HC Deb 10 March 1902 vol 104 cc896-940

1. Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £8,332,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge for the Supply and Repair of Warlike and other Stores, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March,, 1903."

(4.30.) CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington,. W.)

said the Vote included a large sum for equipment sent to South Africa, and for the information of hon. Members who might not understand exactly, he would explain that ordnance stores included wagons, medical equipment, arms, accoutrements, and almost everything issued to a soldier from Woolwich, whether made at Government establishments or by private contractors. A large proportion of these stores had been put out to contract, and it was his object to show that many of them had been manufactured of inferior material and that the very lowest class of workmanship had been put into them. Upon this Vote was a sum of £2,000 for the payment of inspectors for the inspection of these articles, and an additional sum for the wages of civilian superintendents employed in the inspection of stores at the factories, of £34,000 with a further addition of £115,000 only to the South African war. These large sums for inspection, taken in conjunction with the state of affairs in South Africa, showed that there had been fraudulent transactions on a large scale, and as the Committee had had no opportunity of looking at the details of these Estimates—as they had not been put before the Committee—he moved, "That Mr. Deputy Chairman do report progress and ask leave to sit again."


Under the powers conferred upon me, I must refuse to put the Question.


Am I to understand. Sir, that you decline to put the Question?




Then may I be permitted to continue my remarks?




said he desired to draw special attention to Vote "A," the pay of the civilian staff, and the wages in the Ordnance Department at Woolwich. A considerable number of men were employed at Woolwich at a rate of wages in direct contradiction to the fair wages resolution. It was the custom of the authorities to employ pensioned soldiers, and in that way they were able to obtain labour at 15s. That was gradually increased, first to 17s., then to 19s., and finally to 21s, a week. It had been said that although the nominal wages were only 31s., the men often brought that up to 21s. by piece work, but he contended that the wages paid were only 19s., 20s., and 21s., which at Woolwich was not a living wage. At the Ordnance Stores there were a large number of men paid a high rate of wages for overlooking men occupied at the Stores, and the result was that whist the lower class labour was sweated, a great deal of the public money was squandered on these higher class men. These men were paid far less than men doing similar work for private firms, and he contended that cheap labour was bad labour, and that the Government ought to have the best labour obtainable. It had been said that the men employed by the Government had many advantages, but those advantages were no greater than the men themselves could obtain from their Friendly Societies at the cost of 6d. a week, and the fact that the Government gave these advantages was no reason for their not paying the rate of wages current in the locality. It was said that these advantages cost the Government 1s. 2d., but that was no reason for defrauding a man of his legitimate pay. It was a sort of trick system carried out by the Government of the day. If the Government were not prepared to pay the current wages, they could not get the best quality of labour, and as a result of this inferior labour it was well known that the Boers had been able to supply themselves with a considerable amount of ammunition owing to the cartridges falling out of the faulty bandoliers carried by our soldiers. So small were the wages paid to the employees at Woolwich, that men employed in the dockyard during the day had been known to go hawking vegetables and other things about the streets at night. That was not a condition of things which ought to be necessary in order that a workman of the Government should get a living wage.

This matter was closely related to the housing question, and he had been told that the question could not be considered in regard to Deptford and Woolwich without its being considered in respect to the whole 30,000 labourers in Government employ all over the country. But surely it was a question that could be dealt with most effectually by paying the trade union rate of wages in the various localities. It was a well-known fact that Woolwich was one of the most difficult places for a workman to obtain house room. He had either to go to Plumstead, or had to pay, if he wished to live in Woolwich, the same price as he would have to pay in the centre of South London. In Woolwich the average price for one room was 3s. a week, and a man who wished to live under conditions of common decency had to pay 8s. 6d. or 9s. a week for three rooms. The Government had declared more than once its anxiety to deal with the housing question. That question had been brought before the House, which had heard the most shocking details described. All those shocking details were rampant at Woolwich. A man at Woolwich who received 19s. or 20s. a week had out of that to pay a sum of 8s. or 9s. a week for his room accommodation, and had to keep his family on 13s. or 14s. a week. A man under those conditions had to do one of two things—he had either to deprive himself of sufficient nourishment, or to play the part of a bad citizen, a bad husband, and a bad father, and deprive his wife and family of sufficient nourishment. How were that man's children under those circumstances to derive any good from education? They could not learn when only half fed. But the worst aspect of this dreadful state of things was from the point of view of the women. He would not mince matters; the women were either obliged to deprive themselves of sufficient food, or to sell their bodies in the public streets. It was disgraceful that the Government of the day should be sweating their labourers in this manner. The poorest district of London recently passed a resolution that its road-sweepers should not be paid less than 24s. a week; yet the Government were paying miserable wages- He moved to reduce the amount of Item "A" by £100.

Motion made, and Question put, "That Item 'A' (Civilian Staff and Wages of Army Ordnance Department) be reduced by £100."—(Captain Norton.)


The hon. Member has raised the question of whether we are paying a fair rate of wages to those whom we employ, and he has impressed upon the Committee the necessity of the Government being, in these matters at any rate, on a level with the best employers of labour in the country. With that, on the whole, I am not prepared to disagree. I think we should endeavour to help those who serve under us as long as they are assisting us to the best of their ability. But we must also remember that, as a Government, we have to look at these matters rather as if we were managers of a business on behalf of the country, and to see that we do not set up a standard which will end, although there is a pecuniary advantage to the labourers, in a loss to the State. In all these matters our object must be to get the cheapest material and the cheapest form of labour, combined, as it must be, in both cases with the best class of material and the best form of labour. With regard to 21s. not being a living wage, I am not disposed to accept the payments made by Vestries as the current rate of wages. One must go to the other districts where similar work is carried out, and compare the work done in our factories with the work done in other parts.


Oh, no; the housing question comes in.


I must disagree with the hon. Member. In alloting work, a certain amount to the factories and a certain amount to the trade, the whole question of the rate of wages must come in, and we are entitled to compare the rate of wages that we pay with that paid in other districts where similar work is done. The rate of wages has been for some time a bone of contention in this House, and it has on various occasions been dealt with by the Government of the day—chiefly by the Government now on this side of the House. The minimum rate before 1891 was 17s.; in 1891 it was raised to 18s.; in 1893, to 19s., and in 1897 to 21s. Then in 1894 the hours were reduced from 54 to 48 per week. That gives an average roughly, with the benefits which the labourers get, of per hour. The benefits—which after all, must be taken into account in comparing like with like—are that the employees get free medical attendance, free hospital in case of accident, sick pay at half-rate after the three years service, paid holidays for a certain number of days in each year—nine days at Woolwich and Pimlico, the period varying at other places—and a gratuity on discharge at the rate of a week's pay for each year's service. I do not think you will find any private employers who give those advantages, and we are perfectly justified in taking them into account. Then the hon. Member referred to one form of labour as being very much underpaid—that of the packer.


No, I did not specially refer to the packer. The men I specially alluded to were those employed at less than 24s. a week. The packer gets more than that.


I think the hon. Member referred to the packer, and said he ought to get more.


I merely mentioned him in order to describe to the House the class of work that was done.


The packer is one of those who get 24s., apart from the other benefits. As to the men who get 21s., the store-house men at Pimlico are classified in three grades, of whom the third class get 21s. and the first class 24s.


But we are on the Ordnance Vote now.


Yes; I ought not to have alluded to that, perhaps. In the ordnance factories nearly all the men who are rated at 21s. get, as a matter of fact, more than 24s., many of them being on piecework. But I want to point out that the labour is not in any way skilled labour. It is absolutely and entirely unskilled labour, and I hold that if you go all through the country—barring the Vestries, which I am not prepared to accept as a standard—you will not find that 21s. is a low rate of pay for absolutely unskilled labour.


What about the dockers' 6d. an hour?


I do not know what the dockers' hours are, and, as my right hon. friend points out, the docks do not provide, as we do, for a continuity or certainty of service. That must be a point in every man's consideration when engaging himself to any particular work. Out of the 6,600 labourers in the Ordnance factories, only 2,600 are rated at 21s., and even of those the majority earn over 24s. on piecework. I cannot now go into the question of the housing of the working classes. I admit that to a certain extent it may be bound up in this matter, but it is not a question that can be gone into as a whole on the Ordnance Vote. We are bound to take things as we find them in that particular respect, and my inquiries have not led me to the conclusion that there has been such an enormous increase in rents at Woolwich as the hon. Member has pointed out.


No increase They have been rising steadily for ten years past.


After all, we have done something to meet that, because in that period we have raised the wages by 4s. and reduced the hours by six per week. We are perfectly prepared, and it is our duty to do so, to watch the whole movement of the labour; market, and to endeavour to bring our labourers up to the scale of those employed by private persons. This we have tried to do by giving to totally unskilled labour what we believe to be the market rate—21s. In addition to that, the cost of the benefits given to these labourers in 1900–1 exceeded £65,000, which is not a small bonus for an employer to give to his employees. I am with the hon. Member in wishing to see our workmen treated as fairly as the workpeople of private employers, but I cannot say that the remarks of the hon. Member or my own inquiries would justify us in making any increase in the rate of the wages we are now paying.


said he thought he had made it quite clear that all the advantages quoted by the noble Lord could be obtained by the men on payment of 6d. a week into a friendly society. As to the current rate of wages in Woolwich for unskilled labour, it was 24s., and the Government did not pay it. He therefore thought his case was perfect.

(4.55.) MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

recognised that in some respects the reply of the noble Lord was a good one. He agreed that the Vestries were not a safe standard to go by, but taking the ordinary labourer in districts like Woolwich, the rate of wages was certainly higher than 5d. per hour. Moreover, it made a great difference as to a living wage if the rents were so much lower. As to comparing the rate of wages at Woolwich to that in other places, the men at Armstrong's Works at Newcastle received higher wages than those at Woolwich for exactly the same class of work. No doubt where the men were on piece work they were able to earn a good living wage, and if all the men worked on that system it would be an answer to the Motion before the Committee. But a large number of men did not get piece work, and in the name of those men it was asked either that all should be given piece work and so enabled to earn a living wage, or that they should be paid the wage current in the locality. The rents had been very high—in fact, London rents—for the last ten years, but the increases of wages to which the noble Lord referred as counterbalancing the increased rents, went back to before that time. When the present Leader of the Opposition was at the head of the War Office, a housing scheme, was proposed for Woolwich. If anything were done in the way of that scheme it would probably meet much of the difficulty of these underpaid men, but at present they had to pay preposterously high rents in proportion to the wages they received. He hoped his hon. friend would press his Motion to a division unless a more satisfactory reply was given.

(5.0.) MR. GIBSON BOWLES (Lynn Regis)

said he wished to ask the noble Lord a question upon a matter which arose on page 60 in reference to the item for the wages of civilian subordinates employed in inspection of stores at the factories, amounting to £147,700. In the first place, the number of the civilians employed in this way was not given, and that seemed to be an extraordinary piece of information to have omitted. In every other head of employment under Class A, the numbers employed in 1901–02 and 1902–03 were given, and yet under the largest and most important item in the Vote, the number of men employed was not given. He wished to know the number of civilian subordinates employed and the conditions under which they were employed. Really the very essence of this Vote was inspection of stores. A large part of this inspection of stores was performed for the Navy, and not for the Army at all. He noted that last year £74,000 was taken as an appropriation in aid on account of stores inspected for the Navy, but on page 62 it would be seen that £90,000 had been put down, apparently for the same item. He thought it was a mistake to entrust the Army officials with the inspection of the stores for the Navy, for military men did not, and never would, understand naval requirements. The employment of these military civilian subordinates inspecting naval ordnance was wrong, and ought to be altered. He asked that the discrepancy between the £74,000 and the £90,000 in the appropriation in aid should be explained, and whether the system of inspecting naval stores by military civilian inspectors was still being kept up and encouraged.

(5.5.) THE SECRETARY OF STATE. FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK, Surrey, Guildford)

In reply to the points raised by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, I desire to say that, in the first place, I do not think it would be feasible to give the numbers in such a case, nor would it be possible to have two sets of Inspectors. The number of men employed in inspection naturally varies very considerably, for many men are often taken on for a short term and turned off again. I do not think that the War Office could undertake to lay down the precise number of men employed in the inspection of stores. The hon. Member has also gone into the question of the relations between the Admiralty and the War Office, but I do not think we could have a better system. The Admiralty are represented by the Vice-President of the Ordnance Committee on the Committee which chooses the pattern of the guns, and therefore I do not think that my hon. friend need be under any apprehension that patterns desired by the Navy would be given the go-by. I do not say that the present system has worked admirably, but, so far as I am aware, there is no complaint on the part of the Admiralty as to the way the system of inspection is carried on.

*(5.8.) SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

thought the question raised by the hon. Member for King's Lynn would be more in order upon the Navy Stores Vote. He understood from a lecture which had been delivered in Scotland by an hon. Member of this House that the two Departments of the Army and Navy had come to different views with regard to the new powder. With reference to the recent discharge of men at Woolwich, the Secretary of State for War had stated that it was impossible for him to give the number of the men. He understood that it was a very large number, and he had been informed that a good many things previously made in the arsenal were now being made by contract. He had no objection to this if the things supplied were cheaper and better, but the Comptroller and Auditor General had called the attention of the War Office in his report to the fact that under long running contracts they were paying more than double the prices for articles which they made equally well themselves. He entirely supported what had been said by his hon. and gallant friend the Member for West Newington in regard to the wages paid at Woolwich Arsenal.


said that no reliance could be placed on the prices attached by the Department to their material. Half of those prices were quite fictitious. He thought that if his right hon. friend could not tell the Committee how many men he was going to employ upon inspection in 1902–03, surely he might tell them how many he did actually employ for the year 1901–02. He could not see any difficulty in doing that.

(5.15.) MR. BRODRICK

The men employed on the wages sheet have never been given, although I could, if necessary, give the numbers employed upon any given day, and I shall be willing to supply them to the hon. Member. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean has raised a very important point in regard to the question of the discharge of workmen which has taken place at Woolwich. Woolwich and the other depots have been working up to their very utmost limits on all classes of stores. I am sure that I shall have the Committee with

me when I say that we consider it to be neither good policy nor safe for the country to go on the principle of working Woolwich up to its fullest available extent and to trust to chance to be able to find manufacturing firms to provide us with a certain amount of our stores when war breaks out. In the first place, we must give larger orders to the trade in ordinary years in order to be able to get our supplies when war breaks out. Another point insisted upon in this House, and one which I am absolutely certain is sound policy, is that our largest power of expansion should be in Woolwich itself. You would have to find there, in case of emergency occurring, a larger expansion than any of the private firms who execute contracts could be expected to turn out. For that reason we must keep Woolwich down to such a condition that it will be able to expand in case of emergency. Of course we shall have regard in doing that to where there is a startling divergence in price. I trust also that our prices are a great deal nearer the cost prices then the hon. Member behind me thinks. From time to time, as he is probably aware, very careful investigation has been made into this subject. I am by no means saying that it does not require careful watching. On the contrary, I think that in all those manufacturing questions we must watch carefully the cost of production. I have been giving personal attention to that subject at this moment, and I think we shall be able to satisfy the right hon. Gentleman that we are not unduly giving out stores to the trade which we could manufacture more economically ourselves.

(5.18.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 104; Noes, 171. (Division List No. 63.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.) Burns, John Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan
Allan, William (Gateshead) Caine, William Sproston Delaney, William
Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud Caldwell, James Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)
Abrnose, Robert Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles
Barlow, John Emmott Carew, James Laurence Dillon, John
Blake, Edward Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton Donelan, Captain A.
Boland, John Condon, Thomas Joseph Doogan, P. C.
Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Middlesex) Craig, Robert Hunter Edwards, Frank
Brumner, Sir John Tomlinson Crean, Eugene Emmott, Alfred
Bnrke, E. Haviland- Cullinan, J. Esmonde, Sir Thomas
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Lough, Thomas Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)
Farrell, James Patrick Lundon, W. Roche, John
Ffrench, Peter MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Runciman, Walter
Flynn, James Christopher M'Arthur, William (Cornwall) Schwann, Charles E.
Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) M'Hugh, Patrick A. Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)
Gilhooly, James M'Kean, John Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Hammond, John Murphy, John Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)
Hay, Hon. Claude George Nannetti, Joseph P. Soares, Ernest J.
Hayden, John Patrick Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R (Northants
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Strachey, Sir Edward
Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. O'Brien, Kend'l (Tipperary, Mid Sullivan, Donal
Healy, Timothy Michael O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Helme, Norval Watson O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)
Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Jacoby, Tames Alfred O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea O'Dowd, John White, Patrick (Meath, North
Jones, William (C'rnarvonshire O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)
Joyce, Michael O'Kelly, James (Roscommon,N. Whitley J. H. (Halifax)
Kennedy, Patrick James O'Mara, James Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Kinloch, Sir John Geo. Smyth O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Labouchere, Henry O'Shee, James John Young, Samuel
Lambert, George Pirie, Duncan V. Yoxall, James Henry
Leese, Sir Joseph F (Accrington Power, Patrick Joseph
Leigh, Sir Joseph Price, Robert John TELLERS FOR THE. AYES
Levy, Maurice Rea, Russell Captain Norton and Mr. Warner.
Lloyd-George, David Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Acland -Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Hozier, Hon. James HenryCecil
Agg-Gardner, James Tynte Disraeli, Coningshy Ralph Johnston, William (Belfast)
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop.
Allhusen, Augustus H'nry Eden Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Knowles, Lees
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Duke, Henry Edward Law, Andrew Bonar
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Dyke, Rt Hon Sir William Hart Lawson, John Grant
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareh'm
Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.) Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage
Bailey, James (Walworth) Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Bain, Colonel James Robert Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S)
Baldwin, Alfred Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Fisher, William Hayes Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent)
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W(Leeds) Fitzt Gerald, Sir Robt. Penrose- Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft
Banbury, Frederick George Flannery, Sir Fortescue Macartney, RtHn W. G. Ellison
Banes, Major George Edward Fletcher, Rt Hon. Sir Henry Macdona, John Cumming
Bartley, George C. T. Flower, Ernest M'Iver, SirLewis (Ediinburgh W
Beach, Rt Hn Sir Michael Hicks Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W Maple, Sir John Blundell
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Galloway, William Johnson Martin, Richard Biddulph
Blundell, Colonel Henry Gardner, Ernest Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Garfit, William Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)
Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn) Gibbs, Hn. A.G. H (City of Lond. Moore, William (Antrim, N.)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans) More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn Morgan, David. J (Walthamstow
Bullard, Sir Harry Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.) Myers, William Henry
Cavendish, V. C W. (Derbyshire Goschen, Hon. George Joachim Nicol, Donald Ninian
Chamberlain, Rt Hon. J. (Birm. Goulding, Edward Alfred Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Chamberlain. J. Austen (Worc'r Graham, Henry Robert Parker, Gilbert
Chapman, Edward Green, Walford D (Wednesbury Pease, Herb Pike (Darlington)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Greene, Sir E W (B'rySEdm'nds Percy, Earl
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Grenfell, William Henry Pierpoint, Robert
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Greville, Hon. Ronald Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready Hall, Edward Marshall Plummer, Walter R.
Compton, Lord Alwyne Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Hamilton, Rt Hn LordG (Midd'x Pretyman, Ernest George
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'rry Purvis, Robert
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Harris, Frederick Leverton Pym, C. Guy
Cripps, Charles Alfred Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Handles, John S.
Crossley, Sir Saville Higginbottom, S. W. Rasch, Major Frederic Garne
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Hoare, Sir Samuel Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Dairymple, Sir Charles Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E. Reid, James (Greenock)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Hope, J. F (Sheffield, Brightside Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)
Denny, Colonel Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham) Ridley, S. Forde (Bethnal Green
Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson Stanley, Lord (Lancs.) Williams, Rt Hn JPow'll-(Birm.
Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield) Stewart, Sir Mark J. M' Taggart Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Round, James Stroyan, John Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)
Russell, T. W. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford- Thorburn, Sir Walter Worsley- Taylor, Henry Wilson
Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse) Thornton, Percy M. Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart—
Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Tritton, Charles Ernest Wylie, Alexander
Seely, Maj. J. E. B (Isle of Wight Valentia, Viscount
Sharpe, William Edward T. Wallace, Robert
Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew) Wanklyn, James Leslie TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Simeon, Sir Barrington Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.) Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.) Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich) Whitmore, Charles Algernon

Original Question again proposed.

*(5.29.) SIR ARTHUR HAYTER (Walsall)

said he found the Estimates of £1,713,000 for guns and carriages showed a decrease as compared with the current year of £1,107,000; £2,088,000 for equipment stores, a decrease of £2,414,000; and £2,051,000 for ammunition, a decrease of £640,000. He could only suppose that these Estimates were framed in the belief that the war would be over in nine months. The news they had heard that day was not likely to give much confidence in the wisdom of taking the amount for this Vote for nine instead of twelve months. The question of harness and saddlery had been before the Public Accounts Committee last year, when a Report as to the prices given for saddlery and harness, submitted from the Comptroller and Auditor General, gave rise to considerable discussion. It appeared that there had been a want of inspectors and of storage room, and that the Government were obliged to hand over a large sum to the Rhodesian Horse to buy their own saddlery. In the same way, a large sum had been handed over to the Yeomanry Committee for the purchase of their saddlery. The result was that there was great competition in the saddlery market, and the price per set was raised from £6 9s. 6d. to £11. He wished to ask whether any additional storage had been found, and whether additional inspectors had been appointed both at home and abroad. Again, the Comptroller and Auditor General referred to the large purchases of stores that had been made at the Cape. He mentioned the sum of £29,880 for bandoliers, and £12,848 for water bottles, and remarked that the rates paid seemed largely in excess of the home prices. In conclusion, the Auditor General said that he had been informed that a special inquiry had from time to time been made, and that the Secretary of State for War pro, posed to deal with the question when the result of that inquiry had been placed before him. He (Sir Arthur Hayter) wanted to ask whether any decision had been arrived at as a remit of that inquiry, and whether a strict control was now kept over purchases made abroad, because it had never been the practice to make purchases abroad for these very large sums, always much in excess of the home prices.

* (5.35.) Silt JOHN COLONI13 (Great Yarmouth)

asked if the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War could give any information as to the reserve of guns and ammunition. Five years ago he had raised this point, but was asked to postpone pressing it, and promised that a statement would be subsequently made to the House. The right hon. Gentleman did make a statement to the House with reference to a new system of the War Office for creating a reserve supply Of guns and ammunition; but, practically, there had been no such reserve or even a standard fixed for a reserve of guns and ammunition. He had not been able to trace any sign of the expenditure necessary to create such a reserve. He wanted to know whether the figures in the Vote represented not only the cost of manufacture of guns and the production of ammunition for current needs, but for building up a reserve. Some things had come under his observation which made him think that they did not. He happened to be down at Woolwich last week, when lie found the cadets being drilled with obsolete guns. In regard to submarine mining, he wanted to know why it was that under sub-head E there was a charge of £45,000 for "boats and vessels," and under sub-head I another charge of £92,000 for "submarine mining (including vessels and repairs) and electric light." He asked this question because under the system of soldiers protecting naval bases they seemed to be setting up quite a series of little Admiralties under the War Office.

(5.40.) MR. MUNRO FERGUSON (Leith Burghs)

said that the Secretary of State for War had stated the other night that very satisfactory results had been obtained from the guns purchased in Germany, and that a Committee was inquiring into the whole matter of obsolete guns. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could say when the Committee was likely to report and whether the manufacture of the new guns was to be conducted at home or abroad.

MR. COCHRANE (Ayrshire, N.)

said that reference had been made to the lecture delivered in Scotland by the hon. Member for Haddingtonshire, in which he described the work of the Explosives Committee and stated that that Committee had invented a new powder. In listening to the speech of his right hon. friend the Secretary for War he also found that the right hon. Gentleman claimed that the Committee had invented a new powder; and he wished to ask the Secretary of War whether he could give any description of the new powder, or whether it was only a modified cordite. No one who knew anything of the subject would imagine that that was a new invention. It was only a modification in the manufacture of the cordite, and had been very well known and used abroad for some considerable time. He did not wish to take away any credit from the Explosives Committee, but he really wanted some information in regard to this new cordite. He further wanted to obtain some information as to the supply of ammunition to rifle clubs. Many excellent rifle clubs had been started in Scotland; one, in which he was particularly interested, had been founded by a brother of Colonel Thorneycroft, who had such a gallant record in South Africa. But Mr. Thorneycroft had not received much encouragement from the War Department. The club was told to apply for ammunition through the National Rifle Association, and then they found they would have to subscribe a guinea to the National Rifle Association, and having done so, they likewise found that they would have to pay £5 per 1,000 rounds, which they could have obtained from private dealers at £4 2s. 6d. The men in the locality of this rifle club were all miners and farmers, and took a deep interest in it, and any number were ready to join the club. The membership had, however, been restricted at first to fifty, and they had done all their shooting at their own expense. It had been agreed to increase the membership to 150, but there came in the difficulty as to the supply of rifles. At present they had only six rifles, which, of course, were insufficient for 150 men. If the right hon. Gentleman wanted to encourage these clubs, he should supply more rifles to them. According to report, any number of Mauser and other rifles had been captured in South Africa, and why should they not be distributed to the rifle-clubs?

* MR. JAMES HOPE (Sheffield, Brightside)

wished to ask whether the increase in the item for hydraulic power, under sub-head F, portended any greater activity at Woolwich Arsenal, contrary to the assurance given by the present Chief Secretary for Ireland two years since.

(5.45.) MR. O'MARA (Kilkenny, S.)

said he wished to call attention to the contracts for the supply of Maxim guns. Four years ago, a contract had been entered into with the firm of Vickers, Maxim & Co., for the supply of a large number of these guns at £105 apiece, while the same weapon could be produced at the Royal Ordnance Factories at £85 apiece. £20 was added as a contingency to allow the manufacturers to make a profit. At the present moment it happened that the War Office were paying £105 for Maxim guns, which the Government themselves could make at less than £50. That accentuated the point which had been already made, that at the present time the War Office were discharging men from Woolwich, although they could make guns at half the cost charged by the manufacturers. That required to be explained by the Secretary of State for War. He observed that the Comptroller and Auditor General pointed out to the Secretary of State that very excessive prices had been paid for guns, and that after full inquiry the Secretary of State allowed the agreement to continue for its full term without modification. He wished to know what the full consideration was which was given to the question, and why the right hon. Gentleman did not endeavour to modify the contract, or, if it were not modified, why guns were still being purchased from the contractors instead of being made at the Government Ordnance Factory. He noticed that 205 guns had been delivered by the manufacturers during the two years ended March, 1901, apart from 180 guns supplied to the Navy. He also wished to know how many guns had been ordered from the contractors during the present year. He desired further to direct attention to the refusal of the Secretary of State to lay before the Committee the Report of the proceedings at the Court of Inquiry held in South Africa. An enormous sum, amounting to £638,000, was spent in South Africa on articles which could have been shipped from England, and the Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General stated with reference to it— In these instances no contract appeared to have been entered into, and no certificate that the prices were fair and reasonable was given,on the bill voucher. The Comptroller and Auditor General brought the matter to the notice of the Secretary of State, and was informed that a special inquiry had for some time been in progress with regard to the local expenditure, and that the Secretary of State proposed to deal with the question raised when the results of the inquiry had been before him. Those results had been in the right hon. Gentleman's possession for some time, and yet the Committee was now asked to vote money without the information which the Secretary of State had. He did not think that that was fair, and he trusted before the report stage was reached that a Paper would be circulated, dealing in full with the Report of the Committee which had inquired into the jobbery that had taken place at Cape Town. He begged to move the reduction of sub-head B by £50, 000.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That Item B (Guns and Carriages) be reduced by £50,000."—(Mr. O'Mara.)


said he had consulted the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the War Office as to what the words "ordnance stores" meant, and the noble Lord was unable to inform him. His own view was that guns and carriages were ordnance stores. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would inform him. If guns and carriages were not ordnance stores, he would sit down; but if they were, as he believed they were, he would proceed. The point he wished to direct attention to was that it had transpired that something approaching £1,000,000 sterling had been spent in South Africa on ordnance stores—an entirely unusual proceeding. The Comptroller and Auditor General thereupon entered into correspondence with the War Office, and pointed out that sums had been spent in South Africa on ordnance stores which included not only guns and carriages but also requirements of other kinds. He could not understand why ordnance stores should ever have been ordered in South Africa at all. Undoubtedly very serious scandals had arisen in connection with those purchases, which had been inquired into by a Committee in South Africa, which had reported. He understood that there was also another Committee under the chairmanship of Sir Reginald Gibbs sitting at the War Office on the same subject, and it was in regard to that Committee he should like to have information. This was the time and place to receive information. It was no use for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War to say that it was a confidential Committee which was only to report to him. The Committee was entitled to such information as the right hon. Gentleman possessed with regard to expenditure on warlike stores in South Africa, including the Report of the South African Committee and also the Report of Sir Reginald Gibbs' Committee. The Comptroller and Auditor General had only alluded to a small portion of the amount spent. What he was speaking of was a sum of £600,000, plus £200,000 for ordnance stores. Whether it was spent on guns or carriages he did not know, but they were entitled to have some information. There was a very large expenditure in 1901, probably it was going on in 1902, and conceivably it might be continued in 1903; and if it went on at the same rate, over two millions would have been spent in stores which could have been furnished from Woolwich or from a contractor in this country. He did not complain of the purchase of ordnance stores in South Africa, but the right hon. Gentleman would not deny that the very gravest suspicion and the very gravest abuses had arisen in connection with the matter. The right hon. Gentleman had appointed a Committee in South Africa, which had reported; he had another Secret Committee sitting at the War Office, and under these circumstances the right hon. Gentleman was bound to tell the Committee whether the expenditure on ordnance stores outside this country was still continued, and secondly, what explanation he had to give as to the alleged scandals which had arisen. He thought the right hon. Gentleman should inform the Committee as to the effect of the Report of the Committee which had sat in South Africa.

(5.58.) MR. BRODRICK

said he would clear up the subject at once. His hon. friend was mistaken in thinking that a Committee had sat in South Africa in regard to those purchases. What actually happened, he understood, was that during the year 1900, and the beginning of 1901, very large purchases of saddlery, and other items of that description, were made by ordnance officers at Cape Town, in accordance with the requirements of Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener. It was possible, when 30,000 or 40,000 local troops were to be armed in two or three months, that there should be items which were deficient. As his hon. friend had said. the expenditure was very large, and attention being called to it, Lord Kitchener looked into its history, he thought, in connection with a general scheme for distributing ordnance stores. It was obvious that during the campaign, with supplying depots at Cape Town and Bloemfontein and elsewhere, the whole scheme became one of great magnitude and great complexity, and one which Lord Kitchener decided required re-organisation. He, therefore, despatched his financial adviser to report on it. Communications had passed between Lord Kitchener and himself on the subject, and as there were certain points upon which, it appeared to him, information was required, he had appointed a War Office Committee to report on them. He had no desire to have any concealment about these matters, but he must guard himself. It was obvious that if the business of the War Office was to be properly conducted the Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of State must have the power of asking officers to make investigations without being bound to publish everything brought out in their reports. He could not undertake to present the Report which had been alluded to in the House. The Report only reached him a few days ago, and he had not yet been able to make a thorough investigation of it. All he could say was that the Report was very different from what had been suggested. It was practically a statement that there was no suspicion of fraud on the part of any officer in connection with the matter, that, on the whole, the best system had been pursued, and that the troops had been properly supplied, and generally it cleared his mind of any suspicions he might have had. He could not go beyond that now, but he would undertake that the whole question should be completely threshed out. An opportunity would occur on the Vote for his salary, and on that he would make a statement and give the fullest information in his power to the Committee. He was fully sensible of the fact that it was necessary that no doubt should be left in the mind of the Committee as to what had been done.


said he did not suggest that there had been fraud on the part of any officer, but on the part of the contractors.


agreed that that was so. There was one other point with which he wanted to deal. The hon. Member for Ayrshire had spoken very warmly and sympathetically with regard to the supply of rifles to Rifle Clubs. The Government was quite as sympathetic as the hon. Gentleman, but he explained that the calls on the stores of rifles. were very numerous, and the War Office were obliged to be very careful not to deplete the stores too much; but he thought it was possible that as time went on they might be able to deal more successfully with these Rifle Clubs. With regard to the question of field artillery, although the Expert Committee had made a great number of experiments, they had not yet advised as to a new type of gun. This was in itself a matter of such importance that he thought it would he unwise to change the present type of gun before very definite advice was obtained from the Committee. The object was to get a gun with a longer range and which was a quicker firer, and both these advantages were present to a certain degree in the guns obtained from Germany.


asked why the Volunteers had not yet been supplied with the 4.7 in. gun, and pointed out that nothing had been said with regard to the reduction in the manufacture of heavy guns.

MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)

thought it would be convenient if the right hon. Gentleman would say a word as to what was being done at Woolwich with reference to the manufacture of guns.


replied that with regard to the manufacture of heavy guns at Woolwich, the Government had no intention of departing from the pledge given by the Secretary of State two years ago. Although 4.7 in. guns had not yet been issued, it was hoped that by the end of the year thirty batteries would be in the hands of Volunteers.

*(6.6.) SIR HENRY FLETCHER (Sussex, Lewes)

was glad to hear that the case of the Volunteer Rifle Clubs had been taken up. It was a matter in which he took the deepest interest, and he thought it would be satisfactory to the Committee, and also to the country at large, to know that the progress of Rifle Clubs was increasing most rapidly. They had now affiliated with the National Rifle Association, of which he was the Chair-clubs. It was one of the conditions the Chancellor of the Exchequer laid clown that the Rifle Clubs should be affiliated with some association already formed and in progress. He might also inform the Committee and his right hon. friend that since Mr. Astor's munificent gift of 10,000 guineas, which had been placed in the hands of himself and a few friends as trustees, to promote the formation of these Rifle Clubs, letters were pouring in to the extent of something like fifty a week from proposed Rifle Clubs, in the hope that they might be formed on the lines laid down. They needed rifles, and he hoped his right hon. friend would see his way to grant a further issue to Rifle Clubs, which, he felt satisfied from his long experience, would be of the greatest benefit to the country in promoting good shooting.

* MR. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)

said the right hon. Gentleman had entirely ignored the question which had,been put to him by the hon. Member for South Kilkenny. What he wanted to know was why the Government were dismissing men from the arsenals, and at the same time giving out orders to private firms for the manufacture of these guns at £105 apiece, when the same thing could be produced in the arsenals at less than half the price—£50. It was, he contended, part of a deliberate system which the Government were pursuing. Though they could manufacture these guns, and other articles, as he could show, at half the price, yet they were giving the work to outside contractors. It was a perfect scandal that the taxpayer should be compelled to pay £105 for a Maxim gun which could be manufactured by the Government for £50. They were entitled to ask the right lion. Gentleman to give some answer to the charges that had been made against the Government.

* (6.12.) LORD STANLEY

The answer is very simple; this gun is a patent belonging to Vickers-Maxim. It is their patent, and nobody but themselves could manufacture:t. We, however, came to an understanding that they should make guns for us at a certain rate, and that we should use their patterns in our factories. That was made on a three years contract, which has now practically expired. Of course, when you are dealing with a patent, you have to pay rather more than you would have if it was open to all the world to manufacture the article, and in this case we have to pay rather more than the gun's value, but at the same time we had also in this case the permission to manufacture, which was of very great value to us, in our own arsenals. That agreement is now coming to an end, and we are now in negotiation and hope to obtain future guns at a much lower rate.


said the answer had not yet been given. If the Government had the power to manufacture in their own arsenals, why did they not manufacture these guns instead of driving away their own men?

MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)

said he did not consider that the explanation of the noble Lord was in the least adequate to the case which had been brought against the Government. The Committee would see that in his report the Comptroller General had himself protested against this expenditure. He would like to know how many guns had been obtained at a price of £105, and how many similar guns had been produced at the Government arsenals for £50 each. Could the noble Lord give the terms of

the agreement? Were the Government obliged to send to the contractors an equal number at 100 per cent. profit to the number made in their own ordnance factories? The statement of the Comptroller and Auditor General was a very serious one, and unless a more satisfactory explanation were given, he hoped the Motion would be pressed to a division as a protest against such an expenditure of money.

(6.16.) MR. O'MARA

did not consider the statement of the noble Lord at all satisfactory, and he pressed for some further explanation as to why the Government were paying £105 for guns which the Comptroller and Auditor General said could be bought for £50. How many such guns were obtained from the contractors last year? He considered it was a case of scandalous jobbery that guns which could be made at £50 apiece in the ordnance factories should be bought at £105 each from contractors. and unless a more satisfactory reply was forthcoming he should certainly divide the Committee on his Motion.

(6.18.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 107; Noes, 202. (Division List No. 64.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Emmott, Alfred Levy, Maurice
Allan, William (Gateshead) Esmonde, Sir Thomas Lloyd-George, David
Ambrose, Robert Farquharson, Dr. Robert Lundon, W.
Asquith,Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Farrell, James Patrick Mac Neill, John Gordon Swift
Atherly Jones, L. Fenwick, Charles MacVeagh, Jeremiah
Blake, Edward Ffrench, Peter M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Boland, John Flynn, James Christopher M'Kean, John
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.) Mansfield, Horace Rendall
Bryce, Rt. Hon. James Gilhooly, James Markham, Arthur Basil
Burke, E. Haviland- Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John Moulton, John Fletcher
Caine, William Sproston Grant, Corrie Murphy, John
Caldwell, James Hammond, John Nannetti, Joseph P.
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) Hayden, John Patrick Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Hayne, Rt Hon. Charles Seale- O'Brien, James F. X.. (Cork)
Carew, James Lawrence Hayter,Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'y Mid.
Causton, Richard Knight Healy, Timothy Michael O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)
Channing, Francis Allston Helme, Norval Watson O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Craig, Robert Hunter Jones, William (Carnarvonsh. G'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Crean, Eugene Joyce, Michael O'Dowd, John
Cullinan, J. Kearley, Hudson E. O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Delany, William Kennedy, Patrick James O'Kelly, J. (Roscommon, N.)
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Kinloch,Sir John George Smyth O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Dillon, John Labouchere, Henry O'Shee, James John
Donelan, Captain A. Lambert, George Perks, Robert William
Doogan, P. C. Leese, Sir JosephF. (Accrington Pirie, Duncan V.
Edwards, Frank, Leigh, Sir Joseph Power, Patrick Joseph
Price, Robert John Soares, Ernest J. Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)
Priestley, Arthur Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R. (Northants Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Rea, Russell Sullivan, Donal Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries Tennant, Harold John Young, Samuel
Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr Yoxall, James Henry
Robertson, Edmund (Dundee) Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings
Roche, John Thomson, F. W. (York, W.R.)
Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.) Trevelyan, Charles Philips TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Wason, Engene (Clackmannan) Mr. O'Mara and Mr. Whitley.
Sinclair, John (Forfarshire) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F. Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Maple, Sir John Blundell
Agg Gardner, James Tynte Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r Martin, Richard Biddulph
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Finch, George H. Maxwell, WJH (Dumfriesshire
Allen,Charles P. (Glouc, Stroud Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Melville, Beresford Valentine
Allhusen, Augustus Hy. Eden Firbank, Joseph Thomas Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Fisher, William Hayes Moon, Edward Robert Pacy
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Fison, Frederick William Moore, William (Antrim N.)
Austin, Sir John FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)
Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy Flannery, Sir Fortescue Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)
Bailey. James (Walworth) Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Morrell, George Herbert
Bain, Colonel James Robert Galloway, William Johnson Morton, Arthur H A. (Deptford)
Balwin, Alfred Clara, William Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r Gibbs, Hn. AGH. (City of Lond. Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)
Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick Myers, William Henry
Banbury, Frederick George Gordon, Hn J E. (Elgin & Nairn) Nicol, Donald Ninian
Banes, Major George Edward Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S. Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay
Bartley. George C. T. Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'ml'ts Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)
Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks Goulding, Edward Alfred Parker, Gilbert
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Graham, Henry Robert Pease, Herbt. Pike (Darlington)
Bignold, Arthur Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Peel, Hn Wm. Robert Wellesley
Bigwood, James Green, Walford D (Wednesbury Pierpoint, Robert
Blundell, Colonel Henry Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed. Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Greville, Hon. Roland Plummer, Walter R.
Bowles, T Gibson, (King's Lynn Hall, Edward Marshall Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F. Pretyman, Ernest George
Brookfield, Colonel Montagu Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Mid'x. Purvis, Robert
Bull, William James Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry Pym, C. Guy
Bullard, Sir Harry Hardy,Laurence (K'nt, Ashford Randles, John S.
Campbell, Rt Hon J A. (Glasgow Harris, Frederick Leverton Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Hay, Hon. Claude George Reid, James (Greenock)
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derb'shire Henderson, Alexander Renshaw, Charles Bine
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Higginbottom, S. W. Ridley, S. F. (Bethnal Green)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hoare Sir Samuel Ritchie, Rt Hn. Chas. Thomson
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, E. Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Chamberlain Rt. Hon J. (Birm Hogg, Lindsay Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Royds, Clement Molyneux
Chapman, Edward Houston, Robert Paterson Runciman, Walter
Charrington, Spencer Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham) Russell, T. W.
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Sackville Col. S. G. Stopford
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hudson, George Bickersteth Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Johnston, William (Belfast) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Compton, Lord Alwyne Jones, David Brynmor (Sw'nsea Seely, Maj. J. EB. (IsleofWight)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Knowles, Lees Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Cripps, Charles Alfred Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Simth, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Lawson, John Grant Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Dairymple, Sir Charles Lee, Arthur E (Hants., Fareham Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan Lockwood, Lt. -Col. A. R. Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.
Denny, Colonel Long, Rt Hn. Walter (Bristol, S) Strachey, Sir Edward
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stroyan, John
Dixon- Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Lowe, Francis William Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Douglas, Rt. Hon A. Akers. Loyd, Archie Kirkham Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Duke, Henry Edward Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft) Thorburn, Sir Walter
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart Macartney, RtHn. W G. Ellison Thornton, Percy M.
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Macdona, John Cumming Tritton, Charles Ernest
Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Tufnell, Lieut. -Col. Edward
Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.) M'Iver, SirLewis (Edinburgh W Tuke, Sir John Batty
Valentia, Viscount Whitmore, Charles Algernon Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Wanklyn, James Leslie Williams, Rt Hn J Powell- (Birm Wylie, Alexander
Warde, Colonel C. E. Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Welby, Sir Charles G E. (Notts.) Wodehouse. Rt. Hn. E R (Bath) Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd Worsley-Taylor, Hy. Wilson

Original Question:again proposed.


said he thought this was the proper time to bring up the question of rifles. He saw that in the Vote under consideration there was a slight increase, but unless there was a much greater increase provided for, he thought the supply would be insufficient. Last year they were desperately short of rifles. Hon. Members would remember that when the Reserve Regiments were formed they were without rifles for nearly four months, and last year many of the embodied Militia were still using worn-out rifles. Many of the rifles used not only by the embodied Militia but also by the Regulars last year were distinctly worn out, and were now gradually being replaced. He did not think that there was sufficient excess provided for in this Vote to supply the Volunteers and Rifle Clubs. There was another point to be considered. The Indian Army would shortly require a large number of rifles, and a large reserve would be necessary to meet that demand. He was sure this Vote was totally inadequate in this respect. The Volunteers required new rifles and it was no use giving a Club six rifles to train fifty men with. He begged to move a reduction of the Vote by £100.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item C (Ammunition) be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Courtenay Warner.)


said he thought it was understood that the question of ammunition had been postponed.


said that under the circumstances he would not move.


Perhaps I shall be able to satisfy the hon. Member without moving. We are going to take this year every single rifle that the ordnance factory and the trade can give us.


called attention to the question of the change in the Government cordite, which he said was of intense importance, not only on account of the quality of the ammunition itself, but of the very disastrous and discreditable story attached to it. In his opinion the War Office practically stole Dr. Nobel's invention, and so disfigured it as to make it unrecognisable and very much worse ammunition than it was before. He understood that the change to be introduced in the manufacture of cordite, was simply a reversion to the method of Dr. Nobel, being not a change in the materials, but in the proportions in which the materials were used. He believed that the change was a good one, because the original form adopted by the War Office was an extremely bad one, for it eroded the guns to such an extent as to be quite alarming. Therefore, he thought a change to cause less erosion was a proper one. He should like some information from those who were competent to give it as to the real change which had been made in regard to cordite ammunition.


I am afraid that such an expression as "discreditable," which has been used by the hon. Member for King's Lynn, might be misleading to the Committee. I deny that anything discreditable has occurred. Of course in the early stages of the cordite question there was a discussion as to whose the invention was, and this was made the subject, at all events, of one or two actions. The question has been tried in the Law Courts and the position of the War Office made perfectly clear. What has happened more recently is that the Explosives Committee have found a modification of cordite which causes less erosion than the old cordite. I must sly, however, that that cordite ought not to have its reputation taken away. It has been a very good friend to this country. I cannot allow the War Office or the Explosives Committee to lie under the imputation of having committed a fraud on anybody by the course that has been taken.


said his right hon. friend had not answered the point which he had raised. The right hon. Gentleman, on the Army Estimates, echoed a statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Haddington in the country—that the Explosives Committee had invented a new powder. Modified cordite was no new invention whatever, but merely an alteration of the proportions, bringing them back to exactly the same as the invention of Dr. Nobel, the only difference between the Government cordite and the ballistite of Dr. Nobel being as to the process. In one case it was described as soluble, and in the other as insoluble.

*(6.40.) MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)

said that as his name had been brought in, perhaps a word or two from him would be right. There was a somewhat condensed and efflorescent account of what he said of this new powder at a harmless village lecture, written by a reporter who was not present at the meeting, and the matter was very much inflated subsequently. He did not claim for the Explosives Committee that they had made any wonderful invention whatever, but a very considerable modification of cordite had been adopted, a fact which had already been announced. As to the claims of inventors in an article like cordite or ballistite, it was very difficult to say whose invention it was. The Courts of Law had ruled that the Government cordite was altogether outside the Nobel and the Maxim patents. The great difference between the two was that the Government stuff was not so liable to erode, and was more highly nitrated than the other and was excluded from the Nobel patent. As to the question of the proportions of nitro-glycerine to nitro-cellulose, there was no secret in theoretically fixing upon any particular proportion, for everybody had tried it, and it was wholly a matter of experience. What had taken place was that the Government, following the advice of the Explosives Committee and other experts, had made a very considerable modification in the proportions of cordite, which they believed would have extremely good results in lengthening the life of our guns by reducing erosion. Foreign Governments had made similar modifications. A series of observations, much more minute and detailed than any experiments which had before been entered upon, had been carried out by the Explosives Committee, and this had proved to be a better powder than any other they had used up to the present. Certainly the Government was absolutely free from infringing anybody's invention, and the Government cordite was outside any patent which had been in existence for many years. He thought it was a little beside the point to revive the old cordite controversy of 1890 over the old Nobel patent and make such a fuss about the matter. What had been done had been done perfectly openly, and with the knowledge which had been acquired since that time, and so far as his own judgment went the Government were absolutely free from any infringements.


Then it is not a new invention?


Anything that is new and has not been used before is a new invention. The patent in controversy in express terms excluded the kind of nitro-cellulose, which the Government used.

*(6.46.) Sin CHARLES DILKE

said he had started this question, and he did not know whether he would be allowed to cross-examine the learned Gentleman who had just spoken. As the Committee would remember, he said that it would probably be preferable to put the Question when the Navy Vote was brought forward. He asked whether the learned Gentleman could give any information as to the bulk of the powder. The difficulty in changing the larger guns, if the bulk of the powder was greatly changed, would be enormous.


said he had already gone at possibly too great length into the question whether they had taken somebody else's invention. He thought he would be travelling altogether beyond the limits of propriety if he ventured to express an opinion on the question now raised.


Perhaps the Secretary to the Admiralty will tell us anything he properly can.


stated that the noble Lord the Financial Secretary to the War Office had told the committee that they were taking every rifle the arsenals and the contractors could supply. What he wanted to know was whether expansion at Woolwich Arsenal was going on so as to extend the power of manufacturing rifles.


We are making all the expansion we can.


asked what was to be the increased power of producing rifles this year at Woolwich, as opposed to the contracts. It was important that the arsenals should be in a position to increase the output considerably. If the noble Lord would tell the Committee the amount of money that was to be spent on the arsenals it would give them some confidence.


We have been working the arsenals and the trade up to their full power during the last two and a half years.


said that was a most unsatisfactory answer. The Committee had no assurance that fresh machinery was being laid down to increase the output of the arsenals. It did not matter whether they got 100,000 more or less from the contractors. He moved to reduce the vote £100 because there was no assurance as to increasing the power of output.


asked whether the Committee which was inquiring into the Metford and Lee Enfield rifles would also investigate the qualities of the Krag-Jorgensen rifles. It was a Swedish weapon and was free from certain defects which were in our own rifles with respect to the magazine and the sighting.


The Committee have made certain suggestions. Experiments are at the present moment being carried out, and. he was glad to say, most successfully in the direction which the hon. Member indicates. Only a little alteration in the present rifle will be necessitated in order to secure the desired improvements.

(6.54.) MR. SETON-KARR (St. Helens)

said he wished to know whether the question of loading was being carefully considered. There was another point, with regard to the length of the rifle upon which he desired information. It was said that the new rifle would be slightly shorter. His right hon. friend the Secretary for War was, of course, perfectly well aware that that was a very important matter, because if cordite powder was used with a shorter rifle the range must be reduced. He should like to know whether any new powder had been invented which would give the shorter rifle the same range as the longer rifle. If the cavalry were to be armed with a rifle instead of a carbine, he took it that the cutting off from the length was a very important matter. He was quite aware that it might not be in the power of the right hon. Gentleman to answer these questions in detail, but he should like an assurance that the various points were being considered. One of the worst defects of the small bore rifle was that it was liable to fall open when carried. There was also an immense waste of ammunition in loading. He had not been able to understand why there should he a cutting off. He was inclined to think that our Lee Enfield was one of the worst arms at present in use in the various armies of the world. The importance of the rifle had been emphasised in the South African war, and the Committee who were inquiring into the question should carefully consider the points he had mentioned.

(6.58.) LORD ALWYNE COMPTON (Bedfordshire, Biggleswade)

asked how it was that the Estimate for carbines and pistols, which was £10,000 for the current year, had suddenly jumped up to-£57,000.


It arises entirely because we are going to arm the field artillery with revolvers. With regard to the question of my hon. friend the Member for St. Helens, I am sure lie and the Committee will understand that the investigation we are making at present with respect to the rifle must be kept confidential. At the same time I can tell the Committee that there are three things which are being thought of in particular in connection with the rifle, namely, lightness, sighting, acid loading. We hope to get all these things perfectly arranged. Nothing that we shall allow to be done to the rifle shall in any way detract from its present range.


asked whether the War Office would not introduce a perfectly new and improved rifle.


At present the rifle in use will fulfil all our requirements.


asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed.

* (7.0.) MR. NANNETTI

said that there was a sum under sub-head F of £790,000 for Miscellaneous Services. What did that mean? Was it for the purpose of establishing factories for manufacturing goods for the War Department? Then, under sub-head G there was a sum of £806,000 for harness and saddlery. He wanted to know if that was for work done in the Government's own stores or for contract work? He wanted to know did the Government utilise to the full their existing workshops for manufacturing purposes? He was aware that at the present moment in one barrack in Ireland there was a workshop capable of accommodating thirty workmen in the saddlery and harness department, and yet only six were employed, and these simply on repairs. Why did not the Government utilise all their stores and workshops instead of letting the work out on contract to be done by foreigners at sweating wages? He also wanted to know how much of this money went to Ireland. They in Ireland were compelled to pay their share for the upkeep of the Army; and it was but fair that work required for the Army in Ireland should be done in that country. The Duke of Connaught the other day had stated that a great deal of this sort of work could be done in Ireland more satisfactorily to the State and to the benefit of 'Ireland. In order to obtain some definite information on these points, he would move to reduce the Vote on Item G by the sum of £100.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item G (Equipment Stores) be reduced by £100."—(Mr. Nannetti.)


said he wished to ask a question on Item D. The right hon. Gentleman had said the other day that the War Office had not made up its mind as to whether the Imperial Yeomanry were to be armed with the pistol or not. Properly used, he believed the pistol was a most effective weapon at short range. He himself had seen in another country the pistol used a great deal, and it was extraordinary what an efficient weapon it could be made if the men were trained in its use. Had his right hon. friend made up his mind on this point? For his own part, he thought the cavalry should be armed both with the rifle and pistol.


said that all this question was under discussion at the present moment, and it would be impossible to give any definite promise now on the subject.


asked whether under "Miscellaneous Services" anything was taken for coals. He noticed that the Cape Government had been paying from £2 6s. 10d. to £2 16s. 10d. per ton for coals.


said that that came on under another Vote.

*(7.8.) COLONEL LEGGE (St. George's, Hanover Square)

said that in connection with the item of harness and saddlery there was a matter to which he wished to draw attention, viz., the weight carried by cavalry horses. It was stated a year ago that the light cavalry horse carried 18 stone 10 lbs., and the heavy cavalry 20 stone 4 lbs., and that the matter was receiving the careful consideration of the War Office. Had any final decision been come to in regard to the question?


said that no definite decision had yet been arrived at, except that every possible means had been taken in South Africa to lighten the weight to be carried by the cavalry horses. He quite admitted that the weights mentioned seemed excessive, and it was hoped that some means would be adopted for lightening them in the future. As to the question raised by the hon. Member for College Green Division of Dublin, all contracts were put out and tenders asked for, and, all other things being equal, the lowest tender was accepted. If Irish manufacturers put in a lower tender than English they would get the contract.


said that in connection with the supply of accoutrements, harness, and saddlery, he would draw the attention of the Secretary for, War to the fact that the Comptroller and Auditor General complained that no less a sum than £1,800,000 had been advanced to the British South African Company; as agents for the War Office, for the provision of arms, stores, etc., in connection with the Rhodesian Field Force, I and that no accounts of the receipt and issue of the stores have been supplied to his Department for verification. What steps had the right hon. Gentleman taken to protect the public interest in this matter?


said that the Rhodesian Field Force was raised as a special force at a time of great emergency, and the British South African Company; were used as War Office agents because of their great local knowledge as to the proper equipment and provision for such a force. The War Office were pressed for all the accounts of the expenditure, and the whole facts would be laid before the Public Accounts Committee.


said that as this Vote covered accoutrements he should like to know if there; was now any settled form of pack. He wished to know if they were still sending out the Militiamen with packs different to the Regulars. The Militia Reserves were sent out with packs different to the rest of the regiment, and this caused the greatest inconvenience to the men.


I think these questions ought to be dealt with by the Public Accounts Committee, and I am prepared to have everything ready to lay before that Committee. I hope the Committee will agree that the Committee specially appointed for this purpose shall be allowed an opportunity of looking into these facts, and then that Committee could lay their opinion and their impressions before hon. Members for the House to deal with.


said his hon. friend the Member for the College Green Division of Dublin had brought a very important matter before the House when he inquired what proportion of this money was spent in Ireland. He wished to know from the noble Lord whether it was not a fact that of this £2,088,000, the saddlery and accoutrements were manufactured by Jewish firms and sweaters who did not pay their employees the Trades Union rate of wages. Although he would like to see the money spent in Ireland, he did not expect the War Office to give contracts to Irish firms at a higher rate than to English firms. He wished to know what opportunities were given to saddlery and harness firms in Ireland to tender, and what papers in Ireland were the War Office specifications published in? He would like the Secretary of State for War to give a promise to publish in one of the leading Irish newspapers the specifications inviting tenders for saddlery and harness. At the present time there was a large tanning business carried on in Ireland, and Irish manufacturers could tender as cheaply, if not cheaper, than English firms. He wished to obtain a definite pledge that these specifications in the future would be advertised in an Irish newspaper. At the beginning of the war saddlery was purchased in the Colonies at £11 a set, whereas the War Office was now able to obtain them at £6 9s. 6d. He trusted that the Government would not continue to purchase saddlery at £11 from the Colonies when they could get the same article at home for £6 9s. 6d.

*(7.21.) MR. NANNETTI

said lie was not disposed to put the House to the inconvenience of a division after the debate which had taken place. If the noble Lord would promise to advertise the specifications in the Irish papers, he would ask leave to withdraw his Amendment.


I think the hon. Member will find that these things are advertised in Ireland. I will undertake to inquire into the matter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed.

(7.23.) MR. BRODRICK

I understand that it is necessary to take the Excess Vote before the end of the financial year. This question can be discussed upon a subsequent Vote. My suggestion is that we should take this Excess Vote to-night, it being understood that a discussion shall take place on the Vote for Transport and Remounts.


said the right hon. Gentleman had stated that it was necessary to take this Excess Vote before the end of the financial year. He denied that—


Order, order! It is out of order to discuss the Excess Vote at this stage.


I think the procedure which the right hon. Gentleman has suggested is rather an unusual and unprecedented one, and I am not sure that there is any precedent for it at all. I never heard before of the House being asked to pass an Excess Vote with a sort of understanding that on some particular Vote in the Estimates a discussion should occur. That is a very different thing from an agreement to discuss the whole Army question generally on such a Vote as the Vote for Provisions. This seems to me to be an extraordinary course to pursue.


My desire is only to adopt what is the most convenient practice to enable the House to pass this Excess Vote before the end of the financial year. If it is understood that a discussion will be allowed to take place upon this matter, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would be willing to allow this matter to go through.


pointed out that the Excess Vote related to a great many subjects, and that might make the questions they wished to discuss irrelevant to the Vote for Transport and Remounts. He might say that as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee they had not yet discussed this question at all.


said there was an item paid to the British South Africa Company which would not occur in any subsequent year, and therefore any Chairman would be perfectly right in ruling them out of order in raising that matter on Estimates for the subsequent year. He did not think they should allow the Vote to pass in this way.


said there was one other point about torpedoes which was a very serious matter. There was an item on page 62 of £13,000 for Brennan torpedoes. He wished to know why £13,000 was put down in the Estimate for Brennan torpedoes, although for a year past the War Office had ceased to manufacture them altogether. The War Office no longer manufactured Brennan torpedoes, and therefore this £13,000 must be merely for the repair of those which existed, and for their modification. The fact was that the Government had given up the Brennan torpedo because it was dangerous to those who used it. When the Brennan torpedo was started in the water, no human being knew what it was going to do. If the War Office had not come to that conclusion, why had they given up the manufacture of these torpedoes? They gave up the manufacture of them in 1900, and refused to give any information with regard to their manufacture. In the Estimates now there was only a lump sum a £20,000 for repairs. He wanted the right hon. Gentleman to make a clean breast of the matter. There was only one place on the coast where these torpedoes were of any use and that was the narrow channel between Hurst Castle and the Isle of Wight, and even there they were less useful than dangerous.


defended the Brennan torpedo, which he had seen used with absolute accuracy and destructive effect by a man who had never touched one before. It was a formidable weapon. The Navy, he believed, would be heartily sorry if the secret of the Brennan torpedo, which had been rigidly kept, became known to any foreign Power. A sufficient number had been manufactured for the installation of the system, and in this Vote no provision was therefore taken for fresh manufacture

(7.35.) MR. WILLIAM ALLAN (Gateshead)

asked at what range the Brennan torpedo was an effective weapon.


said that everything connected with the torpedo was a secret, and no information would be allowed to leak out.

MR. O'SHEE (Waterford, W.)

raised the question of the treatment in prison in South Africa of the Boer Commandants, one of whom had already been shot. He believed another was about to be shot, and he was anxious that the Secretary of State should give some satisfactory statement to the Committee as to the treatment of the Boer Commandants in prison.


Order, Order! I This is not a Vote for prisons. This is Ordnance.


submitted that he was in order in asking what was the nature of the prison stores dealt with under the Vote. He was dealing with Item 8, page 2. He simply desired to ask what these

ores were and how they were used. He submitted he was perfectly in order in asking as to these.


The hon. Gentleman must not allude to prisoners, though he may allude to the stores.


submitted that he was entitled to ask questions as to the treatment of the prisoners, but said he would bow to the ruling of the Chairman. In his opinion, some explanation with regard to the matter should be forth-coming. No one connected with the War Office had given any explanation whatever with regard to this sum of £200,000. He also drew attention to the sum of £92,000 in connection with submarine mines, and expressed the opinion that the item should be properly explained. He assumed that it had nothing to do with submarine boats, and that being so, some explanation ought to be given with regard to the increase of £14,000. Of course, that increase was easily accounted for if submarine mines were included in this Vote.


called attention to the item of £9,000 for balloons, which he thought had been of little use in South Africa. He noticed that the sum voted in other years for this purpose had been largely exceeded, and he wished to know what had been the experience in South Africa as to the utility of these balloons. He further drew attention to the discovery of a new explosive, but pointed out that very little had been said as to in what respect it was better than the old. He hoped some explanations would be given on both these points.

(7.43.) Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 241; Noes, 51. (Division List No. 65.)

Acland-Hood,Capt. Sir Alex. F. Austin, Sir John Beach, Rt Hn. Sir Michael Hicks
Agg-Gardner,.James Tynte Bailey, James (Walworth) Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Bain, Colonel James Robert Bignold, Arthur
Allan, William (Gateshead) Baird, John George Alexander Bigwood, James
Allen,CharlesP. (Gloue., Stroud Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch' r Blundell, Colonel Henry
Anson, Sir William Reynell Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Bolton, Thomas Dolling
Archdale, Edward Mervyn Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.) Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn
Asquith, Rt. Hn. HerbertHenry Banes, Major George Edward Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin Brookfield, Colonel Montagu
Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson Harris, Frederick Leverton Priestley, Arthur
Bull, William James Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo. Purvis, Robert
Bullard, Sir Harry Hay, Hon. Claude George Pym, C. Guy
Butcher, John George Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale- Randles, John S.
Caldwell, James Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. Rasch, Major Frederic Carne
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Helme, Norval Watson Rattigan, Sir William Henry
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Henderson, Alexander Rea, Russell
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.) Higginbottom, S. W. Reid, James (Greenock)
Cavendish, V. C. W (D'rbyshire Hogg, Lindsay Renshaw, Charles Bine
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Holland, William Henry Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hope,. J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Houston, Robert Paterson Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm. Howard, J. (Midd., Tottenham) Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)
Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r Hozier, Hon. Jame S Henry Cecil Rolleston, Sir John F. L.
Channing, Francis Allston Hudson, George Bickersteth Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Chapman, Edward Johnston, William (Belfast) Royds, Clement Molyneux
Charrington, Spencer Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex) Runciman, Walter
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Kearley, Hudson E. Russell, T. W.
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Keswick, William
Colonm, Sir John Charles Ready Kinloch, Sir John GeorgeSmyth Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-
Compton, Lord Alwyne Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lambert, George Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Law, Andrew Bonar Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Seely, Maj.J.E.B.(IsleofWight
Craig, Robert Hunter Lawson, John Grant Seton-Karr, Henry
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton) Layland-Barratt, Francis Sharpe, William Edward T.
Crossley, Sir Savile Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareh'm Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Simeon, Sir Barrington
Leigh, Sir Joseph Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Dairymple, Sir Charles Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)
Davies.SirHoratioD.(Chatham Levy, Maurice smith,HC(North'mb,Tyneside
Denny. Colonel Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)
Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Long. Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S) Soares, Ernest J.
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Lonsdale, John Brownlee Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Lowe, Francis William Stewart Sir Mark J. M?Taggart
Dorington, Sir John Edward Loyd, Archie Kirkman Stone, Sir Benjamin
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Macartney. Rt Hn W. G. Ellison Strachey, Sir Edward
Duke, Henry Edward Macdona, John Cumming Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Dyke, Rt. 'Hn. Sir William Hart M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Emmott, Alfred Manners, Lord Cecil Thomas, F.Freeman-(Hastings
Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.) Mansfield, Horace Rendall Thorburn, Sir Walter
Farquharson, Dr. Robert Maple, Sir John Blundell Thornton, Percy M.
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward Markham, Arthur Basil Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray
Fenwick, Charles Martin, Richard Biddulph Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith) Melville, Beresford Valentine Tritton, Charles Ernest
Ferguson, Rt Hon Sir J. (Manc'r Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M. Tufuell, Lieut.-Col. Edward
Finch, George H. Moon, Edward Robert Pacy Tuke, Sir John Batty
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Moore, William (Antrim, N.) Valentia, Viscount
Firbank, Joseph Thomas More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Fisher, William Hayes Morgan, David. L (W'lthamstow Warde, Colonel C. E.
Fison, Frederick William Morrell, George Herbert Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Flannery, Sir Fortescue Morton, Arthur. H. A. (Deptford Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Garfit, William Moulton, John Fletcher Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C. Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E (T'unton
Godson. Sir Augustus Frederick Mentz, Philip A. Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)
Gordon, Hn.J. E. (Elgin&Nairn Murray, Rt H. A. Graham (Bute Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd
Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Gordon. Maj Evans (T'rH'mlets Nicholson, William Graham Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Graham. Henry Robert Nicol. Donald Ninian Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Grant, Corrie Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)
Gray, Ernest (West Ham) Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay Wilson, John (Glasgow)
Green, WalfordD. (W'dnesbury Palmer, Walter (Salisbury) Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)
Greene, Sir E. W (B'ryS Edm'nds Parker, Gilbert Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson
Greville, Hon. Ronald Pease, Herbert Pike (D'rlington Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick) Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley Wylie, Alexander
Groves, James Grimble Perks, Robert William
Guthrie, Walter Murray Pierpoint, Robert
Haldane, Richard Burton Platt-Higgins, Frederick
Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x Plummer, Walter R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Harmsworth, R. Leicester Pretyman, Ernest George
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Hayden, John Patrick O'Dowd, John
Ambrose, Robert Joyce, Michael O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Blake, Edward Kennedy, Patrick James O'Kelly, James (Roscommon,N
Boland, John Lundon, W. O'Malley, William
Burke, E. Haviland- Mac Neill, John Gordon Swift O'Shauglinessy, P. J.
Burns, John Mc Veagh, Jeremiah O'Shee, James John
Campbell, John (Armagh, S.) M'Hugh, Patrick A. Power, Patrick Joseph
Condon, Thomas Joseph M'Kean, John Roche, John
Crean, Eugene M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Cullinan, J. Murphy, John Sullivan, Donal
Delany, William Nannetti, Joseph P. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Dillon, John Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Donelan, Captain A. O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork) Young, Samuel
Doogan, P. C. O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid
Esmonde, Sir Thomas O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Farrell, James Patrick O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Ffrench, Peter O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Gilhooly, James O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Mr. O'Mara and Mr. Flynn.
Hammond, John O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
(7.55.) THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)

By leave of the Committee—there is no Question before it—I may perhaps say that we do not propose to put from the Chair tonight the Question of the Excess Vote on the Army Estimates. That will come on at a later period. Whether it would be proper to give much time to the discussion, will, I think, depend on the Report of the Public Accounts Committee. That Report may be of a character which would make it most improper that the thing should be passed over without very full discussion. But before coming to a decision on that point, we must wait and see what the Report of that Committee is. I may, however, remind the Committee that, although the question will not be brought before it until after Easter now, it will not be possible to include it in any general closure of the finance of the year. The Supply Rule, if the House be pleased to pass it in anything like the form in which it appears on the Paper, applies only to the finance of the present year, and, therefore, will not touch the Excess Votes which refer to the finance of the preceding year.


So that the Committee may understand that there will be—what shall I call it?— a decent opportunity, a reasonable opportunity, for discussing the Vote at another period of the session?


It is not within the power of the Government to prevent the matter coming on.


was understood to say that the Public Accounts Committee could not possibly deal with the question before Easter.

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