would consent to insert a proviso in the Bill enacting that all the regulations referring to the appointment of medical officers should be submitted to Parliament.


said, he thought that no action should be taken upon the regulations until they had been before the House one month.


said, he could not agree to the proposition of the hon. Member. The regulations should be submitted to the House after they had come into operation.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Hennessy.)

The Committee divided:—Ayes 6; Noes 43: Majority 37.


said, he proposed to submit the regulations to Parliament within fourteen days after they were made, provided Parliament were sitting, and if not, within fourteen days after the next meeting of Parliament.

Amendment proposed, At the end of the Clause, to add the words "Provided always, That all such regulations shall be laid before Parliament within fourteen days after the meeting thereof, if Parliament be sitting, and if Parliament be not sitting, then within fourteen days after the next meeting thereof."—(Sir Charles Wood.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."

MR. HENNESSY moved as an Amendment the insertion of words suspending the operation of the regulations until they had been a fortnight before the House.

Amendment proposed to the said proposed Amendment, to leave out the word "all," and insert the word "no,"—(Mr. Hennessy,)—instead thereof.

Question put, "That the word 'all' stand part of the said proposed Amendment."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 24; Noes 7: Majority 17.

And it appearing that 40 Members were not present, the Chairman left the Chair.

Mr. SPEAKER resumed the Chair.

House counted, and 40 Members being present,

Bill further considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Question again put, "That the word 'all' stand part of the said proposed Amendment."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 34; Noes 11: Majority 23.


complained that the majority of those who had heard the discussion had voted with him, but that his Amendment had been lost in consequence of a number of hon. Members having come down from the Committee rooms. The Bill was passed at one o'clock that morning, and was now hurried through Committee. It proposed entirely to abolish competitive examination, and, knowing how many of his young countrymen obtained the appointments under the present system, he believed he was only doing his duty in resisting it to the utmost.


said, he would stand by his Motion.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 30; Noes 6: Majority 24.

Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this day.