THE MARQUESS OF HERTFORD
said, that having attended manœuvres abroad, he could speak to the great advantage which foreign officers derived from them in learning their profession. He could not admit that officers of the English Army were in any way inferior to those of Prussia, or any other country, but on the contrary, he maintained that our officers were more active and zealous than those in any other service. There was no doubt that they would profit 637 greatly from these reviews, and he was therefore delighted to hear some months back that the Government were in earnest, and were going to hold them on a large scale. He heard, at first, that it was thought of sending the troops to the New Forest; but feeling sure that that would not be a good place for them he put himself in communication with Mr. Menzies, who had lately been surveying that part of the country, who informed him that there would be bad water and many other inconveniences in that locality. That gentleman suggested the Berkshire Downs, and thereupon he (the Marquess of Hertford) communicated with Colonel Loyd Lindsay, a Member for the county, and proprietor of a great part of the land of that district. Colonel Loyd Lindsay immediately asked Sir Hope Grant and all his Staff to come to his place and reconnoitre the ground. He (the Marquess of Hertford) had the pleasure of accompanying Sir Hope Grant, with General Lysons, General Carey, and several other distinguished officers, and together they had reconnoitred 40 miles of ground, making inquiries of the farmers, and looking after the water. The whole of the officers reported most favourably as to the locality. With that public spirit for which the farmers both of Berkshire and of Buckinghamshire were noted—as shown by the permission they gave to hunt Her Majesty's hounds, and indeed all other hounds, over their farms—the farmers received the idea with great favour. Not a word was said about compensation, and he believed the Berkshire farmers would have scouted the notion of compensation merely for the troops coming there. At that time there was not one word said about the harvest, whether it would be late or early, and so far as he knew the distinguished officers who surveyed the locality did not care whether the manœuvres took place before or after the harvest, and for this reason—that there was plenty of room for their purpose upon the Downs, without their going upon arable land at all. There were plenty of roads also leading to the Downs from the valley of the Thames, and there was only one reason against their going there before harvest was over, and that was that the farmers could not of course allow their teams to be hired whilst they were getting their corn in. The officers, as he had said, reported 638 favourably, and he had reason to believe that up to the middle of last week everything went on swimmingly. The troops were told off to march in three divisions to the neighbourhood of Lockinge, and everybody was pleased that the manœuvres were to take place. He believed the Secretary of State was quite in earnest, fully believing that there was plenty of transport for 30,000 men. Among officers and soldiers, indeed, a different opinion prevailed, and the general opinion was that there was not transport for 5,000 men, much less 30,000. Still, one would have thought the Secretary of State would have taken care that plenty of horses were bought or hired for these manœuvres. In his opinion, the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman yesterday was not sufficient to account for the terrible upset of the plans which had been settled, as everybody understood, last March. He could not believe that the lateness of the harvest was the genuine reason for the abandonment of the camp in Berkshire, and suspected that the sole cause was the collapse of the Control department. That department had not yet been tried, but these manœuvres in Berkshire would have been the very best opportunity of trying it, while manœuvres in the neighbourhood of Aldershot would not try it in the least, nor would the officers derive that profit from a campaign which they would receive if they had gone to another part of the country, with which they were not familiar. Another reason for the breakdown was that the military authorities were subordinate to the War Office. He did not make a complaint against any individual or any particular Government, because one Government was as bad as another—except that which appointed General Peel, from whose administration the Army had derived great benefit—but, as long as they had at the War Office a civilian who completely overrides the Commander-in-Chief, so long would mishaps of this kind occur. Their Lordships had been told of the anomalies of the purchase system. Was it not a far greater anomaly that a civilian, however intelligent and clever, should be placed at the head of the War Office, and called upon to re-organize and re-construct a very delicate piece of machinery like the British Army? No other nation thought of such an arrangement. 639 Prussia, which was now held up as the model for imitation, had not done so. Had there been a civilian at the head of the Prussian War Office instead of General Von Boon, would the magnificent strategy of Field Marshal Von Moltke have been carried out? The thing was impossible. He feared that, if at any time during the last 12 months we had been involved in war, the same collapse would have been seen as had just now occurred. If, with four months in which to provide it, we had not been able to furnish the requisite transport even within 35 or 40 miles of head-quarters at Aldershot, how, upon any emergency, could there have been proper carriage for our troops abroad or perhaps even for the defence of our coasts? It required a Battle of Jena to bring about compulsory enlistment in Prussia. It required a Battle of Sadowa before Austria put her house in order. It required the Battle of Sedan and Metz to make the French resort, as he understood they were resorting, to compulsory enlistment. God grant that we might not require a Battle of Dorking to bring us to our senses and make us give up the foolish system of having a civilian at the head of our War Office, instead of trusting to a military Commander-in-Chief. The noble Marquess concluded by asking the Under Secretary for War, Whether there is truth in the report that the manœuvres and camp on the Berkshire Downs during this autumn are to be abandoned? And to move—That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for, Copy of all correspondence relating to these manœuvres between the War Office and other departments:Also for the number of horses now in possession of the Control Department available for purposes of transport:And also for the number of horses bought or hired, distinguishing the respective numbers of horses so bought or hired by that department since 1st April 1871.
§ LORD NORTHBROOK
said, the noble Marquess had travelled rather beyond the question in referring to the re-organization of the Army, to the question of a civilian Secretary of State, and the military systems of other countries. Confining himself strictly to the question, he had to state that it had been decided by the Government that the system of manœuvres which had been so successfully carried out in Prussia should for the first time be tried in England, and 640 provision was accordingly made in the Estimates for the requisite expenditure. It was originally proposed that these manœuvres should be held in Hampshire, no particular locality being fixed, and a Circular was sent round to the commanding officers of our Reserve forces asking what number of men they would be disposed to send to take part in these manœuvres in the second week of September. It was subsequently suggested that the district in Berkshire mentioned by the noble Marquess would be a more convenient spot, and Sir Hope Grant put himself in communication with Colonel Loyd Lindsay and other eminent military authorities, who most enthusiastically and cordially entered into the plan, the landowners and farmers of the neighbourhood expressing their readiness to co-operate with the Government in every way in carrying out the manœuvres. It was proposed that those manœuvres should begin on the 9th of September, and Circulars were issued to the forces to be in readiness to assemble at that time. An accident, however, occurred which was fatal to the scheme, and that accident, which the noble Marquess had attributed — first, to the appointment of a civilian at the War Office; and, secondly, to some mysterious influence connected with the Control department, was simply this — the extremely late harvest of the year. The fact was one which could not be disputed. He had received communications from Viscount Eversley, representing the prospects of the harvest in his neighbourhood, which was close to the scene of the proposed operations, and also from Lord Warwick and the Duke of Beaufort, both of whom had agreed to take part in the operations, pointing out how impossible it was that the farmers who composed their Yeomanry corps should join in the manœuvres owing to the extreme lateness of the season. This fact, and the probability that in September many parts of the country would still be covered with corn, was the main reason for changing the scene of operations, for, notwithstanding the desire of the Berkshire farmers to give every encouragement to the manœuvres, it would have been highly improper on the part of the Government to attempt to carry them out while the crops were standing in the fields. The Secretary of State had never finally decided upon carrying on these 641 manœuvres in Berkshire, and had entered into no engagements involving expenditure previous to the time when he could ascertain with some accuracy at what period the harvest was likely to be. Accordingly he considered the subject last week, having previously called for Reports on the proposed manœuvres from the Quartermaster General and the Inspector General of Fortifications, with suggestions for an alternative scheme if the original plan were not carried out. He had anticipated the Motion of the noble Marquess by placing on the Table the Reports of those officers, together with the Minute of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Surveyor General of Ordnance upon them. Their Lordships would, therefore, be in possession of full information. The Quartermaster General and Inspector General of the Fortifications said that from information obtained on the spot there appeared every probability of an unusually late harvest.
§ LORD NORTHBROOK
said, that no names of their informants were given by the two officers, and his noble Friend could hardly expect their Report to include Minutes of Evidence. However, he would read some portions of the Report—We find this country open and suitable for the purpose. It is, however, principally arable land covered at present with grain and root crops, over which it is out of the question to think of moving until the former crops are housed. From information we obtained on the spot, there appears every possibility of the harvest being unusually late, in which case more difficulties are likely to present themselves in occupying this ground than were anticipated when the project of moving troops into Berkshire on or about the 9th of September was first under consideration. We would here observe that, should the autumn be wet, the encampment of troops on these lands would be objectionable, and likely to be inconvenient to the necessary traffic.That was the first Report of the Quartermaster General and the Inspector General of Fortifications, and their second Report contained alternative proposals—1. To concentrate the whole force at Aldershot, and send out columns from that place of such strength as the transport available will permit. These columns to march at least two marches out, returning again to Aldershot, when the transport might be transferred to a fresh body, which might in its turn be moved from Aldershot. Such manœuvres of the moveable column against the force, having Aldershot for its base, as may be 642 deemed advisable, should take place. 2. To form Camps of Instruction for, say, 30,000 men—viz., 10,000 men at Woolmer, and 5,000 men at Sandhurst and Chobham (or 10,000 men at either), 5,000 or 10,000 men remaining at Aldershot, as may hereafter be decided.Now, in dealing with the subject, the Secretary of State for War and the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Surveyor General of Ordnance had entered very fully into the different questions relating to it, not omitting the question of transport. The noble Marquess seemed to be of opinion that those who administered the affairs of the Army in this country ought to keep up in time of peace means of transport sufficient to meet the wants of a force of 30,000 men. Such a system as that, however, would be one of the most extravagant which it was possible to conceive, and if it were required to carry out operations abroad none of that transport would be available. Transport would be obtained on the spot, which was the scene of the operations, and he could conceive no course involving more unnecessary waste than, for the purposes of a short campaign of a fortnight at home, a large permanent addition to our transport service should be made. It was a course which no Government, having any regard for the pockets of the taxpayers, could for a moment seriously think of adopting. The number of transport horses at the service of the War Department was altogether 1,087, about200 of which were in Ireland. He might also observe that the Government expected that in the case of the manœuvres which were to have been carried on in Berkshire they would be able to hire in the neighbourhood a considerable amount of transport. It was the practice of the Prussians to make requisitions for transport in the districts in which their manœuvres were carried on. Indeed, there was no country in Europe in which the peace establishment was kept at so low a point as in Prussia. The lateness of the harvest to which he already alluded, must, however, have greatly interfered with the hiring of transport on the spot in Berkshire, for no farmer would be likely, in the second week of September, to send away horses which he might require for his own purposes at any moment. Any probability of the local hiring of transport had therefore been done away with by the unusual lateness of the season. The supply of transport was, he 643 might add, simply a question of money, and there would be no difficulty, if necessity arose, for securing any amount of it which might be required. At present, however, if a large amount of it were wanted, a considerable price would have to be paid for it. Purchases of horses to a great extent had been made for France, to supply the places of those which had been consumed during the late war, and the cost of transport would, therefore, this year be very much larger than in ordinary times. Well, that being so, there were two plans between which and the original plan the Secretary of State had to decide, and he arrived at the conclusion that the manœuvres should not be held in Berkshire. To postpone the final manœuvres to a later date was impossible, because to have done so would be to exclude the Militia from taking part in them. The Militia regiments were called out on July 21 for 21 days, and on August 21 for 35 day, so that those regiments should be dismissed on September 23. In order, then, to include the Militia, the manœuvres should commence at the latest on September 12. Another objection to the postponement of the manœuvres to the end of September was that, being the period of the equinoctial gales, it was deemed undesirable that the men should be exposed to the probability of having to encounter the stress of bad weather, to the injury of their health. Under those circumstances, the Secretary of State had to decide between two plans—the first being to carry out the system of manœuvres at Aldershot, to which the troops were perfectly accustomed. That was a course which his right hon. Friend did not think would meet the necessities of the case, and it was not, therefore, adopted. The remaining alternative was to take a different district of the country not open to the objection which existed in the case of the arable land in Berkshire—namely, that part of the country which extended from Woolmer Forest and Chobham, and to have on that site the same sort of manœuvres which it was proposed to carry out in Berkshire. The Secretary of State had been in communication with the Members for Berkshire, and with the Lord Lieutenant and others connected with the county, for the purpose of introducing into Parliament a Bill by which compensation would be given for 644 any damage which might be caused by the troops during the manœuvres, and for dealing with strangers who might accompany them, and also cause damage to the land and buildings in the county. His right hon. Friend had since the alteration of the date of those manœuvres been in communication with the Members for Surrey and Hampshire, with Viscount Eversley, and with other residents in the neighbourhood, and the measure which was originally intended to be applied to Berkshire would, with some slight changes, be introduced by the right hon. Gentleman into the other House of Parliament that evening, and would, he hoped, be passed before the expiration of the Session. He would, in the next place observe that he was quite at a loss to understand why so simple a change as that he had just mentioned should have called forth such comments as those of the noble Marquess. The manœuvres were to be carried out; the auxiliary forces would be brought into close communication with the Regular forces, and everything would be gone through just in the way which was originally proposed. The efficiency of the Control department would be tested by the necessity of providing for 30,000 men operating over a large extent of country. As far as he had been able to ascertain, the proposed manœuvres in Berkshire would have been carried on over a space of 20 miles long by less than 10 miles wide. In Hampshire and Surrey there would be a space of 24 miles long by 18 miles wide. There was, however, it was but right to add, a difference of 15 miles between the extremes between which marches might be made in favour of the Berkshire site, the distance between the extremes there being 40 miles, while at Woolmer it was only 25. He trusted that after the full explanation that had been given, their Lordships and the country would feel satisfied that the locality now selected had considerable advantages over Berkshire, not only in respect of strategical movements, but in the fact that the new area was just that part of the country, in case we had to defend ourselves from invasion, that operations would have to take place; whereas Berkshire was not likely to be the scene of active operations should such an event happen. The change of site was supposed, as the noble Marquess had said, 645 to have some connection with an imagined collapse of the Control department. He could only account for that feeling, which apparently existed among the officers of the Army, by thinking that they even still entertained prejudices against the organization of that department, which had been introduced by Sir John Pakington, and carried out with such distinguished ability by his right hon. and gallant Friend (Sir Henry Storks). It was exceedingly difficult to reconcile men who had lived under a particular system to the changes required by the progress of events and the experiences of other countries; but he trusted as time went on that the feeling would diminish and that they would see that unity and simplicity in action were far better with regard to the military and administrative operations of the Army than the complicated system that had prevailed, and still prevailed to a great extent, in the British Army alone of all the great Armies in Europe. It was absurd to imagine that there would have been any difficulty in providing the commissariat supplies requisite for any number of men who were likely to be assembled either at Lockinge or at Chobham. He was not aware that the spot now selected possessed any advantages over the original site, so far as the commissariat was concerned. No difficulty would, he believed, have been found in either case in providing for the wants of the troops. There was no doubt, too, that in time of peace the making of such provision was not so easy as in time of war. In time of war the troops were necessarily the first persons to be considered. They had then the power of occupying buildings, making requisitions, and disregarding the laws of a country. They could move cattle along the roads with which to feed the Army; but at the present time it was hardly safe to move cattle along the roads from fear of the spread of disease. He would only further observe that Sir Henry Storks had been present with him at all the meetings which had been held in reference to the proposed manœuvres, and that he had never heard him make any objection on behalf of his Department, he, on the contrary, having invariably expressed himself, so far as that Department was concerned, ready to do anything which might be 646 decided upon by the Secretary of State as the right thing to do. The Secretary of State's power was limited to the amount of money that had been voted for this purpose, and that had principally been the cause of the difficulty with respect to the provision of sufficient transport for 30,000 men; but by the alternative plan the amount of transport required was limited to 20,000 men, a force sufficiently large for testing the qualification of the troops. Their Lordships were acquainted with the old saying about giving a dog a bad name; but whenever the Control department had been tried it had been perfectly successful. Sir Hope Grant bore testimony to that effect so far as the expeditions of the troops from Aldershot were concerned, and he believed it would be found that in the present instance, also, every satisfaction would be given by the officers of that department. He had only to repeat that in every essential particular, the manœuvres would be carried into effect, and to add that neither a civilian War Minister nor the Control department was responsible for a change of site, which was due solely to the lateness of the harvest.
§ LORD OVERSTONE
expressed his great anxiety that nothing should be left undone to secure the country against danger. It was therefore with the greatest regret, and a strong feeling of humiliation, he had heard, that the great work which had been promised so long, and for which such preparation had been made, was to be abandoned. He considered that abandonment to be an acknowledgment that the great re-organization of the Army of this country had wholly collapsed. Such had been the impression made on him, in common with every civilian and military man with whom he had conversed. What had they been told in the early part of the Session? Why, that such a reorganization of their Army would be effected as would render danger, or even the apprehension of danger, from a foreign foe puerile. But one of the great means for bringing about that result was to be found in those strategical instructions which they had been informed were to be given on a grand scale in the Berkshire encampment. On what ground, then, were they to be abandoned? They were told that there 647 was to be a march out—they did not know to what distance — from Aldershot.
§ LORD NORTHBROOK
said, the noble Lord had confounded the alternative scheme which the Secretary of State for War had rejected with the one he had accepted.
§ LORD OVERSTONE
said, he was only induced to address their Lordships on behalf of the landowners and occupying tenants in Berkshire, who had been discourteously treated, and not to enter into a discussion of military facts or theories. The noble Lord had spoken of the Reports of the Inspector General of Fortifications and the Quartermaster General. But the landowners and farmers of Berkshire looked upon these Reports on the state of their crops, to say the least, as a great anomaly. When the operations were first contemplated, the matter was taken up with zeal by the farmers and landowners of the district, who determined to co-operate in every way with Colonel Loyd Lindsay and himself, as the possessors of the largest amount of property in the neighbourhood. They immediately summoned a meeting which was attended by all the proprietors of the district and by the farmers of no fewer than 36 parishes. A committee was elected, upon which were farmers, every one of them occupying more than 1,000 acres. At the head of the committee was a highly respectable person, owning a large extent of property which he farmed himself, a man of the highest intelligence, and enjoying the confidence of the farmers all round. The committee sat periodically, and first of all they passed a resolution which was read last night in the House of Commons, declaring their earnest co-operation in carrying out the plans of the Government. Subsequent resolutions were passed and continual communications kept up with the War Office by the committee. The Secretary of State read in the House of Commons with triumphant satisfaction one of the resolutions which the committee had passed, and stated his intention of taking advantage of their offers. That state of things continued to the very last moment. It was only on Saturday morning, when at Lockinge, that he received the first intimation from a quarter which made him think there was some truth in it, that the operations were to be abandoned, 648 on the ground of the state of the harvest. He immediately rode 10 miles to call on the chairman of the committee, and asked whether any inquiry had been made of him, whether individually or as chairman of the great committee, by any officer from Aldershot or the War Office as to the state of the weather and the crops in the district. The chairman assured him that he had neither heard from anybody nor seen anybody on the subject, and that he was taken entirely by surprise. On the following morning came a short note from the Secretary of State to say that the contemplated movement was abandoned. He immediately sent over to a highly intelligent member of the committee, a land agent who managed 40,000 acres of the district, and who was in communication with all the farmers, to know whether he had received any inquiry or communication from the War Office as to the state of the harvest and the peculiar condition of the season, and he also replied that he had not. He wanted to know why had Quartermasters General and Inspectors of Fortifications kept studiously away from all those who could have given them the best information? Why had they had no communication with himself or Colonel Loyd Lindsay, with the chairman of the committee, or the farmers generally? At the bottom of all this there must be some secret which the authorities did not like to disclose. There was no necessity whatever for abandoning the contemplated manœuvres. He believed they could be carried out to-day without the least obstacle. Only yesterday morning he drove over the roads which the men would have to pass with two gentlemen of military experience, and he asked whether there would be any difficulty in marching troops from the Thames valley over those roads until they came to the open plains of Berkshire, where they could deploy, and he was told there would be none whatever. While every preparation was being made, and the farmers were working thoroughly and earnestly, some officers from Aldershot visited various families in Berkshire and spread what were believed at the time to be idle and mischievous rumours. They said—"You may deceive yourselves if you like about this great encampment; but it will never be made, because the authorities have not the materials necessary for moving 649 the troops." These officers did not found their prophecies on the state of the season or the lateness of the harvest; but said distinctly—"We tell you the state of the Commissariat and Transport is such that they cannot move the troops to any distance from Aldershot." There was a strong feeling pervading the public mind that though we had a number of troops, more or less, an Army in the true and only real meaning of the term did not exist in this country. He was not a military man; but he felt it to be his duty, on behalf of the interests of the landowners and farmers of Berkshire, to protest against this strange proceeding on the part of the War Department.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
said, their Lordships would not be at all surprised that his noble Friend who had just sat down should have expressed the annoyance and disappointment he and those connected with him felt on finding that the manœuvres in which they had shown so great an interest, and the success of which they had taken to much trouble to promote by exercising the influence they possessed over their neighbours in Berkshire, should now be abandoned. That was certainly a very great disappointment. As to the absence of personal communication on the subject, he was not himself aware of the facts; but he had no doubt that Mr. Cardwell would be able to give the necessary explanations. He must remark, however, that the whole of the noble Lord's speech was entirely in contradiction of everything which had been stated by his noble Friend the Under Secretary for War. His noble Friend had stated, in the clearest manner and with great detail, that the manœuvres were not at all abandoned, but were to be held in a place better fitted for them than the Berkshire Downs; and when the noble Lord talked so strongly about there being secrets in the matter, he was bound to move for a Select Committee of their Lordships' House, which might summon Mr. Cardwell and every other official before it, and inquire in the fullest manner into all circumstances of the case.
§ LORD VIVIAN
said, he was informed that the reason for the abandonment of the manœuvres was that the Secretary of State had endeavoured to make arrengements with Messrs. Pickford for a large number of horses, and had failed. 650 But this matter had been in contemplation for four months, and therefore the War Department were to blame for not having made provision before the last moment. The War Department were now attempting to re-organize the Army; but, in his opinion, they had better first re-organize themselves.
§ THE MARQUESS OF EXETER
also thought that the War Office was much to blame in the matter. By fixing manœuvres as early as September they practically excluded the attendance of the regiments belonging to the Midland counties. Four months ago he received a letter from the War Department asking whether his regiment would be ready if called upon to turn out—the recruits at the end of August and the regiment itself in the beginning of September. But the men looked to the harvest as furnishing the principal wages of the year, and how in such a case could they be expected to turn out? He believed that the real reason for the change of mind with respect to the Berkshire encampment was that the Control department was not able to supply the horses and means of transport necessary. It was true the Government could not be expected to keep transport horses for 30,000 men in time of peace. But if war was to come upon us suddenly, not at four months, but perhaps at a fortnight's notice, was it possible that the Control department would not be able to find the necessary means of transport for the Army?
remarked that he had not met a single commanding officer who was now employed who did not say that the Control department was the greatest failure. Every officer in Aldershot, or in the kingdom, would say the same. They complained that they could get neither their rations nor their clothing in proper time. It appeared to him that the changing of the ground on which the manœuvres were to take place arose solely from an absolute want of transport in the Control department. It was idle for the Government to say that they could not provide transport for 30,000 men. If the Government intended that 30,000 men should take part in these manœuvres they ought long ago to have provided transport.
Then we were so poor that we could not find money to meet the expense! He thought it was a disgrace to the Government to put forth such an excuse as that, after leading their own country and the world to believe that these manœuvres would take place on the scale originally proposed.
§ LORD STRATHNAIRN
admitted that to provide a transport available for war purposes would involve enormous expense; but, at the same time, he could not help thinking that the Control department ought to have done more than they had done after the long notice they had given and the expectations they had raised respecting the manœuvres on Berkshire Downs. He wished to know what preparations were being made by the Secretary of State for War for the supply of transport?
§ LORD NORTHBROOK
said, that if the noble and gallant Lord would put a Question on the Paper with respect to transport, he should be very happy to obtain information on that subject from the Surveyor General, and give that information to their Lordships. The reason why Government had made a change with respect to the camp was that, not being gifted with the power of prophecy four months ago, they did not then know that the harvest would be exceptionally late. Many stories as to deficiency in the number of artillery horses had obtained currency; but all those he investigated were found, to have no foundation in fact. The allegation that the troops had wanted their rations should be followed up by the noble Lord who made it (Viscount Melville), and if he would give sufficient details to enable an inquiry to be made the Department would be only too glad to know what the defect was in order to apply a remedy. He informed the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Strathnairn) the other night that no regulations had been issued with respect to the plan on which these campaigns would be conducted. A translation had been made by Sir Charles Staveley, and published by Mr. Mitchell, of Charing Cross, of the regulations of the Prussian Army in 1861. Some subsequent regulations had been made in Prussia, and the War Department was preparing a translation of them for the purpose of being communicated to the troops. It would be useless in a 652 time of peace to have a great establishment of horses. On an emergency a sufficient supply of horses could be obtained in a week. If the noble Lord behind him (Lord Overstone) continued to assert that there was any secret on the subject, he hoped that the noble Lord would move for a Committee of Inquiry, and examine the Secretary of State and the Surveyor General of Ordnance before that tribunal. He had heard the noble Lord use expressions which had made a painful impression on his mind. The noble Lord asserted that he (Lord Northbrook) was not accurate in his statements. Unless the noble Lord was prepared to retract that declaration—
§ LORD OVERSTONE
said, he imputed the utterance of no untruth to the noble Lord; but he maintained the accuracy of his own assertions.
§ LORD NORTHBROOK
would, then, challenge the noble Lord to have the case inquired into by a Committee. With respect to the Motion of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hertford), he had already stated that there had been laid on the Table of the House the Reports of the officers connected with these manœuvres. There was no correspondence other than those Reports. He had no objection to give a Return of the number of horses bought or hired, and he hoped the noble Marquess would confine his Motion to that Return.
§ Motion, as amended, agreed to.
§ Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for. Return of the number of horses bought or hired, distinguishing the respective numbers of horses bought or hired by the Control Department since 1st April 1871.—(The Marquess of Hertford.)
§ House adjourned at half past Eight o'clock, to Thursday next, a quarter before Five o'clock.