HC Deb 01 July 1867 vol 188 cc844-7

Report [13th June.]

Postponed Resolution considered.


said, he wished to call attention to the inadequacy of the allowance of 4s. per man for scattered corps attending the battalion drill which was required to qualify them for the capitation grant. He pointed out the expense involved in attending battalion drills and inspections, the special hardship of refusing any grant on account of head-quarter companies, which might travel as much as any others, and the expediency of granting a travelling allowance specially for brigade field days. He gave instances of the operation of the present system, and contrasted the £2 per annum for clothing and saddlery, and the £2 16s. for eight days' subsistence of man and horse allowed to the Yeomanry with the 20s. allowed to the Volunteers for all equipments, ranges, and orderly room and 4s. for travelling expenses. The consequence was that on the captains were thrown heavy personal expenses, to the amount of £40 or £50, to enable their men to perform their duty, and it was not to be wondered at that captains were flocking out of the force. He did not press the Government for an immediate answer, nor did he ask for a large increase of the capitation grant, but he hoped they would consider the question.


said, he hoped that the Secretary of State for War would re-consider the answer he gave a short time since; and he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman might propose some increase of the present allowance. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not take a less favourable view of this corps than his right hon. and gallant Predecessor (General Peel), who had first brought out the Volunteer corps.


said, that the efficiency of the Volunteer force depended in a great measure upon the grant in question, and he hoped the representations made to the Government would receive careful and favourable consideration. No force of similar character could be raised in the country on such easy terms; but its efficiency depended very much upon emulation, and that must be nurtured by public and private bounty. The Volunteer force had produced a powerful moral effect at a great political crisis, and no more suitable force could be desired to whom to commit the liberties and safety of the country.


said, that the burden of maintaining the Volunteer force now pressed heavily on commanding officers, and it was hardly right that the country should rely upon them to bear this expense. He rose simply to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War, whether he could tell the House what would be done respecting the instructions to Volunteers?


said, he agreed with his hon. Friend that if the Government wished for the continuance of the force they must give it further assistance.


said, he did not think the Government paid sufficient attention to the requirements of the Volunteer force; and he would particularly draw attention to the claim of the engineer corps, which he trusted would be favourably considered.


said, he thought it would be well if the Volunteers and regulars could be drilled more frequently together. The Volunteers would have much to learn from the regulars, while, on the other hand, the officers of regulars would gain experience in the command of a larger body of troops than could otherwise be brought together, and also in the command of more or less irregular forces, who in actual service were frequently massed with the regulars.


said, that the insufficient travelling allowance now made to the Volunteers was one of the subjects touched upon in the memorandum. It was proposed that, instead of a fixed payment of 4s. per man for the purpose of attending battalion drill, there should be a graduated scale of mileage allowance. He thought that proposal well worthy of consideration; and he wished to state that it was quite irrespective of an increase in the capitation grant. It should receive early consideration, and he hoped that on that point, at least, he should be able to meet the views of the Volunteer officers. He did not yield to any one in his sincere desire to encourage the noble Volunteer movement, nor in the deep regret he should feel if any circumstance, pecuniary or otherwise, should lead any considerable number of Volunteer officers to withdraw from the force. He assumed that the reason his answer to his noble Friend on a former occasion was thought unsatisfactory arose from his disinclination to enter into any engagement respecting the increase of the capitation grant. What he said was that it would be impossible, after the Estimates for the current year had been presented, to give a hasty decision on this point, involving an increased expenditure of £150,000 a year, without the full concurrence of his Colleagues. That answer he must repeat, and he could not now enter into any engagement without consulting his Colleagues. With regard to the modification of the Volunteer regulations, as to co-operation with the civil power, he had that morning been considering them, in order to meet the particular objections urged against them. He was not now prepared to enter into any definite engagement on the subject, but he hoped to make such changes as would be satisfactory, and his decision would certainly be communicated to the House before the close of the Session. He agreed with his hon. and learned Friend the Member for the University of Cambridge that the plan of drilling the Volunteers and regulars together would be most advantageous wherever it could be carried out, but it was very much a question of convenience and locality. Last year a large body of Volunteers and regulars were drilled together in Devon, and militia regiments had been quartered at Aldershot and drilled with regular troops with mutual advantage. The case of the engi- neers would come under his consideration along with that of the rest of the Volunteers.

Resolution agreed to.