HC Deb 05 May 1864 vol 175 cc26-9

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, there was one remarkable omission in the Army Estimates, and that was as to the number of persons employed in the different establishments. Formerly that information was supplied, and as it was undesirable to lose it, he hoped the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War; would follow the example of Sir George ' Lewis in 1862, and supply that information in a separate paper. The House had voted the sum of £119,000 as the balance of Indian disallowances. He wished to know the number of years over which the settlement ran; whether other and larger sums had not been disallowed by the Indian authorities, and, if so, out of what grants, and by what authority, those sums were paid? If the noble Marquess could nut reply to that Question offhand, perhaps he would explain the facts by means of a Parliamentary paper. He wished the noble Marquess also to explain how it happened that a large sum of money which was received on account of the sale of certain public land, or land held in trust by the Crown, at Brighton, did not appear in the War Office accounts? He wished to know whether that office was not the proper department to receive and account for the same?


said, he wished to draw the attention of the House to the difference between the number of soldiers' wives now permitted to embark with a regiment for foreign service and the number permitted to reside in barracks at home. By an order issued by the late Lord Herbert on the 12th of September, 1860, the arrangements with regard to the percentage of soldiers' wives who were allowed to reside in barracks, and of those who were allowed to embark when their husbands were going abroad, were altered. The percentage in the former case was at present eight, and the percentage in the latter only six. If eight companies of a regiment were ordered on foreign service, twenty-four families were sent from head quarters to the depôt. A depôt rarely exceeded 200 men under the command of a captain; and when it was remembered that as a general rule the only means of subsistence a soldier's wife could have was by washing, the House would see that much distress must be caused by such a large accession of women and children to a military depôt. He wished to ask his noble Friend the Under Secretary for War, whether the subject had not been for a very long time under the consideration of the Government; whether there was any intention to increase the number of soldiers' wives allowed to embark with their husbands; and whether, if the Government did not intend to do that, they would reduce the number of soldiers' wives allowed to reside in barracks? It might be argued, that to increase the number of women allowed to go abroad would lead to a large increase of expense. It would do so, but the present state of things was a serious hindrance to good feeling on the part of the men; and the soldier had shown that he appreciated and deserved the efforts which of late years had been made to improve his condition. On the other hand, it would be said that to reduce the number of the women allowed to reside in barracks would be a hard measure; but it would equalize the pressure. He should, of course, prefer the former remedy, as the soldiers whose case he referred to married with the permission of their commanding officer.


said, he wished to call the attention of the House to the undue advantage given to civilians over officers of the army by the scale of travelling expenses at present allowed by the War Office. The allowance to officers over the rank of colonel was 20s. a day, and to those under that rank 10s. a day; while to civilians in the War Office there was a uniform allowance of 16s., and 4s, per day additional when it was necessary for them to have a servant. He begged to ask the noble Marquess the Under Secretary for War, whether it was intended by Her Majesty's Government to amend those regulations with the view of removing the anomaly?


said, he was not aware that the late Sir George Lewis had, as the hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham (Sir Henry Willoughby) had stated, promised those Returns, but he saw no objection to their production, and he thought they might conveniently he furnished in the form of an Appendix to the Report. At the same time, to produce a perfectly correct Return would be impossible, owing to the fluctuating number of men employed in the different establishments from time to time. In future he expected the Vote to which the hon. Baronet referred would be presented to the House in a form which would enable hon. Members to exercise a greater control over the sum paid than they did at present. The system of double entry was being introduced as fast as possible in the manufacturing departments; and when it was in full operation the House would have the accounts at an earlier period than at present, and they would have in greater detail not only the sum proposed to be spent, but also the sort of work which it was intended to turn out during the year. In reply to the second Question, if the hon. Baronet had asked him when he was moving the supplemental estimate how the balance between the War Department and the Indian Government was arrived at, he might have been able to inform him. The papers relating to both Questions were still in his possession, and he hoped at a future day to be able to answer the inquiries of the hon. Baronet. In reply to the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Angerstein), he begged to state that it was quite true that Lord Herbert increased the number of soldiers who were allowed to marry whilst their regiments were at home, and the number of soldiers' wives allowed to live in barracks, thinking thereby to improve the condition of the soldier; but when the regiment was ordered on foreign service it became quite a different question. Not only considerable expense was incurred for the carriage of the wives and children of the soldiers, but the soldiers' wives occupied barrack room, received allowances for fuel and light, and they also drew rations. Thus considerable additional expenses were incurred. If the wives and families were taken out at all they must be lodged in barracks, because there were no other places for them. In many of the outlying stations there was a, deficiency of accommodation for the soldiers themselves, and it would be almost impossible to provide accommodation for an additional number of soldiers' wives and families. Still he was ready to admit that there was great hardship in the case. The subject: had been brought under the consideration of the Secretary of State for the Home Department by the Commander-in-Chief, He could only say that it was a matter which involved considerable expense, and that it was at present under the consideration of the Secretary of State. With regard to the Question of the noble Lord the: Member for North Northumberland (Lord; Lovaine), he begged to say that there had been many changes made in the scale of personal allowances to officers when traveiling. The present allowances were 20s. to field officers, 10s. to other officers, 16s. to clerks, and 4s. to servants. Formerly all officers, when sent on duty, were allowed; 15s. a day, and civilians employed in the War Department 20s. The subject of allowances was under consideration with a view to bring them under a more comprehensive rule. It was admitted that: 10s a day did not cover the travelling, expenses of officers, and he thought that the allowance should be in accordance with the position of the parties. He believed; that 16s. was allowed to clerks because it: was not expected that they would have to travel about, while officers on the other hand never expected to be kept in one place. It was proposed to make some further change, which would give a more satisfactory personal allowance to field officers travelling on Her Majesty's service. The subject was under consideration, and he hoped that some satisfactory arrangement would be arrived at.

Motion agreed to.

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