asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether he will take into consideration the advisability of discountenancing the use of public-houses for the purpose of enlisting recruits for the Army, and will, instead, encourage the establishment of rooms at recruiting stations available as clubs for all soldiers who may be in the locality, in addition to their use as recruiting stations?
MR. GATHORNE HARDY
Sir, I am not aware that I could strengthen the regulation at present in force in any way in order to carry into effect the object which the hon. Member desires. The following recruiting instructions are in force for the guidance of officers commanding Brigade Depots, and have been so for some time:—At the headquarters of the sub-district all non-commissioned officers and steady privates should he permitted to enlist men arriving there for that purpose and pass them into barracks. If accommodation in the barracks will allow of 1796 it there should be a recruits' room, into which men arriving late at night seeking enlistment might be allowed to sleep to prevent their forced resort to public-houses and their exposure to influences adverse to enlisting. Officers commanding Brigade Depots will see that the following directions are carefully attended to and promulgated throughout their sub-districts:—No recruit is to be enlisted in a state of intoxication, as it would render his enlistment void. Enlistment in public-houses or beer-shops is to be avoided as far as possible. After enlistment and until attestation the recruits are, if possible, to be lodged in the room provided for them in barracks, or in refreshment houses not licensed to sell beer or spirits. No recruits previous to enlistment are to be treated or entertained in public-houses by the recruiters. All recruiting-is to carried on in an open manner, like any other agreement between the employer and the person engaging to serve. No false pretences or misrepresentations are to be made use of to induce recruits to enlist, and no man is to be encouraged to leave his place of residence in order to conceal his enlistment.In 1869–70 the experiment was tried of having an enlistment place separate from the recruiting departments in London and York, but after a year's experience, not a single recruit having enlisted at those places, the experiment was abandoned.