HC Deb 06 May 1873 vol 215 cc1591-607

in rising to move— That, inasmuch as it would greatly conduce to the diminution of our Military expenditure and the improvement of our Military organisation, that our establishment of officers, in all ranks, should be founded upon the actual requirements of the public service, the House is of opinion that no further appointments should be made to the honorary Colonelcies of regiments, said, there was, perhaps, nothing more striking than a comparison between the discontent felt in the country about the amount of our military expenditure and the small effect which that discontent produced upon our proceedings in that House. Anyone who contrasted the size of the Estimates with the Division List of the minority that voted for their reduction might believe that the nation was satisfied that its money was well spent, or else that the House failed to represent the national sentiments. He believed that neither the one nor the other was the case, but that the real cause of the apparently small number of economists on these benches was that the Resolution on which they were called upon to vote often mixed up questions of policy with questions of administration, and even when it was more carefully drawn the debate generally took such a course as to give almost every one, whatever his opinions, a reason for voting against it. The object of his Resolution was to give hon. Gentlemen something definite to vote upon. It did not touch the question of foreign policy, or of the increase or diminution of the fighting strength of the country. It left alone altogether controversies about military organization, reserves, recruiting, and auxiliary forces. Taking our Army as it stood, since the reforms of the right hon. Gentleman, it asked the House whether the interests of the nation, financial and military, had been sufficiently consulted in the arrangements for officering and commanding it. He did not propose to indulge in any sensational statistics, which only led to controversy, and controversy, too, of rather a one-sided character. The last time he ventured upon that dangerous ground, by adding up how much a head it cost to officer each of our soldiers, his calculation was falsified by the very simple pro- cess of publishing a Return of the cost of our officers, in which the allowances for provisions, forage, servants, and lodging, besides other items, were omitted, which produced very much the same effect as those rhetoricians who gave the weekly money wages of our agricultural labourers, and took no account of his cottage and garden, his payment in kind, and his hay and harvest money. He should confine himself exclusively to statements which might be challenged separately and on the spot, and, after hearing those statements, he felt satisfied that many hon. Gentlemen who would refuse to support a Resolution for reducing the number of men would join in a protest against a state of things under which the tax-payer suffered, while the Army, so far from gaining, positively lost in efficiency. He would begin with our regimental officers; and examine whether, in the words of the Resolution, they were in accordance "with the actual requirements of the public service." It was at once manifest that no fair comparison could be made between the peace establishments of different arms of the service and different nations. In our own case he proposed to take our Indian establishment, for in India, in case of war breaking out, it was manifest that a regiment must be, as far as recruiting was concerned, on its war footing. In taking the number of officers, he proposed to exclude the honorary colonel, the paymaster, and quartermaster, and, in the case of the cavalry, the riding-master and the veterinary surgeon. Our cavalry, then, had. 22 officers to 460 men, exclusive of the depôt troop, or a proportion of about 1 officer to 21 men. The proportion of officers in the four war squadrons of a Prussian regiment was 1 to 28. But it was not fair upon our Army to take this single case. In Russia, Austria, and Italy, the proportion was 1 to 24, and in France 1 to 17. The exigences of modern warfare, where cavalry charge less and scout more, require a large outfit of regimental officers to command detachments, and by comparison with the continental average our cavalry showed well, with the exception of the Household Brigade. It was almost ridiculous to talk of the war strength of a regiment which had never, in the lifetime of its oldest officer, been exposed to the dangers of an unhealthy climate, and which bore no name on its standards of a later date than Waterloo; and it was hardly creditable to our military administration that the most highly-paid of all our cavalry officers should be in a permanent proportion to their men of 1 to something over 18. With regard to what might be called the regimental officers of our Artillery—those who were attached to the batteries—the account was better still, for there we had 5 to a command of 150 men, or 1 in 30, which did not differ essentially from the Prussian. Why our artillery officers continued to do so much duty might be seen by anyone who examined the Return of leave granted to officers laid on the Table in 1871. He would discover that all our artillery officers quartered in England together obtained 13,571 days' leave, or 40 days a-piece, while the officers of our Household Brigade, commanding three weak regiments, got nearly 10,000 days' leave among them. That was to say, each officer in those regiments was absent from his regimental duties on the average 140 days in the year. It was not, therefore, surprising that it took five of them to do the work which was performed by three artillery officers. But it was a very different story when we came to the infantry. In this instance our practice was contrary to that of every other contemporary people. Prussia had 69 officers to a regiment of 3,097, or 1 to 45 men; France, 1 to 50; Russia, 1 to 40; Austria, 1 to 52; and Italy 1 to 38. Our infantry regiments on their Indian strength contained 885 non-commissioned officers and rank and file, and 30 officers, or a proportion of 1 to 29. On this point it was most important that we should not be misled by any talk of strong cadres, ready to receive our reserves in case of an emergency. When 885 men were distributed among eight companies, the cadres of an English regiment were at their fullest. Why did we require in this country 3 officers to do the work which was done in Prussia by 2? It could not be said that that was on account of the inefficiency either of our non-commissioned officers or of our officers themselves. It was difficult to understand, therefore, why we needed half as many again captains and subalterns as France and Prussia, except, perhaps, on the principle that we could not have too much of a good thing. We had at home and in the Colonies 98 bat- talions, or, including the West Indian regiments, exactly 100. At the rate of 10 officers to a battalion, that made 1,000 superfluous officers, which, at a very moderate computation of pay and allowances, amounted to £200,000 a-year. But this was only a small part. We must also take into consideration the battalions quartered in India, for, though their pay came from Indian funds, when they returned from India they were upon our hands as long as their lives lasted. So that we had 1,500 superfluous claimants for their share of half-pay, full-pay, retirement, and pensions, posthumous and during life, of every description, which this year amounted, for our commissioned officers alone, to the gigantic sum of £740,000 a-year. With these facts before him, he could not understand how his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War in October, 1871, appointed 20 young officers to the Brigade of Guards. There was no such great hurry to add to the officers of a corps in which, though the pay was higher, and should therefore be harder earned than in the infantry regiments, yet in the year preceding the appointment the officers of the seven battalions had, among them, enjoyed 23,648 days' leave, at the rate of three and a-half months for every officer. Among our own Marines, 320 officers commanded 13,500 men. If those admirable soldiers, instead of knocking about by sea and land from West Africa to Japan, were to be quartered between Dublin, Windsor, and the Birdcage Walk, they would require 520 highly paid officers to do the work which was now done by 320. He had gone through the weakest part of his case. When they came to the superior ranks of the Army, the case was entirely altered. Taking our Indian and English lists together, we had very considerably upwards of 2,000 colonels and lieutenant-colonels, all of whom were in some shape or another supported by the State, but a small proportion of whom were actually engaged in its service. Again, we had in the two armies upwards of 800 generals, who, like the colonels, were all a burden to the State under one form of payment or another. Now the name of general was very honourable indeed when it signified service; but he could not consider it so honourable when it was handed about in such a way as this. Of these 800 generals how many were employed? There were employed 15 in administrative duties at home; 21 commanded at home; 12 in the Colonies; and 43 in India—that was to say, 91 in all. But of these officers, 23 were colonels commanding brigades, so that we were in the position of having 10 generals doing nothing to one who was actually employed. The cause of this scandalous and, from the taxpayers' point of view, this cruel state of things was that, if not for the purpose, still with the practical effect of bewildering and bamboozling the nation, Government after Government had refrained from extending to the Army the wholesome rule which had prevailed in every well-ordered service as the first condition of efficiency and economy, that rank should always be accompanied by corresponding duties. Instead of this simple, rational, and almost universally accepted principle, we lumped together a vast, and to any but a practised professional eye, indistinguishable multitude of officers paid under a multitude of different heads, and of every degree of merit, and he wished he could add of age. Unfortunately, one of the worst results of this system was that we never got a general promoted at an age when his promotion would be useful to the public. The reason was obvious—the number of generals was to be determined not by the needs of the service, but by the utmost which could be squeezed out of the Exchequer. There would always be so many officers unemployed that inefficiency whether from age or demerit would escape notice. In the Peninsular War the Duke of Wellington became major general at 33, Lord Anglesey at 34, Lord Hill at 33, Lord Beresford at 39, and Lord Combermere at 31. Of all the generals employed in that great war, only two had passed the age of 40 without becoming major generals. But the average ago of the officers promoted in 1851 was not less than 60. Was the case any better now? He had recently taken the last four in each rank of our establishment, computing them to have entered the Army at 18; and he found that the four major generals in the Staff Corps were respectively 60, 65, 65, and 51 years of age, and the four not in the Staff Corps, 51, 55, 53, and 49. The last four lieutenant generals—that is to say, the youngest men—were 71, 54, 71, and 80. The last four full generals wore 63, 70, 75, and 71. But he would be told that the title of general gave gratification to an old officer who had served his country faithfully in days gone by. But why in the Army more than elsewhere should a man wait for honour and reward until he was on the verge of the grave? See how the present system weighed upon officers who could work and fight. Let hon. Gentlemen look at the 3rd Buffs in The Army List. There was no man whose reputation for soldierly efficiency stood higher than that of Colonel Walker, at present serving as junior major of four in that regiment. He purchased nothing. He had the Victoria Cross. He cut his way up, sword in hand, till he had no longer an arm with which to wield a sword. He had not been unfairly used. His superiors had done all that they could for him. In Army rank he was not behind the purchasing officer of his own age. But it was not too much to say that before Colonel Walker could, as a general, with general's rank, command his brother soldiers who had so much confidence in him, he would be well on to his grand climacteric. But if it was hard upon the officer that we surrendered the principle that rank should mean service, it was doubly hard upon the taxpayer that we had surrendered the principle that men should be paid by salary for work that they were doing or by pension for work that they had done. Now, in the case of our generals this distinction was utterly lost sight of. Some were paid by what was called salary, and was really pension; others by what was called pension, and was really salary. Others were receiving at the same time both the one and the other. Their principal sources of revenue he would proceed to indicate—£19,000 a-year under the head of Staff pay, and £80,000 a-year as pay for general officers. Then there were the salaries at the Horse Guards and the War Office, and the half and full pay which retired generals received according to the rank in which they left the Army. A considerable number were paid by the Indian Exchequer under the head of colonels' allowances, and in this case he must request attention to the fact that our habit of considering the claims of officers instead of the necessities of the service had, in the case of India, betrayed us into what was nothing short of a national crime. Dealing with other people's money instead of our own, we had placed no effective limit to the number of officers who were to succeed to colonels' allowances; and the consequence was that for the Native Army alone there would seven years hence be £500,000 paid away in colonels' allowances, and before 20 years were out, our Indian fellow-subjects would be paying over £1,000,000 sterling in annuities to superior officers under this single head. We were distributing among our generals a sum of £720,000 a-year, which was equal to the pay of 30 battalions at war strength, or it was sufficient to provide elementary education to Scotland and Ireland. The last and largest items were the £203,500 paid to the fortunate holders of honorary colonelcies; and it was on the existence of these that he was going to take the opinion of the House. Their origin was well known. In old days men of rank and property raised regiments which they paid and clothed out of a lump sum which the Government disbursed for the purpose. He had on a previous occasion related by what steps these offices changed gradually into pure unadulterated sinecures to which fixed incomes wore attached. He deliberately called them sinecures, for they did not fulfil the conditions of a pension. The first condition was that it should vary in uniform proportion to the length of service and amount of salary. But the colonelcies were not uniform, but varying in nine separate amounts from £990 up to £2,200 a-year. The next condition of a pension was that it should not be held at the same time as salary. But about 20 generals were enjoying these so-called pensions at the same time as salaries. No wonder that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington) declared two years ago that he had always thought the system of honorary colonelcies an anomaly and a most objectionable mode of paying for the services of officers. Nor was there anything very elevating in the associations connected with them. From their very foundation they were made the vehicle of the most monstrous jobbery by rich landholders, who took advantage of the danger of their country to plunder and cheat her. The story of what happened in 1745 might be read in Horace Walpole's Letters, and more concisely in Lord Stanhope's History, and what they were at a subsequent date might be seen in the Report of the Committee of this House on Garrison Appointments in the year 1833. That Committee showed that the colonel of the regiment in his character of contractor derived a profit by his regiment being sent to an unhealthy climate, or if a great mortality fell on it. They analyzed the receipts of the colonels, and, in the case of the Grenadier Guards, found them to consist in the colonel's own pay of £1 16s. 7d. a-day, in the profit on allowances for clothing sergeants, corporals, and drummers, 2,184 real men, and 104 fictitious men at £3 17s. and 19–84ths of a penny a-piece; in the pay of 26 fictitious men at 6⅞d. a-day, and in allowance for clothing fictitious warrant men and hautbois for which no deduction was made. The Committee recommended a consolidation and diminution of these allowances; but so perverted was military feeling by the existence and contemplation of these sinecures that in the face of all these 8ths and 84ths of a penny, and these warrant men who never drilled, and hautbois who never played, they actually recommended that— In consideration of the great and glorious military services of the Duke of Wellington, exemption should take place in his person from the operation of this rule, and that no change should be made in the emolument of the 1st Guards so long as his Grace shall continue to hold the colonelcy of the Regiment. But in other respects the example of this Committee—one of those fine outspoken Committees appointed by the first Reform Bill—was well worth the imitation of this House. They had to consider the old garrison appointments, of which the Staff of the Tower of London was now almost the sole relic, and which were defended on precisely the same grounds that the colonelcies are at this moment, and they reported that— After fully considering the question of the non-effective garrison appointments with the opinions expressed in their favour by the Duke of Wellington, the Committee are still of opinion that, upon the principle laid down by Parliament that all sinecure offices ought to be abolished, no garrison appointments should in future be made where no efficient military duty is performed; but the Committee do not recommend the withdrawal of the salaries to the prejudice of any existing interests. They then called attention to the large number of general officers on the list, and expressed their anxious hope that no addition should be made to it, except upon very strong grounds of public necessity. Those who supported the Government in the Abolition of Purchase did so on the ground that the preceding would prepare the way for economies. He had showed in the course of the debate on Purchase that the sums paid for retirement, if properly utilized, would more than provide for a system of pensions, and the Secretary of State for War had in reply to a Motion of his two years ago stated, that when purchase was abolished the question of retirement would be a subject of great care and interest. The first application of that care and interest should be to discover what sources of economy have become available in consequence of the abolition of purchase. Every Commission and Committee that had ever sat was of opinion that the existence of the purchase system was the cause of the great money prizes provided in the higher ranks of our Army, and, above all, the cause of the continuance of the honorary colonelcies. Over and over again this opinion was laid down by the Duke of Wellington. "They cannot," said the Duke of the honorary colonels, "be allowed to sell out. Their money is sunk in the service and lost to them and their families for ever," and the Secretary of State said, in 1871— The truth is that when an officer arrives at a certain rank he must choose between two things, whether he shall realize his money or go in for the prizes of the service. That was the reason for continuing those sinecures upon officers who had already become major generals in 1871; but surely it was an overwhelming reason for refusing to create any more vested interests. During the past two years, however, no less than 47 officers of the British Army had become major generals, of whom, he supposed, 20 or 25, at the least, had sacrificed their money and established a claim for the honorary colonelcies. Would the Government continue to condemn these officers, and continue to allow the creation of fresh vested interests? Would they go further, and defend the system on its merits? We had just as many Secretaries of State as we wanted, and as many Judges. In theory they had only just sufficient Commissioners of Customs and Inland Revenue. In the case of the sister service, no one thought of rewarding the Navy by establishing honorary post captainships or honorary purserships. The fiat had gone forth that thenceforth the ranks of officers in the Navy should be reduced to what the service required—that there should be only 50 admirals, 150 captains, and 200 commanders. Labour unions were denounced on the ground that they did not make regulations with a view to produce as much work as possible, but to increase the number of workmen who did it. Surely the House should set the labour unions an example, and conduct the establishments under its control upon principles recommended for the guardians of the unions? Already an idea had got abroad that they reduced from below and not from above, and that there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. A few years ago several thousand workmen were discharged from the dockyards, and the credit or discredit of that measure—for his own part he regarded it as a creditable measure—rested upon both sides of the House. The discharged persons were not established men, and had no pension; but the implied condition of their service was that they should succeed on good behaviour to the establishment, and obtain continuous employment and a right to pension. They stood exactly in the same position as those officers still on the colonels' list stand with regard to the appointments now in question, and as they stood in 1871. By not treating the officers as the dockyard labourers had been, the country was charged with a prospective expenditure of many thousands a year. How far we had been actuated by unjustifiable tenderness for individuals in dealing with military questions might be seen in the Correspondence between the Home and the India Governments in 1871. Lord Mayo as Commander-in-Chief, and the rest of the Council earnestly pleaded for a large reduction in the number of regiments and batteries in the interest of the overburdened people of India. The opinion of those on the spot, however, was overruled by advice which, under the circumstances of the case, should never have been set against that of Lord Mayo and Lord Sandhurst writing from the Council Room of Calcutta. The Home Government returned an answer stating in so many words that the Army was kept up in the interest of the officers. In conclusion, he would say that it was a very pleasant thing to deal in abstract Motions about economy, which were applauded and ignored, but which nobody resented; but it was much less pleasant to run counter to the feelings of his own class, and incur charges of inaccuracy, the real meaning of which was that he had been only too accurate to suit the interests and susceptibilities of persons strong in numbers, influence, and leisure to write to the newspapers. He could assure the House that in nothing that he had said had he any intention of wounding the feelings of any officer. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.


in seconding the Motion, said, he had no wish to attack any of the honorary colonels, but simply wished to show why the existing system should be altered. The honorary colonels' list now cost the country £230,000 a-year. From age and infirmity few of those on the list could be regarded as effective, yet the charge was made upon the Regimental Vote. No doubt the position was given as a reward of long and distinguished service; but it would be more consistent if the cost of these rewards was placed on the Distinguished Service Vote. Hon. Members were in the habit of making unfavourable comparisons between the cost of the British Army and that of the armies of other countries; but they overlooked or were ignorant of the fact that this disparity was due in great measure to the effective service in this country being charged with a large amount of non-effective pay. The existence of honorary colonelcies would, in his view, entirely prevent the establishment of a satisfactory system of retirement; and therefore, as the creation of such a system lay at the base of the Government measure for the Abolition of Purchase, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War ought to accept the proposal of the hon. Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan).

Motion made, and Question proposed, That, inasmuch as it would greatly conduce to the diminution of our Military expenditure and the improvement of our Military organisation, that our establishment of officers, in all ranks, should be founded upon the actual requirements of the public service, the House is of opinion that no further appointments should be made to the honorary Colonelcies of regiments."—(Mr. Trevelyan.)


said, he could not agree with the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan), and hoped to be able in a few words to satisfy him that it was not desirable to press his Motion to a Division. It was extremely easy to lay down the principle that, as in civil life, so in the Army, they should only have as many people as were actually required to do the current work. If the Army were intended for peace and not for war, and if it did not happen to be the fact that, while in the earlier ages of the soldier's life there was occupation for a very considerable number of officers in the various positions in the regiments while in the higher ranks of the service they could only employ a small proportion of officers; and if it did not happen further that in time of peace gentlemen did not die exactly at the period that would suit the public Exchequer—namely, at the period when their regimental services were over and they were ready to enter upon the higher ranks—then they could act upon the principle which prevailed in the Civil Service, and only employ as many men in each rank as were actually required for service. The opposite, however, was the case in the Army. It was all very well for his hon. Friend to say that there was an impression created that the Government was very ready to deal harshly with those in the lower ranks of life, but to be unduly circumspect when dealing with persons in the higher ranks, and, in support of this view, to quote the way in which dockyard men not occupying established positions were discharged, and then to compare this with the discharge of officers. But the fact was that were there was a life interest—whether in the Royal Dockyards or in the case of officers in the Army—that life interest had been respected in any changes which might have taken place. His hon. Friend seemed also to have forgotten that when, in the judgment of the Government, it appeared desirable to disband certain regiments in order to reduce the expenditure, no personal interests of the officers stood in the way of the execution of the purpose. So far from this being the case, several regiments were disbanded out of regard to the interest of the taxpayers, and almost entirely without regard to the interests of the officers. His hon. Friend must also excuse him for denying any belief in the opinion that those who had regulated the Government of India, either in the present or any former Administration, had employed the Indian Army for the benefit of the Army and not in order simply to maintain the great and beneficent purposes for which England retained the Empire of India, and the fulfilment of the great charge which England had undertaken in that part of the world. He knew that when the revenue of India was deficient an application was made to him to relieve them of certain forces, and this wish was immediately carried into effect. Now he would say a few words as to the details of the speech of his hon. Friend. Going through the question of the proportion of officers to men in the various branches of the service, he said that in the cavalry branch our Army compared favourably with that of Prussia, where there was one officer to 28 men, and with France, where the proportion was one officer to 17 men, the proportion in our own Army being one officer to 21 men. While admitting, therefore, that our cavalry regiments compared favourably in this respect with those of other European countries, his hon. Friend said that if it came to a war and it was necessary to increase the numbers of the rank and file it would be necessary also to increase the number of officers to command them, and also to meet the casualties of warfare. His hon. Friend had fastened upon the Household Brigade. No doubt the proportion of officers to men was small in the Household Brigade; but if he had come down early in the Session to propose an increase of the number of men in that Brigade he should have been met with the objection that he was proposing to increase that which was the most expensive portion of the Army, and to increase it in a time of profound peace. He regretted the expressions which his hon. Friend had used with reference to the Infantry, because they would give pain to those who read them and would excite feelings in their hearts which he was sure his hon. Friend, who took a real interest in the Army, would be the last to wish to prevail. His hon. Friend should have remembered that three years ago the number of officers was reduced by 1,291. That was a very considerable reduction, and one which should be mentioned when complaint was made that so many officers were retained. Speaking of officers in the Infantry, it was asked—"Why should we have three to two officers in our Army as compared with Prussia?" He would give reasons which to him at least appeared to have some weight. In the first place, he believed it was no secret that the Prussian army at the close of their victorious war was very considerably under-officered. In the second place, we had not in this country that which would be much more objectionable than any excess there might be in our Army Estimates, and that was the system of conscription. But if we were not to have that system we must appoint officers who could lead our troops, and who were of the higher classes, and had received the benefit of a superior education. We must, therefore, be prepared to maintain a larger number of officers, comparatively speaking, than a country that draws its troops equally from all classes of the people. Again let us compare the total number of officers in the British Army with the number of French officers at Sedan. At the capitulation of Sedan 2, 866 officers were surrendered, besides a very large number that had been taken prisoners during the battle. If the number of our officers was greater in proportion to the number of our men than was the case in other Armies, yet the absolute number of our officers was small, and it should be remembered that our Army was designed, not for a period of peace, but for a period of war, and that when we came to be engaged in war, particularly if it were for the defence of this country, we should be very glad indeed if we could avail ourselves of a certain number of superfluous officers, as some called them, to supply casualties, and to join the Auxiliary Forces. With regard to the Motion itself, he was not in the least degree disposed to say any more than his right hon. Friend who preceded him in office (Sir John Pakington), that the institution of honorary colonels was one that he regarded as he did a portion of the British Constitution. He did not think that our regulations in that respect were like the laws of the Medes and Persians, incapable of alteration and improvement. But he thought he could submit to his hon. Friend some reasons why he should not persist in the present Motion. He had to remind him that of the many who entered the Army as officers only a small proportion could find active employment in the higher ranks. We must provide for these men who could not find such employment. How? If by a compulsory retirement on a lower rank, that would be an extremely unpopular thing, and it must be remembered that these men did not enter the Army with the view of compulsory retirement. His hon. Friend said that it was a very agreeable thing to be called a general. That title was, no doubt, part of the inducement to a young man to enter the Army, though with only a small chance of attaining it. But if they told him (Mr. Cardwell) that they were going compulsorily to reduce that man, when his services as a general were not wanted, at the rank of captain—of two things one—either they must give him a very good retiring allowance, and to do so to young men would be a very expensive process, or else if they did not do that they would be called upon to increase the pay of the Army generally; for if they did not give them either one or the other of these advantages they would find a want of candidates for the Army. His hon. Friend who spoke last said—"Let the honorary colonels receive their present allowance, only let them receive it in a different part of the Estimates." That would not contribute much to diminish the burden on the taxpayer. His hon. Friend (Mr. Trevelyan) had admitted that those who had sunk their money under the old purchase system had an equitable claim to be regarded as having a vested interest. His hon. Friend said that a certain number had already risen to be majors general since the abolition of purchase, and that it was not economical for the Government to have permitted that. Now, with great deference to his hon. Friend, he was not prepared, without Anther proof, to admit that it would have been a very economical—certainly it would not have been a reasonable—thing to force those gentlemen to go to the Purchase Commissioners for a settlement of their claims, and so to retire from the service in which they desired to continue, and for which their previous experience and training had qualified them. But there was another point—this question was not deemed by those who had an opportunity of looking at it to be so simple as some persons supposed it to be. It was, in reality, one of the most complicated and difficult questions which anybody could undertake; because what it really meant was not the mere abolition of the name of honorary colonels, nor was it the mere settlement of the question whether the present sum of about £220,000 a-year which was to go to the general officers should be distributed exactly as it was now distributed. The upshot of the thing was that a general, after a service of, perhaps, 40 years, received in round numbers from £460 to £1,000 a-year. The Motion was levelled at the honorary colonels of the Cavalry and the Infantry, but in order to deal with them it was necessary to take into consideration the case of the Artillery and the Engineers. It was a subject that had been inquired into by two Royal Commissions. But further than this, when the Cavalry, the Infantry, the Artillery, and the Engineers were dealt with, that was not all, we should have to deal with the Indian officers, whose rights had been the subject of a Parliamentary guarantee. He was perfectly willing to consider this question with great care as regarded the interests of the taxpayers, and with the view to all the claims of those possessing vested interests who had sacrificed their money and had entered the service with a prospect of obtaining rewards for their services; but as it was a large and complicated question, it could not be dealt with off-hand by a Motion like this in the House of Commons. There were reasons why it was necessary that this question should be examined, and, in point of fact, it was now being examined. One reason was that last year they had established a new scale of promotion for the Artillery and Engineers, which, although it was sufficient for its present purpose, would not be sufficient for all time. There was, however, another reason. After the fixed establishment had been created upon the advice of a Royal Commission, there came a Royal Warrant amalgamating the Indian with the English Army, and the result of that Warrant would be to give an enormous preponderance to the Indian over the English establishment. It was impos- sible for him to agree to a Resolution which, dealing with a complicated system and interests curiously intertwined, would, by a single stroke, effect so great an interference as he had pointed out. It would, in his view, be unjust and unwise to do so. The Government had already taken steps which he should be prepared, if it were necessary, to explain at length to the House; but, for the reasons he had already given, he hoped the House would not adopt the Resolution of his hon. Friend.


considered the arguments of his right hon. Friend fair and temperate; but still he was not satisfied with the explanation.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 40; Noes 80: Majority 40.