HC Deb 19 February 1894 vol 21 cc716-7
MR. W.M 'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to a letter addressed to Generals commanding the different military centres by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, through Sir Redvers Buller, Adjutant General, in which His Royal Highness speaks of— The advantages given to a district within its operation by the Contagious Discases Act when in force, coupled with A hope that the Act may be re-imposed"; whether he is aware that this opinion has given rise to a widespread impression that there is an official desire to re-impose those Acts on the country: whether this letter was issued with his sanction; whether there is any intention on the part of the Government to countenance a military agitation for its re-enactment; and whether he can state what are the recommendations made in the letter in question to the Generals commanding military centres?


I think my hon. Friend cannot have seen the Circular Letter from which the words he quotes are taken. The context would have shown him that the impression he derives from them is entirely erroneous. The object of the Letter was to point out to General Officers commanding, and through them to others, the uselessness of relying on any hope that the Contagious Discases Acts would be re-imposed, and to instruct these General Officers to co-operate with the Civil Authorities in putting in force the powers given by the Criminal Law Amendment Act and the Licensing Acts with a view to the improvement of the moral condition of the garrison towns with which they are connected.


I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his answer. But I may ask him further if he has seen the editorial statement in The Broad Arrow—a military paper— We cordially endorse the hope expressed in an official communication that this most useful humane preventative Act will be re-imposed. It will he seen from that that I am not alone under the impression indicate I in the question.


The quotation (dearly misconceives the nature of the communication. The Letter clearly expresses in terms the desire of the Military Authorities to warn Loyal Authorities against entertaining the hope that the Act will be re-imposed.