HC Deb 05 May 1870 vol 201 cc275-6

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is true that the Lieutenant Colonel of the Grenadier Guards applied to the Horse Guards for permission to discharge a recruit who had been apprehended three days after he enlisted, on a charge of robbery committed previous to his enlistment, and sentenced to six months hard labour in Norwich Gaol; whether His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief was pleased to decide that the prisoner should be retained in the service; whether the Secretary of State will endeavour to initiate a system which shall tend to discourage the retention in the ranks of convicted felons; and, whether the Secretary of State will consent to produce the Correspondence on this subject between Colonel Bruce and the officials of the Horse Guards?


Sir, a recruit was convicted in the circumstances im- plied in the Question of the hon. Gentleman; but as he had received his kit and part of his bounty, and as there was nothing to prevent his re-enlisting, if discharged, the Adjutant General, with the approval of His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, decided against his discharge. As regards initiating a better system, I may take the opportunity of saying that I intend, when we renew recruiting, to endeavour to do so without bounty. As respects the publication of the Correspondence, there is nothing in these particular letters which there would be any objection to produce; but I am of opinion that, speaking generally, the House will seldom think it right to call for the production of letters from the commanding officers of a regiment to the authorities at the Horse Guards.