§ Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment [February 22nd] to Main Question [February 14th], "That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth—
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign,
§ "We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the 1162 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Mr. Mount.)
Which Amendment was—
At the end of the Question, to add the words, But humbly to represent to Your Majesty that the continuous and continuing changes in the War Office are destructive of the best interests of Your Majesty's Army, have gravely disordered the system upon which the Regular Forces at home and abroad are raised and trained, have discouraged the Militia and Volunteers, and disclose negligence and mismanagement on the part of Your Majesty's Ministers, more particularly as to the armament of the artillery, whereby, in spite of the increased cost of the Army, its efficiency for the defence of the Empire has been diminished.' "—(Captain Norton.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)
said it seemed to him that the new short rifle it was now endeavoured to force upon the infantry had been condemned, not only by experts outside the War Office, but by all who were fond of rifle-shooting and knew anything about it. Except that the new rifle was one and a half pounds lighter to carry, it had nothing to recommend it. For the last twenty years there had been no improvement in the shooting power of the rifle. When the new rifle was fired there was a very distinct flash to be seen, which was in itself a very great disadvantage, because it would point out to the enemy the exact place were the men who were firing were, and show them the way to get round their flank. The great horns which were put on as sight protectors must, in his opinion, of necessity interfere with the sight of the man who was looking down the barrel, one of them being large enough to obscure a man's head at 200 yards, and such a thing must militate against quick and correct shooting, for which the rifle was particularly designed. In fact, it was pretty generally acknowledged that the old rifle, in spite of the absence of the improvements which had been made in the new, was even now the better shooting weapon. However, they were told that the War Office knew best, so that all that they could do would be to take what the 1163 War Office gave, although it was not so many years ago that the War Office discovered that the rifle they were then manufacturing was absolutely useless after they had turned out 100,000. It might also be recalled that this same Department sent out rifles to South Africa sighted to shoot inaccurately, and bandoliers that shed their cartridges, directly the men began to trot and scattered them on the ground like shelled peas, which cartridges were picked up by the natives and sold to the Boers. He knew that the present Secretary for War was not responsible for these things or for the new weapon, as it had been decided on two years ago. Still, hon. Members on the Government side ought to intimate to the right hon. Gentleman that unless he could show that the new rifle had been fairly tested in all ways, they would feel unable to follow him into the same lobby on the Army Estimates. As the feeling of the country was dead against conscription, he thought boys should undergo a certain amount of military discipline and training for two or three years before they left school. They might also be taught shooting with an air-gun, which was practically the same thing as teaching them to shoot with a small rifle. He had tried the air-gun for boys at an elementary school, and he could say that the results were very satisfactory. He thought they should also teach boys the enormous extent of the British Empire and the sacrifices their forefathers had made to secure it, and the easiest way to do this would be to get Mr. Rudyard Kipling to write a history of the British Empire, somewhat in the style of the Jungle Book. He thought that with the encouragement of rifle and air-gun clubs they might get a million riflemen with a certain amount of training, and it need not cost more than 26s. per man per annum. If they had had a million good marksmen during the war they need not have sent to South Africa men who could not hit a galloping elephant at 100 yards. In conclusion, was it well that the men of this country should be encouraged to believe that it was neither their business to guard against starvation in time of war, nor their duty to defend their country in time of peril?
§ MR. EUGENE WASON (Clackmannan and Kinross)
hoped that none of them would ever live to see the blood tax of conscription adopted in this country. The hon. Member had suggested the use of the air-gun, but he did not know what use that would be against galloping elephants, although it was sometimes used against cats in the back garden. "He did not think it would require a Rudyard Kipling to inspire our youth to shoot either galloping elephants or tom-cats with an air-gun. As an old Volunteer officer, he associated himself with all that had been said as to the lamentable falling off in the Volunteers, and he thought something might be done to encourage that force. He called the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the tribute that was paid to the City Imperial Volunteers by Lord Roberts, and he only took the City Imperial Volunteers as an illustration, because what was said of them could be said of all the Volunteer force. Speaking; of the City Imperial Volunteers, the late Commander-in-Chief said they had done magnificently; that they were, clever fellows and that they got better as time went on; that he would like, to lead an army composed of such men. The Volunteer forces had now decreased by 50 per cent., and he thought they should be encouraged and not snubbed as they had been in the past. Was it fair that during the late War the Colonial Volunteers received 5s. a day, while our Volunteers only received 1s. a day? That was a colonial preference of which he did not think the late Colonial Secretary would approve. He suggested a medal for Volunteers of ten instead of twenty years standing, and possibly a bar for every extra five years, and a brighter ribbon. Everything should be done to encourage the force. As to the merits of the long and short rifle, it must be remembered that shooting was not the only thing for which the rifle was required. What chance would the man with the short rifle have if it came to the bayonet? He asked whether or not the inoculation against enteric had been found to be effective, and whether it was intended to make it compulsory?
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT (Islington, S.)
complained of the indiscriminate criticisms of the Volunteers made by the hon. Member for North Somerset, and said the measure of their value could be estimated from the assertion of the hon. Gentleman that Members of this House were prone to support the Volunteers in order to get their votes at elections. Upon a question of such vital importance surely no such consideration could apply, especially in the case of men a very large proportion of whom were young fellows without votes at all. Since the formation of the Volunteers in 1859, when he joined, he had had many opportunities of taking part in their work and of observing the progress of various corps, and he believed that as a general rule the Volunteers deserved well of the country. If the matter were put to the test there would doubtless be found throughout the land a volume, not of depreciation, but of appreciation, and a determination to maintain what was at once a cheap, and with ordinary encouragement might be made a most efficient, force. In 1859 the formation of the Volunteers probably deterred a contemplated attack on this country, while their conduct in the recent campaign, although the duty had been discharged under most invidious conditions as to comparative pay and so forth, was of the most patriotic character. It should never be forgotten that to the Volunteers was probably due that intense feeling in favour of national defence which their establishment evoked and which had since been retained, and also the escape of the country from conscription.
The suggestion that the Volunteers should be reduced, on the plea of smaller numbers and greater efficiency, was curiously coincident with a depleted Exchequer, and he could not help thinking that probably the latter fact was a potent factor in the decision. He believed, however, that in this matter parsimony would not be economy, and that a reasonable expenditure might be made most productive to the country. Further consideration was to be given to the question, but he hoped the force would not be kept for a whole year in its present condition of uncertainty and suspense, which was doing vast injury, especially to metropolitan corps. People were apt 1166 to forget the great sacrifices made by officers and men, and the debt due to them for their maintenance of the spirit of duty instead of the spirit of leisure and pleasure. The Volunteers had done their duty to the State; had the State done its duty to the Volunteers? Whatever had been achieved had been effected in the face of every form of sentimental and practical discouragement—obsolete guns, which made training unreal, lack of or inaccessible ranges, insufficient grants for transport and equipment which had to be supplemented by the officers and themselves, and so forth. The regulations of 1901, prefaced almost by an insult, showed an utter lack of knowledge of the country and a failure to realise local conditions on the part of the War Office. The real remedy was decentralisation and more trust in the officers commanding, who knew their men and the point of efficiency they had achieved. The real requirements in a Volunteer were a knowledge of shooting, ability to march twenty or thirty miles without undue fatigue, a spirit of discipline, and some drill, but by no means the amount of parade drill hitherto exacted. If those cardinal qualities were secured a force of excellent soldiers could be turned out in a comparatively short period equal to the discharge of the duties of home defence, in regard to which they had been unduly discouraged. If instead of wasting money in the many directions in which it could be shown to have been wasted, a little more liberality were shown with a view to preventing officers and men suffering actual out-of-pocket loss, much more good would be done than by the proposed reductions. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman, who had expressed sympathy with the force, would take into careful consideration all that had been said on this matter, and come to a wise and speedy conclusion, but if he underestimated public feeling in the matter public feeling might become a very potent factor in the solution of the question.
He desired to ask the right hon. Gentleman what was intended with regard to the Militia submarine mining divisions, in one of which he was serving, the instructions for the continuance of training having been countermanded in the South of the 1167 country for this year. He also referred to what he thought was an inadvertent injustice inflicted on a class of University students who had served their country well, but who under the new regulations as to Army commissions were unfairly treated. The University of London had been reorganised, and now consisted of internal and external students, but according to the regulations only students in residential Universities were eligible for the commissions, the internal students being regarded as residential, which they were not. This, in a sense, made a distinction between the richer and the poorer classes, and he submitted that knowledge, wherever obtained, if it was able to secure the stamp of the University, ought not to have placed upon it a different value from that given to knowledge acquired by the more fortunate men who could afford to attend residential Universities.
§ MR. OSMOND WILLIAMS (Merionethshire)
said it was unnecessary for Members of the Opposition to condemn the Government for their management of the Army; their strongest critics came from their own ranks. After nine years of Unionist control the Secretary of State was able to inform the country that the Army in its present condition was unsuited for the requirements of the nation, unready for war, and unable, as regarded either composition or numbers, to satisfy the needs of the Empire. Our Army, imperfectly organised, wasteful in its methods, unsatisfactory in its results, was one of the most costly machines ever devised. The history of the last five years abundantly attested to the truth of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks, and they were borne out by the evidence of such authorities as Sir Ian Hamilton, Lord Roberts, Lord Wolseley, and Sir Frederick Treves. Here was the stewards' account of their stewardship, and yet the Prime Minister had asked at Glasgow, What had the Government done in regard to the defensive position of the country? What they had done was obvious. They had concealed at one and the same time the almost incredible confusion of their administrative ideas and the dangerous tendencies of their foreign policy, and were now claiming as a merit that they 1168 were re-arming the artillery, and that in two years time the Army would have a gun fit for modern use. After all these years they were commencing to reform the War Office and to provide suitable guns. These were, indeed, great performances, such as no other Government could hope to excel. The same condition of affairs prevailed with regard to the Navy. The country had recently been told that the Fleet was to be, disposed in the best strategic manner. The men who put that forward as a virtue had no claim on the approval of the country. Why had not the Navy always been disposed to the best advantage, and why should it ever be disposed in any other way? As to the claim that the War Office was now approaching the state of absolute perfection, it was an absolute delusion. In the opinion of experts the War Office and the Army had been changed for the worse by the Esher-Forster scheme, and he certainly did not think the nation could have any confidence in the critical sense of Ministers who had declared that the rejection of the discredited Brodrick system would be a crime against the country.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
I shall have a somewhat difficult task in addressing the House to-night. I feel in the position of Mr. Midshipman Easy in his triangular duel, with the boatswain on one side of the House, and the purser's mate on the other. I can only hope that, in spite of these difficulties, I shall escape unscathed this evening. The fact of the matter is that we are discussing not one Amendment, but three Amendments. I greatly regret, in view of the interest of the subjects, that these Amendments could not have been separated. I asked the hon. Gentleman the mover of this Amendment whether he could not adopt that arrangement, but he was unable to do so. I say that not by way of reproach, but to explain why it is that I find myself called upon to deal as best I may with three important, but dissimilar, subjects which have been attacked from very dissimilar points of view by the hon. Members who have spoken. I am very glad to have this opportunity of saying to the House what I have to say on all these questions. I have always been 1169 frank with the House, and I think if I have sometimes presented a doleful view, a discouraging view, of Army matters, I think they might take that as an earnest that I shall not mislead them, intentionally at any rate, if I represent some things as not being as bad as they would have us suppose, and if I give them some encouragement, which I am afraid very few of them have found for themselves.
There have been two branches of attack. One has been general and the other, which again divides itself into two parts, has been specific. Let me remind the House what this attack is. We are told, in the words of the Amendment, that the policy of the Government has been "destructive of the best interests of His Majesty's Army, has gravely disordered the system upon which the Regular Forces at home and abroad are raised and trained, has discouraged the Militia and Volunteers, and discloses negligence and mismanagement on the part of His Majesty's Ministers, more particularly as to the armament of the artillery, whereby, in spite of the increased cost of the Army, its efficiency for the defence of the Empire has been diminished." I intend to traverse by a direct negative every one of those assertions. I propose to traverse them in general and in detail. I propose to assert and to prove, that not one of those propositions is correct.
I will deal first with the general attack. We have been told that the Regular Army has been disordered, that the Auxiliary Forces have been discouraged, and that the efficiency of the Army for the defence of the Empire has been diminished. I am going to endeavour to prove to the House—and I think I shall prove—that the Regular Army is not disordered, that the Auxiliary Forces are not discouraged, and that the efficiency of the Army for the defence of the Empire is not diminished. I do not say now, I have never stated in this House, and I am not likely to say, that either the Army or the Auxiliary Forces are as efficient as they ought to be, or as efficient as we should desire to see them. The whole raison d' etre of my being here at all, as far as I know, is that I have done my best in the time that has been given to me to alter a 1170 state of things of which I, in common with most of the Members of this House, do not approve. My point is, and always has been, that our forces are not in the state of efficiency that they ought to be in; and my endeavour has been—and I think I shall show I have endeavoured with some success—with the aid of my colleagues on the Army Council, to make them more efficient than they were. Let hon. Members recall one small circumstance. I had not been long in the office I now occupy when, in July last, I was permitted to submit a proposal for the reorganisation of the Army, and much earlier for the reorganisation of the administration of the Army. Now I ask hon. Members whether seven months is a very long time wherein to perform a task of that kind? I ask hon. Members to remember when they charge me with being dilatory—for that is one charge, while another is that I have been too hasty—that up to this moment I have not been able to submit Estimates since I made my proposals to the House, and to remember that the whole of the Army and the Auxiliary Forces are serving under engagements, and that anything you can do to alter these must take a long time. The work of putting the Army on the basis on which we should like to see it will occupy the House and the country for many long years. The most I can hope to prove—and I have this hope—is that during these seven months I have been able to devote to the reorganisation of the Army I have not been idle, and that the comparatively longer time devoted to the reorganisation of the administration of the Army has been equally well occupied.
I should like to say a word or two about the administration of the Army. We have been told that we have disorganised the whole system. Let me briefly recount what has taken place. At the beginning of last year the Esher Committee reported, and I was appointed to carry out the recommendations made. The Committee recommended the institution of an Army Council, and that Council has been formed; the appointment of an Inspector-General, with the 1171 subordinate officers necessary to carry out his duties, and these appointments have been made, the officers carrying out with satisfaction the duties entrusted to them: while a staff of Directors has been appointed, their functions defined, and they are now working harmoniously and successfully in their separate departments. The whole of the financial department, in pursuance of the Committee's recommendations, had to be reorganised and decentralised. I do not know whether hon. Members suppose this can be done in a day. I can assure them it was a laborious and complicated operation. These are early days, and I am not so sanguine as to prophesy that the system now instituted for the whole of the United Kingdom will work as successfully as we hope it will, but it has been a very difficult and elaborate piece of work which we have at length brought to a conclusion. The House has expressed a preference for a division of the Army not into Army Corps. I never personally attached so much importance to that system as others did, and my only objection was that the name was inaccurate, for the divisions did not correspond to what is known in military language as Army Corps. It has been the work of the War Office to replace this organisation by a divisional organisation more suited, as we believe, to the needs of the country. We were charged with the creation of a General Staff, and we have formulated the whole of the duties of the staff, their emoluments have been approved by the Treasury, and their duties defined. We have not made the whole of the appointments, for I think we could not make a graver mistake than to hasten in a matter of this kind. We must take care to get the best qualified men and to have a General Staff worthy of the name. The Intelligence Department has been practically doubled, and many new branches have been added. The Leader of the Opposition spoke of the heavy cost of barracks, but I may remind him that we have given effect to our promise, and have already stopped barrack-building to the extent of £1,500,000; we have created a new barrack-building organisation at the War Office, and we have put the business of barrack-building under the supervision of an experienced civilian, 1172 who has had the control of the erection of such buildings as the Rowton Houses in London and Birmingham. The experience he has had well qualifies him for devising barrack accommodation for the comfort and welfare of the soldier. The hon. Member for Ilkeston asked whether we have made any progress with the medical service. When I tell him that not only have careful observers made themselves acquainted with developments during the Russo-Japanese War, but we have at last commenced the erection of the medical college in which he is interested, I do not think there is altogether a bad record for the first half year of the work of the Army Council. I can assure the House these things take considerable time. I will not say more of the Army Council than that I believe it is destined to be of enormous value to the Army. I also believe that the Selection Board, which is part of the organisation, has given to officers and men of the Army an absolute assurance that recommendations for promotion will be influenced by no other considerations than the recommendations of the officers acquainted with the men who are serving under them.
Now, we are told that the efficiency of the Army has been diminished and the cost increased, and I counter that by a denial, and will prove that the cost has not been increased but diminished, and that efficiency has been increased. Hon. Members have said there has been a great increase in cost since the period before the war, and that there has not been corresponding efficiency. Now let me deal with that. Is it true that there has been a large increase of cost since the war? A great deal has taken place since the war. We have learned a great deal, and hon. Members who deprecate any change seem to forget the charges brought by the War Commission in respect of nearly every branch of the Army. The expenditure before the war was £20,617,000; now it is £28,830,000. That, of course, is an increase in expenditure. But we are told that there is no increase of efficiency, and I will, therefore, point out what has been the increase in efficiency corresponding to this increase in expenditure. I am speaking of the period before the war. There has been added to the Royal Artillery, in 1173 obedience, I believe, to the opinion of every military authority, sixty-six units of Artillery, batteries or companies, and twenty-two and a half troops to the Royal Engineers. There had been a deficiency in the technical departments of the Royal Engineers. New needs have caused new developments, and telegraph and bridging troops, post office and wireless telegraphy men, have all had to be added to the Army. The infantry has been increased by fourteen battalions, the Army Service Corps has been increased by 1,263 men and the Army Medical Corps by 462 officers and 1,210 men. Is that not some value for the money we have spent? We have added 35,000 men to the Army during that time; and when you put that result against the expenditure I think that it is not an unsatisfactory equivalent. But a great deal more has been done. An hon. Member spoke of a deficiency of stores. What has happened since the war? We have put the British Army in regard to stores in a position it has never been in since it was an Army. The whole of the Mowatt programme has been initiated and carried out to the last item. Is that no addition to the efficiency of the Army? What has happened in recent years? Has there been no reduction? The normal Estimates of 1903–4 were £29,800,000; last year they were £28,830,000, or a reduction of £970,000.
I think, therefore, that I have proved to the satisfaction of the House that we have got value for the money we have expended. But I cannot prove that the expenditure as it now stands is the expenditure as it ought to be. I believe that, despite what has been said to-night and last night, when every speech delivered was one in favour of more expenditure. Last year I said that the first rule we have to lay down is that true economy consists in making a machine to do our work, that anything short of that was a waste of money, and anything in excess of it was extravagance. I by no means assert that our Army is perfectly adapted to our needs; and in so far as we are spending money oil things we do not want, we are wasting money. It is my desire to do everything I can to produce a state of things wherein the expenditure shall 1174 be on the right thing and for the right purpose. I desire reduction of expenditure but you cannot make great changes in six months, or perhaps in six years. The whole of our Army is serving on engagements, and when suggestions are made for disbanding hon. Members must remember that any step of the kind would immediately mean an increased cost in the Estimates for the remuneration we have to give, to the men whose engagements are suddenly broken off. This process must be in all respects gradual and consistent. If we are to reduce the cost of the Army I think I can show that there is but one way, and that is to reduce the number of men in the Army. Until you make up your minds to do that there will be no serious reduction in the expenditure on the Army. It is said in the Amendment that the Army is inefficient. The strength of the Army now stands at 275,551 men. I believe that in every material particular, except one, our Army has never been more efficient than now. The Leader of the Opposition made a statement which, if it had been true, would have been serious. He said that we were sacrificing the Reserve for the Army. That is a misapprehension. I am positive that the present administration of the War Office would never have taken any step so fatal as that would be. What are the facts? In the last six months the Army Reserve has increased from 74,000 to 77,673 men; and during the coming year there will be an increase in the Army Reserve larger, I believe, than has ever been made to it in the same length of time. So far, therefore, from its being true that the Army Reserve is falling, I say that it is increasing by leaps and bounds, and bids fair to become the largest it has ever been.
I do not, therefore, think the charge that the policy of the Government has rendered the Army inefficient has been established. But there is a point which is a weak one. It was thought necessary during the war to create a new species of enlistment. It was suited to the circumstances of the war, and it brought the men that we required. It carried us through the crisis. But the crisis has passed, and the need has gone for a system not suited to our present requirements. I mean the system 1175 of three years enlistment. The result of the three-years system has caused the War Office very grave anxiety, so grave that it has had a very marked effect upon the policy of the War Office. It is our primary business before we undertake any changes, even if they be improvements, to keep the Army fit for war; and if we had allowed the three-years enlistment to go on unchecked the Army would, have become totally unfit. What were the conditions to which some of the battalions were being reduced by the continuance of the three years system of enlistment? One battalion at home had 623 men under two years service and 42 per cent, of the men under twenty years of age. Another had 700 men under two years service and 44 per cent, under twenty years of age. Another had 77 per cent, under two years service and 55 per cent. under twenty years of age. Some of the battalions in the Colonies were in the same case. There was a battalion in South Africa which had, out of a total strength of 842 men, 391 under two years service and 233 under twenty years of age; another that had 38 per cent, under twenty years of age and 65 per cent. under two years service. So serious was the condition of things that when we came to arrange for the Indian drafts we found ourselves face to face with a condition which it was impossible to continue. There was a battalion that required 483 men for the Indian drafts, and had 78 men available to fill the drafts. Another required 263 men and had 25 available for the draft. It was necessary to take immediate steps to remedy this great deficiency. The Army Council took those steps. I was gravely warned that the step would be a failure, and would be productive of most serious consequences. But my anticipations were favourable, and they have been absolutely realised. We decided that as a temporary measure—and it is temporary only—we would have a system of nine years enlistment for the infantry. Hon. Members have spoken of that as a long term. As a matter of fact it is but one year longer than the ordinary term which it superseded. The seven-years term was, as regards two-thirds of the Army, and all the Army that went to India, in reality an eight-years term. But we have decided, for reasons which 1176 I think I could show to be adequate, on a nine-years term, and what has been the result? We have already taken over 7,500 long-service men for the infantry, and in a few months we shall add 30,000 long-service men to the infantry; and I hear from every side that the quality of the recruits shows improvement. Were we not justified in taking that step? It has also had the incidental advantage of wiping out the serious deficiency in the Brigade of Guards. The Army is thus being strengthened and is being brought back after the war to a position to furnish all the Indian drafts, and the Brigade of Guards has been brought up to full strength. But this process has had one inevitable consequence. It has put off the commencement of short-service enlistment. That would have been a grave thing indeed, if it were not for the immense influx into the Reserve which has taken place and which is to be increased in the coming year. Because we shall have an unparalleled entry into the Reserve in the coming year, it has become not only safe, but most desirable, to continue this long-service recruiting; and we shall continue it until we have restored the full measure of the long-service element in the Army necessary to furnish the Indian drafts.
A word about the Militia, the Leader of the Opposition commented upon the Bill which has been introduced in another place, and he asked whether the utilisation of the Militia, or the taking of powers to send the Militia abroad, would affect the ballot. No, Sir, that is not the case. Militia enlisted under the ballot are under a different Act from those enlisted for ordinary purposes. They are called the territorial Militia; and the possibility of recruiting men compulsorily for service abroad can never arise. I have been somewhat misrepresented with regard to this question of the Militia. It was stated by several hon. Members that I had proposed to get rid of the Militia. There is no foundation at all for that statement. I had expressed, and I have always entertained the view, that it would be far better to ally a portion of the Regular Army with the Militia as the territorial Army of this country; and I have little doubt that that will be the 1177 ultimate solution of this problem. But I said last year that I was not in a position to make that proposal to the House. On the contrary, I said—We must maintain the Militia; and we must endeavour to make it effective for its work. … In a great national force of that kind no Minister can effect a change like this unless he has the good will of Parliament and of the nation. … If it be the will of the House that we should maintain the Militia, then we must do it; but on one condition only—that the Militia must be made effective for the purpose of war.I also said, and I repeat—We must cut off from the Militia those units whch are plainly redundant for our requirements.That was my intention then, and it is the intention of the Government now; and we have given an earnest that we do intend to make use of the Militia by introducing this Bill, which will add the Militia to the ranks of the Army for the purpose of fighting over-seas. We have given another earnest of our intention. We have raised the physical standard for the Militia. I do not myself think that these steps alone will be sufficient to make the Militia all that the Militia ought to be. I am inclined to agree with the hon. Member for Bristol when he said that even a two-years period was too short to make a soldier. That is an opinion which is entertained by the vast majority of soldiers; but if that be so, then I think we shall have to consider carefully whether a period so short as we now impose on the Militia is enough, under any conceivable circumstances, to qualify them for taking the field against a foreign enemy.
I now come to the question which has really occupied the whole attention of the House during these two days. I have been astonished to find that two not unimportant parts of our military forces have been almost entirely left out of sight. I dimly realised from one or two references that were made that we had a Regular Army. I did not realise and I heard nothing to make me realise, that we had a Navy. [Mr. SEELY: This is an Army debate.] That is precisely the point. It is because we will persist in discussing the Army as if it had no connection with the Navy that so many of our mistakes have been made. I come now to the 1178 matter which has excited so much attention in the House—the Volunteers. I have had many counsels in regard to the Volunteers. My hon. friend the Member for the Isle of Wight told us that the Volunteers were not intended for the, defence of this country, but that they were to preserve the military spirit. They were to be a school of arms, and they were to be chiefly utilised for going across the sea in time of war. I do not quarrel with that application; but I confess that I do not exactly see at the present moment that the Volunteers are calculated to fulfil that particular purpose. I have a view from which I have never varied in regard to the Volunteers. If they do fulfil, and so far as they do fulfil, a real purpose, it is our business to make them as efficient as we can, and if they do not fulfil that purpose or are in excess of that purpose, we must face the fact. We have heard it stated on evidence, to which there is no contradiction that there is in the Volunteer force a large number of men who ought not to be in it, that the Volunteer force in its present condition is not fitted for war. Let us get it out of our heads at once that there is any distinction between war with a foreign enemy and war with any one else. If our troops fight any one it will be a foreign enemy, and if they do fight that enemy he will be under the best leadership and under the conditions most unfavourable to ourselves. If the Volunteers cannot undertake that task they are not fitted to perform service for this country. But I believe the verdict which has been pronounced upon the Volunteers is not a final verdict, or one which we ought to accept. I believe that we ought to deal with the Volunteers so that it will be impossible for any Commission to say in the future that they are not fit to face foreign troops; and it is the desire and intention of the Army Council so to deal with them that it shall be impossible to say in the future that they will be unfit to face foreign troops. I have had to face this problem from the point of view, not only of a person responsible for the Volunteers, but for the whole of the armed forces of the country, and also as a member of a Government and, indeed, of a House of Commons absolutely pledged to a reduction, or at any 1179 rate a curtailment, of the expenditure on the Army. I ask, is it really contended that we should reduce largely upon the Regular Army, that we should reduce expenditure upon the Navy, and on the Militia, and that the one purpose for which large additions are to be made to the Army Estimates is the Volunteers? I do not believe that that is a proposition which any one in his cooler moments will sustain. I believe that when this House comes to consider what are the needs of the Regular Army and the calls upon it, they will determine that those needs shall be filled in the first instance. They will insist upon economy and reduction, but they will not rob the Regular Army even for such a laudable idea as increasing the Volunteers. The hon. Member for Sheffield spoke of some words of mine with regret. I am sure no words of mine could bear the construction he put upon them. I was explaining to a gathering of Volunteer officers—and many Volunteer officers have given me their confidence—what I believe to be the real truth of the situation. I believe every Volunteer officer, with very few exceptions, who cares about the force, who understands its difficulties, and who is anxious about its future, agrees with me that it would be wise and well for the Volunteer force to consent to a reduction in its numbers in order to obtain an increase in efficiency.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
At present you have a vicious system existing in the Volunteers under which the capitation grant is so allotted that it is absolutely the interest of the commanding officer to take in men independently of their merit or efficiency. Now that is a system which, I think, stands self-condemned. It is a system which we ought to alter. We ought to make it the duty and the interest of a commanding officer to make his battalion as good as it can be made, and at the same time to make him certain that by doing so he will not lose the money which is necessary for the purpose. That is what I believe we can do, and what I believe we ought to do. Here again I come to one of those direct traverses which I have had to 1180 make so often of what has been said. My hon. friend the Member for the Isle of Wight spoke of the Volunteers as dwindling away.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
Well, I am glad to accept his limitation, and I am very glad it has been made. But I should like to point out that, so far from its being the fact that the Volunteers are dwindling away, the Volunteers, who have been so discredited and ill-used, have increased during the last year by no less than 4,000 men, and during that year the regulations which have been so trying have resulted in 175,000 men—a larger force by far than we have ever had before—going into camp. Now, Sir, there must be some slight exaggeration in the charges made in regard to the Volunteers.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
Yes, I remember it well, and I am going to speak of it in a moment. That is the really serious question in regard to the Volunteers, not only in regard to the Volunteers, but in regard to the Army generally. But it is not correct to say that the Volunteers have dwindled or are dwindling. So far from that being the case, I have reports of increased enlistments in the force.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
No one knows the Volunteer force, or at any rate a portion of it, better than my hon. friend does, and he has said that certain of the London Volunteer corps have suffered. He has spoken of what are known as the special corps, and ho has suggested that some special treatment should be applied to those corps. Well, I am not quite prepared to agree with that proposal, because I think that special treatment involves differentiation among the corps, which is very hard to frame, and which I think produces 1181 jealousies and difficulties. But I do believe that the object which the hon. Member has at heart can be obtained without classification of that kind. While I am speaking about classification I should like to say, for the comfort of those members of the Volunteer force who have so greatly disliked the idea of classification— which, by the way, exists now—that I do not desire or propose to press this plan of dividing Volunteers into two classes. I have taken the advice of Volunteer officers, and taken it all the more readily because I believe that we can arrange matters so to their entire satisfaction that this classification will take place of itself. Let me state my proposition. We cannot acid money to the Army Estimates. I do not believe this Government or any other Government can do it. We can, however, enormously add to the money available for the effective Volunteers. The Vote for next year is really a Vote in arrear, a Vote on account of the expenditure of last year. It is impossible to make any large changes during the coming year. Something we can do; something we intend to do. The hon. Member spoke of the difficulty of getting ranges. It is an enormous difficulty. If you cannot get the range to the men you must get the men to the range. We hope to make much larger provision than hitherto for assisting Volunteer corps to take men to the ranges. We hope to increase the grant to the Militia and Volunteer artillery. But those are small matters, and the large matters, the really important matters, can never come until there are ample funds available for granting those increases. I have taken a great deal of counsel with Volunteer officers; and I ask every one in this House whether I do not correctly interpret their views when I say that the present needs of the Volunteers are more officers, better trained officers, more ranges, more firing, both rifle and artillery firing, more training of non-commissioned officers, larger contributions towards the expenses of the officers in camp, a longer tune in camp, greater freedom as to going into camp and stopping out of it, and, at any rate, the embryo of a transport organisation and a divisional organisation. Those things, I believe, we could get if there 1182 is only reasonable co-operation on the part of the Volunteers, as I am persuaded there will be. We can get all those things, and more, if this reduction—not a large reduction, I speak of a moderate reduction—of the Volunteer force be effected. It will involve a change in the incidence of the grant. It will be impossible to continue the grant which brings in as a matter of finance a number of men who are not required in order to keep the force going. I think, and I hope we shall in the future—we cannot commence this year, the expenses are far too great—be able to get that liberty of going into camp for a fortnight which is now accorded to only a few special corps. We ought to give to men who go into camp a much larger allowance than a man can get for one week; and if this reduction be effected we can give the whole of that allowance, which comes to as much as £4, in addition to the capitation grant for a fortnight's camp. It will involve a sacrifice in respect of those men who do not go to camp at all; but I have gone very carefully into the case of nearly every Volunteer regiment, and I assure hon. Members that if this is accepted and put into operation there will be no loss to regiments which can fall in, with any reasonable closeness, with the duty which I think we are entitled to ask them to face.
An hon. Member has spoken of then being some want of confidence between the Director of Auxiliary Forces and myself. That is a dream. It is perfectly true that the Director of Auxiliary Forces said he hoped all uncertainty with regard to the Volunteers might soon be swept away; but it was not in his power, or in my power, to forestall the decision with regard to questions of finance, over which he has no control, But to suppose that the Director of the Auxiliary Forces and myself are not in constant and confidential communication with regard to all matters concerning the Volunteers is an entire mistake. I have made a very short and imperfect statement about the Volunteers; and I should like to go into the matter more fully on the Volunteer Vote when we reach the Estimates. I maintain, however, that we are entitled to ask the Volunteers to submit to the same reduction we desire to enforce in other branches of the Army. 1183 If they submit to that reduction we can place at their disposal in a reasonable time all those advantages which will tend to make them what I know they all desire to be—a real contribution to the defence of the Empire. I must at the same time call attention to one view of the Volunteer force, with regard to the truth of which it would be unfortunate if the House were led astray. It has been suggested that the Volunteer force is by itself an immense contribution to the Army in the field. That is a delusion. I am not blaming the Volunteers, who have other calls and duties to meet. I would remind hon. Members what took place during the South African War. There were three calls for Volunteers. We obtained first 11,000 men, then we obtained 5,300. The war still went on and the whole Army Reserve was called out, and men were brought from every part of the world. We then obtained 2,580 Volunteers. What had happened in the meanwhile? The Volunteers had increased by 40,000 men. I do not blame the Volunteers for a moment; they are enlisted for work in this country; but it is an absolute delusion to suppose that they can be relied on for furnishing those great additions which war would certainly demand for the Regular Army.
SIR HOWARD VINCENT
Does the right hon. Gentleman include the Volunteers who joined the Yeomanry to the number of many thousands and the number who joined the Regular Army?
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
I have not included those who joined the Yeomanry, because many joined merely for the purpose of going out at 5s. a day. The number who joined the Yeomanry was 6,209.
I will summarise what I have said in regard to this part of the indictment. It is not true that while the Army has increased in cost it has diminished in efficiency. I deny that it is disordered, that it is less efficient for the defence of the Empire. But I must not forget that I have to meet not only one Amendment, but two or three Amendments.
I must say something on two very important questions. The first is the question of field guns. No one can 1184 doubt the importance of this matter, but I do believe there has been an enormous amount of misconception in regard to it. What has taken place? It has been said that every other country in Europe has quick-firing guns and that we have not quick-firing guns. As a matter of fact, the United States of America have not quick-firing guns. Austria is supposed to have adopted a design, but it is not known that any guns are actually under manufacture. Belgium is still making trials. France and Denmark have a quick-firing equipment. Bulgaria has adopted a quick-firing gun, which is under manufacture. Germany recently armed with a gun that is not a true quick-firer, and that country is consequently in great difficulties, as expense prohibits re-arming again. It is now proposed to mount these guns on long recoil carriages and so convert them into quick-firing guns. Italy partially re-armed in 1901–2 with a gun which is not a true quick-firing gun. Portugal has adopted a gun, which is under manufacture. Russia obtained a gun in 1901–2 that is not quick-firing. In Switzerland and Turkey the gun is still under manufacture. Spain is still making trials. These facts do not quite bear out the statement that the whole of Europe except England is already armed with quick-firing guns. As far back as 1900 inquiries were begun as to whether a new gun should not be substituted for the old one. In January, 1901, a Committee was appointed and a Report was received on May 8th. In July, 1901, conditions were formulated and designs called for. In February and March, 1902, orders were given to the trade and Ordnance Factories for trial guns, in August arid September the guns were supplied, and in December, 1902, four experimental batteries were ordered. In September, 1903, the trials of the guns began, and in October a report was made that alterations were necessary owing to the weakness of some of the designs of the carriages. On March 30th, 1904, the equipment was finally recommended. It may be said that this experimental period was unduly prolonged. I will give the opinion of one of the most powerful and urgent critics of the Government—It may seem that two-and-a-half years was an inordinate time for the Committee to have 1185 taken in submitting its recommendations, but only those who are acquainted with the minute details of modern equipment and the work involved in manufacturing a specimen gun of a new type can appreciate the difficulties of coming to a decision on the several points involved and the inevitable delay before the trial; could have taken place. It would undoubtedly have been a mistake if the War Office had at once come to a decision based on the sample guns at first produced. … There can be no doubt that the guns eventually recommended by the Committee are as good as any that can be produced at the present day, and are probably superior to those with which any other European army is equipped.The Report of the Committee was received in March last, and on May 5th an order was given for the manufacture of the guns. The preliminary processes are manufacture of the guns was proceeded with as rapidly as possible after the necessary preliminaries were completed. I said last year that we were going within the space of one year to produce 126 of these guns at a certain cost. We are going to produce 126 guns at a less cost. It appears to be supposed in some quarters that no order was given until late last year. That is an absolute delusion. An order was given for all that could be made, and I still think the factories may be unable to earn all the money we may be able to pay them within the time. We anticipate that by the end of the financial year we shall have 126 guns with almost all their wagons, by July another fifty, and that within thirty months of the first order we shall have nearly 1,000 guns with eighteen wagons per battery, 1,000 rounds of ammunition per gun, all spare parts, and the harness. The idea that we are going to wait years to get these guns is an absolute myth. There has been, and there will be, no delay, and I think that if hon. Members who criticize the War Office would a little further they will find that the record we are making is not a bad one, when I say that in the United States the completion of the gun programme will have taken six years, and that the number of guns produced will be 160, and fifty of these made in Germany.
Now, Sir, I come to the question of the rifle. Here, again, I do not think the whole of the facts are fully in the possession of the House. I trust the House will not think I am insensible to 1186 this important question. Within a fortnight of going to the War Office I wrote a memorandum to Sir Henry Brackenbury, and I put to him a whole series of questions with regard to the rifle. He answered them in a way entirely reassuring, and the rifle them decided upon was allowed to proceed; but it is impossible for any one to be insensible to the great variety to opinion on this question. I do not over-value, but I do value, the reports of experts; but I think that men who are firing with their own rifles and under all the Bisley conditions are not the best judges, perhaps, of the real military value of a rifle, and it would, perhaps, be more interesting if in that report we had had some details of the actual results arrived at. It is not the fact that this rifle was produced primarily as a cavalry rifle. It was originally designed in response to a request for a shorter and lighter rifle for the Army as a whole. The Committee recommended the rifle on that Committee came to an end on the outbreak of the South African War. During the war the Commander-in-chief, recognising that a short rifle was most desirable, requested that the work of the Committee might be taken up where it had been dropped, and a short rifle produced. And the short rifle was produced, and, with many improvements, it is now the rifle which is being issued. But I am as sensible as any Member of this House of the theoretical advantage of a long over a short rifle. Against that advantage you must put the advantages which are claimed by soldiers for short rifles. Hon. Members seem to suppose that no trial has been made, but we have issued large numbers to seven different regiments. We have had reports from the officers in command of the men who have those rifles, and in every instance, with only some exceptions as to technical details which always occur in such cases, their report has been most favourable to these rifles in the hands of the men. We have sent the rifle to India, and Lord Kitchener telegraphs—As far as I have been able to test it the new rifle fulfils the requirements. In my opinion it is a better balanced, handier, as well as lighter, weapon, and more suitable for war on the Indian frontier than the long rifle.1187 Another telegram from the commanding officer of the Seventh Division, dated February 22nd, says—Practising daily with short rifle since 11th. All ranks speak highly of it. Other reports from regiments all favour it in comparison with the long rifle. With so short an experience can hardly express definite opinion. Its merits appear to be lightness, handiness, better sighting, balance, and pull off. Defects principally in cavalry, weak safety catch; bolt and rifle should be connected, lower band attachment insecure, these can all be easily rectified.In the face of that and of the universal recommendation of every military authority whom I have consulted it would be a rash act to accept the adverse view of the rifle expert; but I do not under-value the enormous importance of certainty in a matter of this kind; and I assure the House, that we intend to make the fullest and most exhaustive trial of this rifle in the hands of the troops before we commit the country or the Exchequer to the large expenditure which the adoption of the rifle would involve. We must adopt it for the mounted troops. We shall continue to manufacture rifles sufficient to supply the wants of the cavalry and artillery; and in the time that must elapse before these have been manufactured, we shall have carried out most exhaustive trials both at home and abroad which will put beyond a shadow of doubt all question as to the merits or demerits of this rifle. I do not believe the House of Commons can demand less; I do not think it could require more. Another feature is the cost of converting the long into the short rifle. It is possible it may be desirable, when the time comes for considering the conversion of the long rifle to a short rifle for the use of the Auxiliary Forces, it may be deemed better, as the Volunteer force would not be campaigning in foreign countries, to content ourselves with adding the charger-loading instead of converting the barrel as well. That, however, is not a matter which affects the immediate present, but the comparatively distant future. If the War Office is then as at present there will be no slackness in experiments which will leave no doubt whatever that we are taking the right course. I have tried to rebut as far as I was able the charges brought against His Majesty's Govern- 1188 ment. I said at the outset and now repeat that we have done something, but far less than must be done before we have reached anything like the position which we consider essential.
If I were to put one question above all others which must occupy the attention of the Army Council it would be the question of officers. It is the question of the Army. We are doing our best to solve that question. It is not correct that the change in the Army is discouraging officers or is depriving us of a supply. In the Guards there is a lamentable shortage, due to causes easily explained. I hope we may be able in a few weeks to propound a plan by which this emergency may be met by what I may call emergency measures, and a proper number of officers found for the brigade of Guards. But as regards the Army generally, the difficulty is not reluctance of officers to come forward. It is an unfortunate fact that no fewer than 400 young men properly qualified could not be taken into the Army because the accommodation for them at Sandhurst and Woolwich is not adequate. That state of things we must remedy at an early date; and not only must we get more officers into the Army, but we must have a large reserve of officers, because the demand for officers when war comes will be enormous. We must, in preparing the Army for peace, contemplate the contingency of war. We have to keep up an Army on a basis on which no other nation in the world keeps up an Army—an Army which has to perform in peace the duties other armies perform in war—an Army serving abroad. We require a very large number of officers for the Army, and we shall require in war time an increase of officers which has to be counted by thousands. That is one of the points now engaging the attention of the Army Council. We have already arrived at a conclusion, and I shall make a proposal before long with regard to a reserve of officers for the cavalry. We have appointed a very well-manned and competent Committee to inquire how we can increase the reserve of officers we already possess for the Regular Army. We are fully alive to the need for getting more officers for the Volunteers; and the way we can get them is by making them feel they are wanted, 1189 by making their regiments efficient, by making them feel there is need for them in the military scheme of the country, and by relieving them of the cost they are now called upon to undertake.
I have seen much criticism, and some of it, no doubt, has been just. A great deal of it, I think, has not been just. I have been asked whether I took military opinion with regard to the conclusions I have formed. I think, perhaps, I have been somewhat unjustly accused in that matter. I should like to read to the House the views of a military officer of distinction, who has a knowledge of the Army, and who has a knowledge of the War Office; and, speaking of the proposals I have the honour of laying before the House, and which have been so much criticised, he says—The evils stated exist, one and all, and it has been long patent to anyone who would see, that the condition of matters in the Army have been going from bad to worse; and further, that nothing short, of very drastic measures, which it was not hitherto thought that any Minister or Government would have the courage to adopt, could give us a satisfactory Army, and one at all commensurate with the public money expended on it. Matters have gone from bad to worse ever since the Cardwell reforms with their unpractical and impossible schemes were set on foot, and all attempts at reform which have since been adopted have been at the best new patches put upon rotten cloth. The present scheme is a complete one as far as the infantry is concerned, the backbone of the Army, to whom the other arms are subsidiary. For years past most men who have thought much on Army matters have watched the decadence of the Army under the present system, and have come to the conclusion that our only chance of meeting our military requirements in a satisfactory manner lay in our having a long service and a short service Army, the former for general service at all times, the latter for home service, except in the case of serious war. This, I am convinced, would be the solution of our difficulties. The Militia question is far more difficult. No one can doubt but that sixty such battalions as proposed will be worth as a lighting force far and away more than the whole of the present Militia force, which by sundry means is being killed. The proposed system would change all this, and raise the status and efficiency of the Militia to a very high degree. The scheme appears to be quite sound, but the difficulties appear to be the abolition of a number of Militia units. On every occasion on which it has been proposed to disband a depleted Militia unit, or to amalgamate two weak ones, strong opposition has been raised, and, as a rule, the county influence, backed by a Member of Parliament, 1190 has been too strong, and the unit has been left. The plan of making the battalion a home for the men throughout their service is excellent. The establishment of the large depôts is the only sound way of feeding the battalions abroad. The territorial system has been, as stated, hitherto a sham; if it is to be otherwise, the county battalions should be as far as possible in their counties, and only away from them for manœuvres. The strength which would be attained under this proposed scheme is highly satisfactory, and no previous system has given anything like the number of men who have had so much training. The establishment of the ready or striking force has long been felt to be a necessity. No one has, however, hitherto attempted seriously to arrange it. I venture to consider the scheme as one perfectly adapted to fulfil the needs of our most difficult and complex system, and the only considerable difficulty I foresee is that of making clear to the public that sixty battalions of such Militia as proposed are infinitely preferable to the present force, which, out of an establishment of 3,400 officers, has a deficiency of over 800, and out of one of 123,510 Militiamen has a deficiency of over 31,000, to make good either of which under present conditions passeth the wit of man.[OPPOSITION cries of "Name.] The name was that of General Sir Alfred Turner.
I apologise for keeping the House so long, but I have had to deal with a variety of subjects. I maintain that the position I have maintained from the first has been correct. I believe my crime, if I have committed one, is that I have attacked this matter too zealously. I do think that an Army which is not thoroughly serviceable is too expensive a luxury for this country to keep up. An hon. Member has said that Volunteers had ceased to have any fun, and, therefore, were going out of it. I do not believe that is the spirit of the Volunteers at all, and I think that is a very dangerous spirit in which to approach Army matters. I believe absolutely in two main propositions. We must, in the first place, have a reduction of expenditure, and, secondly, we must have greater efficiency; and I can see no way of arriving at these two conclusions other than by cutting down expenditure and by altering organisation. If the House is content with the state of things that existed after the war there will be no change; if they are content to pay a larger sum on the Army Estimates they will maintain the present organisation: but if they do believe that economy is essential we must at any rate have very clear ideas as to how that 1191 economy is to be obtained. Hon. Gentlemen who believe that a change is necessary and economy essential will be as struck as I have been during these debates by the want of any constructive plan of anything but criticism, of any proposal that could result in economy or contribute to the efficiency of the Army. I contend that every item of the indictment is incorrect—that we have not diminished the efficiency of the Army, that we have not disordered the Regular Forces at home or abroad, that we have not discouraged the Militia and Volunteers, that we have not been negligent in the matter of the re-armament of the artillery, that we have pursued a perfectly reasonable course in regard to the armament of the infantry; and on all these grounds I may truly say that the efficiency of the Army for the defence of the Empire has not been diminished, but has been increased.
§ MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL (Oldham)
said that the House would readily acknowledge the lucidity and the earnestness of the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, and he believed that from that side of the House there was a very sincere desire to spare him, as far as possible, unnecessary trouble and anxiety at a time when his physical strength caused some concern to his friends. He must submit to the House, however, that the right hon. Gentleman had not made any real reply to the main outlines of the charge contained in the Amendment, and in the speeches of the mover and seconder. The right hon. Gentleman had told a very fine and glowing tale of the multitudinous activities of the Department of which he was the head. He had given glowing accounts of almost every branch of the military service, and one would have thought from his language that the War Office was at the present moment a very near approach to a heaven upon earth. But if they were to judge from private accounts of the condition of the Army, very different language would have to be held. The right hon. Gentleman's tale was full of promises and of glorification, but they had heard this sort of thing more than once before in the course of the present Parliament. Almost every year when the time came round to discuss Army matters they were offered some- 1192 thing entirely new which occupied the attention of the War Office, but after a few short weeks these new proposals vanished into nebulous, but usually costly, obscurity. Those statements should always be judged not at the moment they were made or in detail, but by main results spread over a period of years. Four years ago, when the present Parliament was elected, military matters, were necessarily paramount, and the number of military men returned to the House was necessarily more numerous than on former occasions. He would point out the great power which had been bestowed on those gentlemen. The whole fortunes of the Army had been placed in their hands. Nothing they asked for had been refused; every scheme brought forward, however grotesque and costly, had been carried through by force of the Government's obedient majority. Well, as they had had all the power, so must they have all the responsibility.
He should like to notice one or two main facts which seemed to him to derogate from the general statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War as to the efficiency and economy of the Army. There had been a great lack of continuity in our military policy during the last four or five years. Nothing was more important than continuity in the policy of the Army. It was not a limited liability company which could be recast or reconstructed in accordance with the state of the money market; and if subjected to frequent and violent changes very grave and grievous consequences might ensue, which it might take years to repair. He asked the House to notice one or two of these changes in policy. Of course there was the Army Corps scheme, with large staff organisation, barracks, and so on. All that had been swept into the past. Four years ago the late Secretary of State for War proposed to add the garrison battalions to the Army at a cost of half a million of money. These battalions were added, but where were they now? No sooner had they been created at great expense than they were swept away. Four years ago the late Secretary of State for War increased the Militia to a nominal strength of 450,000, increased the pay, and offered a bounty, which added to the cost of that force £200,000 a year. Now 1193 that increase had been knocked off, and the strength of the Militia reduced. Four years ago the late Secretary of State for War created a Militia Reserve, and the Prime Minister, in winding up the debate on the matter, spoke of the great Militia Reserve as the strength of the Army! Not a single man ever enlisted in that Reserve! Then there had been in the space of these four years two complete sweeps of the War Office from the highest official down to the messenger boys. He wondered if the new staff was an improvement on the old. He did not wish to say anything disrespectful of it, but he believed that it was not untrue to say that the present administration at the War Office was less representative of the ability and experience of the Army than any preceding administration.
The vital foundation of any Army system was the period of enlistment. Foreign nations hardly ever changed the period of enlistment, but during the last four years it had been five times altered in this country. In 1901 we had seven years service with the colours, and five in the Reserve. It was altered in 1902 to three years with the colours and nine in the Reserve. Last year, at the end of the session, the present Secretary of State for War proposed a long period of enlistment for the foreign service Army, and two years with the colours for the home Army with six in the Reserve. After Parliament had risen he changed it to a uniform nine years service with the colours and three years with the Reserve; and there might yet be a departure from long service and a resumption of short service at some future date. Five separate changes within that brief period of time! Of course, it was quite true that during that period there were two different Secretaries of State for War and, they were naturally not responsible for each other's proposals and not bound to carry them out. But there had been only one Leader in the House of Commons, who was not there at present, and it was perfectly true to say of the right hon. Gentleman that he had consistently supported each and everyone of these inconsistent changes. The Prime Minister had been loyal to everybody and to every plan. When 1194 they remembered the exalted terms in which the Esher Committee spoke of the military talents of the Prime Minister, they could only regret that talents so distinguished and so rare had been so unhappily applied. One result of all this was the lack of continuity of policy as very fairly expressed in the terms of the Amendment. In fact, he thought that the Secretary of State for War should himself vote for the Amendment, and the only reason why he would not was probably because he was too modest. If the right hon. Gentleman had had the drafting of the Amendment he would have probably made it more violent, concluding with some such phrase as that the condition of the Army really constituted a very great danger to the existence of the Empire. He could not think that it was a very wise thing for the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War to talk as he had done in the hearing of foreign nations about the demoralisation which the administration of his own Government Department had produced in the Army; that the Army was not suited to the requirements of the country or adapted for war. He might have added that it was an Army with no properly organized staff, equipped with obsolete artillery and with bad rifles. The right hon. Gentleman did not realise what a bitter reproach that was to his own colleagues.
It could not be fairly urged against the taxpayers that they had grudged the money which was said to be necessary to put the land forces into a state of efficiency. We went into the South African War with a £20,000,000 Army. The country had now got a £30,000,000 Army. The £10,000,000 difference in the cost was a very big sum. It would make a difference in the comfort of every householder. For another thing, it would go a long way to enable the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham to redeem his pledges with regard to old-age pensions; or in adding to the Development Grant in Ireland. Two principal causes had led us into this deplorable administrative and financial catastrophe. First, we had tried to keep up too large an establishment in time of peace. There had been 1195 hitherto a reduction of the military establishment after every great war. Secondly, we had acted in much too great haste. It would have been much better for the cause of reform if in 1900 the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State for India had said, as he could have said with perfect force' "I have got to finish the war; I cannot reform the Army until Lord Kitchener and other distinguished generals come home," and no Party in the House would have challenged that attitude. But the prudent counsels which the experience and precedents of the past might have suggested, and the circumstances of the moment almost dictated, were brushed aside by the Government. Expenditure was popular; the House of Commons was what the Prime Minister called "in a hot fit," a phrase which he thought rather revealed the Prime Minister's processes in regard to political principles. In order to satisfy this hot fit something had to be produced, and it was—the Army Corps scheme was produced. The Resolution of that Army Corps scheme was still on the books of the House, one of the most solemn, elaborate, and enduring mockeries that could be imagined. That Army Corps scheme had gone, and so completely that they were reproached for suggesting that it had ever existed. The Secretary for War alluded to it tonight as the "so-called Army Corps scheme," and last session the right hon. Gentleman said—Why worry about a name? You might as well have called them Sunday-school districts.Yet it was only two years ago that some of them were vehemently asserting that the Army Corps were real Army Corps, and that the right hon. Member for Guildford, with great rhetorical skill, was strenuously asserting that they were, in fact, real Army Corps equipped for war. And the right hon. Gentleman published in support of his theory a White Paper which showed three Army Corps complete, horse, foot, and artillery, a force which he believed was to come into existence on April 1st. They were all gone now, the great organisation which the right hon. Gentleman devised, down to the Teutonic headgear which his fancy suggested. All the great officers who were concerned in preparing that scheme had been scattered far and wide over the 1196 surface of the globe, the right hon. Gentleman himself had been translated to another sphere, and that fertile imagination which used to call forth armies so easily was now condemned to a chilly exile in the frozen deserts of Tibet. That was another instance of the lack of continuity in Army policy.
As to the remedy proposed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, they had waited all last session to know what his plan was. At the end of the session he detailed an extensive and revolutionary scheme of Army reform, and embodied his proposals afterwards in a Memorandum. Was that scheme operative or not? The right hon. Gentleman had addressed the House at length on all sorts of subjects, but he was at a loss to know whether the scheme embodied in his Memorandum last autumn was an operative scheme at this moment. One word would clear up the mystery. If it were operative it proposed a complete revolution. It proposed to divide the Army into two armies, the home Army serving two years with the colours and six in the reserve, and the foreign Army serving nine years with the colours and three in the reserve; to disband nineteen battalions existing at present, and to add to the Army thirty-three battalions carved out of the Militia, thus making a net increase of fourteen battalions, or 175 battalions altogether, exclusive of Guards, as against 161, which we had at present. The right hon. Gentleman had made out the Estimates for the year, and must, therefore, know what was to be done. Last year he said he would not hold office unless he was able to carry his scheme. The scheme at first contemplated two kinds of Volunteers—that had been abandoned. It still contemplated two kinds of soldiers—fighting soldiers, who were to go abroad, and other soldiers. It also involved a great increase of skeleton cadres, which, he thought, should be avoided. The right hon. Gentleman added fourteen battalions, as the result of his economies, to the cadres of the Army. There was not-one single particular in which those battalions were not inferior to the battalions which the—he believed the word was "rotten"—Cardwellian system produced.
What was the financial result of this extraordinary military revolution proposed 1197 by the right hon. Gentleman? The right hon. Gentleman had published a table in which he showed all the economies which his scheme would produce. Five of the items which he claimed as economies which his scheme would produce were economies which could be produced without any of the alterations which his scheme required—they could be effected under any scheme. The total net balance of economies, if we had this extraordinary military revolution, this turning of the Army upside down and inside out as it had never been turned before, was no more than £63,000. When they considered the results of the disastrous experiments in the past, he thought they had a right to ask the Government, for the sake of such a small economy, not to embark on such a surprising adventure.
The right hon. Gentleman had stated that the statement contained in the Amendment that the Auxiliary Forces had been discouraged was not true. It was true, and if anything could prove it that debate had proved it. And if that were not sufficient he would point to the reduction of the strength of the Volunteers. In the period since this Parliament began the Volunteers had been enormously reduced. They were 288,000 men in 1900. They were less than 240,000 men to-day. And the officers which, as the hon. and gallant Member for Sheffield had pointed out, were deficient in 1898 by 1,300, were to-day deficient by 2,700 from the number properly required. If they poured buckets of cold water upon the Volunteers, as the right hon. Gentleman did in speech after speech, if they made their intention perfectly clear to boil them down into a sort of bastard infantry of the Line, without the intelligence of the Volunteers and without the cohesion of the Regulars, if they put them into a state of uncertainty, the natural, the inevitable effect was that they discouraged all those spontaneous forces of patriotism in the country which had led to the creation of what was a unique force, and one which contributed largely to the greatness and security of these realms.
And what about the treatment of great officers under this Government? 1198 What had been the relations of the Government within the lifetime of this Parliament to the great officers of the Army? He did not remember the Wolsoley epoch, though he was told that the name of Lord Wolseley was one to conjure with when Ministers were in difficulties. Yet he had heard, in another place, Lord Lansdowne doing his best to demolish any reputation Lord Wolseley had achieved. Then came the Buller epoch. The Marquess of Salisbury once said that his confidence in the British Soldier was only equalled by his confidence in Sir Redvers Buller. He was not going to examine whether that confidence was misplaced or not. Sir Redvers Buller was not dismissed and disgraced because he lost battles. It was not until he made a silly speech that I the War Office came forward as severe disciplinarians who would not brook, I even in a popular hero, the smallest infraction of military etiquette. Then came the epoch of Lord Roberts. For two years the Government lived upon Lord Roberts. Every scheme, no matter how fantastic or doubtful, was commended to that House by the simple expedient of the Secretary of State's observing, "I may add that in all this His Majesty's Government have the support and concurrence of Lord Roberts." But there came a day when Lord Roberts had been made responsible for too many of these schemes, when he had been made the scapegoat of too many failures and misfortunes; and when he arrived at his office one morning he found a piece of blue paper on his table, which had been thoughtfully placed there by the right hon. Gentleman, directing him not to trouble to come back to the office on any following morning.
§ MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL
said that at all events he was accurate in stating that Lord Roberts only heard of his dismissal on the day when that dismissal took place.
§ MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL
said he would withdraw the piece of blue paper with the greatest satisfaction. The Government had by these various methods lost the confidence of the great officers of the Army, and they could not get any great military name in support of this new scheme. The right hon. Gentleman had been reduced to appealing to them to adopt his policy upon his own authority, and in the name of General Turner, whose victories he did not remember to have heard of, but who seemed to be very anxious to write polite letters to the right hon. Gentleman. Last year they recognised what was due to a Minister who had just taken office, and permitted the Army Estimates to pass through the House without adequate scrutiny. This year they would examine the Estimates with the closest and most unrelaxing attention. He would advise the right hon. Gentleman not to worry too much about details, because, after all, there would be an election some day, and when it came the waters of the boundless ocean would come in and all the castles on the sands
§ would be washed completely away. The Opposition would take no responsibility for any of these new and extravagant schemes. They were under no obligation to put forward alternative proposals, because only Governments could put forward large constructive schemes. Five years of thrifty and unostentatious administration would be required before the injuries lately inflicted on the military system would be repaired. Even then there would be an abiding reminder of the extravagance which now existed in the shape of taxes burdensome to the masses of the people and to the, trade of the country. He did not deny that that was a partisan indictment. But even if the Government took credit to themselves for the highest motives and the best intentions, there would still remain a record of profusion and flagrant incapacity, on which the nation, and not the House of Commons, would finally have to decide.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 207: Noes, 254. (Division List No. 8.)1203
|Abraham, William (Cork. N. E.)||Buxton, Sydney Charles||Doogan, P. C.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Caldwell, James||Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)|
|Allen, Charles P.||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Duffy, William J.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Duncan, J. Hastings|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Causton, Richard Knight||Edwards, Frank|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Cawley, Frederick||Ellice, Capt EC (S. Andrew's Bghs)|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Channing, Francis Allston||Ellis, John Edward (Notts.)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Cheetham, John Frederick||Emmott, Alfred|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Cogan, Denis J.||Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone)|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Eve, Harry Trelawney|
|Bell, Richard||Crean, Eugene||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Benn, John Williams||Cremer, William Randal||Fenwick, Charles|
|Black, Alexander William||Crombie, John William||Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Cullinan, J.||Ffrench, Peter|
|Brigg, John||Daves, Alfred (Carmarthen)||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond|
|Bright, Allan Heywood||Daviies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Delany, William||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway)||Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Dillon, John||Fuller, J. M. F.|
|Burns, John||Donelan, Captain A.||Gilhooly, James|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Russell, T. W.|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||M'Kean, John||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Grant, Corrie||M'Kenna, Reginald||Scott, Chas. Prestwich (Leigh)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Shackleton, David James|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Markham, Arthur Basil||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick, B.)|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Mooney, John J.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Haldane, Rt. Hn. Richard B.||Morley,Rt.Hn.John (Montrose)||Sheehy, David|
|Hammond, John||Murnaghan, George||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (MerthyrTydvil)||Murphy, John||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Harwood, George||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Slack, John Bamford|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Newnes, Sir George||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Norman, Henry||Spencer,Rt.Hn.C.R.(Northants|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Higham, John Sharpe||O'Brien,Kendal (TipperaryMid||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hobhouse, C. E. H. (Bristol, E.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Hutchinson,Dr.Charles Fredk.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Johnson, John||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Dowd, John||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Tomkinson, James|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Malley, William||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||O'Mara, James||Ure, Alexander|
|Kennedy, P. J. (Westmeath, N.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan,W||O'Shee, James John||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Parrott, William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Kitson, Sir James||Partington, Oswald||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Labouchere, Henry||Paulton, James Mellor||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Lambert, George||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Rea, Russell||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Leese,SirJosephF. (Accrington)||Reckitt, Harold James||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Levy, Maurice||Reddy, M.||Wills,ArthurWalters(NDorset)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)||Wilson, Fred.W. (Norfolk,Mid.)|
|Lloyd-George, David||Reid,Sir R.Threshie(Dumfries)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Lough, Thomas||Richards,Thomas (W. Monm'th||Woodhouse,Sir JT. (Huddersf'd)|
|Lundon, W.||Rickett, J. Compton||Young, Samuel|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Robson, William Snowdon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roche, John||Captain Norton and Major|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Seely.|
|M'Crae, George||Rose, Charles Day|
|M'Fadden, Edward||Runciman, Walter|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Bigwood, James||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Allhusen, AugustusHenryEden||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Corbett, T. L. (Down. North)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bond, Edward||Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bowles,Lt.-Col.H.F.(Middlesex||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Arrol, Sir William||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cust, Henry John C.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brymer, William Ernest||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Aubrey-Fletcher,Rt.Hn. Sir H||Bull, William James||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Davenport, William Bromley|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Butcher, John George||Davies, Sir Horatio D(Chatham|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Campbell,J.H.M.(Dublin Univ.||Denny, Colonel|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Cautley, Henry Strother||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cavendish,V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Dimsdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Joseph C.|
|Balfour,Rt.Hn.GeraldW.(Leeds)||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Chamberlain,RtHn.J.A.(Worc.||Dorington, Rt. Hon. SirJohnE.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Chapman, Edward||Doughty, Sir George|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Coates, Edward Feetham||Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Doxford, Sir WilliamTheodore|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Colomb, Rt. Hn. Sir John C. R.||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lawson, John Grant(Yorks NR||Reed, Sir Edw. James (Cardiff)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lee,Arthur H(Hants. Fareham)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Fergusson,RtHn.SirJ.(Manc'r)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Ridley, S. Forde|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Legge, Col. Hon Heneage||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Finlay, Sir R. B. (Inv'rn'ssB'ghs)||Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye|
|Fison, Frederick William||Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Round, Rt. Hn. James|
|FitzGeratld, Sir Robert Penrose||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lowe, Francis William||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Forster, Henry William||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Samuel, Sir Harry S. (Limehouse|
|Gardner, Ernest||Lucas, Col. Francis(Lowestoft)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Garfit, William||Lucas,Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Fredk.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hn. Alfred||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Gordon, Hn J. E. (Elgin & Nairn)||Macdona, John Cumming||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Gordon, Maj Evans- (Tr H'mlets||Maconochie, A. W.||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Goschen, Hon. G. Joachim||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (EdinburghW||Smith, H. C (North'mbTyneside|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Majendie, James A. H.||Smith, Rt Hn J. Parker (Lanarks|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Malcolm, Ian||Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Greene, Sir EW(B'rySEdm'nds)||Manners, Lord Cecil||Spear, John Ward|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Marks, Harry Hananel||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.)||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E. (Wigt'n||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Gretton, John||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriesshire||Stock, James Henry|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick G||Stroyan, John|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.||Strutt, Hn. Charles Hedley|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'rry||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent,Ashford||Montagu, Hn. J. Scott (Hants.||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Moore, William||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Morgan, David J (Walthamstow||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M|
|Heath, Sir. James (Staffords N.W||Morpeth, Viscount||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Morrell, George Herbert||Tuff, Charles|
|Helder, Augustus||Morrison, James Archibald||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford. W.||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Mount, William Arthur||Turnour, Viscount|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield Brightside||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)||Walrond, Rt. Hn Sir William H.|
|Hoult, Joseph||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Parkes, Ebenezer||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton|
|Hunt, Rowland||Peel, Hn. Wm. Robert Wellesley||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts.)|
|Hutton, John (Yorks. N.R.)||Percy, Earl||Whiteley, H. (Ashton und.Lyne|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred.||Pierpoint, Robert||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks. E.R|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.)|
|Kenyon, Hn. Geo. T. (Denbigh)||Plummer, Sir Walter R.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Kerr, John||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wylie, Alexander|
|Knowles, Sir Lees||Purvis, Robert||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Pym, C. Guy||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Randles, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Rankin, Sir James||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Lawson, Hn. H. L. W. (MileEnd||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne||Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ And, it being after Midnight, the debate stood adjourned. Debate to be resumed To-morrow.1204
§ Adjourned at five minutes after Twelve o'clock.