HC Deb 06 March 1876 vol 227 cc1439-56

in rising to bring forward the Motion of which he had given Notice— That, in the opinion of this House, the interests of the Nation do not demand any increased expenditure on the Land Forces. said, that in common with the rest of the House, he heard with great admiration the clear and eloquent exposition of the Army Estimates made on Thursday night by his right hon. Friend the Secretary for War. There was one sentence in the speech which pleased him much; it was when the right hon. Gentleman said with sincerity that there was no warmer friend of peace in the House than he was. He (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) believed in the sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman's assertion, and as he also was a friend of peace, they did not differ in their object, but only in their opinions, as to the best means of promoting it, and the question he brought forward was whether their large standing Army was really more likely to produce peace or to lead us into war. Having congratulated the right hon. Gentleman on his speech, he wished that he could congratulate the Government upon a certain portion of the Queen's Speech. The Government had introduced a new system as regarded the form in which the Queen's Speech was delivered. They used formerly to be told that the Estimates would be laid before them with due regard to economy. But that was now entirely omitted. He did not know why it should be omitted, for, indeed, it indicated the temper of the country. He was not under the insane delusion that in bringing forward the Motion he was acting a popular part. Economy was the most unpopular of doctrines. The popular doctrine was thus represented— The jolly old soldier who lives on his pay. And spends half-a-crown on his sixpence a-day. The Government which spent money generously was far more popular than a cheeseparing Government which looked after the interests of the taxpayer. He and those who supported his views admitted that the country might not be with them at present; but he was content to follow the example of those right hon. Gentlemen on the front Opposition bench who spoke so much about the Suez Canal shares. This country was against them, but he honoured them all the more, as that was the time for men to speak out, and although the part they took was not popular now, they would have their reward hereafter. He was very glad that the debate of his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) was over, because they need not be distracted by going into military details. They had a good many the other night; but when they got into Committee they would have to fight a good many more, and he wished the Secretary at War a good deliverance from them. He should like to know why they required this great standing Army. He was afraid that it was vain to ask why they had such an expenditure upon it. Without going into any administrative details, he hoped those who followed him in the debate would confine themselves to the policy of the country in this particular matter, for as the Prime Minister, in one of those maxims with which he sometimes favours the House, most truly said—"Expenditure depends on policy." That was the only opportunity they had of discussing the broad spirit of the question, and it was important that they should do so. Lord Derby, in one of his sensible speeches, talking about Army organization, said—"Let us decide what we want the Army for—what are its duties?" That was his sole object in bringing forward his Amendment. He wanted a statement from the Crown as to what was the object which they proposed to themselves in levying those forces. He asked the question every year, and never got an answer yet; but he was in hopes of getting an answer tonight. An Army must be for one of two objects—either for offence or defence. Besides, hon. Gentlemen must not forget the existence of the Fleet, which was sometimes utterly ignored on this question; and the Fleet, being now free from looking after slaves, could devote itself entirely to the protection of the country. He did not think that 500,000 armed men were required for the protection of this country from invasion. It might be that the Volunteers and Militia could not count for much; but he heard a glowing account from the Secretary at War the other night, and he proved that these branches of the Service contained some of the greatest warriors that the world had ever seen. Then, if they did not want so large an Army for home protection, it must be to enable them to interfere in foreign affairs. That was what he said they did not want an Army for. He had read a letter from the chaplain to the Forces, who spoke of the Army as "God's high police," but he would like to know from whence they got their high commission? He concurred in the opinion already expressed that the Army was corrupting the people. Some people contended that England was not to give up the European position to which she was entitled; but he thanked Heaven they had given up that notion altogether of interfering in Europe. They never suggested an interference to save Poland from injustice, and he did not know when the House was more stirred than when Prussia attacked Denmark. Then the French and German War broke out, and England sat by and allowed two great nations to cut each other's throats without going to make the mischief worse. He might also mention the Alabama settlement at which hon. Gentlemen opposite jeered the other night, although the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to his everlasting credit, took part in that settlement, by which England, in submitting fairly to the award, though it went against her, gained more honour than she could have won by the bloodiest victory on the battle-field. They had few opportunities now-a-days of obtaining preeminence by fighting, so they had lately adopted a new system of getting influence in the world—namely, by buying up shares. To accomplish what the head of the Government called a great political transaction, we gave a great price for shares with the coupons cut off. The country was delirious with delight at the purchase; and the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) declared that it would make the Prime Minister's name memorable for all time, in which he quite agreed with him. Such a policy was certainly better than fighting; but if they adopted it they did not want so big an Army. The right hon. Gentleman had paid his £4,000,000 like a man; but why did he not knock off that sum from the Army Estimates? No one would miss it there. The settlement of disputes by force could be reduced to three alternatives. If they went to war it must be either with a Power that was stronger than themselves, or with a Power that was weaker than themselves, or with one that was exactly of the same strength as themselves. If they fought with a weaker Power they were cowardly; if they fought with a stronger Power they were foolish; and if they fought with a Power of equal strength, it was a toss up who should win. But then people would say that they must have a standing Army, and that what the Minister was doing was to provide for the efficiency of the Army. He asked them not to throw themselves into a fever for the purpose of obtaining efficiency. That was the sort of language that had been going on as long as he could remember—as long as he had had the honour of a seat in that House. In one of his speeches the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich said the plea of efficiency as a ground for extra charge ought not to be admitted without a great deal of careful security, for the result of his experience was that whenever there was a disposition to spend money it was invariably discovered that the services were inefficient. Years ago they were told that if they only got the Militia they would be safe. Well, they got the Militia, and then they wanted fortifications. The fortifications were erected at a great expense; but people were then as much alarmed as ever, and nothing would appease them but the enrolment of the Volunteers. The Volunteers were accordingly raised, and yet our military expenditure had been increasing ever since. Then came Lord Cardwell with his scheme for blending the Army into one harmonious whole—what they had been trying to do with the Liberal Party for the last two years; and now they had a mobilization scheme, the meaning of which nobody knew, and therefore he would not speak about it. But after all these changes, which were to work such wonders, an hon. Gentleman like the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) got up and, backed by some of the colonels, told them the whole thing was as rotten as any human institution could well be. Why, in 1876, were they asked for the largest peace establishment this country ever had? [An hon. MEMBER: NO.] Well, however that might be, it was far too large. Against whom were they arming so tremendously? In the Queen's Speech they were told that our relations with all foreign Powers were most cordial. They could not now have France as a bugbear, as in Lord Palmerston's time; while Prussia, on the other hand, had enough to do in looking after France. Then, as to Russia, to judge from the tone of public opinion, we were more likely now to fight by her side than against her. Having fought for the Turks 20 years ago, if we fought again, we should probably turn about and go against them. But, in his opinion, instead of fighting for the Christians of Herzegovina, we had better settle how to bury our own Dissenters. He knew what the answer of his right hon. Friend would most likely be. He would say very truthfully he had no doubt that he had no intention to disturb the peace of Europe and mix in their affairs, but that we must be ready for these little wars in Ashantee, Abyssinia, Malay, and on the Gold Coast, where our troops went out, and, after shooting a few Natives, came back and got decorated as if they had defeated the whole Prussian Army. But we had been able to carry on these little wars on our present establishments, and therefore there was no reason for increasing them. It was said that we might, in spite of all precautions, get into quarrels of a European kind; so we might, but then we might and ought to keep out of them. The Times, in an article the other day, summed up the matter in a few words, when they said that what a Minister had to do was to measure not possibilities but probabilities. That was so; let us then deal with probabilities like rational men. He had heard that Mr. Green, the aeronaut, lived to a great age, and the one reason of this was the living so much of his time up in the air in balloons, he did not run a risk of getting run over by cabs. It was said that we might get into these quarrels. So we might; but why did we put right hon. Gentlemen opposite into places of honour and profit for but that they might prevent England getting into these quarrels? If they did get into quarrels which they could not get settled without an appeal to force, they were, he maintained, failures in statesmanship; and he maintained that they were more tempted to cut the Gordian Knot with the sword and settle matters by brute force if they had a great army than a small one. The House would, he thought, agree with him that the present state of Europe was horrible and heart-rending. There were now 9,000,000 men in arms, at a yearly expenditure of £136,000,000. This might be called peace, but it was in reality nothing but smothered war. And yet most of these countries were professors of the Christian religion of peace on earth and good-will to men. Most of them had established Churches professing to be Christian Churches; but the real established religion in those countries was that of Mars as much as it had ever been in any country on the face of the earth, and at any time in the history of the world. England had now a great opportunity of setting a great example to the world. Indeed, there never was such an opportunity. Here we were without a whisper of discontent in any part of the United Kingdom. We had no unworthy objects to seek; we had no territorial disputes; we had no quarrel with any great Power. Surely, then, we might reduce armaments, which so cruelly pressed upon the springs of industry. He did not know what support he should get for his Motion. He did not expect much support from his hon. Friend opposite,' although he was happy to say that on a former occasion the Nestor of the Tory Party—the right hon. Member for Oxfordshire—had voted against this rapid increase of our armaments. But still he could not expect that many hon. Gentlemen opposite would vote with him, because having confidence in the Government they would naturally back them up in their Estimates. But the right hon. Gentlemen on the front Opposition bench were heirs of the traditions of the Whig Party. Let them show that they shared the opinions of the Party. The Whig Party had once won great laurels by advocating peace, retrenchment, and reform. Let right hon. Gentlemen now support the retrenchment which was the earnest of peace. They had heard a good deal lately of the height of our soldiers and their girth round the chest, and the House cheered loudly when they heard that that height and girth had not diminished. Well, he was not anxious about the stature and proportions of the British soldier, but he was anxious about the stature of British statesmen, and he did hope that the occupants of the front Opposition bench would show that in this respect there was no degeneracy, either in their heads or their hearts. If they voted with him they would, at any rate, show that there was some difference between them and the right hon. Gentleman opposite, for they could not go to the country on the cry of Sir Daniel Lange. There was certainly a small number of hon. Members on that side of the House—let them be called if they liked a wretched minority, or a Radical residuum—who would vote with him on that Motion, and thus declare that in their opinion mighty armaments were not the glory, but the disgrace of a country, and that true statesmanship consisted, not in providing the machinery for human slaughter, but in gradually leading the minds of men to that superior way of settlement which was in accordance with peace, justice, religion, and humanity. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving the Resolution.


I rise to second the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle; and, in doing so, I cannot but express my deep regret that we should be called upon to vote £600,000 additional to our military expenditure this year. And that is not all; for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War, with that perfect frankness which we should have expected from him, has told us that, if we accept his proposals, there will be a considerable prospective expenditure, stretching over many years to come. The only hope of reduction he holds out to us gleams upon us through a vista of 36 years a-head; for if any of us undertake to live to the year 1912, he promises us a diminution of £50,000 at that period in one of the items. And yet, compared with the preposterous and extravagant demands and expectations put forth in some quarters, perhaps we ought to be grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his moderation. But surely an Army expenditure of £15,000,000 during peace is monstrous. No country in Europe has so little justification as we have for a large expenditure on its army; and, in my opinion, no country in Europe gets so little for what it does expend. For the mortifying and discouraging fact is, that we seem to gain nothing as regards even our professed objects by lavishing such enormous sums on our armaments. I have watched with some attention the gradual growth of our naval and military establishments for the last 35 or 40 years; and what I observe is this, that in proportion as we add to what are called our national defences does the sense of insecurity increase, if we can trust those whom I may designate as the professional alarmists. I am old enough to remember 1835, when, under the Administration of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel, we were satisfied with a little more than £11,500,000 for all our fighting establishments—Army, Navy, and Ordnance. And certainly we were then perfectly calm and contented, able to sleep comfortably in our beds, far more so than we can, or at least ought to do now, according to the views of the alarmists. And there is this further peculiarity about the case, that when you have conceded anything to the clamours of those who demand large armaments, what they have obtained becomes comparatively worthless in their estimation, and is immediately made a point of departure for demanding something else. So it has been with the Militia, the Volunteers, the Fortifications, the Army and Militia Reserve, the localization of the Forces, and other changes introduced by Lord Cardwell; and so it will be, I have no doubt, with the mobilization scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. When gotten, everything is utterly unsatisfactory, and we want something else. Thus we find, in an article in the current number of The Edinburgh Review, the writer tells us, after all that has been done for the last 30 or 40 years; after raising our forces from 100,000 men in 1835 to more than 500,000 in 1876, after spending more than £320,000,000 sterling on the Army alone within 20 years, from 1856 to 1876, "as respects the guarding of our national honour, and providing for the national defence, we are in a faulty, ruinous, and dangerous condition." But surely if, after these prodigious sums have been lavished on the Army, we are now told that we have no effectual defence, the people of this country have a right to ask—"What have you done with our money?" Now, there was a sentence once uttered in this House, by Sir Robert Peel, which I would respectfully recommend the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War to have inscribed in large letters upon the wall of the War Office, opposite the spot where his desk is placed, that he may have it continually before his eyes. It is this— If the House listens to the opinions of military men, who were naturally prejudiced upon this subject, they would involve the country in an outlay that no revenue could bear. I hope I shall not offend the many hon. and gallant and quasi gallant Gentlemen with whom this House abounds by what I am about to say. But it is with me a matter of deep and earnest conviction, that one of the greatest calamities under which Europe is suffering at this moment, and has been suffering for many years, arises from the fact that its policy is so much under the influence of the military class. Everywhere—in the Courts of Kings, in the councils of Cabinets, in the deliberations of Parliament—their influence predominates, and that influence is constantly and stedfastly employed to propel the Governments deeper and deeper into that fatal system of rivalry in armaments under which all the nations of Europe are groaning, as a burden too heavy to be borne. I do not mean to say or insinuate, that military men love or desire war for its own sake, or that they are reckless of human slaughter and human suffering. On the contrary, I believe there are among them men as generous and humane, and as full of kind and benevolent sentiment as any class of the community. It is not among military men, especially if they have been engaged in actual service in the field, that we shall find those who speak of going to war with a light heart. And probably there are many of them who would sympathize with the sentiment of a very distinguished member of their profession. General Trochu, who, in a work published by him in 1867, uses these remarkable words. After a very vivid description of the evils inflicted by war on inoffensive populations, he continues— The spectacle of these devastations and sufferings is distressing to military men who have any elevation of spirit. They are astonished that modern civilization, which is so proud of having everywhere, in individual transactions, substituted for force the principles of law, still leaves international differences to be settled by letting loose the scourge of war. Their minds are filled with contempt for those men of the drawing-room (ces hommes de salon) who welcome and celebrate war in conventional language, which only reveals their own vanity, their ignorance, their ambition, and selfishness. And I cannot but recall with pleasure that when I brought forward and carried in this House a Motion in favour of international arbitration as a substitute for war, I was supported by the votes of a considerable number of hon. and gallant Gentlemen. Still I cannot but feel that it is a great evil that a large body of intelligent and active-minded men, who perhaps have nothing particular to do during these piping times of peace, should have all their faculties and energies devoted to extending the fighting establishments of the world. I do not blame them. Like all other professions, they do what they can to magnify their own office. But, unhappily, their professional prejudices colour everything they look upon. By dwelling continually upon one class of ideas, these grow into such proportions as to occupy the whole sphere of their vision, so that they cannot conceive of civilized and Christian nations as existing in any other relation to each other than that of armed and mutual menace. I know no remedy for this, but for the people of Europe to take the management of their affairs out of the hands of the military class into their own. On this ground I feel grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) that he, as a civilian, should, with such laborious diligence, have sought to master the details of our military system, and expose what he considers its defects. It required a great deal of courage to do this, for he must have known that he was thrusting his hand into a hornets' nest, and that the military wasps would come out and buzz about his head as they have done, and, I have no doubt, will continue to do. Now, I must repeat the question already asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, what do we want all these forces for? Is it to defend ourselves against attack? But from whom do we apprehend attack? France used to be the great God-send of the panic-mongers, and I think few can look back without humiliation and shame to the series of ignoble panics to which we delivered ourselves as a nation as respects France. It mattered not under what Government France was placed, whether a Constitutional Monarchy, or a Republic, or an Empire. It mattered not how France was engaged, whether in the agonies of a domestic revolution, trying to construct a Constitution for itself out of the ruins of that which preceded it, or fighting the Austrians in Italy, or negotiating Commercial Treaties with this country, we were required to believe that France was always meditating mischief against this country. Nay, when we were in close and friendly alliance for purposes of peace it was all the same, for I remember the right hon. Gentleman the present Prime Minister, in rebuking one of these panics, said— At the very time when Prance was working with you for the common weal of humanity, her ruler is hold up as a bandit and a corsair, who was about piratically invading this country, without the slightest warning or previous cause of quarrel. But the circumstances of France are now such that the wildest of the alarmists cannot profess to apprehend danger from her. Then, for what other purpose do we want a large Army? We have renounced the policy of intervention in the quarrels of the Continent, at least all our statesmen have done so—Conservative as well as Liberal. In proof of this I may cite the words of Lord Derby, the Foreign Secretary. In addressing his constituents at King's Lynn, when he was a Member of this House, adverting to the debate on the Dano-Grerman War, which had taken place in 1864, he said— The ostensible object of that debate was to take the sense of this House as to whether the Danish negotiations had been mismanaged, but the object with which many Members—I among the rest—went into it, was to obtain from Parliament a distinct and decided expression of opinion in favour of a policy of non-intervention in Continental disputes; in that we perfectly succeeded. The right hon. Gentleman himself the Secretary for War made an admirable speech in the same debate, in which, referring to the facts of the Dano-Ger-man War, and the part we had taken in the matter, he said— I say that facts point to the conclusion that the position of England, free from Continental complications and embarrassments, fits her for being the mediator of Europe. They point out that, having nothing to gain from the oppression of the smaller States, nor from the damage of the larger, she is qualified to occupy a posi- tion of dignified neutrality, a position in which she can wield more influence than she could ever gain by war."—[3 Hansard, clxxvi. 1022.] It seems to me, Sir, that the only hope of salvation for Europe is, by the Governments beginning to retrace their footsteps—that, as they have been going on for generations, adding to their armaments on a system of rivalry to which there is absolutely no limit—so they should agree to enter on a process of mutual and simultaneous disarmament. I am happy to say that there is au important movement in this direction going on on the Continent of Europe. A proposal, backed by a largo number of Members, has been laid before the Austrian Reichsrath, proposing not only that there should be a reduction in the Austrian Army, but that the Imperial Government should "use its best endeavours to promote the idea of such a general, proportionate, and simultaneous reduction of armies, as would not affect the balance of power of the various States." A similar movement is contemplated in Germany, and it is probable that, before long, a proposition to the same purport will be submitted to the Gorman Parliament. I should like, if an opportunity offers during the present Session, to ask the opinion of this House on the same subject. I should rejoice, indeed, if our country were to have the honour of taking the initiative in so be-nificent an enterprize. There were words once uttered in this House by the present Prime Minister, which I should like to hear uttered again. They were words which he recommended the Government then in office to address to the Government of France. I wish he would now address these words not to the Government of France only, but to all the Governments of Europe, and I am confident that his voice would awaken a cordial and general response, at least among the nations of Europe, whatever the Governments might say. These are the words, and with them I conclude my observations— Let us terminate this disastrous system of wild expenditure by mutually agreeing, with no hypocrisy, but in a manner and under circumstances which admit of no doubt, by the reduction of our armaments—that peace is really our policy.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the Word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the interests of the Nation do not demand an increased expenditure on the Land Forces,"—(Sir Wilfrid Lawnson,)

—instead thereof.


said he must express, as others had done, their debt to the Secretary for War for the remarkably clear manner in which he had introduced the Army Estimates, and for the index which made reference to them comparatively easy. Although he could not express unqualified approval of the Army Estimates, yet the right hon. Gentleman had made many proposals that were in the right direction, and among them was the increase of pay to non-commissioned officers and to the Reserve. While admitting that we must see more of our Reserves in the future than we had in the past, he doubted the policy of calling them out for too long a period. In Prussia, after men had been made thorough soldiers they were allowed to go home, and were scarcely called out at all afterwards. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to give 2d. a-day extra to all ranks below that of non-commissioned officers. [Mr. GATHORNE HARDY: Not to those who come on the pension list after 12 years.] As all except these were to receive 2d. a-day extra, he scarcely thought the House was in a position to tell what would be the exact cost of the Army for 1876–7. The Estimate provided for an increase of 3,600 men, and of £603,900 in expenditure. The pay amounted to £163,000, and that sum would have a great deal of duty to do. The right hon. Gentleman said that the increase required for non-commissioned officers' pay amounted to £104,000, of which sum India was to provide £37,000. The lodging expenses for non-commissioned officers amounted to £15,000, the additional pay to the Foot Guards to £8,000, and that for the men passing into the Reserve to £13,000, making in all, roundly, £126,500, or leaving £36,000 only for the pay of the 3,600 men who were to be added, or £10 per man, which seemed to show that they were at last beginning to pursue a policy of economy in respect of the British Army. But taking the pay at the moderate sum of £25, it would amount in all to £95,000 less the £37,000 which was provided, leaving a deficit of £58,000. His calculation, therefore, was that the increase of the Estimates would be £656,900. There remained the question of the deferred pay. According to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, 2d. a-day would not now be given to all privates, but all would expect it, and if withheld they would see greater dissatisfaction than ever. Now, on the 1st of January, 1875, the number of effectives borne on the Estimates was 155,000 men. This number receiving the increased pay of £3 0s. 10d. a-year would involve an expenditure which would amount roundly to £470,000, but the Estimate only provided for £13,000, leaving £457,000 to be provided for; and, moreover, the Reserves were to receive an increase of £2 a man, or £19,000, for which no provision was made. He did not complain that those sums were not to be found in the Estimates, as the custom was that only the sum required for the current year appeared there. He thought, however, that it ought to be made clear to the House and the country that the proposal of the Government pointed at an increase of £476,000 a-year. Of that sum no less than £204,000 a-year would be contributed by the taxpayers of India. Hon. Members from Lancashire who were seeking for a reduction of the tax upon their goods should bear this fact in mind. He wished also to say a word or two as to recruiting. In 1861 the number of effectives which we had at the end of the year was 206,500, and to that number we had to get only 10,600 recruits. Three years later the number of men we had at the end of the year was 194,000, whilst we took 16,000 recruits; and in 1872–3 and 1874 we had 188,700 men, but the recruits were no fewer than 21,000. He must further say that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War had said nothing as to the rivalry which existed between the recruiting sergeants of the Militia and the Line, and which undoubtedly affected India in the obtaining of recruits. Comparing the condition of our Army at present with what it was in 1861, he wished to point out that whilst the number of recruits required had gradually increased, whilst the number of effectives at the end of the year was absolutely fewer showing that the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle was right, and that whilst more men and money were asked for, we had at the present time a weaker force than before.


said, that he would frankly confess that he had not been able distinctly to follow the remarks of the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. Holms), but he would say this generally, that with regard to all questions of deferred pay and the increase of the Army, that the amount required had been made up by those who made up the Estimates, and he was assured that the Estimates would cover the demand for the year. There might, however, be a greater number of deaths or a greater number of men discharged in a particular year than was allowed for; and, therefore, in all cases there could only be a rough estimate formed. He was sorry not to have been able to lay on the Table that day the Paper moved for by the hon. Member for Beading. The instant, however, it would be ready—and that would be soon—he would lay it on the Table, He found that in the final calculations the Army and the Reserves had been mixed together, and the figures would not have conveyed to the House the clear information which he wished the House to have. When it was in the hands of hon. Members it would be seen how and to What extent the calculations were made, not for this year, but for the ensuing years. The calculations he was, how-over, bound to say could only be founded on somewhat rough Estimates for each particular year. As to the additional Forces which were to be added to the Army, the hon. Member for Hackney seemed to have assumed that every recruit was paid from the first day of the year, though that was, of course, a complete fallacy. Some men did not join until the very last month of the year, and therefore, when the hon. Member assumed that a very large sum would come in course of payment during the year, the amount should really be put at one-half or one-third of that at which he put it. With respect to the calling out of the Reserve, he quite agreed with the hon. Member that it ought to be done with great delicacy and consideration for the men; but what he and the country wanted to see was that the men came into the ranks; that they did not come merely for pay, but that they were prepared to put themselves in a position in which they would be ready for service. The Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle was founded upon the assertion that the expenditure on the Army was excessive, and he asked what was the object of the Army? Well, the Army was intended for the defence of India, of our colonies, and of our own country; and, further, it was intended for offensive purposes also, should the necessity unhappily arise. These were the essential purposes for which we maintained our' Army, which was certainly not a large one compared with those of other countries in Europe. When those facts were considered he did not think that the Estimates before the House could be regarded as excessive. Certainly, when our Army was compared with those of other European Powers, no one could say that it was maintained for the purposes of offence. For himself, he must state that, if he thought that European complications were at hand, he should have proposed greater additions, lest at the last moment he might be obliged to do what his Predecessor in office had done—namely, under circumstances of great haste and confusion to bring up at once, probably 20,000 recruits. Now, what had been the consequences of bringing up 20,000 recruits in one year? the consequence was, that the Army was affected for years after by it, as they could not under such pressure get the kind of recruits that they required. That 20,000 being hurriedly raised had brought discredit upon the Army, from which it had scarcely recovered yet. With respect to the general question, he thought the House would admit that if they were to keep up their stores, fortifications, and armaments, and to lay the basis of an efficient Reserve, the proposed expenditure was necessary. Not only was all that he asked for necessary, but if he were to press for more he thought he could make out a strong case in support of such a proposal, and that the House would see the repression he had been obliged to exercise, and in some instances not without apprehension. But his endeavour had been to cut down the Estimates to that which he considered to be absolutely necessary. In that way his hon. Friend twitted him with studying "efficiency only;" but the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich to which he referred, terminated in a very different way from what the hon. Baronet seemed to infer. The right hon. Gentleman said do not listen to the cry of "efficiency" without carefully scrutinising it, but look into it to see that that which you were doing might tend to promote it. He (Mr. Hardy) had never asked the House to give anything without a careful scrutiny, and he was far from wishing the House to give him anything without careful scrutiny, or to debar hon. Members from taking the sense of the House upon it, and discussing the subject at any length they might desire. Now, with respect to the increased expenditure, the new fortifications and barracks could not be kept up at the same expense as the barracks previous to that time, and, generally speaking, these large buildings could not be maintained without an increased expenditure, which must have been foreseen by those who were parties to planning and building them. His object, like that of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, was peace; but, at the same time, he meant to be in such a position that he should not, in case of emergency, be driven into excessive haste—not driven to do anything under panic—and he could assure them he was under no panic now, or he should have proposed very different Estimates. He wanted to guard against haste, against panic, against uneasiness of mind, against false economy, which led to vast expenditure afterwards, and also against the suspicion that this great country could leave itself in a position which was founded upon the hope or expectation that it would always be at peace. He did not believe that the world at large had arrived at such a purely Christian state as had been spoken of by some hon. Members, so that it was incapable of going to war. He saw, indeed, every indication of the reverse of such a state of things, and, therefore, he wanted to lay a foundation of national defence which, if not large, should be solid. He had done something, he believed, to secure that result by a better treatment of the noncommissioned officers and soldiers, and by proposing measures to put the Army Reserve in such a position that it might be regarded as a reliable force. For these reasons, he might almost ask for the votes of the two hon. Gentlemen who had moved the reduction of the Army.


said, that he should vote for the Amendment with the view of saving money and not for the purpose of diminishing the efficiency of the Army. He should not attempt to reply to the shadowy arguments of the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, because it would be like the Quixotic attempt of kicking a windmill—or, more properly, a water-mill.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.

The House divided:—Ayes 192; Noes 63: Majority 129.

Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.

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