§ SUPPLY considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £262,216, Array Medical Establishment, Services and Supplies
said there could be no doubt whatever that the medical service of the army was under-handed. His: Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, Sir Richard Airey, and other officers of distinction, had given evidence to that effect before the Committee of 1856. The Commander-in-Chief said that in time of peace every regiment should have one 30 surgeon and two assistant surgeons, and in time of war one surgeon and three assistant surgeons. At present there were 200 vacancies in the army, and only fourteen persons presented themselves for examination to fill those vacancies. The age of entrance for the candidates was in consequence raised from twenty-five to thirty years, and yet only six persons presented themselves for examination on the next occasion. During the last few weeks the War Office issued an advertisement to the effect that they would accept applications from any qualified surgeons under forty years of age. That was surely a most unsatisfactory state of things, which could only be accounted for by the unpopularity of the service. He believed that the medical officers of the army deserved better treatment. Lord de Roos, Sir Richard Airey, and other officers bore the strongest testimony to the zeal, ability, and energy of the medical officers during the Crimean war. Sir A. Smith had been most unfairly treated on account of the state of the medical department during that war. But the fact was that during forty years of peace the medical department had become under-handed in consequence of a false economy, and hence arose the inefficiency which was manifested during the Crimean war. He received letters from young medical men blaming Dr. Gibson, the Director General of the Medical Department. But he did not think Dr. Gibson was to blame. They were, told that the Channel fleet, was in She Downs, and they did not know from hour to hour whether they might not be at war. Yet the medical department of the army was in such a state that no gentlemen of ability in their profession wished to join the service. It was right that the country should know the stale in which the medical department of the army was, so that in case of any deficiency of medical assistance the country should not blame the Director General, but the Government which allowed the department to be in such a disgraceful state. It was impossible for us to know how soon we might be plunged into war; and it was manifestly most undesirable that any insuperable difficulty should exist to our supplying our regiments with the requisite number of medical officers.
said, that if the statement made by the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) were correct—namely, that there were at present 200 vacancies in the medical depart- 31 ment of the army, and that very few applicants presented themselves to fill them, it was a subject for very serious consideration. In the year 1858, when he was Secretary for War, one of his first actions had been to issue a medical warrant in conformity with the express recommendation of the Army Sanitary Committee, by which a higher position was to have been secured to medical officers; and he had been told by Sir Benjamin Brodie and Sir James Clark that that warrant had afforded so much satisfaction, that it had induced the best class of students to present themselves for admission into the medical service of the army. But great complaints had since been made by the medical officers that faith had not been kept with them; and it appeared that the arrangements with respect to relative rank, though conceded by the Horse Guards and the War Office, had been set aside, and set aside, as he understood, principally because the Admiralty had found it difficult to extend a similar rule to their profession. The result was that a sufficient number of candidates for admission into that branch of the service could no longer be found. He should be glad to receive some explanation from the noble Lord the Under Secretary for War upon that point, and to hear why the recommendation of the Sanitary Committee had not in that case been carried into effect. It was of great importance that the army should be supplied with first-class surgeons, and that a sufficient number of candidates should present themselves for that service. It appeared it was not even now necessary that they should pass a competitive examination, and that it was sufficient if they passed a qualifying one. He went with a deputation to the late Sir George Lewis on that subject. A Committee was appointed by the War Office, and that Committee reported entirely in favour of the medical officers. He hoped the noble Lord would be able to give a satisfactory explanation of the subject.
§ MAJOR O'REILLY
begged to express his satisfaction at hearing the observations which had fallen from the right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel). He could bear testimony from experience to the favourable light in which the warrant of 1858 was regarded by medical officers, and to the fact that the changes which had been made in it were most injurious to the efficiency of the service. Before sitting down, he was anxious to correct some errors which he 32 had committed in a comparison that he made on a former occasion between the cost of British and French soldiers—errors to which his attention had been called by the right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon, and which were shared with him by the War Office. In the first place, he had forgotten to take into account the 1,500 native troops which were serving in China and Labuan. These troops could not be added to the number of the English army, as suggested by the gallant General, because they were not properly British troops, but were Indian troops, borrowed by England for the time. Making the necessary correction on this account, by deducting the cost of their pay and clothing from these items respectively, the cost per man for pay would be reduced from £41 15s., at which he stated it, to £41 9s.; and for clothing from £4 6s. to £4 5s. He had also overlooked the capitation rate of £10 a man which was paid for the troops in India, amounting in the whole to £726,000. This sum must be deducted from the total charge of the army, and would diminish the cost of each man by 5½ per cent. The right hon. and gallant Member had mentioned as another error that he did not take into account the circumstance that the Votes for manufactures and stores included guns and other things which were made for the navy. The fact was that he did call attention to that circumstance, but his remarks upon that subject were not reported. The proceedings in that House were reported with wonderful accuracy and intelligence, but it was impossible to report everything that was said. He did call attention to the fact that those two Votes included guns supplied to the navy, but that, on the other hand, the votes for the navy included cost of transport for the army, and that the late Sir George Lewis had stated that after a careful examination he had come to the conclusion that about £300,000 was about the balance due from the navy to the army; and, therefore, he had deducted,£2 per man from the cost of manufactures and stores. It ought to be remembered that he was comparing the cost of the British with that of the French soldier, and as the French estimate included artillery for the navy, that error, if error it was, appeared on both sides of the account. The next error mentioned was that the Votes for manufactures, stores, and for administration, applied not merely to the army of 147,000 men, but also to the Reserve Force, Militia, Volunteers, &c. 33 He did not take that circumstance into consideration, because lie was comparing the cost of the two services, and there was no European army the charge for which did not include the expense of reserves, which were not expressly provided for. The question was, whether the French reserves affected the French Votes to the same or nearly the same extent as our reserves affected the Votes of that House Our reserves consisted of the Army Reserve, a force of about 1,500 men; the effective militia, which numbered lust year about 100,000; and the Volunteers, who formed a reserve most effective for purposes of defence, but entailed a very limited cost directly upon the administration or the stores of the army. The French reserves were between 60,000 and 70,000 men, who were borne on the strength of their regiments, who were effective soldiers, ready at any moment to fall into the ranks, but who were on furlough and drawing no pay; and a reserve of conscripts, the number of which could not be precisely ascertained, but which might possibly amount to 300,000. Those men received three months' training the first year, two months the second, and one the third, which was fully equivalent to the training of our militia. He had left the reserves out of view, after mature consideration; because those of each service would equally affect the general cost of the army.
said, that he should be sorry that it should go forth to the public upon the authority of the hon, and gallant Member for Longford (Major O'Reilly), who had evidently paid so much attention to the subject, confirmed to his surprise by the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War, that the cost of the British soldier was £92 7s. 6d. per annum, while that of the French soldier was only £43. That was an entirely fallacious calculation, founded upon an erroneous basis. The hon. and gallant Member said, that the recruiting of the British soldier cost 14s. per man, and he arrived at that result by dividing the total expenditure upon recruiting by 146,000, the number of men voted for the present year. But. the fact was, that in that sum was included the cost of recruiting for the whole Indian army, and therefore it ought to have been divided, not by 146,000, but by 220,000. The charge for gunpowder was for gunpowder supplied to the navy, militia, and Volunteers, as well as to the army, and therefore deductions ought to have been made on those 34 accounts. The 1,500 troops of the Indian army to which the hon. and gallant Member had referred, so far from being cheaper, were much dearer than others, because so long as they were in China it was necessary to give Indian pay and allowances to all the troops who were employed in that part of the world. The fact was that the method of arriving at the cost of each soldier by dividing the sum voted by the number of men was completely erroneous. If the army was reduced to 50,000 to-morrow, which he was afraid was very unlikely to be the case, the non-effective Vote alone would make each man cost more than the French soldier; while if the number of men was reduced to 10,000, that Vote would make them cost £210 each. If the noble Lord reduced the army by a regiment 1,000 strong, he would not save £92,000. which would be the case if those calculations were sound, but only about £42,000. He was extremely sorry it should have gone forth to the country on the authority of the hon. and gallant Member, that there was such a great difference between the cost of the British and French soldier. An hon. Member not in the habit of framing Army Estimates might be excused from falling into such a mistake, but how the representatives of the War Office, upon whom the preparation of those Estimates devolved, could have endorsed the error, and stated, as the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War bad stated, that but little difference existed between his figures and those of the hon, and gallant Member, he was at a loss to understand. The real question, however, was not as to the comparative cost of the French and English soldier; whether any portion of the annual charge could be diminished was an inquiry much more relevant. He had placed in the hands of the hon, and gallant Member Returns of the cost of clothing during the five years for which he was responsible, and he thought it was only at the rate of about £2 per man. It was utterly impossible to draw any comparison as to the costs of the services in England and in France from the details given in the Estimates. The calculation of £92 as the cost of the British soldier was based on entirely erroneous data, and be hoped the noble Marquess would state upon what grounds the authorities at the War Office came to entertain that idea.
I rise to order. I beg to suggest that it will be more regular to finish the discussion on Vote 7.
§ MR. MASSEY
said, he had not interrupted the hon. and gallant Member for Longford (Major O'Reilly) who wished to rectify a former mis-statement; but his explanation having been made and commented upon by the right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel), he trusted the Committee would now revert to the original subject under consideration.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, he hoped that the noble Lord the Under Secretary for War would give some information on the subject of a question he had put to him some time since, relative to the evil in a medical and moral point of view incident to the collection of troops in garrison towns. He could not help thinking that the medical charges could be considerably reduced by proper arrangements. It was a subject which deserved consideration in the interest of the soldier and of the public. Infectious diseases might often be prevented as well as cured, and he believed that great social as well as physical benefits might be looked for from such an inquiry. The subject to which he referred had been treated at some length in The Times a few weeks ago.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that on comparing the cost of medical men, medicines, Hospital Corps, and other necessary appliances for maintaining the health of the army, he found that in England it was at the rate of £1 11s. 7d., while in France it was £ 1 10s. 8d. He believed that to contrast the total numbers with the total medical charges of the army was the only method of arriving at a sound and just result.
said, that the question raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock (Sir John Trelawny) was one of vital importance. Nobody who had read the Reports of the army and navy, or those which had been published respecting our Mediterranean and Indian stations, could fail to be struck with the number of men invalided during their term of service, or prematurely thrown as pensioners upon the country. The question was one too objectionable in its character for any private Member to take up, but it was the bounden duty of the Government to institute measures of a remedial character, and if, in addition to the Reports in their possession, they 36 wished to strengthen themselves by the opinions of a Committee or Commission, the House, he thought, would gladly afford the requisite facilities.
begged to express his approval of the good sense shown by the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock (Sir John Trelawny) in introducing the subject. The matter was one which it was impossible to debate in the House, and yet every man knowing anything of the military and naval services was aware that it lay at the root of their health and efficiency. He was anxious to obtain some information with regard to the purveyor's department, the Vote for which seemed to be much larger than was necessary, and the duties of which, he was informed, could be divided between the medical staff, the storekeeper, and the barrack masters. He felt persuaded that in many of the innumerable departments, which were always on the increase, considerable reductions could be made without imparing the general efficiency of the service. The proper method was to compel the departments to originate their own reforms; they knew where retrenchments could be made without impropriety, while the House of Commons could only criticize expenditure without laying its finger on the excess.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) had called the attention of the Committee to the deficiency in the supply of surgeons for the army, but had attributed that circumstance to the wrong cause.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
replied that either the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) or the right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) sitting below him had connected the deficiency of surgeons with the failure to carry out in their integrity the recommendations of the Commission on which the warrant was founded. In all essential particulars those recommendations had been complied with, and the medical officers had obtained every substantial advantage contemplated by those recommendations. In one or two points they had been departed from, but they were hardly of a character to deter any medical man, otherwise desirous of doing so, from entering the service. It was 37 perfectly true that in consequence of objections raised by regimental officers acquiesced in by the Horse Guards, and sanctioned by the late Lord Herbert, medical officers, although enjoying the relative rank laid down for them in the warrant, were not to act as Presidents of Boards of Survey or other Boards when one of their number happened to be the senior officer present; but he could not imagine that such comparative trifles would make any medical man hold back who intended to connect himself professionally with the army. The difficulty of obtaining medical officers might in part be accounted for by the fact that, in spite of the increase of population in the United Kingdom, there was, if anything, for the last few years a diminution in the number of men educated for the medical profession. The great steamboat companies, railways, mining and other private undertakings likewise entered into competition with the Government, and offered to medical men more immediate advantages, as well as the prospect of a more speedy rise in the world than could be hoped for in the army. He was afraid that if, within the next few years, the demand which had sprung up in this country for members of the medical profession should not be met by an increased supply, Her Majesty's Government would have to consider the expediency of offering increased advantages, not in the way of additional rank, but of increased pay. He assured the House that the subject had by no means escaped attention. Within the last few days the noble Earl (the Secretary for War) had consulted, not only the Director General and others, but likewise medical men unconnected with the army. He was not in a position to state the nature of their recommendations, but he could assure the Committee that the subject had not escaped attention, and that measures would be promptly taken to keep up the necessary supply of medical men, The subject adverted to by his hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock (Sir John Trelawny) was one of great importance, but it affected the navy as well as the army, and ought not to be partially dealt with. It had received the consideration both of his noble Friend the Secretary to the Admiralty (Lord Clarence Paget) and himself, and later in the Session it was his noble Friend's intention to propose the appointment either of a Committee or Commission to inquire into the question. In reply to the hon. and gallant Member for Queen's County 38 (Colonel Dunne), he would state that he was not aware of any extravagance in the Vote for the purveying service. That service used to be performed partly by the purveyors and partly by the commissariat, but the system was not found to answer during the Crimean war, and the present service was adopted on the recommendation of the Sanitary Commission. If the hon, and gallant Member would look at the Estimates he would see that a reduction had taken place in that portion of the Vote which was susceptible of reduction. The medical items were in excess of last year, but that was on account of the New Zealand war. The items for the purchase and repair of hospital stores and hospital bedding, which were directly under the control of the purveyor-in-chief, bad been reduced by economical management, and further reductions would be made. After what had been said by the Chairman, he was unwilling to enter upon a comparison between the cost of the French and English soldier, He could assure the right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) that the War Office had not arrived at the amount of £92 by simply dividing the number of men by the Vote for the army. Everything that could be fairly taken out had been withdrawn from the estimate, and he could by no means concur with the right lion, and gallant Member, that the cost of our infantry soldiers was only £45 per man. He was aware that the cost could be reduced by raising the number of men. If the number of the army was increased by 35,000 troops, and the strength of regiments was raised to 1,000 men each, the expenditure would only be increased by £1,000,000, and the relative cost would be reduced from £92 to £78 per man. The English soldier received more than the French soldier. The War Office gave him boots, but the French Government did not. Taking the average cost of the soldier, it was not at all an unfair statement to say, that the English soldier cost the country £90 in one way and another. The fixed charges, the expenses in barracks, and other items of the kind, had much more effect in raising the apparent cost per man in our small army than in the larger army of France. When the Committee came to the Store Vote he should show that a great portion of this expense ought not to be attributed to the army alone, but that a very large sum ought to be spread over the auxiliary services. In regard to the non-effective 39 Vote, he would make the right hon. and gallant Member a present of it altogether. The non-effective Vote in the French army was £8 as against £15 in the English; but leaving that out, the proportion was not altered. Leaving the non-effective service out of the question in both armies, the charge would be £37 18s. 10d. in the French, against £76 17s. 2d. in the English service. That, however, would not affect the relative proportion. With the exception of recruiting, he believed that no sum had been charged in the War Office estimate that could not be fairly included in calculating the cost of the English soldier. He could not, therefore, admit that either his hon. Friend or himself had been so much in error as the right hon. Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) appeared to think.
said, that officers in the medical service did not so much complain of the question of rank; hut that of late years they had not been allowed to retire till after twenty-five years' service. What they wanted was the permission to retire after twenty years' service, an arrangement which would give them a much better chance of obtaining a good private practice. The country had a right to expect that when its troops were prostrated by wounds or unhealthy climates they would have the best possible medical advice. At present there were no less than 200 vacancies in the medical department. During the Crimean war there was scarcely a family in the country, from the peer to the peasant, that did not mourn the loss of some relative. A Committee was appointed in 1856, which reported that the medical officers had been deficient during the war. Eight years had elapsed, and the same state of things existed. If war broke out to-morrow, what would the troops do for surgeons? The Committee which sat eight years ago reported that each regiment in the service should have a surgeon and two assistant surgeons; but at present the regiments serving at home had no assistant surgeons at all. The authorities were obliged to send assistant surgeons out to India who had only just returned from Canada, New Zealand, or the West Indies. A class of acting assistant surgeons had been appointed who had never before been heard of in this country, and some of the regiments had no assistant surgeons. The country had a right to expect that the medical department of the army should be placed in the best possible position.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he wished to ask the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War, whether he was aware that the Commanders-in-Chief at Madras and Bombay had issued a circular inviting medical officers of Her Majesty's army to take charge of the new regiments in India? He thought it would be much better if they employed the medical officers of the old East Indian army, who from long experience were better acquainted with the diseases incident to the climate. He wanted to know whether a calculation was made that a certain number of men would be in hospital during the year, and that a certain amount of medicine and necessaries for diet would be required; or did the War Department go upon chance? In the French army the calculation was made upon the fixed basis that one man in twenty-five, or 4 per cent, was always in hospital.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the calculation was based upon former experience. It was known that last year, the year before, and for some years past, a certain number of men were in hospital, and an average was thus arrived at.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £783,783, Disembodied Militia.
begged to call the attention of the Committee to the fact that, while in the line they were lowering the standard, and found it extremely difficult to get recruits, they experienced no difficulty in obtaining men for the militia. It was, however, very hard to find officers. Out of 4,500 officers, which did not really represent the proper number of the establishment, more than 1,500 were at present wanted, while they had the whole of the men, with the exception of some 10,000, who could be easily had. He attributed that state of things to the officers being put to such heavy expenses, particularly for lodgings, when their regiments were out training. That was the result of a bad economy. Another instance of the miserable economy which was carried to almost an absurd length, was to be found in the fact, that while the training of his own regiment would cost £2,000, he had over and over again applied to the War Department for ground for training, and though the expense would be only about £50, he could not get it allowed. The 41 ground they had at present was so small that he could not deploy the regiment, and he was obliged to double the companies.
said, he must com plain of the hardship inflicted on mounted officers of the militia in not being allowed forage all the year round. They merely got the allowance of 2s. a day, the same as those officers who were allowed charge all through the year.
§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
said, the difficulty of finding officers to fill the junior ranks in the militia was owing to the want of proper accommodation for them when billeted in small towns. The subject was one which deserved the attention of the War Office.
THE MARQUESS OF HART1NGTON
said, the question of allowances for lodgings to officers of the militia had in a very few instances been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State. In most places where militia regiments were sent for training there was proper accommodation in billets, to which the officers were entitled, and for lodgings; and in cases where it was shown to the satisfaction of the inspecting officer that the quarters on which the officers were billeted were not available, an allowance for lodgings had been granted, A similar observation would apply to the cage of drilling-ground. The allowance for the hire of drilling-ground was in most instances found sufficient, and whore it was not, the remaining sum was required to be paid out of the Contingent Fund. But that was not a hardship. With respect to field officers receiving a larger share of forage allowance, that was scarcely necessary, because those officers were generally gentlemen, and in a position to keep their own horses independently of any allowance. There was one point to which he was anxious to call attention, and he could wish that the discussion upon it would come on at a time when a large number of militia officers were present, because the Secretary of State would be glad to know their opinions upon it. Although the militia force was in a highly satisfactory state, still there was a general opinion amongst the officers that it would greatly increase the efficiency of the force if a longer period for training were allowed Four weeks instead of three would be productive of great benefit in the training of tin men. It was evident that any prolongation of the period of training would be at tended with a large increase of expense. It had been calculated that a week's more 42 training to the whole of the militia force, recruits included, would increase the cost by.£65,000; and, exclusive of recruits, by something over £50,000. It had been considered, and the idea had met with the approval of some militia officers, that it would tend to the general efficiency of the force while in an embodied state, that the numbers of the very large regiments should be reduced, while the smaller regiments were kept at their present amount Some regiments numbered twelve companies and 1,200 privates. The Government did not propose to reduce or meddle with the staff of such regiments, and the number of the companies would remain the same, the only difference contemplated being that the commanding officers should be requested not to raise the numbers of their regiments, when in a disembodied state, beyond 800 or 900 men. The regiments of 1,000 men would be reduced in proportion. He believed that a great many commanding officers agreed in thinking that it was impossible for any staff or commanding officer to drill properly a regiment 1,200 men strong. Supposing that proposal met with the general approval of the officers of the militia force (for Lord De Grey did not desire to do anything not generally approved), it was estimated that the saving effected thereby in another year would probably be sufficient, without materially increasing the Vote, to give an extra week's training to the men. It was well worthy of the consideration of militia officers whether the adoption of such a measure would not tend to the efficiency of their regiments.
said, he had no doubt the proposition would generally meet with the approval of militia officers who commanded large regiments. He thought there were not at present more than six or seven regiments in Ireland that at all came up to 1,000 men each, and not above five or six in England over 1,000 men. He considered between 800 and 900 men sufficient for a militia regiment. Such a regiment was infinitely more handy to drill than one composed of a larger number.
§ Vote agreed to,
§ (3.) £47,886, Yeomanry, agreed to.
§ (4.) £39,200, Yeomanry Cavalry.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, he rose to oppose the Vote which had come before the House under very peculiar circumstances. Hon. Members who sat on the Ministerial side of the House would remember that on the 43 3rd of March last they received a circular in which they were earnestly and particularly requested to come down to the House and take part in the Yeomanry Cavalry Vote that was to come before the Committee. They accordingly came down and heard the able speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Beverley (Colonel Edwards), that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and also that of the noble Marquess the Under Secretary of State for War, as well as those of several hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. They were convinced by the speech of the two noble Lords, and a Motion was carried that the Yeomanry should not he called out this year. About a week afterwards he read the following paragraph in The Times newspaper:—The Yeomanry Cavalry.—A numerous deputation of Yeomanry Cavalry officers had an interview with Lord Palmerston at Cambridge House, on Wednesday morning, for the purpose of urging upon the noble Lord the desirability of calling out that force for active service during the present year. The Premier, after listening to their statements, said, that since the last Vote in the House of Commons upon Colonel Edwards' Motion, the Government had carefully considered the subject. Within the last few days advices had been received from New Zealand, which were so favourable that the Government would be enabled to effect a saving upon the Estimates and incur the expense of training of the Yeomanry without any addition to the gross amount. He had great pleasure, therefore, in informing the deputation that the force would be called out as usual this year. The noble Viscount also complimented the Yeomanry Cavalry upon their high state of efficiency, and the value of their services whenever they had been required, and expressed an unqualified opinion that they were a necessary auxiliary to the new Rifle Volunteer force.He had heard a great many extraordinary arguments for increasing our military force, which had great weight in that House, but the most extraordinary one of all was that because we were at peace, therefore we were to increase our warlike expenditure. Hon. Members who, like himself, sat below the gangway, were often accused of making speeches on questions of high policy, and of bringing forward abstract Resolutions in favour of economy, and of doing nothing practical, and neglecting to watch the Estimates. He thought there was a great deal of truth in the charge. Here, then, was a case in which they ought to oppose the Vote, for the expenditure had been declared by the Prime Minister and the Under Secretary for War to be unnecessary; and because he denied the statement, which had been made on a previous occasion, that the 44 Yeomanry force was necessary to keep the manufacturing districts in order. It was a small sum, it was true; but they were often told they ought to be particular and saving in small matters; and because he wished to obey the injunctions of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and practise economy, and because Her Majesty's Government were well able to defend the country without that force, he should oppose the Vote.
MR. H. BERKELEY
said, he had always consistently opposed the Yeomanry Cavalry Vote from a belief that it was a very expensive force, and because he considered the money was misapplied. He could not leave the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Lawson) alone in his glory, and, therefore, he rose to oppose the Vote. He had never seen a finer body of men than our Yeomanry except in the position of soldiers. He considered it a force kept up entirely for the amusement of the aristocracy and the landowners. They very much liked to get upon horses in fine uniforms, but they were careless of the work they had to do, for they did not take the pains to make their men good soldiers. He thought it was setting a bad example to the Volunteers, when they expended so much on the Yeomanry Cavalry, and did nothing for the former. That was treatment which our auxiliary force ought not to receive. He would have the military force of the country kept up in the best way possible, and if they did that, and accepted with gratitude the assistance of the Volunteers, they would be quite able to dispense with the services of the Yeomanry. If the Yeomanry would make themselves equal to the Volunteers he would stand by them, but before they would be equal to that position they must give more attention to discipline and drill.
said, he could not allow the observations of the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. H. Berkeley) to pass unnoticed. He quite oncurred in the opinion that the Volunteers were an admirable force, and that they had done great service to the country; but the hon. Member had made a mistake in saying they cost the country nothing. They cost about £300,000 annually.
said, that was very likely, but denied that the Yeomanry Cavalry were by no means an inefficient body, and he referred the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. H. Berkeley) to the Report of the Commission, which showed the contrary.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Neate) need not be under any apprehension that the reduction on the Hospital Vote would at all interfere with the hospital comforts of the men. The reduction had been made, not in hospital comforts, but in the number of the staff, as it was now anticipated less would be required than when the Estimates were formed. With regard to the Vote now before the Committee, he had nothing more to say on the subject than when it was last before the House, when he gave his vote in an opposite direction to what he should to-night. He and the noble Lord at the head of the Government admitted that exercise and frequent training were necessary to keep up the efficiency of the Yeomanry Cavalry, but they said they were unable to make a grant towards the force this year, because the Estimates had been swelled beyond their ordinary amount by exceptional circumstances, and it was considered that a large outlay would be necessary for the war in New Zealand. Some time afterwards news was received in this country that it was anticipated the war would be over much sooner than it was anticipated when the Estimates were framed, and, therefore, the necessity for the reduction of the Vote and the reasons given for it no longer existed. He hoped, therefore, although it was disagreeable to ask hon. Members to vote in an opposite direction to what they had done, that un der the altered state of things they would do so and agree to the Vote. News had been received that day from New Zealand of an equally if not more favourable character, and, therefore, he thought they might with propriety agree to the Vote.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he was sorry the Government had placed that Vote in the Estimates after it had been withdrawn. The army had many auxiliary forces, but the only one in which the country placed no confidence, was that of the Yeomanry. It was a force kept up as a plaything for country gentlemen and others.
§ COLONEL EDWARDS
said, he was not aware whether the hon. Member for Lam- 46 beth (Mr. Williams) had ever seen a Yeomanry Cavalry regiment or not, but it struck him very forcibly that the hon. Member knew but very little about the matter, as he had given expression to an opinion which no other person under such circumstances would have given. He could, however, guess, from the feeling of the Committee, that the Vote would be agreed to by a large majority. He wished also to inform the hon. Member for Bristol (Mr. Berkeley) that he was also wrong in his estimate of the services of the Yeomanry Cavalry and the state of their drill. The regiment to which he belonged commenced their drill a fortnight ago, and from that time till August, the whole regiment would be out at least twice a week on foot, and five or six times mounted, for which they would never receive a single shilling. He mentioned that fact because he was sorry to find that a wrong impression existed with regard to the force. He could not understand what object the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Lawson) could have in view in bringing the question forward, unless it was to embarrass the Government of which he was a supporter. When he brought forward his Motion on the occasion referred to, the opinion of the House was so evenly divided upon the question, that it was only lost by a majority of one, which, no doubt, happened because there were five instead of four Under Secretaries in the House. If they had had only the proper number it would have been a tie, when, no doubt, the Chairman, who was alive to the advantages of our having a good and efficient Yeomanry Cavalry force, would have voted for the Motion.
That a sum, not exceeding £39,200, be granted to Her Majesty to defray the Charge of the Yeomanry Cavalry, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1865, inclusive.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 119; Noes 29: Majority 90.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) £328,260, Volunteers.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
begged to ask what the intentions of the Government were with respect to clothing the Volunteers. The force had now passed out of its experimental state, and had become one of the institutions of the country. Was it, then, reasonable to suppose that a body of 160,000 men, on which the safety of the country in a great measure 47 depended, could go on by their individual subscriptions making up in great part the maintenance of the force, particularly with regard to clothing? A million and a half of money was subscribed by the public when the movement was initiated, in aid of the preliminary expenses, but they could not now expect a repetition of that liberality. The clothes were now, however, nearly worn out, and, in his opinion, some assistance should be given towards their renewal. The metropolitan regiments were spirited and opulent enough to provide their own clothing and equipments, but the provincial corps consisted mainly of working men, and it was too much to ask them, year after year, to supply their own uniforms. He feared that if something of the kind were not done there would be a great falling off in the force. There was a great difference in the treatment of the Yeomanry Cavalry and the treatment of the Volunteers; for while the latter were only voted £1 10s. per head, the Yeomanry were voted £7 per head, and it could not be said that the Volunteers were less important to the country than the Yeomanry. Some suggestion was thrown out by the predecessor in office of the noble Marquess the Tinder Secretary for "War, to the effect that facilities should be offered to the Volunteers for obtaining their clothing at cost price, or some similar arrangement. He would be glad to receive some information on the subject.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he fully appreciated the kind feelings towards the Volunteer force which had induced the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Darby Griffith) to bring the matter forward; still he thought it was hardly necessary that the country should be put to the expense indicated in his remarks. The country had dealt liberally with the Volunteers, and he believed that the grant of £1, and in other oases £1 10s. per man, would be sufficient with good management to meet the requirements of the force, and to assist the men with regard to their clothing, by spreading the charge over a number of years.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he feared that unless some assistance were given to the men to enable them to supply themselves with their present, or with some cheaper uniform, some diminution would take place in the strength of the force. The capitation grant of 20s. or 30s., as the case might be, did not go to the men themselves, but was drawn by the adjutant, and was ap- 48 plied on his responsibility. The Volunteer staffs cost £160,129 out of the £328,260. In a small regiment the erection of a butt alone would absorb half the allowance from the Government. There were various other expenses for head-quarters, conveyance to reviews, and the like, which at the end of the year left nothing available for clothing. He did not invite the House to vote more money for those corps, hut he thought it right to warn it of the present state of things.
§ MR. HUSSEY VIVIAN
said, he had commanded a Volunteer battalion since the commencement of the movement, and had made the best calculations he could in regard to its expenses, and his conviction was that the allowance now proposed would be sufficient with good management to meet almost every outlay connected with the corps, including clothing. Of course, it would not do so in the first year; but, taking an average of several years, he had no doubt the allowance would suffice. New clothing would not be required until next year when they would have three years money in hand. The Volunteer corps received great assistance from the services of the adjutants; and he did not think any portion of the Vote was better spent than that which went to the adjutants. Good drill sergeants were also an absolute necessity.
§ SIR ROBERT ANSTRUTHER
begged to point out to the Committee that a great difficulty arose in many cases where the men had to travel a considerable distance for battalion drill. That was a source of pecuniary pressure on country corps, and ought to be taken into consideration by the Government. Members of his own regiment had to travel forty, fifty, and even sixty miles for that purpose.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
said, he believed that, in the event of emergency, men as capable of commanding large bodies of troops would arise among the Volunteers as were to be found in any other force in the country. He should be sorry if, through any pecuniary pressure, any diminution in the number of that valuable force should take place. He feared, however, that unless some help were given in the matter of clothing, many of our most valuable Volunteer corps would melt away.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
said, he believed the sum allowed by the Government, if expended by commanding officers with economy, and with proper regard to the well-being of their corps, would be found 49 sufficient to find clothing for the men, not at once, perhaps, but, at all events, by degrees, He thought that the Volunteers as Volunteers should not ask for more The force was regarded with greater pride by the country, because they devoted the requisite time to the service, and all they, wanted was that the extra money out of pocket should be re-paid to them.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, he was quite sure the feeling of the corps he coin mantled, which consisted very largely of working men, and the feeling of the Volunteers generally, was that the House and country had dealt most literally with then;, and they excessively disliked the idea, of coining begging to Parliament. It might he true that Volunteers in the country had greater distances to go to drill, hut they could obtain bead-quarters and range? at a much cheaper rate than the metropolitan corps. He thought the Royal Commission had made a very proper recommendation; and, in his opinion, the allowance made would, with due economy, enable every regiment to re-clothe and maintain itself.
§ MR. HUMBERSTON
said, that the allowance from the Government, was extremely handsome, and as it depended upon the members of each corps whether they received the full amount, they had no right to complain if they had not sufficient funds through members not qualifying Still he feared that those regiments which had to re-clothe themselves this year might have some difficulty in meeting that cost and providing for ordinary expenses. The corps to which he belonged had to re clothe this year, and they would be deficient by a very considerable sum. Still he made no complaint; that would be contrary to the wishes of the corps He was certain the Volunteers did not wish for the extraneous aids of balls mid bazaars which were very objectionable. He did not ask for anything at the present moment, but he thought an allowance should be made to pay current expenses, and to provide clothing for those men who did not clothe themselves.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he was very; much gratified by the very moderate requirements of the Volunteers. They were a most efficient and useful force, and the greatest possible credit was due to then commanding officers for being satisfied: with the sum which had been granted. He hoped the time would never arrive when the House of Commons would make any objection to the continuance of such an al- 50 lowance as might be necessary to maintain the efficiency of the force.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
observed, that the Government did what the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Darby Griffith) suggested they should do—they gave certain kinds of cloth, five, six, or more patterns, at cost price. He could not say it was intended to take any further steps in the way of assisting the Volunteer force, either by increasing the capitation allowance or providing them with clothing. The Commission to which the hen. Gentleman referred sat two years ago, and one of the principal difficulties to which they addressed themselves had reference to re-clothing. That question was very minutely gone into; they had it fully before them when they made their report, and it was clear from what bad fallen from the commanders of corps to-night that the general feeling of the Volunteers was that the country had behaved liberally to them, and that they did not desire any further grant at all events without a more extended trial of the present arrangement. No doubt some difficulty was experienced in attending battalion drill, but with respect to administrative battalions, there was an allowance of 4s. per man where they had to travel over a certain distance to attend drill over and beyond the 20s. or 30s. a year for each effective man. The Order in Council which was issued last year changed the denomination from "effective" to "efficient," and laid down anew standard of efficiency. In August, 1862, the total number of Volunteers enrolled was 157,818; on the 1st of December, 1863, the number was 161,939, which was an increase. On the 1st of August, 1862, the number of effectives under the old system was 131,420; and on the 1st of December, 1863, the number of efficients under the new system was reduced to 112,499. That, showed that the new standard laid down by the Order in Council had the effect desired, that it. was really a standard of efficiency, and that a good many who were formerly regarded as effective were not really efficient. Volunteers. No doubt, in a very short time, when the requirements of the Order in Council were; better understood, the number of efficients would more nearly approach the number of men enrolled.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
said, he did not think any sufficient answer had been given to the statements he had made. It i was all very well for the noble Lord the 51 Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), to whom the force was so largely indebted, to say the Volunteer force was satisfied with the present arrangements. It might be so with the gallant Caledonians in London, who were able to provide their own uniform; but the case was very different in those localities where the men were in an inferior condition of life. He thought clothing should be provided for the Volunteers. He repeated that the present allowance only paid the current expenses, and in country localities the expense was found to be a heavy burden upon the men. Clothing could not be provided for less than £1 a year, and at the highest estimate that only left 10s. per man for the ordinary expenses of the regiment. At all events the working classes corps ought to derive more assistance than they now did.
§ MR. HUSSEY VIVIAN
said, he believed that the hon. Baronet the Member for Westminster (Sir John Shelley) had not drawn the necessary distinction between the consolidated and the administrative corps.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £49,580, Enrolled Pensioners and Army Reserve.
begged to ask for some information respecting the Army Reserve Force—where it was to be found, and of what it consisted. It would appear from the increase of the Vote from £7,000 to £10,000, that the number of men had increased. Was that the fact?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the number of the Army Reserve was 216 in Ireland and 1,405 in Great Britain, making a total of 1,621. The force consisted of men who had taken their discharge from the army at the completion of ten years' service, and they were entitled by serving double the number of years in the army reserve that they would have had to serve in the army to the same allowance that they would have received in the latter case. He admitted that the Army Reserve Force had not fulfilled the expectations that had been formed of it. The reason was that officers commanding regiments had not given any encouragement to it. They naturally wished to discourage their men from taking their discharges, and, therefore, in order to induce them to re-enlist, the commanding officers did not take any trouble to publish the conditions of service in the 52 Army Reserve. If when officers found the men were determined to take their discharge from the army they were to explain the advantages of joining the Reserve, the force would soon assume a different aspect.
wished to be informed whether those men were ever exercised or called out for training. He thought it would be better when it was found that a ten years' man would not re-enlist that he should be recommended to join the militia, in order to prevent that small body of men being scattered all over the three kingdoms.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he doubted whether commanding officers would not be as unwilling to encourage enlistment in the militia as to join the Army Reserve, but the suggestion was one which should receive consideration. He believed that there were but thirty or forty of the Army Reserve in London, and probably no larger number could be found in any other place.
said, that in his opinion the best thing would be to abandon the plan, which was an admitted failure, and therefore he hoped the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War would undertake that no new additions should be made to the Army Reserve Force. Notwithstanding what the noble Marquess had been led to state on a former evening, he knew that at the Horse Guards it was admitted that the number of men who would re-enlist would not be so large as was stated. It was, then, the more necessary not to hold out temptations to men to take their discharge. For the future he should certainly like to see the Vote struck out altogether. At present those men were a myth. Nobody seemed to see one of them.
§ COLONEL SYKES
begged to inquire whether the noble Marquess had received a single report from any officer in any part of the kingdom, stating that he had assembled or seen together in any one place a body of Army Reserve men in any number from two to a dozen.
§ LORD HOTHAM
observed, that one of the objects of the Royal Commission on Recruiting, of which he had been the Chairman, was to get rid of the imputation cast upon the system of recruiting, that individuals were induced to enlist by false representations and by the concealment of matters, which, when they came to the knowledge of the recruit, produced dis- 53 appointment. One of the modes suggested for removing that imputation was that every recruit should be furnished upon enlistment with a pamphlet containing an account of all the advantages to which he would be entitled and all the contingencies to which he would be subjected. If that plan were acted upon, the complaint made by the noble Marquess against commanding officers, that they did not inform their men of the existence of the Reserve force, would be entirely obviated.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he agreed with the noble Lord the Member for the East Riding (Lord Hotham), that it would be a good plan to give each recruit such a pamphlet He had not meant to impute blame to commanding officers, who naturally desired to keep as many experienced soldiers in their regiments as possible. With respect to re-enlistments, he could not admit that he had over-stated them, as the last Returns showed that the calculations hail been fully borne out by the facts. He could not see any reason why the fact of men receiving their discharge should prevent them from being employed in the Reserve Force, and they did not feel any interest in their force if they did not encourage their men to enter it.
remarked, that out of 7,842 men who had received their discharge, 5,292 had disappeared altogether, In Canada alone the men who would be entitled to their discharge during the present year would number 4,000, and those men would receive unlimited promises from the American Government, though whether those promises would be fulfilled was quite another matter. The probability was, however, that not one of those men would again take service in our army.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that he had received no report upon the subject of the drill of the Army Reserve. The Reserve was called out and drilled ten days in the course of the year, Out of 11,842 men who were entitled to their discharge, 5,295 only availed themselves of their right, 6,547 re-engaging at once. The Returns did not give the number of those who re-enlisted within six months, but if it bore any proportion to the number of former years it must have been large. He could not give any assurance that the item would not be renewed another year. In fact, he was desirous that measures should be taken for increasing the efficiency of the force.
said, that the remarks of the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War thoroughly warranted the statement which he had made. The long-service men were those who re-enlisted. More than one-half of the others had accepted their discharge.
said, that such a Motion could not be adopted, because the men were already engaged. There was, however, no reason why their number should be increased.
§ Vote agreed to.
(7.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £973,031, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Manufacturing Departments, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March. 1865, inclusive.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the Report of the Ordnance Select Committee on "Systems of Rifling for Small Firearms," dated the 26th of November, 1862. He did so simply from the belief that the course adopted by the War Office with reference to that Report had failed in supplying our army with as efficient a weapon as might have been placed at their service. The large amount of money which we were devoting to that department was not expended in the purchase of the best arm which could be obtained for the money. In order to explain clearly to the Committee the position in which the question then stood, it would be necessary for him to give a few details of what had been done of late years. The Committee was well aware that, great us had been the progress of improvements in our manufactures, in none had so much progress been made as in the rifling of firearms. The first start was made in the year 1851, and it was a strange thing that the Great Exhibition, which was to have been the inauguration of perpetual peace, was the date of the commencement of those labours which had for their object the manufacture of the most efficient weapon for the de- 55 struction of our species. As far as the British army generally was concerned, he believed that with the exception of Prussians, about whom he should have a word to say presently, they were the best armed in the world, for they had all been furnished with rifles. That, however, had only been, the case during the last ten years, because in the Crimean war General Cathcart's division was armed with the Brown Bess. Every marksman was fully aware of the superiority of the rifle over the Brown Bess of former times. The Committee could judge of the efficiency of the latter weapon from the fact that a man was safe at the distance of 100 yards, even if the Brown Bess were in the hands of a skilful marksman. There were men now, however, who would hit a circle two feet in diameter three, four, and five times consecutively at 500 yards with the En-field rifle. That rifle was a very efficient weapon, but since 1853, when the pattern Enfield was adopted, the improvements had been very rapid, and they now had the smallbore Whitworth, with which a man had lodged a bullet seven times in succession within a circle three feet in diameter, at a distance of 1,100 yards. His hon. Friend the Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Vivian) who was both a Volunteer and a shot, had called the attention of the Government to the subject three years ago. A discussion had ensued in that House, and the result was the appointment of the Committee to which he had referred. He desired to call the attention of the House to the broad results of that inquiry. After a careful investigation the Committee came to the conclusion that the service rifle, as regarded the large bore rifles with the ordinary service ammunition, was inferior to any of those which they had tried. Their opinion as regarded the service Enfield rifle, pattern 1853, was expressed in the following terms:—The Enfield rifle with its present twist fails in precision at distances above 600 yards, and any attempt at improvement by increasing the spiral entails, as has been shown in the Enfield grooved system, a tendency to foul the rifle, and thus mars its efficiency as a military weapon.They tried at the same time another rifle which was in the hands of the engineers, a rifle which took the ordinary ammunition, and which did good service in India without fouling, at a time when the Enfields were open to the objection. He referred to the Lancaster rifle. The Committee's opinion was as follows:— 56A strict and impartial comparison on all points connected with military efficiency establishes the superiority of the Lancaster rifle. Should it, therefore, be decided to retain the present Enfield calibre, the Committee are of opinion that the adoption of the Lancaster system of rifling, with a spiral of 1 turn in 36 inches, minor axis of the ellipse 0.572, will be attended with considerable advantage to the service, more particularly as it can be accomplished without necessitating any change in the present service ammunition or increase to the present cost of supply.He had been credibly informed that we had at present in store 170,000,000 rounds of ball cartridge, the value of which was £658,750. The Committee stated that the Lancaster rifle was superior to the Enfield in precision both when clean and when foul, in its liability to fouling, and in simplicity of management, a smooth barrel being more easily cleaned than a grooved barrel. As to accuracy of aim, he would give the result of one trial from the Report of the Committee, showing the comparative merits of the two rifles. The following were what were called the comparative figures of merit:—At 300 yards the deviation of the Enfield service rifle was 12–69 inches, the Lancaster 10.06; at 500 yards the Enfield was 19.80, the Lancaster 17.58; at 800 yards the Enfield was 41.61, the Lancaster 28. 35; at 1,000 yards the Enfield was 95.01, the Lancaster 43.51; and at 1,200 yards the deviation of the Enfield was 133.53, and of the Lancaster, 87.96. That was quite sufficient to show that the decision arrived at by the Ordnance Select Committee was a sound one, and was borne out by the facts. His complaint against the War Office was that, whereas the Report, dated November 26, 1862, condemned the service Enfield and recommended another rifle which might be adopted without any additional cost to the country, and which was infinitely superior to the Enfield in every respect, the Report remained a dead letter in the archives of the War Office, no notice being taken of it. Now, it was not as though the manufacture of small arms had meanwhile ceased. On the contrary, that House had continued to vote large sums for that purpose, and he believed that since the issue of that Report up to the present time upwards of 130,000 arms of the condemned description had been manufactured by the Government. That was his case, and he thought it was a strong one, nor could he conceive what answer could be given to it. It might be said that, subsequent to the Report, the attention of the Secretary for War had been 57 drawn to another kind of large bore rifles, which promised better results even than the Lancaster. This view was confirmed by a War Office letter dated July 31,1863, and addressed to Mr. Lancaster, which stated that the Secretary of State for War was desirous of seeing what the Lancaster rifle would do in competition with the Whitworth and the Enfield with the service ammunition. Why the Enfield rifle should be tried over again he did not know, unless, indeed, the interest in its favour was such as obtained for it this privilege, on the ground that some change had been introduced which would make it shoot better. Mr. Lancaster, as he wag asked, got ready the rifles to compete, but he had been informed, in a subsequent letter from the War Office, that Earl De Grey had decided in abandoning the competitive trial. Why this decision had been come to he could not say, but rumour declared that Mr. Whitworth had declined to compete unless he were allowed to use his own special lubrication, which was a mixture of grease and wax. The service ammunition, with which the trial was to have been made. was lubricated with pure wax, and the Lancashire rifle shot better with that than with any other. Soon after this the trials got up by the National Rifle Association took place at Woolwich. Mr. Whitworth's large bore rifle there shot remarkably well; but if that rifle was to be adopted, it would necessitate the abandonment of our 170,000,000 ball cartridges, and a change of machinery, while even then he did not know whether it would shoot better than the Lancaster rifle at 800 and 1,000 yards. At all events, he could speak to the great accuracy of the Lancaster rifle at those distances with the ordinary ammunition. He complained of the Government for not stopping the manufacture of the inferior rifle, and for not resolving to have the best they could get for their money. He should naturally be asked whether the adoption of the Lancaster rifle would entail a large expenditure. Externally it was precisely the same as the ordinary rifle, and its parts would be interchangeable with the ordinary Enfield; the only difference being in the construction of the barrel, which had an oval bore. As to the machinery, no change would be required in the general plant, but new cutters would he necessary. They cost £5 each, and as there were forty of these machines at the Enfield factory, the Government might, at a total expenditure of only £200, give the 58 army this first-rate weapon. There was possibly one other reason why the Government had not adopted the Report of the Committee—namely, because the Lancaster rifle was patented, and a payment of 1s. per barrel was required by the patentee, lie could hardly believe that this could have prevented the War Office from adopting the Lancaster system, especially as he understood that the War Office authorities thought that Mr. Lancaster had been harshly dealt with, and had sanctioned an arbitration, which, however, was refused by the Treasury. When it was possible to have a better article at so trifling an additional expenditure, he looked upon it as a waste of public money to go on with the present manufacture, while, at the same time, gross injustice was done to the patentee. Another point was, whether the new rifle should be a breech or a muzzle loader. Upon that point there was much difference of opinion, and many officers maintained that a breech-loading rifle was undesirable, because the men would then waste their cartridges and fire away their ammunition too rapidly. But recent events abroad led many persons to believe that a small force armed with breech-loaders was more than a match for a larger force armed with the ordinary weapon. When the argument he had mentioned was used by officers, his answer had been, "Granting that the men would fire away their ammunition rapidly, let us suppose that you were going to have the command of an English contingent, and were opposed to a force armed with breech-loaders, would you then choose muzzle-loaders or breechloaders for your men?" And the answer was, "I should certainly choose breechloaders." It was impossible to ignore the success of the Prussian needle-gun, which he believed to be in many respects an inferior weapon, and when we knew that the Emperor of the French was trying to get the best breech-loader he could, and that the Belgian Government were doing the same, he thought it was time for the English Government to turn their attention to the subject, and ascertain by careful experiments whether a breech-loader was not the best weapon for the English army. Knowing that that subject would be under consideration, he had very recently tried a breech-loader, and with very favourable results. He alluded to the Mont-Storm rifle. When he tried it last year he missed fire very often; but lately he fired fifty cartridges from it without a 59 single miss-fire, and fifty more were afterwards fired from it with equal results. It fired a great deal better than the ordinary rifle, and there was no escape whatever from the breech. To test that some fresh powder was put in a chamber under the breech, and it was found there after the firing, which could not have been the case if there had been an escape from the breech. With a plant which would cost £4,000 all our rifles could be converted into breech-loaders on the Mont-Storm principle at an expense of 10s. for each rifle. They had but a small army as compared with the armies of other countries, and for that reason it was all the more necessary that they should equip it in the best possible manner. If they did not do so, the Government and the House of Commons would be answerable for the lives of a great many men. He hoped, therefore, the Government would not hesitate to do in May, 1864, what they ought to have done in November, 1862—namely, stop the manufacture of an arm which was declared in their own report to be inferior in power to one which might have been procured.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he hoped to be able to convince the Committee that the course which the Government had taken in the matter under consideration, was not such as his noble Friend would lead them to suppose. His noble Friend seemed to imply that the question proposed to the Ordnance Select Committee was simply one relating to the different kinds of large bore rifles; but the competitive trial which the Committee had been intrusted to make involved every variety of arms which it was thought might turn out useful weapons, including large and small-bore rifles. The trial was a competitive one between the large-bore and the small-bore, between the various kinds of large-bores, and between the various kinds of small-bores. The general result of the trial was that in almost all essential particulars Mr. Whitworth's smallbore was by far the best military weapon. The Committee came to that conclusion in the passage which his noble Friend had read to the Committee. There were some minor defects in that rifle which Mr. Whit-worth undertook to remove. The Committee did not, however, recommend that an extensive armament of our troops with the small-bore should at once take place, because that would have involved a total change of ammunition and great incon- 60 venience would have been the result. While, however, they did not recommend a complete re-armament, they did recommend that a considerable number of those rifles should be placed in the hands of a certain number of regiments, in order that the arm might be thoroughly tested in practice. In consequence of that recommendation 8,000 of those rifles were ordered, and a portion of them had been issued to the 60th Rifles and the Rifle Brigade. They were quartered in different parts of the world, and their experience would show how far the small-bore rifle was a good military weapon, and whether it was superior to that now in use. Another question which the Committee considered was as to the Lancaster large-bore rifle. His noble Friend, in reading the answer given by the Committee to the question put to them by the War Office, omitted a parenthesis of very considerable importance. The passage, as it appeared in page 17 of the Report, was as follows:—A strict but impartial comparison on all points connected with military efficiency establishes the superiority of the Lancaster rifle. Should it, therefore, be decided to retain the present Enfield calibre (and in the absence of any data of their own as to the value of the polygonal system applied to this calibre), the Committee are of opinion that the adoption of the Lancaster system of rifling, with a spiral of one turn in 36 inches, minor axis of the ellipse 0.572, will be attended with considerable advantage to the service, more particularly as it can be accomplished without necessitating any change in the present service ammunition, or increase to the present cost of supply.The Committee having spoken very favourably of Mr. Whitworth's small-bore, Earl De Grey asked him whether he could not make a large-bore rifle on his system. There was nothing unfair towards other inventors in that; and the question generally was one which ought not to be treated as between rival inventors. Earl De Grey had to consult the public interest, and, accordingly, he took that course. Mr. Whitworth replied that he would try. He did so, and his experiments showed that he could not then make a large-bore rifle with the same satisfactory results as attended his small-bore rifle; but, in the course of his experiments, he did find that with a special ammunition and a differently shaped bullet and cartridge he obtained a most extraordinary result with his own rifle, and that the Enfield rifle fired the same ammunition rather better than the service am- 61 munition. Though, owing to some peculiarity in the ammunition, the large-bore of Mr. Whitworth would not, perhaps, turn out to be a good weapon in the hands of the soldier, it was quite possible it might ultimately turn out that a large-bore would be the best adapted for the service; and if such should be the case, the advantage; which the country would derive from the discovery would be owing to the course taken by Earl De Grey in not having, immediately on receiving the Report of the Committee, proceeded to carry out its re-commendations. Though the Committee were justified in saying that the Lancaster was in some respects superior to the En-field, yet its superiority to the latter was extremely minute. Under 500 yards the Enfield, in many cases, made the most satisfactory shooting. At 500 yards it was best, and it was only at the longest ranges, which he thought military men would say were very seldom required, the Lancaster asserted its great superiority. No doubt the Committee found in the En-field a liability to foul, but that did not give rise to any great inconvenience. He thought the Committee, when asked which was the superior arm, were bound to say they held the Lancaster to be so; but they were also bound to say in what they believed its superiority consisted, and whether it was a practical weapon; and Earl De Grey was bound to consider whether the reasons given by the Committee were such as to render the general introduction of the Lancaster desirable in the army. Considering also that the Committee were distinctly of opinion that, so far as they were aware, the rifle at present in the hands of our troops was superior to any possessed by the troops of any foreign nations — he omitted here altogether the question of breech-loaders—there was no hurry, and it was much better to make a trial before coming to any decision. His noble Friend had stated that Mr. Lancaster had been badly treated in respect to his patent, but he did not believe that that was the case. No doubt it was quite true | that the compensation which Mr. Lancaster had received might not be adequate for his invention and to his services to the science of artillery, but he had nevertheless signed an acknowledgment that it was accepted in full compensation for his services, and the Treasury had refused to allow him any further compensation. His patents had already expired, and it was perfectly competent for him to apply for their 62 renewal, to which no opposition would be offered by the Secretary of State for War. On the contrary, the whole transactions of the War Office with Mr. Lancaster had been referred to the Law Officers of the Crown, who were responsible for the granting of letters patent, that they might form their own opinion as to whether he was entitled to a renewal of his patent. All he wished to point out to the Committee was, that it was quite possible that the system which would be found to be the best would be the Whitworth, as applied to the large-bore as well as the small; and should that be the case, the adoption of the most efficient arm would be owing to the Secretary of State for War not having been too hasty in coming to a decision. With respect to the question, whether or not a breech-loader was desirable for the army, he, as a civilian, was not able to give an opinion. There was so much doubt felt among military men on the subject, that it would be necessary to make further inquiries before any system was permanently adopted. Last year he said that Mr. Wesley Richards' breech-loader would receive a fair trial, and two thousand breech-loaders had been placed in the hands of the troops in different regiments, and they would be reported upon by the officers. When the Report had been made, it would be desirable to consider whether the breechloader was a desirable arm, and, if so, on what principle of breech-loading the troops should be armed. Mr. Mont-Storm's breech-loading rifle was a most ingenious weapon, but the first thing to be considered by the War Office was, whether a breech-loader was to be adopted at all.
§ MR. HUSSEY VIVIAN
said, he was glad to hear that the attention of the Government was about to be directed to the question of breech-loading arms. He entirely concurred in the concluding remarks of the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War. He thought that Earl de Grey had not sufficient grounds before him to justify an entire change in the rifles we were manufacturing. There was no practical difference between the Lancaster and the service Enfield up to 500 yards, within which range a battle would be fought, At 800 yards, the mean difference in favour of the Lancaster rifle was only two inches, and there was, therefore, no good reasons for the Secretary of State to go into an alteration of the whole system. It was found, on an average, that the small bore Whitworth had a figure of merit 63 twice as good as the service arm or the Lancaster arm. But Mr. Whitworth had made a rifle which was capable of firing the Government ammunition, and supposing it to be adopted, there would not be that enormous sacrifice of 170,000,000 rounds of ball cartridge which the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had anticipated. In fact, Mr. Whitworth's rifle would fire it with better effect than the service Enfield. There was another point to which military men attached great importance, and that was the use of hardened projectiles. Now, those could not be used with the Lancaster rifle, while the Whitworth was admirably adapted for firing them. If the object were to shoot to great distances, it would be better to adopt the small-bore at once. Looking at it from all points of view, he thought the Secretary of State for War had acted wisely in allowing the matter to remain over during the past year.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
observed, that the Vote was one that raised several very important questions. In the first place, he would point out the very unsatisfactory manner in which those Estimates were drawn up. According to the last accounts, which enabled him to compare Votes with actual expenditure, it appeared that the amount taken for wages and stores in one year was a third more than actually proved to be necessary. He was not disposed to enter into the question of the relative merits or demerits of our rifles, but he wished to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact, that for the last four years £9,250,000 had been voted for the two Votes more immediately under discussion. The House knew little on the subject, and the little which it did know was learnt, unfortunately, two years after the expenditure was incurred. The Committee ought, therefore, to weigh well the point before they gave their sanction to those two Votes involving a sum of £972,000, particularly when it was borne in mind that they had no information as to the stock in hand. Our store accounts were inferior to those of the French, because there was no one to answer for that Department, which was formerly called the Ordnance. It would, of course, be unfair to expect the noble Marquess, who so ably represented the War Department in the House, to reply to every question of detail, and it must be borne in mind that since 1855 great changes had taken place, to 64 the great disadvantage of hon. Members, so far as the obtaining information was concerned, owing to the fact that there was no recognized organ of the Ordnance Department. When the noble Lord at the head of the Government was Secretary at War he got great credit for the able manner in which he discharged the duties of his office, but then he had nothing to do with the Ordnance, with respect to which fifty questions might now be asked to which it would be almost unreasonable to expect a satisfactory answer. A great loss of money had ensued from the manner in which we had gone on increasing our gun manufacturing establishments, and he was desirous of moving a reduction which would bring them down to the figure at which they stood two years ago. Mr. Godley and Sir B. Hawes, he might add, seemed to be of opinion that we might be carrying the manufacturing system too far, and it certainly was a somewhat extraordinary thing that when we knew what we wanted we could not procure it by contract. He did not think it possible for a government successfully to manage a department of manufactories, and the House ought to set its face against the further growth of that system. He wished to be informed what had become of the guns which had cost the country such an enormous outlay? He had been disappointed, not with the evidence taken by the Ordnance Committee, or with the Report proposed by his right hon. Friend the Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell), the best portions of which had been struck out, but by the absence of any statement as to what had become of all the money expended. Quite enough, however, was said to alarm, for it was distinctly asserted that it was impossible to ascertain the cost of anything manufactured at Woolwich. Let the House just look at the amount which had been expended on the Armstrong guns. From the year 1858 down to the Slat of March, 1863, there had been expended on Armstrong guns £2,528,000, besides £671,000 for ammunition and projectiles. He should like to know what we had got for those large sums of money? He had been amused to hear the discussions which had taken place about calling out the Yeomanry. Why, if hon. Gentlemen had turned their attention to those Armstrong guns, they might have saved enough to keep the Yeomanry out all the year round. Of the 110-pounders, 100 had been manufactured at a cost of £483,000, appa- 65 rently before any of them had been tested, and it appeared that that gun had turned out a very bad one. He should like to know whether the War Office had adopted any system by which the country should be saved from the recurrence of such enormous expense, by the appointment of a responsible person who should ascertain the proper gun to make, in order that we might stick to its manufacture and confine our expenditure to that which was really useful. He would conclude by moving the reduction of the Vote by £6,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £967,031, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Manufacturing Departments, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1866, inclusive."—(Sir Henry Willoughby.)
said, that the hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham (Sir Henry Willoughby) was attempting to bring science to a standstill. He desired that we should discover a perfect gun, and then go on with the work. That was impossible. We lived in a world and at a time at which improvements were being made every day, and even at the cost of a considerable expenditure we must avail ourselves of those improvements. Four or five years ago the late Sir Charles Napier was constantly inquiring when the navy was to be supplied with rifled guns. What did the Government do? They called the science of England to their aid, and they produced the most perfect gun, not only of that day, but which existed at the present moment either in Europe or in America. The hon. Baronet said that result had been accomplished by keeping up enormous establishments over which Parliament had no control; yet, year after year, he had gone most thoroughly into the matter and had never been able to divide the House or to strike a shilling off the Votes. Formerly the question to be settled between the Commander-in-Chief and the Master of the Ordnance used to be what was the best weapon which could be placed in the hands of soldiers in the field, but of late years, since the rifle gatherings at Wimbledon and the running deer had been set up, every man had got so learned in the art of shooting, that lectures were delivered in that House which, however well adapted to an institute of Civil Engineers, had little reference to the business of voting the 66 public money. The noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) looked at the matter rather as a target question than with reference to the wants of soldiers in the field. The Enfield rifle of 1852 was a great success, but the reduction of the size of the projectile, rendered necessary by the fouling of the piece, had diminished the accuracy of its shooting. The Lancaster rifle had the advantage that it did not foul so quickly, so that they might fire a much greater number of rounds from it than from the Enfield. Then came the large bore Whitworth, the great defect of which was that its inventor had thought too much of target practice. No doubt either the large or small-bore Whitworth would shoot very well if they were cleaned after each discharge, but they would be by no means so effective in the hands of soldiers in the field, who might be for some time without oil, and whose weapons would be exposed to fog, rain, and snow. He was glad that the question was being considered by the War Department, and he hoped that the heads of that Department would extend some confidence to their Committee because nothing could be more discouraging than for the most able men in the service to spend two or three years inquiring into a subject and then to have their report treated as waste paper.
§ MR. COBDEN
I wish to say a word or two in reference to the larger question that has been raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham (Sir Henry Willoughby). I think he has put his finger on the blot in our expenditure under this head, when he refers to the great increase in our Government manufacturing establishments. It has struck me this Session particularly how enormously we have increased the amount of wages we are paying in our different establishments. Now, for the first year or two after I obtained a seat in this House—in 1841, under Sir Robert Peel's administration — we voted about £600,000 for wages in our dockyard establishments at home and abroad. We have this year voted £1,340,000 for wages in our dockyard establishments at home and abroad; and we have voted in addition £450,000 for vessels built by private contract, which, of course, would imply a very large increase in the amount of labour for shipbuilding. So that, in fact, the sum we are paying under this head for the navy this year amounts to nearly three times as much as we paid in 67 the first few years of Sir Robert Peel's Administration. If we turn to the Army Estimates, we find that we are now voting for wages and superintendence in our manufacturing establishments £520,000. Now, that item was almost unknown in the Army Estimates and Ordnance Estimates when I first entered this House, so that you are toting considerably more than £2,000,000 this year for wages in your establishments under the head of Army and Navy Estimates. You may depend upon it that when you are voting that amount for wages you are incurring an immense amount of waste. Because there is nothing more certain than this, that whatever you manufacture as a Government you pay enormously higher prices for than if you bought it at a private establishment. There is another most serious view of this question: whatever amount your heads of Departments ask for from this House they are sure to obtain. Bear that in mind, and only consider what waste and extravagance in new machinery, new plans, and new buildings must follow from that circumstance. Since I have sat in this House we have voted five hundred millions under the heads of the Army and Navy Estimates. The fact is of so much importance that I will repeat it, for these fabulous amounts can hardly be appreciated. We have voted, during the period I mention, no less than five hundred millions sterling for the Army and Navy; and I have never known an item to be reduced or even altered by this House. Every line has been read, and every figure distinctly put, but they have all been voted. Some people may say that the mere discussion and supervision in this House must have an effect, inasmuch as there is publicity attending it. I think it has a very opposite tendency. When the heads of Departments know that whatever they ask for will be granted, and that this House is responsible for it, it is only an encouragement to them to increase their demands. There is no representative body in the world that I know of that has not a real supervision over the expenditure except this House of Parliament. We all read the other day how in Paris a most important vote supported by the Government was rejected by the Corps Legislatif; and in America the estimates themselves originate in -the Houses of the Legislature. But in this House not one item is ever refused. This is not a question which hon. Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House 68 or the other need make a party question; it is one upon which we may all look with an impartial eye. I ask you, must not such a gigantic manufacturing system as this lead to extravagance and waste? Hon. Gentlemen opposite sometimes bring forward grievances about the small pay of soldiers and sailors, but surely they will admit that in consequence of this waste in the manufacturing departments there must be less to pay for the personal services of the men. We have heard an hon. Gentleman who lately brought forward a calculation, showing how much more our army cost than the French, and he was puzzled to find where the difference lay. I venture to suggest that a great deal of it lies in these manufacturing departments—in stores and establishments. We have sometimes heard it attempted to be shown that Government manufacturing establishments can be carried on as cheaply as private establishments. You have heard the opinions of hon. Gentlemen—my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. W. S. Lindsay) beside me is one—extensively engaged in business, and largely concerned in manufacturing establishments; they have taken some pains to investigate it, and they all agree that you waste about one-half by all that you manufacture for yourselves. And this, not only from an increase of cost for the articles, but because being your own customers only, and having large establishments, you are constantly led to manufacture things you do not want, in order to employ your workpeople. There is another cause of waste; you rush — your departments, having a boundless purse to go to, rush headlong into all sorts of experiments. Take the case of iron ordnance—of the Armstrong gun. Up to within the last seven years, the Government never attempted to manufacture a gun at all; they used to have a plaything of the kind in an establishment where they made a few brass guns. All the guns with which Wellington and Nelson won their victories were of iron, cast at private foundries such as at Carron and elsewhere. But five or six years—I think no later than five years ago—the Government was suddenly seized with the idea that the mechanical world had come to an end; that the consummation of all invention had been attained in the discovery of the Armstrong gun, and so they set to work and organized an enormous establishment at Woolwich to manufacture those Armstrong guns. What has been the result? 69 A Committee, which sat for two Sessions, I has told us. You have spent about two millions and a half on this gun, besides the cost of the ammunition, and the Committee admit that for all practical purposes— except the 12-pounder field pieces about which no great difficulty was ever felt—the gun has been a failure. And the Committee closed their Report with a suggestion that, as the works were to be stopped, they should be used for the purposes of experiments, I must say that the wasteful expenditure of two millions and a half is a matter that ought to have been brought under the consideration of this House. I think the right hon. Gentleman who was Chairman of that Committee ought to have brought the subject under the consideration of the House; at all events it should be a warning to them how they proceed in their wastefulness. I attach no importance to the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham, and shall not wait five minutes to vote for it. Having seen during twenty-three years that no vote was ever reduced in this House, I think a man may abandon a field which in all that time never yielded him a victory, without any imputation on his courage. I do not think any change can be effected in the present Estimates. But I do think that the whole subject of our manufacturing establishments ought to be entered upon and discussed in this House. I sincerely hope that the matter will be brought forward by some hon. Member more competent than myself; but if not, I certainly will venture before the Session closes to call the attention of the House generally to the subject of our manufacturing establishments, to the great increase they have undergone, and to the great waste in manifold ways which has been the consequence.
said, he was pleased to hear a Motion in favour of reforms in those establishments promised from the part of the House where the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) sat, for since 1853, when he had the honour of holding the office of Clerk of the Ordnance, he had been declaiming against them and received very little support. In that year his successor was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the county of Limerick (Mr. Monsell), and there was introduced a system of casting ordnance which cost the country half a million, though he believed a gun had never been turned out according to that method. When the Armstrong 70 system succeeded it, and was applied to it, these establishments had been growing ever since. When he first entered Parliament, in 1847, the principle was universally recognized, that Government establishments, except in very special cases, should only be maintained to keep down prices and to test the value of articles manufactured elsewhere, and it was since 1853 that the opposite pripciple had grown up and been acted on so largely. The manufacture of arms of precision might be justified as a special subject; so were shells and fusees, and equally so the carriage department; but latterly the Government had taken to tailoring. Over their enormous establishment in Pimlico the military officers at the head of it were excellent, but he doubted whether it was possible to carry on such operations profitably. Owing to what he would call the monstrous undertakings there and elsewhere, expenditure for military purposes had become fearfully swollen; but, with the exception of appointments, and the patronage obtained by Government by the number of appointments necessary in these establishments, nothing was gained by them. He denied that the efficiency of either the clothing or accoutrements of the army had been promoted thereby. As regarded the question of rifles loading at the breech, and small and large bores, which the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) had so ably brought before the House that evening, he believed that the idea of spending £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 to insure the shooting of men at 700 yards involved a great absurdity. Few men were shot at that distance but by accidental shots: great accuracy was only desirable for skirmishers and riflemen when so employed. In battle, owing to the smoke, men were nearly always killed at much shorter distances; and in providing a military weapon for our soldiers we were not bound to do more than keep pace with the improvements of foreign countries. Some of the so called improvements turned out to be entire delusions. The Prussian arms, for instance, he believed to be as bad as possible.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham (Sir Henry Willoughby) had raised a question of great importance, and had suggested that there should be some one in the House to watch over the expenditure on the Ordnance and for manufac- 71 turing establishments. If the hon. Baronet wished to give him an assistant in the House, who should be answerable for such expenditure as had been referred to, he should be very glad to be relieved of a part of his duties. The hon. Baronet proposed to enter upon a reversal of the policy that was entered upon in the Crimean war, but of which the House had scarcely seen enough to justify it in returning to the former system. The hon. Baronet also seemed to propose that the War Department should be again separated from the Ordnance Department. He was not prepared to say that that would not be an advantage, but the subject was one which could not properly be debated on a Vote in the Army Estimates. It was true that there had been of late years an increase in the Votes for manufacturing establishments, but on the other hand the Votes for stores had been decreasing. By having manufacturing establishments in an efficient working state, the Government were able to dispense with the necessity of keeping up an enormous stock of stores in case of war. The interest of money on those stores had to be taken into account, and also the changes made in the construction of arms, &c., which rendered those enormous stocks liable to be superseded and become obsolete. It was not, in his opinion, wise therefore to reduce their manufacturing establishments so low that the Government could not call upon them to provide the greater portion of the supplies they required when an emergency arose. He could not admit that waste and extravagance must necessarily prevail in Government manufacturing establishments. If the hon. Members for Evesham and Rochdale had studied the report of the Ordnance Committee last year they would find that the question was raised whether the Government had not been paying the Elswick Company too much for warlike stores, and that doubt was raised upon statements of the cost of the guns and ammunition made in the manufacturing department at Woolwich. The Ordnance Committee heard a great deal of evidence. They did not give a decided opinion one way or another, but no hon. Member could read the report and say it proved that the system pursued in the manufacturing department of the arsenal was more expensive than in private establishments. The hon. Baronet said the Committee did not know the price of anything. [Sir HESET WILLOUGHBY: I referred to the last para- 72 graph of the Report.] The House, on the contrary, could see by the accounts rendered in the present year the cost of every article to the country. Mr. Rendel told the Committee that it was extremely difficult for the Elswick Company to compete with the gun factory at Woolwich, because it was so admirably and so economically conducted. Nor could he find in the Report of the Committee the sweeping condemnation of the Armstrong gun which was attributed to it. Even with regard to the 110-pounder, the Committee declared that it was useful as a chase gun, although it was not desirable to introduce it as a broadside gun. Almost every witness bore testimony to the superior accuracy and range of the Armstrong guns. The Committee, in their last paragraph to which the hon. Baronet had alluded, recommended that "a uniform system of accounts should be adopted for the manufacturing departments at Woolwich, by which the cost of guns and other produce may be clearly ascertained." The attention of the department was still directed to the improvement of the accounts. One element of difficulty, however, was the difference of opinion in regard to incidental charges, depreciation of machinery, and interest of capital. The accounts would, he trusted, soon show exactly what portion of the money annually voted went to the manufacture of each particular article.
§ MR. DALGLISH
said, he had understood that the manufacture of large guns at Woolwich had been entirely abandoned. [The Marquess of HARTINGTON: They are not making 110-pounders.] The noble Lord the Secretary to the Admiralty (Lord Clarence Paget) acknowledged that the Armstrong guns were not a great success, but he alluded to two guns, the Frederick and the Somerset, which he hoped would prove to be a great success. He should like to know how many guns the Admiralty had to show for an expenditure of £249,000 at Woolwich? He should also be glad to know how many guns, and of what description, would be turned out at Woolwich for the sum of £237,000 which was now asked? He did not agree with, the noble Marquess that the manufacturing establishments in the public arsenals were conducted as cheaply as the establishments of private individuals, because when the Government went to a private individual they could stop the order if they did not like what they got, but when they manu- 73 factured for themselves it was a different thing.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) had complained that since he entered Parliament upwards of £500,000,000 had been spent upon our army and navy, and he had never known an instance in which a Vote for either service had been reduced. But whose fault was it? Was it not that of hon. Members themselves who did not attend when the Estimates were being voted? He had seen on one occasion only thirteen Members in the House when hundreds of thousands were voted away, and that very night he had counted and found only twenty-three Members present. There were sixteen or seventeen Gentlemen who never failed to attend when the Estimates were on, but they became disgusted because they did not receive the support which they ought to have got from those who professed to be economists. And then, when a division came on, those sixteen or seventeen Gentlemen counted for little against the reserves of the Treasury Bench, who were brought in from the lobby, the library, and the smoking-room, to overwhelm them. But the country also was in fault. Why did the constituencies send representatives to that House who did not do their duty? The country might depend upon it, and he had told his own constituents so, there would be no reduction of expenditure until the constituencies took a pledge from their representatives that they would attend in the House whenever the Estimates were under discussion. Now £973,000 was about to be expended upon eleven different establishments, but what was the country to get for that money—how many guns, what number of small arms? The Committee had no means of judging from the papers before them. There was nothing but lump sums set down—no quantities of materials, no prices whatever. How, then, could the Committee possibly exercise its judgment as to the necessities of the demand? He would give the Committee a contrast. He held in his hand an exact copy of a similar Vote in the French Estimates, which was now being discussed in Paris, and in it was set down the prices, the quantities, the numbers of guns and of small arms that were wanted for the year, the quantities [165,000] of bronze at 2f. 60 centimes the kilogramme, the quantities [35,000] and prices of copper, zinc, tin, &c., the 74 number of cannon, 465 to be produced from the quantities of materials and sums granted; of small arms, 32,000 infantry rifles, 2,000 dragoon rifles, 6,000 carbines, 10,000 bayonet sabres, 6,000 cavalry sabres, 1,200 cuirasses for the cavalry, and so on. With respect to the cost per head of the small arms factory for our army of 148,000 men as compared with the French army of 400,000, not including the reserves, it was £1 18s. 9d in the English Estimates as compared with 7s. 3½d. in the French Budget.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, the debate had turned upon the question of wasteful expenditure, which might be of two kinds, either by manufacturing at too great a cost, or by persevering in the manufacture of an inferior article for the same money for which a superior one could be got. The latter was the fault of which the Government had been guilty with respect to the manufacture of small arms ever since the Report of the Ordnance Committee in 1862. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman opposite in thinking it a perfect farce to depute men of ability and intelligence to sit at Woolwich to advise the Government on these matters, to pay £6,000 or £7,000 for their salaries and expenses, and then, when they sent in a clear and uncompromising Report, to treat it as so much waste paper. That was exactly what had been done, though the noble Marquess had tried to put the question on an entirely different footing. He (Lord Elcho) had not raised the question of the small-bore rifle. The Government had tried the experiment of the small-bore by placing 8,000 of them in the hands of the troops. But there were 130,000 Enfield rifles in their hands, though that weapon had been condemned; they were still being turned out at the rate of 2,500 a week, and the Committee was asked to go on voting enormous sums for them. The House of Commons ought to refuse the money unless the Government gave a distinct pledge that it would be spent in the best way. What he was trying to do was to get a large bore, which he maintained was the best for these two reasons—that it was less liable to foul, and a shell could be discharged from it when necessary. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. H. Vivian) was the originator of the Committee, and 75 he urged as a reason for appointing it that the small-bore was superior. But the hon. Gentleman now turned round and said that there was very little difference between the two. In fact, the whole gist of his argument in defending the course of the Government was, that the Lancaster rifle was not superior at the short range, and at the long it was not much matter. [Mr. HUSSEY VIVIAN: Not so much matter.] He had in his hand a speech made on the 25th of June last year by the hon. Member, in which he said—The elliptical system of rifling of Mr. Lancaster proved itself superior, not only to the ordinary service Enfield, but to the best of the rifles made on other improved principles… The Committee on Small Arms very quickly established the feet that the rifle manufactured by the Government was the worst, and, consequently, it would be satisfactory if the Government could inform the House that some tribunal was about to be established which would consider these matters before the country was involved in a vast expenditure… The regulation rifle was a weak weapon; the groovings were thin and easily worn down by the action of the ramrod, and after the firing of a comparatively few thousand rounds it became inefficient. That was not the case with the Whitworth or the Lancaster." [3 Hansard, clxxi. p. 1462.]Now, he wanted to elicit from the Government a promise that that waste of public money should be put a stop to, and that, pending any question as to what the future course should be, the Government should get the best article possible under the circumstances without increase of cost. If he received any support he would move a reduction of the Vote. [Cries of "Move, move."] He begged to move that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £162,832 set down for the Royal Small Arms Establishment.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
said, the question raised was an important one, but the best way of testing it was not by reducing but by postponing the Vote until some definite conclusion was arrived at as to what was proper to be done in the matter. There ought to be a Select Committee or Royal Commission on the subject, in order that the country might be satisfied that a large expenditure was not being recklessly incurred. He begged to move the postponement of the Vote.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, he believed that the present Vote was one of the most important in the Estimates; and he could but think that the public service would suffer by its postponement beyond a moderate time. The Government were bound to find arms for the service, and the pre- 76 sent was not the time, when the waters around them were so troubled, to stop all their manufactories. The effect of maintaining the Government establishments was to diminish expenditure. The gunpowder manufactory produced cheaper and better powder than had before been obtained; and with respect to the Armstrong gun, the manufactory at "Woolwich brought down the cost' of the manufacture at Elswick 25 per cent. The postponement of the Vote would paralyze the establishments for a time, and therefore he could not support the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend in favour of postponement.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, he agreed that the present was a most important question. He understood that the noble Lord the Member for Haddington-shire (Lord Elcho) desired to force the Government to expend the sum set apart for small arms in such a way as to introduce a particular arm into the service.
§ LORD ELCHO
begged to explain that what he desired was that the Government should give an assurance that they would stop the manufacture of an arm condemned by the Committee he had referred to.
§ LORD CLARENCE PAGET
said, that the Government were responsible for what they did; but supposing the arm recommended by that Committee turned out a failure, who would then be responsible? A few years ago the late Sir Charles Napier, and various other hon. Members, called the Government to account for not introducing a rival gun to the French gun into the navy, and the Government were forced by that House to give a considerable order for the large Armstrong guns. He was not prepared to say that the Armstrong guns were not very good for certain purposes, and he was glad to have that opportunity of correcting a misapprehension of Sir William Armstrong with regard to something that fell from him on a former occasion. What he had stated was that, with regard to the precision of fire, and the precision of the bursting of the shells, there was the greatest reason to be satisfied; but that the Armstrong guns which some of the ships carried at foreign stations, and he referred particularly to the action at Kago-sima, had some of the early specimens of vent-pieces, and they were a failure; but the Admiralty were taking steps to introduce the latest improvements, and he hoped that they would render these guns, efficient. Comparisons had been made be- 77 tween the French and English Estimates, but it should be borne in mind that the English was an honest Estimate and the French was not, for after being presented to the Chambers the French Estimate was doubled by means of the system of crédits supplémentaires. It was said that the Government had nothing to show for this amount of £2,500,000, but he could inform the Committee that the Government now had 2,678 Armstrong guns of various sorts. It was said that a great many guns of one sort were made, and soon they became obsolete, and had to be discarded. That was just what happened with regard to the guns manufactured two years ago in immense numbers in America, and to the thirty pounders, hooped and rifled, which the French had first adopted. They were now going to a very great expense in the manufacture of guns of a new construction. It was a necessity of the transition system of the day. His noble Friend (Lord Elcho) thought he had got the right arm, but next year it might be superseded by another. He thought his noble Friend was very unreasonable in trying to induce the Committee to coerce the Government in that matter, and he hoped the Committee would not agree to the Amendment.
§ LORD ELCHO
begged to explain that he did not wish to force any arm on the Government. All he wanted was that a stop should be put to the present wasteful expenditure of the public money, and if the Government would not give any pledge in that respect, the House of Commons was quite justified in interposing. In order to give the Government time to consider the matter, he was willing to withdraw his Motion, if his hon. and gallant Friend opposite would insist on a postponement of the Vote.
§ MR. MASSEY
said, that no Resolution in Committee of Supply could be postponed. It could only be withdrawn, amended, or negatived.
said, he was glad that the noble Lord the Secretary to the Admiralty had at length learnt to appreciate the Armstrong gun, and had had an opportunity of doing justice to Sir William Armstrong. With regard to the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), the choice of arms rested not with the House 78 of Commons, or the War Office, but with the Crown. It was not for the Committee to tell the War Office they should withdraw a particular Vote unless a certain pattern was adopted. As to stopping the manufacture of arms, was it meant that a factory costing £100 a day was to be kept idle while the question of the relative merits of different arms was being considered?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he was glad that the Vote could not be postponed, because of all the proposals which had been made that was the most unreasonable. He could not conceive what further information hon. Members expected to get. If they had another Committee, it would be two years before they got any money. In spite of the noble Lord (Lord Elcho's) repudiation, he could not but think that he wanted to force a particular arm, which even upon the showing of the Committee was only provisionally the best, on the Government. He must protest against the frequent alteration of patterns, because it tended to weaken the confidence of the army in its weapons. He denied that the War Office had altogether ignored the Report of the Ordnance Select Committee. They reported on several questions, and some of their recommendations had been adopted—that, for instance, with regard to small-bore rifles. He protested against its being held that the Report of a Committee which happened to be consulted by the Secretary of State was to be law to him. If that were so, the result would be that he would not be able to seek advice in that way at all. The responsibility of coming to a decision ought to rest with the Secretary of State. The superiority of the Lancaster over the Enfield was very slight, and it was a question for the War Office to decide whether it was worth while to incur the inconvenience of a change. The Report of the Committee showed that the Lancaster was only provisionally the best arm. It might be supplanted by the Whitworth large or smallbore; and the Secretary of State thought it was not expedient in the meantime to adopt it. The hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) had praised the French Estimates for the amount of information which they afforded. On examination, however, it would be found that the figures were stereotyped, and that for the last two or three years the same amount of metal had been stated as costing exactly the same price, and turning out the same 79 number of pieces—an uniformity which was rather suspicious.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a sum, not exceeding £810,199, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Manufacturing Departments, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1866, inclusive."—(Lord Elcho.)
§ The Committee divided: — Ayes 35; Noes 80: Majority 45.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (8.) £572,519, Warlike Stores.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that if some of the items in the French Estimates were stereotyped, so was the strength of the French army. But the cost of the manufacturing departments in the two countries, as far as warlike stores were concerned, admitted of a very close and rigid comparison. He found that the cost per bead for warlike stores was in England £12 2s. 6½d., and in France£2 13s. 11½d. No wonder complaints were made of the waste in our manufacturing departments.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, he wished to ask the noble Marquess (the Under Secretary for War) to explain the reason for the decrease in the present Estimate from that of last year, and if he could assure the Committee that by taking that diminished Vote he would still be able to retain sufficient stores for all warlike purposes, or whether he intended to reduce each description of stores in accordance with the diminished Vote? If so, it was to be regretted that we were to be left with an inefficient establishment; but if, on the other hand, it would give us a sufficient quantity of stores, it would be a subject of great congratulation.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
begged to inquire of the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War, the reason for the increase from £56,000 to £58,000 in the establishment charges for this year?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, in reply, that the reduction on the total amount of the Vote was almost entirely owing to the cessation of the Elswick contract. The small increase for that establishment was due to the change which had taken place in the clothing department.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
begged to inquire whether the clothing made by the Government 80 was dearer or cheaper than that made by contract?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the calculation of the department was, that it made clothing somewhat more economically than the articles could be obtained by contract. It was quite open to the trade to dispute the accuracy of that calculation, but since the establishment of the manufactory at Pimlico the contract price had been reduced.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £750,870, be granted to Her Majesty to defray the Charge of the Superintending Establishment of, and the Expenditure for, Works, Buildings, and Repairs at Home and Abroad, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1865, inclusive.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
begged to inquire what steps had been taken, in accordance with the recommendations of a Committee and a Commission, for employing soldiers in trades. The health, morality, and efficiency of the service, as well as a great saving of expense to the country, would be promoted by a much more extensive employment of soldiers on work of that description than had hitherto been practised. There was an item in that Estimate of £5,000 for reading and recreation rooms. He was informed that the establishment of those rooms in our garrison towns had exercised a most important influence upon the character of the soldier, and that where they existed crimes had much diminished. The first soldiers' institute was established at Gibraltar by Captain Jackson, and was most successful while it remained under the supervision of its founder. Since then, however, the number of soldiers who belonged to it had greatly fallen off; and he would suggest that Captain Jackson should be sent back on service to Gibraltar, to renew his exertions on behalf of an Institution which had produced so much benefit to the garrison there, and also to assist in establishing' similar Institutions at other Mediterranean stations. It was desirable that the House should have a Return of the number of our soldiers in garrisons at home or abroad who were educated and trained to different trades.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he wished to confirm what had just fallen from the hon. Baronet the Member for Buckingham (Sir Harry Verney). There could be no doubt that the employment of our troops in use- 81 ful occupations was one of the best means of maintaining their high character and efficiency. Great success had attended the efforts of Captain Jackson at Gibraltar, and it was to he hoped that the same system, which had the sanction of the late Lord Herbert and Sir G. C. Lewie, would be carried out in the camp at Aldershot, where great evil resulted from the want of some useful employment for the soldier, If that want were supplied in our garrisons ' generally, we should have a much more efficient and practical army.
§ MR. C. P. BERKELEY
said, he must complain of the unsatisfactory and complicated manner in which the Estimate was prepared. He complained that the total estimates of works were constantly increasing without any sufficient reasons being assigned. He begged to move that the amount of the Vote be reduced by the sum of £75,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £675,870, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Superintending Establishment of, and the Expenditure for, Works, Buildings, and Repairs at Home and Abroad, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1865, inclusive."—(Mr. Charles Berkeley.)
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he trusted the House would allow that Vote to pass that evening. With regard to the employment of soldiers in trades, an impression had prevailed that it would interfere with discipline, and the scheme had been postponed in consequence; but the Commander-in-Chief had now expressed his willingness to try the experiment. It would not do to try it on too large a scale at first, but measures would be taken to introduce the system into one or two of the regiments at Aldershot. As to soldiers' institutes, in some large towns garrison institutes had met with great success, and at Gibraltar Captain Jackson had succeeded with great trouble and labour in getting up a very efficient establishment of the kind, but since he left there it had been in a declining state. It seemed that there always would be difficulties in keeping soldiers' institutes in efficiency, unless they were connected with the regimental system. The plan adopted at present, and which had worked so successfully, was to devote a room in every barrack where it was possible, to what was called a recreation room, 82 in which the men were supplied with refreshments, newspapers, and books; and, with scarcely an exception, commanding officers took pains to keep up these rooms in a proper state. The increase in this Vote was due, to some extent, to an increase in the price of labour, and also to some extent to the cost of transport being now charged against the buildings.
§ MR. MORRISON
said, he should have been glad to have been informed somewhat more fully what steps had been taken towards employing soldiers in trades for the use of their regiments. He could bear testimony of the effect in the French army of the employment of the men in trade, in the readiness with which French soldiers were able to adapt themselves to all circumstances. Great benefits had been derived from the exertions of Captain Jackson at Gibraltar.
§ SIR WILLIAM FRASER
said, he entirely agreed with the noble Marquess, that soldiers institutes were most successful when connected with the regimental system. He thought that commanding officers would run great risks of making their men slatternly if they employed them too much in other than regimental duties.
§ SIR WILLIAM JOLLIFFE
begged to direct attention to the dilapidated state of the buildings in the North Camp at Alder-shot. There was an item for the conversion of Haslar Barracks into an hospital. He presumed that the hospital would be a military one for the Portsmouth garrison. Another item which required some explanation was the Vote with regard to the Naval Stores at Bermuda.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
said, he thought that the Vote was so important that he must move that the Chairman report Progress.
§ To report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.