HL Deb 17 July 1871 vol 207 cc1792-870


Order of the Day for resuming the debate on the Amendment on the Motion for the Second Reading—which Amendment was, "to leave out from ("That") to the end of the Motion, for the purpose of inserting the following words:— That this House is unwilling to assent to a second reading of this Bill until it has had laid before it, either by Her Majesty's Government or through the medium of an inquiry and report of a Royal Commission, a complete and comprehensive scheme for the first appointment, promotion, and retirement of officers; for the amalgamation of the Regular and Auxiliary Land Forces; and for securing the other changes necessary to place the military system of the country on a sound and efficient basis,"—(The Duke of Richmond,) read; debate resumed accordingly.


said, that if this Bill were passed it would benefit him in a pecuniary point of view, inasmuch as by certain changes which had taken place in his regiment he had become junior lieutenant colonel, his commission had been rendered unsaleable, whereas the Bill would give him compensation; therefore in giving his vote in support of the Amendment of the noble Duke he was acting contrary to his personal interests. From his position as a commanding officer he had unusual opportunities of collecting the opinions of officers—not merely those of his own regiment, but of his personal acquaintance, and he had been in communication with Members of the other House who had equal opportunity, and as the opinions thus collected coincided with those he had himself gathered, he thought he was justified in saying that the officers of the Army preferred remaining as they were. He had no hesitation in constituting himself their spokesman, and he did so with a full knowledge of the responsibility which he incurred. They held that the existing system was sufficiently beneficial to them to induce them to desire its continuance; they found that it gratified an honourable ambition, and they conceived that in the rapidity of promotion they obtained an equivalent for their outlay. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hertford), who spoke on Thursday night, had been 44 years in the Army, had sent out between 40 and 50 letters to non-purchase officers, and the replies, which the noble Marquess laid on the Table at the close of his speech, showed that they were, without exception, satisfied with the present condition of affairs. As a general rule they obtained promotion within a reasonable time after the purchase officers, and though they might become colonels two years and eight months later than the latter, it must be remembered that, without having paid a penny, they came into possession of that which they could dispose of for £7,500. If, again, a non-commissioned officer became a captain he came at once into possession of a commission worth £3,500. The officers, therefore, would prefer the rejection of this measure, and that the question should never be mooted again. They were, in fact, creditors of the country, being the direct successors of the officers who originally raised and equipped the regiments, and presented them to the country; and the Reserve Fund, coming entirely out of the pockets of the purchase officers, had reached, since 1796, the sum of £3,000,000. Not only, moreover, had the Government derived advantages from the officers since 1711, when purchase was introduced, but from officers of Militia regiments, who had presented the country with 100 recruits as a condition of obtaining commissions for nothing. Reckoning, indeed, the amount in coin and in kind which purchase officers had presented to the Government, he believed that it was fully equal to the sum which it was now proposed should be paid them on retirement. The officers of senior rank had, no doubt, not much to complain of in this scheme. The only harm that could befall them was that the Government would, in all probability, deprive them for the future of the honorary positions which they had hitherto enjoyed—a considerable disadvantage, but one which it might not be right to speculate upon, as it had not at present been sustained. The status of the junior officers, on the other hand, would be seriously affected, and he could state advisedly that they were dissatisfied—so reasonably so that he thought the money they had paid ought to be paid back. An ensign could not be deemed fairly treated if, having paid £450, he had to wait a long time for a colonelcy, losing the rapidity of promotion which purchase provided, and had then to wait for his retirement before he could realize anything. A captain, whose commission was worth £3,500 if he retired immediately, would be placed in a similar position. It was clear the proposal of the Government created so great an alteration in the status of these officers that they had a right to say they objected to the forms proposed. The question of exchanges was the next important point on which he would touch. Under the Bill of the Government the position of the officers of the Army was beyond all doubt greatly worse. The officers of the Army ought to be deeply indebted to the illustrious Duke who spoke on Friday (the Duke of Cambridge) for what he had said on the subject. The illustrious Duke contended that the principle of exchanges should be kept up; but he did not see how under the scheme of the Government that was to be done. The officers, therefore, had just ground for complaint under that head also. He would venture to add that the terms which they would accept were by no means unreasonable, and were such as the Government might very well grant. There was, for instance, the scheme proposed in "another place" by Mr. Muntz, who advised the paying down of the regulation prices at once, leaving the over-regulation prices to take care of themselves. One of the advantages of the adoption of such a scheme would be that that bête noir of the whole of the Army, selection, would be got rid of, while the subject of exchanges would also be disposed of. It would put an end, also, to the popular delusion that one officer by the mere payment of money could get himself over the head of another. The regulation price being abolished, the War Office would no longer have to inquire of a senior lieutenant, for instance, whether he could pay his purchase money, and the captain retiring, the senior lieutenant would be promoted at once, whether he could pay the purchase money or not. That was a scheme which the Government might very well adopt, and which, he believed, would be acceptable to the officers. An alternative scheme, which was worthy of the consideration of the Government, was that proposed by Colonel Anson, who suggested that the officer should have the option given him of either receiving the regulation price of his commission immediately, or of accepting the proposal now made by the Government within six months. That also was a scheme which ought not to be unacceptable to the Government, as it would at once abolish purchase and over-regulation prices. But in the interests both of the officers of the Army and of the country, it would be infinitely better to adopt the proposal of Mr. Muntz, and to leave the question of over-regulation to take care of itself. He now came to another branch of the subject which was deserving of their Lordships' most serious attention. He gathered from the speech of the illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge) that he was prepared to a certain extent to modify the opinions which he expressed before the Commission of 1857, and to assent to the abolition of purchase now if the Government were prepared with a proper scheme of retirement. That little word "if" was, however, a very essential word, and the statement of the illustrious Duke thus qualified would, he felt assured, be received with satisfaction by the officers of the Army. It was quite possible for the Government to put forward a scheme of retirement if they chose; but the fact, in his opinion, was that they did not choose. Sir Henry Storks, for example, had found no difficulty in devising an elaborate retiring scheme for his own branch of the service, why should he not do the same thing for another? He, for one, could not assent to the second reading of the Bill in the absence of any such scheme. The noble Duke who sat below him (the Duke of Richmond) had, he might add, considerably understated the case, in his opinion, when he said that to carry out the system of retirement under the Bill as rapidly as it was now carried on would cost £850,000 a-year. He himself calculated, taking Mr. Cardwell's own figures, that the amount of the charge would be at least £1,150,000. It was well known that the average cost of the retirement of a captain was £3,500, of a lieutenant colonel £7,500, and so on throughout all ranks in the Army. If, too, the various estimates for other branches of the public service were considered, it would be found that in India the retirement system cost £850,000, the officers who retired there being one-third less than in the purchase corps of the Army; so that, allowance being made for that one-third, the sum which retirement would amount to under the Bill would be something like that which he had named. A calculation of the cost of retirement in the civil departments of the Army — by which he meant the Medical, the Control, the Quarter and Barrack Masters' Department — gave a similar result; the retiring allowances in the Artillery were £45,000, which would give £1,100,000. So that there could be very little doubt that £1,120,000 a-year was a very close approximation to the cost of retirement under the present Bill. Turning now to another very important feature in the Bill—the adoption of the principle of selection—he could safely say that if there was one point of the Bill which the officers of the Army regarded with dislike and distrust, it was that. He knew the officers of the Army felt themselves perfectly safe in the hands of His Royal Highness the present Commander-in-Chief; but then he was the only man in whom they would repose the same confidence. Where was there a man outside His Royal Highness who might be chosen for the post who could be said to be of no politics? He did not think such a man was to be got; and the officers of the Army therefore were most anxious that not the principle of selection, but that a good system of rejection should be the rule adopted. And who could fairly contend that rejection did not exist in a satisfactory manner under the purchase system? He did not know any act in which the illustrious Duke received more sympathy from the officers of the Army than when he rejected an officer who was unfit for a particular appointment. The honour and safety of the Army, in fact, depended on its being well commanded. He would now briefly refer to some statements which had been made by the Prime Minister, who said that the officers of the Army had too much leave. Now, he was quite sure they would be satisfied to accept as much or as little leave as their superiors thought they ought to have; but when the Prime Minister spoke of "professional", soldiers he should like to know what by the use of the word "professional" he meant to imply. His own idea of a professional soldier was a mercenary, a man rather prone to plunder and military license, and if the Prime Minister accepted that definition he would not complain, for he was happy to know that of such the British Army contained not a specimen; but his tone of voice was such when he used those words that he evidently meant to convey a reproach on the British officer which he did not think was deserved. He would venture to tell the right hon. Gentleman what the British officer was. He was a perfect English gentleman, and, happily, there was no want of such men in the British Army. And as to "professional education," when a commanding officer was fully acquainted with the technical details of his profession it would, in his opinion, only tend to narrow his mind to keep him constantly to work with which he was thoroughly conversant, while reasonable relaxation would still further fit him for the discharge of his professional duties. As to making professional officers, he would say that the English officer would be as professional as Parliament would allow. The fault did not rest with him, but with Parliament, which would not vote a sufficient sum of money to enable him to carry out his professional studies. What happened in his own battalion? A class was formed to learn practical engineering, but the difficulty was to find who was to instruct it. He applied to the proper quarter, and long correspondence followed; and, at last, to whom did their Lordships suppose a battalion of Her Majesty's Guards was indebted for instruction? Why, to a sergeant of a Volunteer corps. After a time, they took their pontoons, barrels, and other appliances down to Windsor to practice; and their Lordships would be surprised if they saw the letter he got from the Control Department, asking what business he had down there. But now he had got 296 men properly instructed in field engineering, and that had been done not with the assistance of the authorities, but by himself and the officers in London by sheer hard and persevering work. What was the answer given to him by a colonel of the Control Department when he applied for the articles that were required? It was this—"If we give them to you, we shall have all the British Army asking for them." Well, if that were so, what business had anyone to say that the British officer was not professional? Now, a few words as to the proposals with regard to the Militia. The scheme for localizing the Militia was valuable, but he did not quite understand the difficulty spoken of by the Financial Secretary, who said that officers of the Line and the Militia could not be quartered together, and could not serve in the same ranks, because the former were paid and the latter were unpaid. He ventured to assert that what was wanted was in the Line long service for the men and short service for the officers, and in the Militia the reverse—so that the short service might fit the men to be recruits for the Line. What ought to be done, and the purchase system offered facilities for doing it, was to make it a condition for officers entering the Army in future that if they left the service within 15 years they should be bound to serve in the Militia, for 28 days every year for the remainder of the time. That would form a bond between the local Militia and the Line, and under such a system there would not be the slightest difficulty in supplying the Militia with good officers. As to the system of Reserves which the Government proposed to introduce with the rule of short service, he, as a practical soldier, ventured to deny the conclusion which the Secretary of State drew. His own opinion was that if they had had a short service Army when they went to the Crimea, or such an Army as they had on the heights of Sebastopol the second season, that fortress never would have been taken. He would give an instance to show the difference between young and old soldiers. In his battalion they had from 900 to 1,000 men when they first went out, and they brought back half, and killed the other half. A body of recruits were sent out. He saw them when they arrived—fine, healthy, hardy, young boys, a great contrast to the ragged veterans they served with. But what happened? So great was the mortality among them that they went by the name of "The dead draught." In two weeks they buried 69 of them, and when they returned to London they had only 15 boys in the ranks. Under the short-service system, such was the sort of lads of whom their Army would be composed. The noble Lord concluded by thanking their Lordships for the attention with which he had been heard.


said, he agreed with a great deal that had been said by his noble and gallant Friend, but, nevertheless, he differed from his conclusion. If there were no stump, and no constituencies, and no large majority of the House of Commons, and no large body of officers not unfavourable to the proposed change, the question of leaving things in their present state might perhaps be still considered. But the matter had advanced a stage further. The Bill was, no doubt, not entirely satisfactory. It had a fine name, the "Army Regulation Bill" outside, a "Bill for the Regulation of the Forces" inside; but he looked in vain to its contents to warrant those fine titles. The contents were small, and the Bill was of such a character that the Amendment was not only not unreasonable, but was entitled to a fair consideration. He could see no advantage, however, whether in the interests of the Army or of good government, in postponing a decision. The purchase system offered many advantages, but not so unmixed with drawbacks that their Lordships should be afraid that some other system equally favourable to discipline and efficiency could not be adopted. It appeared to him that in principle purchase could not be defended—certainly not as the principle on which promotion in an honourable service ought to be conducted. They could hardly expect that any considerable institution could be removed without some sharp attack and strong defence—prolonged, perhaps, for more than one Session. The attack might take the form of a disagreeable agitation, conducted in a disagreeable spirit. The defence might be pronounced as vexatious and unworthy by those who held that the walls of the assailed citadel ought to fall down upon their blowing their own trumpets. But if the institution was strong it would stand—if weak it would perish. The best friends of purchase had admitted that the arguments in its favour were weak, fair terms of compensation were now offered—they had it from good authority that the terms were liberal—and he therefore could not recommend the rejection of the Bill. The proceedings of Her Majesty's Government were not such as to entitle them to appeal with confidence to their Lordships in this matter. The noble Duke who spoke the other night from behind the Ministerial bench (the Duke of Somerset) had claimed from the Government some definite assurance that the improvements they had promised would be carried into effect if the Bill passed. He hoped before the close of the debate some satisfactory assurance of that kind would be given; but, under all the circumstances, he believed it to be in the interests of the public and of all concerned that the Bill should pass. He regretted that on this occasion he did not find himself in accord with those around him, but he hoped this might be considered a question on which fair men might differ. When this Bill should have passed, the real work of organization would begin. There was very little in the Bill, and the noble Lord the Under Secretary and other Ministers had said little or nothing about such matters as barracks, which must be constructed on a very large scale if there was to be any great increase in the number of recruits to be trained: there was nothing said about fortifications or armaments, which were still in a very imperfect condition; no allusion to a second arsenal, which was absolutely indispensable to our military security; and nothing about a new building for the War Office, which was a matter of necessity for more practical administration. Nothing had been said about the question of India, and little or nothing about the scheme of retirement—but how necessary it was that something should be done in that way would appear when he told their Lordships that, according to a pamphlet recently published, he believed by Sir E. Sullivan, officers who now entered the Artillery might expect to be lieutenant colonels in 120 years. All these were points requiring great attention from Her Majesty's Government. The question of retirement especially ought not to be postponed; it was a matter which called for immediate action. As he thought it desirable that Her Majesty's Government should be free to turn their attention to those great questions, he should vote for the second reading of the Bill.


said, he regretted that the noble Earl (the Earl of Longford) should have come to the decision he had announced without, having given sufficient grounds for doing so. The noble Earl, as he thought, did not express himself at all favourable to the Bill, but said that the system of purchase did not admit of defence. Now, he (the Earl of Lucan) entertained so strong an opinion on this subject that he thought it his duty as a soldier to uphold the purchase system as long as he could, believing in his conscience that the purchase system was the best system for the English Army. This system of purchase arose with the beginning of a standing Army in this country, it had lasted for 200 years, under it all the glorious achievements of the British Army had been accomplished, and it had given us the most active, the most energetic, and the most able-bodied officers of any Army in the world. When he said that physically they were better than any other officers of any service he would add that they were unsurpassed for their loyalty, for their valour, for their devotion to the service. It was not a system that was easily understood by a foreigner, but when it was understood he approved it. As had been stated lately in this House, General La Marmora appreciated it; and Marshal Canrobert said—"It is my opinion—an opinion I have always expressed and shall express—that there are no braver soldiers in the world than the British soldiers except their officers, who are braver still." With these facts—the truth of which he could produce documents to attest—he had no hesitation in defending the system. He contended that their purchase system was, properly speaking, no purchase system at all. He was not speaking now of the over-regulation prices; but with regard to the regulation price, he wholly denied that it was purchase. It was said by the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Sandhurst) the other night that the purchase system arose at a time when civil offices were bought and sold, and he argued that, like the others, it was the corrupt growth of a corrupt age. Well then, why was it not abolished when the buying and selling of civil offices were abolished? No—it was not abolished, but it was regulated. And why? Because it was known that one of two things must be done—either the retiring officer must receive some value for his commission or be pensioned by the State, and the State was niggardly enough to refuse to give the pension. He could not allow that it was purchase, because the money did not pass from one officer to another. The price of the commission was really a sum of money lodged—it was a security for the good behaviour of the officer. He had said just now that nothing passed between officer and officer—the money was paid to the Government, who paid certain sums of money to retiring officers in lieu of pensions. It was at a very recent date that the traffic in commissions, as it was called, was introduced, and that had been done by the Government itself. There was no doubt that the Government had of late years been trafficking in commissions in a most disgraceful and disgusting way. The Government had at their disposal a sum amounting to nearly £2,000,000, which had been contributed by the officers of the Army. He would mention two instances in which the Government had improperly dipped into that Reserve Fund. There was a certain Engineer officer who was receiving civil pay to such an amount as disqualified him from receiving professional pay. The Government of that day—he knew not whether it was Conservative or Liberal—took £1,800 out of this Reserve Fund for the purpose of handing it over to this captain. In the next instance the Government took £7,000 or £8,000 out of this Reserve Fund for the purpose of buying out an officer. In consequence of the acts of the Government purchase became general. It was under the Liberals, who were always declaiming against purchase, the system had become general. He readily admitted that if the abolition of purchase had become necessary the terms offered by the Bill were not unjust. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War told the House of Commons that purchase was an obstacle which met him at every corner, and that for the purpose of amalgamating the Line with the Militia and the Volunteers it was necessary to abolish purchase. Now as to the obstruction, during the whole time that this question had been under discussion in the other House not a single proof had been given of the manner in which it so acted; and as to amalgamation, everybody who knew anything about the system of purchase knew that the question whether officers should be appointed by purchase or without purchase had nothing at all to do with the question of amalgamation. Their Lordships were told that if that Bill was passed into law promotion was to be carried out by selection. He must really ask the noble Lord who had charge of that Bill (Lord Northbrook) whether selection did not exist at present? He could show that the power of selection did exist at this moment, and was formerly exercised. At the time that he entered the Army, under the rule of the Duke of York—under Lord Hill—the power of selection had been exercised. He knew of cases in which it had taken place even in the Guards, and therefore there could be no doubt it was exercised in regard to the Line. Their Lordships were told that the Government would introduce a system of retirement which would secure a flow of promotion. He regretted that the noble Lord (Lord Northbrook) and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War were so reserved on that question. Would the noble Lord (Lord Northbrook) tell him at what age officers ought to retire—at what age would he compel them to retire, for it must come to that? He believed that this hobby of the Government—the abolition of purchase, including the cost of retirement—would involve an expenditure of nearly £40,000,000. It was admitted on all hands that this measure was most incomplete and fragmentary, and the way in which the Government sought to overcome that objection was to invite the House to wait until they saw what they would see and to place confidence in them. The House, however, had but little ground for placing confidence in the noble Lord the Under Secretary for War, who had been the most unfortunate Minister for War that this country had ever been afflicted with. The noble Lord had abolished squadrons in the cavalry, and had reverted to the obsolete system of troops, which had been discarded by every cavalry force in Europe excepting their own, and he had reduced their battalions on peace service to 500 men; and, as they had no reserves, they would find themselves in considerable difficulty if ever they had occasion to go to war, seeing that it would take 10 regiments at their present strength to make up a weak brigade of 2,000 men. Complaint had been made in the other House of Parliament that the greater part of the regiments sent out to India were composed of mere boys. True it was that the Government had undertaken that only those who had reached a more mature age should be sent to that country in future; but the effect of the new regulations would be to injure the home regiments, which would have to receive all the striplings from the regiments about to be sent out, which would be composed of all their best soldiers. The system of short service was at the bottom of the evil, because under it they could only secure the services of mere boys, those who had attained the age of men being unwilling to enlist in the service on the understanding that, instead of being allowed to make it their profession for life, they would be turned adrift after they had wasted in it the best years of their youth. Under the old system a man served 7, 14, or 21 years, with a pension to look forward to, and without the inducement of a pension they would never raise an efficient Army in England. He regarded the Army Reserve, which had been so much relied upon by the Government in the course of the debates upon that Bill, as being a mere sham and delusion, and he defied the noble Lord to produce the 9,000 of which he said that Reserve already consisted. Having found fault with almost everything the Government had done or intended to do, there was one thing for which he must give them credit. He thought they were entitled to great credit for having increased their artillery force, which was now in a highly efficient condition both in point of men and material. And he thought, moreover, that the provisions in the Bill with regard to railways were excellent. It was absolutely necessary that, in time of emergency, the railways should be in the hands of the authorities. On the whole, he trusted that their Lordships would take further time to consider their scheme by rejecting the measure that night.


said, he desired to offer a very few remarks on the subject before the House. He must decline to enter into the military question, on which he felt he was not competent to give an opinion, and would address himself to the broad principle involved by the Bill. There were two issues raised by this measure—first, the abolition of the existing system of purchase; and, secondly, the re-organization of the Army. The noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond) proposed to put the question of purchase off for a year. But was that a desirable proceeding? It was clear that if this measure were rejected on this occasion the question of the re-organization of the Army must be thrown over for another year; and he asked the House whether, looking around at the general state of affairs abroad, it would be wise to take a step that would prevent their forces being placed upon an efficient footing for so long a period. It was admitted on all hands that the terms now offered to the officers were very liberal—far beyond what could have been anticipated—and it would be scarcely wise on the part of that House, in the interests of the officers themselves, to reject the offer that had been made them. Many Members of the House of Commons had assented to that offer being made with considerable reluctance, and he was afraid that in the event of its being rejected by their Lordships, those hon. Members would not be prevailed upon again to sanction the expenditure of such a large sum of public money. In fact, he himself entertained great doubts as to the propriety of this large expenditure out of the public purse, and he should prefer seeing the system which had been adopted by Lord Palmerston with reference to the fortifications followed in the present instance with regard to the abolition of purchase. Then, as to the question of re-organization—it had been said that the Government proposed to abolish purchase without giving information as to what their scheme of re-organization was to be. Perhaps that might be true as to what had passed in the other House; but in this House the noble Lord the Under Secretary for War, in his speech in which he introduced the Bill to their Lordships, had fully sketched the entire plan of the Government. It should not be forgotten that the purchase system did not rest upon a Parliamentary footing, and did not rest on Parliamentary sanction, and that if the Government chose to put an end to it, and if the House of Commons chose to vote the money for the compensation, and to attach the Vote to the Appropriation Act, their Lordships' House would be powerless to prevent the change from being carried out. He believed it was necessary that they should have a larger Army than they had hitherto had for the due protection of their shores, and he besought their Lordships to take that question out of the region and scope of party. Whatever the expense, it should be the great aim of all parties to render their Army as efficient as possible. He confessed he had heard with regret the speech delivered on Friday by a noble Earl opposite, who spoke in a strong party sense — in his opinion the subject should be considered altogether irrespective of party feelings, motives, or interests. On the other hand, he had heard with great pleasure the speech of the noble Earl (the Earl of Longford), who had formerly filled the office of Under Secretary for War under a Conservative Government. He thought that speech could not fail to have a most important effect on the result. Nothing could be so injurious to the interests of the service as the uncertainty which hung over the subject; and the abolition of purchase having once been proposed by the Government on such favourable terms, it was impossible that that system could be long maintained—no good object could be gained by delaying the settlement of the question—and by passing this measure they would be paving the way for the further necessary reforms in the organization of the Army, and for the framing of a proper scheme of retirement. He believed that a high standard of education was requisite for the officers of the Army; but he doubted whether competitive examination should be made such a sine quâ non as some authorities seemed disposed to make it. He knew it had been said that if this Bill were carried it would impose such an enormous expense for compensation and retirements, that the House of Commons would endeavour to meet the additional cost by cutting down the expenditure necessary for the military service. But he thought the House of Commons might be safely trusted to use due discretion as to the means necessary for the security of the country. In conclusion, he implored their Lordships not to throw out that Bill, but to weigh well the advice given them by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby), who had told them, in a speech marked by much good sense, that it was impossible for them to stand in the way of a measure like the present for any length of time; and the only effect of their delaying its adoption would be to injure the officers, and the Army itself, and perhaps also to throw some discredit upon that House.


said, that if the Crown were to issue a warrant depriving the officers of the Army, at one stroke, of the money they had paid for their commissions, it would commit a downright robbery, more detrimental to the interests of the country than the value of the sum involved twenty times told. He was ashamed of the argument which had been brought before the House to deter them from doing what was their duty, not to the officers only, but to the public at large. His own vote on that occasion would be founded not on the interests of the officers—which he viewed as a minor matter—but upon the duty which, he felt he owed to the country. He in no degree called in question the liberality of the House of Commons in voting the sum necessary for recouping the officers for the money they had expended in the purchase of their commissions; but the destruction of the system of purchase brought with it a large number of other important questions in relation to the Army, which were not always understood by those who made speeches that sounded plausibly enough in the ears of the public; but things looked very different when seen through the eyes of those who had witnessed the practical operation of the present system. The subject of purchase had been much obscured by the antiquarian learning which some had brought to bear upon it, and he believed it could be proved that the money originally deposited by officers for their commissions was nothing but a sort of insurance for their good conduct. Such, at least, was the operation of the system under the House of Stuart and the House of Hanover. But, apart from the main question of abolition of purchase, there were numerous smaller points involved. The question the House had to consider was not promotion by purchase merely, but promotion altogether. The illustrious Duke the Commander-in-Chief had given his assent to that scheme on the assurance that a proper flow of promotion would be maintained. But how was that pledge on the part of the Government to be kept? The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War had stated that the junior officers ought to remain longer in the service than they did at present before they received promotion. It was all very well, then, to say, in vague general terms, that when purchase was abolished there would be no stagnation in the service; but what were the measures by which such a stagnation was to be prevented? Whatever might be the demerits of purchase, it had, by the avowal of its opponents, been the means of maintaining an Army which had upheld the honour and glory of the British name in every part of the world. The question was not how the language that had been used on the other side of the House sounded now, but how it would sound if the changes now proposed were adopted. In treating of the principle of selection, as proposed by Her Majesty's Government, he must be allowed to quote from a speech of the noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset,) made in 1855, in defence of the system of purchase, as affording the best means for securing a constant succession of young officers in the service — wherein the noble Duke (then Lord Seymour) said— They were told that in the Artillery the system of purchase did not exist, while in the Line commissions were obtained by purchase, and that if the two branches of the service were compared it would be found that the Artillery officers were much older men than the officers of the Line.… Selection might do very well in time of war, for there was then great power of selection—great opportunity for distinction; and privates, by their valour and good conduct, were rightly promoted to commissions. But that, he repeated, could only occur in time of war. In time of peace the difficulty would be greatly increased. In time of peace he knew what it would end in, for if it was attempted it would end in favouritism.…. It appeared to him that the main point involved in the Resolution was, that the present system was injurious to the publc service; but, before he could vote in favour of such Resolution, he wanted to know what other system could be substituted; and, as yet, no other had been suggested. It was true that it had been said that promotion should go by merit, and not by purchase; but it had not been shown how such a system could be carried into operation."—[3 Hansard, cxxxvi. 2131–2.] If this Bill passed the officers of the Army would be placed in the humiliating position of being obliged to go cap in hand to some person who might be a very good lawyer, or a member of some other profession, but who knew nothing of military affairs, and ask to be allowed to remain in the service of their country and receive promotion; and he asked the Government whether, under such circumstances, and feeling as he did, he thought he could subject the service to which he belonged, which he honoured, and of which he was proud, to such a system? What would noble Lords say if it was proposed to alter any other profession without providing proper precautions and conditions? The noble Earl had truly said that this Bill was a sacrifice to the utter ignorance of a large part of the population. Nor, under their present system of Government, was there anything to prevent one of these men appearing at the head of the profession. There were besides plenty of men in the Army aspiring to high positions who sought reputation through the means of that tremendous instrument—the Press; who were not looked on favourably by their brother officers; and he thought to place such men at the head of the military forces of the country to discharge the functions hitherto discharged by the Commander-in-Chief, with the increased power of interference which the contemplated legislation must bring with it, would be anything but advisable. Before he could give up the present system of purchase he must see something better. With the interests of persons connected with the Army they might do as they pleased; but they could not deal in that way with its honours and rewards. The duty incumbent on that House was not that of examining whether officers should or should not be paid a certain sum, but to see that by any act of that House the Army should not be placed in an inferior position either in morale or efficiency. With regard to the Reserve forces the same principle should prevail; for under this Bill and the prospective legislation there was great danger that the Volunteer system would fail altogether. It was their duty to see that the service of the country did not suffer by any act of theirs, and therefore he felt he was discharging his duty in giving his vote against the Bill.


said, he desired to state the views that induced him to support this Bill, which ought, in his opinion, to be judged, not simply by the actual clauses it contained, but also in conjunction with the intentions of the Government. Their original scheme fell short of what the country had a right to expect under present circumstances; but inadequate as it was originally, it had been so truncated, so reduced, in its passage through the other House, that it had come up to their Lordships still more inadequate to the needs of the nation. It had been attenuated to a measure for the abolition of purchase, and it proposed to revolutionize their military system as regarded the officers of both the Regular Army and the Reserve forces. He wished to draw the attention of their Lordships to the deficiency of the scheme as regarded the sanitary condition of the Army—that being a subject which he was the first to mention in Parliament, and in investigating which he had contracted a malady that had destroyed one of his eyes and greatly injured the other. He had, however, never ceased to feel an interest in the question, and he only hoped that the authorities at the War Office were as well acquainted as he with the Army medical reports; though he feared they were not, for the Bill fell lamentably short of the requirements pointed out in those reports. With respect to the youth of the recruits, he could not condemn too strongly allowing lads of 18 or 20 to enter the Army. It had been answered that it was impossible to obtain recruits at a more advanced age; but if that was the case the scheme of the Government was seriously defective, inasmuch as it did not recognize the present condition of affairs, and did not make proper provision for the great body of their Regular Army. He regretted that the Bill made no better provision for a system of recruiting. The proposal with respect to Militia barracks was short-sighted and wasteful, and ought to have been incorporated in a scheme for the general defence of the country. It seemed to him that the Government rested contentedly in a state of sanguine benevolence and amiable credulity, unmindful of the state of Ireland and of foreign countries, for they were content with an Army of 147,000 men on paper, assuring the country that the 30,000 of the First Reserve, and 9,000 of the second would, in the course of 10 or 12 years, have swelled to a really formidable force. Looking at the response given by Ireland to the measures of the two last years, and Europe arming to the teeth, he feared the view of Her Majesty's Government was too roseate. It might be asked why it was that he did not support the Amendment of the noble Duke opposite instead of supporting the Bill of the Government, which formed part of a scheme which he believed at best to be inadequate. His answer was that he adopted his present course upon two grounds—from a regard to the public interests, and from a regard to the interests of the officers, whose interests were so deeply involved in this question. He believed that under the present Bill promotion by selection could be carried on fairly and efficiently, and if so carried on it ought to provide the country with officers still abler than those who had hitherto so gloriously upheld the honour of the Army. Questions of administration being more fit for the Executive than for Parliament, he thought the Government, unless altogether superseded, should be intrusted with any powers which they declared necessary, leaving them responsible for the results. The evil of leaving the question in suspense had, moreover, been cogently shown. He would appeal, therefore, to noble Lords opposite not to follow the noble Duke, of whose good sense and patriotism they were so naturally convinced, and he felt sure they would hereafter experience as much satisfaction as he felt at having supported the Militia Bill 15 years age, at the expense of party ties.


said, he should support the Amendment. It was above all things necessary that the defences of the country should be put in a complete and efficient state, and one great objection which he felt to this Bill was that it would involve such a large expenditure for the retirement of officers that the country would not be in a mood to grant any more money afterwards for rendering those defences as complete as possible. The result would be a repetition of the policy of concession recently displayed towards Russia. He objected very much to the way in which the Militia were dealt with under this Bill;—he thought, indeed, that the Militia, who had always given their services whenever they were required, and who had volunteered for foreign as well as for home service, had been very ill-used for some time past. The best way for supplying the Reserve forces with men was to have long service in the Regular Army, and send the men who came home after a certain period into the Militia. In that way the Militia would procure well-drilled men accustomed to rifle practice—which was a very important matter, inasmuch as modern warfare was conducted not by means of bayonet charges, but by artillery and rifle practice at long ranges. It was absurd to suppose that a man could be taken from the plough-tail and turned out in 28 days as a well-drilled soldier, efficiently instructed in the use of the rifle.


said, he had been surprised to find that in the course of these debates the real question at issue had received comparatively little discussion. The question of the abolition of purchase was founded upon the other question of the re-organization of the Army; the subject had long been before the country, and the principle and practice of the purchase system had been denounced by a Royal Commission, condemned by all the heads of the profession, condemned by a large majority of the House of Commons, and condemned by public opinion from one end of the country to the other. ["No, no!] Well, that was his contention. Public attention having been directed to the subject by the late war, the Government had not waited for any loud expression of opinion on the part of the people, which might only have embarrassed them, but with becoming and proper foresight they had looked into the state of our military forces, and had come to the conclusion that it was necessary to increase them. But the purchase system stood in their way, and it was needful to get rid of it. Since the subject had been before their Lordships the opponents of the Government scheme had taken the most conflicting positions. Some, while admitting that it was a comprehensive scheme, declared that it was without details, some that it had too many and was overlaid with them, and some complained of a lack of information on the question; and one speaker had termed it a naked measure for the abolition of purchase. One objection made to the Bill was that the flow of promotion under it would not be sufficiently rapid; but the Secretary for War affirmed that the flow of promotion would continue to be as rapid as it was now. He himself (Lord Truro) did not attach such high importance to a rapid flow of promotion as some did. Then, as to the question of the instruction of officers, a noble and gallant Lord (Lord Abinger) had asked what constituted a professional officer? He could tell the noble Lord what did not constitute a professional officer; no man was a professional officer unless he went into the Army with a view of training and perfecting himself in his duties. Modern warfare was no longer force opposed to force—in the Army, as elsewhere, it was intellect opposed to intellect, and it was necessary to have officers with better professional attainments of a far higher standard; and it should not be forgotten that the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Sandhurst) and another noble Lord had stated that there was at present great difficulty in finding officers for special service. He had been surprised throughout the debates to hear the question discussed almost entirely in the interest of the officers, so that the public might be led to infer that the Army was the Army of the officers rather than of the nation; but it had been admitted by the highest authorities that the scheme of the Government was in the highest degree liberal to the officers; and since it was, at the same time, comprehensive and likely to be very effectual in its operation, he did not see how their Lordships could reject it on the ground that it was injurious to the interests of the officers. With regard to promotion by selection, a great deal had been said as to the inexpediency of leaving that power in the hands of any one individual; but considering that the illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge) had completely won the confidence of the Army and of the public, and that since he had held his high office there had never been the slightest suspicion of partiality or political bias, he was satisfied that the power might be intrusted to him. On the question of enlistment, some noble Lords had expressed a strong preference for a long period of service; and no doubt the Government would have preferred a longer term of enlistment; but it having become necessary to increase the Army rapidly and at moderate expense, they had no alternative but to accept men on the only terms on which they were to be obtained—namely, short service. Should the Bill get into Committee, he intended to move that the Militia adjutants' term of office should expire in three instead of five years, as he had known instances where they had been ineffective. As to the Volunteers being brought under the Mutiny Act, he should like to know how a Volunteer was to be dealt with in the event of his happening to commit himself while out with the Regular forces and to make his escape when the camp was broken up. There were difficulties of that kind which would have to be met before the question could be decided. As to the Bill before the House, he for one should be sorry that a measure which had been passed by so large a majority of the House of Commons should be rejected by their Lordships, and the expectations of the country as a consequence disappointed.


said, he wished shortly to explain the reasons for the vote which he intended to give on this important subject. Having listened with great interest to the able speeches which had been delivered on both sides, including those of some of their ablest military authorities, on the subject before the House, he derived great satisfaction from having observed the strong feeling which seemed to prevail as to the necessity of re-organizing their Army, and so placing the country in a state of security. He should regret that they should exhibit any negligence of the warnings which they had received from recent events on the Continent, or that they should refuse to make the necessary sacrifices to guard against any dangers which might arise. The question before the House was by no means, in his opinion, confined to he abolition of purchase—although that, no doubt, formed a very important part of the Government proposal. A wider view must, he thought, be taken of the subject; and, looking upon it in that light, he felt bound to say—sorry as he was to differ from those with whom he usually acted—that he regarded the present Bill as most unsatisfactory. If by refusing to support the Bill he should be throwing any obstruction in the way of military improvement, he should reproach himself with taking that course. He could not, however, see that any such consequence would be the result of the rejection of the measure. The question of the abolition of purchase had no doubt its great importance; but those who had professional experience of the working of the present system by no means shared in the objections which were urged against it. It should not, at all events in his opinion, seeing that it had existed for two centuries, be abolished without having a sufficient substitute provided. If it were about to be introduced for the first time he should oppose its adoption, but it could not, after so long an experience, be regarded in that light. Whatever delay might follow from the rejection of the Bill would, he could not help thinking, be small compared with the inconvenience which might result from its passing; and he hoped, be its fate what it might, that the Government would not lose sight of the necessity of efficiently re-organizing their Army.


said, that the subject embraced two great questions—the abolition of purchase and the system of retirement. The Bill dealt with the former question only, and dealt with it, in his opinion, in a very unsatisfactory manner; and as to the question of promotion and retirement, the plan suggested by the Government satisfied nobody. As to promotion by selection, the noble Earl who represented the Navy in that House (the Earl of Camperdown) said that the system of selection was the practice of the Navy, and was perfectly satisfactory; but he had never met a naval officer not connected with the Government who was not more or less dissatisfied with the system of promotion in the Navy.


My Lords, although the Resolution which has been moved by the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) does not mention the question of purchase, it will, I think, be in the recollection of those of your Lordships who have attended to the debate for the last two nights and up to the present time of to-night's debate, that by far the greater part of the debate has turned upon the question of the abolition of purchase. Noble Lords have further maintained that there was no connection between the abolition of purchase and the re-organization of the Army. Her Majesty's Government are of opinion that the abolition of purchase is the first and necessary step for that purpose; but the noble Lords who oppose the Bill have declared that the re-organization of the Army might be effected without abolishing purchase, and that purchase might be abolished without the reorganization of the Army—in fact, that there is no connection between the two questions. It seems to me, therefore, that their position is altogether illogical and unreasoning. They refuse to abolish purchase, because they want to know something more about a matter which they declare to be utterly unconnected with it. It may be right to raise a direct question on the abolition of purchase, or on the plan for the re-organization of the Army; but to make one dependent on the other is entirely inconsistent with the views and declarations of noble Lords who have spoken against the Bill. I shall abstain at this time of night from going into general considerations, and confine myself to those points in the Bill which have been objected to in the course of the debate. The noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) complains that there is no plan contained in the Bill, and says, with an air of triumph, "That is my case." I should have thought that any noble Lord who, like the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) was himself a soldier, and who was acquainted with the military system of this country, must have known that the whole organization of the Army depends upon regulations and warrants, and not upon an Act of Parliament. The Mutiny Act and the Bill which limits the period of service are the only two Acts which can in any way be said to refer to the re-organization of the Army. The next objection taken by the noble Duke is that the Government are beginning at the wrong end of the question. The noble Duke says that we ought to have increased the pay and pensions of the soldiers. That has already been done, and the result of the consequent improvement that has been made in the condition of the soldiers is that recruiting has never before been conducted in so favourable a manner. Since the passing of the Short Service Act of last year the increase in the Army has been upwards of 20,000 men, and 30,000 recruits have been obtained without bounty. This result is, under the circumstances, quite unexampled, and it proves that the classes from whom our soldiers are drawn are fully aware of the advantage of entering the military service of the country. It is hardly necessary to touch upon such questions as the state of the stores and the transport service, which have been mentioned in the course of the debate. The recent Report on the transport service during the Expedition to the Red River showed that this Department was in a satisfactory state. Nor will I touch on the questions of gunpowder, the fortifications of London, the establishment of a second arsenal, or other matters which have been recommended. Many of these have been done, others are under consideration; but however important they may be, they do not affect the re-organization of our combatant force. The noble Earl (Earl Russell) recommended the permanent embodying of the Militia. I confess that I was surprised at this proposition. The embodied Militia is a force as expensive as troops of the Line and not so efficient, because it is not available for foreign service. If, therefore, a force to the extent of the Regular troops now at home and of the Militia, taken together, is to be maintained during peace, it would be cheaper and better to increase the Regular Army. This is the view of my noble Friend on the cross-benches (Earl Grey), one of whose great objections to the Bill is that we increase the Militia, which he considers an useless and expensive force. But I would ask the noble Earl (Earl Russell) whether he thinks that the House of Commons and the country is prepared to vote and maintain permanently under arms during profound peace a force of from 200,000 to 220,000 men, whether it consists only of troops of the Line, or of such troops combined with the Militia? I do not believe that such a proposal would find favour in this country. The noble Earl then found fault with the system of short service and the Reserve, and a noble and gallant Viscount (Viscount Melville) declared that the short service had been introduced merely from motives of economy, and that the Reserve was a delusion. The noble Viscount is entirely mistaken as to the reason for introducing short service. It is the indispensable condition of having an effective Reserve. What we want both in the Army and Navy is the means of suddenly increasing our force of effective men on the outbreak of war. The means of doing this is provided to a certain extent in the Navy by the Naval Reserve, and a similar system has been adopted for the Army. But such a Reserve to be effective must consist of young and active men who have served sufficiently long in the Line to have the advantage of training and discipline, and to be still fit for foreign service, and if your Lordships will reflect for a moment you must see that the short service system is absolutely indispensable to give us a force of that description. I will not enter into the precise period of service. It is now six years. The Act of last year enables the Secretary of State to put men into the Reserve after three years service with the colours, and this power has been recently exercised. It was originally proposed in the Bill to take power to do so after a shorter period than three years. It is asserted that three years' service will not be sufficient. But in the Prussian Army the service with the colours is for three years, and we saw last year what Prussian soldiers, after only three years service, could do. I, for one, do not think so lowly of my countrymen as to believe that what a Prussian can do an Englishman cannot do. Another objection is that the number of the Reserves is not large enough. But it is impossible to create a Reserve of such soldiers at once. Noble Lords must remember that the inevitable effect of creating a large Reserve at once by discharging men from the Army would be entirely to disorganize the regiments from which the men were discharged. It is only by the gradual discharge year by year of as many men its can be conveniently replaced by recruiting that a Reserve can be formed without injuring the Army itself. The progress so far has been satisfactory. When the present Government came into office there were only 1,000 Army and 3,000 Militia Reserves; but they have increased until the Army Reserve is already between 6,000 and 7,000 men, and provision is made for its attaining, in the course of the year 9,000. The Militia Reserve has been raised to 20,000, and provision is made for raising it to 30,000 in the year, and if they continue to increase at the same rate the Reserve will soon be a most effective body of men. Short service was introduced only last year, and more has been done than it was supposed could possibly have been done in the time. My right hon. Friend at the War Office has no reason to be disheartened. A noble Lord who considers himself a great military authority (Lord Elcho) said that an entirely different scheme would be far more effectual in establishing a Reserve. But my right hon. Friend has no difficulty in showing that before Lord Elcho's scheme could be brought into operation there would be on the actual system, if it continued to prosper, a Reserve force of no less than 81,000 men. A noble Friend of mine who spoke on the last night of the debate (Earl Russell), said he was ashamed of the economy practised in regard to the expenditure for improving our military force. I must remark, however, that this year the Estimates have been increased to the extent of £2,000,000, instead of being reduced, as the noble Earl assumed. He then anticipated a reduction next year. I really do not know on what grounds he should do so. He spoke of the state of preparation in which all Europe was as to military matters, and compared it with what he considered to be the unprepared state of this country; but I am at a loss to see how this evil will be remedied by the proposal of the noble Earl to postpone doing anything towards the organization of our Army for a year. I will now refer to the matters which are mentioned in the Resolution of the noble Duke. I need not say anything as to the appointment of officers, to which very little, if any, objection has been made. The next point is the promotion of officers. The noble Duke commenced his argument against the proposal of the Government by referring to what occurred some years ago, of a great stagnation in the artillery having been partly removed by artillery officers being allowed to sell their commissions to officers of the Line. I confess I should have thought that a stronger instance of the abuse of purchase could not have been given. But my noble Friend must have forgotten that as the system in the artillery is promotion by seniority, and the proposal of the Government is promotion by selection, any proof of the failure of seniority is not even a plausible argument against selection; and the noble Duke gave at the same time a remarkable instance where promotion by selection would have been most valuable. He mentioned the fact that the Duke of Wellington had given the command of the whole of his artillery in the Peninsular to Captain Dickson, a command, I believe, almost equal to that of a general of division. I rather think that this officer was a lieutenant colonel in the Portuguese service; but surely it would have been for the interests of the service if an officer of such ability could have been promoted by selection to a rank in our own service more equal to the importance of the command with which he was so fitly intrusted. My noble Friend near me (Lord Northbrook) has explained very clearly how the principle of selection is to be exercised—namely, by the Commander-in-Chief, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State. In the lower ranks of the Army promotion will, speaking generally, be regimental, in the higher ranks it will be Army promotion; but my noble Friend added that it will be absolutely necessary that selection shall be carried so far even in regimental promotion, as to prevent the system of purchase from springing up again. It appears in the Duke of Cambridge's evidence that purchase cannot be prevented if regimental promotion is continued. It certainly would be most absurd if after paying a very large sum for the abolition of purchase, we so managed our promotion that purchase rose up again in the Army. The two great objections stated to selection are that there will be great difficulty in selecting the proper person to be promoted, and that the practice will lapse into favouritism. I may be permitted to speak with some authority on this subject, as I have had the opportunity of being acquainted with two branches of the service, in which promotion by selection has been the rule. In the old Indian Army the officers in what were called the Irregular regiments, were appointed by selection irrespective of rank; and I appeal to my noble Friend formerly Governor General of India (Lord Lawrence), whether these regiments were not avowedly the best in the service. When I was Secretary of State for India I re-organized the whole Indian Army on the principle of selection for the officers, and your Lordships have heard from the noble and gallant Lord who has been its Commander-in-Chief (Lord Sandhurst) that the Indian Army has benefited signally by that system. I believe, too, that I may appeal to the evidence of another noble Lord (Lord Strathnairn), who has also been Commander-in-Chief in India, as to the advantage of the system of promotion by selection in India. Your Lordships are aware that in the sister service—the Navy—every promotion and every appointment is made by the uncontrolled selection of the First Lord of the Admiralty. I have administered that system myself. I knew what it was for nearly five years when I was Secretary to the Admiralty. I afterwards administered it for upwards of three years as First Lord. I do not for a moment say that it is an easy task; but I do say that there is no insuperable difficulty in it. I will state shortly to your Lordships how I acted. I established, with the able assistance of my noble Friend (Lord Northbrook), who was then my private Secretary, a register in the private office of the services of all officers, which was carefully kept up. Besides the reference to this record I was constantly going over, day after day, the list of officers with my naval colleagues, asking them what they knew of such and such an officer. I had four excellent officers on my Board, selected by my predecessor Sir James Graham. They had served in different parts of the world, and had a large acquaintance with the service. If they did not know any officer, they could always learn his character by inquiry from the officers under whom and with whom he had served, and it is only from those who are so acquainted with them that you can learn an officer's character. In like manner, if an admiral came to see me, as often happened, I used to ask his opinion of those who had served under him; and I do not hesitate to say that before long I had acquired a competent knowledge of the character of the officers who were in the line of employment or promotion. There may be, as has been said, greater difficulty of selection in the Army; but I cannot believe that the commanding officer of a regiment, if he is himself fitted for such a post, cannot ascertain what the merits and fitness of the officers under him are in the discharge of the duty which they have to perform. With regard to favouritism, your Lordships have heard the declaration of the noble Duke behind me (the Duke of Somerset), and I can say in the same manner that I never remember to have received a recommendation for the promotion or appointment of an officer of the Navy from that official person who is supposed to be so dangerous to the virtue of persons in high office—the Secretary of the Treasury. Noble Lords asked by what checks the selection is to be guarded. I have no faith in checks and safeguards. Place the power of selection in the hands of a proper person, and trust him. Public opinion, and the higher tone of morality of the present day, are the best safeguards that you can have. I have perfect confidence in the impartiality of the illustrious Duke; and I believe that, whether in the hands of His Royal Highness, or in those of a Secretary of State for War, the selections will be impartially made. There is no reason why the Secretary of State for War should be more open to solicitation or pressure with reference to the appointment or promotion of officers than the First Lord of the Admiralty is. Intimately connected with the subject of promotion, as has been stated by the illustrious Duke and by many of your Lordships, is the question of retirement. No doubt but that it is so. The Secretary of State in "another place," and my noble Friend (Lord Northbrook) in your Lordships' House, have stated that the Government is prepared to give such an amount of retirement as will ensure a flow of promotion about as rapid as is now the case. Her Majesty's Government are pledged to that assurance; but though I entertain a stronger opinion of the necessity of retirements than some of my Colleagues, I quite agree with the Secretary of State for War that it is utterly impossible at present to lay down a scheme; nor, indeed, can there be any need of doing so for a few years to come. Your Lordships must remember that all existing officers will have the same opportunity of retiring, as they have now, by the sale of their commissions, with the certainty of a purchaser at the customary price of their regiment. They will also be able to avail themselves of the present modes of retiring on half or full-pay. If, as some of them anticipate, the sales of commissions fall off in the course of some years, it may become necessary to increase the amount of retirements, and the money which will be saved to the Government by the diminution of what would be paid by them on sales will afford the means of providing the additional retirements. But there really is no ground for the sort of alarm which some of your Lordships have conjured up as to the enormous amount which will be required for providing retirements. A noble and gallant Lord (Lord Abinger) has spoken of £1,000,000 in one year, as stated by the Government, forgetting that the sum of about £1,000,000 is the estimate for the possible purchase of commissions in one year. That, of course, is a payment of capital, not that of the yearly amount of the annuities to retired officers. The estimate of the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) of the annual sum required in order to provide for the future retirement of officers of the Army, when the sale of commissions has come to an end, calculated in proportion to the sum required for the retirement of the Marines, was £720,000 per annum. For reasons, which I will give by-and-by, I do not think that a proper estimate can be framed at present; but assuming the noble Duke's estimate, and deducting the present amount paid for retirement—that is, £450,000—the additional sum to be provided will be £270,000 per annum. I do not think that the necessity of providing such a sum would frighten the most economical Member of Parliament; and your Lordships may be assured that if when the time comes the country wishes for an efficient body of officers, it will not grudge such an additional amount of retirement; but undoubtedly, if they should not do so, the provision for retirement will not be insured by the announcement of any plan which could now be laid down. It is impossible, however, now to lay down such a plan. We do not know to what extent officers will quit the Army at an early age as now; we do not know to what extent officers incapable of active service abroad may go into the Home and Reserve forces. To a certain extent the scheme of retirement depends on the relative proportion of officers of different ranks, which is not fixed. All these points must be determined before a scheme can properly be laid down. It is absurd to attempt to frame a scheme without sufficient data to proceed upon. In the Navy, where there was ample experience in the matter of retirements, no less than six schemes of retirement for lieutenants alone have been sanctioned in the last 20 years, besides schemes for other ranks. This is, I think, proof enough of the impossibility of at once producing a satisfactory scheme of retirement for the Army. I will not go into the various details of the proposals for amalgamating the Regular and the auxiliary forces of Her Majesty, which have been so clearly explained by my noble Friend (Lord Northbrook); but when noble Lords talk of the mutilated measure, of the abandonment of the main clauses of the Bill as it was introduced, I must remind your Lordships that of the 15 points stated by the Secretary of State for War, on moving the Estimates on the 16th of February, as constituting the scheme of the Government, only three have been abandoned. These are—first, that for shorter service—which, probably, your Lordships will not regret; second, an improvement in the system of Ballot; and third, advancing money, and obtaining land for barracks, neither of which are essential to a re-organization of the Army. That re-organization must be the work of time, in the hands of the Executive Government, and in many points the ultimate arrangements can only be determined upon after some experience. Your Lordships need not fear that the earnest attention of the Government will not be devoted to this great object. I now turn to the question of purchase. I must observe, in the first place, that the system of purchase is indefensible in principle. The illustrious Duke admitted it to be so. The noble Earl below me (Earl Dalhousie), the noble Earl who spoke first on Friday (Earl Russell), my noble Friend on the cross-benches (Earl Grey), all voting against the Bill, nevertheless declared purchase to be indefensible in principle. The noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond) spoke strongly against promotion by seniority; but the promotion in the English Army is now actually by seniority, provided that the senior officer has money. The noble Duke says that there is a veto on incompetent officers, and considers such a veto equal to selection. I cannot admit that to be the case. A veto may prevent a totally unfit man being promoted. Selection would give you the best man. According to the present rule, an officer may be both the senior and the best officer of his rank, but he will not be promoted, unless he has money enough to pay the purchase money, and this holds good even as to the command of a regiment, when, as the Duke of Somerset's Commission pointed out, the fate of a battle may depend upon the conduct of such an officer. Indeed, a stronger case than that mentioned by the noble Duke (the Duke of Somerset) on Friday can hardly be conceived, when, during war, in the face of the enemy, an officer, whom the Duke of Wellington had selected as the fittest man in his Army to be appointed to the difficult task of bringing into order a regiment which had misbehaved, felt himself under the necessity of declining the offer, because he had not the necessary sum for purchase. If it had not been for the accidental circumstance of a brother officer passing his tent, on coming off piquet, before his letter of refusal had been sent, and contriving to raise amongst his friends the required sum, the King's service must have suffered from the fittest man for an important and difficult post not being appointed to it. Whatever the merits of an officer may be, he cannot be promoted unless he has money. My noble Friend opposite will remember the satire of the Roman poet— Est animus, tibi sunt mores, est lingua fides que Sed — sex septem millia desunt. The most meritorious officer cannot attain the command of a regiment unless he has been able to produce the £7,000, which is the price of a lieutenant-colonelcy in the Line. Great complaint was made of my noble Friend (Lord Northbrook) for having used the expression "professional officer," which was declared to be a slur upon the officer. I confess that I cannot understand such a complaint. Is it any slur upon a man that he has adopted the profession of the law, or the profession of medicine—and why should it be a slur upon a man that he has adopted the Army as a profession—has made himself master of his duty, and has qualified himself by study and practice for performing it to the advantage of his country? Such an officer may truly be called a professional officer with honour to himself. There are, no doubt, many young gentlemen who go into the Army for a few years, and who do not intend to make the Army their profession, and who certainly are not professional officers. It has been urged that passing a few years in the Army is a good school for them, and that they are better qualified to discharge the duties which they have to perform in the country, after leaving the Army. I am by no means insensible to these advantages; but I would ask, how is the Army affected by this practice? Is it likely that gentlemen going into the Army for a few years should qualify themselves for doing their duty in the same way as men who make it their profession? In point of fact, it is notorious that they do not. In his evidence before the Duke of Somerset's Commission, Lord West said of the officers who do not intend to remain in the Army— They do not dedicate themselves to it, or pay any attention to qualifying themselves for the higher grades. The Duke of Cambridge, in giving evidence as to candidates for cavalry appointments, said that they did not face the examination; that they were— In a condition of life in which it was no great object to them—as there was a risk of being plucked, they think it not worth their while, as they only wish to be in the Army two or three years. These are what I venture to call unprofessional officers; and the strongest evidence as to the want of proper qualification amongst officers of the Army was given by the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Strathnairn) before the Committee on Military Education, who said— The whole of my evidence goes to prove that owing to a mistaken system of education and training, and want of reward for merit, the absence of proper qualification, of course with exception, exists in all grades, including that of commanding officers. We have been reminded in the debate of the brilliant services of the British Army in all climates and under all circumstances, which no one that I am aware of has questioned for a moment; but I do question the conclusion which it is attempted to draw from this that all the merit was due to non-professional officers. We have been reminded of the glories of the Peninsular War. Was the Duke of Wellington an unprofessional officer? The Duke of Wellington was for six years at a military college, and—with the exception of the short time when he was Irish Secretary—was constantly employed, on active service. Your Lordships may remember the account of the pains which he took to ascertain the weight carried by the soldiers, and other particulars, as to his men, when in command on the coast of Kent — and, if ever there was a professional officer, the Duke of Wellington was so. But most of the officers on the Staff in the Peninsular were professional officers. Sir Howard Douglas, in his examination before one of the recent Military Commissions, was asked when the Staff of the British Army was first made efficient? His answer was— I think it was highly efficient in the course of the Peninsular War, and very much so in consequence of the number of officers who were appointed at that time, after having passed their examination at High Wycombe, and obtained certificates. High Wycombe was then an establishment for military education. He repeats, in a further answer, that the Staff—especially that of the Quarter-Master General—was highly efficient; and he attributes it to their education at High Wycombe. He gives a long list of officers employed with distinction in the Peninsular who were educated there; among whom were Sir George Murray, Lord Hardinge, Sir Henry Bunbury, Sir George Scovell, Sir William Napier, Sir Charles Napier, and others scarcely less distinguished. Surely such officers may fairly be called professional officers; and to them, in no small degree, was due the high character attained by the British Army in those glorious campaigns. The main argument, however, which is urged in favour of purchase is that it produces a steady flow of promotion; and maintains in the British Army a body of officers of younger age than in any other Army in Europe. A little consideration will, I think, show that what is really attained in this way is merely this. A number of non-professional officers who never really qualify themselves for the real duty of the Army leave it after a certain time, and are succeeded by men younger, of course, but who, like those who go, never attempt to qualify themselves for the higher ranks of the Army. A Return quoted by my noble Friend (Lord Northbrook) proves this conclusively. It showed that out of 1,000 officers 627 sold out as ensigns, cornets, lieutenants, or captains—that is to say, that as near as may be two-thirds of the officers of the British Army do not think of making it their profession, and it is not likely therefore that they should qualify themselves for the performance of its duties. The noble Duke spoke of the advantage which it gave to non-purchase officers, and quoted a Return to show the small difference between purchase and non-purchase officers in the time of acquiring the rank of lieutenant colonel. The noble Duke was quite correct as far as he went. He stated correctly that in 1870 the time of attaining that rank by purchase officers was 22 years 3 months, and by non-purchase officers was 24 years 9 months. But whoever gave the noble Duke that information only gave him half of what is necessary in order to form a sound conclusion. He ought to have told him that the promotion of the non-purchase officers who attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1870 had been very much accelerated by the casualties of the Crimean War. The Return is in the Appendix to the Report of the Commission of last year, and if the noble Duke had looked at the very next column he would have seen that in 1852, after a long period of peace, the purchase officers attained their lieutenant-colonelcies in 21 years 4 months, and the non-purchase officers in 30 years, a difference far greater than what would have been inferred from the noble Duke's figures. I do not, however, understand why there should be any great change as to officers leaving the Army after the abolition of purchase. Those who go now, go for some reason or another—they become tired of the Army, they marry, or some change of circumstance occurs which makes them wish to leave the Army. On doing so they receive back again the money which they have invested in their commissions. If they have paid nothing they will have nothing to receive on going; but the reasons which induce men to go will remain the same. They will be much richer men from not purchasing their commissions. At present they receive no interest for the money invested in their commissions. The pay of the Marine officer and of the officer of the Line is the same, and the Marines do not purchase their commissions. Now, if the pay of the Marine officer is not more than enough to defray the cost of his uniform, and as a remuneration for his services, it cannot be more than enough for such objects in the case of an officer of the Line. Therefore, an officer of the Line actually receives no interest whatever for the money invested in his commissions. If not so invested, it will, of course, be invested in some other way. Assuming the amount of money invested by officers of the Army at £8,000,000, and interest at 4 per cent, their income will be increased by the abolition of purchase to no less an amount than £320,000 per annum. I confess that I do not see that the officers of the British Army will suffer from the abolition of purchase. It must be remembered, moreover, that the Commission of last year distinctly reported that to whatever extent the purchase system accelerated promotion, it was altogether owing to the payment of over-regulation and illegal prices, and my noble Friend (Lord Dalhousie), who is a firm advocate of purchase, gave in his evidence a decided opinion that over-regulation prices were unjustifiable: so that on his principles there could be no advantage in the way of promotion from the legitimate system of purchase. The system then of purchase is admitted to be indefensible in principle; it is condemned by the Duke of Somerset's Commission; it is defended only on the ground of its collateral advantages, and the main collateral advantage claimed for it depends on the payment which is avowedly illegal; and, moreover, it is clearly shown that, if you continue the legal purchase, you cannot prevent that which is illegal. Whatever may have been the case heretofore, that illegality is now declared and published to the country. Under these circumstances I venture to ask your Lordships, as fair and candid men, what course the Government should have pursued? Would you have advised them, leaving the regulation purchase untouched, to have put an end to the illegal payments, and so to have deprived the officers of the sums to which we believe them to be equitably entitled? I hardly think so. Would you have had them continue to sanction payments illegal, and which subject those who make them to highly penal consequences? Sir George Grey, the Chairman of the Commission of last year—than whom no man can stand higher for fair and calm judgment—has declared in his place in Parliament such a course to be impossible. I will not refer to the classes described by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby); but there is a large class of earnest and serious men in this country who would not tolerate the continuance by any Government of a practice declared to be illegal. Your Lordships are not only a legislative Assembly, but the highest judicial tribunal in the country, bound above all men to respect and maintain the law. Would your Lordships have recommended that the Government should sanction a continued breach of the law. I do not believe it. If neither of these courses could have been taken, it only remained to put an end altogether to the whole system of purchase. The regulation price depends upon regulation, which may be cancelled without having recourse to Parliament. A Vote for the indemnity to the officers for regulation prices might be taken in by the House of Commons, as was done on the proposed abolition of the rank of cornet and ensign last year. There remained, however, the illegality of the over-regulation price. Only the same legislative power which made the payment illegal can condone the past illegality, and sanction payment of the indemnity to officers in respect of payments which are illegal. An Act of Parliament is necessary, not to abolish purchase, but to overcome this objection of illegality, and to give the officers the security of a Parliamentary title for the payment of the indemnity. For this purpose the Bill now before your Lordships—the provisions of which relating to purchase obviate all objections, and provide security for the just payment of the officers—has been introduced. We have done our part—the House of Commons has done its part by introducing and passing the Bill—and I entreat your Lordships, as guardians of the law, and in the interest of the officers of Her Majesty's Army, not to withhold your sanction from it.


said, that in his opinion the abolition of purchase would inflict a serious injury alike on the Army and on the tax-paying-community, depriving the one of an essential guarantee of efficiency, and disregarding the welfare of the non-purchase officers, and throwing on the other an onerous and unnecessary burden. As regarded the provisions of the measure, the details were so meagre that he would reserve his opinions regarding them, but as to the Bill generally, he would trouble their Lordships with a few observations. He feared that it would inflict a serious injury upon the regimental system, which he agreed with the illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge) in regarding as the backbone of the Army. The abolition of purchase and the adoption of selection were the main features of the measure. One part of the statement of the Under Secretary of State for War met with his cordial approval—namely, that all reports respecting officers were to be communicated to the officers. But he entertained the strongest objections to what he felt to be the principle of the Bill—namely, that the power of judging of the merits and demerits of officers—in short, the fate and career of those officers—were to be placed in the hands of the Secretary of State for War and the Commander-in-Chief. The Secretary of State for War was a great political element, with a great political bias, and although they had been told that the principle of selection worked admirably well in the Navy, yet they heard counter statements on that subject in every direction, and that loud complaints were made of favouritism and partisanship in regard to naval appointments. The evidence of the Commander-in-Chief before a Royal Commission was that His Royal Highness could not administer the command of the Army under a system of selection, so great was the pressure from without. Official documents and debates in Parliament proved the ascendancy of the War Office over the Commander-in-Chief—for the Commander-in-Chief was not a political chief, but unfortunately was under the ascendency of the War Office. It was also proved that there had been a disregard on the part of the War Office of the repeated declarations in favour of the soldiers' rights, and that there had been conflicts between, the War Office and the Commander-in-Chief on that subject. He would leave their Lordships to judge whether the Commander-in-Chief was likely to be able to defend the rights of the officers against the War Office more successfully than he had been able to defend those of the soldiers. He (Lord Strathnairn) was himself no partisan of purchase or of over-regulation prices; but he thought that the present system, like some other of our anomalous institutions had worked well in practice. Among other advantages of the purchase system was that it was a means of preventing that great bane of all Armies, stagnation of promotion, by encouraging the retirement of the inefficient, and introducing an infusion of young blood into the ranks. It also insured a liberal provision for all meritorious officers, and was especially valued by non-purchase officers who were mentioned in despatches for gallant conduct in action, or who had done other good service, but who from the hardships they had undergone in campaigns, and especially in tropical climates, were no longer fit for duty. By it also they obtained for the Army the services of officers who exercised over their men the double influence of gentlemen and of officers—officers who had been trained in our public schools and accustomed to manly sports, all engendering more or less an honourable spirit of emulation, and a disregard of danger. Again, the system of purchase disseminated through the country officers who, after passing through the Army, retired to country life, and who formed excellent materials for service in the Reserve forces in the event of emergency. It had been objected to purchase that it was an aristocratic system; but that was a strange delusion, because its very name pointed to an element of wealth and not of rank. [Cheers.] He did not know that an aristocracy meant the wealthy. Another misrepresentation was that the purchase system inflicted the greatest injury on the non-purchase officer; but the disadvantage of being passed over by a junior was more than compensated to the non-purchase officer by material sets-off incident to the system—for instance his promotion was accelerated by the removal of the purchasing officer who intervened. Then purchase provided an officer with an honourable pension at the end of his military career, or with a capital to fall back upon in case he chose to retire from the service. Another mystification lay in the allegation that the purchase officers were not sufficiently educated. That was a singular objection, because Her Majesty's regulations directed that there should be instruction and examination for all officers, whether purchase or non-purchase. Nothing was more unjust than to tax purchase officers with neglect of their education. In a recent debate he (Lord Strathnairn) had the honour of submitting statements to their Lordships proving that strategy, without which efficient and successful service was impossible, did not form part of the education of our Army, and he added that the fault was not the fault of the officers, because they were anxious to learn strategy, but that of the War Office, which had not provided them with that instruction. The noble Lord opposite (Viscount Halifax) had quoted him as representing that their officers were not sufficiently instructed, but he had forgotten to state that he had put the saddle on the right horse—that was to say on the War Office. The non-purchase officers had in every respect qualifications equal to their brother officers, and anyone who was acquainted with the Army must have found it difficult, if not invidious, to draw a distinction between them, and if the authorities at the War Office would devote themselves to the instruction of officers they would compare with those of any other country. Considering the question of purchase in its relation to the taxpayer, it was evident that the taxpayer was the gainer by purchase, and would lose by its abolition, and the popular dissatisfaction with the scheme was manifested by the diminishing majorities which had supported the Bill in its passage through the other House of Parliament. It was evident that the Government felt themselves in a dilemma from the expense of their scheme. He thought they would find that they had no alternative but to fall back upon the pension system. The War Office seemed to have forgotten their statement of last year that there should be no interference with the long service pensions. It should be remembered that these pensions were the greatest safeguard against discontent, and that the soldier, in the midst of all his vicissitudes, was consoled by the recollection of the happy home to which at the end of his service he could retire, and of the independence it would enable him to enjoy. To give the soldier a lump sum of money would be of no service to him—such an arrangement was contrary to the policy of all Governments.


My Lords, the tone of the speech of the noble and gallant Lord who has just sat down (Lord Strathnairn) is no exception to that of most of the speeches which have been delivered during this long debate against the propositions of the Government. Almost all those speeches have been more or less directly in defence of the purchase system. There was, indeed, one conspicuous exception to that rule, and I wish — to use my noble Friend's own expression—it had been an exception "conspicuous by its absence." The exception was the speech of my noble Friend who sits on the bench below (Earl Russell); and I should deem it hardly consistent with the respect, I should say the veneration, and, if he will allow me to add, the personal affection which I feel for him, if I passed over that speech without some allusion to the arguments which it contained. The noble Earl told the House, in the first place, that purchase was dead and gone. He said he did not require to be converted by the able and conclusive speech of his noble Friend the Under Secretary for War, who preached to an already converted man; and the noble Earl went on to say that so utterly indefensible did he conceive the system of purchase to be that it only required a Government to make a declaration against it in order to secure its immediate downfall and destruction. The noble Earl, in the second place, informed the House that, in his opinion, when purchase was abolished it would be absolutely necessary to treat the officers with the greatest liberality as regards compensation; and then having gone into some matters which I venture to say were wholly irrelevant, such as the loss of the Captain—which to my astonishment he ascribed to the parsimony of the Government—his plan for a permanent embodiment of the Militia, and various other matters that had no reference to the question before the House—he returned to the purchase system with an argument to this effect—that whereas £8,000,000 was to be voted by Parliament, and that sum he thought was fully due to the officers, it must effectually prevent any further Army expenditure, and therefore he gave the House to understand that he was against the proposal of the Government. Having first declared himself against the purchase system, and having next said that the expense was so great that it must prevent every other Army reform, my noble Friend argued himself into a quasi defence of purchase, and concluded by saying that, after all, he might be willing to concede that if another scheme were devised by the Government the abolition of purchase would do no great harm. This was a strange conclusion to a speech, which begun by saying that purchase ought not to be retained, and that the system was so rotten and indefensible in principle that the first Government which gave it a push must send it overboard. My noble Friend then quoted, apparently with approbation, the noble Earl's (the Earl of Derby's) alarming statement, that at any time 100,000 men might be landed on the shores of England. Having next grossly misquoted my right hon. Friend (Mr. Cardwell) about the principle of drilling in the Militia, my noble Friend concluded his speech by saying—"I ask for more time." More time! When he tells us that at any moment we may be invaded by 100,000 men he seeks to throw impediments in the way of the Government re-organizing our forces. My noble Friend talked of the plans of the Government being twilight. I venture to say that his speech was utter chaos—darkness brooding on the face of the deep — because my noble Friend, after so many confused and contradictory objections to our plan, did not himself make one practical suggestion for the defence of the country, except that of the permanent embodiment of the Militia. Are we then to dawdle and delay in the steps we are to take for the re-organization of the Army until the noble Earl and my noble Friend on the cross-benches (Earl Grey) have settled between them whether the Militia is to be wholly demolished, or permanently embodied?

I pass now from my noble Friend to the vast majority of noble Lords who have spoken openly and avowedly in defence of purchase. There has been one remarkable feature in their speeches. I must make one exception—my noble Friend and countryman Lord Dalhousie. I admired his speech exceedingly. It was a manly, straightforward speech in defence of purchase—the speech of a man who had all the zeal of a Covenanter for that most sacred cause. But every one of the other speakers, beginning with the noble Duke (the Duke of Richmond), said they did not pretend to defend purchase in theory or principle, and some of them said it was utterly indefensible in theory. Even my noble Friend (the Earl of Dalhousie), who declared that purchase had never been successfully attacked by any "stumper," was obliged to add in a sort of whisper, "except in one or two points." Now, what is the theory or principle which you admit to be indefensible? Nothing is commoner than for a man who knows the cause to which he is attached by mere force of habit cannot be defended at the bar of reason, to escape under some convenient admission, "theory," or "abstract principle," which, in many minds, are almost opprobrious epithets. What do noble Lords opposite mean by saying they do not defend purchase in theory? I suppose they have a meaning, though perhaps they have never questioned themselves as to what it is. In the first place, to look at purchase in its external aspect as compared with other institutions, I suppose it cannot be denied that it is a system wholly exceptional. It does not exist in the Navy, nor in any other Army in the world, nor in the scientific parts of your own Army. It is a system which you confess you would never have thought of introducing; and, lastly, it is a system, which as now practised, is illegal and contrary to law. Now, these are facts which you cannot deny. [The Duke of NORTHUMBERLAND interposed a remark.] My noble Relative did not hear the words I used, or did not understand their exact force. I was speaking of the system of purchase as it is now practised, of which over-regulation prices are an essential element. ["No!] I am not speaking on my own authority in saying that the over-regulation price is an essential part of the system, and cannot be disentangled from the regulation price, for it is pointed out by the Royal Commissioners that the two are inseparable. It is obvious that when you allow men to bargain for a valuable commodity and do not interfere with their bargain, you cannot practically regulate the price that will be paid—they may pay the regulation price overtly, but behind your back they will make what additional bargain they please. Now, in the second place, how shall we define purchase in itself without reference to other institutions? The noble Duke was very indignant at its being called a system of promotion by money, not merit. I do not wish to adopt any term implying anything in the nature of a prejudice; I wish to use language, in so far as I can, which noble Lords opposite will recognize as a fair representation of the facts—I say, then, that purchase is promotion by seniority qualified by money. Again, it is promotion, I will not say irrespective of merit, but irrespective of comparative merit. The senior officer who has the money has the right, and whether he be a man of superior merit, or a man of very inferior merit, is a matter of pure chance. That was a definition of purchase which he thought would open the eyes a little of noble Lords opposite, when they said that purchase was indefensible in point of theory or principle. It was a system of promotion—carried up to the command of regiments—by seniority qualified by money, without any reference to comparative merit. I was delighted to hear the noble Duke defend purchase by the assertion that it was perfectly compatible with a system of selection. My noble Relative (the Duke of Northumberland), too, said he had known many instances of promotion by selection. But what becomes, then, of your assertion that selection is an evil? You cannot both denounce it as an evil and claim it as a merit. If you claim it as a merit, you are giving your assent, although you do not seem to know it, to the principle that the command of regiments ought to be given by selection. If that principle be right, how could they contend that the principle of this Bill is wrong? What, however, was the noble Duke's attempt to show that selection exists in any practical form? He said—"Is there not the veto? The Commander-in-Chief would immediately reject the man who was unfit for the command of a regiment?" Now, a veto, no doubt, will enable you to forbid the entrance of a man notoriously incompetent, but it does not enable you to select the best man, nor does it enable you to reject even a very inferior man. ["Oh!] I have my authority—the Report of the Duke of Somerset's Commission. Referring to the veto, it says— Under the present system an interference of that sort is a measure which, it is stated, would only be resorted to in an extreme case. It might save a regiment from being placed under an officer notoriously unfit; it would not confer the command on the officer acknowledged by all to be the best qualified for such promotion. Moreover, do you not know that the veto has fallen into almost entire disuse? ["No!] No? I am sorry the illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge) is not here; but here is his evidence before the Commissioners. Answering a question—"At present," he said, "there is the power, but it is not exercised." Further questioned by Mr. Sidney Herbert, he said there had been no instance of its exercise in his time, and he thought not in Lord Hardinge's time, and, in answer to a further question, he added—"I think it would be extremely difficult to exercise it now."


I am sorry to interrupt the noble Duke, but I can state of my own knowledge that within the last two years there have been cases in which senior captains have been informed that they could not be recommended for majority, and they have taken the hint and sold out of the Army. I cannot remember the names now, but in a day or two I can supply them to the noble Duke privately.


I do not for a moment deny that if an officer is notoriously of such bad temper with regard to the management of his men, or so notoriously inefficient in other ways that it would be a perfect scandal to allow him to command, the veto can be silently exercised; but I say it is not exercised to prevent the assumption of commands by men who are comparatively inferior, and even very inferior. I say, moreover, that a veto is incapable in its very nature of supplying the place of selection. You want for the command of a regiment the best man you can get; but unless the veto is exercised toties quoties until you get the man you want—which is obviously impossible — it is fallacious to assert that the veto fulfils in any degree the place of selection. My noble Friend (Lord Northbrook) has just informed me that he sent to the Horse Guards, to the Military Secretary, to ascertain whether during the last five years there had been a single case of veto, and the reply was that there had been no veto in the case of a lieutenant-colonelcy for the last five years. Now, my Lords, I will give you a third definition of purchase. My noble Friend (Lord Northbrook) excited vehement objurgation by describing the purchase System as a spider's web of vested interests. I believe, however, offence was not taken at his saying it was a web, but at his calling it a spider's web, because a spider is an unpopular insect. Now, I drop the spider, and say that the purchase system constitutes the Army one vast web of vested interests. Is it possible to deny that? You have from £8,000,000 to £10,000,000 invested by some 5,000 or 6,000 officers, and does not that necessarily imply an intricate system of vested interests? It is impossible to touch the Army system at any point without touching the vested interests which officers have acquired. A right hon. Friend of mine (Mr. Goschen), using at the Mansion House an epigrammatic phrase which had been used before, described the purchase system as such a system of vested interests that it made the Army the officers' Army rather than the Queen's. That is literally true; for so enormous are the money interests invested in the Army that you are unable to alter the regulations in any point without the risk of touching the pecuniary interests of the officers. I will give your Lordships some examples. Three years ago it was proposed by a Tory Government to abolish the rank of cornet and ensign. My right hon. Friend (Mr. Cardwell) adopted their proposal on the subject; but was immediately confronted by the question of over-regulation prices. I do not know whether the proposal was a wise one or not, but it was, at all events, a very small proposal, and it is enough for the purposes of my argument to show that, small as it was, the change could not be made without running our heads against the difficulties of the purchase system. Let me take another case. There was, I believe, in 1854, a Royal Commission, which reported in favour of introducing some principle of selection in the case of appointments to fill the position of colonels in the Army. One of the first officers, promoted to that rank on account of his distinguished services, and not on account of his seniority, was my noble Friend the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Longford) who spoke early to-night, and who declared his intention of voting in favour of this Bill. This, however, was complained of by colonels in the Guards and others, as interfering with their vested interests. Another Commission was held and the system was withdrawn; and I believe my noble Friend was post-dated in consequence of its being supposed that his appointment on account of distinguished services interfered with the claims of seniority and purchase. Now, these are two examples which show that you cannot touch our Army system without running your heads against purchase. I wish, in the next place, to say a word or two with respect to the impediments which it throws in the way of other changes. In doing so, I hope I shall not say a word which could be considered as in the slightest degree offensive to the military profession. No one, perhaps, has fewer military instincts than I have; but perhaps all the more on this account do I admire the virtues of the military character, and I should be sorry to say anything which would hurt the esprit de corps of any noble and gallant Lord in this House. I shall avoid, therefore, drawing a distinction which has been so vehemently objected to as invidious during this debate, between professional and non-professional officers. I will take the definition which was given by a distinguished officer to-night to the effect that a man who joins the Army for two or three years only might, in a comparative sense, be looked upon as a non-professional officer, and I wish to see the effect of purchase on the education of the Army—because the idea has been ridiculed that purchase throws any obstacle in its way. It was, I believe, held by the Duke of Wellington—though I have never seen the opinion in writing — that he required no other education for an officer than the ordinary education of an English gentleman. That is a very intelligible opinion; but I think I have heard noble Lords opposite themselves admit that war is now carried on under new conditions, and that it is now desirable that our officers should be educated in a degree more nearly approaching what are called the scientific branches of the Army. I can very well understand the argument of noble Lords that purchase does not interfere with the raising of the standard of education for officers as high as we please. ["Hear!] Well, I admit the truth of this. But then there is another objection. Did we not hear the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury) say the other day, in reference to another subject, that high education meant money? High education means expensive education. That being so, you will require those officers to have a much more expensive education; you must add that expense to the expense of purchase, and your choice will in consequence be limited, inasmuch as the total expense of joining the Army will, as a consequence, be increased. To the price of a commission will be added the expense of education; and I say, therefore, that although purchase will not prevent a higher education, it will limit your choice, while the power of wealth in the Army will be increased. But I have another objection to the system. Noble Lords opposite contend that a mere test examination does not make an officer. Of course not; but your purchase system interferes with promotion by professional merit; and thus whilst it increases the expense of entering the Army, it prevents professional proficiency receiving its proper reward afterwards. Several noble Lords have expressed great astonishment, and have even treated with great ridicule, the notion that purchase can interfere with the amalgamation of the Militia and the Line. Now, I am not a professional man, and there are many points connected with this subject which I do not, of course, profess to understand; but there are at least some difficulties connected with this point which it is not very hard to indicate. Let me suppose that you want to give more commissions in the Line to Militia officers, will not the purchase system interfere with that intention? There are a certain number of commissions without purchase, but the number is only very limited. At present you have not commissions enough without purchase to meet the demands of the Education Commissioners, together with the young men who have passed through Sandhurst. If, therefore, you want to give a larger number of first commissions free to young men from the Militia, you must have a greater number at your disposal. How are you to get them? I suppose you must apply to the House of Commons for the purpose; but if that be so will you not, Session after Session, be raising the whole of this question of purchase, and do you suppose that the system could survive such an ordeal? Do you suppose you can every year go to the House of Commons and ask for new commissions for the Militia? I am astonished that this difficulty did not present itself to the noble Lord opposite. Then, there is another difficulty. My noble Friend (Lord De Ros) who spoke so excellently with respect to the Army, told us our true system was the formation of double battalions. Now, again I say that purchase interferes with the adoption of that plan. You must either form double battalions out of the existing cadres, or by creating new cadres. If you divide the cadres you affect injuriously the interests of the officers; but if you increase the number of cadres you are increasing the ultimate cost against the public whenever purchase may come to be abolished. It is all very well for noble Lords opposite to believe that purchase will be permanent; but we who are satisfied that, sooner or later, it must be abolished know that if you increase the number of cadres you will be increasing the burdens which the public will eventually have to redeem. I would say, therefore, to noble Lords opposite who admit that purchase is not to be defended in principle, that they will not be allowed to get off by the use of such vague expressions in this House, and that they will be brought to book by more critical assemblies. Unless you can defend the purchase system by argument, when the public come to know as they must know—and I wish to use nothing in the shape of claptrap, nor make any appeal to popular prejudices—that the system is by your own admission indefensible, you will find that it will be impossible to maintain it. I counsel you, then, to give it up in time. What is the use of fighting for a system which all men of intelligence know to be dead and gone? What is the use of prolonging the contest in favour of that system, when you yourselves confess that we now propose to abolish it by means of a scheme which gives liberal and ample compensation to the officers? My Lords, having now argued against the Motion of the noble Duke as regards its substance, let me now direct attention to other objections founded on its form. My noble Friend takes care not to commit himself to a Motion in favour of purchase, and the form of his Amendment is very singular in its terms. It is entirely and intentionally evasive on the subject of purchase. But I do not object to that. The Motion acknowledges that changes in the system of first appointments, promotion, and retirement are necessary to place the military system of the country on a sound and efficient basis. Well, that is precisely what we say. You might have defended purchase as an almost perfect system; but what do you mean by saying that a great scheme is required for first appointments, promotions, and retirements? I am glad you admit that a new scheme for first appointments and promotions is required, and so far we are agreed. The noble Duke, however, did not treat with common fairness the plan which was set forth by my noble Friend, and a noble Duke (the Duke of Rutland), who spoke on the second night of the debate, asked—"Where, on earth, did you get this scheme? You must have gone to the pigeon-holes of Mr. Cardwell's private apartment and made it out in that way." But it does so happen that every single part of this scheme was announced by Mr. Cardwell in the House of Commons. The noble Duke evidently did not know that, but it was his duty to know it, and the duty of every one of your Lordships to know it, when it was stated in the House of Commons. What was the course taken by my noble Friend? Did he say that the scheme was so general and so vague that he could not understand it? Not at all. He said it was so minute in detail that he was not competent to enter into it, and he declined altogether to discuss it. This is not a fair way for the noble Duke to deal with the proposals of the Government when he makes a Motion which implies that there is no scheme at all. That is to make an assertion absolutely unfounded. I say that the scheme of the Government is perfectly definite on everyone of the heads embraced in the Amendment of my noble Friend—with one exception which I shall immediately notice. My noble Friend the Under Secretary for War announced, and so did Mr. Cardwell, his scheme for first appointments, for promotions, for the amalgamation of the Army and Militia, and other things which were necessary for the re-organization of the Army. You are not bound to approve that plan, but you are bound to acknowledge the fact that it is a plan—and infinitely more effective than any plan you have, for you have none whatever. The plan of Mr. Cardwell is perfectly definite—quite as definite as any plan could be on first appointments, on the mode of promotion, and on the general principle on which he intends to amalgamate the Militia and the Line. It is perfectly clear, but you have declined to discuss it. There is one part of the scheme actually in the Bill before us, and I do not know a more signal instance of the rash, careless—I would almost say ignorant—mode in which the matter has been discussed than that in which it was dealt with by one of the most competent Members of this House. I mean my noble Friend the noble Earl on the cross-benches (Earl Grey). How did my noble Friend treat the proposal for transferring the granting of commissions in the Militia from the Lords Lieutenant to the Crown? He said—"I am a Lord Lieutenant. This power of granting commissions is a bother to me, and if the Government wish to take it away I have not personally the least sort of objection;" and then he passed on from the subject, no doubt intending to impress your Lordships with the idea that the matter was one of extremely small importance. That conduct on the part of the noble Earl was exactly the same as if, when some years ago the scheme for the amalgamation of the Royal and Indian Armies was before the House, some of your Lordships had said this is only a Bill to prohibit the Government of India from enlisting a few men. And this would have been true. That was all that was required to be done by law. But the whole question of the amalgamation, which was one of the largest political questions ever discussed and settled in Parliament, was a matter of executive arrangement after the Bill had passed. That was precisely the kind of ignorance and carelessness my noble Friend displayed when he treated as a small matter this clause prohibiting Lords Lieutenant from giving commissions in the Militia; for it is quite impossible for the Militia and the Line to be amalgamated, if you allow commissions to emanate from two different authorities. No doubt the two authorities are generally in harmony with each other; but we had an instance the other day in which a noble Lord—the Lord Lieutenant of a south-western county (Lord Vivian)—came to an open quarrel with the War Office on this very subject. That noble Lord was no doubt acting under a sense of public duty in what he did, but so was Mr. Cardwell; and that shows that if you are to have an amalgamation of the Line and the Militia in any sense whatever you must have the commissions issued from one authority. That is a most important point therefore; and now, after so many Members of your Lordships' House have declared that we are in a state of disorganization, and that we are liable to be invaded at any moment by an Army of 100,000 men, I say this—that you are throwing a deliberate impediment in the way of providing for the public defence, if you refuse to read this Bill a second time, if it were only for this clause for the amalgamation of the Militia and the Line. There is one question I wish to ask. I have listened during the whole of this debate with great attention and anxiety to know whether noble Lords who object to our scheme have any counter scheme of their own to put forward. The noble Marquess (the Marquess of Salisbury) says he will give the famous answer of Sir Robert Peel—"I am not going to prescribe until I am called in." But when you are called in what will be your prescription? Many noble Lords opposite are in entire ignorance; they require a little further "education." I know very well what they would do. Mr. Disraeli would call them together and tell them that as regards this question of purchase those Whigs and Liberals had so "meddled and muddled" that purchase could not any longer be maintained, and noble Lords opposite, under the educational rod of that great wizard, would be found coming down to this House and proposing the abolition of purchase. But there are many noble Lords opposite who do not look to office like the noble Duke, and, therefore, they speak their minds with perfect openness. I have tried to find whether they have anything definite to suggest on the subject of Army reform, and I have not heard a single scrap or suggestion of any kind as to what is to be done. It is all what is called "destructive" criticism; there is nothing constructive in it. What have you been telling us the whole of these three nights? That seniority will never do; that selection is perfectly impossible, as it would be all under the influence of the Treasury. ["Hear!] Well, I suppose that no human being would propose that purchase should be introduced into brigade commands or district commands. Well, if it would be such a folly to give the command of 2,000 or 3,000 men to a man who could get it by the chance of purchase, where is the common sense of giving the command of a regiment of 1,000 men on the purchase principle? Do we not know that the fate of a battle and the destiny of an empire may depend on the conduct of a single regiment?—and do you not know that a Royal Commission containing the most eminent men have told you that it is essential to the efficiency of the British Army that at least as regards lieutenant-colonelcies you ought to abolish purchase? My Lords, I do not deny that there may be some difficulties in selection, as in every other public duty. But I cannot understand the doctrine that these difficulties are so insuperable. I have had to select officers, with the assistance of His Royal Highness, for considerable command in India. I know the process that is gone through in selection, and what is it? His Royal Highness places before the Secretary of State four or five names. He says that such and such an officer is senior officer, and, if command were to go by seniority, this is the man. Such and such another officer has seen very distinguished service; he is not senior officer, but he has peculiar aptitudes for the place. Such and such another officer is an excellent officer, but he has certain defects of temper which rather unfit him for command. Such and such another officer has such and such a qualification, and after full discussion the Commander-in-Chief and Secretary of State decide who is to be the man. Now, do you think the Duke of Cambridge ever asked me, or that I ever asked him, what are the politics of A or what are the politics of B? Why, I should be ashamed to put such a question. I say such a question is never put, and never will be put so long as the principles of honour remain what they are in this country. I say, why should you not act as regards the command of regiments in the same way that you act as regards the command of districts? The noble and gallant Lord who has just sat down (Lord Strathnairn), on being examined before the Royal Commission, was asked this question— Then would you make promotion depend on the half-yearly reports of the inspecting officers, and upon the examinations which an officer passes?" and said, "I would some, but not all. You do not think that any heartburnings would occur in the Army if a selection of officers for promotion were made by the Horse Guards?—I think not. I never experienced any disagreeable results. I told the officers they did not come up to the standard of the present day for the selection of officers for the Army. I told them there was nothing against their character, but that promotion had been confided to me, and that I was obliged to do to this trust the fullest justice. These are the principles on which selections are now conducted in the Navy and other branches of your service, and in all the higher branches of your Army. I have only one word to say in complaint of any speech that has been made by any noble Lord opposite in the course of this debate, and that is the speech made by my noble Friend the noble Earl who spoke last on Friday night (the Earl of Carnarvon.) I was very much surprised at the extreme vehemence—I may say the violence—of his language with regard to this Bill. I forget all the epithets used by my noble Friend, but some of the choice words he used in speaking of this Bill were "absurd, futile, and abortive." The only explanation I can give of the violence of my noble Friend is his own—namely, that he has read everything that has appeared for the last two or three years in reference to this subject, for I am sure that if I had gone through the same labour I should not have any wits left. I am not surprised, therefore, that my noble Friend, who, from the beginning of this Session has been telling us we have no Army, no guns, no Reserve, no gunpowder, should now have backed all these warnings by saying that he would give a vote which would impede the Government in the re-organization of the Army. The last point to which I shall address myself is one connected with the form of this Resolution, which I feel quite sure has not struck my noble Friend the noble Duke opposite. The Resolution to which he asks the House to agree is this—that the House is unwilling to legislate until it has laid before it for discussion the full plan of the Government with regard to the re-organization of the Army. I have very grave objections to such a Motion. The law and Constitution of this country place the discipline and organization of the Army in the hands of the Crown. With the exception of the Mutiny Act, and other great statutes, it is not the habit of Parliament to interfere. The House of Lords is asked for the first time in the constitutional history of this country to declare that it will not proceed to legislation, even although legislation is required, until the Crown has laid before it in detail for its discussion and vote the plan of the Government with regard to the re-organization of the Army. Although the Resolution is vague, the speech of the noble Duke left nothing vague. He told us distinctly the plan of the Government must be embodied in the Bill. I venture to affirm, on the contrary, that this is unconstitutional. It is the duty of the Government, I fully admit, to give every explanation to Parliament of the plan which they have for the re-organization of the Army; but it is equally the duty of the Government, which they will discharge, to defend the prerogative of the Crown. We do not intend to put these details in the form of any Bill. And I ask your Lordships, what is the example that you are setting the House of Commons? Whatever powers you assume, do you not suppose they will be assumed by the other and stronger House of Parliament? And what would you say if, in defence of some policy which you highly disapprove, the House of Commons were to come to a vote, and say—we will not pass any Bill for the organization of the forces until the Government has submitted to us all its regulations for the discipline of the Army? My Lords, you would then have at once a Parliamentary Army—an Army under the direct control, in discipline and organization—the direct vote of the House of Commons. This would be the direct result of the wording of the Resolution. I admit that the noble Duke conducts the Opposition in this House with perfect straightforwardness, but this Resolution has been framed with considerable acuteness for the purpose of catching votes. Let me now sum up in a few words some of the objections which I have to this Resolution. This Resolution is disingenuous, because it conceals what is your real object, which is to defend purchase. It is a self-contradictory Resolution, because it affirms certain needs of the Army, which needs you wish to impede the Government from supplying. Next I say it is not a constitutional Amendment, for the reasons which I have brought before the House. Lastly, I think it a suicidal policy, because it will commit the House of Lords to a system which they know cannot be maintained, and to a contest in which they must be defeated. For these reasons, my Lords, I will not, and I cannot, believe that this Resolution can be accepted by a majority of this House.


My Lords, there is a satisfaction even at this time of night, and this state of the temperature, in following such a speaker as the noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll)—among other reasons, because when we have listened to his exhaustive speech, passing in review every objection that occurs in his ingenious mind as tenable against the Resolution of the noble Duke behind me, we may be sure that nothing has been omitted from it which could be maintained, and that every argument that he has passed by is practically condemned by the Government he represents. I am glad, therefore, to notice that the tendency that was apparent in some speeches to which we have listened in the earlier stages of this debate, to endeavour to carry this Bill by depreciating the officers of the Army is no longer perceptible. We no longer hear the Army described as a species of preserve for money-lenders of a low class, and that colonels are no longer described as losing all their influence over their men by dangling them up in order to sell them like a flock of sheep. I will give the credit to the Government of saying that in calmer moments there is no one on the Treasury bench who would use such an argument as that, and that it was only in the heat of unreflecting partizanship, imported from a foreign land, that such a degrading assumption could have emanated. I will, therefore, assume that it is not necessary for me to defend the character of the British officer. But I should like to make another assumption—and that is, that it is not necessary for me to defend the interests of the British officer. It appears to me that, by a strange forgetfulness of our proper functions, this debate has been made to turn upon the question, whether or not this Bill will be for the interests of the British officer. I have the greatest possible respect for the British officer, but I should demur to the idea that all we have to do in considering an Imperial measure is to inquire how it would affect his interests. I should also ask whether the British officer has really anything to fear from the acts of the Government or of Parliament in this matter? I confess I never heard anything more insulting to Her Majesty's Government or to the House of Commons than the suppositions that have been uttered freely by the advocates of the Bill upon this point. The advocates of the Bill outside Her Majesty's Government have held it up to us as an argument for our anxious consideration that if we do not pass the Bill the officers would not get such good terms offered them on another occasion. What does that argument imply? Why, either that the Government are robbing the country in order to buy off opposition, or that they intend in future to rob the officers in order to gratify their spleen. Either supposition implies considerations which are inconsistent with the honour of the House of Commons or with justice. We know with what jealous vigilance the proposals of even a Government pledged to economy are regarded by the House of Commons, and no such Government would have ventured to have proposed to that House an expenditure not absolutely required by justice; and I am confident that under no petty feelings of spite would that House deny to individuals one tittle of that compensation to which they are justly entitled. It seems to me, therefore, idle to discuss this question upon the ground that the next time such a measure as the one now before us is introduced the officers will not get such terms as are now offered to them. If the terms are not just they would not have been offered now; and if they are just they will be offered next time. But, besides the Government and the House of Lords, another body has been introduced into this debate. They have been differently described. The noble Viscount (Viscount Halifax) has spoken of them as "earnest and decided men"—while the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) has spoken of "half-educated and uneducated men;" but the suggestion is that, however anxious the Government and both Houses of Parliament may be to pay to the officers that to which they are justly entitled, they will find that there is an insuperable objection that this should be done on the part of the constituencies of the country. We have heard an opinion expressed of the constituencies of the country by the noble Earl who sits on the bench behind me. He ought to know something about them, because he had a great share in creating them, and he ought to be satisfied with his own work. He describes them as being half-educated, or as some being half-educated and others not educated at all; that they are prepared to believe that there is an office in existence where captaincies and colonelcies are sold to the highest bidder. But, unfortunately, according to the noble Earl, their intellectual deficiencies, however great, are not to be compared with their moral deficiencies; because, according to his statement, they would rejoice in any plausible pretext that would enable them to spoliate those whom they regard as rich men. If that is the character of the mind that is to animate the constituencies of this country I can only say God help the public creditor—because my impression is that he will be the first person to suffer from this desire of the constituencies to spoliate the rich upon the first plausible pretext. But such considerations appear to me to be out of the sphere of our deliberations altogether. If it be true that we are to live under the rule of ignorant and rapacious men we had better cease this mockery of legislation and this pretence of statesmanship and morality. If we cannot decide these things on the ordinary grounds of morality and political prudence, do not let us attempt to decide them at all. But if—as I believe it to be the case—the constituencies of this country are capable of being informed of the reasons that have convinced Parliaments and Cabinets, and if we can show them that we have been actuated by grounds of morality and of prudence, then I do not think that we need fear their decision. For these reasons it does not appear to me to be necessary further to enter into the question as to the prospects of the officers as affected by our action with reference to this Bill, and I prefer to discuss it on an altogether larger ground. Whatever may be their prospects there are others of even still greater importance that we have to consider in the matter. Those who represented the officers in the other House of Parliament took care to ascertain their views upon the matter, and I may confidently state, from information I myself have received, that the feeling of the large majority of the officers is opposed to this measure—still I will not ask the House to come to a decision on the grounds of the prejudices or preferences of any individuals. We have been told by speaker after speaker on the opposite side of the House—and markedly by the noble Duke who has just sat down—that the question to be decided is that of purchase or no purchase. The noble Duke taunted us with defending in practice what we admitted to be indefensible in theory. But what I understood to be meant is something of this sort—If we were all thrown on a desert island, and had to set up a now Constitution, we should not be likely to include the purchase system of the Army within that Constitution, and that is what we mean by saying that purchase is not to be defended in principle. I am not sure that, under such circumstances, we should even set up a House of Lords, nor am I sure that the noble Duke himself is an institution who would be set up in a desert island. But in every nation that has a history there are institutions which have grown up, and enwoven themselves in its political consistence— Grown with its growth, and strengthened with its strength, which in power, value, or efficacy for good far surpass those mere paper institutions which may be devised upon the soundest possible principles, and put into an Act of Parliament of to-day; and such is the position of the system of purchase. I have made these observations because the noble Duke attached much importance to the controversy about purchase itself. Just before the close of his speech he practically told us that by hesitating to abolish purchase we are preventing the supply of gunpowder to the Army. How he can connect these two things together it is impossible for me to discover. But I venture to deny that purchase is the issue before your Lordships to-night. It may be good, or it may be bad; but it is not the matter on which we are about to go into the lobby. What I say is that purchase is here, and that it does two important things for us; and, before you destroy it, we desire to know how these important things are to be done for us in future. I may not like my house, but before it is knocked down I should wish to know what other kind of house I am to have in its stead. You may think a particular street is inconvenient; but before you stop it up I should like to know what is the street I am to go through in future. Purchase does two things for you—it procures for you an easy Army retirement and a pure system of promotion; and before abolishing it we ought to know how these essential objects are to be otherwise attained. As to the cost of retirement, it is not for me to-night to go into figures. We have heard vague estimates of the cost. One Gentleman places it at £2,000,000 sterling; another at £200,000. Between these two extreme limits every variety of computation is made. But one thing has struck me on this matter. In these violent disputes about figures we are accustomed to look to the Government, who have the means of information, to tell us what the sum to be actually expended really is. Almost every speaker has ventured upon a theory of his own; and, although the Government have been good enough to argue upon the theories of other people, they have abstained, and with a care almost miraculous, considering the number there were, from committing themselves to a single figure of their own as to the cost of retirements in future to the country. The illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge) told us how important this question of retirement was; he told us, in effect, that purchase was a system of retirement; and that his own very qualified support of the abolition of purchase turned entirely upon the assumption which in his official position he was bound to make, that the Government were able and willing to secure an easy flow of promotion. But what are the probabilities of the case? We are in no official position, and are not bound to make such an assumption, or to assume that anything a Secretary of State may say is quite correct. The question is, what are the chances that a future scheme of retirement will be provided. It will be costly; taking the mean of the estimates given, it will not be less than £1,000,000 a-year. Do you think the House of Commons will furnish that sum willingly? What has the course of the House of Commons in respect to legislation been? You must not conceal from yourselves that you have the feeblest Executive and the slowest Legislature in the world. I do not regret that. To the feebleness of the Executive we owe our liberties, and to the slowness of the Legislature we owe our institutions. But still there these qualities are, and you must take them into account when you consider what legislation you are to expect. Well, you will have this large sum to raise. Hitherto the Government have been successful in carrying some of their measures through the House of Commons, and very unsuccessful in carrying others; and if you carefully classify their measures you will find that they cannot carry much through the House of Commons unless they are fortunately able to appeal to the hatred of class against class, or creed against creed. I do not mean to say they desire to do that, but that it is the necessity of their position. Those measures they are able, with considerable difficulty, to pass through the House of Commons; but where in that House the Government have no such motive power their legislation is very slow. Well, you will have £1,000,000 sterling to be provided for getting rid of purchase, and another £1,000,000 for retirement; and you will have the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he reviews his resources, considering what may be the political force necessary to enable him to carry this scheme into effect. The Dissenters do not care for Army retirement, and the Democrats do not care for it, and he will not be able to appeal to the two forces which have hitherto lent such valuable aid to the Government. On the other hand, his resources are limited. Those are only the lucifer matches, the agricultural horses, the income tax, and suchlike things; and when he has gone through his list, and asks himself how he is to pass his Budget through the House of Commons with these £2,000,000 in it, is it not possible that some tempter may say—"What if you put off retirement altogether for a year; and what if you put it off for the year after that also?" When will you ever find that happy year in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be able, without incurring unpopularity, to throw any £2,000,000 on military retirement. You must not take refuge behind convenient official fictions. The Government say—and no doubt sincerely—that they mean to carry a scheme of retirement; but you would imagine that Governments have never failed—never departed from their pledges. You must look to the possibilities of the future, and I venture to say that if you were to start from the very good scheme of retirement which you have now, without knowing thoroughly and without having embodied in an Act of Parliament the scheme which you intend to substitute in its place, you will run a great risk of plunging the British Army in the greatest of all dangers it can incur—a stagnation of promotion. My Lords, I think there is a still more serious danger—namely, the one added to by the illustrious Duke, who told us that it would be possible to carry out the principle of selection if it was always administered by a person who was superior to all sorts of political pressure. How long, my Lords, do you think you are likely to have a Commander-in-Chief of that kind? I earnestly trust it may be at least as long as the life of the present occupant of that office. But how long beyond that? Have you not heard the cries of the demagogues and the stump orators who rule the councils of the Government already raised against the existence of a Commander-in-Chief, especially a Royal one? How long are you to hope that the office which is to be the solitary security against the dangers of corruption will be maintained intact by a Government that has already yielded so much? We had a great display of innocence on the first night of the debate. The noble Lord who brought forward this Bill (Lord Northbrook) thought it perfectly horrible to imagine that any military office in the gift of the Crown should be gained by favouritism; and that is very much the tone adopted by the noble Lord who was Commander-in-Chief in India. It is pleasant to be able to maintain such illusions at the ages at which those noble Lords have arrived. But I should like to put them through a little cross-examination, and ask them whether they had ever heard of offices being given to supporters of the Ministry of the day—whether they did not know that the thing had been done in every public office, and to such an extent that you were obliged to adopt the system of competitive examination? That is a most rough and blundering safeguard; but its very roughness and blundering character testifies to the soreness of the evil it is intended to remedy. We might almost go further, and ask them if they had ever heard of honours being distributed on a similar principle—whether they had ever heard of a Government "whip" getting a baronetcy, or an engineer or solicitor getting a knighthood;—or, in fact, whether they had ever thought it possible that throughout the whole range of Crown appointments the principle of rewarding those who had supported the Ministry should not obtain considerable preference. Why, my Lords, the thing is the vice of all popular Governments. Where Ministers have places to give away and desire support, and those who have support to give away desire places, a bargain must necessarily be carried out. In every popular Government there must always be the danger that the power of the Minister to give places will be in exchange for the power of the voters to give support. I earnestly sympathize with the Utopian views expressed by noble Lords opposite, and I hope that a day may come when these things may not be. If it should ever happen that offices are given indifferently to those who differ from the Government in politics—if it should ever happen that great party sacrifices are no claim to Ministerial appointments—if it should over happen that peerages are given to Members of the Opposition, or that bishoprics are given to those who did not support the Government, and that no Bishop considers that industrious and almost slavish partizanship is necessarily the reward of that promotion—if that Utopian age should come, then I grant that you may establish, promotion by selection in the Army. Do not tell me that these are the evils of aristocratic institutions. We have advanced far, but America has gone much before us, and has shown us at once the advantages and dangers of such a course—and we know how great are her evils and sufferings in respect to patronage. We know that the system of disposing of offices of all kinds as rewards of political action is a great blot on her political system, and the great danger to her political career; and we may be sure that if, as seems likely, our institutions are in the progress of time assimilated to hers, the evil which is pressing her will press us also. Therefore do not imagine that any political changes you may contemplate will at all diminish this danger, for we warn you now that if you make all the officers of the Army the subject of selection, the danger of political bias and intrigue will vitiate the selection, and act far more dangerously in the choice of an officer than any accidental result from the purchase system. My Lords, I will not further detain you; I confess that the more I look at it the darker the prospect seems to me. We have heard the system about to be proposed as "seniority tempered by selection." I am anxious not to say a word that should imply that any thought of impure political action rests in the minds of the present Government. I entirely join in the phrase which my noble Friend who opened the debate uttered on that question. I know the Secretary for War is not a man who would ever stoop to such conduct as that. What I am speaking of is the system, not the men. If you talk of "seniority tempered by selection," I fear that you will find the more correct formula would be "stagnation tempered by jobbery." I am afraid of the ranks of grey-headed and discontented subalterns commanded by the brothers and sons of persons who have made sacrifices for their party. My Lords, the Army has not deserved this of you or of England. It is an Army which, be its faults what they may, has at all times and under all circumstances done its duty to its country. Whatever you may say in praise of the recent exploits of foreign nations, they have not distanced the exploits which your own Armies have done in times past. If the Prussians have conquered Napoleon III. and Paris, your Armies have conquered a greater Napoleon and Paris in like manner. To your Armies is due the existence of the civilization of which you boast, and the institutions under which you live are due to their gallantry; and when the memory of its benefits was fresh, men did not grudge the gratitude which such exploits would naturally call forth. When the memory of Waterloo was fresh among us we never heard that colonels could not influence their men, because they were sold like a flock of sheep. Such an expression as that belongs to a time of peace, when men have forgotten the great benefits which the Army has conferred on its country. My Lords, I have said that the Army has not deserved this at your hands—I will also say that if the House of Lords has one duty more emphatically its own than any other, it is to correct hasty and imperfect legislation; and this measure is confessedly hasty legislation, because it is legislation that was adopted owing to want of time. The Bill, as originally introduced, was perhaps imperfect; but it was seemly in its proportions; but as time went on everything was cut away that might impede its progress. Nothing was kept except what would catch the democratic breeze—everything else was thrown overboard. Confessedly the measure was adopted because there was no time for anything better; confessedly it was hasty and imperfect in its formation. My Lords, against such legislation it is your function to protect the country. You are free from the influence of constituents, you can form an independent judgment, and you appeal not to the approval of men of this time, but to the approval of men of all times as to the conduct you pursue. I am sure that you will not abandon the Army for the impotence of combined senility and corruption. I am sure that you will not balance for a moment against any such danger the fear of any wretched ebullition of obloquy falling from yourselves, and of attacks being made on the institution to which you belong. I am sure that you will refuse—for the mere convenience of a Minister, and the necessity of having something passed in order to redeem the barrenness of a useless Session—to sacrifice that Army which has done so much for you, and which has shed so much glory on the history of the country. By so doing you will only confirm the House of Lords in the affection and the esteem of the country.


My Lords, in the course of this debate attention has been called to one of the Standing Orders of your Lordships' House; but there is another Standing Order which I think might well be brought to our recollection by the speech of the noble Marquess. If I remember rightly it is to the effect that in debates no personal comments or charges shall be made. I had not the slightest intention, however, of directing the Clerk at the Table to read that Order, though I am not perfectly sure that what has fallen from the noble Marquess did not come within its terms; for had I taken such a course I should have deprived your Lordships of one of the greatest intellectual treats—namely, hearing how far one of the ablest men in this House can go in sarcasm and invective — particularly when, I think, he feels himself a little weak in argument, to oppose to the most conclusive speech I ever heard—that of my noble Friend beside me (the Duke of Argyll). My Lords, be that as it may, I protest against the opening sentence of the noble Marquess, who rejoiced that the Treasury bench had at last abandoned the degrading argument of depreciation of the British Army and of British officers. Now, I deny that one word of such a character has been uttered from this bench; and I retort on the noble Marquess that every word which has been said, attributing the merit of the British officer to his having a certain sum of money to enable him to buy commissions, is an insult to the Artillery, to the Engineers, and to the Navy itself. I should like to know, for instance, whether the Marines are disloyal and mutinous, and whether their officers do not command their respect? Indeed, if anything depreciatory of the British officer has been said, it has been said by others, and not by those who sit on the Treasury bench. The noble Marquess, in the course of his speech, poetically described purchase as an institution which, in connection with the British Army— Grows with its growth, and strengthens with its strength. But, strangely enough, he omitted to quote the first line of the couplet— And yet disease, which must subdue at length. My noble Friend (the Earl of Dalhousie) who was formerly Secretary for War told us in the course of the debate how delighted Lord Hardinge once was when he showed him the plans and reports that had been drawn up by the officers of two of the smartest regiments in the service—the Guards and the Rifles—after they had been on a military promenade. No doubt this was very creditable to those officers, and I believe we have a growing class of them; but do you suppose that Marshal Moltke would exhibit a pride and satisfaction he never displayed before if he found that some of the most competent officers in the Prussian Army were able to make sketches and report in the same manner? The fact is, my Lords, as the Education Commission stated, that in routine duty and drill the British officer is probably superior to the officers of any other Army, but they add that on all other subjects connected with the general operations of war thay are less perfectly educated than the officers of other Armies. Whatever education you give, it is impossible that a man entering the profession for a few years only, and who does not intend to make it his career, will apply himself to the study of that profession as others will do who are resolved to make it the business of their lives. Many people go into the Army with no intention of remaining in it; and they never can become perfect soldiers; and by encouraging young men so to enter, I believe the purchase system to act most injuriously. Many of your Lordships send your sons to the Inns of Court to go through a course of useful study; but do you imagine that these young men really master the law like those who intend to become barristers and Judges? The thing is impossible; and in the same way with regard to the want of education in the Army which everybody admits. A noble and gallant General (Lord De Ros) who spoke last Thursday night, spoke with indignation of hearing the Prussian officers so praised and ours so dispraised—a natural feeling for him to entertain; and when he went on to say he knew both, I expected him to say that the English officer knew the details and the theory of his profession as well as the Prussian officer; but not a bit; all he said was that, taking them as animals, the English officer was as fine an animal as the Prussian officer. If that question were put to me, I should answer in the language of the Irishman to the Socialist, who asked him whether one was not as good as another? and I should say—"Aye, and better, too." But I believe that to all those natural advantages, you must add the stimulus of competition and the reward of merit. With regard to the difficulties of retirement, the noble Marquess did not in the least degree deal with the explanations of the Lord Privy Seal. Why should we deceive Parliament, why should we deceive ourselves, by pretending to act upon data which we do not and cannot possess? When the noble Marquess spoke of our spending £1,000,000 a-year for the redemption of purchase, and another £1,000,000 a-year for retirement, I cannot believe that he speaks the conviction of his own mind. The noble Marquess has denied that the question in this debate is that of purchase or no purchase; and I can only appeal to your Lordships' recollection of what you have heard. True, there were some speeches of an exceptional character as to this issue, but they were sufficiently damaged by what the noble Marquess said. When men so eminent as the noble Earl on the cross-benches (Earl Grey) and my noble Friend at the Table (Earl Russell) furnish examples of those who leave their friends to take an unusual course, I think it is due to them we should inquire into the statements they make. I must say, with regard to my noble Friend on the cross-benches, I am surprised at the vote he is going to give. I had heard from many quarters that he had said a few days ago he could conceive no course so foolish and so impolitic as to throw out this Bill.


I never said anything of the kind. I said, as I said the other evening, that I saw the difficult consequences to the Army that would result from rejecting it.


I entirely accept the contradiction and explanation of my noble Friend, and I apologize for having in the slightest degree misrepresented him. At the same time my astonishment is not diminished. With regard to the objections of the noble Earl (Earl Russell) to our plan for the abolition of purchase, it would be impossible for us to produce a plan in which the two noble Earls could agree, because they were diametrically opposed upon all points except one, and with respect to that they were inaccurate. They said we had taken away pensions from soldiers—a fact, if it be one, of which I am perfectly unaware; I believe they remain, and are intended to remain. [Earl RUSSELL denied that he had made the statement.] I am bound to accept the noble Earl's denial; but I have ears, and I think what I have said will be found reported in the speeches of my noble Friends. At the same time my noble Friend was so carried away by the fumes of incense from a quarter whence he had not been used to receive them, that he said at the end of his speech the opposite of that which he said at the beginning, and therefore it is not surprising he said something he did not understand. My noble Friend's speech really amounted to an expression of want of confidence in the Government as regards the conduct of military affairs; and if he entertains that want of confidence, he is right in trying to turn us out; but I think it is a mistake, seeing that we have such a considerable majority in the other House, to prevent the carrying of a scheme for the re-organization of the Army. The noble Earl differs from the noble Earl as to purchase and also as to the Militia; but great as is the authority of the noble Earl on political matters, I do not recognize his authority on the question of the Militia. The noble Earl as Prime Minister in 1851, when we had 40,000 fewer Regulars than we have now provided by the penurious parsimony of the Government in which he has no confidence, left us without any Militia at all; the next year he introduced a Bill proposing a local Militia, for which a general Militia was substituted on the Motion of Lord Palmerston; and my noble Friend and I were turned out of our places in consequence of that vote. The noble Earl then opposed Lord Derby's Militia Bill, and he now opposes our Bill, which will give as many Militia as the House of Commons will vote, with a great prolongation of practice, wishing to substitute an embodied Militia, which is more expensive than Regular troops, displaces labour more, and obliges you to re-enlist the very men you have now. The noble Earl has no confidence in the Government because Mr. Gladstone has put at the head of the Poor Law Board a right hon. Gentleman of great reputation in Parliament and in the country, who held one of the highest offices out of the Cabinet under the noble Earl's own Administration. Your Lordships must have gathered from the noble Earl's statement, that the right hon. Gentleman took a very exceptional view of the necessity of economy with regard to our national defences in 1862, and that by another Resolution, in which he himself had a principal hand, he entirely defeated the right hon. Gentleman's designs. Now, it is true that Mr. Stansfeld moved a Resolution in the House of Commons to the effect that, consistently with the safety of the country at home, and the defence of its interests abroad, the Army and Navy Estimates should be reduced. Possibly, though I do not know how that may be, he was encouraged to do that by phrases about "bloated armaments" which had been dropped about that time; but I would direct attention to the fact that a meeting of the Conservative party was held, at which Mr. Walpole was directed to propose a Resolution as economical as Mr. Stansfeld's, if not more so.


That is incorrect.


It certainly was announced in the papers, but if the noble Marquess says there was no meeting—


There was a meeting, but not on that subject.


Then it appears there was a meeting of the Conservative party, and that subsequently to that meeting Mr. Walpole proposed his Motion. Well, what was the character of the Resolution? It praised economy almost in Mr. Stansfeld's words, and it expressed the satisfaction of the House at the reductions which had been made in the Estimates, with a strong wish that further reductions, as far as they properly could be made, should follow. The logical result of that Resolution was that the very next year the Army Estimates were reduced to £2,000,000 below those of this year, taking away what is necessary for the abolition of purchase. Those Estimates were proposed by what the noble Earl thinks a parsimonious Government, at the risk of losing the support of many of their political friends. It is difficult to conceive that such a statement could have been made as the motive for a vote against his political friends, and one likely to influence others. A noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Carnarvon) taunted us with having no independent support in favour of the Bill—an extraordinary statement, bearing in mind the support of the late Commander-in-Chief in India, of Lord De La Warr, and of the noble Duke formerly at the head of the Admiralty (the Duke of Somerset) to which we attach much value because it was made in a calm, judicial spirit, not in that of a heated partisan. We attach great value to their support, and, in reply to the noble Duke's question, though declining to give a pledge for the Government to forget economy, which I am sure he would not wish, I may state most positively that the War Office, aided by the Government, will, with all speed, proceed with all their strength and energy to carry out the plan so fully laid before the House and the country. The noble Marquess did not attach much value to the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby's) remarks on the "uneducated democracy." Now, there were one or two charges in them with which I did not agree; but the noble Marquess has certainly described the aristocracy and the public men of this country in a manner much more insulting. Was there no merit in the speech of the noble Lord the late Governor General of India (Lord Lawrence)—a speech in every characteristic unlike that of the noble Marquess—simple, full of matter, conclusive—the more valuable because it proceeded from the experience of a man who has seen the working of the Army almost every year of his life, both in peace and war, and with equal knowledge of that course of literature which has been described. The noble Marquess said we were not discussing whether to abolish purchase or not. But what is the alternative—seniority or selection? The noble Marquess shakes his head at both, showing what I have before said—that his object is to maintain purchase. Now, I can understand the principle of a man about to take reins of office not prescribing his policy till he comes in; but if he thinks with the noble Earl that we are perfectly impotent for defence and attack, and does not think himself likely to take our place immediately, it would be only reasonable for him to make some small suggestions as to what should be done. I entirely repudiate the character he gave of public men and his language about jobbing. I believe that we have immensely improved since former days, when Members of the House of Commons used to receive guineas in their pockets. The noble Earl says—"Have you not been obliged by a system of open competition to strengthen yourselves against being obliged to exercise your patronage in favour of your political friends in civil offices?" But what has that, I should like to know, to do with the present question? I admit that Governments as they succeeded each other are apt to give first steps in public offices to their political friends; but I certainly deny—and this is the gist of the matter—that my Colleagues in their promotions in any of those offices were actuated in the slightest degree by political considerations. The noble Marquess spoke of curacies having been given away, and I may mention that I last autumn received a letter complaining that it was very hard that Mr. Gladstone should have given two livings in succession to two persons who had been most active in electioneering for the party which was opposed to him. The remarks of the noble Marquess on this point were therefore, I confess, unintelligible to me, considering that he himself is one of the most high-minded men of whom I know anything in public life. The noble Marquess spoke of what it was wise of this House to do; and I agree that you are not to be guided by the interests of any one class, however gallant or distinguished. I do not say that the class interest of the officers ought to have no influence upon you. He says they cannot be influenced by anything you do tonight. I will not argue the case, for it has already been argued on both sides of the House, and by the noble Earl opposite, who did think there was danger to them. The danger will not come from the action of the Government if they can help it; but I cannot understand him when he says that the advice of a most moderate and able statesman, who was at the head of a Royal Commission, was to have no weight, being as it was to the effect that, after the decision of the House of Commons, the illegality of over-regulation prices could not be continued. As to the course which this House ought to take, I feel some embarrassment in giving an opinion. The noble Marquess may say that we on this side are in a miserable minority; and I believe our normal state is that there is on the benches opposite a majority of from 50 to 70, although it is true that on one or two occasions the noble Marquess was unable to count on the whole of that majority. Well, be that as it may, I do not know that I should prefer anything in a party sense, so far as the Government is concerned, than that they should appear to the country to be engaged in a struggle in which they are perfectly certain to be victorious—that is to say, in the endeavour to remove abuses which, although I admit quite erroneously, are supposed by the vast majority of Englishmen to be connected with the class interests of this House. Beyond that I beg to state for myself, as I believe I once said before, that there is no one who has the interests of this House more nearly at heart than I have. There is, I believe, hardly any man who owes so much to this House. I have always received in it almost unexampled indulgence from my political friends, while I have met with unfailing forbearance and kindness from noble Lords opposite. I have many personal friends on both sides. And I certainly am not of opinion with the noble Marquess in thinking that the House of Lords is an institution which would not at this time be set up if it were not already in existence.


I said on a desert island.


I admit that—but I think it takes away the value of the argument in respect of purchase, because if we were on a desert island there would be no necessity of arguing about purchase, for there would be no candidates for commissions. But I was about to say—as one who has the strongest interest in this House—it is impossible for me not to recall what its history has been since the passing of the great Reform Bill. There is no doubt at that time its power and influence were much diminished, and those of the House of Commons much increased, by the wider basis on which the representation of the people was then established, and by the fact that the rotten boroughs possessed by some of your Lordships were done away with. Two very remarkable men have since directed its deliberations in its opposition to Liberal Governments. One was the late Lord Derby, the other the Duke of Wellington. We all know what a brilliant ornament Lord Derby was to this House, and how marvellous were his powers of debate. We also know that, although the Duke of Wellington was not a great scholar or a man possessing a particularly cultivated mind, he was one of the most eminent men this country ever produced—a man as highly endowed with political and moral courage as with bravery in the field, where he won so many battles. But in the seven years following the Reform Bill the House of Lords grew in strength and credit under the particular policy which was then inaugurated; and if subsequently it declined in influence, that happened under the auspices of one of its most brilliant leaders; for while Lord Derby took every opportunity of opposing the measures brought forward by Liberal Governments, and while incited by his own genius to attack their policy, his victories were, I believe, but sterile triumphs; whereas it was the policy of the Duke of Wellington to avoid as far as possible coming into collision with the other House of Parliament; and when he did agree that the moment for attack had come he chose an opportunity like that afforded by the Appropriation Clause, and the results of his victories lasted 20 years. I think there is something worthy of your Lordships' consideration with regard to the policy of your Lordships' House. First of all, not unnecessarily to put yourselves into collision with the House of Commons; and, secondly, also to reflect whether it is not desirable that when you do so you should feel somewhat assured that your Lordships will be sustained by the opinion of the country, and that you will be able to secure your victory in some tangible form. I beg your Lordships' pardon for the presumption with which I have brought these remarks to your Lordships' notice; they are given in all sincerity, and I can only thank your Lordships for the attention with which you have received them.

On Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Motion? Their Lordships divided:—Contents 130; Not-Contents 155: Majority 25.

Resolved in the Negative.

Then Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Hatherley, L. (L. Chancellor.) Belper, L.
Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.) [Teller.]
York, Archp.
Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)
Cleveland, D.
Devonshire, D. Brougham and Vaux, L.
Saint Albans, D. [Teller.] Calthorpe, L.
Somerset, D. Camoys, L.
Sutherland, D. Carew, L.
Carrington, L.
Ailesbury, M. Castletown, L.
Anglesey, M. Chesham, L.
Camden, M. Clandeboye, L. (L. Dufferin and Claneboye.)
Lansdowne, M.
Ripon, M. Clermont, L.
Westminster, M. Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Cloncurry, L.
Abingdon, E. Dacre, L.
Airlie, E. De Tabley, L.
Camperdown, E. Dunning, L. (L. Rollo.)
Cathcart, E. Dunsany, L.
Cawdor, E. Ebury, L.
Clarendon, E. Eliot, L.
Cottenham, E. Erskine, L.
Cowper, E. Gardner, L.
Craven, E. Gwydir, L.
Dartrey, E. Hare, L. (E. Listowel.)
De La Warr, E. Harris, L.
Derby, E. Hatherton, L.
Devon, E. Houghton, L.
Ducie, E. Howard of Glossop, L.
Effingham, E. Kildare, L. (M. Kildare.)
Essex, E. Lawrence, L.
Fitzwilliam, E. Leigh, L.
Fortescue, E. Lismore, L. (V. Lismore.)
Granville, E.
Harrowby, E. Lurgan, L.
Ilchester, E. Lyttelton, L.
Kimberley, E. Lytton, L.
Leicester, E. Lyveden, L.
Morley, E. Meldrum, L. (M. Huntly.)
Nelson, E. Meredyth, L. (L. Athlumney.)
Romney, E.
Saint Germans, E. Methuen, L.
Shaftesbury, E. Minster, L. (M. Conyngham.)
Sommers, E.
Spencer, E. Monck, L. (V. Monck.)
Stanhope, E. Monson, L.
Stradbroke, E. Mont Eagle, L. (M. Sligo.)
Suffolk and Berkshire, E. Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Mostyn, L.
Eversley, V. Northbrook, L.
Falmouth, V. O'Hagan, L.
Halifax, V. Penzance, L.
Powerscourt, V. Poltimore, L.
Sidmouth, V. Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)
Sydney, V.
Torrington, V. Ribblesdale, L.
Robartes, L.
Exeter, Bp. Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)
Manchester, Bp.
Ripon, Bp. Sandhurst, L.
Saye and Sele, L.
Seaton, L.
Abercromby, L. Sefton, L. (E. Sefton.)
Acton, L. Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Ashburton, L.
Auckland, L. Skene, L. (E. Fife.)
Barrogill, L. (E. Caithness.) Stafford, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Sudeley, L. Vaux of Harrowden, L.
Suffield, L. Wenlock, L.
Sundridge, L. (D. Argyll.) Worlingham, L. (E. Gosford.)
Truro, L. Wrottesley, L.
Beaufort, D. Strathmore and Kinghorn, E.
Buckingham and Chandos, D.
Vane, E.
Manchester, D. Verulam, E.
Norfolk, D. Westmoreland, E.
Northumberland, D. Wilton, E.
Richmond, D.
Rutland, D. Combermere, V.
Wellington, D. De Vesci, V.
Gough, V.
Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.) Hardinge, V.
Hawarden, V. [Teller.]
Bath, M. Hill, V.
Bristol, M. Hood, V.
Exeter, M. Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.)
Hertford, M.
Salisbury, M. Melville, V.
Townshend, M. Stratford de Redcliffe, V.
Tweeddale, M. Strathallan, V.
Winchester, M. Templetown, V.
Abergavenny, E. Abinger, L.
Amberst, E. Arundell of Wardour, L.
Annesley, E. Aveland, L.
Bandon, E. Bagot, L.
Bantry, E. Bateman, L.
Bathurst, E. Bolton, L.
Bradford, E. Boston, L.
Brooke and Warwick, E. Braybrooke, L.
Brownlow, E. Buckhurst, L.
Cadogan, E. Cairns, L.
Carnarvon, E. Chelmsford, L.
Chesterfield, E. Churston, L.
Dartmouth, E. Clanbrassill, L. (E. Roden.)
Denbigh, E.
Eldon, E. Clifton, L. (E. Darnley.)
Feversham, E. Clinton, L.
Graham, E. (D. Montrose.) Colchester, L.
Colonsay, L.
Grey, E. Colville of Culross, L.
Harewood, E. Conyers, L.
Hillsborough, E. (M. Downshire.) Delamere, L.
De L'Isle and Dudley, L.
Howe, E. Denman, L.
Kellie, E. De Ros, L.
Lancsborough, E. De Saumarez, L.
Leven and Melville, E. Digby, L.
Lucan, E. Dunboyne, L.
Mansfield, E. Dunmore, L. (E. Dunmore.)
Manvers, E.
Mount Edgcumbe, E. Egerton, L.
Portarlington, E. Elphinstone, L.
Poulett, E. Fisherwick, L. (M. Donegal.)
Powis, E.
Radnor, E. Fitzhardinge, L.
Rosse, E. Fitzwalter, L.
Rosslyn, E. Foxford, L. (E. Limerick.)
Russell, E.
Sandwich, E. Gormanston, L. (V. Gormanston.)
Selkirk, E.
Shrewsbury, E. Grantley, L.
Strafford, E. Grinstead, L. (E. Enniskillen.)
Strange, E. (D. Athol.)
Hartismere, L. (L. Henniker.) Sheffield, L. (E. Sheffield.)
Heytesbury, L. Sherborne, L.
Hylton, L. Skelmersdale, L. [Teller.]
Inchiquin, L.
Kenlis, L. (M. Headfort.) Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)
Kesteven, L. Sondes, L.
Leconfield, L. Southampton, L.
Lovat, L. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Moore, L. (M. Drogheda.)
Northwick, L. St. John of Bletso, L.
O'Neill, L. Stratheden, L.
Oranmore and Browne, L. Strathnairn, L.
Strathspey, L. (E. Seafield.)
Ormathwaite, L.
Ormonde, L. (M. Ormonde.) Templemore, L.
Thurlow, L.
Overstone, L. Tredegar, L.
Panmure, L. (E. Dalhousie.) Ventry, L.
Vernon, L.
Penrhyn, L. Vivian, L.
Raglan, L. Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)
Ranfurly, L. (E. Ranfurly.) Wentworth, L.
Wharncliffe, L.
Ravensworth, L. Wigan, L. (E. Crawford and Balcarres.)
Redesdale, L.
Rivers, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Romilly, L.

House adjourned at a quarter before Two o'clock A.M., till a quarter before Five o'clock.