§ MR. M'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether, among the Papers he has received from India regarding the Contagious Diseases Acts, there is a Circular Memorandum, dated the 17th of June, 1886, from Major General E. F. 1618 Chapman, Quartermaster General in India, to the General Officers commanding Divisions and Districts; whether it states that it was written by order of General Sir Frederick Roberts, the Commander-in-Chief; whether, in furtherance of the instructions in such Memorandum, the officer commanding the 2nd Cheshire Regiment at Solon caused a requisition to be sent to the Cantonment Magistrate at Umballa, stating that the strength of the regiment was 400 men, and that six additional women were now required for it; whether, in remitting a copy of this on the 6th of August, 1886, to the Assistant Quarter-master General, the officer commanding the Cheshire Regiment wrote—Some of the women now with the head-quarters of the 2nd Batt. Cheshire Regiment are not very attractive, and application has been made to the Cantonment Magistrate, Umballa, for others, but up to date none have arrived; therefore it is presumed a great difficulty exists in procuring the class of young women asked for;and, has the 2nd Cheshire Regiment been specially singled out to be supplied with women in this way?
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
asked the Under Secretary of State for India, with respect to a Paper to which his attention has been called, which purports to be a copy of a Circular Memorandum issued from the Office of Quartermaster General in India, dated from the Army Head Quarters, Simla, the 17th of June, 1886, addressed to General Officers commanding Divi- sions and Districts, containing among others the following sentence:—In the regimental bazaars it is necessary to have a sufficient number of women, to take care that they are sufficiently attractive, to provide them with proper houses, and, above all, to insist upon means of ablution being always available;and purporting to be signed by E. F. Chapman, Major General, Quarter-master General in India; and, whether he will at once telegraph to India to ascertain if such a document, or any document substantially of that character, has been issued from that or any other Government Office?
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir JAMES FERGUSSON) (Manchester, N.E.)
Perhaps the hon. Members will allow me to answer their Questions, as my 1619 hon. Friend is not able to be in his place to-night. The Under Secretary of State for India has already several times stated to the House that no such document has been received at the India Office, and that the Secretary of State has no information on the other allegations contained in the Question. He has already made the inquiry suggested by the hon. Member for the Hoxton Division of Shoreditch; but has not yet received a reply. The Questions imply a practice or system of providing women for the several regiments in India. To any such practice, if it exists, the Secretary of State is as entirely opposed as the hon. Members who have asked such Questions. It is, in his opinion, wholly indefensible; and the orders which he has sent out to the Government of India will effectually put an end to it if it exists.
§ MR. JAMES STUART
asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman meant that the Under Secretary of State had already telegraphed to India to ascertain whether the document was genuine or not?
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
I must confine my answer to that which has been given to me by the Department. I think the answer I have given covers that Question.
§ MR. JAMES STUART
said, he desired to ask whether a definite document existed or not; and, if it existed, to ask that it might be laid on the Table of the House? He asked a Question yesterday on the same subject; and he received a private message from the Under Secretary of State that if he would put the Question again he would definitely state whether he would telegraph or not.
§ MR. JAMES STUART
wished to point out that that would put him off until Thursday. A discussion was to take place on Tuesday next on the subject, and it was most important to know, for the purposes of that discussion, whether the document was genuine or not. He begged to say that he had received the assurance he had mentioned from the Under Secretary of State; and he asked for a further assurance from him that a telegraphic despatch would be at once sent to ascertain the genuineness 1620 of the document. He would put the Question again on Thursday.