§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £45,300, Divine Service.
§ (2.) £26,400, Martial Law.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
wished to know whether the office of Judge Advocate General had been abolished; and, if not, what salary was attached to it, as the item in the Estimates was for £1,000?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, the question of filling up the permanent office of Judge Advocate General was being reconsidered. The salary attached to the temporary office was £500 a-year.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £247,700, Medical Establishments, &c.
§ DR. BREWER
wished to know what steps had been taken for introducing an improved system of dentistry into the medical service of the Army?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that all Army surgeons were required to have some knowledge of dentistry; but it would be very undesirable to draw away their attention from other matters in order to devote their minds to the study of dentistry.
asked if any means had been taken to improve the flow of promotion in the medical service? Great disheartenment had been caused to many of the junior Army surgeons from the slow rate at which promotion went on.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that, no doubt the large additions made to the Army Medical Department after the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, much retarded promotion; but he might say that the whole subject was under the consideration of the War Office, with a view to see what it was most right to do in the matter, with a due regard to all existing interests.
§ Vote agreed to.
(4.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £963,300, 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 1872 to the 31st day of March 1873, inclusive.
§ MR. HOLMS
said, he must protest againt the Vote being proceeded with, as well as that for Public Buildings, until 109 the question of raising the £3,500,000 which, would be required for the Military Forces Localization Bill had been discussed. If, however, the Government would not assent to withdraw the Vote altogether, he should like to see a reduction made to the extent of 5,000 men; for, before those additional 5,000 men were voted, it would be well to see of what practical use their services were likely to be to us in the event of invasion. He had put questions to military men, from the highest to the lowest rank, on that point. He had asked them—"Suppose an enemy were to land on our shores, would you send the Militia to face them?" The reply was—"Certainly not." "Would you do so as a dernier resort?" All said—"No." "Would you brigade them with the Regulars?" On that point a writer in Blackwood, who in his opinion displayed great judgment, said—When you mix in the same brigade regiments in a totally different state of drill and discipline, the consequence is inefficiency, and you commit an act of injustice to both. If you chain a man and a child together, you will diminish the efficiency of each in his own sphere,The brigading together of the Militia and the Regular Troops was then clearly not to be thought of. He would therefore ask the House to pause before they voted 5,000 additional men for the Militia. His Royal Highness Commanding-in-Chief, in making his Report on the Autumn Manœuvres last year, stated that considerable changes and modifications were, in his opinion, desirable in the case of the Militia, and that it was impossible, unless they were kept out for more than a month at a time, that they could be properly drilled; and at the same time His Royal Highness stated that it was impossible and undesirable to sever the men from their civil occupations. Practically, then, the Force was thought to be valueless, without certain changes which it was found impossible to carry into effect. There had been a set of questions sent out to the officers of Militia regiments in March, 1870, and they were asked whether if recruits were drilled for three or six months after their enrolment, it would have an injurious effect on recruiting for the Militia. Seventy-eight commanding officers replied that it would; 68 answered "No;" and 10 said it was doubtful. It was then 110 pretty clear that we could not maintain in this country a Militia Force and compel them to go out for drill for three or six months. It was contended that we had been complimented by foreign officers on the way in which the Autumn Manœuvres had been gone through. Those foreign generals, however, only complimented the troops engaged in those Manœuvres in a modified form, for, while admitting the excellence of the Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery, they added that this country ought not to trust to the Militia. As the Militia Force was composed of men from 16 to 35 years of age, the maintenance of that force was detrimental in this respect, that it kept those men from joining the Regular Army. It had also been recently observed by the hon. Member for Norfolk that a Militiaman who had a wife and family left them chargeable to the parish on undertaking his duties in the Militia, and the family almost invariably received outdoor relief. Consequently, there would naturally be felt no desire on the part of that class of the population to enter the Army at all. He believed that recruiting for the Army was at the present time almost at a stand still, and that we were still short of 1,000 gunners for the Artillery. The proposal of the Government to raise the number of men for the Militia to 139,000 was a mistaken policy, as it was withdrawing those men who would otherwise fill up the vacancies in the Line. Switzerland, which had hitherto in reality depended for its defence upon a Militia, had departed from that system, and desired now to have a regular and standing Army. They would shortly be asked to vote £3,500,000 to carry out the scheme of Army organization proposed by the Government, which, although received at first with something like approval, had become less and less liked by the public the more it had been discussed. The reason why that scheme had not improved upon acquaintance was, that, like many other things in this world, it had hardly carried out that which it professed. It proposed at first to give localization to our troops, to bring the Reserves in close connection with the Regular Army, and to do away with billeting. But what had become of the localization of the troops? Why, they were now told that the word "localization" was not to be understood in its ordinary sense in this case. They were 111 to have under 300 men, one-half of them new recruits, at particular localities, from which when they were ready, they would be drafted to their own regiment; but that was not the localization the country expected. Neither had the Government given those combinations which were anticipated to result in permanent corps d'armée; while as regarded the Reserve Force being in systematic connection with the Army there was nothing of the kind to be found in the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) recently hailed with delight the announcement that billeting was to be abolished, but he forgot that it was proposed to expend £255,680 in the erection of barracks for the Militia. Taking the estimate of those acquainted with infirmaries, each bed cost £70, which would only represent about 3,600 extra beds. That would only be the beginning of a much-increased expenditure, for the counties where depôt centres were not proposed to be established, would naturally wish to be as well off as their neighbours in respect of this accommodation. He would therefore ask the right hon. Gentleman if he were really determined to have a system of short service and a large Reserve; for if so there could be no necessity for going on with these buildings? At present there was barrack accommodation for 137,000 soldiers, and the new barracks would be equal to providing for 17,000 or 18,000 more. Now he submitted that with a large Reserve there was no occasion for erecting more barracks, for if they allowed a large number of soldiers to go into the Reserve, their barrack accommodation would be more than sufficient. In that case, he should like to know whether the Government really intended to go on increasing their Reserve Force. If so, why should they ask for an increase in the Militia? He would now only move that the Vote be reduced by £8,043, being the pay for 5,000 privates; the other points he had raised would follow the decision come to on that Motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £955,257, 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 1872 to the 31st day of March 1873, inclusive."—(Mr. Holms.)
§ COLONEL CORBETT
said, that he could not concur in the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hackney as to the inutility of the Militia; and he thought it ridiculous to suppose that troops drilled so short a time as they were could be efficient, or able to take their place in line of battle. But that did not necessarily detract from the utility of the Force. He hoped more time would be given for drilling the men when first enrolled, for it was of the utmost importance to have them thoroughly grounded in the rudiments of drill. He hoped the necessary steps, therefore, would be taken without delay to get possession of the land for depôt centres, for if notice were not given before Michaelmas, operations could not be commenced before Lady Day, 1874. He altogether denied that the Militia interfered with the recruiting for the Army; from many years' experience he could say the very reverse was the fact.
COLONEL LOYD LINDSAY
said, the deprecatory remarks made by the foreign officers who attended the Autumn Manœuvres had reference to the metropolitan, and not to the provincial Militia, and there was a great difference between the two as to the conditions under which each was drawn from the population of the country. In each county the adjutant had the most stringent instructions to acquaint himself with each man's place of abode and character; and if a man changed his residence he was transferred from the regiment of one county to that of another; but the men who formed the metropolitan corps were drawn from a floating population of many hundred thousands; and in the metropolis it was impossible to carry out any such instructions, the men being here to-day and away, no one knew where, to-morrow. Personally, he felt the greatest pain at what he saw of the metropolitan corps at the Autumn Manœuvres. The division to which he was attached, the 2nd, contained three metropolitan regiments, the 1st and 2nd Tower Hamlets and the 3rd Surrey. In the case of the 1st Tower Hamlets, the enrolled strength was 795, and the parade state 265; in that of the 2nd, the enrolled strength was 896, and the parade state 570; and in the 3rd Surrey, the enrolled strength was 803, and the parade state 526. In the three regiments, therefore, there was an enrolled 113 strength of 2,494, and a parade state of 1,361; so that 1,133, or nearly one-half of the force was not available for service. From a Paper upon the training of the Militia which had been issued by the Secretary of State for War, it appeared that in the case of the 2nd Tower Hamlets Militia, 308 were absent from training, and of that number 191 were absent without leave. Now, on any particular day a man might be absent by accident; but to be absent from a whole training was nothing less than desertion. The 3rd Middlesex had 333 men absent without leave. Throughout the whole Militia, 8,144 out of 84,738, or 10 per cent, were absent without leave. Of course, it was well known that a Militiaman cost £10, while a Volunteer cost £2; and while he thought the services of the county Militia well worth having, he could not apply the same remark to the metropolitan corps, which were composed of men upon whom we could not rely. It was equally well known that at the Autumn Manœuvres the goods and chattels of contiguous regiments had to be closely watched; and on one occasion an officer of the Guards had to bring up his regiment to get a metropolitan regiment into a state of discipline, the name of which he would tell the right hon. Gentleman privately, if he desired it. He mentioned that because it affected a question of principle—whether we should continue to draw Militia from the metropolitan districts. The Duke of Cambridge, in his Report, said the physique of the men left much to be desired; that most of them were young—mere boys—requiring much care and attention to bring them to maturity as regards strength and general stamina, and, consequently, hardly equal to severe exertions; and it must be remembered that he saw the picked men of the corps, when half the men had been weeded out by the commanding officers because of their physical unfitness for service.
said, he thought that was neither the time, nor had he any inclination to discuss the merits of the principles on which the Militia was established; and although he was no party to the new scheme of the Secretary of State for War, yet, as it had been passed by Parliament and received by the country, he would do all he could to carry it out. One might suppose from 114 what was said that the Militia had never served the country except at the Autumn Manœuvres; but it must be remembered that the Militia had borne their part in the history of the country. In 1852, when the Militia Bill was before the other House, the Duke of Wellington spoke very highly of the services of the Militia in the Peninsula, and more especially of the Militia regiments that fought at Waterloo. During the Crimean War, too, the Militia furnished us with 32,000 men to garrison the Mediterranean fortresses, and thus took the place of those that were called into active service; and such was the difference between training for 21 days and training when embodied for service, that the Militia at Aldershot or Gibraltar could not have been distinguished from the Regulars except by the colour of their lace. He believed, however, with the hon. Member for Hackney, that it was a mistake to send the Militia to the Autumn Manœuvres, for it was impossible for them, ill-equipped and short of officers, short also of non-commissioned officers as they were, to compete with the Line. With regard to the recruiting, it could not be expected that much could be done in that way during hay and harvest time; but he might state that in his district there had been three or four times as many applications to enter the Militia Reserve as the Secretary of State required. He believed that there were 30,000 men ready for duty, if their services were required; and now, by a recent Order, men of one year's service were encouraged to enter the Line, although it favoured something of the principle of robbing Peter to pay Paul. He regretted to hear that the Militia, at the last Autumn Manœuvres, had not kept up that high character which they had done when their services were required; but it could not be expected that men should become soldiers by instinct; they required longer training to make them more efficient. He was quite satisfied that, if the Militia only had fair play, and the opportunity of gaining experience, they would not disgrace the uniform they wore.
§ COLONEL RUGGLES-BRISE
said, he was afraid from the observations which had fallen from the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Holms) with respect to to the Militia, that he derived his knowledge of the Force from Hackney alone, 115 or at any rate, from the metropolitan regiments only. He believed that from the close of the Crimean War until the right hon. Gentleman opposite came into office the Militia generally found no favour at the hands of successive Governments, and while other Reserve Forces were petted, the Militia were thrown into the shade. If they had had proper opportunities they would be now more efficient than they were. But since the right hon. Gentleman had come into office, he was speaking the opinion of every Militia officer when he said that they were under great obligations to him for having taken the Militia by the hand. The improvements which the right hon. Gentleman had made and the facilities which he had given had very much tended to the increased efficiency of the Force. There was one thing to which he wished to direct the right hon. Gentleman's attention, and that was with regard to recruiting. He thought it was an erroneous policy not to take men when you could get them, or to limit the recruiting to any period of the year. He was not sure that the proposed arrangements as to military centres would be as popular with the Militia as it was supposed, and if too stringent a supervision was exercised, the Force would lose in popularity, and men would not be very much inclined to enlist. Though he did not stand up for the billeting system, still he thought that where billets could be had in private lodgings no injury could be done to the men. It was a great mistake to reject men who wished to be admitted to the Militia Reserve. They were the cheapest men that could be got. It had been said in the course of the debate, that the Militiaman cost £10 a-year, while the Volunteer cost but £2. But the Militia Reserve man cost only £1 a-year, and 30,000 Militia Reserve men at £30,000 would—without making any invidious comparisons, be a very efficient force and very well worth the money. In his own regiment, for instance, 180 men had offered to join the Militia Reserve, but only 80 of them had been accepted by the military authorities.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
said, the Militia in the war with France were stated by the Military authorities of that time to be as efficient as men of the Line, and he was satisfied that they only wanted the advantages of the Regular 116 Army to enable them to regain that reputation.
§ COLONEL WILSON-PATTEN
said, he agreed with his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bedfordshire that this was not the occasion to discuss the principles on which the Militia should be established. That had been settled in a previous Session. If it were the occasion, he might make some suggestions to make the Militia more effective. He thought the hon. Member for Hackney must have had little experience of the Militia from the manner in which he had spoken of it. No doubt their inefficiency during the last Autumn Manœuvres arose from the manner in which they were sent into the field, and from not having had a sufficient amount of drill. He was glad to find that the Secretary of State for War had this year taken the precaution of not sending out any Militia regiment to the Manœuvres unless it had received a month's immediately previous drill, and he had no doubt that they would be found much more efficient than the hon. Member for Hackney supposed. If it could be proved that a combination of the Militia and the Line was not the most efficient defence of the country let the system be abandoned at once, and let us have a permanent Army. He, however, believed the Militia service to be of the greatest advantage to the Regular Army. During the Crimean War 30,000 men who had been only partially drilled were able to take a most effective part in the contest. There was one point to which he wished to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, and that was that under the new arrangements, adjutants who, in the intervals between the annual trainings had occupied the position of commanding officers would now in the depôt centres be placed under the command of officers of the Line, of some of whom it might be almost said they were not born when those adjutants had entered the military service. He thought it would be no serious cost to the country, but an enormous advantage to the several adjutants, if the right hon. Gentleman would consent to increase their retiring pay, so as to enable them to quit the service at an earlier period.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, the hon. Member for Hackney entirely misunderstood the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman when he supposed that the Army 117 Reserve was to be a substitute for the Militia. The Government were doing much to improve the character of the Militia; and he wished to assist them, by pointing out that it was desirable that Staff sergeants in the Militia should train Volunteers.
said, the hon. Member for Hackney appeared desirous of doing away with the Militia before any positive assurance could be given that the Reserve Force would be found effective. Now, he did not think that there had been experience enough to show that the Militia Force could be thrown over. Whatever had been the conduct of the Militia on former occasions and in former wars, it had always been a powerful machinery in the hands of the Secretary of State; and the Bill sent to the other House the Session before last enabled the Government to do away with many technical difficulties which formerly stood in the way of the embodiment of the Militia. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman if in the course of the discussion he would be able to give the Committee any assurance respecting the various steps that were in contemplation, or being carried into effect, for the more complete amalgamation of the various Auxiliary Forces of the country? Up to the present time it was not known, he believed, how long it would take to carry into effect the detals of the amalgamation scheme, and it was important, he thought, that information should as soon as possible be given on that point. He wished also to observe that recent experience had strengthened him in the belief that it would be very difficult to get the old and new Staffs to work well together at the depôt centres. Without any disparagement to the non-commissioned officers who composed the Militia Staffs, he might suggest that they were men who, tired of the active life of a soldier, had determined to settle down in certain spots and to perform certain duties, and if they were now to be called on to perform duties entirely different from those which they had proposed to themselves, the probability was, that they might be led to think that they had been hardly used, and that their complaints would operate to deter others from similar employment. That he was afraid the right hon. Gentleman would find a formidable obstacle in the way of his amalgamation scheme. He hoped, 118 he might add, that the right hon. Gentleman would consider whether he could not, if not in this, at all events in next year's Estimates, make some provision with a view to giving either pensions or gratuities to old Militia sergeants, so as to admit of their leaving a service of which they were tired, and the conditions of which were different from what they had been led to suppose. As to the adjutants of Militia, they suffered, in truth, not only from a lack of adequate retiring pensions, but from a grievance which, although it might be sailed sentimental, was still really felt by them—he meant the not being able to rise in their own regiments. He should like to know whether there was any good reason why that grievance should be continued? He should further wish to know from the right hon. Gentleman when the depôt centres and the amalgamation of the head-quarters would probably be completed?
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, he wished to know whether the rumour that the appointment of subaltern officers in the Militia was to be left in the hands of the Lords Lieutenant of counties was correct?
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he could not vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Hackney, and regretted the depreciatory tone which the discussion had assumed, so far as the Militia were concerned. He was desirous of seeing full justice done to that Force; and if they were at all open to any of the criticisms which had been passed upon them, it was not, he thought, so much on account of any faults of their own as because of the conditions under which they were brought into service. The selection of the regiments for the Autumn Manœuvres last year was not, perhaps, very judicious; but he should be sorry to hear that it was not intended to allow any Militia regiments to take part in the Manœuvres this year. As to the sum to be laid out on the building of barracks, he did not think the money could be better expended; one of the most valuable of the changes proposed by his right hon. Friend the Secretary for War being, in his opinion, the abolition of billeting; but how, he should like to know, could billeting be done away with unless proper accommodation were provided for the Militia regiments? One of the 119 main objects of his right hon. Friend's plans this year was, he believed, to improve the efficiency of the Militia, and the depôt centres would no doubt afford them the advantage of being brought into contact with other troops. Many months had passed away since the right hon. Gentleman opposite had brought forward his plans of Army reform; but with respect to any details of the plans the House was pretty much where it was. He hoped, therefore, that the Minister for War would give them some further information respecting them. It would also be desirable if the House knew more about the localities of the depôt centres. The only object he had in putting these questions was the improvement of the efficiency of the Militia, and that was, he was sure, the great object at which his right hon. Friend opposite also aimed. With regard to raising the money required for building these barracks, the House ought to be told whether the Government intended to proceed by Bill.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) was justified in saying that great injustice was done in impugning the efficiency of the Militia; and he had done him (Mr. Card well) no more than justice in stating that his chief object was to improve its well-doing. Last year the authorities were guided in the selection of the particular regiments to go to the Military Manœuvres by the lateness of the harvest, and it was feared that labour in the agricultural counties might have been interfered with if agricultural regiments were selected. With regard to the depôt centres, it was very desirable to make good speed with the plan relating to them. As a great many localities were desirous of pressing their opinions on the Government for consideration, it was thought necessary, for the success of the scheme, that they should not be shut out from the opportunity of expressing their views, and, accordingly, the Government gave them till the 1st of June to send in their observations, and immediately afterwards the Committee on the subject assembled to consider them. Though it was the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee that the questions remaining to be settled were not numerous or difficult in comparison with the greatness and complexity of the scheme, yet the questions 120 had all to be considered in connection with each other; and, consequently, the Committee had not yet made their second Report; but he trusted that no delay would be occasioned by that circumstance, because the arrangement could not be carried into effect until the final Parliamentary sanction was given by Bill. In fact, he trusted that the passing of the Bill and the presentation of the Report would occur about the same time. With regard to guns he had to state that lieutenant colonels of the Royal Artillery had been sent to Shoeburyness for special training in the course of the winter. They had reported on the wants of their districts, and with some colonels of Militia they had lately consulted with the Artillery authorities as to replacing the old smooth-bore guns by rifled guns. As soon as the Committee reported on the subject, no time would be lost in carrying out the requisite arrangements. The hon. and gallant Member for North Lancashire (Mr. F. Stanley) had asked a question relating to the Staff and the adjutants of the Militia, and if he (Mr. Cardwell) were clearly understood as guarding himself against making any pledge as to demands upon the public purse, he might say that it was intended immediately to review the position of the whole Staff of the Militia, with a view of making it as effective as possible. In future, they would not have superannuated persons who regarded their pay as a pension, but both adjutants and the permanent Staff would be associated with the Regular Army. With regard to the Question of the hon. Member for King's County (Sir Patrick O'Brien), as to whether the appointment to first commissions was to remain with the Lords Lieutenant of counties, he had to reply that there was a provision to that effect in the Act of Parliament, and in his opinion it was a salutary provision. With regard to promotion the case was different. That would be in the hands of the military authorities, and particularly of the officers commanding the centre and district. Without saying that the military authorities were satisfied altogether with the appearance of some of the Militia regiments at the Military Manœuvres last year, he did not think that any good was gained by making sharp comments on the subject. The House had before it the very fair and candid statement of His Royal Highness 121 the Commander-in-Chief, and by that statement he was prepared to abide, and he regretted that any observations should have been made going beyond His Royal Highness's Report. As to absentees, they were, of course, deserters; but the whole object of the arrangements now making was to put an end to anything unsatisfactory in the state of the Militia, and to increase its efficiency in future. With regard to the Militia Reserve, the Government were, of course, limited by the Vote of the House to the number of 30,000 men. He agreed in thinking that it might be a subject for consideration whether the number should not be further increased. According, however, to the last Return which he had received, the Militia Reserve amounted to 29,836, being only 164 deficient of the whole number of 30,000. With regard to barracks, it was not intended, as appeared to be supposed, to build barracks by wholesale. Billeting was to be got rid of by putting the men into such barracks as were available, and the remainder would be encamped on the adjacent 20 acres of ground surrounding the depôt centre. The present Motion of the hon. Member for Hackney was only a repetition of one he made earlier in the Session, when he obtained but a small body of supporters. The hon. Member seemed to stand almost alone in his attack on the Militia Force. His hon. Friend the Member for Hackney said that all military authorities had spoken in disparagement of the Militia; but who were they? The Duke of Wellington would surely be allowed to be some authority on such a subject, and he had spoken in the highest terms of the Force, which had contributed so largely to his success in the Peninsula, and which formed no small part of the force with which he won the Battle of Waterloo. What did he say on this subject? In the House of Lords on the 15th of June, 1852, the Duke of Wellington said—What I desire—and I believe it is a desire the most moderate that can be formed—is, that you shall give us, in the first instance, the old constitutional peace establishment. … In the last war I had great experience of the value of several regiments of English Militia, and I can assure your Lordships that they were in as high a state of discipline, and as fit for service as any men I ever saw in my life."—[3 Hansard, cxxii. 730.]Did the noble Duke expect that the Bill 122 in favour of which he was speaking would at once produce such a Force? He was too wise a man to entertain that expectation. He said—No doubt, if you begin with the formation of Militia corps under this Act of Parliament, they will in time become what their predecessors in the Militia were; and if ever they do become what the former Militia were, you may rely on it they will perform all the services they may be required to perform. … It may not be, at first, or for some time, everything we could desire, but by degrees it will become what you want—an efficient auxiliary force to the regular Army."—[Ibid. 731.]What said General Sir John Burgoyne on the subject? His third proposition was—That the main basis of a Reserve in this country must be the Militia, and every effort should be made to improve the quality of this service as much as possible, and to arrange, by pre-engagement of the men, for the means of rapidly transferring a certain number of them into the Line in times of emergency.Now, that was precisely what they were now doing. In addition to the authorities he had then given, on a former occasion he had quoted from Lord Seaton on the same subject. He therefore altogether demurred to the opinion of his on. Friend that all military authorities agreed in the disparagement of the Militia. It was quite true that they could not have in a short time a force as efficient as the Regular Army; but they could have a popular Force at a very small expense, and capable of becoming very effective if the time of emergency should arrive. His hon. Friend asked, if they had got a Reserve of 110,000 men already established, what was the use of the Militia? But they had not got that Reserve already established; nor could it be till the six years' men had passed out of the service. Then, it was said that recruiting had fallen off; but that was, so far as the Militia was concerned, an entire mistake. Besides, there could be no doubt that men would recruit for the Militia who would not recruit for the Line; in fact, many took the Militia as their yearly holiday, looking to the additional pay and the association. It was quite a different thing to recruiting for the Army, where the men knew that they might at any moment be ordered off to India or the colonies. His hon. Friend said he understood that the Artillery were 1,000 men short. That was not so. He believed the Artillery at this 123 moment were not 300 short. Indeed, notwithstanding the large demand for the labour market, the point they had fixed had very nearly been reached. He admitted, however, that it was more easy to get drivers than gunners, because to move the great weights now required, gunners must be men of exceptional strength. In conclusion, he must energetically deny that he had in any way altered his views upon the subject of localization; and he hoped he had not occupied longer time than was necessary to answer the various questions which had been put to him; but the House having been so unanimous in maintaining the Militia on a former occasion, he hoped his hon. Friend would be satisfied with the discussion which had arisen, and would not press his Motion to a division.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he wished to say one word as to the Staff of the Militia. It had been suggested that the Staff of the Militia might be used for the Volunteers, or the Staff of the Volunteers for the Militia. He hoped no such amalgamation would be attempted by the Government. The class of men required were quite different, and when they were not actually on duty, they were generally engaged in shooting matches or something of that sort, which tended to improve them; and he felt convinced if any attempt of that kind were made it would signally fail. With regard to recruiting for the Artillery, he wished to know if it was not the fact that by inviting the Line to volunteer for the Artillery the stamina of the Line had been diminished? His right hon. Friend (Mr. Cardwell) had stated that, instead of the Artillery being 1,000 short, they were only 300 short, but the numbers might have been supplied from the Line. He admitted the attention and ability which his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney had given to the subject, but his present Motion was little more than a rechauffe of the debate on the Army Estimates. He (Lord Elcho) by no means thought with his right hon. Friend (Sir John Pakington) that the effect of this discussion would be to depreciate the Militia. He hoped that the cases where regiments had been found fault with for want of smartness in dress and accoutrements would be looked to, and that recruits would, if possible, be drilled for six months; and whatever might be 124 said as to others, he must bear his testimony to the efficiency of the regiments—he believed they were the Edmonton Rifles—which were commanded by his noble Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Lord Enfield).
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, it had been arranged that every regiment that joined in the Manœuvres should previously have a month's training.
MAJOR GENERAL SIR PERCY HERBERT
asked, whether regiments which had not had a month's training would attend the Manœuvres?
§ MR. MITCHELL HENRY
complained that the new regulations dealt unfairly towards the Militia surgeons. One of the grievances of those regulations was that, while they imposed additional duties upon them, they deprived them of the principal source of their income—the fees for the examination of recruits.
§ MR. HOLMS
, in replying, said, his remarks about the inefficiency of the Militia at the Autumn Manœuvres were not dictated by any want of respect for that body. Their inefficiency was owing to the short training they had received, for all military authorities concurred in the fact that they could not make good soldiers out of any men who had only 28 days' training in the course of a year. As to Militia having been employed in the Peninsular War, it should be remembered that that war lasted for years, we had in those days, therefore, ample time to train men to fill up vacancies. These men, be it remembered, had to contend with men like themselves, not such as compose the European Armies of to-day. As to Militia employed in the Crimean War, the fact was that 61,000 Militia were called out in 1855, and of those 19,000 volunteered in one month to go to the Crimea. That fact he considered to be an additional argument in his favour, for he contended that those 19,000 men would have gone into the Regular Army if there had been no Militia. Inducements ought not to be held out to men to go into the Militia whom it was desirable to bring into the Regular Army. No hon. Member had said in this debate that the Militia was perfect as it was, and not one had said what time would be required to make a Militiaman a good soldier. The battle of Sadowa was only six years old, and after that and the ex- 125 perience of 1870, the House of Commons could not say that it would be satisfied with a 28 days', or even a three months' training, and he should be sorry to see 5,000 men added to such a force. The feeling of the House, however, was so manifestly against his Motion, that he thought it would be unfair to take up the time of the House by dividing upon it. At the same time he would venture to suggest to the Secretary of State that the bounty of 20s. per man for recruiting into the Militia should not be continued. It was, in fact, a bounty for going into the Militia and not into the Regular Army.
§ LORD EUSTACE CECIL
said, he should like to know what time would be devoted to the training of Militia recruits?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that already a marked improvement had been made in the Militia by the training they had received. As to the remarks made by the hon. Member for Hackney, he thought the whole question of recruiting with regard to the Militia and the Line required continual watching. So far, however, from wishing to see a separation between the two branches of the service he was always glad to hear of an increase in the number of Militiamen joining the Line, and hoped some time to see but one system of recruiting, by which men should first enter the Militia, and afterwards be passed into the Line. With regard to the question of the Militia surgeons, to which the hon. Member for Galway (Mr. Mitchell Henry) had called attention, what he had said before was this—that if there proved to be a just case for compensation when the new system was carried into effect, the Government, and he had no doubt Parliament, would consider it; but it was not for him to give any pledge on the subject.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he wanted to know whether there had been any such free interchange of officers between the Line and the Militia as the House had been led to expect when the question of the abolition of Purchase was under discussion, and whether any scheme of such interchange had been prepared?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, it was proposed to give to every Militia regiment the opportunity of recommending one of its officers for a commission without purchase in the Line every year. It was also proposed to allow a certain 126 number of Line officers to pass into the Militia, these officers receiving half-pay for a limited time.
MR. M. T. BASS
expressed regret that in a discussion of that kind the only way of abolishing difficulties between the Militia and the Line had never been referred to. In his opinion, the only way of meeting the difficulty was by a resort to a limited Ballot.
§ LORD GARLIES
said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman, whether the officers who were to come from the Line into the Militia were to come as captains, field officers, or what? Such an introduction of Line officers would create great discontent among the officers of Militia over whose heads they would be put.
§ COLONEL STUART KNOX
said, he was of opinion that the proposed transfer would be of no great advantage to the Militia, as the really efficient officers of the Line would have no wish to retire.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that the interchange would only take place to a limited extent; and that the Militia had been placed entirely under the Commander-in-Chief and the general officer in command of the district, and they were about to be placed under the officer in charge of the brigade centres.
§ MR. M. CHAMBERS
, in allusion to the remark of the hon. Member for Derby (Mr. M. T. Bass) said, that if ever we were to have a Ballot, from the highest to the lowest should be included—from the Duke to the agricultural labourer. And if the higher classes were included they should not be permitted to purchase substitutes. He detested the notion of a Ballot for persons who were not inclined to enlist; nor did he think there could be any necessity for it. In the time of our Great War there was a ballot for Militiamen, but it did not apply to men of rank or riches, and if by chance they got included, substitutes were allowed to be obtained. As long as he was a Member of the House of Commons, so long would he protest against a ballot compelling young men to go into the Militia, unless every man, from the Peer to the peasant, was included. What did his hon. Friend mean by a "limited ballot?" Did he mean that a great man was to have the power to buy a substitute? It was nonsense to think of making soldiers of the Militia by 14 or 21 days' drill, and the 127 Government ought to have the courage to incur the expense of keeping them out for a longer period. They were good soldiers when they were embodied, at the time of the Peninsular and Crimean Wars, and it was as a constitutional Force and the great feeder of the Army that we ought to regard the Militia. Dressed in a coarse, dirty crimson cloth, which looked as if it had been dyed in a brickfield, the poor wretched creatures knew that they were objects of ridicule, and felt ashamed of their profession; but if the men were called out for a longer period, made efficient and dressed respectably, they would take that pride in their profession without which they could not become good soldiers.
MR. M. T. BASS
promised to give his hon. and learned Friend a satisfactory explanation respecting his allusion to the limited ballot.
§ SIR HENRY STORKS
said, a Committee composed of Militia officers, and including two Members of that House and one Member of the House of Lords, had been sitting upon the question of clothing of the Militia, and had recently reported. But as it was thought desirable that the question of clothing generally should be taken into consideration, no decision upon that Report had been taken at present, but some resolution would be come to on an early day.
§ MR. MUNTZ
said, he must, in a word, answer the attack of his hon. Friend, the Member for Hackney as to his rejoicing in the abolition of billeting. He did rejoice in that step, and when that part of the Secretary of State for War's scheme came into operation he had no reason to doubt that the calculations on which it was based would turn out correct. He was always in favour of an increased Militia, and when it was perfectly organized it would be found that we could dispense with, a considerable portion of our Standing Army.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed, to.
§ (5.) £79,700, Yeomanry Cavalry.
complained that while Volunteer adjutants had 10s. a-day, 1s. for servants, 2s. for forage, and 2s. for lodgings, with other advantages, Yeomanry adjutants had to be content with 8s. a-day and 2s. for 128 forage. They ought to be put upon the same footing.
THE EARL OF YARMOUTH
took the same view, and said that two regiments of Yeomanry were without adjutants in consequence of the loss to which competent men would subject themselves if they accepted the appointment. Several officers had refused the position in the regiments to which he referred.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, some arrangement would be made to meet the case corresponding with what was done with regard to the officers of the Militia. Supernumerary officers would be appointed to hold the adjutancy, receiving the pay of their rank.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, the Committee of which he had the honour to be a Member was distinctly of opinion that the adjutants of Militia should be put on the same footing as the adjutants of Volunteers. The Yeomanry and Volunteers could not be amalgamated, as the hon. Member for Hackney had suggested, without entirely recasting the Force, because the Militia were paid and the Volunteers were not. He wished the Secretary for War would carry out his own intentions and make the Yeomanry more like the old dragoons, or like the Hampshire Horse. The opinion of distinguished Artillery officers, who had seen the Hampshire Force at drill, was unanimously in favour of the number being increased, and the importance of such a force in arresting the progress of an enemy through the country. At present there were only 40, and unless something was done they would soon disappear entirely from The Army List. This, he believed would be a great misfortune, not because of their number, but because they formed a nucleus which might be rendered valuable, and he trusted, therefore, that his right hon. Friend would turn his attention to the subject and do what he could to prevent such a result.
§ Vote agreed to,
(6.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £473,200, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge
for Volunteer Corps, which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1872 to the 31st day of March 1873, inclusive.
§ COLONEL C. H. LINDSAY
rose to call attention to the critical position in which the Volunteer service has been placed in consequence of various rules and regulaions which have recently been issued for its guidance, being prejudicial to that character and condition of that service; and to move, That the Vote be reduced by the sum of £2.000, on account of miscellaneous charges. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said, nothing but a sense of duty which he felt he owed to the great cause of national defence had prompted him to put the Motion on the Paper; but as one of many commanding officers who had had some considerable share in the rise, progress, and development of the Volunteer service, the composition and constitution of which had been familiar to everyone for the last 12 or 13 years, and as some violent, and, as he thought, unnecessary changes had recently been introduced into the system upon which it had hitherto successfully worked, he desired to express his opinion and with all respect, upon what he thought was the critical position of the service, in consequence of the arbitrary and prejudicial character of those changes. It appeared to him, then, that the time had arrived when there should be some clear understanding between the Government and the commanding officers of Volunteer regiments, as to the real position which they were intended to hold for the future, as men who were still devoting their time and their money for the credit of their country. That was the question, and upon its solution would depend what action they might deem it expedient to take. It was not difficult to imagine what effect the new Regulations to which he especially took exception would have upon the future condition of the Volunteer service; for he ventured to say that if they were enforced as they now stood, there would not be half-a-dozen regiments in London, or many more than that in the country, in a creditable existence by the end of the year. He confessed he was alarmed at the compulsory character of some of the changes, inasmuch as there were two death-warrants, so to speak, contained in the new code to which he should direct the attention of the Committee. In the first place, he readily admitted that the fundamental 130 principle or object upon which the new code was based was a right one—namely, the attainment of a higher standard of efficiency than at present existed—and he should be glad to see it higher than it was, if it could be accomplished without prejudice. But he had always maintained, and did still, that in the absence of privileges and inducements in time of peace—such, for instance, as exemption from the Militia, ballot, and serving on juries—it was impossible, even if the enrolments were to be maintained at their minimum. Indeed, he had always considered what he might call the popular opinion so often expressed upon the necessary increase of Volunteer efficiency to be superficial, and as evincing a want of due reflection; for it was obvious that in a service composed as it was of men of business, whose time was not their own, any attempt to enforce rules which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War had often been told could not be complied with, without prejudice to the business habits and calling of the members, would create dissatisfaction and discontent, and consequent disaster. He might be told that there was no such thing as compulsion laid down in the new code. That was true in the strict sense of the word; but it was tantamount to compulsion if the inability for men of business to comply at times with the vital requirements of the code involved the most serious and degrading consequences to the position of every regiment or corps—consequences which, he should say, no commanding officer could be prepared to meet, and retain his command. Now, there was a stale argument which was so often thrown in one's teeth, and it was this—that because the Volunteer service received a certain amount of aid from the State it should be, as a matter of course, more amenable to a discipline of some sort which was to raise the standard of efficiency—which meant more frequent and more fully attended parades and drills. Now, he held that this argument was untenable, because the capitation grant was given as a recognition of loyalty and patriotism already displayed, which was considered to be worth the expenditure, and not as a retaining fee for an impossible increase of efficiency in time of peace. He considered that such rules as those to which he was taking exception were framed upon superficial knowledge which 131 was no knowledge at all, and the result was—a pressure which amounted to compulsion. Commanding officers felt, or ought to feel, that the Government was legislating upon a wrong principle, by making the good and true suffer for the shortcomings of the careless and worthless; whereas if the Government really wished to maintain the force in its integrity and its highest probable efficiency, they should, at all events, take the commanding officers into their counsel, and gain valuable information which would convince them of the existence of so many difficulties which crop up at every turn, and the impossibility of removing them. Now, it appeared to him that if commanding officers were to be tied and bound in the manner suggested, the great majority of them would exclaim—"relieve us of our position; we are unable, with any credit to ourselves or satisfaction to the Government, to co-operate with the right hon. Gentleman upon the terms which he has laid down in his new code." Now, that was the document which, as he thought, contained the death-warrant of some of their best regiments in London. The document was headed Auxiliary and Reserve Forces Circular, with a superscription to the effect that it was dated 28th of May, and that it was to be understood to take effect from the 1st of April; and as it was not issued until the 5th of June, he should be able to show that it was an unfortunate arrangement if it were enforced. It was not his intention to criticize the regulations which referred to the regimental officers of the Volunteer service, because he did not think there was any undue pressure put upon them as regarded their proficiency as officers, provided that it was not overstrained; but he must refer to Clause 31, paragraph 1, which provided that captains of companies of consolidated battalions were to have the power of ordering their own company drills and parades without reference to the commanding officers of those battalions. He would at once ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he really intended that rule to, apply to consolidated battalions, or only to corps of administrative battalions? and he would be glad if he would inform him before he proceeded.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, it was equally intended to apply to consolidated battalions as far as he understood it.
§ COLONEL C. H. LINDSAY
said, if that were so, it would be a most unfortunate arrangement, for it would give the power to the captains to order their parades irrespective of their commanding officer, which would upset the regimental system and prejudice the commanding officer's position, which must never be interfered with; besides which it would defeat the great object which the right hon. Gentleman had in view—namely, the raising the standard of efficiency; as it would interfere with the attendance at the battalion parades, and tend to reduce the standard of efficiency—for he maintained that men of business could not spare more than a certain amount of time for drill and parade in the course of the year. With respect to the rules with regard to Quartermasters, he did not consider there was any undue pressure. But with respect to the Medical Officers, he was at a loss to conceive why a body of gentlemen who were, under the existing system, necessary to the establishment of their regiment—gentlemen of high class professional attainments, and who were by no means easy to obtain—he was at a loss to conceive why those officers were suddenly to be called upon to undergo additional tests to those which gave them their diplomas for medicine and surgery, when they entered their profession—for he found, in Clause 31, paragraph 5, that they were to be examined before a board of the principal medical officers of the district, and two other Army medical officers. Now, he considered that that raised an important and delicate question, and one which would deprive the service of valuable men, whom it would be very difficult to replace. And it was one which appeared to him to display a want of knowledge of the professional responsibilities of medical men who were civilians; and, from what he understood, they would not be likely to submit to any test examinations for commissions which they felt and had expressed to be unbecoming their status in the profession: he felt no doubt, therefore, that if that rule were enforced their services would not be much longer at the disposal of the commanding officers. Then he found in Clause 43, paragraph 1, under the head of medical attendance, that the surgeon was to attend professionally the adjutant and his family, and the as- 133 sistant-surgeon to attend the sergeant-instructors and their families, and find medicines, receiving an allowance of 2d. a week for each person, the term family to include wife, unmarried daughters, and sons under 16 years of age; so that if that rule were enforced those gentlemen who were in full civil practice were to enter into a contract, as it were, with the Government, at the rate of 8s. 8d. per head per annum, to attend upon an unlimited number of persons and find an unlimited quantity of medicine in the bargain. He thought it would be far better for the Government to pay the 2d. to the adjutant and his sergeants, and let them find their own medical advisers. It was for these reasons that he objected to the item of £2,600 for medical attendance. He had next a word to say respecting that important department, the Sergeant Instructors, to whom a whole clause of 18 paragraphs had been devoted. He was glad to find that they were left in the same position as before, and he trusted that their position might never be disturbed, notwithstanding what fell from the hon. Member for Kendal (Mr. Whitwell), and also the opinion that was expressed in the Report of the Organization Committee, which was published in February, Sction 26, page 6, which appeared to him to exhibit a want of knowledge of the duties they had to perform in the regiments to which they were attached; for it gave its opinion that the large staff of sergeants which would be attached to the depôt centres might be, for the sake of efficiency and economy, made available to a large extent in diminution of the numbers of Sergeants Instructors now employed in instruction to Volunteers, and it considered that the yearly drill of Volunteers should be concentrated within certain limits of time. He confessed that he also disliked the view which was taken by the same Committee on Section 28, which was to the effect that the captains of companies and corps should be responsible for the proper care of their arms, and drill their men at any time throughout the non-training season. Now, the object of that was clear—namely, to do away with the Sergeant-instructors altogether. Now, he maintained that if such an idea were to be realized at any future time, it would simply convert the captains of companies and corps into so many acting sergeant-armourers and instructors, 134 which would be by no means acceptable to those officers, who had already plenty to do if they did their duty, and who were already by no means easy to obtain. He also thought that the same Committee showed a singular want of reflection in the opinion it expressed in Section 29, to the effect that it was desirable that the arms of Volunteer corps should be stored at depôt centres. Now, everyone knew that, unless the men had their arms in their possession, a great falling off both at parades and at the butts would be the result; and the standard of efficiency instead of being raised, would be considerably lowered. He had now to allude to the death-warrants—as he must call them in the code—which were contained in Clauses 35 and 38, and as they were of the same character, he would take them together to save time. They alluded to the special brigade drills and the annual inspection. The one laid down that unless one-half of the enrolled men were present there should be a penalty, which was the forfeiture of the whole or a part of the capitation grant for the ensuing year; the other—namely, the inspection, that unless two-thirds of the enrolled members were present the inspection should be postponed. He had nothing to say against the requirement that Volunteer regiments should attend one or two special brigade drills in the year, or that they should be inspected at a given time and hour—indeed, as far as he was concerned, he should be better pleased to have half-a-dozen such drills in the course of the year—nor would he have objected had there been an instruction to the effect that if not less than one-half in one instance, and two-thirds in the other were present, an unfavourable report would be made. But when the failure in obtaining those minima was to be visited by a tremendous penalty, he had no hesitation in denouncing such "hard-and-fast lines" as intolerable to Volunteers, and under which no regiment could continue to serve with credit to itself or to the country. And to render the position more alarming these Regulations were to take effect from a date considerably anterior to their publication and issue. What was the consequence? It was this—that the various metropolitan regiments, with one or two exceptions, which had by order taken part in special brigade 135 drills between the 1st of April and the 4th of June—his own amongst the number—had, according to the letter of the law laid down in the official code, forfeited their capitation grant for the ensuing year. Surely the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to enforce such a penalty; and, if not, why did he make it? for he could not have contemplated so unwarranted a state of things when he made his regulations retrospective. It could not have entered his mind that the effect of such an ante-date would be to degrade and reduce to bankruptcy all those regiments who had unconsciously fallen into the trap; to say nothing of the ridicule that such a position would entail. He held that such rules were not compatible with the well-being of the service, and it was trifling with the position which commanding officers desired and were entitled to hold. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman could be aware of the humiliating position in which he had placed commanding officers by such a ruling. Did he not know that they were not only responsible for the funds of their regiments, but also for the expenditure of the ensuing year?—and did he not know that they had frequently to make advances, or borrow money from their bankers in anticipation of the capitation grant, which by those rules was, from accidental circumstances over which they could have no real control, to be forfeited by a stroke of the Minister's pen? As an old commanding officer, he protested in the strongest terms against so arbitrary a pressure, and he had no hesitation in saying, that if those rules laid down in Clauses 35 and 38 remained in force and were to be retrospective—which no penal rules ought to be, and never were before—a large number of metropolitan regiments, and many others no doubt throughout the country, would be simply ruined, besides the utter annihilation of almost every working-man corps, or, in other words, more than half of the Force. Then with regard to the inspection, the sine quâ non of which was, that if two-thirds were not present it was to be postponement. What would be the result of such postponement? It would be tantamount to no inspection at all that year, because after the exertions and sacrifices of time and wages that had been made in the first instance, it would be out of the 136 question to count upon so many attending in the second instance, with the chance of being again thrown over by absent comrades, and without an inspection there could be no capitation grant. The capitation grant was the authorized income of the regiment. It was earned by an honourable contract between the Volunteer and the Queen; and if that contract were broken the punishment would fall upon the commanding officer and the whole regiment, whose certificated efficiency would be blown to the winds for the inefficiency of a small number. Such a course would not promote enthusiasm for a cause which proved so thankless. He asked, was the country prepared with its sanction to support such a judgment? If it was, let it say so through its public journals. Was the Government prepared to take this responsibility? If it was, let the Secretary of State for War accept the challenge he now gave him, to say so when he replied; and upon his answer, and upon the opinion of the country—both of which he challenged from his place—must depend the fate of this hitherto remarkable institution; an institution which had stood the test of time and criticism, and which, according to the opinions of all the general officers of the day, was still treading the path of improvement. The 13th paragraph of the 36th clause referred to the application of the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War to the Volunteers in time of peace, when brigaded with the Militia and Regular Forces. He had always held a strong opinion upon this policy which was inaugurated last year, and he had no hesitation in saying that he considered such application in time of peace as a mockery, upon the Act itself, an insult to the Volunteer service, and a farce in every sense of the word. It was a mockery because it was unworkable with a body of men who by the Act in question could not be under martial law except in case of invasion or threatened invasion, and because the penalties which were imposed only applied, in nine cases out of ten, to men who received pay, and they were chiefly confined to stoppages of pay. It was therefore inapplicable in every sense of the word to Volunteers, because they received no pay. It was an insult, because it implied a want of confidence in the discipline of 137 the Volunteer Service when brigaded with the Militia and Regular Forces. Now, it so happened that the general discipline of the service had been favourably reported upon by all the General Officers who had inspected the Volunteers, and as commanding officers had literally more summary power over insubordination than the Mutiny Act itself, it was treating the Volunteers as nothing more or less than common soldiers; and all for what?—for the purpose of obtaining uniformity, and not because the ends of discipline had been defeated by the absence of its application. Now, to exemplify the farce of the whole affair, the Mutiny Act, though ruled by paragraph 13 of the clause, to be applicable was evidently not intended to be practically applied, simply because its provisions could not possibly be carried out for the reasons he had given. It became law last year previous to the Autumn Manœuvres. But it was never read or ordered to be read at the head of any battalion, according to the custom in the Army. No copies of the Act or Articles of War were issued; and, he ventured to say, there was hardly a man of the 5,000 who were there who had the slightest idea whether he was under the Mutiny Act or not, or what the penalties involved were. In conclusion, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman the following pertinent questions—namely, Whether he had realised the very severe blow which he had assumed to himself the power of inflicting upon the Volunteer service, if he intended to enforce those rules to which he had especially referred, to say nothing of the personal liability which he had also assumed to himself the power of imposing upon the commanding officers? And whether he was aware that, by the action he had taken, he was interfering with many important interests, which ought not to be disturbed at the will and pleasure of any Minister; that was, by putting this high pressure upon the safety valve, if he might so call it, of an institution which had long ago gained the confidence of every Government as a great constitutional bulwark of national security? He would content himself with alluding to two of those important interests which were enough for his purpose. One was the National Rifle Association, and the other was the great training school which had 138 for some years been established by the Volunteer service throughout the length and breadth of the land. With respect to the National Rifle Association, he would rather leave the subject to the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire, who was the prime mover and promoter of that significant institution; but he ventured to say this much—that as the existence and continuance of the National Rifle Association, which was the immediate offspring of the Volunteer movement, depended upon its healthy and undiminished position, any policy which could have the effect of prejudicing its interests and character would be a most unfortunate one. And with respect to what he called the training school of the nation, he was sure that the Committee would agree with him when he said that the Volunteer movement had established a system for training the young men of the country in a marvellous degree—for go where one would there was a drill shed and rifle butt in almost every large parish belonging to the Volunteer Corps of that locality—giving thereby an almost nightly opportunity to those who felt inclined and could afford time to drill and receive general training. The consequence of which was, that since the year 1859 nearly 500,000 trained men had actually passed through the ranks of the Volunteer Service; and they had done so with the fullest intention of returning to their former regiments which gave them their training, should necessity require them, which of itself would be á prospective reinforcement of great significance placed at the disposal of the Government and the country at a moment's notice. He asked was not that an important interest to preserve unassailed? and he wished to point out how valuable was the action and the result of this great training school, and how important it was that the Volunteer rank and file should be continuously passing in and out of their corps, and thereby prepare the citizens of the nation for any emergency. He said, therefore, do not disturb the well-considered and well-working system which had been established by the Volunteer movement, and which had gained the confidence of the country. Having now alluded to the points which he thought not only objectionable but fatal to the service if it was to be maintained, he could not sit down without 139 urging the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider these violent changes, which, in his opinion, would shake it to its very foundation. He would urge him to do so because if he pressed these changes as they stood, he would simply be cutting ducks and drakes with a cause which he felt confident the country would regret to see collapse under an impossible pressure. He trusted, then, the right hon. Gentleman would do as he asked him, and modify the clauses and sections in question in such a manner as to be satisfactory to the commanding officers, who were, at all events, the key-stones of the various units of the great fabric of national defence, and who had been placed in a false position—a position which would be rendered untenable owing to the one turn too much of the screw which had been applied to one of the most remarkable movements of modern times.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £470,600, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Volunteer Corps, which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1872 to the 31st day of March 1873, inclusive."—(Colonel Charles Lindsay.)
§ MR. KENNAWAY
said, he thought that the Volunteer Force ought to feel indebted to the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel C. Lindsay) for enabling the Committee to discuss these regulations, which must have a great effect for good or evil on the future of the Volunteers. With respect to the inspection, he felt that the hon. and gallant Member had hit a blot when he directed attention to the rule requiring the attendance of two-thirds under very severe penalties. In his opinion, seeing the great difficulties that existed as to procuring that attendance at certain times, he thought the rule too stringent and the penalty too high; and that it would be better in case two-thirds were not present to provide that the absentees should get no money. With regard, too, to the two hours' question, it seemed to him that the time was unnecessarily long, for his corps was inspected last year by companies within the hour. The Volunteers would be very jealous of any interference with their Serjeant-instructors, and if the men were at any particular time deprived of their Serjeant-instructors it would be a great discou- 140 ragement to them. At the same time, he should be sorry for it to go forth that the Force was dissatisfied with the whole of the regulations, and he believed that they would satisfy those Volunteers who wished the Force to be more than a sham. The efficiency of officers was always a weak point, because those who knew their duty were not always prepared to give up their time to the service, or had not always the confidence of the men. Still, it was right to lay down the rule that the officers must be efficient—that was, that they should know how to command their companies; and he was glad that a certificate of efficiency was to be required, for he thought no one ought to obtain a commission who could not satisfy the requirements necessary to procure it. He was of opinion that they would never make anything like soldiers of Volunteers until they got them into camp; but in such a case a greater allowance ought to be given them on account of the heavy burdens they were subject to. With regard to shooting, he was of opinion that when once a Volunteer had proved himself a good shot, he ought not to be put to the inconvenience of going to the target every year. As the officer of a company, and one who was deeply interested in the movement from the first, and strongly convinced of the great additional social and hygienic benefit it had conferred on the country, he ventured thus to trespass on the attention of the Committee, and to express his confident expectation that those points dwelt upon by his hon. and gallant Friend would be carefully considered by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War.
§ MR. P. WYKEHAM-MARTIN
said, he believed these regulations would in the main be beneficial. Having gone through them with the corps to which he had the honour to belong, he must say that he had not heard the slightest disapprobation of or dislike to them expressed by any of the men. The battalion to which he belonged drilled together at Dover—a long journey out and home of 40 miles—for which he was entitled to receive 1s., but of course it cost a great deal more than that. The matter was one which did not affect himself, but it did affect other members of the corps, and he wished to know whether matters could not be so arranged 141 as to enable a brigade drill to be counted as one of the battalion drills necessary to make a man efficient? Section 59 of the regulations, too, would press hardly on officers in certain cases. Was he, under that regulation, to be deprived of his commission if he did not attend, because the Committee of Selection might insist on his attention to his duty as a Member of that House?
§ MR. CARDWELL
explained. The 59th rule only applied, unless it was represented that there were special reasons for its relaxation. With regard to brigade drill, it was intended that it should count as battalion drill. The expenses referred to by his hon. Friend would be done away with when the centres were established.
§ COLONEL WILSON - PATTEN
observed that the Committee of Selection had already given leave of absence to his hon. Friend that Session, to enable him to attend to his Volunteer duties.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
said, he wished to make a few remarks on this important subject. He was not going into the details of what his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel C. Lindsay) called the "code." If it was thought right and wise and prudent to impose that code, they must do what they were ordered to do, or they would become useless to the country, which would not have that confidence in them which they hoped and believed it had. If the Volunteers were to be an efficient portion of our auxiliary force, they must have more discipline than they had yet had. He did not say that they showed a want of discipline; but they had not learnt that military discipline which men called out with arms were bound to learn and have. They could not teach men all those little minutiæ of discipline which were absolutely necessary without having them under more control than heretofore, and it was impossible that such discipline as was necessary could be acquired in the case of men who were at liberty to come or go as they chose. The best thing, therefore, that could befall the Volunteers would be that they should be called out for six, seven, or eight consecutive days, and then the officers and men would learn what discipline was, and what they had to perform. Then, with regard to the Mutiny Act, he maintained that no good Volunteer would be afraid of going out under it. [Colonel C. 142 LINDSAY: How will you punish them?] They could place a man in a guardroom and deprive him of his arms, and to a Volunteer that would be a greater punishment than anything they could do to a man of the Line or of the Militia. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would declare, as soon as he conveniently could, what he ultimately intended the Volunteers to do—how the Militia, the Regular troops, and depôt centres were to be brigaded together, and when they were to be called out. If the right hon. Gentleman did that—and he believed he would try to do it—he would have done good service not only towards the discipline of the Volunteers, but to promote and maintain good feeling between Volunteers, Militia, and the Regular Army.
§ SIR HEDWORTH WILLIAMSON
said, that as one of the Volunteer Artillery officers who had attended at the War Office the other day, he was perfectly satisfied with the disposition then shown to meet their legitimate wishes. Still, his right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Controller must take care not to be led too much away by his hon. Friend below on their right hand, for in that case they would be obstructing the Volunteer Artillery in their endeavours to make themselves a thoroughly efficient force. There were two or three trifling things which caused inconvenience, some small attempt which showed too great a disposition to stint them. He commanded an Artillery corps of 120 men; if they were allowed to have one 40-pounder Armstrong gun, he believed they could man and horse it with great efficiency. But he was told that one gun was not a unit of artillery—two guns were the unit of artillery; and, of course, if they could not have one, they were not likely to get two. He thought it a pity, because there happened to be some regulation laid down at head-quarters of two guns being the unit of artillery, that an efficient though small corps should not be able to compete with a larger but not more efficient corps in the neighbourhood. He hoped the Government would consider the claims of the small corps, and that no red tape system would be allowed to interfere with their efficiency.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he was not satisfied with what the Government had done as regarded the Volunteer Artillery, 143 36,000 of these men were a great element of national strength; but the Government had withdrawn the field artillery, one plea being that that required skilled artillerymen, and that Volunteers could not be sufficiently skilled for field service. Now, the field artilleryman was comparatively a labourer, while the garrison artilleryman, with the mechanical appliances to work the guns, was a skilled mechanic, so that a Volunteer was more likely to be efficient in the former than in the latter capacity. The other plea was, that Volunteers could not horse the guns and find drivers. Now, whatever the amount of field artillery, it could never bear a proper proportion to the large number of men of different forces on the Estimates; and if the field artillery was decently horsed and driven, the greater the proportion of artillery the better our position. He had been anxious for the testing of the field artillery in the field at the late Manœuvres to see whether they were worth maintaining; but that had not been done, though 100 guns of field artillery cost no more than 10 of other artillery. It was now stated that the field batteries of Volunteers were to be withdrawn, and that they were to serve as garrison artillerymen, and also, he believed, as batteries of position. Now, anybody who had attended the Brighton reviews must have been struck by the way in which the heavy guns of position, after being drawn 30 miles in a day by agricultural labour, had taken up any position, however difficult, to which they were ordered. That important system cost the country nothing, the agricultural horses being lent by the farmers. It had been established 10 years in Sussex; why had it not been established in other counties on the coast? He was aware that that was in process; but it might have been done long ago. The right hon. Gentleman's attention was directed to it two years ago, at the outbreak of the late war, and he was urged to take the necessary measures. The objection taken was, that it was a large question; but that he denied, all that was wanted being a circular to the Lords Lieutenant of the coast counties, asking them to communicate with the farmers and gentry, and the artillery corps. That would be an inestimable element of national strength, for he believed an invasion 144 would be almost impossible in the teeth of guns moved in this way through the country. His hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel C. Lindsay) had entered very fully and temperately into the question of the new code, and without going into details, he might say that, generally, the feeling in the Volunteer Force was very much that expressed by his hon. and gallant Friend. He differed from him as to the rule that all officers below a certain grade, however long they had served, should go before a Board and be examined, or lose their commissions. Now, formerly, Volunteer officers were consulted by the authorities before new regulations were issued, and five years ago Colonel Erskine, who, apparently because he was a good administrator, had been turned adrift, asked his opinion on this point. His answer was, that he was willing to have the inspecting officer say whether he was fit to command, but was not willing, at his time of life and after the years he had served, to go before a Board, neither was he prepared to say that he would be able to answer, according to the new code, the exact position of the little finger of his right hand in musketry drill. The country had a right to demand efficiency, but that should be tested in a practical way, not by an examination in which the bookman answering questions by rote might pass, and the more practical man fail. It was then arranged that the inspecting officer should examine a commanding officer in the field and certify as to his fitness, in which way he obtained his certificate, and be contended that, whatever the rule as to the future, the present captains, lieutenants, and ensigns should be tested in the same manner. Right feeling towards men who had discharged voluntary duties for years dictated that course. As to the regulations generally, the Prime Minister six years ago, at the time of the Reform debates, defending the dictatorial way in which he had treated certain Members and the House, said he and his Colleagues had done so because they knew the sort of men they had to deal with. [Mr. GLADSTONE dissented.] He distinctly remembered the remark. This Government had two faults—the pedantry of officialism and absolute ignorance of human nature. The latter was exemplified by the Prime Minister early in the Session, when he insisted upon his 145 construction of the Washington Treaty on grammatical grounds. The same ignorance of human nature had been exhibited in the rule relating to the surgeons of the Volunteer corps. As instanced in the case of Sir William Fergusson, who was honorary doctor to his (Lord Elcho's) regiment, men of great professional distinction volunteered for the service—men who had taken medical degrees at the best Universities. Was it to be supposed they would submit to an examination at the hands of Army surgeons whom they regarded as inferior in professional standing? The rule as regarded the minimum muster, too, showed ignorance of the working of the Force. When a brigade was contemplated, it was necessary to fix upon a day which, in his own case, would suit five different corps. Was it right that the grant should be lost because, under such circumstances, the muster was somewhat low? The Force was entitled to more consideration. Every good feature about it had been suggested by itself, including the annual review and the brigade drill. The denunciations to which officers had been subjected by the Press on account of their having met to consider the arrangements for the review of this year were wholly beside the mark. According to the code regulating the action of Volunteer officers, it was their duty to take the initiative as regards these reviews. The officers resolved that it was expedient to keep the review up, because it brought the men together; and if the manœuvres did not correspond with actual warfare, the fault lay with the commanders, not the men or their officers, who simply did as they were ordered. To assist in making the review more serviceable the Volunteer officers passed an almost unanimous resolution, resigning their position as brigade officers in favour of the Line, and the Secretary for War would say whether the Volunteer officers in any way behaved in a manner which would for a moment suggest want of discipline on their part? The hon. and gallant Member for Sussex (Colonel Barttelot) had said it was necessary to put the Volunteers under the Mutiny Act, because they wanted discipline. He (Lord Elcho) had divided on a Motion against that very point, and he sympathized with the hon. and gallant Member if his experience had led him to this conclusion, 146 and regretted that he should have to deal with so unruly a body of men. Hon. Members wished to put Volunteers under arrest if they disobeyed orders. The power they possessed enabled officers to do so already. Without the Mutiny Act, during the parade of a regiment, a man who was disobedient or disrespectful, or who acted in any way contrary to discipline, could be ordered under arrest and kept under arrest as long as the brigade lasted, which at the time of the Autumn Manœuvres would embrace the time over which they extended; and at the end of that time the man's name might be struck off the roll, and the fact published, with a statement of the offence for which the punishment was inflicted. As a rule, the Government of the people of this country really expected too much of the Volunteers. There was an old saying that you should not ride a gift horse too hard. [Several hon. MEMBERS: A willing horse.] The Volunteer force was both a gift horse and a willing horse. We ought not to look too narrowly at its grinders to see whether they were defective; we should be satisfied that it had got a set, which he hoped it would be able to show. We ought not to ride a willing horse too hard, because we had not the courage to take out of the stable another horse—that of conscription or Ballot for home defence, lest it should throw us. Hon. Members knew that we could never organize our defensive forces without bringing that horse out of the stable; but because they were cowards in the House and on the hustings they were riding too hard the willing horse, and he would not say it would throw them off, because that might indicate lack of discipline, but it was possible the horse might break down under the burden. At all events, the Volunteers were asked to make bricks without straw. For 12 years he had been working hard, with, the one object of strengthening his country and making it less liable to panics; but, looking at the armaments of Europe, he was not at all certain that the Volunteers, or even the Militia, were such troops as we ought to have, without compulsion to make them efficient; but if the Volunteer force were to break down or to slip through our hands, we should be obliged to find the courage which we now lacked, and to make Englishmen do their common duty. And 147 why should they not be compelled to do their duty in that respect? Every other nation obliged their people to do their duty. Nay, it was the very foundation of our military system. Until they had the courage to put the screw on their own men—and by doing so they would make them the finest troops in the world—they could never properly organize an efficient defensive force for this country in the way the country had a right to expect from the Secretary of State for War, for there was a limit to the services they could get out of willing men from a sense of patriotism and public duty which would hinder them in attaining the desired end.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, they had plenty of men possessed of the necessary courage to ride the Ballot as a defensive horse; but he did not believe that there was such a horse available in this country. He agreed with the noble Lord on some of the points which he had urged, but he was wholly opposed to him on others. He was very sensible of the willing services rendered by medical men for no remuneration, and he would rather accept those services on the terms on which they were now given, than after the proposed examination and for the proposed pay. With regard to brigade drill, he thought the present rules required review, as, for example, in the North of England it was much more difficult than in the more densely populated South to arrange for brigade drill, because, in his own case, parts of three counties had to co-operate, and it was almost impossible to fix upon a day convenient to the three counties. Therefore, it was not at all surprising that a battalion should muster with half its strength; and it was hard if, under such circumstances, it lost its capitation grant. Again, there might be circumstances which would render it impossible for two-thirds of a battalion to attend administrative drill, although that proportion ought to attend; but the "hard-and-fast-line" operated hardly, and he thought there should be some means of considering the reasons which prevented them. As to the question of discipline, he believed the true Volunteer battalion would be found desirous of being as much like soldiers as possible, and so far as the regulations were likely to promote stricter discipline, he approved of them. He trusted the Volunteers would rather be- 148 nefit than be injured by the regulations, when properly amended, being carried out.
§ COLONEL NORTH
said, he could not understand for the life of him having one force in the field under different regulations from another force. He had no doubt that the good feeling and good sense of the Volunteers themselves when called out for real service would induce them to be subject to discipline. He could not understand how any one who had served in the ranks of the Volunteers could feel insulted at being placed under martial law. Of course, if a man felt insulted he could give up his arms and retire. He could speak for his own battalion; among them there was but one feeling, they were perfectly ready to be placed under martial law.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he had always witnessed with great admiration not only the zeal, but the persistency with which the members of the Force devoted themselves to their duty, and he believed most thoroughly that none desired more that a real share in the military defence of the country should be given them than the Volunteers themselves. Of course, he expected a speech from the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) such as he had delivered. But when he looked to the speeches of the Volunteer officers who had taken part in the debate, he could find none, except his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Abingdon (Colonel C. Lindsay), who had raised the discussion, who agreed with the noble Lord. There had been a great deal of misunderstanding in the position which his hon. and gallant Friend opposite had taken, and perhaps the explanation he would now give would remove some of his hon. and gallant Friend's objections. He had already explained that it was a mistake to suppose that there was the smallest intention to give to the captain of a company a position independent of the commanding officer of the battalion. There was nothing of the kind. But in administrative regiments and in some consolidated regiments there were outlying corps which must be called to parade by the captain without immediate reference to the commanding officer. The article in question was intended to deal with such a case as that. Then, as to the two great points of brigade drill and inspection, on which so much stress had been laid. Nobody except the noble Lord 149 had objected to the officers being required to qualify, and he believed he might say that there was almost an universal feeling that it was high time that none but qualified men should command. [Lord ELCHO: I objected to examination, not qualification.] Yes, but examination was the test of qualification in the Army and everywhere else; and he believed the Volunteer officers themselves would not be satisfied to allow the existing race of officers to die out before a stricter system was introduced. With regard to the other point, brigade drill was desired more by the Volunteers than by anybody else. And then, had not the authorities been called upon over and over again to provide some remedy for the admitted want of attendance on inspection day? The day of inspection was the cardinal day of the Volunteer service, and was it tolerable that in 1869 there should have been absent from inspection 59,557 men? Was it tolerable that as late as 1871 there should have been absent 55,714? He appealed to the House whether that could be justified. It was said the Volunteer Force was not expensive. He was of that opinion, if we compared the cost with the service which the Force rendered to the country. But it was expensive enough to require that efforts should be made to render it efficient, and it was the bounden duty of the authorities, who he was sure in this matter were only acting in the spirit of the Volunteers themselves, to endeavour to do so. [Lord ELCHO: How many were absent last year on leave?] The absent on leave were 37,575, those absent without leave 18,139. What we wanted to have was not a nominal Force, not an enrolled Force, but a real Force, and we must take some means that at inspection the real Force should be present. The regulations on that point, therefore, had not been drawn up with any desire to press hardly on the Volunteers, but with the view of carrying into effect what he believed the Volunteers themselves desired. In the brigade drill, the regulation was that in the event of any corps failing to attend when called upon to do so, or less than one-half of its enrolled members being present, it would forfeit its claim to the whole or a portion of the capitation grant. Was that an unreasonable rule? Then with regard to inspection, it seemed to be thought very hard to require two- 150 thirds of the corps to be present. Well, was that according to the practice or opinion of the Volunteers a hardship? Out of 13 districts and sub-districts in Great Britain, there were only three in which the absents of the regiments did on an average exceed 33 per cent, or more than one-third; and out of 90 counties the absents of 63 were below one-third, or below 33 per cent, and of 27 above it. That showed what was the practice of the Volunteers, and the only desire of the authorities was to bring up the less punctual and regular corps to the practice of the majority. The main point of objection appeared to be the mode of treating the medical men. At present the Volunteer medical officers earned a capitation grant for their corps, but without any conditions of service. Now, two proposals had been made, neither of which, however, was intended to be injurious to the medical officers; and he did not know that either of them would be insisted upon, if they should prove unacceptable to the medical profession, or to the Volunteers generally. One of them was, that medical officers should be experienced in those parts of medical science which had special reference to military duties. If a medical officer qualified in the manner specified in the regulations, he would be allowed to earn £2 10s. for his corps just like any other officer. With regard to the particular Motion which his hon. and gallant Friend had brought forward, he trusted it would not be pressed. It was thought that the permanent Staff of the Volunteers ought to be placed on the same level with that of the Militia; and therefore it was proposed to allow the medical officers of Volunteer regiments to attend them on the same terms as the medical officers attended the permanent Staff of the Militia; but if this proposal were unacceptable it need not be insisted upon. He supposed, however, his hon. and gallant Friend wished that the attendance of the medical officer should be secured to the permanent Staff.
§ COLONEL BERESFORD
said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would re-consider the clause relating to the inspection and battalion drill. In his judgment the whole tendency of the Army Bill was to annihilate the Volunteer Force, or, at all events, to exalt the Militia at the expense of the Volunteers.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, he should like to know whether a circular had been sent out inviting Volunteers in the North to join in the Autumn Manœuvres, and giving them the alternative of joining for half or for the whole of the period; and whether some corps had not been subsequently informed that they could not be accepted unless they arranged to remain for the whole period?
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, His Royal Highness the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief had represented to him that, if the Autumn Manœuvres were to be a success, the Volunteers ought to take part in a week's previous training. That was an important representation, and it was intended to act upon it.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, that considering the difficulty there was in getting men to attend, the introduction of this large number of Volunteers, as a kind of men of buckram, into the ordinary list of our Military Forces, led this country into a false sense of security. Military authorities were of opinion that the Volunteers, the Vote with regard to which body occupied the House three or four hours every year, were not worth a song—not worth the paper on which the Vote was written. [Laughter.] The unbiassed opinion of any hon. Member unconnected with the Volunteers must be that, however brave they might be, they could not be relied upon to resist an invading army such as Germany and France could muster, and that after all we must fall back upon the stuff of which our old soldiers were made of, who fought in the Peninsular Wars. He was speaking of a possible invasion of this country by a foreign force, and he thought it would be more economical to pay for duly qualified defenders of this country than to pay money to these Volunteer regiments. He knew it was unpopular to express that opinion, but he uttered it because there were no Volunteers in Ireland. He was quite certain there were many hon. Gentlemen in that House who entertained the same opinion as himself on this subject, but did not wish to express it.
§ COLONEL LOYD LINDSAY
said, as there were no Volunteers in Ireland, the hon. Baronet who had just spoken might, perhaps, be excused for the ignorance he had displayed on the subject of Volunteers. He thought it could not be 152 denied that since the grant to the Volunteers was made a corresponding amount of efficiency had been displayed by them. He did not object to the regulations which had been made with regard to the Volunteers, but he thought the House departing from the Volunteer element with which the movement began. If a member of the Volunteer corps was to be obliged to give up a portion of his time to training under canvas or in barracks, he ought to receive a remuneration for that portion of time which he thus sacrificed for the good of the country.
heartily thanked the Secretary for War for the circular which he had issued as to the training of Volunteers. He wished to say a word respecting Volunteer adjutants. He thought they should have the rank of major after 20 years' service, and were generally worthy the favourable attention of the Government. He must, however, dissent from the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) as to the qualification of officers, and he believed that the more Volunteers were treated as soldiers, the more they would respond; for though a few might drop off, the residue would be efficient, and he would suggest a reduction in the number of corps and regiments, the abolition of class corps, and the assimilation of regiments.
§ COLONEL BERESFORD
, referring to the disparaging remarks of the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Patrick O'Brien), reminded him of the grant which the Volunteers earned for extra efficiency, and assured him there were 70,000 or 80,000 men among them who would pick him off at 1,000 yards.
§ MR. RODEN
said, he would remind the Committee that the Volunteers had taught the world rifle-shooting, in which they were, perhaps, superior to the Regular Army. The Government had no right to ask the Volunteers to expend their money, as well as their work and time, in attaining efficiency. The right hon. Gentleman should at least grant them their expenses, and then they would be found to be the finest and the cheapest force in the world.
§ COLONEL WILMOT
might say as the result of his experience that he had never had any difficulty in getting out his men. The enrolled strength was 900, and he rarely had fewer on parade than between 600 and 800. He would 153 recommend greater liberality towards Volunteer adjutants, who were now at a disadvantage compared with Militia adjutants. He approved the new regulations, having himself previously given instructions to his regiment to the same effect.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he must repeat his conviction that some distinction should be drawn between officers who had been serving since the commencement of the Force, and those who might join after the regulations were in operation. He must also say that he had been misunderstood as having said that officers should not be qualified. He had simply advocated the testing of present officers in the field, instead of by a Board, and nobody felt more than he did the necessity of officers qualifying themselves. He was anxious for some means of securing compulsory attendance, without which Volunteers could not be made so efficient as to be fit at short notice to encounter the Prussians in the field. He admitted that many of those enrolled were "paper men," because they put down their names without due consideration, but the country had the satisfaction of knowing that it did not pay for such men.
said, he regretted having misinterpreted the remarks of the noble Lord (Lord Elcho), but disagreed with him on the question of principle.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
explained that he had no desire to detract from the patriotism of the Volunteers; he had merely desired to prevent a false feeling of security based on the statement that the Volunteers numbered 400,000.
§ COLONEL C. LINDSAY
said, that though only half satisfied with the explanations of the Secretary for War, he would not put the Committee to the trouble of a division. He still contended, however, that the examination of officers ought to be prospective, and not retrospective as far as those who were at present field officers were concerned. As to the postponement of inspection, that he regarded as equivalent to no inspection at all, and that was why he objected to it, there being no capitation grant without an inspection. He was glad to hear that the Secretary of State had withdrawn the retrospective character of the Circular, and that the rule 154 in reference to the medical officers would not be enforced.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £124,500, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Army Reserve Force (including Enrolled Pensioners), which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1872 to the 31st day of March 1873, inclusive.
§ LORD EUSTACE CECIL moved that Progress be reported.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress."—(Lord Eustace Cecil.)
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, the next Vote related to the Reserve Forces, which had been under discussion the whole of the evening.
MAJOR GENERAL SIR PERCY HERBERT
said, there were several questions connected with the subject upon which information was needed, especially with regard to the possibility of securing the services of the Reserve when wanted.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he would not oppose the wish of the Committee. He believed, however, that it was the wish of the Postmaster General to take a Vote in his Department before Progress was reported, and he would therefore suggest the withdrawal of the Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question, by leave, withdrawn.
§ (7.) £1,134,632, Post Office Packet Service.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
said, he wished to know why the Vote should be accompanied with words providing that Mr. Churchward should receive no part of the money granted by Parliament for the packet service? He remembered the controversy with respect to that gentleman some 13 or 14 years ago, and he saw no reason why, now that the matter was dead and gone, it should be commemorated annually in that House. He should like to know, therefore, why the name of Mr. Churchward had been retained in connection with the Vote?
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, he was of opinion that it was absurd that the wretched old story in reference to Mr. Churchward should be so perpetuated.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, Mr. Churchward's name had been retained in deference to the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown. If, however, he found on inquiry that there was no substantial reason for its retention, he should take steps to have it omitted.
said, that when he was a candidate for the borough of Dover he had heard a great deal about the Churchward contract, but that was so long ago that he thought the matter ought now to disappear from the Votes of the House altogether. Surely the Law Officers of the Crown could devise some more direct means of debarring Mr. Churchward from receiving any of the money voted by Parliament.
said, there was no desire to keep Mr. Churchward's name on the Votes of the House; but it was done under the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown, and if the necessity of keeping the name there ceased, it would be withdrawn.
§ MR. COLLINS
remarked that the name would seem to have been kept on the Votes for the purpose of casting a slur on a particular gentleman in connection with a very much disputed point. The whole thing, he thought, ought to have been dead and buried long ago.
§ MR. BAXTER
said, he would admit it was desirable that the heading referred to should be left out of the Vote. No one was more anxious than himself that the old controversy should be forgotten; but Mr. Churchward's name was retained, as had been before stated, in deference to the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, those hon. and learned Gentlemen having stated that so long as Mr. Churchward had an action against the Crown going on the name should be retained on the Votes.
§ SIR COLMAN O'LOGHLEN
remarked that there was not a Law Officer of the Crown present to tell the Committee anything on the matter.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, that if that were the case, it would be well, in justice to those hon. and learned Gentlemen, to postpone the Vote until they had time to spare from their duties elsewhere to devote to their duties in that House. The demand made on their 156 time by the House was not very great, and they might perhaps before long be at liberty to attend in their places for a quarter-of-an-hour.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he hoped that the Committee would be satisfied with the assurance he had given, and would promise that one or both of the hon. and learned Gentlemen should be present when the Report was taken.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock;
§ Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.