§ 1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a number of land forces, not exceeding 420,000, all ranks, be maintained for the service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at home and abroad, excluding His Majesty's Indian possessions, during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1903."
§ *(4.10.) MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)
resuming his speech commenced on the previous night, said he now wished to call attention to some of the deficiencies in the Army establishment, and the causes thereof. In the first place he would like to point out that the Army Reserve was 78,000, the Militia 20,000, the Yeomanry 18,000, and the Volunteers 70,000 under establishment. The total deficiency of men in all branches of the Service was thus 186,000 under the establishment. Against that deficiency they had to set off the establishment of Regular forces in South 735 Africa, which exceeded the establishment by 100,000; thus there was a total deficiency on the whole establishment of something like 90,000 men. This was not a very satisfactory state of things. Either the establishment ought to be reduced to the number of men likely to be recruited for the various arms of the service, or, as was attempted by the new scheme of the right hon. Gentleman, same corresponding effort ought to be made to increase the number of men likely to be obtained to bring the establishments to their proper height.
With regard to the Reserve, it had sunk from 82,000 in 1898 to 2,300 in the present year. And not only had it sunk to that lamentably small number, but the future number of Reservists had been seriously tampered with by the institution of bounties in India and South Africa; and he was anxious to know whether the bounties had been applied to other military stations throughout the Empire, for instance, to time-expired men at Malta, Gibraltar, Egpyt, and elsewhere. He understood that was not the case, and therefore they might take it that the future supply of Reservists had only been cut off to the extent of 17,000 in India, and a few hundreds in South Africa. That meant that at least two complete years' service of the Reserve had been suspended. The Secretary of State proposed to resuscitate and increase the Army Reserve in the future; and if the right hon. Gentleman would permit him to say so, he was as much struck by his manipulation of figures concerning the Army Reserve as the right hon. Gentleman himself was struck in the previous year by the present Secretary for Ireland's manipulation of figures regarding the provision of troops for the Cape. The right hon. Gentleman provided for a yearly supply of 50,000 recruits, and he anticipated that in due course he would increase his Reserve from 150,000 to 170,000 men. Now the average length of service in the Reserve at the present time was about six years; the greater number of men enlisted for seven years with the colours and five years in the Reserve, but about five per cent. joined the colours for three years, to be followed by nine years in the Reserve. The average enlistment in ordinary years was rather over 40,000. Although the right 736 hon. Gentleman provided for 25,000 men going into the Reserve yearly in the future, the future service in the Reserve would be but little longer than it now was, because, while enlistment would be for three years with the colours and nine in the Reserve, the Secretary of State anticipated that fifty per cent. of the men would serve eight years with the colours. At most the average service would not be more than six and a half years. Fifty thousand recruits in the future were to supply 25,000 Reservists, and that was a very much greater proportion than it had been found possible to maintain up to the present. The wastage of men during their period of service from the time they enlisted until they passed into the Reserve was 25,000 a year, the wastage being caused by death, medical unfitness, desertions, and purchase. These causes would operate just as strongly in the future, because, although it was noticeable that the Secretary of State laid great stress on the fact that men were to be enlisted very carefully and were only to receive the increased pay if they were of the certified age of nineteen, and insisted that a man who wrongly declared his age should be punished, yet how was he going to get from a recruit who had no means of knowing his own age a certificate that at a given period of his service he had attained the age of 19? The certificate was a farce, which had been imposed on the right hon. Gentleman by somebody not fully acquainted with the conditions of service in the Army.
If he were right in his anticipations, the anticipations that the Reserve force would be increased to 150,000 or 175,000 men were not justified, though probably the present annual addition to the Reserve would be raised from 15,000 to 17,000 or 18,000, and the total Reserve might be increased by 10,000 or 15,000, and that would not give a bigger Reserve than 100,000. The question naturally arose, would the Secretary of State get 50,000 recruits a year? Speaking two or three years ago at Edinburgh, Lord Lansdowne—then Secretary for War—estimated the number of available possible recruits in any one year arriving at the age of 18 at about 400,000. It was now suggested that of these, 50,000 737 were to be recruited for the Army, 40,000 for the Militia, 3,000 for the new Yeomanry force, and about 70,000 for the Volunteers—in all 160,000 or 170,000 men. Excluding the men physically unfit, it would therefore be necessary to enlist each year one in every two of the men now walking about the country. That, to his mind, was an impossible feat, and he would remind the right hon. Gentleman that unless he got his 50,000 men yearly his scheme fell to the ground. Why should the War Office put off the extra payment to recruits for two years? Why not make the increase of pay take effect from April 1st next? Why build up for their successors a financial burden which they were not willing to bear at the present moment? He was not one of those who were always content to preach economy in the House and at the same time press for extra expenditure. His right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean—
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
Does the hon. Member say that I preach economy?
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE
I preach economy as regards the economical expenditure of money voted, but not as regards the reduction of the national expenditure.
§ * MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE
said he was glad to hear that, and to find he had misunderstood the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman. He regretted that he had done so, but there were Members of the House who talked glibly about economy and at the same time made suggestions to the Secretary of State involving considerable additional expenditure. He was not one of those; but he desired that they should get good results for their money. Now he wished to say something about the Mounted Infantry. The present system consisted in sending detachments from the various regiments to Aldershot, training the men there for a short time, and then sending them back to their regiments. The only possible advantage of that system was its cheapness. It provided one trained horse for about ten trained men, who, when 738 they had been trained, reverted to their ordinary Infantry duties and might never again mount a horse during the remainder of their service. They lost the knack of riding and of being "horse masters," and that was a requirement the want of which had proved one of the chief causes of delay in the conclusion of the present war. The system had the further disadvantage that on the outbreak of war the commanding officers of regiments lost their best men, and practically went into action without the backbone of their regiments. There were still other defects. There was no Reserve of Mounted Infantry; no record was kept of the men who had been trained in that capacity, and when they joined as Reservists they might or might not go back to the regiment in which they originally served. He was told that one of the chief difficulties with which General French had to cope at Colesberg in the early part of the war was that many of the men told off to him as Mounted Infantry were found not to be Mounted Infantry men at all, while others who had been trained had been so long apart from the care of horses that it was some time before they were of any practical service to him. Last year the Secretary for War laid it down that in war the men were to serve under those by whom they had been trained in times of peace, but a disadvantage of the present Mounted Infantry system was that the men who trained the troops disappeared altogether, and went to another regiment or battalion, and the Mounted Infantry were placed under commanding officers whom they had never seen, and under sectional commanders of whom they knew nothing. They became mere tactical units without cohesion.
What was the remedy he proposed? They had in the Army eight battalions with no territorial connection at all—he alluded to the Rifle Brigade and the King's Royal Rifles. These regiments had absolutely no connection with the county in which their depots were located, or with the district from which the men were drawn. The men, indeed, largely came from London, Birmingham, and other big centres. What objection could there be to turning these regiments into Mounted Infantry regiments? 739 It would not disturb the territorial scheme, and it was the fact that the regiments had outlived the purpose for which they were created, viz., the purpose of serving as light troops to the Army. They might, therefore, with advantage, be turned into Mounted Infantry troops, which were so badly wanted. In conclusion, he would add that hon. Members on that side of the House desired to see the money voted spent to the best advantage. The Government asked for great sums of money, but he did not believe, let economists say what they would, that the money was grudged as long as it was well spent, but they did not want it spent on bad stores, bad horses, and indifferent men. They recognised that as the size of the Empire grew, the requirements of the Army grew pari passu. The Army was a sort of Imperial military police, and every extension to the territory of, the Empire was made in the full knowledge that the local authorities would have to come to the War Office for officers and non-commissioned officers to keep the local coloured troops going; and unless the War Office could provide the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office with an adequate supply of good officers and non-commissioned officers, its whole purpose would fail. He would only urge that a fair trial be given to the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman, which he thought were most reasonable proposals.
§ *(4.34.) MR. ARTHUR LEE (Hampshire, Fareham)
said he observed that the House had that deserted aspect which was usual when the Army or Navy Estimates were under discussion; and he hoped it was not entirely due to the expectation that he might be speaking. The complaint had been a long standing one, because as long ago as 1648 it was reported in the records that "most of the Votes for the Army had been passed at an unseasonable hour of the night and in a thin House," and he was afraid that complaint was likely to remain. Before proceeding to criticism, he wished to congratulate the Secretary of State for War on his statement, and to add his humble quota to the almost universal approval with which his right hon. 740 friend's proposals had been received. In his speech, his right hon. friend pleaded for more consideration and support from the House. He ventured to say that the statement of his right hon. friend ought to command both. It showed a boldness and a breadth of vision that was very refreshing, and he most heartily re-echoed his right hon. friend's remarks about keeping Party politics out of Army discussions. He would add, although it might be considered presumptuous, that the Service Members did not take full advantage of their tremendous opportunity. If they would only act as an unit in all Service matters they would be sufficiently strong to exercise a judicious supervision over even the most recalcitrant Secretary of State for War.
Before he came to the pièce de résistance of his right hon. friend's scheme, he wished to refer to one or two remarks of previous speakers. His hon. friend the Member for Oldham was good enough and imaginative enough to suggest that he was in some way responsible for the scheme the Government had adopted. He most heartily wished that he could have been in any way responsible for increasing the pay of the Army; but he could not lay that flattering unction to his soul. He recognised that the credit for the scheme was really divided into two parts. The chief part belonged to the old guard of Army reformers in this House, who had urged these very reforms year after year. Indeed, in the case of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean, he was not sure the right hon. Gentleman was not advocating them almost as soon as he, the speaker, was born. At any rate, the right hon. Gentleman entered the House the same month that he was born, and he had no doubt the right hon. Gentleman immediately launched into the advocacy of these reforms. Another point in the speech of his hon. friend the Member for Oldham was rather severe on the Government. He had twitted the Secretary of State for War for not having "fortified himself in the position he took up last year." But was his hon. friend so well fortified in the economic position which he took up last year?
§ MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL (Oldham)
said he did not in the least recede from the position he took up last year that the Army Corps were a greatly excessive provision for home defence.
§ * Mr. ARTHUR LEE
said that at any rate his hon. friend approved of extra expenditure on pay, and as far as his hon. friend's contention was concerned that the Navy Estimates should be increased and the Army Estimates decreased, he was quite willing to see the Navy Estimates increased, but he did not want to see the Army Estimates fall below their present figures. It was a common heresy to talk about normal naval and military expenditure. There could be no such thing as normal expenditure in such matters. The amount of the insurance they paid must be dependent on the extent of their possessions and responsibilities; and, therefore, he objected to the word normal in this connection. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean touched very briefly on the war. He did not wish to follow the right hon. Gentleman into that, except to rather deprecate the use of the word "disaster" in describing mishaps to the Army in South Africa. Surely, in the light of military history, such incidents would be regarded as trivial in any great war.
§ * MR. ARTHUR LEE
said that the war had lasted longer than most other modern wars. Where they had a great Army scattered over a vast area, it was inevitable that there should be small reverses, and he for one objected to classing them as disasters. Speaking of the war, it seemed to him that the difficulty of destroying the Boer forces in the field was very much like the difficulty of attempting to destroy drop of quicksilver on a plate with a hammer. When it was struck, it flew into a hundred scattered particles, only to re-unite immediately afterwards.
Coming to questions of Army Reform, he confessed that the exact object of the much-abused Army Corps scheme of his 742 right hon. friend was still, in his mind at any rate, wrapped in some obscurity. He understood last year that the idea was that they should be able at any time to send three Army Corps—about 120,000 Regulars—abroad. But they had at that moment in South Africa 150,000 Regulars. On what principle, then, was their maximum provision in the event of a foreign war to be 120,000 men? Were they in future to draw in the horns of their policy and to moderate their military excursions? He hoped it would be possible to do so. He thought it desirable that the exact raison dêtre of the Army should be again laid down. That was last done, by Mr. Stanhope, in the year 1891, arid he trusted that the Government would bring his Memorandum† up to date, because without it, it was impossible to form a firm foundation on which to build a national policy, Army reform, or even intelligent criticism. At the same time, no such pronouncement could possibly be satisfactory or permanent which did not provide for Colonial co-operation in the defence of the Empire. To live shut up within these Islands, still more to live shut up within these walls, did not conduce to breadth of vision on national matters, and the remarks of the Secretary of State the other night, when he referred to the possibility of an Imperial defence scheme being brought before the Colonial Conference in June, came to him like a breath of fresh air in this heated artificial atmosphere. He hoped that at any rate the necessary nucleus of a truly Imperial force might be formed as a result of the conference. Of course, it was very desirable, on many grounds, that suggestions to that end should emanate from the Colonies, rather than from the Mother Country, and that they should be brought about by local pressure in the Colonies. They had reason to believe that this local pressure was being exercised to a great extent in Canada and Australia, and that should have a very stimulating effect on the delegates to the conference. He wished to ask if there was to be a General Staff for the Army. His right hon. friend hinted at it the other night, when he† This Memorandum is to be found in (4) Debates, xcvii., 1326 (footnote).743 said that the Director of the Military Intelligence Department was "practically" chief of the Staff. Then why should he not be called so, and authorised to organise a proper general staff? He thought that the British Army was the only civilised Army in the world which had not a General Staff. Even the United States was now organising a general staff. He hoped that, in any case, the strength of the Intelligence Department would be very largely increased. It really ought to be doubled. He also wished to know how his right hon. friend proposed to give the necessary practical training to the Army Corps. Was it his intention to bring in a Military Manœuvres Bill at an early opportunity—he meant an adequate Bill? His right hon. friend spoke last year of asking the House for "more powers." Did he still intend to press for them? Unless they were enabled to get the use of wide areas which would permit not only of manœuvres, but also of artillery and musketry firing, they were not likely to be able to give any really practical training. There was another point in his right hon. friend's statement which had occasioned some natural alarm, and that was the proposal to substantially reduce expenditure on the re armament of fortresses and coaling stations. Was that a well-considered change of policy or a mere measure of economy? He certainly hoped that the rumour that it was intended to suspend the issue of movable armament to fortresses and coaling stations was unfounded.
He desired once more to urge the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the plan of placing one of the six Army Corps in South Africa. If this were done we should be able to satisfy an important strategic need, to take advantage of an ideal training ground, and to develop a most promising field for recruiting. We had every reason to be hopeful of recruiting amongst the Dutch in South Africa, having regard to the success of the National Scouts. The idea would not, perhaps, commend itself to people of the temperament of the hon. Member for North Aberdeen, who did not seem to believe that the men comprising that force were really Boers at all!
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
said he had pointed to the fact that among the "National Scouts" there were such names to be found as Taylor, Monkton, and Soulsby.
§ * Mr. ARTHUR LEE
said there was nothing surprising in that. Surely the hon. Member must be aware that there were a large number of people with English-sounding names, even in this country, who preferred to take the part of the enemy against their own countrymen.
With regard to the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to reduce the expenses of officers, that was an admirable proposal. He wished, however, to impress on the right hon. Gentleman the necessity of making it compulsory for Cavalry officers to take their chargers from the ranks, otherwise the spirit of the new regulation would be evaded. A real reduction of expense was the only hope of improving the Cavalry. The Secretary of State's new Army Corps seemed a good deal like the new War Office building in Whitehall. The Army Corps were all scaffolding poles and no bricks, but, having decided to get the bricks by raising the soldier's pay, it was evident the right hon. Gentleman intended to go on building, and he wished him all success.
With regard to the Volunteers, he was not going to say anything, except that he had the greatest admiration for that force. He would profit by the sad experience of the right hon. Gentleman, and remember that the new motto of the Volunteer force was "Nemo me impune lacessit." He was very glad the right hon. Gentleman had not been led away by the zealous advocates of conscription. We had been led to believe by the right hon. Gentlemen the Member for the Forest of Dean and the Member for Oldham that conscription was dead. He therefore merely desired to propose as its epitaph the words used in the great Petition of the People to this House in 1648—"You should disclaim yourselves and all future representatives a power of pressing or forcing any sort of men to serve in wars, there being nothing more opposite to freedom." As regards the Militia Ballot, that had many points as a hygienic reform, but it would 745 not supply our main need, which was a foreign service army.
Coming to the question of pay, the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman gave him the greatest satisfaction. He thought, however, that the weakest point was that the immediate prospects of the young soldier's life were not to be made sufficiently attractive. They had to get the men to enter the Army, and to do that the service must be made sufficiently attractive from the first. New metaphors were always dangerous, and therefore he would use an old one, and implore the Government "not to spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar." Above all, let faith be kept with the soldier. If the soldier was only to receive so much, let him be told so plainly. He would also strongly urge that the right hon Gentleman should adopt the American and Royal Marine practice of demanding some sort of character from in tending recruits. This reform was almost as important as the increase of pay, and it had the advantage that it would cost nothing. It was an essential element of the marine system that recruits should have a good character. Unless the War Office insisted on getting men of good character, it would not get the British mother on its side. The British mother controlled the situation, and the reason she did not object to her son joining the Marines was because she knew he would only have to associate with respectable people. Some falling off in recruiting returns might have to be faced in the first instance, but eventually he believed it would make the service very much more popular, and would result in our obtaining recruits in much greater numbers and of a better quality. This policy had even been recognised by the Chinese, who were now demanding a good character from in tending recruits. The hon. Member for Aberdeen had said that the sort of men they wanted for the Army were the devil-may-care, happy-go-lucky scapegraces, and also that it was a great mistake to raise the pay. But he contended those were just the sort of men they did not want. There was one other important point. Now that the pay was to be raised, the physical standard ought to be raised also, and a better 746 article should be insisted upon for the better price. The present recruiting standard was deplorable. We had reduced every kind of measurement, the age, and the weight, and now we were going to take men with false teeth, and even with glass eyes—or eye glasses—he did not know which. He quite recognised that occasionally a most excellent small man could be obtained, but as a sound general principle it could not be denied that by reducing the physical standard you had to put up with a reduction of the moral and intellectual standard also.
Passing over several other matters, he would come to a recommendation which he knew would be condemned as a mere platitude, or, at best, as a counsel of perfection, viz., that the Secretary of State should endeavour to develop a system of promotion by merit in the commissioned ranks of the Army. The right hon. Gentleman had shown great moral courage in tackling unpleasant subjects, and if he made an effort to grapple with this thorny question he would receive the enthusiastic support of everybody who cared for the best interests of the service.
He had always had a sneaking regard for the Secretary of State for War, and that feeling, owing to his present proposals, was developing into something like enthusiasm. The right hon. Gentleman must not think because he was sometimes abused that they held him personally entirely to blame for all the defects of the War Office, but under the constitution he was the whipping-boy, and had to suffer for the sins of that Department. The War Office seemed to be the "Aunt Sally" of politics, at which even the meanest of us could throw things with impunity. In that process it was the fashion to place all the blame on the civilian side. He believed, however, that the military side were quite as much to blame in most cases for the mistakes that were made; they were just as obstructive, and just as adept in the use of red tape. Last year he concluded his remarks by saying that if the Secretary of State would approach these subjects of Army Reform in a broad and statesmanlike spirit, he would earn the gratitude both of the Army 747 and of the country. He believed the right hon. Gentleman was endeavouring so to deal with the questions before him, and that being so he deserved that strenuous support at the present juncture which he (the hon. Member), at any rate, intended to give him.
§ (5.5) MR. CAINE (Cornwall, Camborne)
said he had never spoken on Army matters before, and he rose on the present occasion with a good deal of modest reluctance, because he could not claim in any way to be a military expert, althought it was true that he formed one of the 63 original Volunteers who received so much praise on the previous evening. Beyond that, however, his experience gave him no right to speak with authority on Army matters. But, after all, every Member of the House was interested in the very large sums of money voted annually for the War Office, and in the number of men the Committee were now asked to sanction. Speaking as an ordinary member of the tax-paying public, it appeared to him that the number of men asked for under Vote A was dishonest and misleading. There were, roughly speaking, 20,000 troops borne on the Indian establishment, who, for more than the last two years, had to all intents and purposes been used as part and parcel of the Home and Colonial contingent. He contended therefore that those 20,000 men ought to be included in and voted with the present Estimate. As he pointed out in the Amendment he had placed on the Paper, 400,000 men would really be sufficient to vote under this head, because upwards of 30,000 more that were borne on the Indian establishment ought to be borne on the Home and Colonial. According to the Return of the Military Forces in South Africa from 1899 to 1902, between October 11th, 1899, and December 31st, 1901, a total of 11,651 British soldiers borne on the Indian establishment had been sent direct to South Africa from India, while of native troops there had been sent 1,500 to Mauritius, 800 to Singapore, and 800 to Ceylon, for the purpose of relieving an equal number of British troops for service in South Africa. So that, to all intents and purposes, those 748 3,000 Indian troops, borne on the Indian establishment, had been used for duties which should be discharged by troops on the Home and Colonial establishment. In the same period, 300 British troops borne on the Indian establishment had been sent to China. It was therefore clear that over 12,000 British troops borne on the Indian establishment had been transferred direct from India to South Africa, while 3,000 Natives on the same establishment had been used to relieve British troops in Crown Colonies. But in addition to that, heavy inroads had been made on the native troops borne on the Indian establishment for service in China. Certainly the cost of such forces ought to be borne on the Home and Colonial establishment. No less than 16,300 men had been taken for service in China so that during the two years no less than 30,000 troops had been bodily transferred from the Indian to the Home and Colonial establishment. He believed he was right in saying, on the authority of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India, that 32,200 was the high-water mark during 1900. These forces, however, were not in any way included in the Vote now being taken for the Home and Colonial contingent. The Vote, herefore, was misleading to the extent of 30,000 men.
Making every allowance for the strain of war, and for the argument—whatever it was worth—that Indian had some direct or remote interest in Africa, though he could never understand what that interest was, he would treat the 30,000 British and Indian troops, which had been used as, roughly, the equivalent of 20,000 British troops, alone. If they were still to be stationed in India, and used in the way they had been, they ought to form part of the general defence of the Empire, and be formally voted in future under Vote A. It was manifestly unjust that troops which had been taken away from India for over two years, and used for purposes for which alone the Home and Colonial establishment was voted, should ever again form a permanent charge upon India. The question then immediately arose, whether the men borne on the Indian establishment were really necessary to the defence of India. If he believed 749 they were, he should have had nothing to say on the present occasion, but he submitted that if at a time of domestic stress in India, with famine and plague rampant, at a time when vast military responsibilities were straining the resources of the whole Empire, it was safe to strip India of 30,000 troops, then the cost of those troops or their equivalent ought never again to be imposed on Indian expenditure as being needed for Indian defence. It would be easy for the War Office to absorb 20,000 of the British troops in India into the Home and Colonial establishment by some special treatment. The point must be of some importance in view of the debates which had taken place with regard to recruiting, in which appalling statements had been made as to the number of deaths of young fellows in India and the difficulty of obtaining recruits to make up even the 420,000 men asked for. It would be within the knowledge of the House that it was in 1885, avowedly in consequence of the Penjdeh incident, and the Russian scare which ensued, that the Indian Army was increased by just the 30,000 men now withdrawn from the defence of India for the war in South Africa. In 1885 the establishment of the Indian Army was 62,829 British troops and 125,957 natives, making roughly 189,000. In 1886 it was raised proportionately to a total of 208,000, in 1887 to 219,000, while in 1900 owing to various causes into which he need not then enter, the strength of the Indian establishment was only 215,000. The actual increase, how ever, was 30,000, entirely due to the Penjdeh scare and the supposed necessity for defence against Russian invasion. Burma need not now be taken into consideration. That country was as quiet and settled as any part of His Majesty's dominions. He had travelled 12,000 miles in Burma, and one could go into every corner of the country without the slightest risk to life or property. But there had been the withdrawal of this increase and its transport to service in distant parts of the Empire at a time when Russia, if really our enemy, would be likeliest to make a move forward upon India. That must, in fairness to Lord Curzon and the Secretary of State for India, who consented to the removal, 750 be treated as a declaration that the danger which added the 30,000 to the Indian Army had entirely disappeared.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
I am afraid the hon. Member must not allude to the troops in His Majesty's Indian dominions, because they are expressly excluded from the Vote.
§ MR. CAINE
said he was endeavouring to show that these 20,000 might safely be transferred to Vote A, and ought to be included in that Vote. He would, however, leave that part of the subject. It was quite certain that Russian statesmen, if they ever had designs on India in the past, which he greatly doubted, had been driven to abandon those designs as without the range of practical politics in view of their new and vast interests in Siberia and the Far East. We had ourselves admitted this by our recent alliance with Japan, and Russia admitted it by the fact that there had not been the slightest evidence of unrest on the Afghan and Russian frontiers during the last three years. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, in his masterly exposition of his policy last Tuesday, said:—I do not see how we can make with regard to India any considerable reduction in the Army. India will want more troops, rather than less. She requires more Artillery, and in the case of an extra expedition she might require assistance from home.He further told the House that the increase of pay would add £786,000 to India's military expenditure. If India wanted more troops at higher pay, the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India would find it hard to maintain his wonted cheerful optimism at Budget time. But what extraordinary language this appeared to homely minds like his. More troops for India! And this with 30,000 taken away for over two years for the Home and Colonial Establishment. India was to have more troops, because—In case of an extra expedition she might require assistance from home.It appeared to him that India was to have more troops in order that her Army might become more and more a cheap reserve force for the British Empire generally, to the saving of the 751 British pocket. For the last twenty-five years India had never asked for military assistance from home. The Home and Colonial Establishment was no reserve force for India's military needs; but the Indian Establishment was a reserve force for the Home and Colonial Establishment, and was drawn upon for Malta, for Abyssinnia, for China, for the Cape, for Jubaland, for Singapore, for the Mauritius, for Ceylon, and for Hong Kong. Sometimes this country paid for their use, and sometimes did not pay; but all the time India paid for recruiting, for transport, for pensions, and every expense of maintenance during peace. It was time the House and this country should face this abominable imposition upon the poorest of the dependencies of the Empire, and insist upon some equitable readjustment of the crushing military burden which England imposed upon the miserable and starving people of India. Last year a halting, tardy, and insufficient act of restitution was made to India to the extent of a quarter of a million per annum as a transfer of items of expenditure of which India had been plundered for twenty years past, which from the 1st of April last would be charged to the British Exchequer instead of the Indian Exchequer, though the House refused, by a majority of about two to one, his invitation on the Budget night to disgorge the arrears of these admitted plunders. He hoped that next year the House would do an act of simple justice by equitably readjusting the imposition under which India suffered by being compelled to maintain in her establishment 30,000 troops which were neither more nor less than a reserve force to the Home and Colonial Establishment which the House was now asked to vote. He invited the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India or the Secretary of State for War to justify the employment for so long a period of 30,000 troops the cost of which was borne on Indian Estimates for purposes exclusively Home and Colonial.
§ *(5.15.) SIR WILLIAM RATTIGAN (Lanarkshire, N.E.)
said he rose with the diffidence that any one must naturally feel who essayed to address this House for the first time; but, as one who had spent 752 many years of his life in India he desired to offer a few observations for the consideration of the House on the proposals or suggestions—he hardly knew which to call them, as he had withdrawn his Motion—of the hon. Member for Camborne. The hon. Member was well known, both inside and outside of this House, for the watchful interest he took in all questions affecting our Indian Empire, and he felt sure that in bringing forward these proposals or suggestions the hon. Member believed that he was working in the direction which was best calculated to be of advantage to the people of India, and if he could bring himself to believe that his Motion—if he might call it a Motion, for he hardly knew what to call it—would have this effect, he would most willingly support him. He could not, however, honestly feel that it would have any such effect, or was likely to have any such effect. He felt that if the House were to adopt these suggestions, they would not only fail to promote the interests of the people of India, but they would be detrimental to the peace and good government of the country and dangerous to the safety of their Empire in the East. It had been said, and rightly said, that our rule in India must rest more on the foundation of the justice and purity of our administration than upon force. When, however, they spoke of India, hon. Members should not forget that they spoke of a vast continent possessing a population of nearly 300 million souls—a population composed of diverse races having no common traits or aspirations and differing from each other in everything that distinguished one people from another in physique, religion, laws, customs, and usages. Therefore, he submitted that in considering this suggestion to reduce the Army in India by 20,000 men—
* THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
This is not a Vote to reduce the Indian Army by 20,000 men. It does not apply to the Indian Army, and that is strictly excluded. The hon. Member, therefore, will not be in order in alluding to the Indian Army.
§ * SIR WILLIAM RATTIGAN
said that it appeared to him, from what had been suggested by the hon. Member for Camborne, that in the opinion of the hon. Member the Indian Army was larger than what was required for the defence of India.
* THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
This Vote does not include any payment for the Indian Establishment at all, whether for white or native troops. The India Army is paid by the Indian Government, and it is not included in this Vote. Therefore the hon. Member will not be in order in referring to the troops in India.
§ * SIR WILLIAM RATTIGAN,
continuing, said the suggestion at all events that because some 20,000 or more men from the British Army in India were employed in South Africa or elsewhere, the permanent strength of the British Army employed in India should be reduced by a corresponding number of men, was one which he could not accept. He could not admit the force of the argument that because in a time of great emergency a requisition was made upon the British garrison in India to supply a need for troops in another part of our dominions, that therefore the number of men who were so employed should be regarded as not needed in India, and should be permanently withdrawn from the British garrison in India after the emergency which caused their withdrawal had ceased to exist. A pressing danger in one part of our dominions might at a particular time justify the requisition of troops from the British garrison in India, but that did not prove that the normal strength of the Indian garrison was beyond the requirements of India. It should be remembered that they had very powerful neighbours upon their north-western border, whose restless activity required to be kept in check by a counter demonstration of force equal to any that could be advanced against us. This was especially so at this moment, when a telegraphic communication had informed them that the condition of Afghanistan was such as to 754 give "need for watchfulness and for an intelligent anticipation of possible contingencies." The whole suggestion to reduce the British garrison in India depended, in short, upon the question whether that garrison was or was not more than sufficient for its potential duties. The present garrison in India was fixed at its present figure—
* THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member would not be in order in discussing that question, as the Resolution is limited in its scope.
§ * SIR WILLIAM RATTIGAN
said he would conclude by asking the House, in consideration of the peculiar condition of India and the possible contingencies which might any day arise in that country, to reject the proposal of the hon. Member for Camborne.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord G. HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
Upon a point of order, Mr. Jeffreys, may I ask whether a discussion on the point to which the last speaker addressed his remarks is in order. Certain observations have been made which I should like to answer, but which it is impossible for me to answer without going into questions affecting the military establishment in India.
* THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
I have no hesitation in saying that a great deal of the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Lanark was out of order, but being a new Member, I did not like to stop him altogether. I rule that it is out of order to discuss Indian affairs on this Vote.
§ *(5.27.) MR. FULLER (Wiltshire, Westbury)
said that in consequence of the ruling which had just been given, instead of discussing the Indian Establishment, he would make some remarks upon the scheme laid before the House by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War. There was a remark which fell from his hon. friend the Member for Fareham at the beginning of his interesting speech, in which he congratulated the Committee upon the 755 fact that this discussion was being carried on without any party spirit, and he thought that was a healthy and satisfactory sign. Although he agreed with the hon. Member that party spirit should be eliminated, he could not help thinking that what the hon. Gentleman held out was a very gloomy prospect for the future. He told the Committee that in his opinion the expenditure upon the Army would not decrease, and would probably increase, and he advocated boldly a continued increased expenditure upon the Navy. If that was the policy of the Party of Army Reform in this House, he for one wished to enter an emphatic protest against any such policy. He infinitely preferred the policy laid before the Committee in the luminous and altogether admirable speech addressed to the Committee by his hon. friend the junior Member for Oldham last night. He agreed with the hon. Member, because he saw in the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman, which they were now discussing, the elements of the prospect of future economy, and it was on that account that he for one joined with his hon. friend in congratulating the Secretary of State with all his heart upon the scheme which he had laid before the Committee. He did not know in what spirit the right hon. Gentleman would accept the criticisms which had been levelled at his head from the Bench behind him at a late hour last night. They were, at any rate, delivered in no hostile spirit, but both they and the speech of his right hon. friend the Member of the Forest of Dean gave the final knock-down blow to two, if he might so call them, fallacies which up to the present had existed—the one being the possibility of conscription; and the other, the existence, even on paper, of the six Army Corps which the right hon. Gentleman suggested as being possible last year. He would not pursue any further the possibility or impossibility of the right hon. Gentleman's scheme of last year. He believed the six Army Corps that were then laid down as being the foundation of the scheme were as dead today as Queen Anne, and he would proceed at once to offer a few remarks on the scheme they had now to discuss.
756 He believed the present scheme to be an entirely different and separate scheme from the one of last year. The right hon. Gentleman said that the six Army Corps held the field. He believed when the demobilised Army came home from South Africa the right hon. Gentleman would find it no more possible to animate or re-animate the six Army Corps than when the scheme was first introduced last year. The scheme at present went far, if not the whole way, to justify the contention of his right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean that the English Army should, so far as it was possible, be divided into two parts—one for foreign service and the other for home service. They had, under this scheme, double enlistment, which would provide a short service Army for home defence, and a long service Army for garrison and colonial duty abroad. For himself, he would go further than the right hon. Gentleman in his short service proposals. He believed if enlistment were for one year rather than three, the recruits wanted for the home Army would be obtained, and there would pass through the ranks a greater number of the youth of the country. They would have the advantage of the healthy discipline which even twelve months of military training carried with it, and they would draft them at once into the Reserve, which, under the suggested system of his right hon. friend, would necessarily grow larger and larger as years passed, and would be larger than under the suggested scheme of the Secretary of State for War. That Reserve would be brought out occasionally, say every two years, for a few weeks in order to see that the men had not forgotten what they learned during their twelve months in barracks. There was much that was valuable in the suggestions made by his hon. friend the junior Member for Oldham, when he told the Committee that in these days the same precision of military drill was not wanted as twenty years ago. What was wanted was individual independence of judgment and greater personal qualities than ever before were asked from the British solider. Where was that individual judgment to be obtained? It was not to be obtained in the barrack 757 square or in the strict discipline of regimental life. It was to be obtained, if obtained at all, in the battle of life outside the barrack square, and in the struggle for existence which the poor of this country had to carry on. If we would pass through the short service system as many men as we could, and turn them back again into civilian life, we would provide the nucleus of an Army for home defence which would be sufficiently large in time of peace, and in time of national danger might be expanded by including within it the huge Reserve which had passed through the Army. He would, however, join with his right hon. friend in the wish that in any extension of this principle of short service the Cavalry arm, the Mounted arm, the Artillery, and the Engineers might not be included.
Although there was a great deal of which the Committee would approve in the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman, he could not help thinking that to a considerable extent, the right hon. Gentleman had missed what had been called the lessons of the war in South Africa. It was common knowledge to every Member of the House that it was asserted on every platform at the last election that we would not forget the lessons of the war and the necessary reform of the Army. He recollected that an influential magazine in the middle of the year 1900 established an association which included among its members distinguished names on every side of politics, and insisted upon remembering the so-called lessons of the war. He admitted that there must be differences of opinion upon what those lessons were, but the only one which the right hon. Gentleman seemed to have learned was that we must have a larger Army in this country, both for home and for foreign service. He demurred entirely to that proposition. What was wanted, if he might say so, was an efficient Army and not a large Army. There were undoubtedly lessons to be learned which seemed to have been forgotten in the scheme before the Committee. The first lesson was the absolute necessity of giving every encouragement to voluntary effort. He was not exaggerating when he asserted that had it not been for the gallant response of our Yeomanry and Volunteers, and also our Colonial forces, 758 the war in South Africa might have had very different results than at the present moment it had had. In South Africa we had had from the Volunteers alone no less than 17,341 men. We had 5,400 Volunteers at the present moment in South Africa. We had at present in this country 288,612 Volunteers, which was an increase in the last ten years of over 66,000. The Committee was well aware of the increase there had been in the Yeomanry. In the face of what he thought was the all important fact that this voluntary effort should be in every possible way encouraged, the right hon. Gentleman—it was a slip, but a slip none the less unfortunate—came down to the House the other afternoon and made criticisms and jokes at the expense of the Volunteer force, and although he had, to a certain extent explained these away, nevertheless the sting remained, and he for one was afraid that the damage had been done. His right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean, and also the Member for Fareham, laid the greatest possible stress upon the necessity of increasing the regular mobile forces. That, to his thinking, was the second important lesson of the war, but now, in the third year that the war had been going on, when it was common knowledge to every member of the Committee that if we had had a sufficiency of mounted men in South Africa there would not have been a Magersfontein or a Colenso, there was no proposal before the Committee or the country that there should be any permanent increase in the Mounted Infantry arm. He would join most heartily with his right hon. friend in pressing on the Government the absolute necessity of forming a mounted infantry brigade or division, which should be a permanent addition to the military forces of the country. He would only say in conclusion that in the main he wished to give the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman his hearty support, and he cordially joined in the almost unanimous chorus of congratulations which had been offered to him from every quarter of the House.
§ *(5.43.) MAJOR SEELY (Isle of Wight)
said the subject of our military policy had engaged his attention for many 759 years, and recently he had had opportunity to study its results. In the admirable and lucid speech of his hon. friend the Member for the Westbury Division of Wiltshire, there was much with which he thought everyone in the House would agree. For instance, his desire that the home defence Army should receive a short training should meet with the cordial assent of almost every Member of the House. Taking them in the main, the proposals with regard to the Regular Army had his support. He considered that the addition to the pay of the soldiers of the Regular Army was urgently required; apart from the relief it might bring to the recruiting difficulty, it would probably not involve us in much extra expenditure, because there would be so many fewer men who would have to leave the service after only a few weeks or months. But when we came to the larger aspect of the question, and asked ourselves what was the effect on our armed strength of the military policy as pursued in past years, and as to be pursued according to this scheme, our position must be viewed with the gravest concern. He had listened to every speech delivered in the debate, and he was bound to say that he would never have supposed that any one who was addressing the Committee was aware that we were engaged in a war in South Africa, or that this war had shown that there was any deficiency in our arrangements in any respect. He thought that certain lessons to be derived from the war were so manifestly true that hon. Members on all sides of the House would agree to them. Firstly, that the Regular Army was as good as we thought it was, and even better. He was only a young soldier, but he had had the privilege of serving in the field side by side with the Regular Army for a year and a half, and he therefore could fully appreciate their services. Of course, every human institution had its faults, but he maintained that the Army in South Africa had shown itself as good as, and better than, any other Army which had been put into the field. But the second lesson was this—it had been proved beyond doubt that the Army, which we rightly so much admired, was not capable—not assuredly from lack of gallantry or efficiency, but from lack of num- 760 bers—of defeating a force of 100,000 irregular troops. That it would have done so in the end, though at tremendous sacrifice, was possible; but that was the most that could be said. And yet we were now committed to the same methods—methods by which the reserve of trained men produced was so small that we had been forced to send untrained men, men who could not shoot, to fight our battles in this war. What would occur if we engaged a European Power?
He was aware that these were not popular views, and that it was the fashion nowadays to endeavour to forget all the past. He did not forget. Were we to continue to drift on in this direction? It might be said he was speaking from the point of view of a young enthusiast, but others older and wiser than he saw the same danger. He was not in England at the time the Prime Minister of England, speaking on the 9th May, 1900, after going carefully through the possibilities and probabilities of foreign combinations, and after surveying the temper of mind of foreign nations, pointed out that, in his judgment, the situation was grave in the extreme. He told us that unless we were prepared to do as other nations had done, and taught our people at least to shoot—that unless we were prepared to take a leaf out of the book of the Swiss—we would be at a great disadvantage. He did not suppose that the Prime Minister of this country spoke those words without deep thought, or that he wished to create an impression without a desire that something should he done to remedy existing deficiencies. But so far as could be observed, nothing had been done, and in the scheme which the Secretary of State for War had put before the House and the country, no provision had been made for meeting that manifest difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech had acknowledged that this war had assumed larger dimensions than had ever been anticipated. That was true; but he would suggest that that was the way with all wars. As a great captain of war once said, there was no such thing as a little war. It was assumed that this was an exceptional occurrence, and that we would not go to war with a white nation under similar circumstances. To assume that; was a fatal mistake, the possibility 761 that we might be engaged in war on land again was well worthy of consideration. This much was certain—if we went to war with another white people, it would be an infinitely greater undertaking, both on land and sea, than that in which we were now engaged.
He had referred to the Prime Minister as one of those who considered the situation grave. He would refer to one other Gentleman who had been frequently referred to in the course of these debates. When in the heat of the war fervour it was decided that something should be done to reform the War Office, Mr. Clinton-Dawkins was selected as Chairman of the Committee to conduct the inquiry, and no one could deny his great ability and the labour which he had devoted to that inquiry. But, speaking with all the knowledge he had acquired, that gentleman, too, said that he considered our present military position as grave in the extreme, and that a case had been made out for attempting to increase our force of trained men. The war had taught us a third lesson, which might help to get us those trained men. He thought that we might say without fear of contradiction that it had been proved that what made a soldier was not length of training, but courage, common sense, discipline, and the readiness of the men—to use a popular phrase—to play the game. But all these qualities would be vain unless the men could shoot straight. He submitted that it would be worth the while of the War Office to make an effort to teach our people to shoot. That was by no means difficult. For his own part, he had endeavoured to bring this matter before his constituents, and had offered to provide rifles for members of rifle clubs; and in every district of his constituency men had come forward to form these rifle clubs. If that could be done by private effort alone, some public effort should be made to get every adult in the country to learn to shoot, as was the case hundreds of years ago. An hon. Member had asked what about the rifle ranges. He answered that that problem was solved by shooting with Morris tubes. He contended that, speaking from the point of view of shooting an enemy, as much could be learnt by practice with Morris tubes as in 762 firing with rifles at a long range. The problem was to learn to sight correctly and to know the range. To sight correctly could be learned by the use of the Morris tubes, but judging distances could never be learned by practice on a range. He knew full well that after having taught the men to shoot, everything had not been done. We must organise and equip. But we need not ask our people to go into barracks. We were all proud to acknowledge what had been achieved by the Imperial Light Horse, by the New Zealanders and the Australians, who had never been in barracks. If the people of this country were plainly told of their danger, that we did not intend in any other war to put men into battle array who could not shoot, he was perfectly certain that they would agree to what was asked of them. It might be said that this was an immense scheme. He had gone through the accounts of various small nationalities which were less liable to attack by foreign Armies than we were, notably the Swiss and the Swede, and he found that, taking their total strength of armed and trained men, the cost of each soldier was from £2 10s. to £4 a year. It should be realised that this nation would never be safe until we had two million men who could shoot. From the figures he had given it would be seen that the cost to us need not be great; and surely, after all, we could make the same personal self-sacrifice as the people of Switzerland or of Sweden.
§ (5.59.) SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
The interest of this debate and of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War's statement centres principally in his proposals as to the terms of service and the payment of our soldiers. These are the two changes which he proposes to introduce, which are of supreme importance. Perhaps it is not correct to speak of the right hon. Gentleman's proposals as a scheme, because when the word "scheme" is used, something more elaborate is rather expected. The proposals which the right hon. Gentleman submitted last year were more, according to my idea, of a scheme, because they brought the Army into a new form, and were altogether of a much more ambitious and elaborate character than this. 763 I do not say this with the view of in the least degree depreciating the importance of the proposals the right hon. Gentleman now makes, because I can see that their importance is very great indeed. But this year, as last, a very remarkable omission has been made. There is no case made out for his proposals. He has not shown that these proposals are necessary. I will explain what I mean as I go on. Last year, when there was the same omission, I found it to be my duty to propose an Amendment to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, in which I alleged that the Army Corps system which he created might be burdensome to the country and would not be suitable for the purposes of this country in time of war. That assertion I did not hear any attempt to meet. There was no attempt to prove the necessity of maintaining six Army Corps in this country. In the same way this year the right hon. Gentleman has laid down a certain establishment which he says he will require in the future, and has named a certain number of recruits which he will require to keep that establishment in efficiency. He has not given us any reasons for the figures which he quotes, or stated the purposes for which that establishment will be required. There is a tendency in all these matters, to which I was glad to hear the hon. Member for Oldham refer last night, a tendency to imitation—in fact, to slavish imitation—of foreign nations. The hon. Member referred to strange caps which we see on our way down to the House; but things have gone a great deal further than he thinks —but for this the right hon. Gentleman is not responsible—for this morning on looking out of my window I saw that even the scavengers employed by the vestry of Westminster were wearing Russian caps. I am far from being a straight-laced, strict Britisher, seeing no good in anything in any other country. At the same time, I would not go to the opposite extreme and say everything in other countries ought to be introduced here.
My impression is that in setting up a cast-iron Army Corps system, and in many other respects imitating other countries, we unfortunately copy institutions or arrangements of other nations which are 764 based upon their unfortunate necessities—necessities from which we enjoy an immunity that they can only envy. I venture to say that if we could imagine some sudden change, some geographical upheaval, which would transform some great Continental Power into a nation situated as we are, with a convenient streak of sea around it and endowed with maritime commerce and habits, the very first thing they would do would be to abolish conscription, which is supposed by some to be such an unmitigated blessing; they would slacken and lighten their organisation, and they would ease themselves of the heavy burden of armaments under which they groan. And yet we are gradually being persuaded, or persuading ourselves, to slip into the very evils which they suffer from; although we might perfectly well do without them. These military nations are supposed to enjoy great advantages in their national character because of so much military control and discipline, and so forth. I believe that is entirely the argument of the fox which has lost its tail. They persuade themselves and the world that that is so; but if they could, they would demilitarise themselves and direct their energies into a far more useful channel. And yet we copy them. This is an old story, but it is worth while reverting to it from time to time. It would not be hurtful to us to have these things pinned up on our walls, that we might see them while we are dressing in the morning.
Sir, what are the purposes for which we want a warlike force? First of all, we must have the command of the sea. There is no question throughout the whole country on that subject. Then we must have a sufficient defence of these shores against invasion, which can be only a limited invasion, and, therefore, would require a comparatively limited defence. Then we have to garrison India and certain colonial fortresses and possessions and stations which are necessary for the protection of trade routes and of the countries for which we are responsible all over the world. And then we require a well-equipped force for the purpose of striking a blow in any part of the world where this might be 765 required. For the purposes so described I believe the people of this country would grudge no expense whatever to secure—shall I use the word the hon. Member for Oldham thinks I may be sensitive about?—efficiency. The reason I disclaimed the word last night when he referred to it was that I prefer the thing efficiency to the word efficiency. I am afraid if we talk too much of the word we may sometimes lose hold of the thing. We last year adopted a system, at the instance of the right hon. Gentleman, which for all the purposes I have named does no good whatever; and the right hon. Gentleman, when he answered an imaginary challenge in his speech to show us something by way of progress with the Army Corps, was only able to point to the activity at Aldershot, which would be just as full of troops and of activity if there had been no Army Corps at all. He also referred to erection of barracks, an important matter, but not one which without other appurtenances conduces very much to the security or efficiency of the military defence. Here again we can point to the same omission to which I have already referred—the omission to prove any necessity. The right hon. Gentleman says we must have 250,000 men, including India, and that this will require 50,000 recruits a year. There is a proverb that we are all familiar with about cutting a coat according to your cloth, and it is very true. I suppose it means that, when you have designed the size and fashion of your coat, you should consider whether you have material enough to make it. That is very necessary in Army matters as well as in others. But I am not sure that it is not quite as true to say that you should cut your cloth according to your coat—that is to say, you should make up your minds what your coat is to be and then cut no more material out of your web than is necessary for the purposes of the coat. There is where the right hon. Gentleman has not shown us his case.
For what purposes do we want this precise number of men, which involves, as he says, 50,000 recruits in a year? I am not sure I am not coming to somewhat disputable ground, but it cannot be helped. It does not require much penetration to see that it depends upon South Africa. That is a 766 factor which is at present vague and indeterminate, and this is one of the reasons why, not withstanding the impatience of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down, so little has been done to improve the Army. The middle of a great war is not really the time to select for the determination of the establishment and organisation of your future Army. There are more considerations than one derived from the same source and leading to the same conclusion. First of all, as we are constantly told, the full energies of the right hon. Gentleman and his Department ought to be engaged in, and devoted to, the war, and they ought not to be deeply absorbed in these very intricate and complicated and troublesome problems of the future. Then there is another argument, which I think is a strong one, that we ought to consider very deliberately what we are pleased to call the lessons of the war, and that the results of the experience of the war will not be safely ascertained until the war is over. A hasty conclusion as to what has been proved in the war may lead you very far astray. You must be careful not to mistake some peculiar and individual necessity that you have had to encounter for a permanent necessity which will not occur on another occasion. The character of the country, the character of your foe, the whole circumstances, may never repeat themselves; and therefore I think it is better, if it can be avoided, not to anticipate the end of the war by conclusions as to your future needs.
I will take an instance which I think the Committee will appreciate. The right hon. Gentleman said something of the purchase of horses and the arrangements he is going to make for obtaining remounts in the future—a most important question; and there is no doubt that the arrangements must be better, and on an improved scale, than they have been in the past. But what is he going to do? In an excess of energy arising from the recent disclosures—which have astonished, I have no doubt, himself as well as many others—he is going to plant, as I understand, retired officers all over the world. The right hon. Gentleman is going to send these retired officers to cope with the horse 767 dealers. To cope with horse dealers is a serious undertaking. The purchase of horses is rather a business matter than a question involving military discipline or even cavalry training. You will find, no doubt, a Captain Hartigan at every fair in the world. I am not sure that that is not rather overdoing the thing. And then, why so many horses for normal wants? This is a war which has required horses and mules and draught animals to an extent that can hardly recur in any other possible war in which we may be engaged. I merely quote this as an instance of the exaggeration and error into which it would be possible for us to fall if, on the first blush of the thing, when we first discover a deficiency, before the war is over, we rush into some new proposal. That is the next reason why I think you should wait for the end of the war before coming to any considerable conclusion.
But my last and principal reason is—we want to know what is to be the requirement imposed on the British Army in South Africa when the war is over. This would surely most materially affect the establishment you require; and here comes in, I am afraid, the question of high policy. "Policy," Mr. Disraeli said, "governs armaments." It governs your war expenditure. If you had begun, and if you are going to end, your war in South Africa in such a way as to leave behind it a perfectly harmonious state of feeling, founded on a mutual understanding between mutually respecting combatants, then you would require, in my opinion, a comparatively small garrison in South Africa. But if you are going on as you have announced with your policy of unconditional surrender to the end, then you will have to maintain a huge force in South Africa, and you will practically have to set yourselves for many years, perhaps for a generation or two, to hold down the European population in South Africa by force of arms. That is a thing which I believe this country cannot undertake and cannot do for very shame; and if that is to be in any degree the cause of the increased establishment and this increased demand for troops, then I say that I, although willing to vote anything reasonable for the military necessities of the country, cannot, in my heart at least, 768 acquiesce in any such proposal. I should be glad to have it proved to me by the right hon. Gentleman that that is not the case. I should be glad if he is able to tell us that it is perfectly irrespective of the necessities of the future of South Africa that this permanent addition to expenditure is being made. I shall be delighted to hear it. But if it is not so, I must disclaim, as I always have disclaimed, any responsibility for the war itself; any responsibility for the expenditure and administrative embarrassments which may follow. If the right hon. Gentleman will tell us what is the estimate of our requirements, on which he bases this establishment, I shall not be at all unreasonable in the matter, and if the right hon. Gentleman made out a case for what he proposes, I should raise no objection; but I think the House of Commons and the country are entitled to know how many men are required for this purpose and for that. And see how this affects the particular case of India.
I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say in his speech yesterday, in regard to this large additional expenditure that is to be imposed on India, that India has been informed, but has not yet consented to it—that the answer has not yet been received. Three-quarters of a million! Well, if it is the case, as I surmise—and I shall be happy to be proved to be wrong—that this is necessitated by our having to retain a great force in South Africa, what answer can be made to the people of India when they say, "What have we to do with that?" The relations in the matter of military expenditure between India and the Imperial Government are very complicated and very delicate. I used, twenty years ago, to be more familiar with the immediate circumstances than I am now; but I remember that, having to take some part in fighting the battle for the Imperial Government, we used to use an argument which seemed a very plausible one then—that we were both partners in this matter, and that the fact of our having to garrison India greatly increased the cost of the training of the troops, and, therefore, that India must consider that, and consider, above all, that she could draw in her necessity on the whole military force of the 769 Empire—that we were, in fact, maintaining a reserve for her. But now, after the experience of the last few years, I am afraid the argument tells rather the other way, and that it is we who have been using India as a reserve, and that the relations between, the equilibrium of the claims of the two parties is not by any means so stable as it was twenty years ago.
Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman speaks of requiring 50,000 recruits a year, and at present, he says, we cannot expect more than 35,000. The numbers, I think, have shown considerable elasticity apart from the natural enthusiasm generated by the war, because they have risen from 27,800 in 1896 to 38,000 in 1898, before the war began, and then to 46,700 in 1900 and 45,100 in 1901. I do not think these figures quite cover what is indicated by the facts, because these numbers were obtained in spite of what I should have thought the almost fatal competition of the Imperial Yeomanry, in which the very same class of man was getting five shillings a day while the poor Army man was getting only one.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
The men for the Imperial Yeomanry were older.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
They may have been older, but a great many of them were the very same class of men who would have gone into the Army. That shows a recruitable disposition on the part of the people among whom we gather our recruits beyond what is shown by the mere figures that are quoted. The right hon. Gentleman says he wants 50,000. I want to know how he makes up that 50,000. I daresay he will say to build up his 250,000. I should like to know the proportions for each particular purpose for which the establishment is required. In order to get his 50,000 recruits he invites us to make what he calls a plunge. Why should we make that plunge? But now let us see. A plunge into what? Into terms and into pay. On the matter of terms I am with the right hon. Gentleman. I am all in favour of this short term of service—I am and always have been—and this 770 option of changing to another condition if the man likes. I have often stated, and stated plainly, what I consider to be the proper method in this country—that with a voluntary Army gathered from a free people you ought to make your term of service as elastic as possible, so that during service a man may feel himself as free as is consistent with military discipline, and such as may not put the public to any unnecessary expense. When he has an open choice either to go or not, the advantages for him ought to be so evenly divided that by giving a little twist on one side or the other you can direct him into that channel which you think most necessary at the time. That is the main principle we ought to follow, and I therefore entirely approve the short enlistment, provided that it is perfectly consistent with the working of the drafts for the East, and I do not see why any difficulty in that matter ought to be felt.
Now, I come to the pay. The pay is said not to be sufficient. That is a much more formidable matter, because we do not know where it may lead us, and where we may be able to stop. It seems to me that there is a great deal of danger in it unless it is absolutely necessary. The men now recruited make good soldiers; they are not deficient in intelligence, and there is another consideration which ought not to be lost sight of, they are of small value as a subtraction from the productive energy and labour of the country. The civil purposes of the country lose as little as possible by the employment principally of that class in the ranks of the Army, but if that class is nearly exhausted—I mean if we are getting as many recruits as we are likely to get for it—then what are we to do? We must go into competition in the skilled labour market. If you go into competition in the skilled labour market, it is not 6d. or 1s. that will do you any good; you will have to go far beyond that; and that is why I say that all these charges, although they are very tempting—and we all look upon them with sympathy—are rather dangerous, because you do not know to what they may lead you.
Then there is a further consideration. For this increase, which the right hon. Gentleman proposes, and which I think 771 is judiciously designed, will you get more men? What reason has the right hon. Gentleman to expect that you will get more men? For myself, I should have been disposed rather to try, in the first place, the policy of providing greater comforts for the men, about which we heard so much from both sides of the House last night—better and more food, greater freedom of action, treatment more civilian, and less rigidly military. I should have been rather disposed to try what might be done by all these improvements of the personal condition and habits and comforts which we think most likely to make the service pleasing to those whom we enlist, before entering upon this question of larger pay. I shall be glad to know from the right hon. Gentleman what are the expectations, what are the calculations, if he has any—of course it is very much a matter of conjecture—which tend to show that we are likely to obtain a larger number of recruits in consequence of the additional pay that he proposes to give.
I have little or nothing more to say. The right hon. Gentleman made some observations about the war, but he did not explain what, I think, we are entitled to ask from him—his expectations regarding the war. He has taken money enough in the Estimates, I believe, for nine months. Will he say why that particular figure has been selected—what he considers the prospects are? We do not want him to prophesy, because that is dangerous, but still he must have made some sort of an estimate, and it will be a kindly act, if nothing more, if he will tell us what the basis of his estimate or conjecture was. The right hon. Gentleman said that he and his colleagues have been thrown out by mistakes made in consequence of the war being so much greater than had been anticipated. But that is a very poor excuse, because it is their war, it is his war and his colleagues', and I do not think it is quite fair for the right hon. Gentleman to imply that be has been the victim of some strange hallucinations on the part of other people. The right hon. Gentleman said that he hoped he had not shielded individuals, I am afraid that if I were to criticise him I should say he has tried sometimes rather to shield himself. For 772 instance, in the matter of the horses I was astonished to hear him say, I thought both unkindly and unnecessarily, that the horses were bought in a hurry—there was such a pressure and such a great demand—but that when they got out to South Africa some of Lord Kitchener's subordinates hurried them up too rapidly to the front. The haste, however, which is the excuse in the one case, may readily be taken as an excuse in the other.
Then there is one other thing to which, in conclusion, I would refer. The right hon. Gentleman said he had kept nothing back. Why, our main complaint is that we get practically nothing given to us. We get nothing but the most scrappy telegrams, which are generally inconsistent with each other and unintelligible, and the right hon. Gentleman and his myrmidons, including the one who sits beside him, have by this strange and—may I use the word?—un-English exercise of military law, censorship, and all sorts of things that we are very ready to denounce in other nations, brought about a situation in which there is practically no Press in South Africa, no public information except sometimes some pseudo-public information which comes through financial sources, in which, however, I do not place the greatest confidence. Therefore, though I daresay the right hon. Gentleman has not intentionally kept things back, yet he must excuse me if I say there has never been a war in which so little information has been given to the people of the country who are the most concerned in the matter.
§ (6.37.) Mr. BRODRICK
In the course of the right hon. Gentleman's genial speech there were a few observations which had something of the nature of the sting in the tail, and I would refer to those for one moment before I go to the portion of his argument which more closely concerns the question immediately before the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman has put me in some little difficulty, because in one sentence he complained, especially with regard to the horses, that I was inclined to shield myself behind mistakes made by other people, and in the next he complained of the amount of 773 information which I gave to the House. But it is really almost impossible to do what the right hon. Gentleman wishes at the same time and in both capacities, for if I am to give information to the House, then in that case I certainly ought not to keep back, when I am talking about our difficulties with regard to horses, that one of them is that the horses have been by some persons in South Africa hurried too quickly to the front and used up. If, on the other hand, I tell the right hon. Gentleman that I can give him no more information about an engagement which takes place in South Africa than is contained in the telegrams which are published, if I tell him that I am giving him all the information I have myself, he responds that I am shielding myself at the expense of the officers out there. Therefore, I am between the devil and the deep sea. The real truth of the matter is, as regards shielding, I have never used the expression to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, except in this one particular. There is no question whatever that in reference to these charges which are made, and to which the right hon. Gentleman will no doubt advert on Monday next, the House has from time to time made it perfectly clear that it will put confidence in the Government only if the Government is willing to take the House into its confidence in reference to matters which have been carried out, and at the same time refuses to conceal things which have really gone wrong or shield the persons concerned.
As regards the campaign at this moment, the right hon. Gentleman asks me why I take money for eight or nine months. The advices which reach us from South Africa certainly tend to show that with the rate at which Lord Kitchener's operations are now proceeding, and the very large surrenders which have taken place during the last two months, we have a right to expect that long before eight or nine months have elapsed there will be a substantial reduction of force.
§ MR. BRODRICK
Of our force. Undoubtedly there has been a very 774 rapid and substantial reduction of the Boer forces, but we did not wish to present an over-sanguine estimate to the House. I know the right hon. Gentleman holds with me that in the Army Estimates, of which he has had charge so often, it is desirable, as far as we possibly can, to put before the House in the first instance what are likely to be our requirements. That is what we have done in the present case.
When the right hon. Gentleman comes to discuss the main proposals which are before the Committee, I feel it an anomaly, with the view which he takes, that I should be representing a Conservative Administration, and he a Liberal Opposition. Hon. Gentlemen will have heard the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman a few minutes ago, and have noticed the delicate way in which, without actually disapproving of some steps forwarded, he pointed out that a good deal might have been done if those steps had not been taken, and also the quiet way in which he gradually poured cold water on any progress which has been made in any direction in regard to assistance with the Army.
§ MR. BRODRICK
The right hon. Gentleman said that I had not shown that this number of troops was necessary. That was reverting to an old speech which he made in about the year 1896, before we had added the present number to the Army; he then got up in the same quiet manner and asked, "Are all these men necessary?" That was a number of men involving far less Artillery than we have at the present moment, and therefore involving a violation of his own system, for which he and Lord Cardwell were responsible, of the linked battalions, involving, as we have found out in connection with this war, the almost complete denuding of Great Britain of certain classes of troops. The right hon. Gentleman, having asked before whether a force less by 40,000 than that which we are now asking for—whether we were sure that was necessary, renews the question tonight in the same innocent manner, and in the same way asks us to explain 775 again, as we explained last year, why it is that with the heavy calls upon us, not merely in South Africa, but in all parts of the world, it is necessary that Great Britain should keep up a somewhat larger Army than she did ten, fifteen, or twenty years ago. I will answer the hon. Gentleman categorically. The number of men now asked for is not a fancy figure. It is a figure which provides with a very small margin one battalion at home for one abroad, on the very system of which the right hon. Gentleman has long been the exponent in this House. We feel, and we have had the courage to come to tell the House, that we are not prepared to go on with a system which professes to keep one battalion at home and one abroad, and then constantly to have a surplusage abroad, and to have the battalions at home in a condition which fails to meet our requirements. The House, by a very large majority, last year vindicated the policy of the Government in having three Army Corps to go abroad. Occasions might arise, as they had arisen, where it was actually necessary to send three Army Corps abroad. That involved 120,000 men, and the sending of 120,000 men abroad meant that when we mobilised in South Africa two years ago this country was left, not entirely without regular troops, but so much denuded of regular troops, and so absolutely without any system of which to build up an Army to replace those men, that our home defences were in a most dangerous condition. The system which we have adopted will enable us at once, when we take three Army Corps away, to replace them with the necessary staff, a sufficient number of Regular troops, and a sufficient amount of Regular Artillery; and with the help of the Auxiliary forces we shall be able to build up complete Army Corps in the place of those which are taken away.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN
I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman did not quite understand my point. Perhaps when I speak again I had better be a little more acrimonious, and perhaps he would understand me then. My question was this—You are now entering upon a scheme for better pay, and so forth, with a view to maintaining, 776 not this year or next year, but permanently, a larger military establishment, which involves a larger draft of recruits. You must therefore have formed some sort of estimate where that large establishment will be employed if required. I should like to know how much of this establishment it is contemplated to keep in South Africa.
§ MR. BRODRICK
I quite understand the right hon. Gentleman's point, and I am coming to it. We are providing what is necessary at home in order to maintain the Army abroad. Take the Army abroad. In the first place, in India we have at present an establishment of 75,000 men. India requires more Artillery. Therefore we have to provide for a somewhat larger establishment in India. And let me say, as I am touching upon India, that it will be grossly unfair to suppose that we have called on India in the present emergency without recognising that India has claims upon us in return. Of course the whole of the troops abroad who came from India have been placed entirely on the Imperial charge, and India has been relieved of a considerable sum in respect of them. And I take this opportunity of saying that I think the way in which the Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief in India have been able to meet the demands of the Empire, and the readiness with which they put their troops at our disposal, have shown the highest patriotic feeling, and, at the same time, have shown the intimate connection there is between the two Armies—the Indian Army and the Army at home. I fully recognise that we must keep up India to the full. The colonial garrisons have considerably increased in the last twenty years, and in South Africa the garrison has somewhat increased. I am not looking at the immediate future, about which I think the right hon. Gentleman will not press me, but, speaking generally, in all probability we must allow, at all events, a garrison of 15,000 men for South Africa. I mean after the present crisis has altogether passed away we must regard 15,000 men of our own establishment as being devoted to South Africa. There will also be the local forces and the local constabulary besides. I am not speaking of the whole 777 force, but of the Imperial force. The question I would ask hon. Members to consider is, what has happened? Everybody recognises that we must keep up India to the full, and our Colonial garrisons to the full. And I cannot acquiesce in keeping up only our present establishment, because the result of doing so would be that, though we might keep up India to the full and our Colonial garrisons to the full, our Army at home might be like a "squeezed lemon" when it came to be mobilised for foreign service. The argument for 50,000 recruits is this. We cannot, of course, be certain how many will be ready to re-engage when the three years is up, but we have taken half to be a moderate number. The re-engagements in the Guards have largely increased, and amount to 20 per cent., although there is no inducement to the Guards to re-engage in the matter of pay; but there are inducements in other directions, because so very much good employment is proffered to men in the Guards—not merely do they seek for it, but the men are actually asked for, for police and other services, after their service in the Guards. What reason, asks the right hon. Gentleman, have we for thinking that we should get the men? The reasons we have thought we shall get the additional men are as follow: In the first place, recruiting has gone up so quickly since the three years system was established in the Guards that we now maintain 8,000 men in the Guards when before we barely maintained, I think it was, 5,700. That means we can practically maintain a very much larger number of men in the Guards by having made the conditions more acceptable. The other reason is that whereas the falling off in recruiting has been in the Infantry, the Artillery and Cavalry, who obtain 2d. a day more, have had excellent recruiting, which shows that pay, at all events, has something to do with it. I do not wish to follow the right hon. Gentleman into his somewhat gloomy predictions as to the state of affairs in South Africa if we insist upon a policy of unconditional surrender. I think that would introduce an element of controversy into the debate from which, up to the present, it has been comparatively free. I shall be quite prepared to meet him on that subject on any future occasion.
778 But I should like to refer to one or two other suggestions which he and other Members have made with reference to some of the smaller points that have arisen during the debate. Let me make this question of extra pay quite clear, because it seems to me the House is not quite aware of the position that noncommissioned officers will be in. Noncommissioned officers will share in all the advantages given to the men, retaining, of course, their additional pay as noncommissioned officers. I do not think my hon. friend intended to ask that they should have beyond that some additional pay of their own. There is one small point which I forgot to mention the other night, and that is with regard to the gratuity to the troops now serving in South Africa. This House agreed to give to the troops engaged in service in South Africa a gratuity at the rate of £5 a man at the close of the war, or at the close of their service. We recognise that the period of the war has been prolonged, and the strain upon the men has been greater, and it has been thought desirable to add somewhat to that gratuity. What the Government propose is that with regard to the troops serving on the terms of Regular soldiers—I mean Regular soldiers, or Militia, or Volunteers, not men serving at a higher rate of pay for one year's service—where a man has done eighteen months service in South Africa by January 1st last, or completed eighteen months service after that period, he should, either from January 1st, if he has completed that service, or from the period when he does complete it, begin to pile up an addition to his gratuity; that he should get £5. whenever his services cease to be required. That will be applicable to the Militia regiments who are now coming home for such period of service as they gave after January 1st, and it will also be applicable to the Reserves and to the Regular troops.
One word with regard to what has been said in respect of horses. I only wish to correct the idea of the right hon. Gentleman that we are appointing hastily, and in a panic, remount officers all over the globe. All I said was that we feel it necessary to keep touch with 779 the Continental markets, and that, having regard to our experience, is extremely wise, and I think the House will agree with this proposal. My hon. friend the hon. Member for Fareham, who made some observations which I think he was fully justified in making, and who did not go to the length of claiming me as a convert to his views because he admitted he believed I held them all the time, told us with great force that he would like to see us keep one Army Corps in South Africa for the benefit of their training. Let me repeat what I said last year—that if we unnecessarily keep a single battalion abroad we impose a severe strain on the officers and men of that battalion. Already the period of service does not enable the men to have a long time at home, and when hon. Gentlemen talk of making South Africa a training and manœuvre ground for our troops I think they sometimes forget the strain they are putting on the troops themselves in asking them to extend a foreign service which is already prolonged.
I do not wish to occupy the time of the Committee for a moment longer. I can only thank the Committee for the reception which it has given to our proposals. I do not think a single speech has been made in any part of the House which in any way traverses the general trend of our proposals. If hon. Members have taken credit to themselves for converting the Government, the worst thing that has been said by anybody to me in this debate is, so far as I know, that I have had an open mind. I have no apology to make whatever. I think debates in this House would be of very little utility if they were not considered by the Government and treated with the respect they deserve, with regard to future schemes that may be brought before us. It is impossible for the Government, at the present moment, to arrive at a large change of this kind until two things have happened, one being that the circumstances of the time make it necessary, and the other that they can expect to carry such a change in such a way as to make it permanent. The circumstances of recruiting are undoubtedly such that we have reached our maximum under the present 780 arrangements, and I believe the change we are making is, as I said the other night, judicious and absolutely necessary. And, as regards the ultimate effect of these proposals, I do not think anybody who has heard the discussion in the course of the last two evenings can doubt that there is a general desire on the part of the House to give larger sums to soldiers for their pay, that the proposal which we make will not merely be supported by our own political friends or by those who are interested in the Army, but will have to a large extent the general support of the House, and that it will therefore hold a permanent place in the proposals of other Governments for our military defence.
§ (7.0.) MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
said the present was a very unpropitious time for such a revolutionary scheme as that which had been put before the Committee by the Secretary of State for War. The remark made by the right hon. Gentleman that a garrison of 15,000 men would be sufficient for South Africa in the future showed how absolutely unreliable his conjectures as to the requirements of that country were. It was a matter of great regret that, from the larger point of view, the immediate question at stake, namely, the deficiency of the Army in South Africa and the condition of our warlike operations there, had been very much put into the background by this great scheme of Army reform. In the case of such a great measure of Army reform as this, it would have been, in his opinion, far more judicious for the Secretary of State for War to have postponed until the end of the war such a revolutionary scheme as this. He was happy to say that in all matters connected with the Army, Party politics were, as a rule, set aside, but he regretted that the hon. Member for the Fareham Division had made an exception to that rule by accusing some persons of being traitors and enemies to this country because from sincere and conscientious motives they could not approve of the policy of this war. With regard to the state of affairs in South Africa he asked were we really profiting as we should profit by the lessons of this war, and were we doing all that could be done to bring it to a conclusion?
781 Admittedly, the crux of the question was the mobility of our forces, the number of horses we were at present supplying, and the regulation and administration of the remount department in South Africa. He was rather surprised that the Secretary of State for War had gone back from what he understood the right hon. Gentleman to say a few weeks ago when he first announced Lord Downe's appointment as superintending officer in South Africa. The Committee now heard that Lord Downe's position was to a certain extent changed. According to the latest information Lord Downe was merely to inspect and report at the request of Lord Kitchener. He had nothing but praise for the two officers who up to now had conducted the remount operations in South Africa. but they had been overworked. The manner in which the Department had been administered justified the statement of the leader of the Opposition when he said that it was difficult to find out where the blame was to be apportioned, and that the Secretary of State for War was always attempting to clear himself. He asked the right hon. Gentleman the other day who was responsible for the enormous drop in October and November, 1900, when the embarkation of remounts dropped from the average of 10,000, which had been maintained for twenty-four months, to 2,000, and the right hon. Gentleman refused, or at all events he was not able, to give an answer. The right hon. Gentleman went far as to say that in spite of the enormous drop the Army in South Africa as a fighting machine had not lost mobility. If that was the kind of answer they were to get on a matter of so much importance, it was reducing the process of question and answer to an absurdity. The question of responsibility was one which, in the interest of truth and justice, the House would have to thoroughly thrash out.
The most serious fact which had been disclosed in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman with respect to the present condition of the Army was the terrible wastage by invaliding and desertion. In 1899 the loss from this cause was 3,500; in 1900 it was 5,500; and in 1901 it was 8,800. Their first duty was to investigate and find out 782 the causes of this waste of material and loss of money. As far as he had been able to understand, the desertions, which had so rapidly increased, were mainly attributable to two causes. The first was the mistaken policy of giving 5s. a day to certain classes of recruits. That step had reduced patriotism to a mere question of £ s. d.; and it was so difficult now to raise Volunteers in any but mounted corps, that of the 5,000 reliefs required for the Volunteers now in South Africa, only 1,500 had been raised. The second cause of desertion was that boys were, as had been said by the noble Lord who spoke on this subject, entrapped into the service by recruiting sergeants. He did not know whether the Committee realised the enormity of the use of the word "entrapped" in this connection. It would appear that the desertions arose, to a very great extent, from recruiting sergeants being tempted to lure and entice boys into the service when they did not know their own minds. He hoped the Government would stop the wrong that was going on. The secret of recruiting and of popularising the Army was to get hold of the parents of the lads, and especially the mothers. Lads of sixteen and seventeen had been lured from the Church Lads Brigade to the Volunteers, from the Volunteers to the Militia, and from the Militia to the Army. Purchase out of the Army being at present stopped, these lads were lost to their parents; and was it any wonder that the popularity of the service was being endangered?
A great opportunity presented itself to the Secretary of State for War. When he was carrying out a complete revolutionary scheme he should go to the bed-rock of the question—namely, the quality of the material. The right hon. baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean said that we were catering for a new class; but he wanted to cater for the best of all classes, and if the Government elevated the recruiting system by insisting on a real age in the case of recruits, rather than certain certificates of character, it would be made more easy than at present for the higher classes in the 783 population to join the Army. The Secretary for War had said that one bad character in a regiment did more than anything else to prevent men from joining, and that he aided in gradually saturating the young recruits with disease and alcoholism. He maintained that such men should be turned out of the Army before they could effect the evil they did. He attributed the enormous amount of disease and alcoholism to the wrong training which the recruits were subjected to on joining, and by being obliged to sleep in the same dormitories with older men. Boys were taken, and they were expected to resist the temptations spread before them. It was reported that the Duke of Connaught, after inspecting a batch of such recruits, said that he expected they would all die, and they did all die. He contended that the age of the soldier was a living lie. These boys went out to India, and every Service Member knew what the temptations to them were there. He had reason to believe that one Member on the Front Government Bench was in sympathy with him in this respect, and he hoped the Government would look closely into the matter. He, for one, looked upon this question as a vital one, and he would take every opportunity of drawing attention to it. If it had not been for the war, which attracted so much interest, he was sure that before now public opinion would have insisted on the necessary changes being carried out. Lord Roberts had been obliged to institute an entirely new system of training, and why? Because the recruits had not the physical capacity to undergo the old course; and the recruits were now not compelled to work before breakfast or to be kept so long at drill and fatigue duty. The general average age of Continental Armies was from twenty to twenty-one, but here boys of sixteen and seventeen were taken and sent out to South Africa, and when found asleep at their posts they were punished as if they were men. He begged the Committee to insist on a change and put a stop to this evil. After we had solved the question of getting good material, we could set our minds on the best methods of training that material.
§ *(7.22.) CAPTAIN CLIVE (Herefordshire, S.)
begged for consideration from the Committee in making his maiden speech. He had just returned from South Africa after two years service, and he felt that he could speak with some knowledge of the men serving out there. He desired, in the first place, to record his testimony to the good management of the war by the authorities at home, and to express his strong conviction that confidence was felt both by officers and men at the Front in that management. One of the most telling things in favour of the War Office was that there had been no condemnation of War Office management by any one of the thirty Members who had had experience in South Africa. In regard to the meat contracts, which had been so much criticised in the House, he would ask how much worse it would have been had the contractors failed to carry out what they undertook to do. He would almost say that it was worth a million of money to have had these contracts so well carried out. No military operation had been delayed by a failure to carry out the contracts. He was sure that the soldiers out in South Africa, when they came to read the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, would feel grateful to him for the liberal provision he proposed to make for them. But he would like to point out that the Army in South Africa at the present moment were enjoying the 1s. a day clear which the right hon. Gentleman proposed to give them in England, because practically they had no stoppages. Not only that, but they got the increased rations invariably conceded in time of war. He submitted for the consideration of the War Office whether it would not be possible to give them these improved rations after the troops came home. Money would no doubt appeal to recruits, but he believed that the continuance of better and more rations at home would exercise a stronger influence. When the Army returned from the front an enormous recruiting agency would be distributed over the country, and nothing would put the Army on a more permanent or popular basis for recruiting than if these returned soldiers could say that they had been well treated in South 785 Africa, and that this liberality of treatment was to be continued to the troops at home and elsewhere. The noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the War Office was reminded last night of a speech which he made last year against any increase of the soldiers' pay. But if, as he hoped, the noble Lord had changed his mind, it was only in accordance with the political spirit of the day. If he might borrow the words of the right hon. Member for East Fife, it was not apostacy; it was common sense.
He hoped he would not be out of order if he referred to the most important question of remounts. We had lately had presented to the House the whole of the correspondence during the war which passed between Lord Kitchener and the War Office. We had seen that the Secretary of State for War had found it to be his duty to protest against the terrible waste of horse-flesh that had gone on in South Africa. We had seen Lord Kitchener's reply, in which he had said that he could not do with less than a certain monthly minimum. The right hon. Gentleman had shewn that he had generally complied with his requests, with not inconsiderable additions. But those requests of Lord Kitchener were the minimum with which he could get on and carry out his operations. So long as he was in South Africa, the cry was always for remounts and more remounts; they were the life blood of the campaign, without which men were useless. Consider what the life of a horse was in South Africa. When it was first issued it was taken immediately on trek; the average day was ten or twelve hours, and during the most of that time the soldier was in the saddle. Instructions were issued that the saddle was to be taken off and the bit removed from the horse's mouth whenever possible, so that it could graze and roll, but military exigencies prevented that being done often enough, and the horse came in thoroughly exhausted. It had had the equivalent to a long day's hunting in England, but did not get the comforts of the English hunter. It had no warm bran mashes, but had to eat its hard ration of oats or nothing at all, and in many cases the horse was so I exhausted as to be incapable of digesting hard food, and went 786 without it. In addition to this, it had to stand through the cold nights with only nature's covering. Considering these facts, the officers could not he blamed because the average life of a horse was only two months. He hoped that the War Office would clearly understand that the life of a remount in South Africa on the average was two months. He hoped that it would be found possible, instead of keeping this monthly minimum which Lord Kitchener had asked for, to send out in the immediate future a very large increase on that amount, so that the horses might be rested and hardened before being issued. Lord Kitchener, in his correspondence, had said that horses as a rule had three weeks rest before being issued, but that on occasions of emergency that rest could not be given. But horses could not possibly be got into condition in three weeks after being landed. He advocated sending out 50,000 horses in one month, after which a lesser number might be sent out month by month. In the column with which he was, there were twenty picked men, who were allowed two horses each; those horses were always in better condition than any others, and these men used up fewer horses than any other men in the column. He admitted that it would be impossible to give every man two horses, but at the same time he pointed out that the Boers had two each, and sometimes three. He trusted his suggestions would meet with the consideration of the Government.
§ (7.34.) MR. DILLON (Mayo. E.)
said he desired to move a reduction of the number of men asked for in the Vote by 20,000. The speech of the hon. Member who had just sat down was a very good illustration of the length to which the spirit of militarism in this country could go. Most people would have thought that we had already spent enough money on horses, but now it was suggested that 10,000 horses a month was a miserably insufficient amount, and that the only proper way to put Lord Kitchener in the way of bringing the war to a speedy conclusion was to ship 50,000 horses out to South Africa a month. That opened a pleasant prospect for the British taxpayer. It 787 was the general experience, and mankind had realised that there was no limit to the spirit of militarism and lust for war. It grew on what it fed on. We voted £1,000,000 this year for Naval and Military Estimates, and instead of satisfying the experts they asked for £2,000,000 next year, and each Vote was regarded as the foundation for larger demands in the future. And in that way the scheme which was now put before the House by the Minister of War had to be considered. It had to be considered in all its bearings.
From the point of view of military reformers in the House, he was not surprised at the chorus of approval of the principle contained in the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He himself considered that it was one of the greatest steps ever taken since the abolition of purchase towards the efficiency of the Army. He entirely agreed with the view put forward by the hon Member for one of the Divisions of Hampshire that we should never really get an efficient Army in this country until we opened up from the ranks a career so that a man might become an officer if fit to become one, and they would make far better officers than the officers we had. In order to have an efficient Army, it must be voluntary, well paid, and democratic. Men should not be judged by the amounts they spent and their social influence, but should be judged upon their merits. And until the War Office was torn up by its roots and completely recast, and until there was honest devotion to the requirements of the Army, all this talk of reform was the merest moonshine. If we were going to have this increase in the pay of the Army and this plan for increasing the efficiency of the Army, we could only do it by reducing the numbers. He had listened to and been rather entertained by the Army debates for many years. He had heard of the lessons which we had learnt from the War in South Africa. We were told that we were going to have a tremendous and complete reform of the War Office last year, but up to the present time no reform had been carried out. Not a single change of those proposed was really based on the lessons from the war in South Africa. The first lesson to be drawn from the war was that in the 788 future we should have to depend more upon efficiency than upon numbers. There had never been a war in history in which there had been such an extraordinary proof of the power of efficiency and mobility to meet an excess in numbers. This country had come to a condition of mind unparalleled in the history of any great country, and certainly unparalleled in the history of England. When the announcement was made by the Minister of War that 600 men were surrounded and captured by 20,000 British troops, the scene in the House was unequalled in the history of that House. The other day, when the announcement was made as to the result of the great drive, when thirty-two columns under Lord Kitchener's personal superintendence surrounded De Wet, who had 1,200 men, and captured all those who had made up their minds to surrender, though De Wet and Mr. Steyn broke out with all their fighting force which did not propose to surrender, the House hailed the announcement as if it were an event that would wipe out the defeat of Majuba. That showed the deterioration of the military spirit in this country.
He maintained that what was wanted was not numbers, but efficiency. He had not the slightest doubt that 50,000 men as well skilled as the Boers in the art of war and as well horsed would have brought the war to an end a long time ago, and much more effectively than the 300,000 now in the field. If the country wanted an efficient Army, the War Office first of all should be reformed, and then the numbers of the Army should be cut down considerably and the part that was left made effective and efficient soldiers; half the number of the present troops would, under those conditions, be far more formidable as a fighting machine, if properly selected physically and thoroughly well drilled.
Where was it proposed to get the 50,000 men from that were needed for this scheme? Although the recruiting had been good lately, it was on account of the war, and when the war fever had passed there would be an enormous drop in the number. Not only that, but in order to get the number it did, the War Office had had to lower the standard and take into the Army men whom it would have refused years ago as unfit. If the 789 inducements we were now proposing to give in the shape of increased pay were not sufficient, we should have to continue along that road and increase the pay still further. That was the inevitable result of the present scheme, and if that scheme was agreed to by the House without a protest being made against the excessive number of men that the right hon. Gentleman desired to obtain, the I right hon. Gentleman would have a good ground for further increasing the pay at some future period. He admitted that I the only way to improve the British Army was along the line of increased pay and free promotion of men from the ranks, so that they might get rid of the aristocratic element which was the curse of the Army today. But we ought to see where we were going, and not set up an Army on such a scale that in order to make it efficient and get the pick of the men we required we should have to go on increasing the pay until we made the burden simply intolerable. He believed that 100,000 men of good physique and intelligence, led by intelligent officers, would be a better Army than 200,000 men of the class we now possess. He had been a close student for some years of recruiting returns, and he was of opinion that the physique of the British nation was rapidly deteriorating. Englishmen today were not so strong a race as they were fifty or hundred years ago. He might be wrong, but that was the opinion he had formed. We could not get the healthy and strong recruits now that we had got in the days of the Army's greatest glory. The day had gone by when Irish recruits could be obtained. The people from whom they had been drawn had been driven from the country. Those men, who had fought and bled for England and had carried the glory of Irish soldiers to every battle field in Europe, had been driven out to other lands and the Army, now was so unpopular in Ireland that the miserable remnant of Irishmen left in Ireland turned away from it. The Scotch Highlanders had almost been exterminated also, and where the right hon. Gentleman was going to obtain the 50,000 men he was asking for, he did not know.
He wished to renew his complaint as to the incompleteness of the recruiting Returns, which ought to be important 790 documents bearing upon the physique of the population. Either from laxness or incompetency, the War Office refused to give more than one-tenth of the information which ought to be given. There was one item of information as to the class of people from whom recruits were drawn. The Returns for the last five years showed that out of every 1,000 recruits, 640 belonged to the class set down as "labourers, servants, and husbandmen." From those figures it would be seen that a decaying agricultural population was having drawn from it 640 out of each 1,000 recruits for the British Army. Consequently the agricultural population was rapidly disappearing in Ireland. The agricultural population in the British Isles had always been the nursery for soldiers from which England drew the material for a great Army, and the Government were now destroying that population. In this country, owing to different causes, the physique of the agricultural rural population, with the exception of some counties in the north of England and some of the eastern counties, was deplorable. The Government were talking about keeping up a great Army, and all the time they were looking on un oncerned while the very sources from which those recruits alone could be drawn were being destroyed. He believed that very soon they would find it difficult to obtain even 30,000 recruits annually.
He desired to be furnished with more particulars, and until he got them he should keep repeating his inquiries. He wanted to know the countries and the counties where the recruits were drawn from, so that he could see where recruiting was falling off and where it was increasing. He also desired to know the proportion of rejected men in each district. When he inquired last year the noble Lord opposite told him that the recruiting officers were too busy to furnish the information he required. That excuse was absurd, and even if they were too busy surely some clerk in the War Office could furnish the figures. The statistics for the past five years showed that the number medically inspected was 59,000 in 1897, 88,000 in 1900, and 76,000 last year. Judging from the condition of some of the recruits who had 791 been accepted, what in the name of God must have been the condition of those who were rejected? The number of those rejected for want of physical development and various ailments in 1897 were 22,800, in 1900 the number was 23,000, and in 1901 the number rejected was 22,000. Those figures showed that the rejections amounted to 38 per cent. in 1897, to 28 per cent. in 1900, and 29 per cent. in 1901. Therefore there appeared to be some improvement in recent years, He did not, however, think that this meant an improvement in the physique of the men, and it was probably owing to the fact that the standard had been lowered for the Army. Was it not an appalling condition of things that 38 per cent. of the recruits offered for inspection were rejected as medically unfit? Here was a great Department of State which had an opportunity of giving invaluable statistics, which had an important bearing upon the population, and yet the Government refused to give information which would be extremely valuable to all men interested in the condition of the people and in the physical development of the masses. He desired to know the particular districts where the physique was being kept up and where it was being lowered. It would be very instructive indeed to know how many were being rejected in Ireland, in the various counties in Scotland, and in the manufacturing districts of England. He thought they ought to have some information as to the nature of the ailments for which the men were rejected, because those things were of vital interest to the medical branch of the profession. They ought to know the chest measurements of the men, and some summary of the condition of the men who were rejected, and the extent to which they fell short of the required standard ought to be given. Those were facts which the Department ought to furnish. He could not find in this Report even the details of the number of recruits for the Regular Army from Scotland, Ireland and England. Although the nationalities were not given for the Regular Army, they were given for the Militia. The recruits for the Militia in Ireland in 1899 were 5,600, in 1900 they were 3,440, and in 1901 they were 3,200. Those figures showed that 792 recruits for the Militia in Ireland fell by 2,000 during the last two years. He wished to know whether this was due to the treatment meted out to some of the Irish Militia Regiments which had been entrapped in South Africa.
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (LORD STANLEY, Lancashire, Westhoughton)
The explanation of that is, that with regard to the Militia the recruits are drawn chiefly from the counties in which they are placed, whereas recruiting for the Regular Army takes place in all the three kingdoms for general distribution in the Army.
§ MR. DILLON
said he thought that the information which he asked for ought to be given. A great many of the recruits in England were Irishmen, and he had been told that a very large number of the Durham Regiment were also Irishmen. He wished to know exactly the districts from where the recruits came.
He had listened with great pleasure to the admirable speech made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, for the right hon. Gentleman was an expert upon Army administration. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that the Committee ought to know exactly what was in front of them in regard to these proposals. They ought to know why 50,000 recruits per annum were required. They ought not to be asked to take what the Secretary for War had called "a plunge" without being frankly told why that plunge was necessary. In his opinion the fresh burden of recruiting which was to be cast upon the people of this country would be almost impossible to bear, and it would be attended with enormous consequences. He believed the fresh burden of this Splunge" was to be borne simply to provide for the future garrison of South Africa. He recollected three years ago upon a night in April putting down a Motion to reduce a Vote, which appeared to him to be very suspicious, for increasing barrack accommodation in South Africa. 793 That Vote was in charge of Mr. Powell Williams, and he was astonished to see the Colonial Secretary himself remaining in the House until after twelve o'clock in order to defend that Vote for barrack accommodation in South Africa. At the time they seemed to be within measurable distance of bringing about a condition of things in South Africa something like that which now prevailed in Australia, and they were on the point of withdrawing the Imperial forces. He said upon that occasion that if this barrack accommodation meant military preparations against the two Boer Republics, then they would be laying the foundation for a war against the whole Dutch population of Cape Colony, of Natal, as well as against the two South African Republics. Had the Committee considered that these proposals meant a garrison of 50,000 men for an indefinite number of years to maintain a system in South Africa like that which had been the curse of Ireland for the last 100 years—and this in a country which was ten times larger than Ireland?
When he made those remarks three years ago, he was laughed at, but since that time £160,000,000 and 20,000 lives had been wasted in South Africa on this war. He attached infinitely more importance to the general consideration of this question than to the details which he had been criticising. This "plunge" which they were invited to take by the Secretary of State for War was only laying the foundation stone for something which would cost this nation many millions per annum. They were adding 15,000 or 20,000 to the number of recruits which they would require every year in order to get ready for a permanent garrison in South Africa. A more disastrious policy it would be impossible to embark upon. It might be a year or two years before they ended the war, but the troubles would only begin when the war was over. A policy under which we were to hold down a great and civilised race in South Africa by force of arms was a policy hateful, unjust and disastrous and one which he hoped and trusted the taxpayers, when they had felt its full burden, would some day or other entirely repudiate. He begged to move a reduction in the number of men by 20,000. [8.21.]
794 Motion made, and Question put, "That a number of land forces, not exceeding 400,000, all ranks, be maintained for the said service."—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ (8.55.) MAJOR EVANS-GORDON (Lower Hamlets,) Stepney
said the discussion on these Estimates which had hitherto taken place had been mainly confined to a few points, such as the Volunteers and recruiting for the Army. Little had been said, however, in regard to the War Office itself, and it was to that part of this great subject that he would like to address himself. Unless the War Office itself had the entire confidence and trust both of the Army and of the public, he did not think that we could ever be sure or feel satisfied that we should get any real measure of Army reform. And he trusted that the discussion which had taken place there last night, and that day, would not divert public attention or the attention of this House from this most crucial question of all, viz., the re-organisation of the War Office itself. We had had a most admirable statement from the Dawkins Committee of all that concerned the War Office. He did not think anything could be clearer or better than the Report of that Committee; and he could wish that a chapter from it should be read every morning and evening in the War Office itself. The Secretary for State for War did not lay great stress on that Report, and he could have wished that the right hon. Gentleman had gone into greater detail as to what he proposed to do in connection with it. The right hon. Gentleman told the House, and he for one was extremely glad to hear it, that he had been able to accept the recommendations of that Committee almost en bloc, but at the same time he had given the House very few details in regard to the steps that were about to be taken. Now there were nineteen specific recommendations made by that Committee.
Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted, and forty Members being found present—
§ MAJOR EVANS-GORDON
said that there were nineteen specific references to the Dawkins Committee, some of 795 which the Under Secretary of State for War had referred to in his speech. He had mentioned the substitution of inspection for reports, a most important recommendation. The right hon. Gentleman said he had appointed, or was about to appoint, an Inspector General of Artillery and an Inspector General of Yoemanry, in addition to the Inspector General of Cavalry which already existed. Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of appointing two Inspectors, one for the Field and Horse, and one for the Garrison Artillery, having regard to the fact that that force had now been divided into two portions. And why not have also an Inspector General of Infantry, who in his opinion was more necessary than any of the others the right hon. Gentleman proposed to appoint. With regard to the larger financial powers which were to be given to the Generals, no information had been received upon the point. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that some of the duties which now fell upon the Royal Engineers might be lightened, and civilian agency substituted to a large extent; that local audit would be adopted, and that a War Office Council had been established. The Committee and the public would like to know what the duty of the Council was, and what it really did. It apparently kept minutes and records of great problems, and had a secretary, and the right hon. Gentleman had said that it would be a great gain for Governments at any future time if a Secretary of State for War was able to hand over to his successor a record of decisions of all the great problems which the Council had studied. What were the great problems? The Dawkins Committee had distinctly stated that it was against the principles of the War Office to have two Boards of Management in one building; that they were not compatible with business procedure. If great problems were submitted to both the Army Board and the War Office Council, would it not savour of the overlapping which it was so desirable to prevent? Was it worth while to take away from their duties heads of Departments twice a week in the most busy part of the day on such matters as were placed before these bodies?
796 Nothing had been said about the abolition of the system of ruling the Army by a mass of minute regulations, and he hoped to hear from the right hon. Gentleman at a later period how far that system had been modified; that was a most important point. The Committee also had heard nothing of the simplification of the regulations which could not be dispensed with; and the pernicious system of "carrying over" which obliged all the money voted for a particular purpose to be expended in that financial year. That was a well-known cause of extravagance, and the practice had been condemned in strong terms by the Committee. Another matter which had not been referred to was the confusion in the General Registry of the War Office caused by the growth of correspondence. The average number of letters received daily by the War Office was 3,500, and the practice of addressing all those letters to the Under Secretary of State for War led to confusion. He should be glad to hear whether the recommendations of the Committee were to be carried out, and whether in the future these letters would be addressed to the heads of the Departments which they concerned, and the confusion at the General Registry to some extent removed.
He desired to lay particular stress upon the question of decentralisation. The present system prevented the high officials considering important questions of military policy owing to the mass of routine work forced upon them. There was no special Department in the War Office for considering the great problems of war. Why not take the bull by the horns and a have a chief of the staff and a Department for him? Something had been said about copying the Germans in this matter, but we need not be ashamed of copying from Germany the magnificent war administration system she possesses. Even the hon. Member for Oldham need not be ashamed of hearing something from such men as Von Roon and Von Moltke. Von Roon built up what was called the General Staff, which had at its head the Chief of Staff of the Germany Army. It was a separate Department and occupied a separate building. It was subdivided into different branches, 797 mobilisation, survey, railway systems, and other branches, each of which was officered by specialists of their particular branch, who studied every possible combination that could be undertaken under any conceivable circumstances in Germany or in any country in which in any conceivable contingency Germany could be concerned. Every single detail was gone into and revised every year and brought up to date, with due regard to all scientific discoveries which might affect the Army, with the natural consequence that every branch of a campaign was studied long before the event. Contrast the state of things with what happened in this country. We had an Intelligence Department, which secured accurate information, but there was no Department to which the information when collected could be submitted and which could digest it. And it was no use to collect information unless there was a skilled force to deal with it and make use of it when it was collected. No responsibility could be placed on anyone for this state of affairs, and the result was an unseemly wrangle in another place between the Secretary for War and the Commander in Chief. He implored the Government of this country to take this great matter into their earnest consideration, and to create a real Chief of the Staff, and build up a complete Department under him, whose duty should be consideration of the great problems of war, and the members of which should not be taken away to deal with questions of no significance or importance. If this want of system and its attendant evils were allowed to continue in the War Office, it must affect the whole body of reform. What was the use of discussing at great length the pay of the men, the terms of service, the treatment of the Volunteers, and like matters, unless the head from whence all impetus, all training, and all organisation came was also discussed? If they were not discussed, it must affect the whole body and result in general disorganisation. Although it might take many years to build up, he hoped a start would be made, as he felt that the welfare of the fighting men of this country depended upon the establishment of this General Department.
§ (9.16.) MR. MARKHAM (Nottingham, shire, Mansfield)
said he felt some hesitation in supporting this Vote until he had received an answer "Yes" or "No" to the question whether any part of the Vote related to Kaffirs employed in South Africa. It was the fact that a large number of Kaffirs had been armed by the Government and employed in South Africa, and it was further the fact, although he could not at present disclose a document in his possession, issued from Pretoria, of which no doubt the Secretary for War had a copy, that instructions were issued by Lord Kitchener in regard to the protection of the blockhouses; but he challenged the right hon. Gentleman to state whether in these instructions there were not definite orders that Kaffirs were to be employed. Friends coming back from the Front informed him that Kaffirs were also employed as armed scouts. This was to be a war between white man and white man. This country had been told that no natives were to be employed. The Kaffirs outnumbered the whites in South Africa by perhaps twenty to one, some even estimated them as thirty to one. Were we teaching the art of war to those who outnumbered the whites in such proportions? If so, this would warrant the employment of the much discussed phrase, the "methods of barbarism"; and in fact he did not know why the Leader of the Opposition had never retaliated on his critics by pointing out that Lord Chatham had used the same phrase in denouncing the Government of his day for the employment of savages in the American War.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
said that with regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Mayo, he was happily able to suggest to the hon. Member a method by which his very patriotic proposal could be carried out. If the hon. Member could persuade the Government to hand over the government of the Cape to the hon. Member for Carnarvon, to give Canada to President Roosevelt, to hand over India to Russia, to sell the Navy for scrap iron, and to disband the Army, he would not have any more trouble.
§ MAJOR RASCH
But there are in Halifax. Continuing, the hon. Member said he just wanted to allude for a moment to the speech made on the previous night by the hon. Member for West Aberdeen. He had been a Member of the House for some years, and he had never before heard an hon. Member rise in his place and traduce the regimental officers as the hon. Member had traduced them. He could only suppose that the experience of the hon. Gentleman must have been derived from the battalion of footguards in which he had served as surgeon. Eleven months ago the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War made a very able speech. Some of his supporters did not agree with him then, and were consequently rather considered as pro-Boers than anything else. That speech was a very fine one, but it had no foundation. The right hon. Gentleman left out the most important part; he failed to say where the men were, or how they were to be obtained. But this year he had made a speech absolutely different in every particular. The speech was a very good one, and the situation the right hon. Gentleman had to face was an extremely difficult one. The Leader of the Opposition had said he could not see the cause of the increased number of recruits and the change in the constitution of the Army. But what greater cause could there possibly be to necessitate such a change than the state of things at present existing? As the Secretary of State had informed the House, something like 8,500 of the recruits they had managed to secure were practically diseased nuisances, and, according to the reports of the Inspector General of Recruiting, with the lower standard, the War Office obtained fewer men for the Infantry of the Line this year than the year before. But a more serious thing still was the fact that this year they had had to take 33 per cent of "specials," last year 33.9 per cent., and the year before only 30 per cent. The height of the ordinary recruit had been reduced to 5 feet 2 inches, and that of the "specials" to 5 feet. What sort of men could be expected at a height of 5 feet, or 5 feet 2 inches? They might be all very well for Members of Parliament, or any- 800 thing of that kind, but for a calling in which they had to carry a weight of 60 lbs., march twenty miles in a day, and, after that, meet the enemy, such a class of men were not much good. But even the miserable standard at present fixed was not attained. He would give an instance, of which be had the particulars in black and white. A man went up for enlistment at St. George's Barracks, but failed to scale the regular weight of 112 lbs.—about the weight of a mastiff dog. He was told to go and eat four-pennyworth of bread, and drink a gallon of water, and return immediately. He did as he was told, and succeeded in being passed into the Army. After all, however, honesty was the best policy, because he was brought up before Mr. Newton, and was sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment. [Laughter.] It was all very well to laugh; the man was found out, but how often were such men not found out? Under such circumstances, what sort of men were they getting into the Army at an annual cost of £30,000,000 here, and another £20,000,000 in India?
That was the present situation, but there was something worse yet to come. When the war was over—and he presumed it would be over some time—the Government would be faced with an enormous difficulty. All the time-expired men in India and in South Africa would want their discharge. The right hon. Gentleman had very properly induced some 16,000 men in India, to remain for a certain additional period of service, but that period could not last for ever. The Reserve a so had been depleted during the last three years, and it was pretty certain that when the war was over the War Office would have to meet a deficiency of about 90,000 men. If they could not at present obtain the 40,000 men they required, how on earth could they secure 90,000? A good deal had been said about conscription and pay. But what could the right hon. Gentleman do other than that which he proposed? There were two courses open to him. He might have gone in either for the Militia Ballot or for making the service more attractive. As to compulsory service, there were certain military reformers, like the hon. Member whose 801 letter had recently appeared in The Times, who favoured compulsory service, but there were authorities on the Continent, of no less weight, who were now finding themselves opposed to it. Military experts on the Continent were beginning to find out that millions of men with rifles did not form the best material for a mobile army. Taking ten pressed men and ten volunteers, it was pretty certain that out of the ten pressed men five had no wish to soldier, while that would be the desire of the whole of the ten volunteers, otherwise they would not have volunteered. That was why the military experts on the Continent were now looking with more or less envious eyes on the Volunteer Armies of England and America. Some time back a certain agricultural Member prepared a Bill for the Militia Ballot, and a day was fixed for the First Reading. He happened to be that Member. But two days before the Bill was to come on, the Premier made a speech in the House of Lords, in which he said that the ballot for the Militia was practically the same as conscription—which, however, was not the case—and that if such a system were adopted in this country, hundreds of workmen would be leaving their homes in Lancashire and the North, and ruin would be brought upon the district, and into every cottage home. After that, the fate of his Bill was pretty well sealed, and its backers forsook it and fled. The right hon. Gentleman was therefore quite right in not adopting the Militia ballot or conscription, but in taking the path of least resistance, viz., pay. When the hon. Baronet the Member for North Paddington or the hon. Baronet the Member for Colchester had a big job on hand and required several thousand men, they went into the market, offered the market price, obtained their men, and did the work to the consequent benefit of themselves and the country. But the War Office had hitherto acted on precisely the opposite principle. They had gone into the market, offered one-half the market price, and, of course, had failed to secure their men. In fact, he believed the pay of the private soldier had not been raised since the days of Queen Anne.
He was delighted that the right hon. Gentleman had adopted the 802 principle of increasing the pay, that being the line of least resistance. Most adroitly the Secretary of State had formulated the idea of a highly specialised and better paid Army for India and the colonies, and a lower but sufficiently well-paid Army for service at home. For that he thanked the right hon. Gentleman, as also he desired to do for the new regulation recently issued in regard to giving work to non-commissioned officers and men in the War Office in the place of certain clerks. He had heard many speeches, good, bad, and indifferent, but mostly bad, from various Secretaries of State for War. From the gallery he heard Lord Cardwell introduce his scheme for short service and Reserve; he took considerable interest in his speech in which Mr. Gathorne Hardy evolved his absolutely absurd proposal to have eight paper Army Corps; he had listened to the official optimism of the late Mr. Stanhope, and the agreeable generalities of the right hon. Gentleman the present Leader of the Opposition; but he had never heard a speech delivered by a Secretary of State for War which gave such ample promise of fulfilment as that of the right hon. Gentleman on Tuesday last, and, as a humble Member of the rank and file of the House, he might say that having come to curse he had remained to pray.
§ (9.44.) MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
said that the hon. and gallant Member, in his genial and humorous speech, had stated that if the Government desired to save themselves trouble the way to do it was to hand over Canada to President Roosevelt, India to the Russians, and South Africa to himself. A more unfortunate illustration could not have been chosen than that of Canada. In Canada there were practically no Imperial forces, and there they had an enormous country larger than our possessions in South Africa. It was contiguous to the United States, which could put into the field millions of men. It was defended by only 1,000 Imperial troops. Why? Because the Canadian people would defend their country, whether against the United States or Russia, because they had got freedom. Why were they now discussing this addition to 803 the number of men? Simply because they had failed in South Africa to apply there the policy which had succeeded in Canada. The right hon. Gentleman need not think of handing over South Africa to himself (the hon. Member) for all he needed to do was to follow the example of Canada, and all the additons proposed for the Army would not be necessary at all.
His hon. friend the Member for the Mansfield Division had brought a very important matter before the House, and he would urge the right hon. Gentleman to give them a categorical reply to it. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that Kaffirs were employed in South Africa as "watchers." and that they were armed. Nevertheless they were quite as much part of the Army as any soldier in the blockhouses. Sometimes these Kaffirs had scouting to do which was even more important work than the ordinary soldier and required more intelligence. What he wanted to know was whether these Kaffirs were included in the 420,000 men whom they were now asked to vote. If not, he wished to know why? It was a perfectly unconstitutional proceeding that they should employ a certain number of men in South Africa which they did not vote in this House. He noticed that there were 7,000 native blacks employed by the Cape Government, and he knew that they had no control over them. He wished to know how many the Government employed. The number might be 3,000 or 5,000, but if they could raise that number without any discussion in the House of Commons or without any vote upon it what was there to prevent them raising 300,000 if necessary. If natives were to be employed, why should the right hon. Gentleman be ashamed of it? The way he put this matter into the background showed that he was trying to conceal it.
The Leader of the Opposition had asked the Secretary of State for War upon what grounds he based his estimate that the war was going to last only another nine months. They were now asked to vote 420,000 men for nine months, and the estimate was that that number would be very considerably reduced at the end of that time. The reason given for this estimate by the Secretary for War was 804 that he did not think so many troops would be required after nine months because, by the present rate of progress of the war, they would be able to considerably reduce the number of troops in South Africa before that time. How many estimates of that character had they had in the past? He would not take the original estimate, which was too ludicrous for anything. The predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman gave the total number of the Boer forces in the field, and he professed to know everything about their guns and ammunition, but the whole thing turned out to be absolutely ludicrous. What was the next estimate? The second estimate was for a war which would come to an end in June or July, 1900. The third estimate was made last year, and it was that the war would last till June or July, 1901, and they were asked to vote 420,000 men until the end of July. It was explained that by that time the Boer forces would be so reduced that large numbers of our troops could be sent home and then there would be war only at half pressure. In the following July or August it began to dawn upon the Government that there was something wrong, but the Colonial Secretary had a fresh estimate to meet the situation, and he said that by the end of September they would be enabled to reduce the Army in South Africa by a considerable number of men. The Colonial Secretary dwelt upon this point and said this was not his opinion or the opinion of the Government, but it was an opinion which had been arrived at after consultation with their military advisers in South Africa. September came, and instead of reducing the number of troops in South Africa, they had to go on increasing them month by month. And now, eight or nine months after this period, they were asked to vote 420,000 men to the end of December. Before the House was asked to vote men to the end of June or July, but, profiting by past experience, the Government were now asking them to vote these men to the end of December. But why should the right hon. Gentleman be more sanguine now than formerly? The Secretary for War must have consulted his military advisers now, and no doubt he had received exactly the same advice. Had the Secretary for War any more reason now to believe that 805 that advice was more reliable and that this estimate was one which the House of Commons could give perfect credence to, when previous estimates had failed three, four, or five times?
He would show the Committee how ridiculous all those estimates were. There were two ways by which they could make up their mind how long the war was going to last and how many men they would require. In the first place, they must get to know something as to the strength of the forces opposed to them. What were the estimates of the Government as to the strength of the Boer forces in the field? The last estimate was given by the right hon. Gentleman himself on the 13th of November last year, when he said that if they wanted to know what progress they were making with the war and how near they were to the end of the war he would give them a perfectly mechanical process by which they could arrive at that conclusion with mathematical accuracy. The right hon. Gentleman told them to take it that there were 10,000 Boers in the field. They were told to deduct from that 10,000 week by week the casualties and captures supplied by Lord Kitchener. He had done this, and he found that, up to the present moment since the right hon. Gentleman made his speech, the 10,000 Boers had been reduced by 7,500. Therefore, according to that calculation, there were still 2,500 Boers in the field. But that could not be so, because the right hon. Gentleman had stated that there were three Boer Generals in the field who could each command an army of 2,000 men, and this did not include the scattered commandoes in Cape Colony. Therefore these three Boer Generals had 6,000 men, and according to Sir William Hely-Hutchinson, there were still 9,500 Boers in the field at the present moment. What a sum this was to work out. It amounted to this—take 7,500 from 10,000 and it left 9,500. That was War Office arithmetic. Talk about reforming the War Office—what they wanted were a few clerks who had passed the third standard in some elementary school. Of course Sir Alfred Milner knew better than Lord Kitchener what would happen, and he said that the military authorities were exaggerating when they said there 806 were 10,000 Boers in the field. Sir Alfred Milner said that he had gone into the figures very carefully, and, with that superior touch with which he weighed and balanced everything, he arrived at a perfectly correct conclusion of his own, and he said in November that it was perhaps idle to speculate as to what the strength of the Boers really was, but he did not believe that there were more than 8,000 fighting men left in the two late Republics; indeed he thought that 8,000, if anything, was over-estimating their strength. It came to this, according to Sir Alfred Milner, that 7,500 from 8,000 left exactly 9,500. He did not think that High Commissioner arithmetic was very much better than War Office arithmetic. But this was not the only estimate. Lord Kitchener, in the course of the current year, made another estimate on the 8th of July, in which he said that he did not think that throughout the Tranvaal, the Orange River Colony, and Cape Colony, there were more than 13,500 Boars in the field. He had followed the process of calculation suggested by the right hon. Gentle man in this case, and he had deducted the casualties. The result was even more extraordinary. They had to deduct 14,500 from 13,500, in order to find how many men the Boers still had. He found by that means that they were minus 1,000, and that was the reason why we could not catch them. They were not in existence at all.
What were we fighting? He objected to a vote of 40,000 men to run after nothing, to the building of blockhouses, and to the spending of £60,000,000. He did not know whether he need give other estimates at all. [Conservative cries of "No," and Opposition cheers.] He had no doubt that hon. Members on the Government side were thoroughly convinced of the capacity of the War Office, but there might be others in the House who were not so friendly disposed to the War Office. In 1900, a question was put to the First Lord of the Treasury who was always great on arithmetic, and he said in a casual sort of a way that he was told there were 17,000 Boers. Taking the numbers given in Lord Kitchener's despatches, the hon. Member found that since then we had 807 caught exactly 26,000. He asked the Committee to take 26,000 from 17,000. Was it not really time that we should know what was going on? If this was a good honest job, why not tell the country what was going on, instead of luring the people on with estimate after estimate, and from one misrepresentation to another? Let the country know what it was, and if the country was convinced that it was a sound, honest enterprise, he believed it would go through with it. [An HON. MEMBER: It will.] Hon. and right hon. Members were not so sure of the conviction of the country about it. If they were, how was it that the people were not told the facts? It was perfectly clear that they were not told the facts on two most essential points. In estimating the resistance of the enemy, it was necessary first of all to find out the number of men, and it was perfectly clear we were not told the truth about that.
He did not charge the right hon. Gentleman with wilfully concealing the facts, but he charged him with this, that, knowing perfectly well that the estimates in the past had been egregiously wrong, he did not take upon himself the duty of investigating them in order to find out the whole of the facts. What was the answer given when his right hon. friend charged him with not giving the facts to the House of Commons? The Secretary of State said, "I give the House of Commons as much as I know myself." What kind of answer was that? One in his position, at the head of the Army and responsible to the House of Commons for all this expenditure, ought to find out for himself all these facts. Week by week they were told the number of rounds of cartridges captured from the enemy. He was not a military expert, but it was perfectly clear that this was a most vital element in the Boer resistance. Provided that the Boers were not getting ammunition from outside, the duration of the war wag a question of the ammunition they had. If that gave out, their resistance must come to an end. Lord Kitchener reported the number of cartridges taken from the Boers. Why did he not give the cartridges the Boers captured from us? Surely that was equally important. 808 Take, for instance, the capture of the Yeomanry camp at Tweefontein. We had, he believed, between 300 and 400 men there. It was one of the permanent outposts, and it would have a reserve of ammunition. He was assured by military experts in this House that each man would have 400 or 500 cartridges. That meant when the Boers captured this outpost they got 200,000 rounds of ammunition. He had taken the trouble to add up the number of rounds of ammunition captured from the Boers since the beginning of November last, and he found that during these three-and-a-half months, the total was 130,000 rounds. If it was important to let the country know what we captured, was it not important to know that the Boers got 200,000 rounds in a single night? Let the country get the real facts. That was all the people wanted to know. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman another question which he asked earlier in the week. Who were supposed to be captured? Were they fighting burghers? [Mr. BRODRICK said they were.] Well, if that was so, how did he account for these facts? The hon. Member took it that the surrendered men were sent to the camps. Did the right hon. Gentleman listen to the speech of the Colonial Secretary the other night? The Colonial Secretary said that in reckoning up the mortality of the concentration camps, we must take into account that very young men and very old men were there—that the weak and the feeble were there. He wanted to make out a case for the Government, that the rate of mortality was not exceptional, because the men who were put into the camps were decrepit. Did he call these decrepit men fighting burghers? When he wanted to make out that we were capturing them by the thousand, and that we had wiped them out three times over, he said that all these men were sound in mind and limb.
The Committee were entitled to know what was going on. This country did not realise the job it had got in hand. How could they expect it? The Government did not realise it. Every estimate had broken down. Estimates prepared upon the authority of men in Africa, who presumably knew the country and 809 knew the class of men we were fighting, had broken down. The Colonial Secretary, the other day, said that public opinion was all on one side. Let the Government tell the truth to the public and they would see the result. It was all very well to get a verdict upon suppressed facts and garbled illustrations. Supposing the public had been told at the start that in front of them they had a job which would last two-and-a-half years, and that then Parliament would be asked to vote an Estimate for an extra nine months, what would have happened? The right hon. Gentleman had every means at his disposal for ascertaining the facts. Did he pledge his reputation as a military man trained in two or three Volunteer regiments? [Laughter.] Oh! But he was a military authority. It was unfair for hon. Members to question that. He must defend the right hon. Gentleman's reputation. Did he pledge his reputation as a military authority that this war would be over before they would be called upon to vote the next Army Estimates? The right hon. Gentleman had the advantage of all the facts which were at the disposal of the War Office, and he had all his experience and training, but there were some of them who had one advantage over him. They belonged to a small nationality. The right hon. Gentleman had made the mistake of imagining that because this was a small nation its pride and patriotism were not as great as if they were a great nation. The fact of the matter was that the intensity with which a man loved his country was in inverse ratio to its size. All their reckonings about captures and blockhouses, and how long it would take to enclose certain portions of the country were futile. What the Government forgot was that we were dealing with men who were fighting a cause they believed in, and he asked the right hon. Gentleman if his knowledge of history did not teach him that, given resolute men who believed in a cause, led by determined and capable captains, what they would accomplish baffled human comprehension.
§ (10.14.) MR. BRODRICK
The hon. Member has made an allegation which he 810 knows, or ought to know, can have no foundation when he spoke of the Government being aware, or being in a position to be aware, that they had a much larger force against them than that which they told the House or the country was the case, in order, by concealing information, to cajole and mislead the country to continue a struggle from which otherwise the country might recede. In the first place, before I come to deal with the allegation of the hon. Member, I wish to express what I believe is the conviction of every Member sitting on this side of the House, and the majority of Members sitting on the other side, that it matters not one bit whether there are 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, or 40,000, Boers in the field, this nation will continue the struggle until it is brought to a successful issue. But I may say that the sort of speech which the hon. Member had just made, following the series of speeches which he has delivered in every, part of the country, is well calculated to prolong the war.
Then, reverting to the hon. Member's allegation, which is precisely the opposite of that which is usually addressed to those who are conducting military affairs in the field, it is perfectly well known that if the Government had wished in the slightest degree to follow the precedents of many great soldiers who had taken the same line, more especially the Emperor Napoleon, they would magnify the number of their enemies in order to exalt the reputation of their commanders and soldiers. What we have done has been to transmit to the country from time to time the estimates which those in charge of South Africa believed to be the fairest estimate of the number of men opposed to us. We have no access to Boer sources of information, though there may be persons who, from sources not open to the Government, could supply the information. It is sufficient for me to say that no man in the Intelligence Department in the Transvaal dealing with commandos who come together and disperse with the greatest facility, can possibly get other than an estimate of what is likely to be opposed to them. I think it is highly creditable to our commanders, and especially to Lord Kitchener, that instead of exalting their task they have 811 preferred to minimise it. With that I dismiss the hon. Member's oratory.
One practical question has been asked, and that is in regard to the employment of natives in blockhouses. I have already explained what is the practice. It is perfectly well known that, in all countries where war is carried on, natives are employed as camp followers and in connection with the work of an Army. The Boers have throughout the war employed natives in every capacity. They have been discovered on the Boer side carrying arms, and they have been employed, I do not say in every engagement, but in a certain number of engagements. As is well known, the difficulty Lord Kitchener has had to meet in keeping the natives out of the war has been very great, and for two reasons. The first reason is that on more than one occasion native tribes had been attacked by the Boers, and there had been the greatest difficulty in preventing them from revenging themselves on those who had attacked them. The second reason is this—the only way in which it was possible to keep the natives in restraint was to promise and give them effective protection. Natives have been employed on our side with the horses, but for the time certain Boer leaders made it clear, by proclamation, that they intended to shoot every native armed or unarmed—and, as a matter of fact a large number of the murders which have been committed were of unarmed natives. It has been necessary, where natives are employed as watchmen between the blockhouses and on the line of railways to prevent accidents and for the other purposes for which they have been employed, to arm them for their own protection. In my opinion, Lord Kitchener was perfectly justified in carrying out that course. I have no doubt it is that practice which has prompted the question of the hon. Member opposite and of other hon. Members; but, so far as I am aware, the decision to keep the natives from active offensive participation in the war has been carefully observed on our side.
§ MR. BRODRICK
I have absolutely declined even to ask for the number of camp followers attendant on an army of 220,000 troops engaged on an area as big as half a continent. Our officers have a great deal to do, and I think I have been over-generous in trying to meet the wishes of the House for information from South Africa; because I feel strongly that it is an absolute impossibility to ask officers who are engaged on active service and on trek to spend every spare moment in making out returns which may be agreeable to some particular Member of the House or help to point some speech of two or three minutes in this House. To do so would be to handicap those who are carrying on the war. I would ask the Committee, having regard to the very full discussion we have had upon this Vote, to come to a decision upon it now.
§ (10.25.) MR. EDMUND ROBERTSON (Dundee)
said that if the right hon. Gentleman had wished to shorten discussion at this stage, he could not have adopted a less felicitous method than he had done. He did not think that anyone would contend for a moment that the right hon. Gentleman had made a felicitous answer. The right hon. Gentleman said that in the absence of knowledge he would not make an Estimate. But they on that side of the House contended that the Government's estimates had been always wrong. Take the contrast between the ten millions which the war was going to cost and the actual cost up to the present time of two hundred and fifty millions. Then the Government said that the war was going to be over at Christmas, 1899, but it had now been going on for two and a half years; and they were told that it would last for eight months longer. These estimates were not only wrong, but, considering the Imperial gravity of the issues involved, they were criminal miscalculations which his hon. friend was justified in bringing to the notice of the Committee.
He would not follow the example of the right hon. Gentleman in trying to carry this debate, which should be confined to the business of the Estimates, into the policy of the war. [Cries from the Ministerial Benches of "No."] Yes; the right hon. 813 Gentleman appealed for public support to the policy of the war. He said that whatever might be said by hon. Members on the other side of the House, the country by a large majority would insist on going on with the war to a finish. Was not that bringing in the whole policy of the war? That was what he complained of the right hon. Gentleman doing, and that was the example which he was not going to follow. He would put one or two points relating to the conduct of the war which he thought the right hon. Gentleman would do well to answer. It had been alleged in the course of the debate that the demands of the Commander-in-Chief had not been met, and that the Government did not give him what he required; but the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War told the Committee some time ago that every demand made by Lord Kitchener and his predecessor had been met; and he had repeated that statement that day. But in saying that the right hon. Gentleman was making himself the judge in his own case. What they wanted was the evidence. Would the right hon. Gentleman give the Committee, in the form of a Return, all the demands that had been made by Lord Kitchener and his predecessor, and set opposite to each demand what had been done by the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessor in fulfilment of it? Look at the demands made by the Commander-in-Chief in respect to remounts; and look at the answers to these demands. And the same also in regard to other supplies as with the remounts. Let the right hon. Gentleman give the Committee the telegrams in which the Commander-in-Chief asked for reinforcements, and let him also give the answers to these telegrams.
There were other points to which he wished to advert, which had been raised by his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition, but which had not been met by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War. The right hon. Gentleman had given the Committee that night an estimate of the future duration of this fatal war, namely, that it was an eight months business, and he had given an estimate of the cost of military occupation of South Africa when peace was 814 restored. We were to have 15,000 men there, but the right hon. Gentleman also said that after the war was over we should have to keep a large force in South Africa. What was wanted was an estimate from the right hon. Gentleman of the full strength of the Army of occupation which would succeed the war, and precede the permanent garrison of 15,000 men. Was it to be 100,000 men? The right hon. Gentleman must have formed some estimate, if only for the purpose of framing the Estimates for the financial year, and they wanted to know what the estimate was, and what the financial cost of that occupation would be, and how long that intermediate stage would last. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was responsible for the money, and he evidently thought it ludicrous to ask that question. Even a wrong estimate would be better than none. They had only had wrong estimates so far, and any further estimate they would get would also be probably wrong. But surely the Government must have made up their minds one way or the other as to how many men they intended to keep in South Africa, and for what period.
He had another question. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about maintaining Colonial garrisons. He understood that the subject of the military defence of the Empire was to be brought up at a conference of Colonial Premiers at the time of the Coronation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer the other day gave a very satisfactory answer about Colonial contributions to the Navy, but a similar question arose in respect to the Army, and more particularly in respect to the cost of the war, because the self-governing Colonies, by the action they had taken officially and publicly, had made themselves largely responsible for the continuance of the war. The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues had continually stated that the war must not be stopped, on pain of offending public opinion in the Colonies. In the Colonies themselves simultaneous and similar resolutions, pointing to a common origin somewhere else, were passed, denouncing those in this country who were opposed to the policy of His Majesty's Government, and in particular condemning his right hon. friend the 815 Leader of the Opposition. That course was approved of by hon. Members supporting the Government. He said it was a dangerous course for any self-governing Colonies to take, and it was a course which imposed on them the obligation to do something more, and imposed on the House the duty of asking the Government whether they intended to ask the Colonies to do something more. The self-governing Colonies were as one to four as regarded population, and their share of the war expenditure would be one-fifth. He asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, when the Colonial Premiers came to London, after the wholesale denunciation of a party in this country, to which he had referred, they would be asked to bear one-fifth of these estimates and one-fifth of the enormous debt already incurred in the war, or whether the Government were to grovel at their feet after the fashion of the Colonial Secretary, accept their dictation as to the duty of patriotism, and shrink from the duty of asking them how much they were going to contribute to Imperial burdens.
§ (10.35.) MR. BRODRICK
I really think the Committee will not expect me to answer the last question of the hon. Gentleman. I am perfectly ready to stand bail for this fact, that the Colonial Secretary will not meet the Colonial Premiers in the spirit to which the hon. Member has referred. My right hon. friend will not forget—as I think the hon. Member does forget—the exceptional services which, without any invitation or without any sort of pressure, the Colonies have rendered to the Empire. I do not think the hon. Member correctly interpreted the question put to me by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. What the right hon. Gentleman asked me was what portion of the troops asked for in the Army Estimates was intended to be employed in South Africa, and whether the additional number of troops asked for was in consequence of the permanent occupation of South Africa. It would be obviously impossible for anyone not knowing the circumstance in which the war may end, or in which the new Colonies may be gradually brought to a staple Government—to which we believe 816 they will be brought before long—to state how long the period of intermediary government will be, or what will be the force required. Obviously it will be our duty amongst the very earliest statements which we will make after the war is over, and when it is possible to give information, to acquaint Parliament as to the future government of the Colonies, and to give hon. Members the fullest opportunity of pronouncing - judgment on it.
§ *(10.37.) MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
said he did not intend to deal with South Africa, but he wanted to know from the right hon. Gentleman where he was going to get his recruits from. The hon. Member for East Mayo referred to the depopulation of the agricultural districts in the Highlands of Scotland and in Ireland. They Were the nurseries for the Army, and had been cleared year after year by evicting landlords, with the result that the Government were forced to go to the slums of the great cities for their recruits, and those recruits could not stand the climate of India or China. He maintained that the Government ought to consider the desirability of obtaining recruits, not from cities and towns, but from the country districts. What were the Government endeavouring to do now? Only last Sunday he saw a number of boys marching from Sunday School in military order with a band playing. The Government were using the Sunday Schools and the Churches for the purpose of getting recruits. It was not manly or straightforward to enlist the help of the Churches and Sunday Schools for the purpose of inspiring boys with military ardour in order to induce them to join the Army. At Shanghai, there was only a small number of British soldiers, whilst it was teeming with German soldiers. Hong Kong was also short of British soldiers. In India, right through the North West Provinces, officers were complaining about the insufficient number of British soldiers. That was a general complaint. [Several HON. MEMBERS: No, no!] Let the hon. Members who said "No, no," go and see for themselves, as he had done. He would not refer to the great number of 817 officers and men who were complaining that, although their time had expired, they could not get their discharge, as the result of the wretched, muddled, and mismanaged war in South Africa.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
I have already ruled that it is out of order on this Vote to discuss the Indian Army.
§ MR. WEIR
said he had no intention of discussing the Indian Army, but he maintained that a large number of British troops were taken away from India to do work which they would not be required to do except for the war. Suppose, which was not unlikely, that a very serious difficulty arose on the Afghan frontier with Russia. Did hon. Members know that the French had approached 300 miles nearer the Indian Frontier from Siam?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
This Vote is for a certain number of men, and the hon. Member will not be in order in discussing any question affecting the Indian army on it.
§ conscription at once? They would have to do it. They would need 100,000 men at least in South Africa. There was no use in beating about the bush, and adopting such a miserable scheme as that before the Committee. Sooner or later they would have to resort to conscription, and the Government ought to have the manliness to let the country know it.
§ (10.44.) SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I ask the Committee whether we might not now take a division on the Amendment of the hon. Member for East Mayo. We all understood that we were to be allowed to obtain Vote A and Vote I this evening, and I believe we shall be able to make a thoroughly satisfactory arrangement with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and the House, as to the allotment of two days for the discussion of the right hon. Gentleman's Motion.
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL- BANNERMAN
As far as I am concerned in the matter, I think the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman is not unreasonable. This Vote has been pretty fully discussed, and I do not now if there is need for any further discussion now.
§ (10.48.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 54; Noes, 182. (Division List No. 64.)819
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Dowd, John|
|Blake, Edward||Joyce, Michael||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Boland, John||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, N.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Labouchere, Henry||O'Malley, William|
|Burns, John||Lloyd-George, David||O'Mara, James|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Lundon, W.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Crean, Eugene||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Cremer, William Randal||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roberts, John Bryn (Eition)|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Roche, John|
|Delany, William||Murnaghan, George||Sheenhan, Daniel Daniel|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Murphy, John||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Doogan, P. C.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Write, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'yMid.||Young, Samuel|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Mr. Dillon and Mr. Henry|
|Hammond, John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||J. Wilson.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. SirAlex. F.||Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Bain, Colonel James Robert||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.|
|Allen, CharlesP.(Glouc. Stroud||Balfour, RtHnGeraldW. (Leeds||Bignold, Arthur|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden||Balfour, Kenneth R.(Christch.||Bigwood, James|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Banbury, Frederick George||Black, Alexander William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Bathurst,Hon.Allen Benjamin||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Bond, Edward|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Peel, Hn. Wm.Robt. Wellesley|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Greene, Sir E. W. (B'ry St. Ed.||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Hain, Edward||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Brown, George M.(Edinburgh)||Hambro, Charles Eric||Price, Robert John|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hamilton,RtHn.LordG (Mid'x||Priestley, Arthur|
|Caldwell, James||Hamilton,Marqof(L'nd'nderry||Purvis, Robert|
|Carlile, William Walter||Hardy, Laurence (K'nt,Ashf'rd||Randles, John S.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Hare, Thomas Leigh||Rasch,Major Frederic Carne|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(Derbyshire||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Rea, Russell|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Helder, Augustus||Reid, James, (Greenock)|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hope, J.F.(Sheffield Brightside||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Ridley, Hn. M. W.(Stalybridge)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rigg, Richard|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Keswick, William||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Kinloch, Sir George Smyth||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Compton, Lo d Alwyne||Knowles, Lees||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Law, Andrew Bonar||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Lawrence, Joseph(Monmouth)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Seely, Maj. J.EB.(Isle of Wight)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Lawson, John Grant||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Lee, Arthur H.(Hants, Fareh'm||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D.(Chatham||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks)|
|Denny, Colonel||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Stanley, Hn. Arthur(Ormskirk|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Disraeli, Coniegsby Ralph||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon A. Akers-||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Thomson, F. W. (York W.R.)|
|Edwards, Frank||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Macdona, John Cumming||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Calmont, Col. J (Antrim, E.)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Farquharson, Dr. Roberts||Majendie, James A. H.||Wanklyu, James Leslie|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Markham, Arthur Basil||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn SirJ. (Manc'r||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Wason, John Catheart (Orkney)|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Webb,Colonel William George|
|Finch, George H.||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Welby, Lt.-Col. ACE(Taunton)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||More, robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Whiteley, H(Ashton-und-Lyne|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Morrell, George Herbert||Willlams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Flower, Ernest||Morrison, Jemes Archibald||Williams, Rt Hn J Powell-(Birm|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Morton, Arthur H.A.(Deptf'rd)||Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E.R.)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Gibbs, Hn. A.G.H(City of Lond.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wodehouse, Rt Hn. E.R.(Bath)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Gordon, Hn. JE. (Elgin & Naion)||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Gordon,MajEvans-(T'rH'ml'ts||Palmer, Watler (Salisbury)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby- (Linc.)||Parker, Gilbert||Sir William Walrond and|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Partington, Oswald||Mr. Anstruther.|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ 2.—Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £18,940,400, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge for the Pay, Allowances, and other Charges of His Majesty's Army at Home and Abroad (exclusive of India) (General Staff, Regiments, Reserve, and Departments), which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1903."
§ (11.0.) MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)
pointed out that on the Vote for Staff there was an apparent decrease of £23,000. As a matter of fact, 820 that was not a decrease on the normal Estimates, or even on the normal war Estimates. Last year there was an addition of £60,000 for the extra cost of staff in connection with the Army Corps scheme. He did not wish in any way to oppose the necessary increase of the Army, or even the necessary increase of the staff, as far as the war was concerned, nor did he desire to decrease the efficiency of the Army, but when he found that last year there was spent £60,000, and this year provision was made for an expenditure of a further £36,000 on the staff of imaginary Army Corps, he thought it was a point of which some notice 821 should be taken. He did not wish it to be said that they on that side had done anything to hamper the War Office in the conduct of the war, and therefore, he would not move a reduction of the Vote, but certainly some explanation was required. He would not object if any real gain had been effected by the institution of Army Corps. If such had been the case, there ought to have been some corresponding reduction in the War Office Vote in consequence of decentralisation, but, on looking through the salaries of the staff of the Department, he found increases to the amount of £27,000, the only decrease being one of £850. It must be said that some part of the £96,000 was for war expenditure. But it appeared as increased cost in connection with the new system of Army Corps, and those new Army Corps had done no new work which could not have been done by the old districts.
§ LORD STANLEY
said that the decrease of £42,000 was partly met by an increase of £20,000 under sub-head B. That £20,000 was opened out as a new subhead to meet the wishes of the Public Accounts Committee, who desired to have a sub head for this particular branch of the Service. The remainder of the decrease was made up by a reduction in the staff in South Africa, and also in China.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
said the noble Lord had mistaken the point. His objection was not to the decrease this year, but to the fact that in the two years £90,000 was put down as the increased expenses in connection with Army Corps which were mythical as far as the actual power of the country was concerned.
§ *(11.8.) SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
was sorry to see that the War Office had still got some of the old leaven, for when they gave something to the soldier with one hand they always took away something with the other. He wanted some detailed explanation of what the War Office was proposing to do in regard to good conduct pay. He feared that the proposal was to give to the best conducted soldier something imaginary and to take away something real. As he understood the proposal, good conduct pay was to cease, and, instead of a soldier 822 getting a penny for each good conduct badge, everybody would get sixpence a day. There would be no penny a day for good conduct, but the man who had not a good conduct stripe would be fined a penny for offences which, under the old system, would be punished by the stop-page of good conduct pay. The matter was not very clear, and the Committee should he given some detailed explanation as to the real bearing of the proposal. Under present conditions, a man entered the Service on the understanding that after a certain period he would be entitled to a good conduct badge, carrying with it certain pay, and after a further period to another badge, and so on. The extra sixpence a day would not come into operation until April 1st, 1904. What was to be the position of men between now and then who enlisted under existing conditions? Were the men to get the good conduct pay to which, under existing regulations, they were entitled? Would the sixpence a day in 1904 be in addition to their good conduct pay? These were points which required to be cleared up, because there was nothing that had so militated against the reputation of the Army in the matter of recruiting as the fact that certain concessions were boomed all over the country, and then when a man enlisted he found the conditions were really no better because various subterranean arrangements reduced the advantages he had expected to receive. Another point of considerable importance on the present Vote was that for the general staff. When the Army Corps scheme was proposed he ventured to point out that it would mean an accumulated staff. Although practically the whole of the Army was in South Africa, the charge for staff upon this Vote was equivalent to the total pay charge of seven cavalry regiments of the line. Everybody who had studied the history of Army Reform knew that it always ended in leaving matters very much where they were, except in one particular; there was always an increase of staff. They would be told that his contention was all wrong, and the scheme all right, that the staff of the Army Corps was complete, but there were no men, and that of course there could be no men, because they were in South Africa. But there was a staff in 823 South Africa as well. They had been told that the staff of the Army Corps at Aldershot were very busy. What were they doing? They were training Yeomanry to fill up gaps in South Africa. When he was in the service the training of men to fill up gaps was the duty of drill sergeants, adjutants, and subalterns, but apparently it now took a Lieutenant-General and all his retinue to do this. He was not saying it was unnecessary to have a sufficient staff, but simply that the Committee ought to keep its eyes very closely on the accumulation of staff.
§ (11.20.) MR. GODDARD (Ipswich)
drew attention to a sum of £20,000 in the Estimates for Field Intelligence. He understood that that was merely a token Vote for some unknown sum to be expended as secret service money in the South African war. In the Appropriation Accounts, 1900–1, the Auditor-General had pointed out that there was a sum of nearly £40,000 charged to Vote 1, Item A, for services of a confidential character in obtaining intelligence in the field in South Africa, and last year the Public Accounts Committee expressed the opinion that charges of that kind ought not in future to be made without Parliamentary sanction, but that provision ought to be made by means of a token vote for the question to be discussed. The Treasury concurred in that view, and he supposed the result was this new sub-head B. This was an important question, inasmuch as it represented an additional sum to be spent on secret service work. Before the war a sum of £10,000 was annually voted for that purpose. When the war began the amount was increased to £30,000; last year and this year it was increased to £65,000, and he took it that this £20,000 was in addition to the £65,000. That was a very large increase, in regard to which the Committee were entitled to some explanation. Under Article 660 of the Allowance Regulations a sum of £300, which had now been increased to £1,000, per quarter, was allowed to an officer commanding an army in war-like operations for the purpose of obtaining intelligence, on his certifying that the amount had been so expended on his authority, and included no pay to any officer or soldier of His Majesty's forces. 824 In the Public Accounts Committee last year it was elicited from the Auditor-General that for £4,100 he had received no voucher whatever; all he had was a note from the Secretary of State for War saying that the money had been expended. Was this sum of £20,000 the amount intended to be spent, or was it merely a token Vote to enable the question to be discussed? If the latter, how much was really expected to be spent? The Committee should be very careful about placing a power of this kind in the hands of anybody. He also desired to ask, with regard to the £40,000 spent in 1900–1, whether there was a certificate of the commanding officer in every case, or whether some of the money was allowed on the certificates of subordinate officers, and whether for any part of the money there was no voucher at all, but simply a note from the Secretary of State for War.
§ (11.25.) MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
proposed to reduce the vote by £100 in order to call attention to what he considered was one of the greatest scandals in connection with the war. It had continually happened that soldiers, after having served their country well and satisfactorily, and, in many cases, been discharged through sickness or wounds, had been unable for months to obtain from the War Office the pay and gratuities to which they were entitled. Such cases would be well known to nearly every Member of the House. In one case, a young fellow, whom he had encouraged to enlist, had suffered so severely from enteric that instead of weighing 10½ stone he was a miserable shrunken creature of 6½ stone. That man, who had served well, and had been discharged because His Majesty had no further use for him, had actually not a penny to buy himself food, and yet the War Office owed him £8 in respect of pay and gratuities. In another case, an officer in the Yeomanry, after having served his first term, entirely from patriotic motives, did not apply for his discharge, but left his name so that he was liable to be again called on. He was again called on, and he went out to South Africa a second time, without having received the pay to which he was entitled for his first services. Such things ought not to occur, especially if the Government desired a satisfactory response to 825 their call for soldiers. A striking illustration on this point was to be found in the Appropriation Accounts just issued. In page 138 and following pages there was a long list of various items of pay, which had not been paid though due when the accounts were issued. The note at the top stated that the table was a statement of the accounts which had been received in the War Office on September 30th, 1901, but which could not be allowed in time to be included in the Appropriation Act, 1901; and the total amount was no less than £549,079. He contended that the delay which had undoubtedly happened was entirely unnecessary. It was said that certain papers had been lost. But that was not the fault of the soldiers. He did not ask that the entire amount should be paid if the whole of the particulars were not to hand, but at any rate a sufficient amount might be given to prevent the men being in the condition in which many of them had been for months past.
There was one other matter which he thought should have the attention of the Committee, and that was that whereas last year a sum of £2,340,000 was voted for gratuities for troops on active service, this year only £350,000 was asked for, a reduction of practically £2,000,000. What it came to was this. The money provided last year for gratuities to the soldiers at the end of the war, was spent for some other purpose, and this year, although the estimate placed before the House was based on the idea that the war would come to an end in eight or nine months, the amount stated was not what would be required if the war did come to an end in that periad. He thought, therefore, it would be within proper bounds to describe this estimate as deceptive for one or other view was wrong. If the war should be over in eight or nine months they would have to provide money for gratuities to the troops, but if, on the other hand, this like so many previous forecasts should be wrong then the item for war expenditure was absurdly too small. The point he wished to impress on the Committee was the bad way in which both Regulars and Volunteers had been treated in the matter of their pay when they returned home from South Africa after serving their country, He moved to reduce the Vote by £100.
826 Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £18,940,300, be granted for the said service."— (Mr. Whitley.)
§ (11.32.) MR. SEELY (Lincoln)
said the question raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth was important, and it was one to which the attention of the country should be directed. There was a natural tendency to an increase of the general staff. This year there was a decrease in the amount put down for the general staff, but when he looked at the statement he found that this was due mainly to the changing of the money from one Vote to another. It was not a real decrease. Last year there was an increase of £199,000, and that, of course, was the result of the Army Corps system, which they were told by a former Secretary of State was very necessary to provide properly for those who would return from the Front. He hoped the Secretary of State for War, in dealing with military reform, would not forget the necessities of the case from the civilian point of view. The noble Lord the Member for the Westhoughton Division referred last night to the alteration that was proposed in the arrangements of the auxiliary forces. According to the Vote, there was a reduction for two Deputy Assistant Adjutant Generals, but the noble Lord told the Committee that instead of being a reduction it was really an increase, because instead of having two gentlemen at the War Office there were to be two gentlemen with each Army Corps; that was to say, they were going to abolish two gentlemen and appoint twelve. [Lord STANLEY shook his head.] That was certainly what he understood the noble Lord to say.
§ LORD STANLEY
These two gentlemen at headquarters are going to be abolished. In their place we are not going to attach anybody permanently to the Army Corps, but we are going to see if we cannot get an officer who will be willing to advise the general officers commanding in the branches in all questions affecting their particular affairs. [An HON. MEMBER: Without pay?] Yes, without pay.
§ MR. SEELY
prophesied that it would end in what he said. They would want somebody to do the work. A man who did it without pay must either be a man 827 who had nothing to do, or one of extreme patriotism. Although no doubt they would get such a man in time of war, they would not in time of peace. If they got a man for nothing, he would probably be a man of no great capacity and who would not be of much use. He hoped this alteration did not imply any intention on the part of the War Office to alter the arrangement they made in regard to the auxiliary forces, because he thought it was generally considered by officers commanding Volunteers and others connected with that force that General Turner had been the best man they had ever had. Whatever difficulties the Volunteers had had as to the general regulations, with regard to the working details of the auxiliary forces that officer had been thoroughly successful.
§ (11.40.) MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
said he was not one of those who denounced this reckless and profligate expenditure, nor did he venture to prophesy anything. He wanted to know where in this Vote money was taken for the Basutos and Kaffirs. He was told that a large number of the Basutos were called "civilian nightwatchers," and that Kaffirs garrisoned one-half of the blockhouses without any white men. The Committee ought to know how much they received in pay. He understood that they received more pay than was offered to the British soldier. That seemed a preposterous thing. He was told that the Basutos were armed as fully as our men, and that they were used for outpost duty. It was stated that black men were not to be employed in the war, but that did not humbug the Boers and it did not humbug the Committee.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he had already given an explanation on this point, but the hon. Member was not in the House. Any policeman in Scotland Yard might be said to be on outpost duty.
§ MR. BRODRICK
It would be the Transport Vote. That is more in their line! In regard to the question of good conduct badges, the men already enlisted will retain all the rights they now have; the men, however, who come 828 under the new regulations will have the opportunity of getting two good conduct badges, but one will not carry the penny extra because they will be getting the extra sixpence a day. Then an hon. Member opposite appealed to me about the expenditure in the Intelligence Department of the Army. I will undertake to do all in my power to regularise that expenditure, as in the other Departments. As to the delays that have occurred in paying certain of the Yeomanry, it is almost inevitable, under the circumstances of the immense pressure brought to bear by public opinion to relieve the Yeomanry at a very early date, that some delay in arranging for their pay should have occurred. Lord Kitchener sent them down to embark at all sorts of places, but when it was found that the papers were a long time in arriving, we made a definite attempt to pay the men what they were entitled to; and I can assure the hon. Member that the number of those who have not been paid has been reduced to a very small proportion indeed. Lord Roberts himself has looked into the question as regards the new Yeomanry, and I will undertake that so far as that is concerned these claims shall be settled with the utmost business rapidity.
§ MR. WHITLEY
said that there was half a million of money that had not been paid long after the accounts had been handed into the War Office.
§ (11.50.) M. COURTENAY WARNER
said that the explanation of the Secretary for War was not satisfactory. He failed to see why there should be a demand for £200,000 to increase the existing large staff of the Commander in-Chief in England. The number of troops in England was not so great as when the former staff was regarded as sufficient.
§ MR. BRODRICK
There are more troops in England now than there were three years ago, before the war began.
§ MR. COURTENAY WARNER
said that that statement required qualification. He did not want to dispute with the Secretary of State for War, but many of these troops were Volunteers and Militiamen. Most of them were not at the present moment embodied, and only existed on paper. Therefore they could give no more work to the staff. At the present moment, when they wanted to 829 increase the efficiency of the rank and file, it was foolish to spend more money on the staff—especially when it was well known that this country paid twice as much on the staff as any other country in the world.
§ MAJOR SEELY
said that his right hon. friend had misunderstood him. He did not wish to imply for a moment that the whole of the staff were
§ not thoroughly satisfactory. What he wanted to impress on the right hon. Gentleman was, that in considering a scheme for the reform the Army, the civilian side of the staff ought to be looked after very carefully.
§ (11.56) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 73; Noes, 162. (Division List No. 62.)831
|Abraham. William (Cork, N.E.)||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Partington, Oswald|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Hayden, John Patrick||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Allen, CharlesP.(Glouc., Stroud||Healy, Timothy Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Ambrose, Robert||Jones, William(Carnarvonshire||Rea, Russell|
|Blake, Edward||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Boland, John||Kennedy, Patrick James||Rigg, Richard|
|Caldwell, James||Labonchere, Henry||Roberts, John Byrn (Eifion)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Lundon, W.||Roche, John|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Craig, Robert Hunter||Mc Veigh, Jeremiah||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Crean, Eugene||M'Hugh. Patrick A.||Sinclair. John (Forfarshire)|
|Cremer, William Randal||Murnaghan, George||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Cullinan, J.||Murphy, John||Spencer, Rt HnC.R.(Northants|
|Delany, William||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dillon, John||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Donelan, Captain A.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Thomson, F.W. (York, W.R.|
|Doogan, P. C.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Warner, Thomas CourtenayT)|
|Elibank, Master of||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||White, Patrick (Mea.h, North)|
|Emmott, Alfred||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Dowd, John|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Mara, James||Mr. Nussey and Mr. Whitley.|
|Hammond, John||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Green, WalfordD.(Wednesb'ry|
|Allhusen, Augustus Hen'y Eden||Corbett, A.Cameron (Glasgow)||Greene, Sir EW (B'rySEdm'nds|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Corbett, T.L. (Down, North)||Hain, Edward|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Crossley, Sir Savile||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Cust, Heory John C.||Hamilton, RtHnLordG (Midd'x|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Davenport, William Bromley-||Hamilton, Marq.of (L'donderry|
|Balfour, Rt HnGerard W(Leeds||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Hardy, Laurence(Kent,Ashf'rd|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Davies, Sir Horatio D.(C'atham||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Dickson, Charles Scott||Helder, Augustus|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Hoare, Sir Samuel|
|Beach, Rt. Hn Sir Michael Hicks||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hope, J.F.(Sheffield, Brightside|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Howard, John(Kent, Favers'am|
|Bignold, Arthur||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil|
|Bigwood, James||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Black, Alexander William||Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Keswick, William|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Knowles, Lees|
|Bond, Edward||Fergusson, Rt Hon SirJ.(Manc'r||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Law, Andrew Bonar|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Finch, George H.||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Fisher, William Hayes||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lawson, John Grant|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick S. W||Lee, Arthur H.(Hants., Fareh'm|
|Cavendish, V.C.W.(D'rbyshire||Foster, Sir Walter (DerbyCo.)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Galloway, William Johnson||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Gardner, Ernest||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie|
|Charrington, Spencer||Gibbs, Hn A.G.H. (City of Lond.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S.|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Gordon, Maj Evans(T'rH'mlets||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Lucas, Col. Francis(Lowestoft)|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Pemberton, John S. G.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Penn, John||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Plummer, Walter R.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Pretyman, Ernest George||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Manners, Lord Cecil||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Purvis, Robert||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Randles, John S.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Rasch, Major Frederic Garne||Ure, Alexander|
|Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Reid, James (Greenock)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Remnant, James Farquharson||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Ridley, Hn. M. W.(Stalybridge||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green||Webb, ColonelWilliam George|
|Morgan, David J. (W'lt'amstow||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)||Welby, Lt.-Col. A.C.E (Taunt'n|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Ropner, Colonel Robert||Whiteley, H(Ashton-und-Lyne|
|Morrison, James Archibald||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Morton, Arthur H.A. (Deptford||Sackville, Col. S. G. stopford-||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Murray, RtHnA. Graham (Bute||Seely, Charles Hilton(Lincoln)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Seely, Maj. J.E.B.(Isle of Wight||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath|
|Nicol, Donald Ninian||Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wortley, Rt. Hon.C.B.Stuart-|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Shaw-Stewart,M.H.(Renfrew)|
|Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Parker, Gilbert||Skewes-Cox, Thomas||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Peel, Hn Wm. Robert Wellesley||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ It being after Midnight, the Chairman left his Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.