§ SUPPLY considered in Committee.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
Sir, the House has already discussed very fully so many subjects connected with the Administration of the Army, that I shall now trespass on the attention of the Committee for a shorter time than I should otherwise have felt it necessary to do. We have already had debates on the subjects of recruiting, ordnance, and the fortifications of Canada. These three subjects, perhaps, the most important of those to which it will be my duty to call attention this evening, have already received full and complete consideration from the House. Therefore I will not detain the Committee by making any preliminary observations on those great questions, but will proceed at once to give an explanation of the Estimates that have been laid on the table. I will first remark that hon. Members will observe that some slight changes are made this year in the form of the Estimates. In deference to the wishes expressed last year, and more especially in deference to the suggestions of the right hon. Member for Huntingdon, we have this year reverted to the practice of taking the first Vote for the number of men; but as the numbering of several Votes had been already fixed, and considerable inconvenience would have been experienced by altering the numbering, we have designated the first two Votes relating to the numbers of the men by the letters A and B, retaining the numbering of the remainder of the Votes. Hon. Members will also observe that charges have in some instances been transferred from one Vote to another—for instance, certain charges for pay have been placed in the Commissariat Vote as more properly belonging to it, and I fear that some inconvenience may possibly be felt by those who wish to compare the expenditure of the present year with that of former years; but all the changes have been made from principle. All that we have done is to transfer particular charges from one Vote to another, placing them in that Vote to which they strictly belong; for it is only by comprising in each Vote those charges which are really applicable to it that we can make each Departments responsible to the Secretary of State. The Army Estimates laid on the table this year amount to £14,348,447, being a reduction upon those voted last year of £495,641. But 1762 when we come to compare the net estimated charge for the army services against the revenue of this year as compared with last year we find a still greater reduction. Striking from the gross estimate the sum we expect to he paid into the Exchequer for extra receipts, the net estimated charge is £12,645,007, while last year it was £13,519,646, showing a saving in the total Estimate to be voted this year for army purposes of £874,639. I will not trouble the House with any long comparison, but I cannot refrain from pointing out the reduction which we have been able to effect since the year of the highest expenditure on the army services. The year 1861–2 was really the year of the highest military expenditure, but in the year 1862–3 the Estimates for the army reached their highest point. In 1861–2 the expenditure was highest, because in that year the charges for India now voted in the Army Estimates had not become a charge upon them, but were defrayed by the Indian Government by means of a capitation grant paid into the Exchequer. I will compare the Estimates for 1862–3 with the Estimates for subsequent years. In 1862–3 the Vote for the army was £16,060,750. In the next year there was a reduction amounting to £591,113, and in 1864–5 the reduction had been increased to £1,216,262. In the present year the reduction on the Estimates of 1862–3 will be £1,711,903. These reductions of nearly £2,000,000 from the year of the highest expenditure is not all I have to mention. I should like to call attention to the fact that we have now reduced the Army Estimates from the year of the highest expenditure to a point below that of 1859–60, being the year before the Governments of Europe were alarmed by the Italian War—before the feeling became so prevalent in England that our defences were not in the state they ought to be in, and before our armaments assumed the dimensions they subsequently did, and which led to their being called "bloated armaments." In the year 1859–60 the Army Estimates were prepared by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and I will compare with them the Estimates for the present year. In the former year the Vote for the disembodied militia was not included in the Array Estimates, and, therefore, I have to deduct from the Estimates of the present year the charge for that force. The amount voted in 1859–60 was £12,859,297, not in- 1763 cluding the disembodied militia. To that sum £700,000 should be added, being the sum due by the Indian Government, on account of the service in the prior year, making the total amount of the real Estimate £13,559,297. The total amount estimated to be the expenditure for the army for the present year is £13,533,047, so that the amount in 1859–60 was greater by £26,250, after deducting the militia Vote. Nor is this all. The charges now included in the Army Estimates for depots and other services for the Indian Government, in addition to those voted in 1859, the cost of which is met by contributions from the Indian and Colonial funds, amount to £648,000; and, therefore, in addition to the saving of £26,250, there is a real, though not apparent saving of £648,000. Since 1859 the Volunteer force has almost entirely sprung up, involving a charge of £354,000. There are several other new charges, some of them in consequence of the recommendations of the Commission on Recruiting, and £94,500 are expended upon additional clothing issued on their recommendation. I mention these things to show that though fully alive to the importance of bringing forward ample Estimates, during the last few years the Government have been working steadily and earnestly in the direction of a reduction of military expenditure. Now I come to the first Vote for the number of the men. The total reduction of the force of the army this year will be about 4,000 men. I will explain in what manner that is effected. The reduction in the artillery is entirely due to the organization of the regiments of artillery. When the amalgamation of the Indian and Imperial services took place, the effect was of course very largely to increase the depots for the purpose of meeting the Indian reliefs. Of course, it was also impossible to calculate accurately the requirements of that service, and it has turned out that they were overestimated. It is found that the wants of the artillery service can be supplied by depots of smaller dimensions than those originally formed, and it is proposed and has been agreed to by the Commander-in-Chief to reduce the depot brigade from 20 to 16 batteries, which will be divided into 3 instead of 4 divisions. This will be a positive improvement and tend to efficiency, because, the number of men being diminished, the proportional number of officers will be greater. Great complaints 1764 have been made of the want of officers, in consequence of many being detained at depots. The reduction is commendable on the score of economy. There will be a reduction in the infantry of a little over 2,000 men consequent in the first place upon the reduction of one of the West India regiments. That regiment, the 5th West India regiment, was raised, the House will recollect, partly for the purpose of replacing a St. Helena regiment, and partly for the purpose of replacing the Gold Coast Artillery Corps. The intention, however, of garrisoning St. Helena by a West India regiment has been abandoned. The West Indian troops were very recently formed, they have never been recruited to their full numbers, their services were not required, and therefore no inconvenience will attend their reduction. The reduction of the infantry at home, like that of the artillery, has been effected by a change in the organization of that branch of the service. The subject of depots and of depot battalions is one which has been very often brought forward for discussion in this House. A great diversity of opinion has been expressed as to the utility of our system of depot battalions. I am not, however, going to enter upon a full discussion of that question now. It is obvious that regiments serving abroad or in the colonies ought, in some shape or another, to have depots at home where recruits can be received, and whence the regiments to which they belong can be strengthened. That necessity does not, however, exist in the ease of regiments serving at home. There is no reason whatever why young officers and recruits should not, when their regiment is at home, at once join their head-quarters. I see no good reason for keeping up two separate battalions for one regiment at home. I believe that hon. Members connected with the army will bear me out when I say that commanding officers generally would prefer this latter course, because at the depots the young officers and recruits learn a different system to that which is in practice at their own regiments, so that they have on joining their head-quarters to unlearn a good deal of what they have been taught. It has been therefore decided that the depot companies of the regiments at home shall join their service companies, so that the battalions will consist of 12 companies in one body, instead of 10 service and 2 depot companies in different parts of the country. The strength at which the bat- 1765 talions of infantry have been placed during the past year both at home or in the colonies was 800 men. Of these, 680 were in the service, and 120 in the depôt companies. While there were only 10 service companies, any reduction below 680 in the number of men would have been, I think, unwise, because those who remained would hardly have sufficed for the efficient performance of garrison duty. When increased by two companies, however, the case is different. The battalions at home will each consist of 600 men, and as the depot companies will join the service companies, the effect of that will be to add 150 to 600, and as it has been decided to reduce each battalion by fifty men, there will now be 750 men in one body instead of 800 men, divided into two bodies of 680 and 120 each. In seven battalions there will be a reduction of 100 men. These battalions are those on their way home from India, and will, of course, stand the last for foreign service. They always return from India extremely weak, and there is no reason for raising them at once to their full strength. This reduction will be balanced by the joining of the men from the depots. On the other hand, the battalions intended for service in India and in the colonies will, as heretofore, be maintained at their full strength. Three battalions about to go to India will be kept up to the establishment of 900 men, so as to be ready to start at any time, as well as to leave a depot at home. Independently of the reduction of men which we have been safely able to effect by means of the change in the organization, I may mention the fact that there will be a saving of expense arising from the reduction of the depot battalions of regiments at home, amounting to £28,780. By the change which is proposed it will be possible to reduce seven battalions, the saving on which will amount to the sum I have just given. Owing to the arrangements of the Foreign Office and the Indian Government our force at home will not be reduced to a similar extent. It was stated in the House the other night, and I believe the House will entirely concur in the policy announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that orders have already been sent out to New Zealand for the reduction of our troops in that quarter of the world by five battalions which will return home in the course of this year, in addition to which two battalions will also be recalled from India, without relief. The result 1766 will be that, whereas in the present year 1864–5, the estimated establishments of infantry at home were 32,500 men, and, including Indian and colonial depôts, 43,520, our establishment in the ensuing year will be 35,700 at home, and 45,920, including the depôts of the regiments in India and the colonies. These figures, however, do not include the Guards, numbering 5,953 men. The reductions made in the Line will also be extended to that portion of our army. By the arrangements which have been made for the return of these regiments from New Zealand and India, and by the arrangements made last year for recalling the garrison from the Ionian Islands, we are this year in a better position in respect to relieving India and the colonial garrisons than we have been for many years past. In the year in which we now are we have at home 40 battalions, in the colonies 46, and in India 55. During next year we shall have 47 battalions at home, 41 in the colonies, and 53 in India, the total number of battalions being 141. For the first time this year, therefore, we shall have one-third of our battalions at home, that being regarded as the proper number, because it enables each regiment to spend five years at home in return for ten years' service abroad. The subject of recruiting has already been discussed, and I have no doubt many hon. Members will raise the question upon the Votes in Committee. I have before this taken occasion to say that I do not believe that there is any good ground for the alarm and apprehension which appear to exist upon this subject in the minds of many hon. Members. Some short time ago the attention of the House was called to the fact that our army was 4,000 men below the establishment, and that certainly was the case, but everybody must know that at no time do the real numbers of the army absolutely correspond with the establishment as given in the Returns, because in some places they somewhat exceed and in others are slightly below the numbers stated on paper. There is frequently some uncertainty as to the exact time when men are to get their discharge, and recruiting at particular periods is more rapid than at others. For these reasons it has never, I believe, been considered practicable to keep the army exactly to the prescribed standard, but it is considered sufficient if the total average, the maximum, is not exceeded. I quite admit that at no time during last year was the army quite up to the full 1767 establishment. In moving the Estimates last year I stated that there was considerable difficulty in ascertaining what the exact number of recruits required would be, as an accurate calculation of the number of men entitled to take their discharge could not then be made. However, the calculation was not very much in fault, for we estimated that we should require 17,000 men, and at the conclusion of the year ending 31st March 15,600 recruits will have been raised. I am assuming that in the two weeks still to elapse the average hitherto prevailing will be kept up. By some oversight the Returns hitherto have not been properly tabulated, but in future they will show the number of men entitled to take their discharge each year, so that we shall be able to make our calculations accurately. For the purpose of estimating the levy money it is a matter of indifference whether men re-enlist or whether those taking their discharge have to be replaced with recruits, for the bounty paid to men re-enlisting amounts almost exactly to the same as the charges in the case of new recruits. We estimate that in the coming year 14,500 recruits will be required—a number less by 1,000 than that raised without any great exertion during the current twelve months. I say "without any great exertion," because the Committee must recollect that the bounty, which now stands at £1, is as low as it has been at any time, and if at that low rate we have been able to secure 15,600 men, we may feel perfectly secure that we shall obtain without difficulty 1,000 less in the coming year, and that by raising the bounty very slightly we should, if necessary, attract a large additional number of recruits. Before leaving this Vote, I must give the Committee an explanation of one item of £5,000 for allowances to quartermasters which appears for the first time in the Votes. On the recommendation of the hon. and gallant Member for Chatham (Sir Frederic Smith), a Committee was appointed to inquire into the complaints and position of the regimental quartermasters. The constitution of that Committee was, I believe, satisfactory both to the army and to the quartermasters and their friends. It was presided over by General Eyre, than whom hon. Members will admit a more impartial Chairman could not be found. The Committee went into the subject very fully and carefully, and the general result of their Report was that, although nominally the position of the quartermasters had of 1768 late years been considerably improved, certain sources from which they used to derive considerable accessions to their income had been taken away. At the time, for instance, when the clothing of the army was in the hands of the regimental colonels the quartermasters used to receive large sums, both from the colonels and the tradesmen who supplied the clothing. In later times when the necessaries were all supplied by tradesmen the quartermasters still received certain allowances for the trouble entailed upon them. And, although those sources of income were not openly recognized, it was well known that they existed, and upon their termination virtually the position of quartermaster ceased to be as lucrative as it was a few years ago. The Committee, however, did not think it right to propose any direct increase of pay; they thought it better to recommend a special allowance of £30 each to every regimental quartermaster; and they also recommended that certain advantages should be given to them upon their appointment, such as the payment of their mess subscription by the public. These recommendations have all been considered by the military authorities and by the Treasury, and, with some slight alterations, I may say that they have received general approval. The Committee have, however, thrown out a suggestion towards the close of their Report, that in future years the position and office of quartermaster may be placed on an entirely different footing, and be performed by some officer in the line of promotion. This recommendation, of course, was accompanied by the proviso that some other mode should be found of affording a prospect of promotion to the class of non-commissioned officers from among whom quartermasters are at present taken. I need not say that this recommendation of the Committee will be kept in view. We have already had under our consideration the possibility of appointing non-commissioned officers to many of the civil appointments in the army, and I am in great hopes that many openings of this kind will be found for them. Of this I am quite certain, that the various non-commissioned officers are thoroughly adapted for such appointments, and that still larger prospects of promotion may thus be opened to them than any which they have hitherto been able to look forward to in the position of quartermaster. I believe I have now stated all that is necessary with regard to Vote No. 1, 1769 which governs the number of men, their pay, and allowances.
On the subject of Vote 2, the Commissariat, I have little to say that need detain the Committee, except to mention that this year, for the first time, the new colonial arrangements have come into operation under which the whole of the colonial allowances are charged against the Army Estimates, while on the other side we receive a still larger additional sum from the Treasury on account of the colonial contributions. There is this year a diminution in the total taken for the Commissariat Vote, but this diminution is entirely owing to the reduction of the outlay on New Zealand, which last year caused a great increase of the expenditure for Commissariat purposes. It is proposed not only to bring home a considerable force from New Zealand, but the troops remaining will be concentrated, and withdraw to positions nearer the seaboard than they have hitherto occupied. The cost of transport, which till now has been enormous on account of the scattered position of the troops, will thereby be greatly diminished. With regard to the next Vote, for the clothing of the army, I have to call attention to the change in its form, made in deference to the recommendations of many Members of this House. It is now clearly shown what are the sums spent on the clothing manufactured by Government, and what are the amounts expended on the produce of cloth by contract. Let me also mention the difficulty which we found for some years past in the supply of a proper description of cloth for the clothing of the troops. Great inconvenience has arisen both from the non-receipt of the cloth contracted for at the proper time, and also, in many cases, from an admixture of shoddy or other deleterious material which cannot be detected by inspection, but which yet impairs the wearing qualities of the cloth. These circumstances indicated that, in spite of all our efforts to the contrary, the pains taken in the inspection of the cloth and the attempts made to secure the services of the best contractors, we were falling into the hands of an inferior class of contractors, and for some cause or other that the best men in the trade did not tender for our army supplies. Some officers of the War Office, responsible for the clothing, accordingly were formed into a committee, and went down into Yorkshire for the purpose of discovering the causes of these complaints, and had interviews with the principal cloth 1770 manufacturers both in the West Riding and in the West of England, by whom several recommendations were made. One of the principal reasons why the best class of contractors kept back, appears to have been that contracts were not entered into sufficiently long before the cloth was required, so as to allow adequate time for the production of the material. It is necessary, it seems, that arrangements should be made at least eighteen months before the cloth is required to be sent into store. Arrangements will be made to carry out this. There will also be a revision of patterns; and in all cases the manufacturer will be called upon, when he sends in his tender, to send in a sample of the cloth he proposes to make. This will be compared with the pattern, and the inspection of the cloth on delivery will be guided by a comparison with the sample which has been thoroughly examined and approved. It was recommended by a great many of the principal manufacturers that the Secretary of State should, in certain cases, not insist on the acceptance of the lowest tender, but should be allowed to accept the tender of a firm of greater reputation and better known excellence, even if somewhat higher in amount. It was also recommended that, in some cases when an order had been executed satisfactorily, the same manufacturer should be allowed to renew his tender without its being again put up for competition. It is possible that instances may occur in which either of these courses might be advantageously adopted; but the subject of allowing a departure from the system of accepting the lowest tender on all occasions, is one of such difficulty and delicacy that it has not been thought right to lay down any general rule with regard to it. If a tender should be received from any firm, and it should appear that cloth of proper quality cannot be supplied at that price, that will be a reason for reconsidering the respectability of the firm; and if there should be found such an exceptional case as that, of course it would be competent for the Secretary of State to accept a tender which might not be the lowest.
I now come to the fourth Vote, for barracks. There is a reduction to apparently a very trifling amount. Great economy has, however, been effected in this Vote, because this is one of the Votes to which I referred at the beginning of my statement, to which certain charges have been transferred from other Votes. The charge for instance in 1771 this Vote for rents of buildings has been very greatly increased. The whole of the items of rent for building now paid by the War Department are charged in this Vote. Several of them were formerly borne by the Engineers' and other establishments. The additional charges included in this Vote this year amount to £20,037; so that, though the reduction is nominally only about £1,000, it is really a much larger amount. The establishment of the War Office for conducting the barrack service has also been charged against this Vote, and transferred from the Vote for the administration of the army. A scheme is in course of preparation by which still further reductions will be carried out in this Vote, but it was not sufficiently advanced to cause the new establishments to be inserted in these Estimates. The general feature of the scheme is to reduce a considerable number of the barrack-masters employed, and the barrack districts in England will be assimilated to the general officers' districts. Each general officer will have a first-class barrack-master at the station whom he will be able to consult on all subjects connected with barrack administration, while in many cases barrack-sergeants and clerks will practically perform all the duties now performed by barrack-masters. The real reduction in this Vote has certainly to a considerable extent been caused by the reduction in the reserve formerly maintained of what are called barrack stores. There does not appear to be any good reason why a very large reserve of barrack stores should be kept up. They are not in the same category as warlike stores or camp equipments. If an army is suddenly called upon to take the field, there is no immediate necessity for a large supply of articles of barrack furniture. If the troops are sent to any foreign country or any colony, such articles can always be easily procured on the spot. Any great expenditure, therefore, upon stores of that nature only causes a large sum of money to be locked up unnecessarily, and also entails a considerable annual charge for taking care of them. I should mention, in connection with this Vote, that the experiment of a new system of managing canteens, which I stated last year was being tried, has been thoroughly carried out and has proved most successful. As opportunity offers, the canteens at our various barracks are no longer let to tenants, but placed under the management of a committee of officers, the actual superintend 1772 ence of the canteen business being performed by a canteen sergeant. The effect of this arrangement has been not only that the soldiers are supplied with cheaper and better articles, but other advantages are conferred on them. In addition to beer and other articles of that kind for the men, groceries, vegetables, and similar articles required for their messes are provided by the canteen; and in some barracks, where the plan has been carefully carried out, I am told that a saving to the men amounting to 1d. per day has been effected, in addition to which, of course, they have goods of a better quality supplied to them. I must say I look upon this as a very great improvement in the barrack administration of the army. And I feel it my duty to remind the Committee that it is not only to those connected with the central office that the credit for this beneficial change is due, but very great praise is due to the regimental officers, who have cordially co-operated in carrying it out. A very great amount of additional trouble, of course, unaccompanied by any additional remuneration, has been imposed upon the regimental officers by their undertaking the management of these canteens. They have done it, I believe, in all cases heartily; and in every instance that has come under my notice the new system has been well and most efficiently worked out. The progress also made in regard to recreation-rooms has been considerable. I believe that in almost all our garrisons at home and in the greater part of those abroad recreation-rooms are now built or furnished by subscription. They are very much used by the men, and appear to be greatly appreciated, and they have been so far a complete success. And although I am aware that several Members of this House are in favour of garrison institutions on a more extended scale, I must point out that recreation-rooms, worked under the regimental system as they have hitherto been, have been a decided success; and I should be sorry to see introduced any other system which might perhaps disturb their progress and usefulness. The sum of £1,000 has also been taken this year for the commencement of an experiment to be tried in enabling men either to learn trades in the army or to continue the practice of those trades with which they were acquainted when they enlisted. This experiment has been carried out with great success in India; and although it is not probable that it can be so extensively 1773 adopted in this country, on account of the greater number of hours in the day for which the soldier is employed than is the case in India, still the system may be introduced to some extent here. I am adverting to what may appear to be trifling matters, but I confess I think them of considerable importance. By the establishment of improved canteens giving the men advantages equal to 1d. more pay per day, you are surely holding out a considerable inducement for them to enlist; and if you can offer them the prospect of still further increasing their emoluments by working at various trades—if, moreover, you make them more comfortable, as we are attempting to do, by means of recreation-rooms in barracks—and I wish hon. Members saw some of those rooms—the incentives to enlistment are still further augmented. As I said before, we are endeavouring to find as many openings as possible for the employment of non-commissioned officers retiring from the army, and I hope we may be able to provide still greater employment for pensioners than we do now. Every step taken towards improving the condition of the soldier is not only a step in the right direction, but tends to promote the efficiency of the army, and at the same time to increase the popularity of the service. The diminution shown this year in the medical Vote arises simply from the reduction of the force engaged in active operations in New Zealand, and the total cessation of the operations carried on last year on the Gold Coast. With regard to the militia, the arrangement which I said last year was contemplated has this year been carried into execution. It has been represented to the War Department that the number of days—namely, twenty-one—allotted for the training of the militia regiments is insufficient for bringing them up to a state of proper efficiency. There are many regiments numbering 1,.000 to 1,200 men, and in order to give the militia another week's training without increasing the expense to the country, and at the same time to render those regiments more manageable in point of size, we have directed, not that their present establishment shall be reduced, but that they shall not be recruited up to a higher point than two-thirds of that establishment. A regiment, for instance, with an establishment of 1,200 men, will be in future recruited only up to 800; and with an establishment of 1,000 only up to 750, while the smaller regiments, which are 1774 more manageable, we do not propose to reduce at all. By this means, and the saving thus effected, we shall be able to give the militia six days more training. When we come to the Vote I shall be glad to hear the opinion of militia officers in the House, but the arrangement will, I think, be generally approved by militia officers. With respect to the Volunteers, I may observe' that the increase in the Vote for that force is owing to the satisfactory cause that there is an increase in the number of those who are qualified by their proficiency in cavalry and artillery drill, for the allowance of 10s.
I now come to an important subject, which has been already discussed in this House, namely, that of our manufacturing establishments; including the whole question of the guns supplied to the navy as well as the army. I quite admit that the difficulties surrounding the manufacture of heavy guns have not yet been overcome. I certainly hoped when I introduced the Estimates last year that we should by this time be in a more advanced position in that respect; but I must repeat again what has been very often stated, and what seems to me to be a very material point—though we have heard contradictions with regard to it in this House—and that is that I believe no other nation is more advanced as to this question of heavy guns than ourselves. The only nation which, under the pressure of war, has been obliged to provide itself with guns of large calibre is America, and the Americans have resorted to the use of cast-iron; but that material for heavy guns has been long abandoned by the best military authorities, and is, I believe, entirely untrustworthy, in the case of any gun with which it is intended to use a heavy charge of powder. The system which Her Majesty's Government have adopted is the coil system introduced by Sir William Armstrong, which has been adopted for all the smaller guns, up to 100-pounders, and we see so far no reason to regret having determined to proceed on that principle. Sir William Armstrong has also made a series of experiments with guns constructed on the coil principle larger than 110-pounders. No doubt, as will always happen when an entirely new system is tried, there will be some mistakes, and, of course, there are always difficulties in such cases, but we have reason to think that a 13-inch and 20-ton gun and a 9-inch and 12-ton, and a 10-inch and 6-ton gun made 1775 upon that principle are perfectly satisfactory, and that if the circumstances were such as to justify a large expenditure, they might be safely manufactured in considerable quantities. So much difference of opinion, however, existed in the matter between men who are thoroughly conversant with the subject that it was, as the Committee are aware, thought right, now nearly two years ago, to afford Mr. Whit-worth, who had accomplished so much, and Sir William Armstrong an opportunity of fully and fairly testing before an independent Committee the merits of their respective systems. The trial lasted, no doubt, a good deal longer than was expected, and it has tended, to a considerable extent, to the delay in the production of a heavy service gun. So much uncertainty prevails on the subject both in this country and in others that the Government have come to the conclusion that they would be hardly justified in asking the House to vote a very large sum of money for guns which may not next year be the best in which it would be our power to obtain. When the guns which are now being manufactured are constructed we shall in all probability be better able to judge what a heavy service gun ought to be. We have not, I may add, deemed it our duty altogether to postpone operations until the Committee appointed by Sir George Lewis shall have made their Report, though his intention was doubtless to suspend the manufacture of guns of both large and small calibre till that event. The navy, for instance, required a certain number of 64-pounders, formerly called 70-pounders, for use on board ship, and—one of the subjects which were under the consideration of the Committee being the system of rifling recommended by Sir William Armstrong as distinguished from that of Mr. Whitworth—and the Admiralty being unable to wait until the Committee reported 4—we resolved to rifle those 64-pounders which were absolutely required on the shunt or Armstrong principle, which is that with which we are best acquainted, and which we knew to be safe and serviceable. The Admiralty, as has been stated by my noble Friend the Secretary to the Board (Lord Clarence Paget), also informed us what were their immediate requirements for heavy 12-ton and 6-ton guns, and we made and are making a sufficient number to meet their wants. It is quite possible that the experience of another year may modify our present ideas both as to the 1776 construction of heavy guns and as to rifling; still, having been informed by the Admiralty that the navy stood in need of a certain number of guns, we did not hesitate to put those guns in hand pending the Report of the Committee. It is, I may add, quite true that we have not nor are we preparing any reserved store of heavy guns. We have not made guns for ships which are not likely to be armed this year—wishing to spend as small a sum as possible until a final decision is arrived at on the general question of what is to be the future armament of our navy. While upon this point I may say I quite admit that, as was stated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (General Peel) last year, this reduction of our Estimate is not likely to be maintained for any long period of time, because as soon as this important question is fully and finally decided it will, no doubt, be necessary for the country to spend a large sum for the construction of heavy guns, both for the army and navy and the armament of our fortifications. A very exaggerated impression, I may here observe, seems to prevail as to the necessary number of such guns, and their probable cost. I have heard it said that the armament for the new forts alone, together with the ammunition required, will involve an outlay of £17,000,000. The hon. Gentleman (Sir Morton Peto) who made the Estimate is not, I believe, now in the House; but I shall be quite ready to meet him here on any future occasion, and to show him that the cost is not likely to exceed £3,000,000. Still £3,000,000 for our forts, in addition to the cost of the heavy guns for our navy, is no doubt a very large sum, and I think the Committee will be of opinion that we are right in not going this year beyond our actual requirements. While upon this subject I cannot refrain from saying a few words with regard to a body of men upon whom, in connection with these matters, a very unjust amount of censure, it seems to me, has been cast. I allude to the Ordnance Select Committee, which has been blamed for almost everything it has done or left undone. It was stated the other day that the Committee are considered by the Secretary of State responsible for the adoption of any particular gun; that some of its members were inventors themselves, and that the plans of rival inventors had therefore no chance of being impartially dealt with. More unfounded charges could not be brought against a body of men. The Select Committee are not responsible; 1777 neither the noble Lord the present Secretary of State nor the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (General Peel) would hesitate for a moment to admit that the Secretary of State alone was responsible for the adoption of any arm. The Select Committee was appointed to advise the Secretary of State and supply him—with the Commander-in-Chief—with the practical and professional knowledge which it was impossible the Secretary of State should possess. The Select Committee are not inventors, nor are they allowed to introduce any invention of their own. It is quite possible they may know and suggest improvements, but they certainly are not allowed to be inventors. A member of the Committee becoming an inventor would not be allowed to bring any important invention of his own before the Committee or to remain on it if such invention had to be reported on. The Select Committee have been blamed for the hasty introduction of the Armstrong gun—the 110-pounder; for the delay in large guns; for the 10½ and 12 ton guns, and for the introduction into the navy of the 8-inch smooth-bore gun. If my noble Friend the Secretary for the Admiralty (Lord Clarence Paget) was present, he would be the first to admit, and it was only due to the Select Committee to state, that the last-named gun never was recommended at all by them. That gun was the invention of the Admiralty, and if it were not successful the Admiralty were alone responsible. As to the introduction of the 110-pounder, the Committee had nothing to do with it. It had been adopted by the Secretary of State on the recommendation of Sir William Armstrong. The Committee never recommended it at all. The blame of the non-introduction of a heavy gun for the navy could not be laid at the door of the Committee. They are not a Committee of inventors, and they cannot deal with the rights and privileges of inventors. No doubt if it had been open to the Committee to set aside the rights of inventors they would by this time have come to a decision as to what would be the best heavy gun. But we can only take inventions with the consent of inventors, and, although a decision lately come to by the Court of Queen's Bench may seem to point in another direction, I am quite sure we in this country shall neither be prepared to take possession of any man's invention against his will or without making an honourable bargain with him. There are some subjects con- 1778 nected with the armament on which I would wish to say a few words. The House is aware that in the course of last year a Committee was appointed, not of scientific men, not of inventors, but of practical officers who had seen service of different kinds. That Committee was appointed on small arms, to report whether they should be breech-loaders or muzzle-loaders. After hearing some evidence, and comparing their own impressions, they reported, I believe, unanimously in favour of breech-loaders, if a breech-loader could be found. We had a very large stock of muzzle-loading Enfield rifles for the troops, Volunteers, and militia—about 800,000 stand of arms, and the replacement of these was a very serious matter. The first thing to be ascertained, therefore, was whether any system could be discovered by which the Enfield rifle might be temporarily converted into a breech-loader which might remove any necessity for taking a very rapid further action on the subject, and enable us to proceed carefully and deliberately in this matter. An invitation was issued to inventors for plans for converting the Enfield rifle into a breech-loader, the only conditions laid down being that the shooting of the arm should not be materially impaired, and that the cost of conversion should not exceed £1 per arm. Forty competitors answered the invitation. They were examined by the Committee, and seven or eight were selected for trial. No unnecessary delay took place in carrying on the trials, but the Reports were received only yesterday by Lord de Grey. Although I cannot so soon after speak confidently as to what may be the result, I shall probably be able when we come to that Vote to tell the Committee the result. I hope it may be found possible to adopt the system of conversion, and that the Enfield rifle may be converted into a perfectly serviceable breech loader. At the same time, the Committee have laid down what they consider to be absolutely requisite in the new arm to make it a perfect military weapon and suited for the British army in every climate. We shall at once proceed to call for tenders from the manufacturers for the production of an arm fully answering the pattern. Of course, I do not pretend that the Enfield, when converted, will be anything like such a weapon. It has already been proved that the Enfield large bore was by no means the best. The new arm will be a small bore, it will be a breech-loader, and the 1779 cartridge will carry its own ignition. There does not exist at the present moment a breech-loader combining all these qualifications. No doubt we shall obtain such a weapon. If we can at reasonable cost convert 60,000 or more Enfield rifles into breech-loaders, and make them fit for the troops at home on any emergency, we shall have done all that is necessary to put ourselves in a position of safety as regards this point, until we shall be able more carefully to consider what a rifle breech-loader should be. With respect to the stores, as I have already observed, we have deducted from the Vote the sum of £35,000 for repayments from the colonies, from the Volunteers, and other sources. The Store Vote is framed to a great extent from the demands received from the different store stations, which are founded on the system of replacing in store everything that has been taken out within the past year. But it has not been found necessary to provide for the whole amount to be replaced. The total sum taken under this head has never been expended. The present Estimate is based on what had been received in former years; but a much larger sum for replacements will probably be received this year. The Vote for works has already been discussed. I will not reopen the discussion which took place the other evening with reference to the proposed works in Canada. No doubt, when we come to that Vote, the subject will be revived. The only other important new work is for Windsor barracks, which were in a very bad state. We have taken a large sum for additional improvements there, the foundation of the barracks being found extremely deficient. There is a reduction in the Votes for the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. That does not arise from any desire on the part of the Government to diminish the education provided for officers, but from the circumstance that we have found that the wants of the service as to young officers have been over-estimated. The number of cadets has now reached that which was anticipated, and the staff of teachers and professors has exceeded what was really required. The reduction of teachers and professors is very small. There will remain as many as the actual number of cadets whom we may expect to have to educate will require; and there will be no reduction of the amount of instruction given at either of these institutions. No 1780 money is taken this year for the Armstrong and Whitworth Gun Committee, because, though they have not yet reported, their experiments are concluded, or will be so within the remaining week or two of the present financial year. The Gun Cotton Committee is still conducting some very interesting and important experiments, and a sum of money is asked for it. The last Vote in the Estimates for the effective service is that for the administration of the army. The Committee will see that although the re-organization of the War Office has not been completed, there is a considerable reduction in this Vote. A Committee was appointed last summer and sat at intervals during the whole of the winter, which went very fully into all the questions connected with that subject, and has proposed some considerable changes in the department. The barrack branch, the engineers' branch, and the clothing branch, have been made separate establishments, and the clerks employed therein will no longer form part of the War Office. Other arrangements, with which it is not necessary that I should trouble the Committee, have been made, and the result will, I hope, be some reduction of the number of persons employed in the War Office. A still larger reduction of expenditure is anticipated from another change. There is a good deal of work which can be well performed by clerks less highly paid than at present; and the principle has been adopted of somewhat subdividing the duties, and giving to each branch a separate and distinct establishment. The hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham (Sir Henry Willoughby) asked for some further information as to the re-organization of the War Office. I did not quite understand the drift of his question; but when we come to the Vote I shall be happy to give him any information which he may desire.
I have now gone through all the Votes upon which it is necessary for me to say anything. I am afraid that I have detained the Committee too long, but although there is nothing very new in these Estimates, there have been many changes. Some explanation was required upon a great number of Votes, and therefore I hope that the Committee will pardon me for troubling them at so great a length. We do not claim for these Estimates any exceptional character. They are not based upon any immediate anticipation of a state of war. The reductions of the force of 1781 the army are the result of a change of organization which we believe will be a positive improvement. We think that it is a safe reduction, rendered possible by the withdrawal of our troops from certain stations, and we believe that it will not diminish our effective force. The reductions in the staff of the army and in the establishment of the War Office will, I hope, at least prove to the Committee that neither the Commander-in-Chief nor the Secretary of State for War have any wish to increase their private patronage at the public expense. With regard to arms great questions are still pending, and we cannot claim to have completely solved any of them. All the credit which we can claim is that we have worked patiently and earnestly in order to solve them, and that we have gone as far as we consider either safe or practicable in the direction of rearming our forces. We have adhered to the course which had been adopted in former years with the object of improving the condition of our soldiers in their barracks, and providing for them amusement and occupation during their hours of leisure. A great deal remains to be done in this direction, and I hope that it will be accomplished, because I believe that on this to a great degree depends the future of our army. When the improvements are completed, and when the course which has been adopted becomes more widely known, I believe that we shall find no difficulty in keeping up the number and maintaining the efficiency of our troops. In conclusion, I hope I may say that both as to health and as to discipline the army is in a state which leaves nothing to be desired. We have lately had no great military operations to test the qualities of either of our officers or our men. In New Zealand, however, in a very trying kind of warfare, our troops have improved, and almost all our operations have been successful, Although there occurred one unfortunate reverse which caused the loss of a considerable number of men, the circumstances of that very repulse showed that the gallantry of our officers was as conspicuous as ever, and that led by those officers our men were as determined as ever to retrieve disaster. The noble Lord concluded by moving—That the number of Land Forces, not exceeding 142,477 men (including 9,109, all ranks, to be employed with the Depots in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland of Regiments serving in Her Majesty's Indian Possessions) be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from the 1st 1782 day of April, 1865, to the 31st day of March, 1866, inclusive.
As it is more than probable that unless some unforeseen event occurs, these are the last Army Estimates that this House of Commons will be called upon to pass, I propose to compare them, as was suggested by the noble Lord, with the military expenditure at the time when the present Parliament was elected, and also to call the attention of the House to the sums of money which have been voted by this Parliament for the naval and military services, in order that when we go back to our constituents, we may be able to prove that if there are any deficiencies in the preparations for the defence of this country, it is not owing to any parsimony or want of liberality on the part of the House of Commons. I believe that both hon. Members and their constituents will be very much astonished when they hear the amount of money which has been spent during the existence of this Parliament. I am very anxious that the truth should be known upon this subject, because I have seen statements which have been made by hon. Gentlemen during the recess which show that when they are addressing their constituents without fear of correction or contradiction, they take the most extraordinary liberties with facts and figures, and instead of enlightening their constituents only mislead them. One statement to which I am about to refer, was made by the hon. Member for Liskeard (Mr. Bernal Osborne), whom I am very sorry not to see in his place. Anything falling from him must have a great effect, and not only with the assembly he addresses, for his speeches are read all over the world. The hon. Gentleman in addressing his constituents on the 21st of October, 1864, said—Up to the year 1859, the expenditure of this country was increasing at a monstrous rate.This announcement was very much cheered by his constituents, and therefore I take it for granted that they believed and agreed with him. Then he went on to say—But since Mr. Gladstone has been the Chancellor of the Exchequer, since the year 1859, he has cut down the taxation from £72,000,000 in that year to £67,000,000 in 1864.I think that anyone would be led to believe from that that the Government which preceded the present one had been guilty of great and lavish expenditure, and that it was only when we had the good fortune to get the present very economical Administration that the expenditure was reduced and 1783 taxes were diminished. I meet the assertion with an authority that cannot be disputed, that of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. In making his financial statement last year, after mentioning what was the estimated expenditure, he said—But it is higher than the estimated expenditure of 1858–9, which is the last year before we come to the year of a very high expenditure, £2,226,000, or if we correct the comparison by debiting ourselves with the amount of the Long Annuities, which we have saved, and also the expenditure for fortifications, but deducting £1,125,000 which now appears on both sides of the account, but did not so appear in 1858–9, there is an aggregate increase of £4,047,000."—[3 Hansard, clxxiv. 562.]The question is, was the expenditure of the country increasing enormously up to 1859? I am now going to compare it, as the noble Lord did, with the Estimates of 1859–60. During the Crimean war of course the expenditure was enormous, and at one time it amounted to £44,000,000; but in 1857 the audited accounts of the army and navy showed that the expenditure upon those services amounted to £22,749,208. In 1858 is was £22,297,258. That is to say, that instead of increasing enormously it diminished by more than £450,000. In the Army Estimates of 1859–60, to which the noble Lord referred, and which were presented by Lord Derby's Government, the number of men voted was, I think, speaking from recollection, 122,000, and the total amount £11,500,000. The noble Lord says that £700,000 was paid by the Indian Government, and therefore the whole cost of the army would be £12,200,000. Now, we come to the expenditure of the present economical Government. In the year 1859 the expenditure upon the army and navy was £26,308,502; in 1860 it was £28,148,775; in 1861, £28,523,748; in 1862,£27,854,655;inl863,£25,796,269; and in 1864, £24,176,074; making a total expenditure authorized by this Parliament of £160,808,023, exclusive of the Estimates for the present year, the Votes of credit for the war in China, and of the money raised by loan for fortifications. I have no doubt it will be said this increased expenditure is the result of the reconstruction of our fleet, of the supply of our army and navy with new guns, and of other improvements which modern science and modern warfare require. I am sure no one would wish to see this nation behind the rest of the world in such matters; but the question is, has this been done—has 1784 this enormous expenditure led to a satisfactory result. If this expenditure has placed our navy—I will not say in advance of, but on an equality with, that of other nations—if it has supplied us with a navy which will give to England that supremacy on the seas so necessary in her position—if it has supplied us with dockyards adapted to the requirements of that navy—and if that navy has been furnished with guns of the right description—then I say it is an economical expenditure, and no complaint should be made of its amount. But I am afraid, if our constituents read what has taken place in this House during the last few days, they will be far from satisfied that this desirable result has been attained, and will think our recent ships no great improvement on the old models. They will read that we have been building vessels not sufficiently protected to allow them to go into action, and not sufficiently fast to permit them to come out of it—that is to say, that they are neither fitted to fight nor to run away, and that their guns are not nearly adequate for the service they will be required to perform. They will read that not only are these guns not the best that can be obtained, but that we cannot make up our minds to which gun is the best, and that we are afraid to convince ourselves upon this point, lest we should find that the whole of this vast expenditure has been thrown away. But those are not the only grounds of complaint. I never felt more alarmed than when I heard the statement of the noble Lord with regard to the recruiting. The fears I have expressed in this House from time to time since the passing of the Limited Enlistment Act have been more than realized. The noble Lord told us last year that he intended to reduce the army by 1,464 men, not by an actual reduction of the then existing force, but by checking recruiting. This appears to have been done most effectually. During last year only 4,000 took their discharge and 13,000 men had been obtained during the year, against 17,000 required, so that on the 1st of last month 4,000 men were still required to make up the number voted by Parliament. It is no satisfaction to me to hear that the noble Lord does not want those men, because he is going to reduce the army by that number. The fact remains that he exerted himself to the utmost to obtain them, and that in time of peace, with reductions taking place, and having reduced the standard an inch, he failed in doing so. Why, next year there 1785 may be a further reduction by just the number of men who are wanting to complete the establishment, not because they can be dispensed with, but because they cannot be obtained. When I look at the great exertions that are made to recruit the army and at the number of men wanting, I refer to the statement I made as Secretary for War with the Returns before me on the I2th March, 1858—namely—That during the time of the Crimean war I believed the greatest number of enlistments in one month was 6,000, but in the last month the enlistments had amounted to 7,500. For the last half-year men had been enlisted, including recruits for the East India Company, at the rate of 6,000 men a month, making 36,000 enlistments during the last six months."—[3 Hansard, cxlix. 135.]On the 12th May, 1858, I further said 48,000 men had been enlisted in eight months. Two-thirds of these men are now in the service, but they will be all at the same time entitled to their discharge. How are they to be replaced? The noble Lord refused the Motion of the hon. and gallant Officer opposite for a commission to inquire into the system of recruiting, but in my opinion there is one step which ought to be taken immediately, and that is prolonging the first term of enlistment in the Guards and Line to twelve years instead of ten, thus placing them in the same position as the cavalry and artillery, and by holding out to all services the inducement of additional pay commencing at an earlier period than their pensions to encourage their remaining in the service, as we all know they are worth far more than an equal number of recruits. I am afraid when our constituents hear that we have failed in our ships and our guns, and that we have a great difficulty in procuring men for the army they will begin to think that we have been spending "not wisely, but too well." With regard to the Estimates for the present year, I think we have all been much gratified by the very clear statement the noble Lord has made this evening, and I am sure the House will agree with me in regarding the form in which they are presented as a great improvement upon the method formerly adopted. With the explanations given as to the causes of the increase or decrease of the various Votes we have a full idea of the expenditure. The whole of the Estimates are laid in detail before us, and there is only one omission of which I have to complain—namely, that there is no regularly balanced account relating to 1786 the manufacturing Department. There is no reason why such an account should not be laid before us to show the exact produce of each Department—to enable us to ascertain how many guns we have obtained in exchange for the enormous expenditure under this head. There ought to be a regular balanced account showing not only what our works cost, but what they produce. The great objection, however, which I have to find with the Estimates is, that they are all based on two suppositions—the one that we have put an end to two wars which are still raging, and the other that there is no chance of our ever having another. The total reduction of money now to be voted by Parliament, compared with last year, is £495,641, and that is almost entirely made up in three Votes. On Vote No. 1 there is a reduction of £274,000; on Vote No. 2 of £113,247; and of Vote 13 of £87,519. This reduction can only proceed upon the supposition that the war in New Zealand is at an end. The reduction in the article of provisions is put at £113,247, and we are told the troops now in New Zealand have been ordered home, and that transports to convey them have absolutely been sent out. Now, I want to know whether there is anybody in the colony, either Commander of the forces or Governor, who has power to detain those troops in case of necessity, I ask this question because I read in The Times of Monday last that it is more than probable that the services of these troops will still be required. Again, there is an item in the accounts of £160,000 repaid into the Exchequer by New Zealand for the services of Imperial troops to be left in that colony. I wish to know who will have authority over these troops who remain in the colony. Are they to be under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, or are they to be mere mercenaries under the orders of the local authorities, who may employ them in what service they think fit? I should be sorry to see British troops placed at any time in such a position. The Estimates, however, are based on the supposition that these troops come home, and then the noble Lord told us with reference to the general disposition, that there would be 47 battalions at home, 41 in the colonies, and 53 in India. But if these troops are to be left in New Zealand, how is this distribution to be carried out? I want to know, also, whether the Indian battalions are to be removed from China, because ever since 1787 they have been there it has been stated that they were just going to be removed, and yet they are still there. The whole of the Estimates, as I said before, are based upon these two intended removals, which probably neither can nor ought to take place. The great advantage of the new manner in which the Estimates are presented to us is that we see at once the number of Indian troops employed and paid for by the Imperial Government. We have had formerly 10,000 or 12,000 Indian troops in China paid in the first instance by the Indian Government, but finally out of the Imperial Exchequer, without any control whatever on the part of this House over the number employed or expenditure. As to the reduction of £119,000 for gunpowder, I think that also requires some explanation. It may be very desirable to reduce the stock of gunpowder, but if the saving in the Vote is caused by reducing the amount in store, and not in the price of the article, it is no real saving. There is another item, likewise, which I should wish to hear explained. There is a reduction in the "levy money for recruits," and the explanation which accompanies it is, "Charged to the expenses of the depot;" but it appears to me to be charged exactly as it was last year. I have heard that by a mistake last year the stoppages of pay on account of rations for troops aboard ship were calculated as sums to be paid over to the Indian Government instead of to the British Government. We have never had the details of the capitation arrangement for men aboard ship clearly stated to the House. Before sitting down I wish to allude to another matter—to what appears to me to be the shabbiest transaction ever entered into by any Government in the world. The year before last officers were applied to for stamp duties on commissions which they had ten years before. No application had ever been made to them for this money before, and some of them had never received the document for the stamp upon which they were called on to pay. Certain of those officers stated they must decline to pay till they had the commission; but it was said to them, "You will get the commission if you pay." Well, a number of them did pay; and in the case of other officers the amount of the duty was stopped out of their pay. But from that day to this they have never received the commissions. In fact, I do not think those commissions ever existed. If this is the case let the Government say so at once; but if the com- 1788 missions are in existence, and the officers are made to pay stamp duty upon them, surely they ought to have them without delay. In any case I cannot see what right the Government has to charge these duties until the commissions are actually signed. I shall reserve any other remarks I may have to make till other Votes are before us, and confine myself to these observations on the Vote for the number of men.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that if the right hon. and gallant General referred back to 1858–9, he would find that the expenditure was then increasing. In point of fact, there had been a general increase in the naval and military expenditure of the country down to the present time. It appeared to him that the statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Bernal Osborne) was consistent with the fact. The hon. Member for Liskeard had said—Taking into consideration the state of the peace establishments prior to the Crimean war, their state after that war, and their present state, there was shown a large increase.and this was a fact which could not be disputed.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
defended the comment made by the right hon. and gallant General on the statement of the hon. Member for Liskeard. The language of the hon. Member implied that there had been an increase of expenditure down to the year 1859, and that from that year it had gone on regularly diminishing. That the statement was founded on a false impression seemed to be proved by the fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the noble Marquess at present congratulated the House and the country on the reduction of the military expenditure to the level of the year 1858-9. They need not, however, then discuss that question, and he thought that too much had already been made of it. There was one point on which he should be glad to receive some explanation, and that was Vote 18, for the administration of the army. He wished to give notice that when they came to discuss that Vote he would ask for some information with regard to the reduction which it was stated had taken place at the War Office. He found that a sum of £110,000 was now asked for the clerks in the War Office, while the Vote on the same account last year was £120,000. There was appended to the Vote a note to the effect that a reorganization of the establishment was at 1789 present in contemplation. When they came to the Vote he would ask whether there would he any objection to lay upon the table the Keport of the Committee which had, he believed, been inquiring into that subject, and had recommended such a reorganization. Such a change would give rise to a number of questions, and he thought it was very desirable that they should have before them the Report on which the reorganization was to be founded.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
thought that the statement of the noble Lord was a very straightforward, business-like and intelligible statement. At the same time, hon. Members sitting below the gangway were entitled to express their opinion on this subject, for they had to reconcile the masses outside to this enormous Vote of nearly fourteen millions and a half. The point to which principally he wished to allude was the distribution of appointments. The colonelcies of regiments were appointments of great value, and he was sorry to say that in some instances they were bestowed on officers not best entitled to them. These were mere sinecure appointments, and he could not help thinking that they placed in the hands of the Government a very dangerous kind of patronage, for there were many Members of both Houses of Parliament to whom they would be extremely acceptable, and several of these prizes had been thus bestowed. He challenged opinion on this point, and asked whether it was not true that at every mess in the British army some of the recent appointments had been the subject of comment. They had been distributed in a manner that was not proper nor correct. They had the case of Lieutenant General Lord De Ros, who entered the army in 1819, and after passing through various ranks was made Deputy Lieutenant of the Tower in 1852, the salary of which office (with table money) was £746 15s. a year; and yet the other day he was named a full colonel of a regiment of cavalry, his pay as such colonel being set down in the Estimates at £1,350, and it would seem that he would receive in all some £2,096 15s. Under all circumstances his appointment to this colonelcy was a scandalous and an improper one. He had been told that this colonelcy had been given to the noble Lord because the new order with respect to holding two offices had not come into force at the time when he became Deputy Lieutenant of the Tower. But why was it necessary to confer on him the 1790 colonelcy? He (Sir John Trelawny) had heard that General Hawker had been obliged to give up a governorship on attaining to a regiment. However, suppose the rule was a good one, and that it did not take effect when this colonelcy of Dragoons became vacant, there were numerous officers of distinction on whom the appointment might have been conferred. Lord De Ros might be a most excellent officer, but the fact seemed to be that he had never been in the presence of an enemy. This was no doubt his misfortune. Still, he (Sir John Trelawny) believed this was the case. It was perfectly true that the noble Lord had been in Turkey at the beginning of the war with Russia, but unfortunately, through sickness had been obliged to return home, and had not accompanied the army to the Crimea. All these things went to create an impression that the system of promotion was one intended for the benefit of the people connected with the two great political parties, and that those who had no influence with them would get scant justice. With respect to the mess system he had been informed that not a few meritorious officers had been obliged to leave the army in consequence of the extravagance of mess expenses. That was not the case in the French army. Only to-day he had read in The Times an account of the economical manner in which officers could live in the French army. In our army officers were led by their colonels or by the absurd ideas of their brother officers into all sorts of extravagances, and the consequence was we had not the class of men flocking into the service who would make the most useful officers. He agreed with what had fallen from the gallant General as to the ten years men. He was one of those who wished to make the army better. It was not enough to say that we had saved so much more in the army this year than last; what we wanted was efficiency. Expense was a mere bagatelle as compared with efficiency. He had heard from one of our best generals—and we had not many good ones—we had Generals Cameron and Gordon of the Engineers, perhaps, who was coming home from China—on the authority of a general who was just leaving his post, whose name he would not mention, that one regiment of ten years men was worth three regiments of recruits. The ten years men knew their duty; they were like clockwork. Only tell them their duty and they would do 1791 it. But a parcel of recruits took three years before they could be made into good soldiers. Then, there was the purchase system, about which something was to have been done five or six years ago, but people seemed to have gone to sleep about it now. He knew officers who had suffered severely by it—one officer in particular, a cavalry officer who had fallen before a square at Waterloo, whose family had lost some £23,000 by the purchase system. Another officer who had distinguished himself at Balaclava had been obliged to leave the service because he had too much money involved in the purchase of his com. missions. And a third had left a Dragoon regiment on account of the extravagant system prevailing in it. These were all serious considerations, and he hoped they would receive the attention of the Government.
said, that he wished to make a few remarks upon a subject which he had alluded to upon a late occasion. He had been taken to task by the noble Marquess the other night because he had expressed an opinion that the recruiting of the army was at a dead lock. When he found that the opinion out of doors was that the army was hundreds below the establishment, and when the noble Lord admitted that, instead of hundreds, it was thousands below the establishment, he did not think there was much reason for objecting to his statement. He could hardly understand the constitutional mode of proceeding adopted by the Government when it was found one morning that the number of men for the army voted by the House of Commons had been reduced without warning by 5,000 men. It might be that some day the Government might take upon themselves to reduce the number of men by 40,000. He considered, therefore, that he had been justified in saying that recruiting was at a dead lock. The noble Lord must know that not a day passed but that men below the standard were enlisted because it was impossible otherwise to approach the required number. The noble Lord also said that the Limited Enlistment Act was working as well as was expected, and that the proportion of men who re-enlisted after taking their discharges remained about 60 per cent. That was exactly what the opponents of that measure had always expected. The fact was that out of every 100 old, trained, well-disciplined soldiers, 40 left the army, and from the information he had received from 1792 commanding officers those 40 were exactly the men whom it would be most desirable to retain in the army—the best conducted men, who left because they could be certain of getting employment elsewhere. He had himself received an application from the son of a cottager upon his own estate who had served in the 3rd Light Dragoons, from which he had obtained his discharge, for a recommendation for employment in the county police, and upon urging the man who had four or five medals, to continue in the army, the reply was, "Why should I remain in the army, when if I reengaged to-morrow I should receive no higher pay after my 12 years' service than a recruit who joined only the day before?" He had been informed also by railway officials that they were constantly engaging old soldiers, who in nine cases out of ten turned out very good men. There was one question he wished to put to the Government, and that was what they proposed to do the year after next, when the 15 additional battalions formed in 1857 would be entitled to their discharge. The number of men who might claim their discharge from those battalions in 1867 was 5,330, and, according to the noble Marquess's calculation, 2,140 of those men would leave the service. He did not know where the noble Marquess got his information from as to the satisfactory working of the limited service system, but he (Colonel North) was assured almost daily by commanding and regimental officers that if the system were allowed to continue unaltered it would prove completely destructive to the British army. He would refer the Committee to the opinion of the late Lord Herbert, who when Secretary for War, nine years since, said, "In any change that we make we must be careful to have the assent of the great body of the profession." But in the present instance the opinion of the profession was not in accord with the noble Marquess as to the advantage of the ten years' service system. The noble Marquess on a former occasion said that he (Colonel North) told the class from which recruits were usually obtained that the pay was inadequate, and that any man who had any respect for himself, and could do anything else, had better not dream of enlisting in the army, and, said the noble Marquess, "I imagine the hon. and gallant Gentleman is one of those country gentlemen who make the village too hot for the recruiting sergeant if he ventures to show 1793 his face in it." He did not know upon what grounds that opinion was formed, but he could assure the Committee that he always did all in his power to induce the young labourer in his neighbourhood to join the service, believing as he did that for a well-conducted man no avocation held out better prospects. The noble Marquess on a former occasion had also told the House that "our system of enlistment did, he believed, sweep to a great extent the refuse of large towns."
The hon. and gallant Member is out of order in referring to a past debate in the present Session.
would then simply refer to an expressed opinion of the Under Secretary for War as to our army being largely composed of the sweepings of towns. That was a statement which he heard with deep regret, and which had been very hurtful to the feelings of men in the lower ranks of the army, where were to be found men of as high and honourable feelings as in any other class of society. The country, too, would wish to know how it was that an army so composed could produce a body of men who for respectability of character were not to be surpassed, and whose gallantry on the field and loyalty to their Sovereign were unequalled, without whom no regiment could exist—the non-commissioned officers of the British army. The noble Marquess's observations on the former occasion—he hoped they were not intended so to do—had given great pain to the whole army. He had been a Member of that House for many years, but he never heard a speech more insulting to a gallant and distinguished body of men than the speech of the noble Lord. He would now refer to the case of Lord De Ros, who went out but did not reach the Crimea, because his health failed him. There was no reason, however, why an officer who had done his duty for forty years should receive no reward. If an officer refused to go on foreign service that would be another thing, but it was Lord De Ros's misfortune and not his fault that his health failed. He was sure that the hon. Baronet had not intended to cast any reflections upon the noble Lord. He did not think it fair on the part of the noble Lord to attack him as he did on a former occasion, and he (Colonel North) only wished that he had had then the opportunity of following him.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
wished to explain. His case was, that there were 1794 other officers more deserving. He did not desire to cast any reflection on Lord De Ros.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
said, that he believed that every officer in the army would admit that there were many private soldiers in the service who were just as honourable and trustworthy men as the officers who commanded them. The House was bound to express its opinion on the ten years' enlistment system. The Government might feel obliged to come to that House for pecuniary support for improving the condition of the soldier, and the House ought to be prepared to say that it would be ready to entertain any proposal that contributed to the efficiency of the army, and tended to retain valuable men in the service. He happened to have in his hand a letter from the commanding officer of a regiment in India, who said that the operation of the Ten Years' Act, under existing rules, was heartbreaking. The officer added that he had lost ten sergeants and 120 men this year—men in the prime of their soldiering life, and of excellent character, and next year he should lose an equal number. That was in Central India. They could not resist the temptation of coming home with a free passage to see their friends. This officer expressed an opinion, in which he entirely concurred, that a ready-made soldier was a much more valuable article than a recruit from the loom or the plough, and that he deserved a higher rate of pay. He gave the noble Lord full credit for his desire to improve the condition of the army, and he believed that it was in the power of the military authorities, assisted by the House, to make soldiers the most respectable body of men in the country; so that a man who had served and returned to his native village should be looked upon as a trustworthy person, fit for employment of almost any kind. When a young man entered the army he ought to be certain of obtaining good treatment, a fair measure of education, and, above all, instruction in some trade by which he might be able to support himself when he left the service. After a certain period of service he ought to obtain increased pay and facilities for marriage, and at length should retire from the army with an adequate pension. The suggestion made by the hon. Member (Mr. O'Reilly) the other night to connect the militia with local regiments of the line, was, he thought, very worthy of the attention of the Government. It need not be denied that the army was less ac- 1795 ceptable in many respects than it used to be. There were many reasons for it. A large portion of the soldiers life was spent abroad. A soldier who had been eight or ten years in India came home, and instead of being sent to some amusing quarters he was despatched to Aldershot. Now Alder-shot was detested by the army, and he would not have the military authorities conceal the fact from themselves. It was wisely intended as a place for drill, and for brigading troops. In summer, however, it was most dusty and disagreeable; in winter it was muddy, cold, wet, and miserable. The huts were abominable, and full of vermin; the ground was saturated with emanations, and the huts ought to be at once done away with. The soldier required to be amused, but places had sprung up at the very edge of the camp that were a disgrace and a scandal, abounding with every sort of abomination, because the Government would not buy a little more land. He asked the House to consider the position of the country, and of the soldier after ten years' service. A soldier having learned his drill was a valuable man, and the country was anxious to buy his services. He believed that the opinion of a distinguished general officer which had been quoted was true, that a single regiment of drilled men was worth three of recruits. A great many of our ten year men had been decoyed over to the Federal States, because this country was so foolish as not to secure their services. He wished to ask one question. It was said that it required three years to make a good private soldier, but he should like to know how long it took to make a good Adjutant General? He believed that the discharge of the duties of that office at the Horse Guards could not make one in less than four or five years, for it was his duty to know the value of every officer of every rank in the service, and to be able to advise the Commander-in-Chief. Under the new system just as an officer had learnt his business he left the Horse Guards. There could not be a better Adjutant General than Sir George Wetherall. After five years he was changed. Now there was another just as good, and he was about to be dismissed. Such a practice was too absurd. Because Sir Willoughby Gordon held the office of Quartermaster General for forty years, the staff of the Commander-in-Chief was to be changed every five years. He challenged the noble Lord to produce the authority of any one general officer in favour 1796 of the present system. He trusted that, for the sake of the army, the present Adjutant General would not be dismissed at the end of his five years.
said, that he could not but regard the remarks of the hon. Member for Tavistock as unworthy of him and of his position in that House. He did not stand there to justify the appointments of the Horse Guards. He had always thought that those appointments could not be discussed in that House with advantage to the service. Should any flagrant case arise, no doubt the House would interfere, but as a rule these appointments ought not to be made the subject of discussion, He believed he was as well acquainted with the military messes as the hon. Baronet, and he would venture to say that there was not one military mess in the whole of the service where those appointments had been generally disapproved. No doubt disappointment had been experienced in some quarters, but throughout the army the appointments had experinced general approval. The hon. Baronet then told the House that there really existed no general in the army. [Sir JOHN TRELAWNT: Very few.] Such a statement as that ought not to go forth to the world without being fully contradicted. We were well aware that our enemies had to their cost been made acquainted with the power of our generals, and our friends had no need to be informed of it. Then came the old story of extravagant and ruinous messes; but he would venture to say that no officer had been ruined through his mess expenditure. The real truth was that oftentimes expenditure of money in other directions was attributed to the expenses of the mess. He had never listened to any speech with greater pleasure than he had to the admirable statement made by the noble Lord who had introduced the Estimates that evening. Everybody must have been pleased with the ability which the noble Lord had displayed in delivering so good a defence for so bad a cause, because upon examination he believed it would be found that the Estimates were the worst which had been introduced for some time. A great deal was said of a peace establishment and a desire for economy, but Estimates were presented within £2,000,000 of the highest which had ever been laid on the table. There was a nominal reduction of £450,000, but that reduction was in reality owing to the fact that our army was to be reduced by 4,000 men, because, 1797 as has been shown over and over again in the House, the cost of our soldiers was about £100 a man per annum. He believed, too, that those 4,000 men were reduced merely for the purpose of covering our failure in recruiting, because there was no doubt that our army was deficient of the number of men. Then he perceived the repetition of the old story about Alder-shot. He was one of those who had always regretted the existence of the place as the cause of much of the unpopularity under which the army laboured. He had heard frequent complaints from officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers at having immediately on their return from service, to serve for a couple of years at one of these monster camps, surrounded by all kinds of immorality and vice. There was also to be a great reduction in the War Office. Out of some £350,000 which that large establishment cost the country, there was to be a reduction of £10,000, which he was told, however, would, upon examination, turn out to be no reduction at all. He fully credited the reduction in the militia; but, in reference to the drill of that body, he thought that twenty-one days' exercise would prove sufficient, and he would be glad to see the days reduced, and a better permament staff appointed. Still he believed that the step proposed was one in the right direction. He certainly could not approve the Estimates, which, in reality, embodied a diminution of expense consequent upon a reduction of men.
§ MR. POLLARD-URQUHART
reminded those hon. Gentlemen who complained of the expenditure that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Stamford (Sir Stafford Northcote) in his review of the financial policy of the last twenty years, stated that the war of 1853 was most unfortunate as stirring up the bellicose and turbulent passions of Europe, and thus making a heavy expenditure necessary. It was true that in 1858-9 there was a very moderate budget, with an income tax of 5d. in the pound, but the Estimates were at the same time—in order to satisfy the demands of the country for increased armaments—exceedingly high, and when the present Chancellor of the Exchequer came into office, he found a deficiency of £6,000,000 to provide for, so that while his predecessors kept the taxes low, they did so by leaving the bills to be paid by those who came after them. The country had been engaged in a great experiment, changing the mode of warfare, and some mistakes 1798 involving expense had unavoidably occurred, but he hoped that when Parliament next assembled, which ever party might happen to be in power, they would do their best to allay the bellicose and turbulent passions which had been excited in Europe, and reduce the expenditure which the existence of those passions had rendered necessary.
said, that he thought the hon. Baronet (Sir John Trelawny) was wrong in condemning the appointment of Lord De Ros to the command of a regiment; but his remarks had raised the whole question as to how these appointments were to be made—whether they were to be made the reward of long service or services in the field. Now everything relating to this matter was uncertain. At one time one course was followed, at another time another. He wished the noble Lord, if he could, to tell them the rule of the service. A gallant Officer had alluded to another branch of the service, in which appointments were equally uncertain—that was the rule in respect to staff appointments. He (Colonel Dunne) quite agreed with him in the opinion that at the Horse Guards the officers of Commander-in-Chief's staff ought not to be changed so frequently as every five years, which was the rule laid down (though evaded) for holding general staff appointments of the army. It was a subject of complaint that there was no distinct rule laid down, which everyone could understand, in respect to those matters. The appointments according to the rule were made for five years, but now was it applied, equally as well? Certainly not, for we find one officer is transferred from staff appointment to staff appointment, while another at the expiration of his time, is sent about his business, and it is hard to persuade people that favouritism and interest does not guide the selections. The rule as to five years might be made generally, if not undesirably, for the staff of the army, and the appointments at the head-quarters be regarded as exceptional for the duties of such officers required extensive acquaintance with the characters and views of all who served in the army, and at the end of five years they might be compelled to leave office just as they had acquired the knowledge most useful to a Commander-in-Chief. He did not think it advisable to enter into the services of the officers whose appointments had been made the subject of dispute, but some distinct and 1799 intelligible arrangement should be come to, so that the Horse Guards should not be exposed to the suspicion of favouritism. The system of purchase had also been alluded to, and an outcry against favouritism had some years ago been raised against the means it was said to afford of promoting the friends of influential persons. Now, it had been already proved that the abolition of purchase was impossible, without incurring a very large expense for rewarding officers who wish to retire. But at the very moment when Secretaries at War, especially the late Lord Herbert, were declaiming against the purchase system and no one in theory supported it, they were actually themselves trafficing in the sale of commissions, and did so at the present moment. By means of those sales the War Department had at its command a fund which it used for still further extending this purchase system, the manipulation of which they themselves were only acquainted with. With reference to the question of recruiting, he believed there was no greater absurdity than our system. Some years ago the first period of service for cavalry was twelve years, and the infantry ten years. There was a strong opinion expressed in favour of the longer period by himself (Colonel Dunne) and other military men both in and out of the House, and even a Committee who had inquired into the subject had recommended it, but, so far from acting upon that recommendation, the military authorities reduced the cavalry service to ten years, instead of raising the infantry service to the longer period. And what was the consequence? We were losing our men every day. A cavalry soldier in India at the end of his ten years was sent home at a cost for his passage alone of £26, and then, upon his arrival in England, if he volunteered to re-enlist he was sent back to India at a further cost of £26, exclusive of all other expenses or another to replace him. The country was thus put to an expense of £52 for every man that left. Whereas, if a bounty of only £10 were offered him in India upon the expiration of his period of service, he was informed, by the best authorities on the subject, officers who had returned from that country where they had commanded regiments, that the men generally would gladly re-enlist, and this enormous cost be saved. Now, what ought to be done on this head should be done at once, for it was certain that recruiting was falling off. 1800 It was probable, if a proper inducement were offered, that there were plenty of men ready to enlist, but it was a fact (that even admitting the number of recruits enlisted, as the noble Lord stated during the last few months) we did not obtain a sufficient number to fill up the casualties in our army, but not only had the numbers of enlistments fallen off, but the quality and physical force of our recruits had much deteriorated of late years. And if we were to go to war to-morrow we should find out that fact. The men who were joining our army now were very inferior to the men of fifteen or twenty years ago. Any commanding officer could inform the noble Marquess of that if he or the War Department would condescend to ask those who were capable of telling them the truth. He had seen within the last three days in Dublin a set of men in the service who would not have been admitted into it twelve or fifteen years ago. Good men did not enlist because they would not get the rewards which they deserved. The regulation for what they called consolidated pay was an injury to the non-commissioned officers of which complaints were made. It at once added 2d. a day to their pay on appointment, but this advantage of 2d. a day additional pay deprived a non-commissioned officer of the good-conduct pay which he ought to get as his service went on, in fact there were privates who by length of service and good conduct were receiving 5d. per diem above their regimental pay, but a non-commissioned officer by this objectionable warrant must serve his whole period without additions to the 2d. per diem it conferred, the boon was delusive and impolitic, for it was desirable to hold out every inducement to good soldiers to seek promotion. Another cause of the indifference to enlist, of which we complain, is the dislike the men feel to their prolonged quarters in those huge barracks, falsely called camps of instruction, such as Aldershot. No doubt the camps of instruction were excellent, but the huge barracks themselves were detestable to the men, and they produced an injurious effect upon our recruiting system. Several of the men in Aldershot, who had seen fifteen years foreign service, he had reason to believe, would much prefer going back to foreign service than be constrained to live there any longer. A more ill-selected spot could not be chosen. The dust in summer was frightful, and he thought must be injurious to the health of 1801 the soldiers, and he knew for a certainty that it was injurious to the preservation of their clothes. The hon. Baronet, he thought, had made a great mistake when he condemned the mess system, and no military men would agree with him without condemnation. Now he (Colonel Dunne) was convinced that nothing kept our officers better together than their messes. Foreign officers generally approved of our mess system, and some were even adopting it. It was carried on now at much less expense than when he first entered the army, and it appeared to him that it would prove injurious to the service if those messes were to be abolished. As the Votes proceeded it was his intention to point out more particularly his views upon the various points to which he referred.
§ COLONEL SYKES
congratulated the noble Marquess upon the lucidity of his statement to-night, and also upon the improvement which had been made in the mode of bringing forward the Estimates, though a good deal still remained to be done. He agreed with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon in what he had said with respect to the £160,000,000 which this Parliament had spent in what was called providing for the defence of the nation. It was not the men he wished to see diminished or their comforts curtailed, but it was the constantly increasing charges incurred in the outlay on fortifications, in the manufacturing establishments for the army and navy, and in the number of officials who were employed and who did not do as much as they ought for the salaries which they received which should be attended to. For years past the House had been asked for lump sums for small arms, guns, and other purposes, but they were never told the quantities that were required, although he had annually complained of the omission. Surely if an estimate could be made of the money that was required, it must be founded upon the number of rifles and cannon that would be wanted. In the French Estimates the numbers and quantities of materials were always given. Why could not the same be done in the British Army Estimates, and then the House would have the means of appreciating the economy with which the work was done. There were, twenty-seven Votes in the present Estimates, but explanations of six of them only were given in the Appendix. The noble Lord had stated that 1,354 native troops now at Shanghai 1802 had been struck off the Estimates this year. He begged to ask whether orders had gone out to send those troops back to India, and when the English Budget would be relieved from their pay, because he had received by the last mail, accounts dated the 7th of January, that these two Indian battalions were still at Shanghai engaged in competing in athletic sports with the sailors of Her Majesty's ships. The number of troops had been reduced, it appeared, by 4,289, but he found that the reduction of officers was only fifty-three. The proportionate reduction of officers as between officers and men had not been kept up, and instead of fifty-three, no less than 226 officers ought to have been put on half pay on the reduction of 4,239 men. Another matter he must refer to was the subject of recruiting. Considering the present drain on the population of this country by emigration and in other ways, he questioned whether the available youthful sinew and blood of England would suffice to supply the vacancies in the army of 72,000 men in India. It was a great blunder in his opinion to have destroyed the local European army in India, and he believed the time would come when we would have to reorganize it. He thought the present ten years' service might be advantageously extended, and he believed that if the soldiers were located for twelve years in India, they were more likely to become attached to the country, marry native wives in many instances, become acclimatized, and acquire sympathies for the country and the people, so that when their twelve years' service was out they would, instead of coming home, remain in India for the rest of their days, and, as old soldiers, become invaluable; such, at least, were some of the results with the Company's European troops. With regard to the British army he regarded the system of purchase as a mistake, because in the greater number of cases it compelled an old and experienced officer in the interests of his family to sell his commission rather than risk the total loss of the purchase-money by his own death, and the country lost his services at a period of his life when they ought to be retained. As to the camp at Aldershot, it was a misnomer to call it a camp at all. It was, in fact, a standing cantonment, with all the disadvantages of being neither a garrison town nor a camp, and the health and morals of the men suffered by being kept there throughout the year. The French did not pursue this system, In the 1803 summer months they collected their regiments from the garrisons and towns, sent them into tents or huts to learn the duties of a camp life, and after they had been practiced in evolutions for a few months they were then sent back to their garrisons. The noble Lord the Under Secretary for War stated that the extra receipts last year amounted to £1,324,442; but it did not appear that the whole of that sum had been paid into the Exchequer. Credit was given for only £791,000, and he begged for an explanation why the Exchequer had not received £1,324,442?
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, that he rejoiced at the improvements in the form of the Estimates which had taken place since last year; and all the alterations in the details were improvements. But in future years we wanted similar improvements containing more detailed information with regard to our manufacturing establishments. He had always urged that the Estimates should show the work to be performed. With regard to the mess system, he had been a member of a regimental mess for thirty years, and had never known an instance of an officer being ruined by it. The best social results were obtained from it; it kept up the tone of the officers, maintained an esprit de corps, and made the mess a family. He should be sorry to see the French or any other continental system introduced in its place. As to Lord De Ros, whom he had known from his youth, he must say that he never knew an officer who more devoted his time and his mind to the cultivation of professional knowledge; and when that gallant officer was going out to Lord Raglan's army on the staff, he (Sir Frederic Smith) congratulated his Lordship on his having so able a man in his army. Had Lord De Ros's health been sound he would have proved himself an ornament to the army, but he was compelled by ill health to return home. The hon. Member for Buckingham (Sir Harry Verney) ought to know that the staff system—namely, the retention of office for five years only—was adopted by a Commission, of which the late Lord Herbert was Chairman; and the present Lord Dalhousie and Earl Grey were of Opinion that it was based on a sound principle. That was his own opinion; but he doubted its applicability to head-quarters. The Quartermaster General was the adviser of the Commander-in-Chief on all questions relating to the distribution of the army; and in that officer great knowledge was required, both of the service and the offi- 1804 cers. As to Aldershot, why was it built has been asked? Aldershot was chosen not only because the ground was exceedingly cheap, but also because it was the best strategical point that could be found, as railways ran into it from various directions. When the army went out to Varna, the Government and Lord Panmure felt it necessary to get accommodation for 200,000 militia, and hut3 were built for that purpose with the utmost speed. The site was selected with great care by Lord Hardinge and Lord Panmure, as the best site inland between the Bill of Portland and the North Foreland. Afterwards the Government regarded Aldershot as of still greater importance, and it was decided to build permanent barracks there; and he believed they were as good as any in the world. Doubtless they were expensive, but every convenience for the soldier was to be found there. The only question was, whether we should retain the huts built for a temporary purpose? It was well known that it was injurious to health to keep men long in the same spot, and he thought the Government might perhaps do well to take the huts down and dispose of them (provided they were found to be so much out of repair as was sometimes alleged), and that the men should, during the winter, be sent to other quarters. It is said that these huts have now become infested with rats and mice. The position of the camp also was a source of discomfort to officers, especially to those who had returned from foreign climates, and might fairly anticipate being sent to some country town, where they would be able to cultivate friendships and enjoy a little social life. As to recruiting, he had passed his life, from the age of fourteen, in the army, and he entertained great respect for the men. He believed there was less crime in the army than in any other class of people. The soldier received less corporal punishment, and had more recreation and enjoyment (except at Aldershot) than he ever had before. At any rate, the soldier was a respectable man, and ought to be spoken of with respect. He thought that the reduction of the Estimate from £4,000 to £400 for the wives and children of soldiers would require some consideration when that Vote came before the Committee. He congratulated the noble Lord upon the reduced cost of the remount of the cavalry. Formerly the charges were too high, and much beyond those of France, Austria, and Bel- 1805 gium. He hoped the reduction had arisen from greater economy and the better care taken of the horses—as formerly the horse did not last more than five or six years—and not from a diminution of the number. He was sorry to find that we were not to have a reserve of artillery. No doubt the noble Lord had not yet made up his mind as to which was the best gun. He thought there had been more delay than was reasonable in finding that out; and in having no guns ready with which to arm our ships he thought we were behind our proper position as a maritime country. There was said to be so little choice between the Whitworth, the Armstrong, and the Blakeley guns that he thought the Government might very well order a few of each for present use rather than be without any until they had decided which was the best gun for the service; because if war were to break out we were not in a position to arm our fortresses, batteries, and ships. He, therefore, thought we were in a very unsafe position, and he should take occasion to press that matter upon the Government at no distant period, because delays were dangerous, especially as it was now known to all the countries in the world, from the recent debate that took place in that House, that England was not provided with guns. A great many, however, believed that we were not provided with ships, but he confessed that he was not one of them. He believed that our ships would turn out efficient when the time came. They were practically good fighting ships, and would be a match for any enemy. The noble Duke at the head of the army, when he was examined before the Royal Commission, said he was not satisfied with the guns, but that he wa3 satisfied that no other country had better guns, and he (Sir Frederic Smith) believed that to be the case at the present moment. He found that a great alteration had been made with regard to the system of obtaining gunpowder, but he hoped the Government would not place its manufacture too much in the hands of private firms. And with regard to the clothing, he trusted the Government would not bind themselves to accept in every instance the lowest tender, but select the lowest tender of such firms as are well known to supply the best materials and workmanship.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, that he differed from the hon. and gallant Gentleman who spoke last as to the guns. He wished to point out to the Committee the power which this country had of manufacturing 1806 guns, not only in the Government yards, but in other works. There was not the slightest doubt that in a few months after the best gun was decided upon any quantity could be produced. It would, therefore, be perfect folly to provide themselves with any large number of guns which they might have to dispense with afterwards. He was glad to see that many valuable suggestions had been made as regarded the present system of recruiting, and the first to which he would allude was that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon (General Peel), who thought that men should be enlisted for twelve years instead of for ten. If the present system worked well, nothing could be said, but he thought it did not work well, and that when a pressure came it would break down. The noble Lord appeared to think the present system of recruiting good, and its results, on the whole, satisfactory. That opinion, however, had scarcely been endorsed in the debate, and it certainly was not shared out of doors. The fact that the army was at one time no less than 4,000 under the establishment was not to be accounted for by any passing or accidental circumstances, bearing in mind that the recruiting staff were meanwhile in full employment. It was a serious fact, not to be lost sight of, and the noble Lord went a little too far when he suggested that fluctuations in the strength of the army were of comparatively little consequence as long as the maximum of cost or numbers was not exceeded. If wanting 17,000 they could only obtain 15,000, what would he the case if they required 30,000 or 40,000? The noble Lord must be acquitted of having spoken disrespectfully of the British soldier; but there was one of his statements that the evidence taken before the Royal Commission by no means bore out. The noble Marquess stated that the ordinary class of recruits, which might almost be called the sweepings of towns, afforded a very good class of soldier. Having carefully gone through the whole of the testimony, he could not find one single deposition which bore out that assertion. On the other hand, the witnesses of highest authority spoke with confidence of the superiority of the men drawn from the agricultural classes. Sir George Wetherall said—I decidedly prefer him (the agricultural labourer)—he is a vastly superior man in conduct, in stature, and in everything else.Colonel Russell, the Inspecting Field Officer of the London district said— 1807The large number of medical rejections shows, I think, very conclusively, that it is an inferior class of the population from which we attempt to recruit our army.Lord Frederick Paulet, speaking of the Guards said—I prefer agricultural recruits, they are more obedient, better behaved, and better soldiers in every way.Mr. Godley, Assistant Under Secretary for War, regarded the present system of recruiting as objectionable upon economical and moral grounds. Major General Wesley, of the Royal Marines, entertained the same preference for agriculturists over the inhabitants of manufacturing towns; and numerous other authorities might he cited in support of the same view. It was urged that increased bounties at once stimulated increased recruiting, but the fact was otherwise, for the limited class from which recruits were drawn under the present system, namely, the idle and unemployed town population was soon exhausted, and when once this occurred it was only desertion and not recruiting which was stimulated by high pecuniary offers. Mr. Dunbar, the senior clerk to the War Department, stated that the desertions in 1859 were 11,000, and the consequent money loss no less than £22,500. In the year 1858 the desertions were 20,000, and the direct money loss thereby entailed was the substantial sum of £83,000. To obtain an increased and a more valuable supply of recruits, it was necessary to look for them among a diferent class—that was to say, among the militia. Major General Douglas, Inspector of Militia, stated—I must say, I have seen many regiments of militia particularly in counties where I have been very much struck with the magnificent class of men in them. The very large proportion of agriculturists of which the militia is composed, shows me distinctly that the militia agency would be very useful in getting the agricultural class. The effective volunteering from the militia upon the 1st July, 1858, consisted of 61,973 men of whom 25,399 were agricultural labourers.The plan which he (Mr. O'Reilly) had ventured to recommend in a recent debate seemed to him best suited for this purpose, that was to say, attaching to every line battalion the corresponding militia battalion in its own locality, from which, as far as possible, it should be recruited, and to which, as to a reserve army, it should return its seventeen or eighteen years' service men with a view of completing their time. He by no 1808 means put it forward as the best suggestion, nor was it one that was to be adopted in part. If it was to be adopted at all, it must be altogether. It would be seen that it consisted in three points—first, that a line battalion should have its own militia battalion attached to it; secondly, that the militia battalion should supply recruits from its own district to the line battalion; and, thirdly, that permission should be given to the men who had three years to serve in the line battalion to complete their probation by serving six years in the militia battalion. His plan had not been fully brought before the Royal Commission; but all its elements had been mentioned by witnesses of the greatest weight, and met with the highest approval. If this were a good plan, why should it not be tried? He begged to say that the Royal Commission on recruiting had neither adopted nor condemned it. The question was put to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, and he said it was a new idea, and that he did not see much objection to it. One answer given by His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief showed that the project was floating before his mind. His Royal Highness was asked—Does your Royal Highness think that it would be possible to combine such a reserve force with the militia, perhaps not constituted as it is now, but to make that reserve force a part of the militia?—There would be a difficulty in that; because you propose to give a pension; therefore I presume that as the men are to have a pension they would have to be considered more as reserves of the line than a militia. We have now a great many old soldiers serving in the militia, and every two years' service of sergeants on the militia staff go towards counting for pension—men who have completed their sixteen years, and have to make up their twenty-one, do it exactly in the way your Royal Highness has mentioned. Then I am not aware that there would be any objection to it. It is a new idea which I have not much considered, but at the present moment I do not see any objection to it.He ventured to hope that this idea which had been thrown out three years ago would receive more full consideration now. Sure he was that when the pressure of the recruiting system came, and it was necessary to increase the number of men on the Estimates, the difficulty of that system would be doubly felt.
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, that he entirely concurred in the approval so generally expressed as to the manner in which the noble Marquess who represented the War Office, had performed the duty assigned to 1809 him that evening. The noble Marquess had stated that several subjects connected with the army had already been discussed, and of these the question of recruiting was one. Now, he had listened to the interesting debate upon that subject, introduced by the hon. and gallant Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly) with a degree of intelligence, candour, and moderation, that must have struck every one that heard him; but he thought it was distinctly stated by the noble Marquess that there were two reasons which rendered it unadvisable to discuss that Motion—first, because the subject had been so recently considered by a Royal Commission; and, secondly, because another opportunity would be afforded when they came to discuss the Army Estimates. As he had the honour of being at the head of the Royal Commission on Recruiting, he wished to know from the noble Marquess which of the recommendations of that Royal Commission had been adopted and which rejected by the Government, for the whole of their recommendations had been made with the view of rendering the system of recruiting more palatable to those who might be induced to enter the army? He would not go into the much debated question as to the merit or otherwise of the Limited Enlistment Act. He had been opposed to its introduction, and he was opposed to it still. He, in common with many others, hoped the noble Earl at the head of the War Office would give his serious attention to the Question. He certainly concurred in the general opinion that twelve years' enlistment was preferable to ten years in order to accomplish an object of the greatest value—namely, keeping our old soldiers. He cordially concurred in what had been said by the noble Marquess on the alteration of the depot system. He never understood the policy of keeping in this country the establishment of a regiment in one place and its depot in another. He had heard it asserted that where a regiment and the depot were in the same town, that the commanding officer of the regiment had no more to do with the men of the depot than if they belonged to another regiment. But it was of material consequence, when men were enlisted, that they should get as soon as possible to their regiments, to learn their system, and become acquainted with those with whom they had to pass the best part of their lives. It was only in this way that men would imbibe the esprit de corps which was so valuable in the army. He next wished 1810 the noble Marquess would give him some information as to what was called the Reserve Fund. What did it mean, what was its amount, what were its objects, and what was done with it? It was a military fund under the control of the Secretary of State for War, but covered with a cloud of mystery, and he dared to say there were not five Members in the House who knew what it meant. When he formerly asked for information concerning it, he was told by the noble Marquess that the account was made up to the end of the financial year, and he could not undertake to produce it before the end of April. He was at a loss to know why the Reserve Fund, which had nothing to do with the finances of the country, should not be produced and discussed with the Army Estimates. This was the fund through which commissions were bought and sold entirely at the will of the Secretary of State for War. What connection, then, would there be between it and the accounts of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? He imputed no improper conduct with regard to it, but he sometimes saw in the Gazette that old officers had been obliged to purchase commissions to which their services entitled them without purchase, and then he was told all this was for the purpose of the Reserve Fund. He wanted, therefore, to know something about its merits or demerits, its extent and objects. His right hon. Friend (General Peel) had referred to an arrangement, which he said was one of the shabbiest transactions he had ever heard of—namely, calling on officers many years after they received commissions to pay the stamp duty on them. He was a living witness who could speak upon this point. He did not complain of the amount, but of the manner in which the charge had been made. Five years after he received his last commission but one, he got a letter from a high official in the War Office, demanding, in a most peremptory manner, the immediate payment of the stamp duty on his commission. He had never been asked for it before that; but, from the nature of the letter, he almost anticipated that he was going to be exchequered for the nonpayment of it. He then wrote to that official, now a general officer, stating that he had not the least idea that he was indebted to Her Majesty any sum at all, and that if he would tell him to whom he was to pay the money he would lose no time in doing so. He received an answer and paid the money as directed. That was now between seven- 1811 teen and eighteen months ago; and yet to this day he had never received his commission. Was that a proper mode of doing business? If a man was allowed to go five years without being called on to pay for the stamp on his commission, was it right that when the Government got the money from him on their urgent application, they should not take the trouble to send him the commission? It could not be said that they had any difficulty in knowing where to send it, because they knew well enough where to send when they wanted the money. It was neither official regularity nor the courtesy duo even to the humblest ensign in the service that, after being called upon in peremptory terras to pay for the stamp, the Government would not take the trouble to send him his commission. He cordially agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Sir Harry Verney), on the subject of the Royal Warrant which necessitated a change in the highest offices of the Staff of the army every five years. That was, in his opinion, a very bad arrangement. He was ready to give credit to the late Lord Herbert for having done many things for the benefit of the army, but as to the regulation in question, he (Lord Hotham) was bound to say that his late noble Friend never did anything so much calculated to impair its efficiency. It was very difficult to find an officer fit for the post of Adjutant General. This officer was, in point of fact, the Court of Appeal for the whole army. In order to enable him to perform his duties properly he ought to have had the greatest experience and the greatest amount of service in different parts of the world where British troops are stationed. If the Adjutant General was changed every five years, they would never be able to obtain a man who was so conversant as he ought to be with the important duties attached to that office. The moment he had acquired the requisite fitness for his post, he must be turned adrift, and a successor appointed who had everything to learn. Surely the wiser course would be to get as good an Adjutant General as they could, and then be slow to part with him.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, with regard to enlisting for the army, various plans had been suggested for its improvement, but he thought one had been overlooked—namely, to take advantage of the love of adventure which was the characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race. There was a portion of the population which were inclined to undertake the duties of the military 1812 profession, not from want of pay, but from love of adventure; and to that class the appeal should be made, and little difficulty would be experienced in keeping up the requisite number of men. With reference to the question of guns, he thought that the War Office should first determine what projectile they desired to have, and then apply to the manufacturing enterprise of the country with a view to see how best and most cheaply the guns to discharge the projectile could be procured. If that course were adopted, he believed that ordnance on which the country could depend in time of war would be procured in a very brief space of time.
was glad that Government intended to do away with the depot system, which was both expensive and pernicious. He could not congratulate them for having reduced the number of men, as he considered the army to be many thousands below the requisite standard. He agreed with the hon. Member for Wexford that the system of recruiting had broken down, but he could not concur in some of the remedies which he suggested. The pay must be increased and the system of enlisting for ten years discontinued, if they desired to effect any marked improvement in recruiting for the army. He could not agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly) that it would be a good thing to send a militia regiment and a regiment of the Line to the same county. The 14th regiment of the Line was called the Buckinghamshire, and the 16th the Bedfordshire regiment. He had had the honour of commanding the Bedfordshire Militia for some years, and during the Crimean war and the Indian mutiny his corps volunteered more than a battalion to the Line. Yet only one man out of the whole number volunteered into the 16th regiment—the regiment connected with the county. With respect to what the hon. and gallant Member (Sir Frederic Smith) had said about Aldershot, he must say he held him answerable for its construction. The contractor was paid for the best. The contract was that the huts at Aldershot should be composed of the best materials; how then did it happen, as was alleged, that the best materials were not used in their construction? It was said that a number of rats infested the huts, but before the camp was finished the rats used to come around the huts to get the droppings from the meat and 1813 bones, and were to a certain extent useful. Aldershot was a place where a large body of troops could be brought together, and for his own part he thought it most useful to the country in that respect. He believed that the establishment of the camp had been attended with good results, and he should be sorry to see the huts removed, but he considered that the men ought not to be kept in camp for so long a period as two years.
§ MR. WALPOLE
My right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Colonies having adverted to the proposed gradual withdrawal of troops from New Zealand, I wish to say that, provided that colony was in a state of peace, and that all the difficulties of the unfortunate war which is now being waged there were settled, or that the colonists were in a position to defend themselves, I should be prepared to admit that the policy announced on the part of the Government was that which it was right to adopt. That policy was first suggested by the late Duke of Newcastle, and was subsequently mentioned in a despatch of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell). When my right hon. Friend sent out the last despatch which has been laid on the table, things in New Zealand were no doubt in a more favourable position than they had previously been, but even then they were not such as we could wish, while the accounts which we have received to-day are anything but satisfactory. Now, I should be sorry to impede the action of the Government in any course which they may deem it to be their duty to take, but we ought, I think, to know whether the withdrawal of these troops at the present time is a measure which has received the sanction of General Cameron. That is the first question which I wish to ask my right hon. Friend; and the second is whether, in the despatch which he sent out intimating it to to be the intention of the Government to withdraw five regiments at once from New Zealand, there are any conditions mentioned which would leave a discretionary power in the matter in the Governor of New Zealand, in General Cameron, or in both together, in the event of their thinking it necessary that the troops should be kept in the colony to meet any emergency that might arise.
§ MR. CARDWELL
Nothing can be fairer or more reasonable than the questions which my right hon. Friend has put to me. The circumstances of the case are these:—The first despatch which called 1814 attention to the necessity of recalling our troops from New Zealand was that which was written on the 26th of April last, in which was laid down the policy which we proposed that the Government of the colony should pursue. That despatch was about contemporaneous with the termination of the first campaign of the war, while the despatch now gone may be said to be contemporaneous with the close of the second campaign. In the course of last year I felt it necessary, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, to set forth in the strongest terms that so long as an army was kept in New Zealand, so long the control of the Home Government and of the Governor—the representative of the Queen—over the troops and military operations must be maintained. To that principle we have steadily adhered. My right hon. Friend, who I have no doubt has looked at the despatches on the subject, is aware that this has led to great controversy in New Zealand; but when the Assembly met the new Ministers of the Governor accepted the principle as fair, stating, at the same time, that the principle of a divided Government was mischievous and troublesome in the colony, while they recognized the entire right of Her Majesty's Government to exercise a reasonable control so long as the war was carried on by Her Majesty's troops. They then laid it clown, as the policy on which their Administration was formed, that they would make exertions for the regulation of their own internal affairs with a view to the entire withdrawal of the Queen's troops. That policy we have accepted with complete satisfaction, and we found it necessary to come to a decision as to what number of troops should be removed at the present moment. We have fixed the number at five regiments, and I have every reason to believe after the debate which took place the other night that our proposal has the approval of this House, that it meets also with the approbation of the Ministry and Assembly of New Zealand, and that it will tend to the benefit and pacification of the colony. There is not, I may add, the slightest doubt in our minds that this is the true policy to pursue, but I apprehend that in the instructions sent out my noble Friend the Secretary for War has left to General Cameron a reasonable discretion as to how he should act in the event of any unforeseen difficulty or danger arising, with regard to retaining a certain number of troops in New Zealand.
§ MR. WALPOLE
My right hon. Friend has not given a very distinct answer to the questions which I put to him. I do not mean to dispute the justice of the policy to which he refers, and as to which the information just given is very precise; but what I am anxious to know is whether the withdrawal of the troops under present circumstances is to take place with the concurrence of General Cameron, and whether, the five regiments being ordered home, there are any conditions annexed to the instructions sent out which would enable the Governor of New Zealand or General Cameron, should they deem it necessary, to detain those troops in the colony.
§ MR. CARDWELL
I think I have already answered both those questions. The withdrawal of the five regiments is a measure which was decided upon not by General Cameron, but by the Government at home. With regard to the tenour of the instructions of my noble Friend the Secretary for War, I can only say that I believe they are such as to leave sufficient latitude to General Cameron as to how he should act should unforeseen circumstances arise after the instructions were sent out.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
, in replying, said, he was afraid that he should not be able to answer all the questions which had been put to him in the course of the discussion, adding that some of them related to mere points of detail, and could be better explained when the particular Votes with which they were more immediately connected came on for consideration. The subjects to which the greater portion of the observations which had been made that evening was directed were recruiting and the operation of the Limited Enlistment Act; and with regard to the first he must maintain, notwithstanding the repeated contradictions with which the statement had been met, that recruiting for our army was not a failure, as was shown by the fact that we obtained this year 15,600 men with a bounty of only £1 in operation. That, he believed, was as large a number as had ever been raised with so low a bounty and in time of peace. As to the working of the Limited Enlistment Act, he need only point out that the necessity for raising a large number of recruits was owing in a great degree to the increased numbers of our army, and to the fact that additional troops were required for service in India. The number of men 1816 entitled to their discharge by the expiration of their term of service this year would be 8,612. The loss of men by deaths, desertion, and discharges for causes other than expiration of service last year amounted to 11,288. So that of 19,900 men by which it was estimated the army next year would be diminished, only 8,612, or not nearly half, would be lost in consequence of the Limited Enlistment Act. [Colonel SYKES: Including India?] Including India. It had been found that considerably more than half the men who took their discharges re-enlisted, and therefore it would be necessary to raise only about 13,500 recruits during the ensuing year, a smaller number than was obtained last year, when, according to the statement of some hon. and gallant Gentlemen, recruiting was at a standstill. Under these circumstances, he could not see that the system of recruiting had failed; or any immediate necessity for the repeal of the Limited Enlistment Act. If recruiting really came to a standstill, some other course must be taken. The bounty might be raised; and, although there were objections other than financial ones to such a measure, it must not be forgotten that in times of the greatest pressure the raising of the bounty had procured a sufficient supply of recruits. It was further said that the men whom we lost under the operation of the Limited Enlistment Act were just those whom we wanted to retain. He denied that this was the case. The men who sought their discharge at the expiration of their period of service were not generally the men whom they were most desirous to retain. The instructions to commanding officers were not to re-engage any men whose character or whose health rendered it undesirable that they should remain in the army; and, therefore, the country ought by the expiration of their term of service to get rid of men whom from any cause it was not desirable to retain in the army. At the same time, he did not deny that many of those who took their discharge were men whom it would be desirable to keep in the army, and it was possible that in the future it might be found necessary to hold out to them some inducement to remain. But at present the Government saw no necessity for increasing the pay of the men. It must not be forgotten that not only would not the offer of an extra 6d. a day to all men who re-enlisted obtain for the army all the men who now refused to re-engage, but that the extra pay would have to be given 1817 to the 60 per cent who now re-enlisted without it, as well as to the much smaller number, perhaps 20 per cent, whom it might induce to continue their service. He presumed that when Parliament passed the Limited Enlistment Act, it did so with its eyes open, and that when it empowered the men to claim their discharge at the end of ten years it contemplated that some of them would avail themselves of that privilege. It could not, therefore, be a reason for the repeal of the Act that a certain number of men had availed themselves of the benefits of its provisions. He had looked at the debates which took place at the time, and he saw that the Duke of Wellington, who supported the Bill, said that he would not have done so if he had thought that it would deprive the service of old soldiers, whom he described as the backbone of the army; but he never said that he desired to have an army composed entirely of old soldiers, and the effect of the Act as it worked now was that more than half the men re-enlisted, and thus considerably more than half of every regiment always were old soldiers. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) had referred somewhat irregularly to a speech which he had made upon this subject on a previous occasion. He never intended to impute to the gallant Gentleman that he desired to impede recruiting; but he certainly understood him to say that the pay of our soldiers, not that of the re-enlisted ones only, was totally inadequate, and to speak of it as if it was a bare shilling a day, and as if there were no other advantages to be derived from entering the army; and his opinion was that if such a statement was circulated throughout the country without explanation it would be exceedingly prejudicial to recruiting. The gallant Gentleman said that his speech had given great pain to the army. If that was the case he could not take too early an opportunity of expressing his deep regret that anything should have fallen from him which had had an effect so contrary to any that he could have desired to produce. He certainly never said or intended to say that the army was composed of the "sweepings of large towns." All that he said, or could have intended to say, was that he agreed to a certain extent with the hon. and gallant Member for Longford that the bounty system, especially when the bounty was increased in times of pressure, must in the first instance sweep up recruits of a very 1818 low class from the large towns. That was a fact which could not be denied. There was nothing to prevent men of bad character enlisting; and no doubt many bad characters did get into the army. But he did not say that the army was composed of such characters. On the contrary, he said that he believed that entering the army did them good, and that often after undergoing a course of drill and discipline their characters changed, and in many instances they returned to the towns from which they had come very much improved in mind as well as in body. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Longford asked him whether the Horse Guards and the War Office were perfectly satisfied with the state of recruiting at present. The statement which he made the other night was the best proof that they did not think that the existing state of things was so good that it was not susceptible of great improvement. He then stated that most of. the questions which had been brought under the notice of the House by the hon. and gallant Gentleman were at that moment the subjects of consideration by the Horse Guards and his noble Friend the Secretary of State. No doubt the War Department was not perfectly satisfied with the system of recruiting, but they did not think it necessary that another Commission should be appointed. It would be much more satisfactory if, instead of being short of 1,000 men, it had to reject them in consequence of having too many. It would be also infinitely preferable if they could get a better class of men to enlist—if they could recruit more from the country and less from the towns. The only reply he could make to the objections to the system was that it was receiving the most careful and anxious consideration at the hands of the War Department. Another subject that had apparently excited considerable attention was the appointment of Lord De Ros to a regiment while he retained his former office at the Tower. Lord De Ros obtained his appointment to the Tower before the rule came into force that prevented an officer obtaining a regiment from retaining a garrison appointment. Exactly the same case occurred with reference to Sir George Bowles, who was appointed previously to the new rule being issued, and he got his regiment and kept his appointment. He did not exactly see to what the right hon. Baronet objected—whether he did not wish Lord De Ros to keep the appointment or to get the regi- 1819 ment It had been stated already that Lord De Ros was an officer who had done very good service, although, unfortunately, he had never had the opportunity of being in action. He went to Turkey during the Crimean war, and would have proceeded to the Crimea had he not been attacked by fever and laid up in consequence. The right hon. Baronet asked upon what principle the appointments to regiments were made—whether upon the principle of seniority or of service in the field. He had no hesitation in replying that they were not made exclusively upon either principle. It appeared to him reasonable that good service in the field should be the first consideration, yet it would be very hard if an officer who had not been so fortunate as to be placed in a position in which he could distinguish himself was to be deprived of the reward he was entitled to for long and useful services. To suggest the adoption of such a principle would be to inflict a monstrous injustice upon the service. Lord De Ros had been passed over very often when the claims of other officers had been superior to his own, but now the time had arrived when he was entitled to be considered. It must be recollected that the appointment to the Tower was not a military office, neither was it a sinecure, as there were many arduous duties connected with it. The hon. and gallant Member for Limerick had remarked that the proposed reduction in the Estimates related merely to the number of men, and not to the number of officers. That hon. and gallant Member should have recollected that the reduction was not made in the number of battalions but only in the men, and that unless the number of battalions were reduced it was impossible to reduce that of the officers. And, besides this, to reduce the number of officers would be to radically weaken the army, as the ranks could easily be filled up in case of necessity, whereas officers could not be found in an emergency ready to their hands. In reply to the hon. Member for Limerick, he must remind him that as the reduction of a man only saved the country between £40 and £50, the reduction of 4,000 men could not account for the saving of £400,000. As regarded the Beloochees, no doubt they would return to India as soon as they received the order. The hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) asked whether the Indian troops had received orders to return, to which he replied that such 1820 orders had been sent out six weeks since. Another subject referred to was that of the change of the Adjutant General and Quartermaster General, in accordance with the existing rule every five years. It appeared to him there would be some difficulty in excepting those officers from the rule by which the inferior officers of that Department were governed, but he was sure, after the very general expression of the opinion of the House upon the point, the Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of State would take the matter into consideration. The only other subject he had to allude to was that of the stamp duties upon commissions. There had been good reason for delay in this matter, as was well known to many hon. Gentlemen. That reason was one they would not desire to discuss, affecting as it did an illustrious personage. The right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) would, if present, bear him him out in this. It was quite true that owing to an accumulation of arrears there had been considerable delay in the issuing of commissions; but this was a grievance which would be felt no longer. The stamp duty did not come into the hands of the War Department, but the law required that it should be paid before a commission could be prepared or issued. He was not, however, aware that any case had occurred in which an officer had not received his commission after he had paid the stamp duty. He could not understand how such an occurrence could have taken place. The noble Lord (Lord Hotham) had asked him which of the recommendations of the Recruiting Commission had been adopted by the Government, and which had been rejected. He held in his hand the statement of those recommendations; as, however, they amounted to 39 in number, he could not think of detaining the Committee by going through them; but no doubt the noble Lord, as Chairman of the Commission, knew the recommendations to which the Commissioners attached the greatest weight; and if he pointed them out he should be most happy to give him every information respecting them.
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, he wished to inquire whether the noble Marquess would let him see in private the paper containing the observations of the Department on these recommendations.
observed, that if the 1821 noble Marquess had said that the army was recruited from the sweepings of the large towns every gallant Officer of experience would have concurred with him; but the noble Marquess had gone further, and said that as they had got so good an article from the sweepings of towns he was not sure that they should desire to have the army composed of a superior material. He was sure the noble Marquess had made that statement inadvertently, and he was glad he had given him an opportunity of explaining it, for there was no one more ready than he to do justice to the zeal and ability with which he (the Marquess of Hartington) performed the duties of his office, and to his courtesy towards the Members of that House on all occasions. He only hoped that as long as the present Government remained in power the noble Marquess might hold his present appointment, and he was sure the more he knew of the British soldier the more he would appreciate that soldier's good qualities.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Resolved, (1.)"That 142,477 Land Forces (including 9,109, all ranks, to be employed with the Dep6ta in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland of Regiments serving in Her Majesty's Indian Possessions.)"
§ Resolved, (2.)"That 178 Native Indian Troops (belonging to Her Majesty's Native Indian Army, to be maintained beyond the limits of Her Majesty's Indian Possessions.)"
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he hoped that the Committee would now allow him to take the Vote for troops, amounting to £5,434,567, reserving further discussion for other items.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £5,434,567, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the General Staff, and Regimental Pay, Allowances, and Charges of Her Majesty's Land Forces at Home and Abroad, exclusive of India, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1866, inclusive.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
asked, whether this item included the pay of the Major General attached to the Foot Guards.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
, under these circumstances, must move the reduction of the Vote by a sum of £691 19s. 7d., the amount paid to that officer. The Inspector General of Infantry had been superseded altogether. The existence of an Inspector General of the Brigade of Guards 1822 was nothing more than an abuse, and yet it was retained. It was believed that the office had been created to reward an old soldier. He begged to move the reduction of the Vote by the amount he had mentioned.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question, proposed,
That the Item of £ 691 19s. 7d., for the Major General attached to the Foot Guards, be omitted from the proposed vote." (Sir John Trelawny.)
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
remarked, that if the Inspector General of the Brigade of Guards had not as much duty as he could perform the troops at Colchester might be placed under him.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the appointment of a Major General to inspect the Guards had frequently been discussed in that House, and the decision come to had been in favour of continuing the appointment. Good reason had been shown for abolishing the appointment of Inspector General of Infantry; but much inconvenience had been felt before the appointment of a Major General to inspect the Foot Guards.
§ MR. DAWSON-DAMER
said, that the Brigade of Guards was really a division, consisting of seven battalions; and considering that a division of the army in the field comprised only six, it was only common sense that the so-called brigade should be under the command of a General.
remarked, that hon. Gentlemen who were in favour of the maintenance of this office appeared to forget that there were three colonels to inspect the battalions of Foot Guards. He thought the Chairman ought to be directed to report Progress.
was of opinion that a Lieutenant General instead of a Major General ought to have been appointed as Inspector General of the Foot Guards. In any other army this would have been the case.
observed, that the line was commanded by general officers. The abolition of the office of Inspector General of Infantry had reference solely to depot battalions.
§ Question put:—The Committee divided—Ayes 27; Noes 47: Majority 20.1823
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, that though the majority of the House was clearly in favour of going on, yet, as there appeared to he several hon. Gentlemen among the minority who had still observations to make on this Vote, perhaps it would be better to report Progress. The Army Estimates, however, would be taken tomorrow, as the money was wanted.
§ To report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee also report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.