HC Deb 07 August 1879 vol 249 cc442-4

, in calling attention to the case of Major de Dolise, said, that when the German Legion was raised, in 1855, this gentleman received employment in it. He served in Asia Minor and in the Crimea; and when the war was over he was sent home with his regiment, a portion of which was sent to the Cape of Good Hope to form a regiment there. Major de Dolise was not sent out, but was kept at home in order to settle the accounts and pay off the men who remained behind. For that purpose he was intrusted with a large sum of money, which he disbursed, and he received the thanks of the authorities for performing that duty to their entire satisfaction. Having paid off his regiment, he expected immediate employment either at the Cape or elsewhere; but he was informed by Lord Panmure, then Secretary of State for War, that his services would be no longer required. Major de Dolise had repeatedly asked for employment, but in vain. Had he proceeded, in the first instance, to the Cape he might have obtained employment; but he was kept at home as the most trustworthy officer to whom this large sum of money could be intrusted. The sum which he received on his dis- charge was paid to all the officers as I was originally stipulated when they joined. It was submitted on all hands I that Major de Dolise was one of the best, if not the very best, officer in the German Legion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman then read testimonials which had been given to Major de Dolise—from Sir Henry Storks and Major General Cameron among others—and concluded by expressing a hope that the House would agree with him that this officer was entitled to the consideration of the War Office. Twenty-three years had passed since Major de Dolise served this country, and no notice whatever had been taken of the grievance of which he complained.


said, that the House, as a rule, was not fond of what might be regarded as personal questions; but no one could take exception to this case being brought forward, still less to the clear and moderate manner in which the hon. and gallant Gentleman had stated it. Though it would be his duty to show cause why the request made could not be complied with, he very much sympathized with the hon. and gallant Gentleman in the case he had taken up. Major de Dolise was a captain in the Austrian Service; in 1855 he joined the Gorman Legion, and in 1856 that Legion was disbanded. Having discharged his duties with ability and zeal, Major de Dolise was retained for a short time to pay off the men and adjust the accounts of that branch of the Service. These duties he performed with an ability which was recognized at the time. Major de Dolise was very anxious for further employment; but the Act of Parliament under which the Legion was raised distinctly laid down that the officers should have no claim to half-pay, and provided the remuneration which could actually be received. The Correspondence with Major de Dolise was of a very voluminous character. Having looked personally through those Papers, he was bound to say that he saw no clause in their regulations which would enable them to deal with this case in any manner that would meet Major de Dolise's expectations. Some of Major de Dolise's brother officers owed their chance of getting back into the Service to the fact that shortly after the disbandment of the German Legion the Indian Mutiny broke out, and a large number of men at the Cape then volunteered for service in India and formed a considerable portion of the regiment in the East Indian Service now represented by the 109th Regiment of the Line. Some of those officers and men were, he believed, serving to this day; and it was due, perhaps, to the chapter of accidents that Major de Dolise did not get the same chance of service. He had, however, received the gratuity, and so forth, and was dealt with in the same manner as the other officers of the Legion; and the gravamen of his complaint really was, not that he had been badly treated, but that he did not receive the same consideration which, through accidental circumstances, fell to some of his comrades. Then, as to whether compensation should be given to Major de Dolise, the matter had been under the consideration of different authorities at the War Office for a long time. Major de Dolise had, first of all, applied to be recommended to the Turkish Government for employment; but there were difficulties in the way of that being done, and he afterwards tried to get into various other Services. Then he appealed in language which it would perhaps have been well not to have addressed to the authorities for other employment. General Peel took exception to this, and, being pressed, said he had no claim for employment, and declined any further correspondence. The succeeding Secretaries of State for War took the same view of the matter. Sir Henry Storks, on perusing the Papers while at the War Office, appeared also to have come to the same decision, although with regret, and was unable to recommend that the question should be re-opened. In conclusion, he trusted that he had not said anything to wound the feelings of an officer who thought, rightly or wrongly, that he had a just grievance against the Government; but the contract, if it might be so called, had been strictly performed on both sides in this case, and after careful consideration of the whole subject he was unable to hold out the hope that anything further could be done in regard to it.