§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. JEFFREYS (Hampshire, N.) in the Chair.]
§ Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
§ Clause 3—
§ COLONEL WELBY (Taunton)
moved—In Clause 3, page 3, line 5, after first 'the,' to insert 'good and sufficient.999 He said that his object in moving the insertion of these words was that it might be thoroughly known and understood by all those who had to discharge duties in connection with billeting that they could demand good and sufficient accommodation. Whilst in Infantry he was only once billeted himself, and, there being only a small party, they were very well accommodated. Cavalry regiments, were, however, constantly moved throughout the country; and the process of billeting was to send on ahead a billeting party, which went to the constable of the town where the troops were to rest for the night. The constable took the billeting party around the town and billets were allotted for both horses and men. Particularly in the North of England the billets were often very wide-lying, so that it was late before the officers could visit each, and by that time the men had settled down in their billets, had their hot meal, and did not care to complain. He had known many cases where the men had to pay money out of their own pockets in order to procure better accommodation for themselves, and of instances where the men preferred to sleep with their horses in the outhouses rather than occupy the sleeping places provided for them. He also knew of two and three men sleeping in the same bed. In Irish towns the billets were simply filthy. He thought that if the Government paid money for these billets they ought to be good, although the amount was not too large. He had no intention of being unfair to the innkeepers, but as they were to have a better class of soldiers, these ought to be provided with better accommodation.
In page 3, line 5, after the first word 'the' to insert 'good and sufficient.'
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. BRODRICK, Surrey, Guildford)
said that he could see no reason whatever for the Amendment proposed by the hon. and gallant Gentleman. Under Section 106 of the Act the innkeepers were bound under penalties to provide "good and sufficient accommodation," and the War Office had received no complaints of failure in that duty in any respect.
§ COLONEL WELBY
said that Section 106 was unknown to the officers generally. It stated that when an innkeeper was unable himself to billet the men and horses allotted to him, he must provide "good and sufficient accommodation" elsewhere, but this was not stated with regard to the accommodation the innkeeper himself furnished, and therefore was not generally known.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Clause 3 agreed to.
§ New Clause (Amendment of 44 and 45 Vic. c. 58., s. 4.)—Colonel Welby.
§ Brought up and read the first time.
§ COLONEL WELBY
said he wished to move an Amendment to Clause 4, to omit the word "shamefully" as applied to the conduct of an officer who abandoned or surrendered a garrison or post, and to insert the words, "without due cause." The Committee would understand how difficult it was for the military authorities to order a court-martial on an officer who had abandoned or surrendered a post or garrison if they had to assume that it was done shamefully. It also made it difficult for the officer himself to ask for a court-martial under that section, because that might be regarded as more or less an acknowledgment that there was some shamefulness in his action. In fact, the section raised a presumption as to the character of the action. There had been too often surrenders in South Africa which might have been shameful or otherwise; this word "shamefully" had stood in the way, and prevented courts-martial from being held. He did not know what was the exact wording of the naval regulations with regard to the loss of his ship by a naval officer, but he could not believe that a naval officer, who was tried for losing his ship through stress of weather, or some other emergency, was tried for "shamefully" losing his ship. It had been pointed out to him that merely to omit the word "shamefully" might render an officer who had retired from a post or position for strategic reasons liable to trial; 1001 that difficulty would be got over by inserting the words "without due cause," instead of the word "shamefully."
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he quite understood the object of his hon. and gallant friend in moving his Amendment, but it raised a very much larger question than the hon. and gallant Gentleman intended. He did not anticipate that the change of "shamefully" to "without due cause" would have any material effect on the numbers of officers who might be brought before a Court-martial. There was a great difference between those who held the view of his hon. and gallant friend, and those who administered the Army at this moment, in regard to what should be the subject of a Court-martial. The sentiment of the Army was entirely different from that of the Navy. The sentiment in the Army was that so long as there was any reasonable doubt on the matter in question an officer should not be deprived of his sword and tried by Court-martial; his conduct should be the subject of inquiry which fell short of a decision on the part of the authorities that something had occurred that made it necessary to bring him to justice. That was the opinion of the late and of the present Commander-in-Chief, and of Lord Kitchener. There was the less necessity for the change since the system of sworn Courts of Inquiry had been established, which took the place of Courts-martial, unless the evidence appeared such as to make it incumbent upon the authorities to try the case. He suggested that the Amendment should not be pressed, for he could not possibly accept it, and he did not believe that even if the Amendment were carried many more officers would be tried by Court-martial than now. He did not think that anything had happened in the late war which would justify the Committee in arriving at that conclusion.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
said that having been shown a good many of the reports of the inquiries held during the late war, he sympathised very much with what his hon. and gallant friend opposite had said. It was pretty clear from the speech made by the Secretary of State for War that if 1002 the right hon. Gentleman was left to himself upon this matter he would probably take the same view. He did not think that after all their experience in South Africa they ought to be guided by the sentiments of their older officers, whose experience was in the past, for they themselves had been trained in the light of what had more recently happened. But the Secretary of State now seemed to think that what happened in South Africa ought not to force the matter on the attention of the Committee. His view was entirely opposed to that. He thought circumstances had happened in South Africa which should induce that House to reconsider this question. In all the cases which had been brought before the House he had supported the War Office.
What was the system which had been pursued in all the many cases of unfortunate surrender which had taken place? In most of them there had been two inquiries, one an informal inquiry and then a formal one. The second inquiry, however, always tended to be a mere confirmation of the proceedings of the first inquiry. In many cases what had happened was that the conduct of the officers who had surrendered had been the subject of a preliminary and informal inquiry while they were prisoners immediately after the event, and when they had been recovered from captivity, sometimes weeks and months afterwards, then the statutory Court of Inquiry had been held, at which they were present and gave evidence. In those cases the proceedings of the first court were placed before the second Court of Inquiry. From the lawyers' point of view the first court was no court at all, for it was a mere informal inquiry for the purpose of informing the General-in-Command of the facts, so that he might take any disciplinary action upon his own authority. As a rule the second court, in the most perfunctory fashion, merely confirmed the finding of the first court. That had almost everywhere been the case, and he was not aware of a single case where the statutory court had reversed the proceedings of the first court. In all these cases, the officers concerned were almost always dissatisfied, and complained that they had not had a trial by Court-martial. Surely it would be better that they should encourage the holding of 1003 Courts-martial. He thought the word "shamefully" discouraged the holding of Courts-martial, both from the point of view of the officer and from that of the authorities of the Army. He thought it would be better to get rid of this word, and introduce such words as his hon. and gallant friend had referred to, because they would increase the number of Courts-martial, thus removing the sense of injustice felt by the accused officers. He could not see that a case had been made out by the Secretary of State for War against the Amendment, which he thought was worthy of the consideration of the House.
§ COLONEL WELBY
said he agreed that Courts-martial in the Army and courts-martial in the Navy were regarded from a totally different standpoint; but whether that was for the good of the service he was not so certain. They judged a tree by its fruit. The fruit in regard to the Army tree was these terrible appeals to the House, while the fruit in regard to the Naval tree was that they were never referred to in this House. Although it was true that the Army had gone on for 200 or 250 years in this groove, he very much doubted whether the right hon. Gentleman, in supporting the opinions of his military advisers, was really doing what was best for the Army. He thought the time had now arrived when the right hon. Gentleman should reconsider this question. If they were to remove the word "shamefully" from the latter part of the section, it seemed to him that anybody called into a Council of War with regard to a surrender would be liable to be charged by court-martial, as the Council of War was simply an advisory council, the responsibility must rest with the commanding officer. He was sorry that he could not listen to the appeal of the right hon. Gentleman, and he must press the Amendment which he had put before the House.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ MR. LAWSON WALTON (Leeds, S.)
said "shamefully" was an extraordinary word to appear in connection with the definition of a crime. It left in the hands of the military authorities absolute discretion in deciding whether or not a 1004 Court-martial should be appointed to investigate an offence. If they chose not to attach to the offence the qualification "shameful" they might deal with it without a Court-martial; but if they chose to attach to it the description of "shameful" they must appoint a Court-martial. The conduct in either case might be the same. It might be an act of negligence, abandoning some position which it was the duty of the officer concerned to defend. Therefore, the conduct with regard to which the officer was censured or dismissed, or punished, might be beyond question. The military authorities might therefore come to the conclusion that they would not have a Court-martial, because they might not choose to describe the offence as "shameful," and they might deal with it as a breach of military duty and punish it as though it were shameful, and exercise all the power given by this section, which involved all the punishments and the disgrace of the officer concerned without giving him the right of a Court-martial. Such a position was most illogical, and operated most unfairly with regard to the officers concerned.
A military offence, for which the punishment attached ranged from a small sentence to a death sentence, ought to be clearly defined. It ought to be defined by some language which was not the subject of controversy'. There was an admirable precedent in the same section of the Navy Act. The expression "shamefully" did not appear in the Navy Act. The words were "Guilty of negligent or designed conduct which involves the loss of his ship." The question of whether an officer had been negligent or not ought to be the subject of a trial, and the officer charged with that offence ought to have the same claim to a Court-martial as he would have if his conduct were "shameful." Let them assume a case in which the charge was negligence. Who was to decide whether it was shameful or not? It might be shameful or negligence of a slight character. The Commander-in-Chief had to say whether he thought this question of negligence should or should not be investigated by a Court-martial. This was all-important to the officer, because he might dispute the allegation of negligence, and yet he was to be deprived of the right of having that dispute determined, because, in the 1005 opinion of the Commander-in-Chief, a Court-martial was not necessary. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman would substitute for the words "without just cause" the words "negligently or designedly," or even the word "negligently," he would put the Army Act into consonance with the Navy Act, and at once introduce similar principles in their application to discipline in both branches of the service. If he would consent to this suggestion he would support the hon. and gallant Member.
§ MR. BRODRICK
As my hon. and gallant friend intends to press his Amendment to a division, I appeal to the Committee not to come to a sudden resolution to change a word which has stood in this Act for so many years. They could not change one word without going into every section of this part of the Act, and considering whether they were going to change the whole spirit on which the Act had been administered. At this moment no man was brought before a Court-martial unless there was a presumption in the minds of those who sent him there that something very much amiss had occurred. If they were going to change that presumption, then they must change it in the other sections, or there would be serious danger of injustice being done. From what I have seen of such cases, I can only say that the presumption is very strong in the minds of the officers who sit in the Court. Unless there is a very strong balance for believing that an officer is guilty, I think you would be very unwise to change one word of the Act and one section, unless the same spirit is to pervade all the charges in this section. For these reasons I ask the Committee not to make so sudden a change after a very brief debate, for it is a change which is not borne out by the wishes of those who are responsible for he discipline of the Army.
§ SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)
said he felt great hesitation in consenting to the alteration of a word which had been in the Army Act for so long a time. He saw no argument at all in the comparison between the Navy and the Army Acts in this matter, in so far as it was urged that the difference between the two resulted in appeals to 1006 that House. The appeals to the House in these matters sprang from quite another cause. Let them abolish all military subordinate courts if they liked, but let them maintain that an officer had responsibility. The only way he ought to be cleared was by a Court martial.
§ MAJOR SEELY (Isle of Wight)
appealed to his hon. and gallant friend not to press the matter to a division, because, although he entirely agreed with him, it seemed to him that so painful a subject was hardly meet for a division in that House. He spoke under correction, but he believed that during the South African War Lord Kitchener issued an order that all these painful incidents, irrespective of whether they were "shameful" or not, should be the subject of a Court-martial. If this were so, it was an argument in support of his hon. and gallant friend, and perhaps the Secretary of State would consider the matter in view of his statement.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
asked how many Courts-martial had been held. He believed that hardly any had been, as a matter of fact. He submitted that the word "negligently" was less applicable to Army matters than to the loss of a ship.
§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
said the hon. and learned Member who had spoken on the other side of the House quite forgot apparently that there might be gradations of blame attaching to individuals, and that the surrender of posts might be due to other causes than cowardice, as, for instance, want of judgment. He wished most particularly, however, to point out the great danger the House was running in interfering in matters of discipline with the opinions of high authorities in the Army, with their imperfect knowledge and the absence of responsibility; they would run great risk of abusing their privileges if they decided in opposition to the deliberately formed opinion of the military authorities.
§ Question put.1007
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 49;
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glos., Stroud)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Spencer, Rt. Hn C. R. (North'nts|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale.||Taylor, Theodoer C. (Radcliffe|
|Bell, Richard||Helme, Norval Watson||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Hutchinson, Dr. Chas. Fredk.||Thomas, J. A. (Glam,, Gower)|
|Brigg, John||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Tomkinson, James|
|Caldwell, James||Kearley, Hudson E.||Toulmin, George|
|Cawley, Frederick||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Walton, J. Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Leng, Sir John||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Whiteley, G. (York, W. R.)|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Rickett, J. Compton||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Woodhouse, Sir. J. T. (Huddr'sf'd|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Runciman, Walter|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Schwann, Charles E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Shackleton, David James||Colonel Welby and Sir Charles Dilke.|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Fisher, William Hayes||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||FitzGerald, Sir Robt. Penrose||Murray, Rt. Hn A. Graham (Bute|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Flower, Ernest||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Forster, Henry William||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.||Percy, Earl|
|Austin, Sir John||Fyler, John Arthur||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Gore, Hn. GRC. Orm-by- (Salop||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Randles, John S.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r||Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds||Hambro, Charles Eric||Remnant, Jas. Farquharson|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Bignold, Arthur||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Renwick, George|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Ridley, Hon M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Bond, Edward||Heath, James (Staff's., N. W.)||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Hogg, Lindsay||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Bowles, Lt-Col. HF. (Middlesex||Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Brassey, Albert||Hoult, Joseph||Seely, Chas. Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Bull, William James||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Keswick, William||Smith, H. C. (North'mb Tyneside|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc||Knowles, Lees||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Charrington, Spencer||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lawson, John Grant||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Lee, A. H. (Hants, Fareham)||Talbot, Rt. Hn J. G. ((Oxf'd Univ.|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasq.)||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down. North)||Long, Rt. Hn Walter (Bristol, S.||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Lowe, Francis William||Valentia, Viscount|
|Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lundon, W.||Walrond, Rt. Hn Sir William H.|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Webb, Col. William George|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Macdona, John Cumming||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Maconochie, A. W.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||M'Govern, T.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||M 'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinb'rgh, W.||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn E. R. (Bath|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Majendie, James A. H.||Wortley, Rt. Hon C. B. Stuart-|
|Dvke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Morrison, James Archibald|
§ Noes, 143. (Division List, No. 54).1009
§ Another New Clause (Amendment of 44 and 45 Vic, c. 58, s. 42.)—(Colonel Welby.)
§ Brought up, and read the first time.
§ COLONEL WELBY
next moved a new clause with the object of amending Section 42 of the Army Act, by inserting words to provide that in cases where there was a difference between a colonel of a regiment and his subordinate officer, or between a colonel of a regiment and a general commanding, the Commander-in-Chief should cause the complaint to be inquired into and, if satisfied of the justice of the complaint, take the necessary steps to give full redress to the complainant. It seemed to him that in: these cases the officer should be entitled to as much justice as the private soldier. The words in the Army Act only directed the Commander-in Chief to examine into a complaint of this kind, and he believed there had been many cases in the Army in which the Commander-in Chief had settled the matter solely on his own authority. That had often left a sense of injustice in the minds of those against whom the ruling had been given, and he thought that if that sense of injustice was removed it would be a very good thing for the Army. The words he proposed would, he believed, have that effect. They would not interfere with those cases which were brought directly under the notice of the Commander-in-Chief, as in the instance of a General officer commanding an Army Corps, but they would apply to the cases indirectly brought under his notice—cases in which he had no personal knowledge of the circumstances. He wanted to secure full and proper inquiry, as it sometimes occurred that when a high official dealt with these questions on his own authority he was secretly influenced by other considerations. What was already considered a right course in the case of the private soldier must be equally just in the case of an officer.
§ Question proposed.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he fully appreciated the object of the hon. and gallant Member, but he hoped he would not press his proposal, which he assured 1010 him would not advance the object he had in view, and would, without further amendment, appear to prejudice the right of appeal to the Secretary of State for War and to the King.
§ COLONEL WELBY
pointed out that by-Section 42 the Commander-in-Chief was required to examine, which meant direct personal inquiry, while he proposed to provide that the Commander-in-Chief should cause inquiry to be made.
§ Question, "That the Clause be read a second time," put and negatived.
§ Another New Clause (Special Enlistments).—(Major Seely.)
§ Brought up and read the first time.
Proposed new Clause—
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section no recruit shall, after the passing of this Act, be enlisted in the Regular Forces unless he can produce a certificate of his birth to the recruiter, nor unless he is eighteen years of age.
(2) A recruit may be enlisted without the previous production of his birth certificate if the approving officer shall be satisfied that every reasonable effort has been made to obtain such certificate, and that it is not practicable to obtain it, but in that case such officer shall state in writing what steps have been taken to obtain such certificate, and why he is of opinion that it is impracticable to obtain it.
(3) A recruit may be enlisted who is known or believed by the approving officer to be more than seventeen, but less than eighteen years of age, if such approving officer shall be of opinion that, by reason of exceptional physical health and development, such recruit will make an efficient soldier; but in that case such officer shall state in writing the height, weight, and chest measurement of such recruit, and any other circumstance which shall appear to such officer to justify the enlistment, of such recruit. Every written statement made by an approving officer in pursuance of this section shall be transmitted to the Secretary of State, and a return of all such statements made in any year shall be laid before Parliament not later than the pre-entation of the annual Army Estimates to the House of Commons in the year following.
(5) This section shall be construed together with Part II. of the Army Act, and the expression 'approving officer' means the officer mentioned in Sub-clause (e) of Sub-section 4 of Section 80 of that Act.
§ MAJOR SEELY
, in moving the clause, said it embodied the Resolution unanimously agreed to a week ago on the Motion of the Secretary of State, modified to the extent of allowing recruits to be accepted at the age of seventeen under exceptional circumstances. It was therefore entirely uncontentious. It had been 1011 suggested that it was contrary to precedent for the actual words of the clause to be embodied in such a Bill. He did not know whether it was so or not, but it might be possible to place words to the same effect in the recruiting regulations or in an Army Order. It was important that the matter should be dealt with, because, although the Secretary of State was heart and soul with them in this respect, those who administered the law for him could not be expected to be so anxious to carry out the rule, they naturally being desirous of getting as many recruits as possible. He begged to move.
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause be read a second time."
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Lord STANLEY,) Lancashire, Westhoughton
said it was his right hon. friend's intention to carry out, not only in the letter, but in the spirit, the pledges he gave on a previous occasion. He begged to assure the House that such words would be put in the recruiting regulations as would show those who were responsible, either at headquarters or elsewhere, for getting recruits, that his right hon. friend was determined to adhere to the resolution at which the House arrived unanimously a few days ago.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
said the language of the Financial Secretary was a great disappointment to him. The information privately conveyed to many Members of the House, who were consequently not present, was that with one trifling exception this new clause would be embodied in an Army Order. Substantially the proposals were accepted, but they were not to be put into an Act of Parliament, but issued by administrative order. If the Government were not prepared to adhere to that understanding he would be obliged to move to report Progress.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he was at a loss to understand his noble friend's speech. He knew of no understanding of the kind.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said he would substitute the word intimation; he did not want to use an offensive phrase.
§ MR. BRODRICK
said his noble friend had made him a full statement of what passed, and he certainly did not convey any impression of the kind to him. What the noble Lord now asked for was entirely at variance with what he had said on a previous occasion. He then had distinctly said that the military authorities could not call upon recruits to furnish certificates of birth, but that all diligence would be used in seeing that the physical equivalent of the age which the recruits represented themselves to be was obtained. He also denied that his noble friend had made any promise to present a special report to the House on each recruit taken under the recognised standard.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said he was sorry, but he must move to report Progress, because, believing that this matter was to be settled in the way he had described, many hon. friends of his were not present. It would be discourteous and unfair to proceed with the discussion when they were not present. He moved to report Progress.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Chairman do report Progress; and ask leave to sit again."—(Lord Hugh Cecil.)
§ MR. BRODRICK
said he really must complain a little of his noble friend. His noble friend, as he understood, had not himself been a party to any arrangement, but spoke on hearsay, and his suggestion was not supported, so far as he was aware, by anybody who had any agreement with the Financial Secretary. In the absence of any such statement he thought his noble friend was going very far.
§ MAJOR SEELY
said that in his view the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich was right in his statement. He himself received, as he understood, a distinct assurance from the Financial Secretary that the provisions in this Clause should be substantially adhered to, especially with regard to the return being furnished which was referred to in Section 3.
said that question could not be raised now. The question he had to put was to report Progress.
§ MAJOR SEELY
said he was merely explaining reasons which he thought might lead to an agreement on the matter. He understood that it was plainly stated that the provisions should be broadly adhered to. Such a vague statement as had been made by his noble friend the Financial Secretary was not what he had been led to expect, and in that respect he entirely supported his noble friend the Member for Greenwich.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
said he was one of those who was informed of the nature of the arrangement. It was by a mere accident that he was present, and he knew that several hon. Members were absent in consequence of the intimation they had received.
§ LORD STANLEY
said this was one of those disagreeable incidents in which two persons disagreed as to what had happened. When his hon. and gallant friend and he discussed this Amendment, he told him that it would be impossible to accept it as it stood, including the provision insisting upon the production of a birth certificate, because, as he pointed out, his right hon. friend had clearly shown that, in his opinion, it was not feasible, even if it were desirable. He certainly intended to convey, and in his humble judgment did convey, to his hon. and gallant friend that all the
§ Government could do was to put into the rules for recruiting such words as would bear out to the fullest extent the resolution unanimously arrived at the other day in the House, a resolution, which, he thought, it was clearly shown would go far towards meeting the present Amendment.
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
hoped the Motion would be pressed to a division. There was no question on which there had been more shilly-shallying for years than this, and it was time it was brought to a definite issue. No valid reason had ever been assigned why a birth certificate should not be asked for.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said he hoped the Government would accept the Motion. If not, it really was treating their supporters with, he would not say unfairness, but with very great discourtesy. ["Oh!"] He was not imputing anything to his right hon. friend. If a misunderstanding arose, and a great number of Members who took an interest in the subject were consequently absent, it would be only the ordinary courtesy with which the Government treated the House to agree to the Motion to report Progress.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 45; Noes, 140. (Division List No. 55.)
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Hoult, Joseph||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Johnstone, Heywood||Remnant, Jas. Farquharson|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H.||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Renwick, George|
|Cox. Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge||Keswick, William||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Knowles, Lees||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. C. Thomson|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Lawson, John Grant||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Denny, Colonel||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Long, Rt. Hon Walter (Bristol, S||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lowe, Francis William||Smith, H C. (North'mb. Tyneside|
|Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir Jn. M.|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lundon, W.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Macdona, John Cumming||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||Maconochie, A. W.||Talbot,, Rt. Hn J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Man'r||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Taylor, Austin (East, Toxteth)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||M'Govern, T.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||M'Iver Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W.)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Fisher, William Hayes||M'Killop, Jas. (Stirlingshire)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Majendie, James A. H.||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Flower, Ernest||Middlemore, Jn. Throgmorton||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Forster, Henry William||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Walrond, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.|
|Foster, P. S. (Warwick, S. W.||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Webb, Col. William George|
|Fyler, John Arthur||Morrell, George Herbert||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne)|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nrn||Morrison, James Archibald||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Gore, Hon GRC Ormsby- (Salop||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Mount, William Arthur||Wilson, A. S. (York, E. R.)|
|Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)||Murray Rt. Hn. A Graham (Bute)||Wilson-Todd, W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robt. Wm.||Percy, Earl||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Heath, James (Staff's., N. W.)||Pretyman, Ernest George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside)||Randles, John S.|
§ Original Question put, and negatived.
§ COLONEL WELBY
said he wished to bring certain matters to the attention of the Government, in the hope that they might be remedied. He wished especially to direct attention to the insufficient breakfast, costing 1½d. which, was given to troops on the march. That was not much for a soldier to start on a march of twenty or thirty miles. There had been a great improvement in the feeding of the soldier in recent years; and he would ask whether there ought not to be some increase in this scale of charges. A man ought to be given a good square meal before he started on a march in a morning. He did not think the cost would be very great. As it was the men had to supplement their breakfast out of their pay. That did not tend to encourage recruiting, as the men talked about the amount of money they had to spend. He therefore hoped that the scale would be somewhat increased, as had been done in 1892.
§ Schedule agreed to.
§ Preamble agreed to.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to be read the third time on Monday next.