§ [THIRD DAY'S DEBATE.]
§ Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment proposed to Question [13th May], "That it is expedient that six army corps be organised in the United Kingdom, with the requisite staff, stores, and buildings; that a Reserve for the Militia be enrolled not exceeding 50,000 men; that the establishment of the Yeomanry be raised from 12,000 to 35,000; and that eight regiments be enrolled for garrison service.—(Mr. Secretary Brodrick.)
And which Amendment was—
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words,
'this House, while desirous of supporting, measures for improving the efficiency of the Army and securing Imperial defence, is of opinion that the proposals of His Majesty's Government are in many respects not adapted to the special wants of the Empire, and largely increase the burdens of the nation without adding substantially to its military strength.'"—(Sir Henry Campbell-Eannerman).
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ SIR ARTHUR HAYTER (Walsall)
resumed the debate. He said: Keeping, in view the friendly suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury that speakers on this 283 question to-day should remember that "brevity is the soul of wit," I promise him and the House that I will not trespass long upon their attention. I am sure the House will bear with me if I address a few inquiries to the right hon. Gentleman as to the new powers he proposes to confer on the generals commanding the corps d'armee in this country which are not at present provided for, because I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me that, until we understand what the expense of this system will be, and until we know what the new powers entrusted to the generals are, we are only at the very threshold of the question. The right hon. Gentleman encourages me, because he used these words, which I thought very striking in the excellent speech he made on the 8th of March—I believe that the proper delegation of authority is the only means by which we can redeem our military system and our officers from the paralysing effects of relying for every detail of their task in time of peace on a central establishment in Pall Mall.I am sure that all the military Members of this House, and any gentlemen who have given attention to the conditions at the War Office, will agree with me that these are wise words, and that we ought to do all in our power to support the right hon. Gentleman in carrying them out.
The first thing we have to understand is, what are exactly the powers which are now to be delegated to the generals commanding districts and divisions in this country. I will, with the permission of the House, compare the old duties and powers entrusted to general officers in command of districts in this country with the duties and powers of officers in command in Germany and France. In our case every buestion connected with the drill and discipline of troops is under the general in command. We all know that the general officer in command of a district is absolutely supreme and responsible for drill and discipline, but he neither arms nor equips them; he neither clothes, feeds, nor houses them. All that is done by separate departments of the Government. If the right hon. Gentleman intends at all to proceed on the lines of the powers granted abroad he must very much enlarge the 284 powers of the generals in command of districts. Now, what is the case in Germany? I ventured on Tuesday to state what were the powers of an officer commanding a corps d'armee. The officer commanding has under him a corps intendant, and I quote with respect to the duties of that officer from a paper presented to Parliament in connection with Lord Harrington's Committee—The corps intendant is responsible for corps accounts, supply, clothing, barracks, hospitals, pensions, invalidings, control of funds for building fortifications, technical superintendence of military buildings. In France the corps commanders are responsible to the War Minister for the efficiency of the troops and establishments in their regions. The corps commander is the direct and responsible chief of the administration, financial or otherwise, in his corps. The directors of the various departments are under his immediate orders and correspond with him alone. The corps commander is, under the authority of the Minister, responsible for the administration of his army corps.Very similar is the case in France. Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to give these corps commanders in this country the control of, say, their contracts for forage supplies? Is he prepared to give them control of their transport? Does he propose to allow them to be responsible for the carrying out of those buildings in Class 2 of the Works Vote, which amount to no les than £100,000? Will they have contro of the supplies? Of course, it is of the greatest importance that they should have, but, if they do, and if they have this subordinate command, it will, of course, enormously decrease the overwhelming correspondence with which in the past the War Office has had to deal.
I think hon. and right hon. Gentlemen are hardly aware of the amount of detail work which this correspondence involves. I saw an account given to the Decentralisation Committee as to the sort of questions to be answered from headquarters. I do not know whether it is the same now. If a child was too small to toddle to the army school, the head of the military department was asked whether he might be allowed to go to a civil school. A schoolmistress had to ask whether she might marry her young man, and a schoolmaster was not allowed more than three days leave without the permission of the War Office. Well, the absurdity of that is apparent. When Lord Roberts 285 appeared before the Decentralisation Committee in 1898 he was asked—Have you in your mind anything in the nature of a reorganisation under the army corps system which now obtains in India which would lessen reference to this office?—It would be impossible unless the officer commanding the army corps has some sort of financial authority.You would, in fact, take over a considerably larger financial authority?—Yes.You would regard them as part of the duties of an officer?—Yes; on service you give an officer almost unlimited financial control, but his training in time of peace does not teach him how to exercise that control. I would give a general officer commanding a district more financial responsibility.Do you think the regulations keep them too much in leading strings now?—Yes, far too much.I think the House will endorse that.
I now come to the question of the decentralisation of accounts. The system which prevails at present is this: The quartermaster makes up the pay list and submits it to the officer commanding the battalion, who signs it. He must have besides another officer's signature. The pay list comes up to the Accountant General in Pall Mall and—will the House believe it?—every single item has to be audited and reaudited. It is to this enormous amount of time, labour, and expense in auditing and reauditing accounts that I wish to call the serious attention of the House. There are no less at the present moment than seventy-seven clerks employed in auditing the accounts of the officers and men; there are twenty-one additional clerks employed in auditing the accounts of the Reserve forces; and there are no less than 120 clerks employed in auditing the accounts for clothing and stores. What I say is that this is a system enormously troublesome, expensive, and useless, because it would be far better to adopt, as the Germans do, a local audit in the district itself. We must, therefore, get behind this audit at the War Office. Perhaps I may read on this question of decentralisation of accounts the opinion given by Sir Henry Brackenbury before a Committee of the House of Commons in 1887—If you had a system of decentralisation, always supposing that you do away with this system of second audit, because, first of all, every pay list, every list that is sent in, is audited by the paymaster of the district, or regiment, and then it comes up to the War Office here, and the whole of that work, every 286 single fragment of it, is gone over again; if, as I say, you had a system of decentralisation, with a test audit, such as they have in Germany, instead of this complete audit, with every item gone over again, I believe you would do away with half the clerks in the War Office. You would also, I believe myself, not lose one single fragment of efficiency as regards real true audit.That is a very important thing, but there is another great benefit you might obtain if the right hon. Gentleman would give certain powers to adopt a local audit. I believe what I propose is carried out in other Departments of the Government. If the clerks who go down, as I hope they will go down, to audit the accounts on the spot could also take stock of the articles there, compare the vouchers, and see that all the articles said to be there are really there, then, I think, we should have a businesslike audit, and one of the utmost value to the Department. What does Lord Wolseley say on this point? I venture to mention his name because he was for a long time Adjutant General and Quartermaster General at the War Office. He said—It is desirable to give more trust and confidence to the military authorities. I think that there is an enormous amount of expenditure in the War Office in the continual system of check and countercheck. A large number of gentlemen, I cannot tell how many, are maintained to audit the accounts. I think that a great deal of that audit might be dispensed with if, instead of having those elaborate audits of accounts, you might have a check audit; that is to say, you have a great pile of vouchers and papers, and if instead of going through the whole mass of them you pull out a bundle here and there for a few examples, you might audit them as a test for the accuracy of the others.Therefore Lord Wolseley agrees with me on this point. I am sure if that system could be adopted it would be of advantage to the War Office, and would considerably reduce the expenditure. I have seen so much of this useless expense at the War Office from the auditing of accounts that I would venture to impress on the right hon. Gentleman to do all in his power to bring about some decentralisation of accounts.
I am anxious to say one or two words about the military system under this proposal. I must say there are some most striking defects. One is that little consideration is given to the condition of recruiting. The right hon. Gentleman knows, and the House knows, what the 287 comparative crisis will be which he will have to face when the troops come back from South Africa. There are a number of men who are waiting for their discharge, the Reserve is depleted, three years reliefs for India are due, and besides this we have these ominous words from the Inspector General of Recruiting, where he says—It will be many a day before the supply of recruits comes up to the demand.And again—that the great problem of the military system now is to find recruits for our increasing requirements.In the first three months of this year there was a deficiency of 3,000 recruits as compared with the same period of last year. The right hon. Gentleman recognises this, and he offers certain attractions for new recruits. I rejoice to see that he proposes to reduce the amount of what is called "Sentry go," and to give the men cubicles and other concessions which will tend to their comfort and welfare, and to change the drill. But the right hon. Gentleman must know that these attractions of themselves are not enough. He proposes to give at the end of militia and garrison service a pension of 6d. per day, and when the men reach the age of sixty-five a pension of no less than 1s. 6d. per day. I think that is an excellent thing, and I believe the men to be thoroughly entitled to it; but can anyone imagine a young man of eighteen being attracted into the Army by the prospect of a pension of 1s. 6d. per day at the age of sixty-five? There are two things that are attractive to soldiers, first, the period of enlistment; and second, the increase of pay. What we want is a short service accompanied by a period in the Reserve, and in addition an extended period of service for men to go to India and the colonies. I can speak from personal experience at the War Office of the popularity of the three years system. At that time the Brigade of Guards was 800 short, and it was felt that some heroic step should be taken, and the period of enlistment was reduced to three years, with the result that the whole 800 men were obtained in a few months. I was speaking to an officer of the Grenadier Guards the other day, who said that their battalion was 3,000 strong, and was almost entirely com- 288 posed of three years service men. The Coldstream battalion is 2,000 strong. I do not think there can be any doubt that we can obtain a considerable amount of men for three years service. But the question is what can you do to induce men to extend the period of service from three to ten years, for service in India and the colonies? I maintain that you have no right to impose the same conditions on a young man of twenty-one years of age and on a soldier in the prime of life, and although I do not propose, as the hon. Member for the Fareham Division has done, that the latter should receive 1s. 9d. per day, I think they should receive some slight addition to their pay. An addition of 3d. per day would cost £800,000. Any increase of pay would have an attraction to the soldier, and there ought to be a sliding scale in order to induce them to continue in the service. I cannot omit to say that the present proposal is a very expensive system for the number of men we get. The right hon. Gentleman says he will get 11,500 additional men, but he counts in that number 8,000 of the garrison regiments, which are not to be available for service except in the Mediterranean and South Africa, so that for this great increase of two millions a year, only 3,500 men will be added to the effective fighting strength of the Army. I am anxious to say a few words on the question of the officers. I recognise with much pleasure that the right hon. Gentleman is going to give a great boon to the officers of cavalry, by allowing, them to take horses at a merely nominal sum from the Government studs. I hope this boon will be extended to the officers of infantry and adjutants of Yeomanry and Volunteers. I am sure the House will agree that it is a great scandal that it should be necessary for an officer to have a large private income in order to hold the King's commission. I have known for years that an officer in the Household Cavalry must have a private income of £800 a year, and in the ordinary cavalry of between £500 or £600, while in the infantry a subaltern must have £100 a year, besides, his equipment, to live in comfort. That excludes absolutely gentlemen of the poorer classes, such as the sons 289 of clergymen, who are desirous of entering the Army. There are no Jack of officers for the Royal Marines, because they can live on their pay. Sumptuary laws are of very little use; but we must remember that in the universities rich and poor live together, and why should they not do so in the Army? Commanding officers of cavalry ought to be interviewed by the Commander-in-Chief, and if the rate of living in their regiments is too high they should be made strictly responsible. Again, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will relieve officers from paying subscriptions to the regimental band. There is no reason why the officers in a regiment should maintain the band, which is on the establishment of the regiment. I would also ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he could not provide some cheap form of barrack furniture for the officers. That furniture might always remain in barracks, and the officers would be simply tenants, and when quarters changed any damage done could be easily assessed as it is on the outgoing troops.
As to the Yeomanry, which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to increase to 35,000, I do not complain at all of the terms offered—5s. per day pay, and free rations, with £5 to every man who brings his own horse. These are very generous conditions, but it must be remembered that their period of duty is to be extended from eight to eighteen days, and that would necessarily include the two market days, which would not be very popular with the farmers of the south of England. But the great question is whether we can hope to raise the Yeomanry up to 35,000. A short time ago the establishment of the Yeomanry was 15,000, but we have never been able to raise much more than 10,000. Then, if 35,000 Yeomanry are not found, where are the cavalry for the three last army corps to be got? The scheme adds no regular cavalry, and disestablishes the mounted infantry. That leads me to the conclusion that the right hon. Gentleman would have done much better by cutting his scheme in half, and making an experiment with three army corps. Much as I admire the right hon. Gentleman's attempt at decentralisation, I feel that this scheme is not well fitted 290 for our wants at home. It is a very expensive scheme in regard to transport and supply. It was tried in peace time and failed, and it was tried in the time of the war in South Africa, and it also failed. Therefore, although I have listened with very great pleasure to the right hon. Gentleman, I have no other alternative but to vote against him.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
The course of this debate has disclosed undoubtedly considerable divergence of opinion among Members of the House as to the merits of the resolution submitted by the Government. But this debate has been far from disappointing to those who have framed the scheme which is the subject of it. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite with which the debate opened was one which was moderate in tone and which certainly, to us on this side of the House, appeared neither very exhilarating to the right hon. Gentleman's followers nor very damaging to the Government. Indeed, listening to it, I found it difficult to remember that the right hon. Gentleman himself had in his earlier days been associated with a great scheme of Army reform. I think his enthusiasm as an Army reformer has very sensibly diminished since the days of Mr. Cardwell. If he will pardon the expression, he is an example of what used to be known in racing parlance as Chifney training. Chifney could train a horse in such a way that it could win one race, but was never able to do anything afterwards. The right hon. Gentleman as an Army reformer exhausted himself in 1870–71. He certainly has never won any race in great Army reform since, and I do not think he would profess that he ever started in one. My own recollections of this House are of the very faint support which he gave in 1887 to the scheme of Mr. Stanhope, which was almost universally accepted, and which proposed to work up two army corps for foreign service. The right hon. Gentleman said on that occasion that it was very well to have some standard, some point at which we could stop, but that the scheme ought not to be too pedantically applied. Even that faint 291 expression of commendation was all frittered and swept away six years later when the right hon. Gentleman came down and boldly asked, What did people want with an army corps at all? and congratulated himself that his scheme of 1893 would be reduced simply to this—that we should send a little force abroad consisting of an infantry division, a cavalry brigade, a mounted infantry battalion, five batteries of artillery, etc., making in all, he hoped, something like 20,000 men; and for this he was not afraid, for the striking power of Great Britain in any part of the world, to come to this House and ask it for a vote of eighteen millions of public money.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN: (Stirling Burghs)
There were some other duties to be fulfilled besides that.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
That was a mobile force for any exceptional expedition that might be required in an emergency. All the other garrison duties and other duties of the British Army were not in question at that time.
§ MR. BRODRICK
Yes, I am quite familiar with that, but the right hon. Gentleman had been himself a member of a Government which a few years before had sent nearly double that number of troops to Egypt and had thrown down the gauntlet to Russia in 1885, when an expedition on a very different scale was actually under discussion at the War Office—an expedition which the right hon. Gentleman's 1893 plan would have made it impossible for us to carry out.
But, Sir, I have not come down to-night for the purpose of merely making a reply to a party attack from the right hon. Gentleman; but I have noticed that, even on that side of the House, more than one Member has spoken in terms which showed me that, even if they are about to vote against the resolution—which probably as party men they cannot avoid—yet at the same time they have great sympathy with the object we have in view. 292 The hon. Member for Hastings, who delivered an excellent maiden speech, and the hon. Member for East Bristol, spoke in terms which were sympathetic, and which, at all events, led me to feel that, if I have not their support on this resolution, I shall have their support at some time or another for the principle which this resolution affirms. The fact that the great majority of the Opposition intend to go into the lobby against this resolution will not tempt me into making a party speech. I say that with the more reason because I feel that there is something altogether incongruous that a man charged, as I am at this moment, with conducting a campaign on a great scale, directing the employment, not of tens of thousands but of more than 250,000 men, under circumstances of stress and difficulty—I think there is something incongruous in approaching the functions of this office before the world from a party standpoint. But, Sir, although I feel that, at whatever expense of party majority, or otherwise, it is necessary to lay down the foundations of Army reform on which we intend to work, I am fully conscious that the superstructure cannot be reared in the years to come if the principles which are adopted by the great mass of our own party at this moment, and which I believe will obtain wide sympathy out of doors, do not ultimately command the support of more than one party in the State. It is because I am fortified, in the position we have taken up, by the best military advice, and because the system on which we undertake to work will, as I believe I can show to the House, be of permanent advantage to the Army, that I approach the matters under discussion this afternoon without doubt or hesitation.
At the outset I should like to clear away one or two points which have, I think, been the cause of some mistaken speeches and a good many mistaken leading articles in the press during the last few weeks. It has been assumed that we are dealing with difficulties with which we are not dealing, and with a state of the Army which we, as a Government, cannot admit has arrived. Sir, we are not meeting with such a collapse as occurred after the Crimean War. We are not repairing the 293 complete breakdown of our system. We are not here to-night to lament, as we had to do after the Crimean War, that, after sending out 30,000 or 40,000 men we could only fill up the gaps in the ranks with a few raw boys sent out straight from the depots; we are not here to apologise for great failures in the provision of stores and the munitions of war. On the contrary, when I spoke two months ago I was able to say that we had succeeded in keeping 150,000 Regular troops and 70,000 or 80,000 irregular troops in the field from home and the colonies with every store and munition requisite during fifteen months. I was able to vouch the opinions of all the officers who served to the excellence of the men whom our present system of recruiting had brought out, and I was able to give the verdict of Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener that these troops had been maintained in the field in a way that they could not have wished to be surpassed as to supplies and stores. My case was then, and is now, that there has been an awakening, or rather a discovery, that there are many flaws and imperfections even in those portions of our Army which we deemed to be the best; and if the House will bear with me for a few moments I will endeavour to focus the discussion and to state again in a few words what are the points with which this new organisation professes to deal, and what are, therefore, the reasons why I press them on the attention of the House.
My case is this. We have got a great number of available forces. These forces are not properly organised. I propose to give them, by this scheme, an organisation which will be most efficient in peace, and also a proper organisation for war. I urge that we have now masses of troops at home in large numbers which could not be of their full value in the field, because they are without the due proportion of different arms, and I propose to give them a due proportion of arms to fit them for the purpose for which they are intended. It is obvious to everybody, whether, like my hon. friends behind me, who are learned in Army matters, or, like myself, a civilian, that we have a mass of untrained or half-trained troops in this country to whom, if you are to give defined functions, you must also give adequate train- 294 ing. My scheme provides that we should bring a certain number of these troops up to that higher level of efficiency which is demanded by military authorities if they are to be put in the line of battle, relegating the others to those positions of usefulness for which the military authorities consider them to be admirably suited. Though the right hon. Gentleman cheered just now in reference to his own speech, in which he said he did not see on what platform or where we are going to use two Army corps, I rely, as I relied two months ago, on recent events and on the position of Great Britain on three continents, in saying that it is necessary for us to have a proper force for service abroad. That force, on the authority of the Government and on the fullest consideration, we put at 120,000 men. This scheme provides it, and I pledge the Government to maintain it. I cannot assent to the proposition of those who, like my hon. friend the Member for Oldham, ask me to wait to begin to raise it and organise it until the enemy has begun to march. As was shown in the speech of the Chief Secretary two days ago, when last year these three army corps were withdrawn from England we were left in a condition of disorganisation at home in which we had to hastily improvise all the staffs, all the mobilisation for an army, in order to bring what troops remained in the country into a condition fitting them for service. If this scheme be accepted that will never be our condition again, for, if we send three army corps away from this country we shall have in the remaining three army corps the nucleus on which we can build up, carefully and efficiently, a proper defence.
All these matters which I have mentioned are questions of principle and questions of expenditure, which we cannot properly bring before the House in a resolution like the present; but I think a misconception has arisen among those who have been good enough to say that the scheme, as originally propounded, was much more attractive than the resolution before the House. Sir, it is impossible to convey in a resolution all that is required to place our Army on a proper footing. This resolution is only the 295 skeleton. We intend to clothe it with flesh and blood, and the criticisms which have been given to us, or which may be given to us, will not be thrown away in that operation. This is the necessary foundation on which we can build up all the reforms that we consider to be necessary; and among those reforms I place first and foremost the great delegation of business from the War Office to districts, and which I undertook should he carried out, and which cannot be carried out without this scheme; secondly, the organisation of units under commanders with whom they would have to serve in time of war; thirdly, the improved training of officers and men, which can only be carried out in bodies which have a proper mixture of the three arms; and there are also other points, such as the reform of the Army Medical Service, to which we are pledged, and upon which we are engaged, the reform of the transport service, and the reform of the War Office itself, and the reform of the system of appointing or selecting officers to commands. All these are vital to the Army. They all ought to, and must, pervade every action in connection with this reform. I cannot embody them all in a resolution, but I regard them as irrevocably connected with the resolution, and without them this organisation would be void. I mention them, and I ask for some belief in our resolution to carry them through. It has, I know, been the maxim of some Secretaries of State to allay the possibility of panic, possibly also to put off the day of reckoning, by making pleasing speeches to the House of Commons, assuring them that there is not much the matter with the Army, and that it does not matter much if there is, because all things will come Tight with time. I have not taken that position. I have endeavoured to be very frank with the House. I have admitted that there are states that require to be improved, and systems that require to be built up; and I would ask the House of Commons when they vote on this resolution to-night to consider that they are not voting merely for the words which are embodied in the resolution, but for the spirit which pervades this reform. It may be too much to ask the House to give their complete 296 confidence to any Commander-in-Chief or to any Secretary of State in regard to provisions of this kind; indeed, I think I have heard it suggested in this debate that it is unfortunate that circumstances have not permitted us to give an earnest of some of these reforms before we had to come to Parliament for our organisation. Sir, I am well aware of the serious nature of the task; but surrounded as I am by admirable coadjutors, and in complete concurrence with my military colleagues, I do not shrink from it. I ask the House to give me a little time, and I think we shall be able to show them a good result; and I would ask those who are critics, and those who are inclined to compassionate a man who, with a good many difficulties, has got to carry on a good deal of business at once, to wait till they see that result. It is in that spirit that I would meet the strictures that have been passed, and especially I hope that I shall be able to remove doubts expressed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite as to the composition of the army corps which are the substratum of the scheme. I said just now that the army corps represent what is, in our mind, the best organisation for peace, as well as the best organisation for war. I am not very much moved by the objections which have been made as to outgiving a name to the army corps, nor, I confess, can I quite follow the right hon. Gentleman opposite when he complains that because an army corps had to be put on board ship it could not be used as an army corps.
§ MR. BRODRICK
Well, that was the impression he gave. I am in the recollection of the House—the right hon. Gentleman said that these troops will have to go on board ship, and asked, How, then, will they form army corps?
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
The point of that is, we do not know very long beforehand where the ship will go when it has got them on board. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laugh, but I do not know what at; the whole point turns on that. In any Continental country 297 you know exactly where your army corps will be employed, and you train it and you prepare it for years beforehand with reference to that particular duty; but with us, if we have to send 20,000, 40,000, or 100,000 men abroad we have to put them on board ship, and it depends on the circumstances and necessities of the time to what particular climate and against what particular enemy they are to be sent.
§ MR. BRODRICK
Yes, but whether they are going to another climate or whether they are going on board ship they still want the due proportions of arms, they still gain by being commanded by officers who have commanded them in peace, they still want cohesion. No, I will not allow myself to be driven off this point by the right hon. Gentleman's desire that we should have no organisation at all. The point between me and him—I will not say between this side of the House and the other—is whether we should have an organisation or whether we should muddle through as best we can. He has had his day, he has had four periods of office at the War Office; the last three of them were devoted to a system which has been condemned by the House and by the country, and I will not abide by it. When I spoke of the army corps in war I argued from this point of view—your officers will know the men with whom they have to deal, and your various units will be prepared; they will not be collected from Malta, Ireland, Scoland, Aldershot, put under a commander they have never seen before, and then told to fight three weeks afterwards as a homogeneous brigade. As regards war, I do not think the scheme is open to any criticism. I know no military man of great experience who does not prefer that we should mass these troops together into the army corps in which they are likely to have to act. But in peace the case is infinitely stronger. In peace these army corps will be arranged with reference to the whole system of decentralisation.
I have had in my hands during the last few days, and I will undertake to lay it on the Table as soon as I can, the report of Mr. Dawkins's Committee on the organisation of the War Office. From a complete study 298 of that extremely interesting document I find that almost the whole of their recommendations are based on a large delegation of authority from the War Office to the military districts. That cannot take place unless you set up authorities in the military districts who are to receive the authority. The right hon. Gentleman opposite, or somebody sitting on that side, said, Why not give it to the eighteen or twenty general officers who are now in command of those districts? I will take one illustration. Supposing the general officer at Plymouth has twelve artillerymen too many and the general officer at Portsmouth has twelve too few, obviously the one should transfer to the other. But they have not the authority to do it without referring to the War Office. But if you set up a general officer over both the officers of those districts he can transfer from one to the other without difficulty. And while we can arrange, as desired by the Committee, for a large delegation of financial authority, we cannot set up eighteen or twenty financial authorities in various parts of England. We should have no cohesion if we did, but we can lay on the man who commands the whole of Ireland, or Scotland, or the whole of the west of England this responsibility, and keep him up to the mark if it is not carried out.
More especially do I urge this view on the House because I think the time has come when at all hazards we should put an end to what I would call the paralysing system of reference to Pall Mall on every small item or movement of a soldier's life, which entirely occupies officers of high standing during peace times. That is what I have felt for years past. It is borne in on us by the evidence of Lord Roberts before the Committee of 1898, and by the experience of the war, and that is why I would ask the House to believe that this proposal with regard to army corps is not an ambitious or a grandiose proposal, as it has been described by my hon. friend the Member for Oldham; it is a plain, wise, prudent, and practical measure, without which you will not build up a fresh and reformed army system.
One word on various points that have been raised in connection with this proposal. I pass over altogether one observation of 299 the right hon. Member for Forest of Dean which I thought was not worthy of him. He must have known that he was comparing like and unlike when he said that this proposal was very much the same as the eight army corps of Lord Cranbrook in the Army List. He knows that Lord Cranbrook's proposals never professed to be anything else than a division of troops upon paper, to show how they might act. There was no localisation of them in districts, and no attempt to establish them in corps with the officers commanding in war, or to establish a complete proportion of the various arms. It differed in every respect from this scheme. We have been asked whether it is our intention to establish a full Staff in time of peace for districts which will not have a full number of regular troops. Certainly not; in those districts we shall establish the necessary nucleus. We have been asked are all the present Staff officers to remain outside the army corps system. Certainly not; they will all be removed into the army corps system or be under the commander of the army corps district, and each command their brigade or their unit as may be desirable. We do not propose to keep men idle; on the contrary, we propose to keep men much more actively employed than hitherto, by bringing them together at a proper time of year. Then I was asked as to buildings. My right hon. friend last year asked the House for a loan for the purpose of barracks, and explained at the time that the loan did not cover the whole of the barracks necessary for the troops which would be in Great Britain at the end of the war. Moreover, in 1897, before we had a loan and before these additions to the Army were anticipated, we had a deficiency of barracks, and a certain number of barracks required to be reconstructed. Between 1897 and 1899 provision was made for thirty-five mountain and field batteries and seventeen battalions. The largest provision was made in the last four years which could be made, but that still left twenty-five field and mountain batteries, seventeen battalions, and three cavalry regiments, which have been or must be removed from barracks which have been condemned as insanitary, and we may therefore say that taking the whole of the barracks which have got to be pro- 300 vided we shall have to find for three cavalry regiments, fifty-seven field and mounted batteries, seven horse batteries, six battalions, and eight depots. These barracks are to be constructed in the new Army corps districts according to the distribution of the troops provided by the army corps. But not one of them will be in addition to what would have to be provided now according to the present system. There is no expenditure on barracks involved in this proposal which would not have been involved if this scheme had not been undertaken. There may be some expenditure in offices and staff buildings, but that will depend largely on the view taken of recommendations which have been made. There will also be some slight expenditure in stores. There, again, the large expenditure will have to take place in the decentralisation of stores, which is one of the most important of the mobilisation requirements of the country, but that was provided for by my hon. friend last year, and is in no way affected by the scheme I am now laying before the House. Therefore the suggestion of wild extravagance in this scheme may be taken as proceeding from hon. Members who have not got sufficient information before them.
Before I leave the subject, perhaps I may be allowed to say a word about the name. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to attach an exaggerated importance to the name of "army corps." "Army corps" may be a foreign term; but I will guarantee that, if the system is given a fair frial for three or four years in this country, at the end of that time the term "army corps" will be neither strange nor unpopular, for it will stand for all that which this House had asked for time after time and not obtained. It will stand for good organisation, for delegated powers, for the reduction of references, for rapid correspondence, and, I hope, for the abolition of red tape. It will be a guarantee for the proper training of our officers, and it will fortify our military system at the point at which it is weakest, namely, that which was exposed last year when we had helter-skelter to call together troops under officers they had never seen, in order to fill up Aldershot after the troops had been taken away from it.
301 Now I come to what is really the kernel of such attacks as have been made on the resolution before the House. It is not what is in the resolution, but what is not in the resolution, for which we are attacked. I have had strong appeals made to me by my hon. friends behind me, by members of the Military Committee in this House, to consider the question of adding to the pay of soldiers. May I point out that, although I certainly am ready to discuss this subject, it is not affected by the scheme which I have laid before the House. For the last four years this House has voted increases of the Regular Army. It has voted three regiments of foot guards, fifteen battalions of infantry; it has added eighty men to eighty-six battalions in the Army to bring up the home strength; it has added seventy-one batteries of artillery, and nearly 7,000 men belonging to garrison artillery or departmental corps. That is a great addition. It may make difficulties in recruiting, but they are not made on this occasion, as I have not added a single man to that establishment. Still, the House has a right to ask that I should say how these men are to be obtained. Our normal recruiting before 1898, when some changes and ameliorations were made in the soldiers' conditions of service, was about 35,000 a year. Our normal requirements under the new system will, so far as we can estimate them—these matters are very difficult to estimate—be something like 45,000 recruits a year. Last year, though we were recruiting largely at a high rate of pay for Yeomanry and certain departmental corps, and although we raised something like 12,000 men for those corps, we took 46,000 ordinary recruits, or something like 11,000 more than the normal number which it had been the habit to take before 1898. There were confident predictions made and great expectations that we should have a falling off in recruiting this year. It was said with great force that, under the excitement of the war, the younger men, as it were, anticipated the levy of this year, and that, moreover, the 5s. rate of pay would deter many from offering themselves as ordinary recruits at the 1s. rate. I confess that I myself have had anxiety about this matter. 302 But we have had an extraordinary result. In the first four months of this year we took 16,000 ordinary recruits, which rate, if it were maintained—I do not say it will be—would give us 48,000 recruits for the year. We raised during that time not 10,000, but 25,000 men, at the high rate of 5s. A better exemplification could not be given of the point I have urged the House to bear in mind, namely, that by offering a higher rate of pay you will have to include a number of men in that higher rate who are willing to come at the lower rate, because, offering so high a rate as we did to get Yeomanry—men of twenty-one or twenty-two years of age—we have not interfered in the slightest degree with the ordinary recruiting. However anxious one may feel as to the future, I put it to hon. Members, can I come to the House and say there has been such a breakdown in recruiting? Can I honestly say, "I am in great straits; assist me, and release me from my difficulty"? We have had bumper recruiting this last year. The popularity of the Army, at all events in time of war, has been established. Every regiment in South Africa is, I believe, at this moment over its strength, and it needs a strong incentive for any Secretary of State to come down and ask the House to add three or four millions to the pay under conditions of this kind.
But let me sweep away the idea that seems to be held in some quarters that there is some vicious feeling at the War Office which induces us to desire to keep down the pay and to make the terms of recruiting less elastic and more rigid than the House could desire. There is nothing of the kind. I have two points which I must press upon the House in this connection. The first is that, although the men are young—call them boys or youths, or what you like—they very rapidly become what we desire. A very false idea has found its way into many papers and even into speeches in this House, in consequence of a speech made by Lord Lansdowne last year when asked why, if we had 92,000 Regular troops in this country, we were sending Militia to South Africa. Lord Lansdowne said in reply that the 92,000 men, though the equivalent of nearly three army corps, could not be so described, as they contained a 303 large proportion of immature youths—immature soldiers. That was taken to mean that the 92,000 were none of them available. But, as a matter of fact, the 92,000 contained a large number of regiments which were ready to, and did, leave the country as they were required for South Africa. Thirty thousand of those men alone were unfit to go; but a considerable number had embarked by April 1st last. My hon. friend the Member for the Fareham Division, who made an excellent speech the other night, suggested to us that we should shed these 30,000, and take the money and use it to give the general body of the Army a higher rate of pay. That is a most attractive proposal. He quoted America in its support. I am afraid the American analogy may be pressed too far. What is the fact? Under the excitement of war the Americans raised their army from about 40,000 to 100,000 men. Those 100,000 had a very high rate of pay, and were found to include men of the right age and of superior size to ours. Yes, but America draws, or has drawn, only for the last two years, 100,000 men out of a population of 70,000,000, and we—for England, India, and the Marines, who must be counted in in this matter—are drawing at this moment nearly 400,000 men out of a population of 40,000,000. It would be unwise to build on the attractions which bring to the colours in America one man out of every 700, a system intended to bring men of similar age who have already started in trades or avocations, when we ask for one men in every 100. If you adopt the American system, and add, as was pointed out the other night by my noble friend the Financial Secretary, £3,700,000 to our Estimates, a million and a half to the Estimates of India, and a quarter of a million to the Admiralty Estimates for Marines, you will come at least to an expenditure of £5,000,000. What does that £5,000,000 represent? It represents the whole cost of 100 of your infantry battalions at home. You will always have what now goes on in America. In America I understand Congress not infrequently changes the numbers. When questions of expense come up, and a party opposed to militarism make head, the military forces find themselves reduced by 25,000 men. 304 Are we secure in this House? If we raise the Estimates to such a pitch that our population find them difficult to maintain, are we secure that those motions will not be made and carried in this House? I have not seen anything from the Front Opposition Bench which gives me so great a security as that. I have not seen so emphatic a belief on their part that the troops for which we ask are absolutely necessary. I was at the War Office in 1886, when it had been the practice for years whenever money was wanted to make the Budget of the year square with what the Chancellor of the Exchequer could spare to reduce infantry battalions by twenty, forty, or even fifty men. If you raise the pay to an unnecessary extent you will hold out the strongest inducement to a Government less convinced than we are of the necessities of the case to relieve their Budget by an operation which will spoil every regiment in our service. I halt in this matter—I think we should not move before a very strong case has been made out, because I do not regard the Secretary of State for Wa for the time time being as a mere machine for getting money out of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. After all, he has some right as a Member of the Cabinet to look at the general finances of the country, and he has an absolute duty, in my opinion, to treat himself as a trustee not merely for the temporary, but for the permanent, advantage of the Army. Believing as I do that a large rise of pay would be followed, at some not very remote time, by a heavy reduction of numbers, I fall back on the submission I made to the House when I first introduced these Estimates—that if the war fever is followed by a peace collapse we shall be pusillanimous if we do not make further proposals to the House of Commons.
With regard to the short service, I am entirely in accord with those who urge that our terms of service should be elastic. But our terms are elastic as regards at least the three years and the seven years. The Line enlists for three years in a limited number of cases and for seven years in other cases. We are giving more elasticity by means of the garrison regiments, which will provide a career for a man, if he desires it, up to twenty-one years in the Army. The 305 right hon. Gentleman challenged me with a strong, as I thought very strong, appreciation of the Guards system. But he missed the whole point of his own remarks. The Guards have not to go abroad except on active service. Remember that we have to find drafts for India to the extent of 15,000 a year. I will give the House a convincing proof of the straits we might find ourselves in if all the three-year men in a particular year thought it well to return to private life in the Reserve, which they would have a perfect right to do. I had a letter the other day from an officer of the Guards serving in South Africa telling me that all the Guardsmen who had done such admirable service there were three-years service men, and that they were bent on going into Reserve when they returned to England. The number of three-years men re-engaging in the Guards has gone down considerably, but, of course, these men would form a very fine Reserve. Imagine our position next year supposing that after this long strain in South Africa we find the three-years' men, who form the great body of the Line, saying "We have done our work fairly; we prefer going into private life and marrying in England; we wish to draw our Reserve pay, and you must not expect us to re-engage." Why, we might be forced every year into the undesirable system of bounties, or into a large increase of pay, to get men to go abroad and fill up our Indian Army. It is therefore from no desire to make difficulties that we consider the elasticity of our term of service must be regarded with reference to the first duty we have to fulfil, that of keeping our standing Army in India and in our garrisons in the colonies up to their full strength.
One word as to the portions of the scheme which, beside the army corps, figure in the resolution before the House. The reason why I claim the indulgence of the House for them is because we have undertaken a great development of the Auxiliary forces, with regard to which in every debate on the Army in the House I have heard strong incentives applied to the Government. All that is connected with the Regular Army must be subject to the recruiting test. What we are doing with regard to the Reserve forces appears to be a matter of certainty upon 306 which we can rely. The proposal to have a real Reserve for the Militia has not met with opposition in any quarter of the House. I will not, therefore, trouble about it further except to say that we shall succeed through the Reserve in giving to the Militia exactly that stiffening which is required in case of emergency to bring them up to full strength and enable them to take the place of the Line at home when the regiments of the Line have gone abroad.
With regard to the Yeomanry, which I still maintain are rightly called "Imperial Yeomanry," seeing that they are the inheritors of a name now well known and well regarded; seeing, also, that we propose to attach to them, I hope at no distant date, similar forces to those colonial forces who have served in South Africa; seeing, further, that, although we cannot pledge them, we feel pretty certain that their disposition will in many instances enable them to volunteer when a time of need arises, or when there is a great emergency—I think, in these circumstances, we may regard the scheme with regard to Yeomanry as already an assured success. As soon as I have the authority of the House I can proceed on the new lines to answer the applications which have poured in upon us during the last month. In one month we have had the formation of nine new regiments, and several new squadrons have been suggested to us. In Lancashire, Sussex, Surrey, London, Norfolk, Essex, in Scotland, the Isle of Man, and all over the country, there is a desire to join the King's service on horseback rather than on foot. I confess that I have great sympathy with that desire; and may I say that I feel personally grateful to those members of the old Yeomanry who, having given much time and money to their regiments, have contemplated the change in such a thoroughly patriotic spirit. I know perfectly well that the scheme means the breaking of some—I hope not many—old associations. The sword has to be laid aside, and the rifle to become the main arm of the Yeomanry. I may tell the House that the Commander-in-Chief and a body of officers only yesterday rode over a considerable portion of the country which might have to be defended in the neighbourhood of London, and they 307 decided—I believe without a single dissentient voice—that there was not a part of the twenty-seven miles they travelled over in which cavalry, as cavalry, could possibly act, whereas mounted troops, armed and drilled as it is proposed to drill and arm the new Yeomanry, would be invaluable.
As to the garrison regiments which have gone to Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, they have been described in the press as the finest regiments ever seen to leave Aldershot. We shall be put to some additional charge owing to the fact that the men have not led celibate lives; but I think the House will not grudge the money if we can find accommodation for the families who are accompanying them.
One word more I must say in reference to our organisation for foreign expeditions. I have been told that all these developments of our military service will not give us that small war force, ready to go abroad without calling out the men of the Reserve, which we so often require. But we have not done away with the small war Reserve, for there are 15,000 men who receive extra payment, and can be called up without our coming to the House for an emergency Act. These men receive a special payment and undertake a special duty, and this enables us to send 15,000 men abroad without disturbing other regiments.
I think that the last criticism which has been made on our scheme is that the expense of the Army is enormous, and that I am responsible this year for adding considerably to it. It is quite true that our expenditure was £16,000,000 in 1886, and that it is now £30,000,000. But the additions which I make this year ought, I think, to be taken by themselves. The additions to the Auxiliary forces, which are really needed, will provide us with 90,000 men, and the expense involved is only £1,700,000, or on an average less than £20 each. But undoubtedly the continual growth of Army Estimates must strike every man whether he be an economist or otherwise; and I only protest that as it is unfair that those who desire an exact military system, such as you can obtain from compulsion, should throw stones at me because our system cannot be exact without the compulsion 308 which we do not desire to resort to, so I think it is also hardly right that those who are urging strongly an increase of pay should at the same moment complain of exaggerated Estimates without indicating in a single particular where they can be reduced. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean the other night, in two sentences which followed each other, pronounced for an increase of pay, and at the same time declared that our Estimates were large and exorbitant compared with those of other Powers, and with all his knowledge he did not show a single case in which there could be a reduction. I confess I do not value these pious aspirations unless they are interpreted into practical proposals.
One speech made in the course of this debate recalled to us a great stand by a Chancellor of the Exchequer against militarism and extravagance. Yes, and I am going to tell the House a little more than some Members know about that campaign. I was myself the victim of many attacks from Lord Randolph Churchill, because, being at the War Office in the post of Financial Secretary at the time, I found myself unable to concur in the views he expressed. Lord Randolph Churchill should be noted by this House as a sign-post and a warning to those men who profess economy, but who do not venture to bring it to the test of experience. There is no man whose professions of economy with regard to the Army were more shown up by practical experience. In 1886 he resigned because he would not provide for coaling stations and the mercantile and military ports the moderate sums; then asked for—sums much more moderate than those Parliament afterwards voted. I do not believe there is a man in this House who wishes to maintain, our power abroad who will say that the expenditure on military ports and coaling stations is not vital to the country. But I remember well, before Lord Randolph Churchill resigned, an interview which I had with him. A few days before he resigned, by order of the Secretary of State at the time, Mr. Smith, I approached him on the subject of the position of the Volunteers. We were able to prove, and had proved, that it was impossible for them to make both ends meet, even with absolute economy, on 309 the sums Parliament allowed them. A Committee sat, the facts were proved, and we asked for the modest addition of £100,000 to enable us to satisfy the very moderate claims of these 220,000 men. I remember Lord Randolph Churchill's answer. He said—I have assigned £16,000,000 to the Army votes. I dare say you will make as good an argument as any other man for the addition, but it is useless your doing so. That is the money the Treasury can spare, and no argument can shake my determination.What was the result? The Chancellor of the Exchequer himself presided over a Committee to investigate Army expenditure. He had his own way throughout, and the Committee had the best men before them, and the net result of that Committee was that, after the most careful investigation, £100,000 was knocked off the Army Estimates. A great portion of that sum was money which had been spent on the Army medical service, which was then reduced, and which the Government of the present moment is seriously arraigned for having allowed to fall so low. Within a week, on the hearing of one officer, Lord Randolph Churchill decided that the state of the barracks was so great a scandal in 1886 that it was necessary to add to the Estimates £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 at once in order to improve them. The result of that Committee, therefore, was to add enormously to the military charges; and I say that those speeches which are of the same character, urging economy without condescending to details, are simply an attempt to fortify the Treasury in the position in which Lord Randolph Churchill alone of all the Chancellors of the Exchequer with whom I have had to deal took up—that the Treasury should be a dominant and despotic body, that it should dictate terms to the various Departments, that it should be blind to the progress of science and deaf to the arguments of responsible Ministers. That view is one which I certainly would never accept, and which my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has never asked me to accept. It is true that our Estimates have risen from £16,000,000 to £30,000,000, and that the troops in the Regular Army and 310 Reserves have risen during the time from 190,000 to 290,000, an increase of 100,000 men, and when I am asked about these army corps to go abroad—when I am told there is danger in a sharp sword lest you should be impelled to use it—I should like to ask right hon Gentlemen opposite whether there have not been occasions when protestations have been made and steps taken when the sword was not sharp and could not be sharpened. I give the House this guarantee, that there is no danger in saying now, after fifteen years, that if a Committee of Parliament had sat upon the condition of our stores and armaments when the gauntlet was thrown down to Russia in 1885 by Mr. Gladstone, that committee would have given to the House of Commons, and could even now give to the House of Commons, and the country, food for reflection which the Committee which is going to sit on the existing war will not find means to do. Therefore I hope, indeed I confidently expect, that Parliament, which was not afraid to part company with a brilliant statesman in 1886, will not sleep the less soundly because of the financial heroics of my hon. friend the Member for Oldham. Those of us who disagree with him can only hope that the time will come when his judgment will grow up to his ability, when he will look back with regret to the day when he came down to the House to preach Imperialism, without being willing to bear the burdens of Imperialism, and when the hereditary qualities he posseses of eloquence and courage may be tempered also by discarding the hereditary desire to run Imperialism on the cheap.
I would urge the House of Commons not to deal with vague generalities, but to come to close quarters with this scheme and to test it by its practical utility. I cannot follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouthshire, who wanted to go back fifty years to discuss our armaments, any more than I can agree to discuss them on the thirty-years-back principle adopted by the Leader of the Opposition. We cannot base our present armaments either on the days of smooth-bore artillery or on the days of the Brown Bess. We have to face the facts as they are, and if I am told, as I have been told by a Member of the 311 Front Opposition Bench, that there is no thorough-going apologist for our scheme outside the War Office, I reply that my letter-box for many weeks back is at his disposal. It is quite true that I get a good many letters of abuse, some even on postcards marked "Secret and confidential," declaring that I am engaged in a task which will irrevocably ruin the country. But for one man who urges me to go back I have ten who urge me to go forward, not merely from generals and other officers of high rank serving in South Africa, but from officers whom I do not know at all, and from non-commissioned officers and private soldiers who look upon this scheme as being, if not the first, at least a genuine attempt to estimate the needs of the Empire and to meet them. I know we have against us the views of men who have theories of their own, whose theories I respect even if I cannot adopt them. I know we have against us also some men who deceive themselves as to our capacity to carry through these reforms, and some who deceive others by endeavouring to prove that these reforms are not required. If we are to wait for an ideal scheme on which all those who have a right to speak upon army reform are agreed, we should never begin this work at all. I we are going to be frightened by the increased and increasing numbers which are demanded for our military service this House would be blind to the teaching, of the present war and to the orders which the House has given to carry it through. If we are going to flinch from the expenditure which after grave consideration has been put forward by the responsible Government, the House of Commons will set an example which in the whole history of this assembly, it has never set before. If this resolution is rejected it may be that you may fine fresh Ministers and fresh military advisers, less convinced or more pliable than we are, who will be willing to embark again and stake their whole existence on the thorny and, perhaps thankless task of Army reform; but looking to the experience of other measures in this House, and more especially to Army experiences, I think it is far more likely that in the lassitude which must follow a great war these questions will be quietly put aside, and we shall fall back again in keeping a 312 large number of effective men with a defective training, in keeping military districts different in size and in every respect divergent, except that of being totally destitute of any military organisation, and you will throw away the one great chance of removing the whole authority from Pall Mall. It is because I believe that a return to such a state of things would have a graver influence on this country than the fate of any Minister or the fall of any Ministry that I would urge upon Parliament to give us a measure of confidence in an effort which is whole-hearted, which is fearless, and which ought to be united, to give this country a permanent military organisation and an effective measure of army reform.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
The right hon. Gentleman told us at the beginning of his observations that he was not going to make a party speech, and, though he has not been altogether sparing of party allusions, yet upon the whole he has kept his promise, and I will endeavour to imitate his example. But I must at the outset call attention to the peculiar conditions, singular if not unique in Parliamentary history, in which this debate is being carried on. Whatever may be the contents of the right hon. Gentleman's letter-box, it must be admitted that the admirers and champions of his scheme have been singularly reticent in this House and in the public Press. Rarely in my experience, or, I think, that of any Member who has sat for a longer time in this House, has a plan put forward by a responsible Government, whether administrative or legislative, found so few cordial friends outside the Treasury Bench, or been exposed during the whole course of a debate to such a fusillade of criticism and censure. Many hon. Gentlemen opposite who have taken part in the debate—almost every one of them without exception—has either prefaced or concluded his quota of condemnation, by announcing that, as the Opposition have seen fit to make this a party question, he feels it to be his duty either to abstain from voting, or even to record his vote in favour of the expediency of adopting a scheme which he has proved, or was about to prove, impolitic, indefensible, and even absurd. Before we witness, as I suppose we are 313 destined to witness, to-night, when the division bell rings, this wholesale exhibition of political suicide, I think we may for a moment analyse the grounds on which these Gentlemen allege that an unpatriotic Opposition have deprived them of the opportunity of making their votes accord with their convictions.
The Chief Secretary for Ireland on the first night of this debate told us that the country had given the Government a mandate at the election last autumn for army reform, and I am not at all disposed to dissent from that proposition. But the right hon. Gentleman also told us that at the time the mandate was given the Government were in a state of, as he described it, suspended animation. At what precise date the suspense terminated and the animation returned I am not in a position to tell the House. But at any rate I do not think it could have been before the later days of November. At that time the Commander-in-Chief, upon whose counsel and co-operation both the Government and the country legitimately counted in the preparation of any scheme, was still away in South Africa and did not return to this country till the end of December. Now this scheme was put on the Table of the House in the first week in March, and I venture to say, when we are told that the country gave the Government a mandate for Army reform, the country neither instructed nor expected the Government in hot haste, after a few weeks of hurried consideration, when, as the right hon. Gentleman has most properly told us, he himself was harassed with the responsibilities, duties, and anxieties of conducting a great war in a distant part of the world—I say the country never expected that, when a scheme produced in those conditions is put upon the Table of this House, its acceptance or rejection should be made, as it has been made by the right hon. Gentleman to-night, a matter of confidence in the Government. When the right hon. Gentleman introduced his scheme, which he did, as we all acknowledged at the time, in a speech of remarkable dialetical and oratorical power, it was at once seen that there were many features in it which would command universal assent. They were sufficiently numerous and sufficiently important, 314 if they had been carried into effect, as they might have been, with the practically unanimous assent of both sides of this House, to make this year a memorable year in the history of Army reform. Unfortunately, these innocuous or even useful improvements, were accompanied by a new system or organisation, to which, it is no exaggeration to say, in the weeks that have elapsed since this scheme was originally presented to the House of Commons, not one single military expert or military authority has been capable of giving his approval or even his confidence. I am not in the least exaggerating the facts when I put it as strongly and broadly as that. That being the state of things, and there being on the Notice Paper of this House no less, if I remember aright, than eleven Amendments proceeding from hon. Gentlemen opposite, and traversing the merits of this scheme both in principle and in detail, the right hon. Gentleman is allowed by his colleagues to announce to the world that in the view of the Government their plan holds the field, that they mean to stand or fall by it, and that they will make it a matter of confidence with their supporters.
Now I want to ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are not going to vote in accordance with their convictions, and who attribute the unhappy situation in which they find themselves to the almost diabolical malignity of an unscrupulous Opposition, who is it who made this a party question? They have only to look at the bench below them and they will see the real authors of the transformation. What were the Opposition to do? We do not approve of this scheme in its main features any more than the great bulk of hon. Gentlemen opposite do. What were we to do? Were we to vote for it? Is that the part of a patriotic Opposition? Were we to vote for it in order that the matter might be removed from the domain of party controversy? Were we to vote against it by a direct negative? That, of course, was possible, but it would have involved two results. In the first place we should have condemned the whole scheme, although there were some features in it which many of us approve. In the next place, we should 315 have been told as much as now that we were making it a party question. Were we to vote for any of the Amendments proposed by the supporters of the Government? I can very well imagine what would have been said if we, His Majesty's Opposition, had said, "This is no doubt a matter of great national concern, but our ideas are so unformed, our views upon the subject are so nebulous and inarticulate, that we are not in a position to put them down on the Paper, and we will, therefore, hide behind the shelter of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Oldham or of one of the other hon. Gentlemen opposite." It would have been said, and in my judgment with great reason, that the Opposition were abdicating their constitutional functions if, holding the opinion, as we do hold strongly and conscientiously, not in the interests of a party but in the interests of the Army and of the nation, that this is not a forward but a retrograde step, we had abstained from expressing that opinion in clear and unambiguous language, and from submitting that issue to the House.
What are the propositions in my right hon. friend's Amendment? There are two.The House is of opinion that the proposals of the Government are in many respects not adapted to the special wants of the Empire, and would largely increase the burden of the nation without adding substantially to its military strength.How many Gentlemen opposite are prepared to deny either of those propositions, not by their votes in the division lobby, but by getting up in their places and, with a sense of their responsibility to their constituents and to the country, declaring that in their judgment these propositions are unsound? I do not think I have heard more than one in the whole course of this debate. That being the case, it is not the Opposition who are making this a party question and bringing about what I confess I think to be one of the most extraordinary anomalies in the whole history of the House of Commons—that to-night it is going to record a decision which everybody knows does not represent the mature or deliberate conviction of something like three-fourths of its Members—[Cries of dissent.]—I do not pledge myself to three-fourths, 316 but certainly a very large majority of Members—and is going to reject an Amendment which, if it could be voted upon without the trammelling influence of party ties, would be carried by an equally large majority. It is said, I know, You have the scheme of the Government; what is your alternative? A more preposterous demand was never addressed to the Opposition. Here you are dealing with one of the most delicate and complicated questions of administration that can possibly arise. The Government have at their disposal not only the resources of the much-abused War Office, but materials, which are not in the possession of anybody else, in the way of information and so forth, and they have opportunities of resorting to the advice of the most eminent experts of the Empire. It is for them to formulate and tabulate a scheme of administrative reform, and I demur to the proposition, which is totally inconsistent with the analogies and traditions of our Parliamentary system, that the Opposition is not to be allowed in a matter of this kind to criticise and even to censure without being exposed to the demand that it should produce a cut and dried alternative scheme.
I have said so much as to the Parliamentary situation because it seems to me it is a somewhat singular one. I pass now to deal with the general aspects of the scheme which the right hon. Gentleman has just so ably and exhaustively defended. I need not say I make no pretence to expert military knowledge, and I shall confine myself to broad and general principles. I think there is one satisfactory and valuable feature in this debate, and that is, we have attained to a general consensus of opinion as to the objects which ought to govern our military organisation in the United Kingdom. I do not believe that there is any difference of opinion—I will not say between the two sides of the House, but even between any two sections of the House—as to what these governing aims or objects ought to be. In the first place, we have to supply, as everybody agrees, from the Army here at home the drafts and reliefs for the eighty-five battalions engaged in 317 garrisoning India and our colonies and other dependencies. That is the primary requirement of our home military organisation. In the next place, I think we are all agreed, having regard to the peculiar emergencies and the unique geographical conditions of our Empire, we must have always at home, in adequate numbers and, if possible, in perfect training and with full equipment, not a large, but a mobile and efficient fighting force, which can be despatched across the seas at a moment's notice, wherever the conditions of the case may require it. In the third place, as regards what is called the problem of home defence—the actual defence of our shores from invasion and the consequences of invasion—I think we are all agreed that we depend upon the Navy, and, in the long run, upon the Navy alone. But even those who have the most ample conception of the duty of the Navy will admit that we do need a force, and a trained force, here at home for garrison purposes, and to give what may be called temporary protection to exceptionally vulnerable positions. If, as I believe, these are the objects, and the only objects, or at all events the main and governing objects, with which our home organisation of the Army ought to concern itself, the problem the Government have to solve is how these objects are to be met, subject to two conditions, equally important,—namely, first, that you must not unduly add to the financial burdens of the people, our Army expenditure having in the course of the last six years advanced by twelve millions sterling a year; and in the second place, whatever scheme you propose must be consistent with the maintenance of our voluntary system of enlistment. Does the Government scheme solve that problem? We are all agreed as to the necessity of substituting efficient for obsolete guns, if such there be, in our forts. We agree with the right hon. Gentleman's proposals for improvements in the soldier's dress and general comfort, for more civilised arrangements in barracks, for a less mechanical system of drill and training, and above all for as complete a system as you can get of decentralisation of administration. There is not one of those objects which might not 318 have been perfectly well attained without what is, after all, the central and cardinal feature of the Government's plan, the creation of six army corps, with, as the resolution says, the requisite staff, stores, and buildings.
Now, what are these army corps? When the Secretary of State produced his scheme early in March he certainly represented to the House, and we all understood his scheme to be, a most important change in our existing military arrangements. Tonight he has told us there is nothing of a grandiose or ambitious character in it. This is the only tribute to public criticism which has been conceded during this debate. The picture originally drawn of six army corps, which were for the first time to put us in position for meeting our enemies abroad and defending our shores at home—that picture has faded away like a dissolving view. Why, the Chief Secretary, with a nonchalance which at once charmed and bewildered the House, said—"Why do you trouble about this? It is only a question of nomenclature. He seemed to think, that the use of the words "army corps" was a sort of lapsus linguœ on the part of the Secretary of State, or, at all events, that the military authorities consulted a dictionary and, at haphazard, took the first phrase that, happened to suit their purpose. What, according to the description of the Chief Secretary, and to some extent it was corroborated by the Secretary of State for War to-night, are the functions of these army corps going to be? So far as I can make out, the net result of the whole proceeding will be this—instead of sixteen or eighteen district commands there will be six. That is all. The question of men is, of course, the crux of the problem, to which I will come presently; but from the point of view of administration you simply reduce eighteen positions to six. I agree with the Chief Secretary—I do not wish to misrepresent; or minimise his argument—he said in these districts, as compared with the sixteen or eighteen, you will be able to carry on the training of men on a larger scale, and with a more complete representation of the various arms of the Service, and that they will form, as he happily describes it, a sort of continuation 319 school for the Army, and, above all, will provide occupation for our generals who have returned to this country from South Africa.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM, Dover)
They will give for the first time the opportunity, and the sole opportunity, for the training of generals and staffs, and utilising the experiences of generals and staffs obtained in the war.
§ MR. ASQUITH
That elegant and pleonastic language, of which he is such a complete master, I think reproduces the sentence I endeavoured to express. Now, what about these generals? It is a point to which the Chief Secretary attaches considerable importance. I am disposed to agree with the Chief Secretary it would be a good thing to provide adequate and, indeed, absorbing occupation for some of our returned generals. I am not at all sure that a distinguished warrior fresh from the field of battle, with the laurels of victory still twined in his hair, getting on his legs at the opening of a bazaar, or responding to a toast at a semi-private luncheon, is not almost as serious a danger to the State as a distinguished politician would be at the head of a brigade in South Africa. I hope that represents only a temporary phase in our military system. It is hardly worth while to disturb and re-create the whole of our Army organisation in order to provide other occupation for our generals. The real truth is, whatever may be the intention—and the Government may have the very best intention in their scheme—the effect will be that you will have the magnified and unnatural name "army corps" for what is merely a provincial command. Now let us see what these army corps really are. The right hon. Gentleman admits that of the six only two will go abroad, or can be sent abroad at any given moment, without voluntary elements. As I understand, you will have three large commands with a general, and staff, divisional generals, and brigadiers in each of three districts. And what will these be doing for the greater part of the year?
§ MR. BRODRICK
I stated distinctly the contrary. I said that with regard 320 to the last three army corps there would be a nucleus and proper arrangements. Of course, brigadiers employed for brigades not in training for the whole year.
§ MR. ASQUITH
Exactly; that entirely corroborates the argument I am using. In other words, it will not be an army corps at all; it will be a thing which exists in nubibus for the greater part of the year with a nucleus in the shape of a staff. It will have an effective existence for two months of the year, and then will again disappear into space. To describe an organisation of that kind, in which, as I have shown, out of six army corps only two are available for foreign service, and three army corps are nonexistent for the greater part of the year—to describe that as a system of six army corps and as putting the army in a better position than it was in before for foreign service and home defence is not, with all respect, a proposition to be considered seriously, The right hon. Gentleman was angry, or a little indignant, because the Leader of the Opposition said you could not export one of these army corps. The moment it was needed for service and put on board ship it would have to be broken up. But that is true, is it not? I do not understand that it is denied. As to the remarks of my right hon. friend in connection with the question of transport, we were told in the speech of the Secretary of State, when the scheme was introduced, that each army corps was to be furnished not only with barracks and stores, but with transport. ["Land transport."] I am glad of the interruption. As my right hon. friend pointed out again and again, and again this evening in an interruption, the conditions under which our foreign expeditions are carried out are so infinitely varied as to distance, climate, race, and geographical conditions, that it is not possible to tell until the last moment what particular form of land transport will be specially adapted for the work to be done. I cannot imagine greater waste of money than to train these army corps with expensive equipment of transport when it may turn out that that transport may have to be left behind as useless for a particular expedition.
One more general criticism, which I think is a vital one. How should we 321 have been better off when the war in South Africa broke out in the autumn of 1899 if the right hon. Gentleman's organisation had been in existence? No one has yet told us how we should have been, and if you say we should, I say your argument rests entirely on conjecture and assumption, unproved—namely, that by setting on foot these army corps you will stimulate recruiting and raise the quality of your raw material. Now the right hon. Gentleman has given us some remarkable figures on the subject of recruiting, and I am sure the House will be relieved and glad to know that during the four months of the present year the process of recruiting has been satisfactory. But there is some difference of opinion upon this, for the right hon. Gentleman's figures do not tally with those of the Inspector-General of Recruiting.
§ MR. ASQUITH
I am speaking of the Return presented to Parliament, which seems to show that during the first three months of this year there was a sensible diminution in the number of recruits as compared with previous years. [An HON. MEMBER: 4,000.] My hon. friend says 4,000. If that diminution has been made good during April so much the better. But this is not material to my argument. What I was going to say is this—both as regards recruiting, and as regards the offers the right hon. Gentleman has received for the creation of new Yeomanry corps it is obvious that it is quite impossible to argue from the state of feeling which has existed while a critical and protracted war was going on to that normal state of things to which we shall sooner or later return, when everything is at peace and the glamour of war is over, and when the labour market will probably be unusually competitive and active. To make the figures of the last two years the basis of your calculation for ordinary conditions and circumstances would be a serious fallacy.
To sum up the vital defects of the scheme, to my mind they are three in number. In the first place, it professes to adopt a form of organisation which is either a mere change in name, 322 and therefore a sham, or if intended to be a reality is not adapted to the special exigencies of our military and geographical position. In the next place, notwithstanding the improvements made in comparatively small matters in connection with the condition of the private soldier's life, it holds out no effectual promise of dealing with the crucial question of recruiting. Thirdly, I say it encourages the notion that the question of home defence is a military rather than a naval one, and therefore if it is adapted and developed, as it will have to be, on the lines started, would lead to a great and most regrettable waste of our national resources. I was very much struck the other night by some figures given by my right hon. friend the Member for Forest of Dean. If you take the military expenditure, not of the United Kingdom, which is all which appears on these Estimates, but of the Empire at large, you will find it comes to something like fifty-five millions sterling.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
According to the rate of the rupee—between fifty-one and fifty-nine.
§ MR. ASQUITH
Let us call it fifty-five. That is what we spend at this moment, or shall have spent when the Estimates of this year are passed, on our military forces. On our Navy we spend, I was going to say only, but I will not, because it is a portentous sum, though relatively a small one—on our Navy, our real arm, our real first line both for attack and defence, we spend thirty millions sterling. In other words, the Army, which, although it is subject, no doubt, to those large and various duties which it has to perform in remote parts of the Empire, is after all only our secondary and subsidiary arm, costs us for the Empire at large very nearly twice as much as the Navy. And while expenditure is growing in both branches, the disparity between the two is, I believe, growing also, and that is not a state of things which Parliament ought to contemplate with satisfaction. Finally, there is one other and still more serious question that arises. This scheme is put before us—it was in the speech of the right hon. the Secretary of State for War when he introduced it, and the same idea 323 was to be found in the speech of the Financial Secretary to the War Office—as the only practical alternative to compulsory military service. It is supposed to be the last despairing attempt to maintain the voluntary system. [Ministerial cries of "No."] I do not say so, Heaven forbid; but that is the position, according to the declarations of the Government, an which we are intended to be placed. To the policy of the substitution, even as a contingency, of compulsory for voluntary service, a policy as alien to the genius of our people as it is unsuited to the geographical position of our Empire, I believe this nation to be unalterably opposed. The problem which faces the army reformer to-day—I do not in the least deny its gravity or its urgency—is not a whit more serious; I doubt whether it is so serious as that which was confronted thirty years ago by Lord Cardwell and his advisers when he was at the War Office. They, and among them do not let us forget that great soldier Lord Wolseley, whom it appears to be the fashion of the hour to ignore—[Ministerial cries of "No"]—but to whom I venture to say our military organisation is more indebted than to any other living man—I say Lord Cardwell and his advisers succeeded in combining the abolition of purchase, the establishment of short service, and the creation of a Reserve, with the maintenance of the voluntary system. Time and the growing complexity of our political and economic conditions require, I entirely agree, that their work should be developed and readjusted to the new requirements of a later generation. But it ought to be, and for my part I am convinced that it is, well within the resources of statesmanship to enlarge and improve the structure without destroying its foundations, and to provide us with an army adequate for all emergencies both at home and abroad, while preserving to us the happy immunity we have so long enjoyed from the heaviest tax which the military rivalries and ambitions of nations has ever imposed upon mankind.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down has disclaimed any intention of addressing himself to this question 324 of Army reform in any partisan spirit; but not long since the right hon. and learned Gentleman led up to his speech in the House this afternoon by a speech on the same subject of an eminently partisan character delivered to a Liberal and Radical association. At the beginning of that speech the right hon. and learned Gentleman proposed a resolution—That this meeting is of opinion that the present Government by its conduct of public affairs have shown themselves to be unworthy of the confidence of the country, and in the interests of economy and much needed reform it is desirable that the country should be once more placed in the hands of a Liberal Government.And in supporting that resolution the right hon. and learned Gentleman devoted a large part of his speech to a dissection and condemnation of my right hon. friend's proposals on Army reform. Well, at all events, that points the moral of the Amendment of the right hon. the Member for the Stirling Burghs, and I think it supplies any partisan spirit which has been lacking in the speech to which we have just listened. In that part of his speech in which the right hon. and learned Gentleman criticised in his severest manner the present scheme of Army reform, he complained of the scanty manner in which provision had been made to strengthen the regular military forces of the country. That was, in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's opinion, the crux of the whole thing. Under the proposed scheme he said that the Regular Army would not either become more strong or more effective, that it would not be more easily recruited, or the standard of training and age be raised either for officers and men. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman could not in one breath complain against the very great additions which the measures of the Secretary for War lad brought on the expenditure on the Army in comparison with that on the Navy, and at the same time point to a different system which would involve far larger expenditure. The increase of the Army and the raising of the standard of the age of recruits cannot be carried out without a large increase of expenditure. The two things hang together, and therefore to criticise the proposals of my right hon. friend because he does not increase the numbers of the 325 Regular Army and the standard of the recruits without increasing the expenditure of the Army, as compared with that of the Navy, is absurd.
The right hon. and learned Member said that it was unnecessary that this measure of Army reform should be brought forward in hot haste, because the country did not ask for it; but at the General Election there was an almost universal declaration by candidates, including even those of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's own party, that immediate measures of Army reform were required, and that this session should not pass over without, at least, the foundations of the superstructure being laid. My right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War has never said that his scheme was a final measure, or that it comprised all the reforms that are necessary, but that he had only proceeded on moderate and conservative lines, which could, if need be, after experience be improved upon. The criticism that the scheme had been brought forward in hot haste would not bear much examination. At the head of the War Office is now the most distinguished soldier of our day—a man who has come back from South Africa covered with honours, and who enjoys the admiration of the whole country. With all the advantage of that distinguished officer's experience in India, South Africa, and this country, he has been able to gauge the defects of the existing system, and to point out where improvements may be made. With that experience and that of many others behind him, the right hon. the Secretary of State for War has proposed this scheme, which is only the basis of a structure which will, I hope, in future years, be maturely built. I cannot refrain from offering my tribute to the present Commander-in-Chief, but in doing so I have no intention of minimising the services of his distinguished predecessor, of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has accused us.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
Well, I am the last man to do it. On the contrary, I fully agree with what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the British Army owes a great deal to lord Wolseley for the work he has done 326 for the improvement of the British Army and for the important military capacity he has brought into it. The right hon. and learned Gentleman pointed to the numerous Amendments to the Government scheme which had been put on the Paper from the Government side of the House, and contended that the scheme of the Government had attracted no considerable approval from any quarter. I would remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the. House that the reason for bringing forward these Amendments on the resolution was to give hon. Members an opportunity of discussing the Army Estimates and the statement of the Secretary of State for War to a greater extent than they would on usual occasions of introducing the Army Votes, which were necessarily cut short at the end of the financial year. Why should hon. Members who take a special interest in the Army not have an opportunity of putting forward Amendments which are not necessarily hostile to the Government? I believe that the intention of many of my friends who have put down these Amendments was only to take advantage of this opportunity of discussing matters in which they are interested, and on which they are peculiarly qualified to speak. Of course, some of these hon. Gentlemen have plans of their own. As Lord Beaconsfield said in a case when rival plans were prepared, it reminded him of Popkins' plan. It would be an unjust imputation on hon. Gentlemen in this House qualified to speak on affairs to say that because they criticised the right hon. Gentleman's scheme they were hostile to him and the Government. The right hon. and learned Member, following previous speakers, criticised what was called the army corps organisation proposed in the resolution, and had questioned its efficiency. I should have thought that it would have hardly been necessary to open that again, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman only showed how little he understood the matter. The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked what was the use of substituting six districts for sixteen military districts. But because the whole country was divided into six larger districts, with a high general in command in each, it did not follow that they were 327 going to disturb the existing districts with their divisional commanders. It was of peculiar importance, as a matter of decentralisation, that there should be large districts with a high general in command, and that all the troops in these large military districts should be specially trained, organised, and supervised in a manner that could not possibly be done otherwise.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked how much better off the country would have been if this army corps organisation had existed in 1899 than it is now. The answer to that was not far to seek. For one thing, we should have had an organised staff of general officers who had been accustomed to acting together, acquainted with the regiments which they would command. It stands to reason that we should have been much better off, because general and regimental officers, as well as the men, pull better together after personal experience, both in ordinary circumstancces and in occasional manœuvres. It is almost impossible for anyone who has seen anything of war not to recognise how much better it is to have generals, brigadiers, officers and men well known to each other in manœuvres before they go to war. A very remarkable book had been recently published by an Austrian officer called "England's Danger." That officer had devoted all his life to a study of the British military system, and he presented between the boards of his book the most remarkable compilation of information upon British military affairs I have ever seen, which had been derived from official documents. The author said that no great army in the world but the British was without a corps organisation, and that British troops were not formed into a practical organised body until the moment of battle. Under the stress of a campaign they were scraped together just as they could be got hold of. I have myself seen in the selection of generals for the South African War generals sent out with brigadiers who had not acted under them even in peace manœuvres. How much better would it have been, and we cannot say how many accidents and mistakes which have occurred would have been avoided, had officers and 328 regiments gone out who had been acting together at home. Moreover the plan is a great step in the decentralisation of War Office control in minor matters.
The right hon. and learned Member said that there were many good features in the scheme, but I should have thought that the good features which had the right hon. and learned Gentleman's sympathy and approval were the leading features, and that the others might be easily remedied if found defective on trial. The right hon. and learned Gentleman once more evoked the fetish of Lord Cardwell's scheme, as if Lord Cardwell had put the Army on such a footing that no future Secretary for War would have anything else to do. The present Secretary of State for War did not propose to upset Lord Cardwell's scheme, but the pity is that it has not been before now brought down to date; and my right hon. friend is only extending Lord Cardwell's scheme in accordance with the requirements of the present day. I think that the Opposition have chosen the wrong horse to put their money on, and that they are greatly in want of a weapon with which to attack the Government. On the one hand the objection is made that the scheme is not revolutionary enough, and, on the other, that it involves considerable changes. I maintain that it is a moderate scheme, that it could be extended in future years; that it would meet present wants, that it will do more than anything else to meet the approval of the people of the country, because it will strengthen our old constitutional force and popularise and regularise and improve that great Volunteer movement which has been so useful in recent years and is so creditable to the loyalty of the county.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
said he had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Maidstone in which he called attention to the case presented on behalf of the British soldier by Count Sternberg. He felt very strongly on the matter because he himself had a son at the front. He should like to say a few words in regard to the defence which the Chief Secretary for Ireland had made for the scheme presented to the House. In that very able speech the 329 right hon. Gentleman had conjugated his moods and tenses, and he did not wish to contrast it with the speech of the hon. Member for North Ayrshire, because in vain was the net set in sight of any bird. But he was rather astonished at one or two things which the Chief Secretary had said. The right hon. Gentleman suggested, to the best of his understanding, that the Army was made for the generals, and not the generals for the Army, and that in order to keep sixteen generals and their staffs off the half-pay list the House ought to support the scheme of the Secretary of State for War. He was astounded that the Chief Secretary could get up in this House and say to the hon. Member for Fareham that the pay of the soldier amounted to thirty shillings a week. He should have thought that those lines of Canning's, which were repeated by Sir Robert Peel from the very place where the right hon. Gentleman now sat, would have occurred to him—But of all plagues, good Heaven, thy wrath can sendSave, save, oh‡ save me from the candid friend.When he read the speeches which had been made in the House of Lords, and those made by hon. friends behind the Treasury benches, it was not for him to criticise the proposals of the War Office. Since the Secretary of State for War made his speech a good deal of water had flowed under Westminster Bridge, and there had been some remarkable articles in The Times and its sea-green contemporary, the Westminster Gazette, with reference to the right hon. Gentleman's scheme. What they said was—"What sort of an Army do you want?" And the answer they gave was—"We want a comparatively small, flexible force able to hold India and the colonies, and able to send two army corps abroad." That was not what they had got, and he was afraid they were not likely to get it under the scheme of the right hon. the Secretary of State for War.
Let him call attention to what happened in August, 1899. That was, of course, ancient history, but, after all, not very ancient history. They then found it necessary to send out a force to South Africa, but, although they paid twenty-nine millions a year for the Army, all they could do was to despatch two weak battalions—one of 330 which was en route to the West Indies—and three batteries of artillery which had to be made up by tearing to pieces other batteries at home, and the Mediterranean garrison regiments. That was all the War Office could do for the money they took from the taxpayers. If the War Office had had an army corps available and ready in 1899 they would have been spared the entanglement of Ladysmith and the losses at Spion Kop and Colenso. The Leader of the Opposition—and he was bound to say that he thought he was quite right—used outside the House very unparliamentary language about the first army corps. As the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife said in his speech, an army corps was a military combination which was not suited to the military requirements of this country. The country wanted territorial regiments, which it had not got, and which it would not get as long as half of the regular troops were kept in India and the tropics. A mild form of compulsory service was also required, but that would not be forthcoming as long as the country had a Prime Minister who said that the very suggestion of the ballot for the Militia would send every able-bodied man shrieking out of the country. The Secretary of State for War pinned his faith to army corps, and wanted to go one better than Lord Cardwell. The right hon. Gentleman had got six army corps, three of which were to be available for foreign service. It was quite possible that the first and second army Corps might be available for foreign service, but the third army corps, which was to be composed of regular troops in Ireland and the Irish Militia, was in a different position. Nobody, of course, had a word to say against the Irish Militia. He had met them at Aldershot, and they used to drill all day and fight all night, and better soldiers could not be, but they could not be regarded as immediately available for foreign service. The fourth, fifth, and sixth army corps were to be scattered over the place, and it was throwing dust in the eyes of the country to call them army corps at all.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the number of Regular troops would be 155,000, and that the Reserve would be brought up to 90,000, but it should be remembered that the recruiting last year showed a deficit of 18,000 men. 331 He should like to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to a rather remarkable letter which appeared in The Times and the Pall Mall Gazette from Sir Robert Giffen, who was not a Moltke of the Treasury Bench, but a statistician. He said that out of 155,000 Regular troops the right hon. Gentleman proposed to send 120,000 men abroad, and he added that if the number of recruits per annum were put down at 45,000, and if recruits were not to be sent abroad until they had two years service, 90,000 men should be deducted from 155,000, and that therefore the right hon. Gentleman would not have 120,000 men to send abroad. If the right hon. Gentleman meant that he intended to fill up the ranks with Reservists, it was a pity he had not said so, and if he did that he would be in the same unfortunate position he was in last year, when the Reservists had to be put into the fighting line. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to increase the strength of the Army by eighteen battalions, but how was he going to do it? He proposed to take five battalions from India and tropical stations, but he said the other day that the garrisons at Aden and Hong Kong would still be composed of white troops. The Indian Government might allow white battalions to leave India, or they might not, and probably they would not. It was further proposed to garrison the coaling stations with Royal Marines, but the Secretary to the Admiralty, and Lord Goschen in the House of Lords, gave the country to understand that they were not absolutely in accord with the Secretary of State for War in sending the Royal Marines to coaling stations. Then eight battalions were to be raised from the Royal Reserve battalions, which, as they all knew, was a very extensive business. They were brought together in a hurry without drill or arms, and as they had no prospective employment they were given a considerable amount of leave. He put a question to the Financial Secretary to the War Office as to how many troops had been obtained from the Royal Reserve battalions, and he was informed that only a thousand men had been recruited for garrison regiments out of a total of 24,000. There were, of course, two battalions at Aldershot, but yet two battalions were not, except in War Office nomenclature, eight battalions.
The difficulty and the crux of the whole 332 matter was how to get the men. The right hon. Gentleman did not propose to increase the pay, because he did not think it necessary, and he was not going to apply the mild suasion of the Militia ballot, but he was going to give the men less sentry-go and more cubicles; but if he gave them all the cubicles in this world and the next he would not get half the recruits he required. He might be regarded as an old fossil, but still he had an extensive and peculiar knowledge of certain phases of military life, and, speaking of what he knew, he said that cubicles would not do the right hon. Gentleman the least good in the world. The House would remember in considering the question of how to bring the Army up to its normal strength that there were 15,000 time-expired men in India, and that there was also a deficit of something like 20,000 men in the Reserve. Of course, men could not be in the Reserve and in the fighting line at the same time, and the Reserve was accordingly depleted. But before they considered an increase in the Army they should provide for the 15,000 time-expired men in India, and also the deficit in the Reserve. He thought that the Secretary of State for War had put his money, as Lord Salisbury once said, on the wrong horse. He had put his money on the Volunteers and the Yeomanry. The Yeomanry were practically an untried force. 1,900 of them went to South Africa, but not a single troop or squadron, as such, went to the front at all. As for the Volunteers, not a single battalion went to the front during the present campaign. The Volunteers who did go to South Africa were the pick of 220,000 men. The right hon. Gentleman was putting his money into forces over which he had practically no control, instead of putting it into the Militia or the Army. It seemed to him that the right hon. Gentleman was spending twenty-nine millions on an army list which was made of paper and nothing else. He knew very well that it was useless for him and his hon. friends who held the same views to protest against the scheme. They were merely slaving away in the stokehole while the right hon. Gentleman was on the quarterdeck with 130 votes in his pocket. He certainly would not vote for the Amendment of the Leader of the Opposition, because, although he had the greatest respect for him, when he was at the War 333 Office he was one of the most dogged obstructives of military matters who had ever sat on the front bench. As far as he was concerned, he would vote for the scheme if he thought it would be of the slightest use to the service in which he had the honour to hold a commission; but he did not think it would, and therefore he would not follow the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War into the lobby.
§ MR. FULLER (Wiltshire, Westbury)
I intend to respond to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House, and will curtail my remarks as much as possible. I wish to say a few words on the financial question which this motion brings before the House, and I am bound to say that, although there is no one in the House more fully alive to the importance of the most stringent economy in our national services than I am, yet I cannot agree with the position taken up by the hon. Member for Oldham. I do not think that in that speech, to which I as well as every other hon. Member listened with delighted admiration, he contributed much to the question under discussion. It seems to me that what the country wants, and what the House of Commons must provide, in the Army as in the Navy, is not so much economy, although that in itself is of sufficient importance, but efficiency, and if I understand the position taken up by the hon. Member for Oldham it is that he wants to go back to the condition of our national defences of fifteen years ago. I do think that we must realise the full importance of keeping efficient the Army as well as the Navy. The hon. Member for Oldham twitted the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean on his Imperialism, and told him that he had noticed that when a Radical became an Imperialist he got it very badly. I cannot help thinking that when a Tory becomes an economist he gets it very dangerously. I wish to say that I give to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War more credit than has been given to him by many of his hon. friends. He has dealt with what is admitted to be a grave national problem in a spirit of great courage, and I am bound to say that although I do not agree with all the details, yet, at the same time, I cannot help admitting that the country owes the right hon. Gentleman a great debt of gratitude for the courage with which he has faced the situation.
334 The arguments against the hon. Gentleman's scheme have been dealt with by my right hon. friend the Member for East Fife, and they are unanswerable. I do not propose to refer to them, There is one point to which I wish specially to direct attention. The right hon. Gentleman proposes that five battalions of British troops should be withdrawn from our garrisons in the Far East. Speaking with due regard to our experience of native troops in the past and to the absolute necessity of keeping open our trade routes in time of war, I venture to think that this proposition is fraught with great danger, and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether it may not be possible to keep the same proportion of white troops at our important coaling stations in the Far East as at present. I wish to say one word about a matter of which we have heard a great deal. We have heard from every quarter and from every section of opinion the lessons that we should draw from the war. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War detailed some of these lessons. He told us that if our Army is to be efficient we must have increased artillery, that we must have more mounted men, that we must reform our Army medical service, and that we must have more efficient transport. I admit fully that the right hon. Gentleman has to a considerable extent met the deficiency in the artillery; but as regards mounted men and the Army Medical Corps I find that he has done nothing whatever. At any rate he has taken no money to increase these arms of the service. It seems to me that the great lessons of the war are that mounted troops were insufficient in number, that our hospital arrangements broke down, and caused the deaths of thousands who otherwise would have been saved, and that our transport was insufficient.
I should like to make an appeal to the right hon. Gentleman for a slight modification in the way he proposes to increase the Yeomanry forces. I am quite sure that every Yeomanry officer in this House and out of it will, to the very best of his ability, endeavour to secure all the men he can get. But the great difficulty will be to secure a sufficient number of men. There are only three classes from which they can be recruited, namely, farmers, tradesmen and artisans. We tax every one of these classes very heavily. We ask them to come out for a period of 335 sixteen days, fourteen days training and one day marching in and another day marching out. They are to be paid 7s. a day, and they will be practically unable to take anything back with them. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should accept the unanimous recommendation of the Yeomanry committee and pay the Yeomanry 10s. a day for ten days instead of 7s. a day for fourteen days, and I think he will find that the difference in cost will be absolutely nothing. I thank the House for its indulgence, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give my humble proposals some measure of consideration.
§ LIEUT.-COLONEL TUFNELL (Essex, S.E.)
I cannot claim the indulgence of the House on the ground that I have written letters on military reform to the papers, or that I know something about foreign armies, but I have passed some twenty-three years—the best years of my life, and perhaps the happiest years—in an Irish regiment. They were a fine body of men, who knew no fear, who were obedient to their officers, and loyal to their colours, and if at any time their zeal outran their discretion they were always heartily sorry and expressed their contrition, an example which I should like to have seen followed in this House not long ago. At the General Election I promised, I am afraid, a great number of things. I have visions before me of deceased wife's sisters, and would-be beery children and other things, but one thing which was an especial part of my platform was Army reform. I remember perfectly well that one of my posters was "Vote for Colonel Tufnell, who will reform the Army." I should like to say that I went through this scheme of Army reform very carefully, and I was astonished to find that the Order in Council of 25th November was not cancelled, because, as all military men well knew, especially after what happened in another place, it was thought that the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, would be restored to him entirely, and also that whatever reforms were made the House would have the authority of the Commander-in-Chief that they were adequate. Although I have no doubt that the Secretary of State for War has consulted the Commander-in-Chief, still we have not his authority that this scheme is complete. Before the Franco-German war 336 the French military attaché said to his Government, "Beware of the German staff." We all know that that warning was disregarded, and we all know the result; but it shows what great importance should be placed on an efficient staff. The staff of the British Army has never been brought up to date. Every military man in this House will tell you how we have suffered in time of active service; that whenever his regiment has been ordered to any place there will be three or four orders sent, each countermanding the other, before the order actually arrives telling him where his regiment is to go. And in time of war, when we get order after order, each of which countermands the one sent before, it is the fault of the staff. In South Africa one of the greatest catastrophes was brought about owing to an operation being undertaken which should not have been undertaken before the ground had been properly reconnoitred first by the staff. We all know how we lost the Highland brigade. The six centres mentioned by the Secretary of State for War I think are the best parts of the scheme, because they give opportunities for training the officers of the staff upon whom these duties will fall in time of war. The hon. Member for Oldham said he thought generals were made for the Army, and not the Army for the generals, but you cannot buy generals in a shop like you can a pound of cheese. Generals have to be made. I do not entirely agree with the hon. Member for Fareham about the pay. The hon. Gentleman said that when a man was twenty years of age he should receive a certain sum, 1s. 9d., or whatever it is, I think myself that when a man joins the Army, until he has learnt his drill he is an absolute encumbrance to his battalion, and to give him 1s. 9d. under those circumstances would not be right, but when he has been in the force for a year and proved himself to be a good soldier I would give him 1s. 6d. or 1s. 9d., and after he had been in the Army three years I would give him 2s. or even more. Another thing which a soldier hates is the system of "barrack damages," and I hope in this scheme the right hon. Gentleman will do away with "barrack damages." Another thing they object to is the autumn manœuvres. On those occasions they suffer from all the hardships 337 of a military campaign without any extra pay, and they wear out their clothes. I myself would give each man an extra 3d. a day while he was out and a working suit. The principal point of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the reorganisation scheme is the permanent position occupied by the chief of the staff in time of war. That is most important. If we do not drill our staffs in time of peace, where shall we be in time of war? Wars come so quickly upon us now that it is absolutely necessary to have an army equipped and organised so as to be able to meet our enemy and beat him before he has time to beat us.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL (St. Pancras, S.)
If I might venture to say so, I think the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland on Tuesday last has removed many of the objections that were entertained to this scheme by many Members of the House. One of the great difficulties arises from the extraordinary system which exists in the Army of calling things by names which really mean something else. We now learn that the army corps is not really an army corps at all in the proper sense of the word. We see the same thing in regard to other things in the Army. One would think that the men in the "Army Reserve" were reservists, but that is not the case; the Army Reserve men are really the first line. Again, the "Imperial Yeomanry" are yeomanry, but they are not Imperial; that is, they are not liable to serve in all parts of the world. Again, the "Militia Reserve" hitherto has not been the reserve to the Militia at all, but a reserve for the Army. Now that it has been explained that the creation of six army corps means only the division of the United Kingdom into six great districts, many of our objections are removed. If that is what is meant, I, for one, gladly welcome that portion of the scheme. When the war in South Africa broke out we saw how great was the confusion in the selection and allocation of officers for high commands. Men were sent out who had never before seen their brigades or their units. We also saw—and I hope we shall never see it again—a great many officers removed from the headquarters staff and sent to the front. In time of war 338 the headquarters staff should remain at headquarters to direct and organise the future supply of men for the front, instead of themselves hastening off to the scene of action and taking active command in the field. By this new system we should be able to decentralise much of the business which at present is such a curse to the War Office. Another point is, how does the Secretary of State propose to deal with the troops that are not allotted to the army corps? I take it that these army corps will consist of about 40,000 men each, which will mean a total of 240,000, while we should have on the establishment altogether about 600,000. Will the men who are not allotted to the army corps be under the command of the district commander; if not, how will they be allotted?
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL
I am gad that that is going to be considered, because I think it is very important that the army corps commander should have the command of the whole of the troops within his district, as he will be able to judge of the requirements as to barracks, ranges, and other necessities—a thing which it is very difficult for a central authority to do. I think the Chief Secretary for Ireland dealt rather hardly the other day with the Leader of the Opposition for stating that the best general in the field was not always the best administrator for peace purposes. Surely there is a difference between the man who is able to lead in the field and the man who is good at office work. It has always seemed to me to be a great fault in our system that the generals who ought to be riding about, inspecting and looking after the troops, are so tied to their offices that they are not able to give proper instruction to the various brigades under their command. In fact they have been so chained to their offices in the past that they have had very little time to undertake the active duties of their profession, 339 so far as they concern educating and leading the men under them. I hope this state of things will be changed, and that, if possible, the Secretary of State will introduce some department of the Army, such as a control or administrative department, for the men who are not active combatants. Even in an ordinary regiment, nowadays, the colonel and the adjutant, in the same manner as the generals, are tied to their office. It seems to me that if a department was made under the assistant adjutant, with all the quartermasters and men employed in the various messes and canteens—in fact, if all the non-combatant portion of the regiments belonged to some department of the Army—it would be a very good thing, because you might reserve those posts for men who had already passed through the ranks and were in the Army Reserve. If this were done, the Reserve men would have something to look forward to, and you would be able to keep a lot of men who would make the Army a profession. I think this is a point worthy of attention—that in some way or other the general and colonels commanding units should be freed from some of the merely routine work.
As regards the army corps itself, there is another point I cannot very well understand. Owing to the exigencies of the service, certain regiments never stop very long at one place. How can we expect to see any esprit de corps if the regiments are continually moved about? I am strongly of opinion that it would be a great deal better if regiments were not moved about in the United Kingdom as they have been in the past. It costs an enormous amount of money, and the officers, and especially the non-commissioned officers and men, suffer very much from the great expense, because the amount of luggage they are allowed to take about is very small. The officers are also put to much expense in refurnishing their quarters in every barracks they go to, and the same applies to the non-commissioned officers and men who are married. In India, where I had the honour to serve for several years, most regiments stop in a station for three years, and the regiment I was in stopped nearly seven years. The argument in this country is that the men get tired of being in one place, 340 but in view of the practice in India, I cannot see how that argument applies. With regard to the 120,000 men of the first three army corps, I understand that they will be ready for mobilisation at short notice. Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to include the Guards in one of the army corps, or are they to stand outside? I understood that we were to hay a same small force ready to go without calling on the Reserves at all.
§ MR. BRODRICK
was understood to intimate that the guards would be included in the three army corps.
§ CAPTAIN JESSEL
I am very glad to hear that, because we will have some men, at all events, who will be ready to go off at once without the Reserves being called upon. The Intelligence Department has really done wonderful work, but, in my opinion, it is very much undermanned; there ought to be a great many more officers attached to it. I would respectfully submit that steps should be taken to create a body on the lines of the general staff in Germany—a body of men who are constantly engaged in working out plans, mobilisation schemes, and things of that description. The Intelligence Department is really a kind of information department in most armies, but somehow in England the Intelligence Department has to do the work which the general staff does abroad. If the Secretary of State would create a body on the lines of the general staff I think it would tend to much greater efficiency in any future campaign in which we might be engaged. Some Members have greatly objected to these garrison battalions. I think they are an excellent thing, and although at present we hear that only 2,000 have enlisted, I am confident that when that rather extravagant bounty of £12 10s. which the men received the other day has been spent many of them will be on their beam-ends again, and will come back to serve in these battalions. It is also a very good thing that these men will not be confined to Malta and Gibraltar, but will be sent also to South Africa. I think that will help to solve the great problem of how South Africa is to be populated with Englishmen, because I heard the other day that one of these battalions 1,000 strong had no less that 600 women and over 2,000 children attached to it.
341 I regret that there is no increase of cavalry in the scheme. The cavalry have been very much abused by certain critics in connection with the present campaign, but I may point out that their horses were very badly fed and they had to carry tremendous weights. I would respectfully urge that criticism should be deferred until the British public have had an opportunity of reading what that great leader who has done so much in this war—General French—has to say on the subject.
With regard to the Yeomanry portion of the scheme, I wish it every possible success. But there may be a certain difficulty in places, where the men have always been accustomed to look upon themselves as cavalry, to get them to turn themselves into what I imagine to be intended—mounted rifles, and not mounted infantry. In view of the circumstance that there is so very little cavalry in the country, it might be as well if, where regiments wished to remain as cavalry, they should be allowed to do so, and that new regiments should be raised for the mounted rifles. I think also that the Secretary of State runs a great risk in giving this mounted pay to the Yeomanry and providing them with horses, by making it more easy for a man to serve fourteen days in the Yeomanry that to do a whole month in the Militia. Everybody, in the military service as in anything else, naturally wishes to do that which is easiest for himself, and it would be a pity if the great constitutional force of the Militia were in any way harmed by the new attractions of other forces. I hope the Secretary of State will put his foot down upon there being competition in the way of mounted men between the Volunteer forces and the Yeomanry. It would be very difficult in some parts of the country for the two forces to exist; they would only compete with each other, and the efficiency of both would be destroyed. I was very anxious to see the line the Leader of the Opposition would take with regard to the pay of the men, and I noted that he wisely, as his party may some day be in power, refused to lend himself to any suggestion of a great increase of pay. I think the Government have a complete answer to any such suggestion at present. They say, "Let us try our scheme; if we can get the men, well and good; the 342 country will not be bound down to any great increase in the future." If, on the other hand, they find that under existing conditions they cannot get the men, it will then be open to the Government to come and say, "We have tried our best, but we are unable to get the men, and we must alter the conditions." It would be wrong of the Government to come forward with any such suggestion at present. The very first thing that would be said would be, "You have not tried your scheme, and yet you say we must give higher pay." Then there is the question of increasing the comfort of the men in barracks. Lord Roberts, I know, is very anxious that that should be done, and the Secretary of State is very sympathetic on the matter. Whoever has seen the miserable barrack-rooms in this country, where thirty men sleep in one room with one little gas-jet, cannot fail to be impressed by the fact that it is difficult for men of education to join the Army under such conditions. In India for several years past they have had separate dining-rooms and so on. The conditions of civil life have very much improved, and comforts have increased. The officers take very good care to be made as comfortable as possible, and eminent authorities have said that even on service the more comfortable you make your officers and men the better they will fight. You ought to make the conditions more cheerful, and try to make barrack life brighter. If you could accomplish this, then you would be able to get a very superior class of men for the Army.
I am very sorry that this has been made a party question by the Amendment of the Leader of the Opposition, for many hon. Members on this side will now be obliged to close up their ranks in regard to any objections they had to the scheme and support the Government. The late Home Secretary seemed to be quite in accord with the best military opinion in this House. Firstly, he advocated the necessity of keeping up the drafts for India; secondly, the necessity of providing a mobile force; and, thirdly, that the Navy was the first line of defence, and that we should have a number of men here to form a home army. The Leader of the Opposition did not seem to recognise that the responsibilities of the 343 Empire had increased at all, and he appeared to doubt whether there was any necessity for an improvement. The Army reformers in this House may not have got the whole loaf which they desired, but we do recognise that we have got a very fair and substantial amount of bread. We admire the way in which the present Secretary of State for War has laboured to bring out this plan, and I think it is a great credit that he has, in so short a time, while he has been engaged with the conduct of a great war in South Africa, produced a plan which still holds the field.
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
I noted with pleasure the concluding remarks of the Secretary of State for War, because he said that in this scheme he wished to secure the abolition of red tape, and also secure decentralisation. I am sorry that these objects were not put before the country earlier, and I regret that the right hon. Gentleman did not take the opportunity in his speech at Guildford of giving the country explanations on such matters as these. I think the principal feature of this three days debate has been the kaleidoscope changes which the Government schemes have undergone. On the first day we had an assurance from the Chief Secretary for Ireland that the army corps were not to be considered as army corps; on the second day we had from the Financial Secretary to the War Office a hint that the Government would welcome suggestions; and to-day we have a very different statement from the Secretary of State for War. There are many of us who, in spite of the great temptation to win popularity by supporting this scheme, prefer to place the interests of our country first. I approach this question from no party point of view, but I cannot be expected to vote in any other way but with my party on this question, more especially after the exposition of the fallacies of the scheme just given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife. I will take advantage of the statement of the Financial Secretary to the War Office, who said that the Government were prepared to receive suggestions calculated to benefit the scheme. The suggestions I have to make are many years old, more especially the reform which has been advocated by no less an authority in this House 344 than the present Secretary to the Admiralty. These suggestions will bear repeating, for in some ways I do not see that we are any nearer their adoption than, we were many years ago. I look upon this scheme as, to a certain extent, being built upon a foundation of sand, because it does not deal with the very crux of the question, namely, the question of the men. It has been said that this argument has been repeated ad nauseam. I wish, however, the country to remember that the Army exists for the State, and not the State for the Army. We are sometimes told that we wish to secure reforms in the Army without being prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. But we have to consider this question of the men, and we shall have to do away with a great many old prejudices. We should aim at making the conditions which animate men in coming into the Army identically the same as those which animate-officers who wish to enter the Army, and I do not think this country should remain content with the voluntary system until we have as much competition to enter into the rank and file of the army as there is to enter into the commissioned ranks. No matter what suggestions are put forward, you cannot expect immediate success. The men who advocate these changes are told that they will not succeed at once, but you have to kill the mistrust and want of confidence which an erroneous system has created in the minds of the people. I should like to see the man who enlists in the ordinary ranks obtain the same social advantages as the officer does when he enters the Army.
I rather regard with apprehension the attack which has been made in this debate upon the wearing of the uniform. I deprecate any such idea, and I fancy that in previous debates there was a much more healthy tone to the effect that uniform should be more worn and more respected than in the past. When, men go completely away on furlough they should have the chance of wearing plain clothes, and I would urge that officers and men should be placed on absolute equality in this respect. I should like to see the men who enlist in the Army given many advantages over the civilians of the same class. The soldier should be able to travel more 345 cheaply on our lines, and procure more easy terms of admission into places of amusement or licensed places than the civilian. The civilian ought to be made to see that in everything he is placed at a disadvantage as compared with the soldier. I would urge that in the service the men should not simply be regarded as servants of the Government for the time being, and the whole training of the soldiers should be in accordance with this idea. The soldier must be taught to understand that we not only look after him while he is in the service, but that we also provide for him in the future. I would also urge that trades should be thoroughly taught in the Army, and it might be considered whether it would not be possible to offer to employers a bounty or a rebate in taxation in proportion to the number of ex-soldiers or reservists in their employ. It would also facilitate the teaching of trades if regiments were not kept so much on the move. I agree with the hon. Member for the Fareham Division that we should make the conditions such that the soldiers will speak well of the Army. But there is something higher than that, for we want the people outside the Army to speak well of it. I remember the first time I spoke in this House I told the story of how a country woman had said that she would sooner be following her son to the grave than see him enlist in the Army.
There is another important matter which I have never lost an opportunity of bringing before the House, and it is the question of the age at which the recruit is taken into the Army. All the speakers in this debate have criticised the youthful age of the recruits, but if the regulations which exist were enforced the question of youth would not come up so often. It is because these regulations are absolutely a dead letter that speaker after speaker in this House dwells upon the youth of the soldier. I wish to see an absolutely correct age given without doubt by the soldier, whether he be a Militiaman or a recruit for the Regular Army. I differ from those who say that if this is done we shall not get the men. If you narrow the door of coming into the Army you will create competition, and until you do this you will never have a satisfactory state of recruiting. If you make it difficult 346 and exacting to get into the Army, and insist upon the production of a good character, you will not only obtain recruits from a higher class of the community, but you will get these lads at their proper age. I would also urge that the system of mixing boys up with the men should be stopped. Until the boys are fit to go abroad you should keep-them together as boys, and not allow youths of fifteen and sixteen years of age to live the barrack room life with old soldiers. There was a report made the other day by the Inspector-General of Military Prisons in regard to a soldier of twenty-two years of age who had enlisted nine times. The first time he enlisted he was only fifteen years of age, and he deserted no less than six times. What a waste for the country is that boy's career, and how many are there at the present time in similar situations. How many cases are constantly brought up before the House of youths and boys who ought never to have been allowed to join the Army. Instead of my suggestion being against economy, I believe the country would save enormously if it was carried out.
It has been calculated that, after making due allowance for waste, the disappearance of half the recruits takes place after less than two years service. I think that proves that a large percentage of these boys ought not to have been allowed to enlist at all. I think recruits should be compelled to produce proof of their ages. The practice of allowing boys and men who are morally or physically unfit to enlist causes great waste. It is calculated that in ten years. 150,000 soldiers had disappeared before their engagements were completed, and that represents a loss to the country of £9,000,000 in the ten years, owing to the want of a correct and reliable system of recruiting. This means that the men are fed, clothed, housed, instructed, and paid for at the expense of the State before their engagements are completed, and absolutely no return is got for this expenditure. These are the terrible effects of enlisting youths and men of bad character in the Army, and it must be apparent that the country would gain if a more reliable system of recruiting were adopted. I also desire to protest against youths being sent on service to India contrary to the regulations. Many of 347 the youths sent out to India have turned out to be three years under the regulation age, and how do they come back? They Come back very often the victims of terrible diseases, a fact which is well known to Members of this House. How can you expect people here at home to have any confidence in the Army when they see their sons coming back to this country wrecked and ruined, and their lives spoilt? As long as I am a Member of this House I shall continue to bring up this matter until a complete change is brought about. I agree with the last speaker that the pay is not the chief inducement for men to go into the Service. I should like to see an advance in the pay to a certain extent, but I am not of the opinion that the boys who enlist should get full pay until they are trained. With the saving effected by not enlisting men under age, or men with physical or moral defects, I would arrange to pay a slow progressive rate of pay. Perhaps that would be an advantage, although I do not believe for a moment that it is the pay that induces the men to enlist. Even in the most highly paid corps desertions and purchase of discharges goes on much the same as in other regiments.
I would like to say a word or two about the officers. I called attention some two years ago to this question, and one would have thought that, with every incentive for recruiting, the percentage of commissioned officers taken from the ranks would have held its own. I think there ought to be a stated proportion of officers from the ranks laid down and adhered to. I notice from a Return that the average number of commissions from the ranks during the last three years has gradually dropped. The average for the year 1895 was 4.5 per cent., but within the last three years the percentage has been reduced to 2.7, or nearly half; and this has occurred at the very time when there ought to have been the greatest inducement to recruits to enlist. I believe that, to a very great extent, reforms are denied to the Service because certain classes are not prepared to make the necessary sacrifices, and it is impossible to obtain reforms unless we make some sacrifice in regard to our old prejudices. I would like to say a word or two in regard to the question of officers' expenses. I think upon this 348 subject the House has been treated to some fantastical figures, which I believe are highly exaggerated. I know that certain cavalry regiments, such as the 7th Dragoon Guards and the 19th Hussars, were, by the courageous action of their colonels, reformed in this respect, and I know that some of the officers have been able to live upon £200 a year. But this does not hide the fact, which I am prepared to admit, that for many years all the regulations for lessening the expenses of cavalry regiments have been absolutely a dead letter. Twelve years ago I remember that order after order was issued by the War Office that regimental expenses were to be lessened, but there was not the slightest diminution in the expenses in nine cases out of ten. As regards the education of officers, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has been criticised severely for having spoken, and spoken truly, about public school education and its capacity' for turning out good Army officers. I ask the House to remember the extraordinary facts brought out in every Return in regard to the entrance examination to the Army. I wish to know how it is that the sons of the richest men as a rule secure the smallest number of marks in the entrance examinations, but commissions in cavalry regiments are given to candidates with a small number of marks. The very reverse ought to be the case. These are the sons of men who can afford to send their boys abroad to learn foreign languages, and they ought to be the candidates who secure the greatest number of marks. It is invariably the case that you find commissions in the cavalry regiments given to those who get the smallest number of marks. It is quite time these anomalies were changed. I wish the House to remember that it is quite possible to reform the Army without being obliged to increase it.
As far as the general scheme is concerned, I will merely suggest two other points. It is most important to recognise that there should be a mobile force able to leave this country at once. I would suggest that one or two divisions in each of the proposed army corps should be kept equipped, not only for European service, but also for tropical service; and they should be kept ready to leave the country at a moment's 349 notice. I would also suggest that several brigades in each division should be thoroughly trained as mounted infantry. This would create a force able to leave our shores at a moment's notice when it might not be necessary to despatch an army corps. The hon. Member for East Bristol suggested that certain regiments should be trained in this way. I think they should be kept equipped for tropical as well as European service. As regards the Volunteers, I merely wish to say that I look upon it as dangerous to make invidious distinctions, which must act unfavourably upon those in the second rank. I cannot help thinking that for this and many other reasons the scheme devised by the Government is incomplete. I compliment the hon. Member for Oldham upon the brilliant courage and ability displayed in his speech, for it is a call to duty which the House has not listened to for some time. I am opposed to the scheme because I think the fundamental problem of the men has not been solved, in spite of the figures which have been quoted in regard to recruiting. I passed St. George's Barracks yesterday, and I gathered that the average number of recruits there used to be something like fifty per day, but they are now taking on an average between twelve and fifteen per day, and I cannot understand the figures which the right hon. Gentleman has given us to-day. In a case of emergency if we mobilised two army corps for foreign service the Reserve would disappear at once, and the number for home defence would merely exist on paper. If they cannot be mobilised for foreign service the scheme gives a larger force than we require for peace, and a smaller force than we require for war. I cannot help thinking that in the right hon. Gentleman's speech there was an almost wilful attempt to discredit the voluntary system. It certainly not only impressed the House, but the country generally. It is impossible for me as a military man and Member of Parliament to favour conscription in any way. I think it is impossible for foreign service and for home defence, and I hope the country will never see it.
§ COLONEL BROOKFIELD (Sussex, Rye)
I sympathise with much that was said by the hon, Gentleman who has just sat down, and believe that he is very 350 sincere in his wishes for the welfare of the whole Army. I cannot say that many hon. Members on that side of the House have given any great enlightenment in this debate, or that they made a favourable impression. I turn to the observations of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Fife, who addressed the House this evening. His exordium dealt chiefly with the tactics of his own party, which I leave to his party to settle. He accused some members of this House of intending to vote against their own convictions. He said the great bulk of us wholly disapproved of these proposals. I join issue with the right hon. and learned Gentleman altogether on that question. Many of us, if I may speak for my hon. friends, have neither approved nor disapproved of the proposals, because until quite recently we were unable to understand them. The text was wide and vague, and the marginal notes became more and more ample. For months past this question has been treated by Ministers rather as of departmental than of great national importance. No Cabinet Minister of first rank has condescended to shed any light on this question of Army reform, with the exception of my right hon. friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who made an interesting and lively speech the other evening. The Prime Minister himself spoke of the "nebulous attack" on the War Office, and went on to encourage the fatuous proposal for the establishment of rifle clubs as an all-sufficient reform to deal with the military shortcomings of the nation. I have waited anxiously for the author, even more than the commentator, to hear what he would say on the subject, and I congratulate my right hon. friend very sincerely upon having reassured many hon. Members who sit near me on some of these proposals. All depends on the practical construction put on the words of the resolution. My right hon. friend described the resolution very accurately as a skeleton. What pleased me was that he afterwards said that it was his intention to clothe it with flesh and blood.
The opposition generally to this measure has come from two schools of opinion—those who think that the proposals go too far, and those who think that they do not go far enough. The right hon. 351 Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition belongs to the school who think that they go too far. At the outset of his remarks, when he compared the present proposals with those of Mr. Cardwell thirty years ago, I thought he was going to complain that they did not go far enough, but he afterwards indicated his alarm at the formidable nature of the resolution. He evidently believes the Army to be an institution mainly kept up for the benefit of clerks, contractors, and politicians. I believe he is perfectly sincere in that belief. He has said himself that he wants a small Army. We have a right to express our opinions here, and I venture to say that we want a large Army—a comparatively large Army, and the difficulty is that we require an army of superior quality. Two reflections occur to me in connection with the South African War—reflections of which I cannot divest my mind at the present moment. One is that we have not been crushing the Boers by superior military ability, or by innate superiority of race. We have been slowly overwhelming them practically by numbers. I think that is profoundly unsatisfactory. What a very different lesson will be taught that enemy from that which was taught to the enemy we met in the Indian Mutiny. The second reflection that occurs to me is that in any contest in which we are likely to be engaged with a civilised and educated Power, we are likely to be inferior in numbers. The conclusion to which I come is that we require both quantity and quality. We can obtain either of these by the sacrifice of the other. The awkward thing is that we really require both. I can understand the position of the hon. Gentlemen opposite who say that we can possibly obtain superior quality by making great efforts to alter the policy of the country in such a way as to sacrifice quantity altogether. The present Commander-in-Chief twenty years ago said our Army was "absurdly small." If it was absurdly small then it must be absurdly small at the present time, as our territory has vastly increased in the interval. All we can do is to make the best of it by an arrangement such as I hope may be found in the new proposals. I look on the six army corps as the irreducible minimum of our requirements. I would like to know whether the first, second and third corps are to be provided 352 with only a nucleus of transport and stores, because I have seen no mention of the cost of providing these transports.
I understand that my right hon. friend, in spite of the criticisms that have been showered upon him, and also the facts and figures brought forward by the Inspector General of Recruiting, is of opinion that he will really be able to obtain the men he wants. I think it is fair to say that that is a subject on which very few Members of the House agree with him. But still the figures in this connection do prove a good deal. I am willing to accept the statement he gives on his official authority. The figures show that there is no difficulty in getting recruits. What I regret is that the recruits should not be of superior quality. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition spoke of getting a higher social class. I believe that has been the object of Ministers from time to-time from the days of Mr. Cardwell. I believe it would greatly increase the efficiency of the Army if we could attract them. One of the commonplaces of this controversy with respect to the difficulty of higher pay for soldiers is to say that if you want a better soldier you must pay for him. I do not believe gentlemen who favour that view have really thought out the enormous cost that would be involved by paying such an increase as would ensure an altogether better class of men. I am afraid these little nibbling attempts by paying a penny here and giving a quarter of a pound of meat there, in order to make the soldier more comfortable in barracks—all of which are excellent things—will only have the effect of making the present class more comfortable. They will not bring into the Army an altogether superior class. I do not think that the superior class of man is attracted mainly by pay. He is attracted mainly by the love of adventure and the romance of active service. When you come to talk about pay, a man of that kind takes 5s. as lightly as the present private soldier takes 1s. I consider that, in continuing our present system of enlistment and our present pay, we are stereotyping our inferiority to other Powers in this respect. Anyone who has served lately in the war will confirm me in saying that the old pipe-clay disciplinarian kind of soldier is really of little use in modern warfare. 353 We want intelligence, respectability, and initiative, and we ought to make some sacrifices to try and attract a superior class of men to the colours.
I confess I was disappointed at finding that this scheme does not mean the scheme generally known as two armies, and I should have liked to hear at what period it was that Lord Roberts changed his opinion with regard to the merits of the two army system. I listened carefully to what the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant said the other night on this subject, and I gathered from him that the Commander-in-Chief had said that he was not in favour of a separate Indian army. A separate Indian army is not necessarily the same thing as two armies of the kind we have been in the habit of advocating, and though it is too late now to attempt to get any public support for that scheme, I cannot help saying I should have thought that one very well equipped, mobile army of the old-fashioned sort, full of professional soldiers, ready to go anywhere at a moment's notice, might have existed side by side with a very large home army composed principally of young men of a superior class, who would come out in times of emergency and who would follow their ordinary avocations at other times. We have had an indication from the Chief Secretary that it is intended to attract some of these young men through the agency of the Imperial Yeomanry, and my complaint is that these things are not done plainly in the text. I do not understand the object of having any concealment about it. It is hoped in the same way that this Imperial system will in time include colonial troops as well. I don't see why they are excluded at the present moment. The only thing in favour of it is that it is evidence of my right hon. friend's sincerity. I believe, if he had been advocating a sham scheme, instead of having six army corps, he would have proposed twenty. I could explain how he could have twenty army corps on paper with the greatest ease. It could be done by pressing into service all those colonial troops whom he is candid enough to say he only intends to ask in an incidental way. The conclusions which have led me to support the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman are mainly that we should incur a very serious responsibility if we voted against them. 354 I only hope my right hon. friend fully understands the great and grave responsibility he incurs in telling the country that these are adequate proposals.
§ MR. GOULDING (Wiltshire, Devizes)
No one who heard the Secretary of State for War could fail to be struck with his courage. The proposals which the right hon. Gentleman has put before the House will not attain the object he has in view, while they will impose increased taxation on the people and inevitably postpone those urgent social reforms which many of us desire to see solved. I certainly for one cannot support the Army scheme of the Government. It is only a few weeks ago that the attention of the House was called by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the growing extravagance and the growing demands of the Departments. In words remarkably pregnant he said that—Suppose the war came to an end, our ordinary expenditure would not permit us to remit the additional taxation imposed for the purposes last year, which included an income tax of no less than 1s. in the £.That is something for us to contemplate. In times of peace we are to have an income-tax of 1s., payable by people whose incomes range from £500 to £1,000. When we remember at what pains the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to justify the tax upon sugar it is not hard for any man to estimate the chances of the solution in the near future of a question like that of old age pensions, which I think the House will remember the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the First Lord of the Treasury, and the Secretary for the Colonies are pledged to carry out. I am confident that if right hon. Gentlemen on the front bench were to visit the constituencies of Essex and Shropshire, in which bye elections were taking place, they would find social reforms and not increase of the Army were the topics of the platform; the inhabitants of the villages wanted social reforms and measures to alleviate and improve the condition of the poor. Five years ago the Army Estimates were £18,000,000 a year. To-day we are asked to approve an Estimate of no less than £29,500,000, and I presume we are to console ourselves with the thought that for the future that is to be the normal annual expenditure for the Army. That expenditure does not include our Indian Army, or the 355 troops which are allotted from time to time to the Colonial and Foreign Offices. Surely it is time that Parliament should pause and take account, look at its balance sheet, and ask where this huge expenditure is to stop, and whether the country is getting value for its money. The right hon. Gentleman proposes to add considerably to the Army. Where that increase is to come from I fail to understand. It is known full well how difficult it is to get the right men to join the Army in time of peace. Every Return which has been published shows that unless inducements very considerably different from those now offered are held out we will not get a larger number of men to join the Army. If we are to be successful in obtaining more recruits we must do so in one of two ways. We must either pay the men a better wage, entirely alter the conditions of service, so as to remove many of those obstacles which prevent men from joining the Army, and offer them other attractions, or we must resort to conscription.
I do not envy the task of any party who ventures to propose conscription. It is absolutely un-English. It would rob us of one of the greatest heritages we have—the right every British subject has in times of peace to choose the duty and the profession he should follow—and if any Minister came here to propose in time of peace this un-English system of conscription, I am perfectly certain that Parliament and the country would give him very short shrift indeed. I consider the 120,000 men the Secretary of State proposes to have ready to go anywhere at a moment's notice far too large; but, whatever number we have, I hope they will be fit in every way, and that we shall not continue to have the large numbers of lad soldiers hitherto to be found in our barracks. But what about the army corps for home? Are they required, and of what use are they? If we once lose command of the sea, of what use will three or four army corps be against an enemy who may have at its disposal twenty or thirty army corps? If we lose command of the sea, is it at all likely that those who won the victory over us would attempt to land their soldiers on these shores? Is it not far more likely that they would use their victory to harass our ships of commerce and to injure us in a multitude 356 of other ways? I decline to contemplate the possibility of our losing our position as mistress of the seas, for the country will spare no expense to maintain the supremacy of our fleet. I have no authority from my constituents to vote for an increase of the Army. Army reform is what the nation requires. We want quality, not quantity. The reform of the Army is not on our lips, but in our hearts; and we want an efficient and effective Army. The right hon. Gentleman himself says that—reform is needed in the Royal Army medical service, and in our transport service. But there is another question which is not a matter of money. We want less barrack square drill, we want more scouting, we want more independence, more individuality amongst the men.And again he said he wanted—the delegation to the commanders of the army corps of the authority which is now exercised in Pall Mall.These are the far-reaching reforms which strike even a layman as being absolutely necessary; and if the right hon. Gentleman and the War Office will only devote themselves to the task they will have their hands full. I would like to ask what would be thought of anyone who sent for a builder to come and enlarge a building, and if that builder found the foundations rotten and defective, yet ordered additions to be made to the building irrespective of the rotten condition of the foundations. Again I ask is not this a most extraordinary illustration of putting the cart before the horse. Why are you going to increase your Army before you establish your new system? Why should you teach your recruits in a system which you yourselves say is defective? That is contrary to common sense. The right hon. Gentleman himself says that reform at the War Office is necessary, that great changes ought to be introduced at once. In fact, he found it imperative to announce that one of the staff would be placed on half-pay in order to get an answer to an enquiry he had instituted. The right hon. Gentleman also informed the House that he had been looking after the insanitary barracks, and that these had now ceased to exist. But the War Office had bought Salisbury Plain, where they maintained cottages which for their insanitary condition were a disgrace and a scandal.
§ MR. GOULDING
I was pointing out what I thought showed a want of organisation on the part of the War Office.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The subject under discussion is not the reorganisation of the War Office, but the reorganisation of the Army.
§ MR. GOULDING
I must say that anyone who has studied the question must know that the War Office has displayed an ability in the evasion of its duty which would not be tolerated in a business establishment. The right hon. Gentleman says that—it is more important that we should carry on the business of bringing the war to a conclusion, preparing the Estimates and getting ready our scheme for this year, rather than in occupying our minds in mending the machinery by which the scheme is to be carried out.That is a most extraordinary doctrine. I should have thought that if you want a machine to work well you should put that machine into good working order. I apologise for the length with which I have trespassed on the time of the House, as I cannot support this scheme. What do the Government think will be the effect of their policy on the ultimate fate of the Tory and Unionist party? Do they for one moment believe that they will be able to stand and thrive alone on militarism? Do they despise the lessons of social reform taught by Disraeli, Pitt, and Churchill? These reforms are before the country to-day; but this taxation will prevent them being carried out, and, therefore, I cannot support the motion.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
The hon. Member who has just sat down has made a most excellent speech. We on this side of the House have listened to it with great satisfaction, and I hope it has increased the satisfaction which the right hon. the Secretary of State for War informs us will be found in the result of the debate. I should not have risen to interfere in this debate at all except for the purpose of calling attention to one or two points which have either not been adverted to or, at any rate, not sufficiently discussed in the speeches already delivered. I have no technical knowledge of the Army, and I 358 do not propose to go into any of the technical questions raised. I think it is apparent to everyone what is the real gist and meaning of this scheme. The term "army corps" has now resolved itself into a mere arithmetical expression. It is neither more nor less than a War Office synonym for 30,000 men. What the House has before it is whether there be this reform or not; there is to be a great increased expenditure on the Army, and it is in regard to that increase that I venture to direct the attention of the House. My right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition in his speech put a question which has not yet been, answered, and which should be answered before the House comes to a division. My right hon. friend asked what is to be the ultimate financial effect of this proposal. We have been told that there has been no extra expense in regard to barracks. We are told that we must have an enormous increase in the number of generals, and we ought to have on the authority of the Treasury, and, if not of the Treasury, certainly on that of the War Office, a detailed and complete statement of the ultimate financial effects of that increase. I submit that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government have no right to ask the House of Commons to pass a financial judgment on these proposals unless they give us on the authority of a Government Department a full and detailed statement as to what the cost of these proposals, will be next year, the year after, and all the subsequent years. Are we to be favoured with such a statement? We have had no answer, and I do not think it is treating the House of Commons with justice to invite us to pass judgment on a scheme which may cost the country many millions more than the right hon. Gentleman has suggested.
§ MR. BRODRICK
The hon. Gentleman is making a false assumption. The cost of the various army corps—the pay for the Reserves, the Militia, the Yeomanry, and the garrison regiments—is all in the Estimates. It is a matter of £300,000 for the Yeomanry, and £100,000 for the other services.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
That is hardly an answer. Take, for instance, the number of the Regulars. There was to be an increase of 11,500, and the right 359 hon. Gentleman told us two months ago that the cost was to be £115,000.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
I understood that it was to be for the Regular Army, and these are not provided for. I understood also that under the new scheme a large number of generals were to be introduced. I speak, of course, as a mere layman, but I do not think we should be compelled to dig into these Estimates and find out for ourselves all these details. I should like to have from the Treasury what is the financial effect of this scheme. Why do you want this increase of £126,000 for various regiments? What do you want it for? The right hon. Gentleman used vague language on the first occasion, and why was he not more specific? The Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant said in order to do again what we have done in South Africa. I should have thought that the motto would have been, "Never again as in South Africa." Then he said that "We want to do in Canada and in Australia what we have done in South Africa." I ask what part do the colonies play in this scheme? And the answer comes from the Chief Secretary for Ireland—that this large increase in our Army is due to our Imperial duty to defend by force of arms our colonial possessions.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
Yes‡ That is admitted to be the reason for your policy. But have the colonies been asked to bear any portion whatever of this additional expenditure that is to be incurred? Just think of the position in which we are placed in regard to these colonies. There is a population of fourteen millions in these self-governing colonies, and that of the United Kingdom is forty millions. That is, the population of the self-governing colonies of the British Empire is as one to three to that of the United Kingdom. What are we doing now in regard to the Navy? My hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth has often impressed on the attention of the House the intolerable position of the colonies in relation to the mother country in regard to naval defence. I say that the colonies ought to be paying six millions 360 a year for naval defence. Take the war in South Africa. I do not know what figure the total cost of that war will reach, but put it at £200,000,000. That will be the amount of the increase of our debt for colonial defence. And are we to be told that they are not going to pay any portion of this enormous debt? And now, in addition, we are told that the unhappy forty millions of people in the United Kingdom are to load themselves with an additional debt of £200,000,000 sterling for the benefit of fourteen millions of people in the self-governing colonies, who are just as rich and as well able to bear taxation as we are! There is another point. I have spoken of the economic aspect of the case—the mere money question, which is a most serious one. It has been said that conscription is not in this scheme; but it is involved in it as a necessary consequence. The right hon. Gentleman almost pledged himself to resort to conscription. [An HON. MEMBER: No.] Yes, and this is a conscription scheme in its essence. I put this question, "Is there to be conscription in the colonies if here?" Are we to load ourselves with this great burden of taxation and subject ourselves to the burden of conscription in order that our colonies may provide themselves with old age pensions, as they do now, out of the levies which they make on British produce? The hon. Gentleman did allude to a scheme of old age pensions, but the bitterness of the wrong will be intensified when we know that the colonies, who do not pay a farthing for defence, also pay nothing for old age pensions. The Chief Secretary said the other day that the last election had laid the obligation on the Government, and even more on the House, of introducing Army reform. Does the House forget what happened eighteen months ago, when the country was sick of disasters in the field, and threatened to turn out the Government unless there was to be Army reform? But what was the kind of reform that was to be carried out? It had nothing to do with army corps, but concentrated itself on this subject more than another—the determination that the rank of officer should be filled by the best men in the country, and that neither class distinction nor money interest should be longer recognised. I 361 brought this subject up, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who was then at the War Office, admitted that my statement was correct, and went on to say that it was a positive scandal, and he pledged the Government to have that matter reformed. Well, nothing more was said, and at the close of the session I raised the question again, when the right hon. Gentleman declared that legislation was necessary, and how could we expect legislation at the end of the session!
There is not a whisper of Army reform in the proposal before the House. There is not in the whole scheme of the right hon. Gentleman either the promise or the potency of reform in the rank of officers, which the people of the country will insist upon. You have got to consider the interests of the nation and of the individual. Both are consistent with each other. It is the interest of the nation to have at its command for the rank of officer all the available talent in the country. Every money or other barrier to exclude that talent from the rank of officer is an injury. It is the right of every father, however poor, that his son, if he possesses the necessary talent, should have as free access to every rank in the Army as the son of any duke. I say that in the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman there is not the slightest indication of any desire to deal with that question.
There is only one other point to which I will refer; it has barely been alluded to in the debate, although I consider it the most important of all. In his first speech the Secretary of State for War made this observation, "Let us not confuse our minds by thinking of the position of the Navy." There has been a contemptuous ignoring of our naval relations throughout the debate. I am sorry that my hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth was prevented by the rules of the House from developing his views on the subject, as he is generally recognised in the House and the country as one of the highest authorities upon it. We had one marvellous example of the ignoring of the relations between the Navy and the Army which wants explanation. The right hon. Gentleman told us that it was part of the scheme to turn over the defence of the coaling stations to the Navy. It has been said since that he was only expressing his own personal opinion; but he did not put it as a personal opinion.
§ MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON
No; I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. He came down to the House and set out the War Office view; he did not put it as his personal opinion, although he now says that it is his personal opinion. We have had a little too much this session of Ministers getting up and making declarations and expressing sentiments which they afterwards declare are only their personal opinion. I do not think it is right, or decent, or respectful to the House that the Minister should come here and propose these considerable and important changes unless he has behind him not merely the authority of the Committee of Defence, but the authority of the Cabinet at large, because that is the only authority we can look to on this or any side of the House. I wish we could have had an opportunity of discussing another Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth, which puts the matter right, that—this House considers that the constant growth of expenditure on purely military arrangements for the local defence of the United Kingdom calls for a special inquiry into those naval considerations which determine the nature and extent of possible military attacks.That element has been conspicuously absent from the Government defence to-night. I think that some Member representing the naval element should have got up and told the House the views of the Admiralty as well as the War Office.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he was entirely satisfied with the course the debate had taken. I am not sure that many Members on his own side of the House share his satisfaction. There has been from beginning to end of these discussions not a single or complete defence of the scheme from an hon. Member on the other side of the House. The hon. Member for Fareham Division, who lectured my right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition on his tact, concluded with a strong attack on many points involved in this scheme. I conclude by maintaining that this debate has been little better than a sham fight, and whatever the result of the division may be, the right hon. Gentleman and the Government will not take away with them to their offices the real assent of this House, however large their majority. [Cries from Ministerial benches: "Yes."] I say no. The evidence is abundant; it 363 has spread itself on the Notice Papers, throughout all the speeches, and even in the newspapers; and if they do not take away with them the real assent of the House, I am perfectly certain they will not get the assent of the country.
§ COLONEL WELBY (Taunton)
said the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, who had moved the Amendment, had unfortunately a negative record as Secretary of State for War. He it was who by a memorandum destroyed the principal recommendation of the Hartington Commission to appoint a chief of staff. There was good reason for his memorandum, but he thought the right hon. Gentleman when again Secretary of State for War should have put a policy in place of that which had been destroyed by that memorandum, and although the right hon. Gentleman had been supported in the past, he had shown he had no trump card with which to win the trick, and therefore the House could not trust him in the future. The resolution before the House aimed at decentralisation and reorganisation. He had always, ever since he had been in the House, advocated both those principles and therefore he welcomed the principle which underlay the Resolution, as it was good for the Army. He only hoped it had been possible that the principles, which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War had announced that evening might have been so well thought out that all could have given to the scheme their hearty adhesion, and that the country would have seen the end of reorganisation and expenditure; but that, unfortunately, was not the case.
After listening to the speeches of the right hon. Gentlemen the Secretary for War and the Chief Secretary for Ireland it appeared to him that the organisation of army corps was more a question of astronomy than the reorganisation of the Army. When one looked through an astronomical telescope one saw groups of nebulous matter which the astronomers said would eventually be drawn together, and, in the future, would form stars. When they looked through the War Office telescope they were told by the Army astronomers that the nebulous groups of matter which they saw would in the future form six army corps. Instead of army corps there should be 364 army commands. Such a suggestion might appear to many hon. Members a merely technical suggestion, but as a matter of fact there was an enormous difference between this great scheme of six army corps and the scheme of army commands throughout the United Kingdom, army commands comprising any number of divisions it might be necessary to include in the areas. Were we a continental nation with land frontiers wedged in between two other countries like Germany, by all means let us have army corps. They would be great units ready at a moment's notice to be mobilised and launched across the frontier; but what parallel was there between the situation of this country and that of Germany? We could not launch an army corps over the frontiers here, we should have to transport them in ships. We could not be attacked as other nations could be. We were not subjected to the same dangers, and we had different requirements. He ventured to say that for the home defence of this country against invasion army corps were entirely unsuited, and that the scheme presented to the House was absolutely valueless. If there was ever danger of invasion it would be at a time when the army corps had been taken out of the country. The first army corps to eave the country would be taken from the south of England and from Ireland, which were our most exposed frontiers, and if an invasion took place it would be at our weakest point. He did not think that any continental chief of staff would advise such a scheme. What was to happen when these army corps were sent over sea; was there any organisation to replace them? Of a necessity they would consist almost entirely of regulars; how would the Auxiliary forces in those areas be organised for service? He thought it was all very nebulous, and perhaps it was best that it should be so, because he believed when the scheme was more carefully looked into, and when instead of trying first to put the roof on, as was being done at the present time, the foundations were dug; when the regiments were put together into brigades and divisions it would be found that six army corps would be too much, and that a number of army commands, as were recommended by the Hartington Commission, would be much more serviceable, much more 365 useful, for the defence of the country, and it would be much more easy to take what might be called the cream of the troops for service abroad, for the protection of the colonies or as a striking force. With regard to decentralisation, he believed two or three commands in large army districts would have far more effect in decentralising the power at the War Office than six army corps leaders with independent staffs could possibly have.
The foundation of the whole scheme was undoubtedly the men, and where were the men to come from? The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the increase of pay in order to obtain a better class of men; he for one would certainly not recommend that any increase of pay should be given to recruits, while there would be a danger of getting the same class of men as at present enlisted. If we were going to raise the tone of the Army, if there were to be improvements in barracks and better social surroundings for the men, we must have men of good character. Men of bad character must not be allowed to come in and damn the regiments, and if to prevent that a rule was made that no man with a bad character should join, recruiting would be bound to fall off, and for three years there would be a shortage of troops. He admitted the great difficulties which confronted the right hon. Gentleman in regard to this matter, and he would suggest to him, as one means of meeting them, that there should be two classes of enlistment. Let there be one class for the men who did not care to reveal where they were born, what were their names, and what had been their past lives, and another class, with a larger rate of pay, for those who would say where they came from, where they were born, and what had been their past lives up to the time of enlistment. Then let the man who had come in under the lower rate of pay, if after serving for a year, he proved himself to be a good soldier, come into the higher rank of pay. His own view was that if that were done, in a very short time there would be a large increase in the good recruits and a decrease in the bad, and the whole character of the Army would be improved. Under such circumstances a right class of man would be obtained, and then, having raised the tone of the Army, they could introduce those social improvements which every soldier who loved the Army looked for. The diffi- 366 culty of promoting from the ranks was not entirely one of officers' expenses, although that entered too greatly into it, but also arose from those who passed through the ranks knowing too much of the inner life of the barrack room; he therefore suggested whether it was not possible to admit a certain number of men into the Army who desired to pass through the ranks to a commission on some such principle as the one year's volunteer system in continental armies. If a man desired to join as a Volunteer in the hope of obtaining a commission, let him first pass an educational examination, such as the first-class Army examination, and let him live in lodgings so that he might be free from the contamination of barrack life, and have other privileges. Such privileges would be much valued, and if, eventually, a man failed to obtain a commission he might be given the option of either retiring or joining those ordinarily enlisted. With regard to the Imperial Yeomanry, he said that, as far as he could see, they would neither be Imperial nor Yeomanry, and he urged that the title Imperial should be reserved for troops ready to serve the Empire in any part of the world. He suggested that in place of "Imperial" the title "Royal" should be given to the Yeomanry. Although two regiments already bear that title, he believed that this would detract little from it, that it would be a most gracious act of recognition of the services performed by the Yeomanry in South Africa, and much more likely to be appreciated than a title which was the outcome of a Parliamentary reorganisation. He wished the right hon. Gentleman's scheme had been a little more concerned with the digging of foundations, that there had been a little more certainty about the principles he had laid down, and that there had been a little more certainty that these six army corps would not entail enormous and unnecessary expense on the country.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
said that the right hon. Gentleman in his reply did not give any indication of an alteration in our general policy. He based his scheme upon a false foundation. He attempted to deduct from the Navy some 5,000 men by putting the coaling stations under the direction of the Navy. Nobody objected to the coaling stations being handed over 367 to the Royal Marines, except for the strain it put on the Navy in order that the Army might be strong, and this at a time when we were engaged in great complications and when there were not enough men to man the Fleet, if it were mobilised to-morrow. The scheme before the House was based on the scheme which had broken down a short time previously, under which we were supposed to have two army corps ready for active service. When the war broke out the first thing that occurred was that the first army corps sent to the Cape was broken up on its arrival, and the second was never used as an army corps at all, and the fighting line had to be fed from the Reserves. We had been obliged to form our fighting line in the front of the enemy, and had it not been for the Volunteers who came to our rescue we should have been in difficulty. We were compelled to send raw troops to the front, and rely on the Yeomanry as cavalry, and this country was absolutely depleted of troops. The right hon. Gentleman had to call upon the time-expired men, of whom he expected to get 50,000, but he only succeeded in getting 24,000, and that at the expense to the country of £3,000,000. This scheme was based on the question of recruiting. Had there been any advance in recruiting? Was it not notorious that before the war the supply did not meet the demand? When we wanted 45,000 men a year we were only averaging 35,000; in spite of taking men of inferior physique we had not been able to raise the number required. We had always 60,000 boys in the Army, whom we were obliged to keep for two years before they were fit to go on foreign or active service. It was a well known fact that the bulk of the Army was required for abroad, and yet we had to go to the expense of keeping these youths for two years before we could send them abroad. The reason we did not get the men was because the Government was a bad employer of labour. The financial position would have to be faced, and if it was said that we could not get men with extra pay, how did it come about that the hon. Gentleman increased the pay by 3d. a day some years ago. The scheme of the six army corps resolved itself into this, that whereas, in the first place, it was intended to have six army corps, they were now going to be only district commands. That was what it 368 amounted to, for three were only going to be Reserves. The first three army corps were to be fed from Nos. 4, 5, and 6; and Nos. 4, 5, and 6 were to be composed mainly of Volunteers and Militia, and that being so could not be moved out of the country. He did not think the right hon. Gentleman had done anything to strengthen the Regular Army—that was to say, the force on which alone we could rely if the country was at war, and when he spoke of taking on the Estimates 680,000 men the right hon. Gentleman was simply trifling with the House. Did not the right hon. Gentleman know that half that force—the Auxiliary forces—could not be utilised outside this country? If our Navy met with a mishap, and we wanted a force for the defence of the country, what we wanted was a quick effective mobile force of the highest order which could be moved at once to any point at which we expected to be attacked. We should find ourselves, under this scheme, in the same position as when the war broke out. We should be left without an effective mobile force of 50,000 men to meet a foreign invasion. How was this heterogeneous mass to be trained? The right hon. Gentleman had ridiculed the Boxer movement, but this scheme appeared to be only a glorified Boxer movement. It bore upon it the imprint of sham, and the result would be a failure in consequence of the impossibility of obtaining the requisite number of men.
§ SIR J. DICKSON-POYNDER (Wiltshire, Chippenham)
I cannot help feeling that the discussion before the House is of far greater importance and its issues more far-reaching than any that have taken place in this House for many years, and therefore it behoves hon. Members who feel strongly upon the question to express their views upon it. I associate myself with the expressions of regret which have been heard that this Vote should find itself upon the platform of party controversy, and that it was not possible for this great question of national defence to be raised far above that sphere. I do not blame the Leader of the Opposition for bringing forward this Amendment. He has moved it in the orthodox manner, and although there will be a large majority for the Government in the division presently to take place, I cannot help thinking that many hon. Members who will support the 369 Government in the division lobbies will feel considerable apprehension as to whether many of the cardinal features of the scheme can be carried out successfully.
Now, some weeks ago, in a speech of singular eloquence, the right hon. Gentleman introduced this scheme; so eloquent was the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that he almost disarmed his critics, but fortunately during the time that has elapsed before this matter comes before us again we have had time to probe and investigate this scheme, and although during the last week we have been again almost disarmed I may say by the masterly eloquence which characterises the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and the eloquence of the speakers on that bench who followed him—in spite of all those speeches, eloquent as they undoubtedly were, there are many Members upon this side of the House who feel bound to pause and consider whether this is a scheme which will fulfil in the best manner the military requirements of the country in the future. There is to be established in the country a great system of army corps, and that is a question which ought not to be decided by a silent vote. I am not one of those who desire to see the Army in this country reduced to an indefinite degree, but at the same time I have always been brought up to believe that one of the cardinal points to be remembered in matters of this kind is that nothing must be done to minimise the maritime power of this country or to diminish the reliance of the country upon that power, and that this scheme appears to do. We are told that there are to be three army corps ready mobilised, prepared and ready for foreign service, and that these army corps are to be stationed in different areas. In his earlier speech the right hon. Gentleman gave us to understand that they were to be absolutely ready at a moment's notice; this evening we have been given to understand that that is not the case. The scheme has been distinctly modified.
Now I wish to call attention to a matter to which I think the attention of the House has not been directed before. The first three army corps which are to be ready to be used for expeditionary purposes at a moment's notice, so far as I can understand, are to be composed of regular troops. Now it is impossible that the Yeomanry and Volunteers 370 could be abstracted from the areas in which they are placed and put into another; they are indigenous to the soil, and must remain where they are. The first three army corps will be inflated army corps, whereas the second three will be mere skeletons so reduced will they be in the numbers. It should be more clearly understood whether the auxiliary forces are to be allowed to remain in the areas to which they belong or whether they are to be abstracted and placed in the second three army corps, because if they are not those latter army corps, as I have said will be skeletons. The point we have to ask ourselves is whether the requirements of the nation and the conditions of Great Britain necessitate our keeping up to war establishment three army corps. The hon. Member for Oldham asked the Government to put to the House the number of commitments with which England had to contend in order to see whether it was necessary to keep these three army corps ready to send abroad. India I regard as fully self-contained. A good many years ago we had the bogey before us of an invasion of India by Russia, and at that time I had an opportunity of investigating that question more closely than others, because I went all along the frontier. There is no doubt that the fears then entertained were extravagant, for time has shown that by a proper distribution of troops along the frontier Russia can always be kept at a distance. Humanly speaking, if you have one army corps prepared for all possible contingencies in India, that is all that is necessary.
Then when we come to the case of the colonies, it seems idle to suggest that it is necessary to keep three army corps, with all the necessary accompanying expenditure, on the very remote chance of any danger or trouble arising in Australia, Canada, or any other of our colonies. Then we come to the native frontiers, to which we are continually having to send expeditions, and always shall have; it is part of the penalty of our position as a great Empire. In years gone by a brigade or a couple of brigades have been quite sufficient for the task. We talk to-day of army corps in exactly the same way as we talked yesterday of brigades, the only difference being that a brigade is 2,500 or 3,000 men, while an army corps is 40,000. Then we come to the case of the Continent of Europe. To 371 throw three army corps into the midst of France, Germany, or Russia would be like throwing a wasp into a hornets' nest. As to home defence, we are bound, of course, to depend upon our Navy, but at any rate we shall always have a very fine auxiliary force as well as the regular establishment in the event of an invasion. I cannot, however, believe that an invasion of this country can be seriously apprehended. If such a terrible occurrence took place, it would mean that our fleet had been destroyed, and then, no matter how numerous our auxiliary forces or our army corps might be, such are the conditions under which we live on this island that we could not hold out very long. Therefore, on all points, it seems to me that three army corps are superfluous, whereas two would be quite sufficient. That is the point on which I join issue with the Government, and it is one, I believe, upon which many of my hon. friends on these benches agree with me. ["No, no."] Now I have been assuming all this time that these army corps will be created and the men found; but anyone who believes for one moment that, under existing conditions, the men will be found must be of a very sanguine disposition. My right hon. friend has told us that recruiting has been extremely good during the past year, and is extremely good this year, but in subsequent speeches there has been a considerable conflict of opinion upon the point. It has been shown that recruiting has gone off considerably during the last few months. We have to face facts. With the increasingly prosperous condition of the labour market, with the better conditions under which the people live, with the increased wages they receive now they are better organised, it is impossible to expect that the army, with its present rate of wages, its somewhat uncongenial atmosphere, and unattractive mode of living, can attempt to compete with the great labour markets of the country. The whole question of army reform seems to be one of men. We have been told that our countrymen do not think about money, but I am rather inclined to believe that they do. The Financial Secretary the other night told us that recruiting was a difficult matter in the army, and he went on to argue rather elaborately that because the 372 wages we paid were low, and because even if the pay was raised it would not be so high as the pay given in the higher labour market, it therefore would not be worth while raising it at all. He was assuming in that argument that there was no class of men between the low labour market and the high skilled labour market. But there is a very large class of men between the two, and if you raised the pay by only a few pennies it would bring a very large number into the army. Therefore, it seems to me that under present conditions the Government are suggesting too large a scheme. If they could show us a scheme by which there would be 80,000 or 90,000 thoroughly effective, well-trained men, ready to go out, and if by making the pay higher they could get those men, it would be a very much better scheme than the one now proposed.
I should like to say a word with regard to the auxiliary forces. With regard to the Volunteers and the Militia, there has been a considerable increase, and I have nothing to say beyond the fact that I think, in reason, it is a very good thing to have a very large auxiliary force in the country. With regard to the Yeomanry, perhaps I may be permitted to say a word, because my right hon. friend did me the honour of placing me on a Committee some months ago which had to report upon the possibility of reorganising that force. I am very glad to see that the proposals with regard to the Yeomanry are identical with the proposals which Lord Dundonald and I had the honour to propose in a kind of minority report. What we aimed at in our proposals, recognising that it was necessary to increase the force, was to reduce as far as possible the expense attaching to it. That force has hitherto been drawn almost exclusively from the agricultural classes. The Secretary of State now asks for an increase of 25,000, and it is almost impossible to expect that the class which has borne the burden for the last hundred years will be able to provide these additional men by itself. It will, therefore, be necessary to call in the wage-earning class. The only point in regard to which the Government have not followed our proposals is that of the yearly training. The Government propose that the Yeomanry should go out for eighteen days; 373 we proposed that the period should be seven days. It will be very difficult for the wage-earning class to spare the time or to get their employers to release them for that long period. If the present proposal is not successful, I hope the period will be reduced to seven or ten days. There may be a slight reduction of efficiency, but I think that will be more than counterbalanced by the greater numbers who will be able to spare the shorter time. With regard to the increase of Volunteers and Yeomanry, the same weakness underlies this as the other portion of the scheme. No suggestion is made as to how the men are to be obtained.
With all due deference I am going to make a suggestion to my right hon. friend. The Auxiliary forces are going in the future to play a most important and prominent part in our military affairs. We are told that if this scheme fails we shall have to resort to compulsory service. I think if my right hon. friend considers that closely, he will find that the country would not stand it. Compulsory service is positively odious to the people of this country. It is subversive of the first principles upon which our commercial interests are based. If the proposal to bring about conscription was seriously made by a Minister, I believe that such proposals as the Disestablishment of the Church, the licensing laws, or even Home Rule, would pale before it. Therefore, let us put far from us the idea of conscription. It does not mean the Militia ballot for home service. If it is conscription at all it means compulsory service for every man to serve abroad. ["No, no‡"] I do not see how it can be otherwise. What will be the alternative? My suggestion is this: You have got to get these men. There is magnificent material in the country. There are thousands and thousands of men ready and willing to pay their service to the Crown in the form of military service, provided that service is not made too onerous. There is a machinery ready to hand if you like to take it up. The great public authorities of England are in touch with every class of the community. The mayors and corporations of our towns are the great powers in those towns. Upon those bodies are represented the best and 374 most influential men of the various districts. I should like to have seen in the first speech of my right hon. friend a quarter of an hour devoted to invoking the great public authorities of England to come forward and help in this great national cause. I believe that if the mayors and corporations, the district and county councils, were asked to form sub-committees to go through their districts, to use their influence and obtain names, you would get thousands of men to join the Auxiliary forces. I have tried to give my views as clearly as possible upon this great question. I believe there is a large amount of good in the scheme, but there is also in it a great deal that is very doubtful, and until we see portions of the scheme modified, and, I hope, in years to come, the expenditure under it reduced, many of us on this side of the House will look upon it with apprehension, and should not be able to give it that unreserved support which we should like to as coming from our leaders.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (MR. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The interesting speech of my hon. friend who has just sat down is a good specimen of the kind of criticism which has induced the right hon. Member for East Fife to suppose that there is a large body of opinion on this side of the House hostile to the main lines of the Government proposal. I think the right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. My hon. friend who has just spoken has made a great many interesting observations, and he has told us, among other things, that there are some details of the scheme to which he objects; he has also told us that there are a great many of its most important proposals which he cordially supports. I imagine that it is almost impossible on a subject like Army reform to find absolute agreement with any scheme that can be suggested among those who are either professional soldiers or who have served for any time, as my hon. friend has done, in the Volunteer force. So many soldiers, so many opinions. As absolute unanimity is not to be expected and cannot be attained. I do not imagine that the right hon. Gentleman opposite, if he had to propose—which I am bound to say he never has thought it his duty to propose—a scheme of Army reform, would have found more unanimity on his own 375 side of the House upon every item of his proposals than he has found upon other questions where I should have thought unanimity was more easily to be attained. It is not very easy at this hour of the night for the person on whom the duty falls of attempting to summarise the debate to do so with the brevity which I am sure the House earnestly desires at the present time. I shall endeavour to do so and to go through very briefly the main heads of the attack which has been made upon us, observing by way of preface or preamble that that attack has been made from several sides which are inconsistent with each other, but which from the fact that they are inconsistent with each other necessitate on our part something in the nature of separate replies.
I hope I shall be pardoned if I dismiss with extreme brevity one topic which has been often referred to, and that is the difficulty of recruiting. The difficulty of recruiting is one which must be always present to those who have to manage an army that is purely voluntary in character. We cannot escape from it. It has haunted every successive Secretary of State and every successive Parliament ever since I have had to do with public affairs, and long before, and it will continue to haunt all those who have to control our army system so long as the voluntary arrangement of our Army is found to be adequate. Therefore, if I refrain from dealing with the topic on the present occasion, it is not because I think it is unimportant, but because I think it is not raised by the scheme of my right hon. friend. I admit that the difficulties of recruiting are great. I admit that the actual number of men voted by the House may not be attained next year or the year after. There is no security or certainty that the number will be attained, but the difficulty of obtaining them is not augmented by my right hon. friend's scheme. On the contrary, whatever difficulty exists is diminished and not increased by the scheme he has proposed; and if we are unable to obtain the requisite number of men under my right hon. friend's scheme, still more should we be unable to obtain that number of men under the army system as it existed before my right hon. friend's scheme was introduced. 376 He has diminished, not increased, the strain on the recruiting market. He has not augmented, but has diminished our difficulties in that respect; and, that being so, I hope I may be permitted to pass by many interesting topics which have been raised and on which I confess in more favourable circumstances I should like to have said a word.
I therefore pass to the criticisms on the scheme as it stands. The first of these is the criticism that comes from the extreme naval school represented by my hon. and gallant friend the Member for Yarmouth, who, in season and out of season, has never ceased with great ability and knowledge to press his views on the House. But, again, I would point out that if my hon. friend's view be correct, and if the Navy is so adequate to every purpose of island defence—of national as distinguished from Imperial defence—then the first economy we are bound to make is to disband the Militia, to cease to give a subvention to the Volunteers, and not to trouble our heads about garrisoning any of the fortresses of this island. ["Oh, oh‡"]
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is the inevitable logical consequence of the views of the extreme naval school which my hon. friend represents. ["No, no‡"] Well, that is my view. If that be so, I think whatever else may be said for that school, it is not worth while to argue the point in this House; because the great majority of the House, on which ever side they may be, are of opinion that, however much we ought to modify our military system, it ought not to be in the direction of economising either in the Militia or in the Volunteers. I will only say one other word about this extreme naval school. I am not going to dispute their view that a landing in this island is practically impossible while the Fleet exists, and that we should have to surrender without a landing if the Fleet did not exist. That is their whole contention in a sentence. I am not going to argue that, but I would, however, point out this consideration. There are foreign nations whose military experts have devoted much time to considering the 377 possibility and even the case of a descent, a raid, upon this island, and upon the fateful consequences which would ensue if that forlorn hope—or let us grant that it is a forlorn hope—were to succeed. Yes, Sir, but it is much better in the interests of peace that these dreams—if dreams they be—of a raid upon this island should be dissipated once for all. Let it once be understood by every military theorist on the Continent that of all military expeditions the most hopeless, the most fatal, would be a descent upon this island; once let that be brought home to every military theorist on the Continent and you will have the greatest security for peace, as far as we are concerned, that I can imagine. I should be sorry to think that those theorists had to wait for their conversion to sound views of our naval supremacy at sea until they had tried and failed in one of these invasions upon our island. I will leave the naval school, which in its extreme form has not many supporters in this House, and I come next to the Opposition view—the official Opposition view (if there is an official view of hon. Gentlemen opposite) put forward first by the Leader of the Opposition and advocated again to-night by the late Home Secretary in an able and interesting speech. The right hon. Member for East Fife is gifted with a most unhappy lucidity of style. It is perfectly impossible to mistake what he means. You know exactly what his argument is and what it amounts to. You are fighting an enemy in a clear atmosphere, where you can see for an unlimited distance over an unencumbered plain, and you know that there are no ambuscades to fear. But after listening to the right hon. Gentleman I came to the conclusion that there was no case against us. I was not certain after the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, because I was not quite sure what he was driving at. I thought that there might be formidable ambushes which I could not see, hidden behind obscure corners of his oration, and that on reflection I might find that he had formidable arguments to bring against us the full effect and force of which I had not at first appreciated. I was under no such illusion as to the speech of the right hon. Member for East Fife; and I therefore feel a peculiar pleasure in dealing with the indictment 378 which he has brought against us. His contention could not have been put more concisely than in the specific question which the right hon. Gentleman addressed to us, How would you have been better off if, before the South African war broke out, these reforms had been carried out than you actually were when that war broke out? That is a specific, clear, and most relevant question, and I have no difficulty in giving the right hon. Gentleman my answer to the question. I say, in the first place, that the troops would have been sent off far better organised and sent off with far greater ease in an organised state than they actually were. I recall a particular criticism of the right hon. Gentleman to justify that observation. When he was discussing my right hon. friend's scheme he said—You profess to have three army corps, one at Aldershot, another on Salisbury Plain, and a third in Ireland, all ready for instant service, but your Irish army corps would have to change a certain number of battalions before they went abroad—four battalions out of twenty-four.And that in the view of the right hon. Gentleman destroys the value of the third army corps that we should have to send from these shores in case of emergency after my right hon. friend's scheme is adopted. Which of the bodies of troops which we sent out from these shores to the South African war were half as well organised as would be this third army corps which the right hon. Gentleman condemned because it would have four battalions not originally belonging to it? If his condemnation of this third army corps had in it any substance or validity at all, it applies with tenfold force to the existing, system, under which, when you sent forth battalions, brigades, divisions, and army corps, there is no pretence that you have anything like the organisation you would have under the scheme now proposed. That is my first answer.
My second answer is that not only would the troops that you sent to South Africa have been incomparably better organised and provided, if this scheme had been then in existence, but the troops that would have been left at home would have been far better organised for home defence. Several speakers have urged, with great force, that the new regiments that we had to call into existence, in view of the late emergency, were costly, and 379 were in some respects not as effective as we could desire. Quite true, they were costly, they were improvised, their organisation had to be carried out at a moment's notice at a period of great difficulty and military strain. Had my right hon. friend's scheme, as he proposes it, been then in existence the whole plan of home defence would have fallen naturally into place without difficulty and without friction. All the forces would have been supplied with the requisite number of cavalry and guns, with their officers and their transport, and with all that makes an organised body of soldiers and an efficient fighting machine, with staff, generals, artillery, cavalry, and the rest. If those two answers have, as I think they have, real force and validity, am I not justified in saying, in answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question, that we should have been incomparably better in 1899 if our Army had been organised as I hope it will be organised in 1902? But I have not quite done with the right hon. Gentleman yet. He summarised in a few brief sentences at the end of his speech his objections to the scheme. He said, in the first place, that the scheme held out no prospect of improved recruiting. I am not going to deal with recruiting; I have already put that by; but I would ask one question of the front bench. If they think this scheme is defective and should be voted against because it does not provide a system of improved recruiting, would they be prepared to come forward and vote the millions required for any augmentation in the pay of the Army? I put that question, but I do not expect an answer. They are too wise in their own generation to commit themselves on the point.
I therefore come to the second of the summarised objections of the right hon. Gentleman. He objects to the word "army corps." He said your word "army corps" is either a sham or it is not what you want. I have observed all through this debate an extraordinary hostility to the phrase rather than to the thing described by the word "army corps." We are told that "army corps" is a foreign expression, that we have borrowed it from other nations. I have not looked into the matter recently, but I wonder how many technical mili- 380 tary phrases there are in the English language which we have not borrowed from the French. I do not think there are any. I believe that the whole of our military nomenclature has been borrowed, and almost the whole of it borrowed from the French, and one addition to that long list of borrowed terms does not afflict my soul. But do not let us quarrel about the meaning of "army corps" in the dictionary. Do not let us regard this as a question of nomenclature. It is a question of substance. How do you mean to organise your Army so that that organisation shall be able to serve three great objects—to prepare your Army for an expedition abroad if that be required, to keep it in a proper form for home defence if that be required, and to enable your system to be a decentralised instead of a Generalised system? That cannot be better done, in our opinion, than by the six army corps system of my right hon. friend. Gentlemen opposite would desire to keep the eighteen military districts which now exist. A gallant friend of mine below the gangway would like to see the United Kingdom divided into three districts. Gentlemen opposite are going to vote against us because they want eighteen districts. [Opposition cries of "No, no!" and an HON. MEMBER: Who said so?] They want the existing system, which is eighteen districts. [Opposition cries of "No."] My gallant friend, I think, is not going to vote against us, but he looks on us with suspicion because he likes three districts instead of six. Well, we cannot please everybody. We certainly cannot please all the gentlemen who are going into the lobby against us. But I would venture to point out to the House that the system proposed by my right hon. friend is one which naturally fits in with the existing system, which is a natural development of it, which is open neither to the objection which might easily be urged against my hon. friend's scheme nor to the charge of being subject to microscopic division, such as the scheme which is supported, as I understand it, by the right hon. Gentleman opposite.
What is the third charge? It is that this scheme of ours exaggerates the importance of home defence, and diminishes the importance of our Army for foreign 381 purposes, diminishes the value of the Fleet—
§ MR. ASQUITH
No, that is not my argument. What I did say was that the scheme exaggerated the importance of military defence as against the naval defence.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly correct. That is what he did say. May I ask what there is in this scheme which exaggerates the Army at the cost of the Fleet? We have added greatly to the efficiency of the Fleet, and I regret to say that while adding to its efficiency we have also been obliged to add to its cost. But what is there in this scheme that diminishes the efficiency of the Fleet? Is it calling these divisions army corps? Is it organising the Auxiliary forces with the Regular forces? Does that diminish the value of the Fleet? Well, then, what is it? The truth is, these objections are fantastic, they have no substance, they have no ground, they have no plausibility; and I have much more sympathy with, though I do not agree with, the economic school than I have with the objections which seem to be raised by gentlemen who think it necessary when the Government make a proposal that they, being the Opposition, should oppose that proposal, and are obliged to invent reasons which never would otherwise occur to them in order to find some shadowy and unsubstantial excuse for a party division. I have said that I have more sympathy with the economic school, because I do think that the enormous growth of Army Estimates ought to make everybody consider whether that growth is necessary or whether it is not. In my own way, humbly, I have considered it, and I do think that growth is necessary. To what is it due? It can be divided into three heads. There is the growth in the Regular Army. Is that unnecessary? It cannot be said to be unnecessary, at all events, by any gentleman who believes in the Cardwell reform, because the increase is made absolutely necessary by the number of white regiments we have to keep abroad, and the right hon. Gentleman, whose reputation as a military reformer dates back to the Cardwellian era of 1870, and who has spoken in such eloquent terms of the value and importance of that reform, 382 should be the first to say that the business of the Government of the day is to do its best to have that balance between the home and the foreign battalions, which is an essential—the essential—element of the Cardwellian system. Then, there can be no charge against the increase of the Army Estimates on the ground of the increase of Regular troops. The next item of cost is the increase in respect of the Militia and Volunteers. From which side of the House, from which section of military opinion, from which party, will come an objection to the money which we have so wisely spent on the Militia and Volunteers? No one will venture to object to it; and one of the chief claims which the scheme of my right hon. friend has upon the approval of the country is that for the first time it does for the Militia and Volunteers what should have been done for them many years ago—it puts them in a position to act on equal terms with the Regular Army. The third element of increased expenditure is barracks. Who is going to say that that is money wasted? Possibly the same men who tell us that our chief business is to give the soldier a more humane and civilised life, to increase his comforts in barracks. Stores and ammunition are the fourth item of expenditure. Who is going to say that that increased expenditure is not known to be absolutely required by recent events in South Africa? I was brought into close contact with the difficulties—the inevitable difficulties—brought upon the War Office by the unexpected strain of the early months of the South African War. We had prepared, with the consent of the House, with the reluctant consent of the economists, to send out a force equivalent to two army corps, and to provide them with guns and ammunition and the necessary stores; but we were asked to do a great deal more than that, as we may in the future be asked again. I remember one moment at the end of 1899 and the beginning of 1900, when in this country there was not more than 3,300 rounds of small arms ammunition, and no reserve of artillery ammunition except that which was actually placed with the guns we retained at home, which in number were sufficient for a single army corps. The right hon. 383 Gentleman opposite went out of office because there was an insufficient supply of small arms ammunition.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Yes; I gladly accept the responsibility; because we said there was an insufficiency of small arms ammunition. When the right hon. Gentleman went out of office there were 92,000,000 rounds, when, according to the official calculation, there ought to have have been 146,000,000 rounds. We came into office and we raised that 92,000,000 rounds, not merely to 146,000,000 rounds, which we said ought to have been in store in 1895, but to 170,000,000 rounds; and it was on the basis of 170,000,000 rounds that we found ourselves left in those critical and anxious days of 1899–1900 with, as I have said, a bare 3,300 rounds of small arms ammunition in this country. The Government factories, and all private factories, were working twenty-four hours in the day and seven days in the week. I went through that period, and I shall not easily forget it. As far as I am concerned I never mean to go through a like experience, and so far as I am concerned I never will do anything which could by any possibility throw on our successors a trial and strain like that.
An hon. friend of mine thinks our existing military system is on too large a scale. He would like, I suppose, to go back to the period of twenty years ago. As regards our military strength, may I read to the House one extract which I came upon almost accidentally in the War Office records of twenty years ago, and which throws light, I think, upon some of the influences at work in the early days of the South African difficulties. In the life of the late Mr. Childers hon. Gentlemen will find a letter he addressed to Sir George Colley just before the disaster of Majuba Hill. In it he says—You will appreciate the trust placed in you by my telegram of this afternoon offering you two regiments and a wing of infantry, two regiments of cavalry and a battery, besides drafts to fill up your infantry regiments. With Ireland on our hands—[Loud Nationalist cheers, and Mr. MACNEILL: "And on your necks."] This is twenty years ago. [A NATIONALIST 384 MEMBER: You have her still.] The letter goes on—With Ireland on our hands and a threatened Ashanti war, I cannot say that we can spare so large a force as easily as in quiet times, but we must leave no stone unturned to terminate the unpleasant task to which we are committed.Two regiments and a wing of infantry; two regiments of cavalry and a battery‡ I do not know whether my hon. friend thinks that that is the kind of position in which this country should be placed.
§ SIR J. DICKSON-POYNDER
I am sorry to interrupt my right hon. friend. I made it clear that I should like to see two army corps, and not three.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It is with profound astonishment that I have listened in the course of this debate to those who have said that the military proposals of my right hon. friend have been in excess of our national requirements. I know of people who, after a fire has occurred and has been somehow or another extinguished, have forgotten the incident and refused to improve their fire apparatus. But with 250,000 men still in the field, these gentlemen are still of opinion that we ought not to go beyond two army corps—that two army corps represents the extreme limit of our national requirements. Is there any miracle which can convince controversialists of this type? You have the actual fact before you, staring you in the face, that you want more than two army corps. You are paying day by day more than two army corps, you are suffering under the strain of having this gigantic force in the field, and with these facts before your very eyes you come down and tell this House that the national necessities can be adequately met by having two army corps ready for foreign service.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
At all events, three is an improvement. I do not mean to go further into the details of this controversy. I would ask the House to remember that the vote to-night is not a vote in favour of a Minister, or of a Commander-in-Chief, or of a Ministry; much more depends upon it than that. Supposing the scheme of my right hon. friend be rejected, by what forces will it be rejected? Will it 385 be rejected by an organised body who have an alternative scheme, or who are in a position to contrive an alternative scheme? We all know that it is not so. The inherent difficulties of our military system in this country are such that it is inevitable that many solutions of the problem can be suggested; and if we are defeated it will not be by those who have a clear coherent view of some alternative scheme, but by congeries of elements of small sections, each of whom have their own scheme, all of whom are prepared to oppose the Government scheme, but can never agree upon any scheme to substitute for it. Now, let the House mark the result. It must end in administrative impotence. This House assembled under a mandate of the country for Army reform. [Cries of "No, no"] Even the hon. Member for Oldham, who interested us so much two nights ago, told us that he placarded the walls in his constituency in favour of Army reform. We are all pledged to Army reform, and when the House comes pledged to Army reform, and when other suggestions and solutions are mere possibilities, the man who votes against a clear-cut scheme brought forward by a responsible Government without any hope of his own scheme being taken as an alternative is not a man in favour of Army reform, he is opposing Army reform. [Cries of "Oh, oh."] You may differ from that view. The right hon. Gentleman said it is not the business of the Opposition to formulate an alternative scheme, nor is it. I do not quarrel with that. If I thought you had an alternative scheme I would say—"Well and good, by all means turn out the Government if you can and come in yourselves if you have a scheme you think you can carry." Does anybody think that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has in his breast pocket a scheme of Army reform? [An HON. MEMBER: Why should he?] Yes, why should he; we know he cannot have it. The right hon. Gentleman may look back to the halcyon days of Lord Cardwell. There is a legendary plant that produces a flower once in thirty years, and then, exhausted by the effort, waits another thirty years for fruit and flower again to develop. I do not know whether the Radical tree of Army reform is about to flower again. I do not know whether 386 a scheme of Army reform they would put before the House would have the magical effect of bringing into the same lobby all those who think there ought to be no reform, those who think there should be two army corps instead of three, those who think we are spending too much, those who think we are not doing enough for recruiting, and all the others who differ on points of detail. I do not know whether they could propose such a scheme. I do not think so. That is my view for what it is worth. If you reject this scheme, brought forward by the responsible Government of the day—and I say this without any intention of offence—because this or that crotchet of reform does not find a place in it, then I say that is to condemn this assembly to perpetual barrenness in the matter of. Army reform; if you reject this schema you do not merely reject this scheme—you reject every scheme. [Cries of "Oh, oh."] It is folly to tell practical men that you would not combine against any conceivable plan, seeing the strangely allied forces against this plan, forces that have no cohesion, no common ground of principle or object to be attained. If I am right in that, as I think I am, then to reject this scheme would indeed be a crime against the future power and prosperity of the country. If you cannot reform the Army, with all the lessons of this war before you, with the needs of the country before you from day to day, and if you are going to allow the psychological moment to pass, popular enthusiasm to die out, and a moment of dull indifference to come in, then I say heavy indeed will be your responsibility.
We have gone through in the last two years a great experience. I trust that many years may elapse before similar experience comes to us. But if when it comes to us it finds us again unprepared, and if it can be said that the House of Commons, called together to deal with Army reform, was so oblivious to its duties, so indifferent to the mandate of its countrymen, so indifferent to the interests of its country, that it allowed the happy moment to pass, then, Sir, I say the misfortunes that will come upon us will be deserved misfortunes, and those who suffer from them will look back, and rightly look back, to the callous in- 387 difference of a Parliament which with all the advantages we possess refused to take advantage of them, refused to make the most of them, and refused to adopt a scheme which may not be perfect, which may be capable of development, which may be open to criticism, but which, at all events, is a scheme which does
§ organise the great military power which we possess, which turns it to the best account, and turns it to that account with the least possible cost to the taxpayer of this country.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 327; Noes, 211. (Division List No. 189.)391
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Halsey, Thomas Frederick|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cranborne, Viscount||Hamilton, Rt Hn L'rd G. (Midd'x|
|Aird, Sir John||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nd'rry|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Crossley, Sir Savile||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cust, Henry John C.||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Arrol, Sir William||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm||Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Denny, Colonel||Heaton, John Henniker|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Dewar, T. R (T'rH'mlets, S. Geo.||Helder, Augustus|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Henderson, Alexander|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Dickson, Charles Scott||Harmon-Hodge, Robert Trotter|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.||Hickman, Sir Alfred|
|Balcarres, Lord||Digby, J. K. D. Wingfield-||Higginbottom, S. W.|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Hogg, Lindsay|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Dorington, Sir John Edward||Hope, J. F. (Shefh'ld, Brightside|
|Balfour, Maj K R (Christchurch||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hornby, Sir William Henry|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Doxford, Sir William T.||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Duke, Henry Edward||Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham)|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. H.||Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Hozier, Hon. Jas. Henry Cecil|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Hudson, George Bickersteth|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Faber, George Denison||Hutton, John (Yorks, N.R.)|
|Bigwood, James||Fardell, Sir T. George||Jackson, Rt. Hn. Wm. Lawies|
|Bill, Charles||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Bond, Edward||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Finch, George H.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Brassey, Albert||Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Fisher, William Hayes||Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T. (Denbigh)|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)|
|Brown, Alex. H. (Shropshire)||Fitzroy, Hn. Edw. Algernon||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)|
|Brymer, William Ernest||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Keswick, William|
|Bull, William James||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Kimber, Henry|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Flower, Ernest||King, Sir Henry Seymour|
|Butcher, John George||Forster, Henry William||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Campbell, Rt Hn J. A. (Glasgow)||Foster, Sir Michael (Lond Univ.||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Galloway, William Johnson||Lawson, John Grant|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Garfit, William||Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareh'm|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H (City of Lond.||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Leveson-Gower, Fredk, N. S.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Llewellyn, Evan Henry|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gordon, Maj. E.- (Tow'rH'mlets||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore.||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Graham, Henry Robert||Long, Rt Hn Walter (Bristol, S.)|
|Chapman, Edward||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Charrinaton, Spencer||Green, Walford D. (Wednesb'ry||Lowe, Francis William|
|Clare Octavius Leigh||Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Lowther, Rt. Hon. James (Kent|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.)||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Grenfell, William Henry||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Groves, James Grimble||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Guthrie, Walter Murray||Macartney, Rt Hn W. G. Ellison|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Hain, Edward||Macdona, John Curaming|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Hall, Edward Marshall||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Maconochie, A. W.||Pierpoint, Robert||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B (Cambs||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.||Plummer, Walter R.||Stock, James Henry|
|M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Stroyan, John|
|Malcolm, Ian||Pryce-Jones, Lt-.Col. Edward||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Purvis, Robert||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Pym, C. Guy||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H E (Wigt'n||Randles, John S.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriessh.)||Rankin, Sir James||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Ratcliffe, R. F.||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Reid, James (Greenock)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Remnant, James Farquharson||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col Edward|
|Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Rentoul, James Alexander||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Fred. G.||Renwick, George||Valentia, Viscount|
|Milton, Viscount||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalyb.idge||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Milward, Col. Victor||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Warde, Col. C. E.|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Robinson, Brooke||Wason, John C. (Orkney)|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Webb, Col. William George|
|Morgan, David J (Walthamst'w||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Welby, Sir C. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh.||Rothschild, Hon Lionel Walter||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Round, James||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd|
|Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Rutherford, John||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Mount, William Arthur||Sadler, Col Samuel Alexander||Williams, Rt Hn J Powell- (Bir.)|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Muntz, Philip A.||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col Edw. J.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Myers, William Henry||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Nicholson, William Graham||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Parkes, Ebenezer||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.|
|Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)||Smith, H C (Northum. Tyneside||Younger, William|
|Peel, Hon. Wm. R. Wellesley||Smith, James P. (Lanarks.)|
|Pemberton, John S. G.||Spear, John Ward||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Penn, John||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Percy, Earl||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Emmott, Alfred|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Carew, James Laurence||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc. Stroud||Causton, Richard Knight||Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)|
|Asher, Alexander||Cawley, Frederick||Farquharson, Dr. Robert|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Channing, Francis Allston||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.||Clancy, John Joseph||Fenwick, Charles|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Colville, John||Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Ffrench, Peter|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Craig, Robert Hunter||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond|
|Bell, Richard||Crean, Eugene||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Black, Alexander William||Cremer, William Randal||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Boland, John||Crombie, John William||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Cullinan, J.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Daly, James||Fuller, J. M. F.|
|Brigg, John||Dalziel, James Henry||Furness, Sir Christopher|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Gilhooly, James|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan||Goddard, Daniel Ford|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Delany, William||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Haldane, Richard Burdon|
|Burns, John||Dillon, John||Hardie, J. K. (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Burt, Thomas||Donelan, Capt. A.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Doogan, P. C.||Harrington, Timothy|
|Caine, William Sproston||Duncan, J. Hastings||Harwood, George|
|Caldwell, James||Dunn, Sir William||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Cameron, Robert||Edwards, Frank||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Elibank, Master of||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir A. D.|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Norman, Henry||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Holland, William Henry||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid.)||Sinclair, Capt John (Forfarsh.)|
|Hope, John D. (Fife, West)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Horniman, Frederick John||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Jameson, Maj. J. Eustace||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Strachey, Edward|
|Jones, David B. (Swansea)||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John||Tennant, Harold John|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Kinloch, Sir John George S.||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.|
|Labouchere, Henry||O'Malley, William||Thomas, Dr. Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Lambert, George||O'Mara, James||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings|
|Langley, Batty||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||O'Shee, James John||Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)|
|Leamy, Edmund||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham)||Tomkinson, James|
|Leigh, Sir Joseph||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Leng, Sir John||Partington, Oswald||Tully, Jasper|
|Levy, Maurice||Paulton, James Mellor||Ure, Alexander|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Wallace, Robert|
|Lloyd-George, David||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.|
|Lough, Thomas||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Lundon, W.||Perks, Robert William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Philipps, John Wynford||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Pirie, Duncan V.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|M'Cann, James||Power, Patrick Joseph||White, Luke (York., E. R.)|
|M'Crae, George||Price, Robert John||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|M'Dermott, Patrick||Priestley, Arthur||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|M'Kenna, Reginald||Rea, Russell||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Reckitt, Harold James||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Reddy, M.||Wilson, F. W. (Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Mather, William||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Mooney, John J.||Reed, Sir Edw. James (Cardiff)||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Hudd'rsf'd)|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Rickett, J. Compton||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport)||Robson, William Snowdon||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Murphy, J.||Roe, Sir Thomas||Mr. Herbert Gladstone and Mr. M'Arthur.|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Schwann, Charles E.|
§ Main Question put.392
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 305; Noes, 163. (Division List No. 190.)395
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Woc'r|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Chaplin, Rt. Hn. Henry|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bigwood, James||Chapman, Edward|
|Aird, Sir John||Bill, Charles||Charrington, Spencer|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bond, Edward||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Boulnois, Edmund||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Arrol, Sir William||Brassey, Albert||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brookfield, Col. Montagu||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Brown, Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Brymer, William Ernest||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bull, William James||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bullard, Sir Harry||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Butcher, John George||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Campbell, Rt. Hn J. A (Glasgow||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Cautley, Henry Strother||Crossley, Sir Savile|
|Balfour, Maj K R (Christchurch||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich||Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chath'm|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Denny, Colonel|
|Dewar, T. R (T'rH'mlets S Geo.||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Penn, John|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Percy, Earl|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Jessel, Capt. Herb. Merton||Pilkington, Lt.-Col. Richard|
|Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Kenyon, Jas. (Lancs., Bury)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Dorington, Sir John Edward||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edw.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Keswick, William||Purvis, Robert|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Kimber, Henry||Pym, C. Guy|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Law, Andrew Bonar||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Randles, John S.|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lawson, John Grant||Rankin, Sir James|
|Faber, George Denison||Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareh'm||Ratcliffe, R. F.|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Leigh, Bennett, Henry Currie||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Manc'r||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Renwick, George|
|Finch, George H.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Finlay, Sir Rbt. Bannatyne||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green|
|Firbank, Joseph Thomas||Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Rt Hn Walter (Bristol, S.)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Robinson, Brooke|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Lowe, Francis William||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter|
|Forster, Henry William||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowest oft)||Round, James|
|Foster, Sir Michael (Lond. Univ||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lon.-||Macartney, Rt Hn W. G. Ellison||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fred.||Macdona, John Cumming||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Maconochie, A. W.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.|
|Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||M'Calmont, Col. H. L B Cambs.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Graham, Henry Robert||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edin., W.)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Skewes Cox, Thomas|
|Green, Walford D. (Wetoeg W)||Majendie, James A. H.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds||Malcolm, Ian||Smith, H C North'mb. Tyneside|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks|
|Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Spear, John Ward|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Maxwell, Rt Hn. Sir H E (Wigt'n||Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)|
|Groves, James Grimble||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Hain, Edward||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Middlemore, John T.||Stock, James Henry|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Stroyan, John|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Mid'x)||Milton, Viscount||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Univ|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nde'y||Milward, Colonel Victor||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Morgau, David J (Walth'mst'w||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monmouthsh.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Morrell, George Herbert||Valentia, Viscount|
|Heath, Jas. (Staff., N. W.)||Morris, Hon. Martin Henry F.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Morrison, James Archibald||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Helder, Augustus||Morton, Arthur H. A (Deptford)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Henderson, Alexander||Mount, William Arthur||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Mowbray, Sir Rbt. Gray C.||Webb, Col. William George|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Muntz, Philip A.||Welby, Lt.-Cl. A. C E. (Taunton|
|Higginbottom, S. W.||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts|
|Hoare, Edw Brodie (Hampstead||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath||Wentworth, Bruce C. Vernon-|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E.||Myers, William Henry||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Whiteley, H. (Ashton u. Lyne)|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield Brightside||Nicholson, William Graham||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||O'Neill, Hn. Robt. Torrens||Williams, Rt. Hn. J. P. (Birm|
|Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Howard, J. (Mid., Tottenham||Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington||Wills, Sir Frederick|
|Hozier, Hn. Jas. Henry Cecil||Peel, Hon. Wm. Rbt. Wellesley||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)||Wylie, Alexander||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Wrightson, Sir Thomas||Younger, William|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydv'l||Palmer, Sir Chas. M. (Durham|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Harrington, Timothy||Partington, Oswald|
|Allen, Charles P (Glouc., Stroud||Hayden, John Patrick||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Asher, Alexander||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Pease, Alfred E. (Cleveland)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Healy, Timothy Michael||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Helme, Norval Watson||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Bell, Richard||Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Black, Alexander William||Holland, William Henry||Price, Robert John|
|Boland, John||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Priestley, Arthur|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Horniman, Frederick John||Rea, Russell|
|Brigg, John||Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Joicey, Sir James||Reddy, M.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Jones, David Brynmor (Swans'a||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Joyce, Michael||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Burt, Thomas||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Caldwell, James||Labouchere, Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cameron, Robert||Lambert, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Leamy, Edmund||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo.-Hamilton||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Levy, Maurice||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lough, Thomas||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Lundon, W.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Taylor, Theodore Cooke|
|Colville, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tennant, Harold John|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||M'Crae, George||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||M'Dermott, Patrick||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Kenna, Reginald||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Thomas, J. A (Gl'm'rgan Gower|
|Cullinan, J.||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.|
|Daly, James||Mather, William||Tomkinson, James|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Mellor, Rt. Hn. John William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Delany, William||Mooney, John J.||Tully, Jasper|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Ure, Alexander|
|Dillon, John||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Wallace, Robert|
|Doogan, P. C.||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devonport||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Duncan, James H.||Murphy, J.||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Dunn, Sir William||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Edwards, Frank||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Elibank, Master of||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry Mid||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Fenwick, Charles||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Wilson, John (Durham Mid)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Dowd, John||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Mara, James||Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Shanghnessy, P. J.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Shee, James John|
§ Resolved, that it is expedient that six army corps be organised in the United Kingdom, with the requisite staff, stores, and buildings; that a Reserve for the Militia be enrolled not exceeding 50,000 men; that the establishment of the 396 Yeomanry be raised from 12,000 to 35,000; and that eight regiments be enrolled for garrison service.