HL Deb 16 July 1875 vol 225 cc1556-73

rose to move the Resolutions of which he had given Notice relating to the First-Class Army Reserve and Militia. He said he had not brought forward the Motion from any hostility to the Government, but on account of a special point to which he wished to direct the attention of their Lordships, and which was that, in consequence of a Regulation which was made some two years ago, but which would not be practically put in force till next October, every Militia regiment was threatened with the loss of its adjutant and part of its permanent staff. That, in his opinion, would seriously affect the Army, because they had, under existing conditions, but a very small force of Infantry. Beyond that, the Reserve Force being a mere paper Force, that was an unfortunate moment to adopt a course which he believed would tend to disorganize their Militia. The late Secretary for War introduced three changes with regard to the Army—first, the abolition of the sale and purchase of officers' commissions; secondly, a short service system, and with it the proposed formation of Reserves; and, thirdly, what he (the Earl of Galloway) might call localization. It was not those principles that he wished to attack, but only the details, which he thought were not satisfactory. As to the abolition of purchase, he would venture to make this remark, that if this country wished to spend annually a-third of a million merely in that respect, he thought it would be willing to spend at least a sum equal to that in order to keep the Army in a state of sufficient efficiency. As regarded, indeed, the principle of short service, he was never an opponent to it; but the difficulty which he had always experienced in regard to it was this—and he had never heard the problem solved—how, under such a system, they were to keep up the Indian reliefs? He did not think it would have taken; but, contrary to his expectation, it had, to a very great degree, and he rather feared the consequences. The short service system might be very good if they waited till they really had a Reserve from which to fill up the ranks of the cadres; but until its effect could be thoroughly gauged, he was satisfied they ought to postpone the establishment of the cadre system, which meant the attenuation of battalions, until their First Class Army Reserve had attained a considerably higher numerical strength than that at which it at present stood. There was now no public Reserve from which the battalions could be filled up, and although it was true that we had a certain number of Militia Reserves, yet he should rather treat them as part of the Militia, and be very much doubted whether it would be wise to count upon the Militia Reserve men as men to be sent immediately into the ranks of the Army. They should rather be looked upon as the force which could be called upon to supply the loss by casualties after the first two or three weeks or months of war. What was the remedy for the existing state of things? He knew of no other remedy except to attempt to fill up the ranks of the Army and to keep them full. The present Secretary for War, when dealing with the Army Estimates this Session, admitted that our Reserves were not yet in a condition to fill up the cadres, and he also admitted it was possible that some Continental complication might arise which would require the services of our Army abroad in aid of an ally in consideration of our national honour. As to our Cavalry and Artillery, he did not wish particularly to refer to those services, but he doubted whether the effect of introducing the short service system was satisfactory, for 780 men had enlisted in the former and 772 in the latter under that system. They were told by the Secretary of State for War with regard to the Regular Infantry that the force available for foreign service numbered 28,791 men, to whom must be added 25,000 of Militia Reserves who would be available, if necessary, to recruit the Regular troops. He thought the last estimate was too high, and that a deduction of 15 per cent must be made owing to various causes, including sickness, so that the total numerical strength of our military force available for foreign service would amount to about 51,000 effective men. That was a small force, but the Secretary of State for War calculated that other 25,000 men could be raised in different parts of the country from the ranks of discharged soldiers and old Militiamen. This estimate might be accurate, but he doubted very much the advisability of drafting this class of men into the Regular Army for foreign service. Their presence would, in his opinion, have the effect of marring the courage of the Regular troops. Further, the estimate made by the Secretary of State for War as to the First Class Army Reserve related rather to the future than the present. That Force might, in time, reach the 20,000 men estimated as its total strength, but at the present moment it was not more than 7,000, and as Europe was bristling with bayonets it would not be wise to rely upon being able at any moment to bring this Force into active service. If the Secretary of State for War did so, he might depend he was leaning upon a broken reed. It had been suggested in some quarters that England should enter into a triple alliance with two European Powers in order to secure the maintenance of peace between other two European nations. Without saying anything as to the policy of such an alliance, he held, that England could not usefully enter into it with so small a Force as she had available for foreign service. He therefore thought it would be wise to look the question boldly in the face and submit to an increased expenditure in order to keep up the Regular Army until such time as the Reserves were sufficiently numerous to meet the requirements. The question then arose, how was the Regular Force to be kept up? It seemed to him the answer was the re-introduction of the long-service system and the inducement to men to enlist for long service by increased pay, the increased pay to be made to the men who, after the two years' preliminary service, should choose to enlist for a long period, at an increased rate; payment to be deferred till the end of the service, when a sufficient inducement and the accumulated pay might take the place of a pension, except in the case of soldiers retiring in consequence of wounds. At present under the short-service system, the desertions in one year, according to the last Report of the Inspector General, numbered 5,000. It was calculated that the loss involved to the State by every desertion amounted to £30—some put it as high as £50—but, taking it at £30, the loss in one year to the State by desertions amounted to £150,000. That should be taken into account in considering the operation and ultimate effect of short-service. By an increase of pay, too, the pension system would, in time, be brought to an end, and this would, in his opinion, prove advantageous alike to the Army and the country. With regard to the Army Reserve, it must be patent to everyone who carefully considered the question that at the present time it was a mere paper Force. He maintained that it was necessary to give the Reserve men a certain amount of training annually; first, in order to prove that they were not a mere paper Force; and, secondly, to insure their efficiency as soldiers. At present they were practically worthless. In fact, he denied that they existed in any strength, and he contended that such as did exist were a disgrace to the profession. He doubted, indeed, whether it was possible to lay hands on them at all, for he was informed that of those who were to have come up to receive their pay at Carlisle some time ago only one appeared. As to the Militia Force, in the case of adjutants, it was hard that a change had been made, and that they should not retain their Army rank as formerly. There were some of the provisions of the new Regulations which needed alteration. The permanent staff should be detached during non-training time to other regiments to which they might be of use; but he did not think that should be the case with regard to the adjutants. If they were to do anything in a spirit of economy, he believed that two assistant adjutants general for each division would be amply sufficient to inspect the Militia and Volunteers. The main-spring of the Militia regiment was the adjutant; but he could not be held responsible for the training of the men, unless he had a permanent staff, both efficient and sufficient. It was also in his opinion a great misfortune that in consequence of the operation of the Militia Enlistment Act of 1873, the bounty of £6 was given to a man only after he had been enrolled six years, instead of at the end of five years, as before, and that the 5s. "bringing" money should have been done away with. The result of those changes was that we were now getting in the Militia a great many mere boys, and that it was found difficult, if not impossible, to induce old soldiers to enter its ranks. He hoped, however, that the recent reduction of wages would do away with part of the difficulty. He maintained that they had no Reserve, and that it was impolitic at such a time to allow such a state of things to exist. He had brought this Motion forward out of purely patriotic motives and in the hope that his doing so might help to induce the taxpayers to see that their true interest should be to insist upon the thorough efficiency of these Forces. The noble Earl concluded by moving the following Resolutions:— 1. That it is inexpedient to continue the Cadre system until such time as the First Class Army Reserve has attained a considerably higher numerical strength. 2. That our military organization will not he complete until a method has been established for the annual training of the First Class Army Reserve. 3. That this House views with concern the recent changes about to come into force in the Regulations for maintaining the efficiency of the Militia force.


said, he was at a loss, when he first saw the Resolutions of the noble Earl on the Paper, to understand their exact meaning, and the object he had in view in proposing them. His noble Friend appeared to invite their Lordships to take on themselves the duties and responsibilities of the War Office, and to undertake, not by a Bill, but by Resolutions somewhat vaguely and faintly expressed, the re-organization of the Army and the abolition of the system established by the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Cardwell). If the latter were the only objects of his noble Friend he should be content to leave him to the tender mercies of the noble Viscount opposite; but not to appear wanting in respect to the noble Earl, he thought it right to offer a few observations on the Resolutions now before the House. With regard to the 1st Resolution, he would remark that the cadre system might be defined as the framework of an establishment of which the cardinal points were all fixed and arranged, with the exception of the private soldiers, whose numbers would be filled up in time of war or whenever the necessity arose. It might possibly have been better, when the noble Viscount opposite inaugurated the scheme, had the full regiments been begun on a war footing, and been filled up as regarded the men, and had the attenuated battalions been deferred until the Re-serve came into operation. But the scheme, as it stood, had been established and sanctioned by Parliament, and he did not think that their Lordships would be induced to adopt a retrograde step before there had been time to see it in thorough operation. Besides that, any alteration at present would entail a large increase in the establishment as regarded men, and a still larger increase in the Estimates, which the Secretary of State for War certainly was not prepared at present to recommend. As to his noble Friend's 2nd Resolution, viewed as an abstract proposition, he found it much more easy to agree with him. They were all anxious that the country should see more of those Reserves, and it would be well if some plan could be devised for calling them out in the way suggested. Under the Army Enlistment Act of 1870 the Secretary of State had power to make regulations from time to time for the training of the First Glass of Reserve without interfering more than could be avoided with the ordinary occupations of the men, and with the limitation that they should not be called out for more than 12 days. There had, however, in working the arrangement even for the 12 days, been a difficulty, arising from the relations between employers and the employed. It might, however, be hoped that the patriotism of employers would in time mitigate that difficulty. He was sorry he could not give his noble Friend any more definite promise, but he begged him to accept the assurance that the subject was receiving the most anxious consideration of the Government, with the sincere hope that by next year, if possible, some measure might be devised with the view of meeting the wishes of his noble Friend on that point. Turning to the 3rd Resolution, he must ask their Lordships to resist it, for it amounted, in fact, to a Vote of Censure. It said— That this House views with concern the recent changes about to come into force in the Regulations for maintaining the efficiency of the Militia Force. The changes to which his noble Friend referred were conceived in the spirit of what was a cardinal principle of the scheme of the noble Viscount—namely, that of bringing more closely together the Line and the Reserve Forces by the establishment of Brigade Depôts and linked battalions of regiments. He understood his noble Friend to complain most of the Regulations as to retirement and appointment of adjutants. Now, terms that were admittedly liberal had been offered to such of the present adjutants as chose before the 1st of October next to signify that they intended to resign. Those who chose to remain in their present position would do so, accepting the condition that they would take on themselves the extra work under the new Regulations. He could not see that any of the work which it was proposed should be done by those adjutants was work to which they need object; and therefore he submitted that if the Regulations were carried out, the effect would simply be that they would lose the services of a body of adjutants of whom he wished to speak with the greatest respect, but who were not prepared to do the work which the country very properly required of them. As to the appointment of the adjutants being only for five years, there was nothing in the Regulations to prevent those adjutants from being re-appointed at the end of five years' service. The new Regulations would secure increased efficiency with greater economy—efficiency, because the new adjutants would be prepared to do all the work which could reasonably be required of them; and economy, because these new adjutants would be taken from captains on full-pay, whose places would be filled up by half-pay officers, thus effecting a decrease of the half-pay list. With regard to making Assistant Adjutants General instead of Colonels of Brigade Depôts, there were two objections to Assistant Adjutants General. First, the duties of a Staff officer were purely administrative; and, secondly, such an increase of the Staff as would be created by making Assistant Adjutants General instead of Colonels of Brigade Depôts would cost the country a great deal more on account of extra pay and allowances. In the case of the Colonel of a Brigade Depôt, his pay came to £597 per annum, whereas in the case of an Assistant Adjutant General it would be £861. As to the suggestion of his noble Friend, respecting deferred pay, it was under consideration. Viewing those Resolutions, then, in the abstract, he would remind their Lordships that when the present Government came into office they inherited the administration of a new and untried system, and the management of a re-organized Army; and it could not be for the public advantage that each successive Government should undo the work that had been done by their Predecessors, especially when their measures had received the marked approval and sanction of Parliament. If such a system were adopted, they would have reached the worst phase of Government by party, and all practical legislation would be impeded. The scheme of the noble Viscount opposite had not yet had full effect. It might hereafter require amendment or modification; but he could assure the House that all their efforts would be directed to making the present system efficient and as easy to work as possible, and in those efforts he trusted they would receive the support of Parliament, and not have their hands tied by the adoption of these Resolutions.


said, he found it difficult to believe that the noble Earl who had put those Resotutions on the Paper had any serious intention to press them to a division. If he had, he could not help thinking, after the very clear reply to which they had just listened, that the noble Earl could not expect any large measure of support from the House to his proposals. The Resolutions of the noble Earl involved a censure not only upon the military policy of the late Government, but also on the conduct of Army affairs by their Successors. Two Sessions had almost elapsed since the present Secretary of State for War acceded to office, and his acquiesence in the policy of his Predecessor must be taken as an indication that he saw no reason to anticipate its failure. It would be easy to adduce military testimony to prove that the cadre system was the only one on which the Army could be conveniently augmented in time of emergency, and the one which recommended itself to the common sense of the public. The opinion of Sir John Burgoyne to that effect was particularly strong. If there was one point on which the country had made up its mind, it was that it would insist upon having a trained and disciplined Reserve of men fit to take their place beside the Regular troops. Now, if the men of the Reserve were to take a place at such a time in the ranks of the Army, there must be a place in the ranks of the Army for them to take, and that was the simple justification of the system by which the cadres were kept up at what seemed a low strength. It was true the noble Lord did not condemn the system of Reserve—he only distrusted it because it was so limited. Why, then, should it not be increased? There were only two ways by which it could be kept at a higher strength. One was, increasing the number of men who were admitted into the Army, and the other, diminishing the number who were allowed to pass into the Reserve. If the former course were adopted, and the number of recruits was largely increased, there would inevitably be strong complaints from those numerous Members of Parliament and military officers who were apprehensive lest the ranks of the Army should be filled by very young men; and the noble Earl who had opened the present discussion had himself, when referring to the Militia, spoken of the importance of not having too many young men serving at a time. If the noble Earl preferred the other alternative, and desired to keep men longer in the Regular ranks, by what means did he propose to obtain a Reserve at all? The proposal of the noble Earl appeared to him to rest upon a very fallacious assumption. There appeared to be a feeling on the part of the noble Earl that we were passing through a period of abnormal weakness, and that we were making some great sacrifice of the present power in order to obtain a certain result hereafter. That, however, was an error. By a reference to the annual Return of the Army, it would be seen that the strength available for the home defence of this country was at present greater than it had been for a very long time past. In stating this fact, however, it must in candour be pointed out that the detachments of troops which used to be scattered over the Colonies were no longer there, but, on the other hand, those troops had not been a source of real strength to the Colonies, but rather a source of weakness. Whatever the cause the fact remained, that not only was the home strength considerably in excess of what it had been for many years, but, further, the Army—in particular the Artillery—was better armed than it had ever been before. There was, therefore, no reason for the apprehension of the noble Earl that there existed at present an exceptional state of weakness. With regard to the 2nd Resolution, he had been very glad to hear the noble Earl on the front bench opposite (Earl Cadogan) insist upon the danger of exacting from the Reserve men an amount of drill which would interfere with their prospects in the labour market. It would be a serious thing if the time occupied by drill was such as, in the eyes of the employers of labour, to cast a stigma upon these men. Moreover, it must be remembered that men who had done six years' unbroken service did not require a great amount of training to keep them in a state of efficiency. No doubt, the Government would take proper steps to secure the efficiency of these Reserves; and in doing so, might count on receiving the support of both sides, not only of that House, but of the other. In his remarks about the Militia the noble Earl who moved the Resolutions dealt with the position of the re-enrolled men under the new Regulations. The late Government, when it had under consideration the Regulations affecting the Militia generally, found that at the end of four trainings the re-enrolled men were allowed to receive the sum of £6 and some odd shillings, and, being unable to acquiesce in this, the Government proposed to make the change to which the noble Earl referred; but that change only affected future enrolments. As to the Regulations themselves, he might say that the latter were based by the late Government upon the recommendations of a Committee on which were several distinguished Militia officers. The noble Earl took a somewhat desponding view of the prospects of the Militia, but the facts did not seem to justify his gloomy anticipations. Their numbers were larger now than they had ever been before, and the noble Earl had himself admitted that the efficiency of the officers was a matter of congratulation; and their Lordships were aware that under the new system the Staff would be more closely connected with the Regular Army than it had been before. In conclusion, he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) hoped he had satisfied the House as to the necessity of persevering in the cadre system, and as to the fact that we were not now passing through a period of exceptional weakness, but were really better prepared than we had been in former years.


thanked the noble Earl behind him (the Earl of Galloway) for bringing the subject forward with the view of its being discussed; but he must decline to follow him into the old question of the cadre system. He, however, thought the noble Earl was fully justified in what he had done, because it was at all times interesting to have a debate on Army questions. The point to which he (the Duke of Buccleuch) wished particularly to call attention was as to that branch of the Service with which he was more particularly acquainted—the Militia, and as to the effect of the Regulations with regard to the substitution of Regular officers for the existing adjutants in that Force. In the first place, it appeared that the scheme for the retirement of adjutants was merely a plan for getting rid of them, because they were to have a high rate of retirement allowance, if they retired before October, but if they did not, they were only to be entitled to a retiring allowance under the old scale, which, being only 6s. a-day after 20 years' service, and 3s. a-day after five years' service, was most inadequate to meet their case. Next he considered that it operated very injuriously upon the officers in the Army themselves. What they were offered in exchange for an Army retirement was an increased amount of pay—a present small increase in pay and rank; but it by no means compensated them for that increased pay and rank which they would receive if they remained in the Army for a considerable length of time—in fact, until the ordinary retirement; and he could mention two instances in which, to his own knowledge, officers had actually been ordered to retire long before they wished to do so, for the purpose of accepting some small appointment. Then, again, he thought it objectionable to the Militia regiments themselves, because it was desirable in his opinion that their Staff appointments should be made intact. He believed that it was the practice now to resort to the centre depôt for everything, even for a drill-sergeant, regimental instructor, or bandmaster, and sergeants had been applied for the purpose of assisting adjutants in keep- ing accounts, and others had been substituted for the quartermaster's clerks. He contended that it was of the utmost importance that the Militia Staff should be rendered efficient, and also that some of those old privileges which formerly existed among the men should be restored. He would also remind their Lordships that it was small things which gratified the men and induced them to remain attached to the Service, and he considered that the abolition of "bringing money" had proved very injurious to the re-enrolment of the Militia. Formerly those who brought men for re-enrolment got 5s. a-head, which was obviously a great inducement to get as many as possible; and he thought it a pity it was discontinued. He objected to the Militia Reserve being counted on the strength of the Militia Regiments to which they were attached, instead of their being regarded as supernumeraries. He was of opinion that it was much easier to drill recruits when they were young, as after they had gone through their two years' service, they found a far better and firmer body of men than if they had entered it later in life. On the whole, he thought it would be desirable to bring the Regulations into harmony with the feelings and wishes of the men as much as possible, and in that view, the permanent Staff ought to be maintained at its present strength, for otherwise the non-commissioned officers would be unable to discharge their duties properly when the regiment was called out for training.


contended that the Militia adjutants' services were not sufficiently rewarded. He earnestly desired to impress upon their Lordships the advantage of securing efficient adjutants for that Force, for in connection with it it must be considered they were the most important of all officers. During the embodiment of a Militia regiment its adjutant was charged with military and financial arrangements which were very minute, and entailed great responsibility. When the time for training came he had to be in attendance with his regiment from the first moment of its embodiment to the time when the last man was paid off. In addition to other matters, he had to look after all the store and other accounts, and it would be wrong to add to these onerous duties, others as proposed by the new Regulations. With regard to the subject generally, the Militia was, in its present state, a substantive Army, and if its organization were improved it would prove the most efficient possible Reserve for the Regular Army.


After the very full and complete statement which has been made by the noble Earl the Under Secretary of State for War, to which I listened with very great pleasure, I do not think there is very much left for me to say with respect to the Motion under consideration. But I think it right to point out that while the noble Earl who introduced the question objects to the cadre system, he does not, as I apprehend, wish to do away with the short-service system recently introduced. Now the cadre system, in my opinion, cannot possibly be abolished, for the very reason that it is bound up with the other system. Short-service is, in fact, based upon with the cadre system. You cannot have one without the other, and it would be impossible to make any change upon the cadre system, unless you also gave up the short-service system. Well, then, if I am right in that view, I think your Lordships will agree with me that, after so brief an experiment, the time has not arrived for giving up the short-service system. I have repeatedly said that nothing is more prejudicial to the Army than constant change. Changes of any kind in a great machine like the Army are very disadvantageous, far less so momentous a one as a return to long-service. Changes, however, must occasionally be made, and after the fullest consideration, we some time ago agreed to accept the short-service system, because we do not wish constantly to keep up a vast standing Army. What we wanted was a large number of men, when they were available, without having to keep them constantly in the ranks, and the only way of accomplishing that was by instituting short-service and establishing in connection therewith a Reserve. But coming to the Motion I may remark that the whole question is merely one of expenditure. If you have a large Army and can discharge year after year large bodies of men into civil life, you can very rapidly form a Reserve. But if you cannot do so, you will undoubtedly take a long time to form it. As far as our existing Reserve Force is concerned, I am candidly bound to admit that it is very small indeed as compared with what was contemplated, and in relation to the numbers of an Army such as England ought to be able at any time to put into the field. At the same time, it must be remembered that what is intended and what ought to be aimed at, is to get it in the way we are doing. As regards the Militia Reserve, however, that is available even at this moment. They assemble year by year, they are drilled every year, and their physical power can be tested, and we can fully rely from that source to obtain some 27,000 or 30,000 men as a Reserve. Under those circumstances, I will not enter into any full discussion of the Motion. It is for each successive Government to decide year by year what is the force which they think will be right and proper for the country, and to frame their Estimates accordingly. As regards this question of Reserve I have a very strong feeling. My opinion is that it ought to be a real Reserve, and that it ought not merely to exist on paper. The question, however, arises whether, during the six years that a man may be in the Reserve, he has maintained his efficiency such as he had it when he was discharged from the Service into the Reserve. His physical powers and his health might very much have deteriorated, though he might go on and take his Reserve pay for six years, whilst we should not be aware whether he was physically prepared to take his place in the Reserve. It is most desirable then that there should, if possible, be some arrangements made by means of which we should know that these men continue their efficiency whilst in civil life, so that when the moment of necessity arrives they would be ready and fit to take their places in the Army. I should like to see these men at certain periods—say every three years—called out for service for 10, 12, or 14 days, and see them during this period take their places in the regiment, and be drilled with the regiment, so as to see whether they retain the physical capacities which they had when they were in the ranks. That, I believe, is the system that is adopted in almost all foreign countries where short-service exists, and where the Reserves must bear so great a share in the system. There is, however, no doubt that men who would be liable to be called out for a few days at any moment are not the men who would be most acceptable to the general employer of labour. He likes to be certain of his men from day to day; and if men were liable to be called out for 10 or 12 days the employer would say that he would rather employ men who were not so situated, and that would militate much against the system. This, also, would prevent recruiting, because men would feel that by enlisting they would place themselves in a worse position than that occupied by their neighbours, who were free to be engaged without any such condition as this, and therefore would be more acceptable to their employer. If this point could in any way be got over I should be rejoiced to see it; and I entirely go with the noble Lord in this respect, but with the reservation that I have mentioned. As to the third point, I may say that there is no wish whatever to interfere with the Militia. We have the highest opinion of the Militia; and our great object is to bring it more into connection with the Regular Army, instead of it looking at itself as quite a separate arm of the general Service. All the Regulations which have been laid down have been framed with that one object, and are by no means intended to disgust officers or men with the Militia; but, on the contrary, to draw them closer towards, and to make them more a part of, the Service, and to induce them to look upon themselves as a part of the general Service of the country. The noble Duke (the Duke of Buccleuch) seems to think that there is some idea to insult or disgust the Militia in connection with the adjutants; but I cannot conceive how he can entertain such an idea. Now, they certainly have during the greater part of the year very light duties indeed to perform; but I am quite sure that no Government would wish that the adjutants should be taken away from the Militia for every or any military purpose for which they are now available; but I cannot understand why, if they have a great deal of time upon their hands, they should not be called upon to do certain duties in the districts in which they reside, which would not in the slightest degree interfere with their duties as Militia adjutants, and yet would facilitate our other arrangements. There has been no idea whatever of interfering with the permament Staff of the Militia, and all I can say is that whilst I am at the head of the Army, if anyone should take so injudicious a course as to interfere with their duties he would receive a strong censure from me. Neither is there any idea of interfering with the legitimate duties of the Militia colonels, which they, I am sure, will continue to perform in the admirable manner which they have hitherto done. If there are any points in the Regulations which require correction, they will receive the fullest consideration by the military authorities, as I am quite satisfied they will by the Government; and I trust that full confidence will be placed in arrangements which are intended for the better conduct of Public Business.


explained that he had been misapprehended by the illustrious Duke. He (the Duke of Buccleuch) had not said that the recent Circular was intended to be an insult to the adjutants. What he meant to convey was that they felt a slur had been cast upon them, and that the object of the War Office appeared to be to get rid of their services.


said, he had great pleasure in complimenting the noble Earl the Under Secretary of State for War (Earl Cadogan) for the manner in which he had represented the Department; and in thanking him for the great attention he had bestowed upon the subject under notice. As to the noble Earl who brought forward the Resolution (the Earl of Galloway), it was very gratifying, considering the long controversies he (Viscount Cardwell) had with him in the other House, to find that he now said that, although not altogether in favour of short service and localization, yet he now found that short service had taken hold of the country, and was not, therefore, prepared to question the legislation that brought it about. It might, indeed, be fairly said that short service had taken hold of the country, because about two-thirds of the whole number had recruited for short service. Besides, there was a good deal of doubt whether we could get an adequate number of recruits required under that system, whilst it turned out now that an adequate number was got, and he doubted whether such a number could be got but for short service. He entirely agreed with the noble Earl (Earl Cadogan) that the details must be left to the discretion of the Government of the day, exercised as it must be from month to month. They had to deal with a voluntary system, and therefore could not lay down fixed rules, such as prevailed in some other countries, but must accommodate the Regulations from time to time to the wishes of the country. He was, therefore, extremely glad to hear that the present Government adopted the principles which had already been laid down, and that they would endeavour to adapt them to the changing exigencies of the day. As to the 2nd Resolution, nobody could dispute the justice of the general principle which it laid down. It had been said that our military organization would not be complete until there was an adequate system of training for the First Army Reserve, and no one would dispute that; but the late Government had in their view an arrangement of the kind which was now being carried into effect—the establishment of a localized system, so that colonels of the Regular Army might be able to do that which the Act of 1870 provided, and which the illustrious Duke on the cross-benches had just so powerfully enforced—namely, that the training should be—not by calling out the men for a lengthened period, which would indispose them to come into the Service at all-but, in the words of the Act of Parliament—"on such conditions as would least interfere with their civil service." Now, that could not be done, except by means of local organization, which would come into full operation in 1876, when the first large number of Reserve men would pass out of the Army, and he had no doubt arrangements would be made for carrying the scheme into effect, as one which would be the best for the attainment of military objects, and would least interfere with the civil occupations of the men. What he had urged, and what had been stated by his noble Friend near him (the Marquess of Lansdowne), was, not that there was no necessity at all for renewing the training of the men who had been six years in the Army, but that no such necessity would exist for the first year or two after they had left it. At a time when labour was extremely scarce and wages high, he did not think it would be well to interfere with the operation of the system by introducing training which would be very vexatious to men, but in the general principle laid down be, as be bad already said, entirely concurred. As to the 3rd Resolution, it appeared to point to some new arrangement made by the present Government with respect to adjutants, respecting which the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Galloway) appeared to think bad been conceived in a most liberal and generous spirit, although in a few individual cases it might have worked hardship. Well, that being so, he thought the War Office, which had conceived the general measure in a generous spirit, might be trusted to deal with individual cases in the same spirit. One of the topics which bad been most constantly pressed upon his attention before be left office was the case of existing adjutants, and he was glad the time had arrived when it could be satisfactorily dealt with.


said, that however desirable military training might be for the men of the First Class Army Reserve, he fully concurred in the remarks which had been made by the illustrious Duke on the cross-benches (the Duke of Cambridge) as to the difficulties in the way of inducing the men to leave civil employment for the purpose of carrying out their military obligations. On a former occasion be had expressed his regret that the first step of the Government on taking office should have been, not to preserve the status quo as to short-service, but to advance to dangerous ground and extend that system to the Cavalry and Artillery. He hoped he might be allowed to repeat that regret, for the short-service system was not intended to interfere with long service, and long-service men could still continue to be the life and soul of the Army.


said, that after the courteous reply which he bad received from his noble Friend the Under Secretary of State for War, he could not do otherwise than propose to withdraw his Motion.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.

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