§ COLONEL HUGHES (Woolwich)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he will consider the advisability of discontinuing the indoor pensioners at Chelsea Hospital and Kilmainham, and (following the example of Greenwich Hospital) providing in lieu thereof from the funds and property available out pensions, to enable the men to live with their friends in their old age?
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. CAMPBELL - BANNERMAN,) Stirling, &c.
This question was very carefully considered by a Committee a few years ago, and it was found that the general sentiment of the Army was in favour of maintaining these asylums for infirm and helpless old pensioners. I 1373 may add that, in the event of their abolition, the property of these hospitals would not enable a provision to be made for pensioners at all equal to that which was available for Greenwich Hospital pensioners, the foundation in the latter case having been much more wealthy.
§ *MR. BURNS (Battersea)
Arising out of the answer, may I inquire whether, considering the dissatisfaction that the abolition of Greenwich Hospital gave at the time to sailors in the Royal Navy, the Secretary of State for War will, before any question of closing Chelsea Hospital is discussed, ascertain the feeling or soldiers and non-commissioned officers in Her Majesty's Army in respect to the matter; and whether he is aware it is; 1. general opinion that the proposal is part of a scheme of land speculators and jerry-builders to do away with one of our best and oldest institutions and its beautiful grounds.
§ *MR. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Whatever conclusion may be arrived at in regard to the matter, the jerry-builder and the land speculator will have nothing to do with it. Upon the general part of the question, I desire to state that, whatever the ultimate decision may be, it will be largely based upon the feeling of the soldiers themselves.