HL Deb 03 August 1866 vol 184 cc1994-5

Amendments reported (according to Order).


said, he desired to call the attention of his noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the necessity of securing some adequate barrack accommodation for the European and Indian troops before the cession of these Settlements was completed. In 1863 a commencement was made to erect infantry barracks, the total cost of which it was estimated would be £150,000. Those barracks, however, had never been completed. It would be hard to expect the Settlements to incur a debt for the accommodation of a larger number of troops than was required for the Settlements themselves, if such a number was to be stationed there for Imperial as well as Colonial purposes.


My noble Friend has referred to two very important points. It is, of course, essential that the troops stationed in the Settlements should be sufficiently accommodated; and this, after all, is a question of expense. But, as regards the question of revenue, I am not prepared to enter into minute details, because at the present moment the Settlements are in a rather anomalous position. Its affairs neither belong to the India Office nor are they exactly within the pro- vince of the Colonial Department. From 1858 to 1861 there was some donbt as to whether the revenue of the Settlements was equal to the expenditure; but in the latter year a report was made under the direction of Sir Hercules Robinson, which showed the estimated revenue to be £200,000, and the estimated expenditure £198,000, leaving £2,000 annual surplus. It is to be observed, however, that Sir Hercules Robinson's calculations for military expenditure was £63,000, while a subsequent arrangement with the Treasury fixed it at £59,300, which raises the surplus of revenue to £5,700, and the revenue of the Settlement is a growing one. With respect to the troops, the military force hitherto stationed at Singapore has been about 1,650 men; the force to be permanently stationed there and chargeable to the colony will be—artillery, English, 212 men; Ceylon Rifles, 668; making 880 in all. The wing of the European regiment will be stationed there only to meet the convenience of the military authorities. There is at present accommodation at Singapore for about 1,600 men. About £100,000 has already been spent on barracks by the Indian Government; and a paper laid before Parliament states— At both Singapore and Penang there are already good barracks for European troops, while in the first of these places the stone-built, well-raised, and well-ventilated convict barracks, on the removal of their present occupants, will accommodate 2,000 European soldiers should it at any time be necessary to assemble so large a force. On the whole I see no reason to apprehend that the revenue of the Settlements, which, as I have already observed, is a growing one, will not be amply sufficient to cover all its expenses, civil as well as military.

A further Amendment made; and Bill to be read 3a on Monday next; and to be printed as amended. (No. 273.)