§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,232,500, he granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Retired Pay, Retired Full Pay, and Gratuities for Reduced and Retired Officers, including Payments awarded by the Army Purchase Commissioners, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £950, which, as far as I can make out—although it is difficult to ascertain the actual pay—is the retired pay of General Sir John Adye, G.C.B. I have not put the Amendment down upon the Paper with any desire to enter into matters of detail in regard to the Vote, because I admit that it would be utterly impossible to discuss in any detail the 1180 items which go to make up either the Army, the Navy, or the Civil Service Estimates. But there is one question which I wish to bring to a very practical test—namely, a principle which is the very basis of all economy, and, what is better than economy, the efficiency of the Public Service. I desire to fix the burden of the responsibility; and if the Secretary of State for War does not think that responsibility has been brought home very directly to Sir John Adye in this case, it will be difficult to conceive any ease in which responsibility can be brought homo to any official whatever. That responsibility having been brought home, and Sir John Adye not having been punished, the Government will not be justified in punishing any official in future. What are the circumstances of this case? In the first place, a great offence has been committed. It has been admitted that the small arms—the cutlasses and sword bayonets—supplied to Her Majesty's Navy are utterly untrustworthy, inefficient, and unfit for service. I venture to say that if this had been found out in time of war, and not in time of peace, it would have been a still more serious matter. As it is, it cannot raise our prestige in the eyes of foreign nations, when they find out the carelessness with which, our Army and Navy are armed. Fortunately, these defects have been discovered in a time of peace; but if it had been a time of war we might have had a great disaster indeed, and the punishment of Sir John. Adye would have been something more than the mere withdrawal of his pay as an official. It is a surprising fact that although these untrustworthy weapons had been in use for many years their defective condition was only discovered by accident, and oven then not by the officials. But, whether it was discovered by accident or not, we have the fact that it has been proved by conclusive evidence that the whole of the British Navy have been armed with these utterly useless and unreliable weapons. That is not the dictum of an irresponsible body, but the calm, unqualified, and deliberate judgment of an able Committee, appointed with a special knowledge of the facts, by Her Majesty's Government, to I inquire into this very subject. The offence has been clearly proved, and who are the offenders? They are not great, 1181 but they are very highly placed indeed. They are Sir John Adye, the late Inspector General of Artillery, General Fraser, who is at this moment sitting on the Ordnance Committee to teat our big guns; General Close, Mr. Perry, Sir Arthur Hood, the present First Naval Lord of the Admiralty, and Admiral Boys, late Director of Naval Ordnance. Upon whose authority do I name these officers? It is very difficult to find any responsibility; but these are the names quoted by no less a person than the Secretary of State for War himself.
§ MR. HANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman is quite right. I have omitted the name of General Dixon. We have not only the offenders' names before us, but this is a case in which there is the most direct personal responsibility. It is not a case in which it can be said that the system is at fault. The official custom of laying the blame on the system is a most mischievous one. The system consists of individuals. Individuals profit by it, and when it fails individuals must be punished for it. Either by such a system you have men in high offices who cannot find out that the system is bad, and such men are not fit to be in the Public Service at all; or the more deserving, if they know the system is bad and still go on drawing the pay without remonstrance or trying to better the system, are more culpable than ever and are the more deserving of punishment. Then, again, we ought not to sanction the custom of Parliamentary Heads of Departments taking upon themselves sham responsibility. This custom is mischievous and has existed much too long. Parliamentary officials should not be required to take upon themselves the blame which really attaches to the officials under them, because it makes it utterly impossible for independent men to improve the existing state of things and to punish offenders, as the question is at once made a Party question, and the big battalions of the Government in power are at once brought to bear. I confess that when I asked the Secretary of State for War whether any official notice was to be taken of the offence charged, I was utterly astounded with the reply that no further notice would be taken, Now, 1182 I do not understand the principle on which the Secretary of State appears to act, and I do not think the public will appreciate the principle on which the right hon. Gentleman has acted. Public attention has been very keenly called to the condition of the Army and Navy, and the Committees which have sat, as well as Royal Commission after Commission, have shown that these two Services are in a very disgraceful state. When, therefore, offences are brought home as in this case, it is utterly ludicrous to attempt to divide responsibility, and to apportion it partly between the Army and Navy, partly between the persons responsible for the patterns, and the persons responsible for the manufacture, and then to say that several persons were responsible and not one of them ought to be punished. I have been utterly dumbfounded at some of the reasons which have been given for the inaction of the Government. The Secretary of State for War has said that the offences occurred 12 years ago. But is there any Statute of Limitation in this matter? The right hon. Gentleman should know very well that he is setting an especially bad precedent, because the heads of this manufacturing department are only appointed for five years, and after what the right hon. Gentleman has said these officials will feel that if at the end of their service their faults have not been discovered they will go scot free for ever. We are told that these men are not in the same offices now. That may be so; but some of them have been in offices of much, higher responsibility. Admiral Sir Arthur Hood is First Naval Lord of the present Administration, and General Fraser, who is one of the men named by the Secretary of State for War, is a member of the Ordnance Committee. I put a Question to my right hon. Friend to ascertain who are the persons serving on the Ordnance Committee at present, and the answer I received had evidently been prepared by an official of some acuteness, because it was simply to refer me to The Army List. I then asked if General Fraser was upon that Committee, and the right hon. Gentleman said he did not know. Nevertheless, General Fraser is one of the gentlemen condemned by my right hon. Friend himself. The fact that these men are not now in the offices which they held when the offence was committed 12 years ago is rather an 1183 aggravation of the offence than otherwise, because if they had been found out 12 years ago they would not have been drawing money for offices for which they are utterly incompetent, and therefore they would have received a more severe punishment than that which I propose to mete out to them now. In answer to a further Question, the Secretary of State for War informed me that the Committee having undertaken to apportion responsibility it was not his duty to do so. I utterly repudiate the idea that the Minister of the Crown is justified in casting responsibility of this kind upon any Committee. There have been too many of these whitewashing Committees. We want some action taken, and the proper man to take it is the responsible Minister of the Crown. It is not in the terms of the Reference for the Committee to inquire whether these gentlemen have been culpable or not. The terms of the Reference are simply—To inquire into the circumstances under which the cutlasses and cutlass sword bayonets have been passed into the Royal Navy.Sir John Adye, in a letter to the War Office on the 20th of May, 1877, says—In the first place, I would observe that the Committee ordered by you was simply one of investigation. I was not called upon to pronounce any opinion as to the culpability or otherwise of individual officials.Therefore, I maintain that there is a double complaint against the Secretary of State for War in not going further and punishing the officials who have been to blame. The first complaint is that in the public interests the action of the Government has not gone far enough. If it had been a private firm, any official who had been shown to have neglected his duty in this manner would have been instantly dismissed. I will go further, and say that, in the Public Service itself, if it had been a humbler subordinate and not a high official who had committed this grievous fault, he would have been dismissed long ago. I am bound to say that Sir John Adye has some right to complain of the way in which this matter has been dealt with, and he has asked, with some justice, that some specific charge and definite inquiry shall be made. He says—I do not like to be under a general charge of this nature. Bring your specific proof, and either acquit me or condemn me. Do not punish me for mere generalities.1184 He asks for a specific charge and a definite inquiry. As the War Department has refused this definite inquiry, it is the duty of this House, in justice to Sir John Adye himself, to inquire into the charge. What is the charge? The charge is a double one. Twice over has Sir John Adye been named by the Secretary of State for War as having been responsible for the pattern of these weapons, and for the manufacture of the weapons themselves. Now, with regard to the pattern, what did the Committee which sat to consider the subject say? They say that it seems extraordinary that so weak a pattern as that of 1871 should have been designed for use as a bayonet. It was, they said, deficient in strength, and altogether inadequate to resist such vertical pressure as it would receive in actual use. The Committee gave a striking instance of the utter weakness and inadequacy of these weapons, for they tell us that they would resist a pressure of only 32 lbs. The new sword-bayonet will resist a pressure of only 160 lbs., and the triangular bayonet a pressure of no less than 440 lbs. against the miserable? 32 lbs. of the pattern complained of. Then as to conversion. What do the Committee say upon that? Practical sword makers have assured the Committee that the conversion of the weapons ought never to have been attempted. They say—The Committee feel bound to record their conclusion that the conversion of these cutlasses and cutlass sword bayonets was a most unwise stop. The Committee are convinced that the temper of the steel of which those arms were made was in all cases deteriorated, and, in some instances, destroyed during their conversion.Then, how is Sir John Adye responsible for the pattern and manufacture? The Secretary of State says that he is distinctly responsible both for the pattern and the manufacture. Sir John Adye was the Director of Artillery and Stores. He was the head of all of the manufacturing departments. From the evidence, it would appear that oven the Director of the Army Ordnance and Stores seems to have known very little about the matter, and I shall be much surprised if it is not found that Major General Alderson is pretty much in the same position as Sir John Adye. Now, what is the conduct of Sir John Adye that I arraign? A new weapon was to be introduced into Her Majesty's Navy; it was to be a thrusting weapon, and it was. 1185 Sir John Adye's duty to enter into negotiations with the Admiralty as to the pattern, and to see that proper weapons were manufactured by the War Department for the use of the Navy. It was, therefore, a very special case—special because a new weapon for the whole of the Navy was to be manufactured; it was a weapon for a new drill, and the whole of the weapons were to be made by a now process, which, involved the cutting down of the old cutlasses and converting them into small cutlasses and sword bayonets. What would have been the first step that a man of common sense would have taken? He would have taken the step which the Committee say that both Sir John Adye and Sir Arthur Hood ought to have taken. The Committee say—When so grave a step was resolved on as the conversion of nearly the whole of the cutlasses and cutlass sword bayonets of the Navy, it is not unnatural to suppose that a mixed Committe or Board of military and naval officers might have been appointed to consider and determine on the best pattern for such arms of the tests to which they should be subjected before issue.No such joint Committee was ever dreamt of, much less appointed by Sir John Adye or Sir Arthur Hood. They preferred to carry on personal negotiations without consulting a Committee at all. And how did they conduct the negotiations? Before Sir John Adye took office after about a year's negotiations had been taking place with regard to the pattern between the Army and the Admiralty Departments, Sir John Adye on going into the office never took the slightest pains to read a single syllable of the correspondence which took place between the Army and the Admiralty, and it was only on the 5th of June this year, in trying to find out the grounds for his defence, that Sir John Adye felt it necessary to go to the War Office and hunt up the records. I do not know how he got permission. I know that many men who have a grievance against the War Office would like to go through and hunt up documents to establish their case. Sir John Adye. however,-went to the War Office and by hook or by crook he at last discovered that there had been some correspondence which he ought to have known of long ago. Not only that, but what was the kind of correspondence which he himself carried on with the Admiralty? I cannot go through 1186 the whole of it, but I will appeal to anybody who has road that correspondence—which only takes up a page of foolscap—to say whether it is possible on an important matter to carry on the arrangements in this sort of sixpenny telegram style? The Committee say—"The correspondence already quoted seems to be the only record of this important transaction." With this miserable and incomplete correspondence with the Admiralty, it is easy to see that the result was a complete misunderstanding. What does Sir John Adye do? On the few previous occasions on which patterns were sent to the Admiralty, at least 12 pattern swords were sent; 12 were sent in 1845, and it was especially requested that 12 swords should be sent in 1869. Nevertheless, Sir John Adye sent only two—a miserable two, or in fact, only one, because the two pattern swords rather differed from each other, and there was only one of the particular pattern desired by the Admiralty sent to be experimented upon at all. What sort of swords did Sir John Adye send? Did he know what kind of trial it was to be subjected to? It was intended for thrusting drill, in which everything depended on the point, and yet he sent a sword without putting a point upon at all. He knew further that it was a light weapon, but strong, and he sent one which had no kind of strength whatever.
MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN&c.) (Stirling,
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but who is it he says knew this?
§ MR. HANBURY
Not in Office at that time ! What is the date the right hon. Gentleman thinks I am referring to?
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The incident to which the hon. Gentleman has been referring did not occur in 1871, but in 1869.
It was in 1871 that this blunt weapon was sent in, and Sir John Adye knew very well, or ought to have known, that this weapon before 1187 it could be used in war would have to be sharpened, and that the process of sharpening would very greatly reduce its strength. He knew that it had no reserve of strength, and therefore, when he sent to the Admiralty a sword to be tested, and he neither pointed nor sharpened the weapon at all. I can hardly conceive that Sir John Adye knew the nature of the drill which the sword was required for. In Question 1091 Sir John Adye said, that he did not know what kind, of trial the weapon would be subjected to by the Admiralty—he did not even know what it was to be tried for—whether for handiness or strength. There is some remarkable evidence on this point. When Sir John Adye was hard pressed as to being responsible for the pattern of the weapon, he told the Committee in answer to Question 1064, that he did not feel bound to go into the question of strength, because the weapon had been reported efficient by the Naval Authorities. But when he was asked "Did it ever enter into your head to inquire what was meant by efficient?" he was compelled to say "No, I never made any inquiry of the sort." When it was pointed out to him that it was impossible to estimate what the Admiralty meant by efficient in that way Sir John Adye said—"I should say in a general way that the Excellent would merely try the weapon for its handiness." This is the evidence of Sir John Adye, the Director of Artillery and Naval Stores, who has to supply the Navy with an efficient weapon, and yet only knows that the weapon has been tried for its mere handiness, without regard to its shape or its strength. Nor does he appear to have had any clear understanding, even with his own Superintendent, because General Dixon, in a letter he has written lately, says most distinctly, that while the Director of Artillery and Stores was under the impression that the Admiralty were testing the swords for their shape and handiness, the Superintendent at Enfield says—The report of the Admiralty was very satisfactory, and was considered at the time as meaning that the swords had been tried in a way to satisfy the Naval Authorities of their perfect efficiency.This would naturally satisfy also the War Office Authorities. So that not only was there a complete misunder- 1188 standing between Sir John Adye and the Admiralty, but there was a complete misunderstanding between himself and the official immediately below him, in regard to the manufacture. At the last moment Sir John Adye raised a new line of defence. He says—That having examined the records of the War Office, I now find that the new pattern, was proposed by the Admiralty in detail in 1869, and I only took Office in April, 1870.This is, no doubt, the point the right hon. Gentleman opposite had in his mind, but I do not think that that is any excuse that will benefit Sir John Adye. On the contrary, it seems to me to make the position rather worse for Sir John Adye, and for this reason. I have already referred to the very strange fact, that Sir John Adye did not know of the correspondence long before. He ought to have gone into it at once, considering the important duties he was called upon to discharge. If he had examined it, he would have found that the Admiralty required 13 swords to be sent instead of one, and further that the whole sword was to be as light as was compatible with strength. Therefore, I am sorry that Sir John Adye should have made this defence; because it only puts him deeper in difficulties than he was before. It is all nonsense to say that he was not responsible because negotiations had previously taken place, and those negotiations were not completed when he came into Office. He came into Office in 1870, and in May, 1870, a distinctly new pattern was issued by the War Department to the Admiralty. How is it then possible when a new pattern was issued in 1870, and trials were going on constantly up to February, 1871—how is it possible for Sir John Adye to say that he knew nothing of the matter, and that it was never brought under his attention until the end of 1871? The trials were going on during the time he was in Office, the new weapon was tried by him, and not by his Predecessor, and a totally now element came into consideration during his own time, because the new process of conversion was adopted, and the new pattern decided was to be a converted sword, which certainly made the whole difference in his responsibility. I am sorry to have to trouble the Committee with all these details, but it is necessary having brought a distinct charge against Sir 1189 John Adye, that I should prove my case. I should not be doing justice either to myself or to him, if I did not endeavour to prove the charge up to the hilt. We find Sir John Adye negotiating with the Navy, but there was no joint Committee or any cutlass Committee, which certainly ought to have been appointed. There appears to have been no understanding whatever, between Sir John Adye and the Admiralty, and I want to know if these high officials had no idea whatever of organization; if they can allow a misunderstanding of this kind to arise, what are they good for? As I have said, they are placed in high office, and it is their duty to see that no misunderstanding takes place. If they were in subordinate positions they would be dismissed at once, and surely a misunderstanding arising between men occupying such high positions as Sir John Adye and Sir Arthur Hood ought to be sufficient to justify the most severe punishment failing upon their shoulders, I have shown that Sir John Adye had no agreement with the Navy. What did he do in his own Department? One would have thought that at least he would have had a Departmental Committee appointed, and that he would have called in anybody who understood the subject. That was evidently the practice of his own Department, as will appear from the answer to Question 1127—"In matters of large importance the tests are laid down and applied." In the introduction of a new gun, for instance, and the proof of it, the testing is carried out by a Committee. He was then asked—Is it not a matter of great importance what swords and bayonets are placed ill the hands of our soldiers and sailors?" And the answer is—Certainly it is a matter of great importance, and it is usual in all cases to have a Departmental Committee.But in this case Sir John Adye did nothing of the kind. He did not consult a Committee, nor did he consult anybody whatever as to any special test in regard to this special weapon, which was to be issued under a new process. In Question 1066 Sir John Adye is asked—Did it occur to you to change in any way the original test?"—Answer: "No."—Question 1116:" Can you state whether the test was altered in any way when the sword was converted?"—Answer: "No; I do not think so.To Question 1159, the answer is— 1190I authorised no different test in 1871. I did not interfere in the matter. I did not interfere in the question of test.Good gracious ! What is the Director of Artillery and Stores for unless he is to interfere in these very matters? He does not even appear to have known where the tests were to come from.Question 1084: "Who authorised the tests that were to be applied to the conversion of these blades?"—Answer: "I am not aware: you must ask the Superintendent of the Small Arms Factory what the tests are.Surely the Director of Artillery and Stores was the person who was most directly responsible in these matters. Nevertheless, Sir John Adye says ''No." He was asked in Question 1085—The official who would authorise the tests would be, I suppose, the Director of Artillery?" Answer: "Certainly not.He is further pressed in the matter, and in Question 1088 he is asked—Then the Director of Artillery is the authority who orders certain tests to be applied?''—Answer: "Yes; quite so.But if responsible no special tests were ever applied to this special weapon at all. The weapon was never tested in any way for strength, nor does it seem to have possessed any strength whatever. It is a startling thing to say; but it was never tried for strength at all, but only for soundness and elasticity. This fact came out in a remarkable letter written by Major-General Dixon. Now, I think that the Committee misunderstood the evidence of General Dixon, and were somewhat unfair to him. In that letter General Dixon distinctly says that he was bound by the pattern; that he was in no way responsible for the pattern; and we know that the Superintendent at Enfield was not responsible for it. We have had evidence of a remarkable case, in which a large number of swords were turned out of a most unsatisfactory character. Colonel Arbuthnot remonstrated at the time; but he could get no redress, and had to go on making weapons which he personally disapproved of. The whole of the time General Dixon was Superintendent of the Small Arms Department at Enfield he never manufactured these small arms by thousands; but he made them by the hundred at a time, and had them issued when they were found to be good and useful. But in this case it never seems to have entered into the heads of the 1191 wiseacres who were responsible to do anything of the sort. If Sir John Adye had taken the suggestion thrown out by General Dixon in 1870 or 1871—a suggestion which, I believe, is now about: to be carried out in the War Office—that there should be a periodical inspection of these arms both in the Army and Navy as well as of those in store, if this had been done their disastrous condition would have bean found out the very next year. But what happened? General Dixon sent up a recommendation to the War Office, and said that it was most important that the weapons should be examined in order to ascertain; their condition. A curt reply came back the very next week to say there was no necessity for doing anything of the kind, and I believe the general impression was that General Dixon wanted some sort of new post created. All I have to say is, that if a new post had been created no scandal of this kind would have occurred, and it is a step which the Secretary of State now very wisely proposes to take. It will be seen that General Sir John Adye never consulted any Committee or any responsible person, and had only his own wisdom to act upon and his own information. But he admits that he know nothing at all about the matter. In Question 1084, he says—You must ask the Superintendent of the small arms factory what the tests are." Question 1109: "I presume it was a proper test because it was laid down by the proper authority before I came into Office." 1156: "Then no attempt was made to ascertain whether the test was sufficient to insure an efficient and proper weapon?"—Answer: "I imagine it was those who laid it down; but I am not aware who they were. That happened years before I was in Office." Question 1109; "My own opinion as to tests is worth nothing, because I am not an expert." 1102: "I do not profess to be an expert in swords or cutlasses.It is quite evident, therefore, that the Director of Artillery Stores knew nothing of special work of this nature. Then on what principle are such men appointed? What I want to see throughout the Army and Navy is that there should be no posts given in the Service to ignorant and incompetent men. I desire to see that the posts are filled by men who know their work, and who shall be hold responsible and punished if they go wrong. Sir John Adye never consulted a Departmental Committee, nor did he consult an expert; he knew nothing himself. Then surely he might 1192 have done what the common sense even of an ignorant person ought to have induced him to do. Unfortunately, the practice is to appoint to these posts irresponsible persons—generally young men of good connection who are the friends and relations of persons in high positions, and they are embued with the idea that if they will only shut their eyes to everything that is going on they will gradually rise to the top, because they will not be regarded as troublesome fellows who ought to be put down. Now, I want to see posts of this kind very differently filled. As Sir John Adye knew nothing about these matters himself, why did he not keep a "nurse" or "coach" to instruct him in his duty? His common sense ought to have taught him to do that, because he must have known that the men appointed under him were utterly ignorant and incompetent. Let me pass now from the question of patterns, and I hope the Committee will be of opinion that Sir John Adye does not come out of the pattern question quite clear. I now come to the manufacturing part of the process. These weapons were to be manufactured at Enfield factory. Colonel Dixon, who was then Superintendent, had been in the office for 17 years. He was a most able man who knew thoroughly the whole details of his work. Now, I am bound to say that General Dixon is one of the men upon whom the responsibility has been attached by the Secretary for War; but I think the right hon. Gentleman has been rather hard upon General Dixon. I cannot find that any blame is to be attached to General Dixon as Superintendent at Enfield. But General Dixon was retiring; he retired, I believe, in April, 1870 or 1871, and a new Assistant Superintendent had to be appointed. I have been told that up to that time it was invariably the practice for the Superintendent to nominate his own Assistant Superintendent. Why that is not done still I do not know. If it is it certainly makes the case stronger against Sir John Adye. In any case, the Assistant Superintendent would have to act under General Dixon. Colonel Dyer was appointed, and immediately after General Dixon heard of the appointment he remonstrated with the War Office, and told them that Colonel Dyer was a totally unfit man for the place. The 1193 moment Colonel Dyer entered Enfield Factory General Dixon took the work out of his hands as much as possible, because he knew that he was an unfit man for the position. And of course Colonel Dyer was an unfit man; he had never had any experience whatever. I am told that he was simply a War Office Official who was sent down as the result of favouritism, who knew nothing of the work, and possessed very little knowledge of machinery. Colonel Dyer was appointed, I believe, by Sir John Adye, and this is the description of him given by Major Elliott—He had but little knowledge, if any, of either the manufacture, or any other mutter connected with them.I shall have to quote Major Elliott in reference to Colonel Dyer again. It was in the same way that General Eraser was appointed by Sir John Adye. Now, either General Fraser was directly appointed by Sir John Adye, or he was not. I believe he was appointed by Sir John Adye; but perhaps the Secretary for War will tell me. It is suggested that he was recommended by Sir John Adye, but that is pretty much the same thing. Certainly, knowing the incompetent man he was, he ought to have been carefully watched during his time of service at Enfield. But what is the description of General Fraser which we have here in print from Major Elliott? He is described as—An utter stranger to any matter whatever which related to his department. He was quite ignorant of the bearings of a single question affecting any portion of the official treatment of any subject connected with the department's proceedings, or its general management. This he informed me a few days after his appointment.I do not want the Committee to rest the incompetency of General Fraser upon the testimony of Major Elliott. Let me take the statement of General Fraser himself. What does he say?Question 1378. "Previously to going to Enfield, I had no practical training in regard to sword making." 1381. "I know nothing now about the making of swords, and I do not pretend to know anything about it." 1457. "I Came from Ireland to Enfield, and, previous to that, I had been superintendent of the Ordnance Factory at Portsmouth, and previous to that I had been assistant superintendent in the Laboratory at Woolwich.He was then asked by Mr. Ruston—a civilian member of the Committee—"Then, of course, you had had a good 1194 deal of experience in dealing with steel? Answer: "I should say I had." But the Chairman was an hon. Member of this House, who knew something of the matter—Sir Hussey-Vivian. He at once dropped upon General Fraser, and asked—As assistant at Woolwich, had you much experience of steel?"—Answer: "No. I had not much experience in steel there. My experience was acquired at Enfield, in a great measure.Therefore, General Fraser went to Enfield, not only in ignorance of sword making, but of steel itself; and the Government had a Superintendent who knew nothing of the matter, and also an Assistant Superintendent who knew as little. General Dixon, who did understand his work, was so thoroughly worried out of his life that he had to resign. A new man, a Mr. Perry, was then appointed manager and tester. He, however, had been in the tool department, and knew nothing whatever of sword making. He was a friend of Colonel Dyer's, and was appointed by that officer to the post of manager. Therefore, you had a superintendent, an assistant superintendent, and a manager who knew nothing whatever of the duties either had to perform. Up to the year 1875, there was a skilled man—a Mr. Gunner, who had been inspector of tests for 30 years. When he resigned, a young Artillery officer was appointed inspector of tests, who had no experience of the matter; and, therefore, you had four officials already in the department who knew nothing about the work. Let me go further. How was it in regard to the workmen themselves? Let me take the first, Mr. Perry, the foreman. In his examination by the Committee he was asked (Question 871)—What were the foremen over the department? Were they skilled sword makers? "—Answer:" They were skilled mechanics, up to the hardening and tempering, but they were not sword makers at all." Question 869: "Had you no skilled sword makers?"—Answer: "None. The foremen taught the labourers who came from I can hardly tell you where. We got them as they came to the factory and asked for work. Some came from Birmingham, others from.Manchester, and others from London.Colonel Dyer, Question 1550, says—My struggle throughout the whole of my time at Enfield was to do away with skilled labour, and to bring in unskilled labour as far 1195 as possible. If you introduce self-acting machines which do away with skilled labour, you can carry on your manufactory fur more easily than if you employ skilled labour."—Question: "Even for such delicate, operations as sword making?"—.Answer: "No, not for sword making.Notwithstanding the fact that sword making was the very thing he had to deal with, and although the swords ought to have been tested with special machinery, that machinery was never brought into operation at all. These unskilled men were put into the department, knowing nothing whatever about the practice, and having no one whatever to check them. I say that Sir John Adye appointed these men, that he is responsible for having appointed them, and that it was his duty to see that the work was efficiently performed. He knew what was happening in the Department; he knew that unskilled men were being brought in, and that skilled men were being turned out. I find here a curious statement in regard to what was occurring on the 12th of October, 1874. Sir John Adye said—"We can convert for 8s. each, and the money—£6,000—can be met by anticipated savings in wages."—the difference being the difference between the wages of skilled and unskilled labour. Now, I have shown the Committee the state of the Manufacturing Department at Enfield at the moment these delicate operations for the conversion of cutlasses and sword bayonets was about to begin. We have the evidence which was given before the Cutlass Committee that the manufacture of swords is about the most delicate operation in which the department can be engaged. To show the great skill that is required in the manufacture of swords, we have had the evidence of Mr. Latham, from Messrs. Wilkinsons', the sword makers, that it is of the highest importance to have skilled men to detect the exact redness indicating that the sword is properly tempered, and that it is sometimes impossible in winter to work more than two days a week on account of the badness of the light. Another witness, Mr. Kerschbaum, from Solingen, also stated that so delicate were the tests that it is often impossible in winter to work for more than two hours in a day on account of the light. The evidence of skilled workmen from Germany showed that so much skill is required in sword making, that at 1196 Solingen the secret is hereditary, being handed down from father to son. That is the system that prevails at Solingen. I have shown the Committee what the system that prevails at Enfield is. There is altogether an absence of skilled hands at Enfield for the performance of these delicate operations. But if it is a difficult and a delicate matter making swords from new steel, there is evidence that it is ten times more difficult to form new weapons from old cutlasses and sword-bayonets by cutting them down and converting them. The conversion of old swords into new ones is utterly condemned by every expert. They all say that such a thing never ought to have been attempted. Mr. Latham, from Wilkinsons', said—Question 685—It is a thing which I should never attempt—to grind swords down when they have; once been made; when a sword blade is finished we would rather do anything than attempt to alter it. It is a standing order that if any officer says, 'I must have my sword narrower at the point or lighter,' it is only altered under my own superintendence. You would soften it by the heat generated by grinding. I should not attempt to do anything with tempered steel, either to soften or re-harden it. We never attempt to re-harden a sword by any means. It is not possible to do so. I should immediately say 'Well, this is not a thing that you ought to do. You ought not to attempt to alter blades like this, because they will not stand it.'And yet Sir John Adye entrusted this delicate and difficult operation to wholly unskilled men, and did not take the advice of a single expert from outside the Department, either in 1871 or in 1874. The task of these unskilled men, difficult as it necessarily is, and made still more difficult by the manufacture of new swords out of old weapons, has been added to by a curious circumstance, about which I cannot speak with, the same positiveness as I can affirm the facts I have previously stated. It is a curious circumstance that whereas General Dixon made his pattern sword from old swords by merely grinding them down, because the shape allowed the new sword to be made by merely grinding down; but when General Fraser began to make these converted swords, he found that he could not get this pattern from the old cutlasses—that the two did not overlap, as it were. Then what happened? I believe, as a matter of fact, it is practically admitted at the War Office that it was found impossible to make these swords in that way, because 1197 in this wonderful Department the wrong pattern had been sealed, I have been told that what is called the trough of the sword was to be made from a sealed pattern, and that the trough which resulted subsequently in the manufacture of 82,000 swords was a curved trough. The trough ought to have been a straight pattern, but, as a matter of fact, the sealed pattern was a curved trough, and I believe the difference, although not considerable, was just sufficient to render it impossible to convert the old cutlasses into the new pattern without altering the shape mainly by grinding down. It turned out that, as a matter of fact, the wrong pattern had been scaled, and while General Dixon was able to get a new sword by grinding down the old ones, General Fraser had to hammer the old cutlasses into shape in order to get the proper shape. I do not speak with authority upon this point, but I believe it was so. Leaving that point, I will inquire how the Enfield Department set to work on the conversion of these weapons. Instead of making 100 at a time, and issuing them to be tested for practical purposes, as General Dixon had done, they turned them out by thousands at a time without any test. Moreover, we have the evidence of Colonel Dyer that, so far from making it a systematic operation, these swords were not made continually, but at odd times, so as to fill up the time of unskilled workmen. The test machinery which General Dixon had invented was never put in operation, and all of these swords were made, not from one kind of cutlass and sword-bayonet, but from half-a-dozen different patterns, in all kinds of steel, and the same system was applied to all kinds of steel. The same system was adopted for all, and no distinction was made. But when the Department came to the actual conversion of these swords at Enfield, how did they proceed? The operation, under the wonderful superintendence of this Department, although requiring such marvellous delicacy of treatment, and having for its object the supply of swords and other weapons to the whole of the British Navy, was thus proceeded with. The swords were first treated in a common blacksmith's forge, and then they took an ordinary hammer, hammered the swords when hot and made them straight. The result was that they 1198 crushed all the molecules of steel on one side of the sword, and they tore open all the molecules on the other side of it. Such treatment alone was quite sufficient to render the weapons useless. But they went further. It was not enough to spoil the sword by destroying the molecules of the steel, but they had to cut down the swords by grinding. Experts tell us that the outside is the hard and strong part. But they proceeded to grind away the whole of the outside steel, merely leaving the soft inside case of the metal, which is the very weak part. Having done this, they put the weapons into the fire again, and attempted to re-harden them, a thing which we are told is altogether impossible. The defence which has been put forward by Colonel Arbuthnot, the late Superintendent at Enfield, on the part of the Ordnance Department, is that the weapons were not deteriorated by this process, although the testimony of every expert who went before the Committee was that they were rendered utterly useless by having been subjected to that treatment. He hoped, therefore, that that defence will not now be attempted to be set up by the Secretary for War. I have now only a few reflections to offer to the Committee upon the matter. I thank the Committee for having listened to me so long. I say that these swords are very simple weapons indeed—the simplest kind of weapon we could ask this Department to undertake; but we must remember that this Manufacturing Department, which has made so sad a bungle of such a simple thing as a sword, is also responsible for the manufacture of the big guns for the Navy. How are they to be trusted? Sir John Adye is not the only man who is responsible. At this moment the Secretary of State for War is about to introduce three reforms, all of which have been determinedly fought against by the Director General and the Surveyor General of the Ordnance. Much has been said about having military men to fall the post of Surveyor General of the Ordnance; but I am bound to say that the very worst blunders have been committed while two military men—Sir John Adye and Sir Henry Storks—occupied that position. The three reforms I refer to are, the union between the Army and Navy for the purpose of manufacturing weapons—a thing which 1199 Sir John Adye has scouted from the first; tile requiring of an independent test of the weapons manufactured; and the establishment of an independent and periodical inspection of them by others than those who manufacture them—a matter which Sir John Adye has also fought against. I would appeal to the Committee whether, having heard my case, I have not proved the responsibility of Sir John Adve for this blunder up to the hilt? I trust that the House of Commons, having heard the facts of the case, will not allow the matter to drop, and will not be intimidated by the suggestion that if they deal with the subject the inquiry will not stop where it was. I believe there are other officials besides Sir John Adye and General Fraser—now on the Ordnance Committee of the War Office—whose efficiency must and will be called in question. The names of General Fraser, Sir Arthur Hood, the First Naval Lord of the Admiralty, of Major General Dixon, and of General Alderson, will all have to be brought before the House, and we must not, therefore, be deterred by the consideration that the matter may not stop here. And I would appeal specially to military men. Some hon. Members of this House have been reluctant to proceed in this matter from a natural dislike to prejudice the interests of their brother officers; but I ask those hon. Members to take a higher view of their duty, and to remember that it is not only the officers but the men in the Navy who may have been made to suffer for this blunder, and that it is through, no fault of Sir John Adye that our men in the Navy were not sent into action with these utterly untrustworthy and inefficient weapons in their hands. I appeal to hon. Members on this side of the House not to make the responsibility for the conversion of these weapons into a Party question; but, on the other hand, if this is a matter with regard to which the two Front Benches are going to combine then it is time that the independent Members of the House should make a stand against bungling officialdom in our Naval and Military Departments. I do not care how much the retired pay of Sir John Adye is reduced to as long as his conviction in reference to the charge that has been brought against him is recorded in the Journals of this House. 1200 Unless this House does consent to deal with the matter, it is useless to appoint Royal Commissions to inquire into such questions if Secretaries of State will not act. If the Secretary for War, and other high officials, refuse to act, the House of Commons must deal with these matters for themselves, by punishing the offenders, whom they cannot dismiss, in the place where too often their consciences reside—namely, in their pockets. If charges of this kind had been proved against subordinate officials those subordinate officials would have been dealt with long ago. We ought to make no distinction in this respect between the highest official and the humblest man in the Army and Navy, hut should proceed upon the great and cardinal principle that every person engaged in these Services should be held responsible for his own default, and that in all cases where such default is traced home to him he should be punished without fear or favour. I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £950.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
I rise for the purpose of seconding the Motion which has just been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury), and I shall do so with extreme brevity. I know the impossibility of fixing responsibility on any official unless backed up by clear evidence; but, in this case, we have not only had the Report of the Committee, and the Minutes of Evidence, but the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War himself. In this case, therefore, if I may use such an expression, the saddle has, for once, been put on the right horse, and the House is certainly bound to take some notice of the matter. In 1871 Sir John Adye was appointed Director General of Artillery, and from 1871 to 1875, 82,000 swords, from the use of which the Navy are suffering at the present day, were converted. General Sir John Adye, in answer to Question 1,089, admits that he is solely responsible for the business carried on under his auspices at Enfield and our contention is that he took no pains whatever to ascertain the pattern, or the efficiency of the tests which were applied to the new converted weapons. Whether we are right or wrong, the Report of the Committee, at page 10, is to this effect—"There is no reason to 1201 doubt the efficiency of the cutlasses"—that is the old cutlasses, previous to 1871—"but, in reference to the cutlasses with which the Navy are now supplied, they are absolutely inefficient and utterly untrustworthy." With the permission of the Committee, I should like to say one or two words on the manufacture and the tests that were applied. With respect to the manufacture of these swords, two methods appear to have been in use—that of Colonel Dyer and that of General Dixon—both of which were diametrically opposed to each other. The object of the authorities at Enfield was to get a light straight sword out of more or less heavy curved ones, and the way in which they sot about it was to put the sword into an ordinary blacksmith's forge and take it out hot, in order to straighten it by hammering. The result of this straightening was that the particles of the steel on the convex side were broken, and on the other side they were congested together. An hon. Member will be able to see the effect produced by putting a walking stick across his knee and bending it. In the next place, the workmen pared off the outside—although it is well known to metallurgists that the outside is the heaviest—and presented the sword, as an efficient weapon, to Her Majesty's Navy. The evidence given by the firms of Messrs. Wilkinson, of Messrs. Mole of Birmingham, of M. Kerschbaum of Solingen, and others, was to the effect that no conversion ought to have taken place at all, and that no proper carbon test was applied. There is no move difficult matter than sword making. It is an extremely delicate operation to carry out. In this case swords were made to the number of more than 80,000; they were experimented upon by untried hands; and they were made under different processes of manufacture, of different steel, at different times, and by different persons. They were thrown into a sort of crustacean bed and altered at different times. With reference to the tests that were applied, the House will be able to judge of the value of those tests when I say that out of 4,400 of the converted weapons recently tested, 2,600 were reported to be inefficient; and, in reference to that fact, I would call the attention of the Committee to the answer of Sir John Adye to Question No. 1,109— 1202My own opinion is worth nothing, because I am not un expert. I do not profess to be an expert in swords or cutlasses.As to his opinion being worth very little on the subject, that is a matter in which I think the House will be inclined to concur. Lastly, the Superintendent of the works told us that he had had no technical training; Perry, the foreman, was a tool maker, and not a sword maker; and the workmen themselves were picked up outside the factory and employed chiefly because they know nothing about sword making, and it was thought better that they should be taught the art there. Sir John Adye himself states, in answer to Question 1096, that he had absolutely no knowledge of the subject, but he understood that the workmen were picked up outside. It is quite evident, in reference to the whole case, that there are certain facts the Committee must take into consideration—namely, that absolute inefficiency was displayed by General Sir John Adye, that he did not show the ordinary capability which would have been required in an ordinary commercial firm; and having in one instance brought the responsibility home in the proper quarter, we ought now to deal with it in the manner suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,231,550, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Hanbury.)
§ COLONEL DUNCAN (Finsbury, Holborn)
As a Member of the Committee which considered the matter now brought under the notice of the House, it is only right that I should say a few words. We have heard from my hon. Friend that that Committee was not appointed to express any opinion. That is absolutely the case; they were appointed to give a narrative of how some weapons which were found to be defective had obtained entrance into the Service. If they had been called upon to give any opinion, they would have done so; but I must protest against the idea that they have wished to whitewash anyone, All we did was to obey orders, and to place before the House the best statement of facts we could obtain: and in making that statement I desire to say that we did so quite irrespective of any blame that might be apportioned to any mem- 1203 ber of the Service. I feel bound to say also that we received every possible assistance from all the witnesses who were called before us, including those officers whose names have been mentioned in the course of this discussion. I would therefore ask the Committee to remember that the evidence given by these gentlemen was given without any idea that they were going to inculpate themselves, and I do not think that any of these officers ought to be convicted on the evidence which they have given without being allowed an opportunity of defence. That is a thing in which I believe the Committee will agree with me. It must also be remembered that many of the arguments used by the hon. Member for preston are based on the statements of one witness against another, without the witnesses having had an opportunity of being confronted with each other. The evidence of Sir John Adye, for instance, differs in many ways from the evidence of Colonel Dyer, and it would only be fair that he should be afforded an opportunity of giving some explanation of the discrepancy. Now, there can be no doubt that the conversion of the cutlasses was a foolish and unwise thing, and in consequence weapons have been placed in the hands of our sailors which are absolutely untrustworthy. But it must be borne in mind that when the Admiralty were consulted on the subject, and received patterns to test for themselves, the answer they returned was that the patterns had been tried and found efficient. What does the word "efficient" mean? It surely means efficient in every way, and in that sense Sir John Adye seems to have done all in Ids power to consult the requirements of the Navy, to ascertain what they wished, and give everything they wanted. He received an order to supply the Navy with a particular weapon, and he sent a weapon which they regarded as efficient. Before sitting down—and I only rose to make an appeal for justice to men who have yet to be heard—I will only say a word as to the statement which has been published to the House by officers more or less incriminated to the effect that the Committee have been harsh; but the accusations which have been levelled at the Committee are so contradictory that it is not necessary to defend them. Most of the questions 1204 which, have been raised I must leave experts to settle among themselves. All the Committee had to pronounce upon was that untrustworthy weapons had been passed into the Service. When the Committee saw swords that curled up on being tried upon a soft stuffed figure they certainly sympathized in the indignation which had passed over the whole country at the thought that our blue jackets now in Burmah should have such a weapon placed in their hands. I would, however, again remind the Committee that we should not act with undue haste, and that it is only fair to allow the officers who are now accused an opportunity of defending themselves.
§ THE SURVEYOR GENERAL OF ORDNANCE (Mr. NORTHCOTE) (Exeter)
I am anxious to say a few words in reply to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, and the first thing I desire to make clear is the amount of responsibility which devolves on the Government in connection with the Report of the Committee. I quite agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Finsbury (Colonel Duncan) in the opinion he has expressed in regard to the cutlasses, and I am not going to stand here to defend in any way those which, have been condemned, but the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government is limited to two points. In the first place, I have to expain the reason why it is impossible for the Government to accept the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Preston; and secondly, I have to say, I think that, under the circumstances which, have come to our knowledge, arising out of the proceedings of the Committee on which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Finsbury sat, there can be no question that a serious responsibility would devolve upon the Government if they did not take every possible step to secure in the future an infinitely more satisfactory weapon than that which has been previously served out to Her Majesty's Forces. The Committee report that they had no reason to doubt the efficiency of the weapon supplied to the Navy prior to 1871, but since their report was issued—as I think one speaker has already pointed out—a further report has appeared which shows that a very large portion, some 52 per cent of the old cutlasses which were recommended to be 1205 issued, have failed to bear the severe tests imposed on them. Therefore, it cannot be said that the cutlasses prior to 1871 were faultless; on the contrary they have been proved to be almost as unsatisfactory as the cutlasses converted since 1871. I should like also to call the attention of this Committee to the fact that the present director of Artillery, General Alderson, on whose behalf I feel bound to enter a protest against the attack made upon, him by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, an attack which I must say there was no evidence to support——
§ MR. NORTHCOTE
The evidence given before the Committee has no reference to this question. As a matter of fact, the Director of Artillery the moment the complaint came from the Soudan as to the quality of the cutlasses caused instructions to be issued for the retesting of them, and be sent to the Tower for a selection. Fifty were sent at haphazard and those cutlasses did pass a very severe test indeed. If hon. Members will turn to page 86 of the Minutes of evidence they will see that it always was the intention of the Government that all these cutlasses should be subjected to a severe test, and should be withdrawn if found to be faulty. Although the Amendment of my hon. Friend is specially directed against Sir John Adye, reference has also been made to Sir John Adye's subordinates, and therefore it is impossible to deal with the question as one which solely affects Sir John Adye, without applying to officers under him. I submit that the question of the responsibility of these officers must be divided into two heads—whether the officers who are to be held responsible are those who devised the pattern of the weapon, or whether the responsibility rests upon those who converted the weapons after the pattern was approved. I do not think it is possible to hold both classes responsible, because if the second class of officers found approved weapons laid down and sealed, and already subjected to tests, they can hardly be blamed for working through those tests unless it can be shown that in the process of conversion they spoilt weapons that were otherwise good. Therefore, I think we are bound to separate the case 1206 from the point of view of the designer of the work, and these facts are agreed upon, first of all that the Navy cutlass sword bayonet of 1869 had been pronounced by the Navy to be too heavy, and accordingly they asked the War Office to design a weapon that consistent with strength, should be lighter. If hon. Members will turn to the observations of the officers to whom these sword bayonets were referred, which appear on page 7, it will be seen that the Admiralty lay down, in great detail, what the nature of the weapon was to be. They themselves suggested the conversion of the existing weapon—as will be found on page 85 of the evidence. Let me also point out that the principle of the conversion was not a new one, because if hon. Members will turn to page 5 of the Committee's Report they will see there that one or two previous instances are cited in which weapons had been converted for the Navy, and further that they had been rejected by the Navy on the very ground of defective strength. Therefore, when the War Department received from the Admiralty a request that the weapons then in store should be altered, converted and made slighter to a certain extent, it was a tolerably clear indication to the Superintendents of the line expected to be taken. He had a large number of these weapons in store, and the Admiralty suggested that if anything could be done with them it would be advantageous that they should be converted and altered. It should also be remembered that at the time there was an active correspondence going on with the Admiralty as to the adoption into the Navy of the Martini-Henry rifle, and the question of the supply of the new bayonet was, to some extent, undoubtedly made subsidiary the question of the adoption of the Martini-Henry rifle. Now, after the weapon was converted it was sent to the Admiralty for trial, and in the observations of the officers on the evidence there were statements showing that the weapons had been tried for strength as well as for pattern, as will be seen by a reference to page 8 of the officers' observations. I am not making these remarks for the purpose of shifting any responsibility upon the Admiralty—that really belongs to the War Office—but I think the hon. Member for Preston has sought to cast an undue and excessive amount of respon- 1207 sibility on the shoulders of Sir John; Adye, and I want to show that Sir John Adye might, in self defence, maintain that he had good reason to believe that the view which he took of the efficiency of the weapons was supported by competent professional opinion. The Committee upstairs are of opinion, and that opinion the Government frankly accept, that those weapons were unsatisfactory and originally too weak. Then, I would also remind my hon. Friend that the vertical test of these weapons was not in vogue in 1871 when these weapons were made, and that is the test under which they failed. I also remind him that the test which was applied to them was then regarded as a sufficient test although it is admitted to be inadequate. So much for the question of design. Then comes the question whether the officers who converted the weapons, spoilt a weapon, otherwise satisfactory, by converting it. If so, it might appear that the men who designed them might fairly claim to have designed a good weapon. Now, the minutes of evidence show that all the converted cutlasses did stand the test, no matter how the process was carried out. It is also on record that they were subjected to polishing by inexperienced men, and it is admitted that that polishing would affect them. It results then that the pattern was approved, that the sealed pattern was subjected to a test, it is not disputed that all the weapons converted did stand the test, and it is said that they have deteriorated by use or by unfair tests. Whether the cutlasses were ground or heated or not, if it is conceded on all hands that they were bad, no process of conversion could make them good. With regard to the statement of my hon. Friend that the professional experts all said that the process was an impossible one, I remind him that a Birmingham sword maker gave evidence to the effect that although he would not have recommended it, he would not have considered the process impossible, and that under certain conditions he would be ready to undertake such a process himself. I do not wish to deny that a severer test was necessary, and I beg to assure the Committee that in future such test will be applied. In conclusion, I think the Committee ought to bear in mind that at the time the weapons were made our knowledge of steel was infi- 1208 nitely less than it is now. Since that time we have learned that the life of a blade is considered to be 13 years; and the cutlasses have been in the service for 11 or 12 years, and many of them had attained a considerable age before they were converted. It is the intention of the War Office to institute a much more strict examination of all weapons that may be adopted in the Service, and to provide for frequent examination. But when my hon. Friend asks me to take the extreme step of affixing on Sir John Adye and his subordinates such an ineffaceable stigma as would be involved by the adoption of his Motion, I must remind the Committee that if such a principle were carried out there would be great difficulty in getting officers to accept any responsibility of this kind. I think the real charge against Sir John Adye and his subordinates is that they stuck too closely to the routine of the Office, that they found certain processes in use and that they adhered to them, and that they were, perhaps, wanting in ingenuity and invention and failed to alter those processes; but I submit that the punishment proposed to be inflicted upon them would be out of proportion to the offence, and I hope that view will be taken by the Committee.
§ DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)
It would seem that the Government have agreed unanimously to defend these acts, but I think it is time that the House of Commons took up a different position with regard to those who are responsible for all those failures. We have cartridges jamming, the bursting of big guns, bayonets bending, and the swords of our soldiers and sailors proved to be utterly useless and ineffective, and we are to be told that no one is responsible, that we must wait for the result of Departmental reforms. Then we are told that we must not put a stigma on those who are responsible. Why, Sir, the stigma was put on them by the Secretary of State for War, who read out a list of men amongst whom the responsibility is divided. But when the Surveyor General of the Ordnance tells us that if we reduce this Vote we shall not get any gentlemen to fill these pasts. I ask whether the consequences of that would be anything like what we are confronted with here? However that may be, the fact that a gentleman like 1209 Sir John Adye, whose career has been so marked with blunders, is not only allowed to remain quietly in his position as an officer, but is promoted to the very top of the tree—his post of Surveyor General to the Ordnance being kept open for him while he is in Egypt, and, finally, to crown all, sent off to fill the post of Governor at Gibraltar at £5,000 a-year—is infinitely more demoralizing and more calculated to prevent the country getting officers to do their duty than censuring men for obvious inefficiency. The hon. Gentleman the Surveyor General of Ordnance had not attempted to meet the charges brought against Sir John Adye by the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury). He accused him of not only being incompetent himself, but of getting rid of competent men.
§ MR. HANBURY
I did not accuse him of getting rid of competent men. I said that when posts fell vacant, he appointed incompetent men.
§ DR. CAMERON
I understood the hon. Member to say that one of the officers, who was a very competent man, had his life worried out of him, and that he was got rid of. But these charges the hon. Gentleman did not attempt to refute. He proved by a process of analytical reasoning that the responsibility was divided between those who invented the pattern of the cutlasses and those who altered them, and that responsibility could be imposed on neither.
§ DR. CAMERON
As the hon. Gentleman did not fix the responsibility then, I think we ought to fix it on Sir John Adye. It is, of course, an unpleasant thing to cut down a man's salary; but that is the only way in which we can bring pressure to bear on the Government. I want to show that Sir John Adye's conduct in this matter is quite in keeping with, his action in others. At the start of the Egyptian Campaign in 1882 he was the Surveyor General of Ordnance, and as such he was responsible for the preparations in connection with that campaign. The question of Sir John Adye's responsibility was brought forward in connection with the Transport. In the first place, as to his unwillingness to accept competent assist- 1210 ance and advice. When the Campaign was determined on, Sir Edward Morris was appointed Commissary General of the Army in the field. He thought it desirable that everything should be seen to by the man who was to administer the transport in the field, and he came over to this country from Ireland to the War Office in order to make preparation for the Egyptian Campaign; he has given it in evidence that he wanted certain things done, and that he was compelled to go away by Sir John Adye's orders. One of the blunders of the campaign was in connection with the supply of flour. Sir John Adye did not want flour to be sent out; he wanted biscuits to go; but he gave way, and when the 70 tons of flour arrived, and the sacks were pulled off, it was found to be like plaster of Paris; it was utterly useless, and had to be sold for starch. Sir John Adye reported on the state of the flour. He said it was utterly destroyed; that the greater portion arrived heated, and that the whole of it was an unbroken lump. One would have thought that, on his return, he would have taken steps to bring homo the responsibility to someone; but he did nothing of the sort. Samples were sent home; but it was found that the small packets had been left lying about, and that the eon-tents were unsuitable for analysis. Another matter in which he was personally responsible arose in connection with the auxiliary transport in the Egyptian Campaign. That transport utterly broke down. The Army was for a fortnight in the field before there was any auxiliary transport with it. Now, the whole of the details of the campaign had been planned out before the Army went to Egypt, and it has been shown that 3,600 mules had been determined upon for transport during that campaign. But when the question arose as to where the mules should be purchased, Sir John Adye said, in the teeth of his well informed subordinates, that he wished to purchase the mules on Ottoman territory. He was warned, and it was pointed out that Turkey was one of the parties interested in the Egyptian War, and that she would put an embargo on the exportation of the mules.
§ SIR EDMUND COMMERELL (Southampton)
I rise to Order; and ask whether the hon. Gentleman is entitled to go into these details on this Vote?
The Amendment moved is the reduction of Sir John Adye's retired pay, and it is in form for the hon. Member to go into the whole of Sir John Adye's administration.
§ DR. CAMERON
I do not want to go into the whole of his administration; I want to show that Sir John Adye's conduct in this case is in keeping with his conduct in connection with other matters of military administration. To return to my point: An embargo was laid on the export of mules from Turkey; the transport was in consequence utterly crippled, and a very large sum of money wasted. The same error was made in connection with the hiring of drivers. Drivers were hired against advice in Ottoman territory; an embargo was laid upon that, and we were obliged to pay the men compensation because they were not allowed to come to us. The same sort of thing occurred with reference to labour. The Commissary General asked that labourers should be sent out; Sir John Adye did not positively decline, but asked that the matter should stand over until he went out, and the consequence was that the greatest difficulty was experienced in the field from the want of labour. I might give here a dozen other similar instances, but I do not want to take any disagreeable course in dealing with this portion of Sir John Adye's career. What the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) said with regard to Sir John Adye's refusing to obtain competent advice is characteristically displayed, at all events, in one other portion of his official administration, concerning which we have evidence that it had very important results to the country. Attempts were made to take notice of these things at the time; hut the Committee was burked, and I am ashamed to say that a Liberal Government refused to re-appoint it. By voting against the Estimates, then, is the only way in which we can show our sense of what, has taken place. It is all very well to speak of economy, but no Government likes economy, although I trust that, the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) having taken up the rôle of economist, we shall see some practical result. I think he may congratulate himself on what he has been able to do so far even at the cost of leaving an important post in the Government. If 1212 you do not bring homo responsibility in an emphatic manner you are sure to have in the future the whole series of those blunders repeated; and, therefore, when we have a case brought forward in which, as in this case, the responsibility has been proved up to the hilt by the hon. Member for Preston, we ought to mark our sense of what has taken place by voting for the reduction of the Estimate.
§ ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
After the speech of the Surveyor General of Ordnance (Mr. Northcote), I feel constrained to repel a charge which, by implication, he has cast on the Naval Department and on naval men with regard to the weapons in question. I do not follow the hon. Gentleman who last spoke into the subject of the Egyptiam Campaign, because, were I to do so, I should find myself entering on political ground. For one part of the speech of the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) I thank him, but cannot do so for another part of it. It is a serious matter to drag the names of men who are not present upon the floor f the House, and the hon. Member has done that with regard to Sir Arthur Hood and Admiral Boys.
§ ADMIRAL FIELD
They were; but the hon. Member has emphasized very strongly what has fallen from the Secretary of State. The Surveyor General of Ordnance has made excuses for the shortcomings referred to, and seemed to imply, while sheltering some of the officials of his Department, that when the Navy expressed approval of a weapon the matter was to rest there, and the War Office was to be absolved from all responsibility. I say it is not the duty of the Naval Department to see that the weapons handed over to them are tested. The weapons are received in good faith, and the only point on which the Naval Department is consulted is with regard to form or design. If we are to test cutlasses, we should also have to test revolvers, rifles and guns; and it is ridiculous to suppose we can do that. I shall not again argue the point that I endeavoured to press last year, when I urged on the Secretary of State for War that we should have possession of the Gun Vote and be responsible for our own 1213 stores, but shall conclude by thanking the hon. Member for his speech, subject to the very grave exception of his bringing forward the names of Sir Arthur Hood and Admiral Boys.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
I want to say very briefly why I support the Motion of the hon. Member for Preston, to whom the Committee is indebted, and I am sure the country also, for the line he has taken on this question. I shall support him because, time after time, Committees have reported to this House on matters of the most grave character, which have been passed over with absolutely no condemnation whatever of the persons implicated where they were of high rank. It was my duty to bring before the House on a former occasion matters connected with what was then happening in the Soudan. The Secretary of State admitted that what I urged was correct, but no kind of condemnation has ever been passed on anyone connected. Now, what is the answer in reply to the hon. Member for Preston, whose Amendment will, I trust, be pressed to a Division? It seems to be considered that to take away the whole of Sir John Adye's retired pay is rather a strong measure of punishment. But I understand the hon. Member to be indifferent as to the amount of the reduction of the Vote, and that what he wants is to make the vote of the Committee a Vote of Censure. I think the hon. Gentleman might lessen the amount by which he has moved the reduction of the Vote, and then I think that the hesitation which is felt by some will be removed. The Surveyor General of Ordnance certainly abstained from answering any of the facts; but he was good enough, on the question of conversion, to refer us to what was said before the Committee by Mr. Mole. I was rather astonished when I heard him do that, because I had felt it to be my duty to read this evidence before the matter came up in this House. I understand the hon. Gentleman to put it that Mr. Mole said it was a measure of conversion which might find favour with some.
§ MR. NORTHCOTE
I said that Mr. Mole, although he did not recommend conversion, stated that it was a process which under certain circumstances he would be prepared to undertake.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
I should call that a poetic version of Mr. Mole's evidence. In answer to Question 1177, Mr. Mole says—There is no possibility of bettering or improving by it, but there is a chance of injuring.And what I have said is not weakened by his answer to the question, whether conversion could be safely undertaken, which was—"That is a difficult question to answer. I think it might with very great precautions." And he added—"It was not a process which it would have occurred to me to adopt for Imperial purposes." If that is the best witness of the hon. Gentleman—and I am bound to think it is, because it is the only one referred to—then the case he defends must be bad indeed. General Fraser stated that no advice was taken from experts outside the factory, and the: evidence has shown that there were none inside the factory, whose opinion could be taken on the subject. Only a few years ago, as shown by the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), you had the grossest negligence with reference to the food of the men, and arrangements by which medical stores did not reach them; but nothing was then done. Here is a case that we can deal with, and I ask the Committee to deal with it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite plead that you are dragging on the floor of the House men who cannot answer for themselves. But it is not so. Those men are on the floor of the House in the evidence before it, and in the explicit statement of the Secretary at War. We have this consolation, that, thanks to the hon. Member for Preston and the noble Lord the Chairman of the Committee upstairs, we are in possession of a mass of evidence which we never could get before, and which I, for one, intend to utilize to the utmost. It is not our fault that the question comes up so late in the Session. I rise to plead the cause of men who have no advocates here, and in doing so I speak as one who has worn their uniform and eaten with them in the common barrack room. We have been told that the defective weapons were tested when complaint was made about them in the Soudan; but you should not have left that testing until complaints from the seat of war had reached you. This is not a serious fine by which you are asked to 1215 mark your sense of what has taken place; you are asked to impose a very trivial fine upon one who has very gravely offended, who, I am afraid, was careless almost to the extent of impertinence in the way in which he gave his evidence before the Committee. I have marked a number of answers of that kind, and I thank the noble Lord for enabling us to deal with the evidence in that way. The statement of the hon. Member for Glasgow was to the effect that the evidence in the matters he referred to came too late to be of any use, that in the next Session it was all dead and buried, and thus it was that these high officers were not touched. But the case is different now. You are here dealing with a man whoso shortcomings have come to light at a time when we can deal with thorn; and I appeal to the Committee on behalf of men who have no other defenders to protect them against bad weapons, bad food, bad harness, and bad medical stores, in future, by supporting a Motion for the reduction of this Vote.
§ GENERAL GOLDSWORTHY (Hammersmith)
I wish to explain why it is I shall vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Han bury). I regret extremely that I should have to vote for the reduction of any officer's pay, especially the pay of an officer so high in his position as General Adye, and that he should be mixed up in this system of Army government, which is as bad as it can be. I have no doubt that the Secretary of State for War and the Surveyor General of the Ordnance are desirous of defending Sir John Adye; but the time has come when this House must take notice of the defects in the arms and other things supplied to our troops. I have myself on two or three occasions called attention to these defects, and the same course has been frequently taken by other Members of this House, and I hope that this time the Committee will not allow the matter to rest there, but bring it home to those who are responsible. I am anxious to impress this on the Committee, because of the remarks that have been made outside as to this House having nothing more to do than vote the money for the Army and Navy. I entirely dissent from that view. We who vote the money have a right to see that the country gets value for it, and we have not got that, as the examina- 1216 tions now going on clearly show. I am glad that the hon. Member for Preston is willing to lessen the amount by which he has moved the reduction of the Vote; because it is not intended to deprive General Adye of his pay, but simply to set up an example and warning to others; and if I continue to sit in this House, and find hereafter that military officers have been guilty of neglect of duty resulting in harm to the country, I shall always be ready to support a Motion for the reduction of this Estimate.
§ SIR WILLIAM PLOWDEN (Wolverhampton, W.)
If the Government are not prepared, and I can, of course, understand that they are not, to accept the Motion for the reduction of the Vote, I think they should, at all events, accept the suggestion which Sir John Adye has himself made that he should be put on his trial. That is, in my opinion, a matter of right to him and of justice to this House. We have a grave charge made against a man of high position, and the House is right in demanding that some conclusion should be come to in this very important matter. The hon. Member for Preston has not referred to the charge in connection with the sword bayonets, and the manner in which their conversion was effected—whether they were converted in an improper manner, and whether the Director General and his subordinates were or were not responsible, is a question into which he has not entered. But we have a right to ask the Government to give us an engagement that they will inquire into this matter at once, and that they will bring home this charge of neglect of duty, if it can be brought home, for which those who are responsible ought seriously to be punished. If the Government will not consent to that, I shall then support the Motion of the hon. Member for Preston, to whom, I think, we are indebted for bringing this matter before the House.
§ COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, S. W., Ince.)
I am very curious to know whether the sword bayonets really failed to stand the test they were intended to stand; and I think we ought clearly to know what test they are supposed to endure. The responsibility of Sir John Adye in this matter, however, appears to be entirely covered by the evidence given that the bayonets had been well 1217 tried, and that they were quite equal to the approved pattern, and that the 12,000 bayonets would be accepted provided they were altered to the pattern approved. I am not defending the system of manufacture; I think if there is responsibility in the matter it lies with General Dixon and the officers who succeeded him. But if you attempt to fix the responsibility on an officer in the position of Sir John Adye as Director of Artillery you cannot stop; you must go right up to the Surveyor General and to the Minister of War, and. perhaps, even the Prime Minister. We are all anxious to have proper stores and weapons for the Army; we are all anxious to bring home the responsibility where there has been great neglect; but we ought all to be equally anxious not to commit an injustice upon a distinguished officer. If responsibility is to be fixed upon a particular individual there should be a Court of Inquiry, so that we may not put the saddle on the wrong horse. The statement of the hon. Member for Preston has not brought responsibility home to Sir John Adye individually, in my opinion; and as I do not wish that any injustice should be done in this matter I shall not be able to support the Motion.
§ GENERAL SIR GEORGE BALFOUR (Kincardine)
I desire strongly to support the Motion of the hon. Member for Preston as calculated to fix responsibility. But I go farther than the bon. Member who has tried to fix the responsibility in this matter on Sir John Adye—I say that it rests on the Secretary of State for War at the time. For 19 years I have been asking for an alteration of the present system of making others than the Secretary of State responsible. It is a vicious system, and one- that I shall continue to speak against both in and out of Parliament.
§ GENERAL FRASER (Lambeth, N.)
I am of opinion that the House of Commons should share the responsibility in this matter. For years and years complaints have been made against a system which I believe to be wrong, without result. It is a satisfaction, however, for us to know that inquiry is now going on; and I trust that the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) and the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) will see that every pigeon-hole in the War Office and at the Admiralty is ransacked for the 1218 purpose of this examination. I claim that there is no one in this House more anxious than I am for the well-being of the private soldier; but, at the same time. I cannot vote for the present Motion, because I consider the House to blame for not having listened to the complaints that have been constantly put forward, and because I think we ought not to make a victim of an individual. A soldier who has one spark of feeling or honour would feel an imputation of this kind all his life; and, therefore, I claim on behalf of Sir John Adye that he should be tried by court martial rather than be censured by this House.
§ SIR FREDERICK MAPPIN (York, W.R., Hallamshire)
I trust the Committee will go to a. Division on this Amendment, and that an opinion, will be expressed which will insure that some remedy will be found for the evils which have been brought to light. I do not agree with all that has been said by the hon. Member for Preston in reference to the weapons in question. I believe in the truth of what we have heard——namely, that they were too heavy before; that there was plenty of metal in them to allow for conversion; and that if that operation had been properly performed the result would have been satisfactory—that is to say, that a good weapon would have been produced. It is said that the tests formerly applied are not those which are applied now. That is quite true; but how long have the new tests been applied? The swords of the Cavalry two years ago were subjected to a test unequal to their requirements. The test was applied by a man striking the weapon on a solid block of wood; but after 20 or 30 blows the value of that test must have been reduced by one-half. It is since inquiry was made that a proper test has been applied, and I have no doubt that it is sufficient to insure that a good weapon will be put into the hands of the soldier and sailor. But I think in this matter we must not put the blame on one man alone. We must distribute the blame all round. Again, I think there is no doubt that the Admiralty have something to do with this failure, because apparently they approved the design that was sent to them; and if so, Sir John Adye was not at fault in that respect. I hold, however, that it was his duty to see that a serviceable weapon 1219 was supplied; and when we have a grievance of this kind, on winch we can lay our hands, it is the duty of this House to express its opinion in such a manner as will be understood by the person responsible, no matter whether the position of that person be high or low, because if we abstain from expressing our opinion forcibly we shall not be able to remedy the evil under which we have laboured so long. I trust, therefore, that the hon. Member for Preston will press his Amendment to a Division.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
I think the Committee will, in the first place, realize and fully understand that no Member of the present Government, or any official at present at the War Office, can fairly be held responsible for the blunders which have been committed.
§ MR. HANBURY
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon; General Fraser is on the Ordnance Committee at the present moment.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I admit the correction of the hon. Member. I have taken steps in connection with that, and I think the hon. Member will find that I am ready to put the Ordnance Committee on the best possible footing in the future. It is not my business to defend the War Office in a matter which took place in 1871 and 1875; but the Committee will remember that when the subject first came before the attention of the country I appointed a perfectly independent Committee to investigate it. That Committee held an inquiry, and I have to thank them for the information which they have brought before the House. I accept their Report. I do not dispute any single proposition contained in it, and I entirely agree with every hon. Member in this House who has expressed a hope that the blunders indicated in that Report will be brought home to the individuals responsible for them. I have read most carefully not only the Report of the Committee, but the evidence taken by the Committee and the further replies put in by Members nominated, by me, and I have come to the conclusion that I was perfectly justified in putting every one of the names I put before the House as those of officials sharing some responsibility, at any rate, for the blunders which had 1220 been committed, Now, there are several difficulties which at once occur to the Committee in the matter of bringing home responsibility. The first is the great lapse of time which has occurred. The Committee will remember what are the circumstances attending the issuing of these cutlasses. Most of these weapons were made in 1859; they were converted in 1875–6; they were issued to the Navy and used by the Navy for the period of time extending from 1875–6 to 1885–6, and now after investigation by a very strong Committee they have been pronounced to have been, in conception and by the method of the conversion, weapons unsuited for the purpose for which they were designed. The second difficulty we have to deal with in this matter is that, undoubtedly, many of the defects alleged to-day by the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) and by others are defects not due to individuals only, but due, also, to the system that prevails in the War Office. I am not going to attempt to defend that system. The Committee has already been told of one or two things in respect to which I hope to be able, if I am permitted to retain my present Office, to effect reform. There is one thing in particular I should like to mention. I cannot understand how any system could ever have been thought satisfactory which allowed weapons to continue in the hands of the troops and of the Navy without some means being taken at intervals of testing them in order to ascertain whether they were fit for service. The absence of such testing I believe to be one of the main causes of the blunders which have occurred, and I hope that in the future no such blunders will be possible, because steps will be taken at intervals to test all the weapons in the hands of the troops or in store. But, Sir, we are called upon to pronounce, also, as to the individuals who are punishable in consequence of the blunders which have been committed. The Committee must, I venture to say, be exceedingly careful to look into the evidence in order not to do injustice to individuals. If they were to proceed to deal with this matter judicially, in the light of some of the speeches made, I say the Committee would do injustice to individuals. Take the case of Sir John Adye. I have no reason to desire to defend Sir John 1221 Adye. He was a Member of an Administration opposed to ours, find I am sure when the time comes we shall hear from one of the Members of that Administration a much better defence of him than I can possibly make. I desire, however, to treat Sir John Adye fairly and impartially, and I ask the Committee to do the same. I maintain that it is not treating Sir John Adye properly to call attention to other blunders, made at other times with regard to other weapons, and with regard to which Sir John Adye had nothing to do. It is not fair to heap all this upon him, and to ask the Committee to condemn him upon the strength of all the allegations made against the Ordnance Department in the course of this debate. Now, Sir John Adye was at the time of all these transactions Director of Artillery and Stores. I dare say a great number of the Members of this House do not know at all what the duties of Director of Artillery and Stores are. The Director of Artillery and Stores is not only head of the manufacturing department, which is an enormous charge for anyone to have, but he has, also, to keep the stores for the Army and the Navy, and he is responsible for the manufacture, for the design, and for the issue of all weapons of war both to the Army and Navy. If you say the Director of Artillery and Stores ought to be a man thoroughly acquainted with the manner in which swords and cutlasses ought to be made, I maintain that you will find it exceedingly difficult to get a man thoroughly acquainted with all these processes of manufacture, and, at the same time, know all about the manufacture of big guns, and rifles, and the other munitions of war which have to be manufactured for the Army and Navy. I believe there is no more over-worked man in the Public Service at the present time than the Director of Artillery and Stores. He has to do work which it is physically impossible for any one man to do. The practical conclusion I draw from this is that it is utterly impossible that the present system can continue. The office of Director of Artillery and Stores, as it is at present stated, is one which cannot possibly be satisfactory to the country, and one of the proposals I shall have presently to make to the House, and to the country, will relate 1222 to the position and to the duties east upon the Director of Artillery and Stores. But, Sir, that being so, and the Director of Artillery and Stores being charged not only with the manufacture of swords, but with all the other multifarious duties, of which I have only enumerated a few, let us come to close quarters with the charges made against Sir John Adye. Now, three blunders appear to have occurred in connection with these cutlasses. First, the pattern appears to have been a bad one; secondly, the test applied to the cutlasses appears to have been defective; and, thirdly, the manner in which the conversion was carried out was also radically defective. I take these in turn, and I begin with the conversion. In the first place, it is utterly impossible to suppose that Sir John John Adye could have personally understood thoroughly the method of conversion which had to be carried out; in the second place, when this conversion was carried out, Sir John Adye was no longer Director of Artillery and Stores. [Cries of "Oh, oh !"] It is so.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
the conversion of these cutlasses was carried out in 1875–6, when Sir John Adye was not Director of Artillery and Stores at all, and when, therefore, you cannot attach upon him one atom of responsibility. I trust my hon. Friend the Member for Preston will give Sir John Adye the benefit of that statement.
§ MR. HANBURY
My charge against Sir John Adye is this—He knew nothing about the manufacture, but he appointed incompetent men. That system went on up to 1880.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
Let us take one charge at a time. I have, I think, shown to the Committee that for the conversion of almost all these weapons Sir John Adye was not responsible at all. Then I come to the tests. I admit the tests were defective. The tests were handed down to Sir John Adye. He did not originate them. He received them from his Predecessor, and I think I can read a rather remarkable bit of evidence that will show the Committee, at any rate, that it is not possible to fasten responsibility for these tests upon Sir John Adye. The following is Question 1283, or such part of it as it is essential for me to read, which was put 1223 by the Chairman of the Committee to General Dixon:—The late Director of Artillery, Sir John Adye, gave evidence before the Committee yesterday, and we understood from him that the responsibility for devising a test in order to ascertain whether the converted arm would or would not he an efficient weapon lay with you as Superintendent of the Small Arms Factory, and not with him as Director of Artillery. Do you accept that responsibility?What does General Dixon say?—Yes; that is to say, myself in conjunction, of course, with my officer, the Chief Inspector of Small Arms, whom I had there, and who, as I explained to the Committee before, was then in charge of all the patterns, and had to get up all the patterns, of course, under orders, and between him and myself, a sufficient test was laid down, and the arms submitted to it.Now we come to the much more difficult question—namely, that of pattern. Something has been said about the separate responsibility in this matter of the Admiralty and War Office. I am not going into that matter at all, and for this reason—that it is very desirable for Public Departments to settle these matters between themselves, and that they should not, in public at any rate, make an attack upon each other. What the country requires is that these things shall be properly done; they do not care whether the Admiralty or War Office is responsible; but they insist that both Departments will co-operate in order that the work shall be well done. I only wish to refer to the responsibility of the Departments as it affects the position of Sir John Adye. The question of pattern is undoubtedly one upon which some question will arise with regard to the position of Sir John Adye, and it is specially in regard to this, as I now say, having more maturely considered the evidence, that I mentioned Sir John Adye in connection with the blame attached to individuals. But what did Sir John Adye do? He sent the weapon to be tried by the Admiralty. The Admiralty desired that a particular pattern should be carried out if it could be made efficiently. They said—"If this can be done efficiently, we think this pattern ought to be followed." And what did Sir John Adye do? He called upon General Dixon, who was then the Superintendent of the Small Arms Factory, to carry out this conversion; and the conversion having been carried out, the weapon was submitted to the Ad- 1224 miralty for consideration. Sir John Adye said to General Dixon—"Go over and consult with the Admiralty, talk the matter over with them, and see whether the weapon you have prepared is one which is likely to suit the requirements of the Admiralty." I do not know what Sir John Adye could have done other than that; but General Dixon, in his evidence before the Committee, gave a different version of the matter from that which I have given to the Committee General Dixon, in the letter of observation which he wrote at my request, says—I have no desire to shirk any responsibility which may fairly he attached to me in the manufacture of the patterns, and no one can regret more than I do the results of the conversion of the arms; but neither the pattern sword or the conversion were proposed or recommended by me, and in the manufacture of the patterns I had only to carry out the precise instructions which I had received as to size and general dimensions of the blade, both of which restricted me to the amount of steel to be used, the result being the production of a much lighter blade than it appears ought to have been selected by the Naval Authorities.Well, Sir. I must say that for the responsible head of the Small Arms Factory to say that having had a pattern given to him he is to go on manufacturing a weapon which he knows not to be an efficient weapon, and not to go to the Director to tell him that the weapon is defective, is, to say the least, extraordinary. I cannot justify for a moment such action; and if General Dixon held this view with regard to the weapons he converted, I hold it was his bounden duty to go to Sir John Adye and acquaint him with the opinion he had formed.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
That is quite sufficient. He had every opportunity of judging whether that was efficient for the Navy, and if he had a doubt as to the efficiency of the weapon he was bound to tell Sir John Adye. At the time to which my hon. Friend refers Sir John Adye was assisted by what my hon. Friend will admit to be a thoroughly competent head of the Small Arms Factory, General Dixon; and Sir John Adye trusted to him the conversion of this one weapon, and he trusted to him to go over to the Admiralty and consult with them as to whether the pattern was an efficient one or not for the purpose. I 1225 do not know that it might not have been better if Sir John Adye had inquired a little more directly, and if he had personally heard what had to be said either by the Navy or the Superintendent of the Small Arms Factory. But the utmost that, it scorns to me, can really be paid against Sir John Adye is that he trusted to the representation made by the Admiralty, and to the representations made after consultation with the Admiralty by his own trusted officer, the Superintendent of the Small Arms Factory. That being so, I ask the Committee whether it is reasonable to deprive a man, for what is alter all a very small error of discretion, of what he has earned during a long service to the State? Who is Sir John Adye? Sir John Adye is a man who has done good service in his time. He has served his country for many years, in many Departments, not only in the Small Arms Factory, but as Surveyor General of Ordnance and in other Departments. I say that if we admit the utmost that can be admitted against Sir John Adye it would be a strong thing if, so many years after the occurrence that many of' the chief actors have stated that they cannot remember exactly what happened, we deprive him of the retired pay he has earned, and fix upon him a stigma which will remain upon him daring the remainder of his life.
§ MR. HANBURY
I am quite willing to withdraw my Amendment to reduce the Vote by £550, and to substitute one reducing the Vote, say, by £25. All I desire is that the Committee should have an opportunity of expressing its opinion.
MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN&c.) (Stirling,
I wish to recall to the recollection of the Committee a few observations which were made by the only Member of the Committee which sat upon this subject who is present as a Member of this House to-night. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Finsbury (Colonel Duncan) appealed to the Committee not to pronounce judgment upon the officers concerned in these transactions upon the imperfect evidence we have before us. Now, let me remind the Committee that when these officers were examined before the Cutlasses Committee they came forward in order to assist the Committee, and out of their scanty recollection, and without consult- 1226 ing papers in order to revive their memory, gave all the assistance and information they could to the Committee. It never occurred to them that they were on their trial; that they were going to be brought up before a great tribunal like the House of Commons and mulcted of their well-earned pay, or in any other way condemned or reproved for what they had done. If this had occurred to them they would, no doubt, have been much more prepared to enter into exculpatory evidence, and to explain every particular of the action they took. I must say that it was somewhat unfortunate that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) named these officers, and, at the same time, declined to apportion the responsibility among them. I maintain that if he names officers he ought to take upon himself the duty of saying which among them is really to blame; and it is hardly fair to the Committee—and in that respect I sympathize with the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) who brought this matter forward—it is hardly fair to the House of Commons that names should be put before the House, and that it should be said, as it were—''You must choose among them as you like; I decline to apportion the blame." I think that places not only this Committee, but the officers themselves, in a very invidious position. The Committee will observe that Sir John Adye has distinctly demanded a full inquiry into his part of the transactions; but no one can say that the discussion in this House brought forward by the hon. Member for Preston with great-ability and with a great desire to prove his case, and continued by other Members who are actuated some by preconceived opinion, and others I dare say by prejudice—it may be in favour of the officers concerned—no one can say that this constitutes a proper trial on an important question like this. Now, Sir, I believe we ail agree as to the soundness of the conclusion to which the Committee on Cutlasses came. There is no doubt whatever that these cutlasses are unserviceable in the full sense of the word. Let me, therefore, put that aside as a matter on which there is no controversy at all, and let me consider what part Sir John Adye had in the matter, because, after all, his is the particular name which is 1227 before the House at present. There are, as has been pointed out to the Committee, two separate questions—the question of the pattern, and the question of the process of conversion. Now, I do not think it has been clearly stated that the pattern was fixed before there was any talk of conversion. So far back as 1869 the Admiralty asked for a design fur a new bayonet to suit the Martini-Henry rifle, and they expressed their desire that it should be shorter and lighter than that which was at that time in use, and that it should be straight in the blade. This was gone into, and in October, 1869, Major General, or Colonel, Dixon as he then was, who was at the head of the Enfield Factory, reported that he had made a pattern and sent it to the Admiralty for trial. In February, 1870, a month or two later, the Admiralty asked to be supplied, for purposes of comparison, with another weapon with a saw back, and that was furnished to them. It was exactly the same weapon, but with what is called a saw back, and when, it had been given to them, and fully tested and tried—[Lord GEORGE HAMILTON dissented.] The noble Lord (Lord George Hamilton) objects to the word "tested." I do not wish to say a word which will raise a difficulty between the Admiralty and the War Office; but I may say that, at any rate, the weapon was tried, and Captain Boys wrote of the new pattern—I consider it an improvement upon the present Service pattern sword. Inspectors and practical men say it is better;but afterwards he says—They are of opinion that the sword bayonet without the saw back should be adopted for the Naval Service.The Admiralty had the alternative which they asked for; they tried both, and they determined to approve the original pattern. That was the 17th of February, 1881. Now, let me stop there, and come to Sir John Adye. I interrupted the hon. Member for Preston, for which I hope he will forgive me, when he was speaking, because I thought one or two circumstances he was alluding to had occurred before Sir John Adye entered the Office. But, at all events, Sir John Adye never saw a paper on this subject, or had anything to do with it, until February, 1871.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The letter from the Admiralty approving the pattern was the very first paper Sir John Adye had seen upon the subject.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
He had been appointed, it is true, in April, 1870; but the Department at that time was in a process of transition. The office to which he was appointed was a new one, and the officer who up to that time had performed analogous duties continued to discharge all the duties that were required until February, 1871. That being so, Sir John Adye cannot be held to be in any respect whatever responsible for the acceptance of that pattern, seeing that the letter from the Admiralty approving of it was the first official intimation he received in the matter. A month or two later—namety, in March, 1871—thoDirector of Artillery and Stores, that is, Sir John Adye, asked the Admiralty whether the existing store of 12,000 Snider cutlass sword bayonets might be issued to the Navy; and then it was that the Director General of Naval Ordnance raised the question of conversion. He replied that the new pattern, was far preferable to the old, and therefore asked that all the Service cutlasses should be "straightened, ground, and shortened, if it could be done efficiently." What did Sir John Adye do? He referred the matter to General Dixon. General Dixon had at that time been 15 years at the head of the Enfield Department; and I appeal to any Member of the Committee whether it is to be expected that an officer of distinction, undertaking the duties of Director of Artillery and Stores, as Sir John Adye did, should have a technical knowledge of all the details of manufacture in respect of every kind of store and munition of war? When Sir John Adye, answering a question says, "I do not know," or, "I have no knowledge on the subject," what he moans is—"I am not an expert. I have not a technical acquaintance with all the details of the process of manufacture; for that I look naturally to my skilled subordinates, the Superintendents of the different Departments, and those who serve under them." I venture to say that if Sir John Adye had interfered with General Dixon, and had overridden General Dixon's advice and opinion, he would have been guilty of a very great error 1229 indeed; he trusted to General Dixon, and he had every reason to trust to him on account of his long experience. General Dixon raised no objection; he altered one of the old weapons to the new pattern, and forwarded it to the Admiralty. Well, Sir, the Admiralty, after a trial of the altered weapon, approved of it, and a very satisfactory Report respecting the weapon was sent from the Excellent. Sir John A dye, however, was not satisfied altogether; and to show that he was not leaping in the dark he raised the question of cost. He asked if it would not be better to have new weapons than to change the old weapons; and, after full consideration of the subject, the matter was finally settled, and was approved by the Surveyor General of Ordnance who was his superior officer, and upon whom surely a good deal of the responsibility rests if it goes as high as the Director of Artillery and Stores. That is the history of the pattern, and that the result arrived at by the two Departments—to undertake the conversion of these weapons; and I think that, if the Committee have been good enough to follow me, they will see that Sir John Adye really had nothing to do with the fixing of the original pattern, and that as to the conversion it was asked for by the Admiralty, and no difficulty was raised by the officers of Enfield, although, as has been pointed out by the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope), General Dixon and Admiral Hood were put into communication at the Admiralty, and General Dixon, of course, was seeing Sir John Adye every day in the week, and, therefore, had ample opportunities of pointing out any difficulty in the conversion, if such difficulty there was. Then there follows in this story a considerable interval, because the decision thus arrived at was not immediately acted upon for reasons into which I need not go, and the actual work of conversion I was not commenced till the end of 1874. Now, Sir John Adye left office in July7, 1875, so that it can only have been during a few weeks, when a very few weapons were being made, that he had anything whatever to do with the actual conversion of the weapons. The hon. Member for Preston made a great point; of the fact that Sir John Adye, although he had had nothing whatever to do with the matter himself, had appointed incom 1230 petent men to take charge of the Factory at Enfield. It may interest the hon. Member to know that the Director of Artillery and Stores does not appoint the Superintendent at Enfield.
§ MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
No doubt he recommends, but he is not responsible for the appointment. At all events, putting that aside, he recommended, as it is said, Colonel Fraser and Colonel Dyer—and the vials of the hon. Member's wrath were particularly poured out on Colonel Dyer. Colonel Dyer, according to the hon. Member for Preston, was a most inefficient man, who had dispensed with skilled labour, and had in many ways transgressed what the hon. Member thinks to be sound business rules. Will the Committee believe that Colonel Dyer had not been very long at Enfield—two or three years—when he was selected by Sir Joseph Whitworth to manage the Whitworth Works, so high a character for business capacity did he possess; and after serving at the Whitworth Works for as many years as he could—I imagine because it was a difficult position—he was taken over gladly and joyfully by Messrs. Armstrong and Co., and that he now has a very important charge in the management of their enormous concern for the manufacture of these munitions of war. I am not going to enter into the question of the organization of the War Office or its Departments. I am very willing to take a reforming view of that question. I am not at all disposed to defend many of the arrangements which now exist, and I hope I shall never be found to put any obstacle in the way of change. But this question as to whether the heads of Departments should be military men or civilians is a question as to which I will only say there is a good deal to be said on both sides, and surely it is, at least, unfortunate that the particular man who is selected for attack by the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) is a soldier who has been selected first by Whitworth, and then by Armstrong, to conduct a large portion of their enormous 1231 businesses. I should have thought, and I do think, it is one of the most startling evidences that the arguments as to the employment of soldiers in the manufacturing departments are not all on one side. Well, I think I have disposed of the career of Sir John Adye in connection with this matter. I have shown that he did not come into office practically until after the pattern of this weapon had been settled by the Admiralty and War Office; I have shown that he went out of office just as the conversion was beginning to be made; and now I wish to quote some part of the evidence given before the Cutlass Committee. Hon. Members will bear in mind that if Sir John Adye had any responsibility whatever for the actual process of conversion of these weapons it must have been in 1874 and 1875, because he went out of office early in 1875. Here is the evidence of Captain Luxmore. He says—Last Wednesday I was inspecting the Royal Naval Reserve men at the Peterhead Buttery, and on trying 40 sword bayonets they wore nearly all good. The same pressure had been put on them, and 32 out of the 40 were perfectly good. The test marks were all of the year 1875The next witness, Captain Rawson, of the Royal Navy, speaking of cutlasses found defective, says—All those that were tried were of different dates—I think 1877, 1878, 1879, and 1880.This may, of course, be a mere accident; but here is such evidence as we can get which proves, if it proves anything, that the weapons converted at the beginning of the period were better, and, possibly, more carefully treated, than those which were converted afterwards. The hon. Member for Preston blames Sir John Adye for not appointing a Committee and taking its advice. As the hon. Member is well informed on this subject, does he remember the history of the Sword Committee? because, if so, he must know that that is not a very encouraging instance of the appointment of a Committee. I noticed that at the beginning of his speech be objected to the Government or its officials sheltering themselves behind Committees. Sir John Adye had at his elbow the very best technical advice he could have in the shape of Colonel Dixon and his subordinates in the Enfield Factory, and if they were not the best men they ought to have been. There is no proof they were not. 1232 Everyone who has looked into this question of sword manufacture knows it is an extremely small trade, and an extremely difficult and technical trade. Let the Committee bear in mind the technical evidence given before the Committee which dealt with this subject. By whom had that evidence to be almost entirely given? By rivals of Enfield in the manufacture of swords and bayonets. I do not impute any unfair motives to those who gave the evidence; but I think they would be more than human if they were not biassed against what was going on at Enfield. I need not say anything more in advising the Committee not to accept in this hurried way the Motion of the hon. Member for Preston. Sir John Adye has boon accused of many things: but of all things that I can imagine be should be accused of the last is what the hon. Member stated of him—namely, that be was always opposed to reform. That is a rather odd objection for the hon. Member for Preston and his Friends to take; but, as a matter of fact, Sir John Adye has been the most active reformer in Army matters we have had, and a valiant and sturdy economist. I hope the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph. Churchill) will have a kindly feeling for him on this account. Sir John Adye has brought upon himself a vast amount of unpopularity because of his economical and reforming tendencies; and, therefore, there is some irony in the fact that be should have been selected upon this occasion for attack. I have, I hope, proved that he had very little to do with this matter; at all events, that he had not enough to justify the Committee of the House of Commons in jumping at the conclusion that he must be guilty of this great error. I can only repeat here, as he has urged in his letters, the claim on his part that the whole of his conduct in reference to these matters should be referred to the judgment of some tribunal before which he would have an opportunity of clearing himself.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL (Paddington, S.)
The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) has made the most ingenious defence of Sir John Adye that the Committee has yet been favoured with; but even he, I think, has been carried very far in his desire—his very laudable desire—to 1233 defend a political ally. Undoubtedly, Sir, the Party opposite are under considerable obligation to Sir John Adye, and I think that one might fairly argue that the reason why Sir John Adye did not give that close.scrutiny to the comparatively minor duties of his office as Director of Artillery and Stores was that the Colleagues of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) were at that time occupied in enormous schemes of Array reform—the abolition of purchase and reforms of that kind—of which Sir John Adye was one of the greatest supporters, and to the carrying of which I suspect he devoted the whole of his time. That is undoubtedly so.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
I think the right hon. Gentleman was quite right in defending Sir John Adye; but when I come to think over the Speech of the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) I arrive at a totally different conclusion. Why is this Motion brought on to-night by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury); why has he stated with so much care the evidence, and constructed with so much elaboration and force his indictment; why has the Committee been now from 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock investigating' this question? Because of the importance of the matter, but mostly because of the conduct of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State, on being asked, after the disclosure of this great scandal, who, in his opinion, as a responsible Minister of the Crown, was responsible for the scandal, named Sir John Adye, whose conduct is now under the notice of the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the responsibility as regards the pattern must be shared by Sir John Adye and the others whom he named. There fore, the Secretary of State for War, the responsible Minister of the Crown, on a matter about which no popular excitement existed, named in the House of Commons the persons the House of Commons should treat as responsible in this matter. That being so, how can the Secretary of State have the face to get up at that Table, and make a defence of Sir John Adye as he did to-night, to sneer, as he did, at my hon. Friend the Member for Preston for having stated 1234 with so much force and argument the indictment against Sir John Adye? What I want to ask the Secretary of State for War is this—namely, whether, when he named Sir John Adye as responsible for this scandal, he had communicated with Sir John Adye; whether he had Sir John Adye's letter before him which has since been published; whether the statement was made to the House before he was in receipt of Sir John Adye's letter, or subsequently? I am perfectly certain the statement was made before the receipt of the letter. Very well, what is the position now?
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
I am asking the question of the Secretary of State for War. A General Officer of distinction is named to the House as responsible for certain scandalous occurrences, and what I want to know of the Secretary of State is whether he named Sir John Adye before he received Sir John Adye's observations in his own defence? That is a question to which it is only fair we should have an answer.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
Observe how infinitely stranger becomes the conduct of the Secretary of State. Before he receives Sir John Adye's letter in his own defence, he names Sir John Adye as responsible for these scandalous occurrences, and then he makes it his duty to inquire whether Sir John Adye has anything to say in regard to the matter. Really, after conduct of that kind, no censure of any sort or kind can be brought by the right hon. Gentleman against an independent Member of the House of Commons such as my hon. Friend (Mr. Hanbury). The Secretary of State comes down to the House, and, without previous communication with an officer, holds up that officer as distinctly responsible, and to a certain extent guilty, for a scandal which has occurred, and it now appears he would deter the House of Commons, nay, more, he would actually resist the House of Commons, or the independent section of it, in doing what he himself has set them the example of doing—namely, turning what has occurred to practical account. What does the right hon. Gentleman do now? He makes a most elaborate defence 1235 of Sir John Adye, and dilates upon his past career. He tolls us it is a very distinguished career. There have been a great many soldiers and a great many sailors who have performed distinguished services to their country; but Then they have been found to be responsible for great official miscarriage, or even great disorder, their past career has not saved them from punishment. No one denies the brilliancy of Sir John Adye's past career: the question is whether he was responsible for bad weapons getting into the hands of our sailors, and his past career has nothing to do with the occurrence. Well, Sir, the Secretary of State, in his desire to defend Sir John Adye. attacked my hon. Friend (Mr. Hanbury), and sneered at him for the violence of his attack. But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) also baa an enemy among the lot whom he held up to the Committee for condemnation. His especial enemy or especial aversion appears to be General Dixon. It is obvious from the manner and tone of the Secretary of State that he objects altogether to our censuring Sir John Adye, but that if we are inclined to censure General Dixon he will have nothing to say against our action. What is the charge against General Dixon? The right hon. Gentleman says General Dixon acted in a manner in which no officer ought to have acted, because, he says, General Dixon disapproved of the weapon, but, nevertheless, continued to make it, He says that General Dixon ought to have refused to make the weapons. Now, nobody who knows anything about the working of the War Office can for a moment contend that a subordinate can oppose his superior in such a manner as this. It is an unfair, and even an untrue, position for the right hon. Gentleman to make. What would have been the position of General Dixon if he had opposed the Surveyor General of Ordnance in this matter? He would have been told to keep his opinions to himself, just as Colonel Butler was told to mind his own business when he expressed the opinion that the swords supplied to the Army wore unsatisfactory. What happened in the case of the 43-ton gun? The 43-ton gun was condemned by an expert, who was told it was a good weapon, and he must mind his own business. It is unfair, and 1236 almost unprincipled, to pitch upon minor officials and say that the responsibility rests with them, when it does not when scandals occur. Read the Royal Warrant defining the duties of the Surveyor General of Ordnance, and you can come to no other conclusion from that Royal Warrant than that the Director of Artillery and Stores is solely responsible to the Surveyor General of Ordnance and to Parliament for everything that takes place. The only charge the Secretary of State can bring against General Dixon is that he did not do what no subordinate would, under the present system, dare to do—he did not refuse to make a weapon which his superior told him to make. Now, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) said that Sir John Adye had made a demand for inquiry, and he thought that demand ought to be acceded to. But we have had Committee after Committee; and Sir John Adye has been hoard in his own defence—the whole of his evidence was taken. More than that, the right hon. Gentleman seems to forget that after the Secretary of State pronounced this censure upon him, and held him up as responsible to the House of Commons, Sir John Adye wrote a long and elaborate letter to the Secretary of State, in which he entered fully into all the charges, and in preparing which letter, I understand, he had special facilities for access to all papers and documents. How can the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) say that Sir John Adye has had no opportunity of defending himself against these charges? He has had every opportunity; and you might appoint a Commission or a Committee to-morrow, and all that would happen would be that they would go over the old ground; and Sir John Adye would make the same defence as he does now. I quite agree it is unfair to expect the Director of Artillery and Stores to be skilled in the process of manufacture; but this is the case against Sir John Adye. Why did he not take independent expert opinion before he consented to this very important change in the weapon to be supplied to the Navy? And why did he not, having got the weapon, insist himself, as a soldier, in finding out whether the weapon was a good and reliable 1237 weapon? That requires no technical knowledge; you require no technical knowledge to get expert opinion; and one would think that on such a matter expert opinion was essential. These are the two things Sir John Adye did not do; and if this Committee takes any action in this matter, it will be in consequence of this want of action on the part of Sir John Adye. I was very much struck by a remark which fell from the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Ince Division of Lancaster (Colonel Blundell). The hon. and gallant Gentleman seemed inclined to play the game which many have played before him—the game of hide and seek, to discover where the responsibility in this matter lies. Sir, the responsibility really lies, under the present system, with the Secretary of State, and nobody else. The present system is the greatest absurdity that can be supposed; indeed, I believe that if it were proposed by any man in Bedlam to the other inmates of Bedlam they would resolve that their brother lunatic ought to be put into a madhouse. The only person really responsible to Parliament, under the present system, is the Secretary of State himself; and, undoubtedly, in a technical sense, if you proceed against Sir John Adye, you will proceed against a person who can set up a great Constitutional defence for himself. The Secretary of State who was in Office at the time of these occurrences has long since passed away, and there is no opportunity of censuring him. I think it would be unfair if the Committee were to deprive Sir John Adye of the whole of his pension. I do not think my hon. Friend wishes that for one moment. What the Committee wishes is to guard against the danger of the Secretary of State getting up in future and saying—"Yes; it is all very bad; it occurred long ago. We are not responsible, and we are going to make a change." The House understands that the insane system under which these bad cutlasses were made some years ago obtains now; the same system of appointment; the same system of wasteful and extravagant expenditure; the same system of putting duties upon men which they cannot perform; the same system of continuing to create new appointments for no other purpose than that of increasing the patronage of Ministers. [Cries of "No, 1238 no!"] Yes. I say that without the smallest hesitation, because I am able to prove it. A whole series of appointments which now obtains in the Army and War Office administration have been designed with one object mainly, and that is not the good of the Public Service, but to increase the patronage of the Minister. The same system attains now which attained heretofore; the same system under which miscarriages and scandals took place in 1885 continues now; nothing has been changed, nothing altered. The Secretaries of State have got up one after another and admitted the facts to the House, and stated their intention of introducing great reforms. Nothing has been done. The old system remains in its entirety, and is capable of producing the same monstrosities it produced 10 or 20 yeare ago. This is what the House of Commons has to face; it has shown to the public, not only to the two Front Benches, but to the people whom it represents, that it is sensible the time has come when the House of its own independent action must put pressure upon the Leaders of Parties to bring about such reforms as will make these monstrosities impossible. That is what I implore the House of Commons to do. Do not let us punish individuals vindictively. We have to remember that there are a great many considerations; we have to think that the time when this scandal occurred has long gone by; but this we may do—we may take what I shall call nominal action against Sir John Adye. We can say that these great scandals having been brought to our knowledge one after another, and the Secretary of State having held up to the House of Commons no one single individual as responsible for the scandals, we may well say we will act in such a way as will form a commencement of action in the future, and as shall give a clear and definite warning to those servants of the State who hold high positions and receive high salaries, and who very often get great reward, that the time has come when a new state of things altogether must obtain; when the House of Commons will pursue a different line of action, and will itself, when scandals and miscarriages are fastened upon public servants by the clearest evidence, take the matter into its own hands and pronounce on these servants the censure of the people. 1239 Sir, I do think this is an important matter of public policy which has been brought forward by ray hon. Friend, and certainly it will be no good if we only go on complaining of the waste of money and the inadequacy and inefficiency of the Service. We shall do no good until we take some action which will be a landmark, a new departure, a warning to public servants in the future. What, therefore, I advise the House to do, and what I sincerely hope the Government will not oppose, is that we should reduce this salary by a merely nominal sum—it matters not whether 20s.. or 40s.—so that this debate shall remain as a record of the time when the House of Commons awakened to a sense of the great danger to which the Public, Service was exposed, and as a record to establish a precedent which in future time it will act on more vigorously if similar scandals come to light.
§ MR. R. W. DUFF (Banffshire)
I will only detain the Committee for a very few minutes; but there are one or two points which have been raised in the course of this discussion upon which I should like to hear some expression of opinion from the Front Bench opposite. I cannot agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Finsbury (Colonel Duncan), who represents the Committee, when he tells us that they expressed no opinion. It is quite true that the Committee did not wish to east blame upon anybody; but so far as their giving an opinion is concerned, during the whole of my experience of Select Committees—and I have had to do with a great many of them—I never knew a more decided opinion pronounced than was pronounced by the Committee in question. The hon. and gallant Member says they pronounced no opinion upon any matter of vital importance. Well, in the concluding sentence of their Report the Committee say—That they believe the converted cutlasses and cutlass sword-bayonets of the pattern of 1871, with which for the most part the Navy is now armed, are absolutely inefficient, untrustworthy, and unfit for service.I think that is a very decided expression of opinion. The Committee will agree with me, from what has taken place in this debate, that a great deal has transpired that places us in a false position. I have road the evidence taken by the Committee, and the conclusion I have 1240 come to is that a great deal of the unsatisfactoriness of the state of things that prevails is duo to the want of responsibility—in fact, to divided responsibility. I think we have had some evidence of that fact. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the East bourne Division of Sussex (Admiral Field) has already asked some question about the First Naval Lord, Admiral Sir Arthur. Hood, and it is quite impossible to read those Papers without seeing that the want of understanding between Admiral Hood and the War Office, and the want of specific instructions to these officers, lead to the unfortunate state of things which prevailed. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War deprecated giving us any information as to the state of the War Office and Admiralty. The right hon. Gentleman says they settle these matters between themselves; but that is exactly what I object to. What the House desires, as the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) has said, is that the responsibility for the state of things which prevailed should be put upon somebody. You want this—that if the Secretary of State for War is to get up and attach blame to the First Lord of the Admiralty, and if an hon. Member, with the leave of the House, is to got up and ask where the blame is to be attached, then the whole question should be raised, and the whole question should be settled, I am bound to say that I agree with a great deal of what has fallen from the hon. and gallant Admiral opposite on this question. As I have said, I have read through these Papers very carefully, and the main difficulty, it seems to me, is this—the swords and cutlasses were condemned not so much for their pattern and design as from the fact that they wore made of bad metal; and the question arises who is responsible for that? The view I take on the matter is the one which is expressed by the Board of Admiralty in a letter contained in these Papers. The Secretary to the Admiralty, writing to the Secretary of State for War, on the 15th of July of this year, says—As a summary of the whole question of the conversion of the sword-cutlasses, I am to state that the Admiralty admit their responsibility of approving the pattern to which they were altered, with regard to its handiness—namely, shape, weight, and length—based upon 1241 favourable Reports, received on these points, from many competent naval officers, to whom the weapon was sent; but the Admiralty disclaims in toto any responsibility for the means adopted for the conversion of the sword-cutlasses, or for the nature of the tests applied after conversion. The responsibility must rest solely on the Department which, as manufacturers, carried on the conversion, and decided upon the tests to be applied to the weapons after conversion.That is the view put forward by the Secretary to the Admiralty; and I am bound to say that it appears to me a perfectly reasonable view. But I want to know if that view is supported by the opinion of the First Lord of the Admiralty, and whether the Secretary of State for Wav accepts it; and, if so, who is responsible in his Department? We want a distinct answer to that question. We have no guarantee that this same kind of thing will not go on again. We want to know whether the Admiralty or the War Office are responsible? As was stated in the early part of the evening by the gallant Admiral, the Admiralty are not manufacturers. My contention is, that the Admiralty are no more responsible for the metal of which these cutlasses are made than they are for the metal of which the guns on board the Collingwood and other vessels, which occasionally blow off their muzzles, are constructed. That is the view that we take, and that view is supported by the War Office itself, because I find in the Appendix to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee, on page 87, that the Admiralty and the War Office take exactly the same view in objecting to naval officers examining these weapons. On page 87 you will find these words—The Superintendent of the Royal Small Arms Factory also hoped that the Director of Artillery would not encourage tests at out stations where there are no proper appliances; and the Senior Store Officer at Portsmouth was thereupon directed not to carry out any more tests.That was the opinion of the War Office. With this evidence before us, and with the letter of the Secretary to the Admiralty, I cannot myself understand how Sir Arthur Hood is to be held responsible. But this question must be settled, because a great deal of difficulty has arisen from want of a distinct understanding between the two Departments. Until the matter of responsibility is cleared up, there will be no guarantee 1242 that we should not in the future have repetitions of the scandal which we are debating; on to-night. I should like to ask a question of the Admiralty as to the representations contained in the Report. The Select Committee, very early in the day, found out that a great proportion of the cutlasses in the Navy were useless, and, in a letter dated the 1st of March, directed the attention of the First Lord of the Admiralty to the matter, and suggested that now weapons should be supplied for the old ones. I should like to know whether any steps have been taken to carry out that re commendation, or whether the Navy is still supplied with these weapons shown to be useless? Then Colonel Arbuthnot, in his evidence, refers to a new cutlass which he thinks very well adapted to the Navy, and I should like to know if the Admiralty intend to adopt the pat tern which he recommends? But I must say that I agree with the noble Lord opposite (Lord Randolph Churchill) that it is the duty of this House to sift the question, and to ascertain with whom the responsibility rests. I admit that the case my right hon. Friend the Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) has put forward, to a great extent, meets the case against Sir John Adye, because it is impossible for anyone who will look at this evidence, and who will turn to the last page but one, and see the time at which these cutlasses were converted, to come to any other conclusion than that a very great portion of them were converted between the years 1874–5 and 1875–6. In my opinion it is impossible to visit all the blame for what has occurred on Sir John Adye, and it is extremely unfair to attempt to do so. It will be found that most of the cutlasses were converted after Sir John Adye left Office. How he is to be blamed for what occurred when he was not in Office I cannot conceive——
§ MR. R. W. DUFF
If the hon. Member will look at page 93, he will see that in 1874–5 no naval cutlasses were converted, and that in 1875–6, 17,380 were converted.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
Under the head Naval Sword Bayonets Converted, you find that 2,166 were converted in the year 1874–5.
§ MR. R, W. DUFF
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman was in the House during the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for the Stirling Burghs, who, I think, was pretty clear on that point. Whilst I admit that there is a great amount of force in the remarks on this subject which have fallen from the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) and that there is great blame to be attached somewhere, and while I believe that the War Department are answerable, to a large extent, for what has occurred, I think that after what has been said by my right hon. Friend it is scarcely fair to cast that blame upon Sir John Adye. Under the circumstances, so far as I am concerned, I cannot vote with the hon. Gentleman, though I admit that there is a great deal in his observations worthy of consideration. I am for ascertaining the degree of responsibility that exists between the Admiralty and the War Office, and I am certain that the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty will not consider the position of affairs satisfactory, and after the statements which have been made tonight, and seeing that the Admiralty is left under some blame, will see the desirability of his making a statement upon that point.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON) (Middlesex, Ealing)
I had not intended to take part in this debate, because I thought it would be more convenient for me to reserve my defence of the officials of the Admiralty until they were attacked.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
It appeared to me better that I should reserve my defence until they were attacked in such a shape as would enable me to take notice of it—that is to say, until the attack assumed some specific form with reference to their salaries. It seems to me that the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken has made a speech which utterly frustrates and annihilates the object for which he spoke. He says he wishes to concentrate responsibility, and in order to arrive at that concentrated responsibility he asks a series of questions as to the cutlasses in use in the Navy, on the Vote for the Retired Pay of the Army. What must have been evident to the Committee was that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, knowing that the Navy Estimates are not coming on for a few days, and being anxious to retire to pleasanter scenes, made a speech tonight which he had intended to deliver in connection with those Estimates.
§ MR. R. W. DUFF
I beg pardon. I spoke upon nothing but matter contained in the evidence given before the Select Committee. I have not said a word about the Navy Estimates. I merely asked a question as to the recommendation of the Committee.
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
Well, the question as to the shape, weight, and length of the cutlasses in use in the Navy cannot by any possibility be referable to the Vote for the Retired Pay of the Army. But as the hon. Member has asked me a definite question I will answer him. I did not interfere in the debate, because I think nothing is more unadvisable, when there has been unquestionable blundering on the part of a Government Department for some time back, than that there should be a difference of opinion as to their respective responsibility for such mistakes. The country does not in the least care to listen to recriminations between Departments as to the responsibility of the officials employed in them; but what it does care for and what it wants is, that the system shall be improved, and that whatever mistakes have been committed in the past shall, if possible, be obviated in the future. Therefore, I shall abstain from making remarks upon certain points in the statements made in reference to the officials at the Admiralty. But the hon. Gen- 1245 tleman who has just sat down has read a despatch or letter signed by the Secretary to the Admiralty on the 15th July, 1887. We are now at the 4th August and he wants to know whether we have changed our opinions since the letter I refer to was written—a very natural question, perhaps, coming from that side of the House, and considering that on the Bench on which the hon. Gentleman sits there are so many who have lately changed opinions. He wants to know, I say—[Mr. R. W. DUFF: No, no !] The question, he asked me was whether, between the 15th July and the 4th August I had changed my opinion—whether I still adhere to the letter of the 10th of July? Why, of course, I adhere to that letter. I do not wish to come into collision with my right hon. Friend who represents the War Office (Mr. E. Stanhope). The position the Admiralty have always taken up—which I have maintained before and which I now sustain—is this—that wherever a Government Department manufactures articles it is responsible for the work it turns out. That is our position, and I am sure that if any attempt is ever made to divide responsibility between the manufacturers and the user, you will never he able to make anyone finally responsible. I trust the hon. Gentleman will understand that it is not from any lack of zeal on the part of the Naval Service, or from any disbelief in the statement made by Sir Arthur Hood in his evidence before the Committee, that I did not speak, but from a desire to keep out of this discussion all controversy between the Admiralty and the War Office as to responsibility. We have discussed this subject at considerable length, and as there are other matters of importance to be disposed of on subsequent Votes, I trust I am not exceeding my function in expressing a hope that the Committee will now allow this Vote to be taken.
§ COLONEL HUGHES (Woolwich)
I feel I must say a word or two on this subject, because I conceive there is very great danger if, after pensions have been earned by a series of brilliant services, it should be considered competent for the House of Commons at any time to refuse those pensions on the ground of a blunder having been committed, without submitting the alleged blunder to investigation by a proper 1246 tribunal. If the Committee were to pass this Resolution, the Service would be damaged very considerably—if pensions wore subject to supervision by the House of Commons. If we are to take off £25 a-year from the pension of an officer who has rendered the country faithful service on account of an alleged blunder, it seems to me that we shall be turning this House into a Court for the collection of small debts. How is it possible for this Committee—how is it possible for me, sitting hero, as I do, as an independent private Member—to pretend to judge whether General Sir John Adye has made a mistake or not? He has written a letter which has very materially altered the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War. The right hon. Gentleman once stated that Sir John Adye must shave the blame; but since that this letter has been written, and the right hon. Gentleman—perhaps in consequence of the letter—is now prepared to recommend that the pension should be granted. I understand that Sir John Adye is most anxious to be tried for the offence imputed to him, so as to have the matter threshed out. The evidence he gave before the Select Committee was given in the interest of the country generally, and not in reference to any charge against himself. That fact must be borne in mind. I certainly think this Committee will be embarking on an extremely dangerous course if, sitting as a Court of Judgment on a matter on which it is very imperfectly informed, it takes upon itself to mulct a gallant officer, who in 1882 received the thanks of the country for his services in Egypt, in a fine of £25 a-year. It will be a most dangerous course to interfere with just rights acquired under a Royal Warrant. I think that an officer should receive his pension without the slightest doubt. The credit side of the account should be the reward which the country pays for service rendered, and if there is anything to be put on the other side of the account let it be proved before some competent tribunal.
§ SIR EDWARD HAMLEY (Birkenhead)
If I rise it is only for a moment, and for the purpose of moralizing on the instability of human affections. I see on the Front Opposition Bench a right hon. Gentleman, the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers), who has been for many years associated at the War 1247 Office with Sir John Adye. Their relations have bean very intimate and very peculiar. They have boon those of a bear leader and his bear. Sir John Adye put, so to speak, a ring in the right hon. Gentleman's nose, and led him about in various directions. Sir John Adye piped a great number of tunes, and the right hon. Gentleman danced a corresponding number of dances. Whether those performances resulted in any great advantage to the Public Service I do not undertake to say—I do not, myself, think they did. But what I want to point out is that their relations were very intimate, and the right hon. Gentleman's policy, so far as he can be said to have had a policy, which is not very far, was due to the inspiration of Sir John Adye, and therefore I expected that when the light hon. Gentleman heard his friend assailed as he has been, he would have sprung from his seat and defended him in the most impassioned manner. But, alas, for such associations, the right hon. Gentleman has retained his seat, and preserved a prudent, though, not very magnanimous, silence.
§ MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has thought fit to introduce into the debate what I almost expected you, Sir, would censure him for introducing—that is to say, matter that has nothing whatever to do with the present debate. I had the great honour—no one recognizes it more than I do—of being associated with Sir John Adye between the years 1880 and 1883, during which time I also had the honour of being associated with the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Sir Edward Hamley) himself in more than one matter to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman, who owes a good deal to my selection of him for public employment, has not thought it necessary to allude. I did not think it necessary to intrude myself early into a debate as to Sir John Adye's conduct in 1871, and again in 1874–5, seeing that I was not in Office at all—cither in the War Office or anywhere else—during that time, and because, therefore, my information in regard to the War Office of that day is derived only from sources of information open to any private Member. But my right hon. Friend the Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) was in Office, and 1248 is familiar with what occurred from official acquaintance with the facts. He was perfectly competent to address himself to the question before the Committee, and after the Secretary of State had spoken he addressed the House, and he has, I think, made a very conclusive speech. Why it should have boon supposed by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite that it was my duty to got up, without personal information on the subject, and repeat my right hon. Friend's speech, I cannot conceive. Still, as the hon. and gallant Member has challenged me to say a few words, I will take advantage of the opportunity so given to me, and will address myself for a few moments to matters that have been alluded to to-night. I listened with great attention to the speech of the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill). I have the honour to be associated with the noble Lord on the Committee that is going fully into questions of Army organization and economy; and I am the last person to desire in any way to run counter to or impede the efforts he is making. Still more should I be unwilling to interfere in any difference of opinion between the noble Lord and the Secretary of State. But I am bound to say that the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington has made one mistake, which I think he will be the first to recognize. I watched with great care what the noble Lord said about responsibility, because I entirely agree with him—he knows, from what has taken place in the Committee upstairs, that I agree with him—that the great point in connection with responsibility in Army administration is to fix it on those who are really responsible. But here he made a mistake—and I am sure he will recognize it. He said, very properly, that responsibility for all matters under their control rested on those named in the Warrant or Order in Council, and he said that Sir John Adye's responsibility was that of the Head of a Department.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
My contention was this—I think there is great difference between responsibility which may exist from a subordinate to a superior in respect to the duty to be discharged and the responsibility of a Department. The responsibility we have to do with to-night is the responsibility of the Head of a Department.
§ MR. CHILDERS
I agree with the noble Lord. I was referring to the Order in Council which he spoke of. He must remember that that Order in Council does not even mention the Director of Artillery and Stores——
§ MR. CHILDERS
The noble Lord will forgive me. If I have misrepresented him, I am sorry; but I think he said that only those named in the Order in Council are responsible. Well, in that case, it would be on the Surveyor General of Ordnance, under the Secretary of State, that direct responsibility is thrown by Her Majesty's Order in Council. But Sir John Adye was not Surveyor General of Ordnance in 1871, nor in 1874–5; during the latter period, the Office was held by Lord Eustace Cecil, and on him, so far as the Order in Council is concerned, responsibility was thrown. I agree with the noble Lord as to the duty of throwing responsibility on the proper person; but when he refers to the technical definition of that responsibility, if we go by the Order in Council, it will not rest with Sir John Adye, but on those who occupied the Office of Surveyor General of Ordnance. At the conclusion of the noble Lord's speech—which I waited for with great interest, and with, I am bound to say, great respect—he said—"Let us make a new departure. Do not let us inflict anything but a purely nominal penalty; let it be a question of 20s., and let the new departure be not with reference to Sir John Adye, but with reference to higher responsibility," that higher responsibility about which the noble Lord spoke so much. Well, let us make that new departure; by all means let us fix responsibility where responsibility is due; but, then, I cannot see why Sir John Adye should be made the recipient of punishment—a species of whipping boy—in this case. I do not see why he should be fined 20s.—I believe that is what the noble Lord suggested—because there has been at the War Office, on the part of others, a failure with regard to responsibility. I do not think that is logical, and I do not think it is fair. It would be throwing a great stigma upon Sir John Adye, which 1250 would remain long after the details of the debate are forgotten. That will be an injury to him, and will lead to no public advantage.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
I quite agree with the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington, that this Vote ought not to be passed with any idea of vindictiveness. I am willing to reduce it to the smallest amount; but still I think that some reduction ought to be made, to show that the Committee is not satisfied that a Select Committee should sit and report, as this Committee has reported, without any notice being taken of it whatever. I should be willing to reduce the amount in my Motion to 20s., but I find that cannot be done. I would ask you, Sir, what is the lowest amount I should be able to fix?
It is not a part of the duty of the Chair to lay down an absolute rule as to the lowest amount of reduction it is possible to move under such circumstances as these. The aura suggested by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington could not be I moved as it would be purely nominal, and it is for the hon. Gentleman himself to mention the amount by which ha wishes to reduce the Vote. It will then be the duty of the Chairman to say whether the Motion is one which he can put.
§ MR. W. BECKETT (Notts, Bassetlaw)
To however small an amount the hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) may desire to reduce the sum there will still remain a stigma upon Sir John Adye. I have listened carefully to this debate, wishing to arrive at a perfectly impartial judgment. I think that in putting any stigma upon Sir John Adye we are putting the saddle on the wrong horse. I have no personal knowledge of Sir John Adye at all. I know, of course, something about his public career as all hon. Members do. It seems that he has been connected with a system which we all desire to see altered; but it is plain from the facts which have been stated: during the course of the debate and I from the admission of the noble Lord I the Member for South Paddington himself, that the pattern of the cutlasses I was fixed before Sir John Adye took Office at all; and we have the noble Lord's admission that very few of the cutlasses were made before Sir John 1251 Adye wont out of Office. How, then, with any sense of justice to him, can we place upon Sir John Adye this stigma? I do hope that hon. Gentlemen on these Benches who generally show a desire to act fairly to everybody—[Laughter]—well, that is my opinion—will consider this question carefully, and Lear in mind that however small the amount may be, if any money penalty is inflicted the injury done to Sir John Adye will be infinitely greater than the penalty; while we should be making him responsible for that for which in my conscience I do not think he is responsible.
§ MR. AIRD (Paddington, N.)
I hog to join in the appeal that the hon. Member (Mr. W. Beckett) has just addressed to the Committee, and to urge the withdrawal of the Amendment. Like the hon. Member who has just spoken, I have not had the good fortune nor the honour of knowing Sir John Adye; but, as a new Member who has only recently entered the House, I have a feeling of deep regret that a subject appertaining to so distinguished an officer should have been discussed and continued for so long a period. [Laughter and cries of "Order !"] Many may agree with mo, and many may not; but I desire only—[Laughter]—pray give me an opportunity, as a new Member, to speak. Do not attempt to discourage me in expressing my feelings for the first time in the House of Commons. I have listened with considerable attention—I might say with impatience—at the time which has been consumed by hon. Members opposite during' the past fortnight—[Cries of "Order!" and lauqhter.]
§ MR. AIRD
I bow to your decision,. Sir. I do not wish to say anything disrespectful, only this—that while I listened with impatience to the Irish Members, my feeling during the present discussion has been one of greater impatience. [Laughter] I feel that my speech on this occasion will not be a success. [Cries of "Go on !"] I will go on. What I desired to say was that I regret very much that the time of the House should have been so much occupied by matters which have reference to and which have reflected upon a distinguished officer, and I trust that hon. Members will no longer hesitate in coming to a decision.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
May I make an appeal to the Committee to come to a decision at once? I do not intend to reply to the criticisms of my hon. Friend or of anyone else who has spoken since I have come into the House; but I wish to say, simply, that I think this matter has been thoroughly threshed out. If the hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) wishes to take up narrower ground than he originally proposed, I have no objection.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
I believe that the Government arranged that this Vote should be taken first to-night, in order that the question raised by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston might be fully discussed. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) that it has already received very ample notice, and I do not desire to prolong the discussion; but inasmuch as the issue raised by the hon. Member for Preston, or rather the form of the issue raised by the hon. Member for Preston, may appear somewhat invidious, I would suggest to him that he would act wisely if he obtained the permission of the Committee to withdraw the Amendment, which is of a personal character, and moved to reduce the Vote by a small, but still the substantial, sum of £50, which would be a sufficiently adequate reduction to mark the sense of the Committee with regard to the merits of the question the hon. Member has raised.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT (Sussex, N.W.)
I wish only to say one word—namely, that I think the suggestion which has just boon made would far better meet the views of the Committee than that which was proposed before. I think it would be very invidious to single out Sir John Adye from many others for punishment on account of what may appear to the Committee to have been a neglect of a portion of duty that I will not for a moment deny ought to have devolved on them. It must be remembered that Sir John Adye's action was a part of a system; and it must be remembered that the rule was laid down that economy should prevail. Furthermore, we have not yet heard one single word from either the Front Ministerial Bench or the Front Bench opposite as to what wore the orders given to Sir John Adye—the orders with regard to these cut 1253 lasses. Anybody knowing anything about military matters, and knowing what is necessary in oases of tins kind, must know that if you reduce the strength of the arm by grinding it down, or anything of that kind, you make that arm absolutely inefficient. Therefore, it was for the Secretary of State for War, or the Surveyor General of Ordnance, to have gone most carefully into the system, and to have said that no such conversion should take place. It seems to me that such a course as that would have been in the interest and to the benefit of the service. And therefore I say—and I believe it strongly—that though I may not agree with many things that Sir John Adye has done, yet his services have been most distinguished, and to fix upon him as the one man to be reprimanded and as the one man to deserve the censure of this House so long after the blunder has been committed, and after he has received the thanks of this House for those services, would neither be a wise nor a generous thing. But I think the Committee is justified in marking in some way or other it a displeasure at our soldiers in the field and our sailors serving their country all over the world having had placed in their hands totally inefficient weapons. There is not a man sitting on this side of the House, or on the Benches opposite, who will get up and say that these arms have not been issued, both to the Army and Navy, and who will say that the Department of the Service which can have issued such arms does not deserve blame. I, for one, feeling strongly on this matter, would venture to suggest to the Head of the Government in this House, that he should accept a small reduction of this Vote in order to show that the House of Commons is determined that in future there shall be no possibility of such arms being used, either by our soldiers or by our sailors. I agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) that we are here to look after the interests of the men who have no voice in those matters, who are employed all over the world, and who may be subjected to grave dangers if we neglect our duty. In this case the danger to which they were exposed was found out—and found out by accident—inconsequence of the daring attacks made on our men by the Arabs in the Soudan. 1254 It was found out that the arms with which our men wore supplied were inefficient. The discovery was not acted upon—the inefficient arms were not recalled—but now public opinion has expressed itself so strongly that we are not likely to have any recurrence of these things. I venture to appeal to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that he should agree to a small reduction of the Vote, so that it may be known that the House of Commons has seen the grave error that has been committed, and is determined to prevent inefficient weapons being served out to our soldiers and sailors in the future.
I must point out to the Committee that the Vote before it is for retired pay, and that the reduction moved with regard to that Vote is expressly connected with an alleged failure of duty on the part of a distinguished officer who is receiving retired pay. The reduction will be altogether inappropriate, unless it is connected with, the retired pay of some officer whose conduct is in question.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
In answer to the appeal which has been made to me by my hon. Friend, I wish to say that, so far as I am concerned, I should be perfectly ready to accept the reduction of the Vote if it could be moved in the spirit in which the hon. Gentleman, has spoken. We desire, in the strongest terms, to make it perfectly clear that it is the duty of the Government, the duty of the Department, and the duty of the officers serving the Department, to see that the weapons that are placed in the hands of our soldiers and sailors are efficient and complete, and are such as should be placed in the hands of men fighting for their country. Therefore, in the circumstances in which we are placed, anything that you, Sir, will permit to be moved that would not be taken as a vindictive act againt an individual officer, but as intended to mark and emphasize the duty of the Department and the Government, would be a Motion which we should be prepared to accept, and accept gladly, from the Committee. We desire, in the strongest terms, to lay it down that it is the duty of the Department and those serving the Department to see that everything which, so far as they are concerned, passes under 1255 their observation shall be complete, and fit for the purpose for which it is obtained. But as the Chairman of Committees has observed that the Motion to reduce this particular Vote would fail of the object the hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) and the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) desire to attain, if they can suggest any other way in which to mark the sense of the House and of the Government, we shall be most ready to assent to it.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
I have a suggestion to make, though I do not know whether it will be agreeable to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston. I have not consulted him with regard to it; in fact, it has only this moment come into my head. I think it may be agreeable to the Committee generally. This has been a debate of an important and an interesting character, and an important feature in the Parliamentary discussion of Army re-organization. We are hampered with technical difficulties. We do not want to deprive Sir John Adye of his pension, nor do we want to violate the rules laid down by the Chairman as to the taking of the Vote; but we want to take some action that will remain on record to show that the House of Commons is sensible of the importance of the issues raised; and, after all, it must be recollected that the hon. Member for Preston, and those who agree with him, have only been following the lead of the Secretary of State for War. What I am going to suggest is, that the Vote should be postponed. There is no further discussion likely to arise on it; and I think that after this discussion, if the Government do not feel inclined to agree to a special reduction of Sir John Adye's pension—and it is not possible to reduce the Vote generally and without assigning a specific reason—they will do well to agree to the postponement of the Vote to some future day, when it will, no doubt, be passed without comment. I do not think the Government need be under the slightest alarm that the postponement would lead to discussion Inter on. It would be a distinct act on the part of Her Majesty's Government and the Committee, marking their sense of the circumstances 1256 which have been referred to in the course of this debate.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
I recognize the spirit of the suggestion of the hon. Member; but this Vote or a smaller Vote is absolutely required for the service of the Army at the present time. I stated the other day that we were obliged to go into Committee of Supply on the Estimates to-day, because our funds were exhausted. The noble Lord will allow me to say that I do not think the postponement of the Vote will effect the object he has in view. The effect will simply be to inform the public that Vote 19 has been postponed. I think it would be a much more effective way to carry out their object if the hon. Member for Preston or the noble Lord would move to reduce by £50 the Vote bearing upon the administration of the Department impugned.
§ MR. W. H. SMITH
Yes. We should be quite prepared to give such an interpretation on a Motion of that kind; but we must press for this Vote for the reason that the Services require it.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
I am not surprised to hear that it is necessary that the War Office should be put in funds. I have ascertained that that is necessary by a calculation of the needs of the Department; but I wish, before this question is settled, to ask, as a point of Order, whether it is not possible for the hon. Gentleman to ask leave to withdraw the Motion in order to propose another one for the reduction of the Vote?
On the point of Order it is a course competent for the hon. Gentleman to ask leave to withdraw his Motion, and for the Committee to consent. But I do not think it would be competent for the hon. Gentleman to move another reduction, without assigning a meaning to it, and that meaning being pertinent to the Vote itself.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
I hope the hon. Member for Preston (Mr. Hanbury) will not entirely withdraw his Amendment on the Paper. I and those sitting round me shall be quite content for the reduction to be as small as the Rules of the House will admit; but we are not amongst those who can consent to the absolute whitewashing of an officer like Sir John 1257 Adye, who has been condemned as being responsible in the matter; and, certainly if, after the discussion which has occurred, the hon. Member for Preston were to consent to entirely withdraw the Motion, I should oppose its withdrawal. I am willing that the Motion should be put at the smallest sum it would be consistent with the dignity of the Committee to adopt.
§ MR. HANBURY (Preston)
I would withdraw the Motion for the larger reduction which I put upon the Paper, and move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £50 on the item for Sir John Adye's pension. The meaning of that reduction will be not that the Committee wish to be at all vindictive in its action against Sir John Adye, but that, he having been named by the Secretary of State for War as one of the men responsible for issuing these defective arms, the Committee cannot pass over the matter. It will be distinctly understood, at the same time, that although this is a temporary reduction on his salary, the Committee do not wish to pass its censure on Sir John Adye individually, but upon the Department also.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £1,232,450, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Hanbury.)
SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL&c.) (Kirkcaldy,
I understand that this is a Motion to reduce the retired pay of Sir John Adye by £50, and that we shall be thereby passing a censure on Sir John Adye and no one else.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 132; Noes 145: Majority 13. [10.35 P.M.]1259
|Abraham, W. (Glam.)||Chance, P. A.|
|Acland, A. H. D.||Channing, F. A.|
|Allison, R. A.||Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R.H.S.|
|Anderson, C. H.|
|Asquith, H. H.||Clark, Dr. G. B.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Cobb, H. P.|
|Bolton, T. D.||Coghill, D. H.|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Connolly, L.|
|Bridgeman, Col. hon. F.C.||Con way, M.|
|Conybeare, C. A. V.|
|Bart, T.||Cooke, C. W. R.|
|Cameron, C.||Cossham, H.|
|Cameron, J. M.||Cox, J. R.|
|Carew, J. L.||Cozens-Hardy, H. H.|
|Craig, J.||Molloy, B. C.|
|Cremer, W. R.||Morgan, O. V.|
|Crilly, D.||Murphy, W. M.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Nolan, J.|
|De Lisle, E. J. L.M.P.||Norris, E. S.|
|Dillon, J.||O'Brien, P.|
|Dimsdale, Baron R.||O'Brien, P. J.|
|Dorington, Sir J. E.||O'Connor, A.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||O'Connor, J. (Kerry)|
|Egerton, hon. A. J. F.||O'Doherty, J. E.|
|Ellis, J. E.||O'Hanlon, T.|
|Esmonde, Sir T. H. G.||O'Kelly, J.|
|Esslemont, P.||Penton, Captain F. T.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Pickersgill, E.H.|
|Evershed, S.||Pieton, J. A.|
|Fenwick, C.||Plowden, Sir W. C.|
|Fielden, T.||Power, P. J.|
|Finucane, J.||Price, Captain G. E.|
|Flower, C.||Priestley, B.|
|Flynn, J, C.||Pugh, D.|
|Fox, Dr. J. F.||Rathbone, W.|
|Gaskell, C. G. Milnes||Roberts, J. B.|
|Gilhooly, J.||Robinson, T.|
|Gill. T. P.||Roe, T.|
|Gilliat, J. S.||Row lands, J.|
|Goldsworthy, Major General W. T.||Rowntree, J.|
|Russell, T. W.|
|Haldane, R. B.||Samuelson, G. B.|
|Harrington. E.||Schwann, C. E.|
|Hayne, C. Seale||Sexton, T.|
|Healy, M.||Sheehan, J. D.|
|Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards||Sheehy, D.|
|Heneage, right hon. E.||Shirley, W. S.|
|Hill, Colonel E. S.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Howell, G.||Sidebottom, W.|
|Hubbard, E.||Stewart, H.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Stuart, J.|
|Jennings, L. J.||Sullivan, D.|
|Joicey, J.||Sutherland, A.|
|Jordan, J.||Swinburne, Sir J.|
|Kelly, J. R.||Tanner, C. K.|
|Kenny, C. S.||Tuite, J.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Vincent, C. E. H.|
|Kynoch, G.||Wallace, R.|
|Labouchere, H.||Warmington, C. M.|
|Lacaita, C. C||Will, J.S.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Wilson, C. H.|
|Lewis, T. P.||Winterbotham, A. B.|
|Macartney, W. G. E.||Woodhead, J.|
|Mac Neill, J. G. S.||Wright, C.|
|M'Arthur, W. A.||TELLERS.|
|MCartan, M.||Hanbury, R. W.|
|Mappin, Sir F. T.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Acland, C. T. D.||Baumann, A. A.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.||Beadel, W. J.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Beckett, W.|
|Aird, J.||Bective, Earl of|
|Allsopp, hon. P.||Bentinck, Lord H. C.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Beresford, Lord C. W.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||De la Poer|
|Baird, J. G. A.||Birkbeck, Sir E.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.||Blundell, Colonel H.B.H.|
|Bulfour, Sir G|
|Banes, Major G. E.||Bolton, J. C.|
|Bartley, G. C. T.||Bond, G. H.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Bonsor, H. C. O.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Boord, T. W.|
|Brodrick, hon. W. St. J.F.||Jeffreys, A. F.|
|Brookfield, A. M.||Kennaway, Sir J. H.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Kenyon, hon. G. T.|
|Campbell, J. A.||King-Harman, right|
|Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H||King-Harman, right hon. Colonel E. R.|
|Charrington, S.||Lafone, A.|
|Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E.||Lawrence, W. F.|
|Clarke, Sir E. G.||Lefevre, right hon. G. J. S.|
|Colomb, Capt, J. C. R.|
|Commerell, Adml. Sir J.E.||Legh, T. W.|
|Lewishain, right hon. Viscount|
|Corry, Sir J. P.||Llewellyn, E. H.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.||Lowther, hon. W.|
|Crawford, D.||Lyell, L|
|Dalrymple, Sir C.||Macdonald, right hon. J.H.A.|
|De Cobain, E. S. W.|
|De Worms, Boron H.||Maclean, F. W.|
|Dixon-Hartland, F. D.||Mallock, R.|
|Duff, R. W.||Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.|
|Duncan, Colonel F.|
|Dyke, right hon. Sir W. H.||Marriott, right hon. W.T.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Matthews, rt. hon. H.|
|Ewart, W.||Maxwell, Sir H. E.|
|Ferguson R. C. Munro||Morrison, W.|
|Fergusson, right hon. Sir J.||Northcote, hon. H. S.|
|Parker, C. S.|
|Field, Admiral E.||Parker, hon. F.|
|Fisher, W. H.||Plunket, right hon. D.R.|
|Fitzgerald, R. U. P.|
|Fitz-Wygram, Gen.||Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.|
|Sir F. W.||Rendel, S.|
|Fletcher, Sir H.||Ritchie, rt. hon. C. T.|
|Folkestone, right hon.||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Viscount||Robertson, W. T.|
|Forwood, A. B.||Robinson, B.|
|Fowler, Sir R. N.||Round, J.|
|Fraser, General C. C.||Salt, T.|
|Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. T.M.|
|Gibson, J. G.||Smith, right hon. W. H.|
|Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Goschen, rt. hn. Gr. J.||Stanhope, rt. hon. E.|
|Gray, C. W.||Stanley, H. J.|
|Grimston, Viscount||Stephens, H. C.|
|Gurdon, R. T.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Hall, C.||Taylor, F.|
|Hambro, Col. C. J. T.||Temple, Sir R.|
|Hamilton, right hon.||Theobald, J.|
|Lord G. F.||Tomlinson, W. E. M.|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M.||Trotter, H. J.|
|Vernon, hon. G. R.|
|Heath, A. R.||Walsh, hon. A. H. J.|
|Heaton, J. H.||Waring, Colonel T.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Hill, right hon. Lord A.W.||Webster, R.G.|
|Holland, rt. hon. Sir||Wharton, J. L.|
|White, J. B.|
|Holloway, G.||Whitley, E.|
|Howard, J.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Howard, J. M.||Wood, N.|
|Howorth, H. H.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Hozier, J. H. C.||Young, C. E. B.|
|Hughes, Colonel E.|
|Hunter, Sir W. G.||TELLERS.|
|Isaacson, F. W.||Douglas, A. Akers- Walrond, Col. W. H|
|Jackson, W. L.|
|Jarvis, A. W.|
Bill read the third time, and passed.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I cannot allow this Tote to pass without one word of protest. I have no intention of discussing the Vote at length; because, as hon. Members are aware, the whole question of those Estimates is under consideration, by a Committee upstairs, which Committee is unable to report this year. But I should like to point out the very rapid growth which the Vote is undergoing in respect of the charge thrown upon the country for the Non-Effective Services of the Army, which, since 1870, has increased by nearly £1,000,000 sterling. It is clear beyond all question that the Vote is increasing at a very rapid rate, and that in one Department of the Army—that is, the Medical Department, the amount is rapidly approaching equality with the Effective Vote. I think the time has arrived when this Committee should make some protest against the enormous cost of our Non-Effective branches in the Army, the Navy, and the Civil Service. The county will the better appreciate the growth of the Non-Effective charges when I say that they necessitate the imposition of an Income Tax of 3d. in the pound. I do not object in any way to the legitimately earned pension of the soldier; but I do object to men of 45 years of age being pensioned off. The rules of the Medical Service allow men to be pensioned oil at 45 years of age, the pension being £ per day, and the pensioners are allowed to carry on private practice. I also object to the present system of compulsory retirement of officers at an early age. I object to distinguished officers being deprived of their position and pay on the one side, and costing the country a large amount in half-pay on the other. I hope that the Committee, over which the noble Lord opposite presides with such distinguished ability, will deal with this question; but, at the same time, as a Member of this House, I cannot allow this Vote to pass without expressing a hope that the Secretary of State for War will take this question into consideration, in order to discover some means by which the evil I complain of may be removed.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
I agree with and accept 1261 fully many of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I am sure that all hon. Members desire that the Non-Effective Vote for the Army should be reduced as much as possible; but everyone knows that it would take a considerable time for an alteration of the rule as to retirement to come into effect. The right hon. Gentleman says that this Vote has increased in 10 years by £1,000,000 sterling. What are the facts? They are that the Vote has increased by £646,000. This is mainly accounted for by the fact that in 1874–5 £582,000 was expended on Army Purchase, and the whole of that charge is now borne by the ordinary Army Vote. We have recently issued a Royal Warrant, the effect of which will be ultimately to reduce the retired pay by £300,000.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER
The Return I quote from was moved for by the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the entire cost of pensions and retired pay, including the proportion for Army Purchase for 1870, was £560,000, which amount has increased for the year 1886–7 to £1,450,000.
§ COLONEL DUNCAN (Finsbury, Holborn)
I hope the Secretary of State for War will give some explanation as to why the provisions of the Royal Warrant of 1878 have not been extended to the Militia quartermasters; and also as to how the calculation is made with regard to compulsory retirement in the case of colonels of the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers.
§ DR. TINDAL ROBERTSON (Brighton)
With the indulgence of the Committee I will very briefly state the particulars of a case which, I think, will receive kindly consideration at their hands. The case is that of a medical officer of high distinction in Her Majesty's Service; a man recently deprived of sight, I believe by over-work, done in the discharge of his professional duties. I venture to bring forward this case entirely on public grounds. I have never had any personal acquaintance with this officer, but I have this point in common 1262 with him, that he suffers from the same infirmity as myself, and that, like myself he is a member of the Medical Profession. I asked the Secretary of State for War some time ago whether this officer, having lost his sight in the discharge of his professional duties, and in consequence of over-work in the discharge of those duties, was not entitled to some allowance in addition to his ordinary pension? I was told that the case of his officer did not come within the Warrant. I venture to think, however, that the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the Warrant is somewhat too narrow. I have here a letter from General Lysons, in which ha states that Surgeon Major Moore was one of the most deserving officers he had ever known; another letter from the Director General of the Army Medical Department, in which that gentleman commissioned him to write a work on hygiene, and a third letter from His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, in which it is stated that the manual had been done to his entire satisfaction. All these letters prove that this is a deserving and, to use the expression of the right hon. Gentleman, a unique case. If an officer looses an arm or a leg in the discharge of his duties, he is entitled to some additional consideration. But the loss of sight is at least equal to the loss of an arm; because a man who has lost an arm can get some livelihood, whereas if a man looses his sight he cannot get any employment at all. Surgeon Major Moore was appointed as assistant officer of hygiene at Netley; he was a member of the Medical Brigade during the Franco-German War, when he received two medals; he was also in the Ashantee War; was mentioned in the despatches of General Wolseley, and received a medal for his distinguished services. If this gentleman had been employed in the laboratory, and had lost his sight by the explosion of a retort, he would have been entitled to some extra allowance. But the Medical Department has pronounced that the loss of sight is due to the over-work done in the discharge of his duties, and I contend that Surgeon Major Moore has a claim for extra allowance for the loss of his sight. I will not detain the Committee any longer, except to express a hope that this case will not suffer by my feeble advocacy of it, and that I look for the sympathy of the Secretary of State for War in this mat- 1263 ter. I think the Committee will agree that this case is very sad, serious, and exceptional, and on that ground I trust I shall receive their sympathy and kindly support.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY, WAR DEPARTMENT (Mr. BRODRICK) (Surrey, Guildford)
I am quite sure that the Committee have listened with great attention to the remarks which have fullen from my hon. Friend. I can assure the Committee that the ease of Surgeon Major Moore is one which is looked at with the utmost sympathy by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War; but the difficulty of the case is very great, and for this reason—if this officer had lost his sight when actually in service in the field, he would undoubtedly have received a; wound's pension; but, unfortunately, he was engaged at the request of the Director General in writing a manual, and there seems to be no doubt that he lost his sight through writing by artificial light, Considering that this work was completed in 1885, and that Surgeon Major Moore did not appear to suffer till six months, afterwards, it was found that it would be exceedingly difficult to grant a pension in this case without creating a most inconvenient precedent. It should also be remembered that Surgeon Major Moore is one of those officers who have reaped the benefit of the pensions given to officers between 45 and 50 years of age, to which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) objects, and the main justification for such high pensions is the risks to their health which Medical Officers undoubtedly run. This unfortunate officer is 45 years of age, and, on retiring, he has become entitled to a pension of £1 a-day. If the Secretary of State for War undertook to relieve this case, it would be almost impossible for him to avoid creating a precedent by which any officer who had, from over-work, lost his sight after a year or two had elapsed, might make a similar claim. Unfortunately, the Warrant does not allow such cases to be entertained, and my right hon. Friend, with every sympathy and every desire to meet the case, has been unable to set up such a precedent. If it were possible by any interpretation of the Warrant to make the allowance which the hon. Gentleman has asked for, I am sure it would be done with the 1264 assent of every Member of this House, With regard to the question of the hon. and gallant Member for the Holborn Division of Finsbury (Colonel Duncan), I have to say that it was not intended that the Militia quartermasters should be placed in the same position as Army quartermasters, who are liable to service abroad and other duties, It was felt that it would be a serious charge on the public if the Militia quartermasters were to get £200 a-year as pension. In consequence, although the amount of pension to which they are entitled is the same as in the Line, an extension beyond nine years' service is not allowed. My hon. and gallant Friend has handed me a paper on the subject, which I have not seen before; but I am certain the Committee will not be prepared to say that two classes of men who servo under absolutely different conditions should be made a charge on the public in the same proportion.
§ MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)
I desire to say a word or two upon the the case of Surgeon Major Moore. We have heard complaints made of extravagance on the part of the Military Departments in their dealings with those in high positions. I will not go into details now; but cases of that kind will, no doubt, occur to the minds of many Members. Here is a gallant officer who has lost his eyesight, and the excuse for not doing something for him is that he lost his sight one year after the day he retired from the Service. It is said that if we make this a precedent, every man who lost his sight a few months after he left the Service, owing to something which happened whilst in the Service, will have to have something done for him. I hope he will have to have something done for him. If there is any generosity in this Committee at all, it will do something for men placed in such positions. To talk of men whose health may have been slightly broken, and to compare these men with such men as Surgeon Major Moore, is really playing with the whole subject. A man can recover broken health by rest; but the misfortune which has befallen Surgeon Major Moore is such that rest or science can never remedy. The House is extravagant in the payment which it makes to those distinguished individuals whose names crop up so often, especially in connection with the War Office or the Treasury; but when it conies to the case 1265 of a man holding—it may be a very humble position in the Service, but, after all, one of the most useful positions in the Service, as everyone who has served in the Array will admit the position of Surgeon Major is—when we come to consider the case of a man who has suffered a loss which nothing can ever make good, we are met with the argument that to do anything for him would be to set up a most dangerous precedent. Now, this is not a question of economy, but one of common justice. Here is a man who is admitted by your own authorities to have served the country faithfully and honourably, who has suffered this enormous loss owing to the extra diligence he showed in the service of his country. When something is asked for him—a paltry sum, which would not make any difference in the Estimates of this country, and which no one would ever grumble at—the excuse, the paltry and the heart-breaking excuse for not granting something is—that Surgeon Major Moore lost his sight twelve months after he left the Service, and that if we do anything for this man we shall set such a bad precedent that we shall have to make provision for every man who suffers a similar loss. Is it fair to the Service of the country, or to the honour of the country or of this House, that when men have lost so much as this man has lost, the matter should be treated in such a paltry way? I think the Secretary of State for War might very easily get up in his place and tell us that he will at least take this matter into consideration, and if by any possibility, if by straining the law, or even by breaking the law, he can do anything in. this matter he will do so. Such is the answer which ought to be given in such a case as this.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I should like to say at once that this is a question to which I have given the most careful consideration. My hon. friend (Dr. Robertson) stated his case as fully as he could, and I need not say that in so painful a ease, and if I could have only had my own way, I should have been delighted to have granted some concession. I resisted the demand solely upon public grounds. I come to the conclusion that if we were to give Surgeon Major Moore special indulgence never in the fnture should we be able to refuse similar indulgences for a man who lost his eyesight while in the Public Service, 1266 even although it was only due in some small measure to his duties in the Public Service. I think the Committee will see that that would lead to considerable expenditure in the future. I was sorry to be obliged to refuse the request made to me. I was not able to satisfy myself that the loss of eyesight by Surgeon Major Moore was in the main due to his duties in the Public Service; and, therefore, I was obliged, though reluctantly, to refuse the application.
§ SIR EDMUND COMMERELL (Southampton)
I hope the authorities will reconsider this case. I think it could be easily discovered by medical men whether Surgeon Major Moore really lost his eyesight in consequence of overwork in the service of the country. If such is the case I cannot see how this application can be refused. If the Warrant does not allow of a grant being made the Warrant ought to be altered so as to allow it. Happily, officers do not often lose their eyesight in the Service; but I think if an officer does so, and particularly an officer of the Civil branch, he ought to receive some consideration at the hands of Members; certainly he ought not to receive less consideration than the man who loses his arm in battle.
CAPTAIN COLOMB&c.) (Tower Hamlets, Bow,
Before this Vote passes, I should like to say I am sure the great majority of the Committee entirely sympathize with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) in his condemnation of the growth of the Non-Effective Service Vote. I trust we shall count upon his support in taking any reasonable measures for the reduction of the Vote, and that we may also count on his support in condemnation of those who are mainly responsible for originating it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan), both of whom sit by the side of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), are largely responsible for this Vote. It has risen and grown from the system which was laid down by thorn under the name of Army Reform. We were told that if we got rid of the Queen's Army and made it a people's army it would be much better. We are now paying for it, and we must continue to pay for it. I only rise to point out that on this side of the House, at 1267 all events, we feel the growth of the Non-Effective Vote is one of the most serious questions which can engage the attention of this Committee, and I, for one, shall act most cordially with any hon. or right hon. Member of this House in taking such steps as shall reduce this Vote, and make the money go as far as possible in effective service.
§ MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
As the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain Colomb) has referred to me personally, I may, perhaps, be allowed to say a word or two. In the first place, I never hoard it said that the Army should cease to be the Queen's Army and made a people's Army. What I remember was said was that the Army should cease to be the officers' Army. I hope everyone will wish it should always be the Queen's Army. Now, when I came into Office in 1886, I found that about four-ninths of the officers of the Army, according to the Warrant then in force, would be retired compulsorily at 40 years of age, at an enormous expenditure to the country; and I also found, at the other extreme, a charge of, I think, £150,000 or £160,000 for colonelcies of regiments which were condemned by public opinion. What we had to do was this—whether, under the system which followed the Abolition of Purchase, it would be possible to abolish the system by which officers retired at 40 years of age, and to abolish the colonelcies of regiments, and to substitute for these two most objectionable charges a system under which officers would be retired at a higher age. With the assistance of my right hon. Friend the Member for the Stirling Burghs (Mr. Campbell-Bannerman) and others in the War Office, I matured a plan which saved the country prospectively £700,000 a-year. I am quite willing to admit that, although we did save £700,000 a-year, it is possible to secure further economy. We shall have to consider in the Committee over which the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) presides, when we come to the Non-Effective Vote, whether a hotter system of retirement may not be introduced. My belief is that a better system can be found; but I want the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain Colomb) to clearly understand that the economy worked out in 1881 saved the country £700,000 a-year.
§ CAPTAIN COLOMB
Was not that saving effected upon the original scheme brought in by the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member in 1870 or 1871?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I forgot to reply to the question put to me by my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Duncan). The fact is, I am afraid I am not in a position to answer his question satisfactorily. My hon. and gallant Friend asks me as to the compulsory retirement of colonels of the Royal Artillery as compared with the Royal Engineers. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman will repeat his question at a later period of the Session, I hope I shall be in a position to give him a satisfactory answer. Now, I hope I may be allowed to make an appeal to the Committee. We have been discussing this Vote now for a considerable time, and therefore I trust the Committee will allow us to come to a decision.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
Allow me to ask one simple question. I should like to know whether the rule which has been applied in the case of Surgeon Major Moore will be applied in the case of the highest officers in the Public Service—in every branch of the Public Service? If so, I, personally, shall have nothing further to say.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
As far as I am concerned, the same rule will be applied to every man in the Service.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
Then I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give me his support when, at a further sitting of this Committee, I move the reduction of the salary of Lord Lingen from the exaggerated and unlawful figure at which it has been placed. I find that, without the least ground, the authorities have given him the advantage of two years' service he did not have.
§ MR.WINTERBOTHAM (Gloucestershire, Cirencester)
I should not like this Vote to pass without adding a word in favour of the reconsideration of the ease of Surgeon Major Moore. Surgeon Major Moore has lost his eyesight in the service of the country, and yet, in consequence, of some State Regulations, on retirement he is to be treated worse than a man who loses au arm or a leg. I am 1269 quite certain that when the country once understands the matter, it will demand that the Regulations shall be altered. I reminded the House some time ago of the case of a poor fellow named West-bury. This man joined the Army, and in an accident at a sham fight at Alder-shot not only lost one eye, but his reason. He was son t to the Army Lunatic Asylum was quickly transferred to the County Lunatic Asylum, and there he is to this day utterly disabled. Not one farthing do the Regulations of the Army allow this poor fellow to be paid; but his father, an agricultural labourer, has to pay 1s. a-week out of his scanty earnings for the support of his son. I have the kindest letter from the War Office, saying that this is a very sad and painful case, but that they are unable, in consequence of the Regulations, to make any grant. I think that the sooner we alter such Regulations the better. I know nothing of the merits of the case of Surgeon Major Moore; but I think there ought to be some discretion left with the Secretary of State for War to enable him to deal with such exceptional cases. Certainly, when an officer or a private who has honestly served his country loses his eyesight in the service of his country, he ought to receive some exceptionally favourable treatment.
§ MR. E STANHOPE
If the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Winterbotham) will put the case of West bury in writing, I have no doubt that the War Office will take it into most earnest consideration. I cannot think that if the circumstances really are as the hon. Gentleman has stated, something will not be done.
GENERAL, FRASER (Lambeth, N.)
Let me read an extract from the letter of a very eminent oculist upon the case of Surgeon Major Moore. It is here stated—Surgeon Major Sandford Moore lost his sight in and by the Service about 18 months ago.I venture to claim the sympathy of every Member of this House for Surgeon Major Moore.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I am very dissatisfied with the reply of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to this case. I think that Secretaries of State, who are not specialists, ought to be guided by the Medical Department. A Secretary of State cannot be expected to know everything, and he ought to refer all these matters to the Medical Depart- 1270 ment. If he were to refer this case to the Medical Department, I have no doubt whatever he would be satisfied that this is a case requiring his consideration, and the granting of a pension.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co, Mid)
I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman has any medical evidence to show how this officer really lost his sight? It was a great gratification to me to hear the extract from the letter of a specialist, just read by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (General Fraser). Such an opinion ought certainly to have an effect upon the Members of the Treasury Bench. There is, however, another consideration besides that of justice being done to Surgeon Major Moore personally. We have an Army Medical Department, and I assert that if you really mean to keep the Department effective, for the benefit of the nation, you must pay attention to cases like this. A medical officer is a non-combatant officer, and one of the few things he can lose, in the exercise of his profession, on account of dealing with noxious medicines, is his sight; and medical men will look with interest to the treatment of this particular case. The country, too, will ask themselves whether this is not a case in which something ought not to be done. The responsible Minister of State has expressed his sympathy with this gallant officer; but we want something more than sympathy, and if the right hon. Gentleman wants the medical branch of the Service to continue effective, he ought not to throw this chance away In times of war we require an effective Medical Service, but if medical officers are to be treated in this cruel way, the result will be that medical gentlemen will refuse to join the Service. In the name of these men, who are certainly an essential and important branch of the Public Service, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give us some assurance that this case, which has been so ably brought under our notice by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Brighton (Dr. Robertson) will receive reconsideration.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (2.)£59,800, Divine Service.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL (Paddington, S.)
I do not think that tins Vote ought to be allowed to pass without remark. I have no desire to 1271 go into the question at length; but I wish to express the opinion very strongly that of all the Votes which the Committee upstairs examined, no one shows itself more susceptible of revision and reduction than the present. I will not at this hour (11.30 p.m.) detain the Committee with any lengthened observations. All I want to get is an assurance from the Secretary of State that the evidence given before the Committee has produced an effect upon his mind, and that the Vote will be revised by him in the course of the year, with a view to considerable reduction. You have, in connection with this Vote, a great number of men on this Establishment entitled to pension. I think the number is much larger than the necessities of the case require. The chief amongst the officers dealt with by the Vote which could well be abolished is that of Chaplain General, and I think we might well substitute officiating clergymen paid by capitation rates in place of the chaplains who are now on the Establishment and entitled to pension.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
I am quite ready to say that I heard, with great interest, the evidence given before the Committee upon this Vote. It is as well, however, to remember that, as yet, we have not heard what those who are practically concerned have to say in regard to the Vote. I agree with the noble Lord that it is desirable to have as few clergymen on the Establishment as possible, and I am quite ready to assent to the view that, wherever it is possible, it is better to pay them according to the service they render, or, in other words, upon capitation rates. At the same time, the Committee must not run away with the idea that that can easily be done universally. Wherever you have a large number of soldiers belonging to the Church of England, or to any other denomination, you cannot always get a Civil clergyman to undertake the duty, and it is thought that it is better in this case to have a clergyman upon the Establishment. This is a question, however, upon which I desire to express no opinion now. I will look into it very carefully during the Recess, and I certainly will be most ready to make whatever reduction is possible. With regard to the office of Chaplain General I think the noble Lord 1272 is rather hasty, and I beg of him to suspend his judgment as to the abolition of the office until he hears all the evidence which can be given upon the subject.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I should be happy to accept the challenge of the Secretary of State, and go through the evidence that has been given on this subject before the Committee is asked to come to a Division. I would ask attention to the objectionable mode of framing these Estimates, of which this Vote is a scandalous and flagrant example. Those who have read the Reports which have appeared in the Press of the examination of the noble Lord on this Vote will remember that he said it took him three-quarters of an hour to find out what was the entire cost of Divine Service in the Army. The Committee is asked to vote £59,800, and an. ingenuous person would believe that that was the cost of Divine Service in the Army. But that is not so. It is but an item of the entire cost of the Department in the Estimates. It will be found that in addition to this Vote expenditure under the same head is provided for in nine other Votes. What I would ask is that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War will not wait for the Report of any Committee on this matter, but will see that the Estimates are framed in such a war that the House of Commons may ascertain at once the entire cost of the Department, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to undertake that next year each Estimate of each Department of the Army shall show what the entire cost of that Department is.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I shall be very glad indeed to undertake that at the end of each Vote there shall be a note setting forth the total cost of the particular Vote. Probably by such a system of cross entry the object the right hon. Gentleman has in view may be accomplished, and it is very probable that under the present system the Committee fails thoroughly to realize the cost of each Department.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
I wish to say a word—and I wish to be as brief as I possibly can—about a case that occurs in the City of Cork. There is a very large garrison in that city, and it is necessary to have three or four chaplains. In answer to a Question I put this evening, I was given to under- 1273 stand that there are, practically speaking, four, or even five, Army chaplains in the City of Cork. The description of these chaplains differs according to the regiments which happen to come in. At one time you may have a Protestant regiment, and at another time a Roman Catholic regiment, or, as happens at the present time, you may have a Presbyterian regiment in garrison there. Well, Sir, the Roman Catholic chaplains receive capitation pay—so much per head—and the Catholic and Presbyterian clergymen are placed at a great disadvantage as compared with the clergymen of the Established Church of England. In the case of the Established Church—not of Ireland, but of England—you have a regular Army chaplain receiving regular pay. At present, one half of the Cork garrison consists of a Highland regiment, and it has one chaplain, whilst there are two Protestant chaplains; one a regular Army chaplain, drawing £420 a-year, and the other an assistant chaplain, who is sent there to do nothing at all, and draws for doing it £120 a-year. One of these is to assist the other. In a place like the City of Cork you have a number of officials attached to the various regiments in the permanent service of the barracks, and in a Catholic city like Cork the major portion of these officials are always likely to be Catholics. These people, as well as the Catholic soldiers, are taken charge of by the Catholic chaplain, who has to go up a high hill to attend to them whenever his services are required, and besides this work he has his parochial duties to attend to in the city. Thus he is not able to give the whole of his time and services and ministry to the soldiers who are on the top of the hill, whose spiritual welfare he is supposed to look after for the £80 a-year which he receives. The feeling in Cork is that the Catholic chaplain is not fairly treated, and is not put on the same footing as the other chaplains. I do not wish to speak at any length, as this is only a small matter, but I wish to put the case as clearly as I possibly can, and to ask the Committee and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of of State for War to give it favourable consideration.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I have looked into this question, and the facts of the case are simply these. The Roman 1274 Catholics in this garrison number only 120, and would not justify the permanent employment of a Roman Catholic chaplain.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I do not know as to that, but the fact is as I state, that there are only 120 Roman Catholics in the garrison at this moment. We do not regard these matters from a denominational point of view, but simply from the point of view of the number of men of either religion in the garrison. If there were a sufficient number of Roman Catholics in the garrison to warrant the exclusive services of a Roman Catholic chaplain, a Roman Catholic chaplain would certainly be employed.
§ Vote agreed to.
(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £36,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for the administration of Military Law, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
I think it would be convenient for the Committee to regard the whole Vote before the reduction of any particular item is moved. I contend that this Vote is a particularly monstrous one—we shall find as we proceed with the consideration of these Votes that each one becomes more monstrous and less susceptible of any defence. This Vote which purports to provide for the administration of martial law in the Army at a cost of £36,000 does not do anything of the kind, for the administration of Military Law in the Army is provided for under other Votes. Charges in connection with this administration of Military Law occur under Vote 9. A considerable sum is taken for these purposes. You have items 1275 amounting to £9,000 for the firing, lighting, and so on of military prisons; and then you have items for the transport of your witnesses to and from courts martial. All these items appear under Votes 9 and 3. Then you must turn again to Vote 13, which deals with building and repairs, and you will there find that a large sum is taken for the building and repairs of prisons. Vote 3, which you are now asked to take, is entirely misleading, for it does not show the total amount for the administration of Military Law nor anything like it. But if you come to look at the total Vote itself, you find there a whole heap of subjects which it is very interesting to raise discussion upon. I will not go into these matters, as the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) intends to initiate a discussion upon some of them. There is, for instance, the great question of the salary paid to the Judge Advocate General. I will not go into that, because, no doubt, the hon. Member for Northampton has carefully got up a case on that subject; but I would just observe that I consider the Office of Judge Advocate General a perfectly useless Office. It ought to be treated as, after a very long struggle, you treated the Office of Lord Privy Seal. The whole of this Vote is capable of reduction, and a question which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War ought to look into very carefully is the question of the Vote for military prisons. A large number of these prisons have been taken over by the War Department in consequence of the changes in the law, which were rather forced upon the Secretary of State for War for the time being by the House of Commons. The House forced upon him the separate confinement of soldiers, requiring that at no time should soldiers be confined in the same prisons with civilians.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
Yes, for military offences, and the consequence of that has been that though there may have been a great deal in the views of the House of Commons on the matter, the supply of accommodation has largely outpaced the demand, and there is a large amount of accommodation in the prisons which is not used, and a great many warders and deputy 1276 warders and other officials have been appointed who have very quiet and easy times of it, having very little to do and receiving good pay. This is a subject upon which I should be very glad to know the views of the Secretary of State. Has he considered this subject—is it one of those matters upon which he thinks economy may be effected? What I have to point out to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State is, that if he is bent upon economy—which I very much doubt—this Vote, I do assure him, affords him ample scope, and he ought between now and next Session thoroughly review the whole question of military prisons with the view of bringing about a great reduction in their number and in the cost of their employés. He ought, I think, by next year to be able to bring before the House of Commons a complete scheme for the thorough reform of military prisons. I would point out that no reform can be effected which is not accompanied by a large reduction in the number of the officials.
§ THE SECRETARY FOR STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
The noble Lord does me an injustice when he says I am not desirous of reducing the cost of this Vote. I think it essential to do so. The noble Lord has called my attention to several points in regard to the Vote, and I should first like to say that I shall be very glad to give a complete estimate showing the total cost of the administration of Military Law under any Vote that may be taken. With regard to military prisons, my noble Friend is quite right in stating that a large amount of expenditure, so far as I am able to learn, has been forced upon the Department by the action of the House of Commons. I do not think hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway have been altogether free from blame in this matter. They pressed upon the Government the necessity of establishing a system of separate military imprisonment, and that system having been adopted the establishments which it has been found necessary to keep up have proved very costly establishments. I do not know whether it is possible to reduce them, but if I find that it is I shall be very glad to do so. Primâ facie, I should say that it will be a very difficult thing to reduce them; but that, however, is a matter 1277 which will have to be further considered. Thin is amongst the matters that I shall have to look into, but i have not had time yet to deal with it thoroughly. I will undertake to do so during the Recess, and will do my utmost to bring about reductions wherever it is possible.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
I do not know to whom the right hon. Gentleman alluded when he said that those sitting on this side of the House were probably as responsible as anybody else for the extravagant Vote in connection with the administration of Military Law in the Army. It is true that hon. Members on this side did support the proposals that were made to separate military prisoners imprisoned for purely military offences from men imprisoned for serious crimes; hut we did not, in supporting that principle, contemplate any unnecessary extension of prison accommodation.
§ COLONEL BRIDGEMAN (Bolton)
I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the question of fraudulent enlistment which adds very much to the cost of this Vote. It would be very easy to diminish that fraudulent enlistment. It is suggested that a small mark should be put upon every officer and every man on entering Her Majesty's Service. If that plan were carried out, it would at once put a stop to this system. The hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Puleston) asked if there was no return of the number of men claiming Her Majesty's gracious pardon in this jubilee year, and the reply he received was that no Returns had yet been made out. I am able to give the House the Returns affecting one regiment—that is to say, the Scots Guards, in which I have the honour myself to hold a commission. In that regiment there were 44 men who had deserted. There were 16 men who sought pardon for fraudulent enlistment, having previously enlisted in other regiments, and there were 16 who claimed pardon for deserting from the Scots Guards and enlisting elsewhere. Those are large numbers as affecting one regiment, and if other regiments have anything like the same figures to show the matter is a serious one indeed. All this crime, I contend, might be prevented by the adoption of the system of marking the 1278 men as suggested by the hon. and gallant Member for South-East Essex (Major Rasch). Now, there is one case of fraudulent enlistment within our experience which I would like to mention. In the month of April a man came to the Recruiting Depôt at St. George's Barracks and enlisted in a regiment in Ireland. He had a soldierly appearance, and he was consequently submitted to a searching examination—his appearance rendered those before whom he presented himself suspicious. On him was found a ticket for left luggage at the South Eastern Railway office. It turned out that he had a bag there, and in that bag was found a uniform of the Army Medical Ambulance Corps, marked with two good conduct stripes. It was subsequently ascertained that this man had come up to London from his corps with a 14 days pass. He had friends in Dublin, and having some plain clothes he put them on, leaving the uniform at the left luggage office, and he intended to go over to Ireland at the expense of the Government, and at the end of 14 days he intended to coma back again, so that this man would have twice deserted and twice fraudulently enlisted. That is the state of things which would be put an end to by the simple method to which I have referred, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State will take it into his serious consideration.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I may say at once, in reply to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that we have especially under our consideration at the present moment this question of fraudulent enlistment. It has been brought especially under our notice on account of the Queen's Jubilee pardon. That pardon enabled us to get more information on this subject than we have ever before been able to collect. It has given us, so far as it has gone, one bit of very useful information—it has shown us the exceedingly small number of Reserves who have fraudulently enlisted.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
I only desire to make one remark with reference to what has fallen from the hon. and gallant Member who has just sat down (Colonel Bridgeman). I wish to say that however officers may view the question of a "small mark" being put upon them—I will not speak for them—but I must say that if the feeling 1279 of the rank and file is anything like what it was some years ago, to carry out this plan would be to increase the difficulties of enlistment so much that you might just as well disband your Army altogether.
§ COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War would he likely to adopt any plan of marking the men in the Army without considerable debate in the House of Commons. I, for one, should give it the strongest opposition in my power. But I would point out that nothing could be more ridiculous in connection with desertion and other military offences—nothing could be more absurd and wasteful than the system at present pursued of either sending witnesses from one place to another, or sending an escort to fetch the prisoner. If a man in Belfast says he has deserted in Plymouth you either send witnesses over to Plymouth or you send an escort to Belfast to bring the man to Plymouth. The best plan would be to pass a short Act of Parliament to enable the affidavits of witnesses to be read in a court martial in cases where a prisoner has confessed to desertion. The whole difficulty springs from the difference between the military and civil law. In the civil law if a man pleads guilty there is very little evidence required by the Court; but under the military law, in spite of the fact that a man has pleaded guilty, it is necessary to go into the whole question. This is a serious matter, which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War should consider during the Recess.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I certainly will consider the matter during the Recess; but I must say I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman is in error in thinking that there is a difference in the practice of the military and civil law. However, I think there may be other means of bringing home the guilt of the deserter than those at present adopted. It may be possible to deal with the matter more successfully by extending the power of the warrant officers, or in some other way. I am glad my attention has been directed to the matter, and I will undertake to go into it.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War said just now that he would consider whether it was not 1280 possible to reduce this Vote. Well, Sir, I have considered this matter, and I am happy to say that I have come to the conclusion that it is possible at once to reduce the Vote. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House are men of an independent state of mind at present, because of the action with regard to these matters taken by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington, which has proved so useful. We have had the evidence and the Report of a Committee of Inquiry, so far as it has gone up to the present, put into our hands. Now, Sir, my attention has been very powerfully called by these documents to the evidence in regard to the Judge Advocate General's salary, and in regard to his entire Office. It appears to be admitted on all hands that the Judge Advocate General and his Office help each other to do absolutely nothing. The Committee will see that the charge for the Judge Advocate General and for his Office is £4,800 per annum; but it would appear from the evidence that has been submitted to the Committee that, in point of fact, the whole work of the Office is done by two gentlemen who receive £250 per annum each, and that this Office of Judge Advocate General is simply kept up to look after those gentlemen. If the Committee will look at the evidence of Mr. E. H. Knox, C.B., they will see that he does not attempt to defend the Office or the position of the Judge Advocate General. He throws the defence entirely upon the House of Commons. He says that it is a Constitutional question; that it is absolutely necessary that there should be a Parliamentary Judge Advocate General; and, that being so—if the War Office has thrown the matter upon us entirely—it becomes our duty to put an end to this wasteful, expenditure. There were two or three questions put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) to this witness, Mr. Knox. In Question 725 the right hon. Gentleman asked—Then, as to the Judge Advocate General, you used two or three times the term 'Parliamentary Officer;' are the Committee to understand that his retention has been justified upon the ground of the representation of the Department in Parliament?—I cannot say that I am familiar with the details of the question of the maintenance of the Office of Judge Advocate General; but it is, I understand, regarded as a Constitutional matter, and as being desirable that he should have a seat in Parliament.1281 Then the right hon. Gentleman goes on to ask—726. I believe the War Office has a larger total amount of representation in the House of Commons than any other Office, the Secretary of State, the Parliamentary Secretary, the Surveyor General of Ordnance, the Financial Secretary, and the Judge Advocate General?—Yes.727. If you dismiss from your mind all the Parliamentary considerations, and look simply at the amount of work this official does, do you think the amount of work done there is equivalent to the expenditure of £5,000 a-year?—I am not sufficiently acquainted with the work to be able to give an opinion; but it seems a small staff to have two officers at £2,000 and £1,000 a-year at the head of it.728. Will you look at Sub-head B., 'Expenses of Courts Martial; pay to Army Judge Advocates.'—Those are the men, I suppose, who do the work?—Those are the gentlemen who act at the trial, but these are the gentlemen who overlook all the decisions at courts martial and submit them to the Queen.729. But the actual work of courts martial is done by those two gentlemen for £250 a-year?—Yes.730. So that it costs £5,000 a-year to superintend what it cost £250 a-year to do?—To go through all the findings.
The noble Lord the Member for South Paddington asked the witness—
686. Are you aware that for similar work done for the Admiralty, with regard to courts martial in the Navy, the payments by the Admiralty do not exceed £300 a-year?—I am aware that the Admiralty charge in connection with the Judge Advocate's work is very small.
§ I think it is perfectly conclusive. I should think all the Members of the Committee sitting upstairs, without exception, will agree that this Office of Judge Advocate General is absolutely useless. We have heard Mr. Knox admit that the Office is perfectly useless, and throwing it upon the House of Commons to defend it; and the House of Commons, it seems to me, must be exceedingly anxious that there should be a Judge Advocate General when it is prepared to spend £5,000 a-year—not only to pay the Judge Advocate General himself £2,000 a-year, but to give him £2,800 worth of clerks in order to do nothing but sit here. It may be said, and in some cases it has been said, that a Minister like the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has little to do for his money, but renders valuable assistance to the Government as a Cabinet Minister. Well, the right hon. and learned Judge Advocate General is not a Cabinet Minister, and it therefore cannot be contended that he does any- 1282 thing in the Cabinet. Sometimes it happens that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, although not in the Cabinet, renders valuable assistance to the Government by the speeches he makes on the Front Bench opposite. Well, I am sure we should like to hear the right hon. and learned Judge Advocate General make speeches from that Bench, but I do not remember his ever having done so. Then, he is not paid for Cabinet work, and he is not paid for making speeches here, or for performing any departmental functions of any importance. I know that the right hon. Gentleman goes about the country and makes speeches which are more valuable in a Party sense than in a general sense. Under these circumstances, it would seem desirable that we should put an end at once to this Vote. We are not prepared to give the Judge Advocate General the sum of £2,800 per annum for clerks, when we have it before us that the Office is perfectly useless, when we know that this is an absolute waste of money, and that the sole reason for paying it is that Mr. Knox and others in the War Office believed that the House of Commons was so anxious that there should be a Judge Advocate General in this House, that it was prepared to pay £4,200 a-year for the luxury. I am, therefore, prepared to move the reduction of the Vote. It may be said, on behalf of the Government—"Well, some day, we will look into it" I do not believe in those "some days." What we ought to do is to carry the reduction of the Vote. We know perfectly well how these Votes are dealt with, and it is necessary to pursue a definite course in regard to them. We have often had appeals made to us ad misericordiam. If the Secretary for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) will give us an absolute assurance, not that he will consider this matter, but that he will henceforward manage to carry on his Office without a Judge Advocate General, and that we shall never again have to consider a Vote for a Judge Advocate General or his clerks, we need not divide now; but, unless the right hon. Gentleman is willing to give that assurance, we ought to divide. I do hope that Gentleman opposite will look upon this as a practical matter, and I move the reduction of the Vote by £2,000.1283
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £34,000, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL (Mr. MARRIOTT) (Brighton)
Mr. Courtney, I am very glad that the only personal complaint made against myself is that I have made no speech from this Bench, this year. I am sorry to say that it is not possible to make such a complaint against the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, and I am not at all certain that the money of this House would not be well spent in paying certain Gentlemen not to speak. But, Sir, putting aside the personal matter, which I shall take no further notice of, I think that the subject which the hon. Member has brought before the House is one well worthy of consideration. A Committee has been appointed by this House, and is presided over by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill), for inquiring not only into the position of the Judge Advocate General, and into the question of whether his pay is more than sufficient, or whether his Office is needed, but into the question of the whole administration of the Army and Navy, and, I believe eventually, of the Civil Service. I can only say for myself, that if any economy can be brought about in these matters, no personal feeling of mine with regard to the Office of Judge Advocate General, or any other Office, will prevent me doing everthing in my power to forward the object which the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington has in view. I would point out to the Committee that the Vote of this year is less than that of last year. Last year it amounted to £5,600, whilst this year it is only £4,800, and that reduction is entirely due to the present Government being in power. When I was in Office this year, an appointment of £700 a-year came into my hands. I was asked to give away that appointment. I had no less than 70 or 80 applications for it, all from Colonels in the Army, and many reasons were urged upon me in favour of filling it up. I declined to fill up the office. I admit that this is a small matter; but the result of my action was to reduce the expenses of the Lord Advocate General's Office from £5,610 to 1284 £4,800. I only mention the matter to show that not by words only, but by actions, we show our desire to reduce the expenditure of this Office to the very lowest sum. As to the general question whether we ought to have a Judge Advocate General at all, I may point out that that opens out a very large field indeed, and that the evidence at present before the House is very inadequate. There have been several inquiries into the matter. In 1860 there was an inquiry under Lord Palmerston into the administration of the Army. The Committee which conducted that investigation very fully considered the question of the continuance of the Office of Judge Advocate General, and they came to the conclusion that the Office ought not to be abolished. Again, only two years ago, when the late Government were in Office, the question was brought before this House. I do not see in his place the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Denbighshre (Mr. Osborne Morgan), who then held the Office; but he made a speech on the subject, explaining the work which had to be performed by the Judge Advocate General, the effect it had in the country, and the duties attaching to it, and this House unanimously agreed to continue the Office. Of course, the House has a perfect right to change its opinion, and, if it does, I shall be quite ready to concur in the decision which is arrives at. But there are several things which it would be well to consider before the House comes to any hasty conclusion. The noble Lord the Member for South Paddington said, a short time ago, that he considered the Office to be perfectly useless. The noble Lord is always very decided in the opinion he expresses, although those opinions may sometimes change; and I confess that, upon the evidence at present before him, that appears to be a hastily formed opinion. I, myself, offered, on two occasions, to go before the Committee over which the noble Lord presides, in order to give evidence on the subject; but the noble Lord, in the spirit of chaff with which we are all familiar, said—"Oh, no, we do not want you, who know nothing about the matter. We want the permanent officials." Well, a permanent official, Mr. O'Dowd, the Deputy Judge Advocate General, gave evidence, and his evidence is misleading. I feel certain 1285 that that evidence, although it is misleading, was given unwillingly. Mr. O'Dowd was examined by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. Henry H. Fowler), and he said that for two years and a-half there was no Judge Advocate General—no political officer. He was asked—"How did you get on, then? "And he replied—"I believe we got on pretty well." Now, that is an absolutely misleading statement. There was a Judge Advocate General at that time. The fact was, that on the death of Mr. Davidson, no political Judge Advocate General was appointed, but a gentleman who was a Privy Councillor and the Judge of the Admiralty Court—Sir Robert Phillimore—was appointed. I have here the faculty under which the appointment was made. Sir Robert Phillimore received a salary of £500 a-year, and he acted for the whole two and a-half years. The Office therefore was not vacant. There was no political officer in this House, but there was a Privy Councillor who acted as Judge Advocate General for the whole of the time, and who was paid a salary. At the end of two years and a-half the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) and his Cabinet determined that they must again appoint a Judge Advocate General, and I think it was Mr. Ayrton who was then appointed. Then comes the point, on what principle the Judge Advocate General is appointed at all? It is this—that a civilian should stand between the soldiers and the military powers. The Office was created in the year 1642, and the date speaks a good deal for the spirit in which the appointment was made at that time. The object was to protect the common soldier against the arbitrariness of the military powers, and I believe that now there is nothing that the soldier values more than this—that when he is tried by court martial, the court martial is supervised not by a military officer, but by a civilian and a lawyer, who will see that justice is done. I know that in many cases great injustice would be done to the soldier if there was not a civilian to see that the trial is carried out according to the law, and, what is far worse, that too heavy a sentence is not passed. Although the Judge Advocate General cannot himself remit a single sentence, he has the power of saying that a sen- 1286 tence is too harsh; and I can speak of hundreds of cases, in my own experience, where the sentences have been minimized through the action of the Judge Advocate General. I quite admit that other arrangements could be made, and that the Secretary for War might be made responsible to the House in these matters. But if he were, he would want a lawyer to advise him, and a lawyer of some experience and of some practice. It would not do to have an inefficient lawyer. You must have an efficient lawyer, and I do not think you would get a very efficient lawyer for less than £2,000 a-year. [Opposition cries of "Oh !"] Well, I would appeal to the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere), who has had great experience of lawyers, and who, whenever he has a case in Court, pays them very liberally. He knows what cheap law is, and therefore he never thinks of resorting to it. I do not think my right hon. Friend the Secretary for War (Mr. E. Stanhope), who is in his place, would, upon his own responsibility, upset the judgment of a court martial, and therefore a legal adviser would be absolutely essential. If there is one Office which the private soldier ought to look to and does look to with gratitude, it is that of the Judge Advocate General. No doubt, he might equally look to the Secretary for War, and I candidly confess that the officers of the Judge Advocate General's Department might do more work than they do now. They, however, do all they have to do, and they would gladly carry out any arrangement that could be made for giving full employment to them. The meaning of the Amendment before the Committee is the abolition of the Office of Judge Advocate General; but I say that, so far, we have no evidence before us to show that the abolition of that Office would not result in very serious injury to the soldiers of the British Army. Mr. O'Dowd was asked in how many cases the Judge Advocate General was referred to, and he said that not more than 100 cases out of an average of about 7,000 a-year were referred to him. Well, the work varies. You have two or three days with nothing to do, and then several cases come in all at once. To appoint a man who is not a lawyer would be very inconvenient. The work performed in the Office is, I am convinced, for the benefit of the 1287 Army, and the question is a much broader one than that of a mere matter of £2,000 a-year. I shall be very happy to give any information I can to any Member who desires it.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
I must enter my protest, Mr. Courtney, against the way in which the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General has dragged into a debate in this House a joking conversation which passed between him and me in the Lobby. I cannot conceive anything more detrimental to the House of Commons than that the informal conversations which pass between Members of both Parties in the Lobby should be dragged into debates here. The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows perfectly well that if he had wished to come before the Committee to give evidence, the Committee would have been most willing to hear him. It was the right hon. and learned Gentleman's own wish that if the Committee desired to have any evidence on the subject, Mr. O'Dowd, the Deputy Judge Advocate General, should be called, he having been in the Office for a great many years. He was called at a particular time, in order to enable him to get away for his holidays, and the fact of his being called was entirely due to the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself, and was certainly not intended as any disrespect to him. It is, I think, to be regretted that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has discredited the evidence of Mr. O'Dowd. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says it is a misstatement to say that for two and a-half years the Office was without a Judge Advocate General, and that Sir Robert Phillimore was Judge Advocate General during that period. But, even if it was a misstatement, we have it on record that for two and a-half years the duties of Judge Advocate General were performed for £500 a-year. [Mr. MARRIOTT: He had £4,000 a-year, as well.] Well, if he had £4,000 a-year as well, it shows that a man who had other duties to perform could do the work of Judge Advocate General as well. I have no doubt that he did absolutely nothing. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says Mr. O'Dowd stated that on an average out of 7,000 cases dealt with by the Deputy Judge Advocate General, not more than about 100 cases a-year were 1288 referred to the Judge Advocate General. Now, Sir, this really raises a very serious question. No one in the House wishes to inflict the smallest injury or indignity on the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General. What we have to consider, however, is this. Are we justified, in the present day, in appointing highly-paid officers for whom there is really no work? That is the point which the Committee ought to consider. I do not think it would be at all right or proper to agree to a reduction of this Vote tonight; but I think that, in view of the evidence not only of Mr. Knox, but of Mr. O'Dowd also, we have a right to call on the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) to give a very distinct guarantee that he will devote his immediate attention to the whole question of this Office. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Judge Advocate General declares, as far as I can make out, that the Army is kept from mutiny by the feeling that there is a great civilian lawyer who will look after the courts martial, and who will intervene in any case of injustice. But what will the Army say when it learns that the great civilian lawyer only investigates 100 cases out of 7,000? I think that, under those circumstances, the comfort and solace which the soldiers derive from the Office of Judge Advocate General will be much diminished. And I cannot think that the joy of the soldiers in the knowledge that such an officer exists warrants us in paying him £2,000 a-year. No doubt, it is right that there should be a civil element between the military authorities and the soldiers. But there is a Deputy Judge Advocate General, with a salary of £1,000 a-year, and another Deputy with £700 a-year. The fact is that the Deputy Judge Advocate General does all the work. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Marriott) took great credit to himself for having abolished the office of one of the Deputies. It seems to me like the story of the Russian woman, in the sledge with her family pursued by wolves. When the wolves got near, over went one of the children. So here, over goes a Deputy Judge Advocate General. But what we want is, not the Deputies but the Judge Advocate General himself. I cannot think that the Committee is justified in throwing 1289 away £2,000 a-year on an officer who practically has no work to do. I have no feeling against the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who has certainly rendered great services to his Party in every way. I speak not with any feeling of disrespect to him, but simply on the broad ground that we have no right, as Representatives of the taxpayers, to vote £2,000 for an Office which practically has no work attached to it. I hope the Secretary of State for War will give a solemn assurance to the Committee that this Office is one which will receive his careful attention, and that next year he will make proposals to the Committee which will bring the Office into exact accordance with the requirements.
§ MR. CHILDERS (Edinburgh, S.)
Mr. Courtney, I desire to support to the best of ray power what has fallen from the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill). Of course, during the present year, it would not be possible to cut off the Vote, and therefore the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General (Mr. Marriott) will understand that this is no personal matter. Of this I am quite sure, that there is no good reason why there should be in the Office the staff which now exists; and that the business of the Office—that is to say, the dealing with some 7,000 courts martial a-year—could be perfectly well carried out by the two officials who now act under the Judge Advocate General. There is no such Office in connection with the Navy. There is, nominally, a Naval Judge Advocate General, who, if I am not mistaken, receives a fee of something like £50 a-year. But the Crown has assigned to the Board of Admiralty certain functions in connection with the Navy, and amongst them is that of dealing with courts martial. The Board of Admiralty approves or qualifies the judgments of naval courts martial itself, and although in extreme cases they obtain the assistance of the so-called Judge Advocate General of the Navy, they need not take his advice, and they themselves confirm or disallow the decisions of courts martial. The only reason for the existence of the Judge Advocate General of the Army is that he formally exercises those functions which in the Navy have been handed over to the Board of Admiralty. There is no more reason why those functions should not 1290 be vested in the Secretary of State than there is why they should be taken away from the Board of Admiralty. It is, of course, necessary that the business of military courts martial should be submitted to the Queen by a Privy Councillor; but there is no reason whatever constitutionally why it should not be submitted to the Queen by the Secretary of State. Of course, it is necessary that there should be in the War Office such an officer as Mr. O'Dowd, as the number of military courts martial is very large. I would urge upon the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) that before the end of the year he should consider whether the change I have suggested could not be perfectly well carried out—that is to say, that just as the Board of Admiralty deals with courts martial in the Navy, the Secretary of State for War should do the same with regard to courts martial in the Army. I cannot ask the right hon. Gentleman to give a definite reply to-night; but I do ask him to say that he will consider the suggestion, and I hope that next year we shall be able to have a great economy in these Votes.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
I have to state that I intend to vote with my Colleague (Mr. Labouchere) for the reduction proposed in his Amendment, but on only one ground. Having had some experience of courts martial, I am not altogether able to corroborate what has fallen from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General (Mr. Marriott), because I think that the bulk of the courts martial held in this country never come before him at all. I allude to the regimental courts martial, which are very numerous, which inflict very serious punishments indeed, and I think the answer given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General—although I do not say it was intentionally so, but was owing to a want of knowledge on his part—was very misleading. I was very glad to hear of the amount of love and sympathy and affection towards those who hold the Office the right hon. and learned Gentleman now fills which is entertained by the rank and file of the British Army, and all I can say on that point is, that if such feelings do exist at the present moment they must be of very modern growth, for I never heard anything of all this in my own time, nor have I been informed of 1291 its existence by those who have sent communications to me. But what I have risen to suggest is this—namely, that what has to be done in the Department of the Judge Advocate General can very well be done by one legal gentleman; but, at any rate, there cannot be wanted more than, say, a Deputy Judge Advocate General and one clerk, and the idea that all the rest of the establishment now maintained are necessary is absolute nonsense.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
I must point out to the Committee that there is a considerable distinction to be drawn between the case of the Army and the case of the Navy. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) has not stated to the Committee what is the actual state of the facts. The facts are really these—that there are only 200 courts martial in the case of the Navy, while in the case of the Army the number of courts martial is stated at 9,000 during the year. It should be remembered that, in addition to his other duties, the Judge Advocate General is legal adviser to the Secretary of State, who is entitled to call on that official for his legal opinion on any point that may be submitted.
§ MR. CHILDERS
I wish to say, in regard to that matter, that finding when I came to the War Office that his business in connection with courts martial was not large, I proposed to my right hon. Friend the then Judge Advocate General to add to the statutory duties of his Office the task of advising me on legal questions in which I might require his opinion.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I may add, with regard to my right hon. and learned Friend the Judge Advocate General, that he is always kind enough to consider any legal point I may submit to him. I only call the attention of the Committee to these facts, in order to show that the work done by the Judge Advocate General cannot be properly understood unless all these matters are taken into consideration. We have been asked to consider whether the establishment in connection with the Office of the Judge Advocate General is not larger than is necessary. But in considering this question, I suppose we should, in the first place, take into consideration whe- 1292 ther we require such an officer at all, and if we come to the conclusion that we do, then, in the next place, it will be for us to consider whether the establishment which is now maintained is not too large. That is not a matter which I can consider and decide upon to-night; it is rather one for consideration in conjunction with my Colleagues. I will, however, undertake that the question shall be brought before my Colleagues before the Estimates for next year are prepared, and they will then have an opportunity of considering whether the Vote for this Office should be retained. I may point out to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers) that the Liberal Party have been in Office during the last 50 years for a far longer period than the Party which occupies the Benches on this side of the House, and they have, consequently, had ample opportunities of abolishing the Office of Judge Advocate General had they all along hold the views they seem at the present moment to entertain. Therefore, it is rather hard upon us in this, as in many other instances that might be cited, that they should call upon us to insist on reducing an expenditure which they have so long maintained.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I should like to say, on the part of hon. Members below the Gangway, that they pay exceedingly little attention to all this "pot and kettle" business. In our opinion, there is not the slightest reason why the Office of Judge Advocate General should be retained because there was a Liberal Judge Advocate General in Office before him. But I cannot help asking the Committee this question—For what reason do eminent Gentlemen who have occupied, and who do now occupy, seats on the Treasury Bench think the Estimates are submitted to Parliament? What they say is in effect this—"I do agree to a certain extent, but not entirely, with what has been said about the retention of the Office; but I really cannot vote with the hon. Gentleman who has moved the Amendment, because I could not think of sweeping away at one blow the salary of a public official, or of voting at once the abolition of a particular Office" But why, I ask, are the Estimates submitted to the House of Commons? We have the Votes prepared by the Government sub- 1293 mitted to us, and we are asked to say whether we will grant the money asked for or not. We have it as a fact before us that the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Edinburgh (Mr. Childers), and the Committee appointed by this House to inquire into these matters, are all of opinion that the Judge Advocate General does practically nothing in the shape of an equivalent to the emolument he receives, and yet we are told that we ought to vote the salary for this Office, and that we ought to hope against hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. E. Stanhope) will not present the same Vote in the Estimates of next year. All I have to say on that point is, that I am quite willing to withdraw my Amendment if the right hon. Gentleman will pledge himself not to re-submit this Vote next year. But the right hon. Gentleman will offer no such pledge. All he has stated is that he will bring the matter before his Colleagues, not that he will consider and decide upon it himself. I submit to the Committee, is it at all probable that next year the Vote for the Office of Judge Advocate General will not appear in the Estimates? For my part, I am quite certain that it will appear in next year's Estimates. I think I shall be able to show the House that, notwithstanding the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War that the Judge Advocate General has to look into an enormous number of courts martial every year, and also to give him advice on legal questions, even Her Majesty's Government themselves are of opinion that that official has exceptionally little to do, for they allow him to practise at the Bar. Previous to his appointment, all Judge Advocates General have not been allowed to continue their practice at the Bar; but when the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Marriott) took the Office he took it on the understanding that he was to be allowed to practise, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman does practise at the Bar. I would ask is there one other Gentleman occupying a position on the Treasury Bench and in receipt of a salary of £2,000 a-year who, being a lawyer, is allowed to practise at the Bar, with the exception, of course, of the Attorney General and the Solicitor 1294 General? The Judge Advocate General is not supposed to be allowed to practise at the Bar. When a Liberal Judge Advocate General has been in Office he has not been allowed so to practise; and the present Government have admitted, as a matter of fact, that the Judge Advocate General has nothing to do by allowing that officer to practise at the Bar. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Marriott) is an able advocate, and would probably earn more if he had not to look after these 9,000 or 10,000 courts martial and to give legal advice to the Secretary for War. Therefore, by carrying my Amendment, the Committee will not only be doing good to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General, by enabling him to extend his practice, but they will also be conferring a benefit upon the taxpayers.
§ MR. MARRIOTT
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) is entirely mistaken is speaking of my case as an exceptional one. One of my Predecessors (Mr. Stuart-Wortley) was Recorder of London, and afterwards Solicitor General; and I believe the last holder of the Office also practised at the Bar. I quite admit that several Judge Advocates General never practised at the English Bar; but during the period the Liberal Lord Chancellor—Lord Hatherley—was in Office the Judge Advocate General practised at the Bar. I myself should not have accepted the Office if I had been called on to give up the practice of my Profession at the Bar, and I do not think that such practice interferes with the performance of the duties of the Judge Advocate General's Office.
MAJOR-GENERAL GOLDS WORTHY (Hammersmith)
I believe that, necessary as the Office of Judge Advocate General may be in the existing state of things, the present condition of the Military Law is not satisfactory. There are too many courts martial, and I believe that if the Colonels of regiments and other commanding officers had greater powers given to them than they now possess, we should in all probability be able to do away with the Office of Judge Advocate General. I do not desire unnecessarily to take up the time, of the Committee; but having had the opportunity of seeing what has been done by successive Judge Advocates 1295 General, I may be allowed to say that their action has always, from a legal point of view, as well as from a merciful point of view, met with general approval. I trust therefore that until the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War has been enabled to communicate with the Military Authorities, and arrange with them for some revision of the Military Law, the Office of Judge Advocate General will not be done away with.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I very much regret that this question should be allowed to decline into a personal squabble as to the position of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Marriott) and the terms on which he accepted his Office. I think that we may dismiss from our consideration of this Vote any question affecting the personal tenure of the Office of Judge Advocate General by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who I am well assured has discharged his duties to the best of his ability, and in a manner highly satisfactory to the public; but I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) that the Committee to whom the House has referred the questions brought forward by the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) had made up its mind in regard to this matter. That Committee has come to no resolution whatever upon the subject. In fact, it has only heard two witnesses, and to-night that Committee is placed in the unpleasant position of having heard it stated by the head of the Judge Advocate General's Department that the evidence given by the representative of the Department is inaccurate. In justice to both of those Gentlemen I think the Committee ought to call the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Judge Advocate General in order to ascertain what are the facts of the case. I would put it to this Committee whether, the House having referred this question to the Select Committee, and that Committee not having reported, it would be business-like or proper for the House at once to come to a decision upon the merits of the case? I may have an opinion which may incline in a certain direction, as evidently that of the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington does; but I repeat, that until the Select Committee has reported the 1296 question ought to be left open, and this Committee ought not to be called upon to come to a final judgment upon it. For my own part, I do not attach much value to the promise made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War to consider the matter before the Estimates of next year are brought forward. I think the right hon. Gentleman would do well to wait until the Select Committee has been enabled to arrive at a decision upon the subject. There is, however, one point to which I desire to call attention, and which is totally irrespective of the amount of work done in the Office of the Judge Advocate General, and the arguments as to which would apply even if the Office were undermanned, instead of being, as some think it is, overmanned. The objection I am about to take is a Constitutional objection Mr. lines puts it that the Office is continued on Constitutional grounds. The question I raised before the Select Committee was the over-representation of the War Office in this House. We have the Secretary of State for War, the Financial Secretary, the Surveyor General of Ordnance and the Judge Advocate General, all four of these being highly-paid officials representing one great spending Department; and even if the Judge Advocate General be retained, I think the Office he holds is one that ought to be made incompatible with the retention of a seat in this House. This is a matter on which I certainly shall have something to say, both in the Select Committee and here in this House, when the question comes to be raised; but, at the present moment, I should advise the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) not to press his Amendment to a Division, seeing that it is still sub judice and that the Select Committee have not yet presented their Report to the House.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I have only to say that I should have proposed my Amendment if there had been no Select Committee at all. I do not think it necessary to wait for the Report of the Committee, because, as we have already seen, the Chairman of the Committee has already made up his mind that whatever may happen it is useless to retain the Office; and we have also the statement of the Judge Advocate General, who has not succeeded in convincing me that the Office ought to be 1297 retained. On the contrary, I think it only involves a waste of money, and that we ought therefore to do away with it. I intend to persevere with my Amendment.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
I do not think the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) will be serving the purpose of economy by pressing his Amendment to a Division on the present occasion. If he persists in that course, the result will be that he will elicit a strongly-marked expression of opinion on the part of the Committee in favour of the retention of the Office of Judge Advocate General, which will not represent the genuine opinion of the House of Commons on this subject, and which will therefore be misleading to the country. Therefore if the hon. Gentleman is really desirous of serving the interests of economy, he will do well to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 92; Noes 164: Majority 72.—(Div. List, No. 352.) [12.45 A.M.]
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(4.) Motion made and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £324,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Medical Establishments and Services, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
With the permission of the Committee, I will offer a brief explanation of this Vote. The Committee will see that there is a decrease on the amount asked for by the previous Government of £9,000. The evidence put before the Committee who are investigating this subject shows that the actual amount of the Vote for the Medical Services is spread over a good many Votes. The effective Medical Service of the Army shows a total of £528,000, and that of the non-effective force £176,000, making a total of £704,000. This is, undoubtedly, a large amount, and we have had a good deal of evidence on the subject before the Committee upstairs. But at present the case is one that is eminently sub judice, and we shall have 1298 to look into the matter very closely, and I trust Her Majesty's Government may be able through the deliberations of the Select Committee to make some deduction of the Vote in future.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
There is a very important question arising out of this Vote. There was evidence given before the Committee upstairs as to what Mr. Knox called a strike among the medical officers. Now. Sir, I say that that is a phrase which ought not to have been used. It is to be hoped Mr. Knox understands accounts better than he understands the English language. I am afraid what occurred in 1879 before the last Warrant was issued will now occur again. That was not a strike, because a strike means stopping work. All that occurred was that for two years i no candidate would go forward to be examined; and it was only after the new Warrant was issued that you got candidates in plenty. Perhaps the word "Boycott" would be more appropriate than the word strike to express the kind of thing which occurred between the War Office and the Army Medical Department, and I am sorry to say that there is every likelihood of it occurring again. If it were a question of money I, for one, would not support the Medical Profession. I should rather support that view, which is growing so much in the country, against these continual increases in the Estimates, which I think ought to be reduced. But it is not a question of money. I think something may be done by which medical men should remain longer in the Service, and that we should not be required to spend so much on men who are retired. But the point I wish to draw attention to is this. Up to very lately, and, in fact, until a couple of years ago, the various civil Departments of the Army had equality of rank with the combatant officers. Equality of rank has now been abolished entirely, so far as the Medical Department is concerned. In the Commissariat Deparment and other Departments you have honorary rank; but in the Medical Department there is neither honorary rank, substantive rank, or relative rank. When you abolished relative rank in the other Civil Departments by honorary rank, the same thing ought to have been done as far as the Medical Profession is concerned. I do not wish to press this question now; but 1299 what I would ask the Secretary of State to do is this—either appoint a satisfactory Departmental Committee or a Committee of this House to consider the whole question. Otherwise you will have what you had in 1879. You have now got all the Medical Profession against you; and what will happen will be that you will gradually get a smaller number of candidates and a worst class of medical men for the Army. This is a matter of very special importance, and one which is felt very much by the Medical Profession. Because, how are they placed at the present time? They are in charge of the Medical Department, and, in that capacity, have non-commissioned officers serving under them who have honorary rank, and others who have substantive rank, whilst they themselves have no rank at all. The officers of the Department who are on the retired list have sent a strong Memorial to the Profession to take the matter up. The feeling is very strong throughout the Profession, and the only way to have the matter properly considered is to appoint a Departmental Committee, I or better still a Committee of this House. Otherwise you will find that you have very seriously affected the question of recruiting for the Medical Department of the Army, besides causing great dissatisfaction amongst those who are already in the Service.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
Considering the lateness of the hour, I desire to make my remarks, on the present occasion, as brief as possible; but I sincerely hope that when the Report stage of this Vote is reached I shall be able to address the House at greater length. This is a very important branch of the Army Estimates, and is regarded by the Profession to which I have the honour to belong with, very deep interest indeed. I do not think I could possibly deal, in the way I should like, with all the great questions affecting the Medical Department at this late hour, and I will, therefore, content myself with calling attention to two or three of the more crying grievances of which the officers belonging to the Army Medical Service very justly complain. There are some points connected with Netley School on which I could speak at considerable length, and to which, sooner or later, the attention of the House will have to be given. But I merely men- 1300 tion that en passant. When a young surgeon desires to enter the Army Medical Department he has to go through certain examinations, in order to get into the School or Hospital at Netley. He spends a certain time there; and what happens? In all the other branches of the Service, when a man passes an examination, and becomes a member of a certain body, from that moment he belongs to that body, he draws his pay, and his appointment dates from that time; but that is not at all the case with the doctor. He goes to Netley; he stays there the required time; he passes his examinations; and his appointment dates from some time subsequently to that pass. Now, that is a very great grievance, and one that has been referred to over and over again in this House. It has not been met; and I will not repeat to the Treasury Bench, or even to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope), who represents the Department for which we are asked to vote this money, but I will repeat to the House what has been said so often before, that if you want to have soldiers you must look after those soldiers. They are expected to go into every part of the world, to endure every sort of climate, and you cannot look after them properly unless you get really good medical men—surgeons—to do the work. Well now, you are going to commence again the old process of trying to snub the medical men, of trying to cut them down. You must bear in mind that any medical man at home can make a great deal more money than you offer these gentlemen in the Army; that in connection with any civil branch of the Profession he is likely to do better than by joining the Army Medical Department. You will not get a class of men who will bring credit on the Profession to which they belong, or who will take care of the soldiers whom they are appointed to look after, unless you give them what they are entitled to, and what they can, as I have said, obtain by the exercise of their Profession at home. I do hope, therefore, for the sake of the Service, that the Secretary of State will look into this matter. In my younger days, when I first went to college in Ireland, I saw the Army Medical Department practically Boycotted. In one of the colleges of the Queen's University in Ireland I saw notices put up 1301 for the benefit of the students, telling them not to enter the Army Medical Department. I tell you that if you pursue the same course now you will be Boycotted again. Of course, there are times of depression all over the world; and it certainly is a time of depression in Ireland now very bitter and very grievous. You will get candidates, no doubt; but they will not be the men you really desire to obtain; and if you do not pay attention to all these very grave complaints which are made on behalf of the Army Medical Department you will see that branch of the Service going to the dogs, and you will have inflicted a very deep and grave injury upon the Army generally. I am not going to talk about these young men—the way they are shunted about from pillar to post, without getting any chance of continuing the practice of their Profession. These men are a sort of twopenny postboys. They are sent, along with a cargo of men, one way and then the other, here to-day and gone to-morrow. They never get what is really their due, as members of an important branch of the Service—a fixed and definite post and position. Again, I should like the House to look for a moment to the position of the men of the Army Medical Department when they go to India. I have alluded to this matter before. There is a considerable mortality amongst these young men, who, practically speaking, are sent away and have to live in India on less than they are able to draw at home. This is not the case with any other branch of the Service. I shall be prepared to place figures before the House at a futures stage, so as to convince hon. Members that what I say is true. I really want, in as few words as possible, to ask, at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman who represents the Army, that he will give us his promise to look into these complaints which have been made from all sides of the House. There are many Gentlemen who sit on the Tory Benches who have also raised their voices in favour of the Profession to which I allude; and I sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give us, at any rate, a ready ear, and that he will also give us the consideration that the gravity of our case demands. In doing so he will be performing an act which is at once gracious, and will 1302 redound to the benefit not only of the Government to which he belongs, but of the Army Medical Department.
§ SIR W. GUYER HUNTER (Hackney, Central)
I will not detain the House more than a very few moments at this late hour of the evening. I should, in the first place, like to call the attention of the Committee to the great disadvantage which the Army Medical Department labours under, as compared with the combatant officers. The combatant officers have facilities given them when they are about to go through their examinations for promotion as regards leave and pay. On the other hand, the officers of the Army Medical Department, when they have to undergo examinations for promotion, have to get their leave when they can, and go to any medical school which they can obtain access to at their own expense. If it be necessary that combatant officers should have facilities for obtaining their education to fit them for promotion, surely, on the other hand, it is only right and fair that officers of the Army Medical Department should have facilities granted to them for obtaining instruction when they wished go through their examinations for promotion. I trust the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) will take this matter into his serious consideration. I should also like to call the attention of the Committee to the fact the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) distinctly promised the hon. and gallant Member for the Holborn Division of Finsbury (Colonel Duncan), that this matter should receive his consideration as far back as last Session. Another point to which I should like to call attention is the case of brigade surgeons. A short time ago, a Warrant was issued which made a grade between senior surgeon majors and the deputy surgeon general, granting an eventual increase of rank, and also increase of pay. These officers, on going to India, lose their pay. It does seem very hard indeed, when an officer goes to a foreign country, and to a climate very inimical to his health that he should have his pay cut off. In India the grade exists, but no pay goes with it. It would appear to me to be——
Order, order ! The question of the remuneration of 1303 the Service in India cannot come before this Committee, as the money is not voted by this Committee.
§ DR. TANNER
I rise to a point of Order, Sir, in connection with, this Vote for the Army Medical Department. Is it not a fact that officers of this Department go to India, and do they not receive their pay from this country? They do, Sir, and not only that, but they pay Income-Tax for receiving it in India.
§ SIR W. GUYER HUNTER
I obey your ruling, Sir, of course. I presume I shall be able to refer to this case when the Indian Vote comes on.
§ SIR W. GUYER HUNTER
I have nothing to add to what I have said. I merely trust the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) will take these matters into his serious consideration.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY, WAR DEPARTMENT (Mr. BRODRICK) (Surrey, Guildford)
With regard to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Central Hackney (Sir W. Guyer Hunter) I presume that he would desire that some instruction should be given at the hospital at Netley?
§ SIR W. GUYER HUNTER
No, Sir. I refer to the instruction that every medical officer must get necessarily when he is about to go up for examination for promotion. The Netley School is for those who first enter the Service, where they undergo a course of technical instruction and medical training.
§ MR. BRODRICK
The question was raised last year, and one or two hon. Members suggested whether it might not be in the power of medical officers to go to Netley for instruction at different stages of their career. My recollection is that my right hon. Friend (Mr. W. H. Smith) undertook to consider whether an opportunity could not be found of sending the officers to Netley in batches, but, hitherto, that opportunity has not occurred. The matter, however, is being considered with a view of 1304 saving expense, both to the public and the Medical Service. The question of the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) had reference, I presume, to the four months interval after the candidates have passed at Netley. It will be recollected that a few days ago a question was put to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Mr. E. Stanhope) on this subject, and my right hon. Friend admitted that in the Indian Service and at the Admiralty it is customary for the pay to begin as soon as the examination is passed. I am afraid I cannot hold out any hopes to the hon. Gentleman (Dr. Tanner) that we shall be able to make any alteration of that character at the War Office. [Dr. TANNER: Why not?] We do not take the same view of it that the hon. Member does. On the contrary, we have reason to believe that the amendments which have been made since the Warrant of 1879 have given us for medical officers a good class of candidates, and we certainly have had no difficulty as yet, and we do not think it necessary to improve the terms. I cannot help thinking that if the hon. Member (Dr. Tanner) will peruse what has taken place upstairs, he will see that, as regards pay and the status of the Service, there would be strong opposition to a change in that direction.
§ DR. TANNER
I am very sorry to detain the Committee at this late hour of the evening; but I have received a most unsatisfactory reply from the Minister responsible for this Department. As we cannot get a proper answer at the present time, and as I hope that a night's reflection on the part of the hon. Member who is in charge of this Vote may induce him to reconsider his determination, I beg to move that you report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Dr. Tanner.)
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I hope the Committee will not agree to the Motion to report Progress. I think the hon. Member (Dr. Tanner) must see that we are just in the middle of this discussion, and it would be a most lamentable waste of time if it were put off to another day.
§ DR. TANNER
I simply asked that a certain amount of consideration should be bestowed on the claims of those medical men, and the hon. Member the Financial Secretary to the War Office (Mr. Brodrick) got up in his place and said they were able to get medical men in plenty, and would still be able to do so. I tried, in a plain way, to explain what I saw when I first entered college. I saw the Army Medical Department Boycotted; and let anybody deny it who can. [Mr. E. STANHOPE: That was in 1879.] Yes; you could not get men at that time; and if you want to have the same state of things to-morrow, you are going the right way towards it. It is no business of mine, except as an individual Member of this House; but I really think the subject deserves more consideration than it has received at the hands of the Financial Secretary.
§ MR. HENRY H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
The whole of this question of the Army Medical Department is undergoing the most serious consideration of the Committee upstairs. It is a subject which has occupied, perhaps, more of our time than anything else, except it be that of the Woolwich Vote. I beg to make the same appeal as I did on the last Vote. The Committee will no doubt make a full Report as to the remuneration and education of these officers, and also with reference to this question of Boycotting or strike. I would ask the hon. Member (Dr. Tanner) to withdraw his Motion; at the same time, I would put it to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State that he should not proceed with another Vote to-night.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
Of course, if the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) presses it, I will not ask the Committee to take any further Votes to-night; but there were one or two which I was in hopes would not give rise to any serious discussion. But, of course, if they are opposed, I will not go on with them.
§ DR. TANNER
If the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henry H. Fowler) asks me not to proceed with my Motion, I will not do so. But, at the same time, I would certainly ask the hon. Gentleman opposite the Financial Secretary, and other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen, when they get up to answer questions to give an answer. I merely asked for consideration to be given to 1306 the complaints of men who belong to the same Profession as I do, and I did hope that I should have been met in a spirit of fairness and justice. Of course, I withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ SIR W. GUYER HUNTER
I rise merely to refer to a misapprehension which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Brodrick) seems to be labouring under with reference to a remark I made just now. He said he would do what he possibly could to save the country any expense, as well as the Medical Service. I beg to observe that the public have sustained no expense in regard to the examinations for promotion. All the expense is borne by the medical officers, and nothing whatever by the public.
§ MR. BRODRICK
What I meant to say is, that in whatever is done, we shall endeavour, so far as we can, to consult the interests of the Medical Service without expense to the public.
§ DR. CLARK (Caithness)
I should like to recur to a point I mentioned earlier, and as to which I have received no assurance from the Government. This is not a financial but a Constitutional matter. There is a very strong feeling among the medical officers of the Army that you should give them some kind of rank. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. E. Stanhope) has not personally brought about this change, because I believe that the abolition of this relative rank was effected before he became Secretary for War. Alter it was abolished, they said these terms were meaningless, and meant nothing in civil life. The medical officers have, therefore, been put in a very painful position; and what I suggest is that a Departmental Committee, or a Select Committee of this House, should be appointed, so as to get the opinion of present and retired Medical Officers. All that I ask for is an inquiry as to the wishes of the Department.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I am perfectly willing to give a Departmental Committee to ascertain the wishes of the profession. I have already received a deputation, as the Committee is, no doubt, aware; and I did my very best then to understand the point of the grievances of the Medical Officers who were present. I am afraid I very imperfectly apprehended the point; but I 1307 did my best, and I made some recommendations to the Deputation that I had hoped would have been satisfactory, I am entirely willing to consider, in conjunction with the Inspector General of the Medical Department, whether we can devise any means of further inquiry for ascertaining the wishes of the Profession.
§ DR. TANNER
Will the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State take the sense of the Service generally on these points? That would tend greatly to smooth away all the difficulties.
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I have stated that I am prepared to do so. I shall be glad to ascertain the feelings of the Medical Profession.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(5.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £571,500, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for the Pay and Allowances of a Force of Militia, not exceeding 136,280, including 30,000 Militia Reserve, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1888.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I can see what the hon. Gentleman is going to do. I hope the Committee will allow this Vote to be taken. The hon. Gentleman is aware that this is a Vote on which there is no question of principle. I am sure that it is the general feeling of the Committee that it is desirable to get on with the Business. I hope the House will consent to take this Vote.
§ DR. TANNER
I really think this is a very important Vote, and ought not to be hurried through at the last moment. I will just give the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War one instance—an instance which. I put on the Paper only yesterday, in connection with the Waterford Militia. Now, the Waterford Militia goes out for preliminary training in Easter week, which preliminary training really means the training of the recruits. Well, Sir, 1308 what happens? Eighteen non-commissioned officers, and about 20 or 30 other dependents thereon, and about seven or eight officers, all go to Waterford and take possession of the barracks, and for what? For the purpose of training eight recruits. Well, Sir, if that is not a lamentable waste of public money, I do not know what is. We could really multiply these instances again and again. These matters ought to be looked into; and at the present time, when the public are beginning to demand where their money goes to, I really think that instead of passing these large sums of money at a late hour, we ought to try and look into these items. I know the right hon. Gentleman gets up and says in a very dulcet manner, "Let us have this Vote;" but, as a man of business, in connection with any other business In which he is concerned, he would not allow money to pass away in this easy manner without inquiry into the items. I have only given one instance, but I could multiply them by the hundred, if you like. As the hour is now very advanced, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will agree to allow us to report Progress.
§ COLONEL HILL (Bristol, S.)
At this late hour, it is very difficult to bring anything forward to the attention of the Committee. In the first place, a large number of Members whose sympathy I wish to evoke have gone home, and the remainder are anxious to emulate their example; but it is the only opportunity I can have of bringing before the Committee the grievances of what I consider a very valuable class of officers—the old adjutants of the Auxiliary forces. The grievances under which those officers labour have already been brought before the notice of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War in a Memorial signed by 103 Members of this House. Although the answer the right hon. Gentleman gave to that Memorial was not satisfactory, I venture to think he would not be sorry if an expression of sympathy on. The part of this Committee justified him in again giving the question some further consideration. The grievances under which these officers labour are two. The first is that by the introduction of a Warrant they are deprived, at the age of 55, of an appointment they had every reason to believe would be a life appointment, or, at all 1309 events, for so long as they retained their health and strength. And the other is that by the introduction of majors they have been deprived of their seniority. I do not for a moment argue the question as to the desirability or otherwise of this 55 years rule for adjutants, but I venture to say, and I think I shall be supported by the opinions of all in the House who know anything of the Services, that the old adjutants have rendered great services to the Auxiliary Forces. They had to give up their profession to accept these appointments in the Auxiliary Forces, knowing that in doing so they gave up all chance of promotion and reward, but they believed the appointment would be one for life, and fairly well paid. But that is not the case. It has been asserted this appointment was only to last until they were 60 years of age; but I cannot find any such regulation, and I know, as a fact, many officers did hold this appointment when even older than 65, and I could give their names if it were necessary. They have been deprived of this life appointment at the age of 55, and have had no compensation made to them for it. When they joined under the Warrant of the 19th June, 1860, they were allowed a retiring allowance of 6s. a-day after 16 years' service. In 1879 the matter was brought before Lord Bury's Commission, and a fresh Warrant was issued in October of that year, which gave a retiring allowance of 7s. a-day for 15 years' service, and 8s. a-day for 20 years. Then came the Royal Warrant of July, 1881, which, at the age of 55 years turned them out, and gave them no compensation excepting a paltry 2s. if they succeeded in putting in 20 years of Auxiliary service. That is the grievance of which they complain, and I venture to think it is one that will take the sympathy of the Committee with it. Although we may be anxious for economy, the Committee will, I am sure, feel that justice ought to be done, and that it is not for the credit or the interest of the country for faith to be broken with officers. The other grievance is this—that there have have introduced into the Service, majors who have superseded them and made them junior. This occurred the other day to my own adjutant, a distinguished officer of 17 years' Regular and 17 years' Auxiliary service; he was junior on a board to a major. I 1310 think the Committee will understand that this is very galling to men who have worked very hard indeed in the Auxiliary Service, and I hope the Committee will be disposed to do them justice. If the Committee cannot afford to be generous, at all events, I hope it will afford to be just, and that the Warrant in regard to the 55 years at least will be suspended. There are very few of them left, only 18 officers of the Militia and 41 of the Volunteers, and I think they ought at least to be allowed to work out their modest maximum pension of 10s. a-day. It would also only be a graceful recognition of their services, if they had a stop of honorary rank given them on their retirement.
§ DR. TANNER
I rise now for the purpose of saying that I omitted to say on the last occasion all I had to say, though it was only a sentence, and I now complete what I omitted then. I beg to move, Sir, that you report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Dr. Tanner.)
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
Once again I wish to appeal to the hon. Gentleman not to press this Motion. I have no wish to force the Committee to go on when the Committee generally objects to do so; but I really believe the Committee is desirous to settle this Vote that has already been entered upon, and after that we shall be quite willing to report Progress. It must be borne in mind that these Votes are now under the consideration of the Committee, and will be reported upon by them in time, I hope, to be dealt with next year; therefore, under the circumstances. I hope the hon. Member will withdraw his Motion.
§ DR. TANNER
It should also be remembered that one of the right hon. Gentleman's supporters said he had a great deal more to say on this matter. I am perfectly aware of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman wants to get through the Business as fast as he possibly can; but there are a number of Gentlemen, especially Gentlemen who 1311 sit opposite, who would like to express their opinions in regard to this Vote; but if they will not speak up for themselves, I cannot help it. Under the circumstances, I must persevere in my Motion.
§ MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)
I should be glad if the Government could have this Vote, provided the Committee allows it without discussion; but I must remind the right hon. Gentleman there is a very long list of Orders and some Bills to be introduced of considerable, importance, and therefore it is not fair to go on unless there is a general concurrence that the discussion shall be stopped.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.