HC Deb 03 March 1870 vol 199 cc1158-234

SUPPLY—considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) 115,037 Land Forces.


Mr. Dodson—The gracious Speech from the Throne informed us that the Estimates, while they would impose a diminished charge upon the subjects of Her Majesty, had been framed with a primary view to the effective maintenance of the public establishments. I trust that in the remarks which I shall have the honour to lay before the Committee I shall be able to substantiate that proposition, and to show that the Estimates have been founded on the principle which I ventured to lay down last Session—namely, that it is our policy in time of peace to maintain a force which shall be moderate in amount and susceptible of easy expansion, and the reserve for which shall be so within reach as to be immediately available on the occurrence of any public emergency.

But, Sir, before I address myself to this part of the question it will be right and proper that I should for a few minutes trouble the Committee with a statement of the financial bearings of the Estimates. The total charge for the year 1870–1 is £12,975,000, and for the year 1869–70 the total charge was £14,111,900; consequently showing a decrease of £1,130,900. But, Sir, I am not entitled to take credit for the whole of that decrease. There is an item in it which is only a transfer of account, and that is the sum of £07,400 for the pay of the colonels of regiments of the Indian establishment. It is now arranged that that shall be paid by the Government of India; and therefore, of course, it is not paid by us, and is not the subject of re-payment. Making allowance for that deduction, the real net do-crease upon the comparative Estimate is £1,069,500. I should, however, like also to institute a comparison of it on the effective Estimate alone—because, as the House is aware, the effective Estimate is that over which we chiefly have control. Now, on the effective Estimate the case stands thus:—In 1870–1 the effective Estimate is £10,678,200, while in 1869–70 it was £11,929,100, being an apparent decrease of £ 1,250,900. The same deduction of £67,400 must, however, be made in this case also; so that the real decrease is £1,183,500. If compared with 1868–9 the total Estimate for 1870–1 is £12,975,000, against £15,336,800, showing a decrease of £2,361,800. But a deduction larger than the one I have mentioned must be made from that, because in the former year there was another Indian transfer of £136,000 in addition to the £67,400. Consequently a deduction must be made of £203,400, leaving a real decrease of £2,158,400; or, if you take it on the effective Vote, the Estimate of 1870–1 is £10,078,200, and that of 1868–9 was £13,212,400, showing an apparent decrease of £2,534,200, the real decrease, after deducting the £203,400, being £2,330,800. Before I close this state- ment of figures the Committee will be good enough to observe that it is all connected with certain reductions in the number of officers which do not come into the credit side of the account for the present year; these reductions, therefore, will be subject in future years to a further increase of saving. The Committee will, I think, agree with me that this statement boars out the assertion that these Estimates impose a diminished charge upon the public.

But then comes the question—Has this decrease of expenditure been attended with any sacrifice of efficiency? I hope I shall be able to show that the I opposite is the case—for I entirely coincide in opinion with those who hold that saving effected by the sacrifice of efficiency is not economy. I believe the country is perfectly willing to pay all that can be shown to be necessary to secure the efficiency of the service. But, on the other hand, I contend that economy, when not pushed beyond the proper limit, is in itself an element of efficiency, and that without true economy efficiency can seldom exist. That being so, I wish to ask whether our Estimates are founded on any principle which tends to any diminution of efficiency? You may diminish efficiency by making savings. For instance, you may disband your regiments; but by so doing you lessen your military power. If you diminish the expenditure which has been of late years incurred for sanitary purposes and to promote the well-being of the soldier, you may to that extent impair the efficiency of your Army. You may, also, reduce expenditure in such a way as to render the Army unpopular with the public, or with the class from which you desire to recruit, and thus produce injurious consequences so far as efficiency is concerned. But if, on the contrary, you maintain your establishments, although reduced to a peace level, then I contend that you may accomplish reductions and yet may increase, instead of diminish, efficiency.

Sir, when I first entered on the duties of the War Department, it appeared to me that three circumstances chiefly led to what I could not help regarding as the very undue expenditure on the military services of this country. These three were our great colonial expenditure, the state of our relations, military and financial, with India, and the absence for a long time of any proper control over the supply departments of the Army. As to the last-mentioned important consideration, it was ably and wisely dealt with by my predecessor in Office, who instituted that department of control to which the Army and the public have been indebted for a considerable saving of expenditure. It became my duty to turn my attention, in the first place, to the subject of colonial expenditure; and last year, in entire co-operation with my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, whose privilege it has been to take so great a part in consummating what I may call the colonial military policy of the country, very considerable reductions in our colonial expenditure Mere effected. In the year 1868–9, according to the financial Papers which have been laid on the table of the House, the expenditure in the Colonies was £3,388,023; in 1869–70, £2,589,886; and in 1870–1, it will be £1,905,538; or after allowing for repayments the military expenditure for the Colonies amounted in 1868–9 to £2,972,323; in 1869–70 to £2,237,886; and in 1870–1 it will amount to £1,596,538. That includes all the Colonies; but for this purpose all the Colonies, I may remark, are not Colonies in the strict sense of the term, some being Imperial stations maintained to uphold the naval and military power of England. I, therefore, in making this comparison will exclude Gibraltar, Malta, Halifax, Bermuda, and St. Helena from consideration, and I then find that the Estimate for colonial expenditure after repayments was, in 1868–9, £1,838,082; in 1869–70, £1,216,842; and in 1870–1, £674,256. Now let me pause to ask whether anybody is a gainer or a loser by this large reduction of expenditure? We certainly are gainers. Is anyone a loser? Do any of the Colonies complain of it? It has been your policy continuously ever since 1861, when you adopted the Resolution of Mr. A. Mills' Committee—it was your policy in 1865, when you passed the Colonial Naval Defence Bill—that the military expenditure of this country in the Colonies should be gradually/but steadily, diminished. The self-governing Colonies will, I am persuaded, adopt the language which Mr. Weld, the spirited Minister of New Zealand, used when I had the honour of being at the Colonial Office. The two Houses of New Zealand, using a simple syllogism, said to the Government of this country— So long as you maintain the force by which we are protected, we cannot complain of your interference! we do not like your interference; therefore withdraw your troops. Queensland also has called upon the English Government to withdraw the troops; and I am satisfied that the words I have quoted will express the policy which all the self-governing Colonies will ask you to pursue. Sir, this view was so well expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Sir Charles Adderley) in a letter which he wrote to The Times the other day, that I venture to quote an extract from it to the Committee. He says— Every soldier withdrawn from Canada has been replaced by ten Canadian soldiers, which, in an Imperial view, means decupling the British strength for the defence of the whole Empire, and not, as these gentlemen view it, starving out the connection, and announcing surrender. In New Zealand the first certainty that one part of the nation would no longer fight the quarrels of another brought peace to all, not disruption, as these gentlemen predicted. Sir, it is, it appears to mo, impossible to express more clearly the true policy both of England and the Colonies. By maintaining a large force in your distant possessions you weaken yourselves, for your force, thus scattered and dispersed, is a cause not of strength, but of anxiety. We know that during the most critical period of the great French War one single frigate locked up three of the best French regiments in the island of Corfu. And what, lot me ask, would be the advantage of two or three British regiments scattered among the Colonies at the Antipodes if we were engaged in a great European war? They would be no strength to the Colonies, while to us they would be a source of anxiety and weakness. My noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Office and I, therefore, have in cooperation so reduced the colonial force that, while the distribution of 1868–9 gave 49,650 combatants, that of 1869–70, 34,502, that of 1870–1 places the number of troops in the Colonies at only 23,941, the greater portion of whom are employed in garrisoning Gibraltar, Bermuda, Malta, and Halifax. This gives a reduction of 25,709 from 1868–9, and of 10,561 from the distribution of last year. I do not, however, claim credit for the whole of this reduction, for the late Government had already commenced to reduce the force in the Colonies before they left Office, and they would, I have no doubt, have gone further than they did in that direction if they had remained in Office. But the question now is, are we, by taking these steps, diminishing the efficiency of our army and weakening our military strength? On the contrary, I contend that this is an economy which is not only consistent with true efficiency, but which actually contributes to it, and adds to our power.

Having made these large reductions in the colonial distribution, the question naturally arises are we giving the benefit of them to the British taxpayer?—because if we are to do so we must reduce the number of men on the face of the Estimates. What we propose to do is to disband the Canadian Rifles, the Cape Mounted Rifles, the 3rd West India Regiment, and the African Artillery. We do not, observe, disband one single corps belonging to the British establishment proper; the only corps which disappear from the face of the Estimates being those colonial corps which I have just mentioned. And can anybody think that it is expedient that we should continue to pay the expenses of those colonial forces? The Canadian Rifles are, I believe, one of the finest corps to be found anywhere. They were originally constituted at a time when desertion to the United States was very prevalent on the part of the soldiers quartered in Canada, which they were placed along the frontiers for the purpose of preventing. It is, however, scarcely reasonable, I think, that we should now be asked to keep up such a force, when we are withdrawing the rest of our troops. Will anybody contend that the Cape Mounted Rifles should be kept upon the Estimates? I do not believe that anybody, either at the Cape or in this country, will so contend. The Cape Mounted Rifles were a troop of heavy cavalry, formed to do that which the excellent mounted police of the Colony can do infinitely better. We propose, therefore, to disband that corps. We have a much more pleasant reason for discontinuing the services of the 3d West India Regiment. When I first went to the Colonial Office I found two West India regiments quartered upon the West Coast of Africa. These two West India regi- ments were not considered sufficient for the duties they had to discharge, and there was a continual pressure for an additional force. However, the government of our Colonies on the West Coast was changed. One Governor from Sierra Leone now superintends the whole of those Colonies. This gentleman was in London last October, and my noble Friend the Colonial Secretary and I had the pleasure of hearing from his own lips that what two regiments could not do a few years ago two companies are perfectly competent to do now; and that, except for a temporary interruption of tranquillity between the Dutch and some of the Blacks in the neighbourhood of one of the settlements, which required the presence of two companies more for a short period, he would be quite content with two companies at Sierra Leone. The happy discontinuance of the slave trade also makes it difficult to recruit these West India regiments, and we shall be very glad to put down the 3rd West India Regiment, and to obtain the services of men to recruit the others. That, I think, is a very sufficient reason for the disbandment of these colonial corps. The reduction thus made—including sixty-four of the African Artillery—amounts to 2,530 men. Next I come to the question of India. If anybody will turn to the sixth page of the Estimates, he will find under the head of "Depôts in the United Kingdom for Regiments in India," that there are now taken for the Indian depôts 6,394 men, whereas last year there were taken 9,595 men, which is the same as saving that with two-thirds of the number of men we are doing all the work for India which we were doing last year. That is a clear advantage and economy; and I presume that no one will wish that one-third more men shall be employed when two-thirds are able to discharge the same duty. That accounts for 3,201 men, making, with the reduction of Colonial corps, 5,731. The Army Service Corps is 742 less in number than the corps which it has succeeded. Thus, 6,473 men are accounted for. Now comes the question, whether we ought or ought not to reduce the remainder of the force that we have at home. It appears to me that the answer to that question depends upon these four considerations—First, is the force which you now have in this country adequate to the purposes for which you require it? Secondly, is it distributed in a small number of corps recruited up to their full standard, so that you cannot easily increase them; or is it distributed in a large number of corps, so that you could, in a moment of emergency, easily and quickly recruit them? The next question is, have you any reserve upon which you can rely? And the fourth question is, if you reduce, what manner of reduction do you propose to adopt? With the permission of the Committee, I will give an answer to these four questions. The force that you have in this country, according to the present distribution of regular troops, is now 86,225 men. Last year the force was 87,224 men; the year before, it was 84,077 men. Now, I venture to say that, under the circumstances of the country, the first question is answered, and that the force is adequate. The second question is, is the force distributed in numerous cadres which cannot be easily strengthened, or in few cadres, the strength of which you have already discounted? These are the numbers—In 1868–9, there were ninety-seven batteries of artillery at home; in 1869–70, there were 100 batteries; and in 1870–1, 105 batteries. There were sixteen regiments of cavalry in 1868–9; seventeen in 1869–70; and nineteen in 1870–1. The Committee will understand that I am not making any invidious comparison; I have already stated that the late Government had begun the reduction; and I am speaking now only of the distribution. There were, then, at home, forty-six battalions of infantry, in the distribution of the Estimates in 1868–9; fifty-nine last year; and this year there are sixty-eight. This, I say, shows we have a force adequate for the service of the country, and that we have numerous cadres which may be rapidly expanded in case of emergency. But, then, the third question is, have you any Reserve upon which you can rely? Now, I will not speak of that Reserve to which I know the Committee look with interest and anxiety, and about which I shall say something by-and-by—I mean the Reserve which is to be maintained by the short service system. I only ask now what Reserves have you available at this moment? Well, you have the first Army Reserve and the Militia Reserve. The First Army Reserve is only 2,000 strong; the Militia Reserve is only between 9,000 and 10,000 strong at the present moment. But according to these Estimates, the First Army Reserve is to be 3,000—and seeing that it has arisen rapidly in the last year, I think we may calculate we shall obtain the 3,000; the Militia Reserve I confidently reckon at 20,000, because, though we were rather late in giving the notices, we had no difficulty in raising it to nearly half its strength last year. It is not desirable to raise the whole number of men in any one year, because if you take them all in one year their discharges would all occur in one year. There will be no difficulty, then, in raising the Militia Reserve in the course of the present year to 20,000. If that is the case, look at the force you have available for any purpose. I speak now of a force not merely available for defence at home, but available also for a foreign war. Now, what is your force at this moment? I am not speaking of the force raised, but of the force appearing on the Estimates of the year. You have, then, of Regular troops, 86,225; Militia Reserve, 20,000; and Army Reserve, 3,000, making a total force of 109,225 men. I do not doubt that when the Militia comes out for training, it will be easy to fill up the remaining half of the Militia Reserve. There are Militia colonels in the House at present, and they can speak with greater authority than I can; but that is the belief which my inquiries justify me in expressing. If so, we have an available force of 109,225 men. I have here a Return, showing what the force of this country has been at various times throughout a long list of years. I find some years in which the actual force may have been exceeded; but there is not one in which the force exceeded the force for which these Estimates provide, if you include the Reserves; and I think that, under these circumstances, it was the bounden duty of the Government to give to the British taxpayer the full benefit of the colonial reduction. I do not think it to the interest of the Army itself to maintain it at so high a standard as to give reasonable cause for complaint of the pressure of taxation; and I think that if we had hesitated to give the benefit of this remission to the British taxpayer, there would have been felt that impatience of taxation which is as ready to be ex- pressed now as it was in the time of Lord Castlereagh, but which is not to be called "ignorant" impatience, because it is armed with knowledge—and knowledge now is power—and is capable of making itself felt. I contend, therefore, that we are fully justified in the reductions we have made, and that, in making them, we have not, in the slightest degree, impaired the efficiency of our military establishments.

I will just mention in passing that the Staff in various foreign countries, and also the Staff in Ireland, have sustained some reduction in the course of the present year. There is also one addition to the Staff. The Inspectors of Reserve Forces are now transferred from the separate branch and made part of the general Staff. The whole expense of the Staff this year is £82,031; last year it was £90,801; and the year before it was £96,848.

Having made these reductions, ought there to be any reduction in the number of officers? That is the question to which I now invite the attention of the Committee. To me it appears that when you have reduced the companies to fifty in a company, it is not necessary that we should maintain the same number of subaltern officers that we have hitherto maintained. I doubt whether the number was necessary before, for I do not know a more melancholy sight for a person who has arrived at the time of life to which many of us have unfortunately attained than to see a youth full of energy, vigour, and spirit, the junior of a long list of ensigns, quartered in some dismal village, having nothing to do, without hope of early promotion, and driven to his wits' end to find useful and profitable occupation. You have—and it appears to me very desirable that you should have—your Commissions on Military Education, who have recommended both garrison and regimental instruction, and that there should be examinations before men are permitted to obtain promotion; but it is almost a mockery to have these things and then send young men unnecessarily to places of temptation, where neither education, advice, nor anything else in the majority of cases will be sufficient to attain the object you have in view, of which you will inevitably fail, unless you give them occupation. I need not say that Idleness is the mother of Mischief—"Res age tutus eris." We all know who finds work for idle hands to do. It was therefore necessary for us to consider the question of reducing materially the number of subaltern officers.

But before I proceed with that subject let me allude to the relation of our military finances with the finances of India. I staled to the Committee last year that by the then subsisting arrangements with India we were losing £150,000 a year. I find I understated the loss, for I have ascertained that it was in the last year £211,000. I ventured last year to state that it would be necessary to put an end to such a condition of affairs. But meantime what happened? In October there came from India the news of that extraordinary financial cloud which rendered necessary immediate measures on the part of India to obtain relief from military expenditure. The first application which the Government of India made was for us to take four cavalry and seven infantry regiments from India, and lot them be a burden on the British instead of the Indian Exchequer—a proposal which we most respectfully declined. It became their duty to see whether we could not accomplish some better arrangement by which both the Indian and our own burdens might be lightened without in any way impairing efficiency; and as so many individuals would be affected, it was also necessary to ascertain what would be the most considerate way, the way by which we should impose the least suffering and privation. That was no small task to undertake, but I hope to be able to show that the result will accomplish these objects—to save money to both Exchequers, and yet be compatible with efficiency. The first proposal was to put an end to the depôt battalions, which were a cause of expenditure about which the Indian Government was always making a complaint against us—saying that, what with time-expired men and invalids and men not fit for the service, we were maintaining, and charging to them, an expense which was manifold what they thought it ought to be. The first necessity therefore was to abolish the depôt battalions. The second was to abolish the second majors in the Indian cavalry regiments. Until lately there were no second majors in the cavalry at home, and it was the custom when a regiment went out to India to appoint a major, and when the regiment returned to get rid of one; but these perpetual changes were found to be so highly inconvenient that two or three years ago it was determined to have second majors at home. Now, we propose the reverse process—to have no second majors either at home or in India. Besides the second majors there is another inconvenience with reference to the reliefs for India. The ideal of a plan—it is only an ideal, for military men will see that it cannot be carried out at once in its entirely—the ideal is that when a regiment consists of two battalions, one battalion should remain at home while the other goes abroad. When my noble Friend (Earl De Grey) effected a reduction of the Army some years ago he reduced the regiments at home to ten companies, but left the battalions serving in India with twelve companies. That is a most inconvenient arrangement, besides being hard on individuals and expensive to the State. We think the best course is to take the same step with regard to the regiments in India that was formerly taken with regiments at home, and to reduce all to the uniform strength of ten companies. The plan is to have a regiment of two battalions, consisting of twenty companies, with twenty captains and only thirty subalterns—the ten junior subalterns, four at home and six abroad, being on ensign's pay. Each battalion would consist of thirty officers, seventy non-commissioned officers, and 500 rank and file. With regard to the Cavalry, it was found that when a cavalry regiment was sent abroad, if it consisted of only six troops, a squadron had to be broken up in order to leave a depôt at home. Great inconvenience was experienced from this formation at the time of the Crimean War, and therefore every regiment was made to consist of eight troops. But it has appeared to us if you want to send six troops abroad it would be sufficient to leave one troop for a depôt at home, and therefore every cavalry regiment will consist of seven troops instead of eight. That would make each regiment consist of twenty-four officers, fifty-one non-commissioned officers, and 407 rank and file. The change made last year by which the squadron was substituted for the troop formation has been represented by the Duke of Cambridge, upon the authority of many distinguished officers, and particularly Lord Strathnairn, as not having worked to their satisfaction, and therefore it is desirable to return to the former plan. With regard to the Artillery, we propose that the depôt brigade at Maidstone should be abolished, and that at Woolwich much reduced. The Royal Horse Artillery will be strengthened by 282 officers and men from Maidstone, to supply the drafts for the Royal Horse Artillery in India. Each field battery of Royal Artillery will have ten more drivers and ten fewer gunners than before, in order to furnish the drivers for the brigades in India. The gunners are to be trained at Woolwich. In addition to that, as we have now a much larger number of batteries at home than we had before, we think it right to reduce the garrison brigade by one subaltern, one non-commissioned officer, one bombardier, and five gunners for each battery, making a total reduction of 101 officers, 203 non-commissioned officers, and 1,606 gunners. The total reduction thus made being 21 cavalry majors, 28 captains, 28 lieutenants, 45 cornets, 174 captains of infantry, 310 lieutenants, and 532 ensigns, thus giving a total of 1,239 officers, whose annual pay amounts to £164,355, there being of those 754 officers on the British establishment, whose pay amounts to £96,560.

Now the question arises, "What is the mode in which the change is to be carried out?"—because you have Woolwich and Sandhurst with which you must keep faith, and you must also keep faith with those who have been examined for direct commissions. It is impossible that we should continue the Staffs of the depôt battalions and colonial corps as supernumeraries; because those battalions and those depôts have ceased to exist; there is therefore no mode of providing for them except they go upon temporary half-pay until such time as the Duke of Cambridge is able to find them employment. Those who know His Royal Highness will readily accept what I say—that he is anxious to find employment for as many as possible of these officers. We propose to take the same course as was taken when Earl De Grey effected his reduction, and to continue them supernumerarily until they can be absorbed, And I have made an arrangement, which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has accepted, by which, as was done in Earl De Grey's case, there should also be, on the recommendation of the War Department, twenty-five unattached lieutenant-colonelcies, fifty unattached majorities, and 100 unattached companies to meet the claims of officers and stimulate the rapidity of the absorption. As to vacancies, there is a larger number of cadets at Woolwich than the usual establishment contemplates, on account of the young Engineers who have lately been required for service in India. It will be my duty to take care that we act fairly and considerately by the, Woolwich cadets; but I must frankly say I do not see my way to absorbing more than one vacancy in three, which will spread the whole process of absorption over a period of from five to six years. We shall, of course, take care also to limit the admissions to Woolwich, so that claims may not arise to an extent beyond what we may have the power to control. As regards commissions in the Line, there are now at Sandhurst 219 cadets, and 183 besides have reported themselves ready to be examined for direct commissions. It is expected that there will be in each year 360 purchase and eighty non - purchase vacancies, making together 440. If we absorb one in two, that will, perhaps, limit the number of those to whom the term "vested interest" ought strictly to be applied. But there are, besides, 385 young men who have reported themselves ready for examination; and there is a very large number, indeed, of cadets on the books for the Army who have not reported themselves ready for examination. It must be perfectly obvious to anybody that to stop the stream at any point would be extremely inconvenient. Although you may be compelled to limit it, it is desirable—I might almost say necessary—to keep up the stream and not put any sudden barrier across it. I would only say, with regard to those who have not yet been examined, and who have not, strictly speaking, vested interests in commissions, that it is the intention of His Royal Highness and myself, and of those whose duty it is to do so, to consider what will be the best course to adopt as soon as this statement has been made; because this statement will give to parents a knowledge of what the prospect is, and then we shall be in a position to tell them what the examination and the terms and conditions will be.

This brings me to another point in this somewhat complicated question—I mean the subject with respect to which my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) has given notice of a Motion. I do not know whether anybody is, in the abstract, an advocate of the system of purchase. I am quite sure that anyone who has been Minister for War, if he has any elements of selfishness in his composition, would not be very sorry to see the system terminated. I know of nothing so perplexing and so embarrassing to have to deal with; and it constantly reminds me of the saying of a character on the stage with which we are all familiar—"It is one of those things that no fellow can understand." These reductions bring upon me the necessity of considering one point in connection with the subject of the hon. Member for Birmingham's Notice. For every one of those commissions that are absorbed there will have to be paid by somebody, or there will be lost by somebody, the sum of £450, which has been paid under Royal warrant for the purchase of the first commission. Well, the question is, where is that sum of money to come from? Is the officer of a higher rank to lose it because there is nobody to pay it? Is the parent who is to bring his son into the Army to pay an increased sum for the purchase of the first commission in order that the reserve fund may be augmented to meet this claim? It appears to me that neither of these courses would be satisfactory. There is, therefore, only one resource left, and that is, if we are to do this, to appeal to the generosity and liberality of Parliament. And, I must say, I was greatly encouraged when I saw on the Totes the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, because he invited this House by his Notice—though with his usual courtesy he has waived it for to-night—to compel me to do that which he will find I am already prepared to do to a certain moderate extent without the influence of such coercion. I wish to ask the House of Commons to give the £450 upon the commissions that are to be absorbed, and I have placed in the Non-Effective part of the Estimates a sum of money for that purpose. But there also arises immediately another question, and it is this—When you have thus reduced the number of subalterns, you must have thorn all of the same rank. It will not be well if you have in a battalion at home ten lieutenants for ten companies, and four supernumeraries for the vacancies which leave, sickness, and so forth cause; it will not do that they should be of different ranks, one a lieutenant and one an ensign—they must all be of the same rank. In other words, the train of events that I have narrated has led me to the necessity of dealing with the question which my predecessor recommended to my consideration—the question—namely, of the abolition of the rank of cornet and ensign. What we propose to do is to abolish altogether these ranks, and to make everybody who enters the Army enter as a lieutenant, as is the case with the Artillery and the Engineers. Not, indeed, that they are all to have lieutenant's pay, but, as is the practice in the Artillery and the Engineers, we propose that the ton senior lieutenants only, as now, should have lieutenant's pay, and that the juniors should still be, as in the Artillery and the Engineers, on ensign's pay; because as they have still their business to learn and are only just joining the Army, we could scarcely ask Parliament to pay them an additional amount. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON asked a question.] The former number of subalterns to a battalion was twenty; by our plan it will, in battalions at home, be reduced to fourteen. Well, Sir, that will entail on the public, if it is agreed to, the necessity of providing the sum for doing away with the bar between the ensign and the lieutenant, or £250; and for that object I have inserted a further amount of £45,000 in the Non-Effective portion of the Estimates—making altogether £94,000. It must be understood that every lieutenant will pay for his company £1,350 as he does now, because we do not propose to alter the price of a company; we only propose to abolish entirely the bar between the ensign and the lieutenant. What I want to explain to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham and the House is this—You will, if you assent to this proposal, have to expend in this year a sum of £94,000, and before the process is entirely completed the cost will be £509,500. Let me now tell you what you will receive in return for that expenditure. In the first place you will gain £148,000 a year on pay alone, besides allowances—no bad interest on the money you lay out; and, further, you will gain this advantage, that every youth who enters by purchase, and every youth who by competitive examination obtains a non-purchase commission, and every meritorious non - commissioned officer who now obtains promotion will be at once promoted to be a lieutenant, and being a lieutenant, he will rise by seniority until he becomes a captain. That will be a great benefit to him. The purchasing lieutenant will obtain his lieutenancy for £450, whereas he now pays £700 for it, although eventually it has to be paid back again on his obtaining a company. Now, anybody hearing that it has to be paid back would naturally suppose that the public would get it back; but that is one of the perplexities which this purchase question always involves. The truth is, it will come back, and the public will find that they never get it. What, then, has become of it? It has paid for removing one step from the ladder of the purchase system. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, when he comes—if ever he does come—to wind-up the whole purchase system and to pay the compensation which that system involves, will find that all this money has already been placed to his credit, and that ultimately the cost, if ever it is wound up, will to that extent be diminished.

Reverting, then, to the proposal which the difficulties of India led us to consider, it is shortly this—We have abolished the depôt battalions, we have reduced the twelve-company regiments in India to ten-company regiments, like those at home; we have done away with the second majors in Cavalry regiments; and we have made a large, but I think a truly beneficial, reduction in the number of subaltern officers. I cannot conceive that it is for the advantage of anybody that he should be placed in a profession in which he has not, at the moment of entering it, active and important duties to discharge. I do not think that it is a good thing for the Army that there should be more subalterns than are required to do the work; and I do not think it is a good thing for society to abstract from it a number of young men who, devoted to other pursuits, might acquire distinction and add to the strength and dignity of the country. These are the proposals which on this difficult subject we have thought it right to make. As economy was necessary, I hope the Committee will be of opinion that we have accomplished it in the most beneficial manner.

Now, Sir, I pass from our Regular forces to another subject on which I know that many of those who hear me take a greater interest than they do in even the Regular forces. I speak of the Reserve. Last year we had a good deal of discussion in this House about the best method of augmenting our Reserve forces, and I think it was agreed that the mode by which we could best accomplish that object was getting men to enter the Army for a short service and then passing them back into the community of civilians, with the understanding that they should be ready to assist in defending the country in case of emergency. This is not an easy subject—it is not to be doubted that it is a very difficult subject—and I will not conceal from the Committee that some of the most experienced officers do not expect such a plan to succeed. Their reason for that opinion was this—they thought that when persons of the humble condition in life of ordinary recruits entered the Army, they did so with the view of spending the best part of their life in it and of acquiring a pension for their old age. We have no conscription, and therefore anything we do in this way must be done with the consent of the recruit. I have a great respect for the opinion of the experienced men to whom I have alluded; but my answer to this objection is, that I hope for better things. I look forward to seeing the broad line of demarcation between the Army and civil life in some degree diminished. We have adopted the system of allowing soldiers to learn trades, of permitting them to spend their spare time in some useful labour, and I think we may expect to see many of the young men of this country passing through the Army, learning trades in it, and afterwards returning into civil life, to be ornaments and advantages to those around them, and, at the same time, to be ready to contribute to the defence of the country in case of emergency. Our plan is this—that the enlistment should be for twelve years; but that if the regiment be about to go abroad—to India, for instance—the actual period of service with the standards should be for six years. In the case of regiments likely to remain at home—say regiments just returned from India—the period of actual service with the standards might be still further reduced. I think there would be no difficulty in reducing it to three years; but, of course, I speak tentatively, for the proposal must be regarded in the light of an experiment. We propose that after the period of service with his regiment the soldier should be permitted to re-enter civil life, but to be called out as the Royal Naval Reserve men and the men of our present Army Reserve are called out. While under this obligation he will receive a payment of 4d. a day, which is about as much as the soldier serving in the Army receives of money paid direct. There may be re-engagement, but that will be optional on both sides. There will be no claim to re-engagement, but it will not be prohibited. There are constitutions, for instance, which cannot stand the climate of India for more than a short period, but there are constitutions for which a long period of service in that country is suitable, so that in all probability we shall have men anxious to re-engage for service in India. Soldiers would not, of course, have any claim to pension for the short engagement that we propose; but we think this engagement from its nature will be the means, if it succeed at all, of drawing into the Army a large number of men who otherwise would never join it, and will add a large number to our Reserve forces. We do not propose, after their period of service with the standards, to have them drilled in the manner Regular troops are drilled. During six years of actual service in the Army they will have learnt sufficient to fit them for service, if required, during the remaining six years of their engagement. We propose that after leaving their regiments they shall have the same sort of training as the Volunteers—drill in the evening—which will not oblige them to leave their ordinary employment. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON: Will the service for the first six years be compulsory?] Certainly. The enlistment will be for twelve years; six with the standards, and six subject to the same ar- rangements as obtain in the Naval and Army Reserve. I am now speaking only of the Infantry. While proposing this plan we do not intend altogether to give up our present mode of enlistment, because as we cannot be certain that we shall succeed we must have the means of falling back on the existing system. But to the experienced authorities who say that we shall not get recruits under our new plan, because the recruit joins the Army with the intention of spending most of his life in it and of looking to a pension, I make this answer—"You and I are talking of two different persons. You are speaking of the man who now joins the Army. I admit that he wants a longer service and a pension; but I speak of the man who does not now join the Army, but whom we wish to induce to join it, of the young man who is reluctant to spend all his life away from his own village; who may wish to contract marriage, but who would give a good deal for the advantages of training in the Army for a few years." There must be inducements to men of that kind to enter the Army, for they do not outer it now. The plan I have described does not apply to the Cavalry or the Artillery.

Having explained what our proposal is, let me now pass to the subject of recruiting generally. The Report of General Edwards on this subject will be a source of much gratification to hon. Gentlemen who take an interest in the question. The appointment of that officer, and the changes he has introduced, are due to the recommendations of the recent Royal Commission. Now, we all know what the state of affairs used to be. How often and how justly was the reproach thrown at us that, though we did not have recourse to the conscription, after the fashion of Continental Nations, we had resort to fraud, and that we obtained our soldiers by means of which there was but too good reason to be ashamed. Let me read a few lines from the Report of General Edwards, to show the Committee the changes that have been introduced. He says that— An improved class of recruits has been obtained since May, 1869; the minimum height was 5 feet 6 inches, it was raised the other day to 5 feet 8 inches, and that did not stop recruiting. I may observe that the number of young men willing to join was so much in excess of our requirements that we were obliged most unwillingly to stop recruiting for a time altogether. No doubt if we chose to reduce the standard of height a greatly increased supply of recruits could be obtained, so that the present is a very favourable time for trying the short-service experiment. General Edwards goes on to say— The physique is very satisfactory. There is no difficulty in recruiting for the Cavalry; improved arrangements have been made for local medical inspection, and there is, therefore, now no chance, as there used to be, of recruits being sent up from the country and being often rejected by the surgeon when they joined their regiment. In this way much injustice and expense have been saved. On proof of deception the recruit is discharged, and the expense charged to the recruiter. Recruiting is now removed as much as possible from public-houses. If a man is recruited when drunk he is at once released, and the recruiter is punished. As soon as he is attested"—and this I think most remarkable—"the recruit is instructed how to proceed, a railway ticket is given to him, and he is sent, without any escort, to his regiment. This began on the 1st January, 1869. In the course of that year, 8,182 recruits were thus sent, and how many does the Committee suppose failed to reach their destination? Seven individuals. This is not only a great saving of expense—but I am ashamed to mention expense in connexion with the subject—it is a question of the greatest moment as showing to you and to foreign nations that you have free enlistment—that you have not kidnapped your men, but that they have joined your standard from patriotic feelings, and a desire to serve their country.

If we have a Reserve, the question now is, how is it to be made use of? At the present moment we have reserve districts, we have recruiting districts, and we have pensioner districts, which are not conterminous with each other or with the divisions of the general officers. There is no uniformity either of system or of responsibility. I hold in my hand a map which has been prepared, and which will divide this country into nine great military commands, with fourteen districts within those commands, conterminous with them and with the counties, which will make this country one for all military purposes. The Inspectors of Reserve Forces, as I mentioned before, have become Inspectors on the general Staff of the Army, in order that they may be part of this general united military administration. There will be twice as many recruiting districts as before. There were before four in England, one in Scotland, and two in Ireland, or seven in all. There will now be fourteen. There will be recruiting stations open at London, Dover, Bristol, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Birmingham, Peterborough, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, and Dublin. And I venture to say that when this system has been introduced and brought into effect you may expect to see a consolidation and economy of the Staff of the Reserve forces, which at the present moment appears to require the improving hand of an economical administration. It cannot be done suddenly; but the first step is taken when we have united them all under one government. I said a few minutes ago that the first class of the Army Reserve was on the 1st of January, 1869, only 1,006. On the 1st of January, 1870, it was 1,939 and I do not think I am too sanguine in making provision for its becoming 3,000 daring the present year. With regard to the Second Reserve, I have only taken 20,000 as the number, because it is the largest number which, under the present regulations, can be made available. Those regulations require that every person who becomes an enrolled pensioner shall reside within thirty miles of the head-quarters of the district to which he belongs. I think, however, that in these days of extended railway communication, and also taking into account the changes in the military Staff, we shall be able by degrees to make the rule more elastic and to include in our Reserve a large number of pensioners, who are for all defensive purposes a most valuable force. With respect to the Militia, in the course of last year 32 regiments were armed with Sniders, and we propose to issue 25,000 more Sniders to the Militia in the course of this year. In 1869 seven regiments were stationed at Aldershot and Shorncliffe, and forty-one, including the seven, were put through battalion manœuvres. The result was satisfactory, and the same course will be pursued during the present year. All the regiments were directed to go through a course of musketry practice. The exceptions were very few, and were only those of regiments which could not obtain ranges. The very small concession we made last year to Militia officers has been received as a token of friendship on the part of Parliament, and there are thirty-seven more subalterns this year than last. We have determined that no regiment should be recruited over 1,000, and to recruit up the smaller regiments. The Inspector General is preparing regulations for establishing greater uniformity of drill practice, and brigading will be resorted to as much as possible.

And now I come across the very disagreeable subject of billeting. It is very difficult to know how accommodation is to be provided at the public expense—whether at the expense of the Consolidated Fund or the local authorities—for men who only want accommodation for about six weeks in the spring-time of the year. It has been suggested that in some counties, if they could but secure the annual billet money for a certain period, they would erect buildings for the purpose of providing accommodation for the Militia. I mention that proposal and it must be taken for what it is worth. I may, perhaps, take this opportunity, as I am speaking of the Reserve forces, of saying that I have taken pains to prevent the continuance—I am sorry I cannot say the introduction—of the system of purchase with regard to adjutancies. I hope the step which has been taken is effectual. We have issued a circular stating that we do not undertake to appoint any adjutant at all when a vacancy occurs. We shall first see whether the Staff in the neighbourhood is such as to require any new appointment, or whether by consolidation and absorption we may not save the expense of the adjutant. I cannot pass away from the Militia without saying a word about quartermasters. It is a subject that has excited much interest in the House. I hope I shall be considered as duly submitting to a very general wish, on the part of many hon. Members on both sides of the House, if I say that I am willing to acknowledge the claim of the quartermasters to a retiring allowance. And I say it with this qualification—that I propose to offer it optionally this year, but to be a little more peremptory when the nest Estimates are prepared, and to say—"Gentlemen, here is your retiring allowance, but the word 'quartermaster' is for the future to be omitted from the Estimates." It appears to me that the adjutant, having duties to dis- charge only for the space of six weeks dining the year, may, with the assistance of the quartermaster-serjeant, very well discharge the duties of the quartermaster. The terms of retirement I offer are 4s. a day after fifteen years' service, 3s. 6d. after ten years, 3s. after five years, and 2s. 6d. below five years. I think that if these terms are compared with those of the old Act of Parliament they will be found sufficiently liberal. In 1869 3,142 Westley-Richards rifles were issued to the Yeomanry. Those Yeomanry who were not supplied last year, have been invited to send in requisitions. We have exerted ourselves to make such changes in the Yeomanry as we think may entitle them to the confidence of the country. What we desire is that they should be instructed to perform the duties of mounted riflemen; and we propose to require a specified number of drills, not to train regiments of less than four troops, and to limit the establishments to eight troops of an average of fifty; the number of officers to be according to the Cavalry establishment. With regard to the Volunteers, the number enrolled on December 1, 1869, was 195,287. There was a diminution of 3,907; but that arose only, I believe, from a few small corps having been disbanded, and also from our declining to recognize twice over those men as Volunteers who were already in the Militia. This year the number of efficients is 168,477, making a diminution of 1,821. The proportion of non-efficients to efficients was 14 per cent in 1868, and, in 1869, 13 per cent. The proportion of extra-efficients—and I particularly ask the attention of the Committee to this point, because we have been very desirous to make as many of the Volunteers extra-efficient as we possibly could—has increased. The number of extra-efficients is now 105,560, being an increase of 3,336. The proportion of those who did not become extra-efficients to the whole number enrolled was, in 1868, 36 per cent; but in 1869 it has fallen to 33 per cent. I have added to these Estimates a capitation grant for the staff of the administrative battalions, which has been formerly omitted, but I think by mistake; for I scarcely see any reason why they are not entitled as much as the rest of the body to a capitation grant. We desire by all means in our power to increase the efficiency of this force in every possible way. We propose to open at Aldershot, and other places, schools for the instruction of Volunteer and Militia officers, upon the same principle as that upon which the officers of that force in Canada have recently been trained. The Inspector General of the Reserve, General Lindsay, was himself for a long time quartered in Canada. He took an active part in the training of the Canadian forces, and I do not see why a system of the same kind should not be available here in training officers of the Militia and Volunteers. At any rate we shall make the offer, and I trust it will be found acceptable. Nothing can be more satisfactory than the Report which Colonel Elwyn, at Shoeburyness, gave of the visit of the Artillery Volunteers to that place. I have ventured to propose to the Committee that those who take the trouble—and it is no small trouble—of going to Shoeburyness to spend a fortnight for the purpose of being trained in the actual practice of gunnery, shall be able to earn an additional 10s. of capitation upon obtaining from Colonel Elwyn a certificate of competency.

I will now, Sir, say a word as to a matter which has formed a subject of much conversation during the Recess. The question is—what change shall be made in the capitation grant to the Rifle Volunteers. The point is not yet settled; but I am authorized by the Government to say plainly—what I believe has not been said before, and what certainly was not said when the Commission sat ten years ago—that we entirely admit the principle that we should pay all necessary expenses. The question, of course, is, what are necessary expenses? With the view of arriving at a solution of that question, we have analyzed a great number of accounts of different corps. We are not altogether agreed as to the result of that analysis. The thing is not yet settled; but I am sure my noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) will give me credit for sincerity in saying that the Volunteer force has not a more respectful admirer than myself, and I shall only be too happy if we can arrive at a conclusion favourable to them; but it is equally clear that until we can arrive at a conclusion which we can entirely recommend, the Committee will hardly expect me to enter into the matter.

Having said all I have to say about the Reserve Forces, let me take stock before passing to another subject. The total force provided for is as follows:—Regulars and First Army Reserve and Militia Reserve, available for foreign service, 109,225; Second Army Reserve, 20,000; Militia, less Militia Reserve, 63,600; Yeomanry, 15,300; Volunteers, 168,477. These figures are exclusive of the Irish Militia. All these forces are now for the first time combined in one military system.

I wish to say a word on the subject of the great improvement which my right hon. Friend opposite introduced into the public service—I mean the control department. We all know that that change had its germ in evidence given by Sir John M'Neil on his return from Sebastopol, that it found some expression in Sir James Graham's Committee, that it was supported by Karl De Grey, that it was a result of Lord Strathnairn's inquiry, and that it was adopted by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. Difficulties, no doubt—there could not but be difficulties—have been experienced in the introduction of a plan so new and comprehensive; but I am confident that in time those difficulties will all be removed, and that the success of the experiment will be complete. One point which had to be considered was, whether it is desirable to unite the munitions of war with the military stores. That is an important question, and men of high authority are ranged on both sides. I shall not enter into a discussion of it; but my own opinion is, that the same principle which has already been acted upon in the adoption of the system generally would naturally lead to the combination of the munitions of war and the military stores, for if there should be a divided authority you might have double stores and double transport provided. The same ships would go from Woolwich to Lisbon, and the same mules from Lisbon to Salamanca, whether laden with ammunition, or with tents or forage. It is quite true that where there are munitions of war there must be men specially trained and competent having knowledge of what munitions of war are: it appears to me, however, that both theory and practice are strongly in favour of the union of the two. It is stated sometimes that this system is expensive; but it appears to be productive of the greatest economy; and the highest salary is now less than when the Commissariat was under the Treasury. By the Estimates of 1868–9 it appeared that the officers were 662 in number; in 1869–70 they were 563 in number; and for 1870–1 they are taken at 483 in number. The salaries amounted for the first of those years to £222,612; for the second year to £189,664; and for 1870–1 they are £177,477, being a reduction of 179 officers, and £45,000 of salaries. It is quite true that there has been a great retirement; but the great majority of the officers who have retired were already entitled to retirement. On the first establishment of an effective system of control there may have been some difficulties, but Lord Strathnairn in Ireland, Sir Charles Windham in Canada. General Hay at the Cape, and Sir George Buller at Portsmouth have expressed decided opinions in favour of the new system. With regard to the Store Vote there has been a great reduction—in two years the reduction is £641,370. That is a perfectly legitimate reduction; but I do not want to represent it as if we were not in some degree living upon our stores; and I would explain that it is so to a certain extent, for if at present we were required to arm any force with the old smoothbore guns, we should take them from the stores in our hands and we should not replace them, because we do not know what will be the gun of the future, and next year we may have a considerable expenditure for the Henry-Martini rifle, if that weapon shall after trial be finally approved, so that you may have in one year an abnormal expenditure, and in another an abnormal economy. There is no doubt, however, that the system will be found beneficial to the service and economical to the public. In the Store Vote money is taken for the conversion of 508,017 rifles and for 33,480 new Sniders. The normal reserve is 400,000, and the present reserve is 310,000, and it is not thought expedient to increase it; for we do not know but that next year the Henry-Martini rifle may be adopted. With regard to iron ordnance we have the armament complete for sea service, and guns at hand for land service for every position that will be completed within twelve months; we shall have carriages complete for the sea service, and within the usual period of the next twelve months carriages for the land service. With regard to gunpowder, I have to observe that there is a large store on hand of ordinary gunpowder, quite sufficient for our wants, and machinery has just been ordered to be fitted up for the manufacture of Pebble powder. An ingenious officer in the Artillery, Captain Andrew Noble, has invented an instrument by which you can measure the velocity of projectiles within the barrel of the gun so minutely that I am told that the hundred-thousandth part of an instant is an appreciable quantity of time. The result of these observations is that you can measure the velocity of gunpowder at the moment of ignition, that you can draw a curve which will show what gun; powder is tending most to burst the gun; that with the same initial velocity at the mouth of the gun you may have a much loss velocity at the point where ignition I takes place, thereby, of course, much diminishing the tendency to burst the gun, and consequently hereafter the necessary expenditure upon your great guns. This is the cause of our manufacturing the new kind of gunpowder, from which we expect a great economy is likely to accrue. I do not know whether the Committee would like me to say more upon the subject of the War Office, as I have had occasion two or three times to speak upon this subject during the course of the Bill which has been before the House this Session; but I would make this remark—Some persons have thought that there has been a difference of policy between my right hon. Friend at the head of the Admiralty and myself, because the course pursued in regard to both has not been exactly identical. On consideration they will see that the same policy, addressed to totally different circumstances, must of necessity be productive of different results. My right hon. Friend who succeeded to the Admiralty found Friends to whom he could look for assistance and support already sitting by him on the Treasury Bench. When I succeeded to the War Office I found Parliament had merged all the offices of the War Department in the single person of the Secretary of State, and that I could not pass an Order in Council until Parliament had passed a Bill to enable me to do so. But more than this—how was the War Office itself constituted? There were in the Office a vast number of valuable men—indeed, I have often been surprised to find the great ability of those among whom it is my privilege to serve. But how was the Office itself formed? It was formed by what in geology is called a "catastrophe." It consisted of part of the old Colonial Office, part of the old Ordnance Office, part of the Secretary at War's Office, and part of the Treasury; all those were thrown together upon a sudden, without having been properly combined. The late Sir James Graham, when he had conducted his inquiry to its result, said of the Office—"There is only one word that can describe it and I hat word is chaos." I will not say that is the case now; but there is much to be done and much to be inquired into before an office like that could be re-constituted; and I say also with regard to the control department, good as it was in itself, it came as a superincumbent stratum upon all the old and dislocated strata. Besides that, any arrangement of the War Office to be adequate and worth a farthing must include the Horse Guards as well as the War Department. What was the course I pursued? Having in view the same object as my right hon. Friend, I had not the power to proceed without the assistance of Parliament. On the other hand, it would not have been right for me to ask for it until we had made full and complete inquiry. Within a week after my appointment instituted a Committee to inquire, consisting of my noble Friend (Lord Northbrook)—and I cannot mention his name without mentioning also the deep obligation that I am under to him for his invaluable services—of my right hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury, and of Mr. Anderson, whose name is known to all the world as the highest authority on matters of this kind. The first night of this Session I gave notice of a Bill, which the House has already passed through all but its final stage, to enable me to deal with the subject. As soon as their recommendations have been considered I shall be in the position to carry them into effect. I trust that we shall be able to carry the recommendations into effect successfully, and that they will result not only in economy but efficiency. I doubt not that a saving will be effected, and I am sure that the effi- ciency and comfort of those whom the country has invited into its service will be greatly increased also. The first thing necessary in the re-construction of an office is to know what you want to do; the next thing is to consider the means by which it can be carried into effect; and, third, you ought to pay a just regard to the fair claims and expectations of those whom the public has invited into its service. In any re-construction of my Department I shall always make it one of my principal considerations to pay duo regard to those claims and interests. The Military Education Commission has presented a valuable Report, and I have acted to a great extent upon it already. I have omitted from the Estimates the Council of Education, and have placed General Napier in the position the Commission marked out for him, and I have transferred to the Civil Service Commission the examination of those who seek to enter the Army for the first time. The latter appears to me to be a most valuable recommendation; because, although professional training should be a matter of professional examination, it appears to me that the wider we open the portals of the Army generally to the educated youth of the country the better will it be for the constitution of the Army. I have desired General Napier to bring forward all the details as they arise, and when he differs from the Commission to express his difference and give the reasons for it in order that we may determine what ought to be done. I have inserted in the Estimates the charge for the garrison instructors whom the Commission recommended. They also recommended regimental instructors; but I think the Committee will be of opinion that it is bettor to try the experiment first, with garrison instructors. If it should be successful we can afterwards try regimental instructors. As regards buildings, we have adopted the recommendations, except only in regard to separate rooms for pupils at "Woolwich and Sandhurst, It would be a great expense to give them to all; especially at Sandhurst, where you would almost have to pull the buildings down; but we give the seniors separate rooms and make suitable arrangements for the juniors—that will be sufficient for the present. The result will be that there will be ninety-six separate rooms at Woolwich and sixty-two at Sandhurst.

I come now to Courts Martial. Some time ago I placed the Report of the Courts Martial Commission in the hands of the Government draftsman, with instructions to prepare a Bill upon the subject of military discipline, which I hope to be able to introduce in the course of the Session. The pressure of business has prevented its being ready by this time; but if it had been ready, there would have been no advantage in introducing it at this period of the Session. We have made great changes in regard to prison arrangements, adopting Millbank as a central prison; and the Adjutant General speaks very favourably of a change which has been made in substituting fines for imprisonment in the ease of drunkenness. As to the Survey Tote, it will hereafter cease to be my privilege to submit it to Parliament—and I am glad of it, for nothing can be more ridiculous than that the Minister for War should be responsible for the survey of private estates. I am informed by a right hon. Friend near me that it will require a Bill to carry this arrangement into effect, and, therefore, I fear I have spoken, prematurely in alluding to it as a thing already accomplished. I entirely object that the Army Estimates should contain a Vote of £120,000 for purposes that have nothing to do with the Army, and that reference should be constantly made to the War Office to know whether this or that county or town should have the privilege of being first surveyed. I consider this; as altogether a civil duty. The question of retirement of the Artillery and Engineers occupied me greatly during the Recess. I have consulted my right hon. Friend at the head of the Admiralty and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and we have concluded that the circumstances of the Artillery and Engineers are entirely different from those of the Marines. My right hon. Friend has introduced for the Marines not the scheme which he proposed in his Committee, but a modification of that scheme; but I found that if it were adopted for the Artillery and the Engineers without inquiry, it would be open to the greatest objection. In the first place, the additional charge for the non-effective services would be great; in the second place, military objections—; questions of supersession among others;—made it sufficiently formidable; and the result was, my hon. and gallant Friend beside me (Captain Vivian) undertakes to conduct a further and; more detailed inquiry into the subject, the result of which shall be duly communicated.

Sir, I am now drawing very near to; a close. The year has been one of great activity throughout the Army. I ought not to omit to say how many distinguished and energetic officers went of their own accord, and at their own cost, in the autumn of last year to witness the operations of the great armies of the Continent, nor must omit to acknowledge with; gratitude the signal kindness with which those officers were received; more especially we ought to feel grateful to the King and the Royal Family of Prussia; for the attention which our officers received which enabled them to acquire the knowledge they sought of experiments in spade drill, military labour, And many other matters, I could speak at length. I will only say that when it was likely the telegraphs would be taken by the Government, I proposed to my noble Friend at the head of the Post Office that we should train for the telegraph service at Chatham a number of engineers and officers, and the proposal was accepted. I look with, great interest upon every attempt to find civil employment for any branch of the Army. We have provided in the Estimates a small sum for experiments with torpedoes, which seem likely to make a great revolution in warfare. Spade drill has been very much cultivated during the year by soldiers. These are defensive rather than offensive operations: and the defence of our commercial harbours may be wonderfully facilitated by the introduction of torpedoes. So far as I can judge, I think it is clear that from all the curious whirl of scientific controversy one thing emerges clear—that scientific defence is gaining upon scientific attack. I believe that in this; country if we educate and arm our population as we propose to educate and arm them, and if we avail ourselves of our natural means of defence, by placing torpedoes in our rivers and harbours, and our rifles behind our hedges and ditches, the time has arrived when we need no longer give way to panic or the fear of invasion.

I have now concluded, and I must thank the Committee most sincerely for the patience with which they have listened to me. I am aware that in the speech in which I have submitted the Estimates to your favourable consideration I have comprehended much that it should not have contained, and have omitted much that I ought nor to have omitted; but I appeal to your candour to bear in mind that the interval between the end of one laborious Session and the commencement of another is not long, and that if you pass these Estimates you will have reduced the charge for the Army by more than one million, you will have secured a more effective force either for defence at home or for service abroad than you have usually possessed of late years, you will have completed the establishment of a sound military policy with regard to the Colonies, you will have diminished the number of officers in way that, in my opinion, will increase instead of impair the efficiency of the Army, you will have done away with one step of the system of purchase,—but, above all, you will have introduced a system of short service into the Army, and you will have welded and consolidated together your whole military system both of Regulars and Reserves, and the result of these salutary changes will be that this country will be prepared whenever the occasion shall arise to stand forward as one man in defence of its rights and of its liberties. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving that the number of Land Forces should be fixed at 115,037 men.


I trust the Committee will allow me, in the position in which I stand, to make a few observations upon the interesting statement which we have just heard from the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman has made a statement that I think on all sides of the House must be acknowledged to be a very clear and able one, and also a very comprehensive one. I think, further, that everyone must acknowledge that in this speech the right hon. Gentleman has redeemed every pledge that he gave last year, and that he has devoted the intervening period to endeavour to carry into effect every one of the matters that he then adverted to. Having frankly and freely made him that acknowledgment, I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will believe me when I say that, in any observations winch I may think it my duty to mate upon his statement, I shall in no degree be influenced by anything like party feeling. I shall approach the statement of the right hon. Gentleman with an anxious desire to meet every subject upon which he has touched in the same spirit as he has brought them forward. I should be uncandid were I not to acknowledge that, whether right or wrong in his policy, the Secretary of State for War is sincere in the belief that the course which he recommends for the adoption of the country is a wise and prudent one. It is, therefore, with very great regret that I feel I am unable to add to what I have already said that I can altogether concur in the policy which the right hon. Gentleman has laid before the House. I cannot forget that his speech was a very difficult one to make, but I must add that it is a far more difficult one to follow and to answer; and therefore I shall not attempt to touch upon everyone of its minor details; but I should be wanting in the duty which devolves upon me on this occasion, were I not freely and frankly to avow my opinions with respect to the more important matters to which it referred. The main foundation of the statement of the right hon. Gentleman was the great reduction he has effected in the Army. Now, I doubt very much whether the Committee and the country are aware of the immense extent of the reduction of the Army which the policy of the present Government involves; but, perhaps, I may be permitted to lay before the Committee a few figures relating to the reduction. It devolved upon me, two years ago, to lay the Army Estimates of 1868–9 before the House, and I then proposed that our military force should consist of a gross total of 137,530 men, and I then said, what I may fairly repeat at the present moment, that, looking at the nature and the extent of our Empire, at the political contingencies that may arise at any moment, and at the fact that the history of recent years has taught us that wars may arise very suddenly, and may be as suddenly concluded, an army of 137,530 men is not an excessive army: for the requirements of this country. A twelvemonth ago it devolved upon the: right hon. Gentleman, shortly after the retirement of the late Government from Office, to bring in the Army Estimates for 1869–70, and he then proposed to reduce the Army by 12,000 men, and thus to reduce the force to 125,530, and now again, in the present year, he proposes, in the Estimates for 1870–1, to further reduce that number by another 12,000, making a total reduction, in fifteen months, of 24,000 men, or between one-fifth and one-sixth of the whole military defensive force of the country. This, it must be admitted, is a very serious reduction. The right hon. Gentleman has proceeded, in the very interesting statement he has made tonight, to justify this policy of reduction, and he has based its defence mainly upon two considerations, one being the "cloud." as it has justly been termed, which has fallen upon the finances of India, and the other, upon which the right hon. Gentleman dealt with greater force, being the change of policy which I the present Government has inaugurated with regard to our colonial Empire. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to leave a certain number of troops in what I may call our colonial garrisons, such as Gibraltar, Malta, and other places; but with regard to our great Colonies, the right hon. Gentleman proposes almost to strip them of their defensive forces. I believe his proposal is to reduce the troops now in our colonial Empire by about two-thirds. I am aware that this policy is one that has been accepted generally during the last few years as the policy of the country, but I think that is a question of degree. Whether or not I am concurring on this point with those with whom I generally act, I must say that, in my humble judgment, it is a very serious and anxious question whether you should strip the Colonies of England of that assistance and force that they have for a long period relied upon receiving from the Army of England. This is one of the greatest and, perhaps, one of the most difficult questions of the present time—a question upon which I should certainly be sorry to prematurely express any decided opinion; but everybody who has watched recent events will acknowledge that this is a critical moment with regard to our connection with our Colonies. A feeling has sprung up in some of our Colonies—whether rightly or wrongly I will not now say—that England is anxious to shake them off and to get rid of that connection which has held this great Empire together, and that these Colonies will be alienated and separated from us, not by the natural progress of events—for I am aware that the time must eventually arrive when our Colonies will become, as I trust, our I allies rather than our dependencies—but by the act of this country, and it does appear to me that it is not for the Government of this country to precipitate such a change in the state of affairs by their conduct towards the Colonies; they should not alienate those Colonies by the policy of this country: so long as it is their wish to remain connected with the mother country they should be treated, as they have hitherto been treated, with kind and careful consideration. Well, this question has never been submitted to the consideration of the House of Commons with a view to ascertaining its opinion upon it. I know not how that opinion would be expressed; but, speaking for myself, I have no hesitation in declaring it to be my conviction that in every place where the authority of the Queen is recognized there should be seen the uniform of the Queen. I am sorry it is the policy of the Government, and I may say the policy of the day, to withdraw every British soldier from the Colonies, and, speaking for myself. I cannot accept the argument brought forward by my right hon. Friend in support of his policy. He spoke of the small body of these forces at present in the Colonies, and said they would be useless in case of war, because they might be found too far off in case of war, and in case of attack they might be found inefficient. I dispute these propositions. In these days of steam navigation it is not difficult to bring our forces from distant positions in cases of emergency; and, with regard to any possibility of attack, I appeal to my right hon. Friend's experience—I might almost say to his common sense—whether, in the event of any attack upon any portion of our colonial Empire, the presence of the British forces would not inevitably act as a nucleus round which the forces of the Colony would rally; and whether there would not be in that way a means of defence incomparably more sure than if the forces of a young population were alone relied on? Then there is another question. My right hon. Friend said that the Government of India had pressed upon the Government at home the necessity of reducing their expenditure, and it made, at the same time, a request which I think Her Majesty's Ministers have very wisely refused. The Indian Government made an appeal to my right hon. Friend to withdraw seven regiments of the Line and four regiments of Cavalry. That, I say, was a proposal which Her Majesty's Government very properly refused to accede to. But what is this cloud which hangs over India? It is a financial difficulty, and may be but a passing difficulty. The reason, then, which influenced this request for so large a reduction of our forces in India will then no longer exist, and the important question will again arise—namely, looking at the events in India, and the nature and authority of our power there—what is the proportion of British troops which should be permanently maintained in India? Is my right hon. Friend prepared to say that, irrespective of this financial difficulty that is passing away, the forces in India have been greater than they ought to be? Sir, I do not believe that our forces in India have been greater than they ought to be. I will now call the attention of the Committee and the country to another difficulty, which seems to me to be involved in the course of policy which, my right hon. Friend announced this evening. The effect of this policy would be this—Having stripped our Colonies of the British uniforms and lowered to a large extent our military forces in India—[Mr. CARDWELL: We shall scarcely reduce the number of men at all.]—I beg your pardon, and am obliged for the correction, but even in this view of the case the Indian difficulty may still be but a passing one; and what will be the result of the policy as a whole? We shall, by reducing our forces abroad, accumulate in England a very large military body, and is there no prospect of difficulty in that? Is there not a manifest danger that in the event of any change of circumstances at home there may arise a cry among cursory observers about the number of soldiers in barracks; and may not the Government be asked—"What is the use of so many of these unemployed soldiers?" Is it not the duty of the Government to consider that contingency? If there is to be a concentration here of a large number of our Army beyond what we can employ, it seems to me that there is an imminent risk of impressing upon the minds of the people the feeling that this was an idle and useless expense. What are all these men to do? There may, no doubt, be a succession of messages of peace to Ireland, and yon may require those troops to witness the acknowledgments of the sister isle. You last year sent one message of peace to Ireland. You now see what the result has been. There may be some further messages of peace sent by you to Ireland, which may possibly produce similar results as those we have already witnessed. If that be the case, there is no knowing what amount of military force you may require to meet the consequences. But, putting this contingency aside, I think there is some risk in maintaining a body of troops at home instead of distributing them abroad to support the dignity and the power of our Empire in all parts of the world. But having made these observations, I am bound to say, as I said last year, that granting the expediency of the reductions—for they are made entirely on the responsibility of the Government, and as long as Parliament has confidence in the Government, it is not for the House of Commons to interfere—I say, granting the expediency of the reductions, I am bound to say that they are made in the best possible way. If we are, then, to cut down 24,000 men of the British Army, I think that the Government have adopted the best mode of effecting the operation—namely, whilst keeping up the battalions, they reduce only the number of rank and file. So far, I must say, I agree with the policy of my right hon. Friend. I shall now proceed to offer a few observations upon some of the statements which he has made. I think that the most pressing and important feature of the announcement made by my right, hon. Friend to-night is the state of our Reserves. I am sorry to say I do not consider his statement at all satisfactory on this point. I said last year that the responsibility upon the Government that ventures to knock 24,000 men off the Army is immense. Having, however, resolved upon this step, they are, at all events, bound to take care to compensate for this great reduction by giving something like an efficient Reserve. This question of Reserve has touched the weak point of our military arrangements for many years. Various attempts have been made to establish an efficient Reserve. None have been successful. Scheme after scheme has been brought forward, but they have all more or less failed. My right hon. Friend has told us this evening of the First Army of Reserve. When my right hon. Friend mentioned the First Army of Reserve the words did not, seem to strike him in the comical light they struck me. Now, the First Army of Reserve is a grand designation, but it only amounts to 3,000. [Mr. CARDWELL: 1,939.] I am obliged For the correction. Surely a body of 1,900 men should no longer be called the First Army of Reserve? I would venture to suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should change the title; at present it is too magniloquent. [Mr. CARDWELL: You gave it that name yourself.] Yes; but it was a much larger force, and we intended to increase it much further. My right hon. Friend, however, also referred to another Army of Reserve of 10,000 men, resembling the Reserve of General Peel; but, still feeling that the 1,900 men and the 10,000 were, after all, a small number, my right hon. Friend was careful to assure us that he hoped they would grow to 20,000 in the course of the year. This surely is not I what a Reserve ought to be, for of course I my right hon. Friend was only speaking of that Reserve which we might send I abroad in case of necessity. Now, as my right hon. Friend dwelt with so much anxiety on the Reserve, let us consider what are the broad simple facts before the House. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to knock 24,000 men off the strength of the Army, and to replace them he tells the House that there is a Reserve of 11,900 men. I really think that we must put aside all idea of attaching any importance to such a Reserve as that, which, in fact, amounted to nothing. It is, in my judgment, a serious part of the policy of the present Government that they have ventured on so large a reduction of the strength of the Army when they really had no Reserve to fall back upon, because it was nonsense to talk of 11,900 men as a Reserve. My right hon. Friend proceeded, however, to talk, not of anything which we have, but of something which he hopes we shall have. And what is it I that he hopes we shall have? Whether those hopes be well or ill founded I cannot presume to say, because he himself spoke with great reserve and caution with regard to his new plan of enlist- ment; but on the question of a Reserve force I may express a hope that his, scheme will turn out more successful than the many plans which have been of late years devised, and nearly all of; which proved abortive. It would, of course, be presumption for me, a civilian, to express what I could venture to term an opinion on this subject; but I may perhaps, be permitted to say, speaking with the utmost candour and freedom from party spirit, that I think the right hon. Gentleman is trying an experiment which is well worth trying. I do not at all quarrel with it, especially as the right hon. Gentleman says it has been recommended by military men of high character, and I cannot for a moment express an opinion in opposition to theirs; but, on the other hand, I am bound to state that during the time I had the honour of holding the office of Secretary of State for War this subject was frequently brought under my consideration, and that at that time the weight of military opinion was in favour of trying the experiment of short enlistments. I am not sure that I entirely understood the scheme suggested by my right hon. Friend. I was agreeably surprised to hear him state that he retains the twelve years' enlistment under certain conditions, and that the six years' enlistment is to be optional, if I understood him rightly, on the part of the soldiers.


The engagement is to be for twelve years, of which, in the case of battalions going to India, six are to be served in the Army and six in the Reserve. All I said about the matter being optional was that if a soldier wished to serve longer in the Army, and the Government were willing for him to do so, both the parties to the contract might agree to renew the engagement.


I do not altogether comprehend my right hon. Friend's meaning. If I follow him rightly, the option of remaining in the Army beyond the six year's is only to be in the case of soldiers in India, and that soldiers in that country will, at the expiration of six years, pass, without any option, into the Reserve.


Yes; I may remark that when two persons make a bargain, that bargain speaks for itself. It is open, however, for both parties to revise the terms of the bargain at a future time. The bargain is for twelve years—six in the Army and six in the Reserve.


The only deviation from that arrangement will be in the case of soldiers in India.


Whenever it is intended to vary the original arrangement, both parties must come to an agreement.


But will not this arrangement inevitably result in additional expense being incurred in bringing the soldiers from India to this country? I am afraid that considerable difficulty will arise in this respect, because you will constantly have men claiming their right to return to England before it may be convenient to send them back. My right hon. Friend then touched upon a subject in which he did me the justice of saying I entertained a strong feeling. That was one regarding the extreme inconvenience and hardships experienced by officers, in consequence of the different conditions between the systems regulating regiments at home and abroad. I am glad to hear my right hon. Friend say that he was determined to put an end to this evil. He then passed on to the subject of officers —and in respect to this part of his statement I must say that, upon the whole, I think he has exercised a wise discretion. My right hon. Friend stated truly, when he says that the suggestion he has adopted had been made by me. My right hon. Friend reduces the number of the subaltern officers from twenty in a regiment to fourteen. The number of officers in the British Army for home service has hitherto been greater than was actually needed, and the only reason I ever heard urged for keeping up the number was that, considering the various climates in which our Army has to serve, it was necessary to have a superfluity of officers, in order to deal with those contingencies which might arise from the effects of a bad climate. On the whole, I can take no exception to this portion of the plan of the right hon. Gentleman; but I confess I learn with regret the decision of the Government to at once abandon the change made last year—and of which I took the whole responsibility of substituting—in cavalry regiments—the squadron for the troop. When the proposed return to the old system was announced by my right hon. Friend there were cheers on both sides of the House, a circumstance which would seem to show that the House was favourable to the proposal. Now, as a civilian, of course I cannot, and as a civilian I never did, presume to say which is the best arrangement; but I am bound in my own defence to say that when I recommended that the squadron should be adopted as the unit, I had not adopted that policy on light grounds. I do not know whether the House is aware that ours is the only Army in Europe in which the troop forms the unit. In every other country of Europe, unless I am mistaken, the squadron is the unit. The change I proposed was suggested by his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, on the recommendation of some of our most distinguished Cavalry officers. When that recommendation was acceded to it was on the ground that it should be referred to a committee of Cavalry officers, which committee was accordingly appointed, and, after investigating the whole subject, recommended the change. I trust, therefore, that my right hon. Friend will not think me unduly pertinacious if I express regret that die change is not to be adhered to. I confess I am not satisfied with the grounds on which it has been abandoned. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned Lord Strathnairn, and stated that the objection to that organization of the Cavalry was founded upon some inconvenience which had arisen in Ireland as regards the disposition of Cavalry regiments. If that is the only reason for returning to the old system, it is one which I cannot for a moment accept. Under the now organization there were two captains for each squadron; and, looking even at the present state of Ireland, I cannot conceive why there should be more difficulty in sending half a squadron, with a captain to command it, than in sending a troop. There are one or two other points on which I am anxious to say a few words. I remember urging in this House last year, or the year before, the utter impolicy and feebleness of the arrangement under which Sir John Garvock commands a district containing no fewer than 86,000 men, enrolled in the different branches of our Reserve force, such as the Militia and Volunteers, while he has hardly any authority over those men. I do not quite understand to what extent it is proposed to give an authority, the want of which is so much complained of by the gallant officer I have mentioned; but independently of that, I think the change is one for which we are much indebted to my right hon. Friend, and which is demanded by the military requirements of the country. My right hon. Friend last year intimated that it was Ids intention to appoint a council of inventions; but as he has not alluded to it to night, I should be glad to know if he has carried it out, or what are his intentions with regard to it. There is another point to which I also wish to refer. The Recruiting Commission, of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke in terms of such just commendation, suggested that by making judicious changes in the present constitution of the Chelsea School and the Hibernian Schools they might be made very valuable as feeders for the Army, on the same principle on which training ships supply recruits for our Navy. [Mr. CARDWELL: It is now tinder the consideration of the Commission on Military Education.] I am glad to hear the subject has not been lost sight of. There is another subject which was very much pressed on our attention when we were in Office, and which I have no doubt has been equally pressed upon the attention of the present Government—I allude to the great injury which is done to our Militia regiments owing to their being constantly in billets in towns. That is a very serious disadvantage in point of morality and efficiency, and I should be happy to loam that among the various plans under my right hon. Friend's consideration, that of providing barracks for our Militia regiments is one; for there are few matters, I venture to think, more worthy of his attention. I am sure the discipline, the morality, and the efficiency of the force would be largely increased by such a provision. I must add that I did not quite follow the views of the right hon. Gentleman with respect to our Militia force, with this exception—that I understood him clearly to state that the Government intended that no Militia regiment should hereafter exceed 1,000 men. It may be a good regulation, looking to the power of command and discipline; but I am afraid the result will be to considerably diminish the numerical strength of the force. My right hon. Friend shakes his head, and I hope I am wrong in my inferences; but as Lancashire has seven regiments of Militia. 1,200 strong each, and Worcestershire has one regiment of 1,400, which is the largest in England, it appears to me that to knock off 200 from each regiment in Lancashire, and 400 from Worcestershire, yon must considerably reduce the numerical strength of the force, unless the other regiments, whose quota are below 1,000, are few in number. Now I do not wish to see the force reduced. [Mr. CARDWELL: Hear, hoar!] It is a very valuable force, and I should have been glad to hear that measures had been taken likely to supply the want of subalterns in our Militia regiments. I am obliged to the Committee for allowing me to make those somewhat disjointed observations. I have endeavoured to follow and meet my right hon. Friend's speech in the same spirit in which he has made it; but I am sorry the Government has, in its anxiety to obtain credit from the country for their retrenchment, reduced the force to an extent hardly consistent with wise policy; but, at the same time, I must acknowledge the excellence of the tone and spirit which pervaded the whole of my right hon. Friend's speech.


said, that as the Secretary of State for War had expressed a hope that he would be satisfied with his statement relative to the adoption of brooch-loading rifles in the Militia, he must say that he was not altogether satisfied with it. Five years after the adoption of the Snider-Enfield breech-loading rifle, and with 300,000 stand of that arm in store, not more than 41,000 had been supplied to the Militia; and, to borrow a phrase from the right hon. Gentleman, it was one of those things which no man could understand. He very much regretted it, because it very materially crippled the efficiency of the Militia, and in a greater degree the Militia Reserve. As to those Reserves, he agreed with the Secretary of State in the opinion that, during the current year, the force might be increased from 10,000 to 20,000. The service was becoming increasingly popular, and the more its conditions were known the more popular it would be. He, however, felt only a limited amount of satisfaction with regard to the announcement I that had been made on the Militia force generally; because from the statement that was made lust year there was rea- son to hope the Government would have been prepared this year with a series of energetic measures; but it appeared they were still in the region of promise rather than in the region of performance in that respect. The pecuniary reduction of the Militia force amounted to £50,000, which was effected by reducing those; regiments which were over 1,000 strong; but that was to be regretted, because, owing to the unfortunate state of Ireland, 30,000 men were struck off the Militia of the kingdom, and 20,000 more had to be struck off for the Militia Reserve. So that instead of a Militia force of 130,000 men, there would not be more than 70,000 or 80,000. That being so, it imposed a moral obligation on the Government to take care that what was wanting in quantity should be made up in quality, and a small part of the saving-arising from the non-training of the Irish Militia this year would have gone far to get rid of some of the many acknowledged defects of the force. The two greatest defects were the billeting system and the want of officers. They should never forget that soldiers were not made by drill alone. At other times than when under drill a regular soldier was becoming saturated with ideas of order and obedience. But in the Militia this was entirely wanting. Five or six hours drill a day was the most it was possible to exact from a Militia recruit, and after that he was turned adrift for the day, and left entirely his own master. He had no barrack duties to perform; no healthy recreations, and no means of study or instruction were provided for him. His lodgings were generally at the beer-house or the gin palace, and he was left entirely to his own resources, with no alternative but slothful inanition or animal indulgence. A colonel of the best Line regiment, if he were ordered to place his men in billets for a month would remonstrate against it, and refuse to be held responsible for the discipline of his men; and yet this was the way in which year after year Militia recruits were treated. Besides the military question, a serious moral question was involved in the billeting system; and he doubted if the Government were justified in drawing young-men from their homes at the most critical period of their lives, and leaving them to temptation without efficient control. He trusted the moral sense of the coun- try would revolt against the system, and strengthen the Secretary for War in a determination to provide Militia barracks—a thing which he believed the right; hon. Gentleman was anxious to do. It was also necessary to increase the number of officers for the Militia. The best drilled men, without efficient officers, were a mere dead body without a soul, and to a great extent that vas the condition of the Militia. The measure of last year tended in some degree to allay the discontent that existed amongst the officers; but the addition only of thirty-seven subalterns could not cure that great and crying evil. It was said that money was necessary; but he took exception to the statement. Much might be done to insure quicker promotion—for stagnation in that matter was very discouraging—by establishing a well-regulated system of retirement with honorary rank, similar to that which the First Lord of the Admiralty propounded for the Navy on Monday last. But that would only be a measure of mitigation, and the inconvenience arising from the stagnation of promotion might perhaps be still further relieved by a grant of brevet rank to officers of long service in the Militia. These suggestions might, to some extent, meet the difficulty, though it was for the Government, rather than for a private Member, to find remedies for admitted evils. He regretted to hear of the reduction in the Yeomanry, although it was only of a partial nature; because he thought the disproportion between this and the other branches of the Reserve force was already great enough. He thought the Secretary for War had done right to make the Yeomanry a force of irregular cavalry; but he was sorry it had been resolved to reduce small corps mustering less than four troops, because he believed that for the purposes of irregular cavalry, a troop or a squadron was as useful as a basis of organization as a larger force. The Government would do well to aim at having in every county and in every district, a certain number of well-mounted, intelligent, able horsemen, well acquainted with the resources and topography of the country, and able to act as guides, escorts, and orderlies on occasions. For these reasons, he deeply regretted the diminution about to take place.


said, he objected to comments which had been made on the diminution of the strength of the Army, because they were founded on the numbers as the appeared in the Estimates, which were likely, unless carefully considered, to lead to a fallacious conclusion. The principle which had been acted upon was to strengthen the Army at home, that being the Army which was actually in hand and useful for either offensive or defensive purposes. The regret expressed by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) at the withdrawal of the troops from the Colonies was felt by many others; but he could not share the right hon. Gentleman's feeling that it was desirable for the Queen's uniform to be seen in every Colony, or his opinion that the troops stationed in distant Colonies added to our own strength. On the contrary, he (Mr. O'Reilly) maintained that troops scattered over; the world added nothing to the effective strength of the Army. If war broke out it would be either in Europe or in one of our large dependencies, and the only effective troops were either those at home or those which could be sent to the scene of action from a central position. Notwithstanding its reduction by 24,000 men, he maintained that the real strength of the Army was now greater than it had been for many years. For some years past the Army at home had seldom numbered more than 40,000 men; it was now 86,000, and although it might be urged that five years ago it numbered 87,000, it must be remembered that that number was largely composed of depôts and disorganized bodies. He did not concur in the right hon. Gentleman's remark that it was well to scatter the Army over the Colonies in order to prevent a stupid cry being raised at home about the large amount of our Army. He considered the people of England were intelligent enough to know for how many soldiers they paid—whether those soldiers were scattered abroad or concentrated at home—and he relied upon the patriotism of the country to maintain an adequate force, when the case was put fairly and plainly before them. Did scattered; troops afford us any additional strength? Could it be said that 2,000 men prostrate with fever in the swamps of China, three battalions wasting away with fever in the Mauritius, 10 battalions engaged in a purposeless and desultory war against the savages in New Zealand, or others scattered around the Cape of Good Hope, could by means of all the steam navies in the world be brought home so as to add to our strength? It would be better to have 20,000 men concentrated at home than 30,000 scattered over those countries. He ventured to suggest that the Indian Army might be still further reduced; for, according to the authority of Lord Strathnairn, about 50,000 men, if well distributed over the country, would be sufficient for the protection of India. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that what was pompously styled "the First Army of Reserve" was ludicrously small; but that was not a recent creation, although he believed it did originate with a Liberal Administration some years ago. With regard to the Militia Reserve, General Peel proposed to raise 30,000 men—10,000 men being raised in each of three successive years—which was the best mode of raising that force, as the terms of service would expire consecutively. He strongly urged upon the Secretary for War to shorten the term of service in India. He had heard with the greatest pleasure that the Reserve forces were to be concentrated, he might say unified, and brought under one authority. But he would suggest that the right hon. Gentleman might with advantage unite and consolidate the functions of many of the officers of the different branches of the Reserve. We bad the Pensioners, the Army of Reserve, the Militia, the Recruiting Staff, and the duties of these different branches ought to be so consolidated as to allow one set of men to perform them. He would venture to suggest whether, in the glut of officers with whom the right hon. Gentleman would have to deal, it would not be possible to clear the Army and do a service at the same time to the officers themselves by enabling them to accept a lump sum instead of their half-pay and chance of absorption again in the service. A great many men would rather get a new start in life by obtaining a round sum and trying a new profession than remain on half-pay with the chance of future service. With regard to the step which it was proposed to take to facilitate in some respects the abolition of purchase, he feared the expectations of the right hon. Gentleman might be disappointed, and for this reason—that, as long as the system of purchase under the Queen's regulations—that is, payment for a step—existed, and at the same time a system of unlimited payment between officers was permitted, for which, more or less, the country was held to be responsible, every benefit conferred upon officers, and every advantage given them, became simply an element in increasing the purchase value of that which they had to sell. For instance, if the right hon. Gentleman increased the pay of officers, as was sometimes proposed, it would simply raise the price of the commissions, and so he feared, if he increased the chances of promotion of subalterns to the rank of captain, he would increase the value of commissions, and also the difficulty of getting rid of the purchase system. It had come to be recognized that in any arrangements the country might make it must take into account the extra-regulation price that was paid, and no doubt the right hon. Gentleman had discovered by this time that this practice pervaded the Army far beyond what was intended, and whenever a change was proposed it was always found that some one who had paid stood in the way of the proposed alteration. In fact, they could not take a step in the regulation of the Army without interfering with some privilege or some advantage that somebody had paid for.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman promised much last year; but after listening to the right hon. Gentleman's statement this year, the whole thing was in the air. A reduction in the Regular Army to the amount of 12, 300 men was ordered for this year, and that would make a total, within fifteen months, of no less than 24,000 men. Now, he could not help thinking that the ultimate object of these reductions was to do away as much as possible with the old soldiers of our Army for the purpose of saving their pensions. During the whole time that he had the honour of a seat in that House he had endeavoured year after year to impress on Members the real value of the old soldier; and he was quite confident that he never described in terms more true, more complimentary, or more to the purpose the worth of the old soldier than did his right hon. Friend last year. The right hon. Gentleman expressed himself in these words— Anxious as I am for shorter service, believing, as I do, that shorter service is really at the root of all Army reform, nevertheless I am as conscious as anybody can be of the immense importance of retaining in your Army that most valuable member of it, the old soldier."—[3 Hansard, cxcvi. 1545–6.] Then his right hon. Friend gave the opinion of one more competent probably to judge than any man that ever breathed—he meant the Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Wellington's opinion was— The old soldier was the heart and soul, and courage and strength, of the regiment. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say— To the old soldier we may apply the words that were used with regard to Banquo— 'Tis much he dares: And to that dauntless temper of his mind, He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour. Now, that last line summed up the true value of the old soldier. He was at a loss to understand, from what had been said that night, whether it was intended that a man at the end of twelve years, if the commanding officer thought he had a good, attentive, and loyal soldier, might renew his service. Was that the case? [Captain VIVIAN: Yes.] If men could not renew their service, a difficulty would occur in getting non-commissioned officers. The next point he wished to allude to was the strength of the regiments. It was now proposed that every regiment; should consist of 500 men at home and 500 in the Colonies. But when they considered that from the strength of a regiment there must be deductions daily made of sick, men on guard, men going on guard, orderlies, cooks, and so on, a regiment 500 strong would appear to be too small. That might not be the case if we had the means of filling up the regiments rapidly and restoring them to an efficient state. It was said last year that it was the opinion of Marshal Canrobert that 500 men was a very good number for a regiment; but then, in France, it should be remembered that the three battalions were always together, and that they had the means of readily augmenting the number to 1,000 men. What was to be the strength of a regiment in war time? [Captain VIVIAN: There never has been a war establishment fixed in the Army.] His right hon. Friend had said that each regiment was to consist of 500 men, but that it was to be capable of being raised to the war establishment at a moment's notice, and if that establishment consisted of 1,000 men, that could not be done with less than 35,000 men. He recollected his right hon. Friend, on a former occasion, referring to a statement of Sir John Burgoyne. Now, the opinion of that distinguished officer was "that we should have in times of peace a small Army, but one capable of expansion, and a Reserve force at once large and ready to be added to the Army in time of war." That, too, was the opinion of all whose authority on the subject was of any value. But how far had advance been made in the course of the year? He desired to say a few words upon the reductions which it was now proposed to make and upon those which had already been made. He had seen it stated in the papers, within the last few days, that a couple of Cavalry regiments—the 7th and the 19th Hussars—had been recalled by telegraph from India. Now, it was very easy to telegraph to a regiment to come home; but he was anxious to know whether any consideration had been shown for the convenience or the interest of the officers? Anyone who had ever served in the Army must be well acquainted with the inconvenience caused to the officers by the sudden movement of regiments, even when those movements occurred at home; but in this case the regiments had to leave with, he believed, only four days' notice. The consequence was that they had to sell their horses on the beach; and as, he believed, it was the practice in India for officers to find their own bungalows, their sale must be attended with considerable loss. Then a lieutenant exchanging under his right hon. Friend's proposed scheme would, he supposed, be placed at the bottom of the list, and receive ensign's pay—a prospect which would be very agreeable to some gentlemen who had served as lieutenants for several years. But in many directions there appeared to be great hardship in his right hon. Friend's proposals. There was a new class of officer, according to the Army Estimates, of whom he had never yet heard, and whom he could only liken to an occasional waiter. There was to be a general brigade-major and an aide-de-camp who were to go to Alder-shot for six months. But the hardship which his right hon. Friend's proposal would inflict might be instanced by a reference to the case of an officer of the highest distinction, an officer second probably to none in any army in the world—he referred to Sir Alfred Horsford, who had served in the Crimea and in the Indian Mutiny. That distinguished officer was appointed for five years. He received notice to leave last October, and that notice was extended to the 31st of December; but a still greater hardship arose from the fact that no general officer was appointed to succeed him. The consequence was that Sir Alfred Horsford—who had been, of course, at great expense in furnishing his hut—would have to dispose of all at a considerable loss, whereas had a successor been appointed his furniture would have been taken off his hands. How could his right hon. Friend expect, that any officer, appointed to only a temporary command, would deem it worth his while 10 furnish? He had had altogether an experience of the Army for close upon half a century, and he had never yet witnessed so wide-spread a feeling of distrust as that which now prevailed in every rank of the Army, from the oldest to the youngest; in fact, no man knew one day what his position might be on the following day, and the complaints of the officers were undoubtedly founded in reason. He might mention another painful case which had come under his own notice. Two years ago the general in command in China—which was perhaps the most deadly climate of any of our military stations—applied to be relieved in consequence of ill health, and another general was sent out. Within a few months his wife died, and within nine months of the death of his wife the general himself was buried. He left behind two daughters, who thus found themselves in a country 10,000 miles away from home without a relative or friend to take care of them. The officer who succeeded to the temporary command of the troops, most properly and humanely thinking that these two young ladies ought not to go home without any protection, secured passages for them, and directed, as the most fitting protection for them, that they should be accompanied by the officer who was aide-de-camp to their father at the time of his death. The officer, he believed, wrote to say that this did not come under the strict regulation; but that, under the painful circumstances of the case, he trusted that every allowance would be made for the order. The result was that on arriving home the aide-de-camp was told that he had no right to come and £124 10s. was stopped to pay for his passage. Now if that money was to be deducted at all it certainly should not have been stopped out of the pay of this young officer, but should have been deducted from the officer by whom he was directed to accompany these ladies, for it was, of course, impossible for him to have disobeyed the order which he received. Personally, however, he thought that the colonel was quite right, and that it should not have been expected that these ladies were to journey such a distance without a protector. In the ordinary course of things it would have been the duly of the aide-de-camp on the death of the general to have returned to his regiment, which was quartered in India; but in consequence of being ordered home he not only was mulcted in this large sum, but lost the extra pay and allowances which he would have received if he had been with his regiment. The only ground, too, upon which he could have been refused his pay was that he had returned upon private affairs; but officers returning for that reason from China were allowed two years' leave of absence, and yet this officer was sent back within six months. The hardships which attended many of the changes could scarcely have been brought to the knowledge of his right hon. Friend, than whom, he believed, no one was more anxious or more willing to do all that was kind and considerate. Still, it was certainly the impression throughout the Army that very little consideration had been paid to their interests, and he had thought it only right to refer to the feeling which he knew existed throughout every branch of the service.


said, he desired to offer a few observations with reference to our Yeomanry. He spoke, not in the interest of the country gentlemen, or of the maintenance of their influence, but in the interest of the taxpayer. They had been told last year that the Yeomanry were no longer to be employed as Cavalry fit for field service; but that they were to be turned into mounted Riflemen. He should like to know whether this rumour was correct, for in that ease the Yeomanry would simply be Infantry soldiers on horseback. In that case he should like to know whether they were to receive the training and discipline of Infantry; whether they were to be put under the inspection of an infantry officer; whether their present cumbersome Cavalry habiliments were to be retained, and whether they were to be drilled like, other riflemen? He should like further to know, whether Yeomanry officers were to be debarred from serving also as Volunteer officers; for many gentlemen held this double appointment. He had seen a paper in the hands of a Yeomanry officer defining the periods which the men were in future to serve, one of the objects being to get rid of the feeble old men who were now to be found in the ranks. ["Oh, oh!"] He did not regard the interruptions of hon. Gentlemen; he had hoard similar noises proceeding from the ranks of the Yeomanry when commanded to execute manœuvres which they did not comprehend. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would apply the pruning-knife vigorously in this direction.


said, he had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War with marked attention. He had done so because he hoped to have heard from him what had been promised last year—namely, that whatever alteration might be made the efficient of the Army would in no way be impaired, and that a scheme for an Army Reserve would be submitted that would be satisfactory to the country. Now he (Colonel Barttelot) ventured to assert that the scheme which they had just heard propounded was very far from being so. All that the right hon. Gentleman proposed was to have a First Army of Reserve, consisting of 1,900 men, and a Militia Reserve of 10,000 men. That might, at first sight, look plausible enough; but any one who knew anything practical about the matter must know that if this country were dragged suddenly into war such a Reserve would not by any means prove sufficient. Nay, it would be just equivalent to nothing at all, so far as maintaining an army in the field was concerned. A Minister of War who really fulfilled his functions should be ready at any time to stand up in the House and tell them that by a mere stroke of his pen he could augment the strength of every regiment he had, and send them abroad in a thoroughly efficient and disciplined state. Until that was the case they could have no real Army of Reserve. He quite ad- mitted that Parliament was bound to economize, but this should be done in the right direction. The right hon. Gentleman had given them to understand that there was to be a great pruning in all the departments; but this promise was not redeemed by the Estimates. For instance, in the Secretary for War's own department—which was the great wen and blot upon the military service—he found there was an increase rather than a diminution of expenditure. His right hon. Friend shook his head; but the figures showed no reduction. True, less stores were to be bought for the manufacturing departments; but quite as much was to be expended in wages and salaries. That was not what the country expected. It was very easy to sanction the cutting off of 10,000 or 20,000 men; but he should like, at the same time, to see some pruning and lopping in other directions. What should chiefly be studied was to maintain an Army which should be found efficient in time of sudden war or disturbance. This, however, could not be done by the scheme proposed, for it practically gave them no Army of Reserve. His belief was that it would be much better to increase the Militia. By taking that course, 50,000 men could be added to the Regular Army by a mere stroke of the pen. Great stress was laid upon the saving to be effected by troops coming home from the Colonies; but these should only be withdrawn from the Colonies that were not directly governed by the mother country. He should like much to know, moreover, whether it was true that an order had been issued declaring that men who had served nine years, although enlisted for ten, were at once to have their discharge unless they enlisted for another ten years. If that were so, and the men who refused to do the latter stipulation were turned adrift, great harm would be done to the Army. Furthermore, he should like to know whether the Government were going to discharge men who had served eighteen years, instead of allowing them to complete the twenty-one, in order to save the increase of pension. To break faith with men like these, and send them, adrift all over the country, at this inclement season of the year, would do more harm to the recruiting of the Army than any other course which could be adopted. The depôt battalions, it seemed, were to be broken up; and fifty-four officers and 8,000 men were to be got rid of. The officers of these depôt battalions should have the chance given them of being absorbed as vacancies occurred, and should not at once arbitrarily be placed upon half-pay; they had been induced, to join these depôts upon certain conditions; many of them had left their former regiments upon the faith of these conditions, and it would be grossly unfair now to get rid of them altogether. That these men had a claim upon the Government would at once be conceded from a perusal of the General Order issued from the Horse Guards on December 15, 1866. That Order said— The Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief having, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State for War, represented to the Queen that it would be highly desirable, and for the good of the service, to extend the system of five years' tenure of staff appointments to field officers of depôt battalions, taking care, however, that the application of this special staff rule should press as lightly as possible on the officers now serving in depôt battalions, Her Majesty has been pleased to approve the following regulations, taking effect from the 1st of October, 1866, viz.:—1. The present lieutenant colonels of the depôt battalions shall remain in undisturbed possession of their appointments until removed by casualties of service, i.e., promotion to the rank of general officer, appointment to the staff or any other beneficial position, voluntary retirement on full or half-pay, death. &c. 2. The majors shall, in like manner, retain their appointments until removed by promotion to lieutenant colonelcies on full or half-pay, or to the staff or other beneficial positions, or by death, etc. If, however, the promotion be to a depôt battalion the command of the battalion shall be vacated at the end of five years. 3. Field officers appointed at any period hereafter to depôt battalions, whether from half-pay or from some full-pay position, shall be removed as a matter of course at the end of five years, except in cases of re-appointment, at the discretion of the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief. 4. As a general rule every lieutenant colonel removed from the depôt battalions to the half-pay list shall be replaced in the usual manner by an officer from half-pay, to serve or sell; but the eligibility of the senior major, if he has been appointed under the new rule, to succeed to a vacancy so caused, shall be left as a matter for consideration, dependent upon that officer's standing and service in the Army, and the probability of the lieutenant colonel removed to the half-pay list obtaining the rank of major general within a period of two years. 5. The present adjutants of depôt battalions shall, in the same manner as the field officers, be allowed to retain their appointments until removed by promotion to majorities on full or half-pay, or (upon application) to half-pay majorities after six years' service as adjutants, or to the staff or other beneficial position, or by death, &c.; but the adjutants appointed at any future period shall, after six years' service as such, be removed by promotion to half-pay majorities, when, if deemed eligible, they may, on opportunities occurring, be appointed to majorities in the depôt battalions, and be allowed to hold such appointments for the qualifying period of five years, it being understood, however, that the adjutants are not to be considered as having any claim to re-appointment to the staff of the depôt battalions. Was it common justice to men who had fulfilled to the best of their ability the special purpose for which their offices had been created now to send them adrift in such a fashion? Then as to cavalry. The Prussians, since their late war, attached more importance to Cavalry than they had ever done before. They regarded it as the eye and screen of the Army, and they had added largely to its numbers. Yet we were reducing our handful of men to a point which would render it impossible, on an emergency, to increase the number adequately. It took eighteen months, at the lowest estimate, to make a Cavalry soldier. How long would it take to make a Cavalry officer competent to take charge of a patrolling force? No one knew better than his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Truro (Captain Vivian) how long it took to make a Cavalry officer, and if he spoke out honestly he would say a Cavalry officer could not be made in eighteen months. It was therefore, the greatest mistake in the world to reduce the Cavalry regiments. It would, he thought, be better to take off a certain number of regiments, and have full and strong regiments, than adopt the system which prevailed in the Crimean War. What had the right hon. Gentleman done? He had reduced the number of officers of the whole Army. One word as to the squadron system. He was delighted the squadron system was done away with; but he was very sorry the troops of Cavalry were to be reduced from eight to seven. The troop formation was infinitely better for our Cavalry. But to reduce one troop was reducing a regiment one squadron in the field, as we now had four squadrons, whereas with seven troops we could have but three. His firm conviction was that unless the right hon. Gentleman had some better scheme for a Reserve, that which had been proposed would not succeed. He was in favour of the short term of enlistment being tried; but, according to the scheme propounded to-night, this was only to be applied to the enlistment of the Infantry, and he did not think having one enlistment for one branch and another for another branch of the Army would be successful. He would only say, in conclusion, that if, after what had been said by many speakers on both sides of the House, anything should occur in a hurry, on the Government which reduced the Army must rest the responsibility.


said, although it was impossible to expect unity of opinion when changes so large as those his right hon. Friend had proposed in regard to the Army were conveyed to the House, yet his right hon. Friend had no reason to complain of the spirit in which the Committee had met the views he had so clearly and ably expounded. Certainly, with regard to the observations of his right hon. Friend opposite (Sir John Pakington) he raised the objections he took to the alterations proposed with a frankness and in a spirit which he should attempt to follow in the few remarks he ventured to offer to the House. Two points had been more particularly pressed on their attention by almost all the speakers who took part in this discussion. The right hon. Gentleman late Secretary of State for War throughout his speech impressed on the Committee that the reduction in the Estimates had resulted from reducing the war strength of the Army. During the last two years, he said, the fighting strength of the British Army had been reduced by 24,000 men. Now, it was true that in last year's Estimates there was a reduction of 12,000 men from the strength of the Army; but he might quote the right hon. Gentleman himself in favour of that reduction; for, he said, he saw great danger in having too many troops in this country. There might be a cry raised against them. Last year a large body of troops were brought home from Canada, and it was quite right and proper that some of them should be reduced. And, with regard to reductions this year, he thought they had a right to complain of the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman referred to that point, more especially after the clear explanations of his right hon. Friend as to how the 12,000 men were accounted for. Why should Parliament be called upon any longer to pay for the Canadian Rifles, when they were of no more use? Why pay for the Cape Mounted Rifles, when the Cape Government said they were of no avail, and that the Cape police did the duty better? Why pay for the West India Regiment when no longer wanted? The reduction of those three regiments would not at all reduce the fighting strength of the British Army. Then as to depôt battalions, did the right hon. Gentleman mean to say that depôt battalions, as now constituted, contributed in the least to the fighting-strength of the British Army? But then he said he could not approve the policy of withdrawing British troops from the Colonies. That was a question of national policy with which it was not his province, in the position he held, to interfere; but the right hon. Gentleman was in error when he supposed that the withdrawal of troops from India would reduce the force in that country. It was true a certain number were brought home; but the effective force in India would remain exactly as before. The right hon. Gentleman, and the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Colonel Barttelot), who took great interest in these questions, had ridiculed the idea of there being any Army of Reserve. Upon that point he would only say that they had inherited the First Army of Reserve from the Government of which his right hon. Friend opposite was a Member. The First Army of Reserve was proposed to the House by General Peel, and it had been maintained as proposed by him from that time to this. But it was said they had no right to take credit for the 10,000 men from the Militia Reserve. But there had been no difficulty in obtaining 10,000 men from the Militia Reserve last year; he believed if they had wanted more they might easily have obtained them. It was thought desirable merely to take 10,000; and if they obtained that number so easily last year there was no reason why the same number should not be obtained this year, which would give a Reserve Force of 20,000. The hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) asked what was the war strength of these battalions. He replied that there never was a fixed war strength of regiments in this country. That always depended on the duties regiments had to perform. The strength of regiments varied much. In some cases it was 600, in others 800; but, fixing the war strength of a battalion at 800, with a Reserve of 20,000 men, they would be able to fill the cadres to a war strength at a moment's notice. With regard to short enlistments, the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire laid much stress on the importance of having old soldiers; but the Duke of Wellington, in the very speech in which he spoke so highly of old soldiers, added that young soldiers must be combined with them; and it was a battalion composed of young and old soldiers who could do anything. That was the very object his right hon. Friend had in view. He by no means wished to terminate the military career of a soldier after ton years' service. If his heart was in his profession; if he had borne a good character; if he was the right sort of man, there was no reason why such an old soldier should not form the nucleus which they all hoped to exist in a regiment. The hon. and gallant Member anticipated that there would be some difficulty in enlisting for short service hero and a longer service abroad; he saw no difficulty whatever. Then, as to what was called the linking of regiments, the double battalion system was of great advantage to officers, as it facilitated interchange between those at home and those who were abroad; but there were but a limited number of double battalion regiments, and the only means of extending that advantage was by linking a regiment abroad with a regiment at home. There had been strong criticisms with regard to the reduction of officers; but he was one of those who held—and he was glad to find that the opinion was shared by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington)—that our Army had always been over-officered. In proof of this he would state the proportion of officers to men in this country, and what it was in other European Armies. According to the proposed reduction, the proportion of officers to men in this country when the Army was at peace strength was 1 to 21.3, and when at war strength 1 to 31.5. In Prussia the proportion of officers to men when the Army was at peace strength was 1 to 28.3, and when at war strength 1 to 49. In Austria the proportion of officers to men upon peace strength was 1 to 8.8, and when at war strength to 51.1. Therefore, he thought the hon. Gentleman would see that even with the proposed reductions our Army was more over-officered than the armies of any of the Powers he had referred to. With regard to the squadron formation he had conversed with some officers, who were notorious for the admirable condition in which, they kept their regiments, and, though there was some difference of opinion, the majority were decidedly in favour of the troop system as against the squadron system. Everyone knew that a Cavalry regiment going to Ireland was instantly dispersed over the country almost entirely in troops, and then there was great difficulty experienced in the squadron system, because the squadron officer remained at head-quarters, and no one seemed to know what arrangements were to be made for paying the troops who were at a distance. He therefore thought that a sound discretion had been exercised by his right hon. Friend upon that point. With regard to the Ordnance Council, that was composed of the Director of Ordnance and a number of other gentlemen, presided over by Lord Northbrook, and all questions of importance relating to the construction of large guns, or to anything involving considerations of the expense of ordnance, was referred to that Council, together with questions of patents and rewards and similar matters. He hoped and believed that that Council had already smoothed many of the difficulties which had existed on such questions. Turning now to the subject of Militia, he fully concurred in all that had been said with reference to the mischiefs of the billet system. Nothing could be worse than that system, and it would be a very good tiling to get rid of it, if possible; but it was a difficulty that could not well be met, at all events without the sanction of the House. If the billet system was to be abolished, it would be necessary to obtain a large Vote of money from Parliament. The houses where the Militia were billeted were only used for that purpose for a few days in each year, and he doubted whether the House, in order to get rid of that system, would be prepared to sanction a large expenditure of public money for the purpose of building barracks in all the various counties of the country. One thing his right hon. Friend had done, and that was to express his desire that under all circumstances where it was possible to put the Militia regiments into barracks which were already existing, they should be so put in, and wherever the general officer of the district could provide barrack accommodation for the Militia when they were called out, that accommodation would be provided for them. Everything would be done to reduce the number of regiments which were to have recourse to the billeting system as much as possible. The right hon. Gentleman opposite Lad asked when the quotas of those regiments would be reduced; they would remain as they were until after the Census of next year, and the reduction would then take place. He admitted that the addition of thirty-seven subalterns to the Militia, was not a very great one; but, at the same time, it looked as though the Militia service was becoming more popular, and he hoped that before long a still greater improvement would lake place in that direction, and still further inducements be held out to join the service. A question had been asked as to the reduction of the length of service of the regiments in India. In reply, he could only say that there was no proposal to reduce the length of service below twelve years. The men would be changed at the expiration of six years, but the regiment, as a regiment, would remain for twelve years, its ordinary period of service. He would not enter on the great question of purchase in the Army. He had often made known his views on the subject, and to those views he still adhered, and he was glad that his right hon. Friend was in a position to do away with the ranks of ensign and cornet. The reduction of ensign would be a great been to that class of officers to whom the Notice of the hon. and gallant Member for King's County (Sir Patrick O'Brien) related—namely, subaltern officers promoted from the ranks; but the hon. and gallant Member wished to do something more, and to extend brevet promotion to the junior ranks of the Army. Now, to brevet rank generally he (Captain Vivian) felt great objection, for even in the upper ranks of the Army it did not work satisfactorily, and he should be sorry to see it extended to the subaltern ranks. He did not know oil what principle it was sought to be so extended—whether it was on account of length of service, or for merit, or for distinction on the field. If for length of service, it would not much benefit the officers in whom the hon. Gentleman felt an interest; if for merit, Lord Palmerston's question might be asked—"What is merit? Do you mean zeal?" and if it was for distinction on the field, it would be a great injustice to many officers who would distinguish themselves if they had the opportunities which fell to other men. Anything like preferential promotion in the subaltern ranks would operate unfairly towards a large body of officers. In the tipper ranks it was easy enough; length of service and distinction fairly earned would indicate those who deserved exceptional advancement: but in the junior ranks it would be an objectionable principle to introduce. The hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire had complained that travelling expenses had not been granted to an; aide-de-camp who had come with the daughters of his deceased general from abroad; but on making inquiries he (Captain Vivian) had found that the allowance was paid when the real state of the ease became known to the authorities. There was one department in the Estimates—the control department—which the right hon. Member for Droitwich might feel proud of having created. An hon. Gentle man (Colonel Barttelot) had said that there were no reductions in the salaries of the Department; but that was not so. There had been a reduction of £40,000 in that Department this year, and there could be no doubt that the reduction would be very largely increased in future. It could easily be understood that in transferring duties and consolidating departments a large number of employé's had to be provided for, that provision had now almost entirely been made, and in future years he had no doubt large savings would be effected, He must award praise—in which the right hon. Gentleman opposite would join—to those whose arduous duty it had been to carry out this important change—Sir Henry Storks, General Balfour, and Sir William Power—they had performed a delicate and difficult duty with tact and perseverance. One of the advantages which had been derived from the control department was seen in the stores department. Formerly there were three branches—the store branch, the barrack branch, and the hospital branch; each of these operated independently, in ignorance of what was done by the others, and when the hospital stores were handed over the other clay, a Return was made which embraced some curious details. It showed that there were six and a half years' consumption of blue serge waistcoats; five years' consumption of white flannel shirts; five and a half years' consumption of neckcloths; nineteen and a half years' consumption of blue serge gowns; twenty-two and a half years' consumption of flannel drawers; thirty-one years' consumption of blue woollen nightcaps; and fourteen and a half years' consumption of cotton drawers. One of the advantages of the store department was that we knew the quantities of stores of all descriptions that were in our possession, how they were kept, how they were visited, who they were visited by, and who was responsible for them; and he had no doubt that further advantages would follow as the department got more into working order. He had now had the honour to serve in the War Department for more than a year under his right hon. Friend, who, on the first day of his going there, laid down the efficiency of the Army as his first principle, and efficiency combined with economy as a general principle, adding that economy without efficiency was not economy, but extravagance. On these principles the Estimates had been framed, and on those principles he trusted the country would accept them.


believed that the use of Cavalry would be as important in the future as it had been in the past, and therefore he was convinced that the reduction proposed in the strength of the Cavalry would be detrimental to the service. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of Stare for War proposed to reduce the Cavalry to exactly the same strength it was the year before the Crimean War. At the commencement of that war we had nineteen Cavalry regiments of three squadrons each, averaging 271 horses and 328 men each, and the result was that after the first severe Cavalry engagement—fortunately the only one during that war—England was left practically without a Cavalry, except two regiments brought from India at considerable risk, as subsequent events proved; for if the Indian Mutiny had broken out then, we might have had to make a humiliating peace with Russia, we might have run the risk of a quarrel with France, and, in all probability, we should have had to reconquer our Indian Empire. After the battle of Balaklava we had to raise Cavalry regiments at great cost, we had to bribe men with bounties and free kits, and hurry them through the riding school; but they were dragoons only in name, and they were utterly unable to cope with the trained soldiers of Russia. Yet, with all this experience, it was proposed to reduce our Cavalry to the same number of squadrons, and almost to the same number of horses and men, that we had in 1854. The reduction to be made now was just equivalent to the strength of the two regiments we were obliged to withdraw from India for service in the Crimea. He desired to remind the right hon. Gentleman that the peculiar nature of the Cavalry force required that it should be treated in a particular manner. A good Cavalry soldier could not be made in less than three years; and it was therefore of the utmost importance to maintain the efficiency of the force. For a short period after the Indian Mutiny the necessity of preserving the Cavalry sufficiently strong was generally recognized; but, since that period, successive Governments had diminished regiments by degrees and now the right hon. Gentleman proposed, in effect, to reduce them by a whole troop—practically, a squadron, so that they would consist only of a miserable force of three squadrons. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to take the matter into his serious consideration, for the opinions he had expressed were shared in by some of the ablest men in the service. He protested against the reduction, because it would destroy the service; and he protested, in the name of the taxpayers of the country, because if we should be found unprepared for war, the provision which could be maintained for a few thousands would cost millions to re-organize. With regard to the criticisms of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Henry Hoare), it was clear that he must have derived his ideas from the period when he was associated with the Yeomanry of Somersetshire. The hon. Baronet had certainly displayed astonishing ignorance of all that appertained to Cavalry matters. The Yeomanry Cavalry was now weak in numbers, and he hoped the Secretary for War would pause before doing anything that would impair its efficiency.


said, that he regarded, with especial gratification, the promise of future reduction that was contained in the Estimates; but, in reference to the immediate effect of the proposed changes, it was to be regretted that they appeared to be confined to the lower ranks of the profession. All ranks above that of a captain had been held sacred; and the Committee had thus been deprived of the pleasure of hearing any scheme for preventing the multiplication of general officers and the suppression of sinecure colonelcies. The Motion that was proposed to be taken for the abolition of one step in the purchase system would, he hoped, be soon followed by other and more extensive movements in the same direction. Nothing could be more satisfactory than the account of the great improvements recently effected in our method of recruiting; but, surely, if there was so much readiness on the part of young men to enter the Army, the bounties now offered might be abolished; whereas the present Estimates contained an item of £40,000 for bounty money, and the whole cost for recruiting was £72,000. He thought those items might be reduced. Bounty did very little good to the man who received it. In reference to the Militia, he thought it was very desirable that it should be called out more usually at those seasons of the year when it could be put under canvas. He was glad to hear that the question of more capitation grant to the Volunteers had not yet been decided in the negative. The recent proposals had been very distasteful to the Volunteer force, and he reminded the Government that without that force it would be impossible to carry out reductions; and if they did not concede something now, they might do an injury that could not easily be retrieved.


said, he understood that, after the next summer examination at Woolwich Academy, the future examinations there would be conducted under new rules, to be framed in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commissioners. He wished to know when those new rules would be issued; and whether there was likely to be any check to the admissions to that academy? With respect to the Yeomanry Cavalry, he would ask whether the field officers and the cornets who were to be reduced were to be "snuffed out" at once, or whether vacancies as they arose would not be filled up until the number were reduced to the prescribed limit? As Maidstone was to be "disestablished and disendowed," he would suggest that in order that young Yeomanry officers might learn their business and become efficient, they should be sent for training to Aldershot. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Henry Hoare) was dissatisfied, as a taxpayer, with the efficiency of that force; and it was to be feared that if the hon. Member were as good and great a soldier as he was everything else, the poor Yeomanry would have very little chance. But the hon. Baronet, as a country Gentleman, had himself in early life been in a Yeomanry regiment, and he probably judged of the present improved state and discipline of the force by the laxity which prevailed in the days when he held the lucrative appointment of a cornet. He could assure the hon. Baronet that the force was now in a much superior condition, and had received the honest compliments of many very competent military authorities. He could only further say that so long as they could be useful to their country the Yeomanry were ready to continue their services. On the other hand, the moment the country desired to dispense with them they would be ready to make their bow and retire; but they did not wish to be squeezed out or cried down without just cause.


reminded the hon. and gallant Member for Dover (Major Dickson) that additions had been made to the Cavalry force since the Crimean War, to which he had not referred; not to speak of Indian regiments now included in our Army, the 5th Lancers and the 18th Hussars had been re-constituted since that time. As regarded the remarks of the hon. and gallant Gentleman on the Treasury Bench (Captain Vivian), he would say, that when he had, in order to enable the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. Cardwell) to introduce his statement, postponed his Motion, he did not expect that it would be alluded to in that debate. He consequently declined on that occasion to go fully into it; but he might be allowed to say that when he referred to the question of extending brevet promotion to subalterns, he did so with the intention of having it extended to that class of officers on the same principle that it was extended to the higher class of officers—namely, by seniority. There were many men raised from the ranks who could never hope to be in a position to purchase their troops or companies, and others also who too long endured the pain atttendant upon hope deferred. In one regiment, as an example, he might mention that one subaltern had served twenty-two years and was unfortunately vet a subaltern.


congratulated the Secretary for War on his very clear statement. As to Militia barracks, of course it was not desirable to go to a very large expense in erecting all over the country buildings which would be occupied only one month in the year; but as one month in barracks would be worth to the Militia three months on billet, might not buildings be hired for the purpose? He thought that to make the ratepayers supply barracks for the Militia would be very unfair indeed, as the force was one raised for the national defence. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would pause before he proposed to turn the Yeomanry into mounted Rifles. The right hon. Gentleman must remember that the men who composed that force, being for the most part farmers or the sons of farmers, could not spare a great deal of time for practice. They had, however, attained a fair amount of proficiency as a Cavalry force, and if the country should be attacked by an invading army their services would be found very valuable, as our regular force was a very small one. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to explain whether, under his plan of short enlistment, men who were enlisted for twelve years could be kept serving with their regiments for more than six years without a Royal proclamation. He himself was in favour of short enlistments; but he thought that if men were allowed to take their discharges from actual service with the standard in eight, nine, or ton years, such times would be sufficiently short. Discharges at the end of six years would lead to embarrassment in keeping up reliefs. It appeared to him that the Indian Go- vernment and the Secretary of State for India dealt with the English Army just as they pleased, and almost without consulting the Secretary for War. The depôts for regiments in India ought to be maintained out of the revenues of that Empire, and at least one year's cost of reliefs ought to be borne by the Indian Exchequer. He was glad to hear that warlike stores were not to be separated as a department from the other stores, because it was desirable to have one person at the head of a department including all the stores. He also thought the concentration of stores ought to be carried out as far as possible. He believed that a rule prohibiting the controller with an army in the field to take orders, except he received them from the general speaking vivâ voce, or in the general's handwriting, would be a very unwise one. Superior officers acting under the general in command did not think it derogatory to them to take his orders through members of his Staff. The latter gallant officers gave no orders of their own. They were only the mouthpieces of their chief, and a general in command had not time on all occasions to commit his orders to writing. The controller ought, therefore, to take orders from the general when conveyed through Staff officers. The general in command could not be relieved from the responsibility of his position. He must be absolutely responsible for everything that occurred under his orders. If you attempted to relieve him of any of that responsibility you would simply be giving another person the power of interfering with him. He could not understand the concentration of force which brought troops home in order to reduce them. Last year the Government reduced the number of men, but they laid great stress on keeping the cadre complete, and having a most efficient Reserve. They had heard that evening what the promised Reserve came to, and now they learnt that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to meddle with the cadre, and by so doing to interfere seriously with the ability of the regiments to meet sudden emergencies. They all remembered the serious moral effect produced in this country by the news that the Light Cavalry Brigade had been cut to pieces at Balaklava. The fact was five regiments of light Cavalry were engaged in that charge, but they only comprised 600 men, and of those 279 officers and men were killed and wounded. In many skirmishes the loss of life had been equally great without any injurious moral effects, but this action showed the result of having small establishments. They sent a Cavalry brigade into action, which was about as strong as a foreign regiment, and thus it was said that the Light Cavalry Brigade had been cut to pieces. The hon. and gallant Officer (Captain Vivian) said the Government would raise the regiments to a war strength of 800 men. That was smaller than in the days of the Crimean War when the regiments had a strength of 950 men, but they by no means kept up that strength during the war. All he could say was that he hoped that the Reserve which had been paraded before them that night would very soon be paraded in such a manner that it would be a visible force. One crumb of comfort might unquestionably be extracted from the Estimates which had been brought forward that night by those who were interested in the efficiency of the public service, and that was that they disposed of the mare's nest about military control over the War Department of which they had heard so much. Even the hon. Gentleman the Member for Brighton (Mr. White) would feel that those Estimates had been prepared by a clerk in the War Office, and that no military man—certainty not his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief—could have been consulted with respect to them. The right hon. Gentleman could not even have consulted the experience of his hon. and gallant Colleague. It was now abundantly clear that the War Department was entirely independent of all military control, and especially of any control on the part of the Horse Guards.


said, there could be no objection to the Yeomanry being turned into mounted carbineers, or to their being trained to the use of breech-loading rifles. If, however, they were only to be called out, like the Rifle Volunteers, for a drill here and a drill there, he was strongly of opinion that such a system would not work so well as the present one of a few days' continuous training. If, too, the drills for recruits were not to be loss than thirty-two in the year, he feared the right hon. Gentleman would find it hard to get that number of drills out of the farmers. He should be glad to know whether the right hon. Gentleman had received any answers from Yeomanry corps as to their willingness to serve as mounted Volunteers. Whose fault was it that there were any separate troops? Next to Leicestershire, there was no county which had a greater number of mounted farmers than that which he represented, and yet one troop constituted their whole force of Volunteer Cavalry. They had a regiment of Yeomanry once, but an economical Government abolished it, with the exception of one troop; and now, because it was a separate troop, it was to be still further discouraged. After what had been said as to the impropriety of a Militiaman appearing again as a Volunteer, perhaps he ought to hesitate before owning that he was also interested in the welfare of the Militia; but he felt bound to say that the Militia had no reason to complain of the way in which they had been treated by the right hon. Gentleman. They owed him a debt of gratitude for the increase of allowances he gave them last year; and this year he (Mr. Stopford) was glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman was about to give 25,000 Sniders for their use. Much had been said of the necessity of placing the whole force in barracks; but he felt that the expense of building barracks for every Militia regiment would be too great. He would suggest, however, that a few Militia barracks might be built in central parts of the country, and then, instead of calling all the regiments out in May, as was usually done, they might be called out at different times, and occupy these barracks in succession. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to give the quartermasters a retiring allowance; but he thought it hard that those officers should be compelled to retire upon pensions varying from £80 to £50 per annum.


said, he believed that the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman to convert the Yeomanry into mounted Rifles would be received by those corps with great satisfaction and pleasure. They would like the competition with the rifle as well as the Volunteers. He wished he could express the same gratification with the Estimates as many hon. Gentlemen had done. He regretted that the reduction in the num- ber of the troops had not been accompanied by reductions in other directions, the cost of administration remaining the same, or about 10 per cent on the amount expended. He trusted, that in the course of another year these reductions might be realized. He was well aware that the right hon. Gentleman had found the various branches of the departments in a most chaotic state. He was glad that the right hon. Gentleman had something still in store for the Volunteers; but he must remind him that the capitation grant—to an increase in which the right hon. Gentleman seemed to point—was the least of the wants of that force. They wanted more efficiency, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take steps to have them brigaded with the regiments of the line. He was disappointed with the right hon. Gentleman's account of the Reserve. The hope he held out of an efficient Reserve force was very shadowy indeed. He trusted that by next year the right hon. Gentleman would be able to show them the efficient Reserve six years.


observed, that he had never heard during the past twenty years a more able statement of the Estimates from any Secretary for War; but, at the same time, he had never known a Secretary of State for War introduce the Estimates without stating that the efficiency of the Army had been maintained. He doubted whether the right hon. Gentleman's reductions were consistent with economy. Of course, no British taxpayer would wish for bloated armaments or extravagant Estimates; but the House must recollect the Crimean War, which they engaged in with a largely diminished peace establishment, and the consequence was the diminution of their military prestige, and the heavy costs by which alone they were able to return to a state of efficiency. He was glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman had made the troop the unit of the cavalry regiment. Last year he adopted the squadron; and he (Colonel Gilpin) warned him at that time of his error. He must reiterate what his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) had said with resided to the brigadiers at Aldershot. These officers held their appointments by Queen's Warrant for live years, and it was unjust that they should be suddenly called upon at the end of two and a half years to give up the command. He had a grievance under which some of the men laboured to lay before the right hon. Gentleman. Those enlisted under the Act of 1847 did not lose any service time if they were imprisoned by order of the commanding officer, or during trial by court martial; but the condition of those enlisted under the Act of 1867 was totally reversed. The consequence was that the young soldier was punished more severely than the old, and, in justice, this inequality should be remedied. He wished to know where the fines inflicted for drunkenness went to, because he could not see that the public were credited with them in the Estimates. He held that the Militia were very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for what he had done for them. The officers thoroughly appreciated the granting of honorary rank; and he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he could not, tinder certain circumstances, allow the honorary rank to go with the regiment? The billet system had been spoken of; but what could they do unless the billet system were adopted? With respect to the Militia Reserve, the right hon. Gentleman stated that he believed that the number of 20,000 would be made up this year. He (Colonel Gilpin) believed so, too, and the reason why the number was not made up was because the matter had not been understood. In conclusion, he asked how it was that Volunteer officers were allowed to claim exemption from the tax on two horses, and mounted officers of the Infantry were allowed exemption for only one horse. The case of the Militia officers was more hard; the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not allow them to claim exemption; he took their money to swell his Budget and never repaid it, because it was a farce to say the money would be repaid at the close of the year, when in a few weeks another tax would be due for the forthcoming year. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, was bound to get money by some means, and perhaps the end justified the means. Nevertheless, they looked to the Secretary of State to see that justice was done to them.


pointed out that although regiments were to remain twelve years in India, the term of service was limited to six; and that as soldiers generally spent the first two or three years of their time in England before going to India, they would claim their discharge after two or three years' service only in India. Unless this were corrected great expense would be entailed; and he believed the remedy was to be found in encouraging volunteering from one regiment to another.


wished to know out of what funds captains who desired to sell out were to be paid the over-regulation money paid by them between their ensigncies and lieutenancies; and also whether any portion of the recommendations of Royal Commissions with reference to military education in regard to the instruction of officers of the Line was to be applied to the Militia and Volunteers?


said, it was only right that a good trial should be given to a scheme which promised to provide for us an admirable Army of Reserve.


, in reply, said, that the principal points to which the observations in debate had been addressed were those of the reductions. He would only express his belief that the withdrawing the troops from the Colonies would strengthen the Colonies and the Empire. And he was also convinced that by reducing the numbers in the cadres of the regiments without reducing the number of the cadres themselves, they would maintain the elasticity of the force and prepare for war, while, at the same time, they diminished the burden in lime of peace. With regard to the Reserve, he was surprised anyone should blame the Government; because, although it did not at present exceed 10,000 men, they had provided for its increase. As regarded the Militia Reserve, it would be most unwise to draft the whole of that in one year, because, in that case, all the men would claim their discharge at the same time. The Army Reserve was necessarily small now, because the new mode of enlistment was not yet introduced, and before men can pass into the Reserve, they must have served their three years. The name, which the right hon. Baronet (Sir John Pakington) had described as "pompous," was not given to the body by the present Government, but by that of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member. They found the first Army Reserve so named. When he came into Office, the first Army Reserve consisted of 1,000 men; they had raised it to nearly 2,000, and hoped to raise it to 3,000. The Militia Reserve they found had almost no existence—they had raised it to one-half what it was intended to be; more than that it would not have been prudent to do last year. It was thought prudent to take one-half the first year, and no doubt they would get the other half this year. The seed time must come before the harvest—they could not get all the men trained at once for the Reserve; and the question was, whether the plan of short enlistment and passing the men through the Reserve was a good plan? They intended to allow the system of re-engagement in India. The real motive of substituting two years and a half in the command of brigades at Aldershot for five years was this—it was felt that Aldershot was a school where men could learn to command, and they wanted to train a larger number than the five years' system would admit of. With regard to the drink-money, he had already mentioned that the system was highly spoken of by the Adjutant General. It was not the intention of the Commission that the money should be paid into the Consolidated Fund, but that it should be considered as a fund for the benefit of the Army generally, contributed by those who were not the most worthy portion of it. That money had not been paid into the Exchequer, nor had any decision been yet come to as to the practical mode of appropriating it. With regard to the interesting subject of the billeting of the Militia, he should be glad if it would I suit the convenience of the Militia generally to follow the example of their brethren in Ayrshire, and to come out in the warm period of the year when they could lodge in tents; but in most cases it would be inconvenient for militiamen to come out for drill at such at period of the year. He trusted, however, that when the General Officer commanding the district had a greater voice in this matter than he had at present, that would at once lead, to a certain extent, to diminish the inconvenience complained of. He had mentioned on a previous occasion that when he was at Plymouth recently the Devonshire Militia came in to be billeted in Devonport and Plymouth; but when the fortifications were completed, it might be considered whether they might not be made available for the accommodation of the Militia when they were not occupied by regular troops. These consolidations, indeed, offered opportunities for arrangements of various kinds. He had been asked several times what the meaning of the engagement was; but he could only repeat what he had already said, as he did not know how to make it more clear. The contract would operate over twelve years; but it would be specified, to begin with, how much of that term was to be served in the Army and how much in the Reserve. That engagement would be mutually made; but, of course, it would be quite open to both parties to it to change the engagement afterwards if they wished to do so; and it would be possible for a portion of the men to engage for a second time, and to come in for a pension as under the old system. We might thus have a number of those old soldiers who were so much admired by the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North), and who were the backbone of our Army. As regards the Yeomanry being called out, the object of the new arrangement was to insure that the public should not incur the expense of permanent drill, except where the regiments showed that they were earnest in the business, and were worth the money. His noble Friend opposite (Lord Eustace Cecil) had put a question concerning the over-regulation prices. Now, he was the individual of all others whose particular duty it was to know nothing at all about over-regulation prices. It was a subject, therefore, on which he could give no opinion. As to the officer of depôt battalions, he was afraid the hon. and gallant Member for West Sussex (Colonel Barttelot) was mistaken in one or two of the free criticisms of the statement made to the House. The hon. and gallant Gentleman scorned to have entirely mistaken the sense of the order of the Adjutant General. In that order it was contemplated as a matter of course that the depôt battalions would be continued, and it was merely to the offect that an officer should have his appointment for five years and no longer, and it never was intended that he should be left under the impression that the depôt battalion was to be maintained for his convenience if the public service no longer required it. In such an event the officers of the staff of the depôt battalion must be put on half-pay till the Commander-in-Chief was able otherwise to provide for them. With respect to giving professional instruction to the Militia, it must be practically introduced into the Army before it could be carried further. He had now, he believed, answered all the questions which had been put to him; and he begged, in conclusion, to acknowledge with gratitude the kind spirit in which his proposals had been criticized.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) 1,760 Native Indian Troops.

(3.) £4,771,900, Pay and Allowances of Land Forces at Home and Abroad, exclusive of India.

House resumed.

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