§ MR. ANDERSON
, in rising to call the attention of the House to the conduct of Lord Sandhurst, the Commander in Chief of the Forces in Ireland and to move—That, in the opinion of this House, his having been absent from duty for seventeen months out of thirty-four, his making repeated erroneous Returns to the War Office as to his absences from duty, misleading the Accountant General, and thereby receiving Public Money to which he was not entitled, involves such dereliction of duty as calls for some stronger mark of censure than the mere return of the money wrongly received.said, that the Motion had more importance than it deserved bestowed upon it in consequence of a statement which fell the other day from the Prime Minister, who described the Motion as a charge of corruption against a Peer of the Realm. He had, however, made no charge of corruption against that Peer of the Realm. ["Oh, oh!"] He entirely disclaimed such an accusation. His Notice of Motion was very carefully worded. It detailed certain facts concerning the absence of Lord Sandhurst from duty for 17 months out of 30, the making of erroneous Returns relating to this absence, and it stated that those erroneous Returns misled the Accountant General, and that, owing to the Accountant General being misled, the noble Lord obtained public money to which he was not entitled. But all those statements were simply undeniable facts shown by the Papers before the House. They 624 were no charges of his making. The Motion simply charged that these facts amounted to a dereliction of duty, and that they did so amount to a dereliction of duty was what it was incumbent upon him to prove to the House. They did not involve any charge of corruption, and he had never said so either publicly or privately. Whether an act was corrupt or not depended upon the motive with which it was committed, and if there was no corrupt motive there could be no corruption in the act, and in this case he did not allege any corrupt motive. He might, perhaps, be permitted to refer to a matter somewhat personal to himself. He had been informed that this Motion had within the last few days been discussed in a party consisting of four or five Members of the House, and that one of these Gentlemen stated openly that there were wheels within wheels, and that he was attacking Lord Sandhurst from private animus because the noble Lord had cashiered a relative of his in India. He did not know who the Member was; but he desired to give the statement itself the most unqualified contradiction which the usages of Parliament permitted. He was not aware what was really the strongest word which he might be permitted to use; but, whatever the word might be, he desired the hon. Member to consider that word used towards him. He felt a little warm on this subject because he had had very near relatives in both services; but not one of them had been cashiered or censured by Lord Sandhurst or any one else. Indeed, he was not aware that he had a friend or acquaintance who had been cashiered or censured. He know that there had been an officer whose case had been brought forward in that House; but it was so long since that he had forgotten even the officer's name. He had taken up the case purely on public grounds, and he had continued it solely from the same motives. He might, perhaps, as well tell the House how he came to take the matter up. Ireland, they were told, was a turbulent country, requiring a strong military force to keep it in order, and that being the case he was somewhat astonished to find that the Commander-in-Chief was absent from his duty for more than half his time, and that he drew full pay and allowances just as if his office was a sinecure. So much was he surprised that, at one time 625 he had it in contemplation to move the abolition of an office which appeared to be so useless. When these irregularities afterwards came out he was as much surprised as was the War Office itself. On the 12th of June, 1873, he had asked in that House how long Lord Sandhurst had been absent from his duties during the preceding 12 months, and whether during his absence he had drawn his pay and allowances. In reply, Sir Henry Storks said that during that time Lord Sandhurst had been absent three months on sick leave. Knowing that answer to be erroneous, and having had considerable experience of the erroneousness of War Office replies—[laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh; but he did not believe that he was the only Member who had felt that some Departments of Government regarded a questioner as if he were a mortal enemy, and thought that the last thing in the world they ought to do was to give a correct reply to Questions that were asked. He knew that the answer was not correct, and he got a friend to write to Dublin to make inquiry. The result was that he found Lord Sandhurst was away for very nearly double the time, and he learnt, too, that if he carried the inquiry further back he would find it was still worse. He then repeated his Question, extending it to the 30 months previously, and he found that Lord Sandhurst had been absent 15 months out of that time; but he was told in the official reply that such absence was due partly to professional duty in England, partly to his duty of attending Parliament, and partly to sick leave. He was told, moreover, that the noble Lord during that time had drawn his pay and allowances; but that the Accountant General had raised objections, and that the matter was being inquired into. On the 31st of July, 1873, he had asked whether the Correspondence on the subject was complete, and whether the decision arrived at involved any censure to anyone, or any repayment of pay and allowances for the time of the noble Lord's absence from Ireland, and in that case how much the repayment would amount to. The reply was that the Accountant General's objections had been sustained by the War Office; that Lord Sandhurst's absences had not been entered in his pay lists; that £753 11s. had been returned; that 626 the Question had led to the discovery, but that even if he had not asked the Question the discovery would probably have been made. That was the history of the circumstances which had led to the production of these Papers. He had thought it desirable that the House should know the nature of the objections which had been raised to Lord Sandhurst's accounts, seeing that they were of such a nature as had led to his having to repay the sum of £753, and therefore he had moved for these Papers last Session, when a part of them were laid upon the Table of the House. The remainder of the Papers having been laid upon the Table this Session, he was anxious that they should be printed; because he felt the great inconvenience of their being simply placed in the Library without being distributed among hon. Members. The reason why they had not been printed was because no mode of printing which the House recognized would bring out the real points in the case, which were to be found not so much in the Correspondence as in the accounts. It was necessary that the War Office forms, Lord Sandhurst's mode of filling them up—his explanation being scrawled across them, instead of being written on a separate piece of paper, and his mode of attaching his signature to some of the accounts by gumming it on them, should be brought under the notice of the House. The form issued by the War Office, in which absences were to be recorded, was attached to the pay list, and contained two columns, one in which absences with leave during the current month were to be recorded, and one in which the total absences during each month since the previous 5th of April were to be entered. There was a foot-note attached to this form which stated that these columns must in all cases be filled up, and that when there had been no absence the word "nil" was to be entered in them. Of the 29 monthly forms which Lord Sandhurst had filled up, no less than 20 of them should have contained entries of absence for a certain number of days, but only two of them contained such entries. In the absence columns of the remainder the word "nil" had been filled in, indicating that Lord Sandhurst had not been absent during the 27 months to which they referred. There were two sets of accounts for each month, each. 627 separately made and each separately signed, so that there were altogether no fewer than 36 erroneous accounts sent in by Lord Sandhurst. In the case of two of these accounts Lord Sandhurst's signature had been attached by means of gum, having been written on a separate piece of paper. That occurred when the noble Lord was in the South of France. He supposed the noble Lord thought that the accounts would look better if they had his signature in some form or other; but he did not suppose the noble Lord would like his bankers to pay cheques which had his signature attached to them in such a manner. It was only fair to Lord Sandhurst to say that his explanation for putting "nil" in the absence columns when he was away from Ireland was that these columns were headed "absence with leave," whereas he was absent without leave. The view of the War Office, however, was that if he were absent it should have been either with leave from that Department or from the Commander in Chief. Therefore, those columns should have been filled up properly. The noble Lord, however, was not consistent in his statement, because while he stated that he was absent from February to May, 1873, with leave, he had entered "nil" in the forms for those months also. Moreover, in the forms for January and February, 1872, the entry in the former was "28 days absence," and in the latter "five days absence," making out that he was only absent for 33 days, when, in reality, those 33 days were only part of an absence which really extended to six months. Lord Sandhurst acknowledged that he had signed the accounts in a perfunctory manner; but it appeared to him that an officer dealing with money accounts, especially with money accounts involving his own pay, was called upon by every consideration not to deal with them in a perfunctory manner, and that to deal with them so was to commit an official sin of which the War Office was bound to take cognizance, and to set down their foot upon such a practice most firmly. He did not say that Lord Sandhurst had made these errors in his accounts for the purpose of concealment—there was no evidence of that; but he should wish to draw the attention of the Judge Advocate General to the 85th, 86th, and 89th sections of the Articles of War, which 628 treated omissions by an officer in his accounts and returns as severely as actual falsifications, for which an officer was liable to be cashiered. He was afraid that if a junior officer had made erroneous returns which would have the effect of putting money into his own pocket, when the case came to be considered by the War Office it would go very hard with him. He had endeavoured to make a short abstract of the letters which were in the Library, which he would read to the House. The first, which was dated the 26th of June, 1873, was from the "War Office to Lord Sandhurst, asking as to his absences during the past 30 months. The next was Lord Sandhurst's reply, in which he stated that his first absence was for four months on duty; the second was for three months on Parliamentary affairs; the third was for six months for ill-health, during which time he did not go much into society, but was able occasionally to attend Parliament; the fourth was for three weeks in London on duty; and the fifth was for four months in the South of France for ill-health. The noble Lord added that it would be as reasonable for him to claim a portion of the salary of the Lord Lieutenant during his absence, as that he should give up any portion of his own salary during the time he was away from Ireland. The noble Lord further stated that he had accepted the Irish command with sincere reluctance, having shortly before declined to stay longer in India, whore for 15 years he had not known what it was to be relieved from the cares of high office for a single day, and that the duties connected with the Army and the general administration of India had been for the greater part of that time of the most arduous and laborious description. The next letter, dated 2nd of July, was from the War Office to Lord Sandhurst, and pointed out that his Returns for the last 30 months did not disclose any absence on his part beyond the usual period of leave, and that circumstance, taken in connection with his present letter admitting absences, raised questions which required explanation. The fourth letter was dated the 7th of July, and was from Lord Sandhurst. In it be said that as regarded his absences he had followed the course which had always prevailed during the time of his predecessors; that it had not been customary 629 for the Commander of the Forces in Ireland to obtain leave of absence; and and that it had been considered sufficient to acquaint the Adjutant General of the fact in a private form, and that the Commander of the Forces in Ireland had not been in the habit of demanding official leave of absence, as was the case with subordinate officers; that he had ascertained that to be the custom on taking; the command in 1870, and had adhered to it as established by long prescription and precedent; that in February, 1873, he had applied formally for leave, but that was an exceptional case, as he was going abroad; and these facts, he said, accounted for the non-record of his absences. The next letter was dated the 8th of July, and was from the War Office to Lord Sandhurst, stating that the Returns had been prepared in a manner different from those of his predecessors, and that it was necessary they should be corrected, so as to make them consistent with the facts of the case. The Report of the Adjutant General of the 8th of July stated that it had been the practice of the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland to report his absences from command in the pay lists, and he gave instances of this. To this letter Lord Sandhurst replied on the 9th of July, stating that the accounts would be corrected, but that there would be little to correct, as he had verified his statement by reference to the head clerk, who was a person of 37 years' experience; that there was no column for absence on duty, and that consequently that did not appear on the Returns, and that he only did as his predecessors had done. The War Office wrote to Lord Sandhurst on the 10th of July, stating that the intention of the Return had been misunderstood, as it had been designed to show the actual fact of the presence or absence of each officer; that in the case of absence on professional or Parliamentary duty a statement that such was the cause of the absence ought to have been given; that the Secretary of State did not understand the Commander of the Forces to be absent without leave of His Royal Highness, although leave had not been obtained in a formal manner, and that on those points the Returns must be corrected, when they would be again examined. Letter 8 was from Lord Sandhurst to the War Office, and was dated July 11. In it he maintained his 630 former opinion, and returned the accounts with remarks written on them. He said that the form of accounts was deficient; that he carried his command with him wherever he might happen to be, and suggested the implied sanction of his conduct by the authorities; and he added that the action of the Accountant General in such a matter was irrelevant. The next letter, which was from the War Office to Lord Sandhurst, stated that the noble Lord had misunderstood the pay list form, and pointed out that it was shown by a foot-note to be a record of actual absences, adding that His Royal Highness was not aware of the misunderstanding, could not have given any implied sanction, and did not admit the view that discharge of duty out of Ireland was acknowledged by superior authority, and was consistent with the practice of his predecessors. Letter 11 sent the pay lists, and then came a letter from Lord Sandhurst to the War Office, dated July 17, stating that no deductions were to be made for absences in 1871, when he was away on diary, but that in 1872 he appeared to have been away 88 days more than were admissible, and 92 days in 1873 more than were admissible—that was, more than the 61 which were allowed to staff officers in every year; and it mentioned the amount of the retrenchment as £753 11s. The next letter was dated July 19, and was from Lord Sandhurst to the War Office, arguing against the retrenchment on the grounds previously given, and suggesting that as regarded his Parliamentary absences, they might have been modified if he had understood the consequences, adding that he would not have accepted the command if he had conceived it possible that such an interpretation would have been laid down, and that his absence in Parliament was with the full knowledge of the War Department. Then he gave instances of Lord Strathnairn's absence, which he said had not been recorded. This was followed by a letter from the War Office, dated the 29th of July, stating that they could not adopt the view that high office was an exception to the rule as to absence, which governed all Staff appointments, or that the holders of high office should be judged by special rules; that, on the contrary, they were subject to all the ordinary rules; that although leave of absence 631 had been applied for in a less formal way in this case, still that the absence must be with the leave of His Royal Highness; that the Secretary of State agreed with His "Royal Highness as to the manner in which the Returns ought to have been filled up, and if that had been correctly done, no misunderstanding would have arisen; that Staff pay and allowances were strictly remuneration for local services; that the Accountant General thought table money should be similarly disallowed; but as it had not been customary to make deductions for table money, no such deduction would be made, but that a new rule would be made on the subject. They denied that the example of his predecessors to which he had referred, or any excess above 61 days, had ever been sanctioned by the War Office, and added that the 61 days' leave was only allowed at the end of 10 months' service. The next letter was from Lord Sandhurst, and was dated the 2nd of August. In it he again urged his claim for exemption from stringent rules, admitted his too perfunctory signature to the pay lists, as he had considered them mere receipts; and he submitted that even if his absences from ill health were to be deducted, those for attendance to Parliamentary duty ought not to be, as he had been all along in constant consultation with the War Office while the Army Bill was before the Houses; that if there was to be a change of system it ought not to be retrospective, and that there had been a tacit acquiescence on the part of the War Office. The reply of the War Office controverted all the noble Lord's arguments, and referred to the obligations of the Royal Warrant, adding that absence on military duty under the sanction of superior authority was the only exception allowed beyond the 61 days, and that there was no occasion for Lord Sandhurst's residence in London after the 3rd of April. They denied that there had been any tacit assent on their part to absence beyond the 61 days, but stated that the absences in excess of the rule were not noticed by the Accountant General, only because not recorded in the pay lists, and that when the Accountant General became aware of such absences he raised the objections. On the 7th of August Lord Sandhurst wrote to the War Office repeating all his old arguments, and claimed to have been of such service to the Government in 632 respect of the Army Bill that if he had not been in London it would have been necessary to have sent for him. The War Office replied on the 8th, saying that the Secretary of State was governed by the regulations of his Department, and did not accept Lord Sandhurst's account of the indispensable nature of his services, especially in the latter portion of the Session of 1871; that he had acknowledged in Parliament the value of those services, but that no such consideration would justify his straining or violating the Royal Warrant in respect of pay and allowances. Such was the Correspondence that had taken place. But it was fair to Lord Sandhurst to go a little further. A new series of letters commenced, and Lord Sandhurst wrote to the War Office, expressing his profound regret that certain formal Orders had only then come to his knowledge, which he had omitted to mention at the time he gave his explanations of his absence; that he found his memory had been altogether at fault, and that in his explanation he had erred considerably with respect to absences which he found had been greater than those he had acknowledged. He expressed very great regret at this, naturally enough; and the consequence was that the War Office sent him in a new bill for further retrenchment, amounting to £127 14s. It certainly seemed to be an extraordinary thing that Lord Sandhurst, in explaining his absences in so formal a way to the War Office, did not appear to have referred to the documents in his own office, to ascertain what really those absences were. The Orders were dated the 30th of December, 1870, handing over the command to the officer next in rank; 10th of May, 1871, on leaving Ireland; 2nd of August, on returning; 4th of January, 1872, on leaving Ireland; 17th of July, on returning; 2nd of October, on leaving again; 24th of the same month, on returning; 9th of February, 1873, on leaving; and 2nd of June, on returning. Those Orders were simply handing over or resuming the command. He had now dealt with Lord Sandhurst's letters, and in a perfectly fair and impartial way, and had stated his own arguments in his favour, along with the arguments of the War Office in reply. He had proved, he thought, that there was 17 months' absences from duty out of 34, that the Returns were erroneous as 633 regarded those absences, as stated in the Motion; that those erroneous Returns misled the Accountant General, as stated in many of the letters from the War Office; that Lord Sandhurst did receive public money to which he was not entitled—that fact being proved by his having had to repay it. The remaining point—the only one which he required to prove was—that there was on the part of Lord Sandhurst, "such a dereliction of duty as called for some stronger mark of censure than the mere return of the money wrongly received." To prove dereliction of duty, it was not necessary to prove corruption; he simply said Lord Sandhurst had made an erroneous Return, and he believed Lord Sandhurst had done it principally through entertaining a very undue estimate of the importance of the position he occupied; that he supposed it was outside and above the Royal Warrant relating to Staff appointments, that he was not obliged to ask for leave of the Commander-in-Chief of this country, of the War Office, or anybody else, but that he was entitled to go where he pleased and when he pleased. He acted in ignorance of his position as defined by the Royal Warrant; but ignorance of the law was never allowed to justify a breach of it in any other rank of life, and he did not believe it would in the Army either, in any subordinate post. Lord Sandhurst said he only did as his predecessor Lord Strathnairn had done; but the War Office denied that altogether; and, if it were true, two wrongs did not make a right; it would not justify him in acting in contravention of the Royal Warrant and of the Articles of War. If this plea was to be admitted there was an end to all discipline and good order in the Army. Lord Sandhurst admitted in the fullest manner that he had been too perfunctory in the signing of his accounts, and that he held to be a grave offence. The sending of signatures on pieces of paper to be gummed on to the accounts was more than a perfunctory act, and he did not see how it could be passed over or excused. It was necessary for the maintenance of discipline and order in the Army, for an example to all other officers, and necessary for the War Office itself, to enable it consistently to punish similar offences, that such an offence as this should be visited with strong censure. Some might 634 think the repayment of the money was punishment enough; but that was no punishment at all, it was simply a question of accounting. It was no punishment to him to restore money which came into his hands wrongly, or by accident, and which he ought never to have had; and he could be punished only by some form of censure. So far as he knew neither the late War Office nor the present War Office had passed such censure. A lesson to be learnt from the incident was that there must be something wrong in the auditing of the War Office accounts when these errors could go on for three years without being checked. Until he happened to ask a Question in this House, nothing was known of these irregularities, the discovery of which was purely accidental. They might be going on in other quarters, and they might have existed for a long time in this, as Lord Sandhurst affirmed, though the War Office denied it. The moral seemed to be that there should be an outside audit for the accounts of the War Office and of other Departments. He had not agitated this case against Lord Sandhurst; but having moved for Papers, he thought he ought to allow the House to pass some judgment upon the matter. He hoped he had brought the matter forward in as fair a manner as possible to Lord Sandhurst, and he had not even provided a Seconder; he left it to any hon. Member who thought he had made out a ease to second the Motion by lifting his hat so as to put the matter before the House. He was entirely indifferent to the decision of the House; he had no personal animus against Lord Sandhurst, whom he had never seen to his knowledge, and of whom he knew nothing more than the public knew. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That, in the opinion of this House, Lord Sandhurst, the Commander in Chief of the Forces in Ireland, having been absent from duty for seventeen months out of thirty-four, his making repeated erroneous Returns to the War Office as to his absences from duty, misleading the Accountant General, and thereby receiving Public Money to which he was not entitled, involves such dereliction of duty as calls for some stronger mark of censure than the mere return of the money wrongly received."—(Mr. Anderson)
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
The hon. Member, to whom I shall not impute any motive such as he has assumed might be ascribed to him, has brought before the House a question which he considers of vast importance, but which, in the mode in which he has stated it, seems to me to be of less importance than he has attributed to it. Any hon. Member, taking this Motion in his hand, without any prejudice and feeling on the subject, would consider it was meant to bring a grievous censure upon the officer against whom it is directed—if, indeed, it be directed against him, and not rather against the Government which kept him still in the position of Commander of the Forces in Ireland. From the conclusion of the speech of the hon. Member anyone would suppose that the censure he invites the House to pass is to be passed, not upon Lord Sandhurst, but upon the War Office, which had condoned his neglect, and had only required him to return the money. The hon. Gentleman has told us that he has most carefully endeavoured to bring no charge of corruption against Lord Sandhurst, and yet as he proceeded he apparently found it impossible to abstain from coupling his statement of facts with remarks implying that money considerations materially affected the question. I think he quoted the letters with the most perfect fairness, though there are in them one or two things I should have wished him to bring more prominently forward. Now, what would a gentleman of honour, integrity, and high feeling say if he found a charge of so grave a nature imputed but not directly preferred? What would he say if on the part of the gentleman against whom the charge was made, there was no concealment—no attempt to disguise any of the facts? Surely that would, at all events, be evidence in his favour. Well, Lord Sandhurst has from the beginning to the end of this matter contended that, as Commander of the Forces in Ireland, he occupied a different position from that of subordinate Staff officers, and has acted upon that assumption. The use of detached signatures occurred when he was in the South of France. He did not wish the pay-sheets to be sent out to be attached to them at home, and he sent home signatures on a piece of paper. ["Oh, oh!"] Gentlemen may cry "oh, oh!" but 636 I am keeping back nothing; Lord Sandhurst kept back nothing. I am not standing here as his advocate: I am here merely to represent my own Department; and my duty is, as far as I can, to hold the balance in such cases as this; and, so far as I can, to see that Parliament does not take upon itself a function which it is ill-calculated, generally, to discharge, and which in most instances it refuses to discharge. With respect to the gummed signatures, so far as he was concerned, they might have been attached to any document which prejudiced him just as much as to any document in his favour. He gave no instructions; he gave no single direction as to what pay and emoluments he should receive; and he put his signature to the pay-sheets, believing, no doubt, he was entitled to the pay, just as he believed he was entitled to the table money, which it was intended to take from him, but which it was found he was authorized to receive in accordance with the custom which had prevailed. What was his position? It was a very high one. He believed that he was entitled to, and did, practically, command the Army in Ireland as long as he remained in the United Kingdom; and during all the time he was in England all matters of importance were referred to him. That may be seen from the details of the correspondence carried on while he was in England. I will now call attention to the circumstances which are made the grounds of the charge. Lord Sandhurst came home from India about three months prior to August, 1870, after occupying one of our highest commands for 12½ years; and he expressed reluctance to take any command whatever. He had been absent from this country 15 years, and though I am sorry to say his health has lately been extremely bad, he could say, what probably no other officer could say, that until he went to Dublin he had never since 1836 had sick leave at all. During his whole service in India he had not once been home on sick leave or furlough. On coming to England, therefore, he was told by his medical advisers, as stated in his letters, that rest was very desirable for him, and that he had far better take no command. He says again and again that he did not know what sort of command it was, and that had he known it was not the inde- 637 pendent position he supposed, he would never have taken the command. His sick leave, which I think no one will grudge him, was no doubt a long period altogether; but it was not a long period in comparison with the services he rendered without any such leave. Certain things have since come out which tend to show how his sickness was so severe—for I am told that his house in Dublin has been found to have been in an extremely unhealthy condition. Both winters he was seized with severe illness and had to leave for a time. In 1871 he came over by invitation of the Secretary of State for War to take part in the preparation of the Bill which was about to be introduced with respect to Army Reform, and it is admitted that from January till the 3rd of April—Lord Sandhurst fancied at one time it was for a longer period—he was really here on duty. Those services were very heartily acknowledged by Mr. Cardwell on more than one occasion. Lord Sandhurst afterwards came over when the Bill was before the House of Lords on his Parliamentary duties, and, as he believed, with a view also to assisting the War Office in conducting that measure through Parliament, and in many difficulties which arose his advice was no doubt at times taken, and he was in communication with the War Office. I am bound to say that, according to what the Under Secretary wrote to him, his services were not considered so indispensable as he had thought; but he was rendering services, and, as he supposed, real and beneficial services. It appears admitted, moreover, on all hands that, as regarded his attendance in Parliament, though he might not be entitled to Staff pay and allowances, he thought he had a right to be absent for Parliamentary duties, and that he was entitled to the pay and allowances which he had always claimed. In the winter he had to go away on sick leave, and came over to England. It is admitted that no formal leave had been asked by the Commander of the Forces; but he had communicated with the Field Marshal the General Commanding-in-Chief in a comparatively informal way, and had come over. Lord Sandhurst was ill for some time while in England; but, as appears from his letters, he conducted the business of his Department and was able to exercise the command in all important particulars, though he 638 left a Major General who could do all the routine work and could communicate with him on all special occasions. He was again engaged in Parliament that year. In the winter his illness became so severe that he had to leave the United Kingdom and repaired to France, under the advice not only of his medical attendants in Ireland, but of the best physician he could find in England. Now, not one of those absences is inconsistent with his right to absence, for he always sent intimation of his coming over, or was here to attend to his Parliamentary duties, which he did not think it necessary to communicate, deeming he had a right so to attend. I believe either a Peer or a Member of this House has a right to discharge his Parliamentary duties in that way. Let me add that, though there has been this large deduction from his pay and allowances, Lord Sandhurst was summoned during those three years to attend before Committees of this House. In 1871 he was summoned as a witness on a matter as to the India Establishment, and he also gave evidence before Committees on the Euphrates Valley Railway and on the health of the Army in garrison towns. Now, after the statement of the hon. Member that what he imputes to Lord Sandhurst is an error of judgment and a mistake as to his rights, should the great powers of this House be put in force in order to censure him? Upon a question where it is the right of the Crown to deal absolutely, as is the case with the Army, should this House, without inquiry upon oath—without court-martial—inflict an ineffaceable stigma upon the character of Lord Sandhurst? The House is asked to undertake a duty which properly belongs only to the Crown, and though I have searched for a similar case I have been unable to find one. The cases which have been brought forward are of a totally different character, and in those the House has almost invariably hold that it is not a tribunal to entertain such questions, but that they should be left to the Crown. This matter, however, having been brought forward, there is no alternative but for the House to come to a vote and a decision upon it. I trust that in doing so the House will remember the real state of the case, that throughout the Correspondence there is no imputation of the slightest 639 fraud or concealment, and that the strongest expression used by the War Office is, that had a certain course been taken the "misunderstandings" which have arisen would not have happened. Last Session the hon. Member put a Question to my noble Predecessor as to whether he meant to censure anyone upon these transactions, and the answer was that no censure was to be imposed. I will not go into the question as to whether or not the War Office has a good system of accounts, because, as the hon. Member admits, that is not before us; but I know that, irrespective of the hon. Member's Question, the very first of these Papers which came in with the signature attached by gum attracted the attention of the Accountant General, and would have led to an investigation without any Question being asked. The other Papers, of course, are on a different footing. Lord Sandhurst did nothing by concealment, but came over openly, believing that his absences were fully known, and that he had a right to come over. When the House is called on to censure anyone who acts in that way, whether a Commander of the Forces or one in an inferior position, I must say that no assembly of gentlemen, wishing to be just, but would consider not only the admissions he makes, but the explanation with which they are accompanied. Now, the hon. Gentleman, though he tells us he has carefully considered the terms of the Motion, with a view to impute nothing fraudulent, improper, or corrupt, has used terms which are one-sided. He accepts the admissions which are frank and free—and though Lord Sandhurst did not consider his view erroneous, I quite admit that it was erroneous—and he declares his conduct a dereliction of duty, without saying anything of the explanations which Lord Sandhurst tendered with those admissions, thus giving a one-sided statement of the case. Were the Resolution to be carried, whatever the hon. Member may think, it would drive Lord Sandhurst from the position he occupies, because it would be a stain on his character, and would give pain and grief to everybody connected with him. As we are practically agreed upon the facts—which have never been denied by Lord Sandhurst—it is unnecessary to go further into them, and I am not this evening physically capable of doing so. I rather wish to draw 640 the attention of the House to what is the practical issue. Here is an officer who has served his country in all climates and under all conditions, who has risen to the highest rank in India, and is appointed to one of the most important commands in the United Kingdom. He tells you as an honourable gentleman that in making these erroneous claims he acted in the belief that he was doing what he had a perfect right—and on many points still thinks he had a perfect right—to do. He has never attempted any fraud or concealment on the public, and though he may have misled the Accountant General, there was nothing wilful or dishonest on his part. He asks this Assembly—and I hope that without any long discussion we shall come to a conclusion—to give him, once and for all, an acquittal upon these transactions with the War Office. Do not condemn him whom the Crown has not condemned, but leave him in the position which, by favour of the Crown, he now occupies.
§ MR. HORSMAN
No one can have listened to the speeches we have just heard without sharing the regret I have felt from the first, that all the Papers relating to this matter have not been printed and circulated among us. Had that been done, the House would see that the question is a much larger and graver one than might be supposed from the speech of my hon. Friend or from the answer, given under difficulties not of his own creation, of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War. This cannot be treated as a mere personal question, beginning and ending with Lord Sandhurst. When so serious a charge is made against one in his high position—a charge which every man in the Army feels as a reflection on the profession in which he takes a pride; when it has been the occasion of controversy for many months between Lord Sandhurst and the War Department, raising the whole question of the relations between the Commander of the Forces in Ireland and the Horse Guards, and between the Horse Guards and the Secretary of State; when that Correspondence has resulted in Lord Sandhurst being coerced into refunding money which he has received, thereby implying an admission against which his whole nature revolts that he received it improperly; and when, moreover, it has 641 been almost suggested by the right hon. Gentleman's Predecessor that that question, which the right hon. Gentleman now thinks is not one for the consideration of Parliament, should be brought before Parliament and submitted to its decision, it becomes a Question of importance to every Member of the House, far more interesting than nine-tenths of the Blue Books which are distributed among us without any regard to their importance. I had not read that Correspondence when I first saw this Motion on the Paper, but knowing the accuracy of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) and his business habits and his love of justice, I assumed that he had good grounds for what he stated in it. I therefore did not wish to see more of what appeared to be a very painful subject, but after the tone and manner of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury in offering to give precedence to the hon. Member, I went to the Library and read the Papers most carefully, and, I must say, a more painful Correspondence, as regards an individual, or a more important Correspondence, as regards public interests, it has seldom been my fortune to peruse. The Motion to-day is one of the very gravest accusations I have ever known put on the Notice Paper of the House. Besides, the hon. Member for Glasgow does not do this of his own motion or on his own responsibility. He does it as the mouthpiece of the War Department.
§ MR. HORSMAN
My hon. Friend has quite mistaken what I have said, and he need not have applied to me the strongest language within the rules of Parliament. What I mean is this—that this inquiry was originated by the War Office. The charge against Lord Sandhurst was originated in the office of the Secretary of State for War. The judgment pronounced against Lord Sandhurst was pronounced by the War Department. The penalty exacted from him was exacted by the War Department, and my hon. Friend merely follows in the wake of the War Department in bringing the matter before the House. He has stated the charges and the grounds on which they rest; but, he adds a hope that Parliament will go a great 642 deal further and "mark with a stronger censure than the mere return of money wrongly received." I say these are the severest charges which, in my Parliamentary experience, I have known placed on the Notice Papers of this House. I quite believe, from the tone of the speech of my hon. Friend, that he did not intend to imply more than is stated; but I know what was conveyed to my mind, and I believe to the mind of every Member who first read the Notice. The hon. Member has shown from his own conviction of the merits of the case that it was quite certain to imply more than is expressed. What is really meant to be conveyed to everybody's mind by this Motion? It speaks of "an absence from duty for 17 months out of 34." That is a truth; is it the whole truth? That "absence from duty" implies that the absence was voluntary and avoidable—absence on pleasure, neglect of duty. That is what is implied. Then there is "his making repeated erroneous Returns to the War Office"—that conveys to my mind that he made false Returns. The words of the Motion are that he had "misled the Accountant General." It was not intended, but surely it is implied, that he had wilfully deceived the Accountant General, and I think that will be convoyed to the minds of Lord Sandhurst's friends. Then it is said "he received public money to which he was not entitled." After "misleading the Accountant General" these words certainly conveyed to my mind that he had fraudulently and dishonourably received it, and when the Motion adds that the mere return of the money was not a sufficient amende, I certainly thought-it implied that Lord Sandhurst had admitted himself in the wrong; that he returned the money, and hoped that his fault would be condoned. All this I know was not intended by my hon. Friend; but it was conveyed to my mind and to the minds of many other Members of the House. Now, what are the facts? The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down said there were 17 months of absence, but four months in the first year Lord Sandhurst came over, by order of the War Office, to assist the Secretary of State for War in completing and carrying through the scheme for the re-organization of the Army. We were told that he was the "friend, philosopher and guide" of 643 the Secretary of State. In fact, he "coached" the Secretary for "War. Lord Sandhurst was ordered to remain in London, and not a day did he not give to the Secretary of State. He was never absent from his post—his presence was absolutely indispensable while the Bill was passing through this House. Well, the Bill passed through this House, but what happened in the other House? The Government had no friend in the other House, and Lord Sandhurst was made a Peer, giving up all to servo them. He made speeches to order in the other House, and gave them every assistance, as he had done in this House. His whole time during the Session of Parliament was given to assist the Government to frame and to pass that measure. When he returns to Ireland his health breaks down—no wonder, after such hard work—and he goes on sick leave. Then what becomes of the imputation—I admit not made in terms—that Lord Sandhurst was improperly absent from his post? He was absent, but for three reasons—first, to assist the Government in framing their scheme of Army Reform and carrying it through this House; next, he accepted the Peerage and helped them carry it through the House of Lords; lastly, his health broke down, and he was ordered by his physicians to get leave and address himself to the restoration of his health. Is not his absence, then, accounted for? Was his absence in any respect voluntary or avoidable? His absence was on important public duty, for which those who sit on the front Opposition Bench of all others ought to thank him; and so every generous mind in this House will consider it. I have no knowledge or interest in this case but what I gather from the Correspondence; and that Correspondence tells me, so far as I can gather it, that there are two grave charges against Lord Sandhurst. I must say I never heard a question of a painful nature brought forward with better feeling than by my hon. Friend. It was impossible not to feel that he was acting in the discharge of a public duty, and not prompted by any personal feeling. There was no concealment of his (Lord Sandhurst's) absence—it was impossible he could be absent from his post for six months without the knowledge of the War Office or the Horse Guards. There was no concealment 644 in reference to the Accountant General. One charge, however, is that he had received public money to which he was not entitled. That is a charge which Lord Sandhurst denies, and I will give the House the means of judging of its truth. But before doing so, I will say one word as to the last point—that the mere return of money wrongly received is not a sufficient reparation. "The mere return of money!" That is a statement more than any other calculated to mislead the House and the public. My hon. Friend says he returned the money wrongly received. Did he return the money? If you put a pistol to a man's head and say, "Your money or your life," and he gives you his purse, is that making you a present of his money? But that is precisely what was done with Lord Sandhurst. The War Office said, "Refund this money." Lord Sandhurst in effect, though not in words, said, "I will not. That money is my right, and I will keep it." The War Office insisted. Lord Sandhurst had no choice. He was at the mercy of the War Department. They could stop it out of his pay; they could dismiss him from his command; and Lord Sandhurst returned the money. It was extorted from him, with a strong protest on his part against the injustice and tyranny of the proceeding. Then, is there one of these charges that is not disproved? Has it not been shown that there was no voluntary or avoidable absence?—that there was no deception of the Accountant General, and no voluntary return of the money? But I now come to the most important part of the whole question. Did Lord Sandhurst receive public money, in the terms of the Motion, to which he was not entitled? What are the facts? A military officer of high rank and position is appointed to command in Ireland. He has certain pay and allowances. The pay is £3 15s. 10d. a-day, £1,000 a-year for table-money, an allowance for servants, forage for six horses, and some small additional allowances for lights and fuel. The question is, whether he was entitled to draw his allowances while he held the office of Commander-in-Chief though he happened not to be in Ireland? Had he a right to draw this money when he was not at his post? The question of table-money was raised in the War Office, and 645 it would appear from what the then Secretary of War said that there was some obscurity as to the practice. He took some credit for not having pressed for repayment. But what is "table-money?" It is intended for the entertainment of the officers; but does it mean merely the expense of inviting a certain number of guests and giving them meat and wine? It is £1,000 a-year given to a Commander-in-Chief to entertain the officers in Ireland. I am addressing Gentlemen who are in the habit of entertaining, and I will ask my hon. Friend the Member for Reading (Sir Francis Goldsmid) how far £3 would go in entertaining one of his parties at which I have been happy to be present. When the Commander-in-Chief goes to Ireland entertainment is obligatory upon him. He has no choice about it, and he has £1,000 for the 12 months' entertainment! But it should be remembered that he has to purchase plate, table linen, and to invest a considerable sum in purchasing other articles, and he relies upon being repaid during the five years for which he takes the office. He necessarily passes a portion of that time out of Ireland. He has a large establishment imposed upon him in virtue of the duties of his office, and when he comes to England is he to dismiss his servants, turn off his cook, and sell his horses, when he may return to Ireland in a month or six weeks? Is he to dismiss his establishment, and are his table allowances to be cut off, and is he to have no income but his regimental pay to keep up the large establishment which he is compelled to maintain? Then he has forage allowance for six horses. Was he to keep them, or sell them and buy other six horses when he returned to Ireland? If he kept them they would cost some portion of the £1,000. What is he to do? The fair thing would have been for the Secretary of War to say—"You have been absent from a cause with which all must sympathize. We hope you will be soon restored to health, and we shall not insist upon your dismissing your establishment and selling your horses. You may go back any day, and we hope you will go back soon." Lord Sandhurst acted on the belief that he was to return. He drew his allowances, and never imagined that they would be withdrawn. But he was mistaken. On the 17th of July, 1873, he received this letter, stating—"In 646 1872 you were absent 149 days." The right hon. Gentleman said that no one could grudge Lord Sandhurst his allowance during illness, but his predecessor took a different view. He said—For the year ending 31st March, 1872, during which it is now shown that your Lordship was absent for 149 days—namely, 61 days on Parliamentary duty and 88 on account of ill-health. Staff-pay and allowances would appear to be inadmissible for 88 days, being the number in excess of the regulated period of 61 days for which staff pay and allowances are granted during absence from staff duties.Was not that to withdraw his staff-pay and allowances during the period which my right hon. Friend has said our sympathies with the invalid Commander-in-Chief would lead us to wish them to be continued? The letter went on—For the year ending 31st March, 1873, during which it is now shown that your Lordship was absent for 153 days—in addition to 10 days on military duty in England—namely, 71 days on Parliamentary duty, 75 days on account of ill-health, and 7 days on ordinary absence on private affairs. Staff-pay and allowances would appear to be inadmissible for 92 days, being the number in excess of the regulated period of 61 days, for which staff-pay and allowances are granted during absence from staff duties.A question of principle has been raised on this. A military officer of high rank and antecedents—of high honour and trust, or he would not be appointed—goes to Ireland to command the Army there. He makes his financial arrangements, which are necessarily expensive; and what is the basis on which he makes them? He is to have a salary and so much per annum, upon which he supposes he may rely; but it appears that a sum of £3 15s. 10d. a-day may be cutoff at any moment. There are accounts kept of where he is and what he receives, and he appears to have been watched as suspiciously as if he were a clerk who was shirking his duty. Every one of his movements was chronicled as accurately as if he were a returned ticket-of-leave man. Now, was that the position in which a General who was Commanding-in-Chief in Ireland ought to be placed? Take the special case of Lord Sandhurst as an individual. He earned distinction in the Crimea. He was for 12 years in high commands in India. When he returned to this country he became the adviser of the Secretary of State for War in the most important political change ever made in the constitution of the Army. Political and professional 647 honours were heaped upon him, and he was finally sent to Ireland in a position of great honour and trust. And what is the matter in dispute? The whole question is about the construction of a Royal Warrant. Lord Sandhurst put one construction on the Warrant regarding leave of absence, and the War Office another. Lord Sandhurst maintained that he was right, and the War Office said he was wrong. The Secretary of State did not refer to one witness whose evidence might he adduced. The head clerk of a department, who had been 37 years in the War Office, stated that Lord Sandhurst's views were in accordance with the practice which had existed ever since he came to that office.
§ MR. HORSMAN
Well, he had been for 37 years in the Service. The question was one of pay and allowances during absence, and he supported the view taken by Lord Sandhurst. In this case there was might on one side and right on the other. Lord Sandhurst complained, but he succumbed, because there were on one side law and the technicalities of law, and equity and common sense on the side of Lord Sandhurst. Every military officer would be guided by the judgment of equity and common sense in preference to the quibbles of law. Well, Lord Sandhurst did not pay when called upon to do so. He resisted, remonstrated, and gave his reasons. He said—"I ought to have been informed that such a change was applicable to me. I claim the protection of the Secretary of State." And what said the Secretary of State? He stated that he had no power to concede at his own discretion pay and allowances which were not included in the Royal Warrant. Lord Sandhurst replied—I had always understood that it lay in the power of the Secretary of State, as a Ministerial officer, to interpret the Warrant according to equity, and not according to the mere letter. It appears, however, that the latitude formerly exercised was now denied to the Secretary of State.That shows that the whole question at issue was the construction of a Warrant, and did not imply any concealment on the part of Lord Sandhurst. Well, Lord Sandhurst paid the money, and I can well understand the reluctance and humiliation 648 with which the military authorities must have signed the Order for the re-payment of that money. The Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief must have known that there was no precedent for withdrawing the pay and allowances from a general officer in the position of Lord Sandhurst when he was absent from ill health. Still more, he must have known that there was no precedent for compelling the re-payment of the money when there was no imputation upon the honour of the recipient. The money was paid, and so far there was an end of the matter. But there was this anomaly—that, according to this interpretation, there was no Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, and no one entitled to receive the money payable to him. Lord Sandhurst was still discharging, by correspondence, many of the duties of Commander-in-Chief in Ireland, and was still responsible, and yet he was drawing no salary. His salary was, in fact, forfeited to the State, and came into the Imperial Exchequer. Lord Sandhurst appealed to the Secretary of State for protection. Protection for what? Not for his pocket or his purse—it is not through the purse that you wound the feelings of a soldier—but for his honour. He appeals for protection for his honour; for protection to the honour of the Army to prevent its being tarnished in his hands. But he appealed in vain—the Secretary of State was inexorable. He was a Member of an economical Government, of a Government which strongly sympathized with the Peace Society, and which, no doubt, intended that any money repaid should go towards decreasing the Estimates and swelling the surplus. He thought probably that with the re-payment of the money all the consequences to Lord Sandhurst were at an end. But the military authorities must have known better. They must have known that to Lord Sandhurst it was not a question of money. I think that the compelling Lord Sandhurst to refund this money was the shabbiest, the dirtiest proceeding ever committed by any public Department. But the military authorities—men brought up in the Army—must have known that the re-payment, of this money carried consequences with it. It enabled those who were not friendly to the Army to say that Lord Sandhurst would not have repaid the money if he 649 had not known that he had wrongly received it, and that it had been fraudulently and dishonestly acquired. It was an impeachment on his honour which must have flushed the cheek of every military man who takes pride in his profession. It is not a mere question of pounds, shillings, and pence. It is for these reasons that I feel that Lord Sandhurst has been a very ill-used man. He has not, however, been hardly used by my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), who has ably discharged, with good fooling and perfect taste, a very invidious and painful duty. He has been ill-used by those who had not the courage to face the House of Commons—by those who, though they know that an attack was made against an officer whoso honour was unimpeachable, have, either through weakness or timidity, behaved in a manner for which they will receive neither the thanks of the country nor the respect and confidence of the Army.
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
observed that the charge made by the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) affected not only Lord Sandhurst, but also the late Government, and those who had permitted what he had complained of. He trusted that the House would permit him to bring under their attention a few facts in defence of Lord Sandhurst, which had not been referred to in the course of the debate. Lord Sandhurst's reply to the charge, that no Return of his showed any absence beyond the usual time for which pay and allowances could be drawn, was that on taking the command in Ireland he had ordered that no deviation from the practice which had up to that time obtained should be made, and that he gave no orders whatever upon this particular point. He had himself made inquiry into the practice under Lord Strathnairn, Lord Sandhurst's predecessor. The hon. Member was proceeding to compare the Returns furnished during successive years while Lord Strathnairn was in command with the noble Lord's absences from duty during the same period, when—
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
rose to Order. The hon. Gentleman was referring to matters not before the House, and was, moreover, quoting figures which other Returns in the possession of the War Office showed to be erroneous.
§ MR. J. R. YORKE
said, he would not continue the subject further. He would content himself with appealing to the hon. Gentleman, who had no doubt brought this question forward solely from a sense of public duty, to withdraw the Motion, and to acknowledge that he had been misled. It was evident that the feeling of the House was whether the money refunded by Lord Sandhurst ought not to be repaid him, rather than whether Lord Sandhurst himself had improperly obtained it in the first instance.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
trusted that the House would permit him to make a few observations in answer to the very forcible attack made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard (Mr. Horsman) upon the late War Administration, on whose behalf he might claim to speak, inasmuch as he was principally responsible, being at the period when this occurred at the head of its financial branch. The right hon. Gentleman had represented the whole proceeding as the mean act of a parsimonious Government, whose sole object was to swell the balance at the disposal of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The House might, however, as well be informed that if that was the object of the Secretary of State for War, that consideration must have equally weighed with the Commander-in-Chief and the Adjutant General of the Forces, for not a letter was written or a step taken in this matter without the entire concurrence of those gallant and distinguished officers, who probably had the interests of the service quite as much at heart as had the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard. Lest the right hon. Gentleman should feel alarmed at the prospect of money being saved to the country by this transaction, he might add that the money being thus undisposed of—having been voted for the General commanding the Forces in Ireland, and not spent upon Lord Sandhurst—the War Office had paid to Major General Newton and Sir Thomas Steele, who successively commanded the Dublin District, the difference between the pay of a Major General and that of a Lieutenant General, for the days on which Lord Sandhurst's pay had been retrenched, they having discharged the higher duties in his absence. He was glad that the hon. Member for 651 Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) had repudiated any idea of imputing fraudulent motives to Lord Sandhurst. The view that had been taken of the matter by the late Secretary of State for War agreed precisely with with that expressed by his right hon. Successor, and the unanimous opinion of all whose opinion it had been proper to take was that Lord Sandhurst had a mistaken and exaggerated notion of the rights and privileges belonging to his high office, but that there had been no mala fides whatever in his conduct. Everything had been perfectly open and above-board, and if any proof of this were wanted it would be amply found in the fact that he had sent signatures to be gummed on to the papers in question, and this he would not have done if he had been anxious to hide the fact of his absence. The hon. Member for Glasgow had said that the irregularity would not have been noticed but for the fact that he put a Question on the subject in the House; but the circumstance of the signatures being gummed on would have at once brought it, and did, as a fact, bring it, to the notice of those at the War Office whose duty it was to cheek such Returns, and this led to a disclosure of the whole of the proceedings. The right hon. Member for Liskeard had alluded to the fact that Lord Sandhurst had spent a portion of his time in London in assisting in the deliberations connected with the passing of the Army Bill. It was quite true that Lord Sandhurst had been summoned to the War Office on that account, and there were few men who in such a matter had a better right to be summoned. He was an officer of great distinction, and had an experience of the Army in India such as Jew soldiers possessed. It had, therefore, been thought, both by the Duke of Cambridge and by Mr. Cardwell, that his advice and assistance would be most valuable, and so it proved to be. For that period—he being on duty under orders from headquarters—his pay had been allowed. But when the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that assistance had been continued in Parliament, and that Lord Sandhurst had been sent to the House of Peers as the only man who would support the Bill—thereby implying that he delivered speeches there in favour of the measure, which were very much made to the order of the War Office—the right hon. Grentleman seemed to forget that the general im- 652 pression at the time was that Lord Sandhurst was not entirely in favour of themilitary policy of the late Government. Now, the duty of the Secretary of State in this question had been perfectly plain. It was much to be regretted that the Correspondence had not been printed, because it would have enabled hon. Members to judge better of the arguments which had been used on both sides. The truth was—and it had been brought out already by a quotation from one of the letters—that the Secretary of State for War had no power to go beyond the limits of the Royal Warrant. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Horsman) said he thought that the War Office "should be guided by common sense and equity"—meaning, of course, the most lavish liberality, giving to everyone what he chose to ask,—"instead of quibbles and legal technicalities"—meaning that the Warrant which governed the payment of all the officers and men of the British Army should be set aside.
§ MR. HORSMAN
When I said "common sense and equity" I was alluding to the opinion of a clerk who had been in the Office 37 years; and he said that that had been the practice ever since he had been there.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
understood, therefore, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman to be that it was not the Secretary of State, but a clerk in the Pay Office at Dublin, who was to interpret the Royal Warrant. There was a passage in the Royal Warrant which stated as plainly as possible that Staff Pay was solely a remuneration for services locally rendered. That applied to every officer in the service, from the highest to the lowest; and Lord Sandhurst's argument, which was perfectly untenable, was that his office was so high that it raised him above the law. The same course would be taken with the youngest officer in the service as had been taken with Lord Sandhurst, and the hon. Member for Glasgow was wrong in implying that this was a case in winch the big fish got out of the net, while the small fish were caught. When, any Return sent in by an officer was found to be inaccurate, the officer was called upon to correct it, and if he had claimed too much, and the money had been paid to him, he was called upon to refund it. The case occurred every day, 653 and no further step was taken against the officer unless there was reason to believe that his conduct had arisen from some evil motive. If there had been a mere misapprehension, or mere misinterpretation of the Royal Warrant, there would certainly be no further step taken. That was precisely what had happened in the case of Lord Sandhurst. With regard to Lord Strathnairn—who had been mentioned by the hon. Member for East Gloucester (Mr. J. R. Yorke)—it had been ascertained from him that he had never during the time he was in Ireland acted on the principle adopted by Lord Sandhurst. It was true, as had been said, that Lord Sandhurst, during a part of the period of his absence, had been in attendance in Parliament as a Member of the House of Peers, and that military officers who were Members of Parliament were always allowed leave from their military duties in order that they might discharge their Parliamentary functions. But to continue under these circumstances pay and allowances that were intended exclusively for local services was quite another matter. There was no precedent for doing that, and therefore the plea on the ground of attendance on Parliament fell to the ground. Believing that Lord Sandhurst's conduct had been altogether innocent and honest, he hoped the House would not accede to the Motion of the hon. Member for Glasgow.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, that he thought he had performed his duty—which was a very disagreeable one—sufficiently by bringing this matter before the House, and that it would not be well to divide the House upon the Motion. He would, therefore, with the leave of the House, withdraw it. ["No, no!"]
§ Question put, and negatived.