§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.)£56,000, Divine Service.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, that upon this question of the Vote for Divine Service, which made provision for Roman Catholic and other chaplains for Her Majesty's Forces, he wished to suggest that not only with advantage, but with justice, there ought to be an addition to the staff of Catholic chaplains, and that they ought to be permanently attached to the Service, so that, in case of necessity, they might follow the regiments abroad. The reason why he offered that suggestion to the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War (the Marquess of Hartington) was that, under the present system, when Catholic soldiers were ordered abroad, and especially to India, they found themselves, in a large number of cases, practically deprived of the ministrations of clergymen who were able to converse with them on the most necessary topics in connection with their religion. He believed that the Vote now before the Committee made no provision for Catholic chaplains, in such cases, accompanying Catholic regiments from home for service in India; and he would strongly suggest to Her Majesty's Government—it was not in his power to propose an increase in the Estimate— but he would strongly suggest to Her Majesty's Government that they ought to take some steps to provide Catholic soldiers with adequate divine service, and with proper assistance, in the form of chaplains, for the performance of their religious duties when they left England, as well as when they were at home in England. He was aware that when Catholic soldiers left England and went to such a place as India, they found there, in numerous instances, a species of local chaplain or priest, who was appointed by the local government to sup- 787 ply the religious necessities of the Catholic troops. But he wished to point out to Her Majesty's Government that in 9 cases out of 10 that provision was utterly inadequate, and, in many instances, was merely nominal, for this reason—that owing to the want of Catholic chaplains accompanying the regiments who were able to speak the English language, the soldiers had to put up with the ministrations of Italian, Portuguese, and French priests, who, possessing a very scanty acquaintance with the English language, were unable to hear the confessions of the soldiers, or of their wives and children, and were unable to preach a sermon on Christian duty in intelligible English. On that account the difficulties of the Service were greatly increased among Catholic soldiers serving upon garrison duty in India, yet there was an unusually largo proportion of Catholic soldiers with their wives and children on foreign service. This was exceedingly hard upon the Irish soldiers. As the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War would be able to inform himself, it was the practice, in accordance with old traditions, which had not yet been given up in the Army, to enforce an altogether excessive measure of foreign service upon Irish recruits. By the existing system in the Army, Irish recruits were passed in excessive numbers from the home battalions to the battalions ordered for foreign service; and, in that way, in proportion to the whole number of Catholics in the Army, there was always an excessive number of Catholics on service in India and at other foreign stations, the idea being, he supposed, that Irish soldiers would do bettor when they were as far as possible away from Ireland, having in view the state of government which Her Majesty's Advisers maintained, as a rule, in that country. This point must also be taken into consideration—that, even if there was no more than a proper proportion of Irish Catholic soldiers serving abroad, there should still be precautions taken that chaplains able to converse with, and preach to, and hear the confessions of, Catholic soldiers and their wives and families, should be provided in adequate numbers. But when there was a disproportion in the number of Catholic soldiers sent abroad, the grievance was undoubtedly 788 increased, and the injustice dealt out to such Catholic soldiers became much more apparent. He wished to point out to Her Majesty's Government that the difficulty of finding recruits in Ireland and in Irish Catholic centres for the Army was a difficulty that was recognized; because, as the noble Lord who now sat on the Front Opposition Bench, and who was, he believed, one of the Secretaries connected with the Army (Lord Eustace Cecil) under the late Government, had more than once pointed out that there was a distinct difficulty in obtaining recruits for the Army. Could there be a stronger reason, he would ask, why young Irish Catholics, brought up in religious principles, ought to object to enter the Army, than the knowledge that they were generally sent on foreign service in disproportionate numbers; and when they arrived abroad they found, in the vast majority of cases, no priest with whom they could enter into conversation, or from whom they could receive advice with regard to their spiritual condition? Of course, there was provision for the service of Mass; and the service of Mass being in Latin in all parts of the Catholic Church, except in Asia Minor and Poland, Catholic soldiers, accustomed to attend the service of Mass in their own country, could follow that service wherever it was performed. But, outside the service of Mass, there were a largo number of other duties intimately connected with the performance of Catholic worship and the fulfilment of the obligations of the Catholic Church, which required that the priest should be able to converse well with Catholic soldiers. Nothing could be more grotesque than the efforts of these foreign priests; no doubt, most worthy, zealous, and devout French, Italian, and Portuguese priests, appointed to fulfil the duty of Catholic chaplains in India and other places— nothing could be more grotesque than efforts to explain the simplest principles of the Catholic religion to the unfortunate military congregations committed to their charge. Of course, Her Majesty's Government took these chaplains from the ranks of the Roman Catholic missionaries; and, to a large extent, the Roman Catholic missionaries in these parts were supplied from the Propagandist Mission in Rome and elsewhere; and, from that reason, they 789 could not rely upon the persons so selected and so appointed conveying that which was necessary to be conveyed to Irish Catholic soldiers, and it was absolutely necessary to provide the means of furnishing Roman Catholic soldiers with priests who were able to preach to them, and to speak to them in their own tongue. He could assure Her Majesty's Government that complaints upon this head were being made privately everywhere throughout Ireland by Irish Catholic soldiers who had returned from India; and unless something was done to remove the grievance these complaints would take a, public form. No attention had hitherto been paid to the complaints of the men; and it was only natural that if this inattention was continued their grievances would become public eventually. There were many reasons why Her Majesty's Government, if they were desirous of bringing Irish recruits into the British Army, should exercise some care in regard to this point. He did not wish to do more now than to refer to the unfair portion of service abroad imposed upon the Irish recruits, apparently, simply because they were Irish; and, in the present case, he only referred to the matter in order to show the necessity of supplying Catholic soldiers ordered for foreign service with English chaplains. He did not intend to propose any reduction of the Vote, because his suggestion would really involve, if adopted, an increase; but he had raised the question upon this Vote, because, unless he did so, he did not well see how he could bring under the notice of the Government the absolute necessity of dealing with an actual and growing evil.
§ COLONEL O'BEIRNE
said, that he had served for some years in India, and he had visited almost every garrison and every station; but he had certainly found no difficulty in obtaining the services of a Roman Catholic chaplain who could speak English. There were only two occasions which he recollected in which there was any difficulty; and in one of those two instances the priest was an Italian. He thought the real grievance the Roman Catholic chaplains were under was, that they were not placed upon a footing of equality with the Protestant chaplains with regard to pensions and furlough. They received no pension whatever; and they were treated very unjustly in the matter of furlough, being 790 allowed no leave of absence. He certainly saw no reason why they should not be placed upon perfect equality with the Protestant chaplains, both as regarded pension and furlough; but he did not think there was very much force in the grievance suggested by the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell), that they could not speak the English language. His own impression was that that was an entire misapprehension; but if it was really a fact, there could be no doubt that it was a very improper arrangement.
§ MR. BLAKE
said, he was personally able to corroborate fully the statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) as to the hardships which English-speaking soldiers in India suffered in consequence of the inadequacy of the supply of English-speaking chaplains. The hon. and gallant Member for Leitrim (Colonel O'Beirne) stated that, according to his experience, all the Catholic chaplains in India spoke English. Now, he (Mr. Blake) ventured to think that his own experience of India was even more extensive than that of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. He had visited almost every cantonment from Lahore to Mysore; he had been in 25 or 30 cantonments at least; and he had taken great interest in the Roman Catholic soldiers, and in the manner in which provision was made for the performance of their religious duties. He had heard some of the sermons preached by the Roman Catholic chaplains; and he ventured to say that at least six out of seven of them were utterly unintelligible. They were preached by Italians, Frenchmen, Poles, and priests of other nationalities; and, although they were undoubtedly delivered in what was called English, if the chaplains had spoken in their own language, there would have been a far better chance of understanding them than there was from the attempt to speak in English. The soldiers complained very much of the great deprivation they were subjected to in not being supplied with priests whose ministrations they could understand; and the soldiers' wives complained of the same thing, and especially of the absence of religious instruction for their children by the chaplains, such instruction as was given being absolutely useless. It was also a matter of complaint that when the services of the priest was required at the 791 last moment by an English-speaking soldier, the comfort which he would have received from a chaplain who was able to speak his own language was altogether denied him. The Catholic Metropolitan in India was a Swiss, and all the Bishops were foreigners. He believed that, throughout the whole of India, there was not a single English or Irish Bishop; and the foreign Bishops naturally brought their own countrymen over. He entertained no doubt that, from what he had heard, there was a real and substantial grievance in not having English-speaking chaplains sent out with; the Catholic soldiers serving abroad; and he trusted that the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War would consider the grievance, and listen to the representations which were made to him. If English-speaking chaplains were supplied, he believed it would afford great comfort to these men, and their wives and children, and that it would tend to increase the morality of the Army, and produce other good results.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the immediate question they had before them was the provision to be made for the administration of Divine Service to the troops on the Establishment of the Army. The respective proportions of members of the English Church and of Roman Catholics in the Army were 62 chaplains in the English Church, 17 Roman Catholics, and 7 Presbyterians. The hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) had raised the question of the provision made for Roman Catholic chaplains in India. As the Committee were aware, they had nothing to do in those Estimates with any of the Indian military establishments. All the provisions of every kind for the Army in India were made and paid for by the Indian Treasury; and he almost doubted whether they were in Order, on that occasion, in discussing the question of the ministrations of Roman Catholic chaplains in India. Perhaps the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell), and other hon. Members from Ireland, would recollect that when he (the Marquess of Hartington) was Secretary of State for India, he had, in answer to a Question, entered fully into the provision made for Roman Catholic chaplains; and he thought he was able to show that their condition had been considerably improved within recent years, and that the authorities there were not indisposed to 792 make a further improvement, if it were called for. The hon. Member had referred to the condition of Roman Catholic chaplains on board ship on the passage from this country to India. A correspondence had taken place between the India Office, the War Office, and the Admiralty upon this subject; and he found that the provision of Roman Catholic chaplains on board ship devolved upon the Admiralty; and he was not in a position to say whether it was done or not, or what was done. But when he was previously in Office it was certainly his own view that provision should be made. The hon. Gentleman also complained that there was a system also prevailing in the Army of imposing an undue proportion of foreign service upon Roman Catholic soldiers. That was the first time he (the Marquess of Hartington) had heard that allegation made; and he had no reason whatever to suppose that any disproportion whatever took place. He thought that if the hon. Member would look at The Army List he would see that it was not so. He quite agreed that, wherever it was practicable, the arrangements in connection with religious ministrations should be so made that the clergymen appointed would be able to converse with the soldiers in a language they could understand; and if the hon. Member would refer to the answer he had given upon that subject when he was at the India Office he would find that the matter had not been neglected.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, he would like to say a word upon the statement of the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War in reference to the present position of the matter. He recognized the disposition of the noble Marquess to deal with the question in the fairest possible way; but he wished to point out that, although the position of the Roman Catholic chaplains might be better now in India than it was some years ago, yet that, nevertheless, it was very inferior to that of the Protestant chaplains. In the case of the Protestant chaplains, provision was made for granting a furlough of two months. Now, a furlough of some kind was absolutely necessary; and although for two months the Protestant chaplain could go on furlough, and the Department paid for his substitute, there was no such provision made in the case of the Roman Catholic chaplain. He thought the question of 793 furlough ought to be looked into again by the Indian Government, with the view of placing the Roman Catholic chaplain upon nearly, if not entirely, a footing of equality with his Protestant brethren. He was sorry to hear the depreciation of the Roman Catholic chaplains serving in India which had been indulged in by the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) from the Irish Benches. He believed that nothing of the kind was felt by the soldiers, who had benefited by the ministrations of these reverend gentlemen, nor was it the feeling of the authorities in India. There might be instances in which Italian, French, or Polish priests were unable to speak the English language well; but, as a rule, he believed the services of the Roman Catholic chaplains had been very valuable, and were fully appreciated by the soldiers. As far as he could learn, the chief matters of complaint were that the Roman Catholic chaplains were not sufficiently paid, and that they were not allowed a substitute when proceeding on furlough.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
said, he had never known a single military station in India where the services of Roman Catholic chaplains had not been available for the European troops there located. A more devoted set of men than these priests, he was bound to state, he had never known; and as regarded the implied assertion that the priests were on the same footing as chaplains of the Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches, he was surprised to find that the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell), who was generally so well informed upon Indian subjects, was not better informed upon this matter when he put forward such an idea. If there were any difficulties in India, they arose, he was afraid, out of difference of opinion in the Roman Catholic Church itself. The priests were still declared to be wholly subject to the orders of the Bishop, and not disposable at the orders of the Government. They were not, then, servants of the State, being removed and posted at the will of the Bishop. That was a source of more trouble and discontent than the difficulty of understanding or appreciating the services rendered by the Roman Catholic chaplains. Then, also, there were the rival pretensions of the French and Portuguese Sees in India, in opposition to the Irish Roman Catholic Bishops. 794 The latter were supposed to be viewed with far less favour by the Pope than the other Sees were.
§ MR. O'SHEA
inquired whether any appointments of Roman Catholic chaplains were made after consultation with the Irish Bishops?
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he had raised the question for the purpose of drawing the attention of the House to a very important subject; and it was a question upon which he certainly expected to have obtained some amount of sympathy from so good a Catholic as the hon. and gallant Member who represented the County of Cork (Colonel Colthurst). He had brought forward the question for the sole purpose of securing that the Catholic soldiers in India should be provided with chaplains who would fully attend to their religious duties; and he had not said a single word against the worthy and admirable Catholic priests who at present performed these functions in India, except that, in many cases, they were Italians and Portuguese, and were imperfectly acquainted with the English language. He therefore failed to see the applicability of the words the hon. and gallant Member had, no doubt, in advertently used, when he spoke of him (Mr. O'Donnell), and of the denunciation of the priests coming from the Irish Benches. Perhaps, however, the hon. and gallant Member had made that speech in order that his words might be reported by the faithful Errington, as part of the ambassadorial mission confided to that hon. Member by Her Majesty's Government. It would, at least, be equally trustworthy with many other things the faithful Errington had been instructed to pour into the ears of the Roman Propaganda. He admitted the readiness which the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) had displayed in dealing with some of the grievances of the Catholic chaplains in India; but that was not the question he had brought forward that night. He was glad to hear an admission from the other side of the House that there was still much in the condition of the Catholic, chaplains in India that required improvement. The question he had raised related solely to the inadequate number of Roman Catholic chaplains supplied in India who could speak the English language fluently and distinctly, and in a manner suited to the understanding of their Roman Catholic congregations. 795 The noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War pointed out that the present system of supplying Roman Catholic chaplains was entirely a matter for the Government of India and the Catholic Church in India; but that was one of the strongest arguments that could be brought forward in support of his (Mr. O'Donnell's) contention. He had suggested that, under the existing system, there was much that was capable of improvement; and, in those respects, he had suggested an improvement. Insomuch as they had no means of dealing with the Government of India, he proposed that a permanent staff of Catholic chaplains should be sent out, and also that there should be a sufficient increase to allow of additional chaplains being kept to minister to the wants of Catholic soldiers in those cases—unfortunately too numerous—in which English-speaking chaplains were not at the disposal of the Government of India, or the ecclesiastical authorities in India. Unquestionably, unless they could increase the strength of the Government chaplains from this end, there was very little chance of increasing the number at the other end; and that was why he had brought forward the question on the present Vote, which dealt with the provision for Divine Service. If there was an increase in the number of Catholic chaplains sent out to India, they would be available wherever they were wanted; and he believed that there would not be any hesitation on the part of most worthy men in Ireland and in this country to go out to India, in case of necessity, for that purpose. In regard to the differences between different sections of the Catholic Church, to which the hon. and gallant Member for Kincardineshire (Sir George Balfour) referred, he believed they were much less important than the hon. and gallant Member appeared to think; and if any differences of that kind required to be smoothed over, why not transport the faithful Errington to India? This was a very important question; and although it was in the power of the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War to say that, strictly speaking, they could not go into details upon the matter on the present Vote, still the fact was widely known to hon. Members representing Ireland that the difficulty in providing Catholic chaplains to minister to the spiritual wants of Catholic soldiers serv- 796 ing abroad greatly increased the difficulty of recruiting the Army in Ireland. In the case of the Protestant chaplains, the Government was able to find English-speaking clergymen in abundance; and there could be no difficulty as to their power of speaking to Protestant soldiers in a language that was intelligible to them. If the Government found any difficulty in providing English-speaking chaplains from England, he could assure them they would get plenty of volunteers from the ranks of the Irish Catholic priesthood. He trusted, therefore, that more attention would be paid to the matter than appeared to have been done hitherto, if he might judge from the speech of the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War. He had been glad to hear the noble Marquess express indignation at the idea of sending out an undue proportion of Irish Catholic soldiers abroad; but, although the noble Marquess doubted the fact, he (Mr. O'Donnell) was satisfied that it was correct. That, however, was not the time to enter into details; but he would be prepared to give details, either privately to the noble Marquess, or in any debate which might be raised in the House. The evil had been growing for some time, and attention required to be paid to it. Although there could be no doubt of the admiration felt for the fighting qualities of Irish soldiers, he, for one, thought that a fair chance ought to be given to their valorous fellow-citizens from England and Scotland for doing their duty also.
§ SIR ARTHUR HAYTER
said, he wished to state, in answer to the question of the hon. Member for Clare (Mr. O'Shea), that the Roman Catholic chaplains were named by the Roman Catholic Bishops, and not by the Government. He was afraid that in discussing the Vote the Committee had rather strayed away from the subject before them, because the question of chaplains in India formed no part of it. He might observe, however, that there was no foundation in fact for the statement that there was any disproportion between the number of Roman Catholic chaplains, in comparison with the number of Roman Catholic soldiers, and those of other religious denominations. The total number of Protestant soldiers, according to the last annual Return, was 60,000, and the number of chaplains was 62; the number of 797 Catholic soldiers was 18,000, and the number of Roman Catholic chaplains 17; the number of Presbyterian soldiers was 7,500, and the number of Presbyterian chaplains 7. One-fifth of the soldiers were Roman Catholic, and one-fifth of the entire number of chaplains were also Roman Catholics. As a matter of fact, the proportion was about one chaplain to every 1,000 soldiers in each case. He might add that an additional Roman Catholic chaplain had recently been appointed at Gibraltar. He could assure the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) that the matter should be further looked into by the War Office and the Secretary of State for India; and if there was anything to complain of a remedy should be found. He hoped the hon. Member would be satisfied with that assurance, and would now allow the Vote to be taken.
§ MR. BLAKE
said, he wished to say a word in regard to the observations which the hon. and gallant Member for the County of Cork (Colonel Colthurst) had addressed against himself (Mr. Blake) and his hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell). The hon. and gallant Member spoke of their denunciation of the Catholic priests in India. That observation was most unwarrantable and unjust. There had been no denunciation of any kind. His hon. Friend and himself had spoken in becoming terms of these excellent, zealous, and holy men; and the only thing they had said in relation to them, as a matter of objection, was that they were indifferent English scholars. He believed it was a fact that a considerable number of the chaplains who attended to the religious wants of the troops spoke indifferent English, and some of them hardly any English at all. He remembered, on one occasion, being in company with a Polish priest on the Indus, who was fulfilling the duties of chaplain to the Roman Catholic soldiers, though he did not speak a word of English. He was, nevertheless, a most excellent man; and he (Mr. Blake) only instanced the case as an illustration of a good many ones of a similar character. A great number of Poles and Frenchmen had gone out to India from the most laudable motives, in consequence of the persecution against the Roman Catholic priesthood in Poland and Franco. That persecution had been the cause of a very large number of foreign priests 798 going out to India; and many of them, to his own knowledge, hardly spoke one word of English. Their sermons, owing to this cause—although he had no wish to speak of them with the slightest disrespect—were sometimes positively ridiculous. The soldiers and their wives frequently complained to him that some of the chaplains could not give consolation to the dying, or instruction to the children, in consequence of not knowing their language sufficiently. The only question raised by his hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) had reference to the inadequacy of the number of English-speaking chaplains. There was, however, another question which had also been raised, which ought to receive the attention of Her Majesty's Government; and that was the insufficiency of the pay received by the Roman Catholic chaplains.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
thought that this was a question which would be much more properly discussed upon the Indian Estimates; and he trusted that the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) would bring it up when those Estimates were before the House. The hon. Baronet (Sir Arthur Hayter) had stated that there was this year an addition to the list of Roman Catholic chaplains, and that a new chaplain had been appointed at Gibraltar. He would suggest to the hon. Gentleman the desirability and propriety of also establishing an English-speaking Catholic chaplain at Aden. He had more than once heard from officers coming back from India and China with sick Catholic soldiers—either going down the Red Sea to Aden, or coming from the Persian Gulf—who could obtain no religious consolation, because there was no English-speaking priest at that station. On many occasions officers had clubbed together, and, at their own expense, sent out mules and donkey boys in search of a priest who lived in the country some miles from Aden, in order to bring him to minister to the spiritual wants of some dying English or Irish soldier. The Portuguese chaplain was not sufficiently conversant with the English language, and, therefore, the services of a Roman Catholic chaplain were practically nil. He believed he had brought this matter before the Government on previous 799 occasions; but he had not heard that anything had been done in regard to it, and it was, unquestionably, a very great hardship. The men were expected to; fight like heroes in maintaining our Empire in India; and in return they were allowed to die like dogs, without the religious ministrations which were allowed to their Protestant countrymen.
§ COLONEL COLTHURST
said, he, wished to say a word in reply to the remarks which had fallen from the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Blake). He was sorry if he had wounded the hon. Gentleman's susceptibilities; and he would substitute the word "depreciation" for "denunciation." His hon. Friend said that he (Colonel Colthurst) knew nothing of the subject; but he had been many years in the Army, and had spoken a great deal upon this matter to officers and men who had been in India, and who knew quite as much about the matter as the hon. Member did. He had found very few complaints of want of knowledge of the English language on the part of the Roman Catholic chaplains; and the best remedy for that would be to make more liberal arrangements. As regarded the question of chaplains on board the troop ships, the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War said it was a matter for the Admiralty. It had been brought under the notice of the Admiralty; and it had been passed on from the Admiralty to the War Office, from the War Office to the India Office, I then from the India Office to the Admiralty back again, and so on, back-wards and forwards. He thought there would be no real difficulty if these Departments would lay their heads together, and come to a conclusion as to the provision that was necessary. Ships were constantly coming home with invalids, and they ought to be accompanied by a Roman Catholic priest speaking the English language. He hoped his hon. Friend the Financial Secretary for War would give an assurance that this important subject would be taken into consideration, and brought under the notice of the Secretaries of State for the different Departments.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
said, that, although the hon. and gallant Member for Cork (Colonel Colthurst) had made an explanation of his previous remark, he was a little unfortunate in the word 800 he had substituted for "denunciation." He had used the word "depreciation," which was quite as little called for. There had been no attempt whatever, on the part of his hon. Friends on those Benches, to depreciate the character of the Roman Catholic priesthood who ministered to the wants of Roman Catholic soldiers in India. There could be no depreciation in saying that a man who was not born in England, and had had no opportunity of learning the English language, did not speak that language thoroughly. The hon. and gallant Member had had no personal experience of his own; but, nevertheless, he gave his opinion in opposition to the experience gathered by his hon. Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. Blake) on the spot, which was, that the want of English-speaking Catholic chaplains was largely complained of by the Roman Catholic soldiers as a very great grievance. As to the differences of opinion among the Roman Catholic Bishops in India which the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Sir George Balfour) had hinted at, he could assure him that he had mistaken for jealousy and difference of opinion that which was a principle of discipline in the Catholic Church. There was no doubt the subject was somewhat involved, and that difficulties laid in the way of a satisfactory arrangement; but these were matters which might easily be taken in hand and got over. The proposal of the hon. and gallant Member for Cork (Colonel Colthurst) was, that the only way to meet the difficulty was to send out to India chaplains from this country; but the question was one of Church discipline, and the Bishops were very jealous of their rights, and he doubted whether they would feel disposed, to give facilities to chaplains who were sent out, not by the Ecclesiastical Body, but by Her Majesty's Government. It would be better, he thought, to communicate with the Bishops in India, and see whether they would not find it worth their while to keep, at the principal stations where soldiers were placed, a certain number of English-speaking chaplains. He had no doubt that the Bishops would be glad to co-operate with the Indian Government, and would gladly bring English-speaking chaplains, when the necessity arose, into communication with English-speaking soldiers serving in any part of their Bishoprics.
said, the hon. Member for the Queen's County (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) had raised a question as to the appointment of a Roman Catholic chaplain at Aden, so that soldiers coming home from India should have the ministrations of a Roman Catholic chaplain at that place, if it were found necessary. The appointment of a Roman Catholic chaplain would rest with the Indian Government, and he would take care that the attention of the Secretary of State for India was drawn to the statement which had been made. There was one point in the remarks of the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) which he ought to refer to. The hon. Member contended that a distinction was drawn between English and Irish soldiers with regard to service abroad. Now, it was quite impossible that such a distinction could be drawn in selecting soldiers for foreign service, because they were sent by roster, and it was quite a chance whether they were English, Irish or Scotch. He could assure the hon. Member that if any case of the kind could be pointed out to his noble Friend the Secretary of State for War, it would be visited with the most severe censure. He trusted that, after this explanation, the House would be allowed to proceed with the Vote.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he believed it to be a fact that the number of Irish Catholic soldiers in the Army sent out for service abroad was much larger, in proportion to their total number, than either English or Scotch soldiers. If chaplains were attached to a particular regiment, then they would go from place to place with the regiment. That would be a great advantage, because the chaplain would become acquainted with the different members of the regiment to which he was attached, and the result would be that he would have complete control over the men, and a knowledge of their different peculiarities of character. It appeared to him that the present system was so arranged as to provide the Army with chaplains in the worst manner that could be fixed upon. The Government sent out troops to India without chaplains at all, and then they provided no proper remuneration for the services of the clergymen they employed in India. If the English or Irish Bishops were asked to recommend chaplains, there would be no difficulty in 802 obtaining the services of English-speaking chaplains, notwithstanding that the persons sent out would necessarily be deprived of preferment, and of all chance of becoming public men. It certainly seemed to him that the present system of supplying chaplains who could not speak a word of English to English-speaking soldiers was most absurd. He agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) as to the importance of giving instruction to the children of soldiers in the Army; but it was perfectly impossible that the children could receive any instruction from chaplains who could not speak a word of English. It was very well known that the men who enlisted in the Army were, as a rule, men possessed of a small amount of education, and especially of a small amount of religious education. It was, therefore, most desirable that the influence which proper chaplains could exercise over such men should be brought to bear, so that the men themselves might be benefited in their moral life. Even from a selfish point of view, that was a most desirable object for the Government to attain, seeing that it would make the men less likely to get into difficulties and misconduct themselves. The more highly trained a man's moral and religious principles were, the less probable it was that he would be led away by bad companions, and be guilty of breaches of discipline and other misconduct. This was not the first time the question had been raised, both in regard to the Army and the Navy, and, on the last occasion, many promises had been made by the Government of future improvement. Those promises, nevertheless, had been constantly broken, and no substantial improvement had taken place. He thought the best course would be for his hon. Friend to move the rejection of the whole of the Vote, in order to see if the Government were not able to make some substantial bonâ fide promise, of which some account might be taken. Until that was done, he entertained no sanguine anticipation of being able to see any real reform effected, and no satisfactory settlement could be arrived at until a substantial promise could be extorted from the Government.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, that in regard to the establishment of a sufficient number of chaplains, he would remind 803 the Government that by the scheme now in force in the Army there was an opportunity of entirely recasting the method of appointing chaplains, because, under the scheme for the localization of the Army into practically three Armies, an English, a Scotch, and an Irish Army, the Irish Army would be almost entirely composed of Catholics, and it would be only natural for the Irish regiments to take Catholic chaplains with them whenever they were ordered for service abroad. He thought it would not be very difficult to come to a permanent arrangement with the Catholic ecclesiastical authorities, by means of which special faculties would be granted to the Roman Catholic chaplains appointed to the Irish Catholic regiments. He did not know whether the formation of the Army into three Divisions was actually contemplated under the original scheme—"Childers' scheme," as it was called—but, if so, they would soon have a substantial Irish Army, and it would then be economical, as well as expedient, to supply the Army directly with chaplains. It might be a little too soon to carry out a scheme of that kind in the present year; but, in the course of a very few years, the progress of localization would make it incumbent upon the Government to consider the existence of a separate and distinct Irish Army, and to legislate for it.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (2.) £36,900, Administration of Military Law.
§ COLONEL ALEXANDER
said, he desired to call the attention of the Committee and of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General (Mr. Osborne Morgan) to the very large number of sentences by general courts martial of penal servitude which had been carried out last year in the Army stationed in the United Kingdom, no trusted that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would be able to give some explanation of the cause of this increase of the number of sentences of penal servitude inflicted last year over the year 1881. Whereas, in the year 1881, only 11 sentences of penal servitude were carried out in the Army at homo, in the year 1882, no fewer than 86 sentences of penal servitude were inflicted, or eight times as many as in 1881. In point of fact, nearly as many sentences 804 were carried out in the Army at home as were carried out both in the Army at home and abroad together in the year 1881. He must remind the Committee that at home only one description of court martial—namely, a general court martial—could pass a sentence of penal servitude, and, in former times, it was seldom ever necessary to have recourse to so high a Court. He, therefore, thought it did not speak much for the conduct of the Army at home last year, that it had been found necessary so frequently to hold a general court martial with a view of obtaining sentences of penal servitude. They had heard a great deal lately about the better class of recruits they were now obtaining in the Army. The fact he had just mentioned seemed rather to belie that statement. He did not speak of minor courts martial, such as district and regimental courts martial, of which there were a considerable number, seeing that the test of the discipline of a regiment was not exactly the number of courts martial in the Court Martial Returns, because he knew that very many commanding officers abstained from trying a man when they ought try him by court martial, merely in order that he might be able to point to a clean court martial sheet; but a general court martial was quite another thing. When sentences of penal servitude were passed, and carried out, the soldier in fact became lost to the Army, and was virtually expelled from Her Majesty's Service. He, therefore, hoped his right hon. and learned Friend the Judge Advocate General would be able to give some explanation of the very large number of 86 sentences of penal servitude which had been carried out in the Army stationed in the United Kingdom.
§ THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL (Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN)
said, he was glad that his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Alexander) had asked the question, because it gave him an opportunity of contradicting a statement which had been made in the public papers in regard to the Return to which his hon. and gallant Friend referred. It was quite true that the number of sentences of penal servitude had been very much increased during the last year, but that was because penal servitude had this year been awarded for offences for which only imprisonment was 805 awarded formerly—namely, offences under the 32nd section of the Army Regulation Act with reference to enlistment in the Force after having been discharged with disgrace. Formerly, that offence was punished by imprisonment only, and the offenders were tried by district court martial; but, in consequence of the frequency of the offence, it had been thought proper—he said nothing as to the justice or policy of the change—to try the men by general court martial, for the purpose of giving them penal servitude. The offence itself had decreased, but the severity of the punishment had increased. With one single exception, the Return, so far from showing an increase of crime, showed a remarkable decrease of crime. He had taken some pains to get the figures accurately, and he had compared them with those of previous years. The figures were these. Number of courts martial at home of all kinds in 1881, 9,451; in 1882, 8,319; number of offences for which men were tried at home in 1881, 13,324; in 1882, 11,927; showing a reduction of about 11 per cent. But that did not represent the whole of the decrease during that time, because the total average strength of the Army at home was larger than it was in the previous year. The total average strength of the Army at home, in the year 1881, was only 87,982; whereas in 1882, it was 90,075, showing a 2 per cent increase in the number of men in the Army, which must be added to the percentage of decrease in the number of punishments, thus showing a reduction of rather more than 13 per cent. What was even more satisfactory was, that there had been a reduction almost everywhere, with only a single exception, in every kind of crime. For instance, the number of desertions had fallen from 1,393 in 1881 to 1,383 in 1882. That was not a very large reduction, but still it was a reduction. The offences against enlistment regulations were in 1881, 1,133; in 1882, 854, showing a largo diminution of cases of drunkenness on duty; there were in 1881, 1,004; and in 1882, 969; of simple cases of drunkenness, in 1881, 932; in 1882, 800; of cases of making away with necessaries, which was a very common offence, there were, in 1881, 2,212; in 1882, 1,873; of cases of absence without leave, in 1881, 1,871; and in 1882, 1,634. He gave these 806 figures, because he thought they were important, as showing that there had been a substantial decrease in almost every kind of crime in the Army. He was very glad to have had an opportunity of giving this explanation, because a certain class of writers had attempted to make out that the conduct of the Army was going from bad to worse, and he thought the figures he had given afforded a strong proof that the charge was not only unpatriotic but untrue.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he had fully intended to reserve the remarks he was about to make until a subsequent Vote was reached; but, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General (Mr. Osborne Morgan) had gone very closely into the question of punishments, he was bound to take the present opportunity of saying that as he could not agree with the figures the right hon. and learned Gentleman had put forward, he must, therefore, demur to the statement he had just made. With the permission of the Committee, he would give the numbers of courts martial, and the various punishments inflicted in the Army, taken from the annual Returns, the only source of information on the subject. He had taken great trouble to compare accurately the Returns of 1872, and those of 1877, the medium year, with the Returns for the year 1881, and with the Return in respect of the Army at home for 1882. They had not received any Return from abroad for the year 1882, and why that Return had not been produced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who knew all that was taking place with regard to this matter, he was quite unable to conceive. He was certainly of opinion that the Return in question should have been laid upon the Table of the House, because upon the thorough understanding of this subject depended the efficiency and well-being of the British Army. It was professed that we had a better class of men, that crime had diminished, in short, that in our Army we had everything that could be required. He had no wish to depreciate anything that had been done. This was no Party question, and whatever he might have to say upon it now, and in the future, would be in the interest of the Service and the country alone. The result of his comparison was very different from that arrived at 807 by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General, for what did he find? In 1872, the number of courts martial at home was 9,408; in 1877, 11,145; increase 18 per cent; in 1881, 10,706, increase 14 per cent; in 1882, 9,243, decrease 2 per cent over the number in 1872. In 1872, the number of courts martial abroad was 5,924; in 1877, 5,792; in 1881, 7,621. He was bound to admit that, under this head—court martials at home— there had been a decrease last year; but it was a very small one indeed. In 1872, the number of desertions and offences relating to enlistment at home was 2,271; in 1877, 3,211, increase 41 per cent; in 1881, 2,871, increase 26 per cent; in 1882, 2,402, increase 6 per cent over 1872. In 1872, the number of desertions and offences relating to enlistment abroad was 206; in 1877, 285, increase 38 per cent; in 1881, 280, increase 36 per cent over 1872. The number of cases of violence to superiors, insubordination, and neglect of orders at home in the year 1872 was 1,153; in 1877, 3,777; in 1881, 1,862, increase 61 per cent; in 1882, 1810, increase 57 per cent over 1872. The number of cases under this head abroad was for 1872, 898; 1877, 900; and in 1881, 1,502, or an increase of 67 per cent over 1872. The number of offences under the head of quitting or sleeping on post at home for the year 1872 was 202; for 1877, 255, increase 26 per cent; 1881, 380, increase 88 percent; in 1882, 322, increase 59 per cent over 1872. Oases of drunkenness on duty at home were 470 in 1872; 747 in 1877, increase 59 per cent; 1,232 in 1881, increase 162 percent, and 1,077 in 1882, or an increase of 129 per cent over the number in 1872. ["No, no!"] The right hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to signify some doubt as to the accuracy of these Returns; but if they were inaccurate, he would ask what was the use of publishing these delusive volumes every year. He came now to cases of ordinary drunkenness at home, of which there were 1,000 in 1872; 1,419 in 1877, increase 42 per cent; 1,059 in 1881, increase 6 per cent; 889 in 1882, decrease 11 per cent as compared with 1872. He was very glad to have reached a point at which he could corroborate the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The number of cases of 808 disgraceful conduct at home in 1872 was 403; 659 in 1877, increase 65 per cent; 33 J in 1881, decrease 16 per cent; and 324 in 1882, or a decrease from the number in 1872 of 36 per cent. In the case of the offence of absence without leave, the result was very much the same, there having been a decrease of 33 per cent for the year 1882 as compared with 1872. Under the head of making away with necessaries there were at home 2,038 offences in 1872; 4,255 in 1877, increase 109 per cent; 2,627 in 1881; and 2,081 in 1882, increase of 2 per cent. The Committee should understand that he had made these calculations upon an average of 100,000 not upon the exact number of men in the Army, so as to avoid unnecessary difficulty, as the Army in 1872 was 99,306. He now came to the punishments inflicted of penal servitude. There were at home in 1872 12 cases; 16 in 1877; 12 in 1881, and 86 in 1882. Of penal servitude inflicted abroad there were 59 cases in 1872; 35 in 1877; in 1881, no fewer than 87, or an increase over the number in 1872 of 47 per cent. In 1872, the number of cases of reduction to the ranks was at home 1,001; 1,171 in 1877; 1,830 in 1881, increase 83 percent; and in 1882, there were 1,337 cases; or an increase of 34 per cent over the number in 1872. The number of cases of this kind abroad were 1,131 in 1872; 915 in 1877; and 1,582 in 1881, or an increase of 40 per cent as compared with the number in 1872. In 1872, the number of cases of reduction to the ranks with imprisonment was 81; 169 in 1877, increase 102 per cent; 293 in 1881, increase 260 per cent; and in 1882, there were 219 cases, or an increase of 170 per cent as compared with the number in 1872. It might be said that corporal punishment had nothing to do with the matter. But it was in force in 1872, and certainly existed abroad in 1877, although the Returns for those years were absolutely nil. In 1872, the number of solitary confinements and imprisonments at home were 5,018; 9,381 in 1877; 8,161 in 1881; and in 1882 they were 7,272, which represented an increase of 45 per cent over the number in 1872. Under this head, abroad, there were 4,161 in 1872, 4,315 in 1877, and 5,206 in 1881. Having gone through the Returns of punishments for serious offences, he 809 would not trouble the Committee with a comparison of the numbers in the case of minor punishments. He could not, however, help thinking that if anyone would take the trouble to read an article which appeared in The Times with regard to punishments in the Army, he would come to the conclusion, notwithstanding the anxiety of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General to show there had been a decrease of crime, that the small decrease which had taken place in some instances did not tell favourably for the soldiers, when we took into account the great advantages that had been bestowed upon the Service, and from which great results had been expected.
§ THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL (Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN)
said, that having again compared the Returns for 1882 with those for the year 1881, he was in a position to state to the Committee that the account he had given of the state of crime in the Army, before the hon. and gallant Baronet opposite (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) rose, was absolutely accurate. He pointed out that the Return for 1882 was necessarily incomplete, because it only referred to soldiers serving at home. The Returns showed a diminution of every description of crime. The total number of offences committed by soldiers at home in 1881 was 13,324; whereas in 1882, it was 11,927. The total number of home courts martial in 1881 was 9,421, as against 8,393 in 1882, showing a decrease of 11 per cent, or, taking into account the increased number of men then on home service, a diminution of 13 per cent. If the hon. and gallant Baronet would look at page 49 of the Report for 1881, he would find the number of courts martial held since 1868 had been decreasing, and it would appear that, so far as it went, the Return for 1882 was smaller than for any other year, except one, since that date. In 1868, there were held at home 12,701 courts martial, and though they subsequently fell, they rose again in 1877 to 10,870; in 1878, to 11,751; in 1879, they fell to 9,729; in 1880, to 9,108; in 1881, they were 9,421; and in 1882, they stood at 8,319. He thought these figures would bear out the statement he had made, that, with the single exception of one year, the number of courts martial held in the United Kingdom last year was the smallest on record.
§ LORD EUSTACE CECIL
said, he thought his hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) had done good service in drawing attention to the Returns furnished to the House on the subject of Army offences and punishments. He (Lord Eustace Cecil) would not, however, go into the question between his hon. and gallant Friend and the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Osborne Morgan), and would merely remark that it was unfortunate that the matter had been discussed without full Returns, and especially in the absence of the Returns from abroad for the year 1882. The Committee must bear in mind that a great many crimes committed by the 20,000 men who composed the Army in Egypt before starting, were adjudicated on board ship. There must also have been a large number of offences committed by the Army in Egypt of which the Committee had no account whatever. In saying that, he was casting no slur on the gallant Army which served there; but it must be recollected that corporal punishment had been abolished two years ago, and that sundry other punishments had been devised in lieu of it, although he had not been able to make out exactly what they were. Unless they had a Return of the number of courts martial held abroad last year, together with the crimes, and the punishments inflicted for them, more especially the extra ordinary punishments —such as penal servitude—the Committee could come to no conclusion as to whether the abolition of corporal punishment had had a good effect or otherwise in the case of the Army when on active service. His hon. and gallant Friend had called attention to the fact, and he himself had also observed, that there had been a great increase in the number of punishments under the head of penal servitude. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, as he understood him, implied that penal servitude was a substitute for imprisonment; but, surely, the former was the more severe punishment of the two. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, being a lawyer, must know that two years' imprisonment was the punishment for misdemeanour, and that penal servitude was inflicted in the case of felony. He believed that the same rule held good in the Army. Having, in his time, sat at a good many courts martial, he knew that penal ser- 811 vitude was very properly looked upon as a fearful punishment, and that it was never inflicted except for very grave and serious crimes. The increase of punishment under this head showed that, at all events, the officers had had some difficulty in maintaining discipline amongst the men, and keeping that good order in the regiments which everyone desired to see in the British Army. Of course, it was not for him to say that the figures of the right hon. and learned Gentleman were in any way wrong. He had not been into the question so closely as his hon. and gallant Friend; but, having listened to his statement, he was bound to say that there were still some points which demanded explanation, and which could not be satisfactorily cleared up until the Return of the number of crimes committed abroad, and the punishments inflicted for them, was laid upon the Table of the House.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said, that anyone who had listened to the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Sir Walter B. Barttelot), in which this question of the effect of the abolition of corporal punishment was raised, and the answer made to it by the right hon. and learned Judge Advocate General, must have been almost amused at the diametrically opposite conclusions which they drew from precisely the same Returns. He thought that, perhaps, one cause of the difference between his hon. and gallant Friend and the right hon. and learned Judge Advocate General—two Gentlemen quite capable of accurately extracting information from a Government Return—was that his hon. and gallant Friend had adopted, for the sake of convenience, a fixed numerical basis on which to found his calculations of the percentage of increase or decrease in the amount of crime and punishment in the Army. Whatever the year, whatever the actual strength of the Army, his hon. and gallant Friend assumed that he was dealing with 100,000 men, so that the comparison of one year with another could always be made on the same principle; but, of course, the result of the plan adopted by his hon. and gallant Friend, which was convenient for many reasons, was to produce a discrepancy between his figures and those of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General. But, apart from that explainable difference, there 812 remained a large amount of discrepancy between his hon. and gallant Friend and the right hon. Gentleman the Judge Advocate General which could not be thus accounted for. he attributed it, however, partly to the fact that, while the right hon. and learned Gentleman only made a comparison in respect of last year, his hon. and gallant Friend had dealt with the state of the Army during the last 10 years, and had pressed upon the consideration of the Committee the conclusion he had drawn from the comparison of the Returns during that period. He (Mr. A. J. Balfour) was obliged to confess that no answer had yet been made to his hon. and gallant Friend's contention, that though within the last 10 years a new Army system had been adopted, that privileges and advantages had been conferred upon recruits, and that, in consequence, the country had a right to expect men of a better class to enter the Army, nevertheless, this result had not been attained. His hon. and gallant Friend had pointed out that if you take the years 1872, 1877, 1881, and 1882, you will find an increase in the number of crimes under almost every head, and that, corresponding with this, there was an increase, as admitted by the Judge Advocate General, both in the quantity and the severity of the punishment inflicted. The conclusion drawn from that was that, notwithstanding all their endeavours to render the Military Service attractive, the men who joined it were either of a worse class, or were dealt with in a less successful manner than our soldiers were treated before. From one of those positions it was impossible to escape. If hon. Members looked back they would find that, during the last 10 years, there had been in respect of the Army, both at home and abroad, a large increase of crime and punishment. He hoped the right hon. and learned Gentleman having charge of that part of the subject would furnish the Committee with the conclusion he had framed, not upon the comparison of the Returns of the years 1881 and 1882, but upon the comparison of all the Returns of crime and punishment in the Army for the last 10 years.
SIR WALTER B. BARTELLOT
said, it was only fair to assume, in comparisons of this kind, that the Army numbered 100,000 men—they would find 813 that, in 1872, the Army was, as nearly as possible, 100,000 strong—and, therefore, it was utterly impossible to make a fair comparison unless they considered its present strength 100,000 men. He ventured to say that no record could be produced that was more condemnatory of the system which at present existed than the record of crime he had produced to-night, which, though it might be inaccurate in certain minor points, was generally accurate. He challenged the noble Lord the Secretary of State for War to get up and say that the crime of the Army had not steadily increased since 1872, when the old system prevailed. What with the new appliances and methods of making the Army a perfect machine, they had not yet been successful in doing so.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he quite agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) that this ought not to be, in the slightest degree, a subject of Party discussion. He believed that the actual facts, as presented in the annual Return, bore out the conclusion the War Office had come to; and he contended that, without knowing what were the exact circumstances of particular years, what were the changes, what were the circumstances under which the Army was serving in one particular year or another, it was almost impossible to arrive at an accurate conclusion. He had endeavoured to follow the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but he was unable to call to mind the exceptionable circumstances of the first year to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman had referred. He, however, found that the number of courts martial in the first year recorded—1865—were 109 per 1,000 men at home and abroad; in the next year, 125 per 1,000 men; in the next year, 124 per 1,000 men; and in 1868, without any apparent cause, the number had risen to 144 per 1,000 men. The number then considerably fell, and again apparently without cause; while it had increased in the last two years. Until one had had the opportunity of going into the matter thoroughly, it would be impossible to arrive at a just conclusion. He, however, entirely agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the subject was one of the greatest possible importance, and fully deserving the attention of the Committee and those who were in charge of the Army.
said, he thought that every word the noble Marquess had said had only strengthened the case of his hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) in pressing upon the Government the necessity of giving—which he (Colonel Stanley) did not think the noble Marquess opposed—some Return which would really show how the figures stood in regard to crime in the Army. As the noble Marquess had stated, no doubt there was great force in the assertion that the circumstances of the various years differed, and that some explanation could be given to show obvious causes why figures differed; but there was an insuperable difficulty in the way of giving the figures. The figures were given for the use of those who were, generally speaking, conversant with the general position of affairs; and, therefore, a marginal note to show what proportion of the Army was not in actual service, and to show what change had taken place in Military Law, would be all that would be required by his hon. and gallant Friend. It was a great advantage that the Committee should have a speech on a subject of this kind from a person who was not connected with the Army, such as his hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Mr. A. J. Balfour); and he (Colonel Stanley) hoped that they might understand from his noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) that if his hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) pressed for the Return, and they were able to agree upon its coin-mom form, the Government would assent to give a Return, showing the state of crime in various years, with such explanations that might be necessary to bring out the accurate facts of the case, it being borne in mind it was a matter of vital importance to the Army. He assumed, apart from Party considerations on this matter, it was of vital importance to show whether the reforms that had taken place in the past 10 or 12 years had been attended by the result that Parliament was led to believe would attend them, or whether they had been pursuing throughout a mistaken policy.
§ COLONEL ALEXANDER
said, that before the Vote was put, perhaps he could explain one point that was mooted by his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot)—namely, the word "nil" under the head of "corporal punishment," Upon 815 the Chairman's (Sir Arthur Otway's) own Motion, in 1867, the power of inflicting corporal punishment was struck out of the Mutiny Act, except when the Army was actually serving in the field. He thought it right to call attention to the numerous cases of penal servitude which occurred last year. There never had been a year, for the last 200 years, in which penal servitude had been inflicted so largely at home—86 cases of penal servitude, inflicted at home in one year, was entirely unprecedented. It should be borne in mind that when a man had undergone an ordinary term of imprisonment he could return to his regiment; but if he was sentenced to penal servitude, he passed from the Army, and virtually became a convict.
§ THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL (Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN)
said, he had stated before that almost every one of these sentences of penal servitude wore awarded for crimes for which, formerly, imprisonment was awarded. Formerly, men re-enlisting without declaring the circumstance were sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and then discharged with ignominy; but now they were sentenced to penal servitude, and then discharged with ignominy.
§ SIR ARTHUR HAYTER
pointed out that he made out his Return quite separately from his right hon. and learned Friend the Judge Advocate General, in regard to the years 1881–2. He had in his hand a Return, or an analysis, of the crime in the Army during those two years; and he was able to follow, item by item, and crime by crime, his right hon. and learned Friend's statement, though he had not seen it previously; and he found that his Return exactly corresponded with his right hon. and learned Friend's. In 1881, the number of courts martial held at home was 9,421; and in 1882, 8,319. In the two years there was a decrease of total of-fences for which men were tried at home; for the number in 1881 was 13,324, and in 1882, 11,927, a decrease of 1,397. The number of sentences passed in 1881 was 9,251, and in 1882, 8,156. For drunkenness, the court martials were, in 1881, 932; and in 1882, 800; a decrease of 132. In 1881, there were 1,889 cases of absence without leave, and 1,639 cases in 1882. There were, in 1881, 1,393 courts martial for desertion, and 1,308 in 1882. For offences 816 in relation to enlistment, the courts martial were 1,133 in 1881, and 854 in 1882. For violence to superiors, 875 courts martial were held in 1881, and 753 in 1882. In 1881, the number of offences for being drunk on duty were 1,084, and in 1882, 969. Of making away with uniform the number of offences in 1881 was 2,312, and in 1882, 1,873. He might add that, in 1881, the total strength of the Army at home, exclusive of officers and warrant officers, was 87,992, while in 1882 it amounted to 90,075. He assured the Committee that those figures were absolutely accurate. The only reason why he was not able to produce the figures with regard to the men abroad was that they had not received the particulars; as soon as the Returns were received, they would be included in the annual Statement, and would be at once presented to the House.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
asked what had been done with regard to the Office of the Deputy Judge Advocate in Dublin? He would like to know also how the work, formerly done by the Legal Secretary to the War Office, was now performed.
§ THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL (Mr. OSBORNE MORGAN)
said, that last year his right hon. Friend the late Secretary of State for War (Mr. Childers) and himself thought they could reduce the staff by doing away with the deputy Judge Advocate in Dublin; but Sir Thomas Steel was so opposed to the abolition of the Office that, as a matter of fact, that Office had never been discontinued. In answer to the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. A. J. Balfour), he would take the opportunity of stating a fact, which was not generally known, that for the last three years the sum of £1,600 had been saved to the country annually, in consequence of the work formerly done by the Legal Secretary to the War Office, Mr. Clode, being taken over by the Judge Advocate General and his staff.
§ DR. LYONS
said, it was not easy for the public to ascertain to what extent the strength of the Army varied year by year; and, therefore, it would be as well that in the Return there should be a statement of the percentage of the increasing of the various crimes. There was, undoubtedly, a very warm feeling in the country upon the subject; the 817 public believed that the Army was improving in the general moral character of the men, and that all that had taken place recently had had the effect of improving the tone of the men of the Army. He trusted that nothing would transpire to shako that belief which the people had.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (3.) £520,000, for Militia Pay and Allowances.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
said, there were one or two matters arising out of this Vote which he wished to bring before the Committee and the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War (the Marquess of Hartington). He thought it was plain, from the Report of the Committee on Recruiting, that the Militia this year was in a much less satisfactory state than it had been in any previous time since its organization; there were, in point of fact, 12,200 less effectives in the Militia than there were two years ago, and he should like to hear an expression of opinion as to the reasons for that alarming decrease. For his own part, he was inclined to attribute it to the new system of training the recruits. That point was referred to in the Report of the Inspector General of Recruiting. The great evil of the present system seemed to be that there were two systems at work—two competing systems. Under the old system, the recruits were drilled with their comrades at head-quarters; but now, a change had been made, whereby they were drilled by themselves. He was aware there was an apparent saving. The recruit who enlisted formerly received 10s. bounty; and it was very true that, occasionally, he pocketed his bounty and never came up for training at all. Under the present system, he received nothing at all, unless he remained for the full period of training of 63 days. What resulted? The desertions under the now system seemed to be almost the same as under the old—namely, about 5 per cent; and, as a mere question of economy, what was the result? Under the old system, a recruit received 10s. on enlistment; and, therefore, when he disappeared, he cost the country 10s., and no more; now he cost the country, not only his bounty, £1, but his daily pay and the cost of his kit; in fact, it might be safely taken, that 818 whereas 9 per cent of the desertions under the old system cost the country a sum of £1,250 a-year, the same ratio of desertions under the new system cost the country no less than £25,000; therefore, the apparent saving gained by insuring the re-appearance of recruits after enlistment, was totally lost by the increased cost of recruits under the new system. And the country was not a bit better for the change; it was no advantage to the country that a man should be trained for 63 days and then disappear. The main evil of the existing state of things seemed to lie in this—the competition between the two systems, and he could give an instance of his own experience. His own regiment was the 4th Battalion of the Royal Scotch Fusiliers, the territorial district of which regiment comprised the counties of Ayrshire and Wigton. The Renfrewshire Militia, now called the 3rd Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, whose head-quarters were at Stirling, was trained and recruited in Ayrshire; therefore they had comprised in that one episode of Militia training almost the length and breadth of Scotland, because the Renfrewshire Militia, belonging to the head-quarters of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders at Stirling, was sent to train in Ayrshire, where it competed unfairly with the district regiment. It competed unfairly with the district regiment, for the very reason that the regiment was sent from its own head-quarters, its own recruits were sent to be drilled under the old system, and the recruits in the county regiment were drilled under the new system. A recruit, so long as he got his bounty and pay, did not care two-pence whether he belonged to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, or to the Royal Scotch Fusiliers; and the result in this case was, that whereas the 3rd Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was formerly never up to its strength, it was now considerably over it, and the battalion with which it completed, and which up to the last two years had always been above its strength, was now considerably below it. What he desired the noble Marquess to do was to hold out a hope of some equalization of the conditions of recruiting; for the present system seemed to be altogether unfair and undesirable. There was another point 819 to which he wished to draw the attention of the Committee, a point to which he had, in former years, called attention—namely, that of the musketry training in the Militia. He was most unwilling to repeat what he had said in former years; but since last year they had the Report before them of the Committee on Musketry Instruction. In that Report it was stated that the musketry instruction of the Militia was in a most unsatisfactory state, and the causes were not far to seek, for those causes wore set down as want of time, want of instruction, and want of range accommodation. In fact, musketry instruction in the Militia was nothing more nor less than a farce, and a very expensive farce. What was done at present was to give a man 20 rounds of ammunition, which he had simply to fire away in his annual course, imposing on him at the same time most difficult and unreasonable conditions. He had to fire his rounds in a very great hurry. A strong battalion—say, of 800 or 1,000 men—would, under ordinary conditions, take a long time to fire 20 rounds, with due care and attention to principles; but what did they find? He had seen repeatedly men marched down to the range, often a very bad and inadequate range, and the pressure of time had been so great that they had had no opportunity of studying the proper positions; the great thing seemed to be to fire away the ammmunition, and get the Returns made out. The Committee on Musketry Instruction considered that recruits would be trained more perfectly the first year they were out if they were put through a competition similar to that which took place in the Line, and they recommended that an extra three weeks be given for that purpose. When recruits had once been properly trained, which he admitted to be of immense advantage, he should be very glad to hear that some provision had been made for improving their firing. The Committee hoped that the shooting might be kept up at an annual course of 60 rounds per man. That would be a great improvement; but if, under the existing system, a difficulty was felt in completing a course of 20 rounds, how would it be possible to get through a course of 60 rounds. He thought that rather than impose an additional 40 rounds, it would be better to discontinue for a time musketry instruction altogether. The present 820 instruction was perfectly useless and expensive, and by its discontinuance they would, at all events, save the trouble—which was considerable—and the expense. Another course, which he had ventured to suggest on a former occasion, was that alternate annual training might be devoted to drill and musketry instruction, and a third course, to which he himself considered greater objections might be raised, was that the companies should come up singly to headquarters, and be instructed during the non-training portion of the year. That would involve, of course, the men leaving their homes twice a-year instead of once; and he thought that, on the whole, there was no alternative between extending the period of the Militia training and the discontinuance of musketry instruction.
§ COLONEL RUGGLES-BRISE
said, he could say, with some authority, that the Militia in the Eastern Counties was never at so low an ebb as it was at the present moment. There was no doubt that the agricultural depression and the great sparcity of labourers and working men in agricultural districts had had a considerable effect upon recruiting; but the deterioration of the Militia at the present time not only prevailed in regard to the non-commissioned officers and rank and file, but even on the officers. Perhaps he would be allowed to show what was the state of things in his own regiment in the year 1877–8. Under the old system, and before they had the system of brigade depôts, his regiment was 840 strong; under the operation of the brigade depôt system it had been reduced to 600. Now, he would give the House, as shortly as he could, what he thought were some of the reasons for the deterioration of the rank and file in the Militia. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman below him (Colonel Stanley) had stated, very clearly, the views he himself held on this matter. He (Colonel Ruggles-Brise) believed that the taking away of the 10s. gratuity upon enlistment was the main reason of the deterioration, and a greater piece of false economy than that, to his mind, had never been committed in connection with the Force. If 10 per cent, or 15 per cent only, of those who received the 10s. gratuity, never appeared at the training—say, about 500 men in all—it would not cost the country more than about 821 2s. 6d. per head upon those who remained. Boys now came up without gratuity, and deserted after having obtained the bounty and other necessaries, and that was a far greater expense to the country than would be a increase of 10 per cent, or 15 per cent, on the bounties paid to 400 or 500. Another reason for the deterioration of the Militia was the necessity for their coming up for preliminary drill at the time of the enlistment. The result of that had been most unfortunate, particularly upon recruiting in the Eastern Counties. The Government had given the commanding officer no option. He, however, would insist upon the men coming up for their 56 days' preliminary drill, previous to their entering the regiment; but he would not continue the system at present in force. Another thing, which was highly objectionable to the people who would be most likely to join the Force, was that the men were kept at drill during the hay harvest. That was a great grievance, particularly in the Eastern Counties; and he would recommend, for the future, that the men should be called up at a convenient season of the year. By keeping the men up after the hay season had commenced, they were retaining them at one of the most inconvenient seasons—so far as employers of labour were concerned—which could possibly be found. There were other causes for the deterioration of the Militia; and the result of all these things had been a diminution in the number of enlistments. In one district with which he was acquainted the number had fallen from 411 men in 1877–8 to 140 men in 1882–3. Another complaint he had to make with regard to the Militia was with reference to the control the commanding officers now had over the men. The officers were, as a matter of fact, treated as nonentities, and were hardly ever consulted upon any matter affecting the regiment. The officers could not enlist their own recruits; they could not select their own adjutants; they were not consulted on any points whatever. Up to a few years ago, he thought up to the year 1880, every man who made an application for his discharge, made it to his commanding officer all the year round—that was to say, not only during the training season, but all through the year. If the commanding officer thought 822 fit, as he naturally would, in the case of a man who held a lucrative situation which it would be a great disadvantage to him to lose, and it was necessary for the man to leave the Militia, that commanding officer did not hesitate to give a discharge. Now, however, under the Order of July, 1880, the discretionary power was taken away from the commanding officer, and every man who applied for a discharge had to have it. He (Colonel Ruggles-Brise) had found, when he went up to train his regiment in 1882, that 63 men had been discharged without the fact having been brought to his knowledge. Under those circumstances, he had asked for the orders granting the discharges. These were furnished to him, and he found that he had nothing whatever to do with the discharges, and that if the men applied for them, they were to have them. It seemed to him a most monstrous thing to enlist men into the Militia who, after a short service, if they changed their mind, could leave the Force again without difficulty. As he had said, it had always been the custom of commanding officers to give men their discharge, rather than to allow them to lose an advantageous situation; but now, the men who applied for their discharge through any freak of temper or caprice, were to have it. No doubt, a greater number of men had been discharged as medically unfit during the last few years than had been discharged previously. So far as the Army went, no doubt, it was most desirable that they should be careful in selecting the men; but he thought that in the Militia it was not necessary for them to be so particular. There were many slight defects in the temperament and constitution of the men; and it was surely not necessary to lay down the same hard inflexible rules as to men in the Militia as it was in the Army. The authorities, however, seemed to be of a different opinion; and the result of the course they had taken had been to deprive the Force of a great many men. Then, again, the Militia had been weakened through the brigade depôt system; because, whilst formerly if a man who was out of work and wanted a few shillings would enlist for the bounty, he had not that inducement at the present time. What he (Colonel Ruggles-Brise) disliked more than anything else was the recruiting for the Militia being 823 mixed up with the Army recruiting. The Militia commanders had no power whatever to enlist Militiamen, and their own staff were not under their control, except during the training period of the year. As he understood it, the recruiting sergeant sent out for recruits in the Militia and in the Regular Army, got 2s. 6d. for a recruit for the latter, and only 1s. 6d. for one for the Militia. Owing to that, what inducement had a sergeant to make any effort to secure recruits for the Militia? He had none; and the result was, that he cared little about enlisting Militiamen, and went in to get as many of the 2s. 6d. men as he could. Moreover, the Militia sergeants and non-commissioned officers were in a very unsatisfactory position at the present time. Formerly, commanding officers used to get in the Service excellent men from the Line regiments—men who had seen service, and who had good characters, and who had been wont to look to the Militia as a resting-place after a hard service in foreign countries. Now, however, they had no rest at all. Under the brigade depot system, they were employed all the year round; and the work they had to do now, they told him, was far harder than that which they ever had to do in their old regiments. He could assure the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War that the dissatisfaction of these non-commissioned officers was complete. As to the Militia bands, he knew of one case where the brigade colonel at the depôt had insisted on taking control of it. The officer commanding the Militia refused to give the brigade commander that control, on the ground that the instruments belonged to the officers, and not to the Government. That excuse was a valid one, and the bandsmen were not interfered with so far as the instruments were concerned; but they were ordered on parades which, of course, very much interfered with their practice. In this matter, he was not finding fault with the officers commanding the depôts; but he very strongly complained of the system. Then it had been said in the debate, that they ought to have some voice in the selection of their adjutants, and so they ought; but, instead of that, the state of the case was this. He himself had, within the last 12 months, had a vacant adjutantcy. He knew a young 824 officer, in one of the depôt brigade regiments, who was formerly in his (Colonel Ruggles-Brise's) own regiment, and he had been satisfied that he would make a very useful adjutant, and had intended, when a vacancy came about, to recommend him for it. To his surprise, however, one morning a letter came down from the brigade depôt, saying that Captain So-and-so had been nominated, and that if he had any objection to make to him he was to say so. That, certainly, astonished him. Of course, he knew of no objection to the officer named, and it would have been a very invidious thing for him to have stated an objection. The captain recommended might be a very good officer; but he (Colonel Ruggles-Brise) did object, on the ground that he knew an officer in the brigade who would be useful to him. On making application at the War Office, he found, however, that that officer was in India, and that he would not be allowed to return home unless he paid his own expenses; therefore, he (Colonel Ruggles-Brise) was compelled, nolens volens, to accept the officer nominated by the War Office. He could not say that he had not got an attentive, and zealous, and able adjutant; but this he did say, that the system was as bad and as rotten as it possibly could be. Out of four regiments, there were two from which they could select their adjutants; but those regiments might happen to be in India, or on foreign service. They had only a few officers at home, and, out of that few, probably some of them might be suffering from ill-health, or, for other causes, might be unfit to act as adjutants, which would reduce the number from which they could select very considerably. Probably very few of those officers at home cared to have the adjutantcy; probably, none of them were apt teachers, or fitted to take the position; but, whether that were so or not, the commanders were bound to choose from the limited number of officers who might happen to be at home. It was not fair to these commanding officers that they should be bound down to so limited a selection. He had said, when he commenced the few observations with which he had troubled the Committee, that he never knew the Militia in a less satisfactory condition, both as to men, non-commissioned officers, and officers, than it was 825 at the present time. Before long, he had no doubt they would be in the same position with regard to junior officers in the Militia as they were 20 years ago, or previous to 1868. There would be a great dearth of them. They had been filling the ranks of junior officers from young men, who were anxious and willing to enter the Line; but, now, the difficulties of getting into the Army through the Militia were so great, the competition being so considerable, that it was really harder work for an officer to obtain admission into the Line through the Militia, than for him to obtain it in the ordinary way. No one had done more since 1868 for the officers of the Militia than Lord Cardwell; no one had done more for them, in his (Colonel Ruggles-Brise's) experience, since the noble Lord's Army Bill came into operation. He was afraid now, however, that, before many years had elapsed, they would have no junior officers at all in the Militia. The captains and officers of high rank they might have; but they would not get the boys. He would not occupy the time of the House any more than to say that he did hope the Government would treat the Militia as a more local Force than they were doing at the present moment. They were now being blotted out most certainly and most surely. As far as the men were concerned, what he should like to see would be a re-introduction of the system of paying the 10s. bounty on enlistment, and that the Government should revert to the old system of training and drill.
§ LORD ALGERNON PERCY
said, he wished to draw attention to one or two questions which had not been touched upon by previous speakers. The first was the position of sergeant majors of Militia regiments serving on their Army engagements, as regarded promotion. They were induced to enter the Militia under the supposition that they would be in exactly the same position as the sergeant majors of their linked battalions. They were made warrant officers, and they imagined that they would be in the same position; but it appeared that they were not eligible for promotion to the position of quartermasters in any battalion except their own Militia battalion, and, only then, in the event of no quartermaster of the Line battalion wishing for the place, and the commanding officer of the Line 826 battalion not putting forward any other candidate. The result was, that the sergeant major of a Militia regiment could not, by any possibility, be promoted, because the new quartermaster of the Line regiment would at once be in his place; and if the quartermaster of the Militia retired, he would, of course, apply for the vacant place, and the sergeant major of the Militia battalion could only remain in the position of sergeant major. That did not seem to him (Lord Algernon Percy) to be fulfilling the territorial system. He did not think that a good system; but if we were to have the territorial system carried out in its entirety, the three battalions should be treated like three battalions of one regiment, and the promotion should go in these three battalions. Now that pensions were done away with, every inducement should be held out to good non-commissioned officers to go on to the Militia Staff. A short time ago, the Militia Staff was filled by very young non-commissioned officers, and commanding officers felt great inconvenience from that. This would be the result again, because no non-commissioned officer of any standing would take all the hard work of a sergeant-majorship, if he could get no other promotion. This might be said to be only an individual case; but he had a letter from a non-commissioned officer, whom he had known in the Regular Service, and who said this had utterly shipwrecked his career, and was creating great discontent among the non-commissioned officers in the Service. With regard to the clothing of the Militia, it was monstrous that the moment new clothing was served out, it should come unsewn and require repairing. Militiamen could not be expected to repair their clothes neatly; and the result was, that the regiment did not look as smart as it should. Then, with regard to the boots, he hoped the Government would do something, for that was a most important point. When the men were in billets, it perhaps did not matter so much; but now that the majority of the Militia regiments were in camp—and it was very much better for the Service that they should be in camp—only one pair of boots for each man, whatever the weather might be, or the condition of the ground, was bad both for the Service and for the men. It caused 827 discontent among the men, and the effects would be felt after, if not during, the training. West weather was known to have an effect on men after a time, and he had no doubt that was the case with the Militia. During the first week's training of his own regiment there was rain incessantly; the camp could not be easily drained, and the lines were extremely wet. Waterproof sheeting could not be obtained at the time, and the men had no change of boots. There might be some difficulty in dealing with more boots at the end of the drill, for men could not well be allowed to take away two pairs of boots; and the boots now supplied wore so bad, that if they were stored till next training, the men would not be able to put them on. This difficulty, he thought, might be obviated by serving out better boots, which would last two or three years. There was no reason why the boots should not be kept in store with the rest of the clothes and properly looked after by the non-commissioned officers. Allusion had been made to the drilling of the recruits immediately on enlistment, instead of waiting till the regiment came up for training. One great objection to that was that the recruits could not be drilled by their own non-commissioned officers at all, and it very often happened that the Militia sergeant was away recruiting; men were enlisted and sent to be drilled by the depôt sergeant, who took no interest in them. The men then went away, and when the training began the sergeant know nothing of the men, and the consequence was that the men were thoroughly neglected, and became dissatisfied. There was no doubt that the drill of the Militia had very much deteriorated since this new system was adopted. While he was at Aldershot he saw several Militia colonels, who agreed that the system of drilling recruits the moment they came in had spoiled the drill of the battalions; for it was impossible to give the men battalion drill, and so the men were only partially drilled. An Order was issued not very long ago that the permanent Staff should always appear in uniform. That might be all very well on paper, and, no doubt, the Order was issued because the system suited the Army very well; but it had had a bad effect on the Militia. It was hard upon the sergeants that, whenever they were not on duty, they should 828 always have to appear in uniform; but I it operated still more hardly upon the bandsmen, because in all the Militia regiments the bandsmen obtained a certain amount of income out of the training period by playing in twos and threes at theatres and other places, and by giving instruction in private houses. If they were always to appear in uniform, they would be very much prejudiced; and there were regiments in which, upon the issue of that Order, the band had given notice that they would purchase their discharge in a body. Another Order was issued not very long ago, which had operated very hardly on the men, under which no man was allowed to purchase his discharge unless he had given notice some time previous to the training—about three months' notice. The result was, that at the commencement of the training, men came up to purchase their discharge at the last moment. They had not heard of the Order, and they were told that they could not purchase their discharge. The result was that a great many men were absent. The system had created uncertainty, and men would not enlist. There could be no doubt as to the bad condition into which the Militia had fallen. Men were being recruited at the present moment standing only 5 feet 2 inches; and, judging from their appearance, they were very juvenile indeed; in fact, it had lately been brought to his personal notice that some of these men burst into tears on discharging their rifles. That did not look as if they were very fit to defend their country; and he was told that the chest measurement was not properly considered. The Militia was very much below its strength, and that, he believed, was due among other things, to the Orders he had mentioned, which were vexatious, and were issued without due regard to the nature of the Militia, and the circumstances by which it was surrounded. Orders which suited the Army would not suit the Militia, and Orders which looked well on paper had had a bad effect on the Militia.
SIR HENRY FLETCHER
said, there was one matter which he should like to bring forward, and that was that there were two classess of sergeant majors in the Militia. One class were men who were what he might call old soldiers; and the other class were men who were appointed to the rank of sergeant major 829 who had never been in the Regular Army, but had been, all through, pure and simple Militiamen. The difference of pay and allowance in these two classes was very considerable, and had, for some time past, caused great dissatisfaction. The sergeant majors who had been promoted without having been in the Regular Army received 3s. 6d. a-day, with a maximum pension of only 1s. a-day; whereas the sergeant majors who had been promoted from the Regular Army received 7s. 2¾d. a-day, and were entitled to a maximum pension of 4s. 6d. a-day. He brought this matter forward, because it affected very materially the regiments in Scotland. In many of those regiments the language used among the men was the Gaelic, and that was the reason, he supposed, why the sergeant majors were promoted from the ranks of the Militia regiments to sergeant majors; it was because they knew the language. And, beyond their not receiving the same amount of pay and a pension as the non-commissioned officers who were promoted from the Regular Army, the system materially affected the discipline of these Highland regiments, because now there was great difficulty in obtaining recruits, and the commanding officers of those regiments were in a great measure dependent on the sergeant majors to act as interpreters in the orderly room and on parade. He strongly urged the Government to put the sergeant majors from the Militia on the same footing as those who had risen from the Regular Service, in order that the discipline in the Scotch regiments should be as efficient as it formerly was. There were, he believed, only eight or ten of those officers; and he hoped the Government would see the propriety, while they existed, of putting them on the same footing as warrant officers. That would have a good effect on the discipline of the Scotch regiments, which had proved true and faithful to this country in the past.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR
said, if the efficiency of the Militia could be fairly judged of by the numbers available at training, then the present Militia Force was nothing but a miserable paper Force. Out of 143,000 officers and men, only 85,000 had appeared at the training; and out of a nominal strength of 1,256 permanent Staff, there were only 881. Military efficiency could 830 never be expected so long as there was that remarkable falling off in officers and men at the training. With regard to the Artillery, out of 18,000 men, there were only 8,577 present; and, in the Engineers, only 928, out of 1,319; and nearly half the Infantry were absent from the training. No doubt, the non-training of the Irish Militia might account for the absence of a portion of this Force; but, after making allowance for that fact, it would still be found that the absentees from training were far too numerous. Now, considering the short training given to the Militia, it was utterly impossible, with these great absences, to give them anything like a military appearance. All the men who were enrolled in the Militia ought to have been present at the training, and the Return should distinctly show not only the men and officers of the several arms, but also the numbers for the several parts of the United Kingdom.
§ LORD EUSTACE CECIL
asked the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War to state all he could as to the Irish Militia. He understood they had been called out; and he should be glad to know whether the whole Force was to be called out, and whether the noble Marquess would turn his attention to the condition in which the Irish Militia were said to be, not only as to training, but, what was of more importance, as to musketry instruction? He was told that their condition in that respect was terrible. Colonel Walker, of the Fusiliers, who had paid attention to this matter, stated that the state of the Irish Militia was a great deal worse than that of the English, both as to instruction and the arms with which they were supplied. He did not quite understand whether they were all to have the Martini-Henry rifle, or only a portion of them. If those rifles were only to be supplied to the English and Scotch Militia, he supposed the Irish Militia would still be armed with the old Snider, and then there would be differences as to instruction and ammunition; and if it happened that the Militia were called out for active service those differences might be very serious. But there was something more serious still. He was told that a number of the ranges in Ireland were very deficient—more deficient than in England—and that was 831 a matter of the first importance. All these things were still as they had been for some years past. He did not blame the noble Marquess, or the War Department; but this was still the fact, and he thought upon these questions as upon other Army questions, something should be done. He and his Friends would be most happy to give the Government their assistance and advice in these matters, and he was sure if the noble Marquess would give his attention to these questions, he might be even more successful than those who had preceded him in finding a solution. A solution of some sort was most necessary. Nobody could look about and see what was going on abroad, and at home, without feeling that the position of both our Army and our Militia was of the utmost importance. He did not go so far as to say that this was merely a question of money, because he did not think it was. There were a good many things to be thought of besides money; and he was anxious to hear what was the noble Marquess's solution of the difficulties which had been pointed out. These difficulties were undoubtedly very great, and he was sorry to see that there were increasing difficulties—namely, in getting recruits for the Militia, in instruction, and in training.
§ SIR ARTHUR HAYTER
said, the proposal of the hon. Baronet the Member for Wigtonshire (Sir Herbert Maxwell), that a certain number of the Militia should be detached, either by regiments or companies, and employed simply in learning musketry, had been tried and had failed. The authorities at the War Office believed that it would always do so, because so much in this country depended on the state of the weather, which often put great difficulties in the way of regiments getting any opportunity whatever of firing.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
said, his proposal was not that companies should be struck off training, but that they should either be brought up for musketry instruction during the non-training period, or else be exclusively trained in musketry in alternate years.
§ SIR ARTHUR HAYTER
said, that plan would entail additional expense, because the men could not be expected to come up without receiving the ordinary pay. Some of the remarks addressed to him by the hon. and gallant 832 Gentleman the Member for East Essex (Colonel Ruggles-Brise) with regard to the Militia appeared rather to be directed against the system as a whole. For instance, with regard to the adjutants, he (Sir Arthur Hayter) must point out that the union between the Militia and the Line was a cardinal principle of the existing military organization. He had been informed by very high authorities, that there was no difficulty in obtaining excellent adjutants for the Militia from the linked battalions, and that, therefore, there was no necessity to create a wider field of selection for adjutants than already existed. He could not say that any complaints on this subject had reached him other than those of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. With reference to the statement that there was a want of officers in the Militia, that, he was sorry to say, was the case, and the fact was a good deal caused by their being less inducement for them to qualify for commissions in the Line, whore he believed the number of commissions open to them had been reduced by nearly one-half. But, as he found that the want of officers varied in different parts of the country, it was difficult to draw conclusions from particular instances; and their hope was, that the agricultural depression which, as lie understood, had been so detrimental to the Militia, would not continue to injure it. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had also said that there had been a diminution of enlistments in the Militia on account of the bounty of 10s. having been abolished; but it was thought much better not to recur to the bounty system. There were two systems of drill going on in the country; and it was considered that the better way of dealing with recruits would be to give the men the option, either of drilling immediately on enrolment, or of drilling continuously with their regiments. The reason for giving this option was that, owing to the conditions existing in some counties, it was found impossible to make the two systems work together. In the agricultural districts, they found that the men preferred, as a rule, to work with their corps; on the other hand, they found that the men in the manufacturing districts, who felt perhaps the immediate pressure of want, preferred to proceed at once to the barracks, and go through their drill there, 833 where they received the money due to them. Where the drill and training took place together, a man would only be disturbed in his calling once, and it was proposed, in that case, to give him 30s. at the close of the preliminary training; but were these were separate, it would be seen that a man would be twice disturbed, and, in that case, they proposed that he should receive £1 at the commencement of the drill, and £1 at the close of his training. It was thought that that arrangement was a fair solution of the difficulties of the question. the hon. and gallant Gentleman also alluded to the fact that the Militia sergeants complained of overwork, because they had to perform duties at the brigade depôts harder than they were before accustomed to. No doubt, they were hard worked; but it must be borne in mind that they had better men to compete with. He thought, however, this question was one rather for the consideration of the colonel of the regiment than the Department which he had the honour to represent. Remarks had also been made upon the payment of sergeants major in the Highland Militia regiments; and it had been pointed out that the difference between their pay and pensions, as compared with those of the Army sergeants major, was very considerable. He understood the hon. and gallant Baronet (Sir Henry Fletcher) to say that the sergeants major in the Highland Militia regiments received 3s. 6d. per day, and were entitled to a maximum pension of 1s. per day; while the Army sergeants major received 7s. 2¾d. a-day, and were entitled to a pension of 4s. 6d. a-day. The hon. and gallant Baronet asked that there should be a removal of this inequality, and had based his claim upon the fact that the services of these men were almost indispensable to their regiments, owing to their knowledge of Gaelic. He (Sir Arthur Hayter) would investigate the matter; but he was bound to point out that however valuable their services had been, and although they were undoubtedly useful on account of their speaking Gaelic, they had always been confined to the Militia, whereas the Serjeants major of the Army had to undergo a long period of active service abroad. It seemed, therefore, hardly fair to put the two classes of men upon a footing of equality. However, as he had already 834 said, the matter should be inquired into. He was glad to point out an encouraging feature in the present Returns—namely, that they showed an increase in, the number of Militia recruits as compared with the preceding year. That was a circumstance that would be satisfactory to the noble Lord opposite (Lord Algernon Percy), who said that the test of the popularity of the Service was to be found in the number of enrolments. On the other hand, the Militia Reserve showed a slight decrease; the number of men being 26,629 for 1883, as compared with 27,274 for the year 1882. The noble Lord the Member for West Essex (Lord Eustace Cecil) had inquired as to the weapons supplied to the Irish Militia. The order had been given for the supply of 9,000 Martini-Henry rifles, and only one regiment of the Irish Militia would that year be armed with the Snider rifle.
§ EARL PERCY
said, he had listened with interest to the speech of the hon. Baronet the Financial Secretary to the War Department (Sir Arthur Hayter); but he was bound to say that the hon. Baronet had left untouched a great many points to which his attention had been directed. He trusted the authorities at the War Office would take all those points into consideration; and he would remind the hon. Baronet that as this Vote presented the only occasion on which the Militia were able to express their hopes and fears, it was natural that they should desire to know as soon as possible what chance there was of their hopes being realized. The hon. Baronet had said nothing about the musketry training of the Militia, a subject on which, for some time past, so much had been said and written; but he could not help thinking that the Government would do well to state what they really proposed to do in this matter. It was all very well to tell the Committee that it was impossible to have the regiments up for drill and musketry instruction in alternate years, because the weather had affected some regiments detrimentally; but that statement equally applied to companies being struck off in alternate years for musketry training. The complaint was, that the training was very hurried, and that each unit, struck off for musketry instruction, was obliged to undergo it under circumstances of great disadvantage. When 835 the weather was extremely bad, the disadvantages of the present arrangement were very great; and, he believed, that unless some remedy for this state of things could be devised, the Militia would never attain the desired efficiency. Next to this came the question as to the drilling of recruits on enrolment; and he must express his regret that the authorities did not propose to make any change in this respect. The hon. Baronet had told the Committee that, as far as the War Office view of the subject went, drill on enrolment was more popular in the manufacturing than in the agricultural districts. He (Earl Percy) doubted that very much. He knew that the Militia regiments in the agricultural districts were very much below their strength; and he knew, also, that in the Northern manufacturing districts, the percentage of recruits under the old system of preliminary drill was more than double what it was in the case of battalions who trained their recruits under the new system, and that the percentage of untrained men in those battalions was much more than double what it was in the battalions in which the old system was in force. When the hon. Baronet said that the great test of the popularity of the Militia was the recruiting, and that if we could get a great number of recruits we really assured the efficiency of the Militia, he (Earl Percy) was, with great respect, obliged to differ from him entirely. It was not the number of the men, but the training which they received, which constituted efficiency; and, even if it could be proved that the training of the men on enrolment was popular, and succeeded in bringing recruits, it would be found that the present system of training them was such as to give no chance of getting a thoroughly efficient Militia. Everyone knew that Parts 2 and 3 of the Field Exercise could hardly be taught to men when they were only brought together in small numbers; and that the esprit de corps, which existed in the case of a large number of men, ceased under those circumstances, when the men were drilled only in small squads by a sergeant or other non-commissioned officer. His own regiment, he was glad to say, had never been subject to that most pernicious system, and he hoped it never would be. With regard to the appointment of adjutants, he agreed with 836 every word which had fallen from the hon. and gallant Member for East Essex (Colonel Ruggles-Brise). It was all very well for the hon. Baronet (Sir Arthur Hayter) to say that no complaint had reached him on the subject; but there was a good reason for that, because it was a very disagreeable thing for an officer, commanding a regiment, to complain of his adjutant. Of course, he would complain of a serious dereliction of duty; but there was no doubt that, otherwise, a commanding officer would do anything rather than report against his adjutant, because he knew that such report would ruin that officer's career. If the hon. Baronet inquired into the subject, he would find an almost universal dislike to the system of changing the adjutants of regiments every five years, not only because of the difficulty of getting an officer suited to the service, but because, if a good officer was obtained, two years were necessary for him to become thoroughly acquainted with his duties, and then, at the end of the fifth year, he went away, and another officer took his place. His own experience was, that this system was most detrimental to the efficiency of a regiment; and he contended that it was impossible, in so short a space of time, for men coming straight from the Regular Army to learn all the contradictory orders contained in that huge volume issued to the Militia under the name of an Army Circular. The consequence was, that the commanding officer was not able to trust to his adjutant; he had to look to everything himself. It might be said a colonel ought to know everything; but it must be remembered that a Militia colonel had his attention turned to other things for 11 months of the year, and, therefore it was very hard that he should be handicapped in this way. The whole system was bad. He was not there to speak of the bearing of the system on the Regular Army; but as to its bearing on the Militia he felt very strongly. He believed that the Militia, in its present condition, could not much longer exist. He did not know whether there was a definite purpose on the part of anyone at the War Office to disgust the present senior officers, or not; but he was firmly persuaded that such would be the result of the course which was now being pursued. There were two 837 small points which had been mentioned in the discussion, and which had received no notice from the Treasury Bench. Both of them were points which he could assure the hon. Baronet affected the popularity of the Militia. One point was, that most absurd Order which was issued, to the effect that the Staff of the Militia was to wear their uniform all the year round. His noble Relative (Lord Algernon Percy) had said that that Order worked particularly hard upon the bandsmen. He (Earl Percy) disagreed with his noble Relative. He did not believe the Order bore more severely upon the bandsmen than upon the remainder of the Staff, because many of the regular Staff were employed in civilian occupations; and, if they were forced to wear their uniform on all occasions, he did not see how they were to carry on their work. He had heard of colonels of Militia regiments—in fact, he knew one—who employed his Staff from time to time in beating his covers. He (Earl Percy) had serious thoughts, when the Order was issued, of having all his Staff in uniform out to beat his covers, so that they might see what the real consequence would be of preventing the men. pursuing their ordinary civilian occupations in plain clothes. The next point was that relating to a second pair of boots. He believed the supply of a second pair of boots would do more to increase the popularity of the Militia than almost anything else they could do. He was sure all Militia officers would bear him out in that opinion. One word about recruiting. The hon. Baronet had said that the failure in recruiting in agricultural districts might be attributed to the agricultural depression. Unfortunately, he (Earl Percy) could not get any recruits, and his regiment was recruited entirely from the manufacturing districts. In fact, he found, in regard to recruiting, exactly the same complaints in manufacturing districts as in agricultural districts, and, therefore, he could not accept the statement of the Government, that the agricultural depression was the cause of the want of recruits. He, however, could tell the Government what was one of the chief causes of the want of recruits. Last year, it was thought necessary, on account of the exigencies of the Public Service, to call the Militia up for two months. How was that done? 838 It was well known that a Militiaman, when he came out for training, did not do so for the sake of his pay. He laid by a little, out of his previous earnings, to keep his wife and family during the training of the regiment, and made an arrangement with his employer to take him on again when the regiment was disbanded. In proof of the fact that the men's families were but poorly provided for, when the Militia were up for training, the men constantly applied for advances which they might send home. Such being the condition of the men, last year, on the very day his regiment would naturally have returned to their homes, the Government sent down an official Order, that the men were to be kept for another month. He (Earl Perey) applied for leave to send home those men who were in the greatest distress; but he got no answer until the third week of the second month, when, of course, it was of no good. The distress in the regiment was excessive; and he said then, and he was prepared to say now, that the action of the Government in that instance did more to make the regiment unpopular, and to prejudicially affect recruiting, than anything else that could be done. If such a thing was to be done again, some compensation should be given to the men. The men came out on warrants for only a month's training; and if the men had raised the question as to whether they could legally be kept up for a second month, he was not sure whether it would have been found that there was any legal power to prevent their return home at the end of the first month's training. Practically, the Government deluded the men into believing that they would be kept up for only a month; whereas it was intended that they should be kept up for two months, while no separation allowance or additional pay was to be allowed them. He had no wish to detain the Committee with a long story; but he could tell the Committee of individual cases of great hardship. A most respectable man—a Volunteer sergeant—came to him at the end of the first month's training with tears in his eyes and said he could not remain, because his wife and children were starving at home; and he added that, as soon as that training was over, he would rejoin the regiment, but that he would not re-enrol then. He (Earl 839 Percy) was persuaded the same intention entered the minds of many other men, and that, owing to this circumstance, he was more deficient of recruits than he had been for a long time. This playing fast-and-loose with a battalion did not only affect the particular regiment, but all the regiments in the district around. The regulations which now existed in the Militia rendered it almost impossible to get any Volunteer sergeants at all. Volunteer sergeants, at the best of times, were not the best part of the Militia Force; but, however inefficient they were, it was absolutely necessary to have them, but the action of the Government had tended to deprive regiments almost entirely of those men. He did not wish to make an accusation against either one Government or another, because he did not know under what Government what he was about to refer to occurred. At one time, when a Volunteer sergeant committed himself in any way, the practice was to reduce him. It was, however, said that it was necessary to make a Militia sergeant equal to a sergeant of the Regular rank, and that it was a great shame that a Militia sergeant should be reduced without being tried by court martial. It was now impossible to punish a sergeant without trying him by court martial. A man who might have committed some trivial offence, which could very justly be overlooked, had now to be brought up before a court martial; his trial had to be fixed in a formal manner, and, finally, his sentence had to be read out at the head of the regiment, and his stripes taken off. A Volunteer sergeant's office was a very invidious one, because he had very often to take into custody men who were his friends. It would, therefore, not be anything to wonder at if, when men were liable to be tried by court martial for the slightest offence, they refused to take the stripes. He must now apologize to the Committee for having detained them so long. The present, however, was the only occasion there was to express the grievances of the Militia; and he trusted that before the debate closed they would receive from the Treasury Bench some explicit answer to the questions raised. He trusted, likewise, that the Committee would be cheered by some hope being held out that the changes which had lately been made, and which he and others considered worked so preju- 840 dicially to the Militia, would be reviewed.
said, that, before the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War rose to reply to the observations of the noble Earl (Earl Percy), he hoped he might be allowed to add his testimony to that of his noble Friend as to the hardship which, no doubt, was quite unintentionally imposed by the action of the War Office last year upon certain Militia regiments, in keeping them up for double the usual period of training. The War Office acted strictly within their right, and the power which they exercised was one which undoubtedly might, under certain circumstances, be a useful one, and one which it was well to retain in the Act. It was, however, a power which worked very hardly upon the men, unless concurrently with its operation the question of separation allowance could be dealt with. He knew of many hard cases resulting from what occurred last year. There were many men perfectly ready to train for one month, but in regard to whom it amounted to a great hardship to continue up for a second month. Many men were, in consequence of the prolonged training, subjected to the loss of employment; though he was happy to say that, in more than one case, employers who had found themselves obliged to give the men notice had, in pursuance of a generous public spirit, taken them back. Commanding officers were, by the proceedings of last year, placed in a position in which they ought not to be placed. As to the disrating of non-commissioned officers, he agreed there was some inconvenience found in the way in which it was now brought about. That House, itself, however, was responsible, because when the Act of 1879 was passing through the House, the change was fully discussed, and was forced upon the authorities by the distinctly expressed wish of the House. It was thought that non-commissioned officers ought not to be disrated without a power of appeal to a court martial; and the power which remained to the Militia, although it had been taken from the Line, was done away with, and done away with, he felt, at some practical inconvenience to the Service. As to musketry instructions, he owned he did not quite understand what was the argument of his hon. Friend the Financial 841 Secretary (Sir Arthur Hayter). It was admitted that the musketry instruction in the Militia was very imperfect, and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Financial Secretary had said it was felt to be desirable to extend the musketry training; but the weather had interfered with it so much, that it was deemed wise not to sacrifice the time and trouble, but to hurry on the instruction in a few days. He (Colonel Stanley) thought it was a question well worth consideration, whether some arrangement could not be made, say, every second or third or fourth year, whereby the training would take place at a time when fine weather might reasonably be expected to prevail. His noble Friend the Member for Westminster (Lord Algernon Percy) had spoken of the hardship inflicted on sergeant majors of Militia, in consequence of their not being able to be promoted beyond that rank. He (Colonel Stanley) confessed that he might not have followed correctly all that had taken place; but he had something to do, in 1877, with the quartermasterships of the Line and of the brigade depôts, and it was then intended that the duty of the quartermastership should, as far as possible, be worked round, so as to give all the officers who had once been quartermaster an opportunity of remaining at the depôt. He did not know whether it stopped short at quartermasters; but he believed the intention was that sergeant majors and Staff sergeants should be dealt with in the same manner. It was well worthy the attention of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) as to whether something could not be done to improve the position of sergeant majors of the Militia. He hoped the noble Marquess would rise before the discussion was closed, and find himself able to give the Committee an assurance that all the points to which attention had been drawn would receive his careful consideration; and that, if possible, he would make some proposal in respect of them.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the Committee would not expect him to enter into the details, of a somewhat technical character, which had been touched upon in the course of the discussion. He could assure the Committee that he and his hon. Friends would, as far as they were able, cause inquiries to made, and do what they 842 could to meet the wishes of hon. Gentlemen. There were one or two points, however, that had been touched upon, on which it might be desirable he should make a few observations. Perhaps, the most important point raised was that of the musketry instruction of the Militia. The Report of the Musketry Instruction Committee was in the hands of the military authorities early last year; but the operations in Egypt very naturally prevented its full consideration. There were two very great difficulties in the way of imparting to the Militia anything like thorough musketry instruction; one was that of time, and the other that of ranges. Considerable progress had been made, however, in doing something to remove one of the difficulties. Full information had been obtained as to the state of the ranges throughout the country, and of the possibility of improving the range accomodation. Arrangements had been made for improving the actual ranges on the Northern stations; and in the South there were ranges which, he hoped, would be available for complete musketry instruction of the Line, and also of certain Militia regiments, which would be banded together for the purpose of instruction. Very exhaustive inquiries were being made throughout the country as to the ranges; and when the Reports fell in, they would be tabulated, and everything would be done to improve the range accomodation, both for the Line, Militia, and Volunteers. The question of time was, perhaps, a still greater difficulty. He perfectly agreed with what had been said by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Wigtonshire (Sir Herbert Maxwell). It was, however, almost impossible to increase the amount of ammunition and to extend the time of training. The change would not only entail a large expenditure, but it would also alter the character of the Militia Force, and it was very doubtful whether it would be possible, or, if possible, desirable, to greatly prolong the term of training. It might be possible to devote alternate trainings exclusively to musketry instruction, or to devote occasional trainings to such instruction. The military authorities at the War Office were endeavouring to do what could be done in the matter, although he did not see it was possible, in the very short time 843 available for the purpose of training, that the musketry instruction could be brought to a very high pitch of perfection. It had been already shown what it was proposed to do in regard to the training of recruits. Any hon. Member who read the Report of the Inspector General of Recruiting, would see that that subject had been very fully and very candidly discussed in that Report. It was pointed out that there were some advantages and some disadvantages in the present system, and the Government had endeavoured to modify matters in a way which they hoped would be satisfactory to Militia officers generally—namely, by enabling recruits to be trained in such a manner as would be most convenient to the men themselves. If was said it was impossible to train recruits at the depôts. The Report of the Inspector General dealt, to some extent, with that subject. The position of officers and non-commissioned officers in Militia regiments had also been referred to, and complaint had been made that Militia officers had not the same control over different matters which they had had hitherto, and which, on the whole, they had so satisfactorily exercised. The Committee would see that Parliament, having adopted the principle of amalgamating the Militia with the Regular Forces, it was not possible to leave to commanding officers and to adjutants of regiments the entire and complete discretion which might formerly have been possible, and which, in many cases, was exercised with very great advantage. Lord Cardwell endeavoured to blend the Auxiliary and Regular Forces into what he called "an harmonious whole." Progress had been made in that direction. There might, in the process, have been some friction; but what they had to look for was the efficiency of the whole Force. He could not help thinking that the Committee would be of opinion that a united Force, which was under the direct control of the military authorities, would be, in time of need, a much more valuable Force than one whose parts performed independent duties, no matter how well those duties might be performed. He thought that, at the outset, there must inevitably be some friction, when changes such as those were made. The authorities in the Regular Army had been used all their lives to strict discipline, and could 844 not, therefore, be expected, at first, to have all that consideration for the more imperfect discipline, or, perhaps, the more imperfect methods, that prevailed in the Militia, that might be expected of them. He had no doubt that the Army authorities might have been, in some cases, too exacting in their demands, or too ready to find fault with the system they found in operation; but he trusted that, as the system was more developed, and as the actual connection between battalions of the Line and of the Militia became more direct, the effect would be to reduce the inequality, and to produce greater efficiency in the whole Force. In time, he believed, the system would be found to work with greater smoothness, and the friction that existed would not be found to have any permanent existence. Some reference had been made to the Orders issued to the permanent Staff, as to the wearing of uniforms, and as to the period of training. Those were specimens of what he referred to, when he spoke of the friction that existed. They would make inquiries into those matters; and he trusted that the Militia officers would not hesitate to communicate with the War Office authorities, who would be anxious to give full and reasonable consideration to all the complaints that were made.
§ LORD BURGHLEY
said, he wished to know why the pay of the Infantry Staff of Militia was reduced this year by £1,200?
§ LOUD BURGHLEY
replied, that they would be found upon page 33. The noble Marquess would find that, last year, the pay for the Militia Staff was £219,519; whereas, this year, it was only £218,398.
Does it arise from the fact that there are more of these officers this year serving in Line regiments than were so serving last year?
§ EARL PERCY
said, that perhaps the noble Marquess would state what was the reason for the increased charge for Provisions, Forage, Lighting and Fuel?
§ COLONEL ALEXANDER
said, there was a point to which he wished to refer, 845 and which he would apologize for mentioning—a matter which he had expected to hear brought forward by the hon. Baronet the Member for Wigtonshire (Sir Herbert Maxwell). As neither the hon. Baronet nor any other hon. Member had brought it forward, he (Colonel Alexander) would take upon himself to do so. Last year the hon. Baronet had asked the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. Childers) whether he would not do something to bring about the retirement of the old Militia adjutants, such retirement having been described as a proper thing for those gentlemen who had done good service in their day, but were now almost beyond their work. In 1875, Lord Cranbrook, as he (Colonel Alexander) was aware, made an offer of retirement at the rate of 10s. a-day to these officers, and they rather foolishly, perhaps, declined it, or a great number of them did so. The only excuse for those who declined it must be that they had not then served so long as adjutants as they had now. Some of them had only served four or five years. He had looked up the names of these officers, and he found that there were still 23 or 24 serving whose services as adjutants varied from 12 to 22 or 23 years. Now, it must be quite evident to the Committee that if the limit of service in one battalion of Militia was fixed at five years, surely 12, or 15, or 20, or 22, or 23 years' service must be a great deal too long. The fact was, that these officers were all past their work, and some of them were very much dissatisfied, finding that they exercised no command, after having served so much longer than many of the other officers of the regiment. A feeling of that kind caused considerable friction between these officers of the Militia and the adjutants and colonels of the regimental districts, If his (Colonel Alexander's) proposal was to cost a very large sum of money, he would not venture to bring it before the Committee; but, so far from that being the case, his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wigtonshire had shown, last year, that a distinct saving would be effected by the retirement of these officers. There would be no loss, but rather a saving of 1s. 9d. a-day, by the retirement of each of these officers. He, therefore, hoped the noble Marquess would re-consider that point, and see whether he could not offer some 846 terms to these officers to induce them to retire. A Representative of the Government had stated just now—and he (Colonel Alexander) had taken down his words—that Line adjutants were a cardinal point of union between the Line and the Militia. They had several battalions of Militia which had no Line adjutants; and, if it was a good thing to have these officers as a cardinal point of union between the Line and the Militia, it followed, as a matter of course, that the rule ought to be made applicable to the whole of the Force, and ought to be brought about as soon as possible. It was a very bad thing to have the two systems running concurrently.
§ MR. O'SHEA
said, he should like to know what the standard of height in the Militia was at the present moment, because the difference between the proper strength and the effective strength, as given in print, was enormous? He wanted to know whether the standard had been lowered to the minimum?
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
said, that, without putting any slight on those adjutants to which his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Alexander) had referred, he thought there was no doubt that the Service would be much hotter without them. He disagreed entirely with his noble Friend (Earl Percy) in his estimate of the services of the new class of adjutants. He believed that the marked improvement that had taken place in the Militia during the last few years, was owing very much to the new blood that had been introduced into it from the Line by the adjutants under the new system, and he trusted that nothing that had fallen from his noble Friend that night would be taken by the gallant body of officers, who had to perform these duties, as any disparagement. Now, although the old adjutants had declined Lord Cranbrook's offer of 10s. per day, after a service of 15 years, as retirement pensions, it must be remembered that their duties had become much more arduous since that time, owing to the formation of the brigade depôt system. He supposed any one of them would be now glad to receive the terms that were then offered; and, as had been stated, it was the fact that a saving would be brought about in that way, because the double duty of adjutants of brigade depôts and adjutants of Militia regiments could not 847 be imposed on officers under the old system, although it could be on officers under the new system. Last year, the right hon. Gentleman who was now Chancellor of the Exchequer, then Secretary of State for War (Mr. Childers), gave him this assurance. He said—We are looking forward to the carrying out to the full of the system under which the Adjutants of Militia regiments will be in the same position with regard to term of service, as officers of this rant are in in the Line regiments with which the Militia battalions are connected."—(3 Hansard,  618.)He thought it would be to the advantage of the Service, if this body of men were disposed of in the manner which had been there pointed out.
said, he wished to call attention to a question he had put a short time ago, to the Secretary of State for War, as to the position of non-commissioned officers who were transferred from the Marines to the Auxiliary Forces. The fact of these men having been unable to obtain the warrant rank and increased pay that were allowed to non-commissioned officers transferred from regiments of the Line, was certainly a great grievance. In the case he had before alluded to, which come under his own immediate notice, the grievance still remained. It seemed to him to be very strange that good non-commissioned officers from a Force that had so eminently distinguished itself in Egypt, as the Royal Marines, should not be able to obtain the same rank on a transfer to the Militia as if they had come from the Line. Whether there were one such case or more, he sincerely trusted that before long he would hear that this grievance had been remedied.
§ EARL PERCY
said, he wished to have an explanation of the figures on pages 34 and 35, relating to the Artillery Militia. Last year the number was 18,412, of whom only 9,549 came cut, or very little more than half; but, in the case of the Infantry Militia, of 119,566, 70,403 came out. That was a great deal more than half; and the Irish Militia were not in training, which increased the proportion in England and Scotland, where they were trained. Although very little more than half the Artillery Militia came out, Her Majesty's Government appeared to have increased the numbers of the Artillery very considerably, and to 848 have decreased that of the Infantry Militia from 119,566 to 117,575. He should like an explanation of that, as it seemed to him to be very extraordinary. He should have thought that the decrease would have been in the ease of the Artillery, and the increase in the case of the Infantry.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he wished to make a few observations as to the Irish Militia. Though the Committee was called upon to vote a certain sum of money for it, it appeared to him to be rather in the nature of a Force that was being kept up in order to give a certain amount of prestige to a section of the landlord class in different counties in Ireland. It was not his intention to enter at any length into this question; but he wished to point out that the social relations in Ireland had been fundamentally changed, and that the feudal ideas that suggested the policy of embattling the county strength, so to speak, under the county landlords no longer existed. There was a strong disinclination on the part of the Irish farmers and peasantry to put themselves under the leadership of those landlords who were known as the exterminators of the country. Again and again, the scandal had been seen of a great landlord, such as Lord Clanricarde, whose relations with his tenantry were a scandal to the country—["Oh, oh!" and cries of "Order!"] He was absolutely correct in what he stated, and he maintained that over and over again such a scandal had been seen as a landlord of this class, in command of a regiment composed largely of his own miserable tenantry. The state of feeling in Ireland at the present moment, however, was such that it would be necessary for Her Majesty's Government to consider the propriety of remodelling the Irish Militia Force if it was to continue to exist. The Irish Militia was always disbanded, or dispensed from training, in times of agitation and disturbance. They used to be useful as an appanage of what used to be called county families, but which was not recognized in that character in the country any longer. It was desirable, therefore, that the Government should endeavour, as far as possible, to identify the Irish Militia with the institutions of the present day. It would be no use to attempt to brigade Irish county Militia regiments under Irish county landlords. 849 He did not say one word as to the relations between the English landlords and their tenants. The English landlords were, and always had been, the leaders of their people in the country; but, as to the Irish landlords in the Irish counties, there was an increasing objection to placing them over Irish county regiments. The rule of merit was a thing more and more introduced into the Regular Army, and that rule should be more and more introduced into the Irish Militia system, if that Militia was to be a Force which was to be useful to the nation, or to secure the respect of the world at large.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he could corroborate what had been said by the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. O'Donnell) as to the objectionable character of the landlord officers of Militia in Ireland.
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
asked if the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar) was in Order in making offensive remarks about the landlords of Ireland in reference to this Vote?
I must say I have not heard any offensive remarks from the hon. Gentleman who just spoke (Mr. Biggar). Any objection which any hon. Member may have had to what was being said by the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) should have been taken while that hon. Member was speaking.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, that what he had stated was, that the Government might be guided by views that were perfectly right in their own eyes; but between the class to which he had referred and the Irish people there was a vast gulf, and he had protested against that Force being officered by the landlords. He protested against these attempts, these small attempts, of hon. Members to pass judgment upon the action of hon. Gentlemen in this matter.
§ MR. BIGGAR
said, he knew something about the Militia regiments in the county of Cavan, and some of the officers were of the highest character and ability, one of them having been formerly Member for the county, and a candidate at the time when he (Mr. Biggar) was first elected. At the same time, others of the officers were gentlemen who were not entitled to the highest consideration. He was acquainted with one who cer- 850 tainly would not do credit to any Force. He (Mr. Biggar) had received reports from a number of different sources, to the effect that the regiment had been, from time to time, in the most disorganized state so far as the officers were concerned. Then, again, the Committee was aware that the officers of the Antrim Artillery Militia were notorious practical jokers. In the case of that regiment, the practical jokes were not, as might be expected, on the part of the young and foolish officers, but on the part of the old senior officers. The joking was carried on to such an extent that some of the officers had been compelled to retire from the regiment, and it seemed to him (Mr. Biggar) that it would be highly desirable if some of these officers were requested to retire from the Service. Then it had been reported, and he believed with truth, that the adjutant of the regiment had been for some time past receiving allowances for forage and for the keeping of a horse, though, in point of fact, he was not the owner of such an animal, and did not have one in his possesion. He believed that very recently that officer in question had attempted to make a colourable occasion for the allowance he received for the support of his horse. He (Mr. Biggar) had inquired into the circumstances, and he had ascertained that the Government had asked for information on the subject, but had not yet received sufficient to enable them to confirm his statement. However, he was informed that the inquiry which was being made on the part of the Government was not being instituted in a legitimate way—that was to say, by an officer of a suitable position to make such investigation—but by a non-commissioned officer, who had been sent from Belfast for the purpose. The report of that non-commissioned officer might be true enough; but, at the same time, it would not be entitled to so much consideration as the report of a superior officer. In the case of this forage, it had been certified for by a superior officer; and, no doubt, they must assume that that superior officer did not knowingly give an untrue return. At the same time, it was very probable he did not use sufficient care in inquiring into, or examining, that particular transaction. If these statements were true, he (Mr. Biggar) thought there should be a clean sweep made of all these officers in the 851 Artillery regiment. So far as he could gather from the speeches of hon. and gallant Gentlemen who belonged to Militia regiments, the Militia altogether was more ornamental than useful. Recruits were called out for one month's training, as a rule, or training of such short duration that he should think could hardly be of any value. If the training were taken for one month, with a probability of the men being afterwards put into the Line and becoming military men, it would be all well enough; but if, at the end of the period of drill, they were to be disbanded, it seemed to him that the money spent on the Force was thrown away. For these reasons, he really thought that the Committee would do well to criticize severely every Vote for such purpose as the Militia, and more especially with regard to the Militia of Ireland, because, in point of fact, they had not, in that country, suitable officers to put in command of the regiments. Some of the officers such as those described by the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. O'Donnell) had no special knowledge of military affairs; and as to the junior officers themselves, they were made up of young men who had never been brought up to any military occupation, and, in point of fact, knew as much about military affairs as did the rank and file, or certainly very much less than the adjutants of Line regiments. He had hoped that the hon. Member for Dungarvan would have moved to reduce the Vote by the sum for the Irish Militia; but, as he had not taken the trouble to do so, he (Mr. Biggar) would not push the matter further.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that with regard to the charges of practical joking in the Antrim Militia, the matter had been investigated, and there was found to be no foundation for the allegations made. The fullest information had been given to him, and he had handed it over to the hon. Member, and he was surprised that, after having giving that information to the hon. Member, that it had not affected his tone. As to the question which had been raised with regard to the alleged incorrect Returns, he (the Marquess of Hartington) regretted very much that there appeared to be some foundation for the complaint. The subject, however, was under inquiry, not, as the hon. 852 Member seemed to think, by a non-commissioned officer, but by a competent officer, and the facts, whatever they were, were sure to be brought to light. The standard of height for the Militiamen was 5 feet 4 inches; but commanding officers were permitted to use their discretion as to enlisting men of not less than 5 feet 2 inches. The absence of so large a number of men from training last year was due to the fact that the Irish Militia regiments were not called out. A large proportion of the Irish Militia were Artillery, and the number of men not trained was greater in that arm than in the Infantry.
§ MR. HARRINGTON
said, he could give some experience of his own, of one of the Irish Militia regiments. The Kerry Militia assembled annually at Tralee, and their assembling was always announced the next day by the simultaneous disappearance of all the doorknockers in the town. The amusement of knocker-wrenching was not pursued by the privates in the Militia, but by the so-called gentry on the Staff, and the example which they set their men by their conduct, and their disgraceful appearance in the police-courts from time to time, was such as would justify hon. Members from Ireland—who were interested in the peace of their country—in moving to reduce this Vote by the sum which would be appropriated to the Irish Militia. If the Government wore going to introduce no better system of discipline into the Irish Militia Force, and to impose no check on those young gentlemen who played at toy soldiers in Ireland, the Vote would always receive very serious opposition.
§ Vote agreed to.
(4.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £69,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Yeomanry Cavalry Pay and Allowances, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1884.
said, he wished to ask for some information as to the result of the Inquiry which had been ordered last year into the condition of the Yeomanry Cavalry? There were some points in connection with it upon which he knew he should be expressing the feeling of other Yeomanry officers. It was true that that Force had been frequently 853 spoken of with not quite so much respect as more numerous, but possibly not more efficient, Forces received. Those Forces were really not more useful than the Yeomanry might be, if adequate attention were bestowed upon it by the Government. During the last 10 years, there had been considerable changes in the Yeomanry. Shortly after the Autumn Manœuvres took place in 1872, Colonel Oakes, who was made the first Inspector of Yeomanry, established for the first time a School of Instruction at Aldershot; and since that time more than half the officers had passed the examinations. Out of 625 Yeomanry officers, including many who had actually served in the field in the Regular Army, and men who had been in regiments for 20 or 30 years, as well as men who had recently joined, 255 had obtained certificates from the School at Aldershot. That was a change which merited the attention of the Government. He also wished to draw attention to the fact that, whereas, in the old days, inspection was carried on by some smart Cavalry colonel, who went down to the place, and, having been hospitably treated by the Yeomanry officers, went away next day, telling them he had never seen such a smart body; now, the Inspecting officer spent two or three days at the place, saw how the instruction was carried out, satisfied himself whether it was efficient, then held a formal inspection, and presented an adequate Report to the Government. That was a much more efficient method of inspection. Another point which ought to be dealt with, was that the Yeomanry officers were not in the same position as the Volunteer officers, with regard to the men under their command. According to the Act of Geo. III., under which the Yeomanry were now serving, any Yeoman could leave his regiment upon 14 days' notice. The consequence was, that if any one of them was offended by his captain, or any of the troop to which he belonged, or felt the slightest inconvenience in attending duty, he could send in his resignation, and the officers had no hold whatever upon him, although the regiment might have gone to considerable expense upon his clothing. It would be a great advantage if the officers could have some hold on the men; and if, as was the case in the Volunteers, the men should be bound to serve for three, four, or five years, or, 854 if they left before that time, should be required to pay £4 or £5 to the contintingent fund towards the expense of their clothing. Then there was another difference between Yeomanry and Volunteers, which was constantly forgotten. It was true the Yeomanry were Volunteers; but while an Infantry Volunteer cost the Government very little, he brought nothing to the Government. He went to his drill when it suited him, and, after an hour or two of drill, went home; but the Yeoman had to provide an efficient horse, and devote it to the Service for the whole day. His horse was worth at least 7s. or 8s. a-day, but for that he received no remuneration whatever; and not only that, but many of the Yeomanry had to ride 10, 15, and even 20 miles to attend duty, and both horse and man must be fed. The Yeomanry had not only to provide that, but they had to make up for the absence of their horses from their work; whereas Volunteers were put to no expense, and regarded drill as a recreation rather than a duty. Besides that, it must be remembered that while the only wear and tear in the case of the Volunteers was that of their uniform, the Yeomanry had the wear and tear of saddlery, and that was an important item. He did not wish to ask for any great expenditure on the Yeomanry. He knew the way in which the Yeomanry had been regarded by the country in recent years; but there had been a great improvement in the Force. What he wished to show was that a very little more attention on the part of the Government with regard to the Yeomanry, and a very little more expense, would insure greater efficiency in what might be made a very useful Force. Their present pay could not be diminished in any way; 7s. a-day was the lowest amount for which men could be obtained with horses, and the men were well worth that amount. It was also true that, looking at the class of men in the Yeomanry, the period of drill could not be extended beyond eight days. He wished the time could be longer, but with men of 35 or 40 years of age, with responsible positions at home, it was impossible to ask them to remain away from home for more than eight days. But he thought something might be done in the way of calling out the recruits earlier, and requiring some of the officers to go and 855 drill them. He was satisfied that the Yeomanry could be made a practical and useful body, and there was no doubt that they could be taught to ride and shoot; most of the men could do both already. And what he wished to urge was, that the Government should give some inducement to men to join the regiments; secondly, some encouragement to the men to make themselves efficient; thirdly, some more attention to shooting; and, fourthly, some control over the men by the officers. If they did that, they would find the Yeomanry become a very much more useful Force than it had been for the last 20 or 30 years. The question was, how could men be encouraged to join the Yeomanry? No one had given the Yeomanry such a severe blow as the right hon. Gentleman the late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Sir Stafford Northcote) gave them, when he abolished the horse tax of 10s., from which Yeomen had previously been exempted. In consideration of that exemption, the men would willingly spend £2 or £3 on their drill. The only other suggestion he had heard was that the Yeomanry should be exempted from sitting on juries, and he believed that would answer the purpose. He was sure a great deal might be done to encourage the men to make themselves efficient. Under the present system of payment, a Yeomanry private who had joined only a week, got the same pay as a sergeant who had long been the right hand of his officer, or who had been in the regiment 10 or 15 years. They both got the same amount, and that was not the right way in which to treat the men; and what he wished to see was some different rate of pay for different grades of efficiency, and certainly a different rate of pay for different ranks. He would suggest that £1 should be given to every sergeant, and 10s. to every corporal, additional, after the permanent duty. That would not involve a very large amount for the whole Force, and it would be well worth while. Some allowance for the expense of food for the men and the horses at separate troop drills was absolutely necessary, and he would suggest an allowance of 3s. 6d. a-day per man, provided that three-fourths of the men were present at the drill. He should also like to see the pay depend to a certain extent on the efficiency in mus- 856 ketry. All farmers could shoot to some extent, and he did not see why we should not take advantage of that, and make them learn to shoot properly as soldiers, Volunteer officers would admit that shooting was the life and soul of the Volunteer Force. The prizes they had to shoot for were what induced the men to join that Force; and the same plan might be adopted for the Yeomanry. From actual experience in a mounted Rifle corps, he (Mr. Acland) was able to say that it was perfectly easy to carry the long Enfield rifle on the saddle without injury to man, horse, or saddle, and that was what he should like to see given to the Yeomanry. Their present carbine was of very little use beyond 500 or 600 yards. It had been proposed to do away with the Yeomanry sword; but he should strongly deprecate that step. In the first place, the Yeomanry were exceedingly fond of the sword, and the sword exercise was one in which they took great delight. In the next place, they were liable to be called out in the case of riots, and swords had a considerable moral effect over a crowd; and it was a better weapon for that purpose than the carbine, if they were called out. Although they could not be taught in eight or 10, or even 100, days to use the sword for purposes of defence or attack, they could be taught to carry it in such a way that it should be safe. There was one other suggestion, which he knew had been in the minds of Yeomanry officers. He did not wish to dwell upon it now; but there was a feeling that the Yeomanry horses might be turned to account for supplying remounts to the Cavalry. One practical suggestion he had heard was, that every Yeoman, whose horse had been certified as in good condition and efficient for that purpose, should receive £1 a-year on the condition that the Government should have the right of refusal whenever Cavalry horses were required. Another suggestion was, that a system of breeding should be adopted, in which stallions should be placed at points accessible to the Yeomanry, so that the produce might be available for re-mounts for the Cavalry; and another suggestion was, that all the horses used for any of the Auxiliary Forces should be registered, with a view to being purchased by the Government, if required. Any- 857 thing that could be done in that way would, he believed, be an encouragement to men to join the Yeomanry. He hoped that if anything did occur to the Government, they would give the Yeomanry the benefit of it, and that they would not regard the encouragement and improvement of the Yeomanry as unworthy of their attention. The whole Yeomanry Vote was only £69,000, which only slightly exceeded the pay of the adjutants only in the Volunteers; and he did not think that, considering that the Government got men and horses of superior intelligence and energy, and capable of being taught in a much quicker time than ordinary Militia recruits, money could be spent in a better manner than upon this Force. He hoped, therefore, it would be thought worth while to give a little more and expect more in return. What he would suggest was, that if the Government were not prepared to give the Yeomanry anything in the way he had suggested at once, they would do this. During the next three or four months almost all the Yeomanry regiments would be out. All the officers would be together, and they might be consulted as to the means required to encourage the Yeomanry. If an invitation was sent out to them to send up suggestions to the War Office, and if not this year, at least early next year, a Committee was appointed, consisting of members of the Yeomanry inside this House, or out of it, or of gentlemen in the War Office, and evidence was taken from Yeomanry officers, he believed some practical result might be obtained.
§ VISCOUNT NEWPORT
said, he rose for the purpose of asking the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War, whether there was any prospect of the recommendations of the War Office Committee, which sat to consider the question of the permanent Staff, being carried out? It was some time since that Committee, of which he (Viscount Newport) was a Member, made its Report. There were certain arrangements proposed, that the Committee believed would be beneficial to the Yeomanry, and, at the same time, some reductions were suggested. Upon those reductions the Government eagerly seized, and proceeded to carry them out with the greatest alacrity, although nothing had been done in the direction of the improvements suggested. He could assure the Com- 858 mittee that they would never have dreamed of proposing the reductions, had it not been believed that the counterbalancing arrangements recommended would be carried out also. He hoped some attention would be paid to the recommendation of the Committee with regard to the mounting of the sergeants. Sergeants were sent down to the Yeomanry regiments without any provision being made for mounting them, and the consequence was that the captains had to find them horses. Most of these were not trained; and the Committee would understand that an officer drilling mounted men could not perform his duty effectually unless he was mounted on a thoroughly well-broken horse. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Acland) that payment should be made for the mounted troop drills which were now compulsory. In his opinion, the Yeomanry Calvalry Force deserved some encouragement from I the Government; but, at present, it seemed that the words of the noble Earl (Earl Percy) with regard to the Militia, that the Government were acting as if they were exceedingly desirous of putting an end to it, applied to the Yeomanry I with still greater force.
§ COLONEL LEVETT
said, he should like to say one or two words on points that he regarded as important in connection with the Force which formed the subject of the present Vote. The hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Acland) had alluded to the fact that the Yeomanry did not occupy quite so good a position in the opinion of the country as the Volunteer Force. He (Colonel Levett) believed the reason for that was to be found in the kind of weapon with which they were armed. The enormous range and power of the rifle had undoubtedly much to do with the relative positions of the Volunteers and Yeomanry; and it was upon that ground that he thought the latter were entitled to ask the Government for some assistance. The Yeomanry were told, by the visiting officers, that they must pay more attention to their shooting. But the facilities afforded by Government did not make this a very easy matter. For instance, they were only allowed 30 rounds of ball-cartridge a-year; and it was optional whether the men fired that number of rounds or not. Again, if the men attended the ranges to practice, it was done at their own expense; and not only was that the case, 859 but the officers had to pay the expenses of the Sergeant Instructor who attended there. He ventured to suggest that a small amount of assistance from the Government in these respects would have a very beneficial effect upon the efficiency of the Force. He thought that if every man who rendered himself an efficient shot was rewarded with some mark of distinction from the military authorities—if he were allowed a small sum in addition to his pay—the result would soon show itself in the improved firing of the Yeomanry as a body. Again, the Yeomanry had to contend year after year with the difficulty of going through their training upon more or less untrained horses. A man might render himself as efficient as he pleased; he might attend regularly year after year, and be the best of swordsmen; but, if he rode a bad horse, he could never compete with a Cavalry man mounted on a thoroughly trained charger. He did not advocate the changing of the Yeomanry into a mounted Rifle corps. It was truly said the other day by Lord Wolseley, that the weapon of the Cavalry man was the sword; and he (Colonel Levett) was certainly not inclined to see any such change effected. But lie thought that if the Yeomanry were encouraged to study thoroughly the light Cavalry work, for which they were fitted; if they were afforded better opportunities for drill, and were encouraged in their shooting, the country would have in them a much more valuable body of men than they would get for the money the Committee was now asked to vote. He would suggest a small increase of pay to those men who, at the range, attained a certain degree of efficiency, and that the expenses of the Sergeant Instructor who attended the range should also be paid. He sincerely hoped Her Majesty's Government would, at all events, consider the various proposals he and others had submitted to them, which, if adopted, he believed would greatly benefit the Force.
said, the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Acland) alluded to several schemes for inducing men to join the Force; and he (Mr. Monckton) would also place before the Committee a proposal that had been suggested to Her Majesty's Government, and which, if adopted, he believed, would be a great stimulus to the Force. Some time ago the proposal was made 860 that all Yeomen who rendered themselves efficient should be excused from serving on Grand Juries. Now, that was a practical suggestion, and he was sure it would be very well received by the Yeomanry throughout the country. On the other hand, there would be some difficulty in the way of its application; because, if the immunity from serving on Grand Juries were granted, he could not help thinking that, in small counties—in Rutland, for instance—where there was a strong and loyal body of Yeomanry, undue pressure might, in consequence, have to be put upon other persons in the country who were liable to serve. One proposal that he would submit to the consideration of Her Majesty's Government was, that every Yeoman who was owner of a proper horse of 15 hands should be exempted from Carriage Duty in respect of one light cart. He believed that concession would be very gratefully received by the Force. Another suggestion, that he thought would have a very good effect, was that badges should be given for length of service; and, if it were possible, he would like to see permission given to troopers to retain the uniform after 20 years service. He was aware that that was not done in the Line; but the position of that branch of the Service was entirely different to that of the Yeomanry. However, he merely threw this out as a suggestion, remarking, at the same time, that no expense would be incurred by its adoption, except for the outfit, which, after 20 years of service, would probably not be in very good condition. Further, he would suggest that the Government should give prizes to the owners of the best horses. No doubt, great expense was caused to captains of troops and colonels of regiments in the matter of horses and other things relating to the Force, and this would have the effect of deterring many persons in the various counties from undertaking the command of regiments who would otherwise do so, and who were most fitted for the Service. It had also been urged that there should be an increased quantity of ammunition served out to the men, and it was pointed out that at present only 30 rounds were issued. He (Mr. Monckton) thought it impossible that any man, with so small an allowance of ammunition, could make himself an efficient shot; and he heartily agreed with the proposal, that men who did make themselves efficient in this respect 861 should receive an increase of pay. The last proposal was, that when it was thought conducive to the further efficiency of a Yeomanry regiment, the adjutant should stay with the regiment longer than the term now established. He would suggest that, on the representation of the colonel of the regiment, endorsed by the Inspecting officer to this effect, that term should be extended from five to seven years. In making these suggestions, he could not hope for the adoption of all of them. He trusted, however, that some of them would find favour; and that, at all events, Her Majesty's Government would put forward some scheme that would offer encouragement to a class of men whose services and sacrifices had not been as well recognized as they ought to have been.
§ MR. EVANS
said, he agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just spoken (Colonel Levett), that an improvement was desirable in the shooting of the Yeomanry; he would venture to add that there was great room for it, and that, he believed, if some encouragement were given, a large number of regiments would render themselves efficient in that respect. He did not believe, however, in requiring men to expend a certain quantity of ammunition, because the effect of that was, that a great amount of shooting took place at the ranges, sometimes very much to the danger of those living in the neighbourhood His object in rising was to confirm the opinion of the hon. and gallant Member for Lichfield, that a small amount of encouragement to the Yeomanry would result in a great increase of efficiency. He agreed, also, with the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Newport), that, as the Government had made the reductions in the case of the Yeomanry which the Committee recommended, it was desirable that the improvements, suggested as an equivalent, should also have been adopted; and he had no doubt that, had this been the case, increased efficiency would have followed.
§ VISCOUNT FOLKESTONE
said, he hoped the Committee would allow him to make a few observations in support of the proposals so ably advanced by his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Acland). He agreed with him, that a small concession would be sufficient to encourage men to join the Yeomanry. It was owing to 862 the fact that little or no encouragement was given, that the officers of the Force had such immense difficulty in maintaining their regiments even in the attenuated condition they were in at present. He would like to bring before the Committee a fact that would show, in a practical way, that the Yeomanry was a Force which deserved encouragement. The members of the Yeomanry were called out for eight days' training; unlike the Volunteers, they had to leave their occupations, and remain in a town, generally one of the principal towns of the county to which they belonged, for the prescribed time. The patriotic citizens of the place, in their endeavour to assist the Yeomanry, appeared to think that, during their period of training, they were fair game, and that they ought to be mulcted to as great an extent as possible for the purpose of increasing the trade and profits of the town. That constituted a serious detriment to the Force he had the honour to belong to, and it was one which could not but militate largely against the possibility of getting recruits. It had been stated, over and over again by those who had written and spoken on the subject, that it cost the Yeomanry generally, for their eight days' training, a sum varying from £2 to £5. His contention was, that the Yeomanry, if it was a Force worthy of being kept up at all, should receive soma encouragement from Her Majesty's Government. He saw that the money voted for the Yeomanry in 1882 amounted to £69,000, the total number of the Force being at that time 14,458 men, which included officers, permanent sergeants, and rank and file. Each man was paid 7s. a-day for the eight days' duty in the year; and that allowance for the number of men mentioned would amount to £39,000. He would take the mean between the two sums stated to be the cost out of pocket to the men, and place it at £3 10s. Say that each of the 14,458 men spent that amount, irrespective of their pay, and then, by a short calculation, hon. Members would see that the Force spent about £49,000 over and above the amount received for turning out. Besides that, the officers had to pay a largo sum; although he did not complain, he had to pay rather more than £40 a-year to keep up his own troop. All the officers did not pay as much; but in the case of some senior officers, the amount 863 was more. But taking the amount at the low average of £20 for each of the 625 officers in the Force, the whole cost under that head would be £12,500, which, added to the £49,000 before mentioned, would give a total of £61,500. That was the sum which the Yeomanry annually expended in the maintenance of their own Force, without any encouragement from the Government or any other source whatever; a sum only about £8,000 less than the Government paid for the whole of the Force during the year. He trusted the Government would decide, either that the Yeomanry was a Force that should be kept up, and was therefore worthy of some little encouragement, that would preserve it, at least, at its present numerical standard; or that it should be done away with altogether. The Committee should bear in mind that, for the 200,000 Volunteers in the country, there was no allied Cavalry but the Yeomanry Cavalry, and that those only numbered 14,458 men. He believed military men would agree with him that that was a very small Force of Cavalry, as compared with the number of Volunteers out to keep up for the defence of the country. The country had not a superabundance of Regular Cavalry; and his contention was, that they had not from that source Cavalry sufficient to support the Volunteers, in case it were necessary to call them out for home defence. At such a time, the country would have to fall back upon the Yeomanry, and could fall back upon that alone. Therefore, he might fairly say, that if the Government considered it necessary and good to keep up and encourage the Volunteer Force, it was equally advisable that they should do something to maintain and encourage the Yeomanry; and then it would be found that they were quite as deserving of encouragement as the Volunteers. He would conclude by calling the attention of the Committee to the words of the Inspector General of the Auxiliary Forces, spoken at a lecture delivered in the month of March last, to the effect that the Yeomanry had struggled gallantly to keep their heads above water during two or three years of depression, and that if anything could be done to make the people understand that they were a valuable branch of Her Majesty's Forces, it would, in his opinion, be a very good thing. For these reasons, he 864 (Viscount Folkestone) hoped Her Majesty's Government would do something to enable officers who were anxious to keep up the strength and efficiency of the Yeomanry to carry out their wishes.
§ MR. MONTAGUE GUEST
said, he quite agreed with the remarks which had been made by the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Folkestone) with reference to the encouragement which should be given to the Yeomanry. But he did not agree with him in his calculation as to the amount which it cost a Yeomanry officer to support a troop, because he thought he heard the noble Viscount say that the captain of the troop had to pay most of the expense, and that the subalterns did not pay so much. He (Mr. Guest) had to pay £10 a-year for a house for his sergeant, and to find him a horse, and pay for his drill; and he thought the Government ought to pay something more towards such expenses for drill, and for the house in which the sergeant had to live. If ever the sergeant went out with the troop, he (Mr. Guest) had to hire him a horse and pay his expenses. The Government, surely, ought to do something towards that. He did not quite agree with what had been said as to the compulsory service of the men; because, if the men were told that they were to serve for so many years, a great number of them would say they would not join at all—they did not care to tie themselves to time. A number of men would say—"I would like to join the Yeomanry; but I do not care to tie myself for a number of years." The Government ought to give some encouragement to the Force; for, as a rule, the men were all anxious to make themselves efficient in every branch of exercise through which they could be put—as, for instance, the sword exercise and shooting. They worked exceedingly hard to make themselves efficient, and there was no body of men in the world who were able to make themselves more efficient in the short time that they had at their disposal. There were some people who said that the Yeomanry were not worth keeping up; but such people evidently did not understand what the Yeomanry were. He (Mr. Guest) first joined the Yeomanry in the year 1859, when they were a very different body of men to what they were now. At that time 865 many of the men were old and white-haired; they were certainly not soldiers; but, in the present day, it would be difficult to find any where in Europe 14,000 irregular Cavalry who, for the short time they had at their disposal for drilling, were so efficient. Not only was that the case, but he might say even more. He had seen the Regular Cavalry, and he had been a soldier himself, and he could say that the horses of the Yeomanry Cavalry of England were far finer than the horses of the Regular Cavalry. [An hon. MEMBER: Farm horses.] He begged the hon. Member's pardon; they were not farm horses; and he could say emphatically that they would be glad of a few hundreds of such horses in the Regular Service. When the question was asked—"Is the Force worth keeping up?" he could only say that, in his opinion, it was; and though he quite agreed that it was not right to spend money unnecessarily, he could not regard the Yeomanry as a mere fancy—he looked upon them as a very valuable Force. As the noble Viscount opposite had said, we were not able to spend very much money upon Cavalry, so as to have a very large Force; and if this country had some day to fall back upon its Volunteers, we should be placed in this position—that we should have 200,000 ably officered and efficient Volunteers, who would require to have Cavalry to co-operate with them, for we could not possibly do without Cavalry. Where, then, were these Cavalry to come from? For it must be remembered that it was impossible to make a Cavalry soldier in a moment. We should want Cavalry to support our Volunteers, and where should we get them? The only Force upon which we could fall back would be the Yeomanry; and he quite agree with a remark which had been made by one hon. Member, that since a regular school of Cavalry had been started at Aldershet there had been a great deal more efficiency among the officers, who had worked themselves up considerably and did know their duty. For some years past, he might say, the officers had been good, active men, and most anxious to become real good soldiers. He, therefore, hoped that Her Majesty's Government, if they meant to keep up the Force, would give some real encouragement to it such as was worthy of it; and he hoped that, if this was not 866 done this year, it would, at all events, be done next.
MR. A. F. EGERTON
said, he had had the honour of serving in the Force for 30 years; and he would like to say a word or two as to the expense to which the men were put when on duty. He had understood his noble Friend. (Viscount Folkestone) to say that every man spent some £2 or £3 over and above the sum allowed him by the Government. His (Mr. Egerton's) experience was against that view, for he had known men in his own regiment pass through their period of duty, and bring home money to their wives, out of the sum of 7s. per day which was allowed them. He did not say all did that; but his point was that the sum allowed was an adequate sum. Then, as to the shooting of the Yeomanry. The difficulty in that respect was the difficulty of providing ranges. In the regiment which he had the honour to command, with six troops, there were only three troops which could command ranges; so that the shooting was in abeyance in three out of the six troops. That was a difficulty in regard to which the Government might possibly be able to give some assistance. It could only be met by an increased expenditure. If the ranges were at a distance, it was necessary to take the men to them; and it was impossible to expect that the Yeomanry officers should pay the expenses. Another point on which he would like to say a word was as to the preliminary drills which were compulsory before any man could go and draw money on permanent duty. There were a certain number of mounted drills which must be perfected by every Yeoman before he could draw any pay at all; but there was great difficulty in getting a sufficient number of men to attend the mounted and troop drills. It had been said that the proper way to meet that difficulty was to draw upon the public purse, for a very small expenditure would make a very considerable difference in the number of men who would attend this special duty. He had made a small calculation on this subject; and he believed that one day's pay for each man in the Service would insure a very much larger attendance at the mounted drills, and that would only amount to £3,500 a-year. That would be the extent of the increase, and it would give each man 2s. 6d. or 3s. per 867 day for his attendance at mounted drill. A great country like this might surely stand such an increase of the Yeomanry Vote, which now stood at £69,000. Then there was a charge for the horses of the permanent sergeants. At present the captains had to pay for those horses at their own expense; but there were very few Yeomanry regiments which were not near to Regular Cavalry regiments, and it would be a very easy matter for the Regular Cavalry to provide horses temporarily for the permanent sergeants. As to the efficiency of the Yeomanry, there was a general consensus of opinion among the Yeomanry officers that the Force had become far more efficient within the last few years, and especially since the establishment of the school at Aldershot, which had made the very greatest difference in the efficiency of the body, and especially in the efficiency of the junior Yeomanry officers. There were now a great many Yeomanry officers who had never served in the Cavalry, but who were quite as good as, if not superior to, the Cavalry officers in the power of drilling their men. The Yeomanry had greatly increased instead of decreasing in their efficiency; and, with a very small increase in the Government funds that were spent upon them, that efficiency would be still further increased.
said, the Committee had rather been treating the subject as though there was some proposal to diminish the Vote; but that was not the case. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Egerton) had said that he had been connected with the Yeomanry for the last 30 years; but he (Mr. Davenport) had had the honour of being a member of the Force for more than 40 years, and he did not at all agree with the noble Viscount (Viscount Folkestone), who had said that if the Government would not consent to improve the Yeomanry, they ought to do away with it altogether. He (Mr. Davenport) hoped they would allow it to continue as it was, rather than take such a bold step as that. He remembered the time when the Yeomanry were spoken of in a very slighting way, both in that House and out of it; and he remembered somebody saying that the Force was one which was not required to leave the country on foreign service, except in case of invasion at home. That was one of the sar- 868 casms that used to be levelled against the Force—attempts to make them ludicrous. But the Yeomanry had lived through that sort of thing, and he believed it was now as efficient as possible. A point on which he differed from some remarks that had been made was this—he was strongly of opinion that it would be a very great mistake to attempt to change the Yeomanry into Mounted Volunteers. They must stick to the sword. His own regiment had very often been called in to aid the civil power; and he believed it was universally acknowledged that in their services on those occasions they had done their duty very well indeed; and, although they had occasionally used the sword, they had used it with moderation. As to the remarks which had been made upon the attenuated condition of the Yeomanry, his own regiment, far from being attenuated, was now stronger than it had been for many years, and numbered 550 men.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the noble Viscount who had spoken earlier in the discussion (Viscount Folkestone) had seemed to him to prove rather too much. It was very doubtful whether the efficiency of the Force would be greatly increased by any small expenditure such as was likely to be adopted by the House. No doubt, there were a good many well-to-do men in the Yeomanry, who were, to a great extent, officered by rich men; and both these classes were willing to spend a certain amount of money, be-sides giving up a certain amount of time in the Service. This was, no doubt, very valuable to the country; and it afforded to the men and officers themselves a change of occupation and of scene which was not altogether disagreeable to them, and for which they were willing to pay a certain amount of hard cash; and he doubted very much whether any moderate sum of money, such as the House was likely to grant, would be at all certain to improve the efficiency of that valuable Force. Some reference had been made to what had been done by his Predecessor in Office (Mr. Childers). He believed his right hon. Friend did, last year, endeavour to help the Committee to arrive at a conclusion, by inviting a certain number of Yeomanry officers to the War Office to discuss the question; but he believed there were great dif- 869 ferences of opinion in what was put forward, and nothing very practical was suggested to be embodied in the form of proposals. The consequence was that when he (the Marquess of Hartington) acceded to the Office he now held, he did not find any such proposals before him for increasing the Vote, or for modifying the Vote; and the subject, therefore, had not come immediately and directly before him. Under these circumstances, it was not altogether accurate to say that the recommendations of the Committee had not been carried out. So far as his recollection served him, the amount of this Vote was now very much the same as that at which it stood some years ago—it had not materially increased nor decreased. The value of a Volunteer Cavalry Force, to act in case of need with Volunteers, was, no doubt, very great; and, if any moderate increase could be suggested for it, he could only say that it should be most favourably considered; but he wished to point out that the various suggestions which had been made that evening would involve, if carried out, a very considerable increase in the Vote, and that was a direction in which he thought very few hon. Members would be prepared to go. It must be remembered that the constitution of that House varied very greatly according to the nature of the proposals which happened to be brought before it. The House that night had been composed either of Yeomanry officers, or of Gentlemen who strongly sympathized with them, and the economists of the House had been represented in extremely small numbers. But if the Government consented to make the various alterations which had been suggested, the composition of that House would be very considerably altered, and there would be a much larger number of hon. Gentlemen in attendance prepared to make a practical protest against any very considerable increase in the Vote. And he did not know that that protest would come wholly from one side of the House, because he had observed that hon. Gentlemen opposite were becoming spirited advocates of economy; and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith) took the Government to task only last Tuesday for their extravagance. Of all the suggestions which had been made that night, it appeared 870 to him that only one was of a practical character, and that was with regard to drill. The demand which had been made on that point seemed to him to be fair and reasonable; and if he could see his way to meeting it he should have great pleasure in so doing. But he knew that there might be some difficulty about it; and, therefore, he could only promise that his best attention should be given to the subject.
§ SIR WILFRID LAWSON
said, he regretted that his hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Rylands) was not present, for this would have been a good opportunity for putting into effect that hon. Gentleman's abstract Resolution in favour of economy. What was the use of these Yeomanry? A great deal had been said as to their being excellent fellows, who wanted a great deal done for them; but he altogether failed to see of what use they were. Of course, nobody who was not a colonel should talk about these matters at all; but common sense taught even civilians that 9,000 men brought in from the sheep-fold and turned to soldiering were sure to be unskilful—indeed, as the hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Acland) had said, it was hardly safe to let them have a sword. When they were called out for one week, for a picnic like the Derby, and not for soldiering, it was absurb to say that they could add to the permanent strength of the country. He had just asked the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire how long he had been in the Army, and the hon. Gentleman said 12 years. And he did not know the duty yet. All night these Yeomanry officers had been saying—"Do this for us, and do that for us. Do something or other for us, and if you don't you had better abolish us." He (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) would say, in reply to that—"All right; you had better be abolished;" and, therefore, he should take the liberty of objecting to the Vote in toto, hoping for the support of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Westminster (Mr. W. H. Smith), who was so strong an opponent of the extravagance of the Government.
said, he had not spoken of the use of the sword by the Yeomanry in the sense in which the hon. Baronet (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) had understood him. All he had intended to say was, that those Members who knew anything 871 of a Cavalry regiment would know that when men wore brought in from the sheepfold for only one week—and it was very unfortunate that they could not be got for more—it was not surprising that at first their use of the sword should not be perfectly safe.
§ COLONEL O'BEIRNE
said, he objected to the Vote. Before any money was voted for the Auxiliary Cavalry, the Regular Cavalry ought to be properly attended to. On a recent occasion, when they had to send out three Cavalry regiments to Egypt, they had, in order to enable the men to go out, to denude three other regiments of their horses. ["Question!"]
said, he must remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the Vote under discussion referred to the Yeomanry, and not to the Regular Cavalry.
§ COLONEL O'BEIRNE
said, his contention was simply that the Regular Cavalry should be made thoroughly efficient before any money was voted for the Auxiliary Cavalry.
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH
said, that, whatever might be thought of the Yeomanry Cavalry, there was no doubt that the discussion in regard to it had been somewhat protracted. He was quite persuaded that it would shortly become a question whether the Force ought not to be allowed to die a peaceful death. The question asked by the hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) was a most pertinent one—namely, what was the use of the Yeomanry Cavalry, and what reliance could be placed upon it in time of need? It had been asserted, in some quarters, that the Force did add strength to the Army and defence of the country; but nine out of every ten of the speakers in the present debate rather regarded the Yeomanry as an ally of the Civil power in case of an outbreak amongst the people. He ventured to say that the great mass of the people of the country looked with great disfavour and suspicion upon the Force, and in the very strongest manner deprecated its use, when it was, unfortunately, found necessary for a military force to co-operate with the Civil power. So far as the Northern Counties were concerned, Peterloo was by no means wiped out of the memories of the people. "Where it was necessary to employ a military force for the maintenance of order, it 872 was infinitely better that a handful of Regular soldiers, who were not liable to use their swords indiscreetly, should be employed, than a whole regiment of Yeomanry. What possible service could this Force be in time of war? He could not imagine it facing any foe, except it be a body of Frenchmen of about equal number, who had never been on horseback before. It was admitted that they were only trained for eight days in the year, and that it seldom happened they had the same horses two years in succession. He was proud of the county he came from. In that county there were not many men who played at soldiers; but there were people who had to pay taxes, and who felt very strongly against any waste of money in this direction. The county certainly possessed a regiment of Yeomanry which trained at Harrogate. That annual training was made the occasion of a gathering of the fair sex and idle people; but, so far from the Force being seriously regarded as of any use, there was not one man in 50, out of the Force, who considered it was of the slightest value whatever. Hon. Gentlemen who were connected with Yeomanry regiments had admitted that the Force was not of the slightest value; because every one of them had said that, if it could not be made more efficient, it had better be abolished. The hon. Member for East Cornwall (Mr. Acland) gave the Force such a character that he (Mr. Illingworth) wondered the Minister of War would have anything more to do with it. The hon. Gentleman told them that a man could even leave the Force on 14 days' notice if he disliked his officer, or had any other cause of dissatisfaction. They heard a great deal in the House about patriotism, and they had heard hon. Members who were officers in the Force complain that such an enormous charge as £10 a-year were laid on some officers. Surely £10 was a paltry sum to pay for the honour of the office held by those hon. and gallant Gentlemen. It appeared to him (Mr. Illingworth) they purchased very cheaply the marvellous distinction of being at the head of this still more marvellous Force. If such an incident as the removal of the horse tax had seriously interfered with the numbers and the efficiency of the Force, that fact alone afforded a strong proof of the folly of maintaining 873 any such institution as the Yeomanry Cavalry. Did the removal of the horse tax involve any new tax? Nothing of the kind; but, because relief was given to those who owned horses, the numbers of the Force, they were told, decreased. He considered it was the duty of hon. Members to take up a position of opposition to Estimates of this kind. The Force did not commend itself to the great mass of the people of the country; and within a comparatively short time the Government would be pressed to abolish the Force, which, he believed, was mainly kept up for the amusement of a number of gentlemen who belonged to a class not very oppressively employed, and who wanted some occupation of a gentlemanly and easy character during a part of their leisure time. He believed that if the country were polled nine-tenths of the people would willingly vote for the abolition of the Force.
§ SIR PHILIP MILES
said, he could not agree with one remark the hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Illingworth) had made. As an old Cavalry officer, he must say he considered the Yeomanry Cavalry a very valuable Force. It was all very well to say they were fine weather soldiers; but he could not imagine any body of men who, in case of an invasion of the country, would be more useful in their own country, in which they knew every road and bye road.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 126; Noes 21: Majority 105.—(Div. List, No. 99.)
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow.