HC Deb 04 March 1878 vol 238 cc665-718

SUPPLY—considered, in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) 135,452 Land Forces, for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, at Home and Abroad.


Sir, the Estimates which I have this year to bring before the Committee are, as will have been seen by those who have taken the pains to study them, what are called Peace Estimates—that is, they are in no sense whatever of a character that would enable this country to conduct a war, for which the establishments in the position proposed under the Estimates are by no means sufficient. Of course, they were naturally so introduced; because, whatever apprehensions may be entertained, or might have been at the time they were prepared, they were necessarily prepared for that which it was hoped would be the case, and which it is hoped will be the normal condition of this country. At the same time, there are some very considerable amounts of money more than there were asked for last year, which those who have looked at the Papers laid before Parliament will hardly require me to explain. I will, however, call attention briefly to them in order that there may be no mistake as to the different points on which these Estimates differ from those of former years. Now, I should like first to dispose of one subject which was introduced in the discussion which has just closed. Hon. Members who have seen the Paper which was written by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Lancashire (Colonel Stanley), late Financial Secretary to the War Office, on the subject of Paymasters, will see the enormous pains he has devoted to the discussion of the question. It is a Paper which will well repay reading, and will fully show the reasons which induced us to come to the conclusion at which we have arrived. I am bound to say it was not without difficulty that I individually came to that conclusion, because the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman), who filled the same office in the late Government, gave great attention to the subject, and left Papers at the War Office which had a great effect upon my mind, and for a long time swayed me and left me undecided as to the course I should take. The course proposed by the hon. Gentleman and the Committee of which he was a Member was that there should be departmental accountants, and that they should be in the main civilians, who would come into the office as young men. Well, at the time we were considering the subjects of Promotion and Retirement in the Army, and we could not help seeing that we should be taking away a great means of that Promotion and Retirement by cutting off Paymasterships from the military ranks. We gave the matter great consideration, and we ultimately came to the conclusion that it was a scheme which should, and might safely, be entertained as a means of reducing the expense connected with Promotion and Retirement in the Army. The consequence is, that after great labour and trouble, for which I am indebted to my hon. and gallant Friend, who in the higher office he now holds will, I am sure, equally distinguish himself, as he did in the office in which he served with me, and with an amount of diligence and skill which no one who does not know him can estimate as I do—the result is that virtually the position of Military Paymasters will be maintained, but the department has been practically re-organized, and for the future it will be under the Financial Department of the War Office. It is proposed that combatant officers should be taken to fill these places under that Department. They will not be taken merely to remove them from the sphere in which they have been hitherto working, or on account of favouritism, but upon their own application and upon probation, with strict inquiry into their fitness, and they will return to the ranks if they are not found qualified for the work they have undertaken. We shall, therefore, as far as possible, secure efficiency by a long probation before complete appointment to the office. I have no doubt hon. Members who are interested in the Army have seen the Warrant, and I am giving only the substance of it, as, because of its technical character, I could scarcely make it intelligible to the Committee. The Paymasters will be attached to regiments, but will not form part of the regiments, as before; and every Paymaster will be liable to be removed to any place where he may be wanted, and to perform any duty that may be required of him in connection with his office. When they are in the field the Treasury chest, which used to be in charge of the Treasury, will be in the hands of the Paymasters. This will bring about that which one of the most eminent Committees, which sat in 1837, recommended—namely, that we should separate the pay from the supply-—a Committee on which served, among others, Lord Howick, Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Spring Rice. That Committee said that these two duties might with great advantage be separated, and we have thought it desirable to act upon their recommendation. We believe that by means of the-system which we have adopted we shall secure the efficiency of those officers, and also that which has long been wanted—proper control; that we shall have, instead of a mere paying, an accounting department, responsible to the Financial Department in London; and that it will be considered no affront to those officers that frequent inspections without notice should be made by financial officers sent down from London in order to see that the accounts are going on satisfactorily, inasmuch as that will be a part of the system. That is a very short statement as to what has been done, and the change will, I think, lead to a very considerable saving in the end. Actuarial calculations tell us that the saving will, in all probability, vary from £8,500 to £25,000 a-year. This, of course, will take some time, because, in making these changes, it was impossible to carry them all into effect at once. I do not propose to make any remarks on Vote No. 2, but I will return to Vote No. 1 presently. In the meantime, I would point out that with respect to what is called Divine Service, the only change is that certain officiating clergymen have been made Army curates, which causes a small increase of expense. There is also a small increase under the head of Military Law, caused principally by the mode in which we are attempting to deal with fraudulent desertion, and the rewards we are giving for detecting offenders. I now come to a subject which is next in order—that is, the Medical Department. As I have been supposed to have said some hard words respecting it, I feel I owe an apology to those hon. Gentlemen who take an interest in the Department for anything that may have fallen from me with respect to it to which they think exception might fairly be taken; but the worst I said was that it might lay itself open to criticism if, like a certain character in one of Dickens's novels, Oliver Twist, it continued to go on asking for "more." The Medical, I may add, is not the only Department which does that, and I am far from wishing to throw any discredit upon it, though I adhere to the opinion that in the case where there is not a horse to be kept there cannot be a good claim for forage. The Department has, let me say, at all events, done justice to the Army; for the health of the troops has never, I believe, been better than during the last year, with the exception of those stations in the Westlndies where there have been some severe attacks of yellow fever. In the United Kingdom the death-rate has never been higher than 8 per 1,000, while there has been no great amount of illness, there having been, I think, only 41 per 1,000 in hospital during the year, many of the cases being only of a trifling character. In India even, where it has been supposed a high death-rate has prevailed, the number in hospital has been only 56 per 1,000, and the deaths have not been quite 14 per 1,000 —a rate of mortality and disease which, I am sure, those who are acquainted with that country will not regard as very great. In the Mediterranean, also, the health of the troops has been very good, and the most favourable accounts are given in the latest Returns of the condition of those serving at the Cape of Good Hope, where we are about to despatch more men. This is very satisfactory, for these troops, I may add, though very young soldiers—particularly in the case of the 88th Regiment— have done the very best service, and have in many instances displayed the greatest gallantry. It is supposed, it appears, from an Answer which I gave to a Question which was put to me in this House the other day, that I regard the condition of the Medical Department as being hopeless. Well, I certainly saidlthought it was unsatisfactory, but I did not say it was hopeless. I must say that I certainly look upon it as unsatisfactory that there should be so many vacancies in the Department and so few candidates; but I believe that in the case of India, where the service is popular, the number of candidates very little exceeds the number of vacancies. I am told, indeed, though I cannot vouch for it, that there is a very considerable reduction in the number of medical men throughout the Kingdom in proportion to the population, and that the demand for them in civil employment is very great. I have been assured by an hon. Member of this House that it is a common thing for a young man having £300 or £400 to buy a practice, which brings in a large return; and there is, no doubt, some difficulty in getting candidates for service in the Army, so that we cannot attribute the shortness of the supply we experience altogether to the terms which we are able to give. The fact is there is a diminution in the number of men who would be candidates; and I must add that the opening of the Civil Service and the competition for appointments in India tend very much to draw young men away from medical pursuits; but, be that as it may, the real state of the Army Medical Department on the 27th of February last was as follows:—The number of executive medical officers on The Army List was 836. Six have since retired, leaving 830. To these must be added 25 surgeons, whose names have been sent in for The Gazette, and three surgeons who have come back from half-pay. Then, the whole establishment for executive medical officers is, for 1877–8, 885, giving 27 vacancies. Nineteen candidates go to Netley on the 30th of March to meet these vacancies, so that there will be only eight vacancies unfilled. So, whilst I cannot say that I am altogether satisfied with the competition, the Department can scarcely be in such a bad condition as some hon. Gentlemen seem to suppose. It is, however, at the same time quite clear that we must have medical men for the Army somehow or another. Our medical expenses this year are increased by the necessities of the Cape. I mentioned the other day that a number of civilians had been employed out there. The troops are in so many and small detachments that it was found impossible to employ military medical men with each detachment, and so the troops, in many cases, have been placed under civilians. We have done everythingwe could to relieve the medical men in the Service of duties which did not properly belong to them, such as the Store duty, and we have increasedthe number of hospital attendants, so that their labours might be made less burdensome; and, although I have got a great many letters of complaint, I must confess that I am quite unable to ascertain exactly what it is they want. There are, no doubt, those who wish to return to the regimental system. That system, however, has gone, and it would be impossible to recall it. It was put an end to in 1873, not only as the result of argument, but on the ground of economy, and the certainty that they could not have such a system in time of war, as it would break down at once. We must have all our hospitals on one plan and one basis; and it would be perfectly unfair as to the roster for foreign service that whoever happened to be at the head of the Department should not be in a position to give every man his fair turn of home and foreign duty, which can be done effectually under no other than the present unified system. I quite admit that system is on its trial; and, although I should have been glad to have got better terms for it, yet those -which I proposed were considered at the time by many medical men extremely favourable. The scheme adopted by me may not answer, but I think it is entitled to receive a little longer trial. All that I have to add with regard to the whole subject is that I have referred the questions of complaint to a very small Committee having only one medical man upon it, and two others perfectly qualified to deal with them. They will formulate the complaints made on every point, and report to me with respect to such amendments as they may deem necessary in order to render the Service more acceptable to medical men. I should be very desirous to make it so; because I feel there is no Department in which it is more important to have efficient medical men than in the Army, and that it is very unfortunate when they are dissatisfied with the Service. I do not know that I need say very much about the Votes connected with the Non-effective Services. Those Services are very much swollen this year by the money for Purchase being added. Inasmuch as that and the question of Promotion and Retirement are blended together, I thought it better to take it in the regular Estimates; but the increase is only nominal, as those who study the Estimates may see. The Committee will, I think, find there is, in reality, nothing more than the ordinary increase in these Estimates for the Non-effective Services, over which, I am sorry to say, we have no control. It is one which grows of itself, and which swells most materially the Estimates for the Army. As to Stores, although it is a subject on which I have generally given the Committee some little information, I have nothing very particular to say respecting it to the Committee this year. The naval demand is very large—£367,000 as against £291,300 last year; but the increase was expected, and I must say that on examining the items, I perceive they are all of a character very essential to the Navy, which makes a larger demand for Gatling guns, torpedoes, gun cotton, and gunpowder. Then we also make a number of heavy guns every year. There are two 81-ton guns in course of manufacture, but they take nearly two years to make; there are 16 38-ton guns to be made for land service, and six for sea, and I need not go through the details of all the smaller guns, but altogether there will be made this year 141 military guns, and 68 naval. [Major NOLAN: Are these in addition to those required for the Inflexible?] These are the Inflexible guns. There was one 81-ton gun begun in 1875–6, and three were gone on within 1876–7. These were going on through last year, and those that are now in course of manufacture will be finished by the time the Inflexible is ready to receive them. A large sum of money is necessary for this Department and also for metals, which are necessary for the Laboratory. A great quantity of explosives have to be made there; and, consequently, there is an increase for the Royal Laboratory in the Estimates of between £30,000 and £33,000. We have also had to increase the reserve of saddlery and of camp equipages. We have gone on long using our camp equipages, till it has become necessary to ask for a larger sum, and there is an excess under the head of £6,000; but it is absolutely necessary. I will now go back to some of the establishments, and take the increase of the Militia. In connection with this subject there will be found in the Estimates, for the first time, this year, a statement with respect to all the Forces of the country. The establishment of the Militia is 136,778, of whom more than 99,850 were present at the training in 1877, so that we may take 100,000 as in round numbers the effective strength of the Militia. That, of course, is far below what I should wish to see, and I should very much like to see some of the second battalions, which have been so low for many years, filled up. At the same time, it is surprising to see what the enlistment for the Militia is. Last year there were, practically, 40,000 new enlistments, and 4,882 re-enrolments; so that, at present, judging from the number of re-enlistments, there must be a great waste of men. There is some diminution, also, I am sorry to say, but not to any great extent, in the Militia Reserve, which, on the 1st of February, consisted of 26,615 men, while we ought to have 30,000; and I do not know why we should not have that number, for men are generally ready to take the bounty. I trust, however, that these Reserves, on which I naturally lay great stress, may soon be brought up to their full complement, and, indeed, I should not be sorry to see that exceeded. Certainly, I have no fears when I find what is the tone and spirit of the Militia officers; and I think it right that the Committee should know that from every part of the country offers have been sent up, indicating that, in case of emergency, the Militia should be made useful, not only in this country, but abroad, as they are ready for embodiment in order to go wherever they may be sent. Some of the finest regiments propose to place themselves at the disposal of the Government for such work as they might think fit to put upon them. A Militia with such a spirit animating it really becomes an effective part of our Army Reserves. The Militia, then, is a very important Reserve, and that being the spirit prevalent in it, I hope that its ranks may be filled up in a short time. Now, I come to the Army Reserve, which, I must frankly confess, again falls far short of giving me satisfaction. This year, no doubt, it has considerably increased; but it is an increase far short of what was expected, and if it had not been that, finding recruiting good, we discharged men of three years' service into it, it would not nearly have stood at the amount it has now reached. Through that means we now have 11,328 men in the First Class of the Reserve, or, at the present time, probably, in round numbers, 12,000, which total, added to that of the Militia, makes 37,000. I believe that my Predecessor (Viscount Cardwell)put the final condition of the First Class Reserves at something over 80,000 men. I am bound, however, to state my belief that that is a figure that never can be reached. This year the number has not increased, as calculated on in the first instance, because in India the Enlistment Act gives an additional year, and the consequence is, that a reserve man in India due this year will not come in till the next. That will bring home about 3,000 men next year, and will swell the total; but in the end, according to calculations, desertion, purchased discharges, and bad character discharges, reduce the men available, and the maximum Reserve will not be in its normal condition higher than 60,000 men. I should be very glad to say when that figure will be reached; but I can only give the calculation as it was made for me, and cannot vouch for its accuracy. Subject to these deductions, we hope to have in 1879, 16,978 men; in 1880, 22,035 men; in 1881, 28,379; in 1882, 33,448; in 1883, 43,697; and the calculation has not been made beyond that year, but the maximum possible eventually is between 59,000 and 60,000 men. In addition to this you will, of course, have the Militia Reserve, of a different class, it is true, but a Force that may easily be made efficient with a little training. [Lord ELCHO: At what date is it thought, according to Viscount Cardwell, we shall have a Reserve of 80,000?] Pretty soon; I think it is as early as 1880. Available for home service there is the Second Class Reserve of 23,760, who cannot be sent out of the country. One word with regard to a point much noticed by some critics—namely, that it is stated by the Inspector General that there is a great deal of fraudulent enlistment on the part of the Reserve men. There have been instances, no doubt, but not in very large numbers; and this is clear for one reason particularly—namely, that the men come up with but a small deduction for pay, which they obviously could not do if they had again enlisted. The following figures bear out my argument:—There were absent from a section of 2,532 men no more than 41; from one of 3,238, 114; and from one of 4,037, 109. Of course, all the absentees had not all fraudulently enlisted, and, in fact, the presumption was that only a small fraction of them had done so. Still there are some very bad cases, and as the subject of desertion is before the Committee, I am bound to say that I do not take the view of those who think that it is wicked to mark a man for that offence, if it is not done painfully. Such marking by tattoo is often done by sailors for pleasure; but in our humanity we have chosen not to tattoo men who are bad characters and who have left the Army, and hence it is that this practice goes on more unchecked than it otherwise would. I cannot see why a mark should not be put on those men who deceive the country, and who are giving the impression that we are employing soldiers who cannot be depended upon. I cannot see why a man who is a thoroughly bad character, who carries off his clothes, and who robs and cheats the country, should not have the letters B. C. fixed upon him. I now come to the Volunteers. The efficient Volunteers, as will be seen from the statement to which I have referred in the Estimates, number 183,078, and they are steadily increasing. The non-efficients are 10,216; so that altogether we have nearly 200,000 men, and men who are gradually making themselves efficient. I am bound to add that the officers are not behind them. I find that there are 5,195 officers and 11,111 sergeants who have certificates of proficiency, and nothing can show the real character of the Volunteers and their growing efficiency and military spirit more than that which we now see in almost every part of the Kingdom—the way in which they every year go into camp. The number of camps is between 70 and 80 every year, and the little hardships are very willingly borne by the men, who get a considerable amount of drilling during their week out, which is of great value in making them very good soldiers. With regard to the change in the dress of the Volunteers, the question of the colour of that dress has been very much agitated, opinion generally seeming to run in favour of scarlet, and, at the present moment, taking the administrative battalions of the Volunteer Corps together, there are 91 in scarlet, 66 in green, and 57 in gray; so that already scarlet is a more popular uniform among the men than green or gray. Then of officers who have obtained certificates of the higher class, taking the Militia, the Volunteers, and the Yeomanry together, there are 1,580, and also 1,149 who have attended the Schools of Instruction in the last two years. A great many suggestions have been made with respect to the Volunteers, and many persons have urged that considerably more outlay of public money should be made upon them. Well, I think there is a case now for giving consideration to the claims of the Volunteers and to their necessities; but I am not desirous that they should become in any sense a paid Force. Whatever you do, you should remember their origin—that they were a Volunteer Force from the beginning; and, although you should give them assistance, you ought to be very cautious indeed as to bringing them as a really paid Force into the service of the country. The movement owes its existence to men many of whom have left it, and who established it without such assistance, and brought it to the perfection it has now attained. But many things may be done to render the Service more efficient, and that not by money alone. In consequence of a meeting that was recently held at the United Service Institution, many points have been brought before me which I will take care to have duly weighed and considered; but I can undertake to say no more at present than that these matters are now engaging my attention with a view to make the Volunteers as efficient as possible for the Service they enter. Before, however, leaving this Force, I cannot help mentioning what I daresay will surprise many hon. Members—namely, that there are among the Volunteers, who have for their motto, "Defence, not Defiance," many men, as well as many officers, who fully appreciate that motto, but who are ready to go beyond it, and to quit this country and take up garrison duty abroad if any necessity for doing so should arise. That is the spirit shown by both officers and men, and I am also told by many Volunteer officers that they feel certain that they will bring into the Regular Forces of the country, under any pressure, many fine stalwart men who will be ready to volunteer to enter the Regular Service. It is therefore natural that one should wish, as far as possible, to do what one can to increase their efficiency. With reference to the Yeomanry, there are changes going on that require watching —that is to say, there are many small corps, and it is difficult, I know, for them to survive. But there is no further change this year in the Yeomanry on which it is necessary to remark. The drill they are subjected to is calculated to make them valuable as out-postmen in a country familiar to them, and everything is being done by themselves to make them as efficient as possible, so as to be able to render effective and valuable service to the country in time of need; but for myself I would rather have a few efficient Yeomanry corps than a great number of corps that are not efficient. It is a great mistake to keep up very small corps, which cannot in the nature of things be as efficient as the larger corps; and it is better to spend money on the larger ones than on those which, I will not say are inefficient, but which do not give sufficient attendance to secure efficiency. At the same time, there are among them regiments which have taken enormous pains, and which might stand very well by the cavalry of the country. I would next observe that this year it is proposed to have Manœuvres on a somewhat large scale. My proposal is to place—I hope somewhere near Salisbury, because of the great space we can get there—an Army Corps ready for foreign service. I do not mean to say that we shall fill up the cadrés to their war strength, because it might be unnecessary and might lead to difficulties in diminishing them afterwards. But still, as they are the regiments that are first for service, they will be pretty full; and I propose that the Manœuvres should be conducted with that Army Corps at a strength of about between 30,000 and 36,000 men. That will, of course, account for a considerable portion of the increase in the Estimates, although it is not put down as a separate item for these Manœuvres; but is spread over the different charges, such as forage, transport, and other things which come in as necessities. The amount, in round figures, is about £80,000, or something rather beyond that. Besides the Manœuvres, there is the increased expenditure required for the additional men sent to the Cape. I hope this sum will be repaid by the Cape Colony; but I am bound to say that is a Colony which is not very satisfactory in regard to these repayments; and I think it is time for the House to take into its consideration this question of the terms upon which we will send out troops to a Colony like the Cape, which is really able to pay a great deal. I say this more especially as we have seen from the newspapers what has occurred there, and that the attempt has been made to separate the Colonial Forces from the Regular troops, thus giving the Commander-in-Chief all the responsibility with none of the control of the Colonial Forces. That is a state of things which it would be degrading to this country to submit to; and, therefore, I think we should be only doing our duty, should this course be adopted by the Colonial authorities, in withdrawing our troops from the frontiers of that Colony and employing them for the Imperial purposes for which they were sent there—namely, in taking care of Simon's Bay and the neighbouring coast. Natal, of course, is in different circumstances. I do not mince matters. I think the Cape colonists ought to pay, as they are able to do, some of this expenditure; and I am sure that they will never organize any military force for themselves if we undertake to fight for them, and to pay also. I think I have now gone through the main Votes with the exception of the great Vote of the men. But, before I pass to that, I may notice that I have been asked a Question about the Martini-Henry carbines for the Cavalry. From the 1st of next month that will be the arm for the Cavalry, and it is a most effective weapon. There has been a great difficulty in getting the buckets made, which accounts for the delay; but the Cavalry, the Artillery, and some other forces will be put in possession of the Martini-Henry arm, which, I believe, is a very admirable weapon, and one which has been found to shoot with extraordinary precision. Last year the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Devon (Mr. Carpenter-Grarnier) brought forward a question about some mounted riflemen in Hampshire, and it has been supposed that I spoke disrespectfully in regard to that force. So far from having done that, I spoke with the greatest respect of the gentleman who organized that force, and of what he had done in reference to it, recognizing him as practically, in many respects, the inventor of the system. But I found that the officers abroad have experienced great difficulty in using the long Martini-Henry which was used in that corps, and have asked for the short arm for the Cavalry. The long rifle, therefore, not having been found to be advantageous, they have gone back, very wisely, to the short arm; and I believe that it will do all the service that is expected from it. I now come to the Vote of the men. We ask for an increase of 1,732 men; and it will be seen from the Paper called the Variation of Numbers how that increase is caused. The increase of the regimental part of the Army is mainly owing to the war existing at present at the Cape. We have, of course, to make up the regiments to send them out, and any hon. Member who is anxious to know exactly how the whole increase is made up, if he turns to Page 6 of the Estimates, will find the rest of the total of 1,732 additional men. I am sorry that there should be this in- crease; but it is really necessary for the Service. I come, then, to the way in which the Army is supplied. There has been, I know, among those who take the deepest interest in the Army and who would not for the world say a word against it, a strong feeling that we are dependent in this country upon an Army which is, on account of its youth, not so efficient as it ought to be. There is a great deal of truth in this—that when you have a system such as we have of short service and of linked battalions, you must have always at home a great number of young men. You will find by the Inspector General's Return that you must have between 20,000 and 30,000 recruits in your Service; because you do not send them out to India or the Colonies till they have been a certain time under arms, and 28,728 men were raised within the year. The consequence is that you have a large number of recruits. As the regiments come from abroad from the bottom to the top they begin to increase from 520 to 820. When there is a special demand, new regiments are brought up and new recruits are brought in. The consequence is that we have a great number of young men. I feel, with all those who have an interest in the Army, a great desire that these young men, if possible, should be older, that we could get them at 20; but I still feel it is one of those things we may talk about but are not able to do. We cannot get them at 20, and if we got them nominally at 20, we are not sure that they do not overstate their real age. We cannot expect them to go about with their certificate of birth, and, in fact, a great many do not enlist in their own names, so that their certificates of age would be no guide. They do not bring that sort of thing, but they make their own statement, and that we are obliged to accept. But you will have observed that we have directed that greater care should be taken as to the enlisting of recruits. We have raised the standard very much, and have called upon medical men to test them, and decide according to the best of their judgment. They have to decide whether the men are of sufficiently mature age, and whether they are or are not such as would be fit for the Army. If they are not, we think it our duty to reject them at once, and that is carried into effect without fear of the result. I am happy to say that the supply of recruits is most satisfactory; in fact, there is a very steady flow—a flow quite remarkable, and I am sure the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) will be glad to hear that the supply of recruits is sufficient to meet all our needs. With respect to desertion, it is quite true that it goes on very much among those who have lately come into the Army; but when you take the number of men who rejoin after deserting, having never intended to desert at all, but having gone on a lark, staid too long, or been detained by some fascination, you will find that the desertions are only 2,621, which is not so large a proportion as we have seen in former years; and I trust that the number will go on diminishing. [Colonel MURE: That is the dead loss.] Yes; that is the dead loss. We take into account those who rejoin. The Army on the 1st February had 1,690 men above the Establishment, and we have the greatest difficulty in keeping it under, because the recruiting has been so good. It is owing to that circumstance I have been able to send so many more men into the Reserve. In former years, as I said before, the amount of the Estimates used to be rather discounted, on the understanding that the Army was never full. There has been a steady increase of recruits in the last two years; and although there have been some regiments not quite full, at the present time there is a superfluity of men in the Army, owing, as I believe, in a great degree, to the new terms which Parliament enabled me to give. I should like to give some evidence with respect to the condition of the men now at Aldershot. In consequence of complaints that have been made about the youth of these men, I have had a Table prepared, which I should be glad to show in its detail to any hon. Member who may wish to see it. From this Table it appears, taking a number of men under one year's service but dismissed drill—and these were taken from 21 different corps—amounting to 3,478; the average age is 20 years and 1 month, average weight, 10 stone 7 lb., and the average chest measurement 35 inches. Taking the men who are still recruits at drill, I find the same result, and that the average has not broken down, and that in 3,000 men the average weight is 10 stone 7 lb., the average age 20 years and 3 months, and the average chest measurement 35 inches. I do not think there is any higher standard than that in any Army that you can go to. His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief went down this morning to inspect those men—those who have passed drill and the recruits—and he has written to me expressing his great satisfaction at what he saw. He was very much struck with the men who have passed drill, and is quite sure that we have got a very good class of recruits, who when they have passed drill will be ready to take their places in the ranks. I hope the Committee will think that is not an unsatisfactory state of things. You must remember that, in addition to the regiments at home, you have troops at Gibraltar and Malta of a more highly-trained class, who are remarkably fine men. On the whole, I look with satisfaction on our Army. I still think it is a great misfortune that many of the men are so young, and have no doubt that some of them come younger than they state themselves to be; but, at the same time, they are a fine class of fellows, who will make very good soldiers and will make them in a very short time, for they soon become bodily strong. There was, and will be, a growing difficulty about noncommissioned officers, but at the present time it has not risen to its fullest extent by any means. The number of sergeants in the first period of their service is 1,107; the number of corporals, 1,113— making a total of 2,220. Of re-engaged men there are 3,293 sergeants, 1,617 corporals—making together 4,910. On short service there are only 275 sergeants and 1,255 corporals—making together 1,530. So that out of the total number you have a large proportion of men of long service. But in 1878 and 1879 there will be a considerable diminution. There will be men going out of the Service having served their time; but at the present time you have all but 1,530 men of long service. Now, I think that is not a very unsatisfactory state of things. Now, let us look at the Estimates. They have been, unfortunately, increased. It used to be said we had our Army at a cost of about £100 per man. Now, I think, the cost is about £110 or £111 per man; but the great expense has been in the growth and cost of material—such as guns and other articles of a similar description—and therefore you will find the increase has not arisen so much from the number of men as the changes which are necessary for the Service. I feel myself great faith in those Forces which we have in the Reserve, and I do not think it unreasonable we should look at our 400,000 men as a basis from which you might build a military fabric. We should remember that these are all men of a strong military spirit—that a strong military spirit, I do not say a warlike spirit, prevails in the country, and a strong desire in all classes to serve their country. There are a far greater number of men in 1878 than there were at the time of the Crimean War who would be ready to come forward to serve their country if the necessity should arise. Taking into account the whole number of men we have to provide with materials, it will be found that the charge comes down to about £30 per man. That is not an unfair estimate, particularly when you find a readiness on the part of the Volunteers and Militia to render their services. I feel that these are men who may be relied upon, and will be the means of bringing into the Service of the country men who will do honour to the Army. I trust this Army may not be called upon for active service. But I feel a confidence which every day's acquaintance with it makes stronger, that if it should be called into active service it would be found efficient both in regard to officers and men; and I should feel that this country, if called upon to engage in great wars, as in former years, could rely upon its people to maintain the Army, as it could rely upon the Army to maintain its patriotism and duty to the country, and that we should find that both the Army and Navy would do honour to their country as they have done in former years. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving a Vote for 135,452 men of all ranks.


said, he was anxious to make a few observations upon the very clear statement which had just been made by the right hon. Gentleman. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that it was somewhat unfortunate that the Estimates for the present year showed a great increase upon those of the past four years, amounting, not to £492,100 as shown in the Estimates, but really to the sum of £681,900. Both sides of the House were equally responsible for the position in which they found themselves with respect to the efficiency of the Army; because he (Mr. Holms), and those who sat near him, could not disguise from themselves that the Army re-organization scheme had been originated by their side of the House. What the country required, was not only that they should get the greatest number of efficient soldiers for their money, but that they should obtain the greatest and most perfect defensive Force compatible with the least personal service from their soldiers. That was a subject of the deepest interest to the whole community. He confessed that he was not at all surprised to find the condition of the Army to be what it really was. Anybody who built a house upon an unsound foundation, and with defective materials, and repaired it with the same feeble materials, would naturally expect to find the cost of upholding it always increasing. Yet that was the condition of the Army, to a great extent, at the present moment. It was founded upon an unsound system, and was composed of material that was not as strong as it ought to be. He might be asked why, when he asserted that the increase of the Estimates was so great this year, he did not put down a Motion to reduce them by the sum of £682,000? There were two reasons why he had not taken such a course. The first was, that undoubtedly in the existing state of affairs in Europe, and after the discussion they had already had on the Vote of Credit, it would have been an unbecoming and very improper course to take. He, therefore, contented himself with merely offering criticisms and making no Motion. In the second place, he thought that a Motion to reduce the Estimates by a sum of £600,000 or £700,000 was in no way commensurate with the magnitude of the question. It had to be dealt with on a larger and broader basis than a reduction of£600,000or £700,000. When the re-organization scheme was first propounded, and they were called upon to vote a large sum of money for the abolition of Purchase, they felt undoubtedly that they might fairly expect that greater efficiency would follow from that enormous expenditure. It was thought that desertion would considerably decrease, and, above all things, that our Force of trained men would greatly in- crease. He regretted to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that that expectation had been a complete shadow and a myth. They were not to look for any large increase in their Army Reserve at all equal to the number which the Government, when opposing a Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho) many years ago put forward as the number that ought to be maintained. They were told at that time by the Under Secretary for War that, as wars were very sudden, they must not expect to be able to make soldiers, at a moment's notice, as modern times now required — thorough soldiers. If they were now required suddenly to send a large body of men into the field, they would find it impossible to do so, unless considerable time was given for preparation. It took about the same time to manufacture a good soldier that it did to build an iron-clad. They were told, in 1871, that if they gave the money, they would by-and-bye have an enormous force of manufactured men in reserve. It was now said that it was impossible to expect any great reform in the Army and its system from within; and he particularly regretted to see that that opinion had been expressed by one of our leading military men—namely, by Sir Garnet Wolseley, in the article which had already been quoted. He (Mr. J. Holms) had been treated very fairly by Sir Garnet Wolseley in his article, and he was, therefore, somewhat indebted to the gallant General; but he confessed that he had read this statement with some surprise—namely— That most of the great reforms recently effected in our institutions and professions had come from without. It was to the pressure of public opinion brought to bear upon abuses or obsolete systems that we were indebted for all great and useful changes. Few professions, and the Army least of all, were capable of reforming themselves. He asked the House to consider what that admission, coming from so high an authority, was? Sir Garnet Wolseley simply admitted that although we had spend £6,000,000 during the last six years in order to allow the War Office to carry out its own scheme, still nothing could be done unless the outside public were called in to show them how to do their own work. This was a most extraordinary admission from such a quarter, and he was not quite sure that it was a sound principle for the War Office to lay down—that they must depend upon outside action before they set to work to introduce measures of reform which they admitted might, in many instances, be adopted. The gallant General stated that the Army and Navy were our national fire-engines. The simile was very good; but if the War Office was not to put the fire-engine which was under their direction in thorough order, without the taxpayers, who had to pay for it, pressing them to do their duty, he could not help regarding the condition of things as extremely unsatisfactory. Perhaps it would be as well to enter for a moment a little further into the actual expenditure this year. The actual expenditure this year was a great deal more in proportion than it appeared at first sight, and was an immense increase upon the Army Estimates of three or four years ago. The Army Estimates this year amounted to £15,595,800, and included £638,200 for Purchase, which appeared for the first time; and also a sum of £1,080,000 for charges upon India. After deducting the Exchequer Receipts, the total sum was £15,677,100. In 1873–4 and 1874–5 the average cost, after deducting the estimated Exchequer Receipts, was £13,366,000. The increase this year, therefore, beyond the average of these years, was £2,383,000. He regarded that as a very large and substantial increase—an enormous increase, indeed—an increase that would entail upon the taxpayers of the country a sum equal to something beyond an income tax of 1d. in the pound. As regarded the number of men, the Secretary for War dwelt upon that subject only at moderate length. He (Mr. J. Holms) would take the same three years —1872, 1873, and 1874. He would take first the average number of noncommissioned officers and men effective during those years, and add to them the First Class Army Reserve. He found that in 1872 we had 195,103 men; in 1873, 191,630; and in 1874, 190,790; or an average of 192,500. To maintain that Force we had an average number of recruits during the three years amounting to 18,500. Broadly, then, we had 192,500 men supplied and maintained by 18,500 recruits at an average cost of £13,366,000. On the 1st of January this year, he found that the number of men in the two Forces to which he had referred was 193,491, and last year they had 28,715 men to maintain that standard. Notwithstanding this enormous supply of raw material, no adequate result was produced. The Reserve was increasing very slowly; not even at the rate that hon. Members would at first sight be inclined to believe. On the 1st of January, 1875, the Army Reserve numbered 7,845 men. On the 1st of January, 1878, the number was 11,258, so that in three years it had only increased 3,413 men. In 1875 the War Office authorities started with 182,000 men then in barracks. In 1876 and 1877 they had 58,000 recruits, and yet the result was only an addition to the Reserve of 3,400 men. If our raw material was so good, if our recruits were of such splendid quality, why did not we manufacture soldiers more quickly, and pass them into the Reserve? It was idle to contend that the condition of things was satisfactory, or anything like satisfactory, while they had such enormous numbers of men taken on as recruits, with no greater results than the figures he had referred to. There was an effective Force at the present time at homo of 98,677 men, and deducting officers and non-commissioned officers, &c, left 87,000 men. He would venture to ask whether he was correct in deducting nearly 2,000 for men in prison, while there were 3,470 in hospital, and added to those, about 1,000 deserters were running about the country. He did not know whether they were regarded as effectives. He was loth to believe so, and should be glad to be corrected if he was making a mistake. They must see, from the figures he had given, that the great bulk of these 87,000 men were raw recruits, and that they had little or no Reserve to fall back upon. He considered this a highly unsatisfactory state of things, having regard to the enormous amount of money that they paid for their Army, and the enormous number of recruits that were provided. As to recruiting, he would say at once that he regarded the Report of the Inspector General as nothing short of a comic paper. It was one of the most extraordinary documents he had ever read. The Inspector wrete— I have great pleasure in being able to report so satisfactorily of the year's recruiting, the number of recruits raised during the last 12 months having been more than sufficient to recruit the ranks in that period, and the Army never having fallen below its standard. Further— The condition of recruiting and the abundant supply of men I am induced to believe are sure indications of the increasing popularity of the Service, as showing its advantages are duly appreciated, as they become more generally known. But the same Report said that in a large number of cases, there could be no doubt the recruits concealed their real age, that a number of immature lads had been enrolled in the Army, and further, that many men were taken very young, though they afterwards developed into efficient soldiers, if they remained. This was one of the great difficulties, for the Report went on to say— I regret that the crime of desertion is unfortunately unabated in the Army, and without the efficient safeguard that formerly existed, and for which no adequate substitute has been devised, it is one that is likely to continue, to the great detriment of the Service. Surely, it was perfectly obvious that the second statement entirely contradicted the first. If it were true that the Service was popular, how was it men ran away; if it was popular, why take immature lads when they could get such a choice? The truth was the Service was not popular, and this was set forth very clearly in the same Report. Not only was it markedly unpopular because the men ran away, but it was also clearly unpopular, because men took the honest and. legitimate means of purchasing their way out. No fewer than 2,970 men sought to get out of the Army in that way. Further, the Inspector General stated, that the unfortunate depression in trade ought not to be lost sight of— in estimating the reason why so many men'—or, rather, so many boys—had entered the Service. But was it a satisfactory state of things, that a rich country like England, must depend on times of depression to get the men she wanted. It was most unsatisfactory, for it was perfectly clear that, if we had good trade instead of bad, there would be not only greater difficulty in obtaining boys and men for the Army, but there would also be far greater difficulty in keeping those he had from running away. It was a state of things which the House of Commons could not regard with anything like satisfac- tion. Last year, the Secretary of State for War (Mr. Gathorne Hardy) gave him rather a castigation, for having quoted from a paper, which the right hon. Gentleman thought ought not to have been quoted from, and twitted him with not using official documents. In fact he (Mr. J. Holms) quoted from The Hue and Cry, the Police Gazette, and he could not conceive how the right hon. Gentleman forgot that that was an official paper, of which he was himself, so far as the list of deserters were concerned, the author. Everything in that paper came direct from the War Office, and it was a public document. Therefore, he felt he was justified in using it, and he should always use it, as the best and truest, and only test of the dissatisfaction of our soldiers with their present system, as he had said more than once before, it was no answer to the point he made, to deduct the number of deserters caught. The measure of discontent must not be gauged by the number of men they caught and brought back into the Army; but by the number who left it, for the men who were brought back by force, were no more contented than those who had gone away and had not come back. Therefore, he maintained Thé Hue and Cry was the best possible test. It seemed that in 1877, the number of desertions was 7,500; in 1876, it was 7,610; in 1875, it was 6,510. These figures were enough to show the number of men who had left, or who would liked to have left the Army. The condition of the Militia was precisely the same. The Government like the daughters of Danäe were trying to fill a sieve with water. The more men ran away, the more recruits naturally were required. There never were so many recruits needed as last year; but the best test of the unpopularity of the Militia Force, also, was that the number of deserters advertised for, reached the enormous number of 13,433, so that with 750 from the Regular Army, they had nearly 21,000 men running away last year from their two Forces— the Army and the Militia. The truth was that they were fighting against nature, and nature would beat them. Never by any chance would they be able to get together and keep together an Army in that country, until they did what was natural. Throughout the whole of Europe, all the Powers had come to the conclusion that it was useless to begin with men under 20 years of age. He was rather interested to see that the first Army to be read of in the Bible, was declared to be an Army composed of men of 20 and upwards ready for war. In those times, no men were regarded as men fit for war until they were 20. In this country we were fighting against nature at both ends. We were taking mere boys, when we should have men ready for the severe strain of drill, and they were keeping men long after they were thorough soldiers in enforced celibacy, who ought to be allowed to go home and be married. This question of age was a very serious one. The life of a soldier up to 25 years of age was a healthier one than that of the ordinary male population of England and Wales; but beyond that age it was not so, and beyond 30 years of age, it was markedly not so. In this respect, he was greatly gratified to hear the Secretary of State for War declare, as an opinion founded upon medical advice, that eight years should be the outside period for service in India. Yet he found from the official Report of 1876, that out of 59,500 men in India, 21,263 men were over 30 years of age, and the medical testimony was that if these men had been between 20 and 30 years of age, instead of being over 30, the number of deaths would have been fewer than they were by 356, the number of men in hospital would have been fewer by 785, and the number of invalids sent home would have been fewer by 556. Was it not a serious statement to make in the House of Commons, that 356 men died last year in India, who under a sound system need not have died at all? Surely, that was a condition of things which was extremely marked in its character, and required serious and early attention. At home, the number of men who need not have died would be something like 373, so that in that they were fighting against nature also. He had listened with great interest to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, as to the number of officers in foreign Armies; but he could not agree with him that in the English Army there was a proportion of officers anything like that required by the other Powers of Europe. For instance, the number of generals we had was not at all in proportion to the numbers in the German Army. He would not trouble the House with figures, but he should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman one question. The highest military authority in this country, His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, when before the Royal Commission on Promotion and Retirement said, in answer to Question 192— I think we have very much too many field officers now, and the consequences are very serious. You get a lot of men in the highest positions who feel it beneath them to do many duties which must he performed, and the result is that either their status is lowered by calling upon them to perform such duties, or the duties are not done at all. He should be glad to know whether the right hon. Gentleman had taken any steps to change this state of things, or, if he disagreed with His Royal Highness, it would be highly interesting to know on what grounds. The subject was one of great importance, as to which they were bound to have some clear and definite information. He was very glad to find that the right hon. Gentleman had formed two Army Corps; but he should not rejoice at all if those Army Corps were the Nos. 1 and 2 to be found in The Army List.


said, he had declared again and again that these Corps had nothing whatever to do with foreign service.


was delighted to hear it. Then were the two Corps in the List to be formed, or not? If they were worth anything, let them be formed. If they were worth nothing, let them be taken out of the List. The present position of things, as regarded the formation of Army Corps in time of peace, was not creditable, and the situation should not be played with. Let them have real Army Corps formed, and generals appointed, for until that was done nothing could go on satisfactorily. He doubted very much, dealing with that point, whether they would ever put a stop to desertion until some responsibility was placed on the shoulders of those who were to command any particular unit. Let them give responsibility and power, and then dismiss their colonels or generals, if they could not keep their men, and he thought they would find a stop put to desertion. They had great and grave reasons to complain of their military authorities. They had received money without stint, and they had drawn an enormous number of recruits from the country, for which the country did not find any return. Why could not the War Office give them more men in the Reserve, when they were getting—as they, at all events, represented, so many recruits, and such good men? It was unfair to the nation to place it in such a state of risk. If we were to have one Army Corps sent abroad, it would draw away every one of our best men, and we should have nothing to fall back upon. That was the ruin of France in the last war. She sent away her Army and had no Reserve. Again, the difficulty of obtaining noncommissioned officers was a very serious and very important question. Unless a change was made, there would be great difficulty in creating or manufacturing our Reserve Force. At present we had not a single school in England for noncommissioned officers, although the magnificent building at Chelsea might well be used for that purpose. The old pensioners would prefer to go to their homes, and then the place might very well be turned into such a school of instruction. Some reference had been made to a paper in The Nineteenth Century, in which a comparison was made between the Armies of England in 1854 and 1878. He was amazed that any military man should make any such comparison, for he must know that in 1866 there was a military revolution in Europe. The change that had taken place in all military Powers must therefore be regarded from that point, and not from the point of 1854. They were bound to look at two things in making comparisons; first, our increased obligations in consequence of the increased territory and extended dependencies—not forgetting that the Indian Mutiny had obliged them to keep a larger force in that country than they did before that occurred; and, secondly; the enormous increase in the Armies of Europe. France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Austro-Hungary, had all increased their Forces enormously since that time; and, therefore, any comparison made between our Army now and what it was in 1854 was simply worthless, unless these points were taken into consideration.


thought his right hon. Friend had signally failed to show that they now had in their Reserves as many men as they ought to have been able to count upon. They must remember that Lord Card-well introduced an entirely new system, which required a considerable sum of money to carry it into execution, and they had never had the courage to spend the money absolutely necessary to put that system in a going condition. Many things had not been done which should have been done. Everyone who remembered the Crimean War and the crisis in 1870 would acknowledge that at those times we were in many respects totally and absolutely unprepared. It was said in 1870 that the £2,000,000 voted was for men; but everyone knew there was also a lack of preparation of material— of powder, for instance. He was glad to know that the country was now to be put into a much more satisfactory condition, not for going to war, because he sincerely hoped they would not have to go to war, but for any emergency, so that the Army might be ready with those necessary things which could not be got at a moment's notice. The condition of the Army as to medical men was not satisfactory, and he believed the reason was that the system was bad. They might not be able, perhaps, absolutely to return to the regimental system; but he was certain that at the present time they did not get the same class of men that they did formerly. The matter, he knew, was being inquired into; but, at present, no practical solution of the difficulty had been found. Then, as to noncommissioned officers. The greatest encouragement ought to be given to well-educated men to enter the Army and become non-commissioned officers; because it was upon those men that they must mainly depend to properly train their young soldiers, and every inducement ought to be held out to non-commissioned officers to remain. Again, as to the Reserves, the country had a right to demand the services of every man in the Force; but they found that many men did not appear to receive their pay; but had again fraudulently enlisted, as appeared by the Report of the Inspector General of Recruiting. In connection with this subject, he might mention that, in his own county, the police reported that the number of men lately discharged from the Army and entered in the Reserve who asked for bread tickets as they passed through the county was very considerable. That was not the class of men they had hoped to enlist into the Army. They knew very well that trade was bad and employment difficult to find, and that there had been a large number of men out of work. Nevertheless, it was a fact worthy of the serious consideration of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War, that such a class of men as he had described were going about the country asking for alms. He only hoped that the Reserves, when called out, might be unlike the Russian Army Corps at the time they were first embodied. When the Russian Army Corps were brought into action during the war between Turkey and Russia— now, happily, brought to a conclusion— it was reported that a large number of men had been killed in the first few engagements. Upon inquiry, however, it was found that those who were killed came under the description of "paper men," or men who had never been in the Army at all, but who had to be accounted for in some way or other. There was another subject which his right hon. Friend had not touched upon in the course of the statement he had addressed to the Committee. A regiment had just been sent out to the Cape —it was a most gallant and distinguished regiment. It was the 90th. When it was ordered out to the Cape, what happened? The regiment was quartered at Aldershot, and the authorities had to give orders that men from every regiment there might volunteer, so as to make the regiment up to its proper strength; and this was the first regiment for foreign service. In that way upwards of 250 men were obtained as volunteers, and they entered the 90th Regiment before it left for the Cape. Now, if the Secretary of State for War wore to speak what he knew to be the fact, he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) believed his right hon. Friend would own that the first Army Corps would be made up exactly in the same way. What became of the rest of these battalions that were left behind? This was a very serious question indeed, and he held that, if we sent Army Corps abroad, this country had a right to demand that the Reserves should be called out at once. The Secretary of State for War had tried the experiment before of calling them out, and with the greatest success, so far as the experiment went. A young officer with whom he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had travelled from the country that day, and who belonged to the 19th Foot, told him that one battalion of that regiment had 400 of these Reserve men allotted to it, and that they were as good men as could possibly be wished. The same officer observed that if the whole of the Reserves were of the same class as those who were called out in 1876, the country would have something to be proud of. With regard to the Reserves, what was practically desired was that the Secretary of State for War should know exactly where the men were to be found, so that they might be at once called upon in time of need. With that object in view, there should be some system established, so that no man could get out of the district in which he received his pay, without reporting himself to the authorities and getting a proper transfer to another district. Another topic, which his right hon. Friend had not touched upon, was the question of depot centres — had they succeeded, or had they failed? The principle of the depot centre was that it should be an organization by which the regiment should be localized, and the recruits, when they joined the regiment, should belong to the district where the men were when they entered the Reserves; but by the hand-to-mouth principle; at present carried on, no man really knew to what depot centre or what district he belonged. Thus the whole system had signally failed or been wilfully broken down. These were absolute facts, and if his right hon. Friend would look them in the face, and do away with a considerable number of depot centres, he would effect an improvement upon the present state of things. His right hon. Friend might have many more men at the different stations, bringing into drill with them the Militia and Volunteers, and thereby endeavouring to weld them into that harmonious whole which Lord Cardwell, when Secretary for War, contemplated, and which he (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) for one would be glad to see in this country under the depot system. There was another point which he should like to mention before sitting down, and that was one which he was sure must be an object of congratulation to his right hon. Friend. It was this—Notwithstanding all the examinations and other difficulties that stood in the way, there was no country in the world that produced so many young men who were anxious to become officers in the Army as England produced. The examinations had, he thought, gone almost too far; but there was one feature of them which his right hon. Friend might well consider—namely, that although the highest marks had not been increased, yet the marks of those who passed had so far increased that, whereas formerly a man with 3,200 marks was certain of gaining a commission, 3,840 marks was the lowest number that succeeded at the last examination, when 90 commissions were offered. He hoped his right hon. Friend would see whether a man who had gained over 3,000 marks did not deserve some consideration with regard to obtaining a commission." With regard to the Militia, his right hon. Friend had spoken most encouragingly of that branch of the Service. He (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) could only add this advice—take the Militia at their own word, and they were, he believed, prepared as a body to enlist voluntarily for foreign service. If his right hon. Friend could get the Militia for the future to enlist not only for home defence, but to garrison our Colonies abroad, he would render good service to the country. His right hon. Friend had paid the Volunteers a compliment which, he thought, was not undeserved. The Volunteers were now becoming a much more efficient body than they had ever been before, because they had learned what discipline was; and, the more that discipline was encouraged, the better would that branch of the Service be. He must congratulate his right hon. Friend on the position which he now occupied so well; and he had no doubt, whatever remarks were made by hon. Members on the Estimates, they would receive that consideration which his right hon. Friend thought they deserved.


said, his hon. and gallant Friend who had just sat down (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) seemed to have joined with those who had lately urged a reduction in the number of the brigade depots. For his own part, he (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) did not know that there was any particular virtue, either in the size or in the number of brigade depots which existed at that time; but he thought his hon. and gallant Friend had somewhat disregarded the difficulty which would be found in reducing their number. The reason for their number was a very simple one—that an organization was found to exist in this country—namely, the organization by counties, and accordingly that organization had been in the main adopted; and he believed that if his hon. and gallant Friend had his own way, and the number were reduced, the Militia regiments would be brought from one county to another, not with ease, as was supposed by his hon. and gallant Friend, but with some difficulty. The same difficulty would be experienced in bringing the Volunteers a great distance from their homes for purposes of drill and discipline. It was all very well to talk about bringing them to drill with the Regular Forces; but these Regular Forces must be quartered where there were barracks for them, and that was mainly in the South of England. The removal of Volunteers and Militia to so great a distance from their own homes could not be effected, if proper regard were had to those feelings and sentiments which prevailed among Volunteer soldiers, and which it was absolutely necessary for us to keep in view. Therefore, he did not think that his hon. and gallant Friend was likely to persuade the Government to go very far in that direction; but there was no particular virtue in the present number; and if it were found necessary and practicable to reduce it, he knew of no reason why that course should not be adopted. The most important question, as indicated in all the speeches made by hon. Members, appeared to be the question of the Reserve, which was, after all, the keystone of the whole military system of England at the present time; and it was to him somewhat disappointing that the Reserve had increased at so slow a rate. His right hon. Friend had said that he contemplated 60,000 as the ultimate number that would be obtained, instead of 80,000 which had been originally anticipated. He supposed that his right hon. Friend had obtained his present information from the same source that supplied the estimate giving 80,000 as the number—namely, from the calculations of the War Office actuaries. It was to be remembered that the calculation of 80,000 was based on certain conditions which had never yet been fulfilled. For one thing, it had con- templated enlistment for short service in the Artillery, the Cavalry, and the Engineers, which condition had been introduced only in small proportions; and it was very likely that there had been left out of the account casualties under the heads of discharge and desertion which might have occurred to a greater extent than was anticipated. The least change in the period of service in India must materially affect the number of the Reserve men obtained, so sensitive was the apparatus by which the Reserve was created. But he found, in the latest statistical account of the Army, that up to the end of 1876, the number enlisted for short service was 81,562. Making a large allowance for men who had died, deserted, re-engaged, and so forth, there must surely be a considerable proportion of those 81,562 men, that would pass into the Reserve before the final expiration of their term of service. Therefore, those who looked into the matter, and considered how slow the process must necessarily be, would not think there was much reason to be discouraged by the result. His hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had thrown out a challenge to him with reference to the expenditure which had been incurred upon the system introduced by the late Government. He was not quite sure what system his hon. and gallant Friend alluded to, nor did he understand his complaint. The complaint of his hon. and gallant Friend was, that the late Government had introduced a system, but had not the courage to ask for the full amount of money that was necessary to carry it into effect. Formerly, they had been charged with asking for a good deal of money, and having very little result to show for it; but now, for the first time, they were told they did not ask for money enough. But his hon. and gallant Friend probably meant that there was a deficiency of stores for the equipment of an Army in the field, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War now had an opportunity to fill up any deficiency of that kind out of the Vote of Credit which Parliament had granted. For his own part, he preferred that such a deficiency should be filled from Supplemental Estimates rather than from a Vote of Credit. But he must say, in justification of the past, that at the time to which his hon. and gallant Friend referred—namely—in 1870, there was only £440,000, out of the Vote of Credit then taken, spent upon stores; and, if the sum was not more than that, it was because there were a great many patterns not decided on at the time. In the following year there was an expenditure of £1,800,000 when the patterns were decided on, and since that time there had been a gradual reduction in the Vote, which reduction was continued by the present Government some time after they had come into office—namely, during the first two years. There was, therefore, a guarantee that there was no such depletion of stores and starving of the Store Vote as had sometimes been attributed to the late Government. But if the Store Vote, granted year after year, had, as his hon. and gallant Friend seemed to think, failed to supply the Army with everything that was necessary for the active operations of war, the right hon. Gentleman had now an opportunity, at all events, of making up that deficiency, which, no doubt, he would not be slow to avail himself of. There were two questions to which the Secretary of State for War had alluded that called for some remark. The first was with respect to the Paymaster's Department. He had himself no fault to find with the admirable Paper of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Stanley), or with the conclusion at which the right hon. Gentleman had arrived; but he confessed that he was still a little doubtful whether the class of ex-combatant officers would afford the best Paymasters for the Military Service. When the Committee were told that it was a very good means of supplying retirement for officers, he thought it might be open to doubt whether it would be so when the regimental connection ceased. It was probably the fact that the Paymaster became substantially a member of a regiment, and continued his regimental position very much as he held it before. That formed the inducement for combatant officers to accept such positions; and the inducement would be less when he found himself a member of a Department, and therefore liable to be transferred from one duty to another. He did think that there would have been some advantage in making the Paymaster's Department a civilian department interchangeable between clerks of the War Office and accountants on active service; so that gradually the officials of the War Office would have a practical experience of the operations which, they were supposed to control; and, at the same time, those who acted as accountants at the different military stations would have a corresponding knowledge of the War Office system. But he was quite willing to admit that there were difficulties in the way, and that the arrangement proposed by the right hon. Gentleman was, on the whole, satisfactory. With regard to the surgeons, he would say a word or two, very much of the same nature as the observation which he had just made. He believed that the great attraction which the surgeons now missed was their connection with the regiment, being substantially regimental officers, wearing its uniform and identified with it. Of that attraction they had now been deprived. But it should be remembered that, after all, the average period of a surgeon's service with a regiment, under the old regimental system, had been found to be less than five years; so that, for all administrative purposes, and for purposes of efficiency, he did not believe that the present system of a unified department, and of attaching a surgeon temporarily for a five years' period to a regiment, would at all lead to less efficiency than heretofore, or that less assistance would really be given to the colonel in the management of his regiment. In conclusion, he had only to express his pleasure at hearing that the right hon. Gentleman contemplated Manœuvres in the autumn. He was quite aware of the difficulties in the way, more especially as Salisbury Plain was the only place in the United Kingdom where Manœuvres on a large scale could be properly conducted. There was prevalent a popular idea that Manœuvres of this character might be held in any part of the country; but, as a matter of fact, there were only three or four places where they could be carried on at all; and Salisbury was absolutely the only place where they could be managed on any great scale. Although it would not be advisable to inflict such a trial on that district too often, he was glad to hear that the right hon. Gentleman contemplated a repetition of the experiment which had been tried in former years.


said, there was one point in the right hon. Gentleman's speech which he wished the right hon. Gentleman had dwelt on at greater length—namely, the working of the system of linked battalions. It would be in the recollection of the Committee that that system was adopted on the principle of having an equal number of battalions at home and abroad; so that one battalion at home might relieve the other abroad. In order to arrive at that system, the Colonial Service had been reduced by two regiments, so as to equalize the numbers. Two regiments were accordingly brought home from the Colonies, in order that there might be a similar number at home to relieve them. That was the way in which the numbers just alluded to by the hon. Member were arrived at. Last Session, he asked the right hon. Gentleman whether that system was working well, and whether any difficulty had arisen in carrying it into effect. He was then assured that there was no difficulty. It would be found on page 12 of the Army Estimates for this year, that the number of battalions at home were 64; while the number of battalions abroad had necessarily been increased to 77. That meant an entire destruction of the system of relieving one battalion abroad by its corresponding linked battalion at home. It appeared to him, as it had appeared to many other officers before, that the system was one which could only work in times of profound peace, and that when anything occurred abroad to put an end to the ordinary state of things it must break down. With respect to the observations of the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot), as to the Army being placed upon an efficient footing by the Vote of £6,000,000 which had lately been granted, it appeared to him (Sir Alexander Gordon) that if they were to have an Army in an efficient state for service it would be necessary permanently to increase the annual Army Estimates, for it was most inconvenient and objectionable to be obliged to resort to a Vote of Credit whenever they were required to send one or two Army Corps abroad. England ought, he imagined, to be able to send an Army Corps abroad without having recourse to the unusual step of asking for a Vote of Credit, which created alarm not only at home, but in Europe, and all over the world.


thought there could be no doubt that there was an increasing indisposition on the part of medical men to enter the Army. He did not know to what cause that indisposition was attributable, but the fact was a grave one; and, therefore, he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War would continue to give the subject his best attention, with a view to discover if there was any grievance that could justly be complained of, so that it might be remedied. The right hon. Gentleman had very fairly stated that the scheme which he had introduced was still on its trial; but he (Dr. Lush) believed that up to the present moment the right hon. Gentleman had no reason to suppose that it would really be successful. It had made no sensible difference in the number of candidates who were willing to enter the Service; and, looking to the critical state in which this country had recently been placed, he thought that it was a most serious matter that their Army should go abroad undermanned with respect to its Medical Staff. The right hon. Gentleman had that night paid a high compliment to that Staff, indirectly, in his) Statement as to the low mortality which existed throughout the Army in the United Kingdom and their great dependencies. That was a proof that the medical officers of the Army did their duty, and he deeply regretted that any circumstances should exist to prevent that Service being adequately filled. The right hon. Gentleman had stated as a probable cause, that there was a deficiency, generally, in the number of persons entering the Medical Profession. He (Dr. Lush) did not know whether he was justified in alluding to what had recently taken place; but a procession of 3,000 medical students came down to that House not very long ago, and one would have imagined that, with such warlike tendencies as had been attributed to them, there would have been no indisposition on the part of some of them to enter the Army. He might mention, also, that in his own county there had recently been an election of a medical officer to the County Asylum, when no fewer than 56 applications were made for that appointment. Therefore, he did not himself believe there was a less number of young men desirous to enter the Medical Profession now than at any former time, and he hoped this question would receive careful attention, in order to see whether some means might not be discovered to remedy what he considered was a very unsatisfactory state of things in connection with their Army.


wished to say a few words in reference to the new species of offence committed by men of the First Class Army Reserve in re-enlisting into the active Army. He believed that there was a great indisposition on the part of employers of labour to take into their service men who were in the First Class Army Reserve. When employment was refused, the men were often driven to re-enlist. He had been informed of the case of a man who, having passed six years with the colours, was, in due time, transferred to the First Class Army Reserve. He then endeavoured to obtain employment from different employers of labour; but they all refused his services, and. the consequence was that he was driven to re-enlistment. That man was tried and convicted by court martial; but by the intercession of a general officer, who knew all the circumstances of the case, the whole of the sentence was, he believed, remitted. That was a very important point, which he would recommend to the attention of the Secretary of State for War. There was another point which he should like to put to the right hon. Gentleman with reference to the First Class Army Reserve. Was he aware that a great many men belonging to that Reserve were now serving in the Metropolitan Police Force? He had no objection to their doing so; but what he wished to know was, whether, in the event of war, the First Class Army Reserve men of the metropolitan police would have to go to the wall? It would be very desirable that the First Class Army Reserve men should attend one parade on some particular day of the year. He knew that there was great difficulty in withdrawing them from their usual avocations; but would it not be possible, within their respective districts, to make them attend one parade—say, for Divine Service on some particular Sunday in the course of the year? He objected to what he must call the premature transfer of men into the Reserve, as he believed that the effect of it was to weaken the active Army, while it did not materially strengthen the Reserve. He would prove this statement by quoting from the Report of the Inspector General, wherein he stated— There is no doubt that in a large number of cases recruits for enlistment have over-stated their real age, and consequently a number of immature lads have been enrolled in the Army. That being the case, what was the Government doing? Having too many immature lads already, they at once proceeded to take a great many more, in order to fill up the places of those comparatively well-seasoned men whom they had prematurely enticed into the ranks of the First Class Army Reserve. He mentioned the case of a soldier who had received a good education, and who, in an evil hour, had been induced to enter prematurely into the ranks of that Reserve. Within a few days after leaving his regiment, that man came to him, still wearing its uniform, and told him that he was actually in a state of starvation, and that he would give anything to be able to return to the ranks of the battalion which he had only quitted a few days previously. He considered that to be a most unsatisfactory state of things. He was very glad, therefore, that the order allowing these men to pass prematurely into the ranks of the Reserve had been suspended, and he sincerely hoped that it might never be renewed. No doubt, a question demanding a solution was to how to obtain a supply of good non-commissioned officers. The hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) had suggested the establishment of a school where non-commissioned officers might be trained, and thence passed into various regiments; but he did not think that the hon. Gentleman's plan would commend itself to the British Army. He (Colonel Alexander) had always thought that the non-commissioned officers of their Army must rise from the ranks of the regiment in which they originally enlisted, otherwise they would never take root in, or amalgamate with it. He had been speaking with several old and experienced non-commissioned officers lately, as to what they would recommend as a further inducement to young men to qualify as non-commissioned officers, and he had found that they generally pointed to an improvement in their prospects in regard to pension. At present, except under very special circumstances, a noncommissioned officer was not entitled to a permanent pension until he had completed 21 years of service, when he would be 40 years of age, or close upon it, and at that age he could not very easily obtain employment in civil life. But give that man a permanent pension after 16 or 18 years' service, and this evil would, to a great extent, be met. But the great point was to open to these meritorious men the avenues and portals of the public service. No doubt a great deal had been said, and said with truth, as to the difficulty of finding employment for the uneducated soldier in the public service; but surely this objection did not apply to the educated non-commissioned officer. He commended the subject very respectfully and earnestly to the right hon. Gentleman for his consideration, feeling assured that nothing more important, or bearing more directly upon the interest and efficiency of the Army, could possibly engage his attention.


did not propose to detain the Committee at any great length; but one or two remarks had fallen from hon. Members who had taken part in this discussion which he was unwilling to let pass unnoticed. He was glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War that he proposed in the course of the forthcoming summer to call out a portion of the Army for Manœuvres. There was a certain amount of confusion in many minds about the Army Corps, which ought to be cleared up. His hon. Friend the Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms), than whom no man in that House had paid greater attention to the subject, and whose remarks they listened to with the greatest interest, seemed still to be under the impression-—which, perhaps, prevailed in other quarters also—that the organization in The Army List was one intended for foreign service. It was very desirable it should be known that the organization which stood as the eight Army Corps in The Army List was one intended for defensive purposes; and although an Army Corps that would be sent abroad—if, unfortunately, the occasion should arise'—would, to a certain degree, be composed of the same troops, yet, for the purpose of foreign service, the organization would be entirely dis- tinct and separate. His hon. Friend had said that if the Army Corps at home were never to be made use of, they had better be done away with; but he (Sir Henry Havelock) failed to perceive that there was any evidence that they might not be made use of, or that they were at all defective, except in minor details. He thought that if they had to send an expedition abroad, it would be a great mistake to contemplate sending less than two complete Army Corps; and he was afraid that there was some reason to believe that such an idea had entered into the contemplation of the authorities. They had the complete machinery for sending two entire Army Corps. They had the men and the guns, and, if not the transport, it could shortly be supplied. In these days, a blow to be inflicted with any chance of success, must be struck by the largest number that could be placed in the field at once; and, therefore, to send out for any expeditionary purpose abroad one Army Corps alone would be to repeat the mistake, and in some degree the disasters of the Crimean War, without the same excuse, inasmuch as they had now what they had not then—the men, guns, and machinery. Should an Army Corps be called out this Autumn, he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would do his best to put it as far as possible on the same footing as for service abroad; and this, as the Committee was well aware, had to be done by two distinct measures—namely, by calling out the Army Reserve and the Militia Reserve. Some doubt was still expressed by a few hon. Members as to whether the men of the Army Reserve would come out if they were called upon to do so. He should have thought that the experience of two years ago would have dispelled that doubt. He could not concur with his hon. Friend behind him (Mr. J. Holms) in thinking that the progress made by the Army Reserve up to the present time was inconsiderable. On the contrary, the numbers which the right hon. Gentleman had given that evening agreed almost exactly with some calculations which he himself made three years ago, and there was every reason, he thought, to be satisfied with the progress which the Army Reserve had made. It was never contemplated that in 1878, when the system had been in existence only 18 months, they should have a larger number than some 12,000men, and if the Army Reserve numbered 44,000 in 1883, and 60,000 two years later, it would answer the expectations with which it was projected. With respect to calling out a portion of the Army Reserve men this year, he would suggest that such of those who had passed into the Reserve within the last 12 months, and had obtained employment in civil life, should be allowed to remain where they were, and that only those should be called out who were not called upon two years ago. But, as to the Militia Reserve, the case was totally different. Its establishment was supposed to be 30,000 men. He was concerned to see that they had fallen a little short of what they were last year, though he was persuaded that the falling-off was attributable to some accidental cause which a little more inquiry would probably bring to light. He did not think any better plan could be adopted than that of calling out such men of the Militia Reserve this year, as in the link system were associated with the Line regiments that would be called out. The country would see that it had a Reserve, and the men would benefit by the training, besides which something would be done to form a closer connection between the Militia and the Line. The right hon. Gentleman had alluded to the paucity of noncommissioned officers; but he would remind him that amongst the various inducements, which had been proposed as a remedy for this evil, there was one which he had not yet tried. The Committee which sat last year and the year before had recommended that a certain number of appointments in the Civil Service, estimated at some 6,000, should be thrown open to the non-commissioned officers and the better soldiers of the Army as soon as possible. From an answer which the right hon. Gentleman had given earlier in the evening, he knew that he was engaged in bringing that subject under the consideration of his Colleagues. But he would suggest to him that the importance of this subject could not be overrated, since, at the present time, no other reasonable solution seemed to present itself, but to carry out the recommendations of that Committee, and inaugurate a system which, in the future, might lead to the best results by causing promotion to the rank of a non-commissioned officer to be regarded as the first step towards permanent civil employment, when he was discharged from the Army. While great consideration had been given to the Infantry and Artillery, the Cavalry, by some extraordinary oversight, seemed to have been omitted from their calculations. They had nine regiments of Cavalry in India and 19 at home. Those regiments were, as regarded individual instruction, and the efficiency of the men and horses, unsurpassed by any similar Forces in the whole world; but they had this fatal defect, that they were very small in numbers, and had no Reserve whatever behind them. As regarded the Artillery and Infantry, this defect had gradually been remedied by the measures which had been successively brought forward; but, up to the present time, nobody seemed to have contemplated that which would be the first thing to happen to us on active service —namely, a vast diminution in the number of the Cavalry arm, with no Reserve of men to supply them. There ought to be at all times a fifth squadron on foot, the horses of which should be turned over to the field squadrons, fresh horses being brought up when required from the Reserve. He did not know whether he had misunderstood his hon. Friend behind him, but he should be very loth to let it go forth to the world, that if we sent one Corps forth, we should not have one man left in the shape of Reserve.


I said, if you sent a Corps of 60,000, you would not have a second Force to send out after that.


said, he found from Returns to that House, that if it was unfortunately necessary that we should send 60,000 men abroad, we should have remaining at home something like 30,000 Infantry, which would form the nucleus of another Corps of 60,000 men, to be sent out a few weeks afterwards. It would be unfortunate, indeed, if anything was said in that House—although year after year they might criticize—it would be unfortunate if anything was said to show that the Forces of this country were not in a state of efficiency. At no time had the forces of this country been so efficient as at this moment. The Secretary of State for War deserved the credit of having loyally carried out the ideas of his Pre- decessor, and that, after close examination to see whether they required it or not. He had not, in the slightest degree, altered anything he found good. In four respects our position now was vastly improved to that of six years ago, and on all these four points we were reaping the fruits of the reforms begun by Lord Cardwell. Our Artillery was double what it was six years ago. The brigade depots had worked a great change in our military system, and had gradually united our Reserves into one harmonious whole. In consequence of the system of garrison instruction, begun in 1871, we had now a set of young officers unsurpassed by any in the world, thoroughly trained in all the duties of their profession. We had now, moreover, through the system of Reserves, also commenced in 1871, some 40,000 additional trained soldiers ready for the ranks at short notice, if required.


would especially congratulate his right hon. Friend on his most satisfactory Statement. There were only two difficulties left. One was that of too young soldiers, as to which he agreed that the remedy was most difficult. The other was securing a Reserve, which at present he feared that he must look on as more or less a myth. They had also heard a great deal about the difficulty respecting doctors and others; but his task was, to bring under the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the case of hard-worked officers of Cavalry—namely, the riding masters— whom he asked should be put in the same position as regards retiring pensions as combatant officers who were promoted from the ranks. The cost would be most trifling, merely the difference between £182 a-year and £200 in money. Then, he had one other remark to make, as regarded field officers of the Army and superior officers. He quite agreed with what was said at the beginning of this century by Sir John Moore, and it was equally applicable now, that it would be unadvisable to increase the pay of officers of the Army. He was of opinion that we should ruin the Army if we did. At the same time, it was unfair to make too many reductions. Field officers of Infantry lost 8d. per day for each horse they kept for the public service. He believed many officers were given forage to whom it was quite unnecessary to keep horses at all. The officers who were obliged to keep horses — brigadiers, brigade majors, who were obliged to keep horses— ought not to be out of pocket. Then, as to household expenses; a brigadier was allowed £150, and a colonel £100 per year in places where they could not get houses for less than £340 per year. Their house rent allowance ought to be increased. It was illiberal and unfair on officers of the Army. He must express his satisfaction to the Secretary of State for War that we were to have Autumnal Manœuvres on a large scale this year. We knew that Prussia had 40 years of peace, and showed herself more than a match for the French, who had had war experience in Algeria. Military science could not be learned by fighting very inferior troops, or any games of science by playing with bad performers. Algeria had been but an indifferent school for France, the Caucasus for Russia, nor will our small wars with savages fit us for competing with great European Powers; and he hoped that after this year we should continue the system of Autumn Manœuvres, which did give real and valuable instruction, and he hoped that if we sent an Army into the field, they would be under the command of general officers who were practical as well as theoretical commanders. The hon. and gallant Member for Leitrim (Major O'Beirne) had said that one cavalry officer could not command ten men. That was an unfortunate remark at the present time, because we had the best Cavalry officers we ever had. Not to mention others, there was Colonel Stewart, who was an able and most painstaking officer, and a bright, social example to the officers and young men under his command. With regard to qualification, he knew that no captain of Cavalry would ever be promoted who was not fully competent for his command.


felt that no civilian should touch on military matters without apology; but a good deal had been said that seemed to bear on the more humble branches of the Service with which he was connected—the Yeomanry and Volunteers. He might have said once the Mounted Rifles; but these had now become extinct through no fault of their own, nor through any fault of their officers. Now, the point which he wished to say a word about was the question of instruction to the various Services. He did not pretend to be able to speak with any authority of the Regular Forces; but it might be permitted to civilians to watch the experience of eminent officers at Aldershot and elsewhere, and he hoped he was not presumptuous in saying that no one felt more than he did the immense improvement that had taken place in the English Army since the abolition of Purchase. He could recollect, now, many years ago, when a young officer in one of the finest regiments of the service, told him that it was quite absurd for a young officer to think of studying a campaign. He did not think you would get a young officer to say that at Aldershot now. He would be much more likely to be laughed at by his brother officers if he did. He might quote the opinion of distinguished officers in the English Army, when he said that there was one point on which we had yet to learn from foreign soldiers, and that was, that the instruction of our men was not sufficiently committed to young officers of the Army. He believed that our regiments were too much instructed by the adjutant and one or two non-commissioned officers. He would not enlarge on the subject; but he thought it his duty to mention it in the House of Commons, because it had been a frequent subject of conversation. He believed it was the duty of a Secretary of State to provide something like a normal school of instruction for those who were to instruct others. As regarded the Yeomanry, the point that he had mentioned was of the utmost importance. It was not a right way to teach men of that kind, to set a drill sergeant to gabble to them and waste their time. Earnestly he hoped that the War Office would take stops to give the soldiers better instruction. He knew it was the opinion of many officers that there should be established at Aldershot, or some other place, some means of normal instruction such as were established for school masters, teaching them how to teach. If it was admitted to be necessary to teach the masters of elementary schools how to teach, was it not equally necessary to do the same for those who taught the difficult art and science of war. He felt sure, also, that on his side of the House hon. Members did not begrudge the expenditure necessary to keep the best non-commissioned officers in the Service. He would venture to say that, in his opinion, any well-conducted non-commissioned officer of nine or ten years' service ought to be better paid than a young gentleman who had just left Eton. If they found that they were better paid, they would not, perhaps, be so eager to pass into the rank of commissioned officers. Not but that he was sure that they were gallant men, rising from the ranks—gentlemen, as they frequently were, whose condition as non-commissioned officers in the Army ought to be very much improved. There was one point connected with the Yeomanry that he would like to speak about. He was almost the only Member of Parliament who attended a meeting of Volunteer officers the other day. Remarks were made on the small number of Volunteer Cavalry. A number of farmers were accustomed to ride their own horses, to go across country and to shoot rabbits. Had the masters of foxhounds been persuaded to take up the subject of Mounted Rifles, we should have some of the finest irregular Cavalry in the world. The practical suggestion made by an officer of the Yeomanry, who had taken great trouble to learn his work, was to allow men who had served two or three years, and passed their drills, to be allowed to join their regiments for four days instead of eight consecutive days. He would say one word of what had occurred at the meeting of Volunteer officers. He had been connected with the Volunteer Service 18 or 19 years; but he had never been favourable to attempts on the part of the Volunteers to get more money than the Government had paid them. He had always thought it desirable that the Volunteer Force should be an inexpensive Force to this country. But he would not resist the evidence, that the general testimony of Volunteers who had attended from all parts of England to give their experience, was that the Volunteer Force was out of pocket to the extent of their necessary materials and equipment. He did not know much about town Volunteers, but he did know something about country Volunteers. He had been in camp and had done his best to meet the circumstances of the case; but it required a great deal of care to keep Volunteers in camp together at all. Camps were essential to give better discipline to the Volunteers; but it was perfectly impossible to conduct camps on the present allowance of the Government, even on the most economical system. The particular brigade-colonel under whom he served had assisted the Volunteers in forming their camps, and when formed had advised the officers what to do and how to do it. Furthermore, he had visited the camps from time to time while the training was in progress, in order to see how they were getting on, and, without interfering with them, and had paid final visits at the end of the time for which the camp was fixed, in order to see how the whole work had been done. If this had not been the universal practice of the colonels of brigade depots, it was time for the generals of the districts, or, failing them, the Secretary of State for War, to see that it was adopted.


could not admit that Cavalry officers were fitted to command Infantry brigades, in that they knew nothing of Infantry drill. He was therefore at a loss to see of what particular use their services could be in time of peace. His own view was that it would have been less injurious to the interests of the public to have provided them with good service pensions, instead of being put into commands they were unfit for. He quite agreed with what had fallen from the hon. and gallant Member for Brighton (General Shute) in reference to the riding masters in Cavalry regiments. In the first place, they were most inadequately paid while they remained in the Service, and in the second, they received most inadequate retiring allowances when they left it. They were most valuable officers, and their services could not, under any circumstances, be dispensed with.


said, he had occupied so much of the time of the Committee in his introductory statement, that he should reply very briefly to the questions that had been put and the points that had been raised in the course of the debate. He would, however, before going into the general subject, remark that a little too much had been said about his having expressed his satisfaction with everything that had gone on in the Army. In the course of his observations, he had not attempted to conceal the defects of the Army; but, with that qualification, he had spoken favourably of it, as far as he had found its work to be well done. Where he deemed amendment to be necessary, he had not scrupled to say so. The hon. Baronet the Member for North Devon (Sir Thomas Acland) had referred to the mode of Cavalry instruction, a question concerning which there had been many disputes. He could not help thinking that if the commissioned officers were thoroughly well-trained to look after the non-commissioned officers, they would by that means get a school actually and literally on the spot at which the work had to be done. At the same time, he could not help thinking that sometimes a non-commissioned officer, coming from another regiment, might displease, to a certain extent, men unaccustomed to a sharp tone, while the ordinary soldier would care little or nothing about it. With regard to the non-commissioned officers, the hon. Baronet must do him (Mr. Hardy) the justice to admit that he had considerably increased their pay, and he felt quite sure that in case of emergency neither the Committee nor the House would grudge any sum of money that might be necessary, in order to secure for every branch of the Service really good and sound non-commissioned officers. Good officers of these grades were absolutely essential to the well-being and discipline of the Army. As far as he understood the main desire of the hon. Baronet, it was for a sort of Yeomanry Reserve, consisting of men who had been in the Service for a long time, and who, in busy seasons on their farms or in other ways, might be allowed to dispense with a part of their days of training. The system of short-time would give a sort of Reserve; but he would not then enter upon the whole question, as it was likely to be raised in connection with the Vote for the Volunteers, many members of which Force wished to be considered as a Reserve, though not to be called upon for their full duties. He thought this a very laudable desire, and he was very much inclined to encourage it. But, at the same time, he should be sorry to count such a man as was mentioned by the hon. Baronet (Sir Thomas Acland) as being really a yeoman and belonging to the regiment. This, however, was a point of detail belonging to a question which, as a whole, was well deserving of consideration. With regard to the Volunteers, he would only say that the question had been fully considered on the basis of the data laid down by the meeting to which he referred earlier in the evening, and he should, on a future occasion, be able to say something on the subject, which he could not do at that juncture. With regard to the points raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Brighton (General Shute), they were matters which the same gallant Gentleman had already brought before the War Office, and at present he was not able to say anything further concerning them. The hon. and gallant Member for Sunderland (Sir Henry Havelock) seemed to entertain somewhat curious views in relation to foreign service. He said that less than two Army Corps ought never to be sent out of the country, and that such Army Corps ought never to work separately. That was all very well, and embodied a noble sentiment; but, while circumstances might arise, or exist, where two Army Corps were not necessary in any one particular place, it might also happen that a larger force was required in another place — and, having sent too many men to one point, there would not be sufficient left to meet emergencies arising elsewhere. For instance, it might only be necessary, to occupy some particular post which could be held as well by 10,000 as by 20,000 men, and therefore it would be out of the question to lay down a hard-and-fast rule that not less than two Army Corps should be sent out of the country at one time and to the same place. With regard to the readiness of the Army for service, he could only repeat that the country was in a position, without having to take any extraordinary credit, to send out at once one Army Corps, and that a second could be prepared very rapidly, it being only necessary to fill up the ranks of the young battalions with men of greater age. Our Reserves were not like those of foreign nations; they could not be called out on the instant as soon as they were wanted; the Statutes under which they existed contemplated before they were called out a great emergency, which it would not be politic unnecessarily to create, because by so doing the Army Reserve would be practically destroyed, as a Reserve, before the occur- rence of the emergency which it was established to meet. It would in all cases be necessary to go to regiments low down on the roster in order to make drafts of men to fill up the numbers of the regiments wanted for abroad. With regard to linked battalions, there could be no doubt that if it was intended to keep them permanently in one place, it would be necessary to have a third battalion at a neighbouring brigade depot in order to feed the weak battalions. In addition to this, the Militia could be called out separately and embodied; but this was never done, unless it was absolutely required. It would, no doubt, be valuable to call out the Militia Reserves and drill them with the regiments with which they would have to serve; but, as he had said, they could not be called out separately except in cases of great emergency. The question of the appointments of non-commissioned officers was one of great importance, and one that would have to be discussed in the House. A good many efforts had been made in the direction; and he could say for himself, although in his present office he was almost without patronage, except as to messengers, he had had every vacant messenger's place filled up by the appointment of non-commissioned officers. With regard to the Reserve men, there was without doubt great difficulty in calling them out unnecessarily, and it would be very unwise to do so in the case of men who had recently joined the Reserve and got into situations of employment. But the residence of every man in the Reserve was known. The staff officers of the Pensioners became acquainted with every one of their residences; and he could say, with perfect certainty, as the result of an inquiry made very recently, that more than five-sixths of them were found to be in regular employment. He was bound, however, to add that some of them found great difficulty in getting employment, which was a most unfortunate thing. Many of the railway companies and large business firms set their face against employing these men. It was very disheartening for men who had just left the Army to find themselves face to face with this difficulty; and he hoped that with the patriotic feeling which all employers ought to have towards a Reserve Force of the kind, they would sacrifice a little in order to encourage the endeavours of the Reserve men to earn honest livings—even though they were liable, under special circumstances, to leave their work and return to the Profession of Arms in the defence of their country. With respect to what had been said as to many of these men being engaged in the Metropolitan Police, he should consider that the retainer paid to the Reserve men over-rode the regulations of the Police Force, and he should be compelled to try a Metropolitan policeman for desertion, if he did not answer the call when it was made upon him to turn out for duty with the Reserve to which he was attached. He was sorry that objection had been taken to his letting three-years' men go into the Reserve; because, if he had stopped recruiting, it might not have been renewed, and it was a bad thing to put a stop to recruiting when a very good class of men were coming in. At a time when it was possible that there might not be a great supply of men wanted, he was able to effect an addition of two men whenever a recruit was enlisted; because his enlistment released for the Reserve a man who could come back in the following month if his services were required. He was afraid that he and the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) could not agree. The hon. Member had a theory which did not correspond with the practice of the British Army. He (Mr. J. Holms) had learned his theory in the school of conscription and of local armies, which could not be applied to the case of this country. The objection to the system of defensive organization which the hon. Member so much admired, was that it could not be applied to this country. The countries to which the system of local armies was applicable were very differently situated from this country. They had not to send their men to Colonies, to India, or to garrisons in the Mediterranean, but in case of those armies, when one body moved forward, another took its place. Our Reserves were not of that kind at all. The whole system was altogether different. He could not argue further with the hon. Member on the subject of deserters, as long as he persisted in describing as deserters all the men whose names appeared in The Hue and Cry. Whenever a man had been absent from duty for 21 days he was advertised, and almost invariably returned to his regiment, so that he was not a deserter at all. Again, as he had said before, men stayed away either in consequence of some engagement or fascination; but they eventually gave themselves up, and submitted to their trial, never having intended to leave the Army at all. Such men should be dealt with leniently, reserving the severe punishments for such men as were flagrant deserters.


hoped his right hon. Friend opposite would not adhere to his view—that yeomen who wished to leave their homes for fewer consecutive days were only a sort of Reserve, and not yeomen in the true sense of the word. They would all be men who had performed their troop drills, and would, in fact, be among the oldest and most efficient men in the regiments.


thought the present year was one in which, whether they went to war or not, they might advantageously take stock of the Army. One important point was that referring to the age before which men should not be enlisted. There was no particular magic about the age of 20; but it was the one almost universally adopted on the Continent, where it was found to work well. The real remedy for the existing state of things was to give a larger amount of pay, and this remedy would sooner or later have to be adopted. The Secretary of State for War had done much for the Army; but he had not as yet fulfilled all the promises made from time to time, particularly with regard to raising men to acting rank. In reference to the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member for Sunderland (Sir Henry Havelock) to send out two Army Corps, he (Major Nolan) could only say that he looked upon such an organization as most vicious in its character. Any number of men under 100,000 strong was too small for organization in corps. The Duke of Wellington always adopted divisional organization; and, no doubt, his theory was sound, for it agree d with the view of all military writers who strongly opposed an organization consisting of two wings without a centre.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) £4,572,000, Pay and Allowances of Land Forces, agreed to.

(3.) £49,300, Divine Service.


pointed out that no details were given of the allowances to officiating clergymen, although full particulars were set out as regarded the pay of chaplains. He wished to ascertain the circumstances under which this money was paid, and for what services; also, how much was paid to each clergyman?


said, the form adopted in the Estimates was the usual one. Officiating clergymen were paid by capitation, and therefore the grant was in respect of work actually done. Each clergyman was paid so much a-head for soldiers that attended service, under a regulation scale. He regretted the information in the Estimates was not more detailed; but he could assure the hon. Gentleman that there was no desire to keep information back.


said, that officiating clergymen were paid by capitation grant, as the Secretary of State for War had stated, and the regulations under which these allowances were made were published. The allowances varied, and increased or decreased in amount according to the number of soldiers attending service, and they were made upon the quarterly certificate of the clergyman, which was furnished to the commanding officer.

Vote agreed to.

(4.) £28,600, Administration of Military Law.


said, he hoped he had correctly understood the Secretary of State for War to say that he intended to appoint a Committee on this subject. He hoped if the Committee were to be appointed, it would meet as soon as possible, and its assembling not be postponed until after Easter.


said, he quite adhered to his intention to appoint a Committee to consider the subject.

Vote agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.

Committee report Progress; to sit again upon Wednesday.