§ LORD SANDHURST
, in rising to call the attention of the House to certain General Orders affecting Army Reserve and Enlistment issued since the 22nd of March inclusive, said, that in directing their Lordships' attention to the subject he wished it to be understood that his remarks had no reference to pending legislation, and that whatever observations he made would be directed solely to the results of late Acts of Parliament—that was to say, with regard to measures proposed by the Secretary of State for War under powers vested in him, and not with reference to the legislation now going on in the other House of Parliament. At the same time, he would ask his noble Friend the Under Secretary of State for War to understand that although he might express a certain difference of opinion from the Secretary of State with regard to the measures comprehended in the Orders to which he invited attention, he was animated by no spirit of antagonism to the Government—with which it was his pride and pleasure to act. He had been in the habit of protesting, in his position when in command, against certain evils in the Queen's service which he ventured to describe as of great magnitude and importance; but which he 1500 had not—so far as opportunity had been offered to him in former times—been able to impress on his superiors in the War Department with sufficient force to cause some remedies to be applied to them, and, therefore, when he said he differed from the Secretary of State for War he might add he differed also from all his predecessors on the subject. We had to consider in these days a question of military organization which was strange to those who had to care for the Army 20 years ago. Influenced by events on the Continent during the last 10, and more especially during the last five, years, the people of this country, Government and Parliament had come to consider that there was one thing perhaps even more important than the line of the British Army—namely, the lines of Reserve behind it. In contemplating this new problem they encountered difficulties which were encountered by no other Power in Europe; for all other Powers depended on conscription; whereas the forces of Her Majesty depended on voluntary enlistment. When they considered how vast was the distinction, how great was the difference, between troops that were raised by conscription and those obtained solely on the volition of the individual man, he thought their Lordships would agree with him that probably no problem was more difficult to be solved than to form our Reserves on such a basis as would satisfy public security hereafter, and save the country from those disgraceful panics which had so often alarmed the people. When he looked to the Orders that had been placed on the Table of the House in accordance with a former Motion, he must say he was dissatisfied with them—they failed to solve the problem—indeed, he must say that he looked at them with a feeling of dismay, rather than of confidence. If they looked to foreign armies, and especially to that German organization which had been held up to them as a model to study and an example to follow, they found there was one point which was never forgotten by those who had to consider the elements out of which combative armies were to be formed—one which was deeply studied and practically acted upon in a manner to give satisfaction to those who had the authority and command over the armies of the Continent; but which he grieved to say, owing to various 1501 circumstances, did not receive the attention it deserved from those in authority in this country, and which seemed to him to have escaped public attention also. It was a very elementary one. It was one that struck every military man at first sight, and it also was such as struck every employer of labour in every trade or profession—namely, the age of the men. In Continental armies care was taken to provide grown men for the Army; but in the British service no such provident care was observed; and, instead of providing men, every regulation was framed with the intention of providing undergrown striplings or boys for the service. He did not exaggerate when he said that was the result, and that there could be no other possible result, from the working of the regulations under which our Army was organized. Before 1847 we had what was called the long-service system—that was to say, the men were enlisted for life, but practically only for 21 years—and the consequent result was that but few recruits, comparatively speaking, were required for the Army annually; and the great bulk of the regiments consisted of old soldiers. Consequently, the men who joined as recruits were in inverse proportion to the large majority of the soldiers. But after great debate it was—as he believed, rightly—determined to change the system by the introduction of a limited period of service—that of 10 years for the infantry, and 12 years for cavalry and artillery, with power to re-enlist men of good character. For some time this change was hardly felt in the service, for the number of old soldiers was so large that it required years to effect a change in the personnel of the different corps, and many years would have to elapse before it would come into full and complete operation. But, however, as years rolled by, the new system came more fully into operation, the number of old soldiers decreased, and the number of young soldiers increased. In 1867 further changes were made, in accordance with the recommendation of a Royal Commission, presided over by a noble Earl behind him (Earl Dalhousie). That Commission, as far as he understood their Report, did not entirely yield to public opinion on the necessity of increasing the Reserves; it looked more to holding out inducements to 1502 the old soldiers to re-engage, and to invite young men to enlist, than to any system on which a comprehensive system of recruiting might be established. Last year things had advanced still further, and an Act was passed giving a much wider basis to the Reserves. These Orders, which had been laid upon the Table, had been issued by the Secretary of State under the authority intrusted to him by that Act. Now, having given a very superficial sketch of the changes that had taken place, he begged their Lordships to understand that he was the last man in the world to quarrel with them, or to say that the reforms executed according to the advance of public opinion were in any manner wrong. On the contrary, he entirely went with the spirit of them, and he begged to assure their Lordships that he entertained those ideas long before they were fashionable, or before they were entertained by the majority of the people. But while they were anxious for reform, they must think a little of those conditions of security without which reforms become dangerous instead of advantageous to the country; and that he ventured to say might be the case if Orders of this kind were hazarded without some compensating provisions. Now, if there was one thing more than another which he thought was injurious to the proper organization of our Army, it was the recruiting of mere striplings and young men who had not reached 21 years of age. To enlist lads at 18, and to transfer them to the Reserves at 21, was to form the Army in actual service of lads and not of men. If they did so, they were simply organizing defeat. Whatever the ability of the Generals or the valour of the commanders, and however heavily the taxpayer might have been burdened, when the hour of trial came they would find that their efforts had been lamentably wasted, and they would stand before the world discredited if not defeated. And so it came to this—that they must have the compensating condition, which, as he had said before, was never forgotten in the armies of the Continent. Instead of taking mere boys into the service they must take men. According to the first of those Orders, dated 22nd March, 1871, soldiers of regiments who had exceeded three years' service were invited indiscriminately to volunteer into the Reserve 1503 —that was to say, that all the Line regiments of England were without exception invited to part with their men who had any experience, who had any sinew or muscle—who had, in fact, established their reputation as soldiers—and to leave behind them the striplings and the men of bad character. Was it surprising that when the commanding officers of regiments received that order they should have looked round them with blank dismay, and wonder what was the meaning of it? How, he asked, was it possible for the commanding officer to maintain the honour and discipline of the Army if the regiments were to be left to striplings and men of bad character and to non-commissioned officers? He thought it was an important question, and one for their Lordships to decide, whether commanding officers ought to be left in such straits as he had described. He was aware that a second Order had since come out limiting the further passage of volunteers from the Line to the Reserve. He was glad to see that Order; but, at the same time, he must invite attention to the fact that whilst they might have this limitation on the part of the War Department, nevertheless the principle still remained, and, under the powers vested in the Secretary of State, they would find that they would be exposed to the same disadvantages hereafter. The experience of the last few years—more especially of last year—had shown them, on the one hand, an Army of grown men, varying from 20 to 23 years of age, capable of enduring every fatigue, of standing short rations, and of doing justice to the commands given them; while, on the other hand, we had seen another Army formed in a hurry, many of the men being of extreme youth; and, without alluding more particularly to recent events on the Continent, we had witnessed in the one case constant success and in the other constant defeat. Putting aside the question of the regular Army of France, we surely ought to profit from experience about trusting to armies composed of very young men, such as those who had manfully striven against the grown soldiers opposed to them, but who had striven in vain—owing chiefly, he believed, to physical causes resting in the men themselves. He admitted that we should not be in such straits as these; but were our regiments to be composed 1504 hereafter of boys varying from 18 to 21 years of age, they would, however well trained and drilled, be without those powers of physical endurance which were at least as important as courage. He had another and fatal illustration to bring before their Lordships. Having commanded our forces in India for a long time, he had striven for years to get men of greater age in the regiments relieving those coming from India, and in the draughts of recruits sent out to re-inforce the regiments already there. Those representations, however—which were seconded by the Inspector General of Hospitals—were unavailing, the reply being that the circumstances of this country made it impossible to alter the regulations under which young men of 18 were invited to enter the service. All the superior officers with whom he was acquainted, and he knew nearly every one in the Presidency of Bengal, were aware that the rates of mortality were greatly enhanced by the extreme youth of the recruits who filled their regiments. Their opinions had been repeatedly stated, and Dr. Muir, lately addressing the Adjutant General in India, had declared that the evil had so culminated that it might be impossible to trust to Her Majesty's regiments hereafter. This strong opinion of the Inspector General of Hospitals, based on his personal inspection of the regiments year after year, and supported by all his subordinates, had deeply impressed him. Often as he had pondered over the subject, and much as he had considered it in all its bearings when himself in command, it almost overwhelmed him with regard to what might happen to the Army of which we were so proud, to which the country trusted, to which we looked in the last extremity, but which, according to so high an authority, was threatened with the worst danger as the effect of our own legislation. In the Report of the Army Recruiting Commission of 1866 he found this passage—The Director General of the Army Medical Department is of opinion that on the score of health alone men should not be sent out to India under 20 years of age. We further advise, on the ground of efficiency, that none but thoroughly trained soldiers should be sent abroad.In bringing this point before the House, therefore, he had the satisfaction of knowing that he was but following the recommendations of the Commission presided 1505 over by the noble Earl already referred to. On referring to the debate in this House last year, he found that the illustrious Duke on the cross-benches was not slow to warn their Lordships of the necessity of guarding such points as those to which he had called attention. The question of age, he believed, was not then alluded to; but both the illustrious Duke and the noble Earl who presided over the Commission declared that it was necessary to look carefully to the efficiency of the men, and to preserve a certain element of old soldiership while committing ourselves to the short-term system. He found also that the points set aside by the present Orders were stated to be guarded by the illustrious Duke. Thus it was said there was no intention of parting with all the men who had exceeded a certain term of service, but to invite men who had been six years in the service to join the Reserves, and that while authority was given to draught three years' men into the Reserve, it was only to be done on the understanding that the Army was to be reduced. Now, the present Orders had been issued under different circumstances, for we heard nothing of reduction of the Army—we heard only of the formation of a Reserve. Thus, the very point guarded by the illustrious Duke was, in these Orders, guarded no longer. In an excellent work by Major General Sir Lintorn Simmons, which the majority of their Lordships had probably read, this point was particularly alluded to—and few men had had more experience, while none, probably, knew more of the working of foreign armies. What did General Simmons say?—It is well known that, acting under the inspiration of the men employed in the recruiting service, it is a common practice for lads entering the Army to be attested as being 18 years of age, when in reality they are under it.He (Lord Sandhurst) was sorry to say he believed with General Simmons that a very great number of the lads who enlisted did not possess the 18 years which they pretended—and as far as this was the case the evil to which he was directing their Lordships' attention of too young soldiers became one of greater magnitude. General Simmons had also called attention to the age in other armies. In the Prussian Army no conscript was taken whose age was less than 20; and the authorities reserved to themselves 1506 the right of putting back for a year men even of that age who might be weakly, and apparently inadequate to the performance of really military duties. In a single year 220,000 youths out of 227,000 who had completed their 20th year, and were liable to military service, were actually put back for a year as temporarily unfit. Thus, if the man of 20 did not show something like a complete manhood, he was sent back for another year in order that he might complete his growth. This, it seemed to him, was as humane towards the population as it was politic for the State. In the French Army the age of the conscript was 20, in the Russian, 21; in the Austrian, he believed the same as in the Prussian:—so that in all the Continental Armies of note this point was jealously guarded. Perhaps he should be told that no means existed of providing recruits of more mature age than those who had hitherto been taken for our own Army. Indeed, it had lately been stated on high authority that the thing was impossible; and he had heard distinguished officers say that great as the evil was no remedy could, owing to our institutions, be found. Now, if our powers of invention were so poor—if we were in such a state that we committed the great national sin of inveigling young men to go to a climate which sent them to a premature grave—all he could say was that we had no right to take rank as a Power possessed of administrative ability. A remedy must and would be found. To admit the evil and to allege that we were powerless to apply a remedy was to condemn us in the face of the civilized world and to expose ourselves to serious dangers. He feared that whatever Government had been in power of late years, no real effort had been made to grapple with the problem, or it would have been found to possess no such insuperable difficulty. He believed that there were simple means by which men might be found as recruits, and which would enable us to carry out the plan of forming a Reserve from the men of the Line after a short service—say of three years. He had ventured to submit to the Secretary of State a plan to which he did not attach greater importance than to any other which might be offered, but which he thought deserving of being put to the test of trial. General Simmons had thrown out very excellent ideas, 1507 all in the same direction. What he would suggest was that there should be one age for the Militia recruit and another for the Line recruit. The former might be fairly fixed at 18, and the latter at 20; and this would, at all events, get rid of the evil now complained of—namely, competition between the Militia and the Line for the same class of men. Then, at the end of every Militia training season, the Secretary of State should declare what number of young men were required to fill the year's vacancies in the Line, and men should be invited to volunteer from the Militia to fill those vacancies, provided they had completed their 20th year. 7, 10, or 20 per cent might thus be obtained from the Militia regiments; and, though there might possibly still remain a deficiency to be filled up, it would not be a very large one, and it could easily be supplied from the open market at the age of from 20 to 21. He admitted that such men were not to be obtained in large numbers; 25,000 or 30,000 recruits of 20 years of age could not be got, but such a balance as this might be secured. In proof of this he should refer to the regulations of the old East India Company's service. When the Company had an Army it did not forget the conditions of age as essential to health and efficiency, which, under the pressure of circumstances, had been overlooked in the British Army, for he believed that no recruit under 21 years of age was taken for the British regiments serving in India, while men were taken up to 26 years of age. By some simple procedure such as he had suggested the difficulty might to some extent be met. But there were also other considerations. The third Order which had been issued was in these terms—Until further Orders enlistments in the Footguards and Infantry of the Line are to be enlistments for a short term of service—namely, for six years' Army service and six years' Reserve Service, without pension.There were no exemptions or exceptions; so that, though the Acts of 1867 and 1870 distinctly laid down a power of re-engagement, that system was positively abrogated. Since giving his notice he had been satisfied that the omission of re-engagement in the Order had been unintentional, and he understood that another Order was coming out to rectify it; but as yet the Order was regarded by the Army as abrogating the system of 1508 re-engagement, which implied a pension. Now, he believed there were many noble Lords in the House of high authority who were of opinion that the pension system ought to be modified or abolished. He was not himself prepared to give a strong opinion on the matter, for it required a close investigation of the feeling not only of the Army but of that class of the population whence recruits were drawn, and a very large portion of his life having been passed abroad, he did not pretend to any acquaintance with the habits of that population. He found, however, those better able to judge of the question viewed the abolition of pensions with alarm, unless it were accompanied with large compensation. By the salutary measures taken by the War Department in the last few years it had been sought to enlist men for the service of the Crown on account of the merits of the service, instead of through the miserable falsehoods and inducements formerly held out by the recruiting sergeants. The information thus disseminated had given increased importance to the system of pensions; for the people from whom recruits were drawn had thoroughly understood that, while getting a certain portion of their emoluments in the form of daily pay, they could look forward, in the event of good conduct, and if it suited them to remain in the Army, to another important emolument in the form of a pension. Knowing something of mankind in general he suspected that the lower orders of England were able to appreciate the advantages of such a system, and that it could not be abolished without compensation without a serious effect on recruiting hereafter. The point had been a good deal dwelt upon by General Simmons. He calculated the value of the pension to each individual in the Army at £177. He arrived at this in the following manner:—The practical cost to the State of holding out the inducement of pensions as a bait to young soldiers, and of working them in the manner illustrated above, may be arrived at approximately as follows:—In the three years 1863–4, and 5, the average annual number of men pensioned was 2,780, with an average pension for each of 1s. 1d. a day. The recipients being under 40 years of age, these pensions may be taken to represent a capital sum per man of about £395. Now, the whole number enlisted who would have been entitled to pensions, if they had completed their service, averaged 6,211, but as only 2,780 became entitled (the remaining 3,431 having previously 1509 disappeared from the muster rolls), the actual cost of the pensions to Government was equivalent to a payment of £177 to each man enlisted.General Simmons had urged that if pensions were done away with—and he believed that with a system of short service the Secretary of State was right in endeavouring to get rid of them—the large sum which would be lost to the soldiers must be considered. It must be remembered that if they took away the pension—one of the great inducements offered to soldiers to serve—they would have to give the emolument in some other form. General Simmons, who, he was certain, would not have made the statement without good authority, calculated that the value of the pension which the soldier sacrificed by accepting short service amounted to £177, and that the proper compensation would be an increase of 6d. to his daily pay. This sum General Simmons proposed to retain in the savings banks, but that it should be the actual property of the soldier, not to be alienated on any account, but not to be paid into his hands until the soldier returned to his home on discharge, instead of giving it into his hands to be wasted from day to day. He believed, then, that if an attempt were made honestly and boldly to cure the evils to which he had invited attention no difficulty need be found in dealing with the subject. He thought they would readily get over the difficulty—he was going to say, the great crime—of inviting men to serve in the Army at a time of life when they were not fit to stand the work. Personally, he had no objection to a system of short service, and he fully sympathized with the difficulties which his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State had to encounter. He knew the pressure to which his right hon. Friend had been exposed, and he had, in common with the rest of the public, felt how impossible it was to resist that pressure. At the same time, he did not refrain from expressing a hope that some steps would be taken to cause these changes, useful and advantageous as they might ultimately prove, to be accompanied by some such conditions as those he had referred to.
§ LORD NORTHBROOK
said, the suggestions of his noble Friend could not fail to receive the attention they deserved. It was a great satisfaction to 1510 him to feel that on the cardinal points of the policy of his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State with regard to the Army, the Government had the concurrence of his noble and gallant Friend—one of those cardinal points being to obtain an Army Reserve by means of short service. He might, perhaps, be able, by stating the manner in which these Orders came to be issued, to satisfy his noble and gallant Friend as to the great mass of the objections which he had urged against them. The Circular of the 24th of March last invited men in the Army of three years' service to join the first-class Army Reserve; and that Circular was followed by a second, stating that the permission given in the first was not intended to apply to musicians and bandsmen, and that the offer was made once for all. The circumstances under which these Circulars were issued were these:—On the last day of last year it was reported from the Adjutant General's Department of the Horse Guards that recruiting had been partially stopped in consequence of the numbers that had enlisted approaching very nearly to the limit provided by Parliament. His right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War thought, however, that it would not be politic to stop the recruiting, and that it would be more advantageous to offer to those men in the service who would like to avail themselves of the offer, and who had served three years and bore a good character, the option of joining the first-class Army Reserve, and to fill their places by new recruits. As their Lordships might be aware, many officers well acquainted with the Army—such as the Inspector General of Recruiting—believed very few men would accept these terms; and, in fact, the number was small compared with the effective strength of the Army. Those who actually did avail themselves of the offer were 22 sergeants, 186 corporals, and 2,462 rank and file. To him it appeared as if his noble and gallant Friend had looked at the Circular with much more alarm than was necessary. The offer was one that was made at a particular time to meet a particular case, and was made, moreover, to secure an object of the highest national importance—the increase of the first-class Army Reserve. When the subject of the Reserve was under discussion on a former occasion, it was urged against the proposal 1511 to enlist men for six years in the Army and six in the Reserve, that we should have to wait six years before we could commence our Reserve; but by this means we were able to commence it at once, and so to strengthen the whole force of the country. His noble and gallant Friend (Lord Sandhurst) had said that some officers commanding regiments had stated that the effect of the offer would be to leave them in command of half-starved boys and men of bad character only. But it was only by gross exaggeration that such results could be anticipated—he was not aware of any case in which it could be correctly stated. Let them take, as an example, the infantry regiments now in Ireland. As far as he could gather from the Returns in his possession, there was not one of those regiments in which there were not more than 200 men who had served six years. So far from looking at the results of these Circulars with alarm, the Government viewed them with great satisfaction, because if they could now find a fair number of men who were willing to leave the Army and join the Army Reserve, with the perfect knowledge that in so doing they would forfeit their right to a pension and would be obliged to rejoin their colours in case of emergency, it was only reasonable to suppose that there was a large number among the population who would be willing to enlist for the shorter term of service. It appeared to him that officers too frequently lost sight of the fact that regiments were organized for service in time of war, and that all these men, whose loss they complained of, would, in case of emergency, again be found in their ranks. The next point to which his noble and gallant Friend referred was the effect which he expected these Orders to have on the regiments under orders for India. The facts did not bear out the opinions expressed on this head by his noble and gallant Friend. At the present time there were five regiments under orders for India, only one of which would be seriously affected by the Circular. This was the 70th Regiment, from which 59 men had volunteered for the first-class Army Reserve, and the regiment was about that number short of its establishment. He therefore hoped their Lordships would be satisfied with the effect of the Circular, which could have no result whatever as to the ages of the 1512 men who went to India. He was glad that his noble and gallant Friend had called attention to the great importance of not sending to India any soldiers except such as had been some little time in the service and were over the age of 20. This subject had been brought to the notice of the authorities here by the authorities in India, and therefore had not escaped the attention either of the illustrious Duke on the cross-benches (the Duke of Cambridge) or of the Secretary of State for War. The difficulty appeared to Her Majesty's Government to be by no means insuperable; the number of regiments at present sent to India was limited, and if men who were physically competent and of a proper age were allowed to volunteer for service in India from other regiments, the object desired by his noble and gallant Friend would be attained without the difficulty which he seemed to apprehend. There was only one expression in the speech of his noble and gallant Friend to which he might venture to take exception. His noble and gallant Friend ought not, in his opinion, to have spoken of the national sin of inveigling youngsters to go to a climate which sends them prematurely to the grave; because he (Lord Northbrook) was sure that the greatest possible care had been taken by that Department of the Horse Guards, that the abuses of the old system of recruiting should not be continued, and that no man should enter the Army but with his eyes open, and knowing to the full extent the advantages and disadvantages of the service for which he had enlisted. Moreover, it was now the orders to transfer from regiments ordered for service in India all men who, from youth or any other reasons, were physically unfitted, to serve in a tropical climate. Some clauses in the Army Enlistment Act of 1870 were specially framed to meet the difficulty of transferring men who were unfit for foreign service to other regiments—a difficulty which had always been recognized, by the authorities, but to the effectual remedying of which there had been legal obstacles up to that date. Therefore, it would be seen that, by properly exercising the powers that had been conferred upon the Secretary of State for War under the Act to which he had alluded, a sufficient Army Reserve would be obtained without impairing 1513 the efficiency of that branch of the service intended for service in India. So much with respect to the Circular. In reference to the subject of pensions, as to which his noble and gallant Friend had said that some explanation ought to be issued, he wished it to be clearly understood that men who enlisted for six years in the Army and another six in the Reserve would, of course, receive just the same pensions as any other class of soldiers if they were incapacitated for service in consequence of illness produced in and by service. Further, it was always intended that opportunities should be afforded to a portion of the men who had enlisted for short periods to reengage at the expiration of their Army service—such re-engagements to be at the option of the commanding officers of the regiments and the military authorities. It had never been the intention of the Government that the Army should consist entirely of men of short service, but rather that there should be in each regiment a combination of young and old soldiers—for it was by this means only that the British Army had attained to high perfection. He could not agree with the suggestion that the pay of the short-service men should be increased in order to compensate them for the fact that they would not be entitled to pensions, and for this among other reasons—that the country would have to meet the whole of that larger pay in addition to the Army Estimates for the year, and then when the pensions of the long-service men became due they would have to be paid also; the whole going to create a financial burden which the country would very strongly and not unnaturally object to. In fact, notwithstanding the opinion of Major General Simmons, he did not believe that the chance of obtaining a pension entered very largely into the calculations of men entering the Army, because, as that officer had so well explained, many things might happen which, while impossible to be foreseen or provided against, would nullify the man's prospect of enjoying a pension. Moreover, the principle of short service would, in his opinion, prove exceedingly popular, and bring into the service men of a higher class than were now to be found in its ranks. Every attention would be paid to encouraging such men to enlist in the Army Reserve, and he 1514 was happy to be able to inform the House that arrangements were in progress, and would shortly be announced, by which preference would be given, cœteris paribus, in certain Departments to men who belonged to the Army Reserve. For instance, there were many places in the Post Office in which preference might very properly be given to men serving in the Army Reserve. Further, the Civil Service Commissioners had made a regulation by means of which this same class of men, as well as Pensioners, should, after passing the qualifying examinations, only be placed upon the list of candidates for employment as writers and copyists in the public offices. It was very essential, in his opinion, that in a country where we had to depend on the system of voluntary enlistment, that every encouragement should be given to men to induce them to enter the service; and the attention of the Secretary of State had been directed especially to the subject. His noble and gallant Friend had pointed out the great advantage which would accrue if the Army could obtain men of 20 years of age, instead of 18, when they first enlisted, and had alluded to the plan which he had sent to the Secretary of State, with the object of drawing all recruits for the Army from the Militia. That plan had many points which recommended it to careful consideration with a view to its possible adoption to some extent. But there was a difficulty at the foundation of it—supposing that men could not be got through the Militia, and that they could not be got elsewhere, above 20 years of age, how was the Army to be maintained? It therefore appeared to him to be unwise to lay down any limit of age. Another objection to the limit being laid down to the age for enlistment was the difficulty of ascertaining in all cases a man's real age. This was felt very much at the time when the soldier was not allowed to count his time for the service until he arrived at the age of 18. The effect of that rule was to cause the production of many fraudulent certificates, and so objectionable did the practice appear to a Royal Commission appointed to investigate the subject of recruiting, that they recommended that a man's service should date from the time he entered the Army, without reference to age, leaving it to the surgeons and the recruiters to see that men did 1515 not enter the service too young. During the last six months there had been an increase of 20,000 in the number of men, and when the increase was so great the class of recruits undoubtedly deteriorated to a certain extent; but he was glad to say that many of these recently obtained were of good quality; and he was informed, moreover, that the recruits for the artillery were of the most admirable character. In order to make his noble and gallant Friend's plan thoroughly complete, it would be necessary to supplement it in the manner suggested by himself on a former occasion. His noble and gallant Friend was present at a presentation of colours or some other ceremony connected with one of the principal Volunteer regiments in the Metropolis, and he then expressed his views very much to the same effect as he had now communicated them to their Lordships, in respect to the organization of the Army. On that occasion his noble and gallant Friend stated—what he no doubt still believed—that without compulsory service it was impossible thoroughly to carry out a scheme of recruiting for the Army; and he then recommended that the conscription should be applied to the Militia, and that the Militia should be draughted to the regiments of the Line. He (Lord Northbrook) would not occupy the time of the House by discussing whether it would be advisable to introduce compulsory service in that manner; but would content himself with saying that as we could at present fill up the ranks of the Militia with perfect ease by voluntary enlistment, it would not be fair to the people of this country to introduce any law of compulsory service in the Militia. The great object we had in view was to provide ourselves with an Army. According to his noble and gallant Friend's plan, however, compulsion would be applied to the Militia, which, with all its merits, was an inferior force, and there would be no guarantee that, after its application, the object in view would be attained. He could assure their Lordships that the Secretary of State for War was by no means insensible to the danger, by rash changes, of diminishing the number of enlistments, and that he would give his attention to any suggestions proceeding from so high an authority as his noble and gallant Friend. As far as a judgment 1516 could be at present formed, the effect of the Circular respecting short enlistment had been exceedingly satisfactory. It had been in operation only a few weeks, but during that period the number of recruits had steadily increased, and last week amounted to 288. The number of enlistments in the three weeks preceding the appearance of the Circular was 1,162, and in the three weeks afterwards it was 1,149—so that there was hardly any difference. If, however, a comparison were made of the recruiting for the month of May, 1871, including three weeks under the operation of the Circular, with the recruiting in the month of May, of former years, the result was satisfactory. The number this year was 1,534; whereas in no corresponding four weeks since 1859 had we had so large a number of recruits. In the corresponding period in 1860 the number of recruits was 1,437, and the average number since then had been 700. He did not venture absolutely to assert that the system of short enlistment would succeed; but there were good grounds for believing that it would, and if it did it would greatly benefit both the country and the Army. He hoped their Lordships would be satisfied that the effect of neither of these Circulars would be to impair the efficiency of our military force.
§ THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE
My Lords, I am sure there is no subject connected with Army matters which is equal in importance to that which has been brought under the notice of your Lordships by my noble and gallant Friend (Lord Sandhurst) who addressed you first this evening. I think it right, however, to point out the real difficulty of the position. There are two systems by which you can obtain men for an Army. One is the system of conscription; the other is the going into the labour market and obtaining men by making them offers which they think advantageous to themselves. No other course is possible; you can only adopt one or the other of these. Hardly a remark fell from my noble and gallant Friend in which I do not concur; but all his remarks applied to a conscript Army, whereas we have an enlisted Army; and it is impossible—so far as I can judge—to adapt to an enlisted Army the system which prevails, and must prevail, and ought to prevail, when there is a conscript Army. The enlistment of 1517 the men is one of the most delicate operations which we military men have to deal with. The State requires soldiers, and at the same time it requires that the expenditure should not exceed what the country expects to be spent in that manner. The balancing in that way the expenditure and requirements of the country is one of the most delicate points we have to consider. We wish to pay nothing more than is absolutely necessary to obtain the men, and on the other hand we are bound to pay as much as will obtain them. This is a point which it takes a considerable time exactly to hit. We are now endeavouring to alter the system connected with the Army because it has been found necessary to increase the strength of our Reserves. Our Reserves have hitherto been virtually nil—with the exception of the Militia. We are now endeavouring to obtain a Reserve from the Army, and the measure must be a tentative one in whatever direction in which you try it until you arrive at the exact point at which you can obtain the Reserves and get the men to serve in it. If I am right in this respect, I think my noble and gallant Friend will admit that my statement of last year, which he quoted, has not been contradicted by the action of the Government this year. Since that statement was made, when the Bill was under discussion last year, circumstances have arisen which have made it necessary to increase the Army. Whether the tentative measure which is now proposed for adoption will answer, it is impossible for me or anybody connected with the Army positively to assert. It is a tentative measure, but I trust it is in the right direction, and that it is not altogether inconsistent with what I said last year. At the same time I frankly admit I have always felt great anxiety as to how the tentative measure of last year would act; and it is impossible at present to say how it will affect the Army. There is no point on which I should so fully agree with my noble and gallant Friend than that relating to the age at which men ought to be allowed to enlist; and if we could only so arrange matters that no one under 20 years old should be allowed to enlist I should certainly go along with him, for it stands to reason that a man at 20 is really and virtually a man, whereas at ages below that he may be regarded rather as a lad 1518 than as a man. My noble and gallant Friend has brought under our notice that, under the Prussian system, 22,000 out of 227,000 men who had completed their 20th year were rejected. Those of your Lordships who have not had the same opportunities as myself of dealing with the subject will not be indisposed to accept my assurance that it is almost impossible to get men, unless you take them at the ages at which we are now obliged to take them. We have gone to all the best authorities, and the answer we have invariably got is that at the ago of 20 a man has settled in his own mind upon some trade, profession, or calling, and has entered upon the pursuit of it; but that he has not done so at 19, 18, or 17, and therefore we find greater facility in getting men in the open labour market at these objectionable ages than we do in getting them at the more preferable age of 20. I say most distinctly that, if it were possible not to engage a single man until he had arrived at the age of 20, it would be an enormous advantage, both to the individuals and to the State; and it would be particularly advantageous with reference to India, because it is essential that men who go out to India should have reached the advanced age of 20; but I am sorry to say that hitherto we have failed in every attempt we have made to get men of the age of 20 and upwards, and we have been obliged, in order to keep up our complements, to take men at younger ages. The proposal to pass all men through the Militia for the Army is a point which is certainly one deserving the fullest and most serious consideration; but at the same time your Lordships are aware that such a course would involve an entire change of our system. It would amount to the abolition of the Militia in its present character, and to making it a large body of recruits. No doubt the arrangements of the Government for bringing the Reserve forces and the Army together are a movement in that direction, and perhaps when this is accomplished it may be possible to adopt a mode of enlistment such as that which has been suggested; but we have not yet arrived at that point, and, whatever may be decided hereafter, we are obliged to deal with recruiting as we can under present circumstances. I say it is impossible to go into the labour market for men unless you take 1519 them at the objectionable ages referred to. In connection with this subject it may be mentioned that many men who will join the Militia are not disposed to enter the Army, and this is a fact which has been attested, as it could only be ascertained, by experience. Considerable difficulty arises from that circumstance, and although it might be got over, it is right it should be considered when a great change is in contemplation. As I said before, the enlistment of men depends upon the power you have of inducing them to enter the service; and by "inducing" I do not mean catching or entrapping them by anything like false pretences, but I mean making it worth their while to enter the service. I believe that in these days of enlightenment the attractions of a pension may be greater than my noble and gallant Friend deems them to be. I do not say that I should not gladly see pensions diminished if it were possible to diminish them; but I am afraid it is the prospect of the pension which attracts men largely, and, however large the expenditure involved may be, I am afraid it will have to be generally adopted as the best means of attracting men largely and steadily into the ranks. It may be that men would come for a larger rate of pay; but I beg most distinctly to observe that the whole ought not be given to them to spend as soon as they receive it, but, as already stated, a portion of the pay should be set aside to be given to the men when they leave the service. Here, again, a difficulty occurs. In dealing with a soldier there are no arrangements so delicate as those affecting his pay. He is perfectly satisfied if you give him his pay, but if you give him a part of it and retain the remainder to put it in the savings bank that is quite a different thing. I do not say that difficulty cannot be got over, but it is a difficulty, so sensitive are the men on the subject of pay; indeed, there is nothing on which the soldier is more sensitive; they get ideas and impressions which make them hesitate to fall into these arrangements, unless they are completely at liberty to take the full amount of their pay if they wish to do so. The point of the whole question, as long as you go into the labour market, is what will induce the men to enter the service. At the same time it must be borne in mind that there 1520 is a great change in our views with reference to the Army. In former days we kept our Army as small as possible—merely sufficient for the purpose of meeting our wants as they arose; but now our impression is that we ought at all times to have readily available a much larger force. If we are to have that it is essential that we should have a large Reserve, and you cannot form a Reserve unless men first pass through the Army. At this moment we are endeavouring to get men to pass through the Army into the Militia; but, after all, in doing so, it must be borne in mind that the efficiency of the Army is the first consideration, and the Reserve the second; but, while we are looking to the efficiency of the Army, it is essential that we should not lose sight of the Reserve which we have to create. That is another point; we have to create it; we are creating it as rapidly as possible under great pressure; and we must avail ourselves of every means we can in order to create it, so essential the Government consider its formation to be. As regards the composition of regiments, I have a strong opinion, which I expressed last year, that there must at all times be in them a considerable proportion of old and well-seasoned soldiers. Last year we passed a tentative measure to expand and amplify our means of increasing our Army by introducing a shorter period of service, and the Circular just issued does not abrogate the measure of last year. There is no new measure introduced this year as regards the length of time for which men may enlist; and the Circular is only an adaptation of the measure of last year to peculiar circumstances, with the object of obtaining 2,000 men for the Army Reserve. Seeing the difficulties we had to contend with, I hope the House will admit that nothing at all has been done to injure enlistment, and that it will consider all our measures as tentative. Both the Secretary of State and myself have always spoken of them as tentative measures, which must be put forward with great caution, great care, and great circumspection, and time will show whether or not they are in a direction to promote the efficiency of the Army. I agree that frequent changes in the system of enlistment are most objectionable, for no man is so sensitive as a soldier; he is always imagining that any change 1521 is intended to be adverse to his interests; and any idea of that kind, once entertained, expands in every direction. Therefore nothing is more essential than to act with prudence in these matters. I hope we have done nothing yet which will shake the confidence of the soldier in the conditions of the service which the State offers him; and if we have not, then the tentative measures which we have adopted have been judicious, inasmuch as it is wise to ascertain gradually how far we can proceed in the direction in which changes are contemplated. I hope I may be permitted, in conclusion, to assure your Lordships that every military measure emanates from and is initiated by the Government of the day—by the present as well as by preceding Governments; and as it is the bounden duty so it is the earnest desire of myself, and of all the military authorities, to support and assist the Government by every means in my power in carrying out whatever system of recruiting they adopt, and whatever other measures they may recommend. It is with these opinions and feelings I have invariably received with due consideration all matters submitted to my opinion by the Secretary of State for the time being, and I hope the Government will, on their part, admit that they have received the same support from myself. In the carrying out of these changes I afford all my best endeavours to carry out the spirit of the intentions of the Government, while I point out to them what are the interests of the service and of the individual soldier, and how both are bound up with the good of the State.
§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
wished to say a few words before the discussion closed, his apology for addressing their Lordships, being the great importance of the subject, and the manner in which, he thought, the great interests of the country were involved in it. Their Lordships had no doubt been gratified by the speech of the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Sandhurst) who introduced the subject, and it must be a source of satisfaction to them all to find that they had so distinguished an officer among their number—one who was likely to lend to their deliberations so much practical knowledge and power of debate, such as had not always been manifested by one addressing their Lordships for the first time. He agreed with a great 1522 deal that fell from the noble and gallant Lord; but, on the other hand, he was bound to differ from some other remarks that had fallen from him. He especially agreed with him in the view he took of the Circulars which formed the subject of the present discussion. He could not agree with the remark of the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War, who seemed to treat the matter very lightly, and said that, after all, the Circular was a very small matter. He (the Duke of Richmond) on the other hand, believed it was anything but a small matter. It went to the very root and foundation of the system of recruiting the Army of this country: it interfered, and, as he believed, dealt injuriously with that organization of the Army to which they must look when, unfortunately, they had to assert the authority of this country by force of arms. The noble and gallant Lord had alluded to the mode in which he would increase the efficiency of the Army—a mode in which he (the Duke of Richmond) could not concur, and he was glad to find the illustrious Duke at the head of the Army also disagreed from it—he referred to the proposal of having one age for the Militia, at 18, and another for the Regular Army, at 20, and draughting men periodically from the Militia to fill the vacancies in the Army. That would be, as the illustrious Duke stated, to make the whole one enormous Army, the Militia forming the Reserve, and being placed from time to time in the ranks of the Regular force. The noble and gallant Lord spoke, no doubt, with authority on the subject of the extreme youth of the recruits who went to India, and he entirely agreed with him as to the inconvenience, not to say disasters, that might arise from such a state of things. He could mention one regiment at present under orders for India, in which one-half the strength were under 20 years of age. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War would contradict him if he was wrong. The noble Lord shook his head. He did not speak without book. He referred to the 54th Regiment; and he found, from a Return recently placed on the Table of the other House of Parliament, signed by Sir Richard Airey, Adjutant General, that that regiment was 924 strong, and that 472 were under 20 years of age.
§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
said, it had been laid on the Table of the House of Commons within the last few days. He disputed the statement of the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War when he told them that the noble and gallant Lord who commenced the discussion agreed with Her Majesty's Government in all cardinal points, because he was in favour of short service, in favour of the Reserves, and in favour of raising the character of the recruits. Why, to a great portion of this they would all subscribe. He himself wished very much to raise the character of the recruits; he wished, also to have a large Reserve, and he was disposed to agree to short service if it could be carried out with due regard to efficiency. But that was begging the whole question. They agreed to all the cardinal points if they could be carried out; but the "if" was the key of the whole position. He contended that under the orders of this Circular they would not raise the character of the recruits, and—more than that—he did not believe they would get the number of recruits they wanted. But the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War proposed to convert the Post Office into a sort of Chelsea Hospital, and told them that soldiers on being discharged from the Army, if good penmen, would be appointed to vacancies at St. Martin's-le-Grand on passing a competitive examination.
§ THE DUKE OF RICHMOND
Well, at all events, he supposed there would be a test examination. But was not this an entire change of view on the part of the Government? Had they not told them that competitive examinations were the panacea for all the evils of the public offices, and that anybody had a right to be examined, and on passing a competitive examination might demand admission to any vacancy in any office whatever? The illustrious Duke had stated, with perfect correctness, that frequent changes in the mode of enlistment were very much to be deprecated. The rule could not be gainsaid that you must go into the labour market for the raw material of which you are to make your soldiers. Of course it was essential 1524 that those who were to be enlisted should know the terms and conditions of enlistment, and if these were suddenly or entirely altered great disappointment was felt, and the result was the Army became unpopular in the country districts, from which recruits were chiefly drawn. The illustrious Duke had also stated that some of the measures at least were to be looked on as tentative measures. He hoped they would be successful, but tentative measures became dangerous if carried too far. He could not at all agree with the proposal of the noble and gallant Lord that pensions should be done away with, and that in lieu of pensions there should be a higher rate of pay for soldiers during service. He could not but think such a provision would be a most injurious one in every possible way. In the first place the soldier would have more to spend: he was not likely to spend it in the most wise and prudent manner, and he would come to look to the workhouse as his inevitable end, instead of looking forward to a pension with confidence. This would have a most unfavourable effect on the minds of those whom they wished to enlist in the ranks of the Army. The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State had spoken of this Circular as a small matter—contrary to what he said last Session. He (the Duke of Richmond) would like to know what there was in the General Order, No. 24, to indicate that what was then laid down was laid down once for all? But he now understood from what had fallen from the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State that the General Order, permitting men after three years' service to volunteer for the Army Reserve, had now come to an end, and that the Reserve amounted to 2,000 men. If that were so he did not understand how the noble Lord could express satisfaction at a scheme exhibiting so small a result. Again, General Order, 39, laid down a great distinction in the enlistment; but when the noble Lord introduced his Bill of last Session he distinctly said it would not interfere with the enlistment then in existence. The noble Lord on that occasion said the Bill had been deliberately framed, and would not rashly interfere with the existing system, but that it would supplement it by giving a shorter term of service; but yet he annihilated the system by saying that men should only enlist for 1525 six years' service and six years' reserve, and that without pension That was breaking faith with those who assisted in passing the Bill. General Order, 39, laid down that until further orders the enlistment was to be for six years in the Army and six years in the Reserve, without pension; but he wished to know whether, as respects the existing system of enlistment, all the advantage of a pension after 21 years' service would remain as at present. It appeared to him that under the 3rd clause of the General Order it would be impossible to re-engage a good soldier after 12 years' service for a further period of nine years, so as to complete the term of 21 years. So far from the Order supplementing the present system, as the noble Lord stated, with a short term of enlistment, it seemed to his mind that it entirely annihilated it. Agreeing in a great deal of what the noble Lord the Under Secretary of State had stated with regard to the inducements which should be held out for men to enter the Army, he must enter his protest against the general Circular issued by the Secretary of State for War. He believed they could not get men under these Orders. A man who enlisted at 18 years of age, for 12 years' service, would not be worth much at 30, when he was thrown upon the world without occupation. It was because he believed the Circular that had been issued by the Government with regard to recruiting was unwise and impolitic, and that it was based on an unsound and injudicious principle, that he disagreed with them in the line they had taken with regard to recruiting.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
said, he had heard with regret the noble Duke, who thoroughly understood subjects connected with the Army, disparage the steps proposed to be taken for giving advantages in the Civil Service of the Crown to men who entered the Reserve. It was easy to sneer at the opportunity which the Post Office afforded for rewarding men entering the Reserve, but he believed that it would be found that this and similar methods of rewarding men who had served their country in the ranks were attracting much attention, and would prove to be one of the most effectual means of inducing men to enter the Army, and having served their term to go into the Reserves. With regard to 1526 the service in India, there could not be the least doubt that the youth of the recruits formed a great deduction from the efficiency of the Army in a country where efficiency was most necessary. That matter had not escaped the notice of the Secretary of State for War, who was endeavouring to make arrangements to obtain volunteers above 22 years of age for service in India from regiments at home by the offer of a bounty of one guinea. No doubt, it would be a serious thing for this country if all soldiers were to be draughted out of the Army as soon as they had three years' service. That, however, was not intended, and there had been no such result. The Order which had been referred to was issued at a particular time and under peculiar circumstances, and both the Government and the Horse Guards distinctly reserved to themselves the power of putting an end to its operation whenever they thought that a sufficient number of men had been taken from the ranks. As regarded the last General Order that had been issued—that providing for six years' service in the Army and six in the Reserve—that had been clearly explained by the illustrious Duke, whose cordial support of the measures of the Government he took that opportunity of acknowledging. He would admit that in dealing with soldiers it was not desirable to be constantly changing the plan; but when the country had a system that was not sufficiently expansive, and did not afford a Reserve of proper strength, the Government must either proceed to take tentative measures or they must make a great reform. No one, however, would deem it safe for the Government to make all at once great changes in the Army, hazarding all that might result, and therefore the only mode by which they could hope to improve the system was by adopting such tentative measures as would lead to the introduction of a new and better system. It was yet much too soon to declare whether their present scheme had succeeded, but it was satisfactory to find that it had not fallen stillborn, as was the fate of many such measures. The result of three weeks' recruiting was to prove that men would come forward, and if they continued to do so in considerable numbers the problem which the Government had to consider would, to some extent, be solved. Most 1527 of the discussions on this subject had been conducted by those who felt the great difficulty of maintaining an Army sufficient for all the purposes of this country without having recourse to a conscription. Turn the matter how they might, it was impossible for them to obtain the advantages in a volunteer Army that were to be obtained in a conscript Army. Most of those who took a part in the Army debates were quite aware of the fact, yet the two subjects had been so mixed up in the debates that it was now difficult to separate them. The time, in his opinion, was not likely to come when a system of compulsory enlistment would be resorted to in this country for either the Regular Army or the Militia. The Government were always greatly indebted to noble and gallant Lords who had a practical knowledge of the Army for the suggestions they offered; but he hoped, at the same time, that the schemes which the Government had brought forward would receive a fair and candid consideration, and that time would be given for their operation so as to enable the public to judge whether they were founded on safe principles.
LORD DE ROS
said, he believed there was not a correct understanding on the matter of pensions. A young soldier thought very little about such a subject; but as soon as a man began to be a useful member of his regiment the obtaining a pension became a matter of great consideration, and to tell a man, as proposed by the noble Lord the Under Secretary for War, as an inducement to enlist, that a situation in the Post Office would be the reward of long and faithful service would be an absurdity. This country possessed a good Army, the only defect of which was its not being sufficiently numerous, and was now groping for a Reserve. How was that Reserve to be obtained? If noble Lords thought that a soldier would, on his leaving his regiment, retire to his native village, and there wait until he was recalled to the ranks, they were making a great mistake; for the fact was that when a man once quitted his military life he sought to obtain some civil occupation, and having got it he would never again quit it to return to the Army. It reminded him of Shakespeare's play, where Glendower boasts to Hotspur—I can call spirits from the vasty deep.1528 To which Hotspur answers—Why, so can I, or so can any man;But will they come when you do call for them?It was an extraordinary delusion to imagine that by getting a better class of recruit we should get a better soldier. Young men brought up to in-door trades would be exhausted after a few hours work in the trenches. They would never be able to bear the real hard life of a soldier when on active service. It was a life of hard work with very bad food, and none but labouring men could endure it. He was old enough to know that giving men increase of pay, and then holding part of it back until they left the Army, had been tried and failed. He hoped that, in attempting to obtain the Reserve force which they desired, the Government would not lose sight of the danger they ran of destroying what was now an efficient, well-disciplined, and well-organized Army.
said, he believed that in the present state of Europe nothing but a strong and efficient Reserve would afford security to this country, and if there was to be a Reserve in connection with the Regular Army it could only be obtained by abridging the service of the soldier, by passing him through the Army with some rapidity, and then taking measures to secure his services whenever they might be required. But that policy, if acted upon, should be acted upon with a large and comprehensive view. What he complained of in the measures of Her Majesty's Ministers was, that while adopting sound principles they did not adopt the measures necessary to give them effect, and that they made mistakes which, in his opinion, left the country to a great extent without the force that was necessary. No man, he thought, could doubt the justice and the force of what was said by the noble and gallant Lord opposite (Lord Sandhurst) with respect to the importance of not employing soldiers at too young an age. The First Napoleon, and every other distinguished military commander, had spoken plainly on the point. They said that boys when exposed to fatigue not only broke down and filled the hospitals, but were of no use in the Army. The Government had done rightly in seeing that the men who enlisted in the Army were not too old; but they had not been equally careful in the other direction, as was evident 1529 from the statement of his noble Friend behind him (the Duke of Richmond), which had not been contradicted, that of a regiment now under orders for India, more than one-half of the privates were under 20 years of age. That fact alone was sufficient to show that there had been great mismanagement somewhere. No doubt there were difficulties in the way of obtaining men of a more suitable age for the Army—but he believed they were by no means so great as were supposed. As had been said by the illustrious Duke on the cross-benches, in a country like this, where we had not compulsory service, there was only one other principle to fall back upon—that of paying the market value for what we wanted. The system of compulsory service he believed to be the most cruel, the most unjust, the most wasteful, and the most oppressive to the country of airy system upon which an Army could be raised; but if we were not to have compulsory service, we must fall back upon the only other means by which we could bring men into the Army. We must offer such terms as would bring into the service the men we require. He did not doubt its being true, as had been alleged, that it was not so easy to induce men of 21 to enlist as lads of 18; but it was idle to say that there was, therefore, an insuperable difficulty in filling the ranks of the Army with grown men instead. To do this, they might establish a system by which they might enlist men at 18, but should not allow them to join their regiments before they had attained the age of 20. There would be no difficulty in having depôts to which recruits could be sent for training, and they should not be allowed to join their regiments until they were certified by the medical officers to be fit for the work before them; their time of service counting from the time when they joined their regiments. His noble Friend (Lord Northbrook) had said that a scheme was once tried of not allowing recruits to join before a certain age, but that it was abandoned because it led to so much fraud; but the same objection would not apply to the plan which he recommended. It might, no doubt, be said that as the recruits enlisted at 18 would not be allowed to join their regiments for a couple of years, the expense of the Army would be increased. That was, of course, quite true; it would be, practically, 1530 paying higher for the recruits we want; but if the terms we now offer are insufficient to attract them, we must, if we reject compulsory service, in some form or other offer higher terms. We might do this, as he had said, by enlisting back and train them for two years, or they had the alternative of going into the market, and offering such an increase of pay as would command the services of grown men. In the able pamphlet which had been referred to by the noble and gallant Lord opposite, it was proposed in lieu of pension to give an increase of pay, allowing a certain proportion to be retained until the soldier was discharged. That plan, however, was strongly condemned by his noble Friend (Lord Northbrook), who stated that though it would, no doubt, save the country some pensions hereafter it would in the meantime so increase the expenses and swell the Army Estimates that it could not be adopted. Upon that branch of the subject he would observe that if the Government incurred an increase of expenditure in devising the best possible mode of increasing the strength of the Army, that increase would not be grudged; but the argument was not of much weight when they were called upon to pay an extra £2,000,000 without being accompanied by any increase of strength or efficiency. The question was one which required to be considered with regard to the whole condition of the soldier. He believed it to be most essential that the soldiers should be so trained during their period of service in the Army that they could afterwards command the best employment which the country could afford. Unless, however, the pay was better than that now given, he believed the employment as letter carriers would scarcely be acceptable to the old soldiers. The Sappers and Miners, it was well known, on leaving the Army easily obtained employment; and he had never heard any attempt made to show that what had been done with regard to that branch of the service could not be done with regard to the Army at large. He thought the success of any provisions of the kind now proposed would depend upon the care that was taken in regard to the question of this particular training, which, if given, would afford to the country a great deal of very useful labour in various ways. But, instead of increasing the 1531 inducements to men to enter the Army, Her Majesty's Government was doing exactly the reverse, for, as had been stated by the noble Duke behind him, the effect of the last of the Circulars issued would be to abolish pensions altogether. It was not to be expected that men would give 12 of the best years of their lives to service in the Army with the knowledge that at the end of that time they would not be entitled to any retiring pension in returning to civil life. The more he looked at the whole question the more deeply he regretted that the safety of the country and the improvement of the Army had not been looked at with a larger and more comprehensive view. It appeared to him that the result of the discussions of this year, and of the money they were going to expend, would be to leave the country with a system practically very little different from that which it had hitherto possessed, and with changes, some of which might be improvements, but some of which he was afraid would be very much the reverse, while a heavy burden would be imposed upon the country without the slightest advance having been really made towards placing it in the state of security for which the nation would very willingly have consented to make very considerable sacrifices.