HL Deb 23 June 1873 vol 216 cc1239-41

desired to ask the Under Secretary for War a Question of which he had given him private Notice—namely, Why the Gene- ral Officers on half-pay of their regimental commissions had been displaced from their usual position in The Army List, and placed among officers of greatly inferior rank. It happened that he was one of the unfortunate persons so treated; and he at first supposed himself somehow, without sentence of court-martial, cashiered; but, after looking vainly through 747 columns of officers' names, he came to a retired Lieutenant of Marines, and on the following page found the names of himself and officers of much greater merit. Half the half-pay officers were mentioned in the natural place, and he was at a loss to know why the alteration had been made?


rose to Order. Although he was very unwilling to interpose between the noble Earl and the House, still he could not help venturing to remind the noble Earl that it was an understanding between the two sides of the House—and a very good and useful understanding—that no matter of importance should be brought forward without public Notice given, except in cases of great emergency. The question to which the noble Earl had commenced to allude was one of importance, but it was not one of sufficient emergency to require the dispensation of the usual Notice. Many of their Lordships would probably like to say something on the subject, and it was only right that they should get notice of its introduction. He confessed that he was one of those who would like to have the opportunity of discussing this and similar proceedings of an unprecedented character, which bad been the result of recent arrangements of the War Department.


said, he concurred with the noble Duke who had just spoken in thinking the matter one of importance, and that the most convenient course would be to give proper Notice of the Question.


was altogether in the hands of the House. If the noble Duke or any other of their Lordships with less nervousness than himself would make a substantial Motion respecting the subject on the Paper it would receive his support. But he might, perhaps, be allowed to just remark—


I desire to appeal to your Lordships on behalf of the rule which we all have from time to time found so convenient. It is of great importance to both sides of the House that this rule should not be departed from except in cases of great urgency. I remember that on one occasion many of your Lordships were deprived of an opportunity of joining in an important question in connection with the Alabama Claims merely because there was only a private Notice given, and the Peers in general had no idea of the intended object when the Mover rose.


concurred in all that had been said in support of the rule of the House which required Notice to be given of all Questions:—but as private Notice had been given to him, and the inquiry had been made, he thought he might as well reply to it at once. The reason why the names referred to had been removed from the place they had hitherto occupied in The Army List was this—When The Army List was revised it was thought desirable to keep the effective and the non-effective portions of the Army separate, and in the new arrangement the General Officers on half-pay were placed at the head of the list of Non-Effective Officers. This arrangement was adopted on the authority of the Secretary of State fop War and with the concurrence of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief.