HC Deb 07 March 1870 vol 199 cc1369-70

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether, under the new Army Regulations, a subaltern who may wish to sell his Commission will be required to sacrifice any money that he may have paid for such Commission in excess of the regulation price; and, if not, by whom such sum will be refunded to him?


Sir, it has not been intended by the present proposals to prejudge in any way the general question of the over-regulation prices. The present Estimates provide for a considerable reduction in the number of lieutenants and ensigns, and it was thought expedient to remove the distinction between those two ranks. In doing so it has been proposed to give at the public expense to every future lieutenant who succeeds to his company without purchase, and to advance without interest to every future lieutenant who succeeds to his company by purchase, the sum of £250, which by the Queen's Regulations is now paid at the step between ensign or cornet and lieutenant. In making this proposal it has been limited to the regulation price; and it is true that if, as suggested by my hon. Friend, a lieutenant exercises his right of selling before he succeeds to his company, no provision has been made for paying from the public purse any sum which he may have paid in excess of regulation. It will be for the House, when the Estimate is before it, to determine whether this proposal ought to be proceeded with—that is to say, whether it is, upon the whole, favourable to the interests of the subalterns, and fair between them and the Treasury.


I beg, Sir, to give notice that on going into Committee of Supply upon the Army Estimates I shall call the attention of the House to the injustice which will be inflicted upon the officers of Her Majesty's Army if, in the event of their wishing to leave the service by the sale of their commissions, they are called, by any new regulations, to sacrifice any sum which, in accordance, with regimental practice, they may have paid in excess regulation price for such commissions.


Seeing that the reply of the right hon. Gentleman is scarcely likely to be satisfactory to the Army, I should wish to put a further Question to him upon this subject. The effect of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman in introducing the Army Estimates has been to put a stop to the whole system of promotion throughout the British Army. Tinder these circumstances, it is only due to the Officers of the Army that they should be told exactly what is the policy which Her Majesty's Government intend to pursue upon this subject. I therefore wish to know when he will be prepared to state distinctly what that policy is?


The object of the Government has been to confer, at the public expense, a considerable benefit upon the subalterns. At all events, that has boon my object. I shall consider with the attention they deserve the objections which have been raised to the Government proposal, and on Monday next I shall take the opportunity of making a statement upon the subject.