rose to call attention to the petitions which had been presented by the officers of the late Indian Army. He said, it would be in the recollection of the House that last year, in consequence of a discussion which took place, the Secretary of State for India stated that it was his intention to carry out to the full, and in every particular, the Report of the Royal Commissioners who had been appointed to inquire into the various grievances brought before the notice of the House by the officers of the Indian army. After such a pledge as that had been given it was a very serious question to find, a year afterwards, twenty-three general officers, over 240 field officers, and more than 500 officers of lower ranks, not one of whom could have served less than seven years in the East Indies, should have thought proper to petition the House that the Report should be carried out. On ordinary occasions the mere fact of 750 officers petitioning a Government, from the general officer to the subaltern, and a large proportion filling high ranks in the service, was a very serious question for consideration, either for England or any other nation in the world. Where such a large number of officers felt the necessity of forwarding petitions, there must be a large 1319 body in addition who coincided in their opinions, but who preferred to wait and see? what was done in the matter. When the House came to consider that this had occurred among the officers commanding Native troops in India, they would see it was a matter which could not long be postponed. It was not many years since the Native troops of India mutinied throughout the whole of our dominions from suspicion of the acts of the British Government. Whether it arose from the intrigues of the Court of Persia, the confiscation of Oude, or the greased cartridges, it arose from deep suspicion in the minds of the Sepoys, with regard to the intentions of the British Government. We kept repeating they had no cause for distrust, yet no sooner had we conquered them than the local European army mutinied, and the very troops who had assisted us to fight our battles were obliged to be disbanded. Distrust had caused their mutiny, and this was not relieved when, after being disbanded, and as soon as they reached these shores, they found our recruiting officers ready to re-enlist them. Now again we find discontent in the local service in India from 1860 to 1865. But this time it is the officers of the whole local army. He did not know which feeling was the greater—his admiration for the loyalty of these officers, or his surprise at the measures which had been taken to drive them to despair. They had trusted to Parliament as loyal Englishmen, and up to the present time had acted as British officers should do, relying upon the fulfilment of the promises given to them. He trusted it would be shown that their faith had not been misplaced. The right hon. Baronet(Sir Charles Wood) asked him (Captain Jervis) last year whether it was usual in other countries that officers whose services were not required should be kept on full pay, and then the right hon. Gentleman said they ought to be placed on half-pay or got rid of altogether. Now he (Captain Jervis) wished to state that this could not have taken place in any other army in the world, for this simple reason, that there was no other army in the condition of the servants of the late East India Company. In every civilized as well as every barbarous country men were either bound to take up arms, or they volunteered and became part and parcel of what was called the army of the country; but what was the army of the East India Company? They went into that service with certain distinct arrangements by which 1320 they were to receive certain pay so long as they remained there and did their duty, and they were to receive a certain pension when they left, and there was no analogy between their case and that of any other army. When it was considered politic that the power possessed by the East India Company should be transferred to the Crown one difficulty was, how to provide for the army which we had permitted the East India Company to raise. The army belonging to this Company was, to speak in plain language, nothing more nor less than a body of mercenaries who had entered as servants into the employ of a number of merchants. In order to protect our interests as well as of those servants, Acts of Parliament and Orders of the Board of Control were passed, by which a certain system of wages, discipline, and promotion was guaranteed to these men. Originally on these gentlemen entering the service a distinct agreement on parchment between the directors and themselves was drawn up. This practice, however, fell into disuse, not because the respective parties failed to observe it, but simply because Parliament interfered in 1796, and promised to every man who entered the service the enjoyment of certain rights and privileges as long as he performed his duty. In 1858 a Commission was appointed to inquire into the organization of the army then serving in the pay of the East India Company, and to report as to the terms on which it was to be transferred to the Crown. On that Commission were the hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel), then Secretary of State for War, the Commander-in-Chief, the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley), then Secretary for India, and a number of Members much respected by the country. The Report of the Committee was as distinct as any Report possibly could be. They said—The privileges and advantages thus referred to are detailed in the Appendix, but may be briefly stated to consist in a prescriptive right to rise strictly by seniority to the rank and emoluments of colonel of a regiment, with the option of retiring before attaining that position, or after various periods of service, on a scale of pay or pension considerably higher than that granted to officers of your Majesty's army of the line. No change, therefore, can be made which would in any way disturb the system of promotion by seniority as affecting officers now in the service, or interfere with any of their existing privileges; but the 57th section of the above recited Act gives to your Majesty full power to frame new regulations on 1321 this and all other points, to be applied to the case of officers and others who hereafter may enter the Indian army.When the right hon. Baronet (Sir Charles Wood) became Secretary of State for India he also brought in a Bill upon the subject, in accordance with the feeling generally entertained in the country, and while that Bill was before the House, the right hon. Baronet accepted a clause at the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Henley), which the right hon. Baronet seemed to regard as unnecessary. As Secretary of State for India, he said he felt himself bound to maintain all the pledges that had been given, but nevertheless added he would accept the clause in deference to the opinion of the House. That statement was made in the House on the 30th of July, 1860, and yet on the same day the right hon. Baronet had signed the appointment of a Committee to which was to be referred a plan to overthrow all he had pledged himself to carry out. Within a short time that Committee reported adversely to the wishes of the right hon. Baronet, as follows:—We do not understand in what manner any change can be introduced into the existing system of promotion in the local army of India without an infringement upon the guarantee contained in the 56th and 58th clauses of the Government of India Act of 1858 (21 & 22 Vict. c. 106).In spite of his own Committee reporting against him, the right hon. Baronet sent out a despatch to India, establishing the system which he probably regarded as correct, but which was in reality utterly opposed to the guarantee which had been given. No sooner had the despatch reached India and made public by the Governor General, than it excited the most extraordinary interest throughout that country. Every man in the service felt that the pledges of Parliament could not be relied upon, that not any of those promises upon the fulfilment of which they so confidently depended would be carried out, and the service believed they were a ruined body of men. No less than 278 questions were sent by Governors of Provinces, General Officers, and others, to the Governor General of India, with a view to obtain an explanation of the despatch. The Governor General did his best to satisfy the questioners and to settle the matter, but his answers to no fewer than sixty-nine of the questions were disputed by the Secretary of State for India at home. This plan had evidently been dwelling in the mind of the right hon. 1322 Baronet for some considerable period. When the Bill under Lord Derby's Government was brought into the House, a very able discussion took place, and among others who drew the attention of the House to the subject, was the right hon. Gentleman the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman said—The Bill of the late Government did refer to the Indian array; and I must confess that the manner in which the reference was made, made me devoutly to wish that no reference had been made to it at all. I do not mean the extension of the European force serving in India; that is a matter, however, which may ultimately prove much more difficult than we have yet been accustomed to acknowledge; but rather the manner in which it dealt with the Native army properly so called. As regards that army and its officers they were no longer to be in the Company's service, nor, practically, were they to be in the Queen's service. No provision was made with regard to that vast body, upon which we must, under all circumstances, place a great part of our reliance, both for the maintenance of order and the defence of the country. It appeared, according to the provisions of that Bill, that the whole of that great Native army, including the body of officers by which it is commanded, was not to be a Queen's force nor a Company's force, but a mere local force, of a secondary character, deprived in a great degree of the military spirit which necessarily follows and is fostered by belonging to a distinguished service, even as if it were no more than an ordinary constabulary or police force in England … I want to know in what position you are about to place the Indian army, what provision you are going to make to give full scope for its energies, and to enable it to hold that rank and title in the eyes of the world and Europe to which it has a right. These are difficult questions; they involve the entire question of the re-organization of that army, and yet they cannot be excluded from consideration in a final scheme for the government of India."—[3 Hansard, cl. 1623.]What did the scheme of the right hon. Baronet provide? It entirely destroyed the regimental seniority and substituted a Staff Corps, one of the most extraordinary productions that ever emanated from the mind of man. They all knew what a Staff Corps at home and what the Corps d' Etat Major were, but if they were the same as the Staff Corps appointed by the right hon. Baronet he (Captain Jervis) had not in any way the slightest acquaintance with the service. The warrant authorized the formation of a corps from the ranks of which were to be filled the different appointments which belonged to the Staff, whether civil or military. But what did it next do? The right hon. Baronet issued an order which was contrary to the advice of every great man who had been in that country. The complaint that had always been made was that officers had been abstracted from their 1323 regiments for Staff duties, yet by this Staff Corps only six officers were left to each regiment. Having done that, he issued an edict by which the regular regiments were to be turned into irregular regiments; and then he framed a Staff of corps officers to command these irregulars, displacing the whole of the local officers. The Staff officers under this rule were about 1,300, and the number of local officers, who were in a state of disgust, numbered about 2,000. So many petitions were presented that a re-consideration of the question was thought desirable, and he moved for the appointment of a Committee. The right hon. Baronet met that by the proposal of a Royal Commission. At that time he (Captain Jervis) was told by some hon. Members who supported the Government that the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for India had misled him; but his reply was that he must trust the word of the right hon. Baronet until his statement was proved to be incorrect. He should like to draw attention to the way in which that was done. It was said that a Committee would take so long that it was necessary to get rid of the whole affair as soon as possible, and therefore a Commission was best. A Commission was appointed, and Lord Dalhousie was made Chairman, but afterwards resigned, and then the right hon. Baronet appointed as Chairman a learned Lord. He did not complain of such an appointment, but he thought that the subject was one which hardly fell within the province of lawyers. That Commission, however, having been appointed in May, sat, and in November following made a Report. At the commencement of their inquiry the Commissioners, being very properly anxious to dispose of the business as speedily as possible, addressed to him through their secretary a letter asking him to procure from the officers of the Indian army who were then in Europe a statement of what they considered were their grievances. That was not a very simple task when it was remembered that the officers were on leave, or invalids, and were scattered over England and Europe. However, a clear and succinct statement of grievances was drawn up, and a classification of all the petitions that had been presented to Parliament upon the subject was also prepared. The main grievance was the supersession of the right of promotion by seniority. The Report of the Commissioners admitted that the complaints of the Indian officers were 1324 in some cases well founded, and in others that they were not proved. The right hon. Baronet said that of the thirteen grievances submitted to them eight did not exist, two were doubtful, and three were substantial. The hon. Baronet, however, took care not to point out that the one great and veal grievance, the supersession of rising by seniority, was confirmed by the Commission. The great grievance had been admitted by the Commissioners, and therefore the result of the inquiry was against the right hon. Baronet. It then became a serious subject for consideration with the right hon. Baronet and the Government what steps should be taken, and it was impossible to avoid a certain sympathy with the right hon. Baronet when he declared that the grievances of the officers of the Indian army had given him ten times more trouble than all the other business connected with India had done. But who was it that had created that difficulty? It certainly was not the officers themselves, and if the right hon. Baronet had considered who those officers were, he would have refrained from treating them as he had done. They had it from Sir Hope Grant that he scarcely knew an officer who, after fifteen years' service in India, was not suffering in health from the effects of his service. Those officers were men who had suffered many perils and losses during the mutiny; they were comrades of those who were slaughtered by scores when they stood by their regiments; they were husbands and relatives of ladies who fell victims to the atrocities of Cawnpore and Delhi, and surely such men deserved better treatment. How was it that the amalgamation of the Indian army with the British army was brought about? The Indian army at first was but a mere band of mercenaries, who entered into the service of the East India Company upon condition of receiving certain pay and pensions quite different to the terms upon which the British army was raised. That army could not be regarded as having been when first formed worthy to be amalgamated with the British army. They did not ask for amalgamation; but they were considered worthy by reason of their great deeds and their heroic bravery during the last hundred years, and the right hon. Baronet had no right to treat brave and honourable men as he had done. The right hon. Baronet accepted the Report of the Commissioners. He had established a Staff Corps in which a captain obtained, after 1325 twenty years' service, the rank and pay of a major, and after twenty-six years' service the rank and pay of a colonel. He had thus created an extraordinary supersession; broken up the whole system of promotion by seniority—the friendly and fraternal arrangements of the mess—by which sympathy was established between man and man—and placed the right hon. Baronet himself, as he had declared, in a painful dilemma. To remedy this evil the right hon. Gentleman sent instructions to India that the officers of the local army were to receive brevet rank, after the same periods of service for which the Staff Corps got substantive rank—namely, rank without pay. In the English army brevet rank to a certain extent did exist, and when an officer received brevet rank, he was content with the respect of his comrades, and cared little for the miserable sum which was due to his nominal rank. But in the Indian army the case was wholly different. Brevet rank in India, when it was given by wholesale, meant only so much gold on the officers' collar and sleeves, which he had to pay for and there was an end. The despatch in which the right hon. Baronet had conveyed those instructions to India was nothing more than a defence set up against the Report of the Royal Commissioners, but there was no opportunity afforded to the officers of the Indian army of making any answer. But how had the right hon. Baronet dealt with the Commission itself? When he (Captain Jervis) was invited to send in a statement of the grievances of the Indian officers he was also asked to send in a list of witnesses. The statement was prepared and duly forwarded to the Commissioners. Those gentlemen sent it to the Secretary of State, who forwarded to the Commissioners a statement in reply. That statement the Commissioners were anxious to forward to the committee of Indian officers for their observations, but the Secretary of State refused to assent to that course. The Commissioners assumed a perfectly correct conclusion upon the question as it was presented to them, but possibly they would have changed some of their views had they had a fuller statement of facts before them. Upon the bonus question the statement on the part of the Secretary of State was that the system which had arisen in the regiments in India of purchasing out the seniors, was illegal, and had not been sanctioned by the Court of Directors. But if the right hon. Gentleman had referred to information to be found in his Office he 1326 would have ascertained that that statement was not correct. That system had been encouraged by the Court of Directors, and had been sanctioned by the Board of Control. Was there any reason for the extraordinary measures which had been adopted? The right hon. Baronet had talked about the difficulty that arose upon the breaking up of the Bengal army. Upon that point his own Council did not agree with the right hon. Baronet; for in a Report, dated the 30th of June, 1859, and signed by Mr. Willoughby, Sir John Lawrence, and three other members of the Council, it was stated—The Madras and the Bombay armies exist nearly in their original integrity, and it is a palpable fallacy to speak of the Bengal army as so completely defunct that the assurance of Parliament is inapplicable to the large body of its European officers—men who have evinced the utmost devotion under the most trying circumstances, many of whom rendered eminent service to the State, and all of whom are temporarily employed in the command of a force, European and Native, equal, and even superior, in amount to the strength of the Bengal army before the mutiny of 1857The right hon. Baronet in his despatch talked about what had been done for these officers in keeping them upon full pay and employment. But he would remind the right hon. Baronet that there was no such thing as half-pay known to the Indian army. In England, the army existed only from year to year, and Parliament of its bounty had created a system of half-pay and pensions, which it could terminate at its pleasure. But officers in the Indian army entered for a service of twenty-two years on full pay, and at the end of their service they were entitled to their retirement. If the right hon. Baronet had only spoken from what he found in this country his mistake would have been intelligible, but he was assisted by Sir William Mansfield, who in 1859 had stated that what was necessary for the Indian army was to cast aside all Parliamentary guarantees, and a re-organization of the whole service. But what did Sir William Mansfield tell him? Why that half-pay was unknown in the Indian army, and to place them on half-pay would be a violation of the pledges given by Parliament. Thirty-three years ago there was a searching inquiry into the affairs of the East Indies, when it was a matter of serious consideration whether we should not do away with the East India Company, and take their army over to ourselves. It was then stated most distinctly by the East India Company that 1327 there was no such thing as half-pay in their army, and that their great difficulty in reducing their army was the necessity of keeping the officers on full pay in the cadres of their regiments. When the right hon. Baronet received the Report of that Commission there were two things which he might have done. He might have broken up the Staff Corps, and replaced the officers in their regiments, which would have been the legal thing to do, or he might have placed the rest of the officers in the same position. There could be nothing more serious than to weaken the trust which military men placed in the pledge of a Government; and what were likely to be the feelings of the British army, who had no security but the word of the Government, if they saw an Act of Parliament passed deliberately over in this way? He had not taken up this case without deep consideration, and he had taken care not to communicate with any individual officer, beyond the Members of the Committee, because he felt how serious a matter it was to have a large body of military men in a state of discontent. He hoped that this matter would be so arranged that the British army would not turn round on them and say, "What are you going to do with us?" He was struck very forcibly with the spirit of discontent and dissatisfaction which was excited at the time when it was proposed to amalgamate a regiment of Tipperary Militia with the Royal Artillery, and if that feeling could exist among men domiciled at home, what must be the feeling of men several thousand miles away from home? He loft this question in the hands of the House, trusting that they would look to their honour and to the guarantee. The hon. and gallant Gentleman concluded by moving—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying She will be graciously pleased to redress all such grievances complained of by the Officers of the late Indian armies as were admitted by the 'Commission on the Memorials of Indian Officers' to have arisen by a departure from the assurances given by Parliament by 21 & 22 Vict. c. 106, and 23&24 Vict. c. 100.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
I have sometimes been accused of being unwilling to rise until late in these Indian discussions, but on this occasion I am desirous of presenting myself to the House at the earliest possible moment, not only to answer the Motion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but to state the general course which has been pursued by the Secretary of State in Council upon 1328 the various questions connected with the Indian army. For there are other questions besides the amalgamation—there is the alteration of the whole organization of the Indian army, and the extraordinary reduction of that army. The three measures were carried into execution at the same time, and many of the complaints which have been ascribed to the amalgamation are really referable to the change of organization and to the reduction. I entirely concur in the high terms in which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has spoken of the officers of the Indian army. They were entitled to the greatest consideration from the Government, and if I could admit for a moment that the Government had behaved to them in the manner which the hon. and gallant Gentleman states, I should feel myself most guilty in the eyes of this House. But I do not hesitate to say—and before I sit down I trust to have proved it—that the result of the measures taken by the Government on the whole have placed the officers of the Indian army in a far better position as regards pay and promotion than they ever were in before. I am anxious to state this, not only to remove the false impression which exists on this subject, but also for the sake of those members of my Council, some of them Indian officers, by whose advice and with whose concurrence all these measures have been taken, and who, connected as they are with the Indian army by sympathy and by common services, have been accused of neglecting the interests and feelings of that army. Quite independently of any Parliamentary guarantee, their very natural feelings would have prevented their allowing any hardship to be inflicted on their former companions in service. The hon. and gallant Gentleman has said a great deal about the number of petitions which have been presented, and if I supposed that these petitions really expressed the opinions of the officers whose names they bear I should attach more weight to them. If I thought that the grievances were not repudiated by some of the officers in whose behalf they are put forward ["Name, name!"], I should think them of more importance. The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that a system of agitation and of invitation to sign petitions has been going on for some months past. Not very long ago an officer came to the India Office and talked over the changes which had been made, and said that the new arrangement had very 1329 much improved his position. Soon after that the petitions were inspected, and it was found that his name was signed to one of them. ["Name, name!"] Certainly not, I shall not give the name.
Then it will be my duty to move for a Select Committee to inquire into the circumstances under which this officer's name was attached to the petition.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
In a matter of this sort I shall certainly not shrink from the hon. and gallant Member. Not long ago I received a letter from an officer whose name I will give. It is from Colonel Cherry, a lieutenant-colonel commanding a regiment in the Madras army. He writes to me thus—Saugor, Central India, March 22.Sir,—I write to inform you that a pamphlet headed 'Another Grievance,' has been printed, in which the author has used my name in the most unwarrantable manner, citing my case as a grievance. I beg to state it was composed and printed entirely without my knowledge, authority, or consent. I never knew anything of it till a printed copy was sent me. It is quite illegal, as the printer's name is not put on the pamphlet. I have no grievance, and have never petitioned, and am very much annoyed at my name being so used.Believe me, &c,P. G. CHERRY,Colonel 4th Madras Light Cavalry.The hon. and gallant Member will not say that in this case I have not given the name. Next on the list to Colonel Cherry is the name of Colonel Kelso, and when it is stated that our measures with regard to promotion have injured every officer in the service, I would call attention to the case of Lieutenant Colonel Kelso, who is, nevertheless, a petitioner. In July, 1861, Colonel Cherry was lieutenant-colonel, and Mr. Kelso was a captain; but in consequence of the accelerated promotion which our measures have produced, in six months from that time Captain Kelso became a lieutenant-colonel, passing over altogether the rank of major. Three years after—namely, in the spring of this year—Lieutenant Colonel Kelso retired. Now he happened to be in a peculiar position. In consequence of the arrangement which I made last year for striking off the names of majors in the Staff Corps and new Line regiments when they rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, it so happened that three regiments had an interest in getting him to retire. The system of bonus, of paying for retirements, has not, as is stated, altogether ceased in India, and if I am to believe the Madras papers, Colo- 1330 nel Kelso has benefited to a considerable extent by the contributions from the officers of three regiments, in order to induce him to retire. He retires on a lieutenant-colonel's pension, and then he petitions the House of Commons, says he is hardly used, and his grievance is, that certain officers retiring on special bonus have not been removed from the list, whereas, if they had been so removed, he might now have been in the receipt of a colonel's allowance. Now, in the Madras army the ordinary time which an officer passes in the rank of major is seven years, and the ordinary time passed in the rank of lieutenant-colonel is twelve years more. Therefore, if nothing had been done out of the ordinary course, in all probability this officer would have reached his colonelcy in nineteen years from the year 1861; yet he now petitions Parliament on the ground that beyond the great acceleration of his promotion, and the extraordinary advantage he has received, something more has not been done which would have enabled him to obtain a colonel's allowance in four years from the time of his being captain. I do not think that is what Parliament will consider a legitimate grievance. A statement was sent round to Members of Parliament a few days ago, in which two or three cases are specially referred to. I should be glad if the House would permit me to enter into those cases as a specimen of the grievances which those officers complain of. The first grievance on this list is stated in these terms—Captain W. Winson, a captain in the Bengal Staff Corps, now commands the 18th Regiment Native Infantry, and has under him Major R. Larkin, of the late 49th Regiment of Native Infantry,Now, if that has any meaning at all, its meaning is this—that, contrary to the practice of the Indian army, we have put a captain of the Staff Corps in command of an irregular regiment over the head of his senior officer, a major. Supposing that it was in consequence of orders from hence that this had been done, it would not be contrary to the practice of the Indian army, because it was always the custom in the East India Company's service to disregard rank in the command of irregular regiments. I turn to the Army List of 1856—the year before the mutiny—and I find there that the 3rd Irregular Cavalry was commanded by a lieutenant, the second in command being a captain; and that the 14th Irregular Regiment was commanded by a captain, a 1331 major being second in command. If, therefore, we had given orders for making the arrangement which is complained of, we should only have been acting in accordance with old practice in the time of the East India Company. In point of fact, we have done quite the contrary. We have given orders that no officer shall be required to serve under his junior unless with his own consent; so that this major serving under a captain can only be doing so entirely with his own consent. The next case is that of Major Spottiswood, who is stated to have been superseded in command by Lieutenant Browne, but, for the reasons I have just stated, the lieutenant could not have been put in command over him. And, in point of fact, Lieutenant Browne was in civil employment, and not in any military employment at all. The third case is thus stated—In the 46th Regiment Madras Native Infantry, the third captain, Alfred Cooper, was superseded not only by two captains junior to him, but also by the senior lieutenant, A. M'Neill, who was made a substantive major in the Staff Corps.Now, what is meant by this statement is explained in a note in one of the grievance pamphlets, where it is stated that it is only substantive rank which counts in these commands. This is directly the reverse of the fact, for a despatch of December, 1863, lays down the rule that it is not substantive rank but army rank which gives the right to command. In this case also Lieutenant M'Neill was in civil and not in military employment. In neither case, therefore, could any supersession in command have taken place. The supersession in rank is completely remedied by our subsequent measures. It has been made a charge against the Secretary of State that he withheld from the officers all knowledge of the points which he was bringing under the notice of the Commissioners; but, on reference to their Report and the Appendix, it will be found that the Commissioners very properly made the officers aware of all the points mentioned by the Secretary of State, and called upon them for their explanations. Appendix D contains the questions of the Commissioners, Appendix E contains the answers of the officers in detail. I am not going into the question of bonus, as the Commission has distinctly reported that on that point there has been no breach of the guarantee. The hon. and gallant Officer, however, says that I misled the Commission by stating that the bonus was an illegal proceeding. Now, of course, 1332 I did not state that upon my own authority or my own legal opinion. I stated it on the authority of two decisions in the Court of Queen's Bench, both of which had been reported. The hon. and gallant Officer shakes his head, but he will find the cases reported in the newspapers. In both cases there was an action by an officer to obtain payment of the amount of a contribution towards a bonus, which was refused by the officer who had undertaken to pay it. In both cases the defence was that the transaction was an illegal one. I have the report of one of the cases before me, and I find the statement of the defendant to be substantially this, "I won't pay the money though I promised to do so, because it was an illegal transaction, and you cannot compel me to perform an illegal bargain." I say nothing of the conduct of the officer who made such a defence; but that was the defence, and I refer to it and the judgment of the Court to show that I was justified in stating the opinion by which the hon. and gallant Gentleman says I misled the Commission. The Lord Chief Justice, in giving judgment in the first case, said—The Court must take cognizance of what offices were legally saleable, and they knew that a commission in the East India Company's service was not legally saleable, and no rule of the Indian service could repeal the statute. There must be judgment for the defendant.In The Times newspaper I find the following report of a subsequent case which came before the Court on the 4th of June, 1855:—A rule was immediately obtained for a new trial in the Court of Exchequer. After taking time to consider, judgment was given by the Judges on the 4th of June, 1855. In the unanimous opinion of the Bench, the transaction by which a sum of money was secured to the major of the regiment to which these officers belonged, to induce his retirement, was illegal, and the bond given by the defendant could not be enforced by law. The transaction amounted to the gift of a money consideration to an officer holding a commission in the East India service to induce him to leave it. It behoved the Court to let it go forth that, in its opinion, any tampering with the sale of a public office not only rendered the transaction void, but subjected the parties concerned to the penalties consequent on the commission of a misdemeanor. There must, therefore, be judgment for the defendant.Well, Sir, I beg to say that I do not think I misled the Commission, and I do not think I misled the House, by what I said on the subject of the illegality of the payment of bonuses, when a Court of Law had stated, in language as strong as any which could be used, that such 1333 payment was illegal. I am not speaking in favour of the officers who made the defence; I am speaking of the illegality of the transaction. Having now disposed of these separate points, I will refer to the general terms of the Motion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. He calls upon the House to vote an Address to the Queen for the redress of all the grievances of the Indian officers, admitted to be such by the Royal Commissioners, but he has not made any attempt to show that the grievances have not been redressed with respect to the cases in which he says I have not fulfilled the promise I made to accept the opinion of the Commission and to act upon it. I will not refer to those cases only, because that would not give the House a fair idea of the difficulties we had to surmount, or the way in which we have dealt with them. I will state the whole course which we have pursued from the first in order to effect the three great measures of amalgamation, change of organization, and reduction of the Indian army. After long and anxious deliberation with the members of my Council we made up our minds what should be done, and despatches were prepared containing all the instructions for carrying out our plan. The whole of the documents and despatches were laid before the Law Officers of the Crown. We did not make a case for them, we merely submitted the papers to them and asked whether there was anything in the instructions which we proposed to give which was contrary to the pledge contained in the two Acts of Parliament. The then Attorney and Solicitor General and the counsel for the East India Company stated that, in their opinion, there was nothing in what we proposed to do which might not have been done by the East India Company, and whatever the East India Company might have done it was within our power to do. Fortified in our opinion by that answer to our question, we proceeded in the course we had determined upon with considerable confidence. Various complaints were afterwards made of the effect of these measures on the position of a portion of the Indian officers, and as I did not wish to stand only on a legal and technical construction of the words of the Acts of Parliament, I referred the question to the Commission which has been alluded to. I do not know whether the hon. and gallant Officer meant that blame attached to me for having appointed a Law Lord to the Chairmanship of that 1334 Commission, but I may state that when the state of Lord Dalhousie's health (who had been appointed Chairman of the Commission in the first instance) precluded him from attending their sittings the Commissioners themselves asked me to appoint somebody of legal knowledge and acquirements to the vacant place, and therefore, in nominating Lord Cranworth to the position, I merely complied with their request. I am sure the House will be of opinion that no fairer or more impartial person could have been appointed Chairman than Lord Cranworth, and I am glad of having the opportunity of expressing my obligation to that noble Lord, and to the rest of the Commissioners, for the care and attention they bestowed upon the matter. It is perfectly true, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman says, that the Commission classed the alleged breaches of the guarantee under thirteen heads. They stated that in eight of these there was no just cause of complaint, that in three others there was cause of complaint, and that in two others there might possibly at some future time be cause of complaint. I can unhesitatingly state my belief that in the three cases in which the Commission reported actual causes of complaint to have occurred, I have completely remedied the grievances complained of. In one of the two cases, in which the Committee stated that cause of complaint might hereafter arise, it is quite impossible that up to this time any grievance can have been felt for the rule under which they thought that cause of complaint might arise, has not come into operation. In the cases where there were grounds for complaint which it might be impossible to deal with directly, the Commissioners stated their opinion that it would be fair to give some compensatory advantages to the Indian army, and that this would be a redemption of the pledge given to Parliament; and I trust that, before I sit down, I shall show that, in respect to any possible retardation of promotion in a particular rank, more than ample compensation has been given, as the acceleration of promotion generally and the amount of additional pay given to the Indian army during the last four years has been unexampled. In speaking of the three measures with which we had to deal, amalgamation, change of organization, and reduction, I shall endeavour to keep them entirely distinct. As to the first measure, which is termed amalgamation, I think I shall be able to show 1335 that no cause of complaint can now exist with reference to it; and, in making that statement, I may rely upon the admission in the statement now put forward by the officers themselves, that the only complaints which could be said to have any connection with amalgamation have been fully met by our recent measures. The word amalgamation does not exactly express what was done in the matter. What really was done was this. The three old European regiments of Infantry in each of the three Indian Presidencies were invited to volunteer for general service, they being already Queen's troops by the measure of the noble Lord. The soldiers, almost to a man, and nearly the whole of the officers, accepted the proposal. For example, in the three first regiments of each Presidency, out of 119 officers ninety-nine volunteered either for the new Line regiments or for the Staff Corps, and of the remainder eight were already in Staff employment leaving only twelve to be disposed of. The nine regiments thus formed were added to the regular army. A similar course was taken with regard to the three Cavalry regiments, which were formed out of the newly raised regiments of Europeans. Nearly all the officers and men volunteered, and vacancies were filled up in them, as in the Infantry regiments, by volunteers from the rest of the army. Every man who joined did so of his own free will, and I must therefore be permitted to say that, although I have seen some newspapers endeavouring to invent grievances for them, I do not see what possible cause of complaint they can have. It was a voluntary proceeding on their part. They are officers in Queen's regiments, with the right which they had in their old regiments of rising by seniority, and they retain the privileges of the old Indian officers as to retirement and pensions. The Artillery, with hardly any exceptions, volunteered for general service. Their organization was assimilated to that of the old Royal Artillery, which gave them considerable promotion and advantages. The Bengal Artillery, for instance, had thirty-nine field officers before the change, and forty-eight afterwards. The whole of the increased pay and emoluments of the Artillery in the three armies of India given to them in making the late changes amounted to about £75,000 per annum. The only officers who could suffer in any way were some of the older officers, and additional pensions 1336 of £200 per annum were offered to them, on which, I think, seven officers retired. A similar course was pursued with regard to the Engineers. The increase of pay and emoluments in their case amounted to about £55,000 per annum. In the mode which I have thus described the European Infantry and Cavalry, as well as the Artillery and Engineers, became part of Her Majesty's general army by their own voluntary act, with an increase of pay and of promotion and retaining their right to retire on the Indian rate of pension. It seems to me that on their part there can be no cause of complaint. There was, however, one measure adopted, and it is the only one to which the expression of "amalgamation" can properly be applied. It was thought desirable, as all the officers of the Queen's and of the late Indian armies were now to receive the same commissions from the Queen, and to be eligible for the service in any part of the world, that the field officers should rise on one list to be general officers. The commencement of this system was postponed so far that it seemed impossible to say whether they would gain or lose by it. The Royal Commission, however, reported that this step was in breach of the Parliamentary guarantee. As the warrant had not come into operation there was no difficulty in cancelling it. Nobody could be injured. The warrant was therefore cancelled, and the Indian officers rise to the rank of general officers as before. It is admitted by the officers themselves that this grievance is completely remedied. There was another complaint admitted by the Commission to be a breach of the guarantee not, indeed, arising out of amalgamation, but as it is connected with the formation of the new Line regiments I may as well mention it here. The Indian officers complained that the non-removal from the cadres of their regiments of the names of officers who joined the Staff Corps or the new Line regiments was a breach of the guarantee. The Commission reported that it was not so as regarded those who joined the Staff Corps, or as regarded those who joined the new Line regiments from the cadres of the European regiments; but that it was a breach as regarded those who joined the new Line regiments from Native regiments. I cannot understand the distinction, but we accepted their view, and removed the latter class from their cadres. This step is also admitted to be a complete remedy. Now these are the only 1337 two grievances complained of which have the slightest reference to amalgamation, and I wish particularly to impress this upon the House, because I know that there is a general notion that the alleged grievances arise out of the measure which I myself carried of amalgamation. It is, however, from other measures to which I will refer by-and-by, that any grievances arise which are now said to exist. Out of amalgamation it is not now even alleged that any case of complaint remains. The other two measures we had to carry out were the changes in the organization and a very large reduction in the army. It will be obvious that it must have been within the power of the East India Company to effect both these changes, and that the power which they possessed was transferred to us in all its entirety. On that point the Commissioners said—It could not have been intended to prevent the Crown, if in the interests of India and of the Empire at largo it should deem it necessary, from reducing the numbers of the Indian army or altering its organization. It would have boon in the power of the Company to make such reductions and changes, and a similar power was transferred to the Crown.It only remains, therefore, to show how we acted in the exercise of what was unquestionably within our power. I will proceed, in the first instance, to explain the change which we have made in the organization of the Indian armies, an essential part of which was some such measure as the formation of a Staff Corps. The hon. and gallant Officer has talked of the Staff Corps as if it were an extraordinary and unheard of anomaly; but now let us see how that matter stands, and what were the reasons for its creation. In order to arrive at any just estimate of the merits of the system which we have introduced, it is essential to look back to that which existed before. In the Indian army as it existed before the mutiny—and that is the fairest period to take, in order to understand the former state of things—there were two descriptions of force, the regular, and the irregular regiments differing in their organization in several respects, but mainly in the number of officers. Including the armies of the Presidencies, the contingents, and other forces, there were 176 regular and 108 irregular regiments. We have substituted irregular for regular regiments throughout the army of Bengal, where, indeed, the regular regiments had 1338 almost disappeared in the mutiny. We have done the same in the army of Bombay, and intend doing so with the army of Madras. Under the old system of the Indian army there were twenty-three officers to each regular regiment, of whom five were placed there, not for duty with the regiment, in order that they might be available for Staff employment. A large number of officers, in political, civil, and other employment, and all officers of the irregular regiments, were, under this system, withdrawn from their own regiments. It will be remembered that this was described as almost the ruin of the Indian army. It was stated that the élite of the officers—the picked men—were taken away from their regiments, and those who were left were kept back and discouraged. I might quote the opinions of many very distinguished officers of the Indian army, expressed in the strongest terms to that effect, but I do not wish to do so, because it might be painful to some to hear the expressions that were used. But I may be permitted to quote a short paragraph of a letter from Lord Elphinstone, which will be found in one of the papers on the table of the House, and which states the case very clearly. Lord Elphinstone says—The best regiments in Bengal were the Irregular Cavalry, and the same holds good throughout India. In these regiments you had only three or four English officers, but they were picked men, and so were the Native officers. I would apply this system to the whole Native army—Infantry, as well as Cavalry. The saving of expense would be great, for, if I am not mistaken, one regular Native Cavalry regiment costs as much as three times the number of irregulars. But the saving of expense would be nothing compared to the gain in efficiency,That is the opinion of Lord Elphinstone, who had been Governor of Madras and was then Governor of Bombay—a man of very considerable experience, and who showed by his conduct during the mutiny how sound his judgment was on such subjects. That extract shows that, in his opinion, by adopting generally the irregular system, the efficiency of the army would be improved, and no inconsiderable expense saved. In the state of Indian finance at that time, with a large yearly deficit, the saving of expense was no trifling consideration, and the same reason is hardly less strong at present. When the whole change is completed, the saving effected by substituting irregular for regular regiments will be no less than £330,000 per annum. We, therefore, determined on 1339 this step. It was no measure of mine, pressed by me upon an unwilling Council. The great advocate of the change was Sir John Lawrence, and it was adopted by a large majority of the Council. It then remained to be determined how officers were to be provided for the regiments so formed, as well as for Staff employment generally. The question of providing officers for Staff employment in some other manner than by withdrawing them from their regiments had often been discussed in India, and it was pretty well agreed that the only means of doing so was by the formation of a Staff Corps. Lord Dalhousie was anxious to carry some such measure into effect when the army existed in its original state. There was, of course, great difficulty in the way; but when nearly the whole of the regular regiments of the Bengal army had ceased to exist the difficulty was very much diminished. In 1860, there were 106 regular, and 131 irregular regiments in existence; we acted on the opinions so long entertained and confirmed by the great authority of Sir John Lawrence; we put the army on the irregular system, giving six European officers to each regiment instead of three. Then came the question from whence were the officers for the irregular regiments to be drawn. In truth, there was no resource but that portion of the British army which passes through India in its course of service—there was no other body from which they could be taken. Lord Elphinstone had pointed this out very clearly in the letter which I have quoted before, and Lord Clyde, Sir William Mansfield, Sir Hugh Rose, and Sir Robert Napier all concurred in opinion that, as soon as we had room for the employment of line officers, we should find no difficulty in obtaining their services. At present there is no room for more Line officers than were already in Staff employment, as there are plenty of Indian officers—either in the Staff Corps or available from the cadres—for all the places of Staff employment. There are, however, several Line officers in Staff employment. Now, it is obvious, as regards officers of the Line, who would naturally quit India with their regiments, that in order to retain their services for India they must be withdrawn from their regiments and formed into a corps devoted to Indian service and at the disposal of the Government in India for the various 1340 Staff situations in political, civil, or military employment. The formation of a Staff Corps, in order to retain the services of the officers of the Line, then in Staff employment, and in which all Line officers wishing for permanent employment in India would be placed, and as the only source from which ultimately, when the officers of the late Indian armies cease to exist as a separate body, all officers for such employment must be provided, was therefore a matter of necessity. We might certainly have formed a Staff Corps, consisting only of Line officers, but would it have been right to exclude from it all Indian officers? I think that such a course would have given them a just cause of complaint, and therefore it was determined to admit into it also those officers of the Indian army who were in Staff employment, or had been so within three years. The next question was how the officers of the Staff Corps were to be promoted. There could be no establishment, because the number of persons required for Staff employment might vary. If the army was increased more officers would be wanted, if diminished fewer would be required, and in like manner as more or fewer officers were required for the various civil and political situations which have at all times been filled with great advantage by military men. It followed, as a necessary consequence, that the numbers of the Staff Corps must vary with the demands of the service. There could, therefore, be no possible mode of promotion except by length of service. The Commission to which the hon. and gallant Member referred, which was presided over by my noble Friend opposite (Lord Hotham), on the question of amalgamation, made a Report, from which I will read some extracts in reference to this question of a Staff Corps. They said—A Staff Corps to be formed for service in India, to consist of an unlimited number of officers of all ranks. All officers of the local armies and of the Line now holding permanent Staff or detached appointments, excepting such as are purely military, but including service with irregulars, to have the option, subject to the approval of the Indian Government, of being transferred to the Staff Corps or returning to regimental duty … Promotion in the Staff Corps to be governed by length of service, and to be irrespective of departmental position … The whole of the officers of irregular Native corps to be on the Staff list. … We conceive, however, that officers so circumstanced must hold a commission for their substantive rank in lieu of their former regimental commission.1341 We have done what is there recommended. We offered to all the officers of the Indian army who were in Staff employment, or who had been so within a certain time, the option of going into the Staff Corps. We went one step further. We thought it not unfair to give to those officers who had been in Staff employment the benefit of that service as regards promotion as if the Staff Corps had been formed when they went into Staff employment. It is this step which in fact has led to the complaint of supersession. I fully admit that it was the case that officers transferred to the Staff Corps might rise more rapidly in that corps than those who were senior to them in their regimental cadres, and might thus supersede them in army rank. They could not supersede them in regimental rank, I for that went on as before, and an order was issued preventing a Staff Corps officer being in any case put over the head of an officer who had been senior to him in his old regiment. The only supersession was in army rank. I remember my hon. and gallant Friend behind me stating the case to me very fairly in this way. He said that at Bangalore, or some other station, there were several Staff Corps officers who had gained rank in this way, and that it was very possible that if their old regiments came there these officers might take precedence at a court-martial of some of their former seniors, or take command of them on parade, or in the field. I may be permitted to say, in justification of the course which we took, that there are examples enough of supersession in rank having been caused by different measures adopted in India under the rule of the East India Company. When my hon. and gallant Friend talks of what he calls the indisputable rights of the Indian officers, he seems to forget that on several occasions the East India Company showed by their acts that they did not recognize these alleged rights. There is none on which he lays more stress than the right of rising in a regiment by seniority. I fully admit that it was only in extraordinary cases that the general practice of promotion by regimental seniority was interrupted. But if the East India Company thought right on extraordinary cases, for the good of the public service, to depart from the rule, that is enough to show that seniority was not acknowledged as a certain and indisputable right. There are examples given in the statements of the officers themselves 1342 in which regimental seniority is entirely set aside. It is stated that in the Caubul expedition some regiments lost a great number of officers. One regiment lost four, another five. Four does not seem to be a very great loss in a regiment of eighteen or twenty. Were, then, the officers in the regiment always allowed to rise by seniority in India? ["Yes!"] No, they were not. There are three or four cases stated by the officers themselves, which show that officers from other regiments were placed over officers in the regiments there named. In the 5th Bengal Cavalry four lieutenants were placed above cornets in that way. [Colonel SYKES: They were boys.] Does the hon. and gallant Member mean to say that an officer forfeits his alleged indefeasible right of promotion because he is a young man? In the 5th Native Infantry there were a captain and five lieutenants from another regiment placed above all the ensigns. In two other regiments four lieutenants from other Corps were placed above all the ensigns. In all these cases the officers of the regiment, according to the proposition of my hon. and gallant Friend behind me, had an indisputable and indefeasible right to rise in their own regiment by regimental seniority; but that right was not recognized by the East India Company, and officers from other regiments were put over their heads in their own. We have done nothing of the kind, but I mention these facts to show that the assertions put forward as to these alleged rights are not so well founded in fact as they are asserted to be. We have not, in the slightest degree, interfered with regimental seniority. The officers of the Indian army continue to rise step by step on that basis. The cadet who went into the army in 1860, who has never seen a day's service, and had not even joined his regiment, will rise to the rank of colonel or general officer in a regular course by seniority, by successive steps, with the full pay of the successive ranks which he attains, and without any interruption from the day on which he received his first commission. I come now to other instances of supersession in former years. When the Royal Artillery went to India the East India Company thought it desirable to promote the majors of their own Ordnance Corps as that rank did not exist in the Royal Artillery, and they gave to all the majors of the Artillery and Engineers the substantive rank of 1343 lieutenant-colonels. The effect of this was that these officers superseded at one step all the majors of the Cavalry and Infantry of the Indian armies. The junior lieutenant-colonel of Engineers in Bengal superseded 118 majors, and all these officers got substantive rank in their corps. In 1824 the East India Company formed the second battalion of each regiment of the Indian army into a new regiment; and appointed to it half of the officers of the old regiment. In these new regiments the officers transferred to them might rise in substantive rank and pay "above their seniors in the old regiment, thus superseding them precisely as an officer rising in rank in the Staff Corps might supersede an officer of his old cadre. Further than that, according to the practice of the East India Company, a lieutenant-colonel might he moved from one regiment to another, so that an officer who had risen rapidly to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in one of these new regiments might have been sent to command his old regiment and so be placed over officers who had been his seniors in that very regiment. We have done nothing of this kind. We have issued a positive prohibition against any officer being put in command of a regiment containing a man who has been his senior in the same regiment. We are accused of departing from the practice of the East India Company by superseding senior officers by juniors, while we have actually prohibited its being done. Now what the East India Company did in this case, of forming the new regiments, that is giving to a great number of officers substantive pay and rank in several new corps by which they might supersede in army rank the officers of the regiments from which they were taken, is precisely what we have done in giving substantive rank and pay in one other new corps by which they might in like manner supersede in army rank the officers of their old regiments. I mention these different cases to show that the Government had some justification for the course they pursued regarding this grievance of which the officers complain, and that we only did what the East India Company had done in repeated instances. The Commission, however, reported that in their opinion this was a breach of the guarantee. Their statement of the complaint is as follows:—But what the officers complain of on this head is, the immediate and prospective super-session in rank of regimental officers by those 1344 in the Staff Corps, which was the inevitable consequence of the rules regulating promotion in the Staff Corps, and especially of that which allows previous Staff service to count towards the period of service qualifying for promotion in the Staff Corps.I accepted their opinion. The question then was how to remedy it. The hon. and gallant Officer has referred to one course which certainly was possible and would have been effectual—namely, can-celling the rank given in the Staff Corps. The gallant Officer behind me (Colonel Sykes) advocated this course, but I never heard of any one else who did so. He stood alone. It would, I think, have been a grievous hardship to have deprived many of the best officers in the Indian army of the rank which they had enjoyed for more than three years, besides which to have sent them back to their regiments would have been injurious in some cases to the officers who had remained with the regiments. The only alternative, therefore, was to give to the regimental officers the same army rank as the Staff officers had obtained. I consulted his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief upon the question, because it was one which not only affected the position of the officers of the Indian army, but also that of the officers of the Line. The Duke of Cambridge has shown the greatest consideration for the Indian officers, and has done his utmost to consult their interest in every way. His Royal Highness concurred in the opinion that this was the best mode of dealing with the question. It had been always the custom in the Indian army when a lieutenant had served fifteen years to give him the brevet rank of captain, and to lieutenants in the line of the same standing the local rank captain was given. It was determined to follow this precedent. Brevet rank to the regimental officers of the Indian army, and local rank to the officers of the Line serving in India was given from the date of the formation of the Staff Corps, so that from that date the whole of the officers of the Indian army, including the Staff Corps, will be promoted in army rank after the same periods of service. The Bombay Government remonstrated against this order as causing some super-session of the Staff Corps' officers, and of some fortunate officers who had been lucky in obtaining their promotion, and their remonstrance was sent to the Government of India who referred it to Sir Hugh Rose, the Commander-in-Chief in India. Sir Hugh Rose, an officer who has taken the 1345 greatest possible interest in the whole of this question for four or five years reported upon it to the Governor of India, and I may be permitted to read his opinion upon the mode of meeting the grievance which we adopted. It is as follows:—Under the measures directed by the right hon. the Secretary of State, the chief cause of complaint, as frequently brought to the notice of Government by his Excellency—namely, the super-session of regimental officers by their juniors of the Staff Corps—has been removed entirely. It may at the same time be observed that, while some officers will continue to suffer super-session, the privileges now conferred on the army generally are specially advantageous to the officers who have not joined the Staff Corps, and to those who have been unfortunate in their promotion. It is not for the Commander-in-Chief to question or discuss the measures deliberately sanctioned and directed by Her Majesty's Government in redress of the grievances of the officers of the Indian service, but his Excellency maybe permitted to say that, without cancelling the amalgamation arrangements altogether, he does not think that a more equitable scheme could have been devised than that which the Bombay authorities desire to suspend.The Government of India, in forwarding copy of the above letter, says—It is scarcely possible that extensive changes in the army should ever be made without unfavourably affecting the position of some individuals relatively—that is, as compared with that of some others—and the instance in question is no exception to this rule. But we think that there can be no doubt that, by the measures ordered in your despatch, substantial hardship in the matter of promotion is avoided.I do not know that anything that I can add could be more satisfactory or could be stated more clearly than that opinion of Sir Hugh Hose. I do not think, therefore, that I need say anything more upon this subject, and I beg the House to observe, that if this be so, the three cases in which the Commissioners reported that just cause of complaint had occurred are entirely remedied by the measures which we have taken on the Report of the Commission. In two of these cases it is admitted by the officers themselves that the grievances are completely remedied, and in the third I think that I have now shown that our remedial measure is not less complete. I come now to the last great measure which we took, and out of which arose two contingent grievances, if I may so call them—the reduction of the Indian army. It was within the power of the East India Company to have reduced their army as it was within our power; and certainly, in the circumstances of the time, it would have been their duty, if the Company had been 1346 in existence, as it was our duty, to make that reduction. I doubt whether the House is at all aware of the extent of that reduction. The whole Native force, including the contingents, and other forces, numbered previous to the mutiny 265,000 men. Now, the only source of danger arose from our Native army. The princes and people were all faithful, and it wa3 the army alone which caused our difficulty, and it was therefore clearly incumbent upon us to reduce that over-grown force. Nor was there any means of providing for the payment of the increased European garrison of India, which everybody considers to be indispensable, smaller in numbers, but far more costly than the Native army, except by diminishing the expense of the latter. This was accordingly done. The Native soldiers were discharged with pensions or gratuities. The officers are all retained on full pay. The gallant Officer has referred, not quite correctly, to what I have said about placing the Indian officers on half-pay, and has denied that there was any half-pay in the Indian army. I admit that there is no half-pay of the same character as that of the British army. What is termed half-pay in India is, in fact, a lower rate of pension. But what I have said, and I say again, is, that when the British army was reduced after the peace of 1815, a great number of officers were placed on the half-pay of their rank, and there they remained, were never promoted, or got anything more. The same thing occurred in the navy. The same thing takes place on any reduction—the officers are placed on half-pay. Now, I certainly stated this to show in how different a manner we had treated the Indian officers. I do not know why, if a large reduction had been made by the East India Company, they would not have been warranted in placing their supernumerary officers on some rate of pension proportioned to their pay. It is quite true that there never has been any great reduction in the Indian army. The continually increasing size of our Indian Empire never allowed of any large diminution of their military force. The only case of reduction complete in itself, though not large in amount, was the reduction of the St. Helena Establishment; and in that case the officers received a retiring allowance somewhat more than the pensions of their respective ranks. I do not know why some such course might not have been taken on a 1347 reduction of the armies of India. We did not, however, adopt any such course. We have given—and this is the least advantageous position in which they can be placed—to all Indian officers full pay and promotion to the end of their career in the service. But we certainly thought that we were warranted in making some small reduction of officers on so large a reduction of the army, and it is out of the very mild measure for this purpose that the first of the possible breaches of guarantee, as stated by the Commission, may arise. We thought that with the reduction of the number of regiments, there might fairly be some reduction of the colonels' allowances. Let the House remember what colonels' allowances really are. In former times colonels were paid by the profits on the clothing of their regiments. If there were no regiments to be clothed there could be no profits for the colonels; and in like manner when an annual payment—the colonels' allowances—was substituted for the profits of clothing, the colonel's allowance' would cease also when the regiment ceased to exist. We reduced the Native army by 135,000 men, or by 101 regiments, of which from sixty to seventy were regular regiments. Consequent upon this reduction was there to be no reduction of officers? The first question naturally was as to the possible reduction of the number of colonels' allowances. Upon this subject Lord Hotham's Committee, to which I have referred, reported to the following effect:—If in the process of passing from a war to a peace establishment any regiments are reduced absolutely, and the strength of the army reduced to a corresponding extent, then the number of colonels must necessarily be reduced also, and the number of allowances at the same time.Of course, we never thought of taking the allowances away from those who had enjoyed them, or of reducing them all at once. We did propose gradually to reduce the number of colonels' allowances. We proposed, in the first instance, to fill up only three vacancies out of four. It is not unusual, I believe, in cases of reduction, to fill up only alternate vacancies, but we gave a much larger proportion. This, of course, would have caused some retardation of promotion, as there would be fewer colonels' allowances to which officers could rise. Changes of various kinds, and of a complicated nature, were afterwards proposed, into which it is unnecessary that I should enter, and the ultimate arrange- 1348 ment was that there should he an unlimited number of colonels' allowances, but that lieutenant-colonels who attain that rank, after a certain date, should only attain to the colonels' allowances after a service of twelve years in the rank of lieutenant-colonel. This term was shorter than the average period in the Madras army, longer than that in the armies of Bengal and Bombay. The possible retardation arising out of this measure—for none has occurred as yet, and I very much doubt whether any ever will occur—is alleged to be a departure from the pledge to treat the Indian officers as the East India Company would have done. Now, it happens that the only reduction made in the East India Company's time, that I am aware of, was in 1828. In that year two lieutenants were reduced in each regiment. These officers were kept as supernumeraries in their regiments until by casualties among the officers above them they could he absorbed. Of course, till this was done, the promotion of all the officers below them was retarded. Our measure, therefore, by which some retardation of promotion might be caused, was in strict accordance with what the East India Company had done, and I can hardly admit this to be a breach of the pledge. Another measure, one of the effects of which was of a somewhat similar character, was also taken at the same time. We gave an extraordinary bonus, in order to induce the older officers to retire. About 300 officers accepted the terms, but we did not feel ourselves bound to fill up all the vacancies created by this extraordinary measure. We filled up only half the vacancies on the list of lieutenant-colonels, giving, however, all the other promotions consequent thereon. In consequence of this extraordinary scheme of retirement 49 officers were promoted to be lieutenant-colonels, 87 to be majors, 123 to be captains, and 190 to be lieutenants. It was considered by four members of the Commission that the retardation arising out of this measure might lead to a breach of the guarantee. Three members, including one of the two Indian officers, thought that when a costly measure of retirement entirely out of the ordinary course was given, it was not incumbent on us to fill up all the vacancies, and that it was only fair, when so large a reduction of the army was to be made, that some gradual reduction of the higher rank of officers should take place. I hope the other members of the Commis- 1349 sion will forgive me for thinking that this is the more reasonable view of the case. I hope, too, that they will forgive me for saying that I do not think that any small retardation of promotion which may arise out of these two measures—firstly, not keeping up as many colonels' allowances as before, for an army reduced nearly to one-half of its former strength—secondly, not filling up all the vacancies caused by an extraordinary retirement can fairly be considered as a breach of the pledges given by Parliament. The only ground on which it is supposed that they may lead to it, is that they may in some decree retard the attainment of colonels' allowances. I doubt whether, in point of fact, any officer will be retarded, with reference to his whole period of service, in the attainment of his colonel's allowance. I will now proceed to show to what extent we have given increased pay and promotion to the officers of the Indian army, so that I believe I am fully entitled to say that never in its history was their position, in point of pay and prospects of promotion, so good. The Commission reported that if it was impossible to retain all the advantages enjoyed under the East India Company some counterbalancing benefit should be given in compensation for them, I do not know what I have taken away, and I will now proceed to state what we have given in pay, pension, promotion, in all that is of advantage to the officers; and I think the House will admit, when they have heard my statement, that what we have given is ample and more than ample compensation for any possible loss of advantage if, which I do not believe possible, that loss can be shown, t begin with pay. I have already mentioned the increased pay to the Artillery and Engineers; and I may now state, without going into particulars, that the whole charge imposed upon the revenue of India consequent upon the increased promotions and pensions recently given has amounted to a little more than a quarter of a million. That charge will, of course, be diminished as pensions fall off, hut the immediate effect of our measures was to increase the pay, pensions, and emoluments, in one shape or another, of the existing officers to that amount. I come now to promotion, and in this respect I must say that it is not fair to consider only what may occur in one particular rank. The promotion given in the whole of an officer's career should be taken into account; and I will state to the House two 1350 or three examples of the extent to which promotion has been accelerated by the measures we have adopted. It must be evident that no measures can affect the highest ranks. Vacancies in the rank of colonels only occur by death, and the tendency in the Indian army, up to the time of the mutiny, had been to prolong the period of service. The length of service of the colonels at that period and now, is more than it was in 1849. But we could produce an effect upon the lower ranks, and more, of course, as we go down in rank. One of the complaints of the Indian officers was, that we had not removed from the cadres the names of the officers who joined the Staff Corps and Line regiments, and given promotion in their room. This would have led to the most unequal and unjust super-session. For instance, in one regiment of Bombay Infantry, the major, all the captains, and the three senior lieutenants, joined the Staff Corps. If the demand, made in the memorials from many Indian officers, had been acceded to, the fourth lieutenant would have at once become major. He was an officer of nine years' service, and he would have superseded the senior captain of the next regiment on the other side of the page in the Army List, an officer of twenty-one years' service. It is not a little remarkable that those who complain so violently of super-session by our measures, should have themselves proposed a measure which must have led to greater and far more unequal super-session than any which could have resulted from our measures. But the same objection does not apply to removing from the list of regimental field officers of the Inpian armies the names of such officers when they attain the rank of lieutenant-colonel, for then, throughout all the regiments of the army, the promotion in their place goes equally in their turn. Every regiment gets its fair share of the promotion. After the Report of the Commission, and in addition to the measures for the remedy of the admitted complaints, we determined on removing the names of all Staff Corps and new Line officers from the before named lists on their attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel and giving the consequent promotions to the regimental officers. The immediate effect of this step was to promote 35 officers to be lieutenant-colonels, and in 63 regiments captains got a step nearer to that rank. The prospective effect may be judged of from the fact that in the Bengal cadres there are now 82 1351 majors, of whom 48 are in the Staff Corps or new Line regiments. They will go off those lists altogether on becoming lieutenant-colonels, and the promotion of the remaining number of majors in the cadres, that is, 34, will promote 82 captains. The immense effect of this measure in rapidly accelerating promotion is obvious. Since our measures have come into operation promotion has become much more rapid. I will compare the time of service in two ranks, that of lieutenant-colonel and major in the last year before the mutiny, and in the present year. The average length of service of the lieutenant-colonels in the three Indian armies on the 1st of January, 1857, and the 1st of January, 1865, were respectively—In the Cavalry—Bengal, 37 years 6 months and 37 years 3 months; Madras, 37 years 6 months and 35 years 3 months; Bombay, 33 years 3 months and 28 years. In the Infantry—Bengal, 36 years and 35 years respectively; Madras, 38 years and 37 years; Bombay, 36 years and 34 years. Then, coming to the majors, I find that the average service has diminished in the Cavalry—Bengal, from 33 years and 4 months to 22 years and 6 months; Madras, 34 years 4 months to 25 years 6 months; Bombay, 33 years to 29 years. So with regard to the Infantry, there has been a diminution in the average period of service of from four to five years, so that a considerable acceleration of promotion is clearly traceable to the operation of our measures. In 1857 I find that the 20 junior colonels of Bengal Infantry had obtained that rank in 44 years and 9 months. The 20 junior lieutenant-colonels in 1865 will attain the rank of colonel under the 12 years' rule in 38 years 9 months—an acceleration of 6 years. Now, let me call the attention of the House to this fact, as bearing upon the alleged hardship of the rule for 12 years' service in the rank of lieutenant-colonel. If the officer attains his colonel's allowance in the same time as before, but of that period passes 12 years instead of 10 in the rank of lieutenant-colonel, the additional 2 years in that rank must be deducted from the time of his service in some lower rank, and at any rate he gains the advantage of lieutenant-colonel's pay instead of the pay of some lower rank for 2 years; hut if he attains the colonel's allowance 6 years sooner, then 8 years is to be deducted from his service in a rank below that of lieutenant-colonel—he gains for 2 years the higher pay of 1352 lieutenant-colonel, and for 6 that of colonel's allowance. Surely so far from there being any cause of complaint, there is great advantage to the Indian officers from our measures, I will now compare the average length of service of the 20 junior lieutenant-colonels in the three armies on 1st January, 1857, and 1865. Their service was at the above periods respectively—Bengal, 34 years and 30 years; Madras, 36 years and 32 years; Bombay, 36 years and 30 years; showing a gain of 4 years in two Presidencies, of 6 in the other. The average periods passed in the rank of major has been diminishing to the following extent in the three Presidencies respectively, Bengal, 2 years and 8 months, Madras, 3 years and 8 months, Bombay, 3 years and 4 months. Lastly, let me take the number of promotions to substantive rank in the three Indian armies in the four years ending 1857 and the four years ending 1865, being the last four years of the ordinary state of India before the mutiny, and the last four years since the constitution of the Staff Corps and commencement of our measures, and I think the House will be astonished to find what an extraordinary increase of promotion has taken place. I find that there have been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the first period, 84 officers, and in the last, 223; to the rank of major, 142 in the first, and 534 in the last period; and to the rank of captain, 585 in the first, and 616 in the last period; but, of the 585 captains in the first period, no less than 176 are due to augmentations of the army, leaving the natural promotions at the number of 409. I will not trouble the House with further details. I think I have shown that in respect of pay, pension, retirement, and promotion, so far from the position of the Indian officers having been prejudiced, that the promotion has been of unexampled rapidity in every rank, except the highest, which no measure could affect, and that the position of officers in that army at this moment is infinitely better than it would have been if our measures had never been adopted. I trust, therefore, that the House will be convinced that there remains now no just cause of complaint, and I earnestly hope that these discussions may now cease. They are unsatisfactory to all parties, and lead to expectations which cannot be fulfilled. All things are unsettled by these discussions, discontent is produced, and as long as this agitation is kept up no 1353 one is satisfied with his position. The measures which have been recently adopted, have been so beneficial to the regimental officers, that officers of the Staff Corps, officers of the new Line regiments, and retired officers, have asked to be allowed to revert to their cadres. What will be the effect if more is to be done for them? The whole Indian army will be disorganized. I entreat the House to give no encouragement to what would he an evil of such magnitude, and to show by their vote tonight that they believe that, in acting upon the Report of the Commissioners, we have dealt with the subject in a fair and generous spirit towards all parties.
§ COLONEL SYKES
Sir, the question before the House is one of very grave import, more than 712 British officers and gentlemen, comprising 23 general officers and 280 field officers, have appealed to the House in individual petitions to redress wrongs for the violation of their rights and privileges by the Secretary of State for India, and which were guaranteed in two separate Acts of Parliament. My right hon. Friend has, in my opinion, in his speech, very unfairly endeavoured to diminish the weight and sincerity of those 712 petitions of British gentlemen, by adducing a solitary instance of a recreant petitioner who denied the object for which his solo signature had been attached to his own petition. I would fain hope, for the honour of a British officer, that my right hon. Friend has been misinformed. But though he had made out a dozen cases of unfounded grievances, the remaining 700 are entitled to consideration. But the question is not confined to the wrongs of individuals; it involves also the larger and more important question of the adoption of a new policy in the military government of the Empire of India, in which he dormant the seeds for future development of inevitable disaster. I will, however, on the present occasion, confine myself to the question of the redress of grievances, and reserve the consideration of the new military policy to a future time. I shall have to prove to the House that the whole of the wrongs inflicted, and the present serious discontent, are traceable to the rejection by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for India of the advice given to him by several official bodies and distinguished officers, all of great experience, whom he had consulted. After the mutiny of the Bengal army, with the exception of fourteen regiments of In- 1354 fantry—a mutiny brought about by the ignorance of the military authorities of Native character and their intolerance of Native prejudices, and which mutiny might have been averted without any sacrifice of authority—it pleased the British Government to withdraw the administration of India from the East India Company who had raised up that glorious Indian Empire, and to transfer to the Crown their civil and military servants. In the case of the military servants their existing rights were guaranteed by a clause in Act 21 & 22 Vict. c. 106, dated 2nd August, 1858, incorporated by the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn, who was then India Minister, which enacts, section 56, that the officers and soldiers should be entitled to the like pay, pensions, allowances, and privileges, and the like advantages as regards promotion and otherwise, as if they had continued in the service of the East India Company. This it might have been thought was a sufficient guarantee; but between the Act 21 & 22 Viet. c. 106, and the Act 23 & 24 Viet. c. 100, the Ministry had changed, the Conservative Government had gone out and Lord Palmerston's Government had succeeded, and it was thought needful, on the introduction of the European Forces Bill, that the Liberal Government should endorse the guarantees of the Conservative Government. Accordingly, the following clause was proposed by Mr. Henley, in the Act 23 & 24 Vict. c. 100. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India (Sir Charles Wood) assured the House there was not any necessity whatever for the introduction of the clause, for it was fully intended to carry out the previous guarantee in good faith, nevertheless, if pressed, he would cheerfully accept it. Accordingly it was enacted—That the advantages as to pay, pensions, allowances, privileges, and promotions, and otherwise, secured to the military forces of the East India Company, by the Act of the 21st and 22nd year of the Queen, cap. 106, sees. 38, 56, and 68 respectively, shall be maintained in any plan for the re-organization of the Indian army, anything in this Act contained notwithstanding.Here, therefore, both sides of the House of Commons guaranteed in the fullest manner to the officers on their transfer to the Crown their then existing rights and privileges, promotion, allowances, &c.; and be it remembered the guarantee was of every right then possessed. The first questions the House will necessarily ask are. What were those rights and privileges so 1355 guaranteed; and secondly, in what instances have they been violated by the Secretary of State for India?
Sir, from my boyhood I have been an officer of the Native army of India, I have passed through all its grades up to my present rank, and my duties in India, and subsequently as a member of the Court of Directors of the East India Company for nineteen years, necessitated a knowledge of the organization, constitution, rights, and privileges of the military servants of the East India Company. May I not, therefore, with propriety, ask the House to accept and give its confidence to my testimony as to what the guaranteed rights and privileges really were, independently of the statements of the petitioners to the House.
1st. The cadet on being appointed by the Court of Directors to the East India Company's Military Service, had conferred upon him the right to succeed to the highest rank of the service by seniority, unless disabled by sentence of a court-martial.
2nd. On his appointment to a regiment he had the right to succeed by seniority as vacancies occurred, whether by deaths, resignations, or transfers to new regiments to the rank of major in his regiment.
3rd. After becoming a major regimentally he fell into the line of field officers of his arm of the service in the army, and had the right to succeed by seniority as vacancies occurred to the rank of full colonel with colonel's allowances.
4th. He had the right to succeed to the command of a company and to the command of his regiment in case it became vacant, while he was senior officer.
5th. It was his right that no officer belonging to any other regiment should be put into his regiment to the prejudice of the above rights.
I have myself exercised all these rights, and for more than half a century never knew a case of their violation, except in a modified and exceptional instance after the massacre at Cabool, and on that occasion it was to prevent the supersession of senior officers by junior officers. The officer's regiment was his fixed home until he became a lieutenant-colonel; and thus, by long association with the veteran Native officers and men, a mutual sympathy and confidence grew up.
6th. It was also a right, that although brevet rank might be conferred for distinguished services, no officer could supersede a regimental officer by having con- 1356 ferred upon him substantive rank in the army independently of regimental succession. These were the rights twice guaranteed by the House of Commons, and there is not one of them that has not been violated by the Secretary of State for India, in the person of some one officer or other. My right hon. Friend asserts, absolutely, that he has not altered the right of succession by seniority that—The cadet (I quote his words) who went into the army in 1860, who, perhaps, would never see a day's service, will rise to the rank of colonel or general officer in a regular course by seniority, by successive steps, and without interruption from the day he enters.The House will learn with surprise that the Secretary of State for India has concealed from the House the fact that officers not in the Staff Corps have no longer regiments in which to rise; that the regiments exist upon paper only; that there is no company to command or succession to the command of the regiment with the respective command allowances, to which before the re-organization the officers had a right. This surely, therefore, is a violation of the Parliamentary guarantee of their rights. The Secretary of State for India also maintains that the exceptional case of the removal in Bengal of a few subalterns from their own corps to regiments which had suffered in the Cabool massacre, justify his acting in a similar manner at his pleasure for the three armies of India at large. This I entirely deny. The object of the Company in the case alluded to by the Secretary of State was to prevent some cornets or ensigns who had not been with their regiments at Cabool superseding old lieutenants of other regiments. Some lieutenants were, therefore, put over the cornets and ensigns. The object was good, but myself and other directors strongly objected to the measure at the time because it violated a principle. Other rights of the Company's officers were comprised in fixed retiring pensions and annuities to widows and children; commands of brigades and divisions, &c. The privileges of pay, allowances, furloughs and otherwise, to an officer, were of the most liberal character from his generous and considerate masters the Directors of the East India Company. But a privilege which to the Indian officer was of vital importance was that of the Regimental Bonus Fund, twice officially sanctioned by the Court of Directors and the Board of Control, and consequently by the British Government in May 1838. Notwithstand- 1357 ing the adverse climate of India, promotion was very slow in the Indian army. I was myself sixteen years a subaltern; many were a longer period, and Mr. Babington, of the Madras Cavalry, was ten years a cornet. In consequence, before an officer could attain a rank, the pension of which would justify his retirement from the service, advanced age and broken down health affected his efficiency, and it was a matter of public policy, therefore, to encourage officers so cirumstanced to retire, and this was done by each officer of a regiment contributing voluntarily in proportion to the advantage he was to derive from a step to a Regimental Bonus Fund; and an officer was frequently obliged to borrow money to pay his quota; but as on his own retirement a much larger sum would be presented to him, his contribution was cheerfully made. Another privilege enabled colonels and major generals to remain in India after promotion upon Indian allowances. Cavalry officers were entitled to Cavalry pay; and officers holding regimental commands were entitled to prescribed allowances.
The preceding constituted the chief rights and privileges of the officers of the East India Company's armies, which were guaranteed to them by two separate Acts of Parliament. With a full knowledge of the rights and privileges enumerated, the Secretary of State for India resolved to amalgamate the armies of India with that of the Crown, and establish a Staff Corps, and effect a re organization of the three armies of India, which the Act of 1858 did not contemplate, and my right hon. Friend has just told the House that everything he has done has been done with the advice of his Council—the present Viceroy of India and other great functionaries—but the following extracts from the Parliamentary papers will prove to the House that the memory of my right hon. Friend is singularly treacherous. He first referred the consideration of the modus operandi of his projected changes to the Military Committee of his own Council. This Committee consisted of the present Viceroy of India, the present Sir J. Willoughby, Lieutenant General Sir R. Vivian, K.C.B., Colonel Durand, C.B., at present Military Secretary to the Government of India in the Foreign Department, and Captain Eastwick, all gentlemen of great Indian experience. Their Report is dated June 30, 1859, and they unanimously adopt the following language, em- 1358 bracing the consideration of the re-organization, the amalgamation, and the establishment of Staff Corps in India. Paragraph 8—To the amalgamation advocated by the majority of the Royal Commissioners, the Committee perceive other and almost insurmountable obstacles. The first is that it would occasion a breach of the Guarantee Clause 56.Paragraph 14—Except at exorbitant cost to the State the Committee have failed to discover any practicable suggestion by which the inherent difficulties of amalgamation are attempted to be met.But the present Commander-in-Chief in India, Sir William Mansfield, then Chief of the Staff, in a memorandum dated June 5, 1859, very unhesitatingly solves the difficulty by recommending a breach of faith in the following words:—I believe that whatever may have been our opinions before on account of political convenience and the guarantees given by Parliament to the officers of the Indian army, all the considerations must be swept entirely away.Again—It is necessary to look the state of things straight in the face and blot out altogether all local and partial or class considerations, the Parliamentary Guarantee being provided for in some other manner as best may be done.These observations were recorded on the occasion of the local European troops insisting upon their rights, when a breach of faith was attempted with them. In a second memorandum dated September 26, 1859, Sir William Mansfield is equally unscrupulous in saying that, in his opinion, instead of the guaranteed pensions to Indian officers on their retirement, it would be better to give them the "home system of a scanty half-pay." In opposition to the views of Sir William Mansfield for the abolition of a local European force and amalgamation, the present Viceroy of India, Sir John Lawrence, speaking from thirty years experience, strongly advocates its maintenance in a memorandum dated the 17th December, 1859,and these views are strongly concurred in by Colonel Durand, Captain Eastwick, Lieutenant General Sir R. Vivian, and Colonel Sir Proby Cautley. Sir John Lawrence says—I need not add that these views, in my opinion, embody a sound policy, and the time is not far distant when it will be found absolutely necessary to revert to it.A military despatch from the President and Council in Calcutta, dated 7th January 1860, gives cover to a memorandum of Sir 1359 James Outram, in which is the following paragraph:—Believing as I do that that measure (amalgamation) if carried out will prove most injurious to this country, and that it will inflict grievous injustice on the servants of the East India Company, I have deemed it my duty to record a solemn protest against its adoption.This is concurred in by the present distinguished Governor of Bombay, Sir Bartle Frere, K.C.B., under date 7th January, 1860, who emphatically records—That the interests of India, and therefore those of the Empire at large, require that the army of India shall henceforth be, to the same extent as heretofore, a localized army 'serving in India.Even, Mr. Wilson, as a member of the Council of India, in a Minute dated 8th March 1860, in his short experience testifies to the necessity of having localized Europeans in India, whether civil or military, to insure a proper influence with the people. In a memorandum of Sir William Mansfield, addressed to Earl de Grey, dated 13th November, 1859, he says—It is certainly very desirable not to touch the armies of the two minor Presidencies for the present, if it can be avoided.And yet, on giving up the command of the Bombay army, he published a general order, dated the 14th March, 1865, in which he assumes great credit for having carried out the amalgamation scheme in all its mischievous accompaniments of conversion into irregulars, and establishing the Staff Corps, and consequent superseding of senior officers. The Report of the Military Committee of the Indian Office Council already quoted, was in such complete opposition to the views of the Secretary of State for India that he resolved not to lay the Report before his Council, or consult his Council at all upon the subject of amalgamation and the suppression of the local European army. This determination produced the following Minute or Protest, dated 5th July, 1860:—If on any grave question it is competent to the Minister to set the Council on one side, and to consult them or not at his pleasure, it is obvious that the objects of the Legislature will be frustrated, and that the Council must entirely fail in the efficient performance of the duties intrusted to them by Parliament. We are, therefore, of opinion that the course adopted by the Secretary of State in refusing to bring the Report of the Political and Military Committee on the future organization of the Indian army before the Council, or allowing the subject to be discussed there, is contrary to the provisions of the Act of the 21 & 22 Vict. 6, 106.1360 This, is signed by the present Viceroy of India (Sir John Lawrence), and 13 other members of the Council, the signature of one only being wanting. But this was not all. The Military Finance Commissioners sitting in Calcutta reported by special instruction from the Viceroy of India (Lord Canning), in May, 1860, before the Secretary of State for India formed Lord Hotham's Commission, that the formation of a Staff Corps could not be affected without involving the Government in a very serious expenditure, creating great difficulties in the service, and entailing upon the Government a variety of complications, and they recommended the maintenance of the regimental organization. This was signed by Major General Jameson, the present Auditor of Indian Accounts, and Colonel Balfour, both engaged in reorganizing the finances of India after the mutiny j the latter ably, energetically, and successfully completing the work after Colonel Jameson had left India. My right hon. Friend looked to Lord Hotham's Commission for aid and support, which he had appointed on the 30th July, 1860, and which made its Report on the 30th August I860; but here again the India Minister was not to meet with complete satisfaction, for it pointed out serious difficulties ahead. On the subject of the appointment of a Staff Corps, Sir P. MelvilleSaw so many difficulties and injuries resulting from it to the extent even of rendering it impracticable;and distinctly recommended that the attention of the Government of India should be called to them. Nevertheless, at page 5 of the published case of the Grievances of the Indian officers, it is stated that the Secretary of State for India kept the Government in India in ignorance of these objections; thus, in fact, taking upon himself the very grave responsibility of being the cause of all the injuries of which Indian officers complain, and of the discontent which is the consequence; for unquestionably, had not the Staff Corps on its present footing been established the chief grievances which have reached the House of Commons would have been obviated. Lord Hotham's Report contains several remarkable recommendations which, if they had been adopted, the present discontent would have been less. The establishment of a Staff Corps, or rather List, was certainly suggested, but with qualifications and an alternative proposition, and it contemplated the removal of the officers from 1361 their own regiments, who were appointed to the Staff Corps in the following words:—Officers will not be finally removed from their regiments, and transferred to the Staff Corps until after a period of probation, and they become permanently appointed to the Staff.This has not been done: above 1,300 officers have been permanently removed to the Staff Corps, but their names are retained in their regimental lists. Moreover, at the end of paragraph 5, the Report sajs—By applying the principles which have been laid down in raising new regiments, and generally in all army augmentations.These principles were the absolute removal of officers from their own to the new regiments. Had the Secretary of State for India adopted this recommendation, which was in accordance with the usages of the service, one of the principal grievances of regimental officers would not have arisen. Paragraph 6 of the Report recommends retirements of senior officers. It recommends increased pensions of £150 to £200 per annum, or a bonus; but expresses a belief that no old officer would retire with a less bonus than £2,500 to £3,000. An increased pension has been given to some old officers, but not any bonus. What the petitioners ask for is, that all their confiscated contributions made to the regiment's retiring fund may be returned to them, as a bonus on their own retirement from the service; but the Secretary of State refuses to act upon the recommendations of the Commissioners. Again, in paragraph 7, the Commission use these words—If the present organization is maintained, and it was maintained in the Madras and Bombay armies, we feel some difficulty in suggesting that promotions shall not be made in room of every one of these retirements.And, in the next paragraph, speaking of retirements in the Engineers and Artillery, it says—We conceive it would be absolutely requisite to promote in the room of these retiring, and so with any Corps that is maintained.The Secretary of State for India, nevertheless, unhappily found no difficulty in deciding against the Commission, and he has placed sixty-one field officers of the three armies on the pension list without filling up their vacancies, and has, therefore, violated the usages of the service and the guarantees; and finally, with respect to the prize of all regimental officers, the colonelcy, and its allowances, the Commission say if they are reduced— 1362It is almost useless to add that any measure which retards the flow of promotion, and postpones the prospect of succession to the highest paid rank of the service, must inflict a very heavy disappointment and carry with it the sense or serious injury, if not of positive wrong, in the minds of the officers of the Indian army.Nevertheless, the Secretary of State has reduced the number of colonelcies, and added two years to the previous time in which lieutenant-colonels had obtained the prize, and in the Artillery the number of colonels have been reduced from twenty-four to fourteen. The officers of the Indian army, therefore, complain that they have been wronged. Now these were recommendations of seven of the most distinguished and experienced officers of the Royal and Company's Armies, which have been treated so lightly by the Secretary of State for India. Who, then, have been the advisers of my right hon. Friend—certainly not his own Military Committee—less so his Council; the present Viceroy of India was opposed to his amalgamation views, so was Sir James Outram, the present Governor of Bombay, and a host of other experienced officers and public servants. Will my right hon. Friend, then, tell the House upon whose fatal advice he acted, if he had any advisers at all? Well, Sir, the order or warrant for the amalgamation was nevertheless dispatched to India, and promulgated in general orders in India on the 10th April 1861; and it was so unintelligible that no less than 129 questions were put to the Government of India, and by it to the Secretary of State, for interpretation. A Parliamentary Return, No. 5 of 1862; records these questions together with a supplemental list of 146 questions, in all 275 questions for the explanation of a general order! The order or warrant completely subverted all the rules and regulations which had governed promotion in the Indian armies ever since the year 1796; officers were promoted to substantive rank and pay independently of regimental seniority; the consequence was multiplied supersessions of their brother officers, multiplied petitions to the Secretary of State for India, all of which were unredressed, and at last, in despair, at whatever risk to their personal interests, the officers poured in petitions to the House of Commons, The attention of the House was called to these petitions and the prospect of a serious discussion, and the probability of an adverse majority, led to the appointment of Lord Hotham's second 1363 Commission to investigate the grievances. But not one of the petitions presented to Parliament were referred to the Commission. Vivâ voce evidence was not taken, the Officers Grievances Committee was called upon to make its statement, but the counter-statement of the Secretary of State for India the Officers Committee were not permitted to see, and the officers felt convinced, if they had had an opportunity for a thorough explanation, they could have satisfied the Commission that the Regimental Bonus Retiring Fund was no more illegal than the purchase of Commissions in the Royal Army, indeed less so. On the 9th of November, 1863, the Commission reported that the Parliamentary guarantee had been departed from in five instances; two of these have been since redressed, but three still remained unredressed—namely, supersession of local officers by Staff Corps officers, secondly, retaining the names of retired lieutenant-colonels on the Army List, and thus retarding promotion, and thirdly, fixing twelve years instead of ten for a lieutenant-colonel obtaining his colonelcy. These are all violations of the guarantee. But a leading feature of all the 712 petitions presented to Parliament this Session is a grievance which presses with disastrous severity upon all officers, except those of the Staff Corps. It is the practical confiscation of all their contributions to Regimental Retiring Funds to assure a Bonus to retiring officers. The Royal Commission, on the evidence afforded to it from the India Office, concurred in the opinion of the Secretary of State for India that all such contributions were illegal, upon the supposed operations of the Act of George III. against the sale of offices. But that Act applied to a Government office bearer, selling his appointment to another, in a personal transaction. The operations of the Regimental Retiring Funds had no analogy to such a state of things; an old and senior officer in a regiment, as I have already stated, with his health broken down and encumbered with a growing up family, cannot retire upon the pension to which he is entitled, because it is insufficient for the support of himself and family in Europe; but he says to his regiment, if you choose to repay to me the sums I have myself contributed to the Regimental Fund, and the value of my present position, I will make way for the advance of my juniors. The contribution was made by the body of the officers, and the major or lieute- 1364 nant-colonel retired, and this was literally in the interests of the public service, for otherwise a broken down and inefficient officer would have been compelled to drag on a miserable existence in India. So thoroughly satisfied were the Court of Directors and the Board of Control, and consequently the British Government, of the advantage of this system to the public interests, that they approved of it in two despatches to the Government of India. The importance of the Bonus to the retiring officer and his family, is shown by the amounts paid. In the officers' "Case" at page 11, it is stated that Major General Pears, now Military Secretary at the India Office, received £6,000 from his regiment on his retirement. He (Colonel Sykes) has known a lieutenant-colonel of Cavalry receive £7,000, and a lieutenant-colonel of Artillery who was near his colonelcy and off-reckonings even more. It is most ungenerous, therefore, in the Secretary of State for India, to take advantage of a supposed legal impediment and a decision in the Queen's Bench, which was inapplicable to the bonus system of the Indian armies, to confiscate all the contributions of present officers and all the advantages which they had a right to derive from those contributions. What would be the astonishment and indignation of the officers of the Royal Army if it were attempted to bring the sale of commissions under the operation of the Act of Geo. III.; and they were told, "You laid out your money illegally in the purchase of your commissions, and purchase must cease for the future, and the money you have laid cut is lost." But even the great Duke of Wellington sanctioned a measure analogous to the bonus system in India. In May, 1823, the Duke found the stagnation of promotion in the Royal Artillery so great that he proposed and carried a measure to allow a certain number of field officers to retire from the Artillery, receiving for their commissions the reguated value that would be given to an officer of similar rank in the Line. In 1824 the same boon was granted to the Engineers and marine officers. This is all recorded in the Report on Army and Navy Appointments, Parliamentary paper 650 of 12th of August, 1838," at page 221. Why, Sir, this is the bonus system of the Indian army, which has been called illegal, but it is not quite so justifiable. The officers of those arms of the Royal Army had not and could not purchase 1365 their commissions; but they were offered lump sums to retire. As junior officers of these arms could not buy, the device was fallen upon of allowing Cavalry and Infantry officers of the Line to purchase the commissions so vacated; but as they could not serve in the Artillery or Engineers, they went upon the half-pay unattached list, and upon that unattached list I am told there are some 500 officers. If this was done by the Great Duke, and commissions are still purchased in the Royal Army, how is it that a less objectionable system constitutes a legal offence with officers of the late Company?
My right hon. Friend boasts of the success and economy of converting the whole of the regular Native army into irregulars, the practical result is to make efficient troops inefficient; but he and his advisers confound the effects of applying the same principle to two distinct classes of Native soldiery. With bodies of proud, independent, and fanatic Mahommedans of the Pothan tribes, or with the chivalrous and high caste Rajpoots, European officers thoroughly acquainted with Native character, good linguists, and resolute of purpose, are absolutely requisite. But it is very different with the mixed castes of the Infantry. They require not selected men, but numerous European leaders; for in a line of battle, or in the storm of a breach, they are efficient precisely in the ratio of the number of their European leaders. They will not lead, but they will follow to brave any danger. To give, therefore, six officers only to 800 or 1,000 men, is to render them useless, if not dangerous. In fact, so strongly did the Court of Directors of the East India Company feel on the subject that, after repeated orders limiting the total withdrawal of officers from any one regiment to seven, one of the latest acts of the Court of Directors, while I was Chairman, was a despatch to the Government of India, ordering that no Native regiment should have less than thirteen European officers with it, independently of the ensigns. The limitation, therefore, of six officers to a regiment is impolitic and dangerous.
My right hon. Friend has led the House to believe that promotion has been infinitely more rapid since the amalgamation or reorganization than before, and that the cost of officers has been greatly augmented, but he is quite aware that both these circumstances owe their origin to the mischievous advantages given to the officers of the Staff 1366 Corps to the injury of the local officers. 162 lieutenants became captains on joining the Staff Corps, 192 captains became majors, and 23 majors lieutenant colonels. These very officers, who had been so promoted with substantive commissions and augmented pay in the Staff Corps, were nevertheless kept on the rolls of the regiments from which they had been removed, no vacancy being permitted on the ground that had their vacancies been filled up in some regiments there would have been an anomalously rapid promotion of juniors and consequent supersessions. The first question to ask is, "Why Staff Corps at all; and next, why, then, were so many officers from any one regiment allowed to go into the Staff Corps?" The number might have been restricted so that undue promotion might have been prevented in any one regiment; but nothing of the kind was done, a continued flow of promotion and pay was given to the regimental officers who went into the Staff Corps, and the regimental officers who remained were left only to be superseded by their brother officers. The Secretary of State objected to the rapid promotion that would have ensued; hut anomalously rapid or retarded cases of promotion have been of constant occurrence even in the Indian seniority service. The late General Sir David Leigbton, K.C.B., got his majority in nine years—and this was before 1800—while he (Colonel Sykes) was sixteen years a subaltern. The promotion in an army could only be judged of by a system of averages. The supersessions occasioned by Staff promotions Lord Hotham's Committee pronounced a breach of the Parliamentary guarantee, and the Secretary of State has attempted to fulfil the guarantee by giving the superseded officers brevet rank, which does not carry pay or regimental command, and the officers view the remedy as a mockery, as its operation in individual cases will show. The present 18th Bengal Irregular Infantry is commanded by Captain W. Winson of the Staff Corps, who is sixth captain in the late 45th Native Infantry, and of fifteen years' service. His second in command is Major R. Larkins, of the late 49th, an officer of twenty-six years' service. In the 46th Madras Infantry, Captain A. Cooper, of twenty-seven years' service, stands third captain; but he is a brevet lieutenant-colonel. Many of his juniors have been made substantive majors. Supposing them all married men, Brevet Lieutenant 1367 Colonel Cooper dies, and his widow can only get a captain's pension, while the widow of any one of the majors, his juniors, will get the pension of a major's widow. But what officers of the class of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Cooper, of whom there are hundreds, have justly a right to complain, is, that they can only get their substantive majorities in the paper cadre of their regiments, as vacancies occur above them; while officers, who happened to be on the Staff at the time of the establishment of the Staff Corps, are allowed to count their past services on the Staff as a qualification for promotion to substantive rank, hence the multiplied supersessions. The Staff officers are progressing to brigade and divisional commands, while Captain Cooper's class have a hopeless prospect. Captain T. W. R. Boisragon of the Staff Corps is a lieutenant in the cadre of the late 69th Bengal Infantry; he commands the 30th Bengal Infantry, and there are five other regimental lieutenants commanding regiments, while numerous field officers, some of them C. B.'s, and others bearing the Victoria Cross are unemployed; indeed, it is stated that of the 105 Native regiments in Bengal, eighty are commanded by captains and lieutenants, seventeen of whom are captains in the Madras army. Discontent, under such circumstances, is inevitable. But I will not weary the House with multiplying cases of individual wrongs. In October, 1860, the Company's army employed 5,988 European officers of all arms; of these, 4,138 belonged to the Native army. By Parliamentary paper, 522 of the 27th of July, 1863, the total number of officers who had joined the Staff Corps was 1,297, so that at the present time there must be not less than 2,800 officers who are deprived of their regimental guaranteed rights. My right hon. Friend (Sir Charles Wood) will no doubt tell the House again, as he told it before, that he has done nothing that the East India Company could not have done. My reply is that the East India Company had not the power to give substantive rank independently of regimental succession. The court never did and never could annihilate the right of regimental officers to succeed by seniority to the command of companies and command of regiments. Now, from 2,800 to 3,000 officers not in the Staff Corps have had all these rights annihilated by the Secretary of State for India. The India Company never would have converted their 1368 veteran regular troops into irregulars to be commanded by officers selected by favour, while old officers with the honours of C. B. and Victoria Cross are left unemployed, and the Secretary of State has practically confiscated the regimental contributions of officers, and left them beggars. In short, unless some measures of redress are adopted, I feel assured the present agitation and discontent will continue to the detriment of the public service, and the disgrace of the country.
§ MR. SMOLLETT
said, in his judgment the amalgamation, as it was called, of the Indian army had not been carried out with stinginess; but, on the contrary, there had been great profusion and cost, the result being that even those who had derived benefit from the profusion were dissatisfied. The great error had been the creation of a most extravagant and unnecessary Staff Corps; but the greatest mistake of all was committed by the House in passing the Amalgamation Act of 1860. That was an Act which, under the pretence of stopping recruiting from England for service in India, at once annihilated a most admirable service, which with some amendments and revision might have continued with the highest possible advantage to the State. At that time a perfect mania seemed to have attacked the authorities at the Horse Guards and the India Office and even to have reached Calcutta with respect to Indian affairs. They appeared to imagine that henceforth India was to be governed by 100,000 English bayonets, and that the only question to be decided was whether it was to be done by means of the Queen's troops or of a local service. The plan of ruling India by brute force broke down from financial considerations. It was found that sufficient money could not be raised in India to pay 100,000 British troops sent from this country. It was at first proposed to retain only some 20,000 or 30,000 Native troops, who were to be employed on unhealthy stations, where the English soldier could not exist. But all this had entirely passed away; sounder opinions prevailed, and the Native troops now amounted to 155,000 in number, but, as he was informed, they were very inefficient, owing to a relaxation in the regimental organization. In proof of the profusion connected with the amalgamation, he need only cite the case of several hundred cadets being sent out to the Indian service during the last year of its existence, 1369 when the service had been condemned to extinction. This was altogether unnecessary. It was not right to send out young men to be quartered upon that country for life. Surely some of those young men might have been transferred to the Queen's service, or had awarded them a sum of money by way of compensation for the loss of a service for which they had been trained. The next measure taken in India was the permission accorded to a large number of officers who had obtained the rank of lieutenant-colonel to retire from the service on vastly enhanced retiring allowances. By those means a great charge was entailed upon the Indian Treasury, while great dissatisfaction was occasioned among those officers so dealt with, who now declared that they had accepted the increased retiring allowances under a misapprehension, and who had joined the rank of the malcontents. At the time when this amalgamation took place there were 5,300 officers on the rolls of the Indian army, and of these some 1,340, more or less, had been merged in the Queen's army. They principally consisted of officers of the corps of Engineers in all the three Presidencies and of officers of the Artillery, who had been merged in the Royal Artillery. Some officers were also permitted to volunteer from Native regiments, and together these all formed a body of 1,340 officers. Some 4,000 others remained, who adhered to the advantages of the Indian service as it had existed up to that time, and he proceeded to show how these 4,000 officers were dealt with. The Government of India immediately set about the formation of a Staff Corps unlimited in number and expense. Every man who had been fortunate enough to perform duties apart from his regiment was competent to join this Staff Corps; adjutants of regiments, quartermasters, and interpreters were permitted to volunteer, even officers who had thrown up their appointments and come home on furlough, and who, under the old régime, would have had to rejoin their regiments on going out were permitted to join the Staff Corps provided they returned in three years. In this way a most unprecedented corps—what he might call a legion—was formed; and, strange to say, although the members of the Staff Corps obtained promotion by joining it, no promotion followed in the regiments from which they were draughted. One of the evils of the old system consisted in the facility with which officers were permitted 1370 to shirk regimental duty; married officers especially were ready to accept the smallest appointments and the most trifling emoluments rather than go marching over India with their regiments. But from the principles on which this Staff Corps was formed it would seem as if a difficulty in inducing men to join had been apprehended. A subaltern, for instance, of twelve years' standing was promoted upon joining to be captain; a captain of twenty years' standing became major; and a major of twenty-six years' standing was made lieutenant-colonel. In this manner, not in single instances, but in hundreds of cases, officers were superseded in their own regiments by others junior to themselves, for the names of these fortunate Staff officers still remained on the cadre of the regiment in their proper places obstructing promotions. If there had been one distinctive feature of the Indian service it was that no man once appointed to a regiment should jump over the head of a senior in that Corps by purchase or in any other way, except by sentence of a court-martial. But the effect of this Staff Corps was to revolutionize the whole army sys-stem, and to make supersession by juniors the rule instead of the exception. The regimental officers naturally murmured against such a practice, but their remonstrances were unheeded. There would have been a ready way of redressing the wrong that had been committed, by cancelling the warrant which gave promotions to Staff officers out of their turn and returning to the old system of promotion. But the Secretary of State would not do this. He regarded these 1,400 officers, as he had declared again that evening, as the élite of the army. For his part he entertained a very different opinion. Of the members of the Staff Corps very few had been chosen for service in the field or for real merit; most of them were promoted because they were well introduced or recommended, or from other causes which he need not enter into. Among them were some who had never done any regimental duty at all, but almost from their entrance into India had been filling civil appointments. Such men were actually on the ladder of army promotion and in a fair way to become general officers, while those who continued in the performance of regular regimental duty were quietly passed over. As the Secretary of State would not cancel those promotions which had been improperly obtained, the only other course was 1371 to give substantive rank pari passu to officers who had been passed over by juniors. This, no doubt, would entail a large charge upon the revenues of India, but to that complexion it must come at last. The strange spectacle would then be seen of a service doomed to death improperly and indefinitely continued y sending out a great number of young officers to join in 1860–1, its members permitted to retire upon allowances which they never would have gained under the old régime And more than this, they would have the anomaly of 1,400 officers quartered on the country and promoted to be field officers long before they could have expected, with 2,600 regimental officers ultimately sharing in the like advantages, all because some blunder had taken place either in the India Office, or at the Horse Guards, or in both of those Departments.
Motion made, and Question put,
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to redress all such grievances complained of by the Officers of the late Indian Armies, as were admitted by the 'Commission on the Memorials of Indian Officers' to have arisen by a departure from the assurances given by Parliament, by the Acts 21 and 22 Vic.c. 106, and 23 and 24 Vic.c. 100."—(Captain Jervis.)
§ The House divided:—Ayes 49; Noes 36: Majority 13.