"Most Gracious Sovereign
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Mr Gretton.)
Which Amendment was—
At the end of the Question, to add the words, ' But we humbly regret that the organisation of the land forces is unsuited to the needs of the Empire, and that no proportionate gain in strength and efficiency has resulted from the recent increases in military expenditure."—(Mr. Beckett.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added.'
§ *SIR J. DICKSON-POYNDER, continuing his speech, said, before the Adjournment of the House he was trying to point out, on the question of these Army Corps having been instituted in this country with the view of obtaining decentralisation, that it appeared to him the confusion at the War Office was more confounded than it was before. The selection of the Army Corps districts was unfortunate, and the authorities had been particularly unhappy in the selection of the Army Corps centre, with regard to the Salisbury Army Corps. That district contained all the southern counties of England from Dover to Plymouth, and took in the whole of the important coast line between those two towns, yet the centre selected for that district was Salisbury Plain. If the Secretary of State for War before he devised that centre had studied "Bradshaw," he would have found he could not have selected a worse place for a centre than Salisbury Plain. It was most difficult of access, and Army Corps centres to be of any use at all must be in the most accessible position of the district. Salisbury Plain was connected with all the many towns of the district by branch lines only, and was most inaccessible. He could 749 conceive no worse place for a general who wished for immediate orders or immediate sanction to any action he was taking. Beyond that there was another question with regard to Salisbury Plain. A few years ago the Government, with the full sanction of the House of Commons, purchased Salisbury Plain in order to obtain an available training ground for all the troops in the South of England. The war had shown more than anything else how necessary it was to have some training ground where troops might he trained adequately in extended order. The House of Commons willingly consented to the purchase of Salisbury Plain as the most fitting ground for that purpose, but what had happened? In order to comply with this Army Corps plan, the Secretary of State for War had converted this grand manoeuvring ground into a monastic garrison. It seemed to him that nothing would put a premium on discouraging recruits and encouragment towards desertion so much, as placing this garrison in this most unattractive spot; a spot invaluable for training purposes. He had, he hoped, shown the House that this scheme, appeared to be one not suited to the requirements of this country, and one which was bound to create much greater expense in the future. If the scheme was realised according to the ideas of the right hon. Gentleman the. Secretary of State for War, it. would not only result in the sum of money which the country was now asked to pay, but a very much larger sum in the future. The right hon. Gentleman now asked for £30,000,000, but when these Army Corps were filled up, he would have to ask for more money for barracks. That was utterly out of proportion to the requirements of the country in relation to the other service.
§ We had, as had been shown by the First Lord of the Admiraly in 1900, a sea-borne traffic of £1,200,000,000. These Army Corps were not going to preserve and maintain that great trade; it was to the Navy alone that we could look for that, and it must strike every one that this inflated and excessive expenditure for this scheme was totally out of proportion to the needs of the State. Those who asked for these reforms were not those who desired to do away with the Army, but those who believed in small, well-trained Regular Army ready to go out at a moment's notice. The 750 garrisons must, of course, be kept properly manned in our dependencies and India, and in order to keep up a proper establishment the number of recruits must be kept up. The day had come, he thought, when the linked battalion system would have to be abandoned and a system of depots established for the maintenance of our garrisons abroad. For the defence of our own shores we must fall back on our civilian element, and in order to do that we must give every encouragement to the Volunteer forces, an encouragement which, in days gone by, had been conspicuous by its absence. The Volunteer force could not be encouraged too much, and should be adapted to the professional life of the nation. What would comply with the requirements of one locality would not do for another, and therefore the conditions should be made as elastic as possible, and every facility given for the work of training. The War Office must not remain the over-centralised office it was at present, and the Army must not be blind to the aspirations of the civilian community. The country at the present time was quite ready to accept the principle that the young manhood of the nation should prepare and train itself for service in times of national emergency, and he would like. to see the Government introduce some system of physical training into the school curriculum which would be of the greatest possible use in the future.
§ He appealed to the Government to utilise as far as possible the local authorities of this country, who were becoming far more important in their own districts than before, and who were composed of the most influential men. These local authorities might be made use of in innumerable ways to great advantage so far as the defence of this country was concerned. These authorities now possessed a register of the whole of the district, and it would be quite possible in that register to include the physique and occupation and previous character of every man in the district, and if the local authority were asked to place upon its body the military representative of the district in a very short time there would be an influence brought to bear on it which would be invaluable to the service. The mayor and corpora- 751 tion of a district had just as much at heart the defence of the country as the military itself, and that fact should be emphasised in both branches of the service. He did not attempt to indicate a scheme, but only a line of principle contrary to the principle under which this scheme was propounded. All he tried to indicate was that this principle was better than the principle governing this system of Army Corps on the Marconi principle, for that was all it was. Under it we had useless staffs, which were highly paid and had nothing to do, depleted regiments and empty battalions. What we wanted was a small efficient Army, well trained, ready to be sent out at a moment's notice; our garrisons abroad to be well maintained; and a large force of citizens at home well trained to de-fend our shores and quite ready to take part in any large operations should any come about. His action in voting against the Government was governed by the belief that in so doing he was doing his best to induce the Government to abandon a scheme of Army Reform not conceived in the best interests of the country, and to adopt one which in the future would be of incalculable value to the Empire; and he should continue in his opposition until the present scheme was abandoned.
*MR. GRIFFITH BOSCAWEN (Kent, Tunbridge)
considered this to be the most extraordinary debate that had taken place in this House for some years. In his experience the general burden of all criticisms of the past with regard to the War Office had been that we did not possess a sufficiently large Army, we had not sufficient men, guns, organisation, horses in fact, that we could not put into the field in foreign countries more than a limited number. Hon. Members who had been in the House for any length of time would remember that that was the whole criticism directed against the War Office in times gone by. The War Office, more sanguine, said they could always put two Army Corps into the field. Then came the war in South Africa, and they succeeded in sending more men than anyone thought possible. They did not, however, send enough. The hon. Member for Oldham, in one of the articles he wrote whilst acting as a correspondent 752 in South Africa, stated that half-a-million men were required to finish the war; now the hon. Member came to the House and asked the Government not to increase, but to decrease, the numbers in the Army. After all these years a new school of criticism had arisen, which demanded that the Army should be decreased and the auxiliary forces increased. That was not the only extraordinary change that was suggested. It had been said over and over again that our Army was so arranged that there was no organisation; that there were scattered units all over the country, and no connecting link, no regular staff; that when the war broke out masses of men, horses, and military stores had to be gathered together and a staff improvised which had never worked together before, and consequently did not work well then. The Secretary of State, two years ago, brought in a scheme which got rid of that want of system. Army Corpsdidnot mean a great increase in the Army, but that a regular system of organisation should obtain; that the troops to be utilised in time of war, and everything necessary for them, should be collected in times of peace; and that the officers who would command them in time of war should have the training of them in times of peace.
The new school of criticism first of all said the Army was too large, and secondly, that this scheme of organisation was useless and costly. He felt considerable disappointment when he listened to these criticisms. He thought the old critics were right; that the Army was not sufficiently large or sufficiently organised; and when a Minister attempted to remedy these defects, then this new school of what might be called irregular critics arose against him. The hon. Member for Oldham had said that the Army Corps system was a failure in practice and unsound in theory. The hon. Member was very severe in his criticism upon what he called the failure in practice of this Army Corps Scheme, but in his speech he had quite overlooked the very short time which the Secretary of State had had at his disposal to work out this scheme. It was not yet two years since the scheme was introduced, 753 and for the first fifteen months of that time the war was raging, and it was impossible to take steps to set the scheme in operation. There was no reason why plans should not he laid to carry out the scheme as soon as troops were available, and now that troops were becoming available, he trusted the scheme would be successful. The hon. Member for Oldham made great fun of the fact that of the Militia Reserve of 50,000 men which we were to have under the scheme we had not one, but the Act which enabled that Reserve to be created only passed into law last December, and then a serious attempt was made to stop its passage by the very critics who had spoken upon this Motion. The hon. Member further said that the scheme of new Militia bounties had laid a great burden on the country, and only yielded 2,000 extra Militia recruits, but the recruiting had been falling for many years and this was a great improvement. With regard to the Yeomanry, the hon. Member said that of the 35,000 Yeomanry we were to have we had only 23,000, but even then that was 10,000 in excess of what we had before. In less than two years the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State had more than doubled the numbers of the Yeomanry, and was justified in taking credit for it. Lastly, with regard to the Volunteers, the hon. Member stated that under the scheme his right hon. friend proposed to have 250,000 Volunteers, and inasmuch as there were 280,000 before, his right hon. friend had nearly got down to his limit. What we wanted in the Volunteers was not enormous numbers but a better standard of efficiency. Some corps were splendidly efficient and some were not so good, and it was infinitely better to have a smaller number of Volunteers with a high standard of efficiency than immense masses of men with varying standards.
He had therefore shown, he thought, that the scheme of his right hon. friend was not a failure. If it had not succeeded in every detail, allowance must be made for the difficulties his right hon. friend had to contend with in its introduction. But within two years of its being brought in, and within one year of the end of the war, it was a travesty on 754 our institutions for hon. Gentlemen to come here and try and dig up the whole scheme in favour of some other which they had not disclosed, and which, he believed, did not exist. Turning from the practical side to the theoretical, he noticed that the contention shown on the other side was mainly based on the scheme being too costly. Their argument was that the nation spent a certain amount for its defence; that it could only spend a certain amount; and that, therefore, if the Army took more than the Navy, we must deduct from the Army and give to the Navy. Surely the only sound principle was that both the Army and Navy must be kept up to such a state of efficiency and strength as was necessary for the due defence of the country. The only way to do this was to proceed upon a perfectly sound basis. It was an unsound basis to consider only the Navy, for they had got to take both forces and see what was necessary in the case of each. They had not got to take both forces together, but separately. When they had done this, then the nation must find the money, even if the sum was larger than they were spending at the present time. The safety of the State was of supreme importance, and the necessary money must be found. The policy which involved starving one service for the benefit of the other was a perfectly unsound one, and he was astonished to hear it advocated in that House. Having advocated the reduction of the cost of the Army in order to have more money to spend upon the Navy, his hon. friends had proceeded to state that the provision made by the Secretary of State for War was altogether too large, and that it was an imitation of the Continental system. Was an Army of three Army Corps too large? [An HON. MEMBER: Six Army Corps.] No, not six, because three of them were composed almost entirely of auxiliaries. Did hon. Members say that this force of three Army Corps was altogether too large? If the Navy was smashed and their main fleet destroyed, neither their Regulars nor irregulars would be of the slightest use. [An HON. MEMBER: We should surrender.] They would not surrender, but they would soon be starved, for they could not survive the 755 destruction of their fleet, which meant that the command of the seas would pass from them. The argument of trusting to the Navy was not so much an argument against reducing the Regular forces as reducing their large body of irregulars. Putting aside entirely the question of home defence and what troops were required in case of invasion, and taking account of what they would require for the purpose of foreign service, he asked were three Army Corps too many? [Cries of "Yes."] He said emphatically "No." Three Army Corps were not too many in the case of the South African War.
Hon. Members might say there was no possibility of ever having to send such a largo force abroad again. Of course they never expected ever having to send such a large force to South Africa. Some hon. Members had stated that a war with America was unthinkable. He hoped it was, but supposing the American people were to attack Canada in a fit of Jingoism, and supposing the Canadians appealed to us for help. Surely they must be prepared for such an emergency as that. [An HON. MEMBER: What would be the good of three Army Corps then?] Well, three would be better than none at all. The natural result of having an Empire was that they must be prepared to fight, if necessary, in any quarter of the world, and he could not see that three Army Corps was an excessive amount to form an Army for such a purpose, and this was the very least they ought to have. Hon. Gentlemen appeared to think that for the purpose of sending troops abroad they could get rid of Regulars and trust to auxiliaries. The hon. Member for Oldham said in the country that the true and only policy was to strengthen the Volunteers at the expense of the Regular Army. He admitted that the Volunteers, the Militia, and the Yeomanry had done good work in South Africa, but did hon. Members think that the work done by auxiliary forces in South Africa would not have been better done by a sufficient number of Regular forces? Did anyone contend that the second batch of Imperial Yeomanry did as good work as an equal batch of Regular cavalry would have done? To diminish the Regular troops and substitute for them irregulars was a most dangerous policy. In the case of the Militia 756 and Volunteers there had been the very greatest difficulty in obtaining a sufficient number of officers. [An HON. MEMBER: Why?] He did not know why, but he was merely stating the fact. If they trusted more to auxiliary forces, were they going to again send out masses of men with insufficient officers? The Militia had done excellent service, but what was their difficulty? Why, officers. Not only was the Militia short of officers, but the bulk of the Militia officers were young men who joined in order to pass into the Regular forces. What was the result at the outbreak of the war? To take his own battalion, they went out with a full complement of officers, and before they had been at Malta long their officers were taken away in order to join the Regular forces. To endeavour to substitute auxiliaries for Regulars, without entirely changing the system whereby the auxiliary forces were officered, would be a most dangerous thing to undertake.
There was the further question of whether auxiliary forces could stand the strain of a prolonged campaign—he did not mean either physically or morally, but he alluded to other matters which they had to attend to at home. When some of the Yeomanry had been out twelve months, hon. Members knew that demands wore made in that House that they should be brought home and others sent out in their place. Surely it did not strengthen Lord Kitchener's hands to have a large number of trained soldiers taken away and others who were untrained sent out to take their place. He ventured, therefore, to think that it was a very strange and novel doctrine that they should reduce their Regular forces and substitute auxiliary forces. He did not wish to depreciate the value of the auxiliaries. On the contrary, he valued them very highly, and he wished to point out that one of the best things in the scheme of the Secretary of State for War was that he was the first War Minister that had really paid any attention to the auxiliary forces. Was the right hon. Gentleman not to have any credit for that, and for organising the Yeomanry and getting rid of that sham of the old Militia Reserve, and substituting a real Reserve of Militia? And yet these things were all part of the scheme which hon. Members had condemned. Because the scheme of 757 the right hon. Gentleman assisted the auxiliary forces, and for the first time established some sort of system; because it increased the number of Regulars; and finally because it tackled the question of recruiting, and did something to solve that question, he thought the scheme ought to have a fair trial. Although he did not always support the Government, he would support them that night with the greatest confidence, feeling that, at all events on this occasion, they had endeavoured to meet the greatest difficulties, and they had tackled courageously and fearlessly a most difficult problem. He believed, if they allowed this system to develop, as it was developing at the present time, they would at least get an efficient Army. For these reasons be would give his vote against the Amendment and in favour of the Government.
§ CAPTAIN SINCLAIR (Forfarshire)
said he could not join in the approval which the hon. Member who had just sat down had showered upon the doings of the Secretary of State for War. In this scheme very little regard had been shown for that long-suffering person, the taxpayer. In no part of his duty had the Secretary of State for War laid himself so open to censure as in his position as a civilian Secretary of State standing against the interests of the taxpayer. The right hon. Gentleman was an elected Minister, and a member of the House of Commons, and his resjxmsibility was directly to the people of this country and to their pockets, and if he might suggest it—and he did so with the greatest respect—he thought the right hon. Gentleman had made a great mistake in endeavouring too much to popularise the Army. He recollected a phrase which the right hon. Gentleman used when he characterised himself as being "laagered round with civilians." And it struck him that this meant, from the point of view of Parliamentary control and the expenditure of the country, that by appointing a military head of the civilian department of the War Office, and other things that had happened of a like kind, the Secretary of State for War had so much weakened the guarantee they were entitled to claim from him in regard to economy. This was an old story, and the country went through it after the Napoleonic war, and the Duke of Wellington and other author- 758 ities could be quoted to show that the civilian sphere and the military sphere should be kept absolutely distinct, that one should not interfere with the other, and that only by that method of administration could they succeed in obtaining that strong Parliamentary and Administrative control which alone was a guarantee of economy. The blame which had been showered upon the Secretary of State had not been confined to him, and criticism had been directed at the War Office, by which, he supposed, was meant the Headquarters system of organising the Army. The War Office could not mean simply the officials at the War Office, because no praise was too high for the efforts they used during the late war to provide for the requirements of the Army in the held.
The Government themselves were largely responsible for much of the blame which had been directed at the War Office during the last two or three years. The Secretary of State told them last night that a few years ago, if anybody asked what the requirements of the Army were in regard to foreign service, anyone would have said that to send 70,000 or 80,000 men abroad would be quite sufficient. In South Africa the Government undertook a war which involved the employment of three, or four, or five times that number of troops. Naturally there was a breakdown in the Hospital and the Remount Departments, and consequently the Government were themselves to blame for much of the criticism which had been directed to the War Office. But the Government had never admitted, what was the real truth, that they had undertaken the war in South Africa with a machine admittedly incapable of a sufficient output of troops to carry out so vast an undertaking. The Government were directly responsible for this, and it was a tremendous tribute to the system that it did so well as it undoubtedly did. With regard to the Army Corps Scheme, the Government and their supporters would share the responsibility. During the General Election of 1900, the main issues were two—the settlement in South Africa and Army Reform. In this matter the Government were too ambitious. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just sat down said that the criticism 759 passed upon this scheme was too premature. No one could have listened to the debate of the last few days without being convinced that it was not the criticism which was premature, but the scheme. Decentralisation was a very good thing, but it was very costly to start their Army Corps in times of peace on a war footing. It was very costly, and all the advantages of the Army Corps system could have been introduced perfectly easily and applied to our former system of distribution of troops in this country. The Government should not have yielded to the clamour of the moment, and brought forward an ambitious scheme which was entirely inapplicable to the needs of the country. He agreed that the moment of introducing this scheme was inopportune, and that the methods adopted were unsuited to the wants of this country.
He rejoiced to think that though there had not been much expression of it in the House of Commons, the country was now beginning to look at the Bill. Comparisons had been made with the Navy. He would not enter into the differences which prevailed as to what proportion Navy expenditure should bear to Army expenditure, for he held that each service should be judged on its merits. But if they were to avoid excessive expenditure they must be more cautious in committing themselves to new expenditure. The Secretary for War had claimed that, after all, his scheme on]) ' involved an addition to a former addition, while it would add 5,000 troops. But that involved an outlay of £300,000 a year, apart from the provision of barracks. If they looked after small things, great things might be trusted to look after themselves. Everyone who had had anything to do with a constituency in which troops were quartered, or in which there was a dockyard or other Government establishment, knew perfectly well how vehement the opposition was to any reduction of the establishment, especially when it involved hardship or want of employment among the men working there. The fact was, that once we had put our neck in a collar of that kind it was extremely difficult to withdraw it. If this Government were to make a new departure to-morrow, it would be years before the effect of any economical arrangement could be seen, or before it made any 760 deep impression on the Estimates of the country. They were advised to change their system, but he must dissociate himself entirely from that view if it involved the abandonment of the linked battalion system. He differed from the hon. and gallant Gentleman who last spoke in his view that our Army system was devised and maintained for the purpose of sending expeditionary forces abroad. That was not the object of their system at all, although it was a heresy which was very widely spread. In The Times of that morning he found it stated—The whole scheme is, in fact, based upon the notion that we must keep up a large and costly Army to defend the soil of this country, and then make it as suitable as we can for defending the Empire upon occasion. The opposite view is that we need an Army for the defence of the Empire, trained for modern war as no Army can be in this crowded country, and that, incidentally, we shall always have enough of that Army at home for all the domestic purposes for which Regular troops will be required.''The latter was exactly a description of what our present system was; it was, shortly, a system created and maintained in order to provide our necessary foreign garrisons, and that was the standpoint from which he ventured to criticise it. They were told that they must rely upon voluntary service. But the hon. Member for Oldham had reminded them that this country detested drill, while the hon. Baronet the Member for the Chippenham Division had said that the right hon. Gentleman, in not relying on the Volunteers, was stifling patriotism. In all endeavours to utilise and employ to the fullest extent the auxiliary forces of this country he was in the most hearty agreement, for, to his mind, the training of the Volunteer and Militia forces would enable them to cope, with the difficulty of providing foreign garrisons. There was an obligation upon this country to provide garrisons for India, for our coalingstations, for Egypt, and for South Africa, and it was the necessities of that obligation that measured the amount of the burden placed on the taxpayers of the country by the present establishment of our Regular Army. We had seen their system tested; indeed no system had ever been put to such a test as the present system of the linked battalions had been put to in the course of the South African War during the last three years. It was introduced against military opinion, it 761 was the subject of the most severe criticism, and it was no exaggeration to say that in the elasticity which it showed, in the number of the trained citizens which it provided for us in South Africa, and in its working, the system surpassed all expectations.
He remembered very well that during the General Election a letter from Lord Lansdowne was published, in which his Lordship expressed exactly the same opinion; he said that if it had not been for the Cardwell system, and for certain changes introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stirling Burghs when Secretary of State for War, we should never have been able to do what we did in South Africa. Now that system relied upon voluntary effort. It was not sufficient to judge by the experience of the last twenty-four months: we all know the state of military enthusiasm which prevailed among the civilian population of this country, ten, fifteen and twenty years ago. Our circumstances materially differed from those which obtained on the Continent. We had no land frontier with troops of other nations drilling on our borders. There was a sense of security given to us by our insular position, which no amount of preaching was likely to root out of the minds of our people. He doubted very greatly whether we should be wise in relying to a greater extent than we did on voluntary effort. Still he did not think the remedy was to be found in changing the system. He doubted, too, if we should depend too greatly upon the recruiting results of the past year; to suppose that the present rate would be maintained was, he feared, to take too sanguine a view.
There had, it must be remembered, been a recent rise in the pay of soldiers, and the acutest observer must be at a loss to say what the precise effect of that advance would be. We must not strain our military system too much: and certainly it ought not to be abandoned until we had a better one to substitute for it. It had never been proved that there was any other system which would do at a cheaper cost what this one was accomplishing. For himself he was quite open to conviction, but he would like to see any proposal worked out in pounds, shillings and pence before it was substituted for the 762 old one. The previous system had to be abandoned for the reason that it was too costly and because, although the pension list and the sick list involved heavy expenditure, we could not get good men. What were we to do? There was one thing we had done hitherto which we ought equally to do in the future, and not be placed in a position of too great importance. It related to the defence of our self-governing colonies. A suggestion had been thrown out that it would be a good thing to have an Army Corps in South Africa, that it would attract emigrants and be a good advertisement. So it might, but it would also be a very costly advertisement. He could not say what the cost would be, but as the expense of each man in our Army worked out at from £60 to £70 a year, it would be seen that to keep an Army Corps in South Africa would involve a very great outlay. We had other experience to go on. Before our present system was introduced we had troops in many Colonies, and in nearly every place where we had them we had wars which had to be paid for by the Exchequer. There were the several Kaffir wars, and there were the wars in New Zealand, and judging by past experience in regard to our self-governing Cokonies, we could not insist too strongly that self-government should carry with it the duty of self-defence, and that in the interests of economy and in the interests of the taxpayers of this country our responsibilities should be kept within limits. Twenty years ago there was not a leading Minister or Statesmen on either side of the House or in the country who did not declare that our Imperial responsibilities were large enough, and that we had territory enough to defend. In South Africa alone, since that time, we had added 1,250,000 square miles to our territory, to say nothing of what had been added in West and East Africa and in other quarters of the globe. A result of this war had been a further addition to our territory and responsibilities, and if our responsibilities were to continue to increase at the present ratio, the House and the country would never be able to keep the current expenditure within bounds. If we were to have any regard for economy, the House must retain its control over the expenditure on the naval and military 763 services, and although the phrase as to the control of the Treasury in the interests of the taxpayers was frequently used, there would be no real economy secured in regard to the Army and the Navy until the House itself was prepared to stand up for the rights of the taxpayers, and to take upon itself, through the Government for the time being, the full responsibility, unshared by any expert advice at all, for all expenditure on the defensive services.
§ LORD ALWYNE COMPTON (Bedfordshire, Biggleswade)
said he was one of those who rejoiced that at last there was a clear and definite issue raised as to what ought to be the magnitude of our land forces, and whether we were to recognise the obligations of the Empire or to run our Empire on the cheap. He had always longed for the moment to come when they could once and for all determine what should be the strength of the land forces of this country, and he confessed that he felt a certain amount of excitement when the Amendment under debate was put down on the Paper. He came down to the House with a fairly open mind, anxious to hear what the critics had to say and what charges were to be brought against the scheme already propounded by the Secretary of State for War. With regard to the speeches of the mover and seconder, and of those who supported them, he thought he might say, with all due respect, that they displayed what he might call a certain amount of shyness in grappling at close quarters with the real definite question of what the magnitude of our land forces should be. He might, perhaps, make an exception in the case of the hon. Member for Oldham, who did tackle the subject most boldly. But even he shared, with the others, what seemed to be a fundamentally defective conception of what the real requirements of the Army ought to be in that respect.
They had listened to some speeches also from the Opposition Benches, to speeches by the Leader of the Opposition and those who sat behind him. And after listening most attentively to them he was struck by the fact that, in substance, the speakers on that side seemed to agree with the principle upon which the present scheme had been founded, although finally they said they regretted they must 764 vote for the Amendment. Indeed, the only criticism he could discover in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Stirling Burghs was his criticism against the Secretary of State for War that he had not shown sufficient humour in the conception of his plan. He hardly knew how to interpret that criticism; he would have thought that a scheme of Army organisation would require to be approached with a feeling of deep seriousness, or were they to take it that in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman the scheme need not be looked upon from a serious point of view. Possibly that was not a surprising suggestion from one who was a Member of a Ministry which came to grief because it failed to keep sufficient gunpowder in hand for the needs of the Army. This question of Army reform was surely one of the greatest problems which the country could be called upon to solve. Hitherto many suggestions had been brought forward, but up to the present no satisfactory solution had been discovered. Much had been said in the course of the debate with regard to the Navy and the standard which had been set up as desirable to be maintained. But he would like to point out that the position of the Navy was not analogous to that of the Army. In reference to the Navy the public mind had been impressed to a certain extent with the idea that a given standard was necessary. It seemed to be agreed that the Navy should be of a magnitude equal to that possessed by the Navies of any other naval Powers combined. That might be an incorrect idea, and to his mind it was somewhat so. But at any rate it was the pivot upon which the discussions had been based and it was a standard which the public were able to understand. A standard for the Army, however, had never yet been arrived at, and the question they had to ask themselves was how such a standard was to be judged. Was it to be fixed in some proportion to that of the armies of great military Powers, or was it to be judged in some entirely different way. In his humble opinion they must adopt a different method. They could learn no lesson from the way in which Continental nations decided what the strength of their armies should be. There were considerations applicable to them which did not touch us. One of their chief objects 765 was to be able to quickly transform their armies from peace strength to war strength. We had not that consideration to keep in mind, because we had to make provision for small wars which were of annual occurrence. The Secretary of State for War had been bold enough to try and solve the problem, for when he came down to the House two years ago, and propounded his scheme, he used words in introducing it which seemed to embody the spirit by which it was necessary for us to be guided. He said that his proposal was to lay down what was necessary for the country, and then to find the proper resources for the required organisation. He could not understand how hon. Members could take up their present attitude. When the scheme was originally introduced it was received with acclamation, whereas now it was severely criticised. The bedrock of the question was the magnitude of the Empire. What did hon. Members moan by a large army? No military authority would deny that there must be a certain proportion of trained soldiers for the garrisoning of such places as Portsmouth, Plymouth, the Thames, the Tyne, and so forth, on which a raid might be made on the outbreak of war. The Navy occupied a different position to-day than in days gone by. Then our insular position was a source of strength, now it was a source of weakness. Other nations had constructed navies, so that in time of war our Navy would be occupied in protecting our trade routes. That being so, and bearing in mind the duties the Army had to perform, he could not agree with the contention that the proposed Army was a large one. Having supported the scheme on its introduction, he was prepared to support it now, and until the scheme proved to be a failure he would support the Government.
*MR. ASQUITH (Eifeshire, E.)
The proposition which is before us, taking as it does the form of an Amendment to the Address—very properly, in my judgment, for a subject so urgent and so important demanded the promptest and most comprehensive opportunities of discussion—necessarily involves, according to what I venture to think one of the least rational of our Parliamentary conventions, a vote of censure upon the Government; and it 766 may, therefore, very well be that when we come to the division to-night it may not meet with the acceptance of a majority of the House. It follows, therefore, that on an occasion of this kind the debate is of infinitely greater significance than the division; and no one who has followed this discussion during the two days it has lasted can, I think, fail to have been impressed by the striking, and in my experience almost unprecedented, consensus of opinion from both sides and almost every quarter of the House, not only as regards the defectiveness of the scheme of the Government, but what from a national point of view is of still greater moment, as regards the true lines upon which a well-conceived policy of Imperial defence ought to proceed. No such agreement, I think, would have been possible ten, or perhaps even five, years ago. To have shown that it exists is a service rendered by the hon. Member for Whit by which entitles him to public gratitude. I venture to think myself that this Amendment, and the discussion upon it, will be remembered as a landmark in the history of our administrative policy long after the six Army Corps of the right hon. Gentleman have vanished into the thin air which is their native element. Last night the Secretary of State, whose efforts for raising the material and other conditions of the soldier's life we all heartily acknowledge, rehearsed with some little complacency the improvements in Army administration of which he has been the author. He dwelt, with perhaps not unnatural satisfaction, upon the figures for recruiting for the past twelve months, which, it appears, exceed the record of the best year of which we had previously had experience. He produced and made the most of that wonderful piece of white paper—one of the most confused and confusing documents which it has ever been my fortune to attempt to understand—with the presumed object of proving to, I am afraid, a. rather sceptical world that these Army Corps of his, which have been calumniously represented as skeletons and shadows, are really a living and thriving family.
I will not follow the hon. Member for Oldham in his brilliant, but, I must confess, rather pitiless diagnosis of the sad case of these ricketty infants. I prefer to point out to the right hon. Gentleman and the House, because I 767 think it is more relevant to the question raised by the Amendment, that assuming, as I will for the purposes of argument, that all the right hon. Gentleman's figures both as to recruiting and as to the composition and growth of the Army Corps are literally accurate, it does not in the least degree touch, or even approach, the gravamen of the charge which is made in the Amendment against this scheme. I will, for the purpose of argument, make that assumption. I think it is a very charitable and even a very generous assumption, because I rather gathered from the statement I heard from the noble Lord the Financial Secretary tonight, that as regards the first, presumably the best-equipped and most advanced, of these embryonic Army Corps, one battalion, for some reason or other, is still exercising its profession in Scotland, while I think four are either in South Africa or on their way from there. These are all arts of an Army Corps supposed to be permanently located at Aldershot. [" No."] However, Sir, I pass that by. [MINISTERIAL cheers.] I am stating admissions made by the Minister himself, but they are quite sufficient to show that the paper completeness of these Army Corps has very little correspondence with their actual condition. As I was saying, that does not touch the real gravamen of the case. One might almost be justified in saying that if a system is bad in principle, if it rests upon a vicious foundation, the more completely it is carried out, the worse may be expected to be the results. I will take, by way of illustration, the figures which the right hon. Gentleman quoted as regards recruits, and I will assume these figures to be right. I am not impeaching in the least degree the authenticity or the good faith of the statements that have been made. I should think there was an a priori probability that there would be a large increase in the number of recruits last year. The pay of the soldier has risen; a year hence it will be raised still further, in the case of soldiers who have served two years by as much as 6d. a day. Moreover, in some places the labour market has been greatly disorganised, and there has been a considerable want of employment. The point I submit to the House is this: When we criticise 768 the right hon. Gentleman's scheme, the question we have to consider is not what is the number of your recruits, but for what purpose are they being recruited—how are you going to use them? Some of them will fill the places of men who have been discharged, time-expired men, and so on; but how and for what purpose are those who represent the permanent addition to the Army going to be employed? Are they going to be trained and paid at the rate of something like £60 per head per annum to do that which could be done as well, or better, by our Volunteers, Yeomanry, and Militia? If so, the increase in the number of recruits, with the additional burden to the public finances, is not a gain, but rather the contrary. Are these men going to be employed to fill up the half-empty cadres of some unnecessary and ill-placed Army Corps? We are paying £5,000,000 a year more than we paid six years ago for the expenses, for the most part, of the rank and file of our Army; and the question this debate is intended to raise and, if possible, settle, is this: Are we, as compared with our position five years ago, getting value for that additional expenditure? It is not enough to say that you have got more men; it is not enough to say that they are better trained, better housed, better fed, better equipped; that in fact you have got a more efficient fighting machine, although I agree that if that is so it is so much to the good. There is a preliminary question which has to be answered, and that is, whether and how far these 54,000 additional men whom we have in the Regular Army as compared with the numbers in 1896 or 1897 are really needed for work which only a Regular Army is fitted to perform? Until you have answered that question and satisfied the House and public opinion that they are doing work which could not be as well done by somebody else, it is no use giving us these figures of recruiting.
The right hon. Gentleman claims, and rightly claims, not to be judged by this or that detail, but by the general scope and results of his scheme. He claims that it is a great scheme of Army reform; and in his peroration last night, in which at one moment it seemed to me he assumed rather a pathetic tone, he almost adopted the attitude of a martyr about to be sacrificed by a bigoted and uninstructed public opinion on the altar of some great principle. He will 769 admit, he is bound to admit, that outside the War Office—I do not know what may be the state of opinion inside—his scheme has no champions and, as this debate has I think shown, very few apologists. How does he account for this? The right hon. Gentleman has a very simple hypothesis to account for it. He says that an Army reformer is almost always disparaged and misunderstood by his contemporaries, like one of those unfortunate pioneers or missionaries of truth who have to trust for their vindication to the more equitable judgment of a perhaps very remote posterity. But I am not sure myself that in these matters the present is always wrong and the future always right. Suppose that, with the best intentions in the world, the would-be reformer presents what he calls a reform, but which is not actually a reform, may not the fair and unbiassed opinion of the country be pronounced against it without the supposition that the objections proceed from bigotry, misconception, or prejudice, and still less—and I was rather sorry to hear the suggestion from the right hon. Gentleman—from petty grievances and personal disappointments? Why, anybody who has listened to this debate will see there is no foundation for any suggestion of that kind.
Now, I wish in the very few moments I intrude upon the House—for the ground has been very completely covered during these two nights' debate—to present in the very broadest outline two or three fundamental objections that we take to the right hon. Gentleman's scheme. My first criticism upon it is this. The problem of national defence is a composite problem, in the solution of which both the Navy and the Army are interested, and both are entitled to be heard, and in the solution of which, in a country and, in an Empire situated as ours is, the Navy is entitled to the predominant voice. My first complaint against the scheme is that this composite problem of national defence has been approached by His Majesty's Government from one side only, and that the less important side. We know—we heard with gratification the recent announcement of the Prime Minister—that the Cabinet Committee or Council which looks after national defence is to be reinforced, and in some respects to have its composition changed; and what is the purpose of this change? It is, as I under- 770 stand it, that as between the two great Departments responsible for our national and Imperial defence there shall be a more constant interchange of ideas, and a more complete co-ordination of policy. Does this scheme spring out of such concerted action? Were the naval authorities consulted? Is there any naval authority in the House, or out of it, who can be vouched as an advocate or a supporter of it? We know that only last summer, when the Colonial Conference was assembled, and delegates from the Colonies were asked to consider what contributions they would recommend their constituents to make to the common burden of Imperial defence, two documents were produced, one containing the official view of the War Office, and (me that of the Admiralty, and these were totally different, fundamentally divergent one from the other. As the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean has more than once pointed out, if you take the total military and naval expenditure of the Empire—not merely of the United Kingdom, but of the Empire, the expenditure on the Army is something like £50,000,000, and upon the Navy something like £30,000,000—or, in' other words, the subsidiary force, the less important force from a national and Imperial point of view is the more expensive, and exacts the larger contribution from the taxpayers in the proportion of five to three. With these facts before us, and when we had in relation to the Colonial Conference these statements as unmistakable proof of the want of contact or co-ordination between these two great Departments, we are entitled to complain that a great scheme of national defence like this should be launched upon the solo authority of the War Office, and without any consultation with or approval from the more important and senior service. How far does that objection go? This scheme assumes that the Regular Army has a certain share—I will not discuss the precise quantity, but many of us think it has an excessive share—in the task of home defence. Now, we should very much like to know the opinion of the Navy and the Admiralty upon that. The hon. and gallant Member for Yarmouth, who is recognised as a great authority on these matters, in the speech he made before the dinner hour, rather sneered at the length he 771 conceived their new faith carried some of the converts to what is called the "blue water school." I do not know how that may be with others, but I hope I do not belong to the extreme "blue water school," if there be one, which suggests that we should get on well enough with the Navy alone without any Army. I doubt if any such school can be found outside a lunatic asylum. You want not only the "blue water," but the "thin red line; "and it is by combining the two by a co-ordinated policy arrived at and agreed upon between the two authorities that you can solve the problem of home defence.
The fact is, that this scheme, presented two years ago, and which we are again asked to approve, was concocted in hot haste in the middle of the war, when many of the lessons of that war were not even taught, much less learned, marked, and digested, and when the War Office had to justify itself, when it had to divert public attention from the past, and had to convince the world that it was animated by a new spirit, and capable of a new departure. It was then this crude and ill-conceived scheme, which, the more it is considered the less it is seen to meet the requirements of the Empire, was launched. But I pass from that to a point which is of still greater and more general importance, and which embodies a still graver objection. We say of this scheme—and I think it has been abundantly demonstrated in the course of this debate—that it either ignores, or at any rate does not take due note of, the governing conditions of the problem of Imperial defence which it is intended or expected to settle. Those conditions are two. The first of them is, that ours is an Empire which for certain obvious physical and economical reasons always has depended, and now depends more than ever, both for defence and offence, upon sea power. And the second condition is this—that for the discharge of the functions, the important functions, the varied functions, but still subsidiary functions, in such an Empire, of what is properly called a Regular Army, we must depend, and must continue to depend, on a force recruited, not by any form of compulsion, but by voluntary enlistment. These are the two governing principles of the problem of Imperial defence. I will not dwell upon the first principle, which has now almost become a commonplace of the day, that 772 in the long run both defence and offence depend on sea power. But once we accept that principle, I agree with the hon. and gallant Member, who said that sea power means a navy having behind it such a degree of military force as would be necessary to make its action effective. There I think we all agree. But once start with the proposition that sea power is the governing factor, and you at once get rid of the notion that it is either necessary or expedient to keep a large and expensive body of regular troops constantly immured in these islands to repel an invasion. The dilemma has been put over and over again, and there is no escape from it. Either you maintain the command of the sea, or you lose the command of the sea. As long as you maintain it, invasion is out of the question; invasion is impossible. But the moment you lose the command of the sea it is not six, it is not sixteen, it is not sixty Army Corps that will save you from collapse, for the House well knows that it is not merely a question of invasion. When the command of the sea, and so long as the command of the sea, passes from our hands into the hands of our enemies, we who look for the means of subsistence and for the materials for our industries from abroad could be starved into submission in less time than it would take to mobilise an army.
I need not say—except that one has to be careful in these matters, it is so easy to be misapprehended or misrepresented—we are all agreed that there may be accidents which would deprive us for the moment temporarily of the command of the seas. There might be that which fills many minds with apprehension, a raid or series of raids on our unprotected seaports. But no one supposes that we should denude the country of a sufficient land force to meet an emergency of that kind. On this point again we join issue with the Government; for here we look more and more to our Volunteers, to our Yeomanry and Militia. It is an ideal you cannot attain in a day, but you ought to make it your ideal that these are the forces to whom should be properly appropriated the task of dealing with homo defence. You should, in my opinion, develop this ideal. You should 773 encourage, you should inspire, you should aggrandise, you should magnify—you should give every possible consideration to these forces in order, as far as possible, to fit them for their proper position in any rational scheme of national defence. This is where we take issue, on this particular point, in regard to the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. We say that under his scheme not only is there a large, but many of us think an excessive, share of this task still assigned to the Regular forces; but that by your organisation you mix thorn all up, Regular and auxiliary forces, higgledy-piggledy in a contused mass, making it still harder than before to work out a well-organised ideal of home defence.
Well, there is one other point, one other test, to which a scheme of this kind should be subjected. We want, not for home defence—and on this proper stress must be laid—a mobile striking force which can be used for foreign service on those numerous occasions which, in an Empire like ours, periodically recur when we are obliged to send our troops on foreign expeditions. Does the scheme of the Government give us what we want thru? It is true it gives us on paper three permanently organised Army Corps intended for that purpose and for that purpose alone. For my part, I doubt more and more the more I hear the matter discussed whether for this purpose there is any necessity for the large addition made in recent years to our Regular forces. It is said that the war in South Africa has demonstrated that our Army is too small. I do not think that it demonstrates anything of the kind. It has taught us many—a great many—lessons; it has taught us the value of better information. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Oldham, who said that we might spare the staff of one of these Army Corps which at present do not appear to be in a very advanced stage of development, and devote the money to the better equipment of the Intelligence Department. But while the war has taught us many other lessons, I confess I do not sea that there is any evidence to support the contention of the right hon. Gentleman that we are justified in keeping up such an Army as he proposes in view of any of the 774 normal wars in which we may become engaged. I do not see the necessity of cooping up in this country throe complete Army Corps ready to be launched at a moment's notice for foreign service; and I do not see the necessity for it for home defence. For these reasons, whether the scheme is looked upon from the point of view of home defence or foreign service, our criticism is—first, this scheme is unsuited to the special requirements of the Empire—that, I think, has been established beyond all cavil in this debate—and, next, that it imposes an unnecessary, and therefore unjustifiable, burden on the taxpayers of the country. Under what circumstances is that burden sought to be imposed? We have just spent £250,000,000 on a great war, and have made an addition to the public debt which it will take the lifetime of a generation to wipe out. The income-tax is higher than it has ever been since the Crimean War. Sugar is taxed; coal is taxed; corn is taxed. You may say that the resources and the credit of the nation have proved equal, and more than equal, to the strain. So they have. But may we not well ask with your late Chancellor of the Exchequer—who was the first to ask it—whether those resources and that credit will continue to be equal to the strain if the military expenditure advances during the next ten years at the some ratio as it has done in the past? Meanwhile, do not let us forget that there are necessary and unavoidable social demands which are increasing day by day. There is not one of those great domestic questions, with the settlement of which most of us agree that our national welfare is bound up—education, housing, provision for old age, and the rest—there is not one of them that will not make year by year new and growing drafts on the Exchequer. National security, I agree, is the first of all our National needs. But to this scheme, framed as I believe it to be on a radically false conception, both of the functions of the Army and the needs of the Empire, imposing, as I believe it does, at a time of great strain and stress a wholly unnecessary and unwarrantable burden on the loaded shoulders of the taxpayers, I, for my part, shall continue to offer, as I have done from the first, an uncompromising opposition.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Mr. Speaker, I avow myself, and have always avowed myself, an admirer of the right hon. Gentleman's speaking, and for many reasons, but for this reason in particular—that he always goes straight to the heart of the controversy which he is engaged in. In this case I think he has not belied the reputation which his previous efforts in this House thoroughly deserve. He has not imitated those sitting on this side, nor has he followed their example in dragging into this controversy small points of administration, small questions arousing prejudice; he has gone straight to what is, after all, the heart of the question—whether we have or have not too large and too costly an Army for the needs and resources of the Empire. I think the right hon. Gentleman has done well. He has intervened in a debate which has had many curious circumstances—a debate in which a vote of censure has been elaborately moved from the side of the House on which the Government sit, which has been seconded from the same side of the House, and which, if the rumours that reach me are correct, is intended to be pressed by those who support it to the furthest lengths which their powers will enable them to go. That is, in my experience, a novelty. Of course, it is quite impossible that in a large Party, or even in a small Party, there should be absolute agreement even upon the great subjects with which this House is concerned. But I do not remember in my personal experience that such a course has been taken, not merely to express a difference of opinion, and to express it with every circumstance which can aggravate that difference of opinion, but to choose a moment for expressing it in which its acceptance by the House would constitute a vote of censure on the Government, of which the Gentlemen who have moved it are, I understand, ardent and faithful supporters. I thank the right hon. Gentleman for really having given only a few cursory sentences to the controversy with regard to the Army Corps. That has filled three-fourths of the remarks of other hon. Members—some serious, some humorous, some humorous which were intended to be serious, some serious which were intended to be humorous—but it has filled three-quarters of the other speeches which I have heard on this Amendment. And yet how small a matter that is compared with the real 776 issue before the House! After all, Army Corps are a method of organising the forces we possess in this island. At the time at my disposal I am not going to argue in detail whether organising the forces in this island by Army Corps, as compared with the plan of leaving them unorganised altogether, which is the alternative—[An HON. MEMBER: "No."]—if that be thought an extreme statement, I will say, as I wish to be moderate, that the question whether the best way of organising the Army within these shores is by means of Army Corps or by means of districts is a really relatively small and insignificant issue compared with the other issue before the House. For my part, I do not hesitate to say that the decision which the Government arrived at two years ago is a decision to which the Government still adhere. We still think that an organisation for Army Corps has the enormous advantage in time of peace that it facilitates decentralisation, and has the enormous advantage in time of war that if any large bodies of troops are to be sent abroad they can be sent abroad in an organised condition. And if it were worth while to make quotations from expert authorities, I could quote speeches, for example, from so great an authority as the Member for the Forest of Dean, who made bitter complaints of the absence of this very kind of organisation when we were occupied in sending out almost all our Regular forces to South Africa. I do not mean to dwell upon that, because I have more important subjects on which I have to address the House. I only regret that, in the speeches of the hon. Members who have criticised the military policy of the Government this comparatively insignificant detail has figured so largely, and the really important questions have only appeared at the tail-end of their orations. The real question we have to ask ourselves is this—Is the Army which we have provided too large, or is it not? If it be too large, what matter whether it be arranged in Army Corps or not? That is a small matter. If it be too large, surely the House will not occupy two days on a vote of censure on the King's Speech in discussing such a small matter as the particular form of organisation which this Army ought to have.
777 To the question, therefore, whether we have or have not provided too large an Army, I now proceed to address myself. And let me, in approaching that subject, put aside some points about which we all agree, and some about which there may, perhaps, be only slight diversity. One of the points about which, if we are not all agreed, there is not any great diversity of opinion, is that if we are to have an Army of the size which we have provided, that Army could not probably be brought into existence and organised at any less cost than we are asking the House to furnish. There may be, and probably are, Army reformers listening to me at this moment who think they have a plan to provide the force which my right hon. friend provides at less cost to the Exchequer than he has provided it. But I think, on the whole, I shall carry the House with mo when I say the charge against us is not that if we have this large number of men we are paying too much for them, but that we ought not to have so large a number of men. That is the first point which I ask the House to agree with me in putting aside. The second point is incomparably more important, and it relates to the primacy as between the Fleet and the Army, in the whole question not merely of national defence, but of Imperial strategy. Nobody, of course, nowadays is so foolish as to suggest a doubt that in the circumstances of the British Empire the Fleet stands first from every point of view. It stands first as absolutely essential to the defence of our shores; it stands first because it is absolutely essential to the defence of our commerce; it stands first because it is essential for the defence of our Colonies; and it also stands first because it is impossible that any military operations beyond the sea should take place unless we have a Fleet to protect it. And, of course, it is admitted on all hands, and by every person who has given even the most cursory attention to the subject, that the Fleet is the leading element, and the most essential element, in our whole plan of Imperial strategy. But I have heard some Gentlemen—and I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down amongst them—arguing from this indisputable premiss that we ought always to spend a great deal more upon our Fleet than we do upon our Army. The argument is really an 778 irrational argument. It does not follow that the expenditure on the Army and on the Fleet must necessarily be proportionate to their relative importance. You might as well say that, as bread is a prime necessity of life, no man ought to spend more on any other part of his household expenditure than he spends upon bread. I hope, therefore, we may hear no more of this fallacy of proportion, of which we have heard so much in some of the speeches of this debate.
Then the third point on which we may approach—I do not say we shall reach—agreement is that it is in the main upon the Volunteer forces, or the citizen forces, of this kingdom that we must depend for our home defence. I entirely agree with the proposition that has been laid down by the right hon. Gentleman with an air of paradox and as if he were endeavouring to impress this thesis on a reluctant Government. It is the very principle on which the Government has proceeded in all their reorganisation. In our view that is the very ground on which we have proceeded. Our view is that, for reasons I shall develop directly, we must have three Army Corps for Imperial work outside these islands; and if you eliminate for the purposes of home defence these three Army Corps, and consider the composition of the three remaining Army Corps, any Gentleman who has read the White Paper will see that the forces in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Army Corps are really more in the nature of a stiffening and assisting element than in the nature of the main force on which we are relying. Any Gentleman can verify what I am going to say by referring to the Paper; and they will see that, as far as infantry is concerned, the Regulars supply fourteen battalions and the Auxiliaries sixty-one; while of the cavalry five are provided by Regulars and ten by Auxiliaries. Therefore let us all agree that on the citizen and Volunteer forces we depend for national defence. I heard my right hon. friend attacked in the course of the debate for having undervalued, ignored, and snubbed the Volunteer force. I am prepared to show that the Government—I will not say my right hon. friend, because he is a member of the Government who are responsible for and who are sharers in the work he is 779 carrying on—the Government, in my judgment, have shown themselves more anxious, more desirous of making the Auxiliary forces an efficient part of our national defence, and have done more to fulfil that in every respect than any of their predecessors. I am not going into details. I am not going to mention any monetary improvements in the position of the Volunteers in any way, but the purely military reforms which we have carried into effect in the last two years. We have provided the Volunteers with heavy guns of the most advanced pattern. for which they have been asking for years. We have done all we can to improve the position of the Militia, and we have created a great Militia Reserve, for which I think every Gentleman who has spoken on both sides of the House has thanked us. We are doing our best to provide all the training and all the inspection which would make the Volunteer force all it should be; and I think that to contend that, because my right hon. friend has endeavoured by the proposals he has made to raise the efficiency of the Volunteers, be has therefore done otherwise than to deserve well of the Volunteers is surely, to direct against the Volunteers the greatest insult you can imagine.
I have omitted, perhaps, the greatest reform for which we may claim gratitude—I mean the reconstitution of the Yeomanry—which has had the happiest effect, which has re-ally met with no serious criticism, but has for the first time provided a great body of mounted troops, invaluable should this country be invaded, and invaluable should the force be required elsewhere. I really think that those who say we have undervalued the Volunteers, the citizen elements of the forces of the country, wholly misunderstand the situation. On the contrary, we have paid them the highest compliment we could. We appeal to them as a real force on which we have to depend in case of emergency; and I do not doubt the appeal we have made will find an echo all through the country, and we shall be able, when the bitterness of this immediate controversy is past, to look back upon this period as an epoch in the history of the citizen army of this country, and to get then the increased 780 efficiency from which we and those who come after us will reap infinite benefit. Having thus dealt with points on which, I think, agreement may be reached, I come now to a point on which we differ. The point made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the point made, as far as I can discover, by every speaker on this side of the House when he came to the real kernel of the dispute, is the difference between those who accept, and those who do not accept, the Government principles of Army administration. And what is that central difference? The central difference is this: Do we, or do we not, in addition to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Army Corps, mianly composed of Auxiliaries, and mainly required for home defence—do we, or do we not, require troops equivalent to three additional Army Corps for work outside the shores of these islands? It is on that point—which is the critical point of this debate and the one of real importance when we come to divide to-night—that I would venture to say a word to the House. We have heard a great deal of what the Fleet can do; and the Fleet can do much; but it cannot do everything. All the Fleet can possibly do, as far as I am aware, is to protect these shores, to protect our commerce, to destroy or to contain the fleets of the enemy, and to embarrass the enemy's trade. I believe that this list exhausts the whole of the capacity of a fleet, howsoever big or well-equipped it may be, or howsoever superior to a force that may be brought against it. You cannot bring a war, to an end by the Fleet, you cannot even strike a heavy blow at most of the enemies with whom we may conceivably have to deal. I do not develop that thesis, because I really do not think it can be denied; but I am prepared to do so if anyone questions it. Then how are you to supplement the Fleet? Every writer on strategy I have ever heard of, Admiral Mahan, who is a great authority on sea power, and others, have all agreed in telling you that after the command of the sea has been secured, then the Fleet is only useful as making absolutely secure some military operations on a foreign theatre. How are you going to do that with your citizen army? How 781 are you going to do that without these Army Corps of Regular troops? You cannot do it. I think my hon. friend the Member for Oldham said that a Fleet gave you time, and that if you had time you could create, equip, and drill an Army; and that, with time, having equipped and drilled it, that Army would be useful for offensive purposes. Does my hon. friend really think it is business to say that we are to carry on a maritime warfare for one, two, or three years while we are drilling a Regular Army for the purpose of finishing the war?
§ MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL
I submit to my right hon. friend that it would be better than not being able to carry on a maritime warfare, and consequently not being able to realise the latent resources that you have.
*MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I thought my hon. friend was going to interrupt me to say that I had misinterpreted him, but he took the opportunity of continuing the debate. He will therefore permit me, perhaps, to complete my argument, which is that to spend one, two, or three years, by means of your Fleet, in developing what he calls our latent resources would, I think, in the opinion of every strategist who has ever written, be a very inconvenient, expensive, and destructive way of carrying on a great war. Very well, then, I hope if I have so far carried the House with me they will admit that here is one most important object which we can only attain by an organised body of Regular troops available for service outside these shores. Let us dismiss therefore these dilemmas constantly put before us such as, "Are you going to use your Army?" "Are you going to land on some foreign shore with 50,000 or 100,000 men?" or "Are you going to fight with some foreign Power which has one, two, or three million armed men at its disposal? "Why, of course you are not going to. But I would remind my hon. friend and the House that that does not exclude the possibilities of offensive action in time of war; and it would be folly to deprive ourselves of the power of exercising such offensive action if the proper time should arise.
But there is a more important object for which the organised body of troops 782 available for service beyond the seas is absolutely necessary, and that is the defence of India. The defence of India has been touched upon by more than one speaker, by my hon. friend the Member for Whit by, who moved the Amendment, and by another hon. Member who spoke late last night, each of them mentioning the possible danger only to deride it. My hon. friend the Member for Whit by has travelled over the Indian frontier, and he tells us that the result of his observation is that the Indian frontier is impregnable. My hon. friend the Member for Plymouth has travelled in Central Asia, and he assures us from his experience and observation that it is impossible, with such means of communication as Russia possesses, for her to concentrate any large body of troops on the Indian frontier. My hon. friend the Member for Whit by thinks the passes leading into India are unassailable. My hon. friend the Member for Plymouth, who has evidently suffered a good deal in the process, says that the Russian lines are so abominably laid that the trains do not go more than six and a half miles an hour, and that the rolling stock is wholly inadequate. And in addition to the opportunities of personal observation which my two hon. friends have had on this very important question, they have each had the good fortune to meet an expert in the course of their travels who has given them valuable information. My hon. friend who travelled in Central Asia met an Indian expert, and my hon. friend who travelled upon the Indian frontier met a Russian expert. And while the Russian expert said that Russia could not invade India if it would, and would not if it could, the Indian expert said that, whether Russia invaded it or not, the forces at present in India were amply sufficient to repel any hostile attack. I think that a war between Russia and Great Britain is to the last degree improbable, and I presume that a war between Germany and Russia is to the last degree improbable. But what would be thought of the German military authorities if they had not, however remote such a contingency, thought out all the military difficulties winch it involved, and had not prepared, to the best of their ability, for dealing with it? In the same way, though I regard the contingency as in the highest degree improbable, I cannot of course forget, when 783 I am required to deal with the strategic and military question, that the frontier of India is the only part of the British Empire where it may be said to be militarily adjacent to a first-class military Power; and it is impossible that we should not therefore consider that as the key of our military position.
And let me say here that, so far as I understand the military problem as presented by the British Empire, it is not the problem of home defence which settles, or ought to settle, the magnitude of the British Army. It is the question of what that Army may be called upon to do in spheres of action far removed from these shores. I am very reluctant to express any difference of opinion with hon. friends of mine who, with a considerable military knowledge which I do not possess, have done what I have never done—namely, visited the important scenes with which we are concerned—and have studied the means of access to the Western frontier of India which Russia may possess, and have studied the character of the passes through which any advance to India must be made. But I am bound to say that I am not aware of a single military authority who has been responsible for giving an opinion upon this question, whether that military authority has been Indian or English, whether he has studied it from the British or from the Oriental point of view, who takes the sanguine and optimistic view of my two hon. friends. I think we have been asked in the course of this debate by more than one speaker how it comes about that the force which presumably the Government six or seven or more years ago thought sufficient for Imperial needs, and, among other things, for the defence of India, is no longer thought sufficient. Events move rapidly in Central Asia, and we have necessarily to consider how far the strategic position of Russia has improved in that time.
784 It has improved year by year, I had almost said month by month, in the character of its communications between those great passes and the points at which, if unhappily, though I believe most improbably, hostilities were to break out, this force would be required. I do not pretend to give a final or considered judgment on this point. It is one full of difficulty—difficulty which I do not wish to minimise—and full of complexity. It is one of the questions which, of course, has been strenuously worked at by the Defence Committee. But I feel myself authorised, I feel myself bound, to go this far to-night—to repeat what I have already said to the House, that, whatever final judgment may be passed by the Committee of Defence upon this great strategic problem, no authority except my two hon. friends and the Russian and the Indian generals has, so far as I know, ever had the courage to say that in the unhappy, the improbable but, I suppose, in debates of this character we must say the conceivable, case of a war with Russia we should require not merely the force which we have in India at this moment, but a force much beyond what the Government propose to put at the disposal of the Sovereign. Well, Sir, if that be so, what becomes of the central issue, the central argument, the central debate which we are having to-night? It is not a question of this or that Minister. It is not a question of the organisation of the Army Corps. It is a question of the amount of forces which this country requires to do its Imperial work. After this debate I cannot help thinking how happy is the fate of the French, the German, or the Russian Minister of War, who has the magnitude of his Army settled for him by the magnitude of the population of the country to which he belongs, all of whose questions of strategy lie plain and simple before him, with 785 none of the perplexities and troubles which inevitably beset any Government dealing with military questions in this country, and which it has to settle as best it may. And, Sir, these difficulties, inherent in the complexity of our military problem are, I am bound to say, greatly increased by the changing tempers, the changing passions, of the public whom we serve, and of the House of Commons on whom we depend. I believe that mariners whose unlucky star brings them into conflict with a tropical tornado have first the unpleasant experience of facing a hurricane driving from the east. If they are lucky enough to survive it, they come for a short space into calm water, and. as they sail on, they cut into a hurricane equally violent which blows from the west. Well, one of those circular storms is being faced by His Majesty's Government at the present moment. Conceive a man who went into some Rip-Van-Winkle slumber in the middle of the controversy raised by the earlier stages of the South African War. He would go to sleep with ringing in his ears' "Organisation,'' "Numbers," ".More troops"—as the right hon. Gentleman who last spoke clamoured for them only two years ago—"More troops," "Better organisation." And I suppose his dreams would go on with these words ringing in his ears. He would awake two years after only to discover that the lessons of the South African war were that we were to have fewer troops and no organisation. However much his historical studies might have prepared him for these alternations between the hot and cold fit, I think both the rapidity and the magnitude of the change would give him sufficiently considerable cause for astonishment.
786 Now, Sir, I do not wish to blow the trumpet of the Government in this matter of Army reform. But I do think that we have deserved well of the country in circumstances which everybody must admit were circumstances of great difficulty. We had a war which required us to send out a body of troops incomparably greater than our present critics think the British Empire is ever going to send out again. The Reserve was heavily drawn upon and necessarily seriously impaired by the great strain of the long war. We had to face a heavy problem of recruiting; we had a great, many reforms of a minor character to carry out. I believe that in all these cases we have done everything that could possibly be expected from us. I have shown how much we have endeavoured to do to make the Volunteers all that they can be, and ought to be, and will be, as an element in our great citizen Army. The depleted Reserves are rapidly being filled by the measures that we have proposed. Recruiting is admittedly a difficulty. The difficulties of recruiting have not been surmounted—and who can say what the future of recruiting may be? I admit I cannot. It is the standing difficulty of all Governments and Ministers for War—but, at all events, so far as we can see, by our immediate measures the recruiting difficulty has been met as no one would venture to say it would be. The position of the soldiers has been enormously improved; armaments have been greatly improved; the Medical Corps has been greatly improved. I do not believe there is a single branch connected with the Army in which the beneficent action which we have taken in the last two or three years will not be felt for many, many years. But, Sir, do I claim that the decisions that we have 787 come to are final and irreversible? We have refused deliberately to lower the Army beyond what we think the proper strength required by the needs of the Empire; but, if we ourselves, on a more careful revision of the facts, or if our successors after us come to a different conclusion, there is nothing we have done which prevents us or them from making the necessary changes and introducing the consequent diminution in our expenditure. I greatly doubt whether any study we can give to the strategic problems of this Empire is likely to show that, in the future, any great diminution in our armaments, or of the cost of our armaments, is likely or possible. In any case, it will be for the future to judge. What has to be judged now by the House is whether or not they will continue to the Government—whose military policy I have just sketched, and whose policy on other matters it would be inopportune to touch on—whether they will continue to this Government their confidence or whether they will not. My hon. friend the Member for Plymouth, indeed, informed us last night that, in pressing this matter to a division, he and his friends have no desire to do an injury to the Government, or even to my right hon. friend the Secretary of State for War. He acted for the good of his soul, not for the injury of his official career or the position of the Government of which he is an honoured Member. My hon. friend is not a very old Member of this House; had he been so I am sure he could not have advanced a proposition of that kind, which, to those of longer experience, is obviously from a Parliamentary point of view absurd. The vote of to-night is, and cannot but be, a vote of confidence. It is a vote of confidence from which I, at all events, do not shrink, by which I mean that the policy which is attacked is 788 one in which I believe. With us is the unpopularity of the heavy Army expenditure, and the taxation which that Army expenditure involves, and the financial difficulty and cost and criticism which it naturally provokes. Yes, Sir, that is so, and we do not shrink from that responsibility. If we see, and when we see, any reasonable ground for thinking that the financial burden may be diminished, the financial strain relaxed, we shall not hesitate to come down to the House and tell them with the utmost satisfaction both of the changed circumstances which have changed our opinion and the consequent relief to the taxpayer which the change of policy may bring with it. But until that time comes we should be utterly contemptible if in obedience to a natural, though I think an unfortunate, change in public opinion we were to admit for a moment that we did not believe that the forces we have asked for are forces necessary for the safety of the Empire; if we were to diminish by a jot, if, after having gone to the country and made Imperial speeches for four years, we wore to go back to them and say: "Imperialism was all very well when it was popular, was all very well before the public realised what it cost, but now that the cost has been realised and now that in consequence it is a little less popular, we will change our scale of demand for Imperial defence, and we will trim our sails to suit the changing gales of popular favour." That would, in my judgment, be utterly contemptible, and if the House desires that an Army scale should be adopted which we think inadequate to the needs of the Empire which we serve, it is to another Government that they must look.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 145; Noes, 261 (Division List No. 7.)789
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. Hy.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tyd)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Rose, Charles Day|
|Barren, Rowland Hirst||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Runciman, Walter|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale||Russell, T. W.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Bell, Richard||Holland, Sir William Henry||Samuel, S. M. (Whitehapel)|
|Black, Alexander William||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Horniman, Frederick John||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Bowles, Capt. H. P. (Middx.)||Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||Shackleton, David James|
|Bowles, T. G. (Lynn Regis)||Joicey, Sir James||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Jones, David B. (Swansea)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Brigg, John||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Bryce, Right Hon. James||Kearley, Hudson E.||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Burns, John||Kemp, Lieut.-Colonel George||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Kitson, Sir James||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Caldwell, James||Lambert, George||Speneer, Rt Hn. C. R. (Northants)|
|Cameron, Robert||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leese, Sir Jos. F. (Accrington)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Levy, Maurice||Tennant, Harold John|
|Cawley, Frederick||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Lough, Thomas||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorggn, E.)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Thomas, F. Freeman (Hastings)|
|Crombie, John William||M'Kenna, Reginald||Thomas, J. A. (Glamorgan Gower)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Malcolm, Ian||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Markham, Arthur Basil||Tomkinson, James|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Toulmin, George|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Morley, Charles (Breconshire)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dickson-Povnder, Sir John P.||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose)||Wallace, Robert|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Monlton, John Fletcher||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Newnes, Sir George||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Norman, Henry||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Edwards, Frank||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Weir, James Galloway|
|Ellis, John Edward||Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham)||Welby, Lt-Col A. C. E. (Taunton)|
|Emmott, Alfred||Parker, Sir Gilbert||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Saml. T. (Glamorgan)||Partington, Oswald||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Paulton, James Mellor||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Pemberton, John S. G.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Perks, Robert William||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Pirie, Duncan V.||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Price, Robert John||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Gibbs, Hn. Vicary (St. Albans)||Rea, Russell||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (H'ddersf'd)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Reckitt, Harold James||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Gordon, Maj. Evans (Tr. H'ml'ts)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Rigg, Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Beckett and Major Seely.|
|Grest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Roberts, John (Eifion)|
|Gurden, Sir W. Brampton||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Barry, Sir Fras. T. (Windsor)||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Aird, Sir John||Bartiey, Sir George C. T.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Allhusen, Aug. Henry Eden||Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J A (Worc)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bignold, Arthur||Chaplin, Right Hon. Henry|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bigwood, James||Chapman, Edward|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Charrington, Spencer|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bond, Edward||Clare, Octavius Leigh|
|Arrol, Sir William||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Atkinson, Right Hon. John||Bousfield, William Robert||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Brassey, Albert||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Collings, Right Hon. Jesse|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Brown, Sir Alx. H. (Shropsh.)||Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready|
|Brain, Colonel James Robert||Bull, William James||Colston, Chas. Edw H. Athole|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Rurdett-Coutts, W.||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Balcarres, Lord||Butcher, John George||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Campbell, Rt Hn J. A. (Glasg.)||Crobett, A. Cameron (Glasg.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Man'r)||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Corbett. T. L. (Down, North)|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Cautley, Henry Strother||Cox, Irwin Edwd. Bainbridge|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lxncs.)||Craig, Charles C. (Antrim, S.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cavendish, V C W (Derbysh.)||Cranborne, Lord|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Johnstone, Heywood||Renwick, George|
|Crossley, Sir Savile||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop)||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Keswick, William||Ridley, S. Forde (BethnalGreen)|
|Denny, Colonel||Kimber, Henry||Ritchie, Rt Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Dewar, Sir T. R. (Tr. Haml'ts)||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Knowles, Lees||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Jos. C.||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow||Rothschild, Hn. Lionel Walter|
|Disraeli, Goningsby Ralph||Lawrence, Sir Jos. (Monm'th)||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Lawson, John Grant||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Dorington, Rt. Hon. Sir J. E.||Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Doughty, George||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Lockie, John||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir Wm. Hart||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)||Saunderson, Rt. Hn Col. Edw. J.|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Ed.||Lowther, Rt. Hon. Jas. (Kent)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas||Lucas, Reg'ld J. (Portsmouth)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Macdona, John Gumming||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Flower, Ernest||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Smith, H C. (North'mb Tyneside)|
|Forster, Henry William||Majendie, James A. H.||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Galloway, William. Johnson||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Gardner, Ernest||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Gibbs, Hn A. G. H (City of Lond)||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriessh.)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Melville, Beresford Valentine||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Stock, James Henry|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gore, Hn. G. R. C. Ormsby (Salop)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Strutt Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Goschen, Hon. Geo. Joachim||Milvain, Thomas||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mitchell, William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Greene, Sir E. W. (Bury St. Ed.)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.)|
|Greene, Hy. D. (Shrewsbury)||Montagu, Hon J. Scott (Hants.)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Gretton, John||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morgan, David J (Wakhamst'w)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hain, Edward||Morrell, George Herbert||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Morrison, James Archibald||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Halsey, Rt. Hop. Thomas F.||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Mount, William Arthur||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Ld. G. (Midx)||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (Londondy)||Murray, Rt Hn. A Graham (Bute)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Hanbury, Rt, Hn. Robt. Wm.||Myers, William Henry||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashfd)||Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Nicholson, William Graham||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Whiteley, H. (Ashtonund, Lyne)|
|Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robt. Wellesley||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Percy, Earl||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Helder, Augustus||Pilkington, Lieut-Col. Richard||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Plummer, Walter R.||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Hobbouse, Rt Hn H. (Somerset E.)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheff., B'tside)||Purvis, Robert||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Horner, Frederick William||Pym, C. Guy||Wylie, Alexander|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Randies, John S.||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hoult, Joseph||Rankin, Sir James|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Howard, J. (Midd., Tott'ham)||Ratcliff, R. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland Hood and Mr. Anstrather.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred||Remnant, James Farquharson|
§ Main Question again proposed. Debate arising; and, it being after Midnight, the debate stood adjourned. Debate to be resumed Tomorrow.