§ MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)
asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether the Royal Warrant has been withdrawn from the Honourable Artillery Company; and, if so, whether any independent inquiry has been made on behalf of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales as to the condition of the Company, at which inquiry the general body of the members have had an opportunity of giving evidence and stating their views; and, whether he has any information to show what is likely to be the effect of the withdrawal on the future welfare of the Company?
§ MR. CAUSTON (Southwark, W.)
also asked, whether it is true that Her Majesty's Warrant has been withdrawn from the Honourable Artillery Company; whether the Honourable Artillery Company is not the oldest military organization in the Kingdom; and, whether it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to revive the regiment under a new Warrant; and, if so, in what form?
§ MR. GILLIAT (Clapham)
also asked, if it is true, as stated in the papers, that not only have the distinguished 873 Commanding Officers of the old and Constitutional corps of the Honourable Artillery Company resigned their commissions, but that the corps itself has been disarmed; if he will state under what circumstances, and for what reasons, this has been done; and, if he will lay upon the Table of the House the correspondence relating to the subject?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. E. STANHOPE) (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
My answer to the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Rowlands) is, No. The warrant has not been withdrawn, nor would such a step be taken without very full and careful inquiry. I have every hope that the necessity for such action will never arise in connection with so ancient a corps as the Honourable Artillery Company. But the officer commanding the Honourable Artillery Company has officially reported to me that this corps is in a most unsatisfactory state as regards discipline. Owing to this state of indiscipline, and to the resignation of the Captain General, the Commanding Officer, and the Adjutant, this corps cannot be recognized as being efficient; and the usual course has been adopted in withdrawing the arms and equipment, which are the property of the State. I hope that no long time will elapse before such re-organization has taken place as will put the Company in a thoroughly satisfactory state.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS
asked, whether a full opportunity would be given to the Members of the corps of expressing their views upon its present condition in the course of any inquiries that might take place; and, also, whether the dissatisfaction which existed in the corps was the result of officers who were considered to have neglected their duty during a long period being put over the men?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
No; I have no information in my possession which would lead to that conclusion. With regard to any expression of opinion, it is perfectly open to the men to make any representations they think fit.
§ MR. NORRIS
asked, whether immediate steps would not be taken for the re-formation of this ancient, loyal, and distinguished regiment?
§ MR. E. STANHOPE
I have already answered that Question. I hope that the steps which are contemplated may be taken as soon as possible.