§ (In the Committee.)
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 132,884, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and for Depôts for the training of Recruits for Service at Home and Abroad, including Her Majesty's Indian Possessions, from the 1st day of April 1876 to the 31st day of March. 1877, inclusive.
Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 122,884, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and for Depôts for the training of Recruits for Service at Home and Abroad, including Her Majesty's Indian Possessions, from the 1st day of April 1876 to the 31st day of March 1877, inclusive."—(Mr. Pease.)
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, he wished for further information than had yet been afforded as to the guns which were proposed to be placed in the fortifications, and he also desired to know why Major Moncrieff was no longer employed to carry out his system of gun carriages, and whether or not those carriages had been found efficient? Something had been said by the Minister for War in introducing the Estimates with regard to balloting for the Militia. The right hon. Gentleman had said that it would be necessary to put the system of recruiting for the Militia on a more satisfactory footing. Well, the country was somewhat apt to look upon that as a threat that they might have the ballot for the Militia; but if it was not intended 1457 to institute ballot for the Militia, why had it been broached? The right hon. Gentleman would perhaps inform the Committee why he had introduced the subject. Then as to Militia adjutants, he should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman whether Volunteer adjutants could not be put on the same footing as regarded retirement as Militia adjutants. He wished also to know what would happen in the event of a Volunteer regiment or a Militia regiment being without its commanding officer and majors in the field? Would the Militia or Volunteer captain take command, or would it devolve upon the adjutant, seeing he, as a full-pay captain, had seniority over all Reserve Force captains. The arrangement suggested by the right hon. Gentleman with reference to the Army Reserve was a very good one. But with regard to the Militia there were two points which he (Mr. Anderson) would like to call attention to. One was this—that the Militia was made a back door through which incapable officers were transferred into the Line without passing through any examination, by favouritism on the part of the commanding officer of a Militia regiment. That was a most improper way of admitting officers into the Army. The other point was with reference to the want of rifle practice amongst the Militia. The men were never taught to shoot at all, and he had proved that last time he addressed the House on the subject, by the respective quantities of ammunition used. It was all very well to say that the Militia were a very efficient body of men, and that they were fit to be put with the Line regiments in drill; but what on earth was the use of efficiency in drill if the men could not shoot? He considered it was a mistake also to give up the practice of requiring officers to pass through class firing. He cordially agreed with the proposals to grant deferred pay and to increase the pay of the men in the Guards. He thought it very proper that the deferred pay should be forfeited by deserters, but hoped that in cases of death it would be paid to the surviving relatives. As far as the Guards were concerned, he thought better men would be induced to join if the time taken up by sentry duty was reduced. With regard to systematic desertion, which consisted in men going from regiment to regiment, he was very glad to find that 1458 the right hon. Gentleman had thought it worth while to take into consideration the proposition he (Mr. Anderson) had thrown out—of marking of all men who entered the Army. He believed that would be a complete safeguard against repeated desertion—a much better safeguard, at all events, than the old practice of branding was, for the deserter could not be marked until he had been caught. Marking, if made general, would, no doubt, cease to be looked upon as a disgrace; but of course it would require to be optional for the officers and men now in the Army. He disapproved of the proposal to increase the Estimates and the number of men, and thought that the recruits who were required could have been got without those new and expensive arrangements. The right hon Gentleman could have kept 18 regiments up to their full strength—up even to 1,000 men strong—without increasing the Vote, or adding to the number of men. It could have been done by keeping some of the regiments at two-thirds, or even a half, their proper strength, though of these the full staff of officers and non-commissioned officers should be maintained. It would be very easy to get such regiments to a thoroughly efficient state in a short space of time. Then it was costly to have large barracks in different parts of the country, and the necessity for this would be obviated if the number of men actually in the ranks in the Army were not increased. These institutions were nothing more nor less than moral plague spots in the country, and it was absurd to say that they were necessary. It looked as if they were kept for the purpose of overawing the country, and of keeping it in subjection, and he was sure no one would say that was necessary.
§ SIR ALEXANDER GORDON
said, it was all very well to speak of marking the men as an honour, but he thought the people of the country were too shrewd not to see the real object of the marking. It was because the soldiers were distrusted, and because it was wished to keep them from deserting from the regiments. If he might offer counsel to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Department, he should say—"Be very cautious before you take the step suggested." This was a matter in which the right hon. Gentleman would do well 1459 not to trust too much to the opinions of military men because they were biassed in favour of their profession. It was civilians who had no connection with the Army who were most competent to form a sound opinion on the subject. The marking had hitherto been a brand of ignominy, and he very much doubted whether the country would ever view it as a brand of honour. He was glad that the right hon. Gentleman had at length decided the vexed question of hospitals. It was more than 20 years since he (Sir Alexander Gordon) became an advocate of the general hospital system, and he knew what opposition had been offered to that in favour of the regimental system. The regimental system was all very well in time of peace, but in time of war it broke down. He was very glad, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman had decided to hear no more complaints on the subject, and to carry out the general hospital system. He was less gratified, however, to find that the retiring age of medical officers had been fixed at 60. The work of those officers, being mainly administrative, could be as well performed by men at 60 as at 55, and by compelling them to retire at 60 we should be deprived of their great experience and ripe judgment. It was of no use endeavouring to popularize the service with the younger branches, while they made it unpopular with the older branches; and thus while increasing the non-Effective Vote they would deprive the country of the services of the most able and experienced men. There was one point in the right hon. Gentleman's statement on which he thought the House required more information, and that was with regard to the plan for a tactical station in the North of England. In 1872 the House of Commons voted £3,500,000 for carrying out the scheme of localization, and £300,000 of that sum was intended to be devoted to the formation of a tactical station in the North of England, partly because it was required for a corps to protect the Northeastern Coast. The right hon. Gentleman said he had been unable to find sufficient land for a tactical station, but that he had purchased a tract of land four miles distant from the town of York, and proposed out of the balance of the £300,000 to purchase 6,000 acres at Aldershot. He thought the House ought to be informed how much of the 1460 £300,000 had been applied to the one purpose, and how much to the other. In his opinion, the additional land at Aldershot would not compensate for the tactical station in the North, because the ground in the neighbourhood of Aldershot was so well known that manœuvres held there could not be of much practical utility. The mobilization scheme, which he believed was not yet generally understood, had been described as a scheme for the defence of the country from invasion. For his part he agreed with a statement made some time ago by the Commander-in-Chief, that a successful invasion of this country was almost impossible. At the same time, he thought it desirable that the subject should be placed in a little clearer light. By that scheme it was intended that England, should be prepared from whatever quarter an attack might come, and unless she were attacked by all the world, any scheme of defence that was applicable to all the world would be inappropriate. If England were at peace with France, and a war were to arise with Germany and Russia, the arrangements for the defence of the country would be different from what they would have been if they were at war with France and at peace with Russia and Germany. It was said that the soldier was to know by the scheme where he was to go; but it was because they were not all called to go to the front that he took exception to it. In the Channel Islands, which, if a war were to arise, would be a point of some interest to the Government, as it was a part of our dominions very likely to be attacked, one of the two regiments kept there during times of peace for the maintenance of order would be at once sent away to Petersfield, and the defence of these Islands would be left to the remaining regiment and the Militia, who had hardly ever been called out since the Peninsular War, except on holidays like the Queen's birthday. The defence of the Islands was in a marvellous condition, and he could not understand what the framer of the scheme had been thinking of. So also with troops at Shorncliffe, Brighton, and elsewhere on the South Coast which, in the event of a threatened invasion, were at once to march into the interior of the country. He also objected to the manner in which the scheme had been put forward. In fact, the scheme had appeared suddenly one morning in the 1461 Army List without any name attached guaranteeing that it had been considered by a competent authority. He wished to point out that there was a great omission with regard to the colonies. The troops had been withdrawn and centred at home, although it was well-known and admitted that if England were attacked her colonies would be attacked also.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War said he wished to give the present system of recruiting a fair trial. But what was the present system? He had asked the question several times, but he could get no answer. It was neither short service nor long service, but something between. If they looked to the letter of the recruiting regulations he approved it as far as it went. He had asked what effect had been given to the regulation by which men, after serving throe years, were to pass into the Reserve but he had got no satisfactory answer. Again, as to long service men, it appeared from the Report of the Inspector General of Recruiting about 2,000 had been recruited for the long service instead of 3,750. It was clear, therefore, that the regulations were not properly complied with, for they said that 25 per cent should be long service men, whilst they were in reality only 15 per cent. He trusted proper effect would be given to the regulations, for if they were carried out they would have a short service force from which the Reserve could be supplied and another which would be fitted for service in India. He feared the truth was that the right hon. Gentleman was trying to kill two birds with one stone, while the birds were so far apart that he would be apt not to succeed in hitting either of them. He might point to the opinion of a distinguished military authority, as set forth in a late article in a magazine, to show how very ineffectual the six years' system was likely to be for the purposes of our Reserve. Under it, it was argued, boys were enlisted before they were able to learn a trade, while they would be too old to learn one when they loft the Army. As to the Militia, he was not disposed to go so far as his hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms), and he thought the right course to pursue would be to amalgamate the Militia and the Reserve, 1462 taking men for short service and returning them when sufficiently drilled to the Reserve. He believed by that plan they would get the bone and sinew of the country for its defence. In order, on the other hand, to make provision for the requirements of India and our colonies, it was, in his opinion, absolutely necessary to maintain a professional Army. He entirely concurred with the writer of another article in a a monthly periodical, who also was a high military authority and a Member of that House, who said that our Indian Empire had not been saved at the time of great peril by raw soldiers, who had only seen two or three years' service, but by veterans, who had been inured to long service. It was with 800 such veterans that the father of the hon. and gallant Gentleman to whom he referred took Cawnpore, which a distinguished Crimean officer, General Wyndham, found himself unable to keep with six, or eight, or ten times the number of unseasoned troops. In order, therefore, to provide that efficient force, he thought that a soldier should serve at least six years in that country, and longer if possible. He thought that we should be running the risk of a great military disaster in India if the right hon. Gentleman were to determine to commit the safety of that country, not to long service men, but to young soldiers, who, as it wore, would be continually coming and going. He was quite ready to admit the justice of the statement that the interests of England must not be considered to the sacrifice of those of India. India could, and in his opinion ought to pay for a sufficient number of long service men to preserve that Empire, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman had some system by which long service soldiers might be sent to that country.
§ COLONEL NORTH
hoped the right hon. Gentleman would lose no time in laying before the House the Report of the Royal Commission on Promotion and Retirement, as great discontent prevailed in the Service in consequence of nothing having been done, although the Commission had been sitting 14 months. He was sure the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman that the Commissioners for the Sale of Commissions would require £172,000 less than they did last year was a strong proof that officers would not retire until something more 1463 was known on that point. A great deal had been said about the disgraceful desertions in our Army; but there was a general opinion in the Service that they were in great part owing to the extraordinary decisions arrived at in the office of the Judge Advocate General, where the officers of the Army were not supported as they ought to be in maintaining discipline. It had been laid down that a man could not be tried as a deserter unless it could be proved that he intended to desert; but how could any one prove what a man's intention was? Another stranger case was this. A soldier in private clothes, passing under an assumed name, and having in his possession a ticket for America, was about to sail, and was brought on shore, and in that case it was ruled that he could not be tried as a deserter because he had in his pocket an unexpired furlough. Those decisions might possibly be in accordance with the law, but if so the law ought to be altered, as they undoubtedly threw considerable impedimenta in the way of preventing desertions. He therefore hoped that before the Mutiny Bill came on for discussion his right hon. Friend would direct his attention to this unsatisfactory state of things. Nearly 20 years had elapsed since he first suggested that officers of the Army who held Staff appointments should have money advanced to them to enable them to furnish their houses, such sums to be repaid with interest. The military authorities, he believed, did recommend that this should be done, but it was refused by the Treasury, and he thought it only fair that the saddle should be put on the right horse. In conclusion, he remarked that the suggestions of the last speaker respecting long service in India well deserved consideration.
§ MR. MUNTZ
agreed with the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy, that in India there ought to be an Army of an age adapted to the climate, for young troops were physically unfitted for duties required of them in that country, and the difficulty of obtaining troops there was greater than in any other part of the Empire. He would proceed to explain why fie should vote against the Amendment of the bon. Member for South Durham (Mr. Pease). In 1872 he himself proposed a reduction of 10,000 men, as his hon. Friend had now done. That 1464 proposal was rejected, but in the succeeding year Lord Cardwell reduced the force by 8,500 men, and at present further reduction was inexpedient. The force had since consisted in round numbers of 126,000 men, and the right hon. Gentleman now proposed to add 3,500 men, in order to put 18 battalions in such a condition that at a fortnight's notice they could sail to any part of the world. He was far from saying that reductions in the military expenditure of the country were not both necessary and desirable; but he thought the time for fixing the nature and amount of such reductions would not arrive until the Secretary of State for War had a Reserve Force of 40,000 or 50,000 men, and the system on which the Reserve Force was based had been fully and satisfactorily tested. The system laid down by Lord Cardwell was the result of long and careful consideration, and he should deprecate any attempt to alter it until it had been submitted to a full and fair trial. Otherwise perpetual changes would so worry the Army that they would not know what they were about. What he argued against was any reduction in the number of men which would place the Army below a state of efficiency. He was not an alarmist. He had no fear of this country being attacked; but he could not lose sight of the fact that, in addition to guarding against possible attack—or difficulties arising in India—England had vast commercial interests in all parts of the world which required protection, and he could not, therefore, support any proposal for reducing the strength of the Army below the point at which the responsible Ministers of the Crown thought it should be maintained in order to protect the honour and interests of the Empire. He had observed with much pleasure the way in which the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the War Department had mastered the details of his office, and also the remarkable clearness with which he had laid his proposals before the Committee. Credit must be given to the Government for knowing what was requisite, and he could not, therefore, support a proposal to reduce the Vote by so large a number as 10,000 men.
§ COLONEL KENNARD
expressed his approval of the system of deferred pay, which had been tried some years ago in 1465 the Marines with great success. The Marine service was then exceedingly popular, and was able to get a number of recruits of the very best kind. He understood that the system had been discontinued, and that the popularity of the service had in consequence fallen away. He felt sure that the effect of the system of deferred pay would be to encourage long service and to diminish desertions. In America, where it had been tried with considerable success, the desertions last year had diminished to the extent of 43 per cent. The hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) seemed to think that soldiers would not appreciate the advantages of deferred pay. To meet that difficulty, he would suggest that at the end of every year the amount due to the soldier should be made up, inserted in his pocket-ledger, and certified by the captain of his company. He had always thought that the Army laboured under a great disadvantage as compared with the Navy in the matter of training schools. He would, therefore, suggest that training schools might be made an excellent reserve from which to draw our non-commissioned officers and soldiers, and that those training schools might be fed from the reformatories. By training young persons in such schools, we might in a great measure get over the difficulty which had been experienced with respect to the supply of non-commissioned officers; and what training could do had been shown by the heroism exhibited by the boys at the burning of the Goliath. How much admiration the conduct of the boys had excited in that case had been shown by a graceful acknowledgment made by an Indian Prince, an act which was greatly appreciated in England.
§ MR. DUNBAR
said, that the East India Finance Committee of 1874, on which he served as a Member, directed its attention to the question of military service; and he believed that there was scarcely any Member of that Committee who did not think that, as a local Army could not be re-established, some kind of long service was required for India. Under the old East India Company recruiting was done at an average cost of £20 per head, whereas at present it was £100, and for two years' service that was a costly system. With regard to the Army Medical Department, the 1466 right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War had stated the other night that he intended to give £1,000 to those who had served in that department for 10 years, to enable them to purchase a practice. That might do very well in England or Scotland, but purchasing a practice was a thing unknown in Ireland. At present, if an Irishman entered the medical department, he chose that pursuit for life; and if after 10 years' service he had to retire with £1,000, he would be placed at a disadvantage compared with those who had been in the medical schools at the same time and had settled down to practise at home. Such a man would be in much the same position as a barrister who had come from India after 10 years there, and then tried to get on at the Bar in this country. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to do something for those who were at the top and bottom, but would he not do something for those who were in the middle? There were 430 surgeon-majors, and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman what he would do for them. There was another point which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider—What could be done for those who had been in the Service for, say, nine years? If anything could be done for that class, he believed it would tend very much to remove the dissatisfaction which existed in that department of the Service. The right hon. Gentleman said that, under the new system, six men would be promoted from the temporary to the permanent list: he should like to know whether the intention was to reduce the establishment, and maintain only such a number as would be kept up by six promotions every year. If steps were taken to clear away the block which now existed with regard to surgeon-majors much dissatisfaction would be removed.
§ LORD ELCHO
congratulated his right hon. Friend on the great approval which his exposition of the Army Estimates had met with on every side of the House. He (Lord Elcho), unfortunately, was not able to be present last week, when they were introduced by his right hon. Friend; but looking to the candour, the frankness, and the courage which characterized it, he must say he entirely sympathized with that approval. There were many excellent points in it. If he ventured in anything to differ from his right hon. Friend it would not be 1467 in any unfriendly or captious spirit, and his right hon. Friend was the last man to object to any fair criticism. The first important matter to which he would refer was as to the Report of the Commission on Promotion and Retirement. It was not ready yet, but if rumour spoke correctly, it only awaited the signature of the Commissioners, and their signature only waited for the completion of certain actuarial calculations which had to be filled up. He thought, therefore, with a little pressure put on the actuaries the Report might be laid on the Table, signed by the Commissioners, in a short time. It was desirable that that should be done, because there was a block of promotion in the Army, and there was a natural dissatisfaction that the promise made by that House in 1871—that the flow of promotion should go on under the new system as under the old—had not been carried out. He hoped his right hon. Friend would press forward the Report, for every day's delay was a wrong to the officers and an injury to the Service. When it was produced the House of Commons and the country would know what this whistle of the Trevelyan family had cost them, and he believed it would be found to be about £1,000,000 a-year for ever, so that the change was dear at the money. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that 80 officers had been brought from half to full pay, but he did not tell them at what cost. He had also told them that the Yeomanry were to be simply Light Cavalry, and that their guns were to be done away with. He (Lord Elcho) regretted that the right hon. Gentleman did not agree to make them Rifle Cavalry; for, as such, they would be more useful than as Light Cavalry. He now came to a point on which he was sorry to be at issue with his right hon. Friend, and that was with regard to the new military decoration—the Order of the Broad Arrow, or Anderson's brand. It was seriously proposed by a Member of that House, and the Government proposed to consider it, that because there was a difficulty in dealing with a certain number of fraudulent deserters they should ask every man who served Her Majesty, from the Field-Marshal Commanding-in-Chief to the lowest drummer boy, to have stamped on his cuticle the same mark as that stamped on every military pigskin saddle. That 1468 seemed to him one of the most monstrous propositions possible. It was an absolute giving up of their system, for it showed that the system was so bad that they could not attract men into the Service, and that when they had got them they could not keep them. This new military Order, instead of flowing from the fountain of honour, the Queen, was to flow from the fountain of dishonour, the fraudulent deserter. If this new Order were adopted, he hoped there would be, as in the case of the Bath, a civil branch, and that the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues would set a good example by submitting their cuticles to this honourable distinction, and that they would be followed by the right hon. Gentlemen opposite now in the Reserve and anxiously waiting for their deferred pay. There were matters in the speech of his right hon. Friend which all must agree in praising without qualification. There was the purchase of the ground at Aldershot, and there was the sum to be spent in stores. Incidentally, in connection with stores, a discussion had been raised with reference to the Martini-Henry rifle, and he wished to say that he had been a Member of the second Committee which sat on that subject. When he entered the Committee he was hostile to the arm; but when he knew the testing experiments to which it had been subjected before it was adopted by the first Committee, he was convinced that there must have been some fault in the subsequent manufacture of the arm. He should like to know what stores of small arms there ought to be, and what we actually had in store. He also wanted to know how Gibraltar and Malta were off for stores if they had to stand a siege. They must all agree as to the wisdom of what was to be done for the non-commissioned officers. He also approved of raising 18 regiments to 820 men, and so with respect to the calling out of two corps. He thought it eminently desirable that we should test the existence of the Reserves to see whether they would come out. He now came to what was called the mobilization scheme. A few officers said the mobilization scheme was mere waste paper. But it had been prepared by most able officers, who had considered every detail as far as they had materials. Therefore, he thought we ought to be extremely grateful to the officers who 1469 prepared it, and grateful to the Government for having the courage to bring it forward. It required courage to do so, because it exposed the deficiencies of the existing system, comparing that scheme with the number of men and materials on the Estimates. He had made out that if we had to put our existing force on a war footing, making allowance for Army Hospital Corps, &c., we should require, in addition to what we had, 105,000 men and 58,000 horses. The horses could be procured without much difficulty; it was not so easy to get the men. We had 342 guns in the Artillery, but we required a great many more, say, 800, to complete the requisite number. There were two ways in which our Artillery Force might be increased at little or no expense. In the first place, the system of employing the powerful horses engaged in agricultural work might be extended, the men being obtained in the shape of volunteers, and the horses being ready harnessed and fit for employment at little or no cost. That was tried in a Volunteer review, and it was found that they could do 30 miles a-day. That system might be extended throughout the country ad infinitum. An enormous Artillery Force could be got up in that way. This was the only country in Europe which in time of peace had its batteries complete. We had plenty of Artillery drivers, and with one waggon to each battery we could double our effective force. But the main difficulty was the question how to keep up our Army. 'His right hon. Friend proposed to do that by various means. He proposed to give increased pay to the Guards, to which no one could object, for if a good article was wanted, they must give a good price for it. He proposed also that furlough pay should be increased to men on furlough; and, lastly, came the question of deferred pay. He (Lord Elcho) had always thought that a pension was preferable to deferred pay; but the giving of deferred pay appeared to be well worth trying, and he thought his right hon. Friend had done wisely in testing it. His right hon. Friend said when once we had given men money we could not get it back from the men to whom we had engaged to pay it. But if the plan did not answer, deferred pay could be cut off from those who came in afterwards, provided we got them on different 1470 terms. His right hon. Friend had proposed to give to a man in the Guards 1d. a-day more than to a Linesman, because in stature, &c., a Guardsman was a more valuable article than a Linesman. His right hon. Friend should carry downwards that principle of payment, according to the value of the article. Let a line be drawn at 20 years of age for the purpose of testing the value of a man, and do not give deferred pay to a man below 20, or whose physique, in the opinion of a military surgeon, was not equal to that of a full-grown man at 20. As to the age of recruits, his right hon. Friend said we could not get recruits enough if we limited the age of recruits to 20 years. Nobody had proposed that that should be done. But this was urged on the House last Session—that recruits should not be sent abroad until they were grown men. Notwithstanding the promise that was given on that subject, he found that 1,144 men under 20 years of age had been sent to India. He earnestly hoped that we should have an improvement, not only as to the number of our men, but as to their age and physique, for on looking through the last statistics respecting the Army he found that if the recruits were measured round the chest in the same manner as the police, out of 178,276 men; only 39,353 would be accepted by the police, and out of 112,424 infantry only 23,370 would be so accepted. Although the present Government had already done something, he thought that more should be done in giving employment in the Civil Service to soldiers. If the War Office Department were open to soldiers, it would be a great inducement to men to enter the Army. We could have much more work done and at much less cost than at present in the War Department if soldiers and officers were employed there. He was greatly disappointed by his right hon. Friend not having completely grappled with the question of the Militia. An hon. Member had been going about the country during the last Autumn, and had done a great deal of good in showing our military deficiencies, but he suggested that the Militia should be swept away. He might as well talk of sweeping away the Established Church, trial by jury, or any other of our institutions. Englishmen when they reformed their institutions were not in the habit of knocking them down like a pack of cards. No one knew so well as the Secretary for 1471 War that our Militia was the foundation of our military system; but, nevertheless, he had declined to deal with that branch of the Service this year. The subject was, doubtless, a difficult one, and the righthon. Gentleman had adopted the motto, Festina lente with regard to it, and would probably deal with it next year. And what was the state of this back-bone of our military system? Its total force, including the permanent Staff, was 107,114. Of that number, 27,213 belonged to the Militia Reserve, who in time of war would have to go into the Regular Army; 18,717 were under 19 years of age, and, therefore, were unfit for the hardships of warfare; and 10,000 were absent without leave at the last training, and would therefore, not be likely to turn up when their services were required in the field. This left the real force of the Militia at 70,755 only, which showed that the Force was in a most unsatisfactory condition, and that the backbone of our military system was almost invertebrate. This view of the state of affairs was amply borne out by the Report of the Inspector of Recruiting, whom he congratulated upon his clear, candid statements, in which he pointed out that only 18,000 men joined the Service in 1876, whereas 20,000 joined it in the previous year. That gallant officer further considered the Militia to be in a very unsatisfactory position, and pointed out that that Force was much below the authorized strength, that the recruits were enrolled at an earlier age than was contemplated in the regulations, and that it was necessary to alter the system on which the Militia was raised, so as to ensure its efficiency. Rumour stated that the right hon. Gentleman was not himself satisfied with the state of the Militia, and that in November last there was a serious intention on his part to have effected considerable alterations in its conditions. The fence, however, was an ugly one to deal with, and therefore, although the right hon. Gentleman had put in the spurs to try to get over it, he was still on the wrong side of the hedge. He, however, felt satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman would not be deterred from doing his duty by the Army, of which he was the head, by any fear of unpopularity. The spirit which had recently been evoked in this country by the conduct of the Government in reference to the Suez Canal must 1472 convince any Minister that he would be fully supported in doing what was necessary to make this nation secure both at home and in her Colonies; and we must all feel that nothing added so much as a strong England to the security of the peace of Europe.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
remarked that it was only due to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War that he should not be held responsible for the increase of the Army Estimates for the present year, inasmuch as that increase was the inevitable result of the changes which had been introduced into the constitution of the Army by his Predecessor in office, whose system he had endeavoured loyally and faithfully to carry out. He therefore hoped the right hon. Gentleman whilst so acting would give his close attention to those economical measures which would bring the expenditure under the amount which the country would bear. He earnestly urged the attention of the Committee to the speech on the Army Estimates of Sir John Pakington (now Lord Hampton.) In 1868 Sir John Pakington, on introducing the Army Estimates on 23rd March of that year, called attention to the vast expenditure which he was obliged to propose—£13,699,466—which he described as an enormous sum. But this year the amount was still larger, for it amounted to £13,989,500, being the net amount when, as in Sir John Pakington's time, all items not properly chargeable against the Army were deducted. This sum was however not to be compared with that in the time of Sir John Pakington, for the cost of the surveys had been transferred from the Army Estimates to the Civil Charges, and apparently the expenses of depotsô borne in 1868 for India were not now altogether charged on the Army. When the heavy charge for retirement and for ensuring a flow of promotion became a necessity, and probably at an early date, then next year no doubt, there would be a considerable addition to some of the items, and it was not likely the new system now proposed could be carried out without an increase of some £2,000,000. He believed that there would be a loud cry for a diminution of this enormous expenditure, and unless timely measures were adopted to cut down useless and unnecessary charges the end would be that the nation would insist on reductions 1473 that would be injurious to the efficiency of the Army. With respect to the question of the quantity of stores at Gibraltar and Malta, he believed that great endeavours had been made to keep those places well supplied. He observed that there was in these Estimates a very large expenditure upon stores for the Navy. It would be far better that the Navy should pay for its own stores and the Army for its own transport. As it was, there was extravagance on both sides. This question had been mooted by General Peel in his speech on 7th March, 1867, and in the following year by Sir John Pakington in his speech on 23rd March, 1868. Both had urged a separation of these charges, and Sir John Pakington whilst at the War Office had taken an active interest in the question. It was surely owing to a change in the Administration that the separation had not been effected. An examination of the large sums borne by the Army for the naval guns and stores of the Navy would show the great burden borne by the Army for such supplies, whereas the charges for the vessels kept up by the Navy for Army transports did not exceed one third of the amount borne by the Army Estimates. The proposal to increase the pay of the non-commissioned officers was no doubt a wise one; but a better plan was that adopted in India, of creating warrant officers, who should rank above the non-commissioned officers, with some additional pay and prospects. All these measures were for the purpose of obtaining men for recruiting the Army, but one unfailing obstacle to recruiting in the Regular Forces was the competition between the Army and the Militia. As to the mobilization scheme, it was very nearly a copy of the German system; and, like most English adaptations of foreign originals, it was planned on a most extravagant scale. An examination of the tables of the Army German Corps with the table of the English Corps, would startle the people of this country with the enormous staff of Generals and other officers in contrast with those ranks in the German Corps. He earnestly deprecated this waste, and urged that the organization of the whole Service should be closely examined into, with a view to cut off those superfluities which everywhere so unwisely existed.
§ MR. ONSLOW
took exception to the present system of billeting soldiers in 1474 passing through towns. During the last five years 9,489 men of the Regular troops and 9,438 horses passed through the borough of Guildford. He could assure the Secretary for War that there would not be room for a single man or horse thus passing through in the barracks which had been built in that town. The result would be, if something were not done, that the billeting system would be carried out as extensively in the future as at present. It often happened that a horse was billeted on a public-house which had no accommodation in the rear, and the publican was obliged to find some other place for the animal, for which he had to pay, at a loss to himself, the sum allowed for a horse being only 6d a-day. That was inadequate, and the entire system called for alteration. With respect to the soldier's deferred pay, he hoped to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that the soldier's friends, in case of his death, should be entitled to receive it. Branding the soldier had been referred to, but he hoped the day would not come when such a mark would be placed upon the British soldier. He thought it would have the effect of preventing the men from enlisting. He thought the inducement held out to old soldiers to re-enlist and join the Reserve too small, and he might state in the case of Militiamen that many of them declined to re-enlist because the inducement offered was too small. He therefore hoped the Secretary for War would be able soon, if not this year, to increase the pay of the Militia, and thereby induce good men to enlist in that service. Before Lord Cardwell held the office of Secretary for War, the Militia bounty amounted to £6, but the noble Lord added a year to the time of service, and did not increase the bounty. This the men felt to be a grievance, and they said—"We have to put in a year, and are docked of £1." He believed that if a little more inducement were held out, old soldiers, who now held aloof from the Militia, would be drawn to its ranks—greatly to the benefit of that branch of the Service. He hoped also that when the Militia Reserve was drafted off to the Regular Army, as proposed, some means would be taken to keep up the Militia regiments at their proper strength. Some remarks had been hazarded by an hon. Member near him on the advisability of making some change in the pe- 1475 riod of reliefs in India, so that they might not arrive in this country from a hot climate in the cold weather as at present; but the fact was, that if they marched through India to the coast, except in the cold season, the amount of illness and the number of deaths would be twenty-fold. On the whole, he believed the Army would be well satisfied with the Government proposals, and that under the increased inducements offered, a large number of recruits would come in.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
desired to draw attention to the increased charge which would result from the proposal as to deferred pay. The right hon. Gentleman told the House the other day that the charge for the present year would amount to £13,000, but that it would be more in future years, but he did not state what it would ultimately amount to. The right hon. Gentleman had intended to lay upon the Table that evening a table which would throw light on the subject, but unfortunately it was not in such a condition that he could present it. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be in a position to give the Committee an idea as to what the ultimate charge would be. He did not like to say he was opposed to the proposal, but he thought the Committee ought not to accept it without serious consideration. In the absence of an estimate he had endeavoured to calculate what the charge would be and he found that 2d. a-day to be paid to 160,000 rank and file would amount to £480,000, of which over £150,000 would have to be borne by India. There would be the Reserve men in addition, who were to receive additional pay, so that while the charge would be but £13,000 for the year, ultimately, and perhaps in 10 or 12 years, it would amount to no less than £500,000. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the representatives of deceased soldiers would be entitled to the deferred pay due to them at the time of their death; and what would be the effect upon men who entered upon long service—would they be entitled to the 2d. a-day in addition to their pensions? [Mr. GATHORNE HARDY: No.] Well, these matters ought to be made clear to the Committee. They ought to keep clearly before them the effect of the proposal—namely, that though they were now asked for £13,000 only, eventually the charge would amount to about 1476 £500,000. What was now done for the Army would, he presumed, be also necessary for the Navy and Marines before very long.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, that so far from wishing the House to vote under any disguise, those who had done him the honour to listen to his statement on Thursday would remember that so far from understating what the charge would be, he overstated it when he said that the deferred pay would cost £17,000 this year, and in the result would be £225,000, while in the year 1890 it would rise to about £325,000. Probably when these sums came to be carefully considered there would be some variation, according to the number of men voted in each year. He agreed that it was desirable that the Report of the Commission on Promotion and Retirement should be before the House as soon as possible. It was true it had not yet been signed; but immediately after it had been placed before Her Majesty it would be laid upon the Table. The conclusions of the Commission would very much depend on the calculations of the actuaries, which, he understood, it would take three months to complete. With respect to the pension after 12 years, he had had an actuarial calculation made. He found that the pension after 12 years to 21 years was equivalent to 6½d. a-day, as against the deferred pay of 2d., and that was a gain so large that it seemed unreasonable to give those men deferred pay in addition. With regard to the question as to billeting, it must be kept up for the Regular troops, because it was never known in what direction they would have to go, and it was impossible to make permanent engagements. He was anxious not to put undue pressure on those upon whom the men were billeted; but the billet pay had been increased of late years, and where there was a constant flow of troops he was told that if anyone would undertake it as a speculation to accommodate them, it might be made to pay. He was still strongly of opinion that it would be well to have training barracks for the Militia, as they were unaccustomed to live under canvas and in bad weather met with great difficulties in the way of keeping their clothes dry, cleanliness, and other matters. Until barracks were built the system of billeting for the Militia must, therefore, be 1477 kept up here and there. The men received money enough to obtain lodgings in many parts of the town, which were practically as good as those that they got at the public-houses. With regard to the alleged falling-off in the Militia, he found that the enlistments in 1875 were 29,961; in 1874, 29,831, and in 1873, 25,361. So that, notwithstanding all difficulties, recruiting for the Militia was kept up pretty well, although there was a slight falling-off in the re-enrolment owing, as he thought, to the change of bounty which had not been properly understood. The employment of a greater number of boys had been pressed upon him, and he had given a great deal of attention to this subject. When, however, he had got a young man of 18 he was told by the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) and others that he ought not to pay him as a soldier; and if he had to pay £60 for two years previous training for a lad of 18, and should have to meet his noble Friend in conflict as to whether that lad was a soldier, the question became more difficult. The boys, no doubt, would be well trained, and would in time make good non-commissioned officers, but only a certain number could be used up in that way, and to set up training schools for boys would involve so great an expense that he was by no means sure it would not be far more expensive than the present system. He had been told by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (Sir George Balfour) that his mobilization scheme had been copied from the German system, while the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) said that the reverse was the case, and as the two hon. Gentlemen sat so near together, he might leave the point in dispute to be settled in conversation between them. The hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) seemed to think that he had a proposal for immediately bringing the Ballot into force for the Militia; but, in fact, he was one of those who looked upon the Ballot as the last resource; but if the voluntary system for the Militia failed, the Ballot would be, he thought, a most justifiable thing to adopt. The Militia were not sent out of the United Kingdom, and as they would only be called out to defend their own homes there would not be the least injustice in calling upon every man of proper age to take his chance of the Ballot. He would admit that the pre- 1478 sent system of Ballot was unfair, unequal, and difficult to work, and long before we might want it it would be well to set it in proper order; and although he could not hope to find sufficient time to deal with the matter during the present Session, yet it should be well weighed in order to see what defects existed and how the Ballot could be adapted for an emergency should it ever arise. Then came the question raised by his noble Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) of the encouragement to be given to the Army by offering places in the Civil Service to men of good character. Now, he had stated the other night that it was an illusion to hold out to the Army that there were so many places as it was sometimes represented at the disposal of the Civil Service which could be reserved for them. He was quite willing that this question should be tested before a Select Committee, and if the hon. and gallant Member for Sunderland (Sir Henry Havelock), who had a Motion on the subject, would change it so as to move for a Committee he should be willing to agree to it. Another hon. Member had referred to the supplies at Malta and Gibraltar. He could not quite understand whether stores or food were meant. With regard to food, two questions arose—a food supply for the garrison and one for the inhabitants. As to the duty of Government to supply food for the garrison there could be no doubt, and the time might come when it would be necessary to supply the inhabitants. The question was, however, whether it was the duty of the Government to go to the enormous cost of keeping stores for the latter purpose. This was a question of importance, because the time might come when the inhabitants of the place might be exposed to the danger of dying of starvation, but that could not be if we had the command of the sea. At the same time, it was a vast expense to keep up stores at a place like Malta, and the matter was one which had to be weighed along with fifty others. The questions that had been raised with respect to fortifications were too large to be discussed on the Estimates. Nor was that of coaling stations less complex; for instance, if the Suez Canal were stopped up by accident or warlike measures, it would be necessary to send troops round by the Cape, and Simon's Bay would 1479 then become important. There was a coaling station at Jamaica; and, indeed, all over the world there were stations the importance of which would be great in the event of certain possible contingencies. It would be unjustifiable to cast the whole expenditure in these cases on the Estimates of the year; it ought rather to be treated as we had treated the expenditure for fortifications and for the brigade depôts. In giving the figures as to the measurement of the recruits, he quoted, not from one Paper, but from two Papers, having, as he stated at the time, when he was furnished with the averages, asked for the maximum and the minimum in each case—except those in which it was fixed—and these extremes he read to the Committee. As to the age of recruits, he protested against his noble Friend taking only men of 20 and saying that they would not be fit for their work until they were 21. He believed the Army would contain as many men of the age of 20 this year as it did last; and in Germany they were taken at the age of 19.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he had no objection to their being taken under the age of 20, so long as they were not reckoned as effectives until they reached the age of 20.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he could not get younger men at less pay, and he did not mean to change the system of recruiting, under which selection had been carried so far last year that only 18,000 out of 27,000 who offered themselves had been enlisted. As to the deficiencies of Army Corps, they were not meant to be filled up to the strength of Army Corps abroad; they were only meant to be cadres. Of Artillery, we had 63 batteries manned and horsed—with 378 guns, and we had in reserve 43 batteries, of course not manned and horsed—with 258 guns, so that we had 106 batteries with 636 guns, which would be in readiness by the beginning of next year. [Colonel MURE: Are they fully manned?] The guns he had referred to as such were manned and horsed; and he need not say our Artillery was horsed beyond that of any other Power. He had not attempted to keep the plan of mobilization secret because he should have occupied an unpleasant position in being continually asked Questions about it. For two Sessions the hon. Member for the Kirkcaldy Burghs (Sir George 1480 Campbell) had repeated Questions the answers to which he could not understand, and he had reiterated in fifty shapes the speech he had made that night. He could scarcely understand how the hon. Member had misapprehended him so far, for what he had said was, that he was doing the best he could to obtain men who would serve five years in India. He had had a Departmental Committee examining officers, and among them that great authority upon the subject, for whom he had a great respect in his place, Lord Sandhurst; but neither his reputation nor that of his article in The Edinburgh, Review would induce him to accept the noble Lord as his guide in this matter. The article in the Review was a theoretical one. No doubt nothing could be more advisable than to exercise men three years in the Militia and then draft them into the Army if you could do it. But it could not be done. If the Militia would do it they would please him excessively and improve the Army; but he could not compel them to do it. The proposition in the article would not bear argument; and with great respect for the noble Lord, who was to take part in a public meeting to-day—Tuesday—on the subject of the Knightsbridge Barracks, he must object to his Lordship setting himself up as an infallible authority on either question. With regard to the three years' enlistment, it was never intended that the War Department should take the initiative, but that only on the recommendation of commanding officers should these men be transferred to the Reserve. If there was a real steady flow of recruits, such as would keep the Army up to the full amount, with a certain overflow, then it might be easy to pass three years' men into the Reserve; but, if they could not keep up their Regular forces without retaining the men longer, then they could not wonder if commanding officers were not ready to allow those who had served only three years to pass into the Reserve. But no impediments were offered to that by him or by any one in the War Department. He had been asked by the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire about the number of small arms which they had. Of the Martini-Henry this year there would be 316,000, and of Sniders 240,000. Then with regard to guns for fortifications, 30 38-ton guns would, he thought, be placed in position in the course of this 1481 year. He should have wished to place a few more, if the Estimates were not so high; but under present circumstances, he would allow that wish to remain in abeyance. There was a great number of new fortifications, the gradual armament of which would be a work of considerable expense, and if artillerists went on demanding heavier guns, he was afraid that would be a matter for his successors to deal with, because he assumed that the country would desire to arm its forts with the best possible ordnance. With respect to Major Moncrieff's system, Major Moncrieff had really completed the work he had to do at the War Office, and had been paid the sum that was agreed upon at the conclusion of his services. Nothing more ingenious could be imagined than that officer's system, which had been carefully examined and found very useful in many ways; but it was not applicable in all cases. He did not know that Major Moncrieff had any complaint, because he had received the terms on which he was engaged. An hon. Friend behind him had made some remarks about desertion, and the noble Lord had requested him to submit to be stamped in his own person as belonging to Her Majesty's service. Well, if any good would be obtained for the country by it, he would submit to that with the greatest pleasure. He was not the least ashamed of serving Her Majesty or afraid of the indignity, if such it was, which would be put upon him in that shape. The noble Lord went too far in speaking of conclusions having been come to on that subject, because there had been no such conclusion. The hon. Member for Glasgow, in view of these frequent desertions, had suggested a thing which might be applied without detriment to anybody—namely, that as every recruit was vaccinated, the operation should be performed in a particular way to show that it had been done in the Army. The hon. Member for Glasgow said that all men at present in the Army ought to be exempted from the process unless they liked it, and therefore no injury would be done to anyone. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) wanted some alteration of the law respecting desertion, and said it was impossible to prove a man's intention to desert. Now, his hon. and gallant Friend was an ex- 1482 cellent magistrate, and no doubt in his own county he had known many a man to be convicted whose intentions had been proved by his acts and his words. If a man broke open a place without actually stealing anything from it, there might be circumstances in the case which would lead a jury to convict him of intending to steal. And so if a man belonging to the Army was found to have taken a passage to America and to have gone off, there would be no real difficulty in proving that it was his intention to desert. Yet it might be necessary, though he did not say that it was so, to make some slight alteration in the Mutiny Act as to soldiers attempting to desert. The hon. and learned Member for New Ross (Mr. Dunbar) had asked him a question about Irish surgeons in the Army. Now he had always thought that Irish surgeons and English surgeons were the same until the hon. and learned Gentleman told him there was a difference between them. The Irish surgeons, the hon. and learned Gentleman said, never wanted to leave, and then he rather inconsistently asked him what provision he would make for those who wished to retire after 10 years' service? There were a great many Irish surgeons in the Army. In fact, if it had not been for the supply of surgeons from the Irish schools, he did not know how they could have got on in the medical department of the Service. One might, however, he thought, notwithstanding what the hon. and learned Gentleman said, purchase a practice in Ireland, for when a man had a property in his tenant right he could not understand how it was that the goodwill of a business should not find as ready a sale in Ireland as in any other part of the United Kingdom. The hon. and learned Gentleman did not know all the property his countrymen possessed. He really could not dwell on a difficulty of that sort; but if Irish surgeons, as he declared, did not wish to retire, and were selected on account of their ability, to go on for promotion, we should soon have a long roll of the highest officers in the department speaking with a most elegant brogue. His belief, however, was that Irish surgeons would very willingly pocket their money at the end of 10 years, and lay it out as profitably as their English fellow-officers; if they were not selected to re- 1483 main in the Service, as he had no doubt many of them would be. As for the Volunteer adjutants their position was being very considerably improved, and they were relieved of the necessity of recruiting, at which they had no great opportunity of doing much. In the matter of precedence, they would, of course, follow their rank, but he believed they were never put in command of a regiment. The hon. Member for Glasgow had complained that the Militia were made a back-door for incapable officers to get into the Army. Well, it was not in his time that that connection between the Militia and the Army had been established. The relations existing between the two Forces might be open to objection; but he did not see how any incapable officers could pass from the one to the other, as had been described. In the first place, Militia officers before entering the Army required to have two years' training and to pass an examination, which was much harder now than formerly, and which was being made harder by degrees. The examination no doubt was held at a later age than for the Army; but then there was the advantage of the two years' training and of whatever extra pains the officer might take to qualify himself for his position. He was not aware that any incapable officers had got into the Army in this way, although some who had failed in the earlier examination had succeeded in the second. As for shooting, it was quite true that a month's training was not sufficient to make the Militia very expert in that; but animated as they were with the spirit of Englishmen, it was hardly likely Militiamen would have a rifle in their hands for a month without learning to use it with some effect. Under existing circumstances it was perhaps impossible to give them all the facilities for learning to shoot that might be desirable; but he would take care to call the attention of the Inspector General of the Auxiliary Forces to the subject in order to see how far the present system might be improved. The question of sentinel duty had been raised. Well, it was necessary that all regiments should have experience of sentinel duty, and although he was prepared to make the soldier's life as agreeable as possible, it was important that the men should be well tested in time of peace. He hoped to 1484 give the Guards a little relief. Hitherto they had gone from one place to another where there was a great deal of this duty to be performed, but it was now proposed to send them to Shorncliffe or elsewhere in the country where they would have a period of rest. The hon. Member for Glasgow had regretted that there was going to be an increase in the number of men; but that subject he (Mr. Hardy) had already gone into so fully, that he would only now observe that regiments to be properly worked must have a certain amount of solidity, and that they might be reduced to too much of a skeleton' form for practical purposes. The new Member for Aberdeenshire (Sir Alexander Gordon) had raised several objections to proposals before the House. He (Mr. Hardy) was very glad he was going to have the benefit of the hon. and gallant Member's criticism on military questions, drawn as it would be from practical experience. The points to which the hon. and gallant Member had objected, however, happened just to be those with which he was, perhaps, not practically acquainted. As to the compulsory retirement of medical officers, it was no doubt true that a man might be fit for something at 60; but there were other considerations to be borne in mind. There were other people who particularly wanted to step into their shoes. He had a great consideration for those gentlemen of 60, many of whom no doubt were perfectly fit for service, but there was a multitude of aspirants to their places, and promotion was the soul of the Service. Without promotion there would be no hope, without hope no emulation, and without emulation the Service would be dead and apathetic. He was, therefore, most anxious to assist the promotion of the medical officers. He denied that he had forgotten the non-Effective service; he had said he could not deal with a reduction of that service. His hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Alexander Gordon) had referred to the tactical station in the North; but he could assure him that if he could look into all the facts, he would see that a right conclusion had been come to on the subject. Great advantages would be derived from their being at York. The stores would all be in the neighbourhood of York, and there would be excellent ground there, if not for manœuvres, for training. They would have at least 1485 1,115 acres, and Artillery, Cavalry, and Infantry would have an opportunity of training together. The Militia called upon to take part in the training would also derive great advantages. With respect to Aldershot he had looked out for more ground there, and he hoped to get between 6,000 and 7,000 acres. This would enable them to have much more extensive manœuvres, without putting anyone to inconvenience. His hon. Friend spoke of disguise; but he (Mr. Hardy) did not wish to do anything in the dark. That was the last thing he should attempt to do in the House. With respect to mobilization, the steps they had taken would enable them in case the pressure was on the colonies and not on England to send troops to the colonies; and if the pressure was on England and not on the colonies, they should be able to keep the troops at home. A great deal depended on the Fleet in the first instance. He did not forget that there were accidents—accidents which were quite unforseen; and he must not suppose the Fleet to be always in the exact place in which it might be most needed. He hoped that this country would keep command of the seas. Even Mr. Cobden said that the English Navy ought to be throe times as strong as any Continental Navy. It ought to be sufficient to afford us security under all ordinary circumstances; but extraordinary circumstances might happen, and it would be madness to be taken unprovided in such a contingency. He should be the last person in the world to depreciate the Navy. His object was that under any possible circumstances they should be ready as far as they possibly could, without the country being put to unreasonable expense, to meet circumstances as they arose. With respect to the enormous Army which they had, let him call attention to what their neighbours had. We had in this country about 90,000 soldiers; and in the colonies about 24,000. They had an Army Reserve of 6,000—that was, in round numbers, they had available from 120,000 to 130,000 trained men. France had, as its peace establishment (without looking at her territorial reserve), 450,000, and a war establishment of 1,100,000 men. Germany had a peace establishment of 400,000, and a war establishment of 1,250,000 men—the Landsturm not in- 1486 cluded. Russia Europe had a peace establishment of 846,000, and a war establishment of 1,250,000, irregular troops not included. Austria had a peace establishment of 271,451, and a war establishment of 776,487, not including the reserve. Italy had a peace establishment of 220,441 men, and a war establishment of 456,330 men. Belgium—a little country of 5,000,000 inhabitants—had a peace establishment of 48,000, and in war 104,000 men. Looking at these facts, and remembering the enormous interests which were at stake in this country, he did not think he was asking for anything exorbitant in the number of men comprised in the Vote now under discussion; and he could not believe that after the Committee had declared earlier in the evening that it would not reduce the proposed expenditure, it Would now take the nibbling course of striking off 10,000 men from our Regular Forces at the bidding of his hon. Friend.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (2.) £4,722,200, Pay and Allowances, &c. of Land Forces.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
asked what would be the effect of the deferred pay on the Estimates of the next three or four years?
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, he had already stated that the ultimate sum would be £325,000. The rise in the Estimates, however, would be very gradual, and in the first few years would not, probably, exceed £50,000 or £60,000 a-year.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
asked whether the nation did not become liable to those who remained in the Force to the extent of £3 a-year, so that, supposing there were 160,000 men, we should be liable to £480,000 loss what was forfeited by deserters and others or recouped by India?
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, the liability attached to the nation, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated, but the money would not be paid until it became actually due. Meanwhile it would be recorded in the soldier's small book, so that he and his officers would know the amount of his claim.
§ COLONEL HAYTER
agreed with the hon. Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) that the best way to furnish a stimulus to recruiting would be to give immediate, and not deferred, pay. The enormous proportion of desertions from the Royal Artillery might, perhaps, be counteracted by giving that force an additional 1d. a-day. As to the deficiency in the Foot Guards, that might be easily accounted for. The daily average of sick in the troops generally was 37.47 per 1,000; in Infantry regiments it was 31.98, in the Foot Guards 45.20. This high average in the Guards was entirely caused by the enormous sentry duty to which they were exposed, and he was glad that the right hon. Gentleman intended to make some reduction of duty in the West End.
§ CAPTAIN NOLAN
said, as the Secretary for War had instituted a new mobilization scheme, and the pay and allowances of the Staff which would in consequence be necessary would cost the country £400,000 a-year, it was important to know how the Staff was appointed. Some 15 years ago a Staff College was instituted, and it was declared that only officers who had been distinguished in the field or who had passed through that college would in future be eligible for Staff appointments. Instead of that principle being carried out, the great bulk of the Staff appointments were given to whomsoever the Horse Guards chose to select. Thus only 23 appointments out of 180 had been given to those who had passed through the Staff College, and these were the lowest appointments on the Staff.
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
said, the Queen's Regulations did not lay down that the Staff College should have an absolute right to these appointments, but only to a portion of them. He thought very great consideration should be given to the claims of those who had passed the examinations; and to a certain extent that had been done. As far as he was concerned, he should approve of giving those appointments requiring intelligence to intelligent men.
§ SIR WALTER BARTTELOT
contended that if the Staff College was 1488 worth anything to the country it ought to be fully encouraged. As he understood, the great object was to get the best men to go through the Staff College examination; but if only 23 out of 180 officers who had gone through all the labour of preparing for the examination, and had given up their regimental service for the purpose, received places, then he thought a gross injustice was inflicted upon them.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £49,200, Divine Service.
§ (4.) £27,900, Administration of Military Law.
§ (5.) £262,400, Medical Establishments.
§ MR. WARD
said, he would take advantage of that occasion to say that the proposal of the Government for the improvement of the position of medical men in the Army was a mere temporary scheme, which was entirely due to the fact that they could not, as things stood, induce competent candidates to offer themselves for the service. He complained that they did nothing for those who had done all the hard work, and only held out fresh inducements to the new men.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £672,700, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Militia Pay and Allowances, which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1876 to the 31st day of March 1877, inclusive.
§ COLONEL HAYTER
moved that, as there was likely to be some discussion on the details of this proposal, Progress should be reported.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;
§ Committee also report Progress; to sit again upon Wednesday.