HC Deb 19 June 1907 vol 176 cc492-579

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now road the third time."


We are now asked to read this Bill a third time, although it has really never been before the House. I think it ought to be realised that only nine of the thirty-eight clauses have been considered, and, as my right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean has said—and it is absolutely the truth—the Committee stage is to be held in the House of Lords. Under ordinary circumstances this would have been matter for very grave regret. If the Bill were of first-rate importance, it would be very detrimental to the prestige of the House of Commons that the decision of important points in it should be relegated to the other House, but I cannot pretend that much injury will be done in this case. Little of the original Bill is left except the introductory words; almost the entire substance of the Bill has vanished during the debates. What is left is so insignificant in character, and, if I may say so, so unworthy of the attention of Parliament, that I really think it is unfortunate in some respects that we have devoted ten days of Parliamentary time to its discussion. Most of that time might have been saved had we known at the beginning what we know now. There were three points in the Bill specially repugnant to Members on this side—the destruction of the Militia, the institution of the special contingent, and the interference with the Yeomanry. Mercifully, at the last moment the Militia has been allowed to live, and naturally our objections based on the score of its destruction have vanished. As a consequence of their retention that portion of the special contingent which was to be composed of the substance of the Militia is never to be brought into existence. Our objection on that ground has also passed away. The injury which was to be inflicted on the Yeomanry, by an astute arrangement, has been relegated to a period three years hence. It is true that three years hence the Yeomanry are to be deprived of 2s. of their daily pay, but that is a remote contingency, and the changes and chances of this transitory life may so materially affect the.operation of this provision that I do not think we need concern ourselves very much about it. There is not very much left save certain administrative regulations with regard to the Volunteers. At the outset I bade my Volunteer friends possess their souls in patience, because I thought a good deal of what was proposed in reference to them might be regarded as brutum fulmen, and that before the Bill loft the House it would have vanished. That anticipation has been realised. The penalties have been whittled down to 6d.; ineeed I understand the minimum is to be nothing at all. The embodiment for six months, which undoubtedly caused some alarm among the Volunteers, has undergone the change which I foresaw, and those who do not want to be will not be embodied, and allowance will be made for anybody who is inconvenienced. By a wise concession, too, the statement has been withdrawn that those men who by reason of their present occupation would not be able to accept embodiment are to be excluded from the Volunteer Force, and these men will have the chance of getting that military training which will be useful if the time comes when they are wanted. Therefore I think the case stands that, as far as the main issues of the Bill go, we need not trouble our heads about them at all, and that with regard to the minor problems, they have been reduced to very small proportions indeed. So far as the Volunteers are concerned, we may say that their position, with one exception, is "as you were."

There is one exception which may alter what I say. We are to have County Associations. I do not know whether these County Associations are going to come into being, but I think it is extremly doubtful that they will. I do not know whether they are to be merely experimental or whether they are to be established universally. Personally I attach very little importance to the matter, and I do not think the Associations will do much to alter the state of things which the Royal Commission on the War in South Africa reported upon. The Royal Commission reported that the Volunteers wore not fit to face foreign troops They did not report that the Volunteers wanted to be called by another name, or that they wanted to be placed under now masters, I am not sure that the state of things will be improved by calling them by another name and placing them under these County Associations. We may benefit by these proposals to some extent, but I do not think we have very great grounds for being sanguine in regard to this method of administering an army. An army ought to be administered in such a way that the members of it become and remain the members of a uniform body which is capable of concentration. An army which is to be a fighting army must be embodied under those conditions. The only precedents I can call to mind where a similar course was resorted to occurred at the time of our war with Franco in North America, and the same policy was also pursued in the Peninsular when Spain was engaged with the same enemy, and when the Provincial Juntas administered her divided Armies. Those are the only precedents I can recall, because no other country in the world, so far as I am aware, has come to the strange conclusion that it can facilitate the expansion and concentration of its army by dividing it for purposes of administration into eighty or ninety small sections, each of thorn acting independently of the others. But I do not attach much importance to this proposal, and, as I have said, it is not a matter of much consequence. If, however these County Associations ever come into existence at all their proceedings will be watched with sympathy and a certain amount of curiosity.

But there is a serious side to this Bill, although the whole substance of it as originally introduced has been so altered and withdrawn that we need not concern ourselves over it now. But the Bill is a part, was intended to be a part, and was brought in as a part, of a much wider scheme, and I should like to see how far this measure fulfils the promise with which it was brought in. We were told that one of the great needs of the Army, and this was a more important question, was to have a reservoir of men upon which you can draw in time of war, and when this Bill was brought in we heard a good deal about this reservoir, but the day has gone by for that now, and I think no one seriously advances the contention that we are adding to the power of the Regular Army in time of war abroad by calling the Volunteers by another name. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken many times with great eloquence in the country of the great value and importance of patriotic and national feeling, which he said would induce the nation to spring to arms if the necessity arose. That is a very inspiring sentiment, but we have to consider what actually happens in time of war, and what the right hon. Gentleman speaks of has not happened and will never happen. We have to think of this country fighting the kind of war which it has fought before and which it may have to fight again, when the Regular Army will be in need of officers and men in the field. We are told that we may rely upon the patriotic feeling of the nation to supply that need. It is no disparagement of our people to say that they do not do what no other people in the world do. Officers and men do not come forward to undertake a duty that they have never undertaken to fulfil and are under no obligation to discharge. During the Crimean War, in which we fought for two and a half years, we were full of patriotism. We sang patriotic songs about the war and the people called their little children after its battles. Songs wore written about the battles and everything was done to show our patriotism, but when all was said and done we could not put 40,000 men in the field, and we never had 40,000 men in line in the Crimea. We were offering bounties of £10 to induce men to enlist in the Regular Army, but that was so notoriously and entirely insufficient that 15,000 foreigners were encamped close to London and drawing pay as British soldiers. The right hon. Gentleman says that all that has been changed by Lord Cardwell's system; but I say that that is not so, and the idea that it has is an hallucination. The fact is that those who are engaged to come out and go to war come out, but those who are not engaged do not come. It may be that we have a larger number of men under engagement, but we have no reason to suppose that those who are not under engagement will join to fight in an unpopular war or to go to an unpopular place. The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of a great national war. If there ever was a democratic and national war—a war in which men were fighting on their own soil for their hearths and homes—it was the American Civil War of Secession, but in that case the Volunteers who went to the front before the Battle of Bull Run went back to their homes after that battle. I do not blame them, because they were under no obligation to stay at the front, although I believe some of their officers threatened to shoot them if they did not. The fact is in that case that the Volunteers at the end of their engagement went home in such large numbers to their wives and children that President Lincoln had to apply compulsion, and Congress had to pass a most stringent law to make them return to the front. We deceive ourselves if we think we can rely solely upon the patriotic feeling of the people in time of war. During the South African War it is true many Volunteers were anxious enough to go to the front, but there is no evidence that they could have been relied upon for service elsewhere. We cannot allow men to pick and choose in that manner. It is here that the value of the Militia comes in. The Militia went to Malta and St. Helena and other places during the war, and they went because they were under an obligation to go, and you cannot rely upon the men in this or any other country to go abroad unless they are under an engagement to do so. The vast majority of those who engage do their duty, but we must not rely, we cannot rely, upon this Territorial Force to provide that great power of expansion of the Army which on all hands it is admitted we ought to have.

Then we have the necessity for an increase of officers. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt upon that need, but this Bill does nothing to increase the number of officers. Last night we learned, or I at least learned, that even the small hope that we had in our breasts in regard to this subject were destined to disappointment. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War informed mo last night in reply to an unstarred Question that so far from the Bill making the much. needed addition to the Regular officers of the Army by the creation of the new short-service battalions, the Regular staff of the existing depot, barracks are not only to take charge of the short-service battalions, but to undertake the training of the recruits for the line battalions as well. If that is so, we are not going to add by this Bill one single officer to the Regular Army, and we are simply calling old things by new names. I will not talk about the difficulties which arise in connection with the Militia officers, because I have done so before. I understand, however, that we are going to try to persuade a certain number of young men from the Universities to join. We probably shall persuade a few, but the point is that the men whom we persuade to undertake these positions will be dissuaded in consequence from going into the Regular Army, because you may take it that the man who is keen enough or interested enough to undertake this limited liability belongs to that class of men to whom we must look for our supply of officers for the Army. But whether we are sanguine or not, after eighteen months of making speeches, and after introducing a Bill, the fact remains that not a single officer has been introduced into the Army, and some 500 have been struck off the Army list.

We hoped and we were told that the Government were going to make provision for a striking force. No such provision has, however, in fact been made. It is a crying need to have a striking force to move rapidly before mobilisation, but we are not one whit nearer that force than we were when the Bill was introduced. As far as I can make out, the total addition to the striking force is only 1,000 men, and this is to a great extent an imaginary addition.

Now I want to say a word or two about the Expeditionary Force. Great play has been made with statements about an Expeditionary Force of 167,000 men, and I should like to analyse this and see how far this Bill provides for such a force. That force is an absolute myth. There is not anything in the least like it in existence. Two years ago I caused a Return to be prepared showing the numbers and possible distribution of the whole Army in case a force had to be sent across the sea, and the result was so different from that which the right hon. Gentleman now asks the House to accept that I must ask what has happened since. The right hon. Gentleman has not added a man, a horse, or a corporal's guard to the Army, but on the contrary claims credit for a reduction—I will take his own figure—of 20,000 men. I give him credit for that reduction, though I believe the actual reduction will be much greater. How such a reduction can bring about a larger Expeditionary Force I cannot understand. The right hon. Gentleman will tell me that he has grappled with this subject and that he has issued certain Returns. Returns have been issued showing units and brigades and so on, and the simple-minded public are supposed to take them as representing good coin. But they are not good coin, and tens of thousands of the men included have no military existence. It all depends on imagination and the realisation of some untried hypotheses, upon experiments not yet made, and upon expectations that cannot in any circumstances be fulfilled for years to come. Credit is taken for tens of thousands of Militiamen and infantry when there is not a single Militiaman, Artilleryman, or Infantry soldier who is under any liability to serve abroad at all. Then credit is taken for a large number of trained civilians, but the civilians do not exist and are not trained. I confess that I am sceptical about this and a good many other things in this Bill, and I venture to tell the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean that he need not be alarmed about these 167,000 men whom I agree with him in thinking we shall never want at the outbreak of war. The right hon. Gentleman and myself come to the same conclusion by different roads. We come to the conclusion that this force does not exist, and I do not think there is the slightest chance of its coming into existence.

But I will not talk any more about what we have been accomplishing, because nothing has been accomplished. But I should like to deal with what has been undone, and that is far more serious than anything which the right hon. Gentleman has done. In eighteen months absolutely nothing has been done to make the Army more fit for war and a great deal to make it less fit. There has been a large reduction of artillery, and I have never been able to understand the puzzle how by reduction the artillery has been made more efficient. Of garrison gunners 3,400 have been wiped out. They are men of the highest proficiency whom common sense and experience would suggest it would be well to preserve until there is a force to replace them. Military opinion, so far as I know, is opposed to the creation of a large number of Volunteer batteries, and it is unfortunate that the change should be made at the expense of the Regular Artillery. I have done my best to get at the facts, and it appears to me that the Field Artillery has already been diminished by over 800 men. But what is much more important is that there is a positive pledge that 3,700 men of the Horse Artillery, with sixty officers, are to be wiped out of the Army. I hope that that will not be done, for it will be nothing less than calamitous. I wish for further information upon this matter. The position has been slightly ameliorated in regard to the infantry by the retention of the Militia, but by striking off nine battalions the right hon. Gentleman has deprived the Army of the Reserves those battalions are calculated to produce, and of a supply of short-service recruits. I was amazed when the right hon. Gentleman the other night spoke with scorn of the utilisation as Reservists of men recruited at eighteen and having served two years; for what are we now doing? We are relying for an enormous proportion of the Army Reserves upon men enlisted at seventeen and who are to serve six months. What does the right hon. Gentleman say to the reserve of Guards in South Africa? I will undertake to say that in the view of every officer who was in South Africa, the Guards retained their soldierly spirit in a way that was an example to every other battalion in South Africa. Who were these Guards Reservists? They were men 80 per cent. of whom were enlisted at the age of eighteen to serve two years with the colours and to pass to the Reserve at twenty-one. It is trifling with the House when statements of this kind are made on responsible authority. It is nothing less than a calamity that the right hon. Gentleman should have stopped a most fortunate and successful experiment destined to create very large reserves for the Army.

The Volunteers are to remain, and are to be trained for fifteen days, or less, if they cannot give fifteen days. What is the military authority which justifies the right hon. Gentleman in saying that troops with that amount of training are capable of serving as units with the Regular Army in time of war? I recollect well the unanimous advice given to me by the highest military authorities as to the term of service. I proposed that the short-service troops should be enlisted for fifteen months. But, with one exception, every one of the distinguished officers whom I consulted declared that that was an impossible period, and that two years was the minimum period of training for men who were to go into action with Regular troops. What information has reached the War Office since 1905 to cause this volte-face? We have had a red herring trailed across the scent by references to the Swiss army; but enough has been said to show that all these references are beside the mark. There is no analogy between the Swiss conditions and our own.

But when I come to the new conditions created by the right hon. Gentleman the night before last, then I think what I have said is very relevant indeed. We are now asked to add 101 battalions to the Regular Army. These battalions are liable to go into action as units, under their own officers, and they will have had six months training only. When was it that this great change of opinion took place? If it be true that the officers who now advise the right hon. Gentleman were of opinion, in 1905, that two years was the minimum period that could be allowed for training, what has caused a change to be made in that view in 1907? When did the change take place and why has it become advisable now to trust boys enlisted at seventeen, with six months training, if, in 1905, it was impossible to trust boys of eighteen with less than two years training?

I do not want to detain the House longer, but there is one personal aspect of the question to which I should like to allude. The Financial Secretary accused me last night of having attacked all that has been proposed by the right hon. Gentleman; but I can say, with a perfectly clear conscience, that nothing would have given me greater satisfaction than to be able to support him, if possible, in all he proposed. I have been fifteen years in this House, and never once has any one been able to accuse me of allowing Party considerations to influence my conduct in regard to the Army or Navy. I have always worked with one ideal in regard to the Army; I have always worked in the belief that there is only one solution, a solution that might require modification one way or the other in regard to details, but that practically there is only one satisfactory solution to be found of this problem. During two years of my life it was my privilege to take some responsible part in applying in practice the principle which I advocated, and it is too much to be asked to ignore those circumstances and to hail with satisfaction a policy which in every single particular involves a direct reversal of everything I have attempted to do, and a direct challenge of everything that I believe to be right. I approach this question in no factious spirit, because the very moment the right hon. Gentleman abandons his destructive policy, the very moment he indicates that he will accept any of the ideas to which I have referred, then I shall be the first to support him, and I should give him the most cordial support. What happened? I trust that this amount of justice will be done to me. I have supported what I can; but I cannot support a destructive policy which I believe to be detrimental to the welfare of the British Army. I have seen the havoc inflicted by war on a defeated nation in more than one part of the world; and it is because I have pictured the infliction of that penalty on my own country that I have sometimes spoken strongly, perhaps too strongly, though I trust not, on matters on which I feel strongly. My only ambition is that somehow we should produce an Army which, when engaged in battle, will win. I ask that the lessons of experience in this and other countries should be applied to our own case; and I have opposed the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman where I have found it drafted regardless of this tremendous test of battle. But I hope and believe that one feature of the Bill will be outside the gloomy outlook which I have presented. By accepting the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition, the Secretary of State has taken an immense step in advance, and has laid the foundations of a real Territorial Army. I will not dilate on that subject now, but I am confident that the laying of these foundations will involve, as a matter of logical necessity, the creation of a building of a certain pattern and dimensions upon it. I know very well that when the military authorities find they have to rely in time of war on the Militia as now to be constituted they will find that they are resting on a broken reed, and their first duty will be to improve the Militia battalions and bring them up to war efficiency. Two years ago I was laughed at for proposing as part of the solution of this thorny question, the institution of a Territorial Army formed of short-service battalions taken from the Militia. I was told that they were "sham Regulars," unfit to be called soldiers, and that the Militia were being destroyed without anything being put in their place. But through good report and ill report I have maintained that that solution is the only possible one. I have said, all through the various speeches I have made on the subject, that force of circumstances must eventually bring you to that solution as the only possible one. What has happened now? We have now, with cordial agreement on both sides of the House, the institution of 101 battalions of short-service Territorial Infantry serving at home in time of peace and abroad in time of war; and that is entirely taken from the Militia, which is not to be destroyed but is to be recuperated, to live a long, and, I hope, a prosperous, life under the new conditions. I venture to make the prophecy that the good work which the right hon. Gentleman has done, and the happy departure which he has taken will compel him to arrive at a point when he will have to choose either the reduction of more battalions of the Regular Army or abandoning the linked battalion system. I believe that is the certain outcome of what has occurred to-day. I hope that when the time comes the right hon. Gentleman will choose the latter alternative. I must not be taken as expressing the belief, at this stage, that this plan in itself will suffice to give us a real army; I do not believe it will; it will only start us in the right direction, and it will have to be followed by consequential stages. With regard to the Bill, personally I do not care how soon it goes out of this House. It seems to me like the famous curse of the Archbishop of Rheims—nobody will be a penny the worse for it, and I wish I could think that anyone would be a penny the better. As far as I can see, the Bill as it stands is a matter which principally concerns the Volunteer commanding officers. If it is agreeable to them, so much the better, and I sincerely trust that the effect of the Bill will be to assist them in doing the good work in which they are engaged. I myself have some doubts on that subject, though, as far as that goes, I am only too glad that they are to have the opportunity of carrying out what is desired; still, I must regret that the House has had to spend ten days in arriving at the decision which it has now reached.

*SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)

said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon was in the difficult position of having to reconcile his strong and well-known views with the favourable reception accorded the other night to the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition. That reception was a curious illustration of the position in which the House stood in regard to the whole matter. In Committee they had not had the advantage of the presence of those who filled the division lobbies whenever a division was taken. So much had that been the case that it was well known to all of them that many Members, after one division, on learning what they had voted for, expressed the deepest regret for the vote they had given, and some of them had carried their Parliamentary conscientiousness so far as to vote against the Government in a later division when the Government happened to be perfectly right. The House generally had not followed the details of the Bill with much care; and one reason was that few of the subjects which they had been discussing were to be found in the Bill. One hon. and gallant Gentleman who had taken a great and a useful part in the proceedings in Committee had constantly been seen by friends hunting rapidly in the Bill for what he had heard described in the speeches, and it was difficult to persuade him that it was not there, for he attributed his inability to find what he sought to his own stupidity. In that way they had seen the Nucleus Regular battalions, the new Yeomanry or divisional cavalry, and the proposals with regard to the artillery all hunted for in the Bill, though it was obvious that they ware only in the speeches. But the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had put on a high level the change which had been accomplished in the particular provision which had converted him from an opponent into one who acquiesced in the passing of the Bill. On the whole, he, too, was favourable to the proposed change, and he believed it to be a wise one, especially on the ground of sentiment and public acquiescence, rather than upon mere military grounds. The right hon. Gentleman had said that by the original proposals the Militia were extinguished, but that now the Militia were not destroyed. Was there, in fact, so much difference between the proposals? Personally, he only found fifteen battalions of the Militia in the change, and as regarded the great bulk of the 101 battalions that were supposed to be continued, they were not Militia, but the Nucleus Regular battalions as originally proposed. Every man in the Militia was to be enlisted as a Regular, and whether that was good or not was a doubtful matter. But the point was that they started afresh, and the experiment was to be made as in its original form. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in viewing the creation of those battalions as the triumph, the inevitable and necessary triumph, of the short-service system in another form, perhaps a more difficult, a more experimental form, than that in which it had been previously proposed, but still with the inevitable result of a short-service system. How far had been met the doubts which many of them had expressed about the scheme as described in the speeches far more than in the actual provisions of the Bill? Those provisions were vague, they did not contain the proposals of the scheme, and, in fact, they were not necessary at all. The main ground of doubt—given the fact that the first line of the Regular Army was not affected at all by the provisions of the Bill—was whether the civil character of the Volunteer Force was affected or destroyed. We held the belief, which was shared by our fellow-subjects in the Colonies and elsewhere in the Empire, that in the Volunteer spirit we had a great national asset, and that Volunteer spirit could be only retained by the civilian character of the Volunteer Force being maintained. On the whole the Volunteers had not been understood by the War Office, and he did not know whether they would resist the attempt to place them more closely under the thumb of the Department, but he knew that none were more anxious than the Volunteers to accept the best advice and aid from it. The civil character of the Volunteers had been left in doubt; and another doubt had reference to financial control and cost. That was a two-fold question. There was the cost of any particular proposals with regard to the Territorial Army, a small matter, though of great importance. Then there was the larger question of the cost of the whole military service, including the Regular Army. Again, there were the arrangements for the Nucleus Regular battalions, and the very difficult point not cleared up as yet, because it was still in the experimental stage, of the divisional cavalry or the new Yeomanry, the new Regular short service cavalry, and the arrangement of the new field artillery, also in a nebulous condition. There were doubts expressed also as to the enormous size of the expeditionary force of 167,000 men, and as to the ability of the country to bear the cost, in addition to a predominant Fleet and an Indian Army, of a Regular expeditionary force on so large a scale, and also the Territorial Force behind. As regards the financial control, he differed from some of his hon. friends who had taken up the matter. He thought on that question they had been met; they had been met as far as it was possible to meet them under the Bill. But the measure was so vague that all the House could do was to obtain a strong promise from the Government that the views of the Committee on Public Accounts and of the Treasury would not be allowed to go under in favour of the new War Office view which had been put before them. The promise to consider they had got as a result of the debates, and the Amendment which his right hon. friend had put into the Bill he thought satisfactory, though some of his hon. friends did not think so. Financial control and economy in finance were, of course, two separate things. But with regard to the civilian character of the Volunteers he confessed that many hon. Members continued to have the gravest doubts, and many distinguished Volunteers had sent in memoranda on the subject to the Secretary for War. The right hon. Gentleman had received from a distinguished Volunteer officer, whose name he was not at liberty to mention—he was not a Member of that House—a document from which he would venture to quote these words— It is essential to the success of the Territorial Force as a national army that a strong and independent branch shall be established at the War Office—the head of this department to have equal status with the other members on the Army Council. In the discussion at the Royal United Service Institution on the Swiss Army, to which allusion had been made in the debate—the Secretary of State being in the chair—the lecturer, Major Johnson, used these words— It would, I think, be inconceivable to the Swiss people that our proposed County Associations, which, as we understand, are to perform almost exactly the same duties as do the Swiss Cantonal councils in connection with the Territorial Army, could act smoothly under the orders of a central War Office composed entirely of professional soldiers, or that of all the innumerable rooms in our new War Office only six should be allotted to the representative of the Territorial Army. They would probably consider the creation of a special civil or military department in the War Office essential, as an intermediary between the military chiefs on the one hand, and the civilian county authorities on the other. Above all, it would puzzle them sorely to find a place in their system of a Territorial Army for our administrative generals of the Esher scheme. These views were sound, and he thought would be received by Volunteers. But the House must take the proposals of the Government scheme collectively on this subject, and it could not be wondered at that the Volunteers still felt a certain amount of alarm in regard to their future treatment in spite of the self-denying promise made by the Secretary of State. The present Director of the Auxiliary Forces in the War Office had no real power. He was unable to act in the manner in which he would act if he were his own master, and that he could only be if he were a member of the Army Council. It was essential that he should be a man who heartily believed in the Volunteers, and did not share the doubt or prejudice against them in a military sense, which was to be found in the minds of soldiers who had not been connected with them. In the memorandum which he had already quoted the distinguished and experienced colonel said that the future head must, like General Mackinnon— believe whole heartedly in the potentialities of the Territorial Army, while not forgetting the limitations involved by the civil occupation of its members. That was the essential point. The Government began by offering Lord Portsmouth as the head of the Territorial Force organisation, but with all respect they declined to have him. The Secretary of State for War made a much more favourable offer of himself. With that offer he would have been quite satisfied as a temporary measure were it not for the consideration that the Secretary of State was the head of the Regular Army, that his advisers were Regular soldiers with the Regular bias on these questions, and, therefore, when there was any difference between Volunteer opinion and Regular opinion of the War Office type, his right hon. friend must be advised and must almost of necessity go in the Regular direction and not in the direction desired by the Volunteers. Representation by the right hon. Gentleman, though personally satisfactory, was not satisfactory from the point of view of the civil character of the Volunteers. This was a matter of great importance to the Territorial Forces, because there could be no doubt that it affected the question of military finance. The Regular soldier had learned to put up with the expenditure on the Fleet, but he grudged every penny which was spent on everything except the Regulars; he regarded every penny spent on the Territorial Army as so much subtracted from the amount that might be spent on the Regular troops. What were called the penal clauses of the Bill were really almost the only effective portions of the measure. The other portions of the Bill referred to matters which could be treated outside of legislation. The whole of the Territorial Army now became a force which could be called out in aid of the civil power. That was a new departure in this country, and it was one which would not have been taken some years ago. It was unwise, and although he believed it was never intended to act up to it, it was one which not only damaged the recruiting but damaged the civil character of the Territorial Army. He saw no reason for its being put in the Bill. He did not believe that the Volunteers were likely to be embodied under the provisions of the Bill. It was only from the point of view of the recruiting of that Force, which was civil in its character, that he was dealing with the matter. Was the Bill worth its place as the principal measure of the second, or critical, session of a new Parliament? Was it worth while sacrificing the chance of their great Budget by putting forward this Bill unless the Government could show some reason for believing that there was anything in the provisions of the Bill which was in any degree necessary? What was there in the Bill which they could not have done without? That was a question which he had repeatedly put in the course of the debates. It had been suggested that the County Associations could never have been set up without the Bill. Even that he was disposed to deny, because there were many cases where Treasury memoranda had been issued as the basis of Votes of Parliament, and they had been held by Parliament to be sufficient authority for handing over public moneys to be dispensed through committees of commanding officers. The Secretary of State told the House the other day that he required the power under Part III. The really effective power in Part III. was contained in the first few lines, which were in the following terms— The power of enlisting men into the first class of the army reserve under the Reserve Forces Act, 1882, shall extend to the enlistment of men who have not served in His Majesty's regular forces, and men so enlisted who have not served in the regular forces are in this part of this Act referred to as special reservists. That power had been exercised to a large extent already. The Post Office telegraphists and the railway men in the service of the London and North-Western Railway at Crewe who went to South Africa during the late war were enlisted nominally for a day in the Regular Army, but they never served even that single day. It was true that the process was a double one to save time. They were enlisted in the Regular Army, and then they were nominally passed into the reserve for twelve years, so that it was proposed to enact by the Bill what had long been the practice in the Army, and really he could not see the necessity for the Bill at all. The principle of the Bill had been explained as the division of the Army into two parts, the Regular Army and the Territorial Army. The bridges between the two systems were admitted to be very numerous. The distinction between the Regulars on one side and the Territorials on the other was very thin, and it would be difficult for any Member of the House of Commons who had voted for the Bill to explain what the distinction was. The newest examination of the subject by a competent outside authority was contained in a book by Colonel Maude entitled "War and the World's Life." Dealing with this Bill, the writer said— The War Office justifies the production of its scheme by absolute necessity. An Act of Parliament does not in itself possess creative power and can accomplish nothing unless the spirit of the people is behind it. Colonel Maude thought that the Volunteers already had the spirit, and that— an Act of Parliament may destroy the very spirit which it was intended to evoke. Thus, in the present instance, the suggestion of a fine for breach of contract by leaving the Volunteers has created a storm of opposition, though as a fact probably ninty-nine percent. of the existing establishment have already voluntarily bound themselves by accepting the same liability to penalty.…The proposed legislation will give us fewer men than we already possess, and destroys the strongest guarantee for their presence when wanted which the existing arrangement gave us. He confessed that his view of the Bill was unchanged by anything that had occurred in Committee. He feared that the reason for the Bill was the 167,000 men of the expeditionary force. A principle had been adopted which committed us to continue, and in fact extended a military system which was the most costly the world had ever devised, a system by which we would fetter ourselves in future. His hon. friends the Member for the Abercromby division, the Member for East Edinburgh, the Member for the Stroud division and the Member for Wiltshire had, on the whole, supported the Bill with reservations on all the leading points. He himself who had not been led to support the Bill found that he was in agreement with his hon. friends on almost everything, though he had been led irresistibly to the opposite conclusion. His hon. friend the Member for the Abercromby division had worked and he believed they would still work together against the cost involved in the linked battalion system which forced the country to maintain an enormous and unnecessary Army at home in time of peace virtually on a war footing. That force maintained at home in time of peace was the ground given by the Secretary of State for the size of the expeditionary force. The right hon. Gentleman said he had acted on no principle in fixing it at that size; he said that he took the units ready to his hand, and yet the only way of making that substantial reduction on the cost of the Army which had been promised by three successive Governments and two successive Chancellors of the Exchequer of the late Government, and reinforced by the present Government, was by the abolition of the linked battalion system. Any strikings-off which his right hon. friend might show were temporary and illusory so long as that millstone hung round our neck. The linked-battalion system not only remained, but was intensified under the new scheme. The late Prime Minister explained that he could not conceive the circumstances for which a force of 167,000 men would at once be required. An attempt was made from time to time to cover up all these difficulties by alleging that home defence was the basis of the new Territorial Army. He saw his right hon. friend smile, but they all knew that that defence was a hollow defence. The right hon. Gentleman had adopted the view of the Blue Water School, and the view of the late Prime Minister expressed in a Memorandum that the— Navy was capable of defending those shore s from invasion. The right hon. Gentleman had accepted the principle which he described as that "of the late Government, the principle of the Navy, and the principle of the War Office," that the Volunteers were required for garrisons and to repel possible raids, which were "very unlikely," but chiefly for the expansion of the expeditionary force for service across the seas. The hon. and gallant Member for the Abercromby division had often recommended to the House the Militia system as the real basis of the Army of the future. He agreed with the hon. and gallant Gentleman in the case of infantry at least, although he held strong views as regarded the cavalry and a portion of the artillery. This subject was discussed very fully at the Colonial Conference. There Sir Joseph Ward said— The popular basis of a Volunteer system…we encourage it in every possible way…We could get thousands of them ('to fight over sea'), and if we were to attempt to create a first line or company, whatever is suggested, to be always ready for over-sea defence, I think you would create internal difficulties amongst the ordinary forces, who would willingly and spontaneously go out and fight when the time arises. I believe that it is far better to let the country realise that we can draw upon our Volunteers for wherever we are going to fight, not earmarking them beforehand. Our people do not want to have paraded a permanent organisation to go outside the country to fight. I do sincerely hope that Mr. Haldane will not expect us to go upon lines of that kind. These views were extremely well supported immediately by Sir Frederick Borden, the Canadian Minister of Militia, who said that he had hoped that this question had been finally "disposed of five years ago." The Secretary of State replied— I am at the moment keenly conscious of the difficulty…because I have just had to face it…at home. His main objection to the Bill was that the division of the Army into two lines was an arbitrary division; that the regular line was based on principles of enormous costliness, which were not effective, and would never be able to secure the permanent reduction of expenditure. On the contrary when the right hon. Gentleman came to the House with large estimates with only temporary and illusory reductions it would be said that they were committed to those lines; that they could not help themselves; and that they ought to have known that would be the cost. He contended that the scheme of the Territorial Army would do much to destroy the healthy voluntary spirit which they had to look to and depend upon for the future of the Volunteer force.

*MR. GWYNN (Galway)

said that the time had come when those sitting on the Irish Benches ought to explain the position they had taken and meant to take in regard to the Bill. On the Second Reading they voted for the Bill, in the Commit tie stages they abstained from voting at all, and on the Third Reading they proposed to vote against it. The issue on which they meant to vote against the Bill at its Third Reading did not lie before the House, but was vitally connected with it, and his object was to explain the attitude of Ireland towards the great instrument of Empire which they were attempting to renovate and remodel. On the Committee stage of the Bill they took no part in the discussions, though their objection to the Bill was definite before the Committee stage. That objection had nothing to do with detail. They did not wish to prevent the Government from improving the state of the Army, which both the great Parties had so much at heart. As he understood the Bill, it was to create a popular Territorial Force for home defence, and an appeal was to be made to the patriotism of the British people. As had been admirably explained by the Secretary for Foriegn Affairs, it was not only an appeal to Imperial patriotism but to local patriotism. But was that appeal going to be made to Ireland? Was it proposed to raise a Territorial Army in Ireland, organised in Ireland, to enable Irishmen to associate themselves for the defence of their own country and to drill and acquire the use of arms? No. What was regarded as a virtue in this country would still remain a crime in Ireland. He specially drew the attention of the House to that point. He fully recognised the assumption on which the Bill rested. It could only be passed by a Government which trusted the people and whom the people trusted. But there was no such Government in Ireland. What became of the Union if different conditions so regulated the status of the people of Ireland and the status of the people of Great Britain? The Irish Party proposed to vote against the Third Reading of the Bill not so much for what it expressed but for what it implied. It stigmatised the position of Ireland as one of inferiority—as that of a conquered country held down by force of arms. When the Irish Party voted for the Second Reading they recognised that before they could have a popular Army they must have a popular Government. They believed that this Government was going to take a serious step towards establishing popular government in Ireland—that they were going to grant—he would not say what they had granted ii South Africa—but to take serious steps towards trusting the Irish people with the management of their own affairs—from which it would follow as a consequence that they would be able to establish in Ireland a Territorial Army and to satisfy the legitimate wish of the Irish people to organise themselves for the defence of their own country. Instead of that, the Irish people were offered a Bill which was a perfect monument of distrust. The hon. Member for South Belfast, speaking in Belfast, while proposing it on other grounds, said that as an Irishman he condemned the Bill because it showed complete distrust of the Irish people, and that if he were a Nationalist he would oppose it tooth and nail. The Irish Members had no other course than to vote against the Bill and now they were back where twenty years of resolute government had left them. What he invited the House to consider was what this meant to England and to the Empire. He understood that the permanent strength of the garrison in Ireland was 25,000. In time of war those 25,000 men could not be taken out of Ireland without sending into Ireland at least 25,000 English Volunteers. Men would have to be sent over to Ireland to defend the country which was not allowed to defend herself. The Bill cut off from the Empire that source in Ireland from which she might draw men for a Territorial Army. More than that it affected the first line of Imperial defence. What were the men who were now drawn from Ireland for the Regulars and the Militia? They were men who were willing to take England's shilling to serve in an Army one purpose of which was to keep Ireland in subjection. While that was so, he told the House plainly that it would be the duty of himself and all who thought with him to do what they could to prevent Irishmen joining the British Army. That was a state of things that was surely not to the advantage of England or the Empire. The remedy was plain and ripe in the experience of the Government. He did not know that the record of this Government would be glorious in history, but one thing would redound to their credit, and that was what they had done in South Africa. He believed that the Government were now negotiating with General Both a for a Dutch Army; whether that was so or not it must ultimately be so, because the Dutch could not be given freedom without being given a right to arm. The Liberal Government were bound by the obligations of their own liberality. They were bound by the success of their own achievement not to recede from the standard they had set up in South Africa. They could if they pleased turn Ireland as they had turned South Africa into a place from which.they could draw strength for the Empire instead of a place to be held with a garrison. It might be said that all this was vain talk because there was no chance of a state of things arising in which England could trust Ireland, because Ireland was irretrievably and hopelessly hostile to this country. He stood there to deny such statements. He fully admitted that there was a time when all the men most respected in Ireland by Nationalists aimed at separation, and separation such as could only be secured by the ruin of England. There were men still living and honoured in Ireland who had been bound together in a military organisation—there were men sitting on the Nationalist Benches who were a part of that organisation—whose main object was to gain some day of vantage, some point of attack in which they could help in some great European upheaval to accomplish the ruin of England. Those days had gone by; the men who had been, at the risk of their lives and liberty, banded together for that purpose were now standing in with the rest of Ireland in a common aspiration. The old fighting men of Ireland were with the rest of Irish Nationalists in coming to England and offering openly and fairly friendship on one condition, that condition being freedom for Ireland. He had touched bitter memories, but he hoped the House would recognise that the object of his remarks was to conciliate and not to estrange. He asked the Liberal Party if the Irish Nationalists were wrong to oppose a Bill which denied to Irishmen—and to Irishmen alone of all white nations in the Empire—the right to organise freely in defence of their own country; and he would ask the Imperialists if they were wrong to oppose a measure under which Ireland was to be left maimed and helpless, a captive and not a soldier, in a great scheme of Imperial defence.

*MR. MCCRAE (Edinburgh, E.)

said he had listened with interest to the speech of most momentous import which the hon. Member had just delivered, but it had failed to convince him that circumstances had so altered as to make hon. Gentlemen on those Benches take a course different from that which they took on the Second Heading of the Bill. He heard with regret that the Irish Party were going to vote against the Third Reading. As a friend of Ireland he regretted that, because the Irish Party in that House had always represented the policy of peace. They upheld that policy when it was not very popular, and to him it would be a painful thing to see the Irish Party and perhaps the Labour Party go into the Lobby with the avowed advocates of conscription against a Bill which worked effectively for the policy of peace. He could assure the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean that the Volunteers had no fear of the penal clauses of the Bill, and he could not endorse the right hon. Baronet's statement that Members on the Government side of the House were less favourable to the Bill than hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition Benches. He could not agree with that statement. No doubt many hon. Gentlemen objected to certain parts of the Bill, but not to the scheme as whole He believed that if the Government Whips were removed there would still be an overwhelming majority of Liberal Members supporting the Bill. He had listened to the speech of the right hon. Member for Croydon with some amazement. It was a most extraordinary speech, and its arguments were confused and illogical. The right hon. Gentleman started by saying there was really nothing in the Bill; but if that was so, what had the right hon. Gentleman and his friends been doing for the last ten days, voting and speaking upon matters which he now said were of no importance?


The Militia have been taken out of the Bill and the Bill totally changed.


said the changes that had been made were entirely in the right direction and did not alter at all the importance of the constructive portion of the measure. The change which put the Militia into the first line was a change in the right direction, but it did not alter the scheme of the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman then criticised something that was not in the Bill, but which was material to that part of the scheme of his right hon. friend which dealt with the first line and not with the Territorial Army. But while the right hon. Gentleman was saying in the House there was nothing in the Bill, he had been declaring in the public Press that of all that was good in the Bill, he, and he alone, was the absolute and sole patentee. He had read with interest an article in which the right hon. Gentleman had said that just as he was leaving office he left a scheme whereby £175,000 additional was to be spent on the Auxiliary Forces. What was in the right hon. Gentleman's mind he did not know, but he did know that the right hon. Gentleman in the House two years ago proposed that the expenditure should be reduced by £300,000, and that it was only by throwing the right hon. Gentleman over that the Government of the day saved itself from defeat. He knew what he had proposed before, and what the House rejected; but in all his criticisms there had not been mention of a practical scheme.


What was rejected?


What was suggested was his proposal to reduce the Volunteers to 180,000 men; secondly, the proposal for dividing the Army into two classes, which he never proceeded with.


That proposal was proceeded with, and carried into effect.


The proposal for a short-service Army? Where was it now?


Abolished by the right hon. Gentleman.


was afraid the short-service Army proposal was like the six Army Corps of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor.


The hon. Gentleman is entirely misinformed. The experiment was put into operation, the battalions wore raised on the terms proposed, and produced their reserve. They had been destroyed by the right hon. Gentleman.


would leave his right hon. friend to reply to that, but that was the first time fle had become aware that such an Army had been in existence, and he thought it would also be news to other people. The right hon. Gentleman had also made the extraordinary statement that he attached no importance to Volunteer training. That was a statement he failed to understand, because the right hon. Gentleman had over and over again said that the material of which the Volunteers was composed was the best we had, and all that was required was additional training. He quite agreed that a Territorial Army would never be made by an Act of Parliament, and that they must appeal to the sympathy and good will of the nation and the patriotic impulse of the young men of our race. All that could be done in a Bill of this kind was to provide a framework for the scheme. During the last Parliament he had endeavoured in every session to impress on the right hon. Gentleman opposite that more could be done by administration than by legislation in perfecting our military forces. He still held that view, but they required a clear idea of what the men were to do and how they were to do it. That was what the scheme of his right hon. friend provided for. His right hon. friend had produced a scheme which, strengthened by the concessions so wisely made, still held the field, after passing through the fire of criticism. He had listened in vain for an alternative scheme from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon. When the South African war broke out and the Volunteers were after considerable delay allowed to go to the front, they displayed qualities both of courage and endurance which fitted them to take their place with the soldiers of the Line. They did not have the advantage of six months training after embodiment and they did not have fifteen days annual training in camp. His own battalion had sent out many men who had had only eight days in camp, but who never had the opportunity of doing fifteen days prior to the outbreak of war. When they could rely on such ability as those men sh wed he thought there was something to be said for the discipline of the Volunteer Force as it at present existed. He had listened both to the right hon. Member for Croydon and to his right hon. friend, but he thought neither quite realised what a great factor making for military efficiency we had in the present Volunteer Force. If they would consider for a moment how the force had alternately been neglected and hustled by successive Governments and War Ministers, it was a wonder that they existed at all. When the right hon. Member for Croydon produced the medical circular it said a great deal for the Volunteers and their discipline that they submitted to what they believed to be an illegal demand upon them. They recognised that military discipline must be maintained, and in consequence they did what they were not compelled to do. He thought his right hon. friend ought to be pleased with the measure of success with which his scheme had met. He was still sceptical as to the value of County Associations. The Volunteers generally, if these County Associations became part of the scheme, would make the best of them. He did not recognise their necessity, however, and he, for his part, pinned his faith to the Army Council and the powers they had to make regulations for the County Associations. He believed those regulations would be suited to the counties. He was glad the County Associations were to have nothing to do with command and training, and he hoped commanding officers of Volunteers would occupy the same position that they did at present. He thought his right hon. friend ought to take care that the position of the commanding officers was not in any way undermined, because if any attempt was made to put the commanding officer in leading strings or tie him up with red tape the type of man who now commanded the battalion would not be obtained. At the present time the commanding officer knew that if he worked hard for his corps it could attain to a high state of efficiency because he had a free hand, but if they interfered between the commanding officer and his men, there would be a lack of efficiency and of interest in the work. He did not believe that was the intention of his right hon. friend; but it was in the Bill, and the prescribed officer should become the proscribed officer before this Bill became an Act. He warned his right hon. friend that at the War Office there was a school of thought initiated by Lord Roberts which held that we ought to have a very small highly trained Volunteer force. He opposed that idea root and branch. He was greatly afraid that at the War Office at the present time there might be a feeling in that direction, as during the discussions on the Bill there had cropped up indications of an attempt to reduce the force. That that was entirely contrary to the idea of his right hon. friend he knew, because his scheme was based on a policy of expansion and a large Territorial Army. The House rejected the scheme of the right hon. Member for Croydon when he proposed to reduce the Volunteer Force from 245,000 to 180,000, and that was a policy which he thought the nation also had condemned, because a good deal was said about it at the time of the General Election. He therefore impressed on his right hon. friend that, when considering the part the County Associations were to play and the duties that would fall upon them, he should see that no attempt was made by the military authorities to reduce the establishment of the Volunteers. He believed that the hope of economy in Army expenditure depended on the policy of having a small highly trained Regular Army with a large reserve behind it. He accepted the proposition of his right hon. friend that his scheme provided for more than an Army for home defence. It did so in a way that had never been done before, namely, by providing a Territorial Army self-contained with its brigades and divisions, and its own artillery, cavalry, and army service corps capable of reinforcing an Army in the field. It was a scheme immeasurably in advance of anything hitherto proposed. He regretted that the Labour Party should vote against the Third Reading of a Bill that was a safeguard against conscription. The most peaceably disposed man in the House must feel that under present conditions we must maintain the supremacy of our naval force and the command of the sea, and have an efficient military force as well. Having regard to that, he could only express regret that the Labour Party were going to vote against a measure which was the best weapon we could have against compulsory military training. He would quote from the military correspondent of The Times a few words which he thought were very appropriate, not only with regard to the Regular Army, but also in reference to the Volunteer Force. That correspondent in a recent letter said— What we need for the Regular Army is a fixed policy, stability of units, and effectives, and unchanging terms of service. The Auxiliary Forces in the past had suffered a great deal from the chapping and changing to which they had been subjected owing to repeated attempts to impose what turned out to be impossible conditions. What they required was continuity of policy. He felt quite sure that he was speaking for the great body of the Volunteers of the country when he said that they welcomed the important and honourable place which the right hon. Gentleman had given them in his new scheme. For those reasons he had much pleasure in supporting the Third Reading of the Bill.

SIR HOWARD VINCENT (Sheffield, Central)

said he had listened with much attention, to the able speech of his hon. and gallant friend the Member for East Edinburgh. He regretted, however, that instead of directing so much attention to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon and his speeches and writings he had not devoted more attention to the benefits which the Bill was going to confer on the Auxiliary Forces. In the most careful consideration he had been able to give to the Bill since its introduction, and in the many consultations with which he had been favoured by the Secretary of State for War, he had failed to gather how it was going to be made a distinct benefit to the Volunteer Force. In dealing with any matter connected with that Force he had always been most anxious to remove it entirely from party feelings. The right hon. Member for Croydon and Lord Midleton would agree that in the last Parliament he had certainly shown a non-party spirit on the question. He hoped the Secretary of State for War would not think that in any action he had taken, or any observation he was about to make, he was actuated by the slightest party feeling or animosity, and that he would give him the credit of being devoid of any personal feeling towards himself, because there was no Member of the House for whom he entertained more sincere personal respect. He was quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman had been animated throughout by the very best intentions. Not one of his predecessors at the War Office had made such efforts to become personally acquainted by individual touch with the feelings of the Volunteers in those districts which he had visited. He had devoted many months to the study of these questions, and he had given up many of his Saturday evenings to distributing prizes. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would be ready to admit that in his association with the different commanding officers he had met, he had been quite unable to bring before them the details of his scheme. He could not have done so, because the Bill had not been laid before Parliament, and therefore that course would have been irregular. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh had said very truly that the Volunteers had suffered considerably in the past from the instability of the War Office in regard to them. They had nevertheless survived, and had attained their present position entirely owing to their own exertions and the determination of the officers and non-commissioned officers and men to endeavour to discharge their duty towards their country. No such Bill as that under discussion was required to bring about greater stability or to carry out the recommendations of the Norfolk Commission, which consisted of many generals and other military officers of great distinction. Several years had elapsed and nothing had been done in regard to those recommendations. No such Bill was necessary in order to form the Volunteer Force, as recommended by the Norfolk Commission, into brigades under those commanders who would have to lead them on mobilisation. No Parliamentary sanction was required to carry out that change except the adoption of the pay and allowances of those general officers who would have been necessary to command the brigades in divisions. He deeply regretted that the Secretary of State for War, not content with improving what was so easily susceptible of improvement, had thought it necessary to introduce a Bill which practically destroyed the Volunteer Force as it had existed since 1869. Several units had been utterly demolished and complete changes had taken place. They had not heard anything explicit as regarded the adjutants and other matters, and all those things had produced great disturbance in the Volunteer Force. What the right hon. Gentleman had to do was to form the Volunteer Force under this scheme de novo. He had stated that any member of the present force not willing to accept the new conditions would be entitled to his discharge. At present there was a force of 248,000 Volunteers, but how many of them would remain under the new conditions? The force was lamentably short of officers; he believed the shortage amounted to 2,800. It could not be expected until some years had lapsed that sufficient confidence would be established in the new order of things for the old members of the force to come in. That was a most serious condition of things in the present aspect of affairs. He failed to see that any advantage would accrue to the Volunteer Force under the provisions of the Bill. What he found fault with in the right hon. Gentleman's policy was that in trying to establish a new military system he was tearing up everything that now existed, and was running the chance of establishing something indefinite and doubtful in its place. It had been stated that it was a lottery whether the men would come in under the new conditions. All he had to say was that if they did come in there was absolutely nothing between the country and forced military service. The Volunteer Force had saved the country from conscription for the past thirty years. Continental countries like France and Germany insisted upon having large numbers of men available for the expansion of their Army in the hour of need, and it was absolutely certain that if this scheme failed the old scheme would have been destroyed and nothing would remain but conscription. It had been said that the Bill was a safeguard against conscription, but he did not agree with that view. He could quite understand the position of Labour Members in deciding to oppose the Third Reading. He was an advocate of physical training for all classes of the male community, but he was a determined opponent of forced military service. Those who talked lightly about conscription and the advantages that it brought to Germany and other countries were not aware of the enormous evils of forced military service. The young men of this country were free from that obligation, and were not required to give three of the best years of their life to the service of the State. At any rate in that respect they had that advantage over their comrades on the Continent, but if this Bill failed there would be nothing for them but compulsory military service. He felt very strongly on this subject, and that was the reason he had taken an active part in the discussions upon the successive stages of the Bill. At the present time he had no desire to examine more closely into the dangers which he so much feared; the moment for doing that had passed. They had had no opportunity of examining the greater portion of the Bill. The result of the unprecedented procedure which the Government had adopted was that many of its provisions remained undiscussed. That was a very serious state of affair as regarded the future interests of the Army. He was quite sure the Secretary of State for War would not assert for a single moment that there had been any obstruction or dilatory tactics. As a matter of fact he had already stated that the discussion had been of the most business-like character, and he was pleased to notice that the right hon. Gentleman now gave assent to that proposition. There was, however, one point which he desired to impress most earnestly upon the right hon. Gentleman, and it was that the Volunteers and the Yeomanry would never be satisfied until they had direct representation upon the Army Council itself. He was very sorry indeed to notice that his right hon. friend had set his face firmly against that proposition. It was a point on which there was absolute unanimity of opinion, and; it was a change recommended by the Norfolk Commission, who were of opinion that the Volunteer Force was entitled by its numbers and importance to be represented by a superior official, having an equal voice with any of the other members upon the Army Council. If in carrying the Bill through another place, the right hon. Gentleman found an opportunity of altering his views upon that subject he would not only give satisfaction to the Territorial Force, but also please a great many hon. Gentlemen who sat behind him. He agreed with the hon. Member for East Edinburgh that the penal clauses of the Bill were not necessary. With all his careful thought and patience and courtesy, the Secretary of State for War did not seem to appreciate the position of discipline in the Volunteer Force. It was not by courts of summary jurisdiction and courts-martial, and all the paraphernalia of a military code, that they would bring about military discipline in the Territorial Force. Discipline could only be established by instilling esprit de corps and by making every man feel that the honour of the regiment depended on his own individual and special exertions. His hon. friend opposite had had experience of the Volunteer Force, and knew full well the moral influence which they were able to exert in order to create and maintain strict discipline. Many of the men in a company came from the same business establishment or factory. A man turned out of the Volunteer Force for any misconduct was at once the butt of many of his associates. Probably the matter would reach the ears of the foreman or the employer, and the man, even if nothing were said directly to him, knew that he was an object not of contempt but of pity, and he felt that what he had done was known. Cases of misconduct in Volunteer regiments were very rare indeed; every hon. Member who had commanded Volunteers would be able to confirm that statement. Upon this subject he regretted the absence of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil, and mare particularly the cause of his absence. Upon a previous occasion the hon. Member had said that the Bill was drastic in its provisions and so full of penal clause and threats of punishments that if a Conservative or Unionist Government had dared to introduce it a note of alarm as to its disastrous effects would have been sounded in every county, city, town, and village of the country. The Secretary of State for War and the Government had, however, thought fit to introduce a measure of this character. He did not wish to conceal the fact that some of its provisions were viewed with favour by some of his hon. friends, although he did not share their views. The Secretary of State for War was a civilian student who had never himself been associated with the defensive forces of the country in either an honorary or an active capacity, and although he had gone fresh to the War Office imbued with civilian ideas, he had been captured and bound hand and foot by the large number of generals whom he had created. The right hon. Gentleman had doubled the strength of the generals at the War Office, and he was only able now, apparently, to look at affairs through their eyes. That was a matter which he deeply regretted. If the Bill received the approval of Parliament he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that he would do his best to make it a success. He wished, however, to warn the right hon. Gentleman, and the Government with which he was associated, that by this new scheme they had taken upon themselves a very serious responsibility. If it was found in the course of a few years that the Territorial Reserve Forces Bill failed to fulfil all the anticipations which the House had been led to entertain in regard to it, and compulsory military service became necessary, the blame for it would lie upon those who had destroyed our present Auxiliary Forces, and attempted to create in their place a semi-military and semi-civilian system.

*MR. LEA (St. Pancras, E.)

said he objected to the Bill mainly on the ground of consistency, because it seemed to him inimical to all his ideas of Radicalism. At the last election he worked hard to capture a London constituency which had been represented by a Conservative for a great many years, and he never thought that he would live to witness a Radical Government, from which he had hoped so much, bringing in a Bill containing the drastic penal clauses to which the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite had referred so ably and so fairly. As one who had served in the ranks himself he thanked the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite for the kind way in which he had spoken of the soldiers. His view as to the value of cultivating esprit de corps amongst the men was the proper method to adopt not only for Volunteers but for Regulars as well. The penal clauses would not only do irreparable harm, but defeat the very purpose for which the Bill was introduced. He would take, first of all, the ground of consistency. The chief Whip of the Tory Party made a speech in his own constituency some weeks ago with which he had been very much struck. Referring to the machinery of the Bill he said that the god in the machine was the lord-lieutenant, and around him he would get a lot of gentlemen who would be county magnates. In nearly every case the lord-lieutenant was a Peer, and they had been telling the truth a great deal lately about the Peers. The chief indictment against them was that they barred progress in another place, and that they packed the bench as regarded justices of the peace. The whole scheme, as far as he had been able to understand the Bill, depended upon the faithful and industrious co-operation of the lords-lieutenant. It did not seem to him likely that the men they had been blackguarding so much lately, and justifiably so, were going to help the Government to make the measure a success, or that they were likely to do their' best to make the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman work properly. He, certainly, if in their position, would do nothing to forward a scheme brought in by a Government like the present, pledged to Radical reforms. Those lords-lieutenant of counties were pro-con-scriptionists to a man, and they were in that respect like the bulk of the men who sat on the Army Council at the War Office. He could not help thinking that the gentlemen at the War Office who advised the Secretary of State to i bring in this Bill rather had their tongues in their cheeks all the time. He had not the slightest doubt that in their hearts they felt that this measure, even if it did go through in another place, was bound to become a failure sooner or later. He could not see how it could be otherwise. What was the chief cause of complaint at the present time against the Auxiliary Forces? It was that officers and men could not be got. If they made the conditions of service more drastic than they were now, and if they destroyed all the esprit de corps, as the hon. and gallant Member for Sheffield had said would be done by the scheme, he did not see how they could possibly hope to get more men. When the scheme had utterly broken down and there were only the Regulars to fall back upon, times might have changed. This Government would have made mistakes, as all Governments did, and it might happen that with the swing of the political pendulum a majority of Conservatives would come in. He certainly viewed with the greatest degree of uneasiness the idea of a Conservative Minister of War coming down and saying: "My predecessor has abolished the Auxiliary Forces. He has wiped out the old machinery, and there is nothing left but conscription." Who was to say him nay with the complacent second Chamber which existed at the present time? In the old days the lords-lieutenant of the counties were tried and found wanting, and he had heard nothing in the military history of the last thirty years to lead him to believe, that in 1907 they were more efficient as instruments of military organisation, and that they would favour the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. He had seen nothing in the Bill to make him believe that the right hon. Gentleman was justified in throwing all the Auxiliary Forces into the melting pot and evolving something of which they had no knowledge or certainty, but which they looked upon with the greatest degree of doubt and disfavour. With regard to some of the penal clauses of the Bill he frankly confessed, as he had said in his own constituency, that he considered them an absolute disgrace in a Bill brought in by a democratic Government. Private Members had had no chance whatever of discussing those clauses, and he would like to point out one of the effects of Clause 10. At the present time if a man who in the Army or Navy had been dismissed with ignominy and disgrace, joined the Volunteers, what happened? He believed it was in the power of a colonel of Volunteers to have him brought before a magistrate, and the utmost punishment he would get would be a fine of 20s. with the option of seven days imprisonment. But supposing this Bill went through what would happen? That man would render himself immediately liable to martial law and he might get two years imprisonment. If he was wrong, the right hon. Gentleman would correct him. He supported the Amendment moved last night by the hon. and gallant Member for Sheffield to omit Clause 23. That clause, to his mind, was simply monstrous. He would take one case in point. He had only one battalion of Volunteers in his constituency. Let them suppose a Volunteer in that battalion, happening to be at the bar of a public house, saw and insulted one of his drill instructors. Both men might be in plain clothes, and the Volunteer might strike the drill instructor. According to martial law that man was liable to the most drastic and condign punishment. But supposing it was merely a civil offence, the most that could happen would be for the superior officer to issue a summons against him. Under this Bill, however, the offence would be detailed to the police magistrate, and the officer could turn round and say that it was one cognisable by a court-martial, and the offender might be imprisoned for a term of three months. He ventured to say that if that provision were introduced by the present Bill and the Volunteers had it properly explained to them, recruiting would go down by 50 per cent. within a few weeks. He believed the Bill to be a reactionary measure of the worst kind. It was calculated, even assuming that it was the success which the right hon. Gentleman hoped it would be, to foster a spirit of militarism and jingoism. He objected especially to the clauses referring to the cadet corps and the bringing of instruction in the rifle into the public schools. He believed that the democracy of this country had had quite enough of such jingoism. The late war, and the events which led up to it, and all the Imperialism and flag-waving and formation of cadet corps, tended in one direction. They were sick and tired of it, and what the country wanted was the cutting down of military expenses. If they had money to spend let them devote it to social reforms which the democracy had been long waiting for.

MR. ARTHUR HENDERSON (Durham, Barnard Castle)

said that so many references had been made by previous speakers to the Labour Party's attitude towards the Bill that it was imperative that someone should say a word or two before the division on the Third Reading took place. The Labour Members had consistently opposed the measure since its introduction. He would not go into the practical part of the Bill, or the scheme propounded by the Secretary of State for War, because he confessed candidly that he did not understand it. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean in his excellent speech had given the House to understand that nearly everything they had been discussing was outside of the Bill, and that the greater portion of the debates consequently had been debates between experts on both sides of the House. He and his friends were amateurs, but though they were not able to understand all the technicalities of the measure, they were nevertheless interested in it. There were features of it which appealed to them very directly. Their first objection to the measure was that they were not satisfied that it was a safeguard against conscription. It might be intended to be a safeguard, but there were certain principles laid down in connection with the Bill that appeared to contribute towards the extension of the military spirit. Once the Bill was put into operation they feared, and he thought rightly so, that the successors of the present Government might take it into their heads to develop those principles. He and his friends feared also that the spirit of militarism that would have been engendered in the meantime would be so easy of development that the final and ultimate issue of the whole thing would be forced military service. They, therefore, instead of acquiescing in the introduction of any proposals which they apprehended might carry them in the direction of conscription, felt that they owed it as a duty to those whom they represented to object to such introduction by every possible means. Therefore, it ought to be clearly understood that they objected because they failed to see in the Bill any safeguard against the extension of militarism that might ultimately involve the country in conscription. They objected to the Bill because there was no necessity for it. The country was tired of the tremendous military expenditure which was now pressing so heavily upon the nation. All sections of the House would agree with him that there was one portion of the community which felt the tremendous extension of military expenditure, viz., that large industrial section with which he was so closely identified. It had been proved to demonstration both by the present and the late Chancellor of the Exchequer that the largest proportion of the revenue of the country was raised by indirect taxation; that was, that the wage-earning classes contributed a larger quota to the taxation in proportion to their income than any other class. And it was on them that the tremendous pressure of the increase of military expenditure devolved. Therefore, he condemned that increase of expenditure both on the Army and on the Navy, and hon. Members on the Ministerial Benches who represented industrial constituencies ought to join the Labour Party in a most emphatic protest against any legislative experiment which would tend to increase rather than to lessen the tremendous burden on the workers of the country. He had no hesitation in saying—and he said it with all sincerity because it was his conviction—that if this measure had been introduced by the right hon. Member for Croydon acting in the interest of the Government which so recently sat on the Treasury Bench, the country would have resounded from end to end with the cry of the taxation of the poor in order to support the military policy of the late Government. It had been said that consistency was a jewel, and they ought to have another line of conduct from many hon. Members who would vote for the Third Reading of the Bill that night. They might salve their conscience by saying that the Bill was an improvement on anything introduced by the late Member for Guildford, or by the light hon. Member for Croydon; but that was a very poor satisfaction to the electors, who had turned out the late Government in the hope that they would get something vastly different. What was the use of the country turning out a Tory military Government if they were only to be supplanted by a Liberal Government with the same policy? The people were tired of this military policy, and expected that before now the Government would have gone far in the direction of a peace policy and have lessened military expenditure. Their objections to the details of the Bill had been clearly stated by the Leader of the Labour Party, who was not able to be present that night, and whose absence they all deplored, and by the hon. Member for Leicester. First of all, there was the question of the cadet corps. Amongst other duties imposed upon the County Associations by the Bill was the creation of cadet corps. At the early stages of the debate the Labour Members strenuously objected to that provision, because it involved the public elementary schools. He knew that the right hon. Gentleman had improved that part of the Bill, but he had not gone the length they desired. Public schools were still to be made the nursery of militarism under official sanction. Once the principle was admitted in regard to public schools, pressure would be brought to bear to extend the military training to the higher grade schools, and then to the elementary schools. There was another point, viz., the alteration of the civil character of the Volunteer Service. The right hon. baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean had very ably dealt with that point, to which the Labour Members had always objected since the introduction of the Bill. They objected to this country being turned into an armed camp. The hon. Member for East Edinburgh did not believe that would be the result, but the Labour Members thought that in adopting this military policy the Government had stepped on to a slippery plane, and once started nobody knew where they would land. The right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean and the hon. Member for East St. Pan- eras had clearly shown the objectionable character of the penal clauses in the Bill, and what possibilities they might lead to. How ridiculous it was that they were to have courts-martial applied to Volunteers! They had tried to get that provision amended, but, possibly through a little bit of manœuvring, his hon. friend opposite so ght for hours an opportunity of moving his Amendment, but was always shut out by a succession of other speakers. It would be no surprise to hon. Members to be told that the Labour Party in tended to proceed to a division against the Bill. Even if they found that the right hon. Member for Croydon and others associated with him voted for the Third Reading, that would not lessen, but rather increase the responsibility of the Labour Party.


The hon. Member for Barnard Castle has announced that he, and these who act with him, will oppose the Third Reading of the Bill because they detect in the scheme of the Secretary for War a tendency towards conscription, and because they find in it no prospect of a substantial reduction of military expenditure. Upon that I have to make only one observation: that if this and succeeding Governments fail in their long and laborious task of reorganising our motley military forces, so as to make them adequate to the needs of our Empire, then we must inevitably come to conscription. I add —though this is but a speculative opinion—that conscription in this country will not bring with it any lightening of the financial burden, because with a possibility of increase on the Army we shall still have to maintain a Navy larger than that of any two Powers. Again, this country must always maintain and support what I may call a long-service Army to provide garrisons in India and at our coaling stations. That being so it is a matter of importance to us, and even to the hon. Member of Barnard Castle and hon. Members below the Gangway, not to thwart any Government which is endeavouring in all sincerity— though not perhaps on lines which commend themselves to everybody—to reorganise the forces of the Crown, so that they may become more efficient. Our position in this matter is somewhat lukewarm. We cannot accept any responsibility for this scheme, but we do not oppose it, because of the declarations of the right hon. Gentleman, and because we hope and believe that his scheme does not involve the destruction or extirpation of any part of our military forces which may be tended and cultured until they become more effective. We feel that the right hon. Gentleman leaves the parent stems, so that they may survive and burgeon again in the future. But we cannot be enthusiastic about this Bill, because we do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has made any very substantial advance towards the object which most of us have at heart of having our Regular Army made of sufficient size, and prepared for an oversea expedition, and, in the second place, of having the organisation of our Auxiliary Forces in such a condition that they may provide for the support and expansion of the Regular Forces. That being our view we cannot speak with any fervour in this Third Reading debate. A Third Reading debate at any time has an air of unreality about it. It is something in the nature of a parade movement. All the old battalions of arguments, dusty with the service they have rendered for weeks, are marched past for the last time, and then we all go home. If the Opposition are opposed to the principle of a scheme, we say that the country is on our side, and that time will show. If, on the other hand, we entertain no conscientious objection to the principle and are met by concessions and practical methods for giving effect to the principle, then we congratulate the Minister on his sagacity, and in any case we are always glad to express our sense, as we certainly can do now, of the unfailing courtesy with which he has listened to our representations. But this occasion is peculiar, and calls for some words of comment. The Bill has but a very remote connection with the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. It is what I may call a conventional connection. We have all agreed to talk about the two things at the same time, and if we had not agreed to do so this Bill might have passed without discussion and left nobody much the wiser. It has boon called an enabling Bill, but I am not sure that it deserves even that title, for I believe the right hon. gentleman could have done nearly all he proposes to do without the Bill by announcing his general policy on Vote A and Vote 1 this year, and sketching its development on the same Votes in succeeding years. Next year, for example, he could say, "There are to be fewer Militiamen and fewer Volunteers, and I propose to pay them less," and in that manner he could have unfolded his scheme without bringing in any Bill at all. Even if this Bill is enabling, moreover, it is certainly not mandatory, and certainly not binding on the right hon. Gentleman. What does bind the right hon. Gentleman is this — he is bound by the declarations which he has made in the course of these discussions, and our feeling that we need not oppose the Bill depends on the fact that we give a modified assent to the Bill in the light of these declarations. How far has his original proposal been modified by the declarations which he has made in the course of these debates? Originally, the right hon. Gentleman proposed in the first place—certainly this had the first place in his mind and certainly in the minds of some of his advisers—that the Regular Army should be so organised as to be capable of sending an expeditionary force of 167,000 men overseas, which is equivalent to the three Army Corps of which we used to talk. He intended to maintain that force in the field for six months, and in order to do so he originally intended to find about 40,000 or 46,000 men in drafts by practically killing the Militia and substituting seventy-four depot battalions. We took grave exception to that course. We thought such action would destroy not only the primary purposes, but also the secondary purposes, of the Militia, while it would do nothing to supply the deficiency of officers. We felt that the right hon. Gentleman was creating an unnecessary hiatus between the Expeditionary Force and the Territorial Forces, we therefore moved a reasoned Amendment on the Second Reading. I hope the changes which the Secretary for War has made will meet these objections. We have urged the right hon. Gentleman to retrace his steps in regard to the Militia, and he has seen his way to do so. And to return to his original idea, we are told that the British Militia will now conform to the plan of the Irish Militia, as we desired it should. That is all to the good, as far as it goes, and we do not wish to look a gift horse in the mouth. We must take into account not only the bare announcements which the right hon. Gentleman has made, but the tone of his remarks. He said the Militia will keep their bands and colours, and so forth; we understand from that that they will keep their insignia to remind them of the part they have played with distinction in the past, and as an earnest that they will be permitted to play a like part in the future. With that we must be satisfied for the moment. But the right hon. Gentleman has not gone far enough. He has sown his seed of a short-service Army with an oversea obligation, and that every recruit in that force will receive six months preliminary training is all to the good; but more is required. The right hon. Gentleman must steadily cultivate the new county patriotism which came so much to the front in the South African War. What happened then shows the importance not only of preserving the county designation, but of making battalions county battalions in reality, and not only in name. There is one other point on which I should like to hear more from the right hon. Gentleman. We attach great importance to battalion training. Our objections to the depot battalions originally contemplated, were based on the fact that you cannot train men by the 150 at a time, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to tell us that every one of these, 101 battalions now substituted for the depot battalions will be trained each year as a battalion; that they will come on the parade ground as a battalion during the period during which they are to train, however short it may be. We cannot pursue this subject now, but I think the right hon. Gentleman must feel that the country will not rest satisfied with a military force in which the recruits are drilled for six months when they join and only go into camp once in two years after that. I know no force of that character except the state militia of the different states of America. They have a preliminary drill and then only go into camp every other year. But I do not think the people of the United States regard that as an efficient training by any means. At the same time the conditions of the American militia are totally different from the conditions of the Militia hero. The services which might be required of them are far lighter and far more remote than these which these 101 battalions will have to perform. Therefore the right hon. Gentleman must proceed on the lines we have indicated if he hopes to make a good job of the work he has undertaken. The work is before him and it. will not be done unless he makes the Militia battalions more a reality than we have gathered they will be from what he has said. I pass to the Territorial Forces The Militia is now part of the Reserve Forces and comes out as the rest of the Reserve does on the outbreak of a great war in order to supplement the power and the force; of the fighting line. I pass to the Territorial Forces by way of the Yeomanry because it has to discharge both functions. Part of the Yeomanry is to be in the Reserve; fourteen squadrons are to be in the Reserve and the rest is to be part of the Territorial Force pure and simple. We congratulate the light hon. Gentleman on his attempt to get these fourteen squadrons out of the Yeomanry, and we hope that he will succeed. They will liberate four cavalry regiments for other work for which Regular cavalry is better suited. But how is the right hon. Gentleman going to get them? His plan is to make the existing Yeomanry regiments practically recruiting agencies and nothing more, for separate bodies of troops which will be despatched by them and which will never be seen again by the Yeomanry. I hope the right hon. Gentleman is not wedded unalterably to his plan with regard to the Yeomanry. I think he would be better advised to treat the Yeomanry as a sort of parent body from which these squadrons could be obtained, who should see that the man who goes to the front has had that training which the War Office requires. If he did that he would still have the Yeomanry to feed from and would not be troubled by the complicated question of drafts. The right hon. Gentleman originally suggested that the Yeomanry might act as divisional cavalry, that is to say, as the squadrons which accompany and precede each division of infantry. But he has since told us that some of his advisers doubt their fitness for that service, and he has thrown out the view that the Yeomanry might be better adopted to act as the "screen" behind the strategical cavalry or, as it is sometimes called, as the second line of security. But the Yeomanry are useless for either purpose unless they are mobile Mobility is the essence of mounted soldiery. Mounted men can never do the work the infantry do in a great war. They cannot develop a heavy continuous fire. That has to be done by the infantry, but what they can, and do de, is to bring power to bear at the right moment and at the right place. Therefore, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not refuse the services of any man who is ready to contribute to this great faculty of mobility, which depends upon three things —horse breeding, horse riding, and horse master ship. In order that these throe things may be fostered in a country that is mainly industrial no discouragement must be offered to any service connected with the breeding of horses, the riding of horses, and the control of horses. Therefore, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not sacrifice the Irish Yeomanry or any part of the Yeomanry to the symmetry of a paper scheme. The right hon. Gentleman told us the other day that the Yeomanry would have to come out as part of the Reserve, and it was pointed out then that no regiment constituted as the Yeomanry are could undertake that responsibility, but that is no reason for the discouragement of any man who desires to join the Yeomanry. Let him give as much training as he can to the Yeomanry—as much as they can take—but do not let him discourage any man who will make an efficient yeoman though he cannot come out as part of the Reserve. I pass to the Volunteers. I think to the Volunteers the same rule should apply. The Volunteers have a great faculty for inarching and shooting. Let not the right hon. Gentleman get rid of any man who desires to march or shoot, because he does not fit in with the symmetry of a paper scheme. He will need them all, and he should not discourage any one of them. Nor must he sap the responsibility of the commanding officer of the Volunteers. That being so, we hope the right hon. Gentleman will proceed further on the path he intends to follow, and we hope he will take in friendly part the criticisms which rested mainly on the gap we thought he was going to create. Our objections base I on that gap we. thought he had created are largely diminished by two features of the scheme as we now understand it. The first is that the 100 battalions of Militia go into the Reserve, and the second, the assurance we have received from the right hon. Gentleman that the training of the Territorial Force will not be so limited as we at first understood. Where the right hon. Gentleman finds one part of the Territorial Force will take a longer training, he will give it to them, I understand that from the right hon. Gentleman, and we hope he will always allow all these whose patriotic ardour lead them into the Auxiliary Forces to servo in these forces without let or hindrance. He must allow the various component parts of the Auxiliary Forces to develop on their own separate lines, and according to their own individual genius. His scheme cannot succeed even as a beginning unless he gets the co-operation of all these who are ready to help him, and he will not got that unless he recognises that the shape of each body is determined by the shape and character of its constituent elements. In other words he must not insist on each battalion being the same as every other battalion merely for the sake of symmetry. The right hon. Gentleman must accept the service of every man who is willing to help him. In this country four separate sources of patriotism feed the Forces of the Crown. There is the young man who is ready to go into the long-service Army because he has a taste for soldiering, a love of adventure, or a wish to go abroad; and there is the lad who, being too young, perhaps, to join the Regular Army, is ready to go into the home service Army or the Militia. The two other channels into which patriotism flows are the Yeomanry and the Volunteers. They have twice sprung into existence in the course of a hundred years in response to the call of a national emergency. Does not all that prove that there is something inherent in the genius of the race which desires the variety of the Regular soldier, the Militiaman, the Yeoman, and the Volunteer? The right hon. Gentleman may call them what he likes, but he cannot alter their nature, and if he seeks to train them violently into one channel he will run the risk of drying up one or other of these fountains of patriotism to which we must turn in the hour of the Empire's need.


I should, indeed, be a partisan, and I should indeed, be ungrateful, if I did not at once acknowledge the tone in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover has addressed the House. His speech has been directed to a criticism, not in a Party spirit, but in a scientific spirit, of the proposals embodied in this Bill. Indeed, I may go beyond the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and say of the debate as a whole that although we have had moments of acute controversy, which are inevitable in a great and prolonged discussion, the tone of the Opposition, and the tone of the House generally, oven where we did not agree, have been characterised by a desire to help at getting at the truth about this complicated and difficult problem. I attach more importance to that fact for the reason which I gave in the first speech I made upon this subject more than a year age in this House, that it is impossible for any one Parliament to accomplish this enormous piece of work, that the reorganisation of the Forces of the Crown must be a matter not only of successsive Parliaments, but of continuous policy; and the friendly attitude not only of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, bat of the Leader of the Opposition, gives the chance—whatever differences we may have about secondary matters—of laying some foundation upon which, having once begun to build, we should continue to build until the structure is completed in a proper fashion. There have been criticisms by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, and my right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean. It is said, why have we taken all this time upon a Bill which really is not necessary? Could not all these things have been done without the Bill? One of these right hon. Gentlemen spoke as a soldier; the other spoke as a military expert. I can speak as an expert, only of another kind. I am a lawyer; and I own that to me the proposition that we could have carried out the reorganisation of the Army without this Bill is an astounding one. How anyone versed in the constitutional history of this country could imagine that you could bring forward proposals for the reorganisation of the Forces of the Crown into two lines—the second line being under new statutory regulations, with a new organisation, and, therefore, being a new force—except by the authority of Parliament, passes my comprehension. To have done this without the authority of an Act of Parliament would have been the most unconstitutional proceeding known for many years. Many of the provisions of the Bill are absolutely essential if the scheme is to be carried out. You have got to substitute for the old legislative machinery new legislative machinery; you have to get rid of useless statutes and divergent regulations, and get a single, simple system of regulations by legislation such as this. I know it is complicated, I know that the Bill is long and prolix, making heavy demands on the time of the House which I would have been glad to have seen give to social reforms, but it is essential, if a step forward is to be made in Army reorganisation; and I do feel that if, on this side of the House, our mission is to deal rather with social than with military problems, at all events in a Parliament, that is strong, vigorous, and, I would add, Radical, we could approach the consideration of this matter in a spirit so thorough and so determined as to let no technical difficulties stand in the way. Even the right hon. Gentleman, I think, would have found more difficulty with his Party, so many of whom have filled high and honourable positions in the Service, and have developed high and difficult views which have to be reconciled, and which would make it almost impossible for his Party to proceed in the manner and with the freedom which we have had in out power on this side of the House. Therefore, if this Bill has taken much time, I for one am comforted in thinking that this new and vigorous Parliament has in it the power which probably no Parliament has had for some time past, and possibly is not likely to have for some time to come. We have had a golden opportunity, which we have seized, for passing such a Bill. I would remind my hon. friend the Member for Barnard Castle that if we are go have discipline and cohesion in the Army we must have some kind of penalties, and if my hon. friend will do me the favour to consider the old Volunteer statutes, and, above all, the old Yeomanry statutes, he will find just the same things in a worse form than is asked for now. The very scheme we have here, every code of discipline and every penalty, is based on the Yeomanry provisions, and what we have got here is really the reproduction of the machinery which is perfectly familiar to these who are conversant with the organisation of the Volunteers and Yeomanry. I venture to prophesy that if the scheme becomes operative the difficulties which the hon. Member anticipates are not likely to arise in practice, and that the provisions which are essential to discipline are not likely to become oppressive, and may not come into operation in the case of three-fourths of the force. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover reminded me of the Amendment he moved in a speech of much eloquence on the Second Reading, and said that after all his Amendment had been of some use, because we are much nearer to it than we were. I doubt it. The Amendment was to the effect that every force should be organised according to its idiosyncracy. The very point of this Bill has been to negative that, and to organise the forces in two lines., bringing into the second line all these idiosyncracies of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke, and to get the men who used to form the old separate forces together under a common system. If today we have reached a state of things in which we have been able to deal much more lightly and tenderly with Militia traditions that at another time was proposed, it is due to this, that it is now possible to hope that the Militia and their commanders will come into the scheme, and take their places by the side of the Regulars, and give us these things of which we have been in want. Now, I come to another point of which a good deal has been made in the course of this debate. My right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean said, "Economy you cannot got so long as you preserve this great expeditionary force at home and try to organise it." But I have before now pointed out to the House of Commons that this expeditionary force, of which so much has been spoken, is not got by calling new forces into existence, not by adding new soldiers, but by taking a part of what we have and reorganising it in peace into a cohesive whole. We are not making a new force. My right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean said, "It is quite true that you are not taking now men for the expeditionary force, but you are sticking to the Cardwell system, and thereby precluding yourself from reducing the number of men at home." That is a point on which my right hon. friend has always insisted, but I never could get him to produce the details of a counter-scheme. Whether he has been warned by the fate of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon or not I do not know, but he has never produced a scheme of his own to take the place of the Cardwell system.


There is one before the right hon. Gentleman by General Miles.


I am not aware of it,


It was issued officially with the assent of the Army Council as a lecture affording information.


I have the greatest admiration for General Miles, and I have had a great many conversations with him on this subject, but what astonishes me more than anything is to hear General Miles quoted as an opponent of the Cardwell system. I have not road the paper. I have not had it before me, and I am perhaps influenced by conversations which I had with General Miles, but it would surprise me to find that he is an opponent of the Cardwell system. But what I want is my right hon. friend's scheme. He has been a long time in this House, and we do not want to be told by him that the Cardwell system cannot last; what we want to know is what he is going to put in its place. How are you going to train your troops? You have got to raise the men to be sent abroad and that involves much training, which again involves the building of big depots at a cost of perhaps £10,000,000 straight away to begin with. Then comes the question as to how many men you want. That depends on your terms of service, and if you have to on list men on the same scale as at the present time, then comes the very serious question whether you would get the men in that fashion, or get them by enlisting them in less numbers than under the Cardwell system. Thirdly, there is this. You propose under this scheme to keep a large number of troops abroad in India and the Colonies, and so on—a small number at home, and a very large number abroad. Very well, then; when you have got to draw upon that large Army how will you keep alive the supply for drafts? We have experience; we are not speaking in ignorance. The Cardwell system arose out of the terrible deficiencies of our military organisation disclosed in the Crimean War. That was the reason why Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Cardwell invented the Cardwell system, and that was the reason of the systematic organisation to produce drafts for keeping the Army alive. The deplorable condition of things under which our troops fought in the Crimean War led to the departure from the old system to which my right hon. friend apparently would return.


No, no. My right hon. friend knows perfectly well I never said anything of the kind, and the right hon. Gentleman must not attribute that to me. I am in favour of a short service Army supported by Reserves.


Now we have got it.


The right hon. Gentleman his not got anything new. I have said it about thirty times in debate.


My right hon. friend is in favour of a large short service system, but he knows that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon got into difficulties over that.


He never had the opportunity of developing it; it was a partial experiment.


Now, see what are the perplexities of an unfortunate War Minister between two conflicting authorities. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon a little more than an hour ago declared that he had produced a full scheme and that I had murdered it. My right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean here says something else. I own I was under the impression that I had found a drowned baby, and I decently interred it. But that does not seem to be so. I now find that my right hon. friend the Member for the Forest of Dean is only waiting for a good short service Army scheme on a large scale and he will give his assent to it. I hope for further developments, and I shall return to the study of my right hon. friend's writings and speeches with enhanced interest; but I am bound to say that I doubt whether his proposition could be suggested to the House on the ground of economy. Short service is all very well, but you should realise what it is. It moans that with the short service system they stay with the colours two years or perhaps less; and as they go out sooner, you require more recruits, so that you are always training an enormous number of recruits.


What about the Guards?


Theirs is a three years service, and the right hon. Gentleman does not recommend that model.


I do most distinctly. I am not speaking of the privileges and the pay of officers, but man for man, and pay for pay, the Guards produce an infinitely larger force for the same price.


Of course, with three years with the colours and nine with the Reserve you get a very large Reserve. But the number of men with the colours at any time cannot be very largo, and the enormous number of recruits makes two great demands—men and money—both very difficult to satisfy. Therefore, I await with curiosity some further details of this short service Army scheme before I come to a conclusion about it. I have come to a conclusion about that of the right hon. Member for Croydon, and every criticism that applies to that must apply to the scheme of my right hon. friend, which I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing. It is quite true, as was observed by the right hon. Gentleman in the course of his speech, that this Bill is capable of considerable variation in the mode of its application, and what is more it is intender so to be. I am embarking on a scheme of Army reorganisation which goes far beyond this Bill. My conception of the function of the British Army is that it should resemble that of the British Navy. It should be small, but highly mobile, and highly trained; and for purposes of that kind you cannot have a huge machine which will at short notice give you great numbers of troops, admirable for fighting at home, but not for being sent thousands of miles away. You want a small, voluntary, highly-trained force capable of transport to the most distant parts of the earth. I have always thought that we have never dealt in serious earnest with that conception; and it is a desire to do so that underlies this scheme. I do not want to put my strength into keeping troops abroad. I would rather keep them at home, which is less expensive, in such a form that they are easily transportable, with the aid of the Navy, and can be made operative at great distances with facility. For that reason certain steps have been taken independently of this Bill. In the first place, we have the organisation into six divisions, with four cavalry brigades and the proper complement of artillery. As far as men in the first line are concerned, that is already complete. That was done by the Army Order of last January. What remains deficient is what may be called the auxiliary services, the non combative elements, and the provision of drafts for war. It is a long business building them up. These auxiliary services come from the civilian population, and one of the purposes of this scheme of organisation in two lines is to get from the civilian population the help you require. We hope, in the shape of Special Reservists, to get enough to make an expeditionary force before long completely capable of mobilisation. One thing that makes me rejoice over the new arrangement or further development, to which the Leader of the Opposition has so much assisted, is that we shall get better provision for supplying the wastage of war if the Militia come in. There will be an increase of 12,000 men available from the Militia; and I wish hero to correct a slip I made in answer to a Question of the right hon. Member for East Worces- tershire. He asked what difference this would make in our financial statement. I was thinking of cost rather than the figures on the paper; but as regards the latter, the net result is that 12,000 men are added instead of, as I suggested, 3,600. I thought that the financial statement was based on battalions of 600, and not of 500, but that was not the case; so that the figures are affected by the addition of 12,000 men to the Regular side—men who are taken from what would have gone into the Territorial line. That is only a matter of transfer; but it makes my statement technically inaccurate, though not adding really to the cost, because the establishment we have taken for the Territorial Army will remain at 300,000, That is the establishment; but the numbers must be affected for some time by the deduction of these 12,000 men. The additional cost will be largely met by savings effected by the transfer. As I have said, the broad principles of the scheme are, first, to organise a force of six divisions and four cavalry brigades with proper artillery out of the material we actually have. We hope to have a highly mobile expeditionary force, more effective than anything we have had before, and more in consonance with our naval traditions. For this purpose it is necessary to get certain auxiliary services put into shape; and the new feature of the scheme is that we propose to get these services on what I call a Militia basis—I mean by that, men whose occupations are primarily civilian. The third principle is, particularly by these men we aim at getting from the civilian population, to bring the Army into closer contact with the nation than has hitherto been the case. That is very important. I do not know whether people realise, when they talk of our Army, how much it presents a great social problem in our midst—what it means to have a great body of 300,000 men in the middle of the population whose social welfare is of great importance, and who, according as their condition is good or bad, have a profound effect on the whole social organism. The soldier ought no longer to be a person so much apart; he ought to be brought more closely into touch with the rest of the population, and with the social environment of which he forms a part. If this is to be done completely, a second line is necessary. Another principle is that, if the second line is to be effective, the County Associations, or something corresponding to them, are an absolute necessity. Otherwise you get the Army ruled from a central Department, and you lose the facilities which organisations of a local character give for bringing the Army into contact with the people. All these things are only the outcome of the great distinction which we make between the two military functions of administration on the one hand, and command and training on the other. If there is one thing with which I have identified myself, it is the attempt to bring up in military estimation the administrative side of Army work. Men who have done splendid work in that branch have not always had due recognition in competition with the combative branch of the service. Yet from the administrative side have sprung some of the greatest commanders, like Lord Kitchener, who distinguished himself first of all as a great administrator, before he occupied the great position which he now holds in India. Of this scheme this Bill forms only a single part. Without this Bill the scheme was impossible. Therefore I do not apologise to the House for the time which it has taken to get this great Bill through its various stages; and if about this scheme I have no feeling of certainty that I have foreseen all that was necessary—if I have realised that time may bring changes and improvements which I cannot see in the conceptions embodied in it, and that in other hands it may work out differently —at least I have the comfort and satisfaction of knowing that the businesslike tone of the discussions in Committee gives some assurance that we have reached a stage at which Army policy is being looked at not merely in a Party spirit, but with a genuine desire on all sides of the House for continuity.

*MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)

said it would be well on that occasion to examine the outstanding features which had come to the front, not only during the discussion of this Bill, but in regard to the Army generally during the last six months. He thought it would not be denied, as far as the Regular Army was concerned, that the most important change was the reduction of 20,000 officers and men, with a corresponding reduction in the Army Reserve. As far as the Territorial Force was concerned, he per- sonally was deeply grateful that the Militia was to be retained under, more or less, the old conditions, with the modification that they should undertake in future liability to serve abroad, not only in their units, but also by sending drafts to reinforce the Regular Army in time of need. He did not think that anyone on that side of the House would welcome the reduction in the number of the Regular Forces, because after the experience of this country in connection with the South African War, when they had hastily to raise large bodies of men at great expense, and under disadvantageous circumstances, it was very unwise at this stage in the history of nations to reduce the numbers. The Empire had increased, and if we were to maintain our position in the world with not only an increased Empire in various parts, but with in-creased responsibilities with regard to Protectorates, such as Egypt, it was a suicidal policy in the interest of economy which the Government had gone into with reference to the Army. The Members of the Government had not reduced their own salaries when they made a reduction in the Army. The Regular Army was, if anything, smaller now than it was 100 years ago, though then, he admitted, we were engaged in a life and death struggle with practically the whole of Europe. Still, when they considered the immense increase in population, wealth, and trade, and also the enormous expansion of the Empire, he thought that the reduction in the Regular Army now being carried out should give rise to serious disquiet. While hon. Members on that side of the House wore deeply grateful for the concession made on the Report stage that the Militia should be retained, he did not think they could give the entire credit for that to the Government, because it was owing to the wise suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London that the alteration was made at all. The only use of retaining the Militia was that they might see what could be made of that force. The Militia was deficient in numbers, organisation, and everything that made for a real and effective striking force. He hoped the Government would do all in their power to make the Militia a real aid to the Regular Forces and a means of expansion behind the Regular Forces in time of need. If that were done, they would have a very considerable force to help the first line in any grave national emergency or great war. In addition to the Militia, they would have behind the Regular Army the First Class Army Reserve, which would number, according to the Secretary of State for War, 110,000 men. The right hon. Member for Croydon thought it could not possibly reach anything like that figure, and put it at 80,000 roughly. When experts differed it was impossible for others to decide who was right and who was wrong, but if they took the number to be 100,000 men he believed they would not be far out. The Militia arrangements would provide for twenty-seven Fourth Battalions with a nominal establishment of 800 men. He did not think it would be contended by the Government or anybody who had any knowledge of the sort of men who enlisted in the Militia that the whole of these 800 men would be available to go abroad to help the Regular Army. Deducting men under ago and of insufficient physique, if they got 500 out of the 800 they would have a generous allowance. That would give 13,000 or 14,000 more men to support the Regular Army in a great national emergency. Originally the depots were to have an establishment of 600 men, but now he understood that that number was cut down to 500. He supposed the same conditions would apply to them as to the Fourth Battalions. There would be a large percentage who would be under age or of insufficient physique, and if they took 300 out of the 500 they would get out of the seventy-four Third Battalions 22,000 men; that was to say they would have 14,000 of the Fourth Battalions and 22,000 of the Third Battalions, making together 36,000 men available for service, besides 100,000 men of the First Class Army Reserve. These men were to have six months training on enlistment and fifteen days annual training. The only really bad part of the Militia scheme was that the annual training was to be reduced from twenty-eight to fifteen days. He strongly protested against that. He had served twice in the Militia, and he could state that fifteen days would be insufficient, but that with twenty-eight days annual training men of proper physique might do very well. He believed it was in the interest of economy that the Government proposed to reduce the period of annual training, but it was a pity "to spoil the ship for a ha'porth o' tar." If they were only going to give fifteen days training, he was afraid that they must take a considerable amount off the value of the men as a military asset. It was not as if they were dealing with the class of men who supplied the Volunteer Battalions—men who were in constant employment, and very often could not get leave for more than eight days. The great majority of the Militia could afford to come out for a month without great inconvenience. He hoped that the Government would reconsider that point, which was a purely administrative question. If it was found in the future that fifteen days training was nut sufficient, the Government might revert to twenty-eight days. From the very beginning he had had the deepest distrust of the suggestion to enlist men in the Reserves who had not served in the Regular Army. He did not refer to telegraphists or railway men, but he objected to take young fellows of seventeen and train them in a superficial way, and then in time of war send them out as drafts. He knew that there was no hope of any Amendment being accepted at that stage; but they were told last week that another Bill was going to be amended by the Government in another place. If so, he trusted the Government would consider whether they could not later on modify the proposals as to special Reservists contained in Clause 29. He thought no one should be placed in the special Reserve unless he had served at least four years in the Territorial Force. With four annual trainings of fifteen days each, and. then a six months training, a man at the ago of twenty-two would have some knowledge of what a battalion and a regiment were, and what wore their traditions. There was no sentiment in living in a big barracks under officers whom they had never seen before and would never see again. His plan had the further advantage that it would enable the Territorial soldier to have an opportunity of serving his country at the front if he wished. Of course, it might be said that they could do that under Clause 12. That was so, but the power under that clause had been so minimised that it would be practically never used. At any rate, the present Government, so far as he could see, would not put it in force. Another consideration was cost. Were they going to pay men for three years, certainly for two, for doing nothing at all, and during these years the Government be precluded by regulation from sending them abroad? Now that the right hon. Gentleman had taken the Militia under his wing, he hoped he would make them an efficient force behind the first line. Surely it was necessary to regard quality rather than quantity. Paper strength was nothing, effective strength everything. They were told that the Bill was the last bulwark, the last entrenchment thrown up against any system of compulsory service; but he thought the House would be ill-advised if they put aside altogether the possibility of a demand being made by the people of the country for some form of compulsory service. Although at the present moment the number of these who advocated compulsory service was not very large, there were amongst them many distinguished men whose opinion should carry great weight and command a respectful hearing. He referred to such men as Lord Roberts and Lord Milner. Personally he hoped that the Bill would be a success. He did not wish for compulsory service, and the National Service League in this programme expressly excluded compulsion for foreign service, so all they had to do was to examine the problem of home defence. Under the Bill what troops would be available for home defence? He supposed they could count for the first two or three months after the outbreak of war on a certain number of regular troops being retained in this country. But they would be young, and not very well trained. There would be twenty-seven fourth battalions, and seventy-four third battalions; in all 50,000 men of trained Militia, who had had six months training on enlistment, and fifteen days annual training. The National Service League proposed that every man should have to undergo six months military training when he arrived at the age of eighteen, serve fifteen days annually, and previous to that he should have preliminary training in the schools and in rifle clubs. Therefore they would get under this Bill 50,000 men trained exactly as the National Service League wished. As to the Yeomanry, they would have some sixteen or fifteen days annual training, and although the conditions of the Yeomanry regiments did not come up to the standards of the National Service League, still he did not think it could be contended that a considerable proportion of the Yeomanry regiments would not be able to rank with that 53,000 men. They could not, perhaps, rely on the whole 25,000, but they could upon 20,000, and thus they would have 70,000 troops in England trained as desired by the advocates of compulsory service. They must also not forget the Volunteers, of whom they would have the same number as in the past, viz., some 250,000 men. Nobody pretended that the Volunteers at the present moment, without a considerable amount of training, were fit to face the highly trained troops of foreign powers; they could not be expected to be as good without some months training. But there would be 70,000 men, as well or nearly as well trained as the National Service League desired, and 250,000 Volunteers behind them, and that force ought to be sufficient to protect this country from raids, serious or otherwise, without its being necessary to train all the males at the age of eighteen. There were, necessarily, difficulties. We had to depend upon our Naval strength, but as long as our Navy was able to hold the seas against the two strongest Powers no serious invasion could take place, and he thought that under this Bill, if it was a success, we should, without compulsory service, get a force which would enable us to stave off an attack if it were made. That force would not be able to meet an invasion of 200,000 men, but he did not think any foreign power would be able to land that number of troops in these islands. If they did it would mean that the fleets of these opposed to us were stronger than ours, and in that case they would simply starve us out. That was obvious when he pointed out that out of 35,000,000 quarters of wheat consumed in this country every year 27,000,000 quarters came from abroad. If these figures were considered it would come home to hon. Members how exceedingly important it was that our Fleet should be strong, and be our first and even our second line of defence. Although he was arguing against compulsory service and hoping that the Bill would save the country from it, he did not see anything inherently wicked in it. After all, it was what a democratic country like France had got, and there was nothing wrong in the idea of every citizen defending his own country. He thought, however, the advantages of voluntary service outweighed the advantages of compulsory service, and therefore he hoped that voluntary service would continue in this country for a long time. Dealing with a. minor point of the Bill he wished to say that it was quite wrong to try in any way to interfere with the powers of commanding officers. Every officer must be, to use an Irish expression, captain of his own ship, even if it was on land, and if the commanding officer was away his place could be taken by his subordinates. He trusted the Bill would be a success, but as he did not agree with some of the details, especially in regard to special Reservists, he would have to vote against it if a division took place. He hoped, however, that in the future the Bill would solve the very difficult and complicated question of our national defences.

*MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

said it appeared from the statement of the hon. Member for Galway that the Irish battalions would vote against the Bill, although they voted for the Second Reading, because they were dissatisfied with the decision of the Government in regard to the Irish Council Bill. The hon. Member had said that if there was any Imperialist in the House he would appeal to him to say what the Irish Members could do except to vote against the Bill. He was aware that no hon. Members on his side of the House deserved the lofty designation of Imperialist, but to his mind the question was whether this particular Bill was a good Bill or a bad Bill. The question before the House had nothing to do with the Irish Council Bill, and if hon. Members voted for it on the Second Reading, they ought, he thought, to vote for it on the Third Reading. Leaving the Irish, he had to say that his own constituents were grateful for the changes which the right hon. Gentleman had introduced in regard to the Militia, and which in his humble way he had urged him to make though others of greater authority had also pressed for similar changes of plan. He did not agree with the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean that the changes were more apparent than real. He hoped the changes wore or might be made very real. The right hon. Gentleman had also made concessions in regard to the Yeomanry for which, he thought, thanks should be expressed; he was certain the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry was in favour of such changes, as well as other gallant regiments. The Secretary for India, in the Indian debate, spoke of the fact that there was to be a fresh appropriation of charges between the Indian Government and the Home Government in respect of matters of joint interest. That could not be done unless the Secretary for War assented, and he was grateful also for that concession. One of the most important changes would, he hoped, be about the capitation grant, and he trusted that some arrangement would be made which was satisfactory to India. He. thought the Home Government had always desired to do justice to India and that in the main there was no cause for complaint, in spite of the monstrous and misleading statements made in the House by Members representing the Bengal Congress point of view; but he believed in regard to this matter there was some sore existing which he hoped it was likely would be healed. As to Clause 2, Subsection 2 (b) referring to establishing or assisting cadet battalions and corps, and also rifle clubs by county associations, provided that no financial assistance should be given by an association in respect of any person in a battalion or corps in a school in receipt of a Parliamentary grant until such person had attained the age of sixteen, he would have preferred the Bill as it originally stood, but he recognised that the right hon. Gentleman was in a difficult position in regard to the matter. The right hon. Baronet had referred to Mr. Deakin, who had spoken as to the efficacy of bodies of that sort in Australia, and particularly in Now Zealand, and held them up to this House as an example to be followed. Inasmuch as the New Zealand people had been held up as an example in regard to female suffrage, there was no reason why they should not be regarded as being sensible in regard to the physical training of the young in respect of which he did think their action most sensible. He therefore did not apologise for referring for a moment to what had been done in Now Zealand, where it seemed that physical training and training in the use of the rifle was common in every school throughout the colony, and was an unqualified success. It was found that twelve years of ago was not at all too early to begin with miniature rifles and miniature ranges, and that wonders could be done by boys of that age. He would also cite the case of the City of London Boys' Shooting Club, the members of which were drawn from the elementary schools of London, and in which boys were not allowed to be enrolled without the consent of their parents, which was very seldom withheld. The average age of the boys was thirteen, but many joined in their twelfth year, and the club had 500 members. One of the rules was, "The rifle is a weapon of precision. It is also dangerous when carelessly used; therefore, as it may be loaded, always treat it as dangerous." What advice could be more useful, and would not its adoption have prevented the painful accident to which reference had been made at Question time. He appealed to Members who more immediately represented labour to consider these facts, and consider whether this was a question which could be disposed of by the very positive and ex cathedra kind of way in which it was treated by the hon. Member for Barnard Castle. Let him consider who were the first to suffer if anything went wrong with the Army and Britain suffered a reverse. They were the wage earners. He would like to make one quotation with regard to this matter. Colonel Repington, an authority equally honoured on both sides of the House, said— We have no chance of maintaining the integrity of this vast, scattered, and composite Empire of ours, unless the youth of England are brought up in the fixed and unalterable belief that their duty is to defend the Empire wherever it may be attacked, and to train their minds and bodies to carry out this first and greatest duty to themselves and their country. He had been much pained to hear the hon. Member for Woodstock talk as he did about bringing up boys to the "duty of slaughter." He himself lived as much as his duties allowed him to do, at Harrow, and if the hon. Member saw these boys taught to use the rifle, and considered who they wore, what manner of boys they were and whose children they were, he would not have used that expression. It was not "the duty of slaughter," but the noble art of defending our country that was taught. The right hon. Member for Dover had very pertinently asked why there should be this sharp distinction between these boys and the boys of other classes that the one set of boys were privileged to learn this noble lesson, and the other set prohibited by law. And when the hon. Member for Salford spoke of "prattling boys of fourteen, "he could only say he had seen boys of fourteen or fifteen perfectly proficient in the use of this weapon. There were boys in the Army and the Navy who had proved themselves heroes under the age of sixteen, and to treat them as if they were children and to forbid their being trusted with a rifle was to forget what a boy of fifteen or sixteen was and what he was intended to become. What was needed was to encourage shooting and to provide in all military centres something like a proper rifle range. He had again and again pressed for such at Welshpool and urged even that financial aid should be given at that important centre. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean was opposed to the linked-battalion system, and said it was one of the things that led to our having to maintain so very expensive an Army. The right hon. Baronet frequently turned to the hon. and gallant Member for the Abercromby division to invite his concurrence, and said that the hon. and gallant Gentleman and he had worked together. They certainly had. Their unanimity was wonderful, and when they differed from one another they differed as one star differed. from another star in glory. The linked-battalion system, whether good or bad, had provided drafts for the Army in India, and that was the real question, because the Army at home was the shadow, and the Army in India the substance. Lord Cardwell's system, under which, ever since the time of the Mutiny, this country had been able to provide drafts for India, was a working system, and he would like to know, before it was condemned, what was going to take its place. The right hon. Baronet invoked the high authority of the Leader of the Opposition in this matter. That did not frighten him. The Leader of the Opposition was also the political leader of the blue-water school, but it must be remembered that that system postulated what no nation could postulate with safety. It postulated an ever victorious Navy, and proceeded on the basis that by no possibility could this island be invaded. In the last century there were several small invasions in Ireland, and he submitted that what could take place in a small way one hundred years ago might take place in a large way to-day. The great difficulty of enlarging the basis of our military strength in India was that we could not increase the native Army. We had to maintain a certain proportion between the native and the white troops. There was a small white garrison, and a vast Indian population, and our Fleet in Eastern waters was so much reduced in numbers that there was at the present moment not a single battleship on the China station. This was not therefore the time to suggest that we should lay hands on the linked-battalion system, or to reduce the expenditure on the forces, or suggest, as the right hon. Baronet had, that the expeditionary force could be usefully cut down. Was it not the case that every world-politic movement tended to bring potentially hostile nations into more immediate political relations with our Indian Empire, and thus to increase the complexity of its problems of defence? If that were the case, and he challenged contradiction, should we be made suddenly to relinquish a system which had served us well in the past? It would be too late at the end to say that it had been done in a brain storm, and to appeal to experts of a certain character by way of excuse. It was true that some relief had been given in respect of providing drafts by the system introduced on the north-west frontier of India by the late Viceroy, Lord Curzon, to whom he would not now refer save to say that he entirely disassociated himself from certain comprehensive and undeserved attacks which had recently been delivered against him in the House. Our naval and military strength was merely an insurance of our commerce and our national defence How it could be thought that we could retain everything we had, which was the best of everything in this world, without being prepared to fight for it, passed his comprehension. Let them look for a moment to America, which was not a military monarchy, and see what they thought there on this very subject. We should never have a nation of arms unless we had correct views as to the duty and necessity of bringing up the youth of our land in a belief that it was their duty to defend their country, and to consider that duty their greatest privilege. In America the President's recent message to Congress terminated as follows — The Congress has most wisely provided for a national board for the promotion of rifle practice. Excellent results have already come from this law, but it does not go far enough. Our regular Army is so small that in any great war we should have to trust mainly to Volunteers; and in such event these Volunteers should already know how to shoot, for if a soldier has the fighting edge, and ability to take care of himself in the open, his efficiency in the line of battle is almost directly proportionate to excellence in markmanship. We should establish shooting galleries in all the large public and military schools, should maintain national target ranges in different parts of the country, and should in every way encourage the formation of rifle clubs throughout all parts of the land. The little Republic of Switzerland offers us an excellent example in all matters connected with building up an efficient citizen soldiery. He did not very often agree with the hon. Member for Abercromby, but he agreed with what he had said as to the suitability of the Swiss system in this respect for our imitation. He would instance the German Empire. He was not going to say a word about the Imperial German Army or Navy, or any other aspect of her Imperial Government; but upon this point what had the German Socialists to say? They were people who might naturally be expected to take antimilitary views, but they said — The ideas and the anti-militarist propaganda of Hervé are impossible in German social democracy. German social democracy is the avowed adversary of the present military system, but it considers that a military organisation is necessary. So long as the danger exists and wars are possible, every nation should possess a military organisation sufficient for resisting an aggressive war and defending its own territory against the invasions of the enemy. If German social democracy supports every loyal initiative with the object of avoiding war and assuring peace it nevertheless considers a military organisation indispensable so long as the danger of war exists. It is for this reason that German social democracy has inscribed in its programme, first, education which will render all citizens fit for military service. Consequently, if a member of the German Socialist Party propagates ideas and claims analogous to these that Hervé defends, one would be justified in asking, in virtue of the programme of the Socialist Party, Does this member still belong to that Party? Then, again, he might take the French Republic. General Picquart, one of the most eminent men of France, who had indeed suffered in the cause of justice and proved himself a friend of humanity, had said— The closer one's acquaintance with the army the more e evident it became that it approached the noblest and most elevated demo ratio ideal. What nobler example of equality could there be than that of thousands of young men of all classes daily devoting themselves to the same duties and making the same sacrifices? That was said in a country where they had gone infinitely further than we would go, or than he would propose to go, in regard to military training and service. He was himself in favour of such training, but not of conscription. General Picquart went on to say— What finer example of collectivism could there be than that given by these men who had everything in common, and who would bear the same burdens in the hour of danger? He submitted these words to the consideration of the representatives of the Labour Party who were present, and he thought they would find it exceedingly hard to answer the quotations which he had ventured to put before them. It was their vote which he would like to see turned in this matter. The Irish battalion, from what he had heard said by the hon. Member for Galway, were not going to join in supporting the right hon. Gentleman, who, he believed, was worthy of support in this matter. He desired to say a word with regard to the audit of the accounts of the County Associations. He had urged that these audits should be made by chartered accountants, and that was a matter which excited some interest in the City. He had mentioned the chartered accountants as a representative class, but there were also the incorporated accountants who were equally capable of performing the duty, who had the confidence of the public, and should be regarded as equally eligible. He hoped that when the right hon. i Gentleman considered this point—and he had promised to consider it favourably— he would take advantage of the services of the chartered and incorporated accountants for the purposes of the audit of the accounts of the County Associations, for accountants of both classes, as he had said, possessed the confidence of the public, and their audit would be free from any taint of War Office influent e or interference Their audit would be accepted by the County Associations and the public as in every respect complete. Finally, on many occasions during the Debate he had heard quoted the famous verse from the Bible— They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not life up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. It was indeed a beautiful passage, but not one of the Members who had quoted it had noticed that these things were to happen in the last days, and he hoped that they had not approached the last days of the British Empire. He hoped and believed that they would make every necessary provision to safeguard that Empire in the interests of civilisation and progress and everything that hon. Gentlemen opposite rightly valued. He believed that among the things which would tend to preserve and carry on our Empire with its great civilising and peaceful influence was the training of our young people to defend their country, and to regard that as their most sacred duty. In spite of what they had heard that night, he believed that nearly every Member of the House, and the vast majority of the electors outside, really regarded the defence of their country as one of their greatest duties and privileges, and would not only be willing but anxious to see their children begin betimes to qualify for that duty. He had quoted the opinions of foreign countries and also of the Colonies, he had selected the opinions of the most democratic nations, and he had shown that if the example of our Colonies was fit to be followed by us in other matters it was fit to be followed also in regard to this question. For his part, he looked on the subject from no narrow point of view, but from the point of view of the citizen of a great Empire, which every son should learn, according to his lights, to defend.

*MR. COURTHOPE (Sussex, Rye)

said he cordially agreed with what the hon. Member for Montgomery Boroughs had said about the training of cadets, and he believed most hon. Members also thought that it was a good thing that our youth should be trained to defend the country. He did not wish, however,. to dwell on that point, but he wanted to refer to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War. In alluding to the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon and of the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean, the Secretary of State for War had said he was in a. quandary between the two, the first of whom said that his own scheme had been murdered by the Secretary of State for War, while the latter said the same scheme had never been developed; and the Secretary of State for War added that he thought he had found a drowned baby, and that he had decently interred it. He thought all throe were right. He submitted that the two speeches to which the right hon. Gentleman had referred were consistent, and he would remind the Minister for War that he had drowned the baby first, an I had then picked it out of the water and given it a decent burial. It was perfectly true that the proposals of the right hon. Member for Croydon were never developed, and that they were murdered by the Secretary of State for War. He for one sincerely regretted that the plan of the late Secretary of State was not given a longer trial. Still, it was of no use crying over spilt milk. They had been discussing for the last few weeks what substitute to put into the cradle of the drowned baby, and he thought that that which the right hon. Gentleman had brought forward had much to commend it. When it was first introduced he took the opportunity of disagreeing with one or two severe critics of the scheme. The greatest flaw in the scheme was, in his opinion, the Bill which was before them. To his mind the Bill was a the roughly bad one. The debates of the last few weeks had really not affected the general scheme or the present situation. They had made a bad Bill less bad, and some of its worst features had gone. The Militia had been saved, and although the right hon. Gentleman had assured them that there were only going to be two lines he thought the Militia would form an intermediate line, and that was a source of great satisfaction. Whether fifteen days training would be found sufficient was a matter of doubt. As for the Yeomanry, it had been given some years of grace, and the probability was that the scheme would be very much modified or entirely changed by the time that force came under its provisions. The Bill had now been whittled down to this: the Volunteers were going to change their name; they would sign on for four years instead of three, and they would "enlist" instead of "enrol." These were the only changes which, in practice, the Hill would make. He heartily congratulated the right hon. Gentleman and his advisers upon the fact that it had been whittled down with such good feeling all through the debates. There were, however, one or two points of detail to which he wished to refer. Several hon. Members had made an attack upon the Bill on account of the provisions for enforcing discipline, apparently thinking that no discipline was necessary. That was perfectly ridiculous, because it was impossible to maintain any military or naval force without discipline, and the discipline set up by the Bill was no more severe than that to which the Auxiliary Forces were now subject. Discipline they must have, and he had no fault to find with the Bill on that score. Then i there was the extraordinary cry which had been raised about the rampant militarism of the Bill, and he wished to protest against the ridiculous action of these who supported that cry. The hon. Member for Barnard Castle seemed to suggest that they should be a nation of shopkeepers and nothing else. He forgot that shops could be at-i tacked and raided. In the past they had proved themselves well able to defend their shops, and they intended to j continue to train themselves so that they could do so again if the emergency arose. If to be able to defend themselves and develop self-restraint and discipline was militarism and jingoism, all he could say was that jingoism was a very good thing. It was a good thing for every country that men should feel intense patriotism, and be ready to jump to their feet and uncover their heads when they hoard the national anthem. It was that kind of patriotism which had caused many heroes in the past to sacrifice their lives on behalf of their country. They ought to do all they could to encourage such feelings, and one means was by training to arms the boys in the schools, and that was why he advocated it. The training to arms and the discipline of cadet corps had a good effect on the physique and the general education of boys. He had the privilege last week of going through a field-day with the Volunteers, and he saw some of the good work which was being done by the boys of the cadet corps belonging to Eastbourne College. These boys had enjoyed an enormous advantage since the cadet corps was formed. They were as fine a set of boys as one could wish to see, well disciplined, well set up and of good physique, and this was a good instance of the undoubted advantages which they might expect if military training and the use of the rifle were encouraged instead of discouraged in the schools.

MR. CARLILE (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)

said that these who desired to criticise the Bill were placed in a difficulty. On the one hand they found themselves disposed to criticise, and on the other hand they desired wholeheartedly that if the scheme passed it should be a thorough success. There was no desire in any part of the House to obtain any Party advantage by criticising its provisions. With regard to the position of the commanding officer they had always felt that it was a strong, influential, and responsible one, but the tendency of some of the provisions of the Bill was to lessen hiss responsibility and weaken his authority, and some of them feared that in consequence there would be a danger of losing the excellent staff of commanding officers which the Auxiliary Forces at present possessed. To relieve commanding officers of responsibilities by placing them upon the County Associations was, he felt sure, an extremely dangerous experiment. Commanding officers, he noticed, were to be relieved of the responsibility of providing rifle ranges. There was no more difficult question to deal with than that. It once fell to his lot to see General Kelly-Kenny on the subject of rifle ranges, and he said, "You must not look to the War Office for any help; do it yourselves." General Kelly-Kenny further told him that he had himself for seven years been trying to obtain a range in the district of Leicester for the Regular Army, but he was as far off obtaining it as over. It was now proposed to relieve commanding officers of the necessity of providing ranges, and no doubt many of them would be glad to be relieved of that responsibility. He failed to see how the County Associations were going to help in the matter, because on that body there would be a considerable number of the landowners of the county concerned. Every one of them would, no doubt, be extremely anxious that ranges should be provided, but they would want them erected upon somebody else's land. These who had tried to get rifle ranges without compulsory powers knew how difficult the work was. If the County Associations could help in that matter, he was sure that everyone interested in the Auxiliary Forces would be delighted, but he failed to see how they could help. He was sure no one would want a range on his own land, and though the necessity might be very great in the interest of the Reserve Forces, he would wish to have it somewhere else. Another difficulty would arise in connection with the proposal to substitute for the commanding officer some casual officer specified as the "prescribed officer." That would tend to interfere with the position, dignity, and responsibility of the commanding officers. A still greater difficulty was that in regard to the penal clauses. He feared these clauses, and believed that they would seriously hinder recruiting. He would rather that the right hon. Gentleman had in some way appealed to the power of sentiment instead of that form of coercion. Sentiment was the greatest force in the world. It certainly was the force which lay behind the loyal and self-denying labours of every individual member of the Auxiliary Forces. The penal clauses were to be sot in motion if a man failed to attend a certain number of drills. He believed if men failed to attend it was from some very good cause; he had found them putting themselves to great inconvenience in order not to miss drills. He was glad the Militia was to be maintained. The right hon. Gentleman would do well to keep every Militiaman he could. He seemed inclined to disband some of the battalions. Why should he not with the magnetism that lay about his own personality endeavour to arouse the spirit of the Militia and fill up the cadres which wore now deficient? These who had the interests of the Yeomanry at heart thought it was a pity that that force was once more to be unsettled. He urged that the right hon. Gentleman should make an effort to put it on a sound and permanent footing instead of holding over its head the prospect of dissolution at the end of three years. The Yeomanry would no doubt lose a great number of its members if the pecuniary arrangements proposed by the right hon. Gentleman were to be enforced at the end of three years. If the right hon. Gentleman had proposed to increase their pay there would have been no objection, but the proposed reduction could only have a detrimental effect. These who had noticed the work of the Yeomanry since the war knew how greatly the force had improved, and he thought its members should not be discouraged by the prospect of reduced pay. No explanation had been given of why it was proposed that the Volunteers should go over to Ireland to serve. That seemed to him to be a gratuitous extension of the responsibility placed upon the Volunteers. He rejoiced that at last the Volunteers wore to have divisional commanders. He reminded the right hon. Gentleman that the selection of the divisional commanders would devolve upon him very great responsibility, so much depended upon the character of the men. During the South African War most glowing reports were received from commanding officers as to the smartness and efficiency of the men sent out from the Volunteer battalions, but as soon as the war was over and the Volunteers had returned to their homes, even the commanding officers who had praised them became fault, finders and adversely criticised the work they had done. To place such men in the position of commanders of divisions would be fatal to the welfare of the force. If the right hon. Gentleman selected men who were in full sympathy with the Volunteers, the divisional commands would be a great strength to the Auxiliary Forces. On the other hand, if he selected men who were out of sympathy with the Volunteers—even some men who in their younger days had been adjutants of Volunteer corps—[Cries of "Oh!"] —some adjutants were excellent, and others absolutely useless, and if some of the men who had been useless as adjutants were placed in command of divisions, it would be fatal to the efficiency of the force. He urged that the Territorial Force should have a separate department at the War Office, and that the papers and applications of the force should not filter through the general-officer commanding a district to be dealt with, perhaps, by a sub-department of a department at the War Office. He supported the appeal of his hon. and gallant friend the Member for Central Sheffield that there should be on the Army Council a direct representative of the Territorial Army. If that request was not granted he was afraid that the refusal could only arise from some feeling of petty jealousy inconsistent with the desire for popular representation which existed in these days. He hoped that the Bill would be a success, but he could not hide from himself the thought at the back of his mind that if the Bill failed it would become necessary to do what many of them, far from regretting, would most cordially welcome, viz., to call on every citizen of full age to qualify himself for the defence of the country. He would like to boar testimony to the increased interest in the Territorial Forces Bill shown that afternoon when the right hon. Gentleman was making his important statement to the House. When the right hon. Gentleman introduced the Bill he was supported by only twenty-seven Members opposite, but that day when they had come to the Third Beading he had counted on one occasion as large a number of Ministerial supporters as twenty-nine.

MR. COURTENAY WARNER (Staffordshire, Lichfield)

congratulated the Secretary of State on having reached that stage of the Bill, which he looked upon as, on the whole, a distinct improvement on the existing state of things. Hitherto it had been very difficult to raise men suddenly for home defence; but under this scheme there would be no difficulty in getting the men, and the Territorial Army would be liable to immediate embodiment. There would be plenty of time, when the expeditionary force consisting of Regulars wore sent abroad, to get the half-trained men in the Territorial Army properly trained and capable of supplying drafts to the Army at the front There was formerly a difficulty in getting officers; he was afraid that there would be still some difficulty, and he suggested that young men might be trained as officers in cadet corps. He hoped that there would be in future a larger supply of men trained in the third battalions or in some other way who would be able to take up their position at the front in time of war. In the Militia regiment in which he served all the subalterns were taken away twice to supply the deficiencies in the Regular Army. He hoped that some method would be devised to get young men educated so as to be drafted into the Regular Army as officers. He knew that young men went into the Militia looking forward to the time when they could ride about as field officers, but if that chance was taken away from them the number of officers available for the Regular Army would be reduced. The Capitation Grant hitherto amounted to £300,000, and under the new scheme the sum was slightly increased; but then every man in case of national emergency was to be available for service. Even if the Territorial Army was to be reduced by one-third there would still be between 100,000 and 200,000 men to be relied upon. Therefore he maintained that the scheme deserved the support of every patriotic man in the country, and that they should all work together in making it a success. He hoped it would never be urged when the War Office wanted to make a slight alteration in the scheme that such alteration had never been discussed in or approved by the House of Commons. It would be a great day when the scheme was carried out, and he believed that, even if it were only partially successful, it would be of great advantage to the country.

COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shrop shire, Newport)

said he wished to congratulate the Secretary of State for War and the House on the near-conclusion of their labours. He had listened to many speeches during the day, and most of them had led him to the belief that it was his duty to vote for the Third Reading of the Bill, although, had the right hon. Gentleman not accepted the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the Militia, he would have voted against it. He wished to ask whether, when a Militia officer who happened to be a Member of the House of Commons was seconded, he would be put under the same regulations as a member of the Regular Army? He also asked whether the third and fourth battalions were to be trained comparatively en bloc, or in driblets. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would give the House some assurance on that point. What would be the position of a Militia officer who did not accept the new liabilities, the man having previously entered into a contract to serve for six years? As he had said, most of the speeches that day had led him to the belief that it was his duty to vote for the Third Reading of the Bill. Worse reasons for opposing a Bill he had never heard. His hon. friend the Member for Central Sheffield was inclined to vote against it chiefly because he disliked general officers. He did not agree with him in that, and he did not think there should be that suspicion of general officers. At all events it furnished no reason for voting against the Bill. Then he came to the speech of the hon. Member for Barnard Castle, and his argument led him in exactly the contrary direction to that in which the hon. Gentleman would like him to go. The hon. Member for Barnard Castle announced that he was going to vote against the Bill because it was going to bring about a horrible addition to the militarism of the country, and inasmuch as he represented the poorer classes of the community, the hon. Member said he must vote against the Bill as it increased the possibility of military expenditure. The interests of the poor of all sorts, conditions, and classes, were most essentially concerned in the preservation of the country and the rescue of the Empire from destruction. Yet the hon. Gentleman said he was willing to break down the rampart between the Empire and destruction because he feared the expense. The hon. Member's argument did not appear to him sound either from the personal, the national, or the class point of view, because the wage earner and the poor man wore most concerned with the success of the country, and with such a condition of things as assured to them no break in their labour, whatever it might be. Therefore the speech of the hon. Member took him in the direction, from another point of view, of voting for the Bill. Then again the speech of the hon. Member for East St. Pancras inclined him to vote for the Bill, because the hon. Member had said that for a Radical Minister to bring in such a Bill was a disgrace to Radicalism and democracy, and remarks of that kind inclined him to come over to the right hon. Gentle- man's side and bolster him up against the attacks levelled at him, He thought that whether they were democratic, Liberal, Radical, Conservative, or aristocratic, such considerations should not enter into the question of the maintenance of a sufficient armed force to protect the interests of the country. Another hon. Member had said that they ought not to vote for the Bill because the right hon. Gentleman belonged to a Government which had insulted Ireland by not introducing a sufficiently strong Home Rule Bill. Such a consideration did not affect him when dealing with matters affecting the Army, and he was glad to remember, and the country ought to be glad to remember, that the arguments of the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues which ware advanced in order to induce their countrymen not to join the British Army had had no effect whatever, especially during the war in South Africa. He hoped the loyalty of the Irish people would long be proof against the arguments which were then advanced. For himself he had to consider what were the arguments for and against the Bill. He had heard during the debate rather more than he cared to hear about the special interests of the Militia, the Volunteers, and the Yeomanry. As one who considered that; the whole of the Auxiliary Forces were worthless unless they were devoted to the reinforcement and support of the Regular Army, he had been somewhat wearied by the claims that this or that particular section of the Auxiliary Forces should be released from this or that obligation. The only way to consider any scheme of Army reform was to ask whether it would weaken or strengthen the whole fighting force of the country, not when it was wanted to wage a petty war, but in the case of a really great war. That was the sole test which in his judgment they had to apply. If the right hon. Gentleman's Bill did increase the fighting strength of the country inasmuch as it increased the fighting line, however much he disliked certain provisions of it he would have to support it. The question was whether the Bill fulfilled the test which throughout the debates he had tried to apply to it. It certainly would provide a stronger and bigger expeditionary force, and he thought that that was perfectly right. The right hon. Gentleman said in effect that perforce he must have such-and-such a force in this country and that by his scheme he would be enabled to utilise them effectively. In other words, he said he must be able to send out a fighting force and that he was bound to keep them in hand. With that every soldier must be in accord. In the first place, it was well that there should be a large expeditionary force in view of possible emergencies. In the second place, it was sound economy, if they had these men in the country, that they should be administered in such a way that they would be available if required. He was not quite so satisfied with regard to the arrangements for making the Territorial Force, the supplementary troops, effective. He had never pretended to be satisfied with the amount of training provided for that force, and he hoped before the debate closed the right hon. Gentleman would frankly admit that he did not claim that it would have the result of making these men absolutely effective, but that it was all the training that he believed the country would allow him to give them. The country would be more satisfied and would believe in and help the right hon. Gentleman more if he said that he understood the trade, personal, and local difficulties of the men who might join the force, and that, although they were the best material in the world, the country must understand that the training he proposed to give them was not sufficient to make them effective, and that he relied on the country to make their transition into effective men easier. The training that the Militia was to receive in the future would not be effective. The twenty-eight days training that a Militiaman went through in the past turned him into an effective soldier for the ensuing twelve months, but six months training on joining and fifteen days a year afterwards would not make an effective soldier. He also thought that the great mass of the men would prefer the twenty-eight days training to the fifteen. It was often a financial advantage to them in times of short employment to come out for twenty-eight days, and many would feel that they were being treated hardly if they were deprived of the fifteen days good pay, good food, and good clothing which stood between them and worse conditions of life. He doubted whether that part of the scheme would appeal to the men whom the right hon. Gentleman desired to retain in the third and fourth battalions and to make efficient soldiers in times of need. Then there was the question of expenditure. Let the right hon. Gentleman be as frank to the country upon that as he wished him to be on the matter of effective training. The scheme might temporarily be economical, but in the end it would be extravagant. The country had been be-wildered and muddled by the extravagant suggestions made on the platforms as to the economies the Government were going to effect in the Army and the Navy. At election times masses of people were willing to listen to almost anything. But many of these who were tickled by that cry of "Economy," if they thought the economies practised were not compatible with making effective provision for the defence of the Empire would soon rescind their votes. On the question of expenditure he could not support the right hon. Gentleman. He did not think that the expectations as to economy would be realised; on the contrary, he ventured to prophesy that there would be an increase in the Estimates in proportion as the scheme was made effective. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman would realise that his proposals in regard to artillery and to cavalry were not going to make the scheme effective unless he provided a cavalry worthy of the name and an artillery that he could put into the field to meet the artillery of foreign nations. In regard to the County Associations, he adhered, in spite of the arguments he had heard that night, to his belief that to hand over to them the right to interfere with anything pertaining to recruiting, or the raising of the forces in the different localities, was an absolute and pernicious mistake. He was sure that the Associations ought not to be involved in anything of the sort. They ought not to have anything to do with the financing of the corps and regiments, or with the battalions that were to be raised. But they could be used to perform the useful work of looking after the soldiers when they returned from active service, and also in seeing to the provision to be made for the families of soldiers while at war. They could also assist in providing ranges and manœuvring grounds. But he would not allow the County Associations to touch with their little finger the question of recruiting or finance, or the raising of the new forces proposed. Another ques- tion which had been discussed was that relating to the position of the commanding officer. He could not understand why they should have that obnoxious word "prescribed" officer, which was enough in itself to prevent a man from joining. It would be like serving a village apothecary; it was a nasty word, suggesting prescriptions and the compounding of drugs, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw it as soon as he could, and not offend the nostrils of the soldier by telling him that he was to serve under a prescribed officer on the basis of a medical prescription. The right hon. Gentleman could easily secure a better word to carry out his idea. If they wanted a regiment properly administered, with the maintenance of efficiency and local interest, they must keep on the commanding officer. It would be absolutely impossible to maintain the proper standard of efficiency if they took away from the commanding officer duties which he ought to perform, and the withholding of which would affect his influence in the regiment, especially when it was seen that they were discharged by a "prescribed officer." Another point related to the Yeomanry. That was a matter on which the Secretary of State was near a breakdown, and he thought that the right hon. Gentleman himself saw it. The fourteen squadrons nominally Yeomen were to be the divisional cavalry. The right hon. Gentleman knew that the proposal was not going to work, and that the squadrons so raised would not be efficient. They must recollect that, of all branches of our fighting forces, they could not produce a cheap cavalry. They must have them not only properly officered and mounted, but equipped and ready in the highest possible degree of excellence, and they must be trained so well that every individual horse and trooper knew his work and his place and could be relied upon properly to discharge his duties. He need not talk to the right hon. Gentleman about the disastrous results which might flow from having inefficient divisional cavalry. A blunder by an infantry battalion might be quickly rectified, but a blunder by inefficient divisional cavalry would not be so easily remedied. He had endeavoured to criticise these portions of the right hon. Gentleman's scheme honestly and straightforwardly, but at the same time he recognised that there was much in the scheme which appealed to him. Seeing that he stood squarely against the proposals of the hon. Members for the Barnard Castle Division and East St. Pancras, he. thought the Secretary of State for War should not be subjected to further opposition from that side of the House; although they did not altogether agree with, they did not altogether disagree with him. The Bill was going to another place, where it would not have the supreme advantage of the right hon. Gentleman's personal guidance. But he hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would carefully instruct the Under-Secretary of State in the other House, so that it would be possible for that assembly to wipe out these blemishes which, owing to circumstances over which he had no control, the right hon. Gentleman had been obliged to retain in the Bill. Unless these mistakes were eliminated, he would not be able to give the right hon. Gentleman that support which personally he would like to be able to give him.

MAJOR SEELY (Liverpool, Abercromby)

said that many of them had hoped that they might have general unanimity in support of the Bill, however much it might be amended for that purpose. After the debate chat day it appeared that the Bill would have that general support, except from four quarters—the Member for the Forest of Dean, the late Secretary for War, the Irish Members, and the Labour Party. He hoped that some of them would reconsider their decision. For once he differed from the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet that it was impossible to make that adequate reduction in the Army which many of them wished to see effected unless they abandoned the linked battalion system, but he did not think they could do that without putting something else in its place. They proposed by the Bill to create a Territorial Army complete in all its parts, so that when they asked for a reduction in the Regular Army they could not be met with the argument that the country would not be safe if such a reduction were made. He believed it was only by creating an effective Territorial Army that we could get rid of the linked battalion system as now understood. He appealed to these who had announced their intention of opposing the Bill to reconsider their position. He appealed especially to the Labour Party. They had condemned the Bill because they thought it undemocratic, and because they believed it would be extravagant and increase the Regular Army. Hon. Members from Ireland would remember that an Irishman once said that the only guarantee for the liberty of a country was that its people should be trained to arras to prevent their being tyrannised over and ground down by a Regular Army. The position of the Irish Members was that when the Bill was introduced they were expecting a measure of self-government for Ireland, but as they were denied that great democratic measure they were opposed to this Bill. That seemed to be the argument of the hon. Member for Galway. How could the hon. Member for the Barnard Castle Division reconcile his position with that of the hon. Member for Galway? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon had made a speech of the greatest skill and full of knowledge acquired during a life study of the subject. He had been Secretary of State for War, and everybody would be ready to give him credit for the patriotism and energy he had applied to the problem. He had condemned and cursed the scheme with bell, book, and candle because it relied on the free will of the people instead of on a Regular Army, and had contended that if their sole object was to overwhelm the enemy they must have binding obligations from the whole of the population to serve against that enemy. That was what the right hon. Member for Croydon would do. The right hon. Gentleman had often stated that the wisest course was to spend nearly all the money we could afford only on such persons as entered into binding obligations to serve in any part of the Empire; but there were some in the House who controverted that view in spite of military dangers, because they held that the principle of liberty was better even than the prospect of national safety. He had stated that proposition in its extreme form purposely in order to conclude in the shortest possible time. He believed that liberty was even better than the prospect of national safety obtained by forcing a binding engagement to serve in any part of the Empire upon every man they could get by hook or by crook. That was the real issue which stood before them. The right hon. Member for Croydon was right in the way in which he had put his case. The real issue was whether they should continue to rely on the free-will offerings of the people or sacrifice the principle of liberty of which he had spoken. For himself he believed it was better to adopt the principle of the Bill and to rely on the free-will offerings of a free people who would choose for themselves whether they would or would not wage a war. It might be dangerous, but it was a danger we had confronted for a hundred years, and we had survived while many other nations had gone under.


asked whether the Empire had not been won by an Army composed on the lines the hon. Member denounced.


said that only on three occasions had England endeavoured to wage a war on the principle of compulsory engagement. On every one of these occasions the conscripts had covered themselves with disgrace, while at the same time soldiers from our country serving voluntarily in foreign countries had covered this country with glory. The hon. Member for the Barnard Castle Division who had stated that he and his friends had not attended many of the debates on the Bill, had said he was an amateur, but no one would have thought so from his speech. Who was likely to be right as to the general trend of the Bill—the hon. Member for the Barnard Castle Division and these who were associated with him, or the right hon. Member for Croydon, who had had many years close and intimate connection with the Army, and who had risen to be the Secretary of State for War? He himself believed that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Croydon was right in the view that the Bill was, if anything, too democratic. He did not wish to comment on the Bill in any controversial spirit. For the last ten years there had been scheme after scheme wrecked by Party malice in which, he dared say, he had borne a part and for which he humbly begged the pardon of the House if it was possible to do so now. But it was true that if they were to make anything of the armed forces of the country they must combine, they must pull together, and, even at the last moment, he would appeal to the Labour Members and ask them whether they could not unite with them in giving a chance to this scheme, which he earnestly hoped might be passed that night.


said it fell to his lot to be closured when the Bill was introduced. At that time he deprecated the abolition of ten battalions, he deplored the intention of the Government to abolish the Militia, he was sorry that the Yeomanry were to be discouraged, and he was doubtful of the new experiment to which the Volunteers wore to be subjected. Standing there that night he rejoiced to find that most of these spectres had been wafted away. He was animated by no Party malice whatever, and he found no difficulty in giving the right hon. Gentleman his warm support for what it was worth. He was struck by the remarks made by one of the members of the Labour Party, who seemed to think that militarism was an accursed thing. He would recall what was said by another member of the Labour Party, the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent. There was a great divergence in their views. One was terrified lest militarism should come into this country, and the other said that if there was any hint of invasion a million bayonets would flash in the sun. Were the very proper idea of the hon. Gentleman carried out there would be militarism to the bitter end. When the country was invaded let them all roll up and do what they could to resist the invader. [Cheers.] The cheers resounding throughout the House showed that hon. Members were taking his words in the right spirit. Militarism was only another expression for patriotism. He had never shut his eyes to the fact that we as a nation were not well prepared for war. If our arrangements were contrasted with these of continental nations, it would be found that we were about equal to Belgium. He regretted very much that there was no intention to train the youth of the country in gymnastics and the use of the rifle. However distasteful it might be to some hon. Gentlemen who sat below the gangway, he thought it would not do the lads any harm. He had always been opposed to conscription, and maintained that if young men were trained to the use of the rifle it would do more to get rid of the danger of conscription than anything else. He gave his hearty support to the Bill.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 286; Noes, 63. (Division List No. 246.)

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Crosfield, A. H. Howard, Hon, Geoffrey
Acland, Francis Dyke Crossley, William J. Hyde, Clarendon
Agnew, George William Dalrymple, Viscount Illingworth, Percy H.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Isaacs, Rufus Daniel
Allen, A. Acland(Christchurch) Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Jackson, R. S.
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Jacoby, Sir James Alfred
Anstruther-Gray, Major Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh. Johnson, John (Gateshead)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Dickinson, W.H.(St, Pancras, N. Jones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea)
Astbury, John Meir Dickson-Poynder, SirJohn P. Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Dobson, Thomas W. Jones,william (Carnarvonshire
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Duncan, Robert (Lanark,Govan Kearley, Hudson E.
Baring, Godfrey(Isle of Wight) Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Kekewich, Sir George
Baring, Capt.Hn.G. (Winchester Dunne, Major E.Martin (Walsall Kincaid-Smith, Captain
Barker, John Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) King. Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)
Barlow, Jn. Emmott(Somerset Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Kitson, Rt. Hon. Sir James
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Edwards, Frank (Radnor) Laidlaw, Robert
Barnard, E. B. Elibank, Master of Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster
Barran, Rowland Hirst Erskine, David C. Lambert, George
Barry,Redmond J. (Tyrone,N.) Essex, R. W. Lamont, Norman
Beale, W. P. Esslemont, George Birnie Layland-Barratt, Francis
Beauchamp, E. Evans, Samuel T. Leese, Sir JosephF. (Accrington)
Beck, A. Cecil Eve, Harry Trelawney Lehmann, R. C.
Boll, Richard Everett, R. Lacey Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)
Bellairs, Carlyon Faber, G. H. (Boston) Levy, Maurice
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Lewis, John Herbert
Benn, SirJ. Williams (Devonp'rt Fenwick, Charles Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David
Benn, W.(T'w'rHamlets, S.Geo. Ferens, T. R. Lough, Thomas
Bennett, E. N. Ferguson, R. C. Munro Lupton, Arnold
Berridge, T. H. D. Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Luttrell, Hugh Fownes
Bertram, Julius Findlay, Alexander Lyell, Charles Henry
Bethell, SirJ.H.(Essex,Romf'rd Fuller, John Michael F. Lynch, H. B.
Bethell,T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Gibb, James (Harrow) Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Gladstone, Rt Hn Herbert John Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.
Billson, Alfred Goddard, Daniel Ford M'Callum, John M.
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Gooch, George Peabody M'Crae, George
Brace, William Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Bramsdon, T. A. Greenwood, Hamar (York) M'Laren, H.D. (Stafford, W.)
Brodie, H. C. Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward M'Micking, Major G.
Brooke, Stopford Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Magnus, Sir Philip
Brunner, J.F.L.(Lanes., Leigh) Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Mallet, Charles E.
Brunner, RtHn SirJ.T(Cheshire) Hall, Frederick Manfield, Harry (Northants)
Bryce, J. Annan Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Marnham, F. J.
Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Wore'r). Massie, J.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Harmsworth, R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh Masterman, C. F. G.
Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Hart-Davies, T. Menzies, Walter
Buxton,Rt.Hn.Sydney Charles Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Micklem, Nathaniel
Cairns, Thomas Harvey, W.E.(Derbyshire,N.E. Molteno, Percy Alport
Cameron, Robert Harwood, George Mond, A.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Money, L. G. Chiozza
Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Haworth, Arthur A. Montagu, E. S.
Cawley, Sir Frederick Hedges, A. Paget Montgomery, H. G.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Helme, Norval Watson Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Cheetham, John Frederick Hemmerde, Edward George Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Henderson, J.M.( Aberdeen, W.) Morrell, Philip
Churchill, Rt. Hn. Winston S. Herbert,Colonel Ivor (Mon.,S.) Murray, James
Clark. George Smith (Belfast,N. Higham, John Sharp Myer, Horatio
Cleland, J. W. Hills, J. W. Napier, T. B.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Hobart, Sir Robert Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)
Collins, SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W. Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)
Corbett, CH.(Sussex, E.Grinst'd) Holden, E. Hopkinson Nicholls, George
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Holland, Sir William Henry Nicholson,CharlesN.(Doncaster
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Holt, Richard Durning Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Crombie, John William Horniman, Emslie John Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Crooks, William Horridge, Thomas Gardner Philipps,Coi.Ivor(S'thampton)
Philipps, J.Wynford(Pembroke Seely, Major J. B. Vivian, Henry
Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Walker, H. Def. (Leicester)
Pickersgill, Edward Hare Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.) Walters, John Tudor
Pirie, Duncan V. Sherwell, Arthur James Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)
Price.C.E. (Edinb'gh,Central) Shipman, Dr. John G. Waring, Walter
Price.RobertJohn (Norfolk.E.) Silcock, Thomas Ball Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Simon, John Allsebrook Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Priestley,W. E. B.(Bradford, E.) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Wason, JohnCatheart( Orkney)
Radford, G. H. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Waterlow, D. S.
Rainy, A. Rolland Smith, F.E. (Liverpool,Walton) Watt, Henry A.
Raphael, Herbert H. Spicer, Sir Albert Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Stanger, H. Y. Weir, James Galloway
Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro' Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph (Chesh.) Whitbread, Howard
Rees, J. D. Steadman, W. C. White, George (Norfolk)
Rendall, Athelstan Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Renton, Major Leslie Strachey, Sir Edward White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Richards, Thomas (W.Monm'th Straus, B. S. (Mile End) Whitehead, Rowland
Rickett, J. Compton Stuart, James (Sunderland) Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)
Ridsdale, E. A. Sutherland, J. E. Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer
Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Wiles, Thomas
Robinson, S. Taylor, Theodore C.(Radcliffe) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Robson, Sir William Snowdon Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire) Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Roe, Sir Thomas Thomas,SirA.(Glamorgan,E.) Williamson, A.
Rose, Charles Day Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Rowlands, J. Thomasson, Franklin Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Russell, T. W. Thompson, J.W.H.(Somerset,E. Winfrey, R.
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Tillett, Louis John Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Tomkinson, James
Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Torrance, Sir A. M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.
Scarisbrick, T. T. L. Toulmin, George
Sears, J. E. Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Seaverns, J. H. Verney, F. W.
Alden, Percy Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) O'Kelly, James(Roscommon,N.
Ambrose, Robert Houston, Robert Paterson O'Malley, William
Ashley, W. W. Jowett, F. W. O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury,E.) Joyce, Michael Parker, James (Halifax)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Kelley, George D. Power, Patrick Joseph
Banner, John S. Harmood- Kennedy, Vincent Paul Rawlinson. JohnFrederick Peel
Bowerwan, C. W. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Richards,T.F.(Wolverhampton
Boyle, Sir Edward Lea, Hugh Cecil (St.Pancras,E. Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos.Myles
Byles, William Pollard Lundon, W. Seddon, J.
Clough. William Macpherson, J. T. Shackleton. David James
Cobbold, Felix Thornley MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Snowden, P.
Cooper, G. J. Mac Veigh,Charles (Donegal,E.) Summerbell, T.
Cremer, William Randal M'Kean, John Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Delany, William M'Killop, W. Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Meagher, Michael Walker, C'ol.W.H.( Lancashire)
Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness) Mooney, J. J. Walsh, Stephen
Gill, A. H. Murphy, John Wilson, W. T. (Westheughton)
Glover, Thomas Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield)
Halpin, J. Nolan, Joseph TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Arthur Henderson and Mr. George Roberts.
Harris, Frederick Leverton Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Harrison-Broadley, H. B. O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid
Hodge, John O'Connor, John(Kildare,N.)
Hogan, Michael O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)

Bill read the third time, and passed.