§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £46,400, Divine Service.
§ (2.) £28,900, Martial Law.
§ MR. CARDWELL
The other day I was asked whether I would announce what was the course that we intended to pursue with regard to the Report of the Courts Martial Commission, and the nature of the measure which we intended to introduce on the subject. It is with the deepest grief that I have now to say that that measure had been undertaken by the right hon. Gentleman the late Judge Advocate General (Mr. Davison), whose death under such sudden circumstances we have occasion to lament. I am sure I am only expressing the feeling of the House when I say that in him the House has lost a most valuable Member; we who sit here have lost a Friend whom we most highly esteemed and valued, and the profession to which I belong has lost a most distinguished ornament. The right hon. Gentleman had undertaken to introduce immediately after the Recess the measure which has been for some time in preparation on the subject of the discipline of the Army. He had given the greatest attention to it, and he was engaged upon it I believe even at the latest moment of his life. Under these unfortunate circumstances, it will be my duty to make other arrangements with respect to that measure as soon as I can. I am sure the Committee will think that I am only discharging my duty in thus calling attention to the very great loss that we have sustained through the death of my right hon. and learned Friend.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £248,300, Medical Establishments and Services.
§ DR. BREWER
expressed a hope that the Government would give the Committee some kind of information with regard to the steps which had been taken to increase the efficiency of the medical department of the Army. He was aware that the subject to which he desired more particularly to draw the attention of the Committee might, with most propriety, have been considered when Vote 1 was passing through Committee, as Sec- 1201 tion 5 of that Vote took credit for the principal division of the medical arrangement he felt it his duty to animadvert upon. The lateness of the hour, however, at which that Vote was taken rendered it extremely inopportune to delay the Committee by considering a question which he deemed of no secondary importance. He believed the Committee would not esteem any re-organization of the Army complete which did not include an organization of the non-combatant force—the organization of the power and means of saving life when the Army was in the field, including, of course, the regulation of the ambulance department, its field and regimental hospitals, its transports, horse and hand litters, and the whole apparatus for ministering to the wounded, and for mitigating the suffering which, at best, was sad enough, but when aggravated by unskilfulness, or by neglect, which training might have prevented, was simply often appalling. He felt the Committee would not grudge him the needful minute or two whilst he brought before them the nature and extent of the required provisions; what it was an ambulance department was called on to effect, and what was the measure of misery which a neglect of those provisions entailed, and how impossible it was, by a nation's liberality at the time of the emergency, to accomplish what thorough training in time of peace could alone adequately secure. Since the publication of the American Reports, in relation to the statistics and facts furnished by their recent civil war, they were warranted in saying that there was no great Power which had not experienced the cruelty and loss of life when the Army was in the field, which might be traced to a neglect of discipline and organization in their ambulance corps in time of peace. The Committee would hardly be prepared for the admission which Dr. Hammond, Surgeon General of the Northern American Army, appeared to acquiesce in, as not unreasonable nor to be gainsaid, that it is impossible for any Government to provide all needful aid and do all needful acts for the disabled after a severe engagement. He (Dr. Brewer) paused over such an admission, and he felt the Committee and the country would most unwillingly accept it; but, at any rate, this would not be allowed to cover neglects which foresight 1202 and drill could have supplied. A paucity of medical men could be remedied by supplemental aid from without even when the emergency arose suddenly. Supplies of all kind might be had in profusion at a very short notice; but the defects which were remediless, when the time of action came, were those attributable to a neglect of drill, discipline, and long and special training, provoking that want of co-ordination in the several departments of the medical corps, which was the sure precursor of misadventure and disaster. It was no insignificant part of efficiency in the responsible medical staff to acquire a skilful apprehension of the whereabout the field tents might be most conveniently pitched, so that, on the one hand, they did not interfere with or hamper the action or the strategic movements of the Army; and, on the other hand, to be within useful distance. The division of the infirmary men; the prompt management of the litters, horse and hand; the efficient, but not obtrusive, following the company or division to which they were attached; the removing the wounded in action so as not to crowd and jostle the combatants; and, above all, the celerity and completeness which leaves no room, and gives no provocation or opportunity to the combatants to fall out and crowd the retreating litter; the subsequent removal of the wounded to the field and to the regimental hospital tents in the rear, where the graver operations are performed; the orderly and systematic attendance of the infirmary and other non-combatant men on their several officers, at their several points of duty—all constitute services, the performance of which are essential to due relief of suffering and saving of life; but which never have been, and never will be satisfactorily discharged, without special and habitual training. Undoubtedly, the duties detailed were only a part—perhaps, a minor part—of the labours which fell on the medical staff in active service. To take the best and widest known example. The total of French troops in the Crimea was, in round numbers, 309,000; the total number of deaths 69,000, of whom 7,500 were killed in action, leaving 61,500 for the deaths from wounds subsequently and the ravages of fever. It was found that in Königgrätz, Solferino, Inkermann, Alma, Antietam, and the Potomac, one in five of the wounded were left dead on the field; and al 1203 though the relation of the wounded to the whole force engaged—and even to the sick under treatment—varied very greatly, yet the relation of those mortally struck or left dead on the field to those who were objects for relief and treatment from wounds did not greatly vary, but retained pretty uniformly the relation stated. He thought the Committee would agree with him that each division of medical service in time of active duty demanded orderly and intelligent obedience, and such as could not be depended on without previous training and special drill. Experience showed that a neglect of such special training was marked by deficiencies in active and vigilant traversing of the ambulance corps of the field after the action and during the succeeding night, when its services were most demanded. He had, in 1866, seen men brought into the general hospital who had lain 48 hours on the field, and whose wounds had been untended for a period of 10 days—wounds which were not mortal, except for such neglect. He had remarked, over and over again, that an amount of needless suffering and loss of life resulted from exposure and neglect on the field, which could be attributed only to the want of systematic activity and co-ordination in the various divisions of the ambulance department displaying itself after severe engagements. Dr. Hammond—to whom he had alluded—spoke of two brothers lying wounded side by side in the afternoon of the day of the battle of the Antietam Creek, both vainly striving through the long hours of that weary night to stop the blood which flowed from an open wound, and which, in spite of the efforts of both, flowed on till death arrested its current. In vain each tried in turn to descry the longed-for appearance of the ambulance party—none ever appeared in sight; and a wound capable of easy treatment proved fatal, and sufferings utterly needless resulted simply from the neglect which unskilfulness in their duties and want of training in the ambulance department occasioned. No incidents struck a medical man more painfully than the deaths from hæmorrhage from wounds. The Surgeon General of the Northern American Army related that a British officer in the Army of the Potomac, who had lost his leg from a cannon shot, had had the knowledge 1204 and presence of mind to bind his sash so tightly round the stump as to arrest the flow of blood, and to remain many hours on the field without fatal consequences till the ambulance party arrived. And this led him (Dr. Brewer) to hope that a practice adopted by the Germans might be considered by their own authorities. In the German soldier's knapsack were to be found a good bandage and fold of lint compressible into a very small compass; but which were not only a convenience for his treatment by the surgeon in the event of the man being wounded, but which even the man himself might be easily taught to apply in the event of long neglect on the field, so as to prevent the fatal consequence to which he had alluded. The last suggestion he would press on the Government, and on the consideration of his right hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Henry Storks) the Controller General, was, that as it was not to be expected a full complement of medical officers and their men could be retained in time of profound peace, yet that a skeleton of a perfect ambulance corps should be organized, drilled, and disciplined, and specially trained for their duties; and that in any review these men should not, as now, be called on to "fall in" merely, but should be subjected to inspection in their special and several duties, and their drill and accuracy animadverted upon no less punctually and authoritatively than the combatants expect and receive on those occasions; and it was not to be feared but that that orderly discipline in time of peace would produce ample and beneficial results when the special services were demanded in times of emergency and active campaigning.
§ SIR HENRY STORKS
The Secretary of State for War has not neglected the important subject to which my hon. Friend has called the attention of the Committee. The importance of that subject cannot be exaggerated; for, independently of the desire which everyone has to relieve the sufferings of those that are wounded in battle, it is important for the discipline of the Army that the soldiers themselves in the day of battle should expect to be properly attended to in the event of their being wounded by the enemy. A Committee was appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to inquire 1205 into the question of ambulances. The Committee was composed of officers well acquainted with the subject. In their Report they say—In regard to the number of ambulance waggons, it appears necessary to inquire what pro portion of the men would be likely to require to be carried off the field of battle. Taking a number of actions, the percentage of wounded varies considerably, according to their severity. Thus at Königgrätz the Prussians had 4.90 per cent wounded of their whole force, the Austrians 9.28 of those engaged. At Magenta the French had 6.7 per cent wounded of those engaged, the Austrians 7.05. But, on the other hand, the casualties are often much larger. At Waterloo the British force had 17.76 per cent wounded, and during the recent civil war in America the wounded in the Federal Army were—At Shiloh 12.51 per cent, at Chikamanga 18.52, at Gettysburg 11.68, and at Wilderness 19.26. Those reported on the Confederate side are considerably higher; but as neither the number of combatants nor the casualties were ascertained correctly, there may be much doubt on this point. The mean of these gives 15.70 per cent of the strength, and the Committee think they cannot fix upon a smaller percentage than 16 as the probable number requiring to be provided for after an action. In some of the terrible encounters around Metz in August last the proportion of wounded greatly exceeded this. From a consideration of the nature of wounds received in action, it is estimated that about half of the wounded, or 8 per cent, can make their way to the nearest dressing place on foot, leaving 8 per cent to be removed from the field to that point on stretchers and waggons, and subsequently carried to the nearest field hospitals. It is further estimated that this may require each waggon to travel a distance of five miles to the rear, and that it can make two trips a-day, or 20 miles in all, even over indifferent roads. A waggon can carry six men each trip, or 12 men a-day.It is the intention of my right hon. Friend to have the Army hospital corps placed entirely at the disposal of the medical officers for the purposes of a hospital during a time of peace, and in a time of war as a corps for the assistance of the wounded after action. The Army hospital corps, which is divided into two branches, will now be re-organized into one branch, which will be the medical branch. It is intended to train men in this country to attend to our sick and wounded soldiers. After allowing for foreign garrisons, it is estimated that about 850 men of this Army hospital corps, who will be trained to their duties, will be available in this country.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, that besides the six Inspectors General of Hospitals there were 20 Deputy Inspectors, and he inquired whether, as had occurred in similar cases, the deputy really 1206 did all the work? He observed that there was an extra charge for compounding medicines. He did not know what cause there was this year for such a charge.
inquired why there was an increased expenditure for the colonial medical department, seeing that most of the troops had been withdrawn?
§ MR. M. CHAMBERS
inquired what system was adopted for testing the genuineness of the drugs bought for the military hospitals, and ascertaining that they were equal to sample.
§ COLONEL NORTH
desired some explanation as to the sum of £74,930 for stoppages of soldiers' pay while in hospital, and asked whether any attention was to be paid to the valuable Report of the Committee which had sat on the subject? He also wished to know why it was that the salary of the Governor and Commandant at Netley, which had been £600 a-year, was now reduced to £366?
§ SIR HENRY STORKS,
in reply, said, that the Inspectors General had to perform very considerable duties. There was one at head-quarters, one at Aldershot, one at Netley, one for all Ireland, and one at Malta, which was a very large station, and of the requirements of which he had himself personal experience. The details would be found at page 166. The Director General of the Army Medical Department was the person specially charged with seeing that the best medicines were provided, without regard to price but with due regard to economy, and the medicines were procured from the Apothecaries' Hall. The compounders of medicine were sergeants, who underwent an examination and received 1s. a-day additional pay for the duty. The increase in the Vote for Medical Officers in the Colonies arose principally from the fact that by the terms of the Warrant under which they served they were to receive an annual increase of pay. The Report of the Committee on Hospital Stoppages, to which the gallant Officer (Colonel North) had referred, was now under the consideration of the Secretary of State; but the question was one about which there were great differences of opinion. In the Estimates of 1870–1 there was £600 a-year for the officer at the head of the establishment at Netley. That was a very distinguished officer, Colonel, now 1207 General, Wilbraham, who had retired, and as an officer of inferior rank, Colonel Gordon, was appointed to succeed, the salary was reduced accordingly.
§ MR. CANDLISH
remarked that, although Colonel Gordon's salary was lower than that received by his predecessor, and the duties lower, yet it appeared that an Assistant Commandant had been appointed at a salary of £303. He would be inclined to move the reduction of the Vote by the increase for Netley.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, last year they tried to do with one officer; but the experiment did not work well, and they were obliged to appoint a second. It should be remembered that Netley was the head quarters of the Army hospital corps.
§ COLONEL NORTH
said, that showed they ought to have an officer of higher rank at the head instead of striving to save £200 or £300 a-year.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
reiterated the opinion that when a superior officer and a deputy were appointed, it would probably be found that it was the deputy who did the work, though he would not say that was so in this case.
recalling attention to his question, which he said the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had misunderstood, observed that the term Colonies appeared to include India.
§ SIR HENRY STORKS
replied, that there were stations in Australia, Canada, Nova Scotia, the Cape of Good Hope, Ceylon, the Mediterranean, the West Coast of Africa, and other places, the details of which were given at page 167.
said, he knew there were regiments in India which were put down as being in the Colonies.
§ MR. DICKINSON
said, that according to the Estimates the exact number of men in the Colonies were set down as 20,000; but in a separate Paper the number appeared as 25,000. The discrepancy ought to be explained in settling the Army Estimates, when the point came before the Committee.
§ Vote agreed to.
(4.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £957,300 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Militia Pay and Allowances, which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1871 to the 31st day of March 1872, inclusive.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he observed that the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) had on the Paper a proposal to reduce this Vote by the amount of the charge for the proposed increase of 40,000 men. He did not wish to act discourteously towards the hon. Member, but he could not help thinking that the Motion was founded on some misapprehension; and, if so, that misapprehension all the more confirmed the feeling that it was desirable to have some explanation with regard to the intention of Her Majesty's Government on this important matter of the Militia. He desired to advert for a moment to the statement of the Secretary of State when he first introduced the Estimates. On that occasion, and upon various occasions since, in the course of the debate on the Army Regulation Bill, the right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the Militia force as consisting of 139,000 men. He (Sir John Pakington) could find no such number of men provided for in the Estimates, where the figures stood at 128,971 men both for the last year and the present year. In both cases they found in another column the permanent Staff stated to be 5,066. The two statements added together made up 134,037 men. There was a difference, in round numbers, of 5,000 men between the statement in the Estimates, and the figures which the right hon. Gentleman had mentioned on every occasion when he had spoken of the Militia. Where did the right hon. Gentleman get these 5,000 men from? This question led to a consideration of what was the main cause of the great increase in the Estimates for the Militia of 1871–2 over those of 1870–1; this he apprehended might be found in the same columns on the same page, where it appeared that the whole cost of the entire quota of the Militia for the present year was £454,500, but in the Estimate of 1870–1, when the full quota was not called out, and when the Irish Militia was not called out, that amount was not so large by £105,000. In his humble opinion this was a satisfactory explanation, as far as it went, as to the difference in the Estimates of the past and the present year. Now he came to the subject of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Liverpool, who proposed to strike off the sum of £237,216, being the charge for the ad- 1209 ditional 40,000 men. He (Sir John Pakington) found no such charge in the Votes, and this was one of the points upon which he was desirous of receiving an explanation. It was within his knowledge that the Government had caused a circular to be sent to the commanders of Militia regiments throughout the country asking them to give their opinion as to whether, in their respective districts, they would be able to raise second battalions. So far as the two or three counties with which he was best acquainted were concerned, the answers to the circular were that there would be no difficulty.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
asked, was he then right in supposing that it was by means of these second battalions that the 40,000 men were to be obtained? That was a point on which he was desirous to receive information; but whether this was so or not, there was no item in the Estimates to cover the expense of these 40,000 men. And he wished to know what was the intention of Her Majesty's Government on this subject, which he held to be one of paramount importance in connection with this question of Army re-organization. There was no part of the subject to which he attached so much importance as the maintenance in full strength of our constitutional national force, the Militia. He had more confidence in that than in any other force; and he trusted to receive an answer from Her Majesty's Government that they intended to raise the second battalions and add 40,000 men to the strength of the Militia. Indeed, he felt some disappointment that it was not proposed to increase the force to even a larger extent than that promised by the Secretary for War.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, the utmost limit to which, by statute, the Government could go in raising the Militia was 120,000 privates, and adding the officers and non-commissioned officers, the number would be 129,000. This year it was intended to exceed the statutory limit, and to raise 125,000 privates; but this could not be done till the Bill for the purpose then on the Table of the House was passed. What the Government had done in the meantime was to submit the Estimate of the whole amount which the statute enabled them to raise. This 1210 would give 129,000 men, and the permanent Staff brought this number up to 134,000. The 5,000 which made the difference between this figure and that referred to by the right hon. Baronet were recruits intended to be trained during the autumn. As to the second battalions, the Government had laid on the Table the questions which they had asked as to the raising of these bodies, and the answers which had been sent to that circular. The object of the Government was to inform themselves and the House what were the present powers of raising the Militia to the utmost. It was not their intention during the present year to exercise those powers; but they were clearly of opinion that they had the power of raising the number of men asked for in the Estimate. If the Bill should pass as it was now before the House the future limit of the Militia would not be the precise statutory limit of numbers, but such number as from time to time Parliament might think proper to provide the money for.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, the right hon. Gentleman had not explained the way he made up the 140,000.
§ MR. CARDWELL
believed he had spoken of 140,000 only as the number that could be raised if it were thought desirable. His statement was that the Returns would show that 45,000 was the number which the Government could safely say they could raise. His statement was not a comparison of the Estimates of this year and the last. What he stated was that this year the whole number of men that could be raised would be 139,000 men. The number enrolled last year was including Ireland 88,616; for the present year it was over 98,000. That was the number up to the 1st of April, and the enrolment was still going on.
§ MR. RATHBONE,
in moving the reduction of the Vote for Militia Pay and Allowances by £237,216, being the charge for the additional 40,000 men, said, his object was to oppose any increase in the number of men raised for the Militia, because he believed that in doing so they would be spending money which might be usefully employed in another way. The Estimates were no doubt prepared in time of war; but that war having ended, it seemed to him that what they had now to do was to proceed with deliberation, and re-organize the 1211 standing Army and Reserves in the most perfect form, without hurry, but at the same time without waste or delay. They ought to make up their mind, whether they meant to rely on a Militia, like the Mobiles, as in France, or on a Reserve regularly trained and passed through the standing Army, like the Landwehr in Prussia. Nobody who had listened to the speeches of the Secretary of State for War could doubt that the right hon. Gentleman placed his main reliance for obtaining effective Reserves upon men who, after undergoing a short term of service in the Regular Army, should then pass into the Reserves. If that were so, why should the right hon. Gentleman imperil the success of that important part of his scheme for the reorganization of our forces by bringing the recruiting officers of the Militia into competition with the recruiting officers of the Army, in attempting, especially at the present moment, to raise that additional 40,000 Militiamen? Another, and as it seemed to him, a very strong reason against making that addition to the Militia was, that they had no barrack accommodation for these men, who would therefore have to be billeted in public-houses, where they would very likely be made idle and drunken fellows, or rendered less fit for the industrial pursuits from which they had been temporarily taken, without being made good soldiers. He did not think they should spend money which they could ill spare, and take men whom they could not spare at all, in order merely to turn them into indifferent soldiers and into worse workmen than they were before. He therefore begged to move that the Vote for Militia Pay and Allowances be reduced by £237,216, being the amount asked for the proposed addition to that force.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £720,084, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Militia Pay and Allowances, which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1871 to the 31st day of March 1872, inclusive."—(Mr. Rathbone.)
§ MAJOR WALKER
said, he denied either that the recruiting for the Militia in any way interfered with the recruiting for the Line, or that the only result of getting these men into the Militia was to introduce among them habits of vice and intemperance. The opinion of those best acquainted with the Militia service was 1212 very different from that of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone). Gentlemen acquainted with the service had assured him—and in a recent debate the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) bore testimony to the fact—of the improvement produced in the moral and social habits of workmen by their training in the Militia. He said that they returned home from drill improved as regards cleanliness, punctuality, and smartness, and that they did not become tainted with vice and intemperance. With regard to the Vote before them, the items for the Inspecting Staff of the Reserve and for Schools of Instruction were both placed under the Vote for Militia Pay and Allowances. He thought they should be divided between the Militia Vote and the Vote for the Volunteers, because the duties of the Inspecting Staff of the Reserve concerned the Volunteers much more than the Militia; and the same remark applied to the Schools of Instruction. The schools that existed were admirable for the training of young officers; but a system of instruction was still needed for senior officers of the Reserve forces, who, however zealous they might be, were ignorant of some points of their duty—from no fault of their own, but owing to the manner in which the Militia had been isolated for years past. There was also a great, and he feared, a growing difficulty in obtaining properly trained Staff sergeants for the Militia—a matter deserving the attention of the Secretary of State.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, the object of the Vote being to improve the efficiency of the Militia, he thought it would be unwise to refuse any sum requisite to accomplish that desirable end. He rejoiced to find that it was proposed to send Militiamen into camp instead of billeting them in small towns, and that every Militia regiment would be armed with breech-loading rifles, which he trusted the right hon. Gentleman would assure the Committee should take place. He trusted that any attempt on the part of the War Office to improve the efficiency of the Militia would receive the support of the House.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he believed that the House was clearly in favour, not only of maintaining the Militia, but of maintaining it in a state of thorough efficiency. However, it was very desirable that the Committee should under- 1213 stand what the strength of the Militia would be under the Bill. When the right hon. Gentleman anticipated to have a Militia force of 139,000 men, it was right that the Committee should understand that that number included the Army Militia Reserve of 30,000 men—men who would be withdrawn from the Militia by those who would re-enter the Army—so that when, in case of emergency, the Militia would be really wanted its strength would only stand at 109,000 men. He wished to know whether the right hon. Gentleman proposed to train all the 139,000 men in the course of the present year, and for what number of days. [Mr. CARDWELL: Yes, I do.] He considered that it would be desirable to have the Militia Reserve trained with the Regular troops.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, he believed he was right in thinking that the question of the second battalions was left for future consideration. He thought hon. Members were at a disadvantage in discussing the numbers of the Militia, before they had an opportunity of discussing the principles on which that force was to be constituted. It was not only admirable as a constitutional force, but as an efficient auxiliary to the Line. There was another additional advantage connected with it, and that was that while it admitted of expansion, it also admitted of rapid contraction. He was aware that there was a per contra view of the question, and that it might be urged that as the force was only called out for a short time it would be quite unable to take the field at once, and answer the requirements of modern warfare. He therefore congratulated the Government on the proposal to call out the recruits for a longer period of service. If properly worked and efficiently trained, the Militia would be found second to no Reserve force of any country. His right hon. Friend stated on a former occasion that he wished to maintain the local connection of the Militia regiments with their respective counties; but if the Government proposed to confer in future all commands by the system of selection, and to officer the Militia regiments as much as possible by half-pay officers, it might be questioned whether there would exist the same facility as formerly of maintaining that local connection. Another question for considera- 1214 tion was whether, when the force was increased, barracks were to be built for the men. If so, who would pay the expense? It was clear that Government must abandon the hope of getting the money from the counties. He thought there might be a difficulty in the way of barracks for the Militia. That might not be so in Ireland, but in Scotland he knew there was very great difficulty with regard to barrack accommodation even for the Regulars. Might not the Militia be called out by instalments as in Switzerland, instead of the whole force being assembled at the same period of the year. He hoped this subject would be considered by the Government. It might involve expenditure, but it would lead to efficiency.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
said, he thought it unreasonable to expect that counties should provide barracks for the Militia. He believed that by calling out the Regular troops, the Militia, and perhaps the Volunteers, at the same time, and brigading them together, not only would great good be done the men, but the commanding officer would also be able to distinguish those officers who showed themselves most fit for promotion and best acquainted with their duty. He considered that, during such periods, the troops ought most decidedly to be under canvas. Billeting he strongly objected to.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON,
referring to an item in connection with the Militia Reserve, on page 32, asked for an explanation of the charge of £30,000 for 30,000 Volunteer Militia Reserve men. Last year this charge was £20,000 for 10,000 men, as against £30,000 for 30,000 men this: it seemed to him that the proposed increase in the Vote was insufficient. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would explain to the House what was the intention of the Government with regard to the total amount of the Militia. Was it the intention to raise it to 139,000 men during the present year? [Mr. CARDWELL: Yes.] Then, with regard to second battalions, it was proposed by the Bill before Parliament to take powers, but he now understood that the Government had no intention to act on them and to raise these second battalions. Was he right in the construction he put on the answer of the right hon. Gentleman? He hoped he was wrong. The Bill referred to also 1215 proposed to confer powers on counties to raise Militia barracks, but he did not think there was the slightest chance of counties exercising them. With regard to training centres he should be glad to have some further explanation from the right hon. Gentleman—though perhaps that question might be more conveniently discussed on a future occasion.
§ MR. CARDWELL,
in explanation, said, that the bounty for a Militia Reserve man was £1; he calculated this year on getting 30,000 men, and therefore he took a vote of £30,000; last year he had asked for £20,000, because he hoped to raise 20,000 men, and they succeeded in raising 19,916. With regard to second battalions, much would depend on how and where the men were raised. The Government could not tell yet whether it would be necessary to put any part of the force into second battalions. If the state of the battalion were manageable there would be no necessity to raise a second; but where the battalion was already unmanageable from its size, and if there should be a large addition, it would be necessary to form a second battalion. With respect to the strength of the Militia, he would say once more that it was the intention and hope of the Government to raise it to 139,000 men in the course of the present year. With regard to training centres, he should be happy to give all the information in his power, but it was not yet so full and definite as he could wish. The subject was a most difficult one. What they meant to do was to unite the recruiting and training of the Regulars with the recruiting and training of the Reserves under the General Officer of the district. That was the general principle on which they desired to proceed; but there was a difficulty in the matter, because the barracks throughout the country had not been arranged for the purpose. Some difficulties of detail had yet to be settled, and therefore, as yet, he was unable to bring forward any definite scheme; but the subject had been, and still was, under the most careful consideration. It was quite true that one of the peculiarities of the Militia Reserve, and a drawback he had always admitted, was that, to a certain extent, it sometimes involved you in the difficulty of counting the same men twice over; but that could be and was allowed for. The Govern- 1216 ment certainly desired to raise within the year 139,000 men altogether. In the Estimates they had provided for a larger number than they would be able to get by the time the regiments were called out; but, if so, they would train the additional recruits separately, and there were some conveniences in separate training which diminished difficulty with regard to billets, enabled the men to be kept a longer time, and trained with more pains, and admitted of more musketry practice. At all events, the financial calculations of the Government were based upon the expectation that they would be able to train 139,000 men, including officers. In answer to his hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire (Sir Edward Colebrooke) he certainly did not wish to destroy or diminish in officers the local feeling in favour of the forces to which they were attached, the absence of which would be a misfortune, and therefore he did not desire to see a predominence of military officers to the detriment of purely local officers; and he was happy to see that what had been said about uniting the Militia with the Regulars had a good effect, for a Return given him that day showed that in the three months from the 1st of January to the 1st April there had been the remarkable increase of 145 in the number of subalterns, and that increase was still going on rapidly. With regard to camps of instruction, the Government were ambitious enough to hope to be able to produce a camp for 30,000 men in the course of the autumn, and thus to try an experiment which had never been tried before, and which he could only hope would be successful, as they proposed that the camp should be a combination, not only of Regular troops of all arms in due proportion, but also Militia, Yeomanry, and Volunteers. As regarded barracks, no one was more conscious than he was of the great disadvantage of the system of billets. He had always said as much, and done his best to obviate the difficulty. The Government sent as many men to Aldershot and other places as they could find room for, and they were always ready to furnish camp equipage to those who could make arrangements to come out for training at a suitable time of year when camp equipage could be made available; but there were many who could not come out at that time of the 1217 year, and who were obliged to do so when camping was impossible. Perhaps it would be better to defer any discussion of the provisions of the Bill until they got into Committee upon it; but those provisions were certainly not intended to impose any new charge upon anybody. He fully agreed with what had been stated in Committee by an hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Walker) that the instruction of the superior officers of the Reserve forces was a matter of the greatest importance, and he should be glad if by any means he could contribute to that object, and, although he had no definite plan to submit, he was conscious of the urgency of the matter, and he would continue to give it his attention. With regard to Staff sergeants, it was part of the proposal of the Government that non-commissioned officers should be taken from the Regular Army, and for a time put into the reserved forces, so that their efficiency might be thoroughly tried, for it was important that the reserved forces should have most efficient instruction. He hoped to be able to induce the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) not to press his Amendment to a division, because in this matter he (Mr. Cardwell) did not think that in their proposals the Department over which he had the honour to preside had exceeded the expectations either of the House or the country. He did not think the objection he raised on the score of anticipated competition between the Army and the Militia was sustainable. If we began to recruit with great energy for both the Army and Militia at the same time, we should, to a certain extent, compete with ourselves; and that would not be a judicious course to adopt; but, under ordinary circumstances, there was such a difference between the two services that there were always men willing to enlist in one who would not enlist in the other. A large number of men might be willing to enlist for a Militia training, extending only over a short time, who would not be inclined to go on foreign service in the Line for a longer period. One man might prefer the Militia and another the Regulars, but that was a matter of individual predilection over which legislation could have little control. He hoped that what had been said on the subject of billets would satisfy the hon. Member that the Go- 1218 vernment were anxious to avoid crowding the Militia into objectionable and undesirable places; and he therefore hoped the hon. Member would not think it desirable to press his Motion.
§ MR. DICKINSON
complained that a Question he had put as to the contemplated peace establishment had not been answered. The point raised was whether or not a case had been made out for increasing the number of the Militia? He wished to know whether the Vote was for the Militia as constituted by the existing law, or for the Militia as it was proposed to be constituted under a change of the law; if the latter, the Vote was for a greater number than was authorized by law, and the proper course would have been to have obtained money for the additional number by means of a Supplemental Estimate. One item in the Votes offended his eye—it was that of 1d. a-day beer money, which came to nearly £150,000 for the Army, and £17,000 for the Militia; it would be better to increase the ordinary pay by 1d. a-day. It was difficult to ascertain what was the cost of a Militiaman; but, putting aside stores, he made out that it was £8 or £10 a-year, and that seemed a large sum for a month's service. No doubt, this great cost was largely due to the necessity for maintaining a large permanent Staff.
§ LORD GARLIES
said, he thought we ought to retain the present organization of the Militia, but instead of maintaining a portion of it under the title of Militia Reserve, available for foreign service with the Regular Army, we ought to have one homogeneous force. He was unable to see the propriety of having an extra Army Reserve corps between those two services, and regretted that a subject of so much importance had not been adverted to more prominently by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, and other hon. Gentlemen during the discussion.
§ MR. BATHURST
said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would exert his influence to prevent the uniforms of Militia regiments from being constantly changed. Since he had been in the Militia he recollected four different full-dress suits, three different undress suits, and four different shakos. That circumstance might be considered a matter 1219 of unimportance; but these frequent changes put the officers to considerable needless expense. Last year every officer in the regiment he was alluding to had to wear a coat without even a pocket to put a handkerchief in. Surely every coat should have a pocket capable of containing a handkerchief, a flask, and a cigar?
§ MR. CANDLISH
said, he would certainly vote for the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, not because he believed an increase in the Militia to be inexpedient in itself, but because our military forces were much in excess of the exigencies of the present time. They had got the Regular Army increased, and now the House was invited to increase the Militia, too. In recent times we had never been more secure than we were at present from the probability of war; as the two great military Powers of the Continent were now thoroughly exhausted and indisposed to enter upon a fresh conflict. He hoped the Amendment would not be pressed to a Division.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
recommended the hon. Member for Liverpool not to press his Motion to a Division, because the opinion of the Committee and of the country generally was strongly in favour of the Militia. What the country desired was a Militia properly and thoroughly organized, which could he relied upon on all occasions; and he wished to impress on the Government that they had not gone far enough in the drilling of Militia recruits. It would have been easy to arrange so that they should be called out in winter for a thorough and efficient training. To make a man a good soldier it was impossible to begin with him too soon, and winter was the time when Militia recruits could be properly trained with the least inconvenience. With respect to the efficiency of the Militia, he was at a loss to see what advantage the officers serving in the Militia were to derive from going into the Line. If, after serving two years in the Militia, they joined the Line, they would labour under the disadvantage of those who joined the Line direct, and who had the start of them by two years. With regard to recruting, it generally happened that most of the recruits for the Militia were obtained in large towns. Many excellent ones might be found in the country, but they could only be ob- 1220 tained by some other method of recruiting. He believed it would be sufficient if a man went before the surgeon of the police for the district, and after being examined before the magistrates was transferred to the Militia at the proper time. In that way, very many valuable recruits would be obtained who were lost under the present system. With respect to the men serving in the Militia Reserve, he thought it unwise on the part of the Government to do away with the inspection of that Reserve, for there were many who, if properly examined, would be found unfit for Army service. There was one other matter with regard to a Militiaman going into the Line to which he wished to call attention; and that was on going into the Militia he received a bounty, but when he went into the Line he had to re-pay it.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, he hoped the Government would not be diverted from their main object of improving the efficiency of the Army by any hasty attempt to improve the number of soldiers. What the country required was an efficient Army, full of officers and non-commissioned officers, thoroughly well trained, and able to educate the civilian portion of the population for the service. With regard to the Motion of the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) he thought it unwise for anyone who desired to improve the military service to cause a division amongst those who were aiming at efficiency. He trusted to hear some pledge from the Government that they would not hurry on any augmentation of the numbers of the Army, and that nothing would induce them to swerve from their aim at efficiency.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, he felt bound to vote with the Government and against the proposition of the hon. Member for Liverpool. The Militia and the Volunteers were pre-eminently national forces, which must be looked to for defence, and not for defiance. Their cost was comparatively very little; the country considered them as our most natural and constitutional force, and to them we must look for the protection of our homes and our coasts.
§ MR. RATHBONE
said, he disclaimed any intention of a desire to increase the standing Army. He believed that the plan of the Government would be found most effective if those who were to be brought into the Army were told exactly 1221 what was to be done with them, and if they were only taken while young for a short period. In that case there would be no difficulty in getting sufficient men, but if the right hon. Gentleman was to succeed in getting a superior class of men to those now obtained, must they not be drawn from the very class from which the Militia were drawn, and the competition, which was sought to be avoided, thus be produced? The right hon. Gentleman had said that he had done everything in his power to prevent the billeting of the Militia in public-houses; but that all the barracks were filled, billeting was obliged to be resorted to. But surely the Government would be assisted in the prevention of billeting by not granting 40,000 men to be billeted somewhere. Under all the circumstances he felt bound to press his Amendment to a Division.
§ MR. STOPFORD-SACKVILLE
wished to know what progress was being made in providing barracks for the Militia, and whether the Secretary for War intended to proceed with that clause of the Army Regulation Bill which threw the expense of those barracks upon the county rates? He also wished to know what was to be done with regard to the Militia recruits in future? Were they to be drilled at the head-quarters of the regiment, or were they to be attached to the Army and drilled with the Regular troops? And he wished also to be informed whether the Secretary of State would consent to extend the time, now limited to one month, during which allowances were paid to Militia officers in schools of instruction?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he had already stated what would be done with regard to barracks and to recruits. As to the training of Militia officers he should be happy to do anything in reason to encourage that which was a most important point. In answer to the question of the hon. and gallant Member for Dumfriesshire (Major Walker), he might say that care would be taken that on the promotion of officers a proper examination would be made, and every officer would have to be reported as fit for the place he held. As to the beer money, that was an old institution, dating from the reign of George IV. He had no wish to retain it, and it was worth considering what steps should be taken with regard to it. In reference to the training of Militia 1222 recruits, it was particularly desired to combine their training with the training of the Regular Army; and, with regard to uniforms, he should be glad to see all the uniforms of every branch of the service more assimilated than they were at present. When the Clothing Vote was brought up, however, it would be found that something had been done on the point already.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 16; Noes 92: Majority 76.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (5.) £81,700, Yeomanry Cavalry.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that last year, or the year before, the Secretary for War announced his intention of altering the constitution and character of the Yeomanry cavalry, so as to make them somewhat more like mounted rifles, which were simply infantry soldiers on horseback. The model to be followed in the alteration was the Hampshire Horse. He (Lord Elcho) had seen the Hampshire Horse inspected, and a more efficient body of men he never had seen. There were only 40 or 50 of them; but they worked across country like a field following the hounds. They went straight across country, skirmished in every direction, through woods and spinneys, mounted, and galloped for two or three miles, and then fired their rifles at an imaginary enemy; and the artillery officer who inspected them said publicly that no horse artillery could traverse a country defended by bodies of such men. It was much to be regretted that we had only a small handful of men of this description; and if the Yeomanry cavalry could be moulded into that form, and armed with the Snider breech-loading rifle, a vast improvement would be the result. Possibly the number of the Yeomany cavalry—now 16,000—might be reduced by the change; but 5,000 men of this character would be more effective than three times their number of ordinary Yeomany cavalry. He was anxious to know whether his right hon. Friend intended to persevere in his attempt to alter the constitution of the Yeomanry force.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, on public grounds alone, he was obliged to the noble Lord for calling attention to this subject; and earnestly hoped the Government would 1223 do something to carry out the scheme of mounted Rifles known by the name of Colonel Bower. That system had not succeeded in this country for this reason—it had been met by the social opposition which the Yeomanry force could bring to bear against it. So long as the cavalry system of England continued to be what it was at present the Yeomanry would ape it. Unless the cavalry system was made more elastic the Yeomanry force would not be improved. The dress of the Yeomen was, in the opinion of a competent cavalry officer, most unsuitable, and he must confess that he was ashamed of appearing in it, preferring the more sober Volunteer uniform. He trusted that the Government would not allow social considerations to prevent them from making this splendid mounted force something more of a reality than it was at present.
§ MR. BARNETT
said, he was glad a discussion on the Yeomanry had taken place; but he could not altogether agree with the remarks of his hon. Friend opposite, but approved of the suggestion of the noble Lord (Lord Elcho). The Yeomanry would be glad to have some explanations from the Government on one or two points. By the plan of last year the number of officers and men was reduced, and the Estimates were consequently reduced on that account; but the total remained the same. This was accounted for apparently by the fact that, while the saving from absentees last year was calculated at £15,000, this year it was put down at only £11,000. He inferred from this that the right hon. Gentleman expected a larger muster this year; but he was afraid that anticipation would not be fulfilled, because there was a general impression—although probably an erroneous one—that the Government wished to extinguish the Yeomanry. There was great doubt as to whether the plan of sending regiments of Yeomanry to Aldershot would succeed, and he wished to know how many regiments were expected to go there? The farmers and tradesmen who constituted the force were not accustomed to groom their own horses, and if, as he supposed, no assistance was to be given to them when in camp, there would be a difficulty in carrying out the plan of sending them to a distance from their homes. No carbines had been supplied to the regiment with which he was connected, but 1224 perhaps no application had been made for them, and, in fact, the Yeomanry wanted stirring up. It was important that they should have an opportunity of competition in shooting, and he believed that what had been described as the hunting-drill would be attractive to many of the men. Such a system might be inaugurated by sending a squadron of Regular cavalry to join a Yeomanry regiment, so that they might have the assistance of practical officers without the necessity of going into camp. The late war had shown that light cavalry might be of great service in a campaign, and in the event of an invasion the Yeomanry would have to act as the eyes and ears of the troops in this country; and therefore they should be trained to act in small bodies under efficient officers. It would be satisfactory if an arrangement might be made by which the Militia, Volunteers, and Yeomanry could meet together for exercise; and thus the country would be reconciled to the maintenance of the force. But if the Yeomanry did not show sufficient spirit to undertake the duties required of them by Government, he suspected they would have to be given up.
said, he regretted the tone in which the hon. Member for North Devonshire (Mr. Acland) had spoken of the Yeomanry. Neither the Yeomanry nor the Volunteers desired to ape the Regular forces, but were determined to do their best to maintain their efficiency. Although, in some quarters, fault was found with the Yeomanry, it had not yet been pointed out what their system of drill should be. If there was a general feeling that the Yeomanry should be dismissed, they would contentedly resign.
§ MAJOR WALKER
said, he hoped that the Secretary for War would not encourage exclusively overgrown corps of Yeomanry, but would afford encouragement for the formation of small working bodies for reconnoitring duties.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that he adhered to the view that the Yeomanry should be made more efficient for the duties of light cavalry, according to the circular which he had issued last year, and which still remained in force. As to weapons, the Westley-Richards rifle had been given to every regiment that had asked for it, and it was an exceed- 1225 ingly valuable arm. Their desire was that every regiment should ask for it.
§ LORD ELCHO
wished to know whether the system of revised-drill was being enforced; or whether there was the intention to enforce it, according to the scheme of Colonel Bower?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he did not think that the system was being enforced, and it was not easy to enforce it with a voluntary force.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £485,700, Volunteer Corps.
§ MR. STACPOOLE
proposed that the Vote should be postponed, on the ground that a Return regarding the expense of ammunition, for which he moved, should be laid on the Table. He observed that the Volunteer force was under no sort of drill, and he thought that either they should be made soldiers in name or reality, or this Vote expunged altogether.
§ MR. G. B. GREGORY
said, he hoped that the Government would give facilities for acquiring rifle ranges, and that Volunteers would be occasionally paraded with Regular corps for drill. They ought also to be instructed in the management of field guns, and in fortifying the positions they occupied. He thought the deduction of the travelling expenses of head-quarters' corps was a shabby economy.
said, that last year he was requested to bring under notice a Memorial with regard to the pay and allowances of adjutants of Volunteer corps, and he wished to know whether the Secretary for War had taken that paper into consideration according to his promise? There was a Vote of £10,000 for large camps for military instruction, and he wished to know whether that referred to the expense of brigading the Volunteer force with troops of the Line in the way in which the right hon. Gentleman announced in bringing in the Army Regulation Bill. As regarded the grant for Volunteer officers at Schools of Instruction, he trusted that attendance at such schools would be made compulsory, and that the instruction given, and the certificates awarded, would be bonâ fide in character. Many Volunteer officers had held rank in the Regular Army and might be excused from passing through those Schools of Instruction, but the respect of the men could be obtained by the officers only if the latter 1226 made themselves thoroughly competent. He thought that the greatest good had been done by allowing Volunteer officers to attend Schools of Instruction and obtain certificates. Upon the mode of conducting these Schools of Instruction would depend the efficiency of Volunteer officers, and if they were properly conducted the country would have some guarantee that Volunteer officers knew something and were worthy of confidence. His experience was that at present they were conducted in a most efficient manner, but he strongly advised that the attendance should be compulsory as a condition of officers retaining their commissions. He did not mean that officers of Volunteers who had attained high rank in the Regular Army should be compelled to attend. There was £2,600 for medical attendance upon the permanent Staff, and he wished to know upon what condition medical attendance could be obtained? His own sergeant-major, when ill of consumption, had had no such attendance. [Mr. CARDWELL explained that it was a new Vote.] He was glad that it had been placed upon the Estimates. His right hon. Friend had promised in his speech on the Organization Bill that the Volunteers should be properly organized; and added that they were not at present worthy to stand among the defending forces of the country. He (Viscount Bury) fully agreed that, as at present constituted, the force was not what it ought to be, nor fit to take its place in the defensive force of the country. He called upon the right hon. Gentleman to fulfil his pledge, and say what he intended to do to make the Volunteer force really efficient. As a Volunteer of 10 or 11 years standing, he maintained that anything that the authorities called upon the Volunteers to do they would do. They would submit to any necessary discipline, and take any amount of trouble, provided only that the authorities would, assure them that it was only at that price that their efficiency could be obtained. But to place the Volunteer and the Volunteer officer in the position in which they were now placed, and to give the officer no authothority to call out his men for drill, and then to abuse the force for not being efficiently drilled, was to begin at the wrong end. The Volunteer force could not help being improperly organized, because it was the duty of the authorities 1227 to organize it. If Government adopted that public expedient of putting the Volunteers under the Mutiny Act, the force might as well be disbanded this moment. Suppose that on Easter Monday the Mutiny Act had been in force, it was equivalent to taking the willing men and placing upon them a burden heavier than they already voluntarily bore. What was wanted was, not to put the willing men, who came forward as those Voluteers did who went to Brighton on Easter Monday, under the Mutiny Act, but to bring out those who were unwilling, to put the screw upon them, and give the commanding officer power to call out every man a certain number of days every year. The Mutiny Act only referred to a want of discipline, and it was not in discipline that the Volunteers failed. During the last 10 years an average of 170,000 Volunteers had been under arms; and except on two occasions, at Windsor and elsewhere, he had never heard of any instances of insubordination on the part of any portion of the force. Therefore, the Mutiny Act was not warranted by experience, and would not help the right hon. Gentleman in the future. What was really wanted was to give the Volunteer officers, or the inspectors of the military districts, the power, on certain days during the year, of calling out all the men under their command. [Lord ELCHO: How?] That was for the Government to find out. If Government said it could organize the force, then it was Government's duty to find the machinery for doing so. If the Volunteers refused to submit, then would be the time to say that the Volunteer Vote ought to be expunged from the Estimates, but he believed the Volunteers would not refuse anything that would make them an efficient part of the force of this country. If the force was put under the Mutiny Act for the day then Government would require to pay it for the day as it paid the Regular soldiers.
§ COLONEL C. H. LINDSAY
said, it appeared to him that the more that was spoken and written about the Volunteer service, the more its constitution and position were misunderstood. Now, a great deal had, from time to time, been said about the organization of the Volunteer service—meaning that a great deal more should be effected before it was thoroughly organized for service. 1228 He was one of those who considered that the Volunteer service could not be more organized and more efficient than it was, under the peculiar circumstances of its constitution and obligations. He contended that the Government could not organize the service beyond the line at which it had for some years reached. It had to be borne in mind that the Volunteer service was an independent citizen institution, raised by the wish of the people, and gladly accepted by the Government of the day; that it was raised for one object, and one object alone—namely, as an auxiliary force to the Army in case of invasion, and that it was accepted without any special conditions, or expectations that it would become, in any prominent manner, proficient in military merits. It had, however, surpassed the calculations of its severest critics, and there could not be a doubt in the minds—if unprejudiced minds—that, when it was required for service, it would be found to be ready to carry out the object for which it was called into existence. It ought also to be borne in mind, and clearly understood, that it could not be interfered with by any undue Government pressure, beyond what commanding officers could enforce or recommend, without serious prejudice to the existing establishments; and that, when the crisis of invasion was at hand, it became, by Act of Parliament, the property of the State, as an embodied arm of the service, and therefore amenable to the rigid rules of discipline. He considered that after 11 years had passed over the heads of the Volunteers, and after all the exertions and devotion of time and money to the cause on the part of commanding officers and the members of corps, it was ridiculous that there should be a sort of independent fire kept up against it, which was unjust and unworthy of a great nation. The Volunteer service had fully acted up to its professions and obligations as far as it possibly could, on its own account. It was armed, drilled, and disciplined; and he did not think that its most unsparing critics could take exception to the manner in which it had realized those results. He asked again—How could the Volunteer service be further organized? Practising and brigading with the Regular forces was very important; but it was no advance in the way of real organization, in the strict 1229 military sense of such a term; and, as it was worked up to the extreme limit of self-realized proficiency in the necessary requirements of an unpaid armed force, there could be no actual progress made until such time when the emergency alluded to was at hand, and then it would be ready and glad to receive that complete organization which actual service in the field, and military discipline demanded; until then it could not be rendered more efficient or more organized than it was now. There was no use, therefore, in worrying the question. The Government had not the power to, what was called, organize this citizen service beyond its present condition. With respect to the intention of placing the Volunteers under the Mutiny Act, when brigaded with the Regulars and the Militia, he considered that such a step on the part of the Government would do more to break up the service than anything else. He looked upon such action as a positive insult to the whole Volunteer service; and it really seemed as if the object of the Government, together with that and other pressures, was to get rid of it altogether. If it did entertain that wish, why did it not say so at once. He had the honour to command a regiment, half of whose members were master tradesmen of the West-end of London, and he ventured to say that if the Mutiny Act was to be enforced on the occasion alluded to, one-half of his regiment would resign, and the other half would speedily follow; for it was idle to suppose that such men would, on principle, serve if they were to be placed under the Mutiny Act, and be subject to the pains and penalties which attached to the misdemeanour of a private soldier, although they would never come under the powers of the Act. He was at a loss to know why such an idea should have entered the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, especially as he must have known that a commanding officer of Volunteers had more power over insubordination than the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War put together. He could not understand why such an insult should have been contemplated when there had been no occasion for it. The discipline of the service had rarely been at fault during the 11 years of its existence; but, when it had, the commanding officer had dealt with it according to his judgment and power, by dismissing the offender at 1230 once—a power which he considered most desirable should be possessed; and he was not aware that such power had ever been abused, and that, when it was exerted, the result was approved of by the whole regiment. He also remarked that by placing the Volunteers under the Mutiny Act on any occasion in time of peace, it deprived the commanding officer of his power and authority over his men, which it was most desirable he should possess and maintain. The Government could not apply the Mutiny Act without prejudicing the service, and it could not enforce attendance at drill, and penalties without reducing the existing establishments. The commanding officer was responsible for the condition of his regiment; and he repeated that he was not aware that his power over insubordination had ever been abused, and that, when he had exerted it, the result had been generally approved of by the whole regiment—namely, the dismissal of the member from the corps. [Sir DAVID SALOMONS: Then he would join another corps.] That was fully provided for if the rules of regiments were properly attended to, in which case he could not join another corps. He remarked that one of the most important arrangements that had been made was the opportunities now offered for the instruction of the officers and sergeants. The service ought to be, and was, indebted to the Government for this; for, hitherto, the officers had no means of gaining the necessary proficiency. The officers of the Volunteer service had been continually sneered at as useless; but it was not their fault that they should be comparatively ignorant. But he thought the right hon. Gentleman might feel much gratified at the result of the attendance at the Schools of Instruction, as it proved that the metal was good, and only required to be tempered and welded into shape. He was not going into the worn out question of the capitation grant, as he considered it dead and buried; but he regretted the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State got rid of the controversy on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman decided upon what he called an extra allowance to certificated officers and sergeants, which would be equivalent to 5s. a - head throughout the service. Now, he made his calculations upon a false issue, and, in saying so he meant that he had 1231 based his calculations upon the completed establishment of the officers, and upon five sergeants per company, whereas, on analysis, the establishments of officers were only a little more than half complete, and there were never more than four sergeants per company; so that the result would be, supposing every officer and sergeant to receive the certificate, the extra capitation grant would not exceed 3s. per head. He acknowledged, however, the opportunities for instruction; but there was little or no instruction afforded to the service by the attendance at the Reviews under the military authorities—for instance, take the Brighton Review last week—the Volunteers were left entirely in the lurch as far as instruction was concerned. There was nothing done or explained to exemplify real service in the field; 26 corps were on the ground, and there was no field telegraph, or any other machinery applicable to war, which could give the slightest insight or interest to the Volunteers assembled. He said the last Brighton Review was an example of what the Government did not do when they had the opportunity, and there never was a more complete failure, as far as any interest or excitement were concerned. The first and second divisions were kept for two long hours after they had sweated up the hills above Brighton—and the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. White) knew what the character of those hills were—before there was a single shot fired. He wanted to know why that was? There was not, he felt convinced, a Volunteer who went to the Review at Brighton that day but was disgusted with the whole arrangement; for there was no instruction, and great delay. Now, it must be borne in mind that the Volunteer service had thus far fulfilled its mission, and continued to do so as far as it was possible to do of itself; and he maintained that it was an error on the part of many leading journals to expect a different state of things until necessity required it. Now, if the Volunteer service was still approved of by the country and the House, well and good; but, if not, the sooner the key-note of its dismissal was sounded through the country the better; and whatever might be the result of the blast, let there be an end of the snarlings that had been so constantly going on. He was, no doubt, in common with many other commanding officers, prepared to abide by the feeling 1232 of the country, and he was ready and willing, in common with others, to continue to devote his energies to maintain the condition of the service; or, if it was the wish of the country that the service should cease to exist, he would be equally ready to resign the trust that had been reposed in him, and consign it to oblivion.
§ MR. A. JOHNSTON
said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would re-consider his determination to reduce the grant to Volunteers who did not make themselves extra-efficient. It would be better if, instead of confining their attention altogether to shooting, the Volunteers would practice the use of the bayonet a little.
§ COLONEL BERESFORD
said, he wished to remind the House that in 1864, when the Volunteer force was in extremis for want of funds, the Government of Lord Palmerston came forward to their aid, and proposed a grant of 20s. for effectives, and 10s. for non-effectives. During the last four years the Volunteers had been compelled to go to the War Office, in formâ pauperis, for further assistance; and the result was, an offer from the Secretary of State for War of 5s. per head, to be paid on certain conditions. But this offer was hedged round with so many difficulties it was impossible to earn it. In the first place, the onus of earning it was thrown upon six men of each company of 60—namely, upon the three company officers and the three sergeants who, on obtaining certificates for a certain knowledge of drill, earned for their regiment £2 10s. each; in other words, 5s. per man for the whole 60. What, however, was the case in his (Colonel Beresford's) regiment? He had only eight company officers, in lieu of 18 he was entitled, to, for his establishment of six companies; consequently, £25 could not be earned in respect of the 10 vacant commissions. Again, officers were compelled to attend every drill of the regiment they might be attached to, and a large number of officers were debarred doing so by their professional or business engagements; and though such officers were anxious to obtain certificates by attending drill twice or thrice a-week during two months, the War Office refused to allow them to do so. The Secretary of State in March, 1869, sent out forms to the commanding officers of corps requiring the particulars of expenses, under cer- 1233 tain heads, for the previous five years. Having taken till July, in 1870, to consider the Returns, he had come forward with the offer of 5s. per head, in spite of the Returns obtained in the most impartial manner by a committee of metropolitan commanding officers, between three and four years ago, showing that a minimum addition of £1 per man was required. As to his own regiment, which had only been able to exist by earning nearly 100 per cent of the grant of 1864, it had, under the auspices of the War Office, been reduced in numbers from 537 to 435 in 1868, by 80 more in 1869, and on the 1st December, 1870, he had only 360 men left of all ranks, simply because he had no funds for recruiting. Recruits would not find their uniforms. The Government had laid great stress upon the effort which they were now making; but he confessed that it reminded him of the ancient line "Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus."
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
said, he was of opinion that the proposition to subject Volunteers to the operation of the Mutiny Act was an extraordinary and mischievous proposition. Only two instances were known of insubordination of Volunteers under arms, which the noble Lord opposite (Viscount Bury) had previously mentioned. With all respect to Volunteers, he thought that was attributable to the fact that Volunteers had been commanded by judicious men, who knew they were dealing with half-disciplined troops and did not attempt to enforce such discipline as would be expected from Regular troops. If they attempted to enforce the Mutiny Act upon Volunteers, they would break up the force; and if they placed them under the Act and did not enforce it, that non-enforcement would have a prejudicial effect upon the Army.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
said, that in the last Parliament the hon. and gallant Member for Ennis (Captain Stacpoole) brought in a measure relating to little dogs in Ireland; but now he flew at higher game, he wished to abolish Volunteers in England and Scotland because he had no Volunteers in Ireland. He (Colonel Barttelot) hoped to see the system extended to Ireland, and that his hon. Friend might become captain-commandant of the Ennis corps. He (Colonel 1234 Barttelot) differed from his hon. and gallant Friend below him (Colonel C. H. Lindsay), and thought that when Volunteers were called out with the Regular troops and Militia they ought to be subjected to the same discipline as the Regular troops and the Militia. He had consulted men in the battalion of Volunteers that he had the honour to command, with reference to the application of the Mutiny Act to Volunteers, and they were of opinion that good Volunteers had nothing to fear under the Mutiny Act. Therefore, on the part of his battalion, he was prepared to submit to the law which the Government wished to impose upon Volunteers. Whether called by the name of Volunteers, or of local Militia, he believed they would all do their duty. He was not prepared to incur any expense to go into a camp of instruction. He believed that nothing would be more conducive to the efficiency of the Volunteer corps than the brigading of them for some consecutive days with the Regular troops and the Militia. But if the Volunteers were to receive camp instruction, the country, and not the Volunteers, should pay the entire cost of the camps for that purpose.
§ CAPTAIN STACPOOLE
said, what he maintained with respect to the Volunteers was, that whenever they wore the Queen's uniform they should be under the Mutiny Act. He denied that he brought in a Dog Bill a few years ago. It was his right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), then Chief Secretary for Ireland, who brought it in.
§ COLONEL WILMOT
said, his experience of the Volunteers, as commander of one of the largest Volunteer corps in England, led him to believe they would cordially accept the Mutiny Act, if the right hon. Gentleman thought it would conduce to the efficiency of the service. He did not see, however, how it could be enforced. If, when a regiment was about to march out of camp, a man was to be sentenced to three days' confinement, were the rest of the men to be detained until the sentence was undergone? He had treated the Volunteers under his command with a strictness of discipline which he would be slow to enforce against his own company in the Line, and he had never met with, an angry look from them. He had the most implicit confidence in his men, and 1235 in their disposition to observe the most perfect discipline. During the whole tenour of his command, only one man had been dismissed, and that was for falling out on the line of march. In fact, the commanding officers of Volunteers might apply to their men a discipline which no officer in the Line would enforce.
§ MR. A. EGERTON
said, it was his firm belief, as far as the Lancashire Volunteers were concerned, that they would not have the least objection to be placed under the Mutiny Act. The general opinion among them was that it would very much improve the character of the force. In his opinion the discipline of the Yeomanry was better than that of the Volunteers, and he attributed that simply to the fact that the Yeomanry were under the Mutiny Act. It happened from time to time that a few cases of drunkenness occurred among the Yeomanry when called out, and the offenders were locked up in the police courts. It would be perfectly easy to deal with offenders among the Volunteers in like manner. He begged to suggest that there should be two annual muster-days for the Volunteers, when all should be required to attend; as it was very desirable, both for the men themselves and their commanding officers, that the latter should be able to see the whole regiment more frequently than at present.
§ MR. BUXTON
observed, that the true moral of the late war seemed to be not so much that discipline was wanted, as men of noble and high spirit, and he was persuaded that in no Army that ever existed would there be found a nobler and more patriotic spirit than that which animated the Volunteers of England. There was nothing more remarkable in the history of the Volunteers than the implicit obedience which they showed to those who were placed over them. The occurrence at Windsor Bridge, a couple of years ago, was a rare exception. It had been made a great deal of; but in that case many of the men had marched eight or ten hours in exceedingly hot weather without anything to drink, or any provision being made to supply the need, and no proper arrangements had been made by the authorities to assist them in returning home from the railway station. In case of need, he had no doubt that the Volunteers would be per- 1236 fectly ready to drill day and night, and to accept any restraint that might be thought necessary. They would then be a most powerful force, and would exhibit the same kind of spirit which had animated the German Army. He only regretted that the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman was so little calculated to supply the needful equipment and organization.
§ LORD ELCHO
suggested that the discussion more properly related to matters which should be considered in dealing with the Army Regulation Bill. He had asked for the Returns of the cases of insubordination which had occurred since the commencement of the Volunteer movement, and he trusted that those Returns would be furnished before the discussion of this question, as to the placing the Volunteer force under the Mutiny Act, was gone into.
THE EARL OF YARMOUTH,
as the officer who took the order from the General at Windsor on the occasion which had that evening been referred to, thought it but fair to state that it was the commanding officer of the corps who disobeyed the order, and not the corps itself. The commanding officer distinctly refused to obey the order; but the refusal did not come from the corps, for it was not communicated to it.
§ MR. DENMAN
said, they had heard a good deal from Volunteer officers respecting the application of the Mutiny Act; perhaps they might like to hear something on the subject from the privates. As a Volunteer who had served for five or six years very diligently in the ranks of the Queen's Westminsters, he thought that great mischief would result if anything were done which tended to un-volunteer the Volunteers. Under a somewhat stricter discipline, they might, no doubt, be made more efficient; but care must also be taken, that by too great strictness in the requirements the men were not driven to resign and prevented from joining. The utility of the force was not to be judged by the numbers in it at any one time, because the personnel was continually changing, and the movement had been the means of teaching drill to a large portion of the population, who might be no longer connected with the movement, but whose services could in moments of exigency be relied upon as a Reserve. He knew, from his own experience, that six years after the formation of the 1237 company to which he himself belonged, he was almost the only original member that was still in the ranks, though the strength and efficiency of the company had been fully maintained.
§ MR. LIDDELL
desired to learn whether there were any regulations at the War Office providing for the periodical inspection of the arms and munitions of Volunteers; and whether the number of arms, if there were such Returns, used by Volunteers corresponded with the number originally issued, and what was their condition?
§ MR. HAMBRO
protested against the notion that the Government were to expect to find in the Volunteers a cheap and efficient Army, and at the same time to leave the Volunteers to bear all the expense of their equipment, and other requisites.
§ MR. CARDWELL,
in reference to the proposal to place the Volunteers under the Mutiny Act, expressed his regret that it should have been spoken of as an "insult" to them. That was never intended. Nobody had a greater respect for them and for the great sacrifices they made for their country than the Government, who fully acknowledged them; but in the case of such large bodies 30,000 men being called out, it was necessary that some sufficient powers should be placed in the hands of the general officer commanding to preserve discipline. In regard to the calling out of the privates, it must be remembered that the question to be borne in mind was, would they come. If they imposed rules that were too stringent, the effect to be feared was, that instead of inducing the Volunteers to come out, they might provoke them into resigning. With regard to the rules that would apply in the military Schools of Instruction, they had been prepared, after the greatest consideration. When hon. Members complained that the Government did not organize the Volunteers, while they were really endeavouring to organize them as far as it was in their power to do so, it should be remembered that there was no little practical difficulty in applying all their rules at once with perfect stringency to that force, and the Government must be allowed to meet that practical difficulty in a patient and a tentative but persevering manner. It had been remarked that pressure had been put upon the Volunteers; but look- 1238 ing at the Estimates, he found that the pressure was really an increase of £73,000 in the Vote, exclusive of £8,000 for travelling expenses, transferred to another Vote. All the Reserve force was being put under one command, and one result he hoped would be that the permanent Staff would be more useful than it had hitherto been. As to the suggestion that when called out on brigade drill every man should receive 1s. a-day, the proposal was one which had already been provided for in the present Estimates by taking a sum of £10,000 for the purpose.
§ MR. ACLAND
said, he believed that the ordinary expense of a Volunteer going into camp for a week would be £1; and that the right hon. Gentleman was wrong in supposing that 1s. a-day would cover the expenses to which the officers would be put. He thought the allowance was not sufficient.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £129,200, Army Reserve Force.
§ MR. DICKINSON
asked for an explanation respecting the cost of training 9,000 men, and the principle on which they were paid. The length of service should be stated. It appeared to him that the best way would, be to pay the men for the time they were out.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he thought that in future it would not be right to allow men to leave the Army for the Army of Reserve after three years' service only, unless it was declared that no man should enter the Army under 20 years of age, and he was also of opinion that care should be taken for providing, when a man left the Army, that there should be another man to take his place. He understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that means had been adopted to ascertain how many men in the Regular Army would accept the terms when offered them for joining the Reserve.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that in the Bill he had framed clauses giving a power 1239 to deal with the Reserve from time to time as exigencies might require. He thought that these were matters of detail which could better be discussed on the consideration of that Bill. With regard to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Dickinson), he observed that it was necessary for the success of a system of Reserve that the men should not be too much disturbed in their civil occupations, or they would entertain the apprehension of losing them altogether. He thought it better to pay the Reserve men by a pay of 4d. per day, in order that they might be in contact with the paymaster, and that the Government might really know what men they had.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
referred to a letter which appeared in The Times a few days ago signed by a commanding officer, describing the Government plan for forming an Army of Reserve, and expressing a hope that Mr. Cardwell would take warning before it was too late, or the country would get an Army of Reserve at the cost of the Regular Army.
§ MR. CARDWELL
put it to the House whether writing an anonymous letter was the best mode for a commanding officer, if he were one, to adopt for the purpose of making his sentiments known; and was sorry the hon. and gallant Gentleman had given encouragement to the proceeding by quoting the letter. What had been done with respect to the Army of Reserve was to send round a circular to ascertain how many men of three years' standing would be likely to join the Reserve, and the answers had been very satisfactory. He had not yet received a statistical report, but he was informed by the Adjutant General's Department that the number who had signified their willingness to join was 3,000 or 4,000.
§ LORD ELCHO
inquired whether it was intended to let men go before efficient recruits were provided to supply their places?
§ MR. CARDWELL
replied that this was a question of putting the cart before the horse. He should make the vacancy before filling it up.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;
§ Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.