Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum not exceeding £6,509,000 be granted to Her Majesty to defray the charge for the Pay, Allowances, and other charges, of Her Majesty's Army at Home and Abroad (exclusive of India) (General Staff, Regiments, Reserve and Departments), which will come in the course of payment during the year ending 31st day of March, 1900.
That a sum, not exceeding £6,508,800, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Courtenay Warner.)
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)
This is the first money Vote on the whole of the Army Estimates, and I think it is the first opportunity that we have had of complaining of the extravagant system on which the Army is carried on at present. The War Office, we all know, are unsatisfactory in their answers to questions, and also in regard to their general management of the Army, and the extravagance of the work which they carry on. On this Vote I do not propose to discuss the administration of the War Office. That will come better later on. There is one thing, at the outset, that we have to make a protest against, and that is, the whole system of expenditure in connection with the Army. We contend that that system might be very much improved, and effect greater results than at present, for less money. I do not speak as an expert, but as an onlooker. I mean that I have tried to understand these Estimates, complicated as they arc, in the most serious way, and I do think that I understand, to a certain extent, that there are a 1162 great many things in the administration of the Army in which economy can be practised. My friends on this side of the House are not in any way wedded to any particular form of economy; but we recognise this fact, those of us who are anxious to see the Army really kept up to its present high standard—those of us who like to see the Army kept up to its present numbers and efficiency— we realise that, the Estimates having leached above 21 millions, the country will not stand any more expenditure, and the day will come when a very serious reduction in the Army and its efficiency will be demanded unless something is done to manage the Army on a more economical system than we have at the present moment. There are necessary increases; we do not, any of us, object to necessary increases, either for extension or efficiency. Most of us regret that the Army will have to be increased in the future, in order to occupy the large tracts of territory which have been added to the Empire, I and which additions are very unlikely to pay for many years to come. But, once these large tracts of territory have been acquired, we foresee that, unless something is done to modify the present expensive system, the expenditure will go on increasing by leaps and bounds. The public will insist on economy, and the only way that that will be possible will be to reduce the strength and the efficiency of the whole Army. None of us object to the first line of defence, the Navy. 'When any responsible Government says we must have a strong Navy, that is accepted as a matter of course. But when the Government comes forward, and says "we must increase our Army." there are many people too short-sighted to see that the whole Empire depends on scattered garrisons being maintained. Anybody who has read recent books of travel, and people who know the Colonies well, recognise that it is absolutely necessary wherever we have these Crown Colonies or Territories 1163 they must be occupied by troops, and whether we put these troops now under the Colonial Office or the Foreign Office, eventually they must be put on the Army Vote as a part of our Army. I wish to move the reduction of this Vote by the formal sum of £100, as a protest against the large expenditure. I do not wish to dispute the fact that the Army is necessary in the: present circumstances, nor that under the system we have got we must spend these 21 millions of money. But I feel that something must be done as a protest to compel the War Office officials to realise that they must come to an economic solution of our existing difficulties. I know that the honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary for War will get up and say that every possible economy is exercised, and that he and his predecessors have tried to exercise this economy. We always hear this, but it is a well-known fact that those who are cognisant of the working of the War Department acknowledge that there are a great many evils which might be remedied, but which we from the outside cannot touch at all. It is quite true that those who do not know the internal iniquities of the War Office say that nothing can be done in the way of reduction in the expense of the War Office; but I wish to make it perfectly clear that a reduction of the expense might be made without reducing the Army by one man, or its efficiency in any degree. In this year's Estimates there is absolutely no attempt at any economy. I believe that in the whole of the Votes there is no sign that the War Office has tried to economise in any way. You may read quite through the Votes, and you find that one or two men have been cut off here, and two or three men put on there, and that in many places there seems to be a large increase in the number of men. There is no doubt about it that the increase is necessary in some cases. We have got more to do, and must pay for it. But, in spite of that, the Returns show that over all there has been no great increase in the number of men, and apparently very little increase in the efficiency of the Army. I want to test the reasons for this huge expenditure for small results. I will go back 33 years, to the Army Estimates of 1866. I find that whereas in 1866 there were 1164 141,000 men, there are now 180,000 odd. That is not a very material increase, but the Army Estimates have in that period doubled. These figures do not include the Militia, the Volunteers, or the Indian Army, and yet we have nearly doubled the expenditure. It is true that on this particular Vote the increase does not seem to be very large, because the Votes were put down on a very different system in those days from now, and it is very hard to get at the special points where the extravagance comes in. It is quite true that the men get better pay now, and that last year they were granted free groceries. But 1d. or 1½d. per day would account for what they have got in this direction. The men get better food, but I hold that that does not account for the increase of expenditure. It arose from agitation from the outside, which compelled the officers to look after the men's food, instead of leaving it to the quarter-masters and the sergeant, as in the old days. The better food, then, has been given without any increased expenditure. It is also true that there is a good deal more clothing; but that is an item which ought not to be put against this increased Vote. Clothing is very much cheaper now, and certain parts of the clothing have been done away with, including a great deal of ornamentation. I do not say that there is any difference in the durability or the wearing, but there is less expense in the ornamentation and things of that kind. It has been said that Lord Lansdowne has introduced many reforms into the War Office. I believe he is a very able man, and has done a great deal in various ways in the way of reform. But there is one way in which he has not attempted to carry out reform, and that is in a more economic system of administration. We must have something done to introduce a more economic system, while all that his Lordship has done has been to make the system more expensive. Take, for instance, recruiting. Recruiting costs much more than ever, while the results are worse, both in point of numbers and quality. It is true that this year on paper you make the recruiting as good as last year; but it is an absolute fact that the recruits are smaller in numbers. I do not count the Reserve men, who are brought in to 1165 strengthen the regular battalions. That is not a fair way of comparison. You have got a few more men by taking on undersized youths. You can always get many recruits at any time by reducing the standards. You have done worse this year than in previous years in securing real good men, and the quality of the recruits is not so good. You have reduced the standard of physique in the Guards, and the unfortunate effect of sending a second battalion of the Guards to Gibraltar has been that the men are not of such good quality as before, or of the same social standing. I know it will be urged that on paper they are the same, but I have information as to the battalions at home and abroad, and it is a well-known fact among the officers of the Guards that the recruits now got are not as good men, independent of physique, as the men who were got before. I know that statistics may be produced to show that so many men can read and write, but absolute credence cannot be put on these statistics as to the quality of the men. I do not want to go into the administration of the War Office itself. That sink of iniquity can only be thoroughly thrashed out by those who are completely cognisant of it. I will only state one difficulty in dealing with the War Office, which, unfortunately, the Under Secretary and myself suffered from. I asked a question in regard to the provision of rifle ranges, and I hoped we should get some trustworthy information on the point. But all the answer the War Office gave was, that arrangements were being made for these ranges. Subsequent inquiry showed that all that had been done was that somebody had been sent down to look at certain land, and that he had reported that the land was a suitable place for a range. Absolutely no contract had been entered into to secure the land, and nothing had been done to erect the ranges. The fact is that the War Office always gives evasive answers to questions, and it is very difficult to get the truth out of it at all. I come now to the actual Army. That is a thing we can all see. Outsiders are better able to obtain some idea of what can be done. I take the Artillery. There is a great increase in the Artillery on paper, but I believe that up to the present time we have not got an in- 1166 crease of a single efficient gun, horse, or man. We are going to increase the guns at the expense of the waggons. That is not a real increase, and there is nothing to show that we are getting more for the money we are spending in the real efficiency of the Artillery. Take the Cavalry, again. There is a belief that we have got more Cavalry than before, but I do not believe that the regiments are much more efficient than they were. The fact is that the home regiments are practically deficient in men and horses, and that the strain on them in sending men from one regiment to another is very great. I come now to another serious question, that of the Staff, an item that in fighting power counts a great deal. We keep on increasing all over the world our Staff officers. There is absolutely no economy exercised at all on this branch of the Service. Our Staff is enormously larger in proportion to the men in the Army than any other Staff in the world. Take Germany, for instance, or any other Continental Army, where they have real divisions, brigades, and army corps. The number of Staff officers is very much smaller than with us. It is a tour de force for us to produce an army corps; it is only occasionally that we can produce a division at all, and yet we have an enormous number of field-marshals, lieutenant-generals, and major-generals, who have really no troops to command. Surely these are rather expensive luxuries. Surely we might dispense with these field-marshals and people of that kind, who are rather expensive to keep, and we might reduce the Army expenditure by having fewer generals. It is not only the enormous number of Staff officers, but' the number of officers under them, brigade majors, aides de camp, which I am sure we can reduce to a very large extent. I think at the present moment the Staff numbers 1,866 officers, a larger number than was in the grand army which Napoleon took to Moscow, and which was noted for the splendour of its Staff and the splendour of its uniforms. Take the case of Bermuda. The Staff there consists of 55 persons, over and above the regular battalion and battery officers.
Attention having been called to the fact that there were not 40 Members present, the House was counted, when 40 Members being present—
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER (continuing)
I was going to refer to the case of Bermuda. Including the Militia and Volunteers there is a very small garrison there. I think the total of all ranks reaches the vast number of 2,000, and for this number, besides regimental officers, they have 55 officers and sergeants to look after them. That seems to me to be rather a larger proportion than is necessary. What we want to have on the Army Estimates is a statement of the real cost of the Army. It is said that we must have distinguished officers to act as Governors in our Colonies, but why should we transfer soldiers from their own proper work to do civilian work? That is a very extravagant process. Let soldiers do soldiers' work, and civilians do civilian work. The result of putting soldiers to do civilian work is often very disastrous. The same excess of Staff officers is observable at other stations. Take the case of Malta. There we have one lieutenant-general, two major-generals, one deputy-adjutant-general, one assistant-adjutant-general, one district inspector of musketry, four brigade-majors, two senior aides-decamp, one military secretary, three ordinary aides-de-camp, and various other officers and sergeants. This enormous number of Staff officers are actually put in command of only 5,500 men. I believe in most armies you do not require a major-general until you have got a division. A brigadier may be a general, but very often is only a full colonel; but here in Malta you have got three generals for 5,000 men, which I think is a rather extravagant proceeding. It is the same throughout all the Crown Colonies, where we have far too many Staff officers. I would not object to them if they were ordinary battalion or company officers, but these Staff officers are employed simply in working red tape for the War Office. Three parts of their time these Staff officers are occupied in answering memoranda for the War Office. That is a system that has got to be reduced in some way, for the country will not continue to stand it. These men are no doubt highly ornamental, but only partially useful. Then, again, the Line battalions might be 1168 worked cheaper. I admit that the officers of these Line battalions do better work than any other part of the Army, but even there there is great possibility of reducing the expenditure. Now, the extraordinary thing in regard to the Line battalions is that we use the same number of officers to command and instruct a battalion when it is at home, at its weakest strength of something between 300 and 400 men, as when it is abroad, when it is supposed to be about 1,000 strong. Some years ago, when it was suggested to create a number' of new battalions, I asked whether it would not be better to fill up the existing battalions before asking for recruits in order to make up these new battalions. But no response was given to my suggestion. The fact is, that all our home battalions are vastly below then-strength. According to the War Office system, a home battalion is supposed to be 800 strong, but if you put down the number at 500. it would answer the real purpose. It is only in the case of a battalion having to go very soon abroad that the War Office ever thinks of raising it above 500 men. Now, the number of officers in a home battalion is 24, whereas the number of officers in the Colonies is 28, and in India 29. But a battalion in India has got at least 940 men on its establishment. These are real regiments. We are frequently told that if we want to see the English Army, we must go to India to see it, and the reason is that it is only in India that we have real regiments, and not skeleton regiments. We never see a real cavalry regiment or a real battery of artillery in England. When you bring a battalion home from the Colonies you reduce the number of officers by four, and when you bring a battalion home from India, you reduce the number of officers by five. Well, you reduce the number of the rank and file from 940 to 300 or 400 men. The result is, that the whole establishment of the regiment, which is the expensive part of the regiment, has very little to do. Companies with half their proper strength cannot be properly drilled. You have sometimes companies of only 12 or 13 files, and they have been known to be only eight files. With such skeleton companies you can, no doubt, teach them the ordinary rudiments of company drill and extension motions, 1169 but it is hardly necessary for that to have a full complement of officers. And when you come to battalion or brigade drill, it is perfect nonsense to try and teach them in that way. Of course, it is said that the companies are amalgamated for battalion and brigade drill; but when that is done, you have a whole list of officers with nothing to do—five officers to each company, while three are quite ample. I know there are objections to clubbing two companies into one, but these are comparatively slight. I would suggest that the home battalions might be reduced to four companies, with four captains and a major, instead of eight captains and two majors as at the present moment. In asking for the reduction of these officers, I am not asking for anything extraordinary. In the French army a battalion is supposed to be of the strength of 1,000 rank and file, and they have only 14 officers, while at home our battalions never exceed a strength of 400 rank and file, and we have 24 officers, or nearly twice as many as are required in the French army. In the same way you will find that in the German army they have got a very much smaller proportion of officers to men than we have. The officers in foreign armies, moreover, do a great deal of the work that is done by our sergeants. I do not want to alter our system. I have a great affection for it, but I do want that something should be done to do away with the present extravagance. I come to another point, namely, the depots. There the proportion of officers and sergeants to the number of men is perfectly appalling. You have sometimes five officers to 50 rank and file. Of course, there are occasionally recruits, even as many as 100, but these recruits do not give the officers very much trouble. The only person who has to deal with them is not included in the number of regimental officers— namely, the adjutant. Besides that, you have two adjutants, and two quartermasters, Militia officers, three-fourths of whose time is occupied with depot work, except when the Militia is called up for training. There are a large number of sergeants at these depots, only a few of whom are engaged in training the Militia recruits for a month in the year, and a few are also used for recruiting purposes. But a great propor- 1170 tion of them have nothing to do. In short, at the ordinary Line depots there are four times as many sergeants and three times as many officers as are necessary. If many of these smaller depots were amalgamated, a large number of sergeants and of higher officers could be done away with altogether, and an enormous amount could be saved, while the efficiency of the recruits and of the Militia battalions would be increased. There is no doubt that in these small depots both officers and sergeants have so little to do that they become idle, while the Militia only get half a training, and are not much use when called out for permanent drill. I do not want to press any particular plan for the reduction of expenditure. I only suggest one or two points in which it might be made. The country is beginning to feel the enormous burden we are putting on it, and unless something is done, honourable Members on this side of the House and on that will receive from their constituents an absolute mandate to reduce the Army Estimates.
§ AN HONOURABLE MEMBER: No.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
An honourable Gentleman says "No"; but I say that the feeling is pretty prevalent in the country that we are spending far too much money on the Army. That feeling is growing stronger day by day, and if you go on increasing these Army Estimates a panic reaction will come, and the Government and this House will be forced to take millions off these Army Estimates all at once. That will be a very serious and a dangerous thing for the Army and for the country. It is true that since the Reserve system was instituted we can fill up the battalions to a certain extent. But though we can do this, and though the Army Reserve is increasing, we are losing ground in another direction. The Militia is growing smaller and smaller year by year. I am not surprised at it, because the Militia gets very little encouragement. The fact remains that while the Army Reserve is increasing it is doing so by very little more than the decrease in the Militia. It is also true that the Volunteers are becoming more and more efficient, and that we are able to rely more completely on them than formerly. 1171 But in case of serious danger there would be a period before the Volunteers would be ready to take the field, and although they are comparatively efficient, it would be a very dangerous thing to bring Volunteers with only a week or ten days' drilling into the field against regular troops. It is apparent to any one who goes about the country and hears what is being said as to the vast expenditure on the Army that the day is not far off when the country will say that these increases of expenditure must go no further. And you will be compelled, in a sort of panic, to reduce your Army very considerably, and be thus landed in a very dangerous position. I hope, therefore, that the Government will be forced into impressing upon the War Office that some reform is necessary, and to reduce the cost of the Army as it stands at present. The War Office must be made to feel that they have got to find out where the money is leaking away, and to put some check on the expenditure, while at the same time it keeps up the efficiency of the Army as in the past. Nobody has a greater admiration of the efficient work done by the Army than I have, but I recognise the fact that there are always in this country a number of people who are ready to make reductions in the Army, and who are calling out loudly against the extravagant expenditure of the Army. Their numbers are increasing, and something must be done to reduce that expenditure. I know that it can be done in many ways without hurting the efficiency of the Army in any manner, and I have, therefore, to move the reduction of the Vote by £100 as a protest against the extravagant conduct of the War Office.
§ MR. BUCHANAN (Aberdeenshire, E.)
I do not think that the honourable Member who has just sat down has by any means, in the speech he has delivered, exaggerated the importance of the questions raised by the increases asked for in the Army Estimates. I should like to ask the Under Secretary for War if he can put before the Committee information as to the true amount of money which is to be spent on the military forces of the Empire from the Army Estimates and other sources. On the first night on which the Army Estimates were discussed I endeavoured to 1172 elicit some information from the Under Secretary for War on this point, and I do not think that he was able entirely to answer the questions I put to him. Speaking generally, I think we have had this information given us in regard to the Navy by the First Lord of the Admiralty, and, so far as I know, there is no reason why we should not have it also given in a similar form in regard to the Army. In the first week of the Session the First Lord stated what the Loan expenditure would be for the current year, and the estimated expenditure for the year to come. And since that time a paper was put in our hands which gave us a rough estimate of what would be expended under the Naval Loans Act for the year ending 31st March 1899. I think we ought to have a similar paper, giving us similar information in regard to the Army, laid before us early in the Session and before the Army Estimates come on. Durirg the discussion the other night as to the expenditure during the current year under the Barracks Loan Act of 1890, the Financial Secretary said that the whole of the balance of £493,000 had been expended. So that we have to add, roughly speaking, half a million to the military expenditure for the year. Then we pass on to the Military Works Act of 1897. There we find at the beginning of the financial year an unexpended balance of £4,800,000. The Under Secretary for War, in answer to a question, said that during the present year there would be expended £800,000. Roughly speaking, therefore, there is an unexpended balance on which you can draw under the Loans Act of 1897 of no less than four millions. On the other hand, we have here, under the Barracks Loan Act of 1890 and the Military Works Act of 1897, an expenditure during the current year of a little over a million and a quarter. Now, in his statement which he issued with the War Office Estimates, Lord Lansdowne told us that a new Loan Bill will be introduced to raise money to be applied to barracks and other military works. But we have not been told, as we ought to have been, what is the amount of money the Government propose to borrow under the new Barracks and Military Works Bill. The Bill has not yet been introduced, and will not be introduced until after Easter, but I think on 1173 an occasion like this, when the Army Estimates are under discussion, and when we are reviewing the expenditure of the current year and the prospective military expenditure of the year to come, we have a fair claim to get from the Government a statement of the amount of money that is to be devoted to these purposes. When I asked the Under Secretary for War a question in regard to the matter, he answered a question which I did not put. He told me that he could not give me full and detailed information as to the purposes of the Loan Bill. I did not ask for that. I asked that we should be informed as to the amount of money that it is proposed to borrow under the Bill when it becomes law. I think that we may fairly claim that we should be told that, and on another ground. In Lord Lansdowne's statement in regard to the pro- posed Loan Bill he tells us that it will be paid off by means of a terminable annuity charged on the Army Estimates. But I can find no terminable annuity for any purpose whatever on the Estimates for this year. In regard to the purposes of the Loan, these are stated in the Memorandum of Lord Lansdowne to be practically twofold. The one is the erection of barracks for a considerable body of troops on Salisbury Plain, and the other is the completion of other large camps, for adding to and improving existing barrack accommodation at home, and for increasing the barracks abroad at those stations where it has been decided to augment the garrisons.
THE DUPUTY CHAIRMAN
I beg to draw the attention of the honourable Member to the fact that there is a Vote for barracks on page 90 of the Estimates, and that he cannot raise the question of the new Loans Bill under Vote 1.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
That refers to the Barracks Loan Act of 1890, and that an annuity has been asked for to pay off the Barracks Loan of 1890. But I was alluding to the future Loan that the Government are going to introduce this year.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I will not trespass further on this subject except to 1174 say that, apart from the Loan Bill altogether, the Memorandum of the Secretary for War states that there is in the Estimates this year a sum of £431,000 which is to bear half of the expense of the new scheme of armaments at our various stations. I do not propose to ask the Under Secretary for War to give us any of the details of the Scheme of Armaments, where the places are, or what the stations, but I think we ought to get from him within what period of time this scheme of arming those stations may be expected to be carried through, and what it is to cost. This is a new scheme, and it is plain this is only the initial cost, and, therefore, we should like to know what future liabilities it will entail on the Exchequer. Well, there are other military charges to come upon the taxpayers of the country which are not included in the Estimates. The honourable Member the Under Secretary for War, in his statement the other night, when speaking of the new regiments that are to be raised— the Chinese Regiment, the Central Africa Regiment—told us that these would bring up the number of coloured troops, not under the War Office, but under the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office, to 10,000 men, and that they would cost a million of money. Well, of course that million is included in the Army Estimates. He also stated that there were about 25,000 coloured troops not under the War Office control, but under that of the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office. I cannot ask him what cost will be put on the taxpayers for those troops, but I do think that that is an important item in the military expenditure, when we consider the military expenditure which is put upon the country. I think that we shall be well within the mark if we put that expenditure at three-quarters of a million more. And I should like to ask whether it would not be possible for the War Office in the future to enter into the Army Estimates the amount that is put upon the taxpayers of this country for these purposes. We have on page 9 of the Army Estimates a statement of some items of Army charges which do not come into the Army Estimates, but into other charges. I think that you ought to be able to put in that paragraph the amount of the Army charges such as I have alluded to for the coloured troops 1175 under the Colonial and Foreign Office, which have to be borne by the taxpayers of this country. Then, Sir, besides those expenses that come from outside the Army Estimates, I venture to say that the Army Estimates themselves do not, on the face of them, give actually the proper charge which is put upon the taxpayer under the Army Estimates. On the face of them, the Estimates for the coming year amount to £20,600,000, which represents an increase of £1,396,000. Lord Lansdowne tells us in his Memorandum that they are not the correct figures. He observes that if you want to get the correct figures for the year you must add to those figures certain Supplementary Estimates of the previous year. If honourable Members refer to the bottom of page 5 and the top of page 6, they will see exactly what I refer to. Lord Lansdowne states there that the real Estimate for the ensuing year is not £20,600,000, but £20,978,000. Therefore I think we can take it that about 21 millions of money is the real Estimate for the ensuing year. The Estimate of the previous year amounts to 20 millions of money, and the true increase is £1,107,000. I see at once how liable honourable Members are to make a mistake with regard to this matter, because my honourable Friend just now accepted the figure that the Estimates were £22,000 000; but Lord Lansdowne points out that they come to within £25,000 of £21,000,000. But to this must be added the amounts provided in the Supplementary Estimates, and if those are added, the amount is £20,978,000, which is the proper total. Therefore. I was justified in stating that the true amount of the Army Estimates for 1899–1900 is practically £21,000,000 Now, I point out that this practice which has grown up in the War Office of late years of voting money in the Supplementary Estimates of each year for the Army Estimates of the ensuing year is an irregularity, and is liable to cause great inconvenience to honourable Gentlemen or anybody who wishes to compare the Estimates for a series of years, when they have got not merely to look at the expenses of the Army Estimates and the Supplementary Estimates of a given year, but also the Supplementary Estimates of the preceding year, and pick out items from them. I 1176 ask the honourable Gentleman whether he can give us any assurance that this practice, of a very recent growth, shall be discontinued in the future. Now, the principal question which I wish to ask the honourable Member first of all is, as to the practice of using the Supplementary Estimates of a previous year for the following year for which they are voted. The second question is, whether the honourable Gentleman could not give a statement early in the Session of the Estimates proposed, similar to that given us by the Admiralty of borrowed money spent in the current year. And I would also like to ask him, if I might do so, what is the amount of these new Colonial troops? I should also like to ask him, before the existing Estimates are produced, whether some statement could be added as to that to the figures given in page 9, to which I have referred, giving the amount of the military moneys required for all the Foreign Office and Colonial Office coloured troops? If we could get that we should get at something like the real military expenditure of the country, and it comes to a very much larger figure than any honourable Member supposes, and a very much larger figure than my honourable Friend gave us in his speech. In the first place, you have £21,000,000 and £1,500,000 for borrowed money, and one million for the coloured troops, which amount altogether to something like £23.000,000 for Army purposes for the current year. Now, I certainly do think with the honourable Member for Lichfield that £23,000,000 is an enormous amount of money. Even if you take it at the lower figure of £21,000,000, it is, I think, an enormous figure to ask for military purposes; but it is a figure which is increasing, and has been increasing at great lengths during the past year. I will not trouble the House with the figures, but I will just look back three years. In 1896–1897—during the period the present Government has been in office—the Army Vote amounted to £18,100,000. It has now gone up in three years—the Army Vote alone is £21,000,000—an increase of £3,000,000 in three years, or at no less a rate than £1,000,000 per annum. Now, in dealing with the items of this increase in the Army Estimates, we have this public question to deal with: that these annual increases are becoming automatic, and 1177 all that the authorities consider that they have to do is to administer them. Now, I do not think that we ought to accept that view, looking at the matter from the point of view of the taxpayers of this country. Why should the War Department be automatic? I remember the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Monmouthshire, when this was put forward last year, pointing out that if you once adopt that principle you might just as well have an automaton for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We must look at the various items in degrees, and not take them in bulk. Then I take the other point, that half of it is attributable to policy and half to administration, and in respect of that I urge upon the House what has been urged by either side of the House for years, that if you want to oppose the policy, you must oppose the money which is asked for it, whatever the policy may be. Not only that, but I believe it is a point of duty on the part of Members of this House to see that criticisms are brought to bear upon the conduct of the great Departments of the State, and that we should be entitled to say that certain large crops of Estimates and large plans of expenditure ought to be reduced, and it is not right on the part of the Administration to say that you must point out a particular item in the Votes upon which you wish to make any reduction. It is an old argument, Mr. O'Connor, and if anybody wishes to reduce anything in these days they will always find that is the first excuse that is applied by the Minister who desires to reduce nothing. Now, I have been here listening to the Debates for the last few nights for the purpose of making my speech, which I should like to have made three nights ago, but which I had no opportunity of doing, owing to the Motion which had been moved, and I was very much struck, particularly during the discussion of the Naval Estimates, by hearing my right honourable Friend the late Secretary to the Admiralty and the Member for Clitheroe suggest that we must call a halt, from both sides of the House. I do not think we in this House represent the opinion of the country in this matter, and if that is so, that, in the case of the Navy Estimates, which are more popular than any Army Estimates in this country, we must call 1178 a halt, I am perfectly certain it is the case in the Army Estimates. I am absolutely sure that all the people in this country will back me up when I say that. £21,000,000 for Army Estimates is an excessive sum to ask for; that the increase of one million per annum is too large an increase for the exigencies of the political situation, or for the value we get for our money. Now, I recollect the Chancellor of the Exchequer stating last year that, when speaking of economy, it was like preaching a sermon—that nobody ever listened to him. I believe that during these years of prosperity we have been somewhat apathetic on this question of economy—that we have been too silent on this great question of economy. But where the sermon is wanted most is not inside this House, but inside the Cabinet itself. Both the War Minister and the Naval Minister will always ask for more money, and so long as they get it they will be always able to spend it, and the only safety and defence that we taxpayers have against the ambitious Measures of these men rests with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I hope he will be able to make both ends meet this year. But, beyond all question, the Debates we have had in this House during the last few days point to the fact that the country has become alive, and honourable Members also, to the fact that this vast increase of expenditure on behalf of these Departments is too big, and ought to be reduced, and they will blame, and are entitled to blame, the Government for this policy with regard to the Colonies, and also for not having stronger and closer guard upon the public purse.
§ GENERAL GOLDSWORTHY (Hammersmith)
With increased responsibilities we must have an increase of strength in the Army and the Navy. There is no doubt about that. But what the country wants, and what I have always heard in this House, is that no money should be spent unless we get full value for it. There has been a Committee sitting on the subject of the War Office for a very long time, for the purpose of seeing whether the Army could not be centralised, and, therefore, have more efficiency and economy. We have rather suffered, in my opinion, by the late Under Secretary having been promoted 1179 to the Foreign Office, but at the same time I may say that his place has been filled by a Gentleman who we have no doubt will look after this work, and will not have any pre-conceived ideas as to the War Office. I should like to ask the honourable Gentleman when we are likely to have any report from this Committee sitting on this question of centralisation. Of course, I know it is a difficult thing that the honourable Gentleman has to do in taking up the running, as it were, but at the same time I think something ought to be done, and the general officers ought to have more power than they have had, in the past, and that the War Office should have less. There are many duties which the general officers can do much better than those clerks of the War Office, and I trust we may have some Report from this Committee which has been sitting so long upon this subject. There is one fact that should not be lost sight of, and that is, that the military is one of the most expensive forces that we have, and that everything should be done that can be done to popularise the military with the people from whom the rank and file are drawn; and not only with them, but also with the class from which the officers are drawn. I see that it is suggested that officers of the Army after retirement should serve in the Militia, and up to a point that is a good thing. But, of course, we all know that the Army has been under obligations to the Militia, and to get recruits from the Militia would popularise it a great deal, and will also make people acquainted with the military service. There is one thing also that I should like to see, and that is that where any request has been put forward by the masters of schools in the country for the drilling of their pupils an instructor should be sent to them. Many Board school masters and others have told me that they have found very great benefit from the drilling of the children in their schools. General Havelock Allen said some time ago that he had no objection to it whatever.
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. G. WYNDHAM,) Dover
The honourable Member for Lichfield, I think, himself has said that he could not put his finger on this or, that economy which ho thought ought 1180 to be carried out. He indulges in a general view of the system, and says he sees the necessity for reducing a number of items in the expenditure. Now, of course, it is very difficult to meet a broad attack of that character. We do not treat it in any controversial spirit, but I would point out that when we light a battle of economy we do not always receive support from those quarters where we might be expected to look mostly for it. It is not so many nights ago, when I was rather hardly pushed for it, when I was fighting the battle of economy that I appealed for that support. But what was my surprise upon the Division taking place to find a great many of the champions of economy walk into the Lobby against me.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
It may be a special point, but I notice that many honourable Members coming from Ireland who had insisted that economy would be insisted on voted with the honourable and gallant Member. I feel that I should be hardly justified in following the honourable Member for Lichfield throughout his speech, but I must beg him to reconsider this point. The honourable Member for Lichfield excluded India in the comparison which he made, but India cannot be excluded from any comparison, because, whether the honourable Member likes it or not, the Army of this country is our great training school for the Army in India, and if you have to maintain a higher standard of troops to send to India it stands to reason that the expense will be greater. Then, my honourable Friend made an almost personal attack upon me, and charged me with having given him an answer which was evasive in respect to a range in the neighbourhood of Lichfield. I admit that that answer was evasive. It was intended to be evasive, because when we are going to expend large sums of money, and want to get the land at a low figure which we want to purchase, we find it necessary to be evasive, and as the champion of economy I would ask him to condone such evasive reply. The honourable Member could not have followed very closely the many speeches which I have made when he said 1181 that there was no increase in the Artillery. I have explained more than once that during this year we have raised the guns, horses, and men for five batteries of Artillery, and that that has been done without trenching on the horses, guns, or men of any of the existing batteries. We have raised 8 out of 11 companies of Garrison Artillery, and the honourable Member will hardly deny that we have added a material number of trained Cavalry soldiers to the Army. He then dwelt upon the fact that we had a great many Staff officers in the Service. We have a great many Staff officers, and that is one point in the comparison of expense and economy with other nations. We must have at Cape Town and Malta and Gibraltar and other stations of importance officers of a higher standard of experience than would be necessary for the number of men over whom they were placed. They represent us abroad. They are confronted with questions from time to time of a difficult and almost diplomatic character, and apart from that, regarding their purely military duties alone, in providing for the transference of troops from one part of the Empire to another they have many greater difficulties to cope with than an officer who commands an army corps in the district in which it is raised. The honourable Member developed his attack as against our Line battalions. Now, I agree with him in one thing he said; I think our Line battalions are cheap. A private of a British Line regiment costs the country about £45 5s. 3d. a year for his training, his clothing, his housing, feeding, and also his travelling, and his pension. That, I submit, is not at all an excessive charge. The honourable Member admitted that to a certain extent, but he went on to say that we used as many officers at home, save five, as we did in India; that the home battalions were very weak; that they purported to number 800 men, whereas very few of them number 500. I traverse almost every one of these statements. It is true that we have but live fewer officers at home than in India, but far from the battalions being only 500 instead of 800, we only claim 750. Eight hundred is the number at which we are aiming when our increase has been completed. I find that in the 66 battalions at home we have 1182 14 which have over 700 men; we have between 600 and 700 in 33, and in 19 we have between 500 and 600. There is not one battalion with less than 500 men in it. But that is not the point; the point is, that necessarily under our system there are a great number of our men in the depot. The men go into the depots for training, and when trained they go into the home battalions; but no one pretends for a moment that we have the whole 750 men in the battalions at every period of the year. The battalions are a training school for the soldier abroad, and that is what we intend; and if you add to the battalions the number of men in the depots we had 146 over the establishment on the 1st February. That brings me to this point: Have we too many officers at home in comparison with the number abroad? I say certainly not. Surely honourable Members will admit that it requires more time and attention on the part of the officers where they are training this enormous number of young recruits in order to get this great increase of 25,000 men in a period of three years. Our Army is on an altogether different footing, in respect of cost, from Continental armies upon many grounds. We have expensive Staffs all the world over; we have to maintain coaling stations all the world over; we have to take our men at a lower age than Foreign Powers; and we have to train them very much longer. Then the standard of comfort and our rate of wages are higher than abroad. We have to transport many of our men to distant stations. We have to build our barracks and our works at a higher rate than prevails throughout the Continent. Then we have to remember that an enormous amount of capital has been sunk in foreign armies which does not appear in Continental Budgets. In reply to the first great attack upon the Army expenditure in this country—I mean the attack led by Lord Randolph. Churchill in 1888—Mr. Stanhope stated that Germany had sunk in 16 years 212 millions sterling in her army which had not appeared in the annual Budgets of that country. Sir, I will now attempt to answer some of the arguments put forward by the honourable Member for Aberdeenshire. He expressed the opinion that we should publish every 1183 year an estimate of the amount of money that we were likely to expend under the current loans. Sir, I cannot give an absolute pledge, but I believe we shall be able to do that, and I think it would be very proper information to lay before the Committee. Then, Sir, with regard to the new loan, it will cover barracks at home and emplacements for guns. It is a loan founded upon the general policy that we wish to let the old in-sanitary barracks, placed where they are, of no great military value, die out by degrees. Such as are wholly in-sanitary are condemned, and others will not have much money spent upon them in the future. The policy underlying this loan is that barracks shall be placed where they will best tend to the proper training of the soldiers of the British Army. I do not feel at this moment prepared to go into further details, but I think I may inform the honourable Member that the Vote will be something over £5,000,000. Then, Sir, the honourable Member asked me what we were spending on our new armaments policy, to which I referred in my statement. In addition to what has been spent in armaments in former years, we are spending an increase this year, because of that policy, of £189,000, and the total of this year's instalment will be about £400,000. We know exactly what guns are wanted, and where they are to be placed; but the pace at which that policy will be carried out is not a matter on which I can give the House accurate information. It has been decided to spend so much this year, and this fact will enable the House to refuse or sanction the policy from year to year—a course, I think, which has often found favour with honourable Members. Then, I have been asked whether we could give in the Estimates in future some additional information showing how much money is devoted in Foreign and Colonial Office Votes for Colonial forces not under the War Office. I am glad of this opportunity of correcting an impression that the whole of the 21,000 men are Regular soldiers. They are all men with rifles, but the greater number of them might more properly be termed police or gendarmes. Then, an honourable Member referred to the charge over the amount which was set down this year and last year in the Supplementary 1184 Estimates. I think he will recollect that when we were debating that point on the Supplementary Estimates, about a fortnight ago, the Chancellor of the Exchequer informed the Committee that he intended to look into the matter, and that he would have something further to say at some future date. Sir, I do not think I can add anything to that statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I do not understand the honourable Member that he has found any difficulty in following the policy of the Government as set forth in the Memorandum of my noble Friend. I now come to the speech of my honourable and gallant Friend the Member for Hammersmith, who asked what progress had been made with the policy of decentralisation. My right honourable Friend the present Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs presided over a Committee which inquired very closely into these matters, and published a Report, with which, no doubt, the honourable and gallant Member is familiar. Sir, we have been acting upon the recommendations of that Report, but I should be misleading the Committee if I were to lead them to think it would be easy to make rapid progress in that direction. It may be stated that many communications pass between many officers before a duty can be performed, and it may be added that this involves very great expense. Well, Sir, you may abolish all these methods, and yet you will not advance very far towards reducing the cost of the. Army. In fact, I think there is a fundamental error underlying the assumption that decentralisation of necessity spells economy. It certainly is very difficult to make economy and decentralisation march together in this country when we are required, and I think rightly required, by this Committee to give an account of every sixpence we spend. You cannot allow each general to have his own Budget unless you have a very elaborate and expensive staff to check all these accounts—a more elaborate and expensive machinery than that by which we are now able to account to the House for the moneys it authorises the Department to spend. I can assure my honourable and gallant Friend that I listened with great attention to his recommendation with reference to the 1185 provision of drill instructors for schools, and it shall have every consideration.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
I have one or two words to say as to why we are in favour of economy. I do not understand that there is much economy in the training of the regiments. As far as I understand, the Cavalry were very much more efficient when they were trained at a depot than they are under the new-system, and I think that was the view which the House took of it in the Debate the other night. I do not think the economy side of the question was put forward very strongly by the Under Secretary on that occasion. The Under Secretary evaded the case where I gave a sample of War Office expenditure, and it was not the only evasive answer which we find he has given. If it were a case of economy, I should be quite willing to overlook an evasive answer at once, but the unfortunate fact is that the War Office authorities always give an evasive answer. Well, the Under Secretary said I made a statement about the Artillery not being increased. It is true that there are to be five batteries' increase in future, but I think I am right in saying that there has been a corresponding decrease in the number of the guns, these having been reduced from six to four. Then we further complain
§ that there are too many generals in various parts of the world. Malta and Gibraltar have been cited. We quite agree that there ought to be responsible officers at those ports, but we say there are too many of them. We think one general is enough even at Gibraltar. The Under Secretary has also stated that our Staff has necessarily to be much more expensive than a foreign Staff. That is quite true, but our Staff need not be so expensive as it is. I agree that our Line battalions at home are cheap, when a private only costs the country £45 a year, but the rest of the Line regiments are rather expensive. When the figures were given last year the average standard of the home battalions was 480. In less than two months, therefore, there has been a big reduction. I do not know how that has happened if the Army has had such a very large increase. I really do not think our case has been shaken in the least. Our Army is being carried on in a very extravagant way, and I shall certainly take a Division as a protest.
That a sum, not exceeding £6,508,800, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Warner.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 79: Noes 170.—(Division List No. 47.)1187
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Kearley, Hudson E.||Roche, Hn.James(East Kerry)|
|Allen, Wm.(Newe. under Lyme)||Kinloch, Sir Jno. Geo. Smyth||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Lawson,SirWilfrid(Cumb'land||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Leng, Sir John||Souttar, Robinson|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Lewis, John Herbert||Stanhope, Hon. Philip J.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Macaleese, Daniel||Steadman, William Charles|
|Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Strachey, Edward|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||M' Ewan, William||Sullivan, Dora] (Westmeath)|
|Burt, Thomas||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Caldwell, James||Maddison, Fred.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Thomas, Alf. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Clark, Dr.G.B.(Caithnoss-sh.)||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Colville, John||Morgan,W.Pritchard(Merthyr||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Morton, Edw.J.C (Devonport)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Moss, Samuel||Weir, James Galloway|
|Dillon, John||Moulton, John Fletcher||Whit taker, Thomas Palmer|
|Duckworth, James||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Williams, Jno. Carvell (Notts.)|
|Earquharson, Dr. Robert||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wilson, Henry J.(York,W.R.)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Gourley, Sir Edwd. Temperley||Oldroyd, Mark||Woods, Samuel|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Palmer, Sir Chas. M.(Durham)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hammond, John (Carlow)||Perks, Robert William|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Chas. Seale-||Reckitt, Harold James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Reid, Sir Robert Threshie||Mr. Warner and Mr. Pirie.|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Richardson, J, (Durham)|
|Kay-Shuttleworth,RtHnSirr.||Robertson, E. (Dundee)|
|Aird, John||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Morton, Arth.H.A.(Deptford)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Fardell, Sir T. George||Mount, William George|
|Arrol, Sir William||Fergusson,RtHnSirJ. (Manc'r)||Murray,RtHnA.Graham(Bute)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Fisher, William Hayes||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Bagot, Capt. JoscelineFitzRoy||FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Baillie, James E.B. (Inverness')||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Folkestone, Viscount||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn.A.J.(Manch'r)||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Balfour,RtHnGeraldW(Leeds)||Garfit, William||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gedge, Sydney||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Gibbs, Hn.A.G.H.(C.of Lond.)||Purvis, Robert|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Ritchie, Rt.Hn.Chas.Thomson|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Round, James|
|Begg, Ferdinand Faithfull||Gorst, Rt, Hn. Sir John Eldon||Russell, Gen.F.S. (Cheltenham)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Rutherford, John|
|Bethell, Commander||Gull, Sir Cameron||Ryder, John Herbert Dudley|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gunter, Colonel||Samuel, Harry S.(Limehouse)|
|Bill, Charles||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hamilton,Rt.Hn.Lord George||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Bowles,Capt, H. F. (Middlesex)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Bowdes, T.Gibson (King'sLynn)||Heaton, John Henniker||Smith, Jas. Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Hozier, Hn. Jas. Henry Cecil||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Spencer, Ernest|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Jessel, Cap tain Herbert Merton||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M' Taggart|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Strauss, Arthur|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn. J. (Birm.)||Kemp, George||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r)||Kennaway, Rt.Hn.Sir John H.||Thorburn, Walter|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Kimber, Henry||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Lafone, Alfred||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Clarke, SirEdw. (Plymouth)||Lawrence, SirE.Durning-(Corn||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos." H. A. E.||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Leighton, Stanley||Ward, Hn.Robert A. (Crewe)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Lloyd-George, David||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. Jesse||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Long, Col. Chas.W. (Evesham)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter(L'pool.)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Lowles, John||Williams, Jos. Powell (Birm.)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Cripps, Chas. Alfred||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Cross, A. (Glasgow)||Macdona, John Cumming||Wilson-Todd.Wm.H. (Yorks.)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd(Bolton)||M 'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Wodehouse,Rt,Hn.E.R.(Bath)|
|Cruddas, William Donaldson||M ' lver, Sir Lewis (Edin., W.)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||M' killop, James||Wyndham, George|
|Curzon, Viscount||Malcolm, Ian||Wyndham-Quin, Major W.H.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Young, Commander(Berks,E.)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Martin, Richard Biddulph|
|Dixon-Hartland,SirFredDixon||Maxwell, Rt, Hn. Sir Herb. E.||TELLERS FOE THE NOES—|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Monckton, Edward Philip||Sir William Walrond and|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Monk, Charles James||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Doxford, William Theodore||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy|
|Drucker, A.||Morrell, George Herbert|
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I wish to draw the attention of this Committee as far as I can, and the attention of the country at large, to the circumstances attending the death of a young man named John Lorrimer, a trooper in the 17th Lancers, who was found dead on the 27th of December last in a punishment cell, in which he had 1188 been confined on a diet of bread and water since the 23rd of December, and from which he had only been allowed out an hour a day to do shot drill. Now, this case appeals very strongly to the working men representatives in this House, and through them to the working men themselves. In this discussion on the Army Estimates, to which 1189 I have listened, statistics have been produced by the right honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for War, which have shown that about 90 per cent. of the Army are drawn from the labouring and mechanical classes. If that be so, the facts I am about to state will appeal to every labouring man, and likewise to the taxpayers who pay for the Army—an Army which is exploited by the rich and supported by the poor. What the taxpayers who pay for the Army have a right to demand is this, that their sons who go into the Army should, of course, be subject to the necessary amount of discipline, but should be treated also with kindness and consideration; that they should be carefully treated in sickness; and that barracks should be something in the nature of homes, and not almost prisons. I suppose it will be rather a surprise to honourable Gentlemen in this House to know what has occurred, not to a highly placed man, well born and well bred, but to a poor son of the people, when he comes into the force, for within the last few weeks, in Christmas time, horrors have been enacted in the dungeon cells attached to British barracks which can scarcely find their equal in the history of the Tower of London or the Bastille, or in any chapter of the slavery depicted in "Uncle Tom's Cabin." [Laughter.] The honourable Gentleman laughs, but I do not think he will laugh at the end of my speech, and he will not be delighted with what I am about to say. The honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for War will, I think, do me the justice to say that I have not sprung this upon him, for I have given him full notice and information, and I am only here stating what has been staled in public, and I shall be delighted if the War Office has any explanation which will in the slightest degree palliate this awful outrage on a young man who has been done to death in the dungeon cell of the Bal-lincollig Barracks. I derive my proof in this case not from civil but from military sources, and I will mention the name of the officer who has presented to me the document which I will cite—he is one of the most distinguished men in the Service; but before I proceed to this document, which may not be perfectly apparent to 1190 the House, I will endeavour, to the utmost of my ability, to summarise that document, and I will just state very briefly the circumstances of the case. This young man, George Lorrimer, is a Scotch lad, and he was, as Scotch lads generally are, inclined for a military life. I hope the Scotch Members here will see that when Scotch lads enlist in the Army they are treated like human beings. He was apprenticed as an iron moulder, and he had always an ambition to go into the Army. He had good testimonials from his employer, and likewise from the commander of the Boys' Brigade, which is a force, as I understand it, which is a semi-military and semi-religious organisation. This poor boy was colour-sergeant in this brigade, and he was proficient in drill, and won the medal for three years. His parents tried to prevent him enlisting, but his passion for military life was very strong. He enlisted, and when he took this step, although his family were not surprised at it, they were very much grieved. He enlisted in the 17th Lancers, which were then stationed in Ireland, and this was in June. He went through his drill with extreme satisfaction to his commanding officer, and everything seemed to go right until he was stricken down with fever on the 27th of last September. He was sent to the hospital, where he was attended by the military doctors until the 7th of November. He came out of the hospital to all appearances convalescent, and we know nothing more of him until Friday, the 23rd of December. On that Friday, it appears that he felt ill, and he stepped out of the ranks, which was a breach of discipline. The fact was that he was ill, and he was suffering at that time from English cholera and intense diarrhœa. This breach of discipline in stepping out of the ranks on the Friday before Christmas Day was reported, and he was brought before the commanding officer, Major Fortescue, and sentenced to 72 hours in the cells for disobeying orders. That was not an extreme sentence, for I recollect perfectly well that this day two years some troopers were sentenced to 14 days' bread and water. Well, this poor lad retired to spend his Christmas holidays in the cell, and his parents did not know what was going on in the barracks. Of 1191 course, the commanding officer spent his Christmas in his own happy home, or possibly with some country gentleman, and he did not appear on the scene, and did not know what was going on in the barracks until he returned on the Tuesday after Christmas Day. Of course, when he returned, he set himself to business, for he had to maintain good discipline. This boy was brought before him again on Tuesday, and he died at eight o'clock that evening. Now let us consider what Major Fortescue did. This lad was brought up before the commanding officer upon a charge of shamming illness, then the charge of disobedience to orders, and afterwards he was charged with committing a nuisance in the cell. Shamming illness is the first charge, and for that he was sentenced to 48 hours' imprisonment; but long before that 48 hours had expired, he had gone, I hope, to a place where he would be received more gently than he was in the Army barracks. Now, what occurred on the first occasion was this: this unfortunate boy was brought to this prison cell. There was no fire in it, of course: and he was stripped naked, and had cans of cold water thrown on him, although it was cold wintry weather, and he was placed in a damp cell. This treatment, be it remembered, was meted out to a boy who had only come out of the hospital a few weeks before. He was given back his clothes, and he was so weak that he was scarcely able to put them on, and he was placed for that evening in a damp cell on a plank bed, which is a plank without any bedding or bed clothes whatever. On the Saturday, the doctor, about whom I shall have to say a good deal, visited this boy, who made no complaint, but he did not get anything all that day except bread and water. Then on the Sunday—which was Christmas Day in the Queen's service— in comes the doctor to know how he was. The boy complained of illness and sickness, but the doctor makes him go through his exercises, and leaves him. That day he had to do these exercises, although he had complained of illness, and he was brought out and made to do shot drill. This is an abominable and barbarous punishment, and it is utterly unproductive of any good whatsoever, and does nothing except disturb and destroy the muscular system of the man who does this exercise. It is a punish- 1192 ment so barbarous that it has been abolished for some years in civil prisons, but, of course, it is allowed in the Army. This boy, who had a weak heart, and who had been kept on a diet of bread and water, and, I believe, some porridge and potatoes, was driven out to this punishment. I myself have seen shot drill, and I shall never forget it, although 30 years have elapsed since then. The shot-is two stone in weight, and consists of cannon balls, which are placed in sockets or holes. At the word of command they are taken up and moved three or four paces to another socket, and it would be a gross breach of discipline to bend one knee, for one must stretch down without bending a knee. This punishment is productive of no good, and this barbarous, malignant drill is to be continued for one hour. This boy, in his debilitated and dying state, was put to this drill the day before ho actually died. He did his best to move the cannon ball, and he went on for some time, and then he stopped. Of course, this was again a breach of discipline and disobedience to orders, and he was immediately conveyed back to the cells, and then intense diarrhœa and dysentery ensued, and created a nuisance; and then was preferred the charge of shamming illness, for which he was sentenced to an additional 48 hours' imprisonment. Then the commanding officer came to see this boy, whom he had consigned to a hell upon earth. I have stated the case in its barest outline, and I must now, if the House will bear with me, go through some of the documentary evidence on which I support this case. First of all, I would ask every feeling-man in this House, and every man who has been in the Service, to help us to destroy shot drill in military life, which is a disgraceful and a barbarous practice. I would ask the Under Secretary for War, who is a gentleman with a military training, and who is a kindly-hearted man, to give me some account of the absence of the commanding officer; and I would ask him further to give us some information why the commanding officer did not inquire as to the state of this boy's health. Then I should also like to know something about the doctor. This doctor, whose evidence I can quote from his own words, was not in the Service at all, but was some person who was brought in for some occasional job.
1193 We in this House, who contribute some thousands of pounds distinctly for medical service, are surprised to learn that here is a man brought in to inspect this boy and to say whether he is fit for punishment. I have not stated the way in which this boy died, for I would rather read it. He was sent back to the cell at half-past six in the evening, and his first term of imprisonment expired on the Tuesday morning, and then his second term commenced. The iron door was slammed on him at half-past six, and no one came to see him until eight o'clock, when he was found lying across his plank bed with his head over the side, dead. What an encouragement to recruiting! What a prospect to the Queen's Service is held out to every young man when tragedies of this kind are allowed to be perpetrated ! Now, a very eminent friend of mine, the late Lord Chancellor, when he sat on the Treasury Bench once said he was very much amused at the procedure, and he could not understand so many statements being made without any affidavits, but I have plenty of affidavits and proofs. But first of all, I will tell who is my informant. His name is Colonel Patrick Robertson, who has been for years second in command of the 92nd Highlanders, and I have a letter from him, and I have his permission to read it to the House.
AN HONOURABLE MEMBER
Is the honourable Member aware that Colonel Robertson was not considered fit to be in command of the 92nd Highlanders?
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
That remark only shows the difficulty that any man has to face who brings charges against a great system, and has determined to rake up the iniquities of it, when here an honourable and gallant Gentleman will use his Parliamentary position to throw a taunt at any man. I say that a man who brings charges against another officer in this House uses a coward's castle. This was a case of gross cruelty, for this unfortunate lad was done to death in this cell, and Colonel Robertson writes to me as follows—I send you the whole particulars to give you an opportunity of bringing this cruel case before the House on the Army Estimates Please read my letter to the House. It is the opinion of a military man who has had a 1194 long experience in visiting military prisons. Shot drill is a brutal punishment, which makes every nerve and muscle in the whole body ache, and then there is the torture of a whole night upon a plank bed. It is most unnatural to give recruits this punishment in the cells before they have been able to understand what a breach of discipline really means. The whole business from first to last is bad, and no wonder there is a difficulty in getting respectable youths to join the Army. Will you try and get a promise that shot drill will be abolished. You may read this letter to the House.Now I come to some of the documents which Colonel Robertson has forwarded me. As is well known, there is a rule in this House which makes it contrary to practice to quote from newspapers, and I could easily have avoided this by taking the extracts which I will read from the coroner's inquest. This is the only document which the unfortunate father has, and with the permission of the House I will read some very short extracts from it. Every word of it is reported, and I will hand the document over to the Under Secretary of State for War for his perusal. The inquest on this boy's death was held on Thursday, the 29th of December, in Ballincollig barracks. A curious feature about this inquest is that the next-of-kin were wholly unrepresented, and the poor father and mother knew nothing at all of the inquest until they saw it reported in the Press. Of course, the police were represented, for they represent the town, and every constable represents the town in Ireland; and the officers of the regiment, who knew they were in a close fix, were represented by a very able Cork solicitor. The first person examined was the officer in command, Major Henry Fortescue. I am quoting these details in order to try to protect the living from the outrages to which this unfortunate Scotch lad was subjected. I will read one or two extracts from his evidence. He said—The deceased was in the regiment six months. It was the Friday evening before Christmas. On his return at 6.30 he committed him for 72 hours for refusing to obey an order. This expired on Tuesday morning, when he would have been released, but on that day he had been before witness for saying he was sick without due cause.That night he died to prove that he had due cause. 1195Witness was away when he was found dead. He was away on the Sunday and Monday after Christmas.Probably he was being entertained by some country gentleman and enjoying his hospitality while this poor boy was dying in the cell to which he had been consigned. Then here is another expression in the evidence—I was told"—and this was on the occasion of his second visit—that this boy was shamming illness, and he was sent before me because the doctor said he was malingering, and he acted upon the doctor's advice.Then this doctor, whom I know nothing of, comes in. He gives his evidence, and it turns out that he is not in the Army at all, but is only brought in to -do some odd job. Then the report proceeds—The Coroner: Was he then undergoing deprivation of ordinary food? Witness: He was in cells and getting punishment diet. The Coroner: If he complained of pains in the loins must there not have been something wrong? Witness: I found nothing wrong. I thought he might be subject to rheumatism. The Coroner: If he were suffering from rheumatism would he not require extra care?I am only giving the barest summary of the evidence. Then the doctor proceeded to state that he had made a post mortem examination as directed by the coroner, and that he found a clot of blood leading to the heart. The coroner asked, "Would the treatment in the cells have caused that?" and the witness replied "I do not know." A juror asked, "Would you like to send a cold man in that condition to the cells?" Witness replied, "I asked him if he were warm enough, and I ordered him an extra blanket," "Are they heated cells?" Witness, "No, they are not." "So all you gave the dying man was an extra blanket?" Witness, "Yes." "That is nice treatment to give a dying man." The Coroner asked "Had he a bed?" and the witness replied, "Well, he had not an actual bed, but he had a stretcher and blankets." Then the witness was asked, "Did he get a cold bath?" —and here is an observation which, coming from a physician, is abhorrent in the extreme—"I ordered him to be washed, 1196 as ho was in a filthy condition." That was the way in which this doctor described the condition of a man suffering from intense diarrhœa. Further on he was asked, "Did he only get bread and water on the Tuesday?" and he replied, "The first clay prisoners get bread and water, and the next day they get better food," the better food being porridge and a few potatoes. Another doctor was called in—the corroborative doctor—you must have him—and he said, "Lorrimer was leaning across the bed." Then I come to the corporal who had charge of him in prison, and he was asked how often Lorrimer was visited during the night, and he said he was not visited at all. Dr. Dorgan, recalled, stated in reply to the coroner that the stooping to carry the shot might account for the clot of blood. Lorrimer was put to that drill when he was better fitted for hospital, and he died from its effect, combined with bad food, misery, and fever. I have now almost exhausted the case, and I would not dream, except in a matter of life and death, of occupying the time of the Committee so long, and I thank honourable Members for their kind consideration. But I have not yet told the whole story. I have now to deal with the way in which every effort was made that could be made to hush this matter up. Here is a letter from this boy's father to Colonel Robertson, dated 12th January, 1899—My Dear Sir,—I am extremely thankful to you for the interest you have taken in my unfortunate son's death, and I shall be pleased to give you any particulars as to the cause of his death. The first news I received of my son's death was a telegram dated 28th December—' Regret to inform you that your son died here last night. Am writing you. Adjutant, 17th Lancers.' I sent back a telegram saying I would like the remains sent to Glasgow, and I received the following reply, ' Will make arrangements to meet your wishes.'The poor remains were, in fact, sent from Ballincollig to Glasgow. I have never heard of a private soldier's remains being conveyed to his home before. Why was it done in this case? Was it because the authorities thought that the dead man was the victim of ill-treament, carelessness and mismanagement? It was not until 31st December that Lorrimer's father received a letter from the adjutant telling him that the doctor said that 1197 nothing could have saved his son's life, and, forsooth, conveying the sympathy of the regimental officers. That sympathy would have been better expressed in looking after this dying boy during his life. Then here is another letter from the father, in which he writes—I have discovered from the newspapers that the jury were dissatisfied at the treatment he received, and, Sir, I ask you if it is true that he was ordered a cold bath?He then writes very indignantly of the shocking allegation that his son was shamming illness, and that he was filthy. He proceeds, "My son was a strong lad, and had always a strong desire to be a soldier," and he winds up by saying that his boy would not have died in vain if the abominable punishment of shot drill were now to be abolished. If Lorrimer had not been a working man's son he certainly would not have been dealt with in the way he was. I have also another letter from the father, which gives the only description I have been able to find supplied by an eye witness as to the cold bath given to this young man in his dying condition—Dear Sir,—In one letter you asked me if it was a cold bath my son got, and from what I heard from a Lancer the other night he was so weak he was unable to take his clothes off, and they took the vessels and poured the water over him. It is enough to make one's blood boil. This Lancer said my son only took strong drink once, and could not be persuaded to take it again, and that his only amusement was swimming.And this is justifiable in a parent who has lost his son—I think the persons who are to blame are a disgrace to the British Army, and I hope it may not be long before they are out of it.I thank the Committee for the kindly attention with which they have heard me. I have placed every document in my possession within the purview of the Under Secretary. I was passing down Whitehall the other day and I was thinking of this case. I looked at one of the posters which are displayed as an inducement and incitement to young men to enlist. I saw soldiers of various regiments in the Queen's Service in full uniform, and I thought that side by side with it should be a picture showing Lorrimer at shot drill and dying in the cells in order that recruits for the Army might 1198 have an idea of what to expect. Does the honourable Gentleman consider that this would be an inducement to young men to enlist in the Queen's Service? Having regard to the treatment meted out to this boy, there is one law in the Army for the rich and another for the poor. The poor men are simply hewers of wood and drawers of water, and the whole thing is an institution for the support of the rich.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I am speaking on behalf of the men who should be treated as human flesh and blood. I am speaking in the cause of humanity. These men should not be used as mere fuel for a State machine. Their weaknesses and their illness should be respected, or the people who pay for the Army may take the matter into their own hands.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
I thank the honourable Member for having given notice of his intention to bring this subject before the Committee. I thank him also for the offer of the documentary evidence on which he has based his charge, but Colonel Robertson also wrote to the adjutant-general on 4th January, giving the same particulars, and placing the same interpretation upon them as he seems to have given in a letter to the honourable Member. On the receipt of that letter a searching inquiry was instituted into all the circumstances attending Private Lorrimer's death, and, therefore, I think it will be my fault if I am not able to convince the honourable Member that the case is not so sad as he believes. Of course, it is a sad case. The sudden death of any young man within a few months of entering on an honourable calling must always be a sad case, but it was sadder still in this, because a young life was suddenly cut short while under a temporary cloud which would have been quite forgotten in the light of good service rendered in after years. But we must not allow ourselves to be carried away by the very moving 1199 periods in which the honourable Member has placed this case before us. It was quite right that our interest in such matters should be quickened, but we must, I trust, turn that quickened interest to some practical account. I submit there are, and can be, only two practical questions before this Committee which must be approached in a judicial frame of mind. The first practical question is, were the existing rules and regulations which govern the enforcement of discipline in the Army and the infliction of penalties observed in this case by all the officers, military and medical, concerned? If they were, no shadow of reproach attached to them, but to the system which they were called on to administer—if blame there was. If they were not, of course the officers were to blame, but on that first question I think I can claim that neither Colonel Fortescue nor any of the other officers were guilty of any dereliction of duty. But I quite agree that there in another question, perhaps not so obvious, before us, one which perhaps we are not bound to search out, but still a question which might quite naturally arise. It is whether the present system is all it should be, or whether it should rot be amended? In dealing with the first question, whether Major Fortescue and the other officers are to blame, I think my best plan would be to follow events in their chronological order. I prefer to do that—to give my own account of these events based on contemporary documents, and what took place at the inquest. I prefer it rather than to enter into controversy with the honourable Member who, through no fault of his own, has not given a perfectly accurate account of these events. His information is based very largely on the report of the inquest, but there are some errors. The honourable Member has stated that Private Lorrimer was in hospital from the end of September to the 2nd of November. The true date on which he left hospital was the 2nd of October; it was an illness of only five days' duration, and his medical sheet shows that he was in the enjoyment of general good health during the whole of last autumn, with the exception of these five days. I have said that Lorrimer might, and probably would, have become a soldier of whom 1200 everybody would be proud. There was nothing imputed to him of a serious character from an ordinary standpoint, but from a military standpoint there was no doubt that this young soldier had not yet learned soldiers' ways or the necessity for discipline. I find that on the 22nd December he was brought up before the commanding officer for an offence, not in itself very grave, but serious in a young recruit. He was reported for continued idleness and dirtiness. Dirtiness in that sense does not mean habits of personal uncleanliness, but laxity in burnishing and in appearance on parade. Idleness and untidiness are military offences, which have to be taken into account, and he was given a punishment, which cannot be called vindictive, of being confined to barracks for eight days. His squadron officer reported very badly of him, and stated he was not doing well. On the Friday the whole regiment went out, under Major Fortescue, for a long field day. Lorrimer was not out with the regiment on that day. He was one of the men who stayed in barracks, charged with the performance of the routine duties of regimental life. Foremost among those duties is what is called "Stables." Every officer on duty has to attend "Stables," and any officer who, when ordered, refused, would be cashiered, and drummed out of the British Army. On this day, when the bulk of the regiment were on the march, Lorrimer absented himself from "Stables," and when he was found sitting by a fire, he refused to attend. I hope honourable Members will see that that is a very grave military offence, for the whole purpose for which an Army exists falls to the ground if we do not take very serious notice of gross disobedience.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
He alleged no cause. The regiment came back at half-past five in the afternoon, after a hard day's work. That was why Lorrimer was brought up at half-past six on that day charged with this grave military offence. His commanding officer, Major Fortescue, inflicted a penalty of 72 hours' imprisonment, and I am sure any honourable and gallant Member in this House must know that many com- 1201 manding officers would have given seven days. I think that would have been quite the natural punishment for insubordination, and the fact that Major Fortescue only gave three days shows that he must have taken into account the youth of this young man emerging from the status of a recruit. That sentence having been inflicted on Friday, the 23rd, it took effect at 2 p.m. on Saturday, and would have lasted until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, the 27th. The honourable Member spoke of a dungeon cell, and of the prisoner being given nothing but bread and water during three days. I do not quite admit that; when a prisoner goes in in the afternoon he would only have supper for the first day, but the prison diet is laid down in black and white in the Queen's Regulations, and if it is cruel or insufficient, then it is for this House to take the question up. The diet is as follows:— Breakfast, 6 oz. of bread and a pint of gruel; dinner, 8 oz. of bread and ½ lb. of potatoes; supper, 6 oz. of bread and a pint of gruel. That was the diet Lorrimer had during the three days. The form of exercise a prisoner may take is also laid down. It may take the form of shot drill, which the honourable Member condemns, but the amount of such drill and the alternatives for it are all laid down. It is not for one hour's exercise a day, but four hours' punishment drill. It may take the form of exercise or of punishment prescribed in the form of exercise, but prisoners must have the exercise that is laid down in the Regulations. But as Lorrimer only went into prison on Saturday afternoon, and as there is no punishment drill on Sunday, his first punishment drill commenced on Monday, the 26th. Lorrimer lifted his shot four times, and then refused to lift any more. He was also reported as having committed a nuisance in his cell. The third charge was that of reporting himself sick without cause. He was brought before Major Fortescue at one o'clock on Tuesday the 27th, and sentenced to a further two days' imprisonment with bread and water for one day—the punishment diet, which is also laid down in the regulations, and is only inflicted under certain restrictions. This unfortunate man, however, never went on that diet, because he was sentenced to it at one o'clock on Tuesday afternoon and died that even- 1202 ing. Now, we have to consider whether Major Fortescue, Dr. Dorgan, the orderly officer, the provost sergeant, and the assistant provost sergeant, did or did not perform their duties scrupulously and with intelligence and zeal. I have read the whole of the evidence, and I cannot find that any one of the officers I have named was remiss in the discharge of his duty.
§ MR. DILLON
Will the honourable Member tell us whether, on the occasion of the second punishment, the complaint of sickness had been investigated?
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
That is the point to which I am coming. Major Fortescue acted on the medical reports which had been furnished him, and there was no evidence that the medical officer's diagnosis was incorrect. The prisoner was examined for heart disease with the stethoscope on three days when paraded before the doctor, and Dr. Dorgan gave it as his opinion that the pain of which the prisoner complained could not be anything but rheumatism, if it existed at all. The evidence disclosed at the post mortem examination showed that the young man died from a clot of blood in the aortic orifice, which had been formed in the left ventricle—a thing which had nothing whatever to do with the symptoms of which he complained. I will now turn to the point at which I was interrupted by the honourable Member for East Mayo. Did Major Fortescue do all that in him lay to ascertain whether the examination of the doctor was made with sufficient care? If Major Fortescue had taken the medical Report, which said that this man was fit to be punished, and had given him further punishment, I should not say we had any reason to complain: but Major Fortescue seemed so anxious to prevent an accident that he went beyond ordinary zeal, and sent, on the morning of Tuesday, 27th December, in writing, the following letter to Dr. Dorgan—From Officer Commanding 17th Lancers.To Medical Officer, Ballincollig.Dec. 27th, 1898.Will you be good enough to forward me a Report in writing on your inspection of a cell prisoner this morning, Private Lorrimer?(Signed) H. FORTESCUE, Major,Commanding 17th Lancers.1203 Major Fortescue received the following note from Dr. Dorgan in reply to his letter—From Medical Officer, Ballincollig.To Officer Commanding 17th Lancers.Dec. 27th, 1898.Private Lorrimer, cell prisoner, was brought to me ' sick' this morning, and on yesterday morning, complaining of pain in the back. In my opinion he is malingering, and I would consider him fit to undergo any further imprisonment or punishment.(Signed) JAMES DORGAN,Medical Officer.I claim that Major Fortescue did everything in his power to prevent an accident, and that this sad tragedy reveals the fact that in Major Fortescue we have an officer who discharges his duty with great zeal and great discretion. Dr. Dorgan was corroborated in his diagnosis by the other doctor who took part in the post mortem examination. The Casualty Report says that Lorrimer's general health had been good, that he was admitted to the hospital on the 27th of September, 1898, with simple continuous fever, and discharged on the 2nd of October, 1898. It was a mild attack. The Casualty Re-port says that on being examined on 24th December, before imprisonment, there was no evidence of cardiac disease. The following day he complained, on being paraded to hospital with other prisoners, of a pain in the back. On the 26th he still had the pain in the back—in the lumbar region. He was examined stethoscopically, but there was no evidence of cardiac disease. He still said he had some pain on the 27th, but on being asked said he complained of nothing else. He was found dead in his cell at 7.50 p.m. on that day—the 27th —having been last seen alive at 6.20 p.m. Doctor Dorgan says he cannot regard the pain in the back as having any connection with the cause of death. Its existence at all was doubted by him, and he could find no sign of the prisoner having any pain from his behaviour. Dr. Dorgan gives the following brief medical history of the case—24.12.98.—Examined prior to imprisonment and found fit. No cardiac disease. Asked if he had any complaints, he said, ' No.' Asked if he felt all right, he said, 'Yes.'120425.12.98.—Paraded to hospital with other prisoners for my inspection. He complained of pain in his back in the lower lumbar region. I asked him if he felt cold. He said, 'Yes.' He said he was all right in other respects. I ordered liniment of turpentine and an extra blanket, after stripping his clothes, etc.26.12.98.—Paraded with other prisoners as usual. Ho said he still had some pain, but that was all he complained of. I examined him again stethos copically, including his heart, and found no evidence of disease. Put him through several motions of bending his back, etc. He had quite free movement. I asked him if he now felt sufficiently warm. He said he did, and was all right otherwise.27.12.98.—Paraded with other prisoners as usual to hospital. Still complained of the pain. Again examined him. Felt his pulse, which was good, and took his temperature— 98.2 degs. He complained of nothing else but the lumbar pain. The sergeant of the provost said he did not eat much the day before, but enough. I came to the conclusion, from the absence of all physical signs and the behaviour of the man, and from the word of the guard who watched him unobserved, that he had no cause for the pain, and that he was malingering. I cannot trace any association between the lumbar pain and the subsequent cause of death. The lumbar pain was all he complained of even when I asked him if he had anything else wrong. He was found dead in his cell that night at 7.50. Last seen at 6.20 p.m., when the corporal of the provost considered him all right. I was afterwards informed that he ate nothing at all on Tuesday.27.12.98.—He had done no work while in cells 'except a few minutes of shot drill on Monday.26.12.98.—As he would not do any more this was reported afterwards. He gave no reason for not doing so, nor made any complaint. He was ordered further imprisonment for disobedience and committing a nuisance in his cell, and I reported that he was fit to do it on Tuesday, December 27th, 1898, on being asked. I never found myself justified in recommending any change of dieting or punishment in this case, as he only complained of the lumbar pain, and that I doubted.In the face of this Report I claim that Major Fortescue discharged his duty with zeal and discretion, and there is nothing to make me think that Dr. Dorgan did not act with acumen. Dr. Harding, who was called in for the inquest, agreed with Dr. Dorgan that the lumbar pain, if it existed, had nothing to do with the clot; and that in all probability the shot drill had nothing to do with the clot. It is not true that the jury, as a body, added anything to their verdict in the way of censure, though some of them may have spoken to that effect. I admit that it might be asked whether our treatment of military prisoners is as good as it should be, but this is a ques- 1205 tion which has not arisen in anyone's mind in connection with this case. The House will remember that we were occupied last year in considering the question of discipline in civil prisons. Discipline in military prisons has also been considered, and questions in connection with it are now being canvassed. The views of Sir Redvers Buller have been invited, and he has urged that a marked distinction should be drawn between civil and military offences in the soldier. A soldier who commits a felony should be, he said, treated as a felon and discharged from the Army, which should have no room for him, his presence in it being inimical to the best interests of the Service. A young soldier who, through thoughtlessness, is absent without leave ought to be encouraged to return and expiate his offence, and ought not to be punished as if he had committed one of the gravest offences against the civil law.
§ MR. DILLON
I think the honourable Gentleman did well to divide this into two questions—first, whether the officers and the doctor who were responsible in this particular case did their duty in a humane and proper manner; and, secondly, whether the present system of treating military prisoners which resulted in the death of this young soldier ought to be maintained. The honourable Gentleman practically said that provided the rules and regulations had been strictly observed by the officials the latter were entirely free from blame. I do not accept the truthfulness of that maxim without reserve. You may, in dealing with prisoners, observe the rules and regulations of the prison with absolute and most scrupulous fidelity, and yet turn the prison into a hell upon earth. In order to secure decent and fair treatment for these unfortunate persons who find their way into prisons you require something far more than a martinet spirit of strict observance of rules and regulations. Prison rules in the hands of inexperienced men are liable to be interpreted in a harsh way. They should be tempered by a large measure of human sympathy, and it has always seemed to me that one of the great evils in our military prison system is that the military prisons are placed in the hands of men who have no special training in dealing with 1206 prisoners, and consequently the rules are interpreted in a cruel spirit. My honourable Friend the Member for South Donegal did not say that the officer in charge of the prison and the doctor deliberately inflicted punishment on a man who was unable to bear it; but, in spite of what the right honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary has said, I do not admit that he has shown that Lorrimer was sufficiently examined. In this case Lorrimer, who complained of weakness and ill-health, ought to have had the benefit of the doubt. While I make no charge against either the officer or the doctor that they inflicted punishment knowing that they were risking the man's life, I do believe, from the evidence brought forward by my honourable Friend, that there was carelessness and not sufficient sympathy in estimating the true condition of the prisoner. The doctor contented himself with examining the man on the one complaint—that he had a pain in the lumbar region, and he put this down as rheumatism. Speaking as a man with some medical knowledge, I say this was preposterous. I think the doctor has shown himself to be extremely incapable in making such a statement. A clot in the heart has direct connection with weakness, and there is a prima facie case that this man's health was not good. We have the statement of the man who was in the cell with him, that he was hardly able to sit up or take off his clothes, but these complaints were overlooked by the doctor, and put down as malingering. I think any medical man will agree with me that physical weakness coming from such extraordinary punishment as shot drill has a direct connection with the formation of a clot in the heart. The doctor at the inquest-swore that in his opinion this punishment—this barbarous, unreasonable, and utterly foolish and cruel punishment— alone might cause a clot in the heart, and, of course, it is much more reasonable to suppose that it would do so in a man who was in a weak state of health. Therefore, I do maintain that in this very serious case both the commanding officer, but in a much less degree, and the doctor, in a much greater degree, were to blame for want of sympathy in working these prison rules. I want to ask the honourable Gentleman the 1207 Under Secretary what became of the military doctor?
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
There was no military doctor. Dr. Dorgan was the doctor in charge for the whole year.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
I think the honourable Gentleman will remember that we have asked for money in these Estimates in order to have more Army doctors. I think it is a matter of common knowledge that we are deficient of doctors.
§ MR. DILLON
That is because you treat the doctors so badly in the Army. It is a very serious thing to say that in a great town like Cork, where you have a considerable garrison, you have no Army doctor at all. It is a most extraordinary state of things. I could quite understand that in a small place where only a small portion of a regiment was stationed an outside doctor should be called in, but it is most extraordinary that in a large garrison town like Cork, with two large barracks, these troops should be in the hands of a doctor about whose qualifications we know nothing. In dealing with peculiar cases, such as the effect of this shot drill on a man, we ought to have the security of knowing that an experienced doctor had examined the prisoner. Who is Dr. Dorgan? He may be competent, or he may not be competent. We have no proof either way. We do not know who he is, what his qualifications are, or what his practice may be; but of this we may be sure, that he has no prolonged military experience and no special training for deciding these delicate questions. It is one of the most reckless and cruel things that any person in authority can be guilty of, to leave a question of malingering—one of the most difficult medical questions that doctors have to deal with unless they have special instruction in the art of dealing with it — to an inexperienced man In questions of malingering, where people's lives are at stake, and where great cruelty may be inflicted, it is a gross outrage to leave the decision to inexperienced doctors. The Under Secretary has given us no statement as to the qualifications of Dr. Dorgan or as to his previous medical 1208 experience, and the ground upon which he was appointed to this prison. I do not think it is fair, and I trust the War Office will abandon the practice, to leave the health of soldiers and questions of this kind in the hands of temporary doctors engaged for six months.
§ MR. DILLON
His appointment, how ever, depends on the goodwill of the officers, and, therefore, he is not in the independent position of a regular Army doctor, who is an all-important man in the regiment, and has no need to be afraid of the officers, because he stands on an equal footing with them. I do not for a moment say that the punishment was excessive, with the exception of shot drill, but it was for an offence committed by a young recruit whose character was excellent until he came into the Army, and who might have been reasonably expected to make a good soldier. It seems to me peculiarly inhuman to send in a recruit on Christ mas Day to punishment. Would it not have shown more kindly spirit in the officer to have deferred his punishment until after Christmas Day? This fact alone gives me the idea that the officer was rather harsh in his treatment of this prisoner. Now I come to the question of shot drill. We have been told that great reform is contemplated in our military prisons. If I recollect aright, when we were discussing the treatment of civil prisoners last year, more horrible statistics were produced about flogging. We obtained the abolition of that punishment in civil prisons, and I hope that before long the right honourable Gentleman will bring before the House a scheme of reform for military prisoners. I hold that all those barbarous punishments, which make a man do painful and excessive work, with no object in view, are a disgrace to humanity. If you want to punish a man, put him into gaol, lock him up in his cell, and place him on a low diet if you like, but do not compel him to do work which would break down a man on full diet when he is in a half-starved condition. It breaks his mind, turns him into an animal, and exercises an evil influence on his whole nature. Let 1209 this serve as an occasion to get rid of the system of shot drill, which is a system of torture, for, after an unfortunate man has been at it a short time, every muscle and bone in his body so aches and becomes so sore that he is hardly able to sit or lie down. That, of course, is the object of shot drill; but I would ask those who support it, would it not be just as well to put a man on a rack, or screw his thumbs, or beat him with sticks, if your object is to inflict physical pain and suffering on the man without doing any good in any conceivable way? That system of punishment ought to be abolished, especially in military prisons, where the offence for which the prisoner is confined is generally one which involves no moral guilt. That is a point we intend to press strongly on the honourable Gentleman. I have noticed with satisfaction in the "Army and Navy Gazette" of the 28th July last an article stating "that, so far as shot drill is concerned, there is a general feeling that it ought to be discontinued." Again, one who visits military prisons describes it as "a cruel and clumsy punishment, well known to be dangerous in the case of a man whose heart's action is weak." Further, the writer says there are plenty of fatigue duties that would serve the purpose. We know that it is a degrading and dangerous punishment. We succeeded, in spite of the opposition of every officer in the British Army, in abolishing the lash, and I should like to know if there is now one officer who would like to go back to it. On the very same principle we intend to oppose these degrading punishments being applied to soldiers while they are in prison. I have a most complete contempt and utter disbelief in those men who say you cannot maintain discipline without inflicting these degrading punishments, and I hope that this most melancholy case will be made the occasion for finally sweeping away from the military prisons of the country punishments which are entirely inconsistent with the spirit of the age.
I have to apologise for an interruption I made during the speech of the honourable Member for South Donegal, but it was studded with such offensive remarks regarding the officers 1210 of Her Majesty's Service that my usually calm temper became for the moment slightly ruffled. The whole case for Major Fortescue and the doctor has been so well put by the Under Secretary that I have nothing to add. I am certain that there is not a Member of the House who, having heard the honourable Gentleman's exposition of the facts, can fail to believe that the authorities not only did their duty in this case, but event went beyond' it in their care for this man. The honourable Member for South Donegal said that this young man had been "done to death," and he went on in strained terms to condemn the general conduct of the officers towards their men as not only inhuman, but as animated by a wish to make a difference between classes, which do not exist in the Army.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL rose, but Colonel Lockwood declined to give way.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD
I decline to give way to the honourable Member. I did not interrupt him except on the occasion I have alluded to. The whole speech of the honourable Member was an attempt to prove that there is a difference in the treatment of the rich and poor in the Army, that the officers have no care for the welfare of their men, and that their punishments are brutal in the extreme. The honourable Member said that when the men were in prison they were not properly looked after, and he went on to say that this young man was hurried off to a dungeon and done to death.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD
A more untrue picture of what really did happen could not have been put before the House. It has been proved with what care Major Fortescue acted, seeing that he called for a second medical report, not being satisfied with the first one. It is easy enough to be wise after the event. I do not think that the Members for South Donegal and East Mayo even attempted to prove any possible connection between the pains which the man suffered from at the back of his 1211 head and the clot of blood which was found at the post mortem examination. The only marvel is how few mistakes doctors make when one thinks of the numerous classes of disease they have to deal with. Of course, after the post mortem it became known what the man died of. I cannot say the doctor was to blame, and it has been proved that the commanding officer was not only not to blame, but that he went as far as possible in every way to ensure that justice was done. The man's general health was not bad: he had only been in hospital from the 1st to the 5th October with a slight fever. I do not regret that this case has been brought before the House, but I do regret that the honourable Member for South Donegal—humane and kind-hearted man that he is—should have gone out of his way to insinuate that the British officer has no care for the health of his men and that differences are made in the treatment of rich and poor in the Army.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
My honourable Friend altogether disclaims having made any such accusation. What he did pay was that this man was so punished as to die from the effects of the punishment. In that sense, he meant the man was done to death; and in that sense, also, I say he was done to death. I have listened with great attention to what has been said in this Debate, and I think the public will feel indebted to my honourable Friend for having brought forward this case, which is eminently one for consideration by the House of Commons. Nobody could find fault with a single word in the speech of the Under Secretary for War. He treated the case considerately and humanely. But the facts remain, and what art? they? This man was declared by the doctor to be malingering:—to be without disease, and yet he dies of the disease. That, fact has not been controverted or explained by the statement of the Under Secretary. I have been looking over the facts, and I find another fact—perhaps a comparatively trifling one in a tragedy like this. This unfortunate creature actually was allowed to die in the dark: there was no light in his cell! What possible defence is there for the doctor? Let me first say one word about 1212 the action of the major in command. The Under Secretary has called attention to the fact that the major called for a written Report. I think two interpretations can be placed on that act. It surely showed anxiety and mental doubt as to whether this officer had adopted a proper course as to that man. Did not the mere fact of asking for a written Report conclusively prove that in his own mind there was grave and painful uncertainty as to whether he was, treating this unfortunate man properly or not? As to the doctor, while I am not a medical man, I should say that disease of the character from which the man died could have been diagnosed. Now I come to the phrase that this boy was "done to death." He was only a boy, and the Under Secretary in his speech did not lay sufficient stress on the fact that he was young in years, and that the offence charged against him was a thoughtless, inadvertent act, which all of us—having been young ourselves—should be disposed to charitably consider. The boy died of disease of the heart, and he must have had disease of the heart when the punishment was inflicted upon him. Let us see what happened. This boy was suffering from disease of the heart, he was put into a dark cell, he was fed on bread and water, and in addition to all that, one of the severest and cruellest forms of physical punishment—shot drill—was inflicted upon him. Was not that boy killed by the punishment and the dieting? I challenge the Under Secretary for War to deny that. The Under Secretary for War shakes his head. What did the boy die of, then?. What produced the fatal stage of the heart disease? It was produced unquestionably by the shot drill, by confinement to the dark cell, and by bread and water diet. The Under Secretary for War has himself confirmed the statement that this boy was done to death, for he admitted that the shot drill may have contributed to the result. Surely that is a case which ought to have been anticipated by the War Department; but as I interpret the statement of the Under Secretary no notice was taken of the matter. I think the case is too strong for anything to be added to it by exaggeration. I go on from this particular case to the general principle. Last year we had a Committee investigating the whole ques- 1213 tion of prison treatment. I am afraid, from what the Under Secretary for War says, that a considerable time may elapse before the prison treatment is reformed. I hope, however, that the result of the Debate will be that the question of shot drill will be carefully investigated, and that, above all, proper means will be taken to give soldiers proper medical attendance, and that in future other victims will not follow this poor unfortunate young man who, I believe, was done to death.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)
My excuse for intervening in this Debate is that I was a good many years in the 17th Lancers. In spite of what has been said that the character of the commanding officer has not been aspersed, I think very scant justice has been done to him by honourable Gentlemen opposite. Some general accusations have been made against him, because he was away on leave for two days. All I can say is, that according to the military regulations he was perfectly justified in going on leave at that time. He left the command of the regiment in the hands of the next officer in command—an officer who had seen considerable service. He was only doing what was customary in a commanding officer, and I can see no reason why accusations should be laid against him for being away on Christmas Day, and the Monday following. An honourable Member has said that sometimes the men are dealt with severely by officers who have no experience of active service. I can assure honourable Gentlemen opposite that Major Fortescue has served his country faithfully and well. He has the war medal for the Zulu campaign, and he has served in India, Canada, and other parts of the world. Another thing I can assure the Committee and those honourable Gentlemen opposite, that Major Fortescue has always been known for the extreme care and kindness he has manifested towards his officers and men. I myself had the honour of serving under him, and I can say that he treated all the officers and men in the squadron in the most satisfactory way; in fact, he took more than the usual interest in the welfare of those under him. Then there is another point in Major Fortescue's conduct as commanding officer. The honourable 1214 Member who spoke last, said that somehow there were two reasons which led him to call for a special report on this case. One of these reasons might have been his care and consideration for those under him, and the other reason may have been because he had some doubt in his mind. If the Committee will allow me, I shall quote from a letter received from Major Fortescue on the subject—The particular reason," he says, "why I called for the special report was in consequence of his behaviour before me on this occasion— refusing to answer questions, and pretending to be idiotic. I sent for the doctor to make a report on the case, which I enclose.It is not necessary for me to say anything more about that, as you have got the report of the doctor. I come to the question of the medical officer. I would point out to the House that the medical officer has a very good degree, with the letters M.B. after his name, and it is necessary that he should be very highly educated before he could get such a degree.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL
He is a man of some standing and had been attending the corps for a year. The honourable Member for East Mayo referred to military doctors and asked why there was no military doctor near at hand. He seems to be of opinion that this man's troop was at Cork. It was not at Cork, but at Ballincollig—a station for two squadrons. The military authorities could not find a military doctor to do the work at Ballincollig, and therefore they employed a civilian medical man. I can agree in one respect with the honourable Gentleman opposite. I think it would be a very good thing for the Army if we reverted to the old system of having military doctors attached to regiments, for a civilian doctor cannot be so well acquainted with the men as the military doctors who, under the old system, were attached to the regiments. They knew 1215 every man in the regiment, and everything about him. Under new regulations of the War Office doctors are called station doctors, and are appointed to look after several regiments. Regiments come and regiments go, but the doctor remains on at the station. We were told that the reason why these new regulations were instituted was that it would cost a great deal of money to appoint 60 more doctors to the Army. It would be a real good thing to go back to the old regimental system. Under the old system there was less chance of malingering, because the regimental doctor knew every man in the regiment and his constitution. Malingering is one of the most difficult things to deal with. It is constantly cropping up in regiments, on board ship, and in prisons; and it is a constant practice in some men when they wish to avoid certain duties. Therefore, Army and Navy officers have to be extremely careful and to be on their guard—much more so than men placed in similar positions in civil life. I cannot help thinking that the honourable Gentleman opposite has been a little hard on the doctor. It was not his fault, and, after all, doctors are human and liable to make mistakes. I am told that a case of clotting of blood is one in which the symptoms arise very quickly, and that it is very difficult to diagnose.
§ MR. DILLON
That is quite true, but then it is likely to arise from weakness, and you can generally tell from the condition of the man if there is a predisposition to it.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL
Well, I cannot see why the doctor was to blame. I come to the question of shot drill. I maintain that in keeping up the punishment of shot drill in the British Army we are 50 years behind the times. I remember when I first went into the Army there were many very severe punishments. A few years after regulations were laid down by which the punishments were not to be so severe as formerly. I knew of a man who had been sent to prison with hard labour for 42 days for some offence. That is reduced now to 30 days, which shows the tendency to a more lenient treatment nowadays. I am sure the Under Secretary 1216 for War will bear me out when I say that this more lenient administration of military justice has greatly improved the Army, and I am perfectly sure that there is a great deal less crime. I am sorry for the death of this young man; we must all regret it, but it was through no fault of the officer commanding or the doctor. All I can say is that it will be a very great thing if from evil comes good, and if the result of this Debate should be that shot drill and other similar punishments are done away with altogether.
On the return of the DEPUTY CHAIRMAN after the usual interval—
§ DR. CLARK
Sir, I would congratulate the honourable and gallant Member for St Pancras, South, on the impartiality with which he has treated this question. I regret that there has been some heat exhibited on both sides of the House, perhaps initiated by my honourable and learned Friend who opened the question. The honourable and learned Gentleman has apologised for the heat he displayed, and everybody is pleased that he has done so. But I must say that the honourable and gallant Member for Epping has made insinuations against a brother officer, and has not yet apologised for them. I hope before the Debate is at an end that we shall have some facts bearing on the capacity of the medical officer who reported on the subject. I regret that the Under Secretary for War is not here just now, for I want some information about this Dr. Horgan, or Dorgan, or Dugan. I have examined the Medical Register and I can find there no such name as Horgan, or Dorgan, or Dugan. I have also been to the Library and consulted the Medical Directory, but cannot find there either the name Horgan, or Dorgan, or Dugan. I know that there are some gentlemen who are qualified whose names are not on the Medical Register, for they do not register. But it seems to me that this man is both unqualified and is not registered, and I should like to hear something more about it before the Debate ends. As to the facts of the case, I think the Under Secretary rather minimised the facts, and I am rather sorry that he did 1217 so, because otherwise he pretended to be fair and impartial—Attention having been called to the fact that there were not 40 Members present, the House was counted, when 40 Members being present—
§ DR. CLARK (continuing)
I was saying that I regret the absence of the Under Secretary for War, because we might have got the information we desire. Otherwise, I must come to the conclusion that things are worse in the Medical Department of the Army than I thought they were. I remember 10 years ago pressing on the late Mr. Stanhope, who was then Under Secretary for War—I am glad to see the honourable the Under Secretary for War now in his place, for I want to know if he can give me the name of the medical officer who gave the report on the dead soldier. I have looked in the Medical Register, and in the Medical Directory. and I can find no person of the name of Dorgan, or Horgan, or Dugan.
§ DR. CLARK
Well, as I have said, I have looked very carefully in the Medical Register, and I found there is no such name in it. If a man is qualified, but is not registered, he can practise, but he cannot sue for fees. I am astonished at the Army Department employing any man who is not on the Medical Register, because some gentlemen have been knocked off the Register for various faults, although they still remain members of a college of physicians or surgeons. If the Under Secretary for War is right as to the name, and if the man is unregistered, the probability is that he is unqualified.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
The honourable Member knows that all qualified medical practitioners are not registered. This doctor is a Bachelor of Medicine.
§ DR. CLARK
Well, the Army Medical Department have sunk so low that they are compelled to employ an unregistered practitioner. The honourable and gallant Gentleman is perfectly right; it is quite true that there are medical men who are qualified, but not registered. The honourable and gallant Gentleman who spoke last says that this man is very highly qualified, but I have asked the Under Secretary for War, and have consulted the usual sources, but can get no satisfactory information on the point. I agree with the honourable and gallant Member for South St. Pancras that no accusation can be made against Major Fortescue, and I cannot understand why any accusation should have been made against him. He seems to me to have acted very wisely, and in a calm and judicial spirit, and to have even gone further, and to have done more than might have been required of him. After sentencing the man to the usual punishment, as he observed the peculiarities of the individual, he asked for further information and a special report on his condition. The commanding officer could not have done more than he did. But the further information which he got from the medical officer seems to me to be very unsatisfactory. Where I think the Under Secretary minimised the statement of the facts of the case was this. This man had committed a first offence. He was left behind for the purpose of doing dirty work, cleaning out the stables and so forth. Then he complained of illness and did not do his work, and for that he was sentenced to three days' imprisonment. No one can say that that was too much. Then it was said that he had suffered, or claimed to have suffered, from continued fever a short time before, but in spite of that he was sent to do his work. And what is the second offence. I have only the evidence given before the coroner,'s jury, and these are the words of Sergeant Hobbs. The deceased was very slow, and he ordered him to increase his speed, which he did not do, that is to say, he was doing shot drill and was not going fast enough. He ordered him a second time, but he did not do it. This witness did not ask him for his reason for not doing it faster, but marched him off to the hospital to be medically examined. The 1219 coroner asked what did the doctor say, to which the witness replied that the doctor said he was all right, and that he then marched him to the cells. They only had an idea, for here it is recorded that the doctor said, "I had an idea that the man was shamming." I have had some experience of malingering. So far as the facts go, this young man claimed that he was ill, and suffering from diarrhœa, which is a very weakening disease. He was accused of not taking proper care of himself, and making a mess of his room, and under these circumstances a charge is made against him that he was not doing his work properly, either from inability or from laziness, and he is brought up before the colonel, and he gets two days' more punishment. It you analyse that, you find that the young man complains of being ill, that he was still suffering, that he was sent to a disagreeable work, and that, instead of doing his work in the stable, he went to his room, and was found sitting over the fire. Surely he would have given some reason for that.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
I think the honourable Gentleman has misapprehended the statement which was made in respect to this matter. Everyone who is in barracks has to be present at stable parade. It is a very essential parade, and this man did not attend the stable parade, and, when found, he refused to do so.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
He was found in his room sitting by the fire when he ought to have been standing at attention by his horse. When found sitting by the fire and ordered to the stables, he refused to go, and throughout two days gave no reason.
§ DR. CLARK
But he was shamming everything, or thought to be; but, unfortunately, he died, and we are inquiring into the matter in this House. Now, we know what old soldiers are, and we know that they are very smart in malingering; but you do not expect a young man of 16 or 17, who has only been six months in the Army, to do so. It seems to me that, outside Colonel Fortescue, there does not seem to have been very much inquiry into the matter. It seems to me very hard to talk of a professional colleague who is not here to defend himself, but after listening to everything that has been said, and reading very closely and studying very closely, as closely as I can, the evidence given before the coroner's inquest, I think he has been very much to blame. The system seems to be a bad one—the sergeant did not ask him a question, he simply ordered him to do it quicker, and when he saw that he did not do it quicker he gave him a second order to do it quicker. He did not ask him why he did not do it; that was not his function. His evidence is that he ordered him to increase his speed, and finding that he did not do so he marched him to the hospital. You do not expect a sergeant to be well up in medical diagnosis. When you get a man to the hospital, you do expect him to be brought before a specially trained man. Now this doctor was only a civil man, and had not had the special training you give to the military man. Naturally, he ought to know something about malingering; but in general practice, though you may find hysterical girls and hypochondriacal men, you never find malingering. I say that the special thing in the Army and Navy that you have to teach the medical man is malingering; because you have got old sailors and old soldiers who dodge their work in many ways by the taking of soap pills and things of that kind, and that is a thing which the medical man ought to be able to detect. When a question conies of this kind, the sergeant takes the man off to the hospital, and he comes before a medical man. The old unfortunate state of things evidently 1221 still obtains. At last the Secretary to the War Office has undone a great deal of the evil done by his predecessors, and I think, on the whole, the boycott with regard to the medical part of the Army is ceasing. Of course, in all the medical schools a short time ago the students were being taught to avoid the Army. You had been making many changes, and depriving the medical service of their titular rank, and, in consequence, you could not get the best men from the schools; but at last a change has been made, and, on the whole, the medical men are content, and the boycott will cease, and you will be able to get as good medical men in the Army as we get in civil life. You have been boycotted; you have not only not got the refuse of the profession, for you could not even get that, and you have had to take a number of men from the outside, and this is the result. I think that we can examine this in a fair spirit, I do not think that the Secretary to the War Office is to blame, I do not think that the Under Secretary is to blame, the blame seems to culminate really in one professional gentleman who ought to know better. Now, the man died from syncope, the very last thing upon earth that you would find a young man of 20 years of age dying from. There are two things required in order that he should do so, either he had disease of the heart, which the medical gentleman was unable to diagnose—but I do not think that there was anything of the kind; I think that this poor fellow was done to death. Dr. Dorgan admits that shot drill under the condition that this man was in might bring it about. Here is a young man up to 12 o'clock of the day of his death reported to be malingering, and he dies from syncope, and the jury on the coroner's inquest state that they could find no disease to account for it, that they could only find the fact that the lad had died from syncope. And syncope could only be caused, by nervous causes, by doing him to death; partly by starvation and partly by this extra labour. When he went before the commanding officer his mind was affected as well as his body. I do not, after looking at it very fully, think that anybody is to blame except the medical officer; and if the statement can be true that you are appointing and have been appointing for your purposes men who 1222 are unregistered, I can easily understand it. You do not allow such a man to come before the coroner's jury, and he cannot, if he is an unregistered medical man, claim his fees. I do not find this gentleman's name in any permanent register, and I think that is a very bad story. The honourable and gallant Gentleman said that shot drill was a very bad thing, and acts upon a weak heart. I do not say that moving 28 pounds could not be done, but so far as I his man was concerned, he was suffering from a very weakening disease. Now the pains that he complained were of comparative unimportance; they might have been due to rheumatism, or they might have been due to his ricking himself in doing this work. The doctor has been led off the scent by these secondary symptoms. I must say that I never expected that the stupid policy in the War Office would have brought you so low as in this case it evidently has.
§ *COLONEL BLUNDELL (Lancashire, Ince)
My impression is that this poor man had a severe disease of the heart and nothing could have saved him, but I think that had there been a medical officer attached to the regiment, he would have known perfectly well whether this young man, who, they say, was a good man, was malingering or not. He would say, to himself, "My medical skill would lead me to believe that this young man is malingering, but from what I know of his general character I do not think he is" And then he would have taken him into hospital under observation, and this unfortunate accident would never have happened. I recollect years ago, when a change was made in the position of medical officers in the Army, speaking to a great authority on the subject, urging him to attach medical officers to a regiment for a year or other period. He replied, The War Department have taken the plunge they have, but have never come up again. Unless you attach the medical officers to the regiments, and give them the prejudice of soldiers, they remain civilians still, and the old knowledge of the men by the medical officer ceases. A medical officer, I venture to say, ought to be attached to a regiment for a period of time so that he might acquire its prejudices, and so that he may become 1223 acquainted with all the men that he will have charge over, and then, from his knowledge of their habits and from the knowledge of their behaviour in the regiment, he will know whether these men are malingering or not.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
I think it will be admitted by every Member of this House that this is a most painful case to have been brought before this House. It seems to have a tendency to divide the Debate upon one subject, to exonerate the officers on the one hand, and to inculpate them on the other. If you come to look at the facts of the case such as the public see them, they appear in this light. A young man, a recruit of 18 years of age, joins the Service; previous to joining the Service he bears a good character, and we are given to understand he does not bear a bad character during the time he is in the regiment. That is a point which I should like to elucidate. But after he has been six months in the Service, he dies in prison, practically after having suffered some slight punishment, and dies, undoubtedly, in consequence of the punishment he has passed through. It will be very well understood that I, as an officer, wish to bring no accusation whatever against any officer in the regiment. My anxiety is to show that I am extremely glad that it has come before the Committee, because it is of the very first importance that matters of this kind should be thoroughly thrashed out, and that the public should not take their views and form their opinions from the reports which they read in the newspapers, where the case is very often stated in a one-sided manner. There is no doubt that everyone concerned attempted to do their duty; whether they did it with any great consideration is quite another question. My view is that it is not the officers who are to blame, but the system. The officer commanding a regiment has no desire but to keep up discipline; that is one of the reasons why I have been wishing to know the character of this man. The man in question appears to be what one would call "a dirty soldier." Now, I am very well aware that it is the custom of the regiment to give men of that class, men who are supposed to be able to do their work, but who will not do it, very scant 1224 courtesy. Well, it is said that there has been no dereliction of duty. Now I appeal to the right honourable Gentleman, and I ask him whether it is not distinctly laid down in the Queen's regulations that it is the certainty and not the severity of the punishment which acts as a deterrent to crime. Every officer should bear that in mind when dealing out punishment, especially to the recruit. I do not say that the officers did not bear it in mind. But I do say that the whole system is not on a par with the general advance of the civilisation of this country, and the general advance that has been made as regards the humane treatment of those who have to bear the punishment which is inflicted upon them. I am prepared to admit that the issue in the end was unfortunate, but I think every excuse should be made for the honourable Member for Donegal. He is of a passionate nature; he argues with a degree of warmth that is natural to him, and his feeling carried him away because this man was undoubtedly, though accidentally, done to death. There is another person to whom I should like to refer. I notice that the corporal who was in charge of the guard-room does not appear to have visited this man. Now, I may be wrong, but I understand it is his duty to visit the men in the cells every hour.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
I am very glad to hear that, because it clearly exonerates all the officers concerned. But I now come to a question of much greater importance— the question of the doctor. Now I have been, ever since I entered this House, complaining with reference to the status and treatment of the medical officers of the Army. I have brought case after case before the House, and it cannot be denied that, ever since the abolition of the system of attaching medical men to the regiments, there has been a spirit of discontent on the part of the medical officers of the Army. We shall be told that that is purely because the medical officers do not take the stand which they ought to take, and that they do not take a pride in their profession. They do not do so because you do not get the 1225 right class of medical officers. You only get the sweepings of the medical schools. I am glad to hear that you are going to make some improvement, and that the boycott is about to be removed by the medical, schools. I agree with those titles being given to the medical officers. They have a separate corps of their own in almost every Continental army in Europe, and it has led to very beneficial results. They have obtained thoroughly competent men, a thing which we have not been able to do. But what is the real idea in reference to the Army Medical Department? It was stated in this House last year that we were capable of putting two Army Corps into the field, and that we were not short of medical officers. I knew at that time for a fact that, without denuding the troops in Egypt, that was absolutely impossible. Now we are told that there is an intention to increase the number of medical men. In the meantime, I consider that the Government are to blame for not employing fully qualified men. Such a man as this should not have the care of Her Majesty's troops. Now, I ask, was there such a man in the regiment as a fully qualified man, and, if there was why was he not employed? I come now to the question of malingering. My experience teaches me that in a cavalry regiment there is very little malingering indeed, and I should be glad to know whether there is any evidence to show that this man had on any previous occasion attempted to shirk his duty or not. And when the man was sentenced a second time, when he was complaining of being ill—he was either ill or well. If he was well, he ought to be sent to his duty, and forced to do it. If the medical officer had any doubt whether he was able to do his duty, was it not the duty of the medical officer to send the man to the hospital in order that he might be given every care? Instead of that, owing to the fact that this man was not a trained medical officer, he lakes the man across, he gives him some liniment and an extra blanket, and allows him to lay on a plank bed in the guard-room. I think that every honourable Gentleman will admit that, so far as that medical officer was concerned, there was dereliction of duty, but if there was no dereliction of duty, there was great misjudgment and incompetence. The honourable Gentleman 1226 shakes his head; but if this man was malingering, he ought to have been punished, and ought not to have been given an extra blanket and this liniment for the pain which he was suffering. Hut if there was any chance of his being ill, he should have been treated as a person in a civil prison, and sent to the hospital ward. There was either a gross dereliction of duty, or gross incompetence and culpability. Now, I come to prison diet and prison punishment. Last year we passed a Bill through this House for the purpose of humanising and mitigating punishments in our civil prisons. Surely, with our present recruits, and our desire to attract the best men to the Service, this is a question in which the Army ought to immediately follow suit, and place prison diet and prison punishment on a better basis. This is a question which ought to have immediately engaged the attention of the Department, but a whole year has gone by, and they have done nothing. Shot drill is the very worst drill to which any man can be subjected. Did the honourable Gentleman ask me what shot drill was?
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
Then I must request the honourable Gentleman not to interrupt me in my observations unless he does so with a pertinent remark.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
Then I must request the honourable Gentleman to refrain from making observations to himself which have the effect of interrupting me in my argument. I was stating just now that shot drill was one of the worst forms of punishment to which a man could be subjected, inasmuch as it is unremunerative labour, and it has the very worst effect on the man physically, and not only that, but it has a very deleterious effect upon his mind. There is nothing that takes the heart out of a man so much as to be forced to unremunerative labour, and it is very well known that a man would prefer work four times harder if it were of such a character as would lead that man to 1227 think he was not throwing his time away. Now the carrying of a weight from one corner of a square to another is one of the most irritating forms of labour both to body and mind, and I hope we shall have some assurance from the honourable and gallant Gentleman that with the least possible delay this useless form of punishment will, so far as soldiers are concerned, be done away with, and that more generous treatment with reference to the diet for soldiers undergoing punishment will shortly be introduced.
§ *MR. PIRIE
Sir, I am glad the Under Secretary has divided this Question into two parts. I only, however, propose to deal with the second part in the few observations I propose to make, because I do not think it is in any way necessary for anyone who has heard the facts of the case to even attempt a defence of Major Fortescue, for the simple reason that he does not require defence. No one who knows anything about the case, or of the circumstances surrounding such cases in military life, will imagine for a moment that he was in any way to blame; the blame emphatically lies on the system by which this young man met his death. But perhaps his life will not have been lost in vain if, by his case being brought before the Committee, some very radical changes take place in the system. There are two points in particular which I would like to bring before the Committee, but before doing so I would touch on the case with reference to a matter I have frequently Drought before the House, viz., the youth of the victim, and the injustice, both to the soldier himself and to the officer who has to deal with him, of the present system by which a man's given age in the Service may be two or more years less than his real age; the injustice to the soldier consisting, that while still possibly only a boy, he is required to do man's work and be punished according to a scale settled for a man; and, as regards the officer, from his being placed in a false position in having to apportion punishment while having no reliable data to go on as to the age of the offender. Now, Sir, what a great responsibility would be placed on this country if it had happened that this young soldier had enlisted as three 1228 years older than his actual age, and the commanding officer had had to judge him upon the age written down on the paper. I think the present system is absolutely wrong, and ought not to be continued. We take our recruits three or four years younger than any Continental army, and it is scarcely possible that these boys can always resist temptations and avoid the punishments we often have to mete out to them. I therefore impute the grossest blame to the system which allows these recruits to enter in many cases under entirely false conditions. My two points, however, directly connected with this case are, first, that the present system of punishments for military offences should have been allowed to continue for so long, and I would hope that the recommendations of Sir Redvers Buller will be adopted without delay; and, secondly, that in this, as in so many other cases, no court of inquiry was held by the military authorities. It is directly due to their reluctance to hold such courts, from what seems to be a false hope of avoiding publicity, that much harm is done, and that such cases have to be brought before this House.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid.)
As this is a case of a Glasgow lad, whose father has communicated with me on the subject, I desire to say a very few words. No one will regret that this matter has been brought before the House of Commons. I think it is desirable that this House should take a watchful care over the comfort of the ordinary soldier in the Army, and to that extent this discussion should be productive of much public good. In this case we start with the important fact that the boy was a son of very respectable parents, and a member of the Boys' Brigade, which. I may mention, is the most highly respectable brigade in Glasgow, none but practically the best boys being admitted to membership. However, he was not merely a member of the Boys' Brigade, but for three years was a colour-sergeant, which testifies to the fact that he had military aspirations. He enlisted undoubtedly against the wishes of his parents, who would have preferred that he should live at home, but he went into the Army with a determination to follow a military profession, and that is important when we come to consider the ques- 1229 tion of malingering. For six months he was in the Army in Ireland, but I do not gather from the statement of the Under Secretary for War that there had been any complaint against the boy until five days before his death. On the 27th September to the end of October he was in the hospital suffering from fever, and he had obviously not got the better of its weakening and depressing effects when the first charge, which the Under Secretary described as one of untidiness and idleness, was made against him. I think we may assume that having gone into the Army by choice it is not likely that he would try and excuse himself from a position he was evidently anxious to till. Now, the charge made against him is absolutely compatible with the character of the disease from which he was suffering. The charge was untidiness. We know quite well that want of cleanliness is meant, and we also know that the disease from which he was suffering was diarrhœa, and that is probably the untidiness charged against him. Now, it has been shown that when the boy was in Glasgow, where there are plenty of opportunities for swimming, he was very fond of swimming, so that if he had got into untidy habits within four or five days of his death it was the result of the disease which was hanging about him at that particular time. Then, again, with regard to the idleness, it is obvious that the lad felt himself weak and unfit. He had suffered from fever. He had been in the hospital, and there is no possible doubt that it was disease, and disease alone, which caused the complaint to be made against him, complaint which only ended at his death. Now we come to the question with regard to the doctor who attended him. A very important question has been put to the Under Secretary: Is this man a registered practitioner? We certainly are entitled to know. As has been pointed out, I think he was not a medical practitioner who had the same knowledge of recruits, or of the way to handle men in the Army, as an Army medical man. We find also that the surgeon who gave evidence evidently conceived the idea that this lad was malingering, but, of course, he had no immediate knowledge of any of the surrounding circumstances. It is all very well for the Under Secretary to make the ap- 1230 pearance of a case against this lad of malingering, when he is dead, and when what he said is filtered through the medical authorities, who, of course, will take very good care to filter nothing that will tell against themselves or against those in the Service. It is all very well to come forward with a medical report and the statements made by witnesses that the lad made no complaint, gave no reason for his being idle, and simply acted the part of a dumb showman. It goes too far. On the other hand, the lad's lips are closed, and you have not one single word except the statement of a fellow officer that the lad appeared to be ill. Then we come to the post-mortem examination. Now, here, again, I ask by whom was the post-mortem examination undertaken? A postmortem examination, to be of any use whatever, ought to be undertaken by an absolutely independent party.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Order, order! The responsibility for the postmortem examination rests with the coroner, and cannot be discussed here.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I was only going to point out that it was the same doctor who attended this lad who held the post-mortem examination. That is, of course, the relevancy of my mentioning; this matter. If it had been an independent doctor we should have had an independent report as to not merely the cause of death, but as to whether any other circumstances facilitated it. I may also mention that the Under Secretary did not state that in the course of the in-inquest it was brought out even from the doctor who conducted the post-mortem examination that his death might have been the result of shot drill. It is an unfortunate circumstance that death should take place either in a military or a civil prison. With regard to the shot drill, I disapprove of it being given alike to strong and weak prisoners. In the case of those who are strong shot drill is no punishment whatever, but in the case of one who is weak it may be a very severe punishment indeed. In the letter which the father sent to me he said he knew perfectly well that nothing could be done now so far as his son's death was concerned, but he expressed the hope that the matter might be brought before the 1231 House of Commons, so that what he regarded as a barbarous system of punishment might, in the interests of those who join the Army, be done away with. The Under Secretary will perhaps remember that when the question of prison life and punishment was being considered in the House of Commons the right honourable Gentleman who was at that time representing the War Office said that if the House of Commons passed the Bill modifying the system of punishment in civil prisons the War Office authorities would be prepared to follow in like manner with regard to military prisons. Well, we are entitled to ask what steps are being taken by the military authorities with a view of revising the punishments inflicted in military prisons, so as to make them conform with the more humane practice now pursued in civil prisons.
§ MR. CARSON (Dublin University)
Mr. O'Connor, I do not think anyone can say that the honourable and learned Member was in any way at variance with his duty towards those who serve in Ireland in bringing this matter before the House of Commons. The discussion has been a valuable one, and the incident is, of course, regretted by every section of this House. I think those who take an interest in the Army will agree with me in saying that we have no reason to complain of any want of sympathy by my honourable Friend the Under Secretary for War. The incident is, of course, a lamentable one, and having listened to the Debate almost from the very commencement I must say that it did strike me that there were some grounds for inquiry as to how it came about that a young man of apparently good character was sentenced to severe military punishment on the very day he met his death. Sir, I have listened to the statement by the honourable and learned Member who introduced this subject to the House, and I must say that until I heard my honourable Friend the Under Secretary give his explanation I felt that there was a serious case against the military authorities in Ireland. But, Sir, so far as the circumstances are connected with the military authorities in command of this regiment, or squadron, I cannot help confessing that I think an entirely different complexion was given by the statement put forward 1232 by the Under Secretary. I have asked myself over and over again what omission of duty the officer in command has been guilty of, or what he had done that he ought not to have done. After considering the facts, I must honestly say that I do not think, after what my honourable Friend the Under Secretary has stated, that anyone can say that the officer in command did not act with the greatest possible discretion, discrimination, and humanity. Sir, he acted upon the report of the doctor. Not only did he do that, but apparently seeing that it was a case which required specific investigation, before he acted at all he demanded a written report from the doctor to satisfy himself. I cannot see what more a commanding officer could do, and I cannot see how he could have acted otherwise, having regard to the report of the doctor. Therefore, Sir, I think this House ought to be particularly careful in dealing with those who have to enforce discipline in our Services, not to allow a serious charge to be made against them if it is proved they are absolutely guiltless of that charge. But, Sir, having said so much, I also at the same time state that I am not satisfied with the medical aspect of the case. I do not know that the House ought to be satisfied with the statement that this particular doctor was called in upon that occasion. We have a right to know as to why there was no military doctor, and when I am told that that arose from a scarcity of doctors in the Army I have a right to ask further, why is there a scarcity of doctors in the Army? Because, after all, if we are not to have a proper system, we can hardly expect respectable, well-behaved young men, such as this young man evidently was, to enter our Service at all. Surely it is cold comfort for those who are left behind him to tell them that we could not do more than we did because we had a scarcity of doctors in our military Service. Sir, to discuss that matter at any length would be going very far beyond the question raised, but I think it is a deplorable fact, whoever is accountable for it, that the medical service in our Army has now become so unpopular in our medical schools that you cannot get sufficient candidates to fill up the vacancies which occur in the Army. I do hope before this Debate is concluded we shall have some assurance from my honourable Friend that some 1233 means are being taken to get rid of this great blot on our system.
§ MR. CARSON
I am exceedingly glad to have that assurance from a medical Member of this House. I was going to observe that it is one of the reasons why I rise at all to speak in this discussion. I am aware that in my own constituency, Dublin University, at all events till very recently, in consequence of the dissatisfaction that prevailed with reference to the Army medical system, the Medical School of Trinity College, which I believe is one of the finest medical schools in the world, absolutely refused to allow any students to prepare themselves for medical service in Her Majesty's Army. Sir, I am told now by the honourable Member that these grievances are removed, and if that is the case probably the school to which I have referred will in the future contribute a quota of doctors to the Army. But certainly we ought to have the very earliest opportunities of filling up those vacancies which have occurred. I must say that for my own part I entirely endorse the views which have been put forward this evening, and if we can only get a return to the old system under which the doctor was the doctor of the regiment, and the soldiers were the life-long patients of the same doctor, I believe you would not have such unfortunate incidents as this occurring. I am aware that one of the most difficult things with which a doctor has to contend is malingering, but the old system minimises that difficulty. Now, Sir, the question which arises with reference to this specific matter may. I think, be entirely reduced to the conduct of the doctor upon this particular occasion. Sir, I could not help noticing that in the medical reports of this particular soldier's death which were read out by my honourable Friend, that doctor seems to have paid particular attention to the cardiac symptoms—the symptoms of affection that caused the death of this unfortunate young man. Well, all I can say is that it is very extraordinary if he paid particular attention to those symp- 1234 toms he was not able to ascertain the complaint from which this private was suffering. I should be very much surprised if the matter were fully investigated if it did not turn out that the examination made by this doctor were of a very perfunctory character. Who is this doctor? What is he? What is his position in the profession? How did he come to be appointed, and what other duties had he to perform? Is a doctor to the Poor Law to be allowed to be called in like this, because I think his hands are quite full enough? Has this doctor any other appointments, and what are his particular qualifications? I cannot but think, when we have a young man of this kind ordered off at one hour of the day to undergo a severe punishment of this character, and he is found a few hours after lying dead on a plank bed in a military prison, I cannot help thinking that this state of things has arisen in consequence of the dearth of doctors in the Military Service. I cannot but think, also, that the conduct of this doctor calls for the most serious and minute investigation. I am not going into the question of what the coroner has ordered, for he has done the best he could under the circumstances; but I do submit to my honourable Friend who represents the War Department in this House that the matter can hardly be left to rest where it is upon the statements that have been made, and I say this with all due deference, because I think that people outside this House who have not the knowledge of these affairs, and who form their opinions of our Service not upon minute details but upon general outlines of fact, I think they ought to be assured and ought to know that when such matters as these occur they may be certain that the whole strength of the Department concerned will be employed to see that there has been no miscarriage of justice in the conduct of the persons in authority. For my part, I should feel very much satisfied, and very much more gratified, if my honourable Friend representing the military authorities in this House could assure us that he would take care that there shall be a further investigation into the cause of the death of this man. At the same time. I desire, at the end of my few observations, to say what I said at the 1235 start, that I am absolutely convinced upon the facts as they have been stated that there is no blame to be attached to the military authorities, and I feel that the officer in command has not only acted in strict compliance with the regulations as laid down—regulations that are to guide him in such cases— but that he has interpreted them, as I hope every officer will always do upon such an occasion, not only in accordance with the spirit of those regulations, but as they would be interpreted by a humane and Christian man.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
I join with all those who have preceded me in the one opinion to which they have given expression—namely, that we are under an obligation to my honourable Friend the Member for South Donegal for bringing this matter forward. I must say that I think the honourable Member who has brought this matter before the Committee has put his case with great warmth of feeling, but in a tone to which no exception can be taken, and no fault is to be found with the manner in which the honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for War has dealt with the question in his reply from the official point of view. One thing is quite clear—and this the honourable Gentleman opposite established completely—that so far as the military officers are concerned, as the right honourable and learned Gentleman who has just sat down has said, they could not have acted with greater discretion or with greater humanity than they have displayed in these trying circumstances. This deplorable incident does not appear to have been due to any lack of precaution or any harshness of conduct or want of attention on their part, or to any failure to carry out the instructions contained in the Queen's regulations. Therefore, the question reduces itself to a somewhat narrow issue. Now, the right honourable and learned Gentleman who has just sat down throws a great deal of blame upon the doctor, and he assumes incompetence or error on his part.
§ MR. CARSON
I should not like the right honourable Gentleman to be under that impression. I stated that I was not satisfied, and that I thought it was 1236 a matter for further investigation. I do not wish to throw any slur upon the doctor, but I think his conduct ought to be inquired into.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I think there is one fallacy which underlies a good deal of what has been said about this doctor, about whom I know nothing whatever. It is assumed that it was a disadvantage that this unfortunate soldier was treated by a civilian doctor. On the contrary, surely it tells the other way. If he had been treated by a military surgeon, one can well understand that some people would have a suspicion that a military doctor, who was accustomed to malingering, and well up to the tricks of soldiers, would have taken a harsh professional view of the condition of this unfortunate man. But, on the contrary, here is a fresh doctor brought in from the outside, with no prejudices and no past experience tending to make him exaggerate the chances of malingering taking place, and this doctor, with a perfectly unbiassed judgment, comes to the conclusion that this man's complaints of illness are not substantially existent or well founded. So that this question that we have heard so much talk about, as to the great misfortune of having a civilian doctor, really seems to me to tell directly in the opposite way from that which is supposed. The right honourable and learned Gentleman and some other honourable Members have touched upon a larger question, upon which we can hardly enter in this discussion—the question of the dearth of military doctors, and the possibility of reviving the old regimental medical system. Now, let me tell the right honourable and learned Gentleman—and I address myself to him because he is the most recent Member who has taken that view—that there is a great deal to be said on the other side of this question. The evils of the old regimental system were glaring and notorious. I know this, because I was a very subordinate official in the War Office myself at the time the change took place, some 26 or 27 years ago, and I know that all the best opinions and experiences in the medical service were then in favour of the adoption of the general hospital organisation as superseding the whole regimental organisation. Everyone can 1237 see the advantage—and I will not dwell upon it—of this regimental system, both to the officers and in some cases to the men themselves, of having a medical officer in the regiment living among them all the time, who takes a fatherly or a brotherly interest in the men. Of course, I do not consider the experience that this doctor obtains in the course of his professional life is of much value, because he sees nothing beyond one or two classes of diseases all that time, and he loses some of that tone and fibre which ought to be possessed by an experienced medical officer. But that is not a question upon which we need enter to-day, although it is one of the arguments that might be used. I only wish to warn those who are inclined to jump at the conclusion that a return to an antiquated and discarded system would prevent accidents like this, and I assure the right honourable and learned Gentleman that it would probably have the very opposite effect, and make them more likely to occur. The right honourable and learned Gentleman has referred to the dearth of medical officers in the Army. We know what that arises from, but it has been to a large extent, as my honourable Friend below the Gangway pointed out, let us hope, remedied, and the cause has been largely removed—namely, the jealousy and the distrust upon the part of certain medical schools of the Army as a career for medical officers, and this has been, at all events, mitigated. It will readily be seen that there are very many cases in which civilian officers must be employed, and it would be a waste of money and power, and presumably of skill, to employ an Army medical officer in every case where there are troops stationed when you have, perhaps, civilian medical men at your call in the immediate neighbourhood. But, apart from that, excepting the right honourable and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, most of those I have heard speak in this Debate have admitted that even this medical officer cannot be judged upon what we have heard, for we have no means of judging of his conduct. Now I come to what is, after all, to my mind, the most important part of the whole question, and that is, whether the regulations on the subject of the punishment of prisoners have been brought up to date. There 1238 is no doubt whatever that there has been a great advance in public feeling on this question within recent years. I listened with great sympathy and agreement to the honourable Member for Mayo, when he spoke of this senseless punishment to which men are sometimes condemned—punishments which are not only severe in their effect upon the human system, but are also degrading and discrediting to the man who is subjected to them. We have given up, surely, in these days the idea of having anything vindictive in our punishment, and, although we ought to employ such methods as may have some deterrent effect, yet we do not want, as my honourable Friend has said, to have any even distant flavour of the thumbscrew and the rack in the punishment to which men are subjected: and I think it is very doubtful whether shot drill does not come within that category. But, unfortunately, I am not aware what the honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary for War said upon this point, because I was not in the House at the time, and I do not know whether the honourable Gentleman promised that this matter of soldiers' punishments would be inquired into.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
That is entirely satisfactory, and if the inquiry is carried out in the spirit which is prevalent at the present time, and which is exhibited in the legislation of last year with reference to civil prisons, I hope the honourable Gentleman will be in a position, when that inquiry has been completed, and the necessary alterations made which the House has sanctioned, to make certain that in a deplorable case like this, where death occurs under such lamentable circumstances, at all events, it will not have been due to the conduct of any of our officers or to defects in the system which we ourselves have authorised.
§ MR. DILLON
I only desire to intervene for a few minutes, and, after what has been stated, I would ask my honour able Friend to withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. DILLON
I must confess that, like the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Dublin University, I am not satisfied with the medical aspect of this case. I differ from the Leader of the Opposition in one particular. He said it was an advantage to have the services of a civilian doctor. To that I say yes, if he were an independent doctor of standing. I do not think my right honourable Friend was in the House when we raised this medical question.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
Allow me to say that I do not quite accept the words which the honourable Gentleman has put into my mouth. I do not wish to convey that it was necessarily an advantage to have a civilian doctor, because that would be a slur upon the Army medical doctors. What I said was that to have a civilian doctor was an answer to many of the suspicions that might be attached to having an Army doctor in this case.
§ MR. DILLON
I admit that if the civilian doctor was a doctor of standing that would be so. Of course, I do not know anything about him, and he might have been a competent man, but what I wish to observe is that he was only temporarily employed, and the tenure of his employment was determined by the local military authorities. He was retained for a year, and he did not know whether he would get a renewal of his appointment at the end of the year: therefore he was not an ordinary independent civilian doctor, nor had he the advantage and status, or the weight of a military doctor attached to the Service. I shall not dwell any further on this point except to say one word. It is a point which I passed over when I spoke before, because it is an unpleasant one. There was one step which was taken by this doctor which, as a medical man myself, shocked me. This doctor admits in his evidence that ho went into the cell to this poor soldier, and he states that he found him in a state so 1240 filthy that he could not examine him. I say that any medical man with a heart in his breast, when he finds a young man, as in this case, of respectable up-bringing in this very serious condition; when he finds a young man of cleanly habits and good character in this state, and does not attribute it to illness, I must confess that I entertain the gravest doubts as to the fitness of this doctor for the duty he is called upon to discharge, and my doubts on this point have been raised by that statement alone. I will say no more upon that question, but I have risen for the purpose of asking that the Debate should be brought to an end, for this reason: that the Under Secretary of State for War made a large and important concession in his statement, and I do not think that we could reasonably ask the Committee to divide after we have obtained from the honourable Gentlemen a promise, or a statement, that a large field of review in the treatment of medical officers is under consideration. All I ask is, that as soon as this question has been settled, the result will be communicated to the House.
§ Original Question again proposed.
That a sum not exceeding £6,508,950 be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Pireie.)
§ *MR. PIRIE
I desire to bring before the Committee, I am sorry to say, a case which has somewhat the same features as the one which has just been discussed, and one upon which I desire to put myself in order. I move "That this Vote be reduced by £50" and I desire to call the attention of this Committee to a case with which the House, to a certain extent, is familiar on account of questions which I have already put to the Under Secretary of State for War. It is the case of the late Veterinary-Inspector Finlayson. I desire that a discussion should be carried on in this case, in order to see whether it has been adequately dealt with, and whether the way in which this officer was treated can be satisfactorily answered. The case is a very simple one. Veterinary-Captain Finlayson joined the Service as a veterinary lieutenant in 1883. He was employed in the Service in South Africa, 1241 and for some time filled very responsible positions, and while in South Africa he suffered very much from sunstroke, and eventually was invalided home, suffering from rheumatism. After recovery from the illness from which he was invalided home, he was dispatched to Egypt, where he was employed on special service, and his professional qualifications, from all accounts, were of the highest order. After his appointment in Egypt he was for some time employed in Ireland in a responsible position. While in Ireland last year the military authorities came to the decision that it was necessary for this officer to retire from the Army and they issued instructions under the Royal warrant for his retirement. I should be the last person to dispute that it is necessary to maintain discipline. Discipline has always to be maintained, although it has sometimes to do very harsh things, and I do not dispute the right of the authorities as to the way they acted upon this occasion, for I must bring to the notice of the House the fact that a month previously to Jus retirement this officer had been charged with a civil offence, in which there were several very discreditable surroundings, which, without doubt, gave quite sufficient justification for the military authorities acting in the way they did. I feel bound to point out, however, in justice to the memory of this officer, that as far as regards the civil charge which was brought against him, it was dismissed by the magistrate before whom it was brought, and a dismissal from a legal point of view, I am told, is to be considered as if the offence had not been committed, and as if the charge had never been made. That is the case, so far as the legal point of view is concerned. However, my point is that there was not a sufficient opportunity given to this officer— an opportunity which I think ought to have been given him—to defend himself, however small a defence he might have had. It was, without doubt, a question of character upon which he was told he would have to resign the Service. The military law lays down that in any charge affecting the character of a soldier, a full opportunity must be afforded that soldier of being present throughout the inquiry, and of making any statement which he desires 1242 to make; and also that he shall have the full opportunity of cross-examining any witnesses who gives evidence affecting his character, and of producing any witness in defence of his own character. Now, as far as I can gather from the information I have been able to obtain, this opportunity was not given to him, however little advantage it might have been to him to have had that opportunity, and it is on this point, that no military court of inquiry was held, that my point rests, and that the case resembles the last case the Committee has just dealt with, from the fact that the same desire to avoid publicity is manifest, a desire which reacts injuriously on the welfare of the Army. This officer complied with the instruction he had received, as the House will note from the Question answered yesterday, and in a letter of the 6th of January of last year he writes—In accordance with instructions received, I have this day sent in an application to be allowed to resign my commission in accordance with the Royal Warrant, although I do not know wherein it applies. I would also beg for leave of absence.That application for leave was not granted, but the letter resigning his commission was received in the Orderly Room, sent up through the proper channels, and was received by the Field-Marshal commanding in Ireland on the 29th of January. On the 7th of February this unfortunate officer, whose mind must have become quite unhinged, committed suicide. Only a month before his health had entirly given way, and the presumption is that the sunstroke from which he had suffered was the cause of his suicide. Now, the fact of his having sent in his papers entitled him, on account of the length of service which he had to his credit, to a gratuity of £800 upon his retirement after 10 years' service. I cannot help thinking that, although the Government, perhaps rightly, thought that the fact of his becoming entitled to this gratuity did not form an essential element in their decision that he should retire, certainly this was taken into account by the officer himself. He must have known all through the service that his gratuity would become due to him on his retirement, and to him it is immaterial whether this money was given as a re- 1243 ward for service, for it was a condition of an agreement which led him to join the Service; and, as far as he was concerned, he carried out the order to resign, which is all he could do under the circumstances. Of course, there has to be a fixed rule as to date of retirement, but there are two exceptional circumstances connected with this case that differentiate it entirely from ordinary cases of the kind. First of all, it was a case of compulsory retirement, and, secondly, the man who retired was insane. The inquest which was held showed that he was of unsound mind, and the presumption is that a month previous to his death he had been insane. I say, therefore, that this case needs exceptional treatment; that the retirement was not voluntary, but compulsory, and that insanity was present. The three points which I would bring before the Committee are as follows: First of all, I think that, in justice to his memory, we ought to say that his relatives are entitled to the gratuity which, if he had not committed suicide, he would have been entitled to. His parents are very old people in poor circumstances—one is 80 and the other 70 years of age. Captain Finlayson had always done his duty in the way of providing for them, and only just a week before his death he sent a cheque to them towards their support. Although it was stated at the inquest that he was in monetary difficulties, it was not proved that he was so in any way, nor was it the case. Well, Sir, the treatment which has been meted out to the family of this unfortunate man was that instead of their getting the £800 to which, I think, they are entitled they received in May last £20 as a compassionate allowance. In December they received a further £10, and in February another £20. This latter was due as I think to the courtesy and attention of the Secretary to the War Office, and I thank him for what he has done so far as that is concerned. But I do say that that is far from doing full justice to the case, and I think that regulations which permit of such a case as this happening require some amendment. I think it is absolutely necessary that such a hard case should be reconsidered. The Government, no doubt, are strictly within the letter of the law in what they have 1244 done, but I do think that when these hard cases come up from time to time they should be treated with more justice and generosity. The treatment which is meted out to these men by a rich nation like this is, I submit, treatment which no private employer would mete out to his employees. Secondly, I think the actual date in the Gazette should not be taken as the date of the retirement. The date of retirement is the date when the papers are written out and received from the officer retiring by his superior officer, and any claim for a gratuity or a pension ought to be based on the fact itself, and not upon the evidence of the fact, this latter being all that the Gazette amounts to. The fact takes place when the resignation papers are written out, and appearing in the Gazette is merely evidence of it. The third point is—and this again enables the Army and this House to profit by the lesson which it teaches—that it would have been much more desirable when this officer was told to retire, that the information should have been conveyed to him after some court of inquiry before which he had defended himself, however little defence the officer might have had, by his superior officers. Important decisions such as this was should be conveyed to officers in all cases not merely by the commanding officer but by the senior officer available, and where possible by the actual officer by whom the decision was come to, in this case the Field Marshal Commanding in Ireland, and then there would have been less chance of this officer taking it so much to heart; and possibly even the sense of having been harshly treated would in this case not have been so great, and the desperate act by which a life was brought to a tragic end not have taken place. It is unfortunate that these cases come before the House, but I do not think anyone is to be blamed for bringing them up. So long as these cases occur, and there is a feeling of injustice—that justice has not been done to those who suffer—these cases must be brought up to this House as to a higher tribunal. They will only cease to be brought up when they cease to take place. I do not think that the interests of the Army are served by smothering this sort of thing and covering it up; and that is why I appeal for more liberal treatment in this particular 1245 case, and for some other regulation more liberal with regard to retiring than that which exists at present, as well as for a greater readiness to hold courts of inquiry.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
The honourable Gentleman at the beginning of his speech admitted very frankly and very kindly that the military authorities were justified in calling upon this officer to resign. I do not propose to say another word upon that point. We are agreed that the military authorities were, under the painful circumstances of this case, justified in taking the step which they did take. Later on in his speech the honourable Member stated that he was desirous of having some court of inquiry to deal with the matter; but if the military authorities were justified, as the honourable Member has already admitted, in calling upon this officer to resign, we may take it that their action was merciful; because if an officer prefers to resign rather than to stand a court of inquiry, that is a more merciful way of dealing with the case. I think there can be no allegation as to the bard treatment of this officer. It, is true that he was entitled if he had resigned and his resignation had been completed by the Royal signature giving consent to his resigning, to a gratuity of £800; but here I must invite the Committee once more to consider the nature of these gratuities. They are not analogous to the deferred pay of soldiers. The combatant officer who gets a gratuity, gets it to assist the flow of promotion in the Army. Nobody who has joined the Army since 1887 is entitled to a gratuity at all. In the case of veterinary surgeons the case is not so strong; they are given in order to get veterinary surgeons of good standing to enter the Service. In the case of this veterinary surgeon, had he committed suicide, or met with an accident in the street, or even died on active service, he would not have been entitled to this £800 gratuity. When a resignation is completed by receiving the Royal signature, this gratuity is given. Now, I am sorry that any such disappointment should occur, but the honourable Gentleman must remember that in this case there is no legal right. Then, again, he says a distinction ought to be drawn because when this 1246 unhappy man committed suicide the coroner's jury found that he was insane, and the honourable Member urges that he was not accountable for his actions some time before. I had another case in my mind much more harsh than this which the honourable Member has urged—that of Captain Stewart, who was hopelessly insane; he was a distinguished officer about whom there was not the least breath of reproach. When he resigned he was unhappily not in a fit state of mind to complete the necessary documents for his case. A committee should have been appointed in order to complete the documents, but owing to the vacation of the Irish Law Courts, this committee could not be appointed, and this unhappy man did not receive his gratuity. That was a hard case. But in all these cases the Secretary of State finds that he cannot alter the date of the resignation, which is the date when it receives the Royal assent, and it is that which sometimes causes hardship. Now, I think that that disposes of this case; but the honourable Member argued that this case was exceptional, and that it should be given exceptional treatment, not on account of this officer's services, because no one will urge that his services were distinguished beyond others. He did nothing to deserve exceptional treatment on that account. What can we do? The honourable Member knows perfectly well that under the Non-Effective Vote we have only a certain sum of money at our disposal. We can give pensions to widows of officers, and we can give compensation to the aged mothers of those who leave no widows, but we have only £1,250 in all out of which doles may be given in hard cases. In this case it was proposed that in view of the age and destitution and disappointment of this officer's father and mother, to give them £20. I personally intervened and got it increased to £40, and although it was impossible to renew the grant for three years, when that time elapsed a further amount was given. Beyond that we cannot go, and no case has been made out here for altering the law which may have caused disappointment in this case, and which, no doubt, has caused a great deal of disappointment.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
May I appeal to the honourable Member that he will give 1247 some guarantee to endeavour to carry out what he is asked. This seems to be a specially hard case. With regard to the veterinary surgeons, when these grants or pensions were revived they were revived for the express purpose of getting a better class of men into the service. This man performed good service both in South Africa and India, and the misconduct of which ho was accused, which took place about two weeks after he came home, and his subsequent death, were in all probability brought about by the sunstroke by which he was attacked in South Africa. There is also this point, that if his death had been delayed a few days longer his parents would have been entitled to £800. They are aged people, both between 70 and 80 years of age, and I think that it is a very small thing for the Department to guarantee that so long as they live it will give them some relief out of the Compensation Fund.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
I do not wish to delay the Committee, but I should like to point out that this relief fund of £1,250 is very small indeed.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
The honourable Member cannot deal with that fund now. He must wait for the Vote.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
But the reason adduced for not giving a further grant from the relief fund is that it is so small.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
I can only say, I hope that in such cases as this, in the future, there will be a larger grant made.
§ *MR. PIRIE
I wish rather to emphasise my point that, in a hard case such as this more should be done than is actually done. I do not think it is quite just that a certain date should be chosen as the date of approval, which is merely used from a legal point of view. The date should be that when the officer signs his resignation paper and sends it in. Whether the sum due be large or small we ought to do what is right. As the right honourable Gentleman has kindly stated, that in three years' time this case may be taken again into con- 1248 sideration by the authorities, I will not press the matter further, but will ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original question again proposed.
§ SIR W. LAWSON
I wish to know on what authority we enlist Chinese troops. Are they enlisted voluntarily or not? Will it be necessary to enlist any more of them? I should also be glad to know how it is that while £21,000 is asked for the cost of these Chinese troops £33,000 is required for the same number of West African troops. What is the reason for the difference in the cost? And what have you done about barracks for these troops?
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
We only put down £21,000 for the Chinese troops because when the Estimates were drawn up we only expected to raise five out of eight companies of the Chinese in the course of the year, and, therefore, we only asked for what money we should spend in that period. With regard to the question of barrack accommodation for this regiment, it is not on the Estimate, and, therefore, I should not be in order in discussing it. As to whether we mean to enlist more Chinese, I can only say that sufficient unto the year is the policy thereof. So far as I know there is to be only one battalion of Chinese troops, and the policy is based upon the not unreasonable view that the inhabitants of Wei-hai-Wei should do something for the defence of that place.
§ MR. CALDWELL
The Committee will see that a very important departure is being made on this question. It may seem a small sum in itself, but there is a very important principle involved, and this is an occasion on which we should gain information as to the policy we are going to adopt in China with regard to the introduction of Chinese soldiers in the British Army. We want to know more about it. Are the subjects of China to be enlisted as subjects of China, or are they to take the oath as British soldiers and be under the military laws of this country? It is all very well for us to begin this policy of enlisting Chinese soldiers, but we may find that Russia and other nations may follow our example, and we shall have all sorts of nations enlisting Chinese 1249 soldiers, Further, I should like to ask: Are these Chinese soldiers to be brought here to London, are they to go backwards and forwards like the regular British Army, and are you going to pay them in the same way as you do British soldiers? I think we ought to know. Are you going to differentiate the rates of pay of soldiers in the British Army? Are you going to pay a lesser sum to your soldiers in one place than you do to soldiers in another place? I venture to say that if your are going to introduce a policy of that kind it will have a certain unsettling effect on the Army, because while your men will all be subjected to one discipline you will have them receiving two rates of pay. Then, I think, we are further entitled to ask if there is a deliberate intention to go on with this policy, and to increase the number of Chinese soldiers enlisted. When we first sent our troops into the Soudan we were told they were not going beyond Dongola, and we know that they have gone considerably beyond that now. We are told in the same way that we are only to have just one regiment of Chinese soldiers, and that it will be sufficient for our purposes, but what assurance have we that in the future it may not be found necessary to enlist more regiments? Remember, we are starting a fresh policy, and we are quite entitled to consider how-far it may be carried. It is, perhaps, but a small beginning, but it may have a very serious ending, and it must have an effect, not only on the British Army, but on our Imperial relations with China and Russia and other Powers, for you may thoroughly depend upon it that in a matter like this we cannot compete successfully with Russia. We may have absolute command of the sea, but if you once begin to enroll Chinamen in the service of this country, as a matter of course Russia, which is already in China, will follow our example. I contend that a policy of this kind should not be embarked upon without very full consideration, and I venture to assert that it is the duty of the House to insist on having a full definition of it. seeing what a serious effect it must have so far as the British Army is concerned.
§ SIR W. LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
The honourable Centlenman has not stated under what authority we enlist these Chinese troops.
§ DR. CLARK
I wish to raise that point also. We now have a Chinese Army in Hong Kong, and I wish to know whether we are to put another Asiatic Artillery Regiment in India. We have Asiatic Artillery at Singapore. Are we now going to have a third Chinese Army? I should like to ask why these new forces are being raised when you already have in existence the Hong Kong Regiment and your Asiatic Artillery? We ought to have a reason for this new departure. Why are we not developing our existing colonial forces instead of creating new ones?
§ *MR WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
There are two items on this Vote as to which I should like an explanation. First, there is the sum of £3,000 for expenses attending the training of Army artificers. That is an in-crease of £1,000, and I should like to know how it is accounted for? Then, again, there is an increase of £500 in the item for deserters. Is there any idea that during the coming year the number of deserters will be increased? I hope the honourable Gentleman will be able to furnish me with some explanation as to those two items. There is another matter on page 35 of the same Vote upon which I should like to ask a question. I want to know why Nonconformist clergymen are paid much less than clergymen of the Church of England. Many of the Presbyterian ministers are Scotsmen, and there is a tendency to expect Scotsmen to live on less money than Englishmen. That remark, however, does not apply to Scotsmen on the Treasury Bench, who take good care that they get a sufficient sum for themselves. I contend that there should be equality of pay, and not the great difference which at present exists. Nonconformist ministers receive only half the amount paid to clergymen of the Church of England. I do not desire to move a reduction on this Vote, but I hope to get a satisfactory assurance from the honourable Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for War that in future Nonconformist ministers, be they Presbyterians, Wesleyans, or Baptists, shall be paid at the same rate as Episcopalian clergymen.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
The honourable Member has asked me for an explana- 1251 tion as to the increases in the Votes for training Army artificers. We underestimated the sum required for this Service last year, and expect a greater number for training during this year. The honourable Member next asks why Presbyterian chaplains are paid less than clergymen of the Anglican or Episcopalian Church. I think the honourable Gentleman is under a misapprehension. All clergymen in the Army, except chaplains, are paid on the same principle—namely, by capitation grant; payment depends on the number belonging to the particular denominations of which clergymen are the ministers. In reply to the other question put by the honourable Member, increased provision is necessary for the apprehension of deserters in view of the great number of recruits, and it is in proportion to the increase in the Army. In answer to the honourable Baronet as to the policy to be pursued in respect of Wei-hai-Wei, I will explain that, for reasons of State, and at the dictation of naval strategy, the Government are occupying a naval base at Wei-hai-Wei with the assent of the Emperor of China. That being so, we must make some provision for the defence of that place, and to preserve order: and in view of the number of British battalions abroad, we hold that it is not altogether unreasonable that the inhabitants of Wei-hai-Wei should bear a certain proportion of the burden of defence. These men will, I believe, serve under the Mutiny Act. Privates will receive 27 cents a day, or 96 dollars per annum. I doubt whether they will come to this country except on such an auspicious occasion as the Jubilee. The Government, however, are initiating no new policy.
§ SIR W. LAWSON
I should like to ask the honourable Gentleman whether the authority of the Emperor of China has been obtained for enlisting these people?
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
Everything has been done in accordance with law and order, and after long correspondence with the Chinese Government.
That quastion has been considered, but I am informed that the people who live at Hong-Kong are different from the people at Wei-hai-Wei, and speak a different dialect.
§ DR. CLARK
That difficulty has been overcome in India, where the difference in the dialects is greater than in China. With regard to the pay of Nonconformist clergymen as compared with the pay of clergymen of the Church of England, this is a question upon which we Presbyterians feel very strongly. We claim for our church by law established the same status as you claim for the Anglican Church. The clergymen of the Church of England are not paid according to the number to whom they minister. They are paid £600, £500, £400, or £300 a year, according to whether they are first, second, third, or fourth-class chaplains. I want to know why, when you employ ministers of the Established Church of Scotland, you do no place them on an equality, so far as the pay and position are concerned, with the clergymen of the Established Church of England. The present Under Secretary's predecessors have had this nut to crack before, and we have never had a satisfactory answer.
That a sum, not exceeding £6,508,700, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ MR. CALDWELL
I rise to move a reduction of £300 in respect of the Vote for the Chinese regiment. I submit that the Under Secretary has given no reason whatever why we should call upon these people to defend Wei-hai-Wei, in which they are in no way interested. I do not suppose these people had anything to do with the transference of authority to this Government. Probably they are anxious that Wei-haiWei should remain part of the Chinese Empire, and I do not think we are justified in placing this obligation upon them.
§ *MR. PIRIE
am sure the Committee will agree that some explanation should be given as to the enormous salaries paid to the officers of these Chinese troops in comparison with the salaries paid to military officers in less healthy parts of the Empire. I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that the 28 officers of the 1253 Chinese regiment draw £10,000 a year, while the 27 officers of the West African regiment draw only £7,960 per annum. Whereas in the Indian regiment lieutenant-colonels get £328 a year, they receive £800 a year in the Chinese regiment. In view of the enormously increasing Estimates, I think it behoves everyone, and especially Members on this side of the House, to study economy in every way, and I refuse to accept this enormous and extravagant expenditure without understanding it.
§ knowledge of the Chinese language is necessary, is a very different thing to taking command of regiments in Africa. Larger salaries are paid to the officers of the Chinese regiment because they are engaged on what is called "Special employment."
That a sum, not exceeding £6,508,700, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 41;Noes 123. —(Division List No. 48.)1255
|Allen, Wm. (Newe.under Lyme)||Hazell, Walter||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire!||Joins, Wm. (Carnarvonshire-)||Samuel,.J.(Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Kinloch, Sir Jno, Geo Smyth||Sinclair, Capt. Jno. (Forfarshire|
|Birrell, Augustine||Lawson, Sir Wilfri'd (Cumb' land)||Souttar, Robinson|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Macaleese, Daniel||Steadman, William Charles|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||M ' Kenna, Reginald||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Hurt, Thomas||Maddisnn. Fred.||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Canston, Richard Knight||Morton, Edw. J. C.(Devonport)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Clark. Dr. G. B (Caithness-sh.)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Williams, JolinCarvelI(Notts.)|
|Colville, John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Oldroyd, Mark||Woods, Samuel|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pearson, Sir Weetman D|
|Foster. Sir Waiter (Derby Co)||Pirie, Duncan V,||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Price, Robert John||Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Bryn|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn Chas Seale||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Roberts.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Corbett. A. Cameron, (Glasgow)||Hutchinson, Capt.W.G. Grice-|
|Ashunead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Cross. Herb. Shepherd Botton)||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Curzon, Viscount||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josecline FitzRoy||Dalkeith, Earl of||Joliffe, Hon. H. George|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn.A.J.(Manch'r)||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kemp, George|
|Balfour.RtHnGeraldW. (Leeds)||Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Kennaway, Rt Hn Sir John H.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Doxford, William Theodore||Keswick, William|
|Barton.Dunbar Plunket||Duncombe. Hon. Hubert V.||Lawrence,Sir E.Durning-(Corn|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Fergusson Rt.Hn.Sir J. Manc'r||Leighton, Stanley|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Finch, George H.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne||Long,Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)|
|Bethell, Commander||Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Rt. Hn.Walter(Liverpool|
|Bigwood, James||FitzWygram, Geo. Sir F||Lowles, John|
|Blnndell, Colonel Henry||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orm||Folkestone. Viscount||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Maclean, James Mackenzie|
|Butcher, John George||(ledge, Sydney||Malcolm, Ian|
|Carlile, William Waiter||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Monckton, Edward Philip|
|Carson, Rt. Hn. Edward||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||More, Robt. Jasper(Shropshire)|
|Cavendish. V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Gorst.Rt.Hn.Sir John Eldon||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Morton Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm)||Cray, Ernest (West Ham)||Murray, RtHn A. Graham(Bute|
|Chamberlain,J.Ausle.n(Worc'r||Grcene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Murray, Chas. J (Coventry)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Grevilie, Hon. Ronald||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Cull, Sir Cameron||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Ganter, Colonel||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. F.||Hamilton, Rt.Hn Lord George||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. Jesse||Hardy, Laurence||Pryee-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Purvis, Robert|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Ritchie, Rt.Hn Chas.Thomson|
|Round, James||Thornton, Perey M.||Wodehouse. Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Russell, T. W (T'yrone)||Valentia, Viscount||Wortley, Rt.Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Simoon, Sir Harrington||Wanklyn, James Leslie||Wylie, Alexander|
|Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)||Webster, Sir R.E. (I. of W.)||Wyndham, George|
|Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.||Wyndham-Quin,Major W.H.|
|Stanley.Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon||Young, Commander(Berks,E.)|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Stewart, Sir Mark J.M' Taggart||Williams, Joseph Powell) Birm.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Strauss, Arthur||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord||Sir William Walrond and|
|Talbot. Lord E. (Chichester)||Willox, Sir John Archibald||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Talbot.Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf 'rdUniv)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Thorburn, Walter||Wilson, J. W.(Worcestersh.N.)|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. E. J. C. MORTON (Devonport)
This gives me an opportunity of raising a point, which I will raise very briefly, which has been raised before during this Parliament, but not of course this Session. A promise was given on one occasion, nearly two years ago, that the Government would give their attention to it, and I think that on this Vote there is a peculiar reason why I have a right to ask what inquiries the Government have made into the matter, because we have an enormous increase on this Vote in the Estimates, and yet it still remains the fact that the labourers under the War Office are paid a perfectly disgraceful rate of wages, for we have labourers receiving—
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
The honourable Member is discussing a matter which hardly comes under this Vote.
§ MR. E. T. C. MORTON
I understood that this was the only Vote upon which I could raise the question.
*MR. BRYN ROBERTS (Carnarvonshire, Eifion)
There is one point in connection with the capitation grant to which I should like to draw the right honourable Gentleman's attention. The Welsh Calvinistie Methodists are Presbyterians, and in Wales the term Methodist always means the Welsh Presbyterian body, and not the Wesleyan Methodists, who are called Wesleyans only. Welsh Calvinistic Methodist recruits arc, however, for the purposes of the capitation grant, classified as Wesleyan Methodists, because they return themselves as Methodists, they understanding the term in the Welsh sense, whereas the Army authorities interpret it in the English sense. The result is that the Presbyterian chaplains minister to these recruits but the capitation grant is credited to the Wesleyan Methodist chaplains. I do not expect any answer from the right. honourable Gentleman 1256 now, because I have sprung the matter upon him without any notice whatever, but if he would inquire and ascertain whether the case is as I have suggested I shall be satisfied.
That a sum not exceeding £6,508,900 lie granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Weir.)
§ *MR. WEIR
The reply of the honourable Gentleman upon this point is extremely unsatisfactory. We are told that these ministers are paid by capitation grant, and that it is the fault of the ministers that there is such a small proportion, but I say that it is the fault of the War Office in not finding more of these men to servo in the Army. It is not the fault of the ministers, for they are prepared to look after the spiritual welfare of larger numbers, but they are prevented from doing so by the rules of the War Office, which are of a hard and fast character. I suggest that these rules should be altered, and as a protest against this, I beg to move that this Vote be reduced by £100.
§ DR. CLARK
I hope my honourable Friend will not confine this to one section, but raise the question upon the broader ground that all chaplains ought to be placed in the same position, and thus raise it for Roman Catholics as well as for Presbyterians, because the priests ought to be paid as well as the Presbyterian or the Anglican clergy. The present state of things seems to me to be very unsatisfactory. There may be some Scotch regiment or some Welsh regiment where you ought to have somebody else, but it seems to me that the only wise course is that the same rate of pay which you give to the Wesleyan and the priest should be paid to the clergy. You should certainly adopt one principle, and pay them all at the same rate. You pay the capitation grant to all Dissenters, whether they be Presby- 1257 terian ministers or Roman Catholic priests, and I know that, as far this question is concerned, there is a general Nonconformist grievance that the members of the Anglican clergy are taken on as State servants, and that they have large salries and pensions, while the dissenting ministers are placed upon quite a different footing. It seems to me that justice demands that you should place them all on the same footing, and either pay them all upon a percentage or pay them all fixed salaries. In this respect it seems to me that the Catholics and the Nonconformists at the present time have a serious grievance to complain of. I do not know whether this is the proper time to raise it, but it is one of the grievances which I think ought to be got rid of by placing them all in an equal position by paying all Anglican clergy so much per head. I do not know whether the right honourable Gentleman will say anything in the matter, but I take this opportunity of pressing upon the War Office that this is a grievance, and that they ought either to level up the Nonconformist to the Anglican standard, or level down the Anglican standard to the Nonconformist standard. Now, some good churchmen do not care about the Catholics, and they prefer to be Nonconformists, and I think greater latitude should be allowed in matters of this kind. Upon this subject it should either be a case of levelling up or levelling down.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
I may have misled the honourable Member in my first reply. The facts are as follows: There are four recognised denominations— the Church of England, the Roman Catholic, the Presbyterians, and the Wesleyans. In the first three denominations the chaplains are appointed and established without any difference being made between them. To the Wesleyan the same rates of pay are given, but it is impossible to give them the same permanency of character, because it is not the practice of this denomination to give a permanency of station to any one minister. So far as the emoluments and status are concerned, they are treated on all fours, and are treated in exactly the same way. In cases where the men of any particular denomination are not numerous, then 1258 the spiritual wants of the minority are met by officiating clergymen who are paid upon uniform capitation rates.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR (Forfar)
I do appeal to my honourable Friend to withdraw his Motion, for I hardly think that we have sufficient grounds, for we have no evidence of any strong Nonconformist grievance in the matter. If there were, I should be only too glad to support any effort he might make in this House. On * that ground, I appeal to him to withdraw this Motion.
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
Certainly. I cannot give you the exact proportion, but certainly there are some belonging to those denominations.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
That a sum not exceeding £6,508,750 be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Warner.)
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
With regard to the item for miscellaneous expenses in connection with the apprehension and conviction of deserters and other offenders I desire to draw the attention of the Committee to a great increase in the amount. There is an increase to the extent of 20 per cent., and it is apparently expected that there will be a great increase in the number of deserters. The answer given by the honourable Gentleman to a question the 1259 other day was read right off the paper, because I am sure that the Secretary of State would not have given such an answer as to say that this was in proportion to the increase of recruits. The increase in the Army was just 2½ per cent., but the increase in this item is 20 per cent., therefore there must be something wrong about that answer. I quite understand that if the Army is increased there may be a few more deserters, but an increase of 20 per cent.— £500—is too much, and I shall move that this Vote be reduced by £250. This Vote for miscellaneous expenses includes the desertes and other offenders. I think that one reason for this increase is that we are getting a worse class of recruits in some of the regiments, for the class of recruits is not as good as it used to be in the Guards; and I think that possibly the lower standard that we have accepted will render it likely that we shall have more offenders and more deserters, and you may have a considerable amount more to spend in catching your deserters than you did before. At the same time, I think that an increase of 20 per cent. to catch deserters is a little too much, and I think the House will agree with me that it is too much, and this Motion is in favour of economy this time.
§ *MR. PIRIE
As regards improvements in the Army, it is rather remarkable that we have to increase the fund for the capture of deserters. This is a
§ most melancholy fact, following upon the report of the Inspector-General of Recruiting. The only result of our effort seems to have been to obtain a worse standard of recruit who is not so well educated, and therefore there is a tendency more and more to desert. We know that the number of men who purchase their discharges is increasing instead of diminishing, and this is proof positive that the result of the present state of affairs instead of improving, is deteriorating our Army. How honourable Members can say—as they did on the last occasion when a discussion upon this Vote took place—that they are satisfied with this state of affairs I cannot understand. To me it is most melancholy to think that this country spends this enormous amount of extra money, and that this is the result. I hope the Under Secretary will give some explanation of this enormous increase of expenditure on page 7. I should also like the Under Secretary to explain to me why this item is not given in the same way as all the other items of expenditure are given. The item for chaplains shows a decrease, but in this particular item on page 7 there is no explanation given at all.
That a sum, not exceeding £6,508,750, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Warner.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 38; Noes 118.—(Division List No. 49.)1261
|Allen, Wm.(Newc.underLyme)||Lawson,SirWilfrid(Cumb'land)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Macaleese, Daniel||Sinclair,Capt.Jno. (Forfarshire)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||M ' Kenna, Reginald||Souttar, Robinson|
|Caldwell, James||Maddison, Fred.||Steadman, William Charles|
|Campbell-Bannerman, SirH.||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Clark, Dr.G.B.(Caithness-sh.)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Colville, John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Davies,M.Vaughan-(Cardigan)||Oldroyd, Mark||Weir, James Galloway|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Williams, John Carvel (Notts.)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Price, Robert John||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Reckitt, Harold James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hazell, Walter||Rickett, J. Compton||,Mr. Warner and Mr. Pirie.|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Banbury, Frederick George||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Barton, Dunbar Plunkett||Bonsor, Henry Cosmo Orme|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hn. John||Beckett, Ernest William||Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John|
|Bagot, Capt. JoscelineFitzRoy||Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Butcher, John George|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn.A.J.(Manch'r.)||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Carlile, William Walter|
|Balfour, RtHnGerald W. (Leeds)||Bethell, Commander||Carson, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshire||Hamilton, Rt. Hn. Lord George||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Ritchie.Rt.Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Hardy, Laurence||Round, James|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hn. Henry||Hutchinson, Capt. G.W.Grice-||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.)|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Joliffe, Hon. H. George||Stanley,Hn.Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Kemp, George||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Colomb, Sir Jno. Chas. Ready||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M' Taggart|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning-(Corn||Strauss, Arthur|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cross, Herb.Shepherd (Bolton)||Leighton, Stanley||Talbot, RtHn J.G.(Oxf 'dUniv.)|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Long, Rt. Hn.Walter (L'pool.)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Lowles, John||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Fergusson,RtHnSir J.(Manc'r)||Macdona, John Cumming||Wentworth, Bruce C Vernon-|
|Finch, George H.||Maclean, James Mackenzie||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M ' Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Williams, Joseph Powell(Birm)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Malcolm, Ian||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|FitzWygram, General Sir F.||Monckton, Edward Philip||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||More, Robt. Jasper(Shropshire)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh.N.)|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Morrell, George Herbert||Wodehouse, Rt.Hn. E.R.(Bath|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Morton, Arth.H. A.(Deptford)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B.Stuart-|
|Gedge, Sydney||Murray, RtHn A. (Graham (Bute)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wyndham, George|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wyndham-Quin, Major W.H.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Young, Commander (Berks,E.)|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Greene.Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Sir William Walrond and|
|Greville, Hn. Ronald||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Purvis. Robert|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I wish to ask the Under Secretary of State a question. If the honourable Gentleman will refer to page 27, I think he will find, as regards the Army, that the amount is £1,207,000 for the officers out of a total of £3,900,000. So far as I can see the great cost of the British Army is in the officers, for the pay of the men is only just about three times that of the officers. If you look down the page you will find that as regards regimental extras, the pay to the officers is £141,000, while the amount paid to the men is only £284,000. That is to say, it is the officers who have one-half of the whole total. In the ordinary pay, the men have three-and-a-half times the amount of the officers, but when we are dealing with regimental extra pay we find that the men only get double the amount of the officers. I think we ought to have some explanation, because I suppose that the extra regimental pay should follow very much in the same proportion as the ordinary pay, and the men should have three-and-a-half times as much of the extra pay as the officers, in the same way as with the ordinary 1262 pay. I wish to ask the Under Secretary, in the first place, how he makes out in regard to this extra pay the enormous cost in regard to the officers. You have only 5.000 officers in the case of the Cavalry, Engineers, and Infantry, and these officers get a million of money; on the other hand, you have about 150,000 men who only get about 3½ millions amongst them. I venture to say that the great cost of the British Army is not so much what the men get as the amount which you give to the officers. When you come to the non-effective Votes the disparity is even greater, and the matter is even worse when we are dealing with extra pay, because the officers get £125,000 as against £235,000 for the men. Some explanation, I think, is needed there as well. The extra pay should be fixed upon certain definite lines, but I do not know upon what principle it is fixed in this case. I want to know how it is that in a matter of this kind the men do not get the same proportion of extra pay as is given to the officers?
§ *MR. WYNDHAM
The extra pay is given for special service to the men, mainly for good conduct and for prizes.
§ MR. CALDWELL
But so far the officers get the largest proportion. When you come to deal with good conduct pay and the regimental extra pay the officers get one-half as compared with the men, and the proportion is utterly different to what it is in the case of the ordinary pay. It is all very well to say that you give it to the men for good conduct and under the prize scale, but I have got the whole of the sums here, and they are not in proportion to their relative share if you are going to give them in proportion to their respective cost. But in this particular case what you do is this: you give your money away to the officers, and you give 5,000 officers one-half as much as you pay to 150,000 men.
§ *MR. PIRIE
I think it is lamentable that an increase in the amount of fines for drunkenness should be estimated. I think the Committee should know that in the United States an Act has been passed abolishing all the regimental canteens in the United States Army. I am convinced that if something on the same lines could be done here it would be a great inducement to parents to allow their sons to join the Army. I submit that suggestion for consideration in the hope that it will be laid before the Committee which is sitting in Aldershot at the present moment inquiring into the canteen system generally, so that it may further report upon whether such a step would be an advantage to the Army. In my opinion the total abolition of the regimental canteen system in the British Army would be a most beneficial reform.
§ Original Question put.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum not exceeding £1,555,000 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for Retired Pay, Half-Pay, and other non-effective Charges for Officers and others, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1900.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I venture to appeal at this stage to flu right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the House to be content on this occasion with having obtained Vote 1. There is, I submit, no necessity for breaking through the universal rule of former days. If the Government take the non-effective Votes now they will be inde- 1264 pendent of the House of Commons as far as the Army Estimates are concerned until the middle of August, and that is a very undesirable state of things. Another day might be devoted in the Session to Army Estimates and of raising points on other Votes. The money would be obtained without difficulty sufficient to carry the Department on to a later month of the Session. But by this new departure on the part of the Government the House is left without any power in the matter. The right honourable Gentleman stated with the greatest courtesy and kindness that in making this criticism I had forgotten the fact that he was always willing to put down the Army Votes for any particular Friday I name, with the general assent of the House. That, however, is putting a little too much responsibility upon me and on the Opposition, however kindly it may be meant. The right honourable Gentleman is himself really responsible, and I do not think it is desirable in the interests of the general order and regularity of our proceedings that we should go out of our way to vote so large a sum for the purpose of the Army. I have known a year when the whole Votes of the Army were taken on the first night that the Army Estimates were introduced, but that was in the old antediluvian times before honourable Members showed so lively an interest in these matters. But in recent years the invariable practice has been that when this huge Vote I was obtained then there was peace between the House and the Government on the subject of the Army Votes until another large sum was wanted. I think it would be a graceful concession on the part of the right honourable Gentleman, and the proper course for him to adopt, to be content with this large Vote just obtained.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
Mr. O'Connor, I confess I have listened with some surprise to the speech of the right honourable Gentleman. The form of it was courtesy itself, but the substance of it struck me as being most extraordinary in view of the right honourable Gentleman's previous utterances. If I understood what fell from the right honourable Gentleman on Tuesday, th-3 protest then made was against taking; Vote 10, and, in answer to that protest 1265 I abandoned Vote 10. I certainly understood the right honourable Gentleman to suggest that he would have no objection to that course.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I beg the right honourable Gentleman's pardon. I explicitly raised the question of the non-effective Votes.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I quite agree that the right honourable Gentleman did yesterday or today raise this question, but I confess I thought on a previous occasion the right honourable Gentleman had taken the course which I have described. I will not argue with the Committee as to whether we have or have not taken an undue period in getting Vote A and Vote 1 of the Army. I will only say that the period was much longer than we have been in the habit of taking in recent years, and, unless I am mistaken, we would, in different circumstances, have got them in somewhat less time than has actually elapsed. Now, what has been the plan proposed by the the Government, what has been the alternative plan suggested by the right honourable Gentleman, and what are the objections he has raised against the plan of the Government? The plan the Government propose is that we should take sufficient money now, at a time when it could be embodied in the Consolidated Fund Bill about to be introduced. The result of that would be that we would not require to ask the House for another Vote on Account, before the end of the Session, and that we should not ask the House to pass the other Consolidated Fund Bill before the end of the Session. Unquestionably, when the new Supply Rule was introduced, it was distinctly contemplated, both by the Government and the House, that the old system of Votes on Account and of Consolidated Fund Bills introduced at intervals through the Session should be abandoned, and that we should substitute for that antiquated and clumsy system a single Consolidated Fund Bill at the end of the financial year and an Appropriation Bill at the end of the Session. That plan is, in my opinion, more convenient, and will have to be abandoned if the right honourable Gentleman carries his point to night. The result of his carrying his point would be that at some later stage 1266 of the Session, and perhaps at a most inconvenient period for discussion, the Government would have to ask the House to pass somewhat large Army and Navy Votes—large in point of money, through perhaps unimportant in point of substance—in order to found upon those Votes another Consolidated Fund Bill, which would have to be got through its various stages before the Appropriation Bill. That, I think, is not a good plan, but I will not labour the inconvenience attached to it. The right honourable Gentleman's objection to the plan of the Government is that it would be in the power of the Government, if they got this money, not to bring Army Estimates on again until the end of the Session, until an inconvenient period, about 1st August, or even later. The fears of the right honourable Gentleman are altogether illusory, because under the Supply Rule Friday in every week must be devoted to Supply, and because the particular Supply to be taken depends upon the general wish of the House, but chiefly upon the wish of the Opposition, and most of all upon the wish of the Leader of the Opposition. Under the practice that has been established since the Supply Rule was adopted a request from the Leader of the Opposition that such an such a Friday should be given up ao such and such Supply has never yet been refused by the leader of the House, and I venture to say will never be refused while the Supply Rule is in operation. I appeal to the Members of the Opposition present whether I made any undue claim upon their credulity when I told them that my one desire when arranging Supply was to meet the wishes of the House, and, above all, to meet the wishes of the Opposition. Therefore, the fears of the right honourable Gentleman are illusory, and, that being so, J. appeal to the right honourable Gentleman to allow me to get the Votes for which, in the interest of public business, I ask.
That the Chairman do report Progress; and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I venture to think this interpretation of the Supply Rule is a new interpretation. The right hon- 1267 ourable Gentleman must be aware that in past years, with the exception of 1897, there has not been a single occasion when there has not been a second Consolidated Fund Bill. I have gone back 12 years.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I am quite aware of that, but the right honourable Gentleman has appealed to the practice of the House as well as to what he conceives to be the interpretation, of the new Rule. I have looked back for the past 12 years, and in no ease, except in the year 1897, has there been a year in which there was not a second Consolidated Fund Bill The House will practically lose all control over Army affairs if we are to vote as the Leader of the House asks us to do, the money for the whole period of the Session. There is no real difficulty in adhering to the previous practice of the House. I think the right honourable Gentleman is under a misapprehension when he says that these Votes are not proper subjects of discussion. They amount to nearly three millions of money, and we all know very well that in Appropriation Accounts, constantly, points connected with the very Vote we are coming to, Vote 13, matters of irregularity on the part of servants arise in the way this half-pay is distributed. If we agree to the Motion of the right honourable Gentleman, and accept it as a precedent as he desires, we part for ever, for ourselves and successors, with the power of control over these important Votes, and in order to emphasise the opinion which is felt very strongly on this side of the House, I beg to move "That we now re-
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
The right honourable Gentleman the Leader of the House has stated that he might put down any Votes he liked, but he need not put down contentious Votes, and it would be very unfair if he were to take such advantage of his powers as to avoid dangerous subjects. I think on the Consolidated Fund Bill—
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
I would remind the honourable Member that the subject before the House is reporting progress.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
There is one important reason why we should oppose the right honourable Gentleman's proposal. In many of the non-effective charges there is no increase, and although they look non-contentious, they are really very contentious subjects. Now, one of the first items is half-pay for the Field-Marshals, and that is not the sort of Vote which goes through, as a rule, without some remarks, and I think it is very certain to be contested on the first item. There are other items which are likely to be contested, and, therefore, I hope we shall be allowed to go to bed to-night without these Votes, which are absolutely unnecessary to carry on the business of the country, and which have only been taken at this period on one occasion during the last six years, and there is no possible object in keeping the whole House here to a late hour.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR
I should like to ask the right honourable Gentleman why in this year he is treating the Army Votes differently to all other years? He reminded us that the Army Votes did not take so much time previously, but the right honourable Gentleman must remember that great changes have been made, and many of them are only in the experimental stages. When such huge increases are proposed, we naturally expect more time to discuss them, and I for one, without any desire to obstruct, candidly confess that there are points in the Votes which have already been taken which I desired to discuss, but which I refrained from in order that the business should go on. In the case of the Navy, the right honourable Gentleman has been content to take Vote 1, and by taking this Vote he precludes us from criticising these matters, and practically takes them from the control of the House.
§ MR. CALDWELL
We are now asked to vote three millions of money, but, on the other hand, what is the position of matters with regard to the discussion of Votes in Supply? The First Lord knows perfectly well that our time for discussion in Supply is limited to 20 or 23 days. It is obvious, therefore, that if we take up more time in discussing the Army Estimates it comes off the time at our disposal to discuss the other Votes at the end of the Session, and not one 1269 moment of the time of the Government will be wasted if the Estimates are continued on another Friday. It is only a question of convenience, and I venture to say that it is a matter for the Opposition more than the Government that they should regulate the time devoted to Supply. It is all very well for the right honourable Gentleman to say that in certain circumstances he could have had his Vote. I do not know why he should claim the right, as it were, when he has got the general closure, to hold out a threat of this kind to this side. We are the critics of the Government, and I think the First Lord of the Treasury will admit that hitherto we have acted upon the principle of devoting the time according to the importance of the Votes. This has worked very well in the past, and I do not see, supposing that you were to pass these Votes to-night, that you will gain anything practical in the operation. The mere saying that they would not ask for a second Consolidated Fund Bill before the end of the Session makes no difference, for, as has been said by my honourable Friend the Member for Aberdeen, I do not know of any discussions having taken place upon the Second Consolidated Fund Bills, so that it does not apply. I venture to think that the Government have hitherto always succeeded best by a mutual arrangement instead of trying to force matters through the House. You are entitled to Vote 1 of the Navy and the Army, and so far as it is absolutely necessary for you to have the Votes, we are quite willing to give them before Easter. But supposing you postpone this Vote, there is nothing to hinder you taking it up again three weeks after Easter. You can put it down any time you want, and if we take that Vote a month or six weeks hence, the Government suffer nothing by it. It is a question of arrangement with the Opposition,
§ and the First Lord must always remember that whatever rule is established when you are in power applies to you when you are in opposition. [Cries of "Divide, Divide!"] Honourable Members need not think that they are going to force anything down us, for if you are trying to do that, you will find you are mistaken.
§ MR. CALDWELL
Supposing the Government do succeed in forcing on Supply by sitting on till to-morrow night, I do not suppose that they will have made a single hour of advance, and I question very much whether they will not have found that their attempt has had a backward result. It has been the experience of the past that instead of gaining anything, you actually lose by attempting to force matters in this way. It is very well known that if we are to go on with these non-effective Votes, it is perfectly evident that we can go on for a very indefinite period. But there is no reason why we should do that. If the Government can show us that it is absolutely necessary that they should have these Votes, as they have done in the case of Vote 1, then by all means let them have the Vote. But as it is not absolutely necessary, and as it can be done by a Second Consolidated Fund Bill, and will not deprive the Government of one hour's time, I think they might agree, looking to the importance of the Army Votes this year, to leave these matters over for discussion, and not insist that we should vote this money without discussion.
That the Chairman do report Progress; and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Buchanan.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 32; Noes 107.—(Division List No. 50.)1271
|Allen, Wm.(Newc.underLyme)||Lawson.Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land)||Sinclair, Capt. Jno. (Forfarshire|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Macaleese, Daniel||Souttar, Robinson|
|Caldwell, James||Maddison, Fred||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Morton, Edw. J. C.(Devonport)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Clark, Dr. G.B.(Caithness-sh.)||Moulton, John Fletcher||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Colville, John||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Oldroyd, Mark||Weir, James Galloway|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Chas. Seale-||Price, Robert John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Hazell, Walter||Reckitt, Harold James||Mr. Causton and Mr. Munro|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Ferguson.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Folkestone, Viscount||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hn. John||Gedge, Sydney||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Bagot,Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch'f)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Purvis, Robert|
|Balfour.RtHnGerald W(Leeds)||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Gull, Sir Cameron||Round, James|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Hamilton, Rt.Hn.Lord George||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Bethell, Commander||Hardy, Laurence||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hutchinson, Capt.G.W.Grice-||Stanley,Hn.Arthur(Ormskirk)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Cavendish, V.C.W(Derbyshire)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Strauss, Arthur|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Talbot, LordE. (Chichester)|
|Chamberlain, Rt.Hn. J.(Birm.)||Kemp, George||Talbot. RtHn J.G.(Oxf'dUniv.)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen(Wore'r.||Kennaway,Rt.Hn.Sir John H.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hn. Henry||Lawrence, SirE.Durning (Corn.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Carrie||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Long, Col. Chas. W.(Evesham)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. Jesse||Long,RtHnWalter(Liverpool)||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Colomb.Sir John Chas. Ready||Lowles, John||Williams, JosephPowell(Birm.)|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||Macdona, John Cumming||Wodehouse,Rt. Hn. E.R. (Bath)|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd(Bolton)||M'Calmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Wortley, Rt.Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Curzon, Viscount||Malcolm, Ian||Wylie, Alexander|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Monckton, Edward Philip||Wyndham, George|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||More,Robt. Jasper(Shropshire)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W.H.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Morrell, George Herbert||Young, Commander (Berks,E.)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Morton, ArthurH. A.(Deptford)|
|Finch, George H.||Murray, RtHnA.Graham(Bute)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Sir William Walrond and|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ DR. CLARK
I should like some information with regard to Vote 14. It is quite satisfactory to find that some of the non-effective, Votes are decreasing as far as warrant and non-commissioned officers and men are concerned, but on Vote 14 there is a considerable increase, and I think we ought to have some explanation. The first of these increases is an increase upon the half-pay of field-marshals and generals. Now, under the new regulations, we have fixed the number of our generals during the time of peace. We have six field-marshals, 10 generals, 20 lieutenant-generals, and 70 major-generals for our small Army, and that is a very fair list. There were a number of general officers who were beyond this scheme, and they were to remain, but gradually they were to be wiped out year by year, and were to be a constantly decreasing factor in our Army. Unfortunately, the first of these increases is £4,500, and this cannot be for field-marshals, because we have not 1272 increased them. I do not think it is for generals, but I think there has been a large number of major-generals created. Surely, in time of peace, the number fixed by the War Office was quite sufficient, especially when you remember that in regard to a number of these you are employing them in the Colonies, and so, to a certain extent, you are saving expense. But this year, for some reason or other, it has been found necessary to have a larger number of major-generals, and I suppose the way you have done it is that you have made this increase by promotions from the rank of colonel. You must have increased the number of colonels, and made them major-generals, and so you have brought them under this list. I think we ought to have some explanation as to this increase, for this is a question which was fought out and settled, and now, instead of finding, as we all expected, that these general officers were more than were supposed to be required for the Army during the time of peace, this year we find that there has been a very consider- 1273 able increase. I think we ought to have some explanation from the Under Secretary as to what has been the cause of this increase.
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
This increase is due to the fact that colonels have been employed in certain commands instead of major-generals. The consequence is that a larger number of major-generals remained upon the half-pay list to which this item refers. In the course of time, as vacancies occur, they will be absorbed, and the list of major-generals and colonels will be reduced to the numbers indicated in the warrant to which the honourable Member for Caithness has referred. In the meantime the list remains practically where it was, although it is found, in certain cases, that this causes a larger number of major-generals to be on the half-pay list, which causes this increase, but it is quite a temporary increase in the amount taken.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
I am glad the First Lord of the Treasury has returned to the House, because I wish to point out, in two or three words, how important questions that arise under this Vote, which deserve discussion, can get through without due consideration. We had a discussion last year in this House as to the reinstatement of those officers who were concerned in the Jameson Raid, and five of them were reinstated. During the course of the past year Colonel Rhodes, who was not reinstated, was allowed to be put back into the Army, and is now on half-pay, and his half-pay is contained in this Vote. Now, if we want to challenge the executive action of the Government, there is no Vote on which we can challenge it upon this question. If you look at the Appropriation Accounts and the Reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, you will find that year after year he calls the attention to the way in which pay-warrants are issued, and to the fact that the present Secretary of State for War, at any rate, is very lax in his interpretation of pay-warrants, and is also 1274 lax in the way undue charges are put on the public Exchequer on this Vote. Now, in this very year there are two cases—there is the case of a colonel of a regiment who made false statements in the regimental accounts. He was hauled over the coals, and he stated that he closed the account in 1888, but, on proceeding further, it turned out that he had invested the money in his wife's name. Very naturally he was dismissed the Service, but subsequently he was allowed to retire. He was removed from the Army, and the only deduction made from his retiring allowance was the lowest minimum deduction possible.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
That only increases the force of my argument, for the evidence we have in the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General reveals this very serious state of matters as to the way in which the Secretary of State for War deals with these questions. A commanding officer of one regiment had been compelled to retire because of gross and continued intemperance. He was called upon to retire, and then the matter was compromised by allowing him to go on half-pay for a period of two years. He then applied to be allowed to retire, and he was rewarded at the full rate of his pension, and the Comptroller and Auditor-General calls attention to the fact that this is the first occasion upon which the Secretary of State for War had so interpreted the pay-warrant as to include and state that intemperance was not misconduct under the pay-warrant. These are three cases which I have given, and they might be multiplied, which I have laid before the House to show that the present Secretary of State has been very lax in his interpretation of pay-warrants, and the charges he puts upon the public Exchequer under this Vote. I ask this Committee what chance and opportunity is there of discussing matters of this character What possibility is there of any public attention being drawn to these questions if we are compelled- — not merely this year, but, according to the statement of the First Lord of the 1275 Treasury, and according to the rule he wants to lay down, this year and all succeeding years—to withdraw from the consideration of the House these Votes which are to be taken as non-contentious Votes?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I must correct this view of my policy which has been suggested by my honourable Friend. What I said was that before the 31st of March we should get enough money to save us from having to ask for another Consolidated Fund Bill. I do not raise any complaint at the lengthy discussion of Vote 1, but the honourable Member must be aware that had we taken the same length of time as was taken last year or the year before there would have been no difficulty in discussing these Votes.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
The contention of the right honourable Gentleman both to-night and last night, when the matter was discussed across the floor of the House, was this—that these Votes were really non-contentious, and did not need discussion, and what he has said to-night is that what he wants the House of Commons to do this year is what he wants the House to do in succeeding years, and that is, to vote practically as a matter of course these non-effective Votes as a Supplementary Vote, in order to enable the Government of the day to get enough money for the Army to go on during the whole of the Session.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
The honourable Gentleman misunderstands me most distinctly. The word "non-contentious" is perfectly understood in Parliamentary language, and it does not mean a Vote on which nothing is to be said, but it means that they are non-contentious in the sense that they raise no great principle. These Votes certainly come under that category, and if the honourable Gentleman will look at the time which has been taken up in the past he will see that I am not exaggerating in the sense in which I used the word, and that they are not contentious Votes. If they were postponed now, and brought up again at a later period of the Session, there would be really no additional opportunity given for the discussion of the Army Estimates, and all that would happen 1276 would be that the House would be put to the trouble of passing a Second Consolidated Fund Bill. All the time that has been taken could have been avoided if the honourable Gentleman had seconded the efforts of the Government to obtain these Votes earlier.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I must make a little additional protest against the misuse of the word "non-contentious." There was a time when these Votes, above all others, were contentious. In the old days, when purchase in the Army existed, we know that these non-effective Votes were the most contentious of all the Army Estimates, and therefore we must not be led to class this Vote or that Vote as being a perfectly harmless and non-contentious Vote which is to be passed without any observations.
§ *MR. PIRIE
I desire to lay before the right honourable Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury the fact that I think he is mistaken in imagining that the discussion on the Army Estimates can go on year after year in the same way as they have done in the past, when year after year they are increasing in so great an amount.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
I would draw the honourable Member's attention to the fact that the question is the granting of half-pay.
That a sum, not exceeding £1,551,000, he granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Courtenay Warner.)
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to item B in this Vote, which, I think, contains an amount of extravagance which ought not to be allowed. This increase amounts to £4,500 a year, and I beg to move that item B on page 14 be reduced by £4,500.
§ MR. CALDWELL
I merely want to point out that Vote 14, which relates to the non-effective Service, and Vote 15 contain some matters of great importance. So far as regards the emoluments to the officers in Vote 14, it will be seen that it is more than the amount paid to the whole body of men. That 1277 is certainly a matter which is deserving of consideration when the Army Estimates are discussed. The officers have representatives in this House who look after their interests, whereas the men have very few representatives here. I simply wish to point to the fact that the officers in retirement get a million and a half of money, which is more than is paid to the whole body of warrant and non-commissioned officers and men in like circumstances.
§ DR. CLARK
This is a very important question. I sec we have 70 major-generals on the staff. Ought not the War Office to he content with its 16 field-marshals, its 10 generals, and its 70 major-generals? Yet this list of half-pay officers is continually increasing, and this year we ore asked to Vote an extra £1,500. Why is it necessary to increase the number of major-generals? As my honourable Friend has pointed out, as far as the other branches of the non-effective Services are concerned these retiring allowances are a constantly increasing factor. But this only applies to the higher ranks, and not to the lower ones. I think my honourable Friend is perfectly right in moving a reduction on this Vote, and I do appeal to the honourable Gentleman to give us some explanation of the facts.
§ *MR. PIRIE
I think the country will be grateful to-morrow when it reads what has gone on in this House. We know there are men here who are constantly advocating an increase of the Army year by year, but the most serious point of view is to be found in the fact that the expenses for the higher ranks are on the increase, whereas those of the lower ranks are positively decreasing. We want the country to realise the present state of affairs. I believe the Commander-in-Chief can, if he likes, do a good deal more to ensure economy. It is all very well to talk about patriotism and the wants of the country, but we in this House are responsible to the taxpayers, and for that reason I think it is our bounden duty to resist these enormous increases year by year, until we are convinced that the country gets the full value for its ever- 1278 increasing expenditure. The more we resist them the more we shall have the country at our back. I do not wish to exaggerate the importance of this question, but in the interests of the Army itself it is surely desirable to have more economical administration. The House of Commons may be quite willing to Vote the money now, but the time will come when it will be much more economically disposed.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Order, order! The honourable Member must confine himself to the Question before the Committee.
§ *MR. PIRIE
The higher officers in the Army are, to a great extent, responsible for this great expenditure, and I think that if they will realise that there is a limit to the amount of money to be voted to the Army, they will see the desirability of reducing these retiring allowances and salaries.
§ MR. MADDISON (Sheffield, Brightside)
I agree with my honourable Friend that we ought to have some explanation of this increase in the Vote for half-pay officers. The Financial Secretary for War has given a certain explanation, but there are discrepancies which still want to be cleared up. Many of us believe that the Army is chiefly valuable to the officers. We are often told that the officers serve the Army and the nation out of pure patriotism, but it does not look quite as if that patriotism is undiluted, for it carries with it very heavy pay. I appeal to the Under Secretary for War to show us if he can that, in respect to this increase, there is to be some extra work done in 6ome way or other, and, unless he does so, I for one shall be obliged to vote with the mover of the reduction. It is a serious thing when you see as much as £4,500 increase in the Vote for half-pay field-marshals and general officers eligible for employment. But why should they be paid when they are not employed? A workman when he is out of employment gets no pay. honourable Members may interrupt me by making unearthly noises, and one who is doing so belongs to the 1279 very class with which I am dealing. I will ask him, is it unreasonable on our part to demand some explanation of the reason why this large sum of £4,500 is to be given to officers of the highest rank, who usually are men of very considerable wealth? Of course, I live at a very remote distance from these high officials, and I may be wrong as to their financial position. But I do venture to say that there are not many poor men among them. I only wish to appeal to the honourable Gentleman, to tell us in simple words, which we can easily understand, why this increase is taking place; and, if he does not tell us, the impression will be left on the minds of many of us that he has diplomatic reasons for witholding the explanation.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
As no answer has been given to my question, I must point out that the increase is directly contrary to what appears in the Royal Warrant, which allows 10 full generals, whereas there are 12; 20 lieutenant-generals, whereas there are 24; and 70 major-generals, whereas there are 84. How is it this increase has been brought about'? Why should we have this plethora of general officers? Is it not time to demand a reduction in this extravagant item? Remember, you are reducing the amount of half-pay to the men; they are costing you less, whereas your general officers are costing you more. I do hope that some explanation will be given.
§ MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)
I, too, think we are entitled to some explanation on this point. The Question has been brought before the House again and again during the last 14 years. May I point out that there are Gentlemen, Members of this House, coming here as political partisans, who are on the retired list, and in receipt of half-pay.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD
If the honourable Member is alluding to me as a half-pay officer he is entirely wrong.
§ MR. FENWICK
I never for a moment had the honourable and gallant Member in my mind. I know there are such Members to be found in both political Parties. We find that the half- 1280 pay staff is increasing year by year, and I repeat that Gentlemen who are on the retired list and are in receipt of half-pay ought not to be allowed to come to this House as political partisans, and to take part in Debates the object of which is to increase the expenditure of the country, which comes out of the taxpayers' pockets. I think we are entitled to ask that the Government shall not sit in silence and refuse an explanation of the alarming increase in this Estimate.
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
I can only repeat the explanation I gave half an hour ago. When the honourable Member speaks of the increase in this Vote, he alludes, no doubt, to the increase in this one item, for he must bear in mind that the Vote itself shows a decrease of no less than £16,000. With regard to the increase for half-pay, I have already explained it is due to the fact that in certain cases, instead of employing general officers for particular services requiring particular qualifications, colonels have been employed, and the result is that a larger number of general officers remain on the half-pay list than otherwise would be the case. That is the explanation of the increase in this particular item. There has been no increase in the total number of general officers, and the list of officers, including colonels, is being worked down to the number stated in the Royal Warrant, which in future is to be the establishment.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
We complain there has been no decrease. We do not say there has been an increase, but there are two full generals, four lieutenant-generals, and 14 major-generals over and above the proper number.
That a sum, not exceeding £1,551,000, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Courtenay Warner.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 27; Noes 99.—(Division List No. 51.)1281
|Allen, Wm.(Newe. underLyme)||Lawson,SirWilfrid(Cumb'land)||Samuel, J.(Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Macaleese, Daniel||Sinclair, Capt.Jno. (Forfarshire|
|Caldwell, James||Maddison, Fred.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Clark,Dr.G.B.(Caithness-sh.)||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Colville, John||Moulton, John Fletcher||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Weir, James Galloway|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Oldroyd, Mark||Williams, John Carvell(Notts.|
|Hayne, Rt, Hn. Chas. Seale-||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Hazell, Walter||Price, Robert John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Reckitt, Harold James||Mr. Warner and Mr. Pirie.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Fisher, William Hayes||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Folkestone, Viscount||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Bagot,Capt.JoscelineFitzRoy||Gedge, Sydney||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Baifour,Rt.Hn.A.J.(Maneh'r)||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Purvis, Robert|
|Balfour,RtHnGeraldW. (Leeds)||Cordon, Hon. John Edward||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Ritchie, Rt.Hn.Chas.Thomson|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cray, Ernest (West Ham)||Round, James|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Russell. T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Cull, Sir Cameron||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hamilton,Rt.Hn. Lord George||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks)|
|Bethell, Commander||Hanbury, Rt.Hn. Robert Wm.||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hardy, Laurence||Stanley, Hn. Arthurf (Ormskirk)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Hare. Thomas Leigh||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hutchinson. Capt. G.W.Grice-||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cavendish, V. C.W. (Derbyshire)||Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J.(Birm.)||Kemp, George||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r.||Lawrence, Sir E.Purning-tCorn||Webster, SirR. E. (I. of W.)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Leigh-Bennett. Henry Currie||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Loekwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Long, Col. Chas. W.(Evesham)||Williams,Joseph Powell(Birm)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Long.RtHn Walter(Liverpool)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lowles, John||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Macartney. W. G. Ellison||Wortley, Rt.Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Macdona, John Cumming||Wylie, Alexander|
|Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)||McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs.)||Wyndham, George|
|Cross, Herb.Shepherd(Bolton)||Malcolm, Tan||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Curzon, Viscount||More, Robt.Jasper(Shropshire)||Young, Commander(Berks,E.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptf'd)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Douglas, Rt, Hn. A. Akers-||Murray, RtHn A. Graham(Bute||Sir William Walrond and|
|Duncombe, Hon. HubertV.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Finch, George H.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ DR. CLARK
There is one very important matter already alluded to as to which we have had no explanation from the Financial Secretary. A serious statement is made by the Comptroller-General, in his Report on the Army Appropriation Account, to the effect that the country has to pay £800 a year to two lieutenant-colonels, one of whom had been turned out for mis-appropriating £100, and the other for drunkenness, but had been reinstated. In the case of one colonel, which was discussed last year, considerable sym- 1282 pathy was expressed on both sides of the House, but the principle then adopted has been carried still further this year, and I think we have a right to know what action has been taken on 1his accusation by the Comptroller-General, that the Royal Warrant is being evaded by the Secretary for War by putting an absolutely new construction on the offence of misdemeanour. In the case of the colonel who misappropriated the £100 the money was taken from a regimental fund and invested in his wife's name. Surely, the misappropriation and investment of regimental funds in a man's wife's name 1283 was an offence for which ho should have been dismissed the Service, yet it was held it was not sufficiently serious to justify that step. You have one law for the rich and another for the poor. If a soldier had appropriated a comrade's money he would have been imprisoned, but the officer you treated quite differently. I suppose an officer may steal or get drunk, and do exactly as he pleases. Under the circumstances I propose to move to reduce the Vote by £800.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
Before we put that Motion, I understand, from what has fallen from the honourable Gentleman, that his complaint is in regard to a case brought before the Public Accounts Committee by the Comptroller-General, in which two pensions under this Vote are called in question. In order to save further trouble, I will give an undertaking on the part of the Government that no money shall be paid to either of these two officers until the Public Accounts Committee have had the matter under their consideration.
That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Allen.)
§ MR. ALLEN (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
It is now nearly an hour and a half beyond the usual time at which the House adjourns, and an hour since I made an appeal to the First Lord to allow us to adjourn. I therefore beg now to move to report progress.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
The House has by Resolution suspended the Twelve o'clock Rule for the express purpose of considering Supply, and the Committee has itself decided since Twelve o'clock not to report progress. Out of respect for the honourable Gentleman I will not decline altogether to put the Question from the Chair, but I will put it without Debate.
That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."—(Mr. Allen.)
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 22; Noes 97.—(Division List No. 52.)1285
|Caldwell, James||Maddison, Fred.||Samuel, J.(Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Clark, Dr.G.B. (Caithness-sh.)||Morton, Edw. J. C.(Devonport)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Moulton, John Fletcher||Weir, James Galloway|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.|
|Hayne, Rt. Hn. Chas. Seale-||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Hazell, Walter||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Mr. Warner and Mr.|
|Lawson,SirWilfrid(Cumb 'land)||Price, Robert John||William Allen.|
|Macaleese, Daniel||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Arnold, Alfred||Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Corbett, A. Cameron(Glasgow)|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Carlile, William Walter||Cross, Herb.Shepherd(Bolton)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire)||Curzon, Viscount|
|Bagot. Capt. JoscelineFitzRoy||Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn.A.J.(Manch'r)||Chamberlain, Rt.Hn. J. (Birm.)||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Balfour.RtHnGeraldW. (Leeds)||Chamberlain, J. Austen(Worc'r.||Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Finch, George H.|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne|
|Bemrose, Sir Henry Howe||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Folkestone, Viscount|
|Bethell, Commander||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)|
|Blundell, Colonel Honry||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gedge, Sydney|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Macdona, John Gumming||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||McCalmont, H. L. B.(Cambs.)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||More, Robt.Jasper(Shropshire)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Morrell, George Herbert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Murray, RtHn A. Graham(Bute||Wanklvn, James Leslie|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Webster, SirR, E. (I. of W.)|
|Hamilton,Rt.Hn. Lord George||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Hanbury, Rt.Hn. Robert Wm.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon|
|Hardy, Laurence||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Williams, Joseph Powell(Birm)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Hutchinson, Capt. G.W.Grice-||Pollock, Harry Frederick||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Jebb, Richard Claverhouse||Pryee-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wortley, Rt.Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Purvis, Robert||Wylie, Alexander|
|Kemp, George||Richards, Henry Charles||Wyndham, George|
|Lawrence,Sir E.Durning-(Cora||Ritchie, Rt.Hn Chas.Thomson||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Round, James||Young, Commander(Berks,E.)|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Long, Col. Chas.W.(Evesham)||Simeon, Sir Harrington||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Long,RtHnWalter(Liverpool)||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks)||Sir William Walrond and|
|Lowles, John||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Stanley,Hn.Arthur(Ormskirk)|
Resolutions agreed to.
§ Original Question put.
§ Vote agreed to.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That a sum not exceeding £1,325,500 be granted to Her Majesty to defray the Charge for Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals and the In-Pensioners thereof, of Out-Pensions, of the Maintenance of Lunatics for whom Pensions are not drawn, and of Gratuities awarded in Commutation or in lieu of Pensions, of Rewards for Meritorious Services, of Victoria Cross Pensions, and of Pensions to the Widows and Children of Warrant Officers, etc., which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1900.
That a sum not exceeding £1.313.500 be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Caldwell.)
§ MR. CALDWELL
I wish to point out that this Vote shows a decrease. We have just passed the Officers' Vote, in which there is a considerable increase, and I should like to know what is the reason for it?
§ MR. CALDWELL
Item "C" on page 117. What we want to know is, how it comes about that, while there is an increase in the number of men in the Army, there is not a corresponding increase in the number of pensioners. If I cannot get an explanation on this 1286 point, I shall have to move a reduction in order to emphasise our opinion that there is no reason whatever for reducing the amount paid to the men while the sum for the officers is increased. I shall move to reduce the Vote by £12,000.
§ MR. MADDISON
Is it necessary to put us to the trouble of a Division when a few words of explanation would save it.
Is there any necessity to waste the time simply because the Financial Secretary will not answer the Question put to him.
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
It is due to the increase in the number of men upon the pension list, but I cannot say what that decrease is exactly at the present moment. The long service men who are entitled to pensions are dying off, and their places are being taken by short service men who are not entitled to pensions, so that there will, of course, be a decrease from time to time.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ DR. CLARK
I should like to call the attention of the Financial Secretary to the fact that in the item for Chelsea Hospital we find the field-marshal draw- 1287 ing a salary of £500 a year, and holding what is practically a sinecure. I hope the House will use its pruning knife in matters such as this.
§ MR. POWELL WILLIAMS
May I trouble the Committee for a moment. I see that the numbers for which I was asked a few minutes ago are given on page 121 of the Estimates, and if the honourable Member will look at that he will see that the number has fallen from 79,529 to 78,393, so that will account for the reduction.
§ Original Question put.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ 4. £183,700, Superannuation, Compensation, Compassionate Allowances and Gratuities.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.