HC Deb 25 July 1867 vol 189 cc118-40

SUPPLY considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) £63,250, Increase of Pay to Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Militia.


I have to propose a Vote of £63,250 to defray the charge for the Increase of Pay to Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Militia. The Resolution I propose comprises the remaining portions of the Supplemental Estimate voted for the increase of the pay of the army at an earlier period of the Session. It embraces four points. First, the addition of 2d. a day to the noncommissioned officers of the permanent Staff of the Militia, which will amount to £14,000. Secondly, the addition of 2d. a day to the pay of the men called up to preliminary drill, amounting to £1,250. Thirdly, an addition of 2d. a day to the men called up for annual training, amounting to £18,000. These items are rendered necessary by the increase of the pay of the army, to which the House has consented, and, considering the increase in the price of provisions and of labour, I trust the Committee will not object to extend the same increase of pay to the militia force. The fourth point embraced by the Resolution relates to the larger and more important subject of the creation of an Army of Reserve for this country. It is now my duty to explain the nature of this very important proposal. But I must, in the first instance, express my very great regret on all grounds that the present statement is not made by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Huntingdon (General Peel). With one exception, the plan I am about to state is entirely that of my right hon. and gallant Friend. The peculiar circumstances of the present Session have prevented this plan from being opened fully to the House and this Vote from being asked for at a much earlier period. Early in the month of March, before my right hon. and gallant Friend left the office in which I became his successor, he brought under the consideration of the House the Army Esti- mates for the year. In the course of the clear and able speech by which he introduced them, he explained the general nature of his plan for forming an Army of Reserve, and laid before the House an outline of the mode in which he proposed to carry out that important object. His statement was so clear and so complete that it would be presumption on my part to go over the same ground, had it not been for the long interval of time since elapsed. I will not dwell upon the causes which have led to a very general opinion that some Army of Reserve in this country has become necessary; that it behoves Parliament to provide the means of national defence, and the power of carrying on war in the event of any emergency arising, with greater rapidity than we have hitherto been able to do. The extraordinary revolution of late years in our naval power is one cause which evidently points to the necessity of taking fresh steps for the increase of our military power. In the event of any emergency arising, it would be difficult, if not impossible, from the limited number of our regular army, and the manner in which that army is dispersed throughout our immense dominions, in all quarters of the globe, to collect more than some 40,000 or 50,000 men in this country. This subject occupied the attention of the Royal Commission appointed to consider the best means of recruiting for the army. In the Report of that Commission I find this passage— Recent events, however, have taught us that we must not rely in future on having time for preparation. Wars will be sudden in their commencement and short in their duration, and woe to that country which is unprepared to defend itself against any contingency that may arise, or combination that may be formed against it! The first duty of those who preside over the administration of the army is to look to its constitution. That is a very striking passage, the force, truth, and justice of which, no one will dispute. What is our position at this moment with regard to anything like a military Reserve? For the general purposes of war we have at this moment no Reserve at all. We have not a battalion of which we can speak as constituting a Reserve for the general purposes of war. For the purpose of home defence, I admit we have a very important Reserve. We have our militia force, now standing at 90,000 men, but the full quota of which, as I shall presently explain, would be one fourth more. That would make the militia Reserve 120,000. Then we have the results of that striking Volunteer movement which has excited so much attention and admiration in the country during the last few years. The Volunteer force amounts to 180,000. We may therefore consider that, for the purposes of home defence, we have in militia and Volunteers a force of 300,000 men. And I do not for myself feel a moment's doubt if any great emergency arose—if the country were threatened with any attempt at invasion—the same spirit which created that force of 180,000 Volunteers would enable us with great rapidity to double or treble that number of men. In support of that opinion I need only refer to the fact that when there was a similar apprehension in 1803, when we had so much smaller a population, the force of Volunteers amounted to between 400,000 and 500,000. In addition to the force of the militia and Volunteers we have, also, what I may call a special Reserve consisting of the enrolled pensioners, and a Reserve force created by Act of Parliament passed at the close of 1859, by Mr. Sydney Herbert, then Secretary of State for War. Our pensioner force was created by a succession of Acts of Parliament about twenty years ago, commencing with power to enrol 10,000 pensioners. Subsequently it was extended to 20,000, and then to 30,000. The law with regard to the enrolment of pensioners as it now stands gives us power to enroll 30,000; but up to this time that power has never been fully exercised. The number at this moment is 14,000, so that after the long period these Acts have been in operation we have not half the amount of force authorized by these Acts of Parliament. With regard to the other portion of the Reserve, that created in 1859, after the retirement of Lord Derby's Government, when Mr. Sydney Herbert succeeded my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Huntingdon as Secretary of Stale for War, power was taken by the Act of Parliament to enrol men who had served the whole period of ten years for which they had enlisted in a Reserve force not to exceed 20,000 men Therefore, the whole Reserve force authorized by these Acts of Parliament would amount to 50,000. But the Act of 1859 has been very unproductive of results, about 4,000 only having been enrolled under that Act. So that these three sources of military strength, which combined should have given 50,000 have, in fact, only given us 19,000 or 20,000 men. These forces, both the pen- sioners and the Army of Reserve created by Mr. Sidney Herbert, were limited to service at home. In neither case could they be employed for any service out of the country. I would again call attention to an important passage in the Report of the Recruiting Commission. They say— Under these circumstances we are not prepared to propose any plan as one that may be relied on to secure a large Army of Reserve; the object sought may, however, be accomplished to a small extent by increasing the enrolled pensioner force, which at present amounts to 14,000 men. To these might be added all men who decline to renew their engagements after their first period of service on such terms as might secure their service for a deferred pension. We would further suggest that all men permitted to purchase their discharge—with special exceptions, to be sanctioned by the Secretary of State for War—should be compelled to serve for five years with the above forces. All these sources of supply combined would, however, form but a small Reserve force, and we are of opinion, that it is to our militia we must look for the solid and constitutional Reserve of the country, and we would earnestly recommend that more attention should be given to its organization, that its numbers should be maintained up to the full legal quota, and that, so far as is possible, the period for drilling the recruits should be more extended. As to the recommendation that men should purchase their discharge subject to the duty of serving in the Reserve, I am not able to state to the Committee any plan; but I think it is well worthy of consideration, and the War Office is now considering it. It was after due consideration of the Report of the Commission, and after due consideration of the circumstances to which I have called the attention of the Committee, that my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Huntingdon, prepared the plan which he wished to bring forward on this subject. That plan consisted of two portions. The first portion of it, founded upon the recommendations in the Report to which I have referred, relies upon the militia force for providing a considerable portion of the Reserve for the general purposes of war. The militia force now stands at 90,000 men, but by the present plan it is to be raised to its full quota of 120,000 men, of whom 30,000 are to be men enlisted and enrolled as militiamen upon the condition that they shall be ready at any moment in the event of war, or of war being imminent, to take service in the regular army. As an inducement to men to enlist in the militia upon these conditions, they are to receive a Government bounty of £12, or £2 8s. a year in the place of £6, or £1 5s. a year they now re- ceive for five years' service. In connection with that proposal, by the plan of my right hon. and gallant Friend, soldiers who by the New Enlistment Act have enlisted for twelve years are to be permitted, after serving two-thirds of that period, to commute the rest of their service by serving two years in the Army of Reserve for every one year of the term of their original enlistment unexpired. The plan further proposed that these men so commuting the remainder of their term of service in the regular army shall be added to the different regiments of militia in whatever locality they desired to be placed and should serve and drill with those regiments. This is the only point on which the proposal which I now venture to make to the Committee on behalf of the Government differs from that of my right hon. and gallant Friend. After consulting with many military men, I was induced to believe that it would be better that these men should not serve in the militia regiments, that they should be attached to the Army of Reserve, and that they should drill with the pensioners and others of the Reserve force which I have adverted to as being formed under the Act of 1859. I was unwilling to make any alterations in the plan of my right hon. and gallant Friend without first obtaining his consent to such a course. I made this change, having consulted him upon it under the full impression that he had concurred in its propriety, but I am afraid, from what I have since heard, that I was mistaken, and that he does not concur in the proposed alteration; I am, however, induced to support this alteration in the plan in consequence of the general opinion among military men, that considerable practical difficulties exist to those who have commuted their term of service being permitted to serve with the militia. The militia is a county force, whereas the soldiers serve under the Crown; and it would require a very extensive change in our military laws to give the militia officers a proper power over their men. I am not aware whether up to the present time my right hon. and gallant Friend has ever stated how many men he expected to raise by this portion of his plan. The plan I propose to the Committee is this—that the first Reserve shall consist of 30,000 militiamen, who, in consideration of the double bounty, will be ready at any moment during their period of service to join the regular army, and to serve wherever they might be required. The second portion of the first Reserve will consist of the men willing to commute a period of their enlistment, and, following the Act of Mr. Sydney Herbert, these men I propose to limit to 20,000. It is very doubtful whether for a considerable time we shall succeed in getting 20,000 men in this way. The Act of Mr. Sydney Herbert entirely failed, because it contemplated raising 10,000 men, and up to this time we have only 4,000. We must bear in mind, however, that the plan I have now to submit differs from that of Mr. Sydney Herbert in two or three important particulars. In the first place the plan of Mr. Sydney Herbert proposed to enlist men in this Army of Reserve only after the expiration of the whole period of their original enlistment, whereas in the present plan it is proposed to allow the men one-third of the term of their service in the regular army. Secondly, under Mr. Sydney Herbert's plan, the Army of Reserve was not to serve out of the kingdom; whereas that I am laying before the Committee those forming it will be liable to serve in any part of the world. The second portion of the Army of Reserve is to consist of 30,000 men, composed of pensioners and others enrolled under existing Acts, with any soldiers who have served the whole of their first period of enlistment, and who may be willing to enter the Army of Reserve, or who may be willing to commute the third of the period of their second term of enlistment for the sake of the pension for service in the regular army. We shall thus obtain an Army of Reserve numbering 80,000 men, of whom 50,000 will be available for service in any part of the world, and 30,000 for home service. Then, as to the cost of this Army of Reserve. The most costly as well as the most important part of the plan will be the double bounty to the 30,000 men proposed to be added to the militia. The militia bounty will average 24s. a year for five years; therefore that item will amout to £36,000. As it is contemplated to add those men to the Army of Resolve, it is fair to calculate that the whole amount of bounty due to those men will amount to £72,000. The pay of 30,000 will come to £70,875, so that the two sums together—the bounty and pay—will amount to £142,875. I should propose to pay those who get into the Reserve by commuting their period of service in the army the same double bounty, 48s. a year, as we propose to give to the Reserve portion of the militia force. I think it necessary to explain this because Mr. Sydney Herbert's Reserve force, under the Act of 1859, was paid at a higher rate. Mr. Sydney Herbert's proposal was to give to militiamen who entered the Army of Reserve £4 per annum as bounty, besides the regular pay given to the pensioners during the time they were serving. It appears to me, however, that £4 bounty for every year is a very large amount. It makes the force a very expensive one, and I am disposed to think that we may find £2 8s. per man quite sufficient to secure the service of these men, especially when we consider the boon held out to them of being released from one-third of the period which they have undertaken to serve in the regular army. Assuming that we find 20,000 willing to enter the Reserve force from the army on these terms the bounty will amount to £48,000, and the pay of these men for twelve days' training to £24,900. This portion of the force will therefore cost £72,900, and the total cost of the two portions of this first Reserve composed of the 30,000 militiamen and the 20,000 commuted men will amount to £215,775. This calculation, however, will not include the cost of their clothing, which I may, I think, fairly and safely assume at £15,000, so that the whole of this Reserve force would in round figures cost us £230,000. I have thus endeavoured to explain the nature of the proposal, and, in case the Committee approve it, the Bills which we have prepared on the subject will be proceeded with. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Vote for £63,250, Increase of Pay to Non-Commissioned Officers and Men of the Militia.


I wish, Sir, to make a few remarks upon the estimate, and upon the speech delivered by the right hon. Baronet. I must say, in the first place, that I think the proposal to increase by 2d. a day the pay of the militia ought not to pass without some consideration. Neither I nor any other Member on this side of the House made any objection when it was proposed to make an increase to the pay of the regular army, but I cannot see on what grounds it is proposed to extend that increase to the militia. The two services are differently situated. There is a great difficulty in obtaining recruits for the army, but we have frequently been assured that the same difficulty is not experienced in the case of the militia. The pay of the militia is very much superior to the pay of the Line for the short time during which they are in training. The militiaman not only receives 13d. a day during that period, but he receives also 24s. as bounty, as well as a pair of boots and other articles of clothing, which at the close of the training he is allowed to take away with him. An hon. Member has on these grounds estimated the pay of the militiaman during the period of training at no less than 3s. 2d. a day. The same objection does not apply to the permanent Staff, because they are employed all the year round, and are, therefore, fairly entitled to the same benefits as those which are to be conferred on non-commissioned officers in the regular service. With regard to the proposal to create different species of Reserve force I have little to say. I doubt, however, whether it is worth our while to call this an Army of Reserve. The right hon. Gentleman, in speaking to-night, alluded to the causes which had led the public to turn their attention, during the last year or two, to the subject of a Reserve Army. No doubt the war of last year, and events which have recently occurred, have called I our attention very forcibly to the subject. Still, the force which it is proposed to create cannot be named in the same day with the Reserve force of Prussia and other Continental nations, and the danger is, by bestowing such a name upon this force, the country may be led to believe that we are actually in possession of such an Army of Reserve. I cannot understand, after the explanations we have had, how the first class Army of Reserve can ever approach the estimated number of 20,000 men. As far as I can understand, the Reserve is to be formed from the difference between our foreign or colonial establishments and our peace establishments. We have about 50 regiments serving at home, and the difference would in the case of each regiment amount to 150 men. I do not, therefore, see how the number can exceed 50 times 150, or 7,500 men. This seems to me to be especially the case, considering what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon said — namely, that it was not intended to exact from the men entering the Reserve a double period of service; but only to require them to serve the number of years in the Reserve they would have done in the Line. The number cannot, therefore, as far as I can see, exceed 7,500 men, unless some means, which I confess I am unacquainted with, are taken to induce them to remain in the Army of Reserve after they are entitled to claim their discharge. If my calculation about the first class of the Army of Reserve be at all correct, I cannot see how the numbers of the second class are to exceed those of the first. The proposals with regard to the Reserve of militia are very good as far as they go. But it must be remembered that these 30,000 men which it is proposed to draft into the regular army in time of war can scarcely be called an Army of Reserve, because immediately war breaks out they will be absorbed, and from that time will disappear. Thus, they would not be a Reserve which should, properly speaking, be a last resort, but they would be a first resort, partaking scarcely more of the nature of a Reserve than the regular army itself. Although the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) proposes to raise the Militia to the full quota of 120,000, he should remember that the present strength of 90,000 is only intended to serve for times of peace. The effect of his proposal in time of danger will be to take 30,000 men suddenly from the militia. We shall not only be obliged to employ all our energies in order to keep up the force of the regular army, but shall also have to set new machinery to work in order to recover the 30,000 men draughted from the militia to the Line. I admit that it is by no means a bad proposal, that these 30,000 men should be within reach. They would, no doubt, be very useful. Still, to call them a Reserve is a misnomer. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman had not before this put us in possession of the figures with regard to cost and numbers which he read to us. I understood that he had promised to do so, and if he laid them on the table we should have been able to discuss them now with more chance of ascertaining their accuracy, and generally with more advantage to the public service. I trust he will lay them on the table now, so that we may examine them before we again discuss the question, because it is impossible rightly to estimate figures as they fall from a speaker's lips. My present impression is, that if the first class of Reserve is really to amount to anything at all, it will be practically a shortening of the term of service in the army. But if the term of service in the army is to be shortened, a greater number of recruits will be required, and recruiting expenses and bounties will be increased in proportion. In this way I think the right hon. Gentleman will be found out in his calculations; but I would suggest that this matter should be postponed. The safety of the country will not be imperilled by postponement. This is a question which may, with great propriety, be left for a Parliament elected by a new constituency, which there is reason for believing will take a different view of military matters from that prevalent among the existing constituency. The reformed Parliament will probably take a much broader view of such questions than the present Parliament docs. There appears to be less reason for pressing the matter forward during this Session when we consider that, as the militia has been already out for training, it is impossible to carry out the really substantial part of the plan before next year.


The noble Marquess objects to the additional 2d. a day being extended to the militia; I, on the contrary have always endeavoured to make no distinction between the militia and the army in the amount of pay. In fact, if any difference be made between them, it should be in favour of the militia, who during the time of their training do more drill and more hard work than any other troops in the same period. There are no persons who have an opportunity of so readily comparing the difference between the pay of the army and the wages earned by labourers as the militia, who come fresh to the service from their ordinary work and pay; therefore I should say, if there was any necessity of raising the rate of pay in order to keep up the number, that it existed specially in their case. As to the Army of Reserve, I admit that the plan sketched out by the Secretary of State for War, so far as it goes, is mine, and that I am bound by it. It is said that the plan of an Army of Reserve is founded entirely on the Report of the Royal Commissioners on recruiting. It is true that one of the references to that Commission was the formation of an Army of Reserve. I will not read the strong remarks of the Commission on the necessity of an Army of Reserve. But they did not lay down any plan. When that Commission reported, I felt it to be my duty, in conjunction with the Commander-in-Chief, to consider the best means of forming an Army of Reserve. The noble Lord (Lord Elcho) has overlooked the fact that, by the plan before the Committee, there are two Armies of Reserve—one for foreign service, and the other for home defence. The noble Lord has complained of the Enlistment Bill, which has already passed this House, requiring twelve years' service. He also complains of the two other Bills which are to come before the House, the objects of which are, if possible, to relieve any hardship that might be inflicted by the first. But I consider the plan now proposed as one of the most beneficial measures for the soldier that has been brought forward for a considerable period. Though apparently small in itself it involves grout principles: first, that a man shall be able to commute a portion of his service in the Line for the Army of Reserve; and, secondly, that when a war takes place the man who so enlists in the first Reserve will only be called on to serve during the time of that war, without being necessarily a soldier all his life. My right hon. Friend is wrong when he supposes that I intended that those who wished to commute the remaining period of their services in the Line for a period in the first Reserve should serve a double portion. The original proposal was that a man who volunteered after serving two-thirds of his first engagement, should only be called on to serve the remainder of his time in the first Reserve, and that the man during the second period of his service should not be called on to serve two years for one with the pensioners to entitle him to his pension. The Royal Commission recommended that when a man had purchased his discharge he should be called upon to serve a certain time in the Army of Reserve: but if a man buys his discharge at the full price, what right have you to ask him to serve in the Army of Reserve? What I suggested was that if a man wished to purchase his discharge he should be permitted to pay a portion of the price only on condition of his serving a certain time in the Reserve. That, I think, would have been a great boon to the army. If the man had five years more to serve, I would tell him he might purchase his discharge at a certain rate. We should have a commuted price for the purchase of discharges—an arrangement which would, I believe, prove very beneficial. It is said that by the proposal of a first Army of Reserve we shall get very few men indeed; but I regarded it as tending to make the army popular, by offering a boon to the soldier, as well as securing an advantage to the State. I should be happy to see our best soldiers remaining in the army; but surely when a man can find other employment, and is willing to commute the re- mainder of his service in the Line for service in the Reserve, if a war broke out he is as available as any man in the service. Suppose we did not allow him to commute his service in the Line, and he had only three or four more years to serve, when those three or four years expired he would take his discharge just at the moment when we wanted him. My argument is intended to show that when a man who has served two-thirds of his period comes home he should have the opportunity of commuting the remainder of it. That would be a much better system than enlisting men compulsorily to serve a certain number of years in the Line, and afterwards to enter the Reserve. I cannot agree with what has fallen from my noble Friend (Lord Elcho) in respect to the difficulty of filling up the militia. If a war broke out we could always call up a portion of the first Reserve, and fill up the Reserve by volunteers from the militia. In case of war we might be called upon to fill up our regiments of the Line. There will be economy in that, because I propose to reduce the regiments of the Line to 600 men each, provided we have an Army of Reserve, by means of which, in the event of war, we could at once bring them up to a war standard. In future wars the hostilities would be over before we could raise our second battalions. My right hon. Friend proposes to attach the first Reserve to the pensioners; but I propose to attach them to the militia. This plan I would wish the militia officers to consider seriously. I am desirous that a closer connection should be formed between the militia and the Line. My impression is that the men commuting the remainder of their first period of service in the Line for service in the first Reserve would be just the kind of men that the militia would be glad to receive. What would be the result of attaching them to the pensioners? You will have the first Reserve divided between the pensioners and the militia. Their duty with the pensioners will give them no right to pensions, while the second Reserve will have to serve two years instead of one in order to obtain pensions. If yon attach the discharged soldiers to the pensioners you must have a great addition to the Staff Officers of the pensioners. We had much better place the pensioners under the Horse Guards at once. To give the money, which these additional Staff Officers would cost, to the militia would, I think, be a far better arrangement. The Army Reserve was not formed without the greatest consideration. The Commander-in-Chief and myself went most deeply into the question. You cannot compare our army organization with that of any other army in the world. In time of peace it has to perform duties which no other army is called on to perform. Other countries raise their troops by conscription, whereas ours are raised by voluntary enlistment. France and other States have in regard to their armies a power of expansion which is unlimited, whereas in our case there is comparatively no power of expansion; and if we went to war to morrow we should be obliged to have recourse to large bounties. It has been said "Look at America, which raised a million of men in a very short time, and why could we not do something similar?" But I should like to know what it has cost America to raise that million of men; it has been stated that she had to pay upwards of £110,000,000 in bounty money. And look at the difference between the old experienced class of soldiers and the raw levies obtained by bounties. I do not say that my proposal will give the best possible Army of Reserve. It is only an experiment and the expense of trying it will be moderate. If we do not pass this Bill, which enables soldiers to commute the remainder of their service in the Line for service in the proposed Army of Reserve, we shall be obliged to discharge them altogether, because the strength of the regiments coming home is to be reduced to 600. I hope the Committee will not adopt the recommendation of the noble Marquess and postpone for another year the creation of what I believe will be the most efficient Army of Reserve which we could establish.


said, the adoption of the proposed plan would involve a bounty of £5 per man to such militiamen as chose to accept it, and for that bounty the Government expected to obtain 30,000 trained men ready to march into the ranks at once on an emergency. These men, on accepting the bounty, were to engage to serve for five years, anywhere the Government required, either at home or abroad, and the success of the measure depended on the numbers that would accept the proffered bounty. It was possible that many would do so—perhaps many under the idea that they would never be called out; but it must be remembered that at this moment the militia force was deficient in numbers. According to the last Returns the number of men wanted to complete the regiments in England and Scotland was 27,000. In Ireland they could not tell the numbers wanting, because at the outbreak of Fenianism it was thought proper to stop recruiting there. As to the other part of the plan—that of commuting the service of men who had not served their first period—he would be very unwilling to abridge the term of twelve years to any great extent. They all knew that in the Peninsular war, after being six or seven years in the field, our soldiers were so good that the Duke of Wellington said he could do anything with them. Therefore he did not concur in the theory that mere boys enlisted at eighteen, or seventeen, or sixteen years of age, were the best soldiers after merely two years' service. We could have no troops so good as those who had been eight or ten years in the service. As to attaching the men, who were allowed to commute their service, to the pensioners, he could not conceive anything more objectionable. The pensioners might be of value in a fort or in the defence of towns; but they were generally men discharged for being incapable of active service, and many of them could not march three miles. But the intended force for a Reserve, consisting of men from the Line who had commuted their service, might, however, do a great deal of good to the militia if they joined them together. They were men probably not much older than the militiamen themselves, but they were more fully instructed. He trusted the project of attaching these men to the pensioners would be re-considered.


said, that with every respect for the versatile attainments of the present Secretary for War, he must express his regret at the retirement from that office of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon, whose plan was simple, and involved no addition to the Staff and no increase of officers. The Secretary for War said he had adopted the proposals of his predecessor, adding, as if it were a matter of no importance, that he had made one slight change by attach the new Army of Reserve to the first Army of Reserve instead of the militia, That, however, was a very shadowy proposal. When inquiry was on one occasion made of the late Lord Herbert as to the numbers of our Army Reserve, and a Return on the subject was produced, it was found that they only amounted to 1,500, and that they never had been drilled. That another Army of Reserve should be added to that Army of Reserve for the purposes of drill appeared to him to be a somewhat visionary scheme. What was really meant was that a separate organization with a separate Staff and officers for the new Army of Reserve was to be established. This was proved by the fact that in the Bill was a proviso for the creation of whatever officers might be deemed desirable. That was a serious objection to the change. But there was another of still greater weight, which was that it would tend to widen rather than to diminish the connection between the militia and the Line — a connection which was recommended by Lord Strathnairn and other witnesses of the highest authority before the Commission, and which the plan of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was calculated to promote. He thought that the proposals of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon were fully authorized by the evidence given before the Committee, and that one of their principal advantages was that there would have been established a connection between the Line and the militia. Now, however, it was proposed not to engraft this Army of Reserve on one of the old organizations, but to establish another organization, and for what purpose he could not conceive, unless it was for the purpose of making more Staff officers. He expressed his approval of the proposals of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon when they were first explained, and he saw no reason to change his opinion after consideration; but he considered that they had been so entirely perverted from their original purpose by the alterations introduced by the present Secretary of War and by the changes contemplated by the Bill, that he deemed them no longer deserving of support. He therefore concurred in the suggestion of the noble Lord that the consideration of the matter should be deferred to another year. The point evidently aimed at by those who framed the Bill was to set up a separate and distinct organization, not only for those who retired from the army, but for those who retired from the militia, and to a considerable extent to remove the militia Reserve from the militia. He wished to know whether the statement of the right hon. Baronet was correct that the present Army of Reserve amounted to 4,000. He rather thought, according to a Return made last Session, it was only 1,500. The Secretary at War had stated that in the event of invasion it would be impossible to collect more than 40,000 men; but on referring to the effective state of the Army, it would be found that on the 1st of May last year there were no fewer than 85,000 troops of all arms in the United Kingdom.


said, he had likened to the statement of the right hon. Baronet with feelings of the greatest possible disappointment. His proposal would not give an Army of Reserve that would at all benefit the country. It was absolutely necessary to have an Army of Reserve strong in numbers, in efficiency, in discipline, and, above all, with a perfect system, of regimental discipline. Instead of this a scheme was proposed surrounded with difficulties and complications. It multiplied organizations, and he could not, therefore, go so far as the noble Lord the Member for Lancashire, when he said that it would do no harm, but would do no good. He was afraid the scheme of the Government would only stand in the way of an efficient system. There would be 50,000 men of the militia and pensioners liable to general service, but he could see no reason why the Government should not at once propose to turn the militia into an Army of Reserve. Thus the unnecessary multiplying of organizations would be avoided, and they would have an Army of Reserve which would be well fitted to co-operate with the regular army, or replace it at need. He hoped the Government would withdraw the proposal with the view of preparing some scheme which would, in the event of an European war, enable us to maintain our national dignity.


said, he wished to remove a misapprehension which seemed to prevail with reference to the pay of the private militia soldier. It had been calculated, including bounty and clothing, to amount to 3s. 2d. a day. That statement was founded on the evidence of Colonel Pipon; but he believed it was inaccurate. It proceeded on the supposition that the militiaman served only twenty-one instead of forty-two days the first year, and twenty-seven days in every other year. He received, in fact, only 1s. 1d. for his daily duty; but when he was discharged did his liabilities end there? Far from it; he returned to his home, liable to be called out at a month's notice—to have to leave his family and his civil employment, and to be subject to all the rigour of the Mutiny Act. It was for this that he re- ceived his annual bounty, and he did not think that 24s. was an excessive retaining fee.


said, he considered the authority of the noble Lord the late Secretary of State for War (the Marquess of Hartington) a very sufficient authority for the statement he had made with reference to the pay of the militia. The principal point was whether the Army of Reserve should be attached to the pensioners or to the militia. If the pensioners were dissolved and added to the militia they would be a very valuable auxiliary in teaching to that force the good habits of the soldier; it would also be a great saving to the public. The Report of the Recruiting Commission disapproved of the practice of giving bounties, and recommended that they should not be increased. He had seen sufficient of the way in which bounties were dispensed to induce him to object to the system. If they were to be given, they should be given in a way to benefit the soldier himself and his family, not to be spent in drink. Another item in the Vote, the proposed addition of 2d. per day to the Staff Serjeants, had reference to the pay of the permanent Staff of the militia. No body of men in the service did more work for the money they received, or were more thoroughly deserving of any encouragement the House could afford them. But, while he gladly welcomed this addition to their pay, he would also like to see their duties increased. He wished to see the recruiting done to a great extent by the Staff of the militia during the ten months of the year when they remained idle. He agreed with the hon. Member opposite that the addition of 2d. a day to the pay of the militia was unnecessary, unless the service of the militia regiments was assimilated to that of the Line, when, of course, the pay should be the same as that of the Line. He hoped that the case of militia quartermasters would be taken into consideration. Their retiring pensions were most inadequate, and they received no lodging-money when their regiments were disembodied.


said, that the more the question was discussed, the more he was convinced that it should be postponed for another year. The militia had never been able to keep up the Line, even when it numbered 250,000 men. In this year 15,000 men would leave the ranks, next year 23,000, and in 1869, 19,000 men. They should look for their Reserve to the men who had served twelve years, and by adding them to the existing Reserve force they would soon obtain a Reserve force of 100,000 men, if proper inducements were offered. He would give as much as 6d. a day, and though that, no doubt, was a large sun), the country might recoup itself by reducing the regular army to the extent of 5, or at most 10 per cent. He did not think that short terms of service would answer for our army in consequence of the great distances our men had to be sent.


said, that he supported the suggestion that the measure should be postponed for a year. He was one of those old-fashioned politicians who regarded a standing army as a standing injury. Mature itself pointed out that a standing army was unsuited to our case for we had not the faculty of organizing one. It seemed to him that sufficient prominence had not been given to the Volunteer force, which he thought generally did not receive from the Government the encouragement it deserved.


said, he did not feel at all disposed to enter upon a discussion as to whether or not a standing army was a standing injury. He might, however, as a humble member of the Volunteer force, say that he differed very greatly from the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Whalley), and that he felt grateful for the encouragement extended to that body both by the country and by the House. He had risen because, at an earlier period of the evening, he had been debarred from discussing the question raised by this Vote and by the two Bills on the Paper—a discussion on which he had entered because he had been under the impression that the whole subject was to be debated on going into Committee of Supply. Had he then been allowed to proceed, he had intended to suggest, as his noble Friend the Member for North Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington) had done, that the subject should be postponed for another year. With his noble Friend, he believed that the scheme was not calculated to obtain for us an efficient Army of Reserve, while the country and the House might be betrayed into a delusive reliance upon a force which would in reality not be deserving the name bestowed upon it. The Commission on Recruiting stated in their Report that we could not at the present moment bring together more than 40,000 of our regular army. Our militia, which might perhaps be 120,000 strong, and which if the Act were enforced might be stronger by 60,000 men, would only give us 90,000, and our pensioners, who might be 30,000 strong, only half that number. In addition to that, our Army of Reserve, which had been a "standing" joke, would produce 2,500 men. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Queen's County (General Dunne) had said moreover that we must eliminate the body of pensioners altogether from our calculations. Now, what was the state in which we were to be placed according to the Army Reserve scheme as proposed by the Government? We were to have a first Army of Reserve, which it was hoped would number 20,000 men. His noble Friend the Member for North Lancashire, however had made a calculation showing that we could not rely upon more than fifty times 150, or 7,500 men. By the Reserve system we were to have 30,000 of the militia ready to be transferred at any moment into the Line. But he could not help thinking that, like the Irishman's blanket, we were cutting off the bottom what we added to the top, because by so doing we should at once reduce the strength of the militia by the 30,000 men who were to join the army. How was the plan to be carried out? It was proposed to get men to enlist on those terms by giving them double bounties, spreading over their pay what was equal to £12. During the Crimean war we had a system of feeding the army from the militia. In one year 10,000 men enlisted for the militia, and in another 8,000, and these men each received a bounty of £6 on enlistment. Did any man doubt that in case of war breaking out we should be able by offering a bounty of £12 to get the 30,000 men whom it was now proposed to place at disposal for service in the army? He did not think that this Army Reserve scheme as it at present stood deserved the consideration of the House. His right hon. and gallant Friend (General Peel) the father of the original scheme had found it so disfigured since it had passed into the hands of the right hon. Baronet that he now disowned it. He had felt in proposing the Motion which had come under discussion at an earlier period of the evening that he was leading a forlorn hope; but he believed that the only permanent basis upon which we could rely was a modified form of conscription. Lord Dalhousie had expressed a similar opinion on more than one occasion, and had, moreover, said, that if any Government were bold enough to put the compulsory system into operation, they would, in his belief, find themselves supported by the voice of the country. He could not help feeling that the scheme proposed was one which was utterly inefficient for the purpose for which it was intended, and he would, therefore, join his noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) in expressing a hope that it would not be pressed this Session.


said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) would give his best attention to the whole subject, so as to put the country in a state of security against any emergency. He had always objected to the reduction of the Indian Army, which was one of the best in the world. He thought it would be well, considering the great Empire we had on the other side of the world, to maintain a separate army there, thus obviating the necessity of keeping up so large an army at home, and saving the great expense of sending regiments across the sea. With regard to providing for discharged soldiers, nothing was more painful than to see soldiers who had served for many years discharged with a small pension. It would be much better to instruct them in some trade and so save them from penury. He did not know whether there were any arrears of prize money yet undistributed, but the delay and mismanagement that had taken place in this department were much to be regretted. A system of military apprenticeship would be very advantageous, there being no reason why boys should not be trained for the army as well as for the navy. The increase of pay would give give general satisfaction, and everything should be done to bring a superior class of men into the army. Soldiers should not be mere machines, but should be taught so as to understand the object of every manœuvre. The way foreign armies were rendered so efficient was by giving instruction to the men. He trusted that by next year the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared with a scheme which would meet with the general support of the House, and would provide against any emergency that might arise on the continent.


said, he hoped this matter would not be postponed, for his principle had always been to take the best he could get. There was nothing to prevent the plan he had proposed from being adopted when the Bill got into Committee, and he earnestly trusted that the Government would not consent to a postponement for another year.


said, he could not accede to the suggestion of his noble Friend (Lord Elcho) and other Members to abandon the Bills which he had introduced with the view of carrying out this plan. Some hon. Members seemed to look on the plan as insufficient; but this was a strange reason for folding our hands and doing nothing. The prevalent opinion seemed to be that by securing the services of one-fourth of our whole militia force, and making them available for the general purposes of war, we should to, that extent, secure a very efficient Reserve. With regard to the proposal that a certain proportion of the army should be permitted to commute a portion of their service for service in the Reserve, and the question whether the drilling and training was to be in one way or another, these were matters of detail which could be settled in Committee. In common with his right hon. and gallant Friend (General Peel) he had little doubt it would then be easy to come to an agreement. He thought his noble Friend (Lord Elcho) had considerably under-rated the force that might be derived from commuted men, for he believed a considerable force might be thus obtained. The deficiency of our present resources being acknowledged, it could not be advisable to defer the matter. The regulations in which the important details of the scheme were to be arranged would be laid on the table. He hoped, therefore, the Vote would be passed.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) £20,000, Additional Pay to the Army Reserve Force.

(3.) £50,000, Increase of Pay to Non-Commissioned Officers and Privates, Royal Marine Corps.


said, that he would have to trouble the Committee with only a few words in proposing this Vote, which was rendered necessary by the increase in the pay of the army, which had been sanctioned by the House. It had always been the practice to assimilate the pay of the Marines to that of the army, and he had only to explain that it was impossible to provide for the cost of their increased pay in the original Estimates, because it was dependent upon the sanction of the House to the increased pay of the army, which had only recently been obtained.


said, that the increased pay of the army was granted in consequence of the recommendation of the Recruiting Committee to that effect. He did not offer the smallest objection to that increase, as it was proposed on the responsibility of the Government, and he doubted whether they could have done otherwise, with the recommendation of the Recruiting Commission before them. He wished, however, to know whether an increase of pay to the Royal Marines was required on account of any difficulty in recruiting, or whether it was only proposed because a similar Vote had been agreed to for the army?


said he thought that the Vote now proposed was the natural consequence of the Vote just agreed to for increasing the pay of the army. The men who served with the Marines were the seamen of the navy, who might think they also had a claim. He wished to know whether it was proposed to make any augmentation to the pay of the seamen of the fleet? He presumed that the Marines would receive arrears from the day on which the proposal was originally made. There were very few Members of the Government better acquainted with the working of their office than the right hon Gentleman (Mr. Corry), and be wished to know whether it was proposed to pay the arrears in, a lump sum, or spread over different periods of time? The increase was not a bit more than the Marines were entitled to.


said, that the Marines were a very popular force, and, speaking generally, there was no difficulty in keeping up the force to the number voted. If, however, they did not receive an augmentation corresponding to that given to the army it would not only lose its popularity, but great offence would be given, and a difficulty in obtaining recruits would be the probable consequence. The Marines were a branch of the army, and it would not be possible to withhold from them the advantage given to the rest of the army. There was, however, no reason why, because the House increased the pay of the Marines, they should also increase the pay of the seamen of the fleet. The wages of seamen had been increased at various times of late years, and they were content with their pay. The increase would date from the 1st of April. He thought it would be advisable to pay the arrears, not in a lump sum, but by instalments, but that would depend on what had been done in the case of the army.

Vote agreed to.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.