§ Motion made, and Question proposed, ''That a sum, not exceeding £10,101,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge for the pay, &c., of His Majesty's Army (including Army Reserve) at home and abroad (exclusive of India), which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1906."
§ Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £10,100,500, be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Malcolm).
§ *MR. AINSWORTH (Argyllshire)
said he wished to refer briefly to the question raised by the hon. Member for Stow-market in regard to the position of the Highland Light Infantry. The main point of the matter had been hardly understood. It referred to the disability which the regiment was under in being brigaded with Lowland battalions. One result of that was that in future the officers and men of the Highland Light Infantry which, after all, was a Highland regiment, and hitherto had been linked with the other Highland regiments, would be interchangeable with the Lowland battalions with which they were brigaded. It would be seen that that would strike a serious, almost a vital, blow at the esprit de corps of a Highland regiment, and he was quite sure that the recruiting for the regiment would suffer. While on this subject he also wished to put the case of the Argyll and Sutherland regiment, now stationed at Aldershot. That distinguished regiment had been for a long number of years on foreign service, and immediately on their return home they were sent out to the South African 494 War. On their return from South Africa, instead of being sent to Scotland, they were transferred to Aldershot, where they had been ever since. There they were stationed at Longmoor, which was an unreclaimed swamp, and the ground was so bad that the men could not even get a suitable place to play football. He dared say that it was accidental that the regiment was stationed in so unsuitable a place; but what he wanted to know was why Scotch regiments, and specially Highland regiments, were not stationed in the Highlands. He had been rather surprised to hear his right hon. friend say that it was always easy to get Highland recruits, no matter where Highland regiments were quartered all over the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the population of the Highlands was not what it used to be, but something might be done to improve that state of things; and certainly the Highland regiments should have every opportunity of getting recruits in those parts of the country with which they had been identified for so very many years.
His right hon. friend said that there was not barrack accommodation in the Highlands for the Highland regiments and that it would be an expensive matter to provide it, an expense which could not be faced at the present moment. Everybody knew that; but the Government were spending £3,500,000 in providing barrack accommodation in South Africa. Now, it was common knowledge that self-government was to be shortly given to the new South African Colonies; and what did the Imperial Government want with barrack accommodation there for between 20,000 and 30,000 troops. Surely some of the money spent in South Africa for barracks might be far better spent in the United Kingdom, especially in the Highlands. Ideas had changed enormously as to what barrack accommodation should be. Formerly it was thought that barracks should be put up only at the headquarters of a regiment; but they should be put up in a healthy part of the country, economically, with every convenience for the troops and where recruiting could be carried on. He was sure that suitable sites could be obtained for such barracks in 495 the Highlands. The Highland regiments had so much to recommend them for their great services, their prestige, and their historical associations that every opportunity should be taken to encourage them—and not run counter to their traditions.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (Mr. ARNOLD-FORSTER,) Belfast, W.
thought hon. Members were labouring under a misconception. There seemed to be an idea that a change had been made, or was in contemplation, which would result in the movement of officers or men from one battalion to another. That was a mistake. He was fully alive to the importance of maintaining the traditions which were inseparably associated with the Highland battalions, and if he were not a competent guardian of those traditions, there were plenty of Scottish officers at the War Office who would be quick to express the view the hon. Member for the Stowmarket Division had expressed. The compulsory transfer of officers or men from the Highland Light Infantry to another battalion, Lowland or Highland, would be against the law, and was absolutely outside the contemplation of the War Office. There had never been any suggestion of the kind, and nothing of the kind came within the terms of the Order.
The Appendix to the Army Order referred to regimental districts grouped geographically for the purposes of administration. As far as the Army Order was concerned, there was no intention of grouping the regiments therein referred to into corps or brigades, nor transforming regimental depots into large depots. The Army Order did not deal with regimental depots, but with geographical districts which were placed under the command of brigadiers for more economical and better military supervision. The facts were that under the Report of the Esher Committee it was decided to institute a new administrative officer who was charged with duties which were not connected with training and command, and a certain number of administrative districts had been formed in the United Kingdom, and, naturally, they had been formed on geographical considerations. He would not go into the question 496 whether it was wise or not in 1881 to place the depot of the Highland Light Infantry at Hamilton; but they had to deal with the existing buildings and accommodation. They had to appoint two general officers for Scotland for administrative purposes, and districts had been assigned to them. He did not think that any one, however anxious he might be about the reputation, solidarity, and uniformity of the Highland regiments, could seriously object to their depot which was in the Lowlands being administered by a general officer quartered in the Lowlands. Beyond that the War Office did not go. He trusted the Committee would accept this explanation in good faith, because it was really the whole story.
If he was pressed as to whether it would be desirable to have Highland regiments quartered in the Highlands, all he could say was that that was a part of the proposal he had desired to submit to the House. He would like to see territorial regiments quartered in every part of the United Kingdom, and he believed the time would come when they would see that. Hon. Members might accept his assurance that there was no intention whatever to make any change to the detriment of the Highland regiments, but he could not give a promise that the buildings which had existed at Hamilton since 1881 should be taken away and placed elsewhere.
§ *SIR HERBERT MAXWELL (Wigtonshire)
said that although he felt considerable sympathy with the speech of the hon. Member for Stowmarket Division, he would appeal to him on more than one ground not to divide the House on this question. In the first place, it was hardly consistent with the record of the Highland Light Infantry that all these administrative details should be discussed in the House. The officers and men of the Highland Light Infantry were not children; they would doubtless be content if their sentiments were understood by the House, and would do their duty in whatever part of the Kingdom they were called upon to serve. After all, it was not these Highland battalions, but the depot that was involved, and, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated, the Order would not affect the 497 brigading of the battalions upon active service; it was merely for administrative purposes.
Another reason why he thought a division undesirable was that there were limits beyond which the interference of this House with administrative details might be rather mischievous than otherwise. No doubt advantage did sometimes arise from such discussions, as was seen when the Cardwell scheme was on the Table in 1881, and the absurdity of brigading the Cameronian regiment with the Cameron Highlanders was pointed out, with the result that the arrangement was cancelled. He might remind the Committee that when the territorial scheme was instituted considerable liberties were taken with the Scottish Lowland Regiments. He was not a Highlander, but a Lowlander, and if he had been speaking 150 years ago he would probably have had to thank God he was not a Hignlander. But the feeling between the Highlands and the Lowlands was very different now, and he believed that nothing had contributed to bring about that change and to unite the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland so much as the action of the Highland regiments on the field of Assaye and the sands of Egypt, and in those seven years of war which began at Vimiera and ended at Waterloo. Considerable changes were made in the Scottish Lowland regiments. All the regiments were put into trews—in spite of the opposition of the Scottish Members. There was nothing more alien to a Lowlander than tartan trousers, and those regiments had worn the trews ever since.
He trusted enough had been said and that the Committee would accept the assurance of the Secretary of State that there was no intention whatever of doing what some had feared, viz., transferring officers and men from one battalion to another in the Hamilton depot. The right hon. Gentleman might bear in mind, however, that there was a strong desire on the part of this gallant regiment, which was second to none in its roll of victories, to be more closely associated with the Highlands; and if by any means, with reasonable economy, 498 it was found possible to provide depot accommodation for the Highland Light Infantry north of the Highland Line, it would give the greatest satisfaction to all concerned. The question of ethnology and ethnography must not be pushed too far, but as it had been stated that the Highland Light Infantry did not consist in great part of Highlanders, he might say that, according to a return of the recruits enlisted at Hamilton during the present quarter, out of eighty-seven recruits three were English, and four were Irish; one was born in India, and one in Australia; the remaining seventy-eight were born in Scotland, and twenty-seven of them in the Highlands. He trusted, however, the right hon. Gentleman would consider the susceptibilities of the Scottish people, a somewhat irritable race, holding very strongly to their old traditions, but easily conciliated if consideration was shown to their feelings.
§ *MR. WEIR (Ross and Cromarty)
said the hon. Baronet had spoken a great deal about kilts and trews, but that was not the question before the Committee. The question of kilts was settled the other day by the Prime Minister announcing that it was not the intention of the War Office to make any change. The question now at issue was one, not of clothing, but of officers and men. He might say that on the maternal side he was a Highlander. The hon. Baronet, who declared himself a Lowlander, had spoken about the feeling between Highlanders and Lowlanders as though they would now fall on one another's neck. The hon. Baronet evidently did not know the Highland character. That, however, was not the matter before the Committee. What they had to discuss was the attitude of the War Office towards the Highland Light Infantry by grouping the Regiment in the Lowlands of Scotland. The Secretary of State had said he had no intention to remove officers or men from one battalion to another. There was not sufficient barrack accommodation in Scotland for Highland and Lowland regiments. It was a disgraceful state of affairs that there was only one Highland Regiment, quartered in the Highlands of Scotland, viz., the 1st 499 Boyal Highlanders, whose Strength is 591 of all ranks. Money had been squandered in South Africa and in erecting barracks at Hong-Kong, but the War Office should look at home first, and not wander over the face of the earth to throw away money on costly barracks. The country was led to suppose some time since that the territorial system would be adopted, and the system would, no doubt, have facilitated recruiting in the Highlands. Highlanders fought better with Highlanders than with a mixture of Highlanders and Lowlanders, or with a mixture of Englishmen or Irishmen. On the 29th of last month, in reply to a Question which he put, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War said that very few of the Highland Light Infantry were Highlanders. What did the right hon. Gentleman say last night in reply to the hon. Member for Stowmarket? He said that the majority of them were Highlanders. How did the right hon. Gentleman reconcile those two statements. Apparently he knew nothing about it. To say that very few of them were Highlanders was all the more disgraceful. At first it was understood that the grouping of the Highland Light Infantry at Hamilton would be only a temporary arrangement, but now it was proposed to make it permanent. Only that day he asked the Secretary of State for War whether, with a view to induce Highlanders to join the Highland Light Infantry, he would consider the practicability of grouping the regiment with other Highland regiments with head-quarters at Perth. The right hon. Gentleman replied—The Highland Light Infantry has been open for recruiting in all Scotland for more than three years, and therefore the suggested grouping with other Highland regiments would not appear likely to affect the recruiting in any respect.He should be very much surprised if Scottish Members quietly accepted the statement made by the Secretary of State for War that this matter would receive every consideration. It would never receive consideration. This year the right hon. Gentleman led the House to believe that this was only a temporary arrangement but now he had made it a permanent arrangement. The right hon. Gentleman had suggested 500 changing the nomenclature of Hamilton, but was that course likely to satisfy a Highlander? Let the Highland Light Infantry be grouped, say, at Perth or Fort George with other Highland regiments. It was not essential that they should be grouped at Hamilton. Surely that was a small request to make, and that was all they were asking for. If Highlanders were to be treated in this fashion the sooner they left off enlisting in the British Army the better. The advisers of the War Office knew nothing about the sentiment of the Scottish or the Highland people. A few years ago when special efforts were made to recruit Highlanders the recruiting sergeants, after marching through the country, only succeeded in recruiting half a dozen at a cost of £95 each. The hon. Member for Stowmarket had said that recruiting had been kept up on account of agricultural depression and poverty amongst the Highlanders, but he denied that. That argument might apply to Stowmarket and Suffolk, but it did not wholly apply to the Highlands of Scotland. The real reason was that Government after Government had failed to redress the grievances of the Highland people, and this had led to a vast increase of the deer forest area, where in former years large families lived in comfort.
§ *MR. WEIR
said all he desired to do was to put the hon. Member for Stow-market right in a statement which he had been allowed to make as to the keeping up of recruiting being due to poverty and agricultural depression. Would the Secretary of State for War consent to make an arrangement of the kind he had suggested? It was so simple that he could only suppose the right hon. Gentleman had been badly advised in his present proposal by some would-be reformer at the War Office, of whom he had been told there were far too many. What difference could it possibly make if the Highland Light Infantry were grouped at Perth or Fort George? People must be born and brought up in Scotland in order to know the Scottish line of thought and Scottish sentiment. The 501 right hon. Gentleman would never have sanctioned a course of this kind if he had known anything about Scottish or Highland sentiment. He sincerely trusted that the right hon. Gentleman would consider the error of his ways, or else the War Office would find increasing difficulty each year in recruiting Highlanders. He, for one, would not advise them to join the Army if Highland regiments were treated in this way.
§ *SIR ANDREW AGNEW (Edinburgh, S.)
said he was quite sure they would fully accept all the assurances which had been given by the Secretary of State for War. It was very satisfactory to have had those assurances to-day in which they had been told that there was no intention of altering the status of the Highland Light Infantry as a Highland regiment, and also that it would be brigaded with the other Highland regiments in case of war. It was not at all surprising that there should have been a little anxiety on the subject. The authorities at the War Office had sometimes shown a tendency to forget the origin and history of the regiment, and there was a fear that they were doing this at the present time. They were, therefore, very glad to have the right hon. Gentleman's assurances that this was not so. They understood that the right hon. Gentleman considered grouping had gone too far and that he could not go back upon the arrangements which had been made. [An HON. MEMBER: Nonsense.] But could not some other means be found of getting over the difficulty? Could some means not be found of establishing a visible link between the Highland regiments at Perth and the isolated unit at Hamilton which would make it clear to everybody that their connection was being maintained? He need not suggest any particular way because his right hon. friend, with the full knowledge he had of military organisation, would know far better how it could be carried out than he did; but if he could find a way of that kind he felt sure that it would give very great satisfaction, not only to the regiment concerned, but to a large number of people in Scotland who took an interest both personal and historical in this regiment.
§ MR. PIRIE (Aberdeen, N.)
said he thought the House had been rather misled by the speeches which had been made that afternoon, and he did not think the Committee had grasped the real point. There existed a very legitimate grievance which was felt by the officers of the Highland Light Infantry, not because they had been brigaded with a Lowland regiment, but owing to the fact that whilst other Highland regiments had been grouped together the Highland Light Infantry had been isolated from the Highland battalion. He urged the Secretary of State for War to give this scheme a little reconsideration. By leaving out altogether the Highland Light Infantry whilst the other regiments had been grouped together a distinct grievance had arisen, and he trusted that that would be a sufficient ground to induce the Secretary for War to reconsider his scheme. He merely brought forward the consideration of Aberdeen as a suitable centre for the grouping of the Highland regiments. Aberdeen possessed large barracks which could be easily extended; it was a seaport town close to Orkney and Shetland, from whence a great many of the recruits came; and also a shipping part between Leith and London; it was a very suitable city for a centre of this kind, and he hoped the Government would take his suggestion into consideration.
§ SIR CARNE RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)
submitted that too much might be made of these historical distinctions and regimental fashions. A colonel of the Connaught Rangers once said that as brave a heart existed under the frieze of the Irish peasant as under the kilt of the Highlander. In this case, however, he thought the demands made by his hon. friend were reasonable. Surely, in deference to the wishes of this distinguished corps, the War Office, which had spent enormous sums on Salisbury Plain, might spend a small sum to build a barrack for a depot for the Highland Light Infantry at Perth.
§ MR. DOBBIE (Ayr Burghs)
asserted that this question was one which undoubtedly caused a considerable amount of feeling in Highland centres. Reference need only be made to the meeting recently 503 held in Glasgow to protest against what was considered to be the unwise treatment threatened towards the Highland Light Infantry. He could assure the right hon. Gentleman that a more enthusiastic non-Party meeting was never held in Glasgow. He would like to say with the hon. Member for Ross that this was not a question merely of clothes or a change of depot. They would not mind things so much, although in the matter of barracks Scotland, and the Highlands in particular, had suffered greatly under the present and previous Governments. What he and other Scottish Members said was that in view of the regrouping of the regiments, the scheme might be made to embrace the Highland Light Infantry, even though it continued its base at Hamilton. He thought that if that small concession could be made by the Secretary for War it would have a most excellent effect on the future recruiting of this famous regiment.
§ *MR. HOZIER (Lanarkshire, S.)
asked what was to become of the 3rd and 4th battalions of Highland Light Infantry, two battalions of the Lanarkshire Militia, which had for twenty-five years been connected with the Highland Light Infantry, if the 1st and 2nd battalions were to be moved to Perth or Aberdeen? Speaking as the senior Member for Lanarkshire he could say that they in that county were proud of their association with this gallant regiment, and that the regiment had never complained of being associated with them. He should be very sorry if there were added to the many other decorations of this regiment the order of the boot, as far as Lanarkshire was concerned.
§ MR. MALCOLM (Suffolk, Stowmarket)
thought the Secretary for War's scheme for grouping the Scottish regiments was unfortunate. Nothing should be done to interfere with the Highland status of the Highland Light Infantry. He trusted that the Secretary for War would give them no more Modder River incidents, so far as the dissociation of the Highland Light Infantry from its friends and colleagues in the Highland Brigade was concerned. There ought to be a War Office apology for that dissociation. 504 He thought it would be a golden bridge out of the difficulty if the right hon. Gentleman could see his way to leave the Highland Light Infantry at Hamilton as a depot, but under the Perth command, with six Highland regiments in Perth and four Lowland regiments in Hamilton. That was a simple thing to do and would absolutely solve the difficulty. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider the matter with General Douglas. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would tell the Committee what regimental depots were to go and what was to happen to them afterwards. Scottish Members would object to the grouping of this regiment with Lowland regiments far away from their comrades in the Highlands.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
was understood to say he did not think he should be called upon to speak as to the future, which he could not possibly control. His own desire was perfectly well known, but he could not give any definite pledges.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. McCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)
moved a reduction of the Vote by £100 for the purpose of raising the question of the Auxiliary Forces as a clear and distinct issue. Without distinction of Party there was a consensus of opinion upon both sides of the House that the proposals of the Secretary for War with regard to the Volunteers would be very detrimental to that force. The right hon. Gentleman was a great military theorist, but as yet there was no practical evidence that the scheme he had proposed was a good one. So far as the proposal for the Army was concerned the right hon. Gentleman had conducted a masterly retreat such as would have done justice to the distinguished Russian General in Manchuria. As far as could be discovered the right hon. Gentleman's scheme had been thrown over by the Cabinet, and the only part that remained was a proposal which would further discourage and disorganise the Volunteer force. The Army scheme of the right hon. Gentleman was a paper scheme. They had 505 a proposal for two Armies, a short and a long-service Army, and for months to come the short-service Army would be as nebulous as the defunct six Army Corp. The right hon. Gentleman deserved credit, however, for having done his best to repair the damage done to the Army organisation by his predecessor. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State at Edinburgh condemned the three years system put forward by his predecessor, and pointed out that although the result of the scheme should have been the furnishing of 16,000 men as drafts for India, the actual number produced was only 900, and that if that system was continued the British infantry would have ceased to exist for fighting purposes in a few years. The foundation of the right hon. Gentleman's long-service system was that recruits were to be enlisted at nineteen and a-half years of age in order that after six months training they might be sent to India. Was that what was now being done? Because, if so, the scheme was a fatal one.
The right hon. Gentleman had claimed that with regard to the Volunteers he was supported by nine-tenths of the Volunteer officers. It was a curious thing that at the War Office they appeared to have a special brand of Volunteer officers, a kind of deathless Army, who were never seen in the light of day. The present position reminded him of the story of the American who, when shown a mummy which was said to be 2,000 years old, said that he did not want to see, but if the guide had any live corpses let him trot them out. That was similar to the request which they made to the right hon. Gentleman. The opinions of Volunteer officers to which the right hon. Gentleman appealed in his Report, they had not had in a tangible form. He made bold to say that the right hon. Gentleman did not understand the Volunteers; at least he did not appreciate the part they could be made to play in our military organisation. The primary duty which might be devolved upon the Volunteers was that of home defence, and in this connection he thanked the right hon. Gentleman for the fact that he had treated the Volunteer force as a serious factor. But there was another duty which could be devolved upon the Volunteers, and that was that they should be a large national 506 Reserve which could be called upon in case of national emergency. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had utterly failed to grasp this part of the scheme. He had entirely misread the lesson of the South African War so far as the Volunteers were concerned, and he thought he had been unjust to them, both as regarded the services they had rendered and their willingness to volunteer. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had put the matter in such a way as really to mislead the House. The Volunteers never had the opportunity of offering their unrestricted services, and the invitation extended to them was not a serious invitation but a restricted one offered in such a way that it did not appeal to the esprit de corps of the Volunteers as the individual regiments and battalions were only allowed to send a few men to a mixed company.
As to the general question he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had proceeded upon wrong lines altogether. In his judgment we wanted more Volunteers instead of less; we wanted to get as near as possible to universal service without conscription. We should at least give the Volunteers the opportunity that every man capable of bearing arms should be allowed to do so and to undergo a certain amount of training for the defence of his country. He did not speak of the physical training advantage which would result if his proposals were adopted, though that alone was worth all the money in view of its importance to the race, but looking at it from the purely military point of view the Volunteer force would form a very great Reserve in time of danger. He had heard the Volunteers spoken of as the raw material for the Army, but he said that that was wrong. He said the Volunteer at his worst was the half-manufactured article which could easily be made into the efficient soldier. The Volunteers played an important part in the late war, and they enabled the War Office practically to denude this country of trained troops. He thought the right hon. Gentleman forgot that in 1900 the Volunteers were mobilised and a majority of them went under canvas for a month. Did not the right hon. Gentleman realise the great effect that 507 that had upon foreign nations, and did it not relieve the Regular Forces for service abroad.
The proposal of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the reduction of numbers was put in such a way as to be entirely misleading, and it appeared that he had thrown dust in the eyes of such an astute Member as his hon. friend the Member for Oldham. The right hon. Gentleman said that the reduction he proposed this year was a reduction of the strength by 15,000 men, which was five per cent, of the present strength, but what the right hon. Gentleman really was proposing was a reduction of 33 per cent., amounting to 114,000 men, and he did this by mixing up establishment and strength, which in the case of the Volunteers were two very different things. The present establishment of Volunteers was 344,000, but the strength was only 245,000, therefore we had at present only about seventy per cent. of the establishment, and what the right hon. Gentleman was doing was reducing the establishment by 114,000 men, and then saying that it was only a reduction of 15,000 on the strength of the Volunteer force. If the right hon. Gentleman reduced the establishment he would proportionately reduce the strength, and if he reduced the establishment to 230,000 he was very likely to reduce the strength in the same proportion, viz., to 161,000, or if the reduction did not go to that figure, at least it would be the figure which the right hon. Gentleman estimated in his speech of July, and he would reduce the Volunteers to 180,000 men, which was a reduction, according to his own showing, of 65,000. This part of the matter was very much more serious than the House had been led to believe, because they had been made to confuse the two things, the establishment of the Volunteers and the present strength of the force. He asked the right hon. Gentleman how he proposed to carry out this reduction, and he said that the proposed reduction of the establishment was only preliminary and would make way for a very much larger reduction. How was the right hon. Gentleman going to do it? Was he going to abolish battalions, was he going to reduce the numbers of companies, or, in the third place, to have 508 resort to a process of strangulation by making impossible conditions which would disrupt the force.
The right hon. Gentleman said that his proposals would ameliorate the condition of the Volunteers. He had heard of death being a welcome relief, and in that sense he could understand that the right hon. Gentleman was going to ameliorate the condition of the Volunteers, but in no other sense could he, as a Volunteer officer, look upon these proposals as otherwise than disastrous. If they were carried into effect they would have the result of abolishing the Volunteer force altogether. He thought millions were wasted on the Army, and if the right hon. Gentleman would turn his attention to the question of practical organisation so as to prevent these stores scandals which they had had before them, he would do a great deal more good than he would by this fancy scheme of reform.
So far as schemes of reform were concerned, the right hon. Gentleman was not a missionary of Empire, but he was the apostle of economy. The right hon. Gentleman said last year that unless he was able to produce Estimates on a totally different system, which he indicated would involve considerable economies, he would not again stand at that box. Those were brave words, but the system was unchanged. The right hon. Gentleman's economies had not been effected, and the right hon. Gentleman was still on the Treasury Bench. The ordinary expenditure on the Army was £28,600,000, of which £1,200,000 was spent upon the Volunteers, and if the cost of the Militia were excluded, roughly speaking the cost of the Army was £26,000,000. The Secretary of State, in a statement he issued in August last, showed economies which his scheme was to bring about apart from the Militia, in effective charges of £1,000,000 sterling. Out of that £1,000,000, £300,000 was deducted from the expenditure on the Volunteers out of a total Vote of £1,200,000, and the paltry sum of £700,000 was to come from the Army out of the £26,000,000. He said that these proposals were farcical and were not such as could be upheld on the ground of economy. He had wondered where the right hon. 509 Gentleman had got this inspiration with regard to Volunteer finances, but he thought he had found out. He evidently had got his ideas from Lord Esher, of whose Committee they had heard a great deal in regard to Army reform. Lord Esher, speaking at Callander in August last, said that at the present time there was too great a tendency, when the Volunteer force was taken into consideration, to apply to the State for funds, and he should like to state his opinion that that was not a desirable way of obtaining funds for the Volunteers. His idea was, therefore, that the Volunteers should be kept up by voluntary subscriptions. To a certain extent that was evidently the view of the right hon. Gentleman.
The right hon. Gentleman asked were they to reduce the expenditure on the Army and the Militia and not to reduce the expenditure on the Volunteers, and said that by the ashes of his fathers and the temple of his gods he could do no such thing. But did he understand what the proposal meant? The Volunteers were quite willing that their expenditure should be reduced in ratio with the reductions made with regard to the Army, but if the right hon. Gentleman made a reduction in the Army equal to that which he proposed for the Volunteers, it would mean that he would reduce the expenditure of the Army by £6,500,000. The real fact was that the War Office did not understand the Volunteers, and would not take advice from those who had practical experience, although the right hon. Gentleman said he had every sympathy with the Volunteers. He thought the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman as put before the House would be fatal to the existence of the Volunteer force. Though the present Secretary of State differed from his predecessor in many things they were at one in that they had adopted a scientific method of flouting the Volunteer force. They were going to strangle a force they could not openly kill. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would get out of this haze of wordy platitudes and tell the House in a few simple words what he was going to do. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to give a pledge that for the present year, at any rate, there should be no reduction 510 in the Volunteer force, and that he would allow his proposals to germinate in the public mind so that the public could understand the proposal which at present the House did not. Parliament was moribund, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would consider this suggestion and would give up his proposal, which so far as the Volunteers were concerned would have the effect of discouraging, disorganising, and probably disbanding the force. He appealed to the Prime Minister, who was the last man to press upon the House any scheme which was likely to harm the Volunteer force, to take the advice of those who had given their time and money to serve the country in this regard, and listen to the proposal they made that this scheme should be reconsidered.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £10,100,900, be granted for the said Service:—(Mr. M'Crae.)
§ *MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)
said he did not share the extreme views held by some hon. Members with regard to the Volunteers. He did not, for instance, share the view of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight that the State should receive from all quarters of the United Kingdom all sorts of service from all kinds of people. He did not think that was at all a practical policy. He did not object to more stringent regulations being made with regard to physique, but he certainly did object to the rigidly military spirit which the right hon. Gentleman seemed to cast over these forces. The right hon. Gentleman did not seem to recognise that they were Volunteers, who of necessity were rather different from regularly organised military forces. The right hon. Gentleman had, as the Committee was well aware, studied military matters very deeply in Continental countries where conscription prevailed, and had perhaps too often adopted the ideas and methods of the German drill-sergeant. In another respect the right hon. Gentleman was too like a Frenchman. He was too fond of logic, and was apt to introduce into a discussion logic which had no application. The right hon. Gentleman, for instance, would come and say: "I come before you in 511 this way, and you ask me to make a reduction in the Regular Army. I cannot do that unless I make a reduction also in the Militia and the Volunteers." That was a logic which did not apply in the least, because, although all these forces had to be considered in relation to each other, he could not see why, if a reduction was made in one, it should be made in all. Each one must be considered not only in relation to other forces, but as to what it was in itself. In the Volunteers we had a force quite different from both the others, and a force which was extremely cheap, and the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman, so far from being simple, seemed to throw the whole burden of proof upon its proposer. As he understood, we were going to rely entirely on the Volunteers for home defence, and that being so it was very unwise on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to make all these rather too sweeping statements as to the slight use of the Volunteers in war. They were the only force we had at home to depend on in case of war.
§ *MR. ARNOLD FORSTER
challenged the hon. Member to quote a single instance of where he had ever made such an observation.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
explained that in every case he was quoting from competent authorities. He had made no sweeping statements of any kind.
§ *MR. PEEL
pointed out that whatever the authority might be on which they were made and supported, the idea given to the public must be that the Volunteer force would be rather a broken reed to lean upon in case of an invasion. The right hon. Gentleman said that money would be required to reorganise them, that there must be transport for them, and it might be that they would have to be divided into brigades and divisions. The Volunteers were organised for home defence, but everybody knew that in time of war there must be in the last resort 512 this reserve of men to fall back upon. It was quite true that the Volunteers did not go to South Africa as units. But that did not really touch the question, because when these troops were being considered as Reserves the great point was not whether they could be sent out as units, but whether the force would supply men, trained to some extent, to take their place in the fighting line and to make good the great waste of war. That was a totally different thing from sending out men organised as units, and for such a purpose all the arrangements for organising into brigades or divisions were unnecessary. The right hon. Gentleman was not always alive to the very great difference which existed between many of the Volunteers and the ordinary recruits for the Regular Army. The class from which the Regulars were largely drawn required considerable training to bring them up to the standard at which most Volunteers started. The latter already knew the value of obedience and could learn discipline far more rapidly than the others, and if they were called out for two or three months training the enormous improvement that would be effected in a very short time would greatly surprise many of their critics. Rigidity of standard was a thing upon which it would be a mistake to insist. Different standards would suit different parts of the world. A man who would fight extremely well in South Africa or in this country might collapse utterly in the different climate of India. In a force so flexible as the Volunteers what was wanted was rather a variety of standards. The right hon. Gentleman too often forgot what a considerable contribution the Volunteers themselves made in time of peace to the Militia and the Line, and that in the Volunteers there were many old soldiers who had served in the Army and who made excellent Volunteers. It was customary to say that men who had served nine years in the Regulars and three in the Reserve were no longer capable of performing military duties, but many Members of the House were of opinion that men of thirty-one were not altogether worn out.
The general attitude of the right hon. Gentleman gave rise to the suspicion, which might be unfounded, that he really desired to go further than he 513 had yet done in the matter of, he would not say the destruction, but of the reduction of the Volunteers. The tone in which the Secretary of State had spoken of the Volunteers had certainly greatly discouraged that force in many parts of the country. Employers of labour were not extremely ready to take Yeoman or Volunteers into their employ, and it would give them a tremendous argument if they were able to say to intending Volunteers that the force was being reduced, and that they were considered by the authorities as being of very little use. Cases were known in which men had been dismissed for joining the Volunteers, and if these additional discouragements were to be put in their way the War Office would get a much smaller number of men than even they expected. To a force so delicate and flexible as the Volunteers it was impossible to apply the same rigid standard as to the Regular Army. There would be a good Volunteer battalion in one place, and a battalion not so good in another, there could not be the same standard throughout the country. The right hon. Gentleman had not yet definitely said whether he intended to abolish cadres as well as numbers, if he did, still stronger objections would be raised by many hon. Members. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the question, and not to say that because there was to be a reduction in one part, therefore there must be a reduction in all. Further, in view of the great difficulties the force had had to contend with, the want of sympathy with which it had been treated by the War Office, and also its cheapness, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not proceed with the reduction he had proposed.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
My hon. friend who has just sat down has made a speech in moderate language in which, although the language was moderate, he has levelled at my right hon. friend near me some criticisms to which my right hon. friend certainly is not open. For example, he attributed to my right hon. friend the strange theory that because a reduction was asked for in the Army, therefore a reduction ought to take place in the 514 Volunteers, or because a reduction was asked for in one portion of our military force therefore a reduction ought to take place in another portion of our military force. That is not the view of my right hon. friend, nor, I need hardly say, of the Government. Cost does come in, and must come in, when we discuss Vote A of the Army and the general burden which the military expenditure throws on the taxpayers of the country. But what we have to do is to make that heavy burden—for a heavy burden it undoubtedly is—as useful as we can for the purposes of Imperial defence at home and abroad; and while the argument attributed to my right hon. friend is one for which he has never made himself responsible and is in itself intrinsically absurd, there is a cognate argument which is sound. It is that if and when the country insists upon a reduction it is the duty of the Government and of the Secretary of State for War to see how this reduction can be effected with the least loss to the efficiency of the Army, taken as a whole—the Volunteers, the Militia, the troops serving abroad, the troops serving at home, the troops on whom we have to call for foreign service, and the troops on whom we must rely for the purpose of home defence. I hope the hon. Gentleman will see, therefore, that the position we take up in this matter is not open to the charges that he has levelled against us, and that no such form of reduction as he has attributed to us has ever entered into our minds.
My hon. friend said that the War Office were in the habit of approaching the problem of the Volunteers too much from the standpoint of the Regular Army. I do not at all deny that the natural failing of an officer who has served in the Regular Army would be to criticise the less highly-trained troops in an unfavourable manner, and his tendency would be to undervalue rather than overvalue the services which such imperfectly-trained troops could render to the country. That would be the natural effect of military training upon any officer, whether he belongs to this country or any other country. But when my right hon. friend went on to suggest that the present Secretary of State for War, or his predecessors, or the present Government have 515 been unsympathetic to the Volunteers, I think, if he will cast his mind back over the series of reforms we have made—which we have made at the request of the Volunteers, in order to please them, to render them more efficient as a fighting force and to render the service less onerous to all concerned—I think, if he looks at what has been done, he will acquit us of that unsympathetic and over-critical attitude which he attributed, I unjustly as I think, to my right lion, friend and the Government of which he is a member. I can assure him, as far as I am concerned, and as far as the Government are concerned, that we not only sympathise with the Volunteers and regard them as an interesting exhibition of patriotism, but we regard them as an essential part of the fighting force of the country.
I believe there has been a profound misconception of the rôle that is to be played by the Volunteers in connection with home defence. I think it was the hon. Member for Oldham who told us a few days ago that, if we really believed half we said about the impossibility of a serious invasion, the Volunteers were a perfectly useless force. I do not mean to go into that argument at the present time, because it is more appropriate to a Vote which is not an Army Vote which will come on shortly, and it cannot be adequately treated in a few sentences; but I can assure the Committee and the hon. Member for Oldham that that is not an accurate representation of the views of the Committee of Defence or of the Government. On the contrary, while we do not believe that in existing conditions a serious invasion of these islands is possible, one of those existing conditions is the Volunteer force; and I certainly should never contemplate with equanimity the abolition of that force from the point of view of national safety. The propositions that the Volunteer force is necessary and that invasion is impossible are not mutually contradictory assertions. They are mutually complementary truths; and it would be a total misconception of the view which I have from time to time expressed on behalf of the Committee of Defence if it were supposed that we considered the Auxiliary Forces of this country a 516 kind of ornamental but perfectly useless adjunct of the Regular Army.
While that would be a profound error, I think there have been indications in the course of this debate that there is another error obtaining far too great currency in this House which belongs to the opposite extreme of military theory. It is the view that all you have got to do is to have enough men who can shoot or know something about the rifle and something about the rudiments of company drill, and that you immediately have all the elements necessary to form an Army at home or abroad. That really is not so. There are Gentlemen who seem to think that if you only multiply your Volunteers enough, you make a corresponding reduction in your Regular organised units. I am not going to develop it now, but I can assure the Committee that, to the best of my belief that would be a disastrous policy for this country. I agree with my hon. friend that such training as the Volunteers have, such skill as they may attain in the use of their weapons, such knowledge of drill, and such extended knowledge as many of them possess of the higher branches of military work, would make them of invaluable assistance not as units, but as individuals in the case of a great war, let us say, on the frontier of India. But it means that you must have the necessary units in which the individuals are to be drafted; and it is folly really to suppose that you can cut down without limit, or to any very serious extent, the units on which you will have to rely when, if ever, the hour of trial comes. The question of Indian defence is one which, I hope, the Committee will allow me to postpone till another occasion; but I thought it necessary to enter this caveat, as I have seen a tendency, not to overrate the value of the individual, but to fail to realise that the individual without the organisation into which he is to fit is absolutely useless.
There is one other point which I would venture to suggest to my hon. friend and to others who look upon the Volunteers as an adequate and sufficient source from which to draw all the supplies of men we might require to fill up the cadres in the case of a great foreign war. That they will be valuable for that purpose I 517 do not doubt for a moment; but they would be but inadequate to supply what I believe is the greatest need of the British Army at this moment—that is, officers. One great difficulty in trying to diminish the number of organised units in your Army is that by so doing, apart from diminishing the number of men, you do what is, or may be, much more dangerous—you diminish the number of available officers. That is a point that has to be borne in mind.
There is one other observation I desire to make. My hon. friend says, and I think with great measure of truth, that you must be careful not to treat the Volunteers in too Procrustean a fashion that you must not be too arbitrary and symmetrical in all the provisions you make with regard to them; that you should give as great elasticity to your system as possible; that you should meet, as far as possible, the wants of the different districts and the needs of the different regiments. But when he deduces from that general proposition, with which I am in perfect agreement, the conclusion that you ought really never to lay down regulations as to the magnitude of the force, may I remind him that the limits of establishment which have been imposed on the Yeomanry have really worked exceedingly well—at all events, that under them the Yeomanry is more efficient, that it has reached its full standard, and it is a standing proof of what can be done by a Volunteer force; I do not think there is any reason to believe that a procedure which has succeeded, or, at all events, has not failed, when applied to the mounted branch of the Volunteer service must necessarily be defective if applied to the infantry.
I really think with regard to the Volunteers the House will ultimately have to choose between two policies. I think they will find that if we keep up the requisite number of the Regular units, and I believe it to be absolutely necessary for the force that we require to send abroad, the cost of the Army amounts to such a figure that they cannot allow the expense on the Volunteer force to be absolutely unlimited in every direction. If it is to be limited in one direction or another the House will have to choose in which direction they wish to limit it. But if you are 518 going to say both that the strength of the Volunteers shall be unlimited and that the training shall be on the higher standard with all the cost which the higher standard involves, then I am afraid you will find that the cost of the Volunteers reaches a point which, with all the other necessary obligations you are under with regard to the Army, will put too great a burden on the back of the taxpayer. I think it is perfectly arguable that we should not aim, at a great cost, at increasing the efficiency of the Volunteers as a field army, but that we should insist upon certain qualifications, a certain knowledge of drill, and a certain excellence of shooting, and, saving money in that way, you should allow the numbers to run up to a much higher figure than the 180,000 or 200,000 at which it has been suggested they should be fixed. But I do not believe you can fairly have both policies unless you are prepared to see your Estimates run to an impossible figure; and I should very much desire that those who know most about the Volunteers and those who are most interested in them should make up their minds in which direction they desire to see the limitation take place. There is much to be said for the numerical limitation; but I believe that the trend of opinion among the Volunteers themselves is rather in the other direction—that they wish to have this training in camp, this training as part of a field army, this training in combination with other forces, all of which costs a great deal of money, excellent as it it.
I am fully in accord with those who think that the Volunteers do a great deal to encourage a military spirit and to provide half-manufactured goods which may be in time of stress turned into completely manufactured goods for warlike purposes. But I do warn the House that we must not discuss this question in isolation. We cannot consider the Volunteer question apart from the question of Army expenditure as a whole. If the House thinks that I am right, that my right hon. friend and the Committee of Defence are right, in holding the view that we cannot greatly diminish the units of our Regular Army, and that if we keep up those units the margin on which we can work in the reduction of expense is necessarily a 519 limited margin, then they must feel, as I feel, that we cannot say of the Volunteers, and the Volunteers alone, "Here we will entertain no question of pounds, shillings, and pence; they are a cheap force, a patriotic and a voluntary force; let us not be so mean-spirited as to count pounds, shillings, and pence when we have to deal with them." That is not—I hope the Committee will believe me—the proper way to look at the question, and I am sure it is not the way they will deal with it when they come to consider the subject in all its bearings. Therefore I would say that the view I have arrived at is that the theory of my hon. friend who has just sat down is one with which I largely agree, but it is a variation of a much wider theory with which I do not agree—namely, that we can carry on the business of this Empire in security with a very small Regular Army, trusting as a supplement to that Regular Army merely to the miscellaneous efforts of an unlimited body of Volunteers, for which we have not provided the proper organisations in which they could work supposing we were to ask the individuals of which the Volunteer regiments are composed to come forward and in some great hour of national stress and danger to throw in their lot with the Regular Army fighting on some distant frontier. That is the general view which I would venture to lay before the Committee in connection with the Volunteers; and I hope, at all events, that with regard to what I have said the charge will not be levelled against me that I have treated the Volunteers in an unsympathetic spirit.
§ *MR. McCRAE
The Vote is the same, but the right hon. Gentleman pointed out that that referred to the grant of last year, and he proposes now to reduce the Volunteers to such an extent that the expenditure would be reduced by £300,000, according to his own statement.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No, Sir, it is not the expenditure which is reduced, it is the privileges which are increased. If 520 you are to keep the expenditure what it was, and increase the privileges, that carries with it a diminution of numbers, no doubt.
§ MR. CHURCHILL (Oldham)
said the right hon. Gentleman had not answered the Question which was the one essential point now before the Committee. He made a great number of observations of a very friendly character with regard to the Volunteers, but he did not tell the Committee whether it was the intention of the Government to reduce the force by 15,000, and to continue that policy until it was reduced to 200,000. That, after all, was the object with which this debate had been raised. The Volunteers had had a great deal of abuse of late, and also a great deal of perfunctory statement about them. What the Committee wanted to know was whether the numbers were to be arbitrarily reduced as the regular policy of His Majesty's Government until they stood at a figure not exceeding 200,000. That was a Question which could be answered very simply and very shortly, and, after all, it was the one question on which they did feel very great interest. Of course the Prime Minister had a great many other things to attend to, but if he had been present during the whole of the last three days debates he would not have been so ready to excuse the Secretary of State for War for having discouraged the Volunteers. What had been the feature of these debates? The right hon. Gentleman had poured out buckets of cold water on the Volunteers, and described all the shortcomings he could possibly collect under which they lay. He pointed out that they were medically unfit, and that whole battalions were inefficient; he had infuriated the Volunteer officers in this House by repeated attacks made upon the force; and he had spoken contemptuously of the Auxiliary Forces. The Committee had listened to a perfect stream of deprecation, of criticism, and even of abuse of the Volunteers from the Secretary of State for War. It was all very well to say that the right hon. Gentleman did not mean to discourage them; he did discourage them. That was not a thing to be argued about. 521 All over the country they were very much discouraged and incensed, and their representatives in this House, most of whom were among the loyal supporters of the Government, had been forced, quite against their will, and against their instincts, to get up in their places and make reasonable, earnest, and weighty complaints. The Prime Minister got up in his place, and said, "We do not desire to discourage the Volunteers."'I weep for you,' the walrus said,'I deeply sympathise.'Meanwhile the Volunteers were to be steadily reduced until they did not exceed 200,000 men. Of course, nobody would say for a moment that the expenditure on the Volunteers should be unlimited. That was a proposition which this House ought not for a moment to entertain, but they did submit for the attention of the Prime Minister the proposition that, when it was considered how extraordinarily cheap an efficient Volunteer was, both from the material and moral point of view, it was a great pity to refuse the services of men who would come forward and make themselves efficient. If it were true that there were a great number of useless men in the Volunteers, the War Office were entitled to raise the standard and to insist upon the standard being strictly observed. In that way, no doubt, some sort of reduction might be effected. Of course it was easy for the War Office to draw the standard with a malevolent purpose. It was quite easy to draw conditions with which the Volunteers could not conform, but if they were considerately drawn there would be no great opposition on the part of the Volunteer officers to the strict enforcement of medical fitness, rifle-shooting, and the like. But to fix an arbitrary number, and that number greatly less than the establishment, must discourage the whole force. It not only left out bad men, but it prevented good men from coming forward and joining the force. It greatly impaired the efficiency of the force. He saw the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham in his place. He was not going to say anything controversial. The right hon. Gentleman made a speech four years ago on the 522 Boer War in which he said that the great lesson of the war was the enormous power which a citizen force could develop in defence of their own country, and he added that he thought this on the whole made for the peace of the world. The hon. Member most earnestly hoped under those circumstances that they, who had supported, as far as they possibly could, the cause of the Volunteers, were not going to be accused of Jingoism and Militarism, because they would rather see this country in a greater measure dependent on voluntary forces than on the professional forces who had to be kept in barracks and devote their whole life to their profession. He rose to ask the Prime Minister this particular Question: What is the policy of the Government with regard to the Volunteers? Let them put aside, on the one hand, all the abuse the Secretary of State for War had levelled at them, and let them put aside, on the other hand, all the sympathy and kind words which the Prime Minister had spoken about them. The question was not what they were going to say, but what they were going to do. If the Government were going to reduce the Volunteers to 200,000 men, he earnestly hoped the Committee would express their disapproval.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
The hon. Member asked what is the policy of the Government with regard to the Volunteers, and I will endeavour to give an answer. I must, however, first protest against the accusations that the hon. Member thought fit to bring against me. I recognise none of the statements he has made as to my attitude towards the Volunteers. I have served many years in the Volunteers, I know the Volunteers well, and I think upon no occasion have I failed to express my appreciation of the merits of the Volunteers and the services they have rendered. It is perfectly true, and I make no apology for it, that when I was told that Volunteers were available for a certain purpose I was compelled, in the discharge of the duties of my office, to examine how far that proposition was correct; and in doing so I did quote statements in regard to the Volunteers, not made by the War Office, but by Volunteers officers, which were strictly 523 relevant to the question, and which it was necessary that the House should be in possession of in order that they might understand whether we could or could not rely on the Volunteers in time of foreign war, and if we could not, to what extent. Apart from that, I have said no word either in this House or out of it, which in any way could be construed, directly or indirectly, as a reflection on the Volunteers. So far from such an idea being present to my mind, my efforts have been directed, during the time I have been in my present office, solely to promote the interests of Volunteers in the way I believe they themselves would desire to see them promoted.
Let me go back to what the Prime Minister said in regard to the question of cost. I am in the recollection of the House when I say that if there has been one subject more than another insisted on in our debates—it has been that there must not be an increase of expenditure. If I am allowed to assume that, I deduce from it that I am not taking a wrong course in suggesting to the House that we should follow the policy we now propose in regard to the Volunteers. We are proposing to reduce the strength of the Volunteers by 15,000 men.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
The hon. Gentleman is quite correct, but that number is illusory. It is an entire mistake to suggest that a reduction of that kind, even apart from anything else at all, is necessarily detrimental to the force. So far from that being the case, we have done precisely the same thing with regard to the Imperial Yeomanry. The War Office was blamed for reducing the establishment of Yeomanry, we were blamed for altering the numbers of the Yeomanry regiments. As we acted in that instance we are acting now. And what has been the result? The Yeomanry are within 500 of that reduced standard. The regiments are of a uniform size. The condition of the force leaves nothing to be desired. They are in the happy position that numbers of men are being 524 refused for the Yeomanry instead of being invited to come in. Hon. Gentlemen laugh, but I think that is a very happy condition of affairs; for the officers, instead of accepting every one who presents himself, are able to select the men best qualified to make their regiments efficient.
The question now is—Are the Volunteers to be an immense, unlimited force with little training and imperfect equipment, or are they to be a smaller, compact force, well-drilled and well-equipped? I may be wrong, but my judgment is that the prevailing feeling in the force is in favour of the latter alternative. Supposing we accept that position, what are the steps it entails upon us to take? I have endeavoured to ascertain from the Volunteers themselves what are the things they consider necessary to be done in order that they may be made efficient, and that the burdens which hamper them may be lifted from their shoulders. We have been told that arrangements should be made for allowing a larger number of men to go into camp for a fortnight. Last year 21,000 men were allowed to go into camp for a fortnight, and they received 5s. a day. We desire to make it possible for a larger number of men to go into camp. Last year a total of 175,000 men went into camp, of whom all but 21,000 went in for one week only. If all those men were allowed to go into camp for a fortnight, the Estimates would have to be increased by nearly £600,000 for camp allowances alone. We have been told that the officers should receive a larger payment when in camp on account of expenses. They receive 11s. 6d., and it has been represented to us that it ought to be increased to 14s. We desire to give the officers that amount. We have been told that a very heavy expense falls upon mounted officers for saddlery and horse furniture and that a grant-in-aid of £5 would be reasonable. We desire to give that grant-in-aid. We have been told that it is most important that non-commissioned officers should receive proper instruction. We desire to establish classes for the instruction of noncommissioned officers. We have been told that there should be some addition 525 to Volunteer transport. We desire to make that addition.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
Of course, the Volunteer force is, by law organised for service in this country.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
Then do I understand that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to provide transport for the Volunteers in this country, although he believes that in no circumstances could this country be invaded? [MINISTERIAL cries of "Order."]
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
It is transport for service in this country undoubtedly. We have been told that it is desirable that there should be, at any rate, the embryo of a higher organisation for the Volunteers. We desire that there should be some divisional organisation for the Volunteers. We have been told that it is a great strain on the men to have to pay travelling expenses. We desire to relieve them of that expense. We have been told that more ammunition ought to be allowed the Volunteer artillery for practice. We desire to place more ammunition at the disposal of the Volunteer artillery.
When we came to total up all these various items of additional expenditure we found that they represented a very large amount. I adhere to the opinion that we cannot ask Parliament now for the large sum which would enable us to give these additional advantages to the Volunteers. Then comes the question whether we shall have a large number of men without these advantages, or a slightly smaller number of men to whom we could give these advantages. To supply 245,000 men with all the additional advantages which I have set out would be a very costly matter indeed. Do the Committee really think it would be a practical step for the Government to ask for an additional grant of over £500,000 for capitation allowances alone? I do not think I should have got it had I asked for it. On the contrary, I should 526 have been blamed for making such a large addition to the Army Estimates. It is said that it is a great discouragement to the Volunteers to ask them to submit to a reduction of their numbers. If I thought so, I would not have asked for the reduction. We ask for a reduction of 15,000 on the strength. I maintain that, without injuring the Volunteer force in the least, we can consolidate and reduce its numbers. I Know the Volunteer point of view very well, and a very important point of view it is. It is this—that, if you merely reduce numbers and do not give any corresponding advantages, you will absolutely destroy many of the Volunteer battalions. But we want to obviate anything of the kind. I have gone through the figures representative of every battalion in every part of the United Kingdom, and I say that no battalions will suffer at all, but, on the contrary, will gain by our proposals. That being so, I cannot see that I am guilty of any great dereliction of duty in trying to impress this view upon the House.
We have made no change in regard to the Volunteers this year. We might have made some change if I had had a Fortunatus purse at my disposal. I should like to have been able to provide for all expenses. But we do expend £15,000 more for travelling expenses, and we give an additional £5,000 worth of ammunition to the artillery for practice. Changes of this kind must be made very slowly. I quite admit that the full reduction does not take place this year. Two alternatives are before Parliament—either to vote more money to the Volunteers, which I do not think it is at all likely to do, or to withhold the advantages for the provision of which there is no money. I believe that this very small reduction in numbers can and will be made without any sort of pressure upon the Volunteers at all. I believe it will be made with the approval of the Volunteer officers and the officers commanding in the districts, and in a way that it will be a pure gain to the Volunteers.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
The whole of the money is to be spent in providing these advantages for the Volunteers.
I think that if we get the officers' question settled, as it ought to be settled, the Volunteer force will be not only improved, but doubled in value. The whole intention of Parliament is to make the position of the Volunteer officer easier—the commanding officer, in the first place, on whom the chief burden lies; and the junior officer also must receive great relief. I believe if we make the regiments compact and effective there will be practically no difficulty in getting officers at all. It is not correct to suggest that our proposals have had a deleterious effect upon the Volunteer force. There has been a steady decline in officers of late years, I know, and it is attributable to many causes, but there has been no special decline of late. There has been no all in the number of the men I want to arrest the falling off in the number of officers, and I believe that the proposals which I have suggested will arrest that more effectually than any other way. I do hope after this explanation that hon. Members will acquit me of any want of sympathy with the Volunteer force and also credit me with an earnest desire to improve the quality of that force. If hon. Members will guarantee that I shall have £500,000 additional a year which would enable me to give the camp allowances desired, and if they will guarantee me all the money required for other necessaries then I am bound to say the question will have to be reopened. That is the position. We are doing the very best we possibly can with the means at our disposal, and we are filling in, line by line, the recommendations which we have received from the Volunteers themselves as to the objects which they most desire and which they most greatly need.
§ *MR. C. R SPENCER (Northamptonshire, Mid.)
said he could not understand 528 what the proposal of the Minister for War was. He objected to using phrases which might cause hon. Members to consider him egotistical, but he thought he must express his regret, first, that he could not understand what the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down meant by his proposal, and secondly, that he could not agree with all that the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister bespattered the Volunteer officers of that House with ointment, but he confessed that his wounds had not been healed and he still felt sore and disappointed with regard to the action which the Secretary for War had taken in regard to the Volunteers and in supplying their requirements. He was perfectly certain that the Secretary of State for War was in days gone by happier than he was at that moment. Then the right hon. Gentleman was thoroughly in favour of helping the Volunteers and understood their power. It was owing to the right hon. Gentleman's unfortunate association with fossils in the War Office that he had changed his opinions and had come down to the House and rather hurt his feelings and the feelings of others. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laughed but he did not know that it was very pleasant to be told even by a gallant soldier that one belonged to a force the majority of which were crippled idiot or diseased.
The right hon. Gentleman had asked them certain Questions which he did not think they were in the least called upon to answer, but he did want to know how he was going to reduce the number of Volunteers. If the right hon. Gentleman were in command of a county company, as he was, he would be sick and disheartened if in recruiting the villages he was told "what is the use of joining the Volunteers when the Minister for War is going to reduce the force." The right hon. Gentleman had said that he thought it absolutely necessary to reduce the force, but he had given them one hope in saying that it was not to be reduced this year. He took particular note of that phrase because he hoped that if it was not to be reduce this year it would not be reduced at all. He asked that the Volunteer force should not be looked upon 529 as an opera comique business but should be looked upon as taking part, and a serious part, in the defences of the country, and should be dealt with in accordance with its requirements and its needs. He thought it would be inimical to the force if a cut-and-dried rule were made that both, county and town battalions should be similar in all respects. They should be similar in efficiency but not in all other respects. He should; deeply regret if they were made so. He could not get from his mind the feeling that the right hon. Gentleman and those who worked with him at the War Office did not understand that Volunteers were Volunteers and could not be made into Regulars by a stroke of the pen. They were, however, an essential part of the forces of this country. He asked the right hon. Gentleman once more to keep himself free from that unfortunate position which his predecessor once took up, I that the Volunteers and their supporters throughout the country were a negligible quantity. He would invite him to say generally how he proposed to reduce the Volunteers, and might he say that when the right hon. Gentleman had done that he hoped he would not have the opportunity of reducing the force
§ COLONEL PILKINGTON (Lancashire, Newton)
The right hon. Gentleman on a former occasion was not so sympathetic as he has been to-night; and I and those who feel strongly about the Volunteer force, are very glad indeed that the Prime Minister has said what he has. Of course, it must be remembered that the first time we heard of the scheme of the Secretary of State for War we were told that 60,000 were to come off the Volunteer force, that it was to be reduced to 180,000. Well, we have to make the best we can of the circumstances in which we are, and I do think that this evening there has been some yielding to the pressure that has been brought to bear for many months. I should like to emphasise what has been said. It appears that the Prime Minister is sympathetic, and I think the Secretary of State for War is also sympathetic; but it is not clear how these reductions are going to be made. I think he did say on a former occasion, however, that he was going to proceed in consultation 530 with the commanding officers of the Volunteer units.
I want to point out that the two Reserves—the Regular Reserve and the Militia Reserve—are very, very low, at least, in my opinion they are very, very low. The actual numbers of the Regular Reserves, according to the latest Return, is 77,000, and the Militia Reserve was 7,000. In passing, I ask what about the Militia Reserve. I believe the late Secretary of State for War, the present Secretary for India, did say that he hoped to get a very large Reserve for the Militia, and he hoped to raise the total force of the Militia to 150,000. Now. Sir, that question of the Militia Reserve, it seems to me, is well worth the attention of my right hon. friend, and for this reason. Supposing we have a great war, and supposing that we take the Secretary of State for War at his word—that he has to rely upon the Regular Army and the Militia—where does he get his Reserve from for times of war? If we refer back to the South African War, we shall there have a standard that, at any rate, he has to come up to if a war of a similar character is waged between this country an I some hostile power. In that war there were 448,000 troops employed. The Regular troops were 256,000, and the Auxiliary troops that went to South Africa were 192,000. Very well. Where is the Reserve, where is the reinforcement to come from? I say he would have to go again to exactly the same resources he had to draw upon before. It does appear to me that, until his scheme as regards the long-service Army and the short-service Army has had time to develop, he ought not to reduce any of the Auxiliary Forces. The Volunteer force only "costs £1,200,000 out of nearly £30,000,000 of the whole cost, and, practically speaking, it is a very small figure, and it is hardly worth troubling about. Well, now, it seems to me he will not get very many Reserve men out of the nine years service. For the present, the enlisting and recruiting of the short-service men is discontinued; it is in abeyance, and it will be in abeyance for some considerable time. As far as I can see, the Reserve will grow very, very slowly.
531 Well, now, about the Volunteers. How is he going to reduce them? A great deal of what he said showed that he has a certain amount of sympathy, but there is no doubt about it that he did say he was going to reduce them something like 60,000. Now this year he is going to reduce them 15,000. Well, now, as far as the medical tests go and as far as efficiency tests go I do not think the Volunteers object at all, and I would suggest to my right hon. friend that no Volunteer unit should be interfered with except as regards efficiency and as regards bringing it up to some reasonable physical standard. If my right hon. friend restricts his reduction to that I do not think he will find that there will be very much reduction, because I admit that, of course, as you improve the force in efficiency and their physical standard, making the standard of health better, you will there again improve the force and you will attract recruits, and I believe also you will attract officers, But I notice he is going to reduce the grant to 15s in regard to those men who do not attend camp, and by that means he is going to save some money, but I suggest to him that he should increase the grant to those who do go into camp, because the cost of the battalion is heavy, for they have the expense of their band and other things, and the grant does not cover everything; it has to come out of subscriptions. Therefore, I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that in that particular he should raise the grant to men who attend camp by the money that he saves by taking it off the men who do not go into camp.
I think, if my right hon. friend had taken up the position he has taken to-night, there would not have been as much opposition and agitation. There is no doubt about it. Volunteers have to a great extent had careless, hasty, and unkind things said about them, and they feel it deeply; but if in consultation with the commanding officers the efficiency of the force is raised in every respect, then I do not think there is very much to complain of, But what is the reduction. It is a mere nothing. What I would suggest is that this is a tentative 532 year, that the Secretary of State for War should not make up his mind, but that he should see, during the next year, what effect the gradual improving of efficiency and the gradual improving of the standard of the men who are enlisted will have not only upon reducing the numbers of the force, but upon the general position of the force in every way.
Finally, I will point shortly to the history of the Volunteer force from the beginning. It has existed for nearly forty-four years, and every year it has been, better than it was the year before; and this sudden cold frost that has come on the force through no fault of its own has done harm. But if the War Office and the Prime Minister look with sympathy upon the force, and if they act with the Volunteers themselves during the next year, and if the reductions of the force are not made by units, or in a drastic way, but are simply made by weeding out the totally unfit and those who do not come up to a sufficient physical standard, then I believe we shall not only improve the force in efficiency and in health, but that we shall probably keep up the numbers as well. If we find that during the next twelve months the numbers keep up, then I should say let the force continue to grow slowly as it has done in the past. The force rose in the Boer War to 345,000. It has fallen to 245,000, a decrease of 100,000. I would say let the natural rise and fall go on, subject to the treatment I have suggested—efficiency of men, efficiency in officers and noncommissioned officers, a full standard of health, and action in thorough sympathy with the Volunteer officers during the next twelve months—and let us see whether the rather unkind things that have been said in various quarters, are justified, and whether the drastic condemnation in this House has not gone too far. I trust my right hon. friend will be able to continue to enlarge his ideas so as to help the Volunteers in every way.
§ *MR. LLEWELLYN (Somersetshire, N.)
said a great deal had been heard about the cheapness of the Volunteers. 533 His opinion was that a good Volunteer was certainly very cheap, but that a useless Volunteer was exceedingly dear. He asked hon. Members opposite, some of whom commanded Volunteer battalions, which they would prefer to command—a battalion of 500 men of good physique, thoroughly trained and well disciplined, or a battalion of 750 men such as were to be found in many battalions to-day. That really was the question that had to be answered in the division to-night. One of the main causes of a number of inefficient men being retained was the system upon which the grant was given. The capitation grant was a great mistake. The grant should be given to units, and the commanding officer held responsible for the expenditure of the money. At present commanding officers were frequently put in a position of great difficulty in the matter of getting rid of undesirable men. It was very important that they should be relieved of all anxieties with regard to money payments. Two Members of the House who were commanding officers, in giving evidence be-fore the Royal Commission, stated, one that when he took over the command of his battalion he was responsible for £4,000, and the other that his camp cost him in one year £250 out of his own pocket. That was not a satisfactory state of affairs. These facts gave greater point to his remarks about the capitation grant, as there was a great temptation to officers responsible for the finances of the company or battalion when they were called upon to decide whether or not a man should be kept on the roll. The hon. and gallant Member for South Sheffield had waxed very indignant because, as he said, the Secretary of State intended to get rid of such men as did service in South Africa. Nobody had ever made such a suggestion. The men who went to South Africa were splendid fellows; they were not the men that were to be got rid of. If every battalion consisted of men able to pass the examination those men did and possessing similar qualifications, no War Minister in his senses would ever suggest the reduction of a single man.
One mistake had been to allow the multiplication of branches of Volunteers in the same place. For instance, often in a 534 comparatively small town there were Rifle Volunteers, Engineer Volunteers, Artillery Volunteers, and Submarine Volunteers. It was perfectly impossible under such circumstances for corps to flourish either numerically or financially, or to secure a supply of proper officers. Ho hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give his attention to that matter. So much, had been said as to inability to understand the Secretary of State's scheme that he hardly liked to say that he understood it perfectly so far as the Volunteers were concerned. The right hon. Gentleman's object was to reduce the number of Volunteers by the physically inefficient and insufficiently trained, and to apply the money so saved to perfecting those who remained. Unless hon. Members opposite were prepared to answer the question he had put as to which kind of battalion they would prefer to command they had no right to throw any doubt on the proposition of the Secretary of State for War.
§ MR. FREEMAN-THOMAS (Hastings)
said he wished to address his remarks to the question of the Militia and the Volunteers. He entirely disagreed with the right hon. Gentleman in regard to his proposals with reference to those forces. The right hon. Gentleman said that although he proposed to reduce the number of the Volunteers his object was to render more efficient the remaining number. It was notorious that for a considerable number of years the War Office had very much neglected and had not given encouragement to the Volunteer force in this country. His own belief was that the Volunteer force should be increased rather than reduced, and be believed that if sufficient encouragement was given by the War Office they would be able to get a very fine and effective force for the defence of this country. He did not think in the past that that Militia had ever received any satisfactory encouragement at the hands of the War Office. He had himself served in a garrison artillery regiment something like fifteen years, and he could say that during the whole of that time neither the men nor the officers of the regiment which he belonged to had ever seen the outside of a breech-loading gun, but had been obliged to do the whole of their drill 535 and practise at old 64 prs. and 9-in muzzle-loading guns. He left that regiment in despair because he thought he might do more useful service in the Yeomanry force. He thought this showed clearly that the Militia had not been encouraged. As far as he could understand the Secretary of State for War, it seemed that he wished to level up the Militia, give them more training, and attach to them a certain number of Regular officers. He hoped he might be able to get the men to do the extra amount of training. With regard to the second part of the scheme for the Militia, namely, that any new recruit whenever he joined should be bound to sign on for compulsory foreign service, he had very grave doubts as to its success. Although he knew that the right hon. Gentleman had most excellent and high authority for believing that this arrangement would be a satisfactory thing with regard to the Militia, it seemed to him that he was endangering very seriously the recruiting possibilities by undertaking this scheme. He could not help feeling that there was a rooted objection in the mind of any recruit who joined a Volunteer force to sign on for any compulsory foreign service. He had no doubt that in an emergency of any sort they would volunteer to undertake any obligation for their country, but he did not think it was a wise thing to insist upon this compulsory foreign service or the Militia.
As far as he could understand it the whole scheme of the Secretary of State for War seemed to be of a temporising and temporary character. He understood that the right hon. Gentleman advocated the extreme blue-water theory. Notwithstanding what the Prime Minister said, he could not see that, if the extreme blue-water theory was carried out to its logical conclusion, there should be any need for any Militia or Volunteers in this country. The right hon. Gentleman was of opinion that public opinion was not quite ready for his particular scheme, and he brought this in rather as an interim report, and hoped to do rather more in the future with the Volunteer forces. Personally he was no believer in the extreme blue-water theory or the extremes of exaggeration as to the danger upon the North-West frontier 536 of India. He was, however, very anxious for Army reform, and he was convinced that the views of the right hon. Gentleman both with regard to the Volunteers and the Militia were unsound and detrimental to both those branches of the service. For those reasons he should certainly vote for the reduction.
§ LIEUTENANT-COLONEL PRYCE-JONES (Montgomery Boroughs)
thought they should have some guarantee that if the numbers in the Volunteer battalions were reduced they would get greater efficiency. [Cries of "Speak up."] He quite agreed with what the Secretary of State for War had said as to reducing the number of the Volunteers and making them more efficient. If those promises were carried out, and bigger allowances were given to both officers and men and other facilities were offered them, he was perfectly sure that the Volunteer forces throughout the country would not grumble in the least. But the right hon. Gentleman had never given them that assurance before, and he was pleased that on this occasion he had pledged himself in that direction. Another hon. friend of his had referred to the difference between corps in country districts and in big towns. It often happened that country corps were much more difficult to keep up than town corps. They only wanted differential treatment where it was more expensive to maintain Volunteer corps.
§ MR. CHARLES HOBHOUSE (Bristol, E.)
said the Secretary of State for War stated that afternoon that, after consulting a great number of Volunteer and Imperial Yeomanry officers, he had come to the conclusion that it was absolutely necessary to reduce the Volunteer force, as he had had to reduce the Imperial Yeomanry. Then he went on to use these extraordinary words—It is a happy condition that men should be refused for an Imperial Yeomanry regiment.That, he thought, was the most extraordinary statement ever made in the House of Commons by a Secretary of State for War. It was not desirable that a Yeomanry regiment should be in a position to refuse men. It was not a good thing for the country that men who were willing to come forward with sufficient physique to make good soldier 537 should be turned away by regimental authorities because the Minister in charge of the War Office for the time being thought there were too many Volunteer soldiers in the country. The Prime Minister in connection with this point made an almost equally extraordinary statement when he said that they had in the Army increased efficiency in numbers and a diminution in the establishment. The hon. Member supposed the Secretary of State for War intended to apply the same theory to the Volunteers. Having commanded a Volunteer regiment for some years, it was quite clear to him that a diminution of the establishment would not tend to increase the numbers or the efficiency. He was in the happy position of having had an excess of numbers over the establishment, and that had enabled him to turn away men under the standard who did not make desirable recruits. There were, however, commanding officers who would have taken on these men because they had to recruit up to a certain number. He would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that if he had decreased the establishment by a certain percentage, say from 345,000 to 300,000, he would have got rid of the excessive establishment while encouraging officers to get more men. The Volunteer officers could have insisted upon a greater test of efficiency and a greater standard of physique without the putting of difficulty in the way by the War Office.
The Secretary of State for War gave three alternatives—to refuse numbers, to refuse facilities, or to raise the Estimates. If these were the only three alternatives, he would have preferred to vote for an increase of the Estimates. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that he wished to act in accordance with the views of the majority of the Volunteer officers. He had from time to time consulted them, and he had always modified the programme. If he would give a further consultation he would still further modify the programme, and would not come
§ back to the House with proposals which discouraged men from enlisting in a valuable portion of the home forces. The hon. Member and a great number of others thought the Estimates for the Volunteer force ought to be increased in order to provide a sufficient home force to ensure the security of these islands.
*COLONEL WILLIAMS (Dorsetshire, W.)
said that as an old Volunteer he wished to thank the Secretary of State for what he said that afternoon with regard to the Volunteer force. He was not one of those thin-skinned Volunteers who took offence at everything. He had felt disappointment at some things which had been said, but the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that day had in a considerable measure taken away that feeling. If they had to choose between going on as they were or getting more advantages with reduced numbers, he should prefer the latter as offered by the Secretary of State for War. He believed the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman would have the effect of giving higher efficiency with the reduced numbers. He thought that if they submitted to the reduction this year, and if they got next year from the War Office the further advantages promised by the right hon. Gentleman, they should be satisfied. As to the large sums of money that were to be given to the Volunteers, he rather thought that the time for receiving them was much farther off than hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to imagine. In the meantime, as a bird in the hand was better than a bird in the bush, he thanked the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War for what he had already done; and he only hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would give them a few more 15s. men if they could recruit them.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 187; Noes 218. (Division List No. 103.)541
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E)||Barlow, John Emmott||Bolton, Thomas Dolling|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Brigg, John|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Beaumont, Wentworth C.B.||Bright, Allan Heywood|
|Allen, Charles P.||Benn, John Williams||Broadhurst, Henry|
|Asher, Alexander||Black, Alexander William||Brown, George M (Edinburgh)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Blake, Edward||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Boland, John||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Horniman, Frederick John||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Burt, Thomas||Hutchinson, Dr. Chas. Fredk.||Perks, Robert William|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Caldwell, James||Jacoby, James Alfred||Price, Robert John|
|Cameron, Robert||Johnson, John||Reddy, M.|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Richards, Thos. (W. Monm'th)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Joyce, Michael||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kilbride, Denis||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Kitson, Sir James||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Labouchere, Henry||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Crean, Eugene||Lament, Norman||Roche, John|
|Cremer, William Randal||Langley, Batty||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crombie, John William||Law, Hugh Alex (Donegal, W.||Runeiman, Walter|
|Cullinan, J.||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Samuel, Herb. L. (Cleveland)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Seely, Maj J.E.B.(Isle of Wight|
|Delany, William||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Shackleton, David James|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)||Levy, Maurice||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lewis, John Herbert||Sheehy, David|
|Dobbie, Joseph||Lloyd-George, David||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lough, Thomas||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Lundon, W.||Slack, John Bamford|
|Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark)||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Duffy, William J.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Spencer, Rt Hn. C R (Northants|
|Edwards, Frank||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Stanhope, Hn. Philip James|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Ellice, Capt E C(SAndrw'sBghs||M'Kean, John||Sullivan, Donal|
|Ellis, John Edward (Notts)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radeliffe)|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||M'Laren, Sir Charles Benjamin||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.|
|Eve, Harry Trelawney||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Thomas, JA (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Fenwick, Charles||Mooney, John J.||Tomkinson, James|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Ffrench, Peter||Murphy, John||Ure, Alexander|
|Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, N.E.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wallace, Robert|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herb. John||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary Mid)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.|
|Grant, Corrie,||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Harcourt, Lewis||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wills, Arthur Walters (NDorset|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wilson, Fred W (Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Harrington, Timothy||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Harwood, George||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Woodhouse, Sir JT (Huddersf' d|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Dowd, John||Young, Samuel|
|Hayter, Rt Hn. Sir Arthur D.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||O'Malley, William|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||O'Mara, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Higham, John Sharpe||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Mr. McCrae and Captain|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Shee, James John||Freeman-Thomas.|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Parrott, William|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J (Manch'r.)||Bingham, Lord|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W(Leeds)||Blundell, Colonel Henry|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry Eden||Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Bond, Edward|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Brassey, Albert|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Banner, John S. Harmood-||Bull, William James|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||Burdett-Coutts, W.|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. HughO||Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Butcher, John George|
|Arrol, Sir William||Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A (Glasgow|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Campbell, J. HM (Dublin Univ.)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bignold, Sir Arthur||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Bigwood, James||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bill, Charles||Cavendish, V. C W (Derbyshire|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Heath, Sir Jas. (Staffords N.W.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Holder, Augustus||Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Hoare, Sir Samuel||Percy, Earl|
|Chapman, Edward||Hogg, Lindsay||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside||Pilkington, Colonel Richard|
|Coates, Edward Feetham||Horner, Frederick William||Plummer, Sir Walter R,|
|Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Hoult, Joseph||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Purvis, Robert|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hunt, Rowland||Randles, John S.|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Crossley, Rt. Hn. Sir Savile||Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred.||Ridley, S. Forde|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col.W.||Robertson, Herb. (Hackney)|
|Davenport, William Bromley||Kerr, John||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Denny, Colonel||Kimber, Sir Henry||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Dewar, Sir T. R (Tower Hamlets||King, Sir Henry Seymour)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||knowles, Sir Lees||Round, Rt. Hn. James|
|Dimsdale, Rt Hn. Sir Joseph C.||Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm.||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Laurie, Lieut-General||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Doughty, Sir George||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Lawrence, Sir Joseph (Monm'h||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Lawson, Hn. H. L. W. (Mile End||Samuel, Sir Harry S (Limehouse|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks N.R||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Egerton, Hn. A. de Tatton||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H (Renfrew|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Legge. Col. Hn. Heneage||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N.S||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Smith, H. C. (North'mb Tyneside|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J (Manc'r)||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Spear, John Ward|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Long, Col Chas. W. (Evesham)||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Finch, Rt. Hn. George H.||Long, Rt, Hn. Walter (Bristol, S||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs)|
|Finlay, Sir R B (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowe, Francis William||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Flower, Sir Ernest.||Lyttelton, Rt, Hn. Alfred||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Forster, Henry William||Macdona, John Cumming||Tuff, Charles|
|Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S.W||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Maconochie, A. W.||Turnour, Viscount|
|Gardner, Ernest||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Garfit, William||Majendie, James A. H.||Walrond, Rt Hn. Sir William H|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Malcolm, Ian||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E (Elgin & Nairn||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Welby, Lt.-Col A. CE (Taunton)|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S||Maxwell Rt Hn Sir H.E (Wigt'n||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Gordon, Maj. Evans-(T'rH'm'ts||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und Lyne|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Goschen, Hn. George Joachim||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Goulng, Edward Alfred||Milvain, Thomas||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott W (Hants||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H (Yorks.)|
|Green, Walford D(Wednesbury||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Greene, Sir E W(B'rySEdm'nd's||Moore, William||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs)||Morgan, D. J. (Walthamstow)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Morpeth, Viscount||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Hain, Edward||Morrell, George Herbert||Younger, William|
|Halsey, Rt. Hn. Thomas F.||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Mount. William Arthur|
|Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Sir Alexander Acland-Hood|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th||Myers, William Henry||and Viscount Valentia.|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ And, it being after half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.542
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again To-morrow.