§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) 127,366 Land Forces.
§ MR. CARDWELL
Sir, the ground over which I am obliged to travel is extensive; but, in asking for the favourable attention of the Committee, I promise not to occupy their time unnecessarily, and to confine what I have to say to that which I believe that you will wish to hear and ought to know. The first thing which I ought to state is what is the precise financial result of the Estimates which I propose to lay before the Committee. The first statement I have to make is that the total Estimate of last year was £15,455,400. The Estimate of the present year is £14,230,400, leaving, therefore, an apparent net decrease of £1,225,000. But, in order to make the comparison more close it will, I think, be right that we should first deduct the non-effective Votes, over which no Government has had any control; and if you deduct these you will leave the Estimate of last year £13,331,000, and the Estimate of the present year £12,047,600, being a decrease of £1,283,400. But this is not entirely the real decrease. There is a considerable item which is merely an item of account. The Indian Furlough Vote—a payment of £ 136,000—was charged on the Estimates of last year, 1112 and is not charged in the present year's Estimates, but is to be defrayed directly by the India Office itself. From this deduction, however, on the other side, there must be deducted two sums which diminish it. One is the sum of £20,000 for Convict Warders in Western Australia; the Vote for whose payment I used to have the honour of submitting to the House when I brought forward the Colonial Estimates—and, in quitting the Colonial Office, I thought I had lost the pleasure of their company but, by an arrangement which the Treasury have made, this charge is thrown, not on the Colonial Estimate, but on the War Office Estimate. Then there is the purchase of a piece of land at Woolwich, made two years ago; but which, owing to some circumstances, has not yet been paid for, but will have to be paid for in the present year, and which, not being wanted, will be sold and entered on the opposite side of the account. These two items make £49,250; and this sum has to be deducted from the sum of £136,000, leaving £86,750 as the real deduction to be made from the apparent decrease of £1,225,000. The total net saving therefore upon this year's Estimate, as compared with that of last year is £ 1,196,650. My hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. White) says this is only a very small "paring." I wish however to say to the Committee that if you take the net total of the effective Estimate—that is to say, if, looking at the balance-sheet on the first page of the Estimate, you take from the total of the effective services the estimated repayments on the other side of the account—you will leave, as the net total of the effective services, £10,834,600. If my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton will compare with that the £1,196,650, he will find that the reduction is more than 10 per cent on the whole of the net effective Estimate. And, although he may consider that is only a "paring," I hope we shall receive credit for it as a substantial reduction. Now, the cause of this reduction will be found to consist principally of two considerations—the one is a review of the distribution of our troops in the colonies, and the other is that arrangement which was made by the late Government, of which my right hon. Friend (Sir John Pakington) has just been speaking, and which, as the hon. 1113 Member for Brighton said, was mentioned in the Queen's Speech at the close of the last Session of Parliament—an arrangement by which a greater control has been established over the expenditure in matters of Supply, from which I entirely agree with the statement of the late Government in the Queen's Speech, that the most beneficial consequences will result. To the former of these considerations—namely, the change in the distribution of troops in the colonies, I will first allude. There is always printed with the Estimates, which hon. Gentlemen have in their hands, a Paper which shows what is the expenditure of that colonial distribution. If any hon. Gentleman has compared the net expenditure of that distribution (after deducting the re-payments made by the colonies) for the two years, he will have found that that net expenditure in the Estimates of last year was £3,022,323; and that this year it is £2,237,886, leaving a decrease of £784,437. That, however, is subject to this correction—all that are called colonies in that account are not colonies. There is the widest distinction between these colonies which are occupied for the purposes of colonization, and those maritime posts which are occupied for Imperial objects as stations for our fleet, We therefore deduct all the expenditure for Gibraltar, Malta, Bermuda, Halifax, and the China stations, and having taken these off there remains for the colonies proper in the last year's Estimates £1,643,794; and in this year the Estimate is £1,070,735, being a reduction of £573,059. That is, in short, a reduction of one-third on that item. I hope that even my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton will allow that this is a pretty fair saving for the commencement of our operations. As regards the other consideration of which I spoke, the Store Vote shows only a decrease, on the face of the balance, of £341,400; but that is owing to a change suggested by the Treasury in the mode of distributing the accounts. And a note at the bottom of the page in the Estimates indicates that the true comparison would show a reduction of £549,081. Now, I have said that this reduction in the Estimate has been due to two considerations, of which the first is a change in the distribution of our colonial force, and I will, therefore, state that if you take the force at 1114 home—the distribution upon which the Estimate of last year was framed showed a force in this country of 87,505 men; whereas the distribution on which the Estimate of the present year is founded is 90,677, being an increase of 3,172 men. But since these Estimates were framed we have, in concert with the Colonial Office, recalled a regiment from New Zealand and another from the Cape, so that the total number of men at home will thus be 92,015. They will be distributed into cavalry regiments, each containing 554 of all ranks, with 344 horses; while of infantry regiments there will be sixty-one battalions, each consisting of 560 rank and file, or 668 of all ranks, those only which are going to the colonies containing a larger number. Perhaps, I may be told by critics of a certain school that 560 is a very small number of men to have in a battalion. But, Sir, I wish to state that very high authorities may be adduced on the other side of the question. There are three ways in which, if you desire at any time to reduce your force, you can accomplish your object. The first is by the reduction of battalions. By adopting that method you effect the greatest pecuniary saving; but, on the other hand, you incur these three undesirable results. First of all, you inflict a hardship on a great number of officers; secondly, you incur a considerable expenditure in half-pay for services for which you get no return; and, thirdly, and by far the most important, you are diminishing the strength and elasticity of your army and lessening the power of defence which you possess. The second mode by which you can reduce your force is by the reduction of companies in regiments. That is an intermediate course, which shares those disadvantages to a certain extent, but not to the whole extent. The last course is by maintaining your cadre intact, stopping recruiting, and diminishing the number of men in the cadre. This latter is the course pursued in the armies of France, where the cadre is always kept intact, though a number of men are permitted to be absent from their regiments. In a pamphlet, lately published by Colonel Baker, which has attracted a great deal of attention, this subject is spoken of as follows:—A large number of weak battalions should be kept up in time of peace, complete in everything 1115 but the number of men. I have taken the opinion of some moat distinguished foreign officers, as well as those in our own service, as to the smallest number of men which would keep a battalion serviceable in time of peace, and nearly all agree that 500 is the lowest limit.And he adds in a note—Among others, Marshal M'Mahon, perhaps, one of the greatest authorities in Europe. He thought 500 quite sufficient in time of peace, provided that the cadres were fully kept up.The net total effective of the present Estimate must be compared with the net total effective of the Votes of former years. In 1865–6 the net total was £10,786,407; in 1866–7, £11,005,300; in 1867–8, £11,785,300; in 1868–9, £11,988,000; in 1869–70, £10,834,600. The force available at home was—in 1865–6, 83,242; in 1866–7, 91,703; in 1867–8, 91,048; in 1868–9, 87,505; in 1869–70, 90,677, which, as I have said, we now propose to raise to 92,015. Then the force in the colonies, according to the distribution on which the Estimates of last year were framed, consisted of 50,025 men; but, according to the distribution on which the present Estimates are framed, the force will consist of only 34,852 men, a reduction having being effected of 15,173. Now, of course, the question will occur whether it is necessary that I should go into a lengthened argument for the purpose of vindicating the policy of withdrawing these troops from our distant possessions. The principal change has occurred in Canada. Last year's Estimates were based on the distribution of 16,185 men in the whole of our British North American possessions, whereas the Estimates of the present year are based on a distribution of 6,249 men. The Committee will remember the Select Committee of 1861, which was moved for by my hon. Friend (Mr. Arthur Mills), sitting on the other side of the House, to consider the general subject of our colonial military expenditure. They will remember also that that Committee reported that a great change was necessary in the policy of this country in that respect, in order that the burdens of the people at home might be diminished, and a spirit of generous self-reliance generated in our colonial possessions, so that the result might be mutually advantageous both to the colonies and to the mother country. Well, the Resolution of that Committee was adopted by the House, and from that time to the present, I think I may say it has been 1116 the settled policy of this country. By the Duke of Newcastle, when he was Colonial Secretary, it was first carried into effect with regard to the Australian colonies; and almost immediately afterwards, when I had succeeded him in the Colonial Office, there was withdrawn from New Zealand a force of 10,000men, which at that time was waging war with the insurgent Maories. A little later the same policy was carried into effect in the Crown colonies of Hong-Kong, the Mauritius, Ceylon, and the Straits Settlements, not indeed by the withdrawal of the troops, but by making the colonists contribute towards their support; and just before I left the Colonial Office—having proposed in this House a Bill for the annexation of British Kaffraria to the Cape,—I gave notice to the Governor of the Cape that the policy adopted by the House of Commons in 1861 must at no distant time be applied to the Cape. That policy the Earl of Carnarvon carried into effect, and with regard to our colonies generally, with the exception of Canada, it has been our settled policy since 1861. Canada has been a remarkable exception, and, for remarkable and exceptional reasons, which reasons, however, have now ceased to exist. Before those exceptional reasons had arisen, there was no exception in the case of Canada. In the year 1851 Earl Grey, then Secretary for War and the Colonies, addressed to the Governor General of Canada a remarkable despatch, in which he pointed out that Canada, enjoying as she did the blessings of responsible government, must be prepared to encounter all the sacrifices which freedom and a responsible government demanded of her. And in 1853 the Duke of Newcastle, on reducing the force in Canada to a lower point than is proposed in the present Estimates, pointed out to the colonists the same thing, and read them the same lesson. In 1865 one of the strongest arguments for the Confederation of the North American Provinces was the necessity which lay upon them of looking forward to providing for their own defence. Exceptional circumstances, however, prevented the application of the policy to Canada until the year which has just expired, in the course of which my right hon. Friend who preceded me in Office (Sir John Pakington), commenced what I think was a sound, and judicious policy by the application of the principle to Canada. 1117 He withdrew, I believe, 3,592 men out of 16,000 men who were previously stationed there; and just about the time when he resigned the Seals of Office he or I received a letter from the Duke of Buckingham recommending a still further reduction. If the advice of the Duke of Buckingham had been adopted, there would, I believe, have been left in the British North American Provinces 8,944 men. Now, we think we ought to carry out that policy still further, and consequently we propose that only 6,249 men shall be left there. And here let me pause for a moment to ask whether this diminution of force is really any weakening of our colonies? In my opinion it is exactly the reverse. I do not believe that New Zealand was in any way better off when she had 10,000 of our troops to fight her battles. I do not believe it does strengthen the Empire. If, instead of calling upon your colonists to exert themselves and to rely on their own resources, you distribute forces among them in small divisions, you will paralyze their efforts without furnishing them with real strength. I believe that Canada, with 30,000 or 40,000 armed men of her own, occupies a stronger and more independent position than she ever did before. Again, I believe that Victoria, raising her own fleet to defend her own harbours, is in a better position to defend herself, and will be a greater strength to the Empire than at any previous time. One of the Eastern potentates—I think Hyder Ali—said the English he was afraid of were not those whom he saw, but those whom he did not see; and the true defence of our colonies is that they live under the ægis of the name of England, and that war with them is war with England. You are strengthening and defending your colonies, and increasing the power of England, when you generate in every one of the settlements where the British name is known a spirit of British energy and self-reliance; for you consolidate and concentrate the strength of the mother country for their defence in time of need. The way, then, in which this reduction has been effected has been that instead of having at home 87,500 men, representing forty-six battalions of infantry of the Line, we have now a force of which the aggregate is 92,058, respresenting sixty-one battalions. The reduction has been made by keeping up the cadres entirely, but by diminishing the number 1118 of men in a battalion. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule. One of the West India regiments has been altogether reduced, and a portion of the Ceylon Rifles as well as a portion of the Canadian Rifles will also be reduced. I have laid down this principle, that it is not desirable to maintain at the expense of the mother country forces which, owing either to the conditions under which they are recruited or other circumstances, are purely local forces. A purely local force should, in my opinion, be paid solely from local sources, and forces paid from the Imperial Exchequer should, I think, be of an Imperial character, so that Her Majesty might be able to command their services at any moment in any part of the world. It was the boast of the Duke of Wellington that his army could do anything and go anywhere, but let a corps be ever so efficient, if in its nature it be purely a local force, it is evident it cannot satisfy the conditions of that canon, and be regarded as a force which can go anywhere and do anything. Looking at the requirements of the service for our West India regiments, we thought that one of them ought to be reduced. The two places in which these regiments are employed are the west coast of Africa and the West Indies. On the west coast of Africa we found that the nominal force employed was one regiment and a half, but if you come to calculate the real strength of the force, you find that in reality it is not more than a single regiment. The whole number of the rank and file on the west coast of Africa is only 844, whereas the strength of a regiment and half is 1,125. That decrease of strength is accounted for partly by the difficulty of recruiting, owing, I am glad to say, to the cessation of the slave trade, which furnished a source from which recruits were drawn. I may add that Governor Blackall and the present Governor of our West African settlements, Sir E. Kennedy, both recommended a concentration of the force, and I am sure the Committee will be glad to hear that the colony of Lagos, of which we heard so much some years ago, has now arrived at such a state of independence that the Resident there has signified his readiness to dispense altogether with the services of any of Her Majesty's troops. Under these circumstances, we thought we might entirely reduce one of 1119 the West India Regiments, and by that arrangement a saving of £20,000 has been effected, after allowing for the addition of one company to each of the three remaining regiments. The same principle applies to the Canadian Rifles, which is a very costly regiment, and these Estimates contemplate the reduction of four companies. With regard to the Ceylon Rifles, the case would have been less important, because that colony, by a recent arrangement, pays a full contribution to the Exchequer for the troops which she employs; but a reduction of four companies of this force also will be effected, in accordance with arrangements made with the colony. No reduction has been made in the companies on the British establishment, except that when a regiment returns home from the colonies its twelve companies are reduced to ten in accordance with the ordinary practice. I will now state to the Committee what the financial result is of the reductions which have been made in the different branches of the service. In the Artillery we have reduced two batteries of field artillery, and the reason is that these were batteries which were created expressly for the China War, in 1860; but at the present moment, considering the very large return of artillery from Canada, which adds materially to the artillery at home, we thought it time to reduce those two batteries. Four field batteries have been converted into garrison batteries, and the third line of waggons of all artillery has been reduced, it being thought that in time of profound peace there was no necessity for keeping up so many drivers and horses. The total reduction will result in a saving of £39,500. I ought to have said that by concentrating the artillery depôts at Woolwich we have reduced entirely the depôts at Sheerness and Warley. In the Engineer train there is a reduction of fifty men and 100 horses, making a saving of £1,500. My right hon. Friend who preceded me in Office left, in course of progress, an arrangement by which the troop formation in cavalry regiments was to be converted into the squadron formation, and since I succeeded him that arrangement has been carried into effect, and the result appears in the Estimates. Accompanying that change—which is the formation of cavalry in every country in the 1120 world, and which is considered to be a great improvement, not only in point of economy but efficiency—sixty-eight officers have been reduced, as well as 557 men and 385 horses, making a saving of £19,828. In the infantry the saving will be £156,600. In the colonial forces, including the West India Regiment of which I have spoken, there will be an aggregate saving of £39,700, and in the depôt battalions of £10,200. Having spoken of the regiments, I now proceed to deal with the Staff. Of the savings in the Staff some will be immediate and some prospective, and the principle by which we have been guided in effecting them is this—Where the duty has ceased the reduction has been immediate, but where it was proposed to discharge the duty in future in a more economical manner, and the time at which the Staff officer's period of service was about to expire was not very distant, we have made it prospective. The whole saving, consequent on immediate reduction, and which appears on the present Estimate, is £6,759; that on prospective, to which I shall refer by-and-by, £7,000. Then there is another change, about which I have heard a good deal, which we propose should be made. There are in the regiments of Guards, not only a general in command of the whole brigade, but also a lieutenant colonel who does not command a battalion, but who is, as far as I can understand the matter, at the head of a brigade within a brigade, and is lieutenant colonel of the regiment. We have deemed it necessary to make some reduction in that respect. We do not propose that the separate command of lieutenant colonel of a regiment should be continued, but that a lieutenant colonel in the Guards should command his own battalion. To return, however, to the Staff, the immediate reductions are in Canada, the Cape, one brigade at Malta, and a major general in the West Indies. Prospectively, we propose a new arrangement as to the brigades at Aldershot, by which a more rapid succession will be secured and more officers trained, for the command of a brigade. We propose a reduction among the Engineers in Ireland in the recruiting staff; but with regard to the more important point—the command of the forces in Ireland—I have to state that that command under Lord Strathnairn will terminate in the course of 1121 the next year. It used to be the custom formerly that the command in Dublin and the command of the forces in Ireland were held by the lieutenant general commanding the troops, and it appears to us that, on the termination of Lord Strathnairn's tenure of office it would be desirable that the command which he holds should cease, and that the lieutenant general commanding in Dublin should command the forces in Ireland. The cavalry are at present inspected by an Inspector General of Cavalry. That seems to us to be an unnecessary and expensive arrangement, and we think that the officer who commands the cavalry at Aldershot might with great advantage and economy inspect the cavalry throughout the whole island, and that the officer who commands the cavalry at the Curragh might inspect the cavalry in Ireland. We also think that musketry drill has become so completely a part of the general service of the army that it will not in future be necessary to appoint inspectors of musketry. The great object of those who look to the defence of the country and to improvements in military organization has always been frustrated by the consideration how very large a portion of the time of the British soldier is spent either in some foreign climate or at sea, and how little of home service you are able to give him in proportion to his time abroad. It has been, of late years very difficult to give a man even four years at home to twelve abroad. But I think we shall by the distribution which I now propose have made a great step in advance in this most important direction. If you have—I think it will be, 92,000 men at home to 96,000 in India or the colonies—you will have made at least some advance towards that which has always been considered a great object by those who have the welfare of the soldier and the defence of the country at heart—namely, to give him, if possible, half of his time at home. I wish to speak with becoming diffidence upon matters which, of course, are new to me; but I cannot allude to the subject of Army Reform without saying that I have always felt a very strong disposition to favour a system of much shorter enlistments than now exists. I do not desire to speak presumptuously, but I shall be very sorry—as I become more acquainted with the subject, and have time to go more 1122 into details—if I find that there is no power of accomplishing the great object of introducing shorter enlistments. At any rate, some changes have been made which I think the Committee will be disposed to regard as improvements. The authorities of the Horse Guards have made some excellent rules within the last few months in regard to recruiting. The recruiters have been told not to take up strollers, not to take people about whose antecedents they know nothing, not to take men who—if it cannot be said that they were enlisted by force, as in countries where conscription prevails—may be said to be made a portion of the British Army by fraud. For the time, at least, the escort of recruits has been entirely discontinued. They have been sent from their homes to the regiment with a railway ticket given to themselves, without a sergeant or any escort, and the result hitherto has been signally satisfactory. The number of persons who have failed to present themselves to the regiment has been wonderfully small, the mere pecuniary saving has been considerable, but in its moral consequences this proceeding has been of far greater importance than any pecuniary saving can be. We have also laid down rules that men who have once left the service shall not have the right to re-engage. If they choose to re-engage during their first period of service, well and good; but if, at the expiration of that first period, they choose to leave the army, their right to re-enter for a further period of service shall lapse, and the system of bounties, compensations, and allowances to induce them to enter is put an end to. These, I think, though not very great changes, are important as indicating a disposition towards shorter enlistments; and when we see that the pension list amounts to a very considerable sum above £1,000,000—I think about £1,500,000—and that it increases without control, we may hope that in this system of shorter enlistments may be found a solution of some of the economical difficulties which surround us. I have spoken hitherto of the army alone; but there is another branch of the subject which is not less interesting—which in some respects is even of greater interest—than the army. I speak of the reserves. It is a great problem in a country which has no conscription how you are to maintain an 1123 army of moderate strength in time of peace, and capable of expansion in time of war. Before I proceed to deal with the reserves, I think I may be permitted to lay down the following propositions—namely, that the army of a country, circumstanced as this is, ought to be, as regards both men and matériel in time of peace, comparatively small; that its efficiency should be the highest possible; that it should be in a form capable of easy expansion; that, as regards its matériel, this should be of the highest quality and the greatest efficiency, and with this object it should not be allowed to accumulate in proportions so large as to be likely to become obsolete, to wear out, or to be the worse for keeping. Having laid down these principles, I should say that, in compliance with them, we have kept all the battalions entire, and have brought a considerable number of them home. How then can we effect the great object I have mentioned? How can we fill up our battalions when the emergency arises, and how can we maintain reserves efficient in themselves and able to second and support the army? I am sure every one will agree that the first body to which we turn in answering this question is the old constitutional force of England—the Militia. The well-known sneer of Dryden might be applicable in his time; but Dryden, I fear, was ready to turn his pen to any political purpose, and it may be that the object of the Court when he wrote those well-known lines was to raise not a Militia but a standing army. The Militia has ever been a force dear to the people of England from its constitutional antecedents, and I believe that in its efficiency the people of England will always take the greatest interest and pride. On the last occasion when the great Duke of Wellington addressed the House of Lords he spoke, in terms which I hope will ever be remembered, of the services which the Militia had rendered to him in the great struggle of our country's liberties. If I may be permitted to repeat an anecdote to the Committee—I once had the honour of sitting at the Curragh next to a soldier second only to the Duke of Wellington—the late Lord Seaton—who said, as the regiment of Lord Hatherton passed by—"That regiment is fit to stand by any regiment of the Line." I hope the Militia will always be regarded as the great support and 1124 reserve of the standing army. My right hon. Friend (Sir John Pakington), I think, last year read to the House a letter from Major General Sir John Garvock, in which, speaking of the forces in the district he commanded, he said that they consisted of about 7,000 regulars, but that there were within his district the following forces, to the maintenance of all of which Parliament contributed, but with none of which the General commanding the district had any communication at all:—Yeomanry, 8,000; Militia, 25,000; Volunteers, 53,000; making a force of 86,000 men. That is a state of things to which I think my right hon. Friend did well to call attention. We intend to bring it under the notice of the House in a more formal manner, and I trust that Parliament and the country will determine to put an end to it. With regard to the reserve Votes, the Estimate is very nearly in equilibrio, but there is on the whole A small excess. The sum of £34,000 is saved upon the Militia Vote, and that arises entirely from two causes. Last year money was taken for training the Irish Militia. They were not trained nor do we intend to train them this year, but we ask for the necessary Vote for enrolling this force in order that it may be ready for training next year. The principal saving is £48,000 upon the clothing, a much larger quantity being procured last year and the requirements of the force this year being very small. As to the saving which arises through not training the Irish Militia, it is absorbed, because we train in England and Scotland nearly the same number of men as were estimated for last year when Ireland was included. Last year the number was 86,000; this year it is 83,000, and as we have to pay for enrolling an additional number in Ireland, the saving becomes exceedingly small. With regard to the Militia, Her Majesty's Government have not the slightest intention of in any way altering the constitution of that force. They have not the smallest intention of in any way depriving it of its local character, and. of its connection with the county. Least of all have they the smallest intention of endeavouring to withdraw from the Lord Lieutenant of the county any patronage, if there be any, in regard to the appointment of the officers in order to vest it in the Secretary of State. But these things we think 1125 Parliament will be desirous to do, and we ought to propose. We think that there ought to be a relation between the regular army and the Volunteer forces for special purposes, and of a limited kind, but in such a manner that the country may feel that the whole strength of its force is welded and consolidated together, and that any enemy who should venture to assail us would find that all our forces were applied with the greatest advantage to resist and repel invasion. Then, we think we have a right to say that the conditions under which the officers are chosen shall be those which shall insure a greater amount of military qualification in the officers selected. It may seem a small matter—and I only say it in passing—but we think that, as we have repealed the property qualification for Members of Parliament, we might as well proceed to abolish the property qualification for officers of the Militia. We have entered the sum of £20,000 in the Estimates for the purpose of improving the position of the officers of Militia. There is, as is well known, a disinclination to join the Militia regiments, and I must say I am surprised at some of the inducements which this great country offers to gentlemen to become officers of Militia. When I found a personal allowance of 1s. a day for officers of the Militia, I own it seemed to me one of the greatest curiosities that had come to my knowledge in the course of my official inquiries. We propose to add the sum of £20,000 to equalize the Militia with the army pay during the period of training, and to raise the personal allowance from the ridiculous sum of 1s. to the very moderate amount of 4s. a day. We also propose to pay the quartermasters some little addition, and to aid the movement of the Militia in order that they may join the regular troops and be more frequently brigaded together. I have spoken of the officers. I am happy to say there is no difficulty in obtaining men, and the present Estimate is framed on that hypothesis, and that in England and Scotland the number shall be raised to its maximum, which is, as we know, 90,000 men for the two countries. We make only one limitation. Some regiments have run to excessive numbers, beyond what are considered to be convenient for the commanding officer to handle, and we propose that no regiment should be allowed 1126 to recruit if its number exceeds 960 men. With that limitation we propose to raise the Militia to its maximum, and making the necessary allowance for absentees, and with the limitation of which I have spoken, we take the Estimate at 83,000 men for the present year. I now come to speak of the Yeomanry. An hon. Friend of mine opposite (Mr. Neville-Grenville) asked me early in the Session whether we intended to call out the Yeomanry. I thought that was indicative of a little distrust on his part whether we intended to call them out or not; and it does fall within my knowledge that there are competent authorities who do not attach very great importance to the Yeomanry in its present state. I hope they arc mistaken; but, at all events, all I shall say is this—that at a period when Her Majesty's Government are most desirous to encourage the reserves, and to try whether they cannot be brought into a more efficient state and act with complete harmony with the regular forces, we should be exceedingly sorry to discourage any branch of the reserve, and therefore we have not proposed not to call out the Yeomanry. In concert with His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, on the part of the regular forces, and with a friend of ours whose name I am sure will always be acceptable in this House—General Lindsay, the Inspector General of the Reserve Forces—I am engaged in making arrangements which may tend to the efficiency of the reserves, and to their better combination, as I said before, at fixed times and for special purposes, with the regular troops. Of course, the Yeomanry will not escape the critical attention of the Government, and I will only hope that it will answer to the requirements made upon it, and that we shall never find that it is undesirable to call out that ancient and most respectable force, the Yeomanry, but that we shall be able to place it in a state of efficient relation with the other reserve forces. I come now, Sir, to the Volunteers. They are a very powerful body, for whom I, for one, entertain the highest possible esteem and respect. I think they were never better described than in the pamphlet of my hon. Friend the Member for Devonshire (Colonel Acland), and I will just quote some words from the pamphlet which were used by a distinguished officer of the regular service. He speaks of the Volunteers "as a school 1127 of preparation for duties which, are required of all British citizens, in the event of an invasion." I am happy to say that the Volunteers have increased in the past year from 155,216, to 170,500 efficients; and from 90,588 to 102,500 extra-efficients. I was not able to comply with the request made to me by my noble Friend opposite (Lord Elcho) and others, to increase the capitation grant to £1, and for this reason—that there are great differences in the requirements of the different forces; and it is quite evident to me, at least, that whatever we may be desirous to do in future, it is not well to do it by merely scattering broadcast an increase of the capitation grant. I venture to lay down the following rules among many others with regard to the Volunteers. I think it will be admitted that, although the most efficient Volunteers may be as efficient as any soldiers in the world, yet, before the Government can come to Parliament to propose an increase in the present grant, it will be absolutely necessary for them to require a much more efficient organization of the body, and, among other things, to lay down these rules—first, that there shall not be in any locality more separate corps of Volunteers than that locality requires; secondly, that a greater proportion of those who receive the grant shall attain to the highest standard of efficiency; thirdly—and I attach great importance to this consideration—that officers and non-commissioned officers shall always be selected for their efficiency; and that neither social position nor any other recommendation shall compensate for the want of perfect efficiency in the officers; and, fourthly, I think myself entitled to say that, if Parliament is asked for an additional contribution for the Volunteers, it must be made not, as I have said, by sowing broadcast an addition to the capitation grant, but by adopting measures the direct tendency and necessary consequence of which shall be to contribute to increased efficiency. Now, Sir, we must look forward to an increase of expense for the Volunteers. The Committee may not be aware that the Estimates show that the expenditure already amounts to £509,330, and in that amount no allowance is made for the weapons which the Volunteers use. We must, however, expect a great change in those 1128 weapons, and expect to have to purchase new weapons, and with new weapons we shall have to furnish a much more expensive kind of ammunition. Therefore, our expense on account of the Volunteers will necessarily increase; and, in contemplating an increased expenditure, it will be absolutely necessary for those who are responsible to see that they secure also, if possible, increased efficiency. Then there are three other reserve forces. They all exist between the covers of an Act of Parliament; but as regards two of them, it must be admitted that their numbers are extremely small. The first army reserve consists of men in the first period of their engagement, and of young men, but that force is limited at present to 1,000 men; and in the present Estimate we only provide for 2,000. The second army reserve consists of older men of the regular army and of pensioners. The Estimates last year provided for 16,000 of the older men and pensioners, and this year the Estimate is for 22,000. Then there is a third reserve, which is called the Militia reserve, and as to that reserve I own I feel considerable difficulty. The theory of the Militia reserve is that, having got a man into the Militia by the payment of a bounty and allowances, you give him another bounty to make him an army man too. Now, I admit the great value of the first reserve and the Militia reserve in principle, because they are not, like the second reserve, available only for service at home, but are also available for service abroad. Demosthenes says it is the practice of a good boxer not to ward off the blow of his assailant, but to endeavour to return it seven-fold. It has always been held by officers of the navy that their place in time of war is not off our own coast, for the purpose of defence, but off the enemy's ports for the purpose of attack, and I freely admit that the great advantage of the Militia reserve, as well as of the first army reserve, is that they are liable for foreign service, and may carry war into the enemy's country. I feel, however, the greatest difficulty about the Militia reserve, and for this reason—I have stated that having given a man one bounty to make him a Militia man, we give him another to make him an army man. It seems to me obvious that by giving a man two bounties, you cannot make him two men, and that if you 1129 write him on the strength of the army, you must write him off the strength of the Militia. Now, Sir. I want also to see the Militia itself a most effective force, competent, like that Militia of which the Duke of Wellington and Lord Seaton spoke, to take its place in time of war by the side of the regular army. I know that Militia officers of the greatest experience and capacity differ in opinion about the Militia reserve, and we shall endeavour to learn their opinions before we come to a positive decision. But I say to myself, if I were commanding a Militia regiment, and there were in it men who received a second bounty to leave me when an emergency arose, I should feel a hesitation in appointing them non-commissioned officers. I should take those who would remain with me. It seems to me reasonable to state the case as a dilemma. If these men were made non-commissioned officers of the Militia, then when carried away to join the army, the non-commissioned officers would disappear from the Militia, and they would join the army as privates, subject to a feeling of unpleasantness, which would not tend to promote their efficiency. If they were not made non-commissioned officers, but remained in the Militia as privates, they would be subject to a feeling of discouragement all the while they remained members of that force. I have made these remarks in order to elicit the opinions of those in the House who are more experienced than myself. I hold, at the present moment, the power of adopting either of these plans by taking in the Estimates the same sum for the Militia reserve that was taken last year—namely, £20,000—I am not, however, sorry to find that only £2,700 of it had been expended, and I am very glad that time for consideration will be given whether we shall apply this sum to increase the Militia reserve, or rather to increase the first army reserve, which might be done with great advantage by connecting it directly with the army, through the general officer of the district, and making it perform the part of the furlough men as in France. [Lord ELCHO asked, what was the number of the Militia reserve?] The present number of the Militia reserve is 2,700. Of course, there is no difficulty in raising the men. The result I will now state to the Committee. The total number of men we 1130 provide for to be at home on the present Estimates is as follows:—Last year there were of Regulars 87,505; this year there are 90,677. Of the Militia last year there were 67,600; this year there are 83,000. Of the Yeomanry I take the same number as last year, 13,700. The first army reserve last year was 1,006; this year I take it at 2,000. The second I reserve and pensioners last year stood at 16,970; this year it is 21,870. The Volunteers last year were 155,216; this year they are 170,581, making a gross result last year of 341,997, and this year of 381,828. Now, Sir, the force of 92,000 men in this country, in 61 battalions, represents a far greater force than 92,000 in 46 battalions. If you have your battalions in good order, your cadres full, all your officers and men in a state of efficiency, if you have in every battalion 560 veterans, you would have no difficulty, if any emergency arose, and when the warlike spirit of this country had been evoked, in raising your 92,000 to 100,000. Your Militia, if you include the Irish Militia, already exceed 100,000; and I may remark that, although the Irish Militia is not to be called out for training this year, that is no reason why they should be left out of our calculation in reference to an emergency. I say, therefore, you may fairly regard this as representing a strength of certainly not less than 400,000 men. And, according to high military authorities, no force is more efficient than where you have a backbone of veterans with a slight admixture of young recruits within it. Thus you will have 100,000 Regulars, 100,000 Militia, 24,000 Reserves and Pensioners, and 184,000 Yeomanry and Volunteers, which in all make up a force of 408,000; and with such a force I venture to think this country may be considered perfectly safe both from attack and menace. But I do not think we ought to be content with less than that strong force, when I see before me, as I have at this moment, the Returns of the forces of the four other Great Powers of Europe, and remember that the force of not one of them is less than 1,000,000 of men, Now, Sir, if I have not exhausted the patience of the Committee with reference to the men, it is necessary I should say something on the subject of matériel. And first of all I must pay my tribute of praise to my right hon. Friend opposite (Sir John Pakington), for the change he 1131 has effected by the introduction of the control system into the supervision of the army. My predecessors in this Office have, I think, long seen the great necessity for a combined management, and a more efficient control over the demands for every kind of supply. Lord Herbert stated it in Sir James Graham's Committee, and so did Lord De Grey soon afterwards in a letter, which he addressed to the Treasury. General Peel appointed a Committee under Lord Strathnairn, and that Committee made a Report, which no doubt every Member has read; and finally, my right hon. Friend made, I think, a most happy selection when he placed at the head, of the control system that distinguished officer, Sir Henry Storks, and associated with him General Balfour. The object sought to be attained was to combine under one surveillance the commissariat, the transport corps, the barracks, the hospitals, and the military stores; this arrangement having been recommended by Lord Strathnairn's Committee. I quite agree with my right hon. Friend as to all the results so far as they have gone. But my right hon. Friend opposite did not limit his action to the points recommended in the Report of that Committee, and when I came into Office I found that the munitions of war, the Tower, and the manufacturing establishments at Woolwich, were placed under the management and oversight of Sir Henry Storks. I approve of that arrangement, and just before the right hon. Gentleman left Office he took the step, in which I entirely concur, of putting an end to the Ordnance Select Committee. Its objects were too varied, and its responsibility too vague and confused; it was expensive, and led to difficulties of various kinds with inventors, to which it was necessary to put an end. But in sending the Director General of Ordnance to reside at Woolwich my right hon. Friend took a step which I cannot approve of. I have not been able to collect from the correspondence what the functions were which that gentleman had to perform at Woolwich, and after giving the subject my best consideration, I have agreed to suspend the arrangement, and to declare that it is not necessary that the Director General of Ordnance should reside at Woolwich. The truth is, that though there is no patent right against the 1132 Crown, yet so many claims have arisen for all sorts of inventions, and we have had, as I think, so little responsibility in the way in which these inventions have been brought before us, that I felt it to be one of my earliest duties to put an insuperable obstacle in the way of all vague claims, and take care that no such claims should be made except under specified directions and for specified objects. It seems to me that no claim should be allowed until it has been submitted to Parliament and voted by Parliament; and our intention is, that there should be, not at Woolwich, but at the War Office, a Council, at the head of which should be my noble Friend the Under Secretary for War (Lord North-brook); my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Truro (Captain Vivian) will be a Member of it; the Controller-in-Chief will be a Member, as also the Director General of Ordnance, the Inspector General of Artillery and Engineers, along with officers representing both the Navy and the office of the Secretary of State for India. This Council will investigate every claim before it is submitted to me, and it will not only be approved by the Secretary of State and the Treasury, but submitted to Parliament and voted by the House before there is any claim on the public. Under Sir Henry Storks' direction the work of control has already made very great progress. The result of this does not appear in the form of the Estimates you are now about to consider, as it has necessarily been a matter of gradual progress, and the old arrangements could not be interrupted until the new arrangements should be ready to replace them, though by next year the system will no doubt have acquired completeness. At the present moment the control system extends to Ireland, Gibraltar, Aldershot, the Cape, the Straits' Settlements, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Bermuda, Barbadoes, Grenada, and Australia, and in a short time it will be still further extended throughout Great Britain and to all our colonial stations. I have before me a statement which shows that a considerable saving will be established in this respect, and arrangements are besides being made at the Admiralty by which a double expense in stations common to both the War and Navy Departments—Malta for instance—will be avoided. The Admiralty will take the 1133 charge of some of those stations, and the same principle which is applied to the military Department, of combining under one control the different heads, will, I hope, be extended to the War and Admiralty Departments. The whole question of the munitions of war is, I think, at the present moment, one of the most difficult and one of the most interesting to which a civilian can possibly address himself. I am happy to be able to say that as regards the arms—whether the great guns or the small arms—I believe we have at this moment the best weapons that are possessed by any service in the world. I believe the Frazer gun and the Snider rifle are not surpassed in efficiency by any weapons held by any other military nation. But having said that I must inform the Committee that the Frazer gun is still the subject of crucial experiment; and that a Report has just been presented within the last few days, according to which it would appear that the Snider rifle must be superseded, and the Henry-Martini rifle adopted in its stead. Then there is that most extraordinary Moncrieff gun-carriage, the operation of which I witnessed the other day, and will endeavour to describe to the Commitee. I and others were placed in what may be called a rifle pit for great guns, and the gun came down to us of its own accord. We then set it by means of reflectors, and soon after it was lifted up, proprio vigore, to the surface above, and was fired off, not limited by any embrasure, but having the sweep of the whole horizon. I do not know what an enemy would imagine if he happened to encounter such an instrument of destruction, but probably he might think that his opponents had subject to their control those central fires which occupy the middle of the earth, or that some infernal spirit had risen from below to fire off weapons in the upper air. I have included in these Estimates a reward for the inventor of that gun-carriage, and I shall submit it with great confidence for your approval, for I think that the economy it is likely to lead to will be deemed well worth the reward it is proposed to grant. Again, gunpowder is the subject of marvellous investigation. Science not only measures the speed of a projectile in the air, but accompanies the propelling force in its progress along the barrel, measures the intervals during which it is exert- 1134 ing its strength, and analyzes the explosive power into that portion which propels the projectile in a direct line, and that part which operates at right angles to the course of the projectile, and tends to burst the barrel. Thus science judges which powder it is most desirable to use and which to avoid. Guncotton, which a short time ago seemed almost excluded from the category of the materials to be employed in gunnery, has again come into notice as a competitor with gunpowder. Everything appears to be in a state of flux and progress, and Snider rifles, for example, must not be manufactured in large quantities, because of the appearance of a report from competent persons, who advise that that arm should be given up, and that the Henry-Martini rifle be substituted for it. That, however, cannot be done yet, as it will be necessary, first of all, to try the implement in actual service and in different climates. There is scarcely a branch of the great question connected with firearms which is not at present the subject of the most careful inquiry and critical investigation by scientific men. All these circumstances lead to this result—that we should confine our demands on the liberality of Parliament to wants which are immediate, and postpone everything that will bear postponement. We must take care not to be behind other nations in the race at any moment of time, while, at the same time, we adopt every means to secure the highest ultimate efficiency at the least expense. What we propose is, as regards the Snider rifle, of which we have a sufficient store to keep up the supply for the present year, to add only a small fresh supply; and that a few of the Henry-Martini rifles should be got ready to be tried in actual service in this country, and in the heat of India and the cold of Canada. I have desired also that a small supply should be provided in time to be tested at the next Wimbledon meeting, where experienced riflemen will judge of their merits. Under these circumstances, I shall take but a small Vote for the supply of rifles during the present year. As regards iron ordnance, I find that guns are supplied to meet all the immediate demands of the land service; but there is a want of great guns for our fortifications for sea-defence, and consequently all the money we spend on 1135 guns will be spent almost entirely, if not exclusively, on the great guns I have just alluded to. As to powder we have large accumulated supplies. In 1828 the stock amounted to 279,602 barrels, in 1829 it was fixed by the Duke of Wellington's Government at 198,000 barrels; in 1848 to 161,000 barrels, and in 1868 to 340,272 barrels. The annual consumption for all services is 36,000 barrels, and Waltham Abbey and the trade could manufacture twice that quantity. There is one kind of powder with respect to which especial investigations are being carried on. I allude to the Pellet powder, which, it is said, is much less calculated to burst the guns than other kinds of powder. I may say that, last autumn, several million rounds of ammunition were broken up because it had become impaired by keeping, or had been superseded by improvements. Therefore I propose to limit our claim upon Parliament in respect of matériel to those matters which are really needed, and to wants which ought to be immediately supplied. Among these we shall consider the 12-ton gnn, if the crucial experiment shall succeed, as we believe it will, and as many Moncrieff gun-carriages for 12-ton and 7-ton guns as the carriage manufactory can supply. We have not yet absolutely ascertained that the Moncrieff carriage will carry the 12-ton gun; but there can hardly be any doubt upon the subject. I am speaking only of the land service, and not of the guns to be manufactured for the Navy; and we do not propose to make anything larger than the 12-ton gun for the sea-defences of the land service in the present year. Up to the present time very little change has occurred in the number of men employed at the factory. What little change there has been is rather in the way of increase than diminution, because it was necessary to make some new ammunition; but there must be a reduction according to these Estimates in the course of the year. In regard to the works, there has been a diminution. The question of the fortifications building under the Loan Acts was referred by my right hon. Friend opposite to a Committee, of which Sir Frederick Grey was Chairman, and it is about to present its Report. I have not seen the Report, but I think I know enough to say it is not likely to disappoint the House. With regard to barracks, mili- 1136 tary hygiene is a science which has made great progress of late years, and among other results it has increased the amount of space required for the accommodation of soldiers from 450 to 600 cubic feet. The Admiralty have given notice that in the autumn of this year they will place at our disposal considerable barracks at Woolwich, and the works of fortification which are in course of construction will also furnish the means of accommodating a considerable number of men. It is a very serious thing to undertake expenditure upon barracks with the present requirements, and therefore I intend to examine the whole subject in the course of the year. At present I ask in the Estimates only for a small sum to commence a barrack at Glasgow, which is very much wanted, and for which, my right hon. Friend opposite provided the site in the Estimates of last year. I must now pass as rapidly as possible over the remaining portion of my statement. In connection with fortifications, and in the race between attack and defence, I am happy to say that an advantage has been lately gained by defence through the great improvements that have been made in what are called torpedoes, which appear to afford a security to our mercantile harbours that has not hitherto-been attained, and which are more easily applied to defence than to attack. In the Medical Staff there is not so great a diminution as would probably appear to most observers to be called for by the general diminution of the force. There is a diminution of twenty-five medical Staff officers and twelve regimental officers. The reason is this. We were very desirous not to place upon half-pay young and very efficient medical officers who, having passed their examination at Netley, would have been placed upon half-pay if we had made an immediate reduction. The course we have taken has been to keep them on duty, and to give older men returning from long residence abroad the opportunity of passing through the course at Netley, instead of the pupils, who will be prevented going there by our diminished, requirements. The result of that will be a very great advantage to the army obtained at a comparatively small cost, for the supernumeraries will be rapidly absorbed. The subject of military education is one 1137 not to be passed over without notice. My right hon. Friend opposite appointed a Commission on Education, of which my noble Friend (Earl De Grey) was the head. When the noble Lord accepted his present Office I had the good fortune to secure the services of Lord Dufferin as Chairman of the Commission, in which other changes have been made. I would only say that, as we are introducing scientific appliances in every branch of the; service, it becomes more and more necessary that the men should be educated and the officers also, and it is impossible to attach too great importance to the investigation of the Commission. The Commission on Military Prisons has already presented a Report, and will soon make another and final Report. They have recommended the building of a central prison, so as to avoid imprisonment with the regiments, and they propose to introduce punishment of drunkenness by fines. We have paid attention to the latter recommendation in preparing the Mutiny Bill; but on discussing the prison question with Colonel Henderson the Inspector of Prisons, we found that until we had the complete Report of the Commission we could not arrive at any definite plan, nor submit an Estimate with confidence. Probably later in the Session, when the House has had time to consider the whole Report, we shall make a proposal for carrying out the recommendation. Hitherto, as the Committee are aware, the Indian arrangements have been conducted on the principle of the British Exchequer being reimbursed by a capitation grant on the number of men serving in India; but the plan has not been very satisfactory. I am afraid the depôts have been very costly, and the numbers of men at them has frequently exceeded the Estimate. When the additional 2d. was given to the army, no account appears to have been taken of it in the transactions between the Indian and the British Exchequer; nor, on the other hand was any account taken of the advantage to the British Exchequer gained by adopting the overland transit. If there was a gain to the Indian Exchequer in the earlier years, there has lately been a very considerable loss to it, amounting, for the last year, to £150,000; and the Committee will conclude that I shall take immediate steps to remedy this state of things. I thank 1138 the Committee for having listened to me with so much patience. There is only another subject to which I will allude. My noble Friend opposite (Lord Elcho) has given notice of his purpose to call attention to the degree to which civil preferment is given in foreign countries to men who have served in the army, amounting in France and Prussia to 8,000 civil places in the year. I do not see my way at present to any such magnificence; but I sympathize entirely with the object of my noble Friend, and, to a certain limited extent, I have carried it into effect. With regard to the War Department and the Horse Guards, the first step I took on receiving the Seals of Office was to direct my attention to the state of the relations which subsisted between the financial and the other branches of the War Department; and I thought, as it was a matter in which the Treasury was interested, as well as the War Department, that the best course I could take was to ask my noble Friend (Lord Northbrook), my right hon. Friend the Third Lord of the Treasury (Mr. Stansfeld), and Mr. Anderson, whose great experience and value in matters of this kind is well known, to look into the subject of the financial control. I purposely omitted from the Committee a single military officer, on account of the jealousy which has been expressed of the military element in the War Department; for I was determined that when their Report was presented to me there should be no pretence for saying that there was in it any bias derived from the military element. When the Committee has solved the question of financial control, they will next proceed to assist me in solving what is scarcely less difficult—as my right hon. Friend will bear witness—the task of defining and separating in our great manufacturing establishments that which savours of economy and skill in manufacture, and that which savours of science and professional knowledge. It was the opinion of the Committee, presided over by Lord Strathnairn, that the several manufacturing establishments should I be placed under the charge of skilled professional men, in order that the highest efficiency and economy might be secured, while, as I have said, the present arrangements place those establishments under the direction of the con- 1139 trol department. A third task I have intrusted to them is to overlook the whole establishment of the War Department, and H. R. H. the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief has requested that they will extend their inquiry to the Horse Guards. My hon. Friend the Member for Brighton (Mr. White), at an earlier period of the evening, complained of the largeness of those establishments. If I may borrow a phrase from another subject, I would say that if I can disendow with due regard to existing interests I shall be very glad to do so. I want to have in the higher branches of the service the greatest ability, the best quality, but not the largest quantity; and in the other branches, the purely mechanical parts, I shall be glad if I can make myself useful in contributing to find comfortable places for those who as soldiers have done good service for the country. I must apologize to the Committee for the length of my statement. I have endeavoured to convey to them what I thought they would wish to know with all the brevity I could master; and, in conclusion, I commend to their indulgence, Estimates which I do not doubt contain many imperfections. I was called upon to give the principal decisions which have guided their preparation within the first fortnight after my accession of Office, and they were in the hands of the printers within the first two months. All I can say is, that, while they have been founded upon a desire to promote economy, they have been founded upon a still stronger and deeper determination that nothing should be allowed to injure the efficiency of the service, or the interests of the country. I commend them to your indulgent consideration, in the firm belief that they are perfectly consistent with increased security of defence, and with the improved organization of all our military resources. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving that the number of Land Forces should be fixed at 127,366 men, together with 1,760 Native Indian Troops.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
It is with pleasure I find myself able to commence the few observations I have to make by congratulating my right hon. Friend on the very clear and able manner in which he has made his statement, which I am bound to admit is of a very 1140 satisfactory character in many respects. And while I acknowledge the ability and the clearness of that statement, I am bound also to acknowledge the fairness and candour with which my right hon. Friend put his case before the Committee. My right hon. Friend commenced his statement by referring to the amount of reduction in the Army Estimates of this year as compared with those of last year. He stated that the amount of the reduction was £1,225,000. Now the first observation I should have been inclined to make on that statement has reference to the item of £136,000 for the pay of Indian officers on furlough, which has been taken out of these Estimates and charged in another manner, so that it will not come into the Exchequer; but I am saved from that by the perfect candour with which my right hon. Friend admitted that this item at all events will take so much from the ostensible reduction. According to my calculation the reduction after striking out this £136,000 will be £1,089,000. But there is a sum of £12,000, a saving alluded to by my right hon. Friend as having been made in Western Australia, and there was another item, the particulars of which I did not very well understand.
§ MR. CARDWELL
The first of these two items is £20,000, not £12,000; the second is the value of land purchased two years ago at North Woolwich, but which is not wanted now.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
Well, then, the reduction would stand finally at £1,196,000. My right hon. Friend, speaking broadly, divided the reduction into two parts. One of these he spoke of as being attributable to the reduction in the number of the army; the other he attributed to economy arising from the introduction of the control system. My Estimate is that the saving which has resulted from the control system amounts to £535,000. [Mr. CARDWELL: I calculate it at £549,000.] Then my right hon. Friend must give me credit for not having desired to exaggerate the result of that Estimate. I was cautious in the Estimate I made, because the saving effected by a considerable reduction in the army is spread over so many items of expenditure. But deducting £535,000 from £1,196,000 that leaves £661,000, which is the real difference obtained by the Estimates of the pre- 1141 sent Government, and to be attributed to the reduction of the army. It is to the reduction of the numbers of the army I wish, in the first instance, to address myself. The reduction in the number of men in the army is, in round numbers, 11,000; and it is a question of very grave national policy whether the Government are or are not justified in reducing our military strength to the extent of 11,000 men. But this admission I am bound to make—that if the Government thought it right to reduce the army to the extent of 11,000 men they have done it in the best manner. I very much doubt that so large a reduction is advisable; but what the right hon. Gentleman said in the first part of his speech is quite true. If the Government had looked only to a reduction of the Estimates they might have reduced the army by battalions; but they have pursued a course which is much more wise and patriotic, that whilst reducing the number of men they have retained the cadres of the regiments untouched, so that they have the skeletons of the regiments, and in any emergency have only to raise the number of men to revert at once to their previous strength. This does not, however, touch the question whether the Government are justified in reducing our military strength from 136,000 to 125,000 men. I might say, that having regard to the extent of our Empire and to that consideration which my right hon. Friend did not omit—namely, the military strength of other nations at the present moment—in my opinion a force of 136,000 men is not an overgrown standing army for this country. I will not say that if I had remained in Office I might not have thought it possible to make some reduction; and the reduction to which I am disposed to take least exception is that which my right hon. Friend is able to make by the diminution of our forces in Canada. While I readily admit that, under existing circumstances, the force in Canada was fairly open to reduction, yet I confess that I think that the present Government have carried that reduction rather beyond the point at which I should have been disposed to place it. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the proposal of the late Government upon this very subject; but what was that proposal? In the course of the last year we 1142 did recall a considerable number of our troops in Canada, and with a view to the coming Estimates we determined to withdraw more; but what was the principle which we had determined should regulate our proposed changes? That we should leave the military strength of England in Canada up to the point at which it had stood before the great increase which occurred some years ago in consequence of the Trent affair. We thought that a very fair criterion of the strength at which our army in Canada ought to stand. My right hon. Friend proposes to recall I forget how many regiments, but certainly a considerable number of battalions from our Eastern colonies. One battalion is to come from Australia, one from the Strait Settlement at Ceylon, and one from Hong Kong. There is indeed a very considerable reduction of our strength in that quarter of the world, and I do not feel disposed to concur in the course that the Government have taken. Looking to the nature of the service in those countries; looking to the climates that our troops have to operate in; looking to the uncertain nature of their duties and to the sudden calls that are made upon their strength in those distant parts of the world, I must say that I think that I trace in the recall of these battalions rather an undue disposition to obey a public cry for economy at any price. I doubt whether the Government is justified in this part of their proposal. The right hon. Gentleman gave no explanation why the battalions that are still to remain in the colonies should be reduced by eighty men. I am not aware of any reason for the proposed change. It seems to me to be a mere arbitrary reduction of men; and I venture to say the same thing with regard to the reduction of forty men per battalion at home. My right hon. Friend referred to the very high authority of the French Marshal M'Mahon, who expressed an opinion that, provided your cadre is complete, 500 men are enough for a battalion. But I cannot help thinking that 600 men form a very weak battalion, and I believe the Government might have exercised a better discretion if they had left our battalions at home at their strength of 600 men, so that the army would have been reduced to a less amount than is now proposed. I admit, however, that the extent to which the 1143 reduction in the army should be carried is a matter of national policy, upon which the Executive ought to be the best judges, seeing that it is in some respects also a colonial question. But I cannot help stating that, according to the opinion I have been able to form, these reductions have been carried to an injudicious extent. I have always doubted the wisdom of the system under which our regiments are sent out to the colonies of one strength, and are maintained at home of another strength. I have always thought that the British regiment should be a British regiment, whether at home or abroad. If such were the case, the great hardships which occasionally fall upon the Line regiments on their return to England by the reduction of their strength by two companies would be prevented. In consequence of the reductions proposed to be made by the Government there will be an unusual number of those double companies to be disposed of, and the result is that the Estimates show a considerable number of officers to be provided for. The right hon. Gentleman has not touched upon the subject; but I hope these officers may be gradually disposed of by absorbtion. Having made these observations with regard to the first part of the reduction, I would venture to refer to that half of the reduction which arises from the adoption of the control system. I think that great credit is due to the exertions, of which no doubt the right hon. Gentleman is aware, of Sir Henry Storks and General Balfour—for their great and incessant labours from the time they were intrusted by the late Government with their important and difficult duties. I confess that, with regard to Sir Henry Storks, my only fear has been lest, from the extent to which he has devoted himself to his difficult work, he should break down under the labour imposed upon him. The result has justified the wisdom of the Committee in recommending these changes, and does honour to the officers by whom the new system has been carried into effect. In consequence of the exertions of the control department, the Commissariat Estimate shows a saving of £8,000. One part of the arrangement of the control department has been to transfer the clothing department at Woolwich to Pimlico, thereby throwing two establishments into one, and I believe that a saving of £3,000 has thus 1144 been effected. There has also been a saving effected under the head of barracks of £3,900, of purveyors' offices of £4,600, of stores of £16,000, and in the purchase and manufacture of stores there is a reduction of expenditure to the amount of £500,000. The Committee must not, however, suppose that this is a sudden saving—that the expenditure has been reduced immediately from one amount to the other. Sir Henry Storks and General Balfour were appointed at the close of the year 1867, but the real action of the department did not commence until July last. Since that period, however, so successful has been the result of their action, that I believe that, at the close of the present financial year, there will be shown a saving in this department which I do not think I am over-estimating at £300,000. Nothing can be more fair than the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman has referred to these reductions in the expenditure. For my own part, I believe that the saving resulting from the changes that have been effected will grow more and more important every year. I wish now to refer to the very interesting part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech which relates to our reserve, and I think that the Committee will naturally go with me when I say that the Government which has taken upon itself to reduce our military force by about 11,000 men is doubly bound to attend to the efficiency of our reserves. As the amount for standing force is reduced so do our reserves become more and more important. The outline of our present system of reserves, as the right hon. Gentleman is aware, was sketched by my immediate predecessor (General Peel); but on my succeeding him at the War Office it devolved upon me to propose it for acceptance to the House of Commons. In some few respects I departed from the intention of General Peel, and therefore I cannot say that he is altogether responsible for the present system under which our reserves are organized. Still, however, the main plan is that of General Peel's, although I did not adopt that portion of it which applied to the Militia. The right hon. Gentleman has expressed his doubts with regard to this portion of the plan, and I am aware that military men are divided in opinion upon its merits. The right hon. Gentleman said that, in the event of war, we should be diminish- 1145 ing our reserves by drawing away from the Militia a certain portion of the men who ought to constitute our reserves. That is true, as far as it goes; but then the right hon. Gentleman should recollect that the Militia force was increased in order to supply that loss, and that in time of war the loss could be rapidly and easily made up by recruiting at home. As far as I am answerable for this portion of the reserve, however, I shall be quite willing that it should be reconsidered, and I should be prepared to consider any plan upon the subject which the right hon. Gentleman may propose in reference to it. I did not clearly understand from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman however what are the changes which he proposes to make in the present system, except that he proposes to cut off from the reserve that portion which we hoped to be able to obtain from the Militia. He sketched out to us a numerical strength, composed of so many regiments of Militia, so many Yeomanry, so many Volunteers, so many Pensioners, and "there," he says, "is your reserve." I gather from his statement, however, that although he does not intend to increase the force numerically, he does intend to improve its organization.
§ MR. CARDWELL
What I intended to say was that I took the same Estimate for the Militia reserve which was taken last year; but I entertain great doubt whether it will not be more wise to expend that sum in adding a smaller number to the army of reserve than to pay them in their double capacity as both Militia and reserves.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
I did not think I had misunderstood my right hon. Friend. But in either view, I am sorry to say, he is dealing with a very small number. I do not understand that he-proposes to add numerically to the strength of our reserve. All I understand him to imply is, that we have 100,000 Militia, 150,000 or 160,000 Volunteers, and a certain number of pensioners, but that they are not in connection with one another or with the regular army, and that we stand in need of bettor organization in that respect. Then my right hon. Friend spoke in terms with which I most cordially concur of the value of our Militia force. I beg to say distinctly that no man in the House appreciates at a higher value than I do the 1146 noble Volunteer force which has come into existence within the last few years. But one result—a temporary result—of the formation of that force has been that our old and admirable Militia has been rather less considered than it used to be. I was therefore well pleased to hear from a Minister in the position of my right hon. Friend the just and proper recognition which he made of the value of that service. I am also glad to hear that he has determined to improve the position of Militia officers, and to endeavour to make the service more attractive. As to the abolition of the property qualification, I believe that, practically, that will have very little effect, but the increase from 1s. a day to 4s. is, us far as it goes, substantial. Something undoubtedly was needed in the direction of improving their position, for there has been great difficulty of late in obtaining Militia officers. The system will, I hope, be continued and carried out as far as possible of letting Militia regiments go into quarters with troops of the Line at Aldershot and elsewhere; but I confess I do not like to hear of regiments going out without ensigns or lieutenants—mere skeletons, in fact, as far as officers are concerned. In one respect the statement of this evening disappointed me. During the time that I held the Office, in which I have been so worthily succeeded by my right hon. Friend, no consideration was more constantly pressed upon me—the justice of which I was obliged to admit—than that some improvement ought to be made in the position of quartermasters of Militia. He raised my hopes when he said he was going to do something for them; and what did it turn out to be? Why, that during the time the regiment was in quarters, the quartermasters were to have some modicum—I really do not know what it was—but something small during that limited period of the year. [An hon. MEMBER: A fortnight's pay.] Well, that is a very small matter. What occurred to me, and what I had resolved upon doing if the preparation of the Estimates had devolved upon me, was to give a retiring allowance to the quartermasters of Militia regiments. My right hon. Friend admits the existence of the evil, and I do not think it would be too late even now to make an arrangement of the nature I suggest, which 1147 would cost but a very few hundreds a year. A point which seemed to me doubtful in the statement was as to the recruiting of Militia regiments. My right hon. Friend proposed that these should be recruited to their full strength in the first instance; but hereafter, he added, no Militia regiment is to exceed 960 in number. The practical result of this proposal will be, I fear, materially to reduce the strength of the Militia. In my own county—the county of Worcester—the full quota is 1,400 men. Well, if my right hon. Friend intends to carry out the intention he has expressed, that regiment, instead of being kept up to 1,400, will be reduced to 960. I believe there are not a few Militia regiments over the country whose strength is above 1,000 each. According however to my right hon. Friend's proposal, their numerical strength will be less than it now is. There is another part of my right hon. Friend's statement in which I confess I felt a good deal of interest, and took some action in before I left Office—I mean the changes made in reference to the Ordnance Select Committee and the arsenal at Woolwich—I was glad to hear that my right hon. Friend approves the change I made by doing away with the Ordnance Select Committee. The views which he expressed on that subject were exactly those by which I was influenced; and, without the least intention to detract from the ability or the merits of Members of that Committee, I believe that its existence led to unnecessary expenditure, and that it was not a desirable institution to continue as it stood. I venture to think that a more limited Committee would be a more desirable tribunal. But the other point is one to which I attach much importance—namely, that of the Woolwich Arsenal. I do not know what his intentions are in respect to this establishment. I regard this matter of such importance that I should very much wish to hear his views upon it. If I rightly followed his statement, it only amounted to this—that in his opinion it was not desirable to throw on the Director General of Ordnance the responsibility of being at the head of the arsenal. That only touches the mode of carrying out a proposition which, in itself, I conceive to be of great importance. When first I went officially 1148 to visit that immense establishment at Woolwich, I saw that it was divided into four great departments, each intrusted with the expenditure annually of large sums of money. I took the trouble to inquire into these departments, and having asked who was at their head, I was greatly surprised to hear that there was no head there. I admit that there is a severe check over the expenditure of each of the departments; but, without throwing blame upon any individuals whatever, from what I have heard there does appear to be a want of economy, a tendency to overdo experiments, and a tendency also to throw away valuable stores which do not answer the requirements of the moment. This is a great question of principle. It may be that there are good reasons why the subordinate officers should be left free to act; but it does seem to me an anomaly. I never before heard of so great a national establishment without some officer at its head responsible for the manner in which it is conducted. I care not whether the Director General of Ordnance be placed at its head or not—that would be merely a mode of effecting the object. Put a civilian there, if you like; put a controller there, if you like—all I ask my right hon. Friend to state is whether he concurs with me in the matter of principle, to which I attach great importance. I had intended to touch upon the organization of the War Office; but I have no wish to detain the Committee much longer. Particular reasons, by which I was at the moment influenced, prevented me from completing those changes at the War Office which seemed to me desirable; but I communicated in writing to my right hon. Friend the points to which I considered it desirable that he should direct his attention. And I did hope that, by the time, it became his duty to propose the Army Estimates, he would be able to state what changes he contemplated, and the manner in which he proposed to make them. The changes which I contemplated were mainly in the finance branches of the War Office. I left the matter in what appeared to me to be an unsatisfactory state. My opinion was and is, that, under whatever title you like to give him, there ought to be in the War Office some one high officer at the head of the finance branch of that establishment. I understood my 1149 right hon. Friend to say that he is not yet in possession of the Report of the Committee which, under all the circumstances, he very judiciously appointed, and, under the circumstances, he probably will not wish to go further into that subject at present. But at a future period—probably when we reach Vote 18—he will be prepared to state what arrangements on this head he proposes to make. I must say that I regard with great doubt the wisdom of the appointment of the hon. and gallant Member for Truro (Captain Vivian) as the War Lord of the Treasury. My right hon. Friend, on a former evening when this subject was under discussion, said I had advised him that he would find it necessary to have some assistance in this House. That is perfectly true, and in the Memorandum which I wrote for my right hon. Friend, in the hope of giving him some assistance when I left the office, I did touch on this subject; I felt more perhaps than most of my predecessors the want of some assistance in the House of Commons. It was my misfortune to pass from the Admiralty to the War Office at a time when no such assistance was obtainable. At the Admiralty we had the Secretary, the Civil Lord, and two Naval Lords, all Members of this House, and who were ready to afford assistance to the First Lord, but not a single man was there connected with the War Office. Upon the smallest detail of Parliamentary Business connected with that Department, no matter how minute, I was obliged to come down and remain in my place. Therefore the advice which I gave my right hon. Friend was perfectly warranted by the state of affairs at that time. But the advice I tendered was, not that he should send a Junior Lord of the Treasury to encumber the already overcrowded War Office, but that the Under Secretary for War should be in the House of Commons. I am supported in that advice by the well-considered opinions of Sir James Graham and Mr. Sidney Herbert, both of whom expressed the opinion that it was necessary the Secretary for War should have assistance in the House of Commons, so as to enable the head of the Department to discharge more effectually the laborious duties of that office. I confess I am not convinced by the reasons assigned for the absence of the Under Secretary for War from this House. I do not see why 1150 there should not be five Under Secretaries in this House; but if there be any great constitutional reason against it, I venture to think the absent one should not be the Under Secretary for War. I trusted my right hon. Friend would have exerted his influence to get the Under Secretary for War in this House; but, instead of the Under Secretary, we have the War Lord (Captain Vivian). The unusual character of the whole arrangement induced me to ask a few questions upon the subject, and, knowing the crowded state of the War Office, I first inquired whether the War Lord had a room, and was told that he had. "Has he a private Secretary?"—"Yes, he has." "And what has he to do?" I asked—"Oh," was the answer, 'that's the difficulty; he has nothing to do." And I am not quite sure whether my informant did not add "I believe he smokes." Now. I doubt the expediency of allowing an official who has nothing to do to have a private Secretary in an office where an immense amount of work has to be done, and where, as he has little or nothing to do himself, he would be too likely to impede the work of others. Perhaps my right hon. Friend will say the War Lord has no private Secretary, but that is a point requiring explanation; because I find by the Estimates that the Secretary for War, who has hitherto been allowed a private Secretary and an assistant private Secretary, is provided with two assistant Secretaries, and I am told out-of-doors that the reason for this is that he may have a private Secretary to spare to the War Lord. Now, is this a true version of the case? It is certain that the Estimates show a private Secretary that never appeared there before, and if the War Lord has nothing to do, I do not not see the need of an additional private Secretary. I repeat, I regret that the Under Secretary for War was not placed in the House of Commons. Now I come to another subject on which the Secretary of State has been silent, but upon which we heard a great deal last year. I refer to the plan of retiring in non-purchase corps prepared by the Committee over which the First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Childers) presided. I never denied the desirability of introducing some plan to prevent stagnation of promotion, and objected to that proposed only on the 1151 ground that it would be too expensive. My best attention was devoted to the subject when in Office, and I then hoped that if it should be my fortune to introduce the Estimates this year I should be enabled to propose some well-considered plan for retirement in the non-purchase corps, so as to augment promotion. My right hon. Friend has said nothing on this point. I should like to know whether my right hon. Friend has any definite plan under consideration—whether he proposes to adopt the plan recommended by the Committee over which the First Lord of the Admiralty presided, or any other plan for the retirement of the members of these corps? I will conclude, as I began, by expressing the satisfaction I feel at being able to approve so much the tone my right hon. Friend has taken.
§ LORD GARLIES
said, he felt the disadvantage which, as a new Member, he laboured under in addressing the Committee, but he was sure that that indulgence, which was usually granted to young Members, would not be withheld from him. Having held a commission in the army, for a period of fourteen or fifteen years, he naturally felt a great attachment to the service, and must plead that circumstance as his apology if his remarks were somewhat critical. Having heard the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. Cardwell), he confessed he could not quite understand how he proposed to effect the reduction of £1,196,000 in this year's Estimates over those of the previous year. The Secretary for War tad stated, that the Estimates for this year showed a gross reduction on those of last year of £1,196,000; the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington) had set down the difference at £1,089,000; but, from his (Lord Garlies') own examination of the Estimates, he found the difference to be £1,096,000. There was evidently, therefore, a mistake of £100,000 on the part of some one, and probably the Secretary for War would account for it by referring to his former statement that there was a great difference between the actual and apparent state of things; but if the reason was to be found in the sale during the coming year of a piece of land in the possession of the War Office, he did not see how the Government could claim credit for saving £100,000. How was the reduc- 1152 tion brought about? According to the Secretary for War the decrease was owing to the reduction in the number of men, and further to the adoption of the control system, though it was not explained how the control system had had that effect. However, the Estimates seemed to show that the reduction was due in the main to the decrease in the number of men; and to the decrease in war material; in the gun factories, in the Royal laboratory department, and in gun carriages. In the gun carriage department he found a reduction of £33,935, in the gun factories £52,854, and in the Royal laboratory, £258,416, making a total of £345,205. If this were added to the decrease of expenditure on the men whom it was now proposed to reduce, it would be found that the two items made up the whole of the reduction of the Estimates. He doubted whether Sir George Lewis ever stated as had been represented by the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. White), that every soldier cost the country £100 on an average. What Sir George Lewis did say, probably, was that if the Army Estimates included 130,000 regulars, and that number was multiplied by 100 it would give the aggregate amount in pounds of the Army Estimates. It was equally true of the present and many previous years that if they multiplied the number of men for whom a Vote of money was taken by sixty-two and four-fifths, that would give the sum requisite in pounds, so, similarly, if they multiplied the number proposed to be reduced,—namely, 10,241 by sixty-two and four-fifths it would give the sum of £634,990. This year also there had been an item taken out of the first seven Votes, and transferred to Vote 13, which included barrack furniture. That Vote was the same this year as last—namely, £116,000, and if that were transferred back again and added to the sum he had already given, it would make £750,990, and if this sum were added to the amount he had given on the three departments of stores and war material, it would be found that the total sum came to within only £400 in saving over last year. Although, therefore, at the beginning there was an appearance of a saving of £1,250,000 on the Estimates, when they had deducted the actual cost of each man as in previous years, and added to that the actual lack of sup- 1153 ply in war material, and the other; item transferred of barrack furniture, these sums came to within £400 of the whole of these supposed reductions. The right hon. Gentleman ought to have reminded the Committee that they had been promised a greatly reduced, expenditure combined with efficiency. Now, he could not think that the mere reduction of upwards of 10,000 men and a further reduction of war material could be considered as increased efficiency. He would first inquire into the cause of this reduced expenditure; next, the mode of carrying it into effect; then, its expediency as judged by results; and fourthly, the individual hardships it entailed. He trusted he should not be accused of party spirit, but it was matter of history that when the head of the present Government was trying to woo the constituency, for which he did not now sit, he started upon the great question of the day. It was not until near the month of November that he discovered: the necessity of what was known to military men as "making a change of front in the face of the enemy," and not till then was the cry of increased economy heard. That, no doubt, was the first cause of the reduced army expenditure. As to the mode in which the reduction had been made, those who were present on Monday night, and heard the speech of the First Lord of the Admiralty on the introduction of the Navy Estimates must have thought it very curious that the reduction then proposed was planned on a totally different principle from that of the army. The First Lord of the Admiralty took considerable credit to himself (in which the Committee evidently concurred), for reducing the Navy Estimates without losing a single "blue-jacket," while the reduction of the Army Estimates was effected by reducing a large number of men. It might be supposed that the order for reduction came from the Treasury to both Departments on the same morning, that the Admiralty as the senior service claimed priority of choice as to the mode of reduction, and that one plan was to be tried in one service, and one in the other; or perhaps they had tossed up for it, and it had fallen to the luck of the First Lord to win, the result being that the right hon. Gentleman exclaimed, "I will keep the blue-jackets and sacrifice the clerks," while the Secretary of State; 1154 for War said, "I will keep the clerks and clown with the red tunics," and he was sorry to say the right hon. Gentleman took a few blue-jackets with them. The right hon. Gentleman's information seemed to him rather meagre in regard to the number of guns, gun carriages, and ammunition to be provided for. Nor did he tell the Committee whether the same amount would be expended in ammunition this year as usual, or whether there would be a saving in this item. The small arms were in a transition state, but he might ask the right hon. Gentleman, after he had supplied the whole of the Militia and the Volunteers with the present Snider, what number he would afterwards have in store, because he believed he was right in saying that no new rifles had been made during the last two or three years but muzzle-loaders only converted into Sniders. A large loan had been raised in 1860 for the construction of fortifications, and it was then understood that each year the Army Estimates should include an amount to mantle them with guns. About five-sixths of the fortifications had now been constructed, but one-sixth had not yet been mantled with guns. He asked what Estimate had been made for this purpose during the present year. Then, with regard to fortifications abroad, he believed an officer had been appointed by the Government of Lord Russell, in 1865, to examine into the condition of the fortifications at Malta and Gibraltar, and he wished to know if the right hon. Gentleman would lay the Report of that officer on the table. It was stated in the Estimates that a sum of £55,000 was still required for the works at Malta and £40,000 for Gibraltar. Why was there only £10,000 to be voted for the former and £15,000 for the latter? He was anxious to hear what the right hon. Gentleman had to say regarding the Army Reserve Fund. The balance of that fund, he understood, was to be transferred from the War Office to the Treasury on the 1st of January this year, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be kind enough to inform the Committee what arrangement was intended in case any half-pay officer wished to compound for the sale of his commission. He now came to the decrease in the number of men. Earl Russell appointed a Commission, because it was found impossible to obtain recruits, and they reported 1155 that, as our superiority at sea was somewhat diminished, 600 men per battalion were hardly sufficient for our home establishments, and in order to induce men to come forward in time of emergency the rate of payment was increased 2d. per day; but he doubted, if the necessity arose, that the right hon. Gentleman would be able suddenly to raise his 90,000 men up to 100,000. In regard to the colonies and the way in which the withdrawal of troops affected them, he did not pretend to be competent to judge; but as regards the interests of the mother country, he altogether denied the expediency of denuding our colonies of troops. In the event of a sudden war, as in the case of the Indian Mutiny, the battalions in our colonies were far more available than if they had been at home. Our colonies hitherto had been considered a sort of outwork to this country as regards military service, from and to which troops might be detached at any moment's exigency. It appeared from the right hon. Gentleman's statement that there was to be a reserve force, though nothing was actually settled in regard to it. It would, be much wiser, then, not to reduce the regiments brought home until the nucleus of a reserve force had been formed. Until they had a reserve force this country, after the withdrawal of troops from the colonies, he thought, was in danger. It was said that the reduction in the cavalry was owing to the adoption of the squadron organization. But as long as he could remember the British cavalry had been worked by squadrons, and all that was now proposed was to extend the organization which prevailed in the field into the barrack-yard. But was it to be expected that five officers per squadron could do the work of six on that account? He believed this reduction of cornets was a great mistake. Cavalry were sent out a troop here and a squadron there, and the effect of the reduction would be that a troop or detachment would be sometimes left in charge of a non-commissioned, officer. Now, recent experience of Fenianism in Ireland had shown how unwise it would have been to leave-a troop in charge of a non-commissioned officer. One word as to the hardship which would be entailed on many deserving young officers if the proposed reduction were carried out. There were two classes of interest to be regarded—one which he might 1156 call existing interests, and the other more remotely vested interests; or, in other words, those who had the honour of bearing Her Majesty's commission, and those who were in training for that honour. There were 150 officers in the infantry to be reduced, or absorbed as it was called, and eighty in the cavalry, including the household regiments. Here, then, were 230 officers to be thrown out of employment, after having chosen a profession in which they expected to remain, and not to be cashiered. They were told that their services would be no longer required, which was practically the same as cashiering them. Many of those officers had been through various vicissitudes of climate, they had never been over paid, and to be treated in the manner now proposed was a rather harsh and summary proceeding, to say the least of it. Those who remained after coming home from foreign climates, instead of having a little leisure, would have to do double duty. Now, he considered that a very great hardship. Then with regard to the cavalry. The officers got for pay what might be called a high rate of interest on the sum expended on their commissions. They had to buy their chargers, and pay for their uniforms, and were put under stoppages for their forage; and now many of them were to be told that they would not be wanted any longer. With regard to the household cavalry, the saving to the Treasury would be very small indeed. The value of the twelve commissions that were to be reduced in the three regiments was £14,480; and if any hon. Member made a calculation he would find that it was no very high rate of interest that would make up the pay that these cornets received. He could not see the necessity of doing away with the cornets in these three regiments, whose duties were very onerous. In conclusion, he would plead in the name of his thirty brother captains, in the name of 200 subalterns, in the name of twice 200, the parents of these subalterns—that was as regarded, existing interests, but with respect to remotely vested interests, in the name of the lads and their parents whose name was legion—and beg of the right hon. Gentleman to re-consider the case of those unfortunate dying patients, to stay the pruning-knife, and to confer instead the gift of the sword.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, that never before, during the eight years he had the honour of a seat in that House, had he listened with pleasure to a statement of military Estimates; but he had done so that night because he believed that those which the right hon. Gentleman had brought forward displayed a tendency to well-considered economy, and proceeded on a principle which might be carried further. He confessed that he took but very little interest in the discussions bandied about from one side to the other as to which had been the most economical; because there was no principle involved in the reductions which had been made of late years, and he had ventured on one occasion, with the approbation of the House, to sum up what had been done in that way by saying that nothing had been reduced but the men, and they had reduced themselves by the great falling-off which had occurred in the recruiting. A statement had been made by the late Sir George Lewis, which had been accepted by General Peel, that when once the House had voted the number of men everything was settled, for that £100 per man represented a fixed quantity which would never vary. He warned the House, however, not to wrap itself in fancied security on that account, because the sum was rapidly rising, and in a few years £100 would not represent the cost per man. He wished to say a few words on the reduction of the number of men. It would probably be repeatedly said that they were diminishing the strength of England if they consented to diminish the number of men on the Estimates. Let him call attention for a moment to what had been the number of men borne on the Estimates at different times, and what had been the cost. In 1837 the number of men voted, in round figures, was 101,000, and the estimated expenditure £8,000,000. In 1857 the number of men was 126,000, and the estimated expenditure £13,000,000, or correctly £12,993,235. In 1861, when the Army Estimates rose to their greatest height, and when Mr. Sidney Herbert in moving them described them as "enormous," and as the largest ever proposed in time of peace, the number of men was; 143,000, and the estimated expenditure £16,000,000. In 1865 the number of men was 142,000, and the estimated expenditure £14,000,000. In 1869 the 1158 number of men was 125,000, and the estimated gross sum £14,230,000. It would be said, "Think of the increased demand for troops caused by our extended possessions in India." Now, he always included in the gross total the European troops in India as well as at home. Our demand for troops might be divided under these three heads—The force required for the defence of the; United Kingdom and the Channel Islands, the force required for the defence I of the colonies, and the force required for the maintenance of our Indian possessions. The number of our troops under each of those heads had been largely increased of late years, and they might be safely reduced still further than the right hon. Gentleman proposed, without in the least trenching on the security of the Empire. He would take the case of the colonies first; and he wished to grapple with the doctrine that we were bound to maintain troops in our colonies, properly so called, for their defence. He was not now referring to places like Gibraltar, Malta, and other military posts. It was simply idle to think of keeping efficient garrisons in time of war in our colonies proper. The moment a great coalition of foreign Powers was formed against us, that our fleets were worsted on the seas, and we were threatened in our island-home, what would be the first thing to do?—why, to withdraw every battalion from the colonies. An hon. Gentleman had admitted that even at the threat of war we should withdraw our troops from the colonies. What was that but saying that we nursed the colonies in time of peace to rely upon us for their defence, and that our first act in time of war would be to recall our troops from them? Now, in 1823, after the termination of the Great War, 43,000 men were deemed sufficient for the home service, and about 26,000 for the colonies. What the number for India then was he had not been able to ascertain. In 1831 the number of men for the home service was 50,000; for the colonies, 42,000; and for India 31,000: making together a total of 123,000. In 1841 the total number of troops rose to 134,000; and in 1851 to 149,000. Within the next decade came the addition caused, no doubt, by the great Indian War; and in 1861 the total number of European troops drawn from this country for home and foreign service was over 222,000 men. 1159 Of these 74,000 were for home service, 55,000 for the colonies, and 83,000 for India. In 1866 it was 212,000, and in the present Estimate, the total number for 1869–70 was 195,000 men. In 1831 they had for India 31,000; in 1841, 40,000; in 1851, 45,000; in 1861, 83,000; in 1866, about 70,000; and for 1869–70 the number was 63,000. The increased demands of India accounted for only one-half of the increase in our total force between 1831 and the present time. Then, with regard to the force for the colonies, in 1823 it was 26,000 men; in 1866 it was 55,478; and in 1869–70 the right hon. Gentleman proposed to reduce it to 35,000 men, and during all these years our colonies, excluding India, had not largely increased. Now, if the force for India and for the colonies had not been diminished—as he contended it had not been—below the requisite standard, let them look at the figures of the home force. In 1823 the number of men deemed sufficient for home defence was 43,000; in 1831 it was 50,000; in 1841, 55,000; in 1851, 64,000; in 1861, 74,000; in 1866, 87,000; and now, under the right hon. Gentleman's reduced Estimates, they would have in the United Kingdom 92,000; or more than double the number thought sufficient in 1823. The true principle for the distribution of our troops was to preserve a sufficient army in India; to preserve a sufficient garrison for our military stations abroad; to concentrate the troops who might be necessary for China and Japan in one place as far as possible; to concentrate our forces in the same way at the Cape and our other great colonial stations; and to maintain a large and effective force at home for the defence of the country, and the support of whatever part might be attacked. It had been formerly thought that the country could be more easily "humbugged" into voting a large force if the troops were kept out of sight in the colonies; but the same jealousy in regard to the regular army did not now exist in the public mind as formerly. He therefore rejoiced to see not only the present reduction of the Estimates, but the change proposed by the right hon. Gentleman in the distribution of our force, which, he believed, would be attended with increased efficiency as well as with economy. The health of our troops, which suffered greatly in foreign cli- 1160 mates, was a most important element in connection both with efficiency and with cost. The death-rate among our troops increased the moment they went out of England and the Mediterranean garrisons. At home the death-rate was about nine per 1,000; in India it was twenty-three per 1,000; and in China it reached as high as sixty per 1,000. In fact, when kept on foreign and unhealthy stations our troops not only cost us more, but they die far faster, thus involving a double loss to the country. In estimating how we could change the distribution of our troops, he would only refer to the infantry battalions. In 1866 we had at home, exclusive of the Guards, forty battalions; in the colonies, forty-nine; and in India fifty-two; but in January, 1869, the number of battalions at home was fifty-two; in the colonies, thirty-five; and in India, fifty-two—the same fifty-two; while the right hon. Gentleman proposed that in the current year there should be sixty-one battalions at home, twenty-eight in the colonies, and fifty-two, he presumed, in India. With regard to the number of troops which ought to be maintained in India he would express no opinion of his own, but would content himself with directing attention to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War would find in his own Department a Report on the subject by Lord. Strathnairn, who stated that 50,000 men would be a sufficient garrison for India, a number which would leave a margin of several battalions to be added to the home service. On the whole, he was of opinion that we might have sixty-eight battalions at home to seventy-three abroad, so that the proportion of service would be about six years at home to eight abroad, and if the right hon. Gentleman were able to reduce the number of battalions abroad he might also diminish the enormous depôts which we now maintained at home. Depôts were, in great measure, a dead weight in the army, as far as efficiency was concerned, and, in fact, they were the worst form in which men could be maintained. A considerable diminution, ought, therefore, to be effected in the number of depôts, and if this were done the right hon. Gentleman would be enabled to bring about another reform, which he had already aimed at with regard to shortening the term of 1161 foreign duty. He trusted he had been I successful in showing that we might diminish the drain on the resources of England for the maintenance of an army of 200,000 men, without at the same time diminishing the efficiency of the service; and in considering this matter we ought never to lose sight of the fact that behind that army there stood an immense reserve force which did not formerly exist. Adverting to the question as to the cost of the administration of the army, the hon. and gallant Gentleman pointed out that in 1837 the total number of men was 130,000, and the total cost of administration £57,000, or 8s. 9d. per man. In 1865 the total number of men was 212,000, and the cost of administration £212,000, or exactly £1 per man; but in the present year the total number of men would be 195,000, and the total Vote £223,000, or £1 3s. per man. This was a subject which called for the careful consideration of the right hon. Gentleman. In speaking of our reserve forces the right hon. Gentleman had remarked that he felt great difficulty in arriving at a conclusion on the question of the Militia reserve. For his own part, he was at the time strongly in favour of the plan originally proposed by General Peel, although he confessed there was a difficulty, which appeared to him a grave one, with regard to any army reserve. The proposals in regard to them all amounted to this—that a small annual retaining fee should be given to a trained soldier in time of peace, subject to the condition that he should be liable to be called on, without any further pay, to enter the army in; time of war. But the difficulty was, that at such a time the authorities always offered a large bounty to other men, even though they might be wholly untrained, to enter the service; whereas any advantage of this kind would be denied to men belonging to the reserve force. Referring to the subject of barrack accommodation, he drew attention to the circumstance of our having no fewer than 300 barracks in the kingdom at the present time, and contended that many of them might be beneficially abolished. It was objected that the Militia regiments should be limited to 960 men; but the rule having been heretofore to keep the Militia regiments 25 per cent under their strength, there was nothing lost by that proposal. There 1162 was another and a more difficult subject—the abolition of the system of purchase in the army—which would require attention; but it was only fair that the right hon. Gentleman should have time afforded him for giving that matter his serious consideration. There never would, in his opinion, be an efficient reform of the army till they got rid of the system of purchase. He regretted that the hon. Member for Hawick, &c. (Mr. Trevelyan), would not now advocate that change, as he had hitherto so ably done; but if the Government did not take up the question he would himself next year call the attention of the House to the subject.
said, he thought that the principle on which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell) had proceeded to make his reductions was a sound one, and he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would not only be able to carry out the reductions he had promised for this year, but that, proceeding on the same principle, he would be able to carry those reductions further in following years. At the same time he would urge upon the right hon. Gentleman that while, on the one hand, he withdrew some of the troops he ought, on the other, to give the colonies every facility and encouragement to perfect their own defences and strengthen their means of self-reliance. He did not desire to import the subject of the Volunteers into this debate unnecessarily; but he could not help thinking that the example of this country was sufficient to show that those who were engaged in many and different duties were still willing to give a portion of their time to acquire a knowledge of the use of arms sufficient to assure themselves against attack or invasion. The colonial Volunteers were, he believed, fully on a par, if not superior to the Volunteers in this country. He had the authority of a general officer who had been in the colonies, who had written to him the other day, and stated that when in Victoria, he found the Volunteers there an uncommonly fine body of men, well clothed, well armed, well drilled, smart, and subordinate. On two occasions he had taken them into the field for a week at a time, and he had every reason to be satisfied with them. They turned out about 3,000 men; their artillery was remarkably good, being in possession of 1163 both heavy and light Armstrong guns. He trusted, therefore, that every encouragement would be given to the movement in the colonies, and that even pecuniary assistance, if needed, would not be begrudged. The reduction of the West India troops proposed by the right hon. Gentleman was, he believed a step in the right direction. Recruited, as they were, from the very lowest classes among the population, the four West India regiments were, he believed, not only of little real service, but they were regarded by the inhabitants with dislike and mistrust, because it was generally felt that in case of any difficulty or danger it would be better to be without them. In a letter from an Engineer officer at Barbadoes, the writer said it was the general opinion that in time of difficulty the troops would be a source of danger rather than security, and that the West Indies would be much safer without black troops at all, as their natural inclinations would lead them, in case of emeute or disturbance, to side with the lower classes. So far had that feeling gone that he believed the colonists of St. Vincent paid a detachment of the 47th Regiment in order to be certain of better protection. The officers were composed of three classes—those who, being too old to enter the Line, were thus enabled to get into the army by a side door; those who had been induced by bonuses to exchange into those regiments; and non-commissioned officers who had received promotion. The officers of each class alike would only be too willing to exchange into the Line. It was said that we ought to have these native troops for service on the west coast of Africa; but it should be remembered that the cost of maintaining these four regiments was something like £80,000 or £90,000 a year, and a saving to that extent might, he believed, be made without any corresponding disadvantage. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman should propose to reduce two batteries of artillery, which could ill be spared, because the Volunteers were deficient in this respect, and had to rely upon the regulars to supplement the deficiency. The increase in the home service arising from the withdrawal of troops for the colonies would, he believed, coupled as it was with the extra 2d. a day which had been granted to the pay of the 1164 soldiers, make the service infinitely more popular than it had hitherto been. He was glad that the right hon. Gentleman was able to give instances of the growing popularity of the service, and that a better class of men could now be secured, as one proof of which he stated that recruits could now be sent to the depôts with railway tickets and not under the care of sergeants. At the same time he believed the resolution would be regretted in many of the colonies. It was advisable to retain the old soldier, and he would suggest that after ten years' service he should be allowed his six months' furlough and to re-enlist if he wished to do so.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, he had been much struck with the fact that the expressions of approval with which the right hon. Gentleman's speech had been greeted came chiefly from Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. Their policy was opposed to all change. ["No, no !"] They approved the Estimates because there was so little cutting down in them; but these Estimates had been received with qualified approval on the Liberal Benches, because hon. Members there were committed with their constituents to a policy of retrenchment. The reductions effected by the right hon. Gentleman were not so great as they desired; but they accepted them in consideration of the brief period within which the Government took Office, and in the next Estimates the country would expect a much larger cutting down. So far, the reductions seemed mainly confined to the rank and file. The higher offices in the army, such, for example, as the sinecure colonelcies, were left untouched. He had always understood that those colonelcies were reserved as the reward of distinguished military service. But two Royal Dukes held no fewer than five of them. The Prince of Wales was Colonel of the 10th Hussars and also of the Rifle Brigade; the Duke of Cambridge was Colonel of the Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers, and of the Grenadier Guards. Now, he was not aware of any distinguished military service as yet performed by the Prince of Wales, and did not see why the Duke of Cambridge should hold a plurality of these appointments. He did not know whether any emolument was attached to hose positions or not. If there was no emolument attached to them, it was high time that the country were told so, be- 1165 cause undoubtedly there was a strong belief prevailing that emolument was attached to them, and that belief caused dissatisfaction. If there was emolument, he thought there was abuse.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he wished to bear his testimony to the admirable statement made by the Secretary for War. An hon. Member (Mr. O'Reilly) had said that he had been eight years in the House and had never heard with so much pleasure a statement made in introducing the Army Estimates. Now he (Lord Elcho) had been in the House for twenty-seven years, and during that time this was the first statement he had heard which seemed to shadow forth something like a better system, combining both efficiency and economy. The hon. Member (Mr. Anderson) had stated that on that (the Opposition) side of the House they were opposed to all change. Now he (Lord Elcho) occupying a neutral position, had no right to speak for others around him; but he himself had endeavoured to promote changes in military organization, believing that our military administration must be sadly in faultsolongas£14,000,000or£l2,000,000 a year were expended with such miserable results, and believing also that payment by results here, as in education, was the real test. Then, as regarded expressions of approval, there appeared to him to be a great many cheers from the other side of the House, and Members who supported the Government seemed exceedingly well satisfied that their Secretary at War should have made so able a statement. He truly hoped that the speech of his hon. Friend (Mr. Anderson) would be well reported in the Glasgow Daily Mail. At this late period of the evening he would not enter at any length into the points in the statement of the Secretary for War. He thought the policy of endeavouring to withdraw troops from the colonies as far as possible was sound. There was one point on which he must sincerely congratulate his right hon. Friend. Some years ago he had resisted, in company with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the construction of fortifications in Canada. On that occasion they divided with a very small minority, and were beaten—horse, foot, and artillery. But he had ventured to make a little bet with his noble Friend the then Secretary of State for War (Earl De Grey and Ripon), that, in spite of the 1166 Vote in favour of these fortifications, not a sod would be turned at Montreal, and he won his bet. Whether through the influence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer or not, the policy of withdrawing troops from an indefensible line of frontier was now being adopted, and very properly so. With regard to the question of foreign service, it was most unjust that soldiers should be only four years at home and twelve abroad. If you wished: men to volunteer readily you must allow them to be at least an equal time at home as abroad, and the change proposed by the right hon. Gentleman in this respect was satisfactory. The principle of shorter enlistments was also a sound one, as was that of not needlessly encumbering ourselves with munitions of war. There were certain points connected with the Estimates on which he might have something to say hereafter. But he must express his satisfaction at finding that his right hon. Friend was in favour of providing civil employment for old soldiers. He (Lord Elcho) meant to ask for a Committee on this subject, and hoped to receive the support of the Secretary of State, whose hands would be greatly strengthened by the appointment of such a Committee. As to the purchase system, it was the greatest mistake on the part of army reformers to touch it. The officers did not; wish the system abolished; the noncommissioned officers valued civil employment much more than the prospect of a commission. Men experienced in the civil administration of the army were in favour of purchase, and economists should remember that it would cost £10,000,000 to abolish it, He wished the House to remember that military organization meant such a system as would provide an army complete in all its parts, and capable of immediate expansion whenever the exigencies of the country required it. At present the country had got nothing of the kind, and the great question for the Government to solve was how to obtain a sufficient reserve for the time of war.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
said, he believed that more economies might be effected without diminishing the efficiency of our forces. He should at all times go in for the efficiency of the army and navy, and for placing in the field the greatest number of men at the least possible cost. He denied that either side of the House, 1167 or any particular class of Members of the House, possessed a monopoly of interest in that question. It was quite true that some of them were not military men, and they did not, therefore, venture to express their opinions with the same confidence as some of the hon. and gallant Members who had spoken. There were some things that they did understand, however; they understood business, and they knew that the contract system with reference to both army and navy had been a disgrace to us for years past. The purchasing functions of the Government had been shamefully abused. He, for one, felt that it was a discredit that the British Government, which was the largest, the best, and the safest paymaster in the world, should buy its articles in the worst possible manner, and, instead of going to the seat of manufacture, let them pass through three or four hands. He rejoiced at the excellent statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War. He believed that it would be most satisfactory to the country; but he believed the country would expect that by this time next year the right hon. Gentleman would be able to afford further reductions without reducing the efficiency of the service.
§ COLONEL BRISE
, speaking on behalf of the Militia officers, felt highly grateful for the efforts the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War was making to render the service more effective. He feared, however, that his efforts would not be as successful as could be desired if they were confined to the abolition of the property qualification for officers and an increase of pay and allowances. He strongly urged that greater inducements should be held out to Militia officers in the shape of commissions in the regular army. As to the Militia reserve force, he could only at that hour of the evening say that his experience of it had not been so favourable as he could have wished.
§ SIR WILLIAM RUSSELL
thought that the policy which the Secretary for War had adopted in regard to the colonies was the only one which could serve us in time of war; and that which he had announced with regard to the reduction of men was, he believed, the right one, and it was, at any rate, one always recommended by the late Duke of Wellington. He hoped the Secretary for 1168 War would pursue the course he was adopting in regard to short enlistments, which, he believed, would tend to make the service much more popular than it now was. There was one thing in which the right hon. Gentleman should be very cautious. He was evidently under the impression that he had a reserve; but he believed that was a mistake which would be most fatal when a reserve was most needed. The only true reserve the country could have was the Militia as the first reserve and the Volunteers as the second; and those must be combined with the regular army so as to make it one great force. It was not wise policy, in his opinion, to reduce rapidly the ranks of the junior officers in the army.
MR. NEVILLE - GRENVILLE
referred to the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) as being more worthy of the hustings than of the House of Commons, and thanked the Secretary of War for the way in which he had introduced the Estimates. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to the Question he put early in the Session with reference to the Yeomanry Cavalry. He was perfectly sure that, so long as Government would accept the services of the Yeomanry, that gallant body of men would be willing to place their services at the disposal of their country, but they would never be content with the half existence which not calling them out implied. If Government thought lightly of the services of Yeomanry it would be much better to disband them at once; but if they valued that force it should be regularly trained.
§ MR. MACFIE
, whilst thanking the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War for the information he had given, and for the light he had thrown upon the question of supernumerary officers of all ranks, wished to know whether it had been determined upon what system the military defence of the Empire was to be conducted in the future; whether the colonies had been consulted; and, whether the highest military authorities had given any advice to the Government on the subject?
§ GENERAL PERCY HERBERT
expressed the satisfaction with which he heard of the right hon. Gentleman accepting the office of Secretary for War, and said that satisfaction had been increased by the speech the right hon. Gentleman had delivered, which showed 1169 that he had bestowed much attention and labour upon a difficult subject. The answers which the right hon. Gentleman had given to questions about military organization showed that he was satisfied with the strength of his position—that he was satisfied he had ample powers, and that he accepted the full responsibility of controlling everything connected with the army. Whilst taking no exception to the reduction of some of the batteries of the siege or dismounted artillery, he was sorry the right hon. Gentleman proposed that four batteries of field artillery should be converted into siege artillery. It should be remembered that field artillery was a force it was difficult to bring to perfection; that the proportion of field artillery we had now would be insufficient in the event of the Militia being called out along with the regular troops, and that there would be great difficulty in bringing it up to its fair proportion. The greatest reduction was to be made in the drivers, just the men of all others whom it was most difficult to replace, for their training required a considerable time, and we should require a larger number of them to give a proper proportion of waggons to the field artillery, and to enable us to increase the field artillery, so as to give due support to our Line regiments and Militia, and enable them to meet foreign infantry upon even terms. It must also be remembered that a great many drivers would be required for field ammunition. With respect to the Line regiments, he believed that 560 men were too few to constitute an efficient battalion. They had had practical exemplifications of this during the Crimean War. Previous to the outbreak of that war we raised the strength of the regiments that were sent out from 750 or 800 to 960. This increase, however, was effected by drafting the men out of other regiments; and the consequence was we soon had to send out regiments weak in numbers and embracing many raw recruits. This system was most injurious because it risked the fair fame of the British Army; and yet the right hon. Gentleman was following it. He spoke rhetorically of a battalion of 560 veterans, forgetting that recruits and sick men were included. When Marshal M'Mahon spoke of a cadre of 500 men being sufficient for a battalion in time of peace he knew there 1170 was a reserve of trained men, and that he could have battalions of 1,100 men at a fortnight's notice. But that was not our position; we had practically no reserves. The pensioners might be useful behind a wall, but they were unfit for the field. He disapproved, therefore, of that part of the right hon. Gentleman's scheme. There was room for effecting great economy—to the extent of £700,000 or £800,000 a year—by discontinuing the re-engagment of men after ten or twelve years' service. There was no more expensive article in the world than a re-engaged soldier. Three out of four of those re-engaged were not fit for the field, after five years further service, but they were able to earn their livelihood, and, perhaps, a better livelihood than if they had remained agricultural labourers. He would permit the re-engagement for the present of men who had risen to the rank of sergeant, but he would positively forbid the re-engagement of any man below that rank. Of course there would be a great advantage in retaining the non-commissioned officers, because sergeant-majors and others occupying that position were of a calibre which it might be difficult to find among younger men. In order to inflict the less hardship on the men it would be well, too, he thought, to follow very liberally the suggestion which had been made by General Peel, to the effect that when a regiment came home in ordinary quiet times those who had completed, say, nine years' service should not be required to complete their twelve years. The result of adopting that system would be that we should have trained young men. should anything occur to render their services necessary, in a few years afterwards, in the place of soldiers who had completed their service. A good deal might be done, he might add, in the direction of bringing about a greater union between the Militia and the army by getting Militia regiments to be connected with battalions of the Line, and sending commissioned and non-commissioned officers together with drums and fifes and bands to their head-quarters during the time when they were out for training. In time of war there would be no lack of Militia officers to enter the service. The suggestion of General Peel that there should be a certain number of men serving with the Militia and receiving extra pay as 1171 supernumeraries, and liable to be transferred at a moment's notice from headquarters to any branch of the service, was, he believed, a very good one, and he was sorry the right hon. Gentleman opposite appeared to speak slightingly on the point, because in no other way could we, in his opinion, secure so large and valuable a Reserve Army.
§ MR. RYLANDS
expressed, his satisfaction with the statement of the Secretary for War, and with the reductions that had been effected. Our military expenditure since the commencement of the present century exceeded the National Debt, its amount being £965,440,916. The extraction of this sum from the country must have trenched considerably on the comforts of the poor. It was the duty of the Government in the interest of the community at large, and especially of the working classes, to do all in their power to diminish it. He was glad therefore that a considerable reduction had been announced to-night, and he hoped that there would be further reductions. He was glad to hear that the colonies were to be called upon to bear a greater proportion of the military expenditure connected with them. The cost of the force in the various colonies was put down at £2,589,886, against which there was put down a probable return of £352,000, leaving nearly £2,250,000 as the sum to be provided by this country. But this was not all, for in a note it was stated that this did not include the expense of administration and non-effective charges, nor the cost of accoutrements, barrack hospital and other stores, and probably the cost of the colonies to this country was not less than from £5,000,000 to £6,000,000. And what was there in return to show to the poor working classes of this country? We received no benefit whatever from Canada, for instance, where there was a large expenditure of money by the Imperial Government. We were met by hostile tariffs. It appeared to him there was no reason why we should not leave these important colonies to bear the whole of the expenditure for their own defence.
, while thanking his right hon. Friend the Secretary for War for the clear and explicit statement which he had made in introducing the Estimates, said he would gladly have supported a Vote for a larger sum than was 1172 proposed to be taken, because he thought it was unfortunate that the army should be reduced at the present moment, when we had not anything like a sufficient reserve force. He wished, he might add, to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the position of the Cape Mounted Rifles, a corps which was originally composed of natives of the Cape, but which now consisted almost entirely of Europeans, the natives having one fine day deserted to the enemy. The corps performed the duties of cavalry soldiers. Notwithstanding that, the soldiers did not receive even the additional pay of soldiers of the infantry of the Line. With regard to the reduction in officers, he could not help thinking that the proposition of his right hon. Friend the Secretary for War was not a wise one. He was the more convinced of this from the statements of the hon. and gallant Member for Norwich (Sir William Russell). It was true that his right hon. Friend proposed to carry out the reduction in the easiest manner; but still it would stop promotion. With regard to the three regiments of household cavalry, he held in his hand a statement of the duties performed by the officers of those regiments, and certainly their duties were very numerous. On occasions of Drawing Rooms and other Court ceremonials the whole of the officers were on duty—the barrack duties being performed by the Staff. They had to do duty with escorts for the Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal Family, street parties, and the guards of honour. The hon. Gentleman who had just addressed the House (Mr. Rylands) had spoken of the expense of the army for the last sixty-nine years. He would ask the hon. Member whether he had made any calculation as to the advantage which the mercantile community had enjoyed in consequence of the services of the army both up to 1815, when the Great European War closed, and since that period. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Anderson) delivered a speech which would have been more worthy of the hustings than of the House of Commons. If he had gone to the Horse Guards he would have had every information given to him there; and might have learnt that the Prince of Wales received no emolument from the Rifle Brigade, and that the Duke of Cambridge received none from the Engineers or Artillery. It was a gratifica- 1173 tion to the public as well as to the corps themselves that the Rifle Brigade should be commanded by a gallant Prince, the heir to the Throne, and that the Engineers and the Artillery should be commanded by a distinguished Prince who in the field of battle had rendered glorious service to his country.
§ MAJOR DICKSON
was of opinion, from personal experience, that the cavalry regiments had not too many officers. It was a mistake to suppose that officers had no other duties to perform than those of field days. Their garrison duties were very numerous. He had known a case in which three officers of one squadron were killed on the field of battle, and a fourth wounded. Cavalry officers could not be supplied at a moment's notice in case of emergency. It required a year's training to make a cavalry officer fully acquainted with his duties. He called upon the Secretary for War to re-consider his decision on this matter.
SIR JOHN HAY
observed that his right hon. Friend the Secretary for War had not spoken of any guns of greater calibre than twelve tons. There were at this moment nine ships being built, each of which would carry guns of a greater calibre than twenty tons. He believed that one eminent manufacturer was now making a gun of forty-three tons. He therefore hoped that his right hon. Friend had it in contemplation that guns of more than twelve tons would be required for some of our ships. He did not know whether it was the intention of the Government to have a separation of the sea service ordnance from the land service ordnance. Now, though separate departments might have charge of each ordnance respectively, he did not think it would be desirable, either as regarded efficiency or as regarded economy, to separate the manufacturing establishments. If there were separate manufacturing establishments, we should not have identical ordnance. On a memorable occasion guns from the fortress at Gibraltar re-placed guns on board ship; and other occasions might arise when our having identical ordnance on land and sea would prove to be of great advantage.
§ MR. CARDWELL
thanked the Committee for the marked kindness with which they had received his statement. With respect to the observations of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Ander- 1174 son), he would remind his hon. Friend of the old maxim that you should not start on a journey at a greater speed than you will be able to keep up. He thought it would not have been judicious of the Government to have been hasty and presumptuous in making great changes in the army before there had been time to consider them. The hon. Member for Glasgow had made an imputation, for the correction of which he was indebted to his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxford (Colonel North). What his hon. and gallant Friend had said with regard to the terms on which two illustrious Princes commanded certain regiments was quite correct. Their Royal Highnesses received no pay for those additional commands which they had been charged with holding in plurality, nor did their holding them keep any rich prize from deserving officers, while it afforded much gratification to the regiments themselves. He was not aware that there was any intention to separate the manufacture of the sea service ordnance from that of the land ordnance. When he spoke of 12-ton guns, he did so in reference to the column in the Votes for the guns for the land service, but all the demands of the navy had been complied with. Upon the question of the Reserves he might repeat what he had previously said, that he was endeavouring to obtain the best opinion upon the subject, with a view of turning the money for Reserves included in the present Estimates to the best possible advantage. With regard to the question of the contracts, he had to say that Sir Henry Storks, whose name was a guarantee for his perfect fitness for anything he undertook, was directing his attention to the whole question, with the view of ascertaining what was the best arrangement that could be entered into with regard to them. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Longford (Major O'Reilly) had spoken of the cost of the depôts. He agreed with his hon. and gallant Friend that that cost was much greater than it ought to be, and he hoped that he should be able to reduce it. With regard to the cost of the administration of the Army, it would be noticed that, owing to the operations f Sir Henry Storks, and to one or two appointments that had been made, including that of the Governor of Guern- 1175 sey, certain salaries of a higher class had disappeared from, the Estimates. With regard to any reduction in the lower places, he must wait for the Report of the Committee which had been appointed to consider the subject, but any reduction that would be made would be conducted on the principle of having a careful and considerate regard for the interests and feelings of those whose positions would be affected by the proposed changes. As long as these conditions were kept in view, he should be glad to carry into effect any scheme for retrenchment that the Committee might suggest. The right hon. Gentleman who had preceded him in Office (Sir John Pakington) had observed upon various points in his speech in a most courteous manner; but one or two matters to which he had referred required some explanation. The right hon. Gentleman had found some little fault with the reductions in our forces proposed to be effected by the present Administration. The reductions in Canada would not reduce the force below 4,000, which was nearly one-fourth more than the number of troops maintained there in 1853. The reductions in the eastern colonies would not be great, as the following figures would show:—In the Straits Settlements the number of troops proposed to be maintained was 1,722, as against 1,609 for last year, and in China, which included Japan, 2,266, against 2,685 for last year. He had been particularly desirous of reducing the force in Hong Kong, in consequence of the unhealthiness of the climate and the expense of lodging the troops. The changes that had been effected in the force stationed at that place and at Galle would result in a considerable reduction of expenditure, and in an improved distribution of the troops. The question of the quartermasters was a very small one, only involving an expenditure of a few hundreds of pounds, and really, amid the multifarious matters to which he had had to direct his attention, he had not had time to look thoroughly into a question which, though small in itself yet, as an increase of the non-effective Vote, required some attention. He would, however take the matter into future consideration. Then he came to a more important matter—namely, who was to be the head of the 1176 Arsenal. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to think that this question was one of principle, whereas in point of fact it was one which must be solved by laying down sound practical rules, and when solved it would require considerable judgment and good temper on the part of those in authority to carry into effect the determination that might be arrived at in respect to it. All he could say to the right hon. Gentleman was that the whole subject of how far the management of that department was to be intrusted to the control department, and how far it was to be intrusted to the Director General of Ordnance, was one of the questions which the Committee would consider in the course of their inquiries, and as soon as he was aware of the result of those inquiries he would communicate it to the House. The finance control was one of the first questions the Committee would have to report upon; that Report he had not yet received, but as soon as it came into his hands he would also make known its purport to the House. The right hon. Gentleman had made some remarks upon the hon. and gallant Member for Truro (Captain Vivian), which he thought were undeserved. The hon. and gallant Member had really worked very hard during the period he had been in the War Office, and he could say with perfect sincerity that he had been very much indebted to him for the valuable services he had rendered him. His knowledge of military matters was very limited, and he had been greatly assisted in his labours by the suggestions which had been offered him by the hon. and gallant Member. The retirement of Artillery and Engineer officers was not as simple a matter as it appeared at first sight. Retirements from one branch of the service must be considered with relation to all the other branches. Only yesterday the case had been mentioned of what was called the supercession of officers on the English list by officers on. the local Indian list, which was considered a grievance, because it gave commands to younger men. His right hon. Friend found that the actuaries raised considerable difficulties with regard even to a scheme of partial retirement. More time, therefore, would obviously be requisite to mature any general scheme on the subject. The question, moreover, of the mode of retirement would necessitate an Act of Parliament, 1177 of the introduction of which during the present Session notice had been already given. Until it was ascertained, therefore, how far such a measure was likely to prove acceptable to Parliament, it would be more judicious on his part to abstain from making any proposals of his own, which would be dependent on that Bill for being carried into effect. As to proposed changes in the cavalry, all he could say was, the endeavour had been to effect these in such a way as, while laying down principles of economy for the public benefit, to occasion as little inconvenience and injury to individuals as possible. His belief was that they had effected the proposed reductions in that spirit, and that when examined the changes would prove to be acceptable.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) 1,760 Native Indian Troops.
§ (3.) £5,313,800, General Staff and Regimental Pay, Allowances, and Charges.
§ (4.) £1,185,600, Commissariat Establishment, Movement of Troops. &c.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.