HL Deb 07 August 1876 vol 231 cc670-88

My Lords, your Lordships have given such constant proof of useful interest in the Army that I do not apologize for soliciting deferentially, but earnestly, your Lordships' attention to a military subject, always very important, but especially so in present times, when the best guarantees of honourable peace and of the safety of British policy and engagements are an efficient Army and Navy. The subject is the inherent defect in the organization of the two Army Reserves, liable to serve abroad, which, for the sake of clearness, and because they cannot exist without civil employment, I call Civil Employment Reserves. The senior of them is the First Class of the Army Reserve which was formed in 1867; but as it is now in a state of extinction, numbering only 53 men, I shall make no further mention of it, except historically, and to observe that the Minister of War in 1870 induced nearly 2,400 of its men by a bounty of a guinea, in spite of his denunciations of the evils of bounty, to volunteer for the First Class Army Reserve which he was then organizing. The Second Class of the Army Reserve of 1867 are the pensioners who do not serve abroad. They are good and experienced soldiers, about 14,000 strong, serving under the salutary influ- ence of pension, that best incentive to good conduct. The Irish pensioners, in spite of the efforts of disaffected countrymen to seduce them from their duty, did faithful service under me during five years of Irish agitation for a red Republic, a favourable result which it would be a delusion, as I shall show, to expect from the Irish soldiers of the First Class Army Reserve, raised in 1870, serving without pension in the Irish districts. This, the First Class Army Reserve, is, since the collapse of the First Class of the Army Reserve of 1867, the only one liable to serve abroad. It was formed on the conditions of service of the Army Enlistment Act of 1870, which state, in its Preamble, that the object of the Act is to shorten the period of Army service, and to establish a Reserve Force which may be called into active service in a period of emergency. The War Office Regulations of 9th February, 1871, state more explicitly the very important duties and obligations of the First Class Army Reserve— That they may be called out on permanent service by Proclamations in a great emergency, or in times of imminent national peril; that they then become liable to general service with the Army; that whenever the Force is called out for training, or in aid of the Civil Power, and for exercise, all the provisions of the Mutiny Act and Articles of War apply to them. For the proper appreciation of this subject it should be borne in mind that the organization of the two Civil Employment Reserves is based on an untried theory, the policy of a great military economy to save the greater part of the expense of their pay and allowances by means of the civil employment of the men of the Reserves. It is reasoned in favour of this system that it is a copy of the Prussian. But that is a perversion of the plainest reason, and of the simplest logic. For with the exception of both being short service, the two systems are as different as it is possible to be; the copy does not possess one feature of the original, the Prussian being rigid, despotic conscription; the English, constitutional, voluntary service, so voluntary, that, 24 hours after a recruit has engaged, he may declare off, should he think better of it. It follows that the organizations of Prussian and English Reserves are as different as compulsion and free-will can make them, a fact so palpable that one out of a series of examples is sufficient to prove it. The pay and allowances of the English Reserves, for it is needless to observe that no Englishman would serve voluntarily in an unpaid Reserve is a difficulty which three successive Ministers of War have been unable to overcome. They cannot, as their own official acts prove, reconcile the jarring interests of the civil employés of the Reserve soldier of economy and of the rights of the country to an efficient Reserve for its protection. But the Prussian sic volo sic jubeo system passes over all these obstacles at once by giving their Reserves no pay, no allowances, except during their training, which their very severe, but perfect drill, does not require to be so long or frequent as English Reserve training; which brings to light another important difference between the two services—that is, that if Prussian drill were introduced into the English Army, the service would become unpopular, and recruiting would at once fall off; our Reserves, therefore, to be efficient, require more drill than the Prussian. I now beg to submit to your Lordships a brief history, official facts, of the two Civil Employment Reserves of 1867 and 1870, which shows that their payment by civil employment is incompatible with the welfare of their soldiers, and the training and discipline of war Reserves, whose duty it is to protect this country and its vast interests in great emergencies and imminent national peril. Your Lordships will see the varied difficulties against which the Reserve soldier has to contend in obtaining civil employment or work. They commence with the fundamental one, that, as a rule, the civil employer would prefer the non-military workman, whose time and service are exclusively at his disposal, and not curtailed and interrupted, as is the case with the Reserve workman, by his military duties and obligations. Your Lordships' will learn from official documents the sacrifices which have been made of training, discipline and finance, to remove or modify the causes of unwillingness of the civilian to employ the Reserve man, and of the Reserve man to enter the Reserve, of which the daily pay is insufficient, and civil employment too precarious, to ensure him the means of existence. With the view of remedying these two causes of the unsuccessful working of the system, from 1867 to 1876, the War Office in 1870 doubled the daily pay given in 1867 to the Reserve, and trebled it in 1876. Having thus increased considerably the financial burdens of the country to remedy the want and uncertainty of civil employment, the War Office reduced in large proportions the amount of training considered necessary for the Reserve in 1867, because it interfered with and prevented the Reserve soldiers getting civil employment. These additional heavy charges in the Army Estimates for a Reserve, whose characteristic was to be its economy, and the large curtailments of its instruction were accompanied by other measures affecting discipline, as well as drill, to prop up a system, whose organic defects cannot fail to bring about its fall. To make the Reserve popular, and to make up, still further, for the uncertainty of civil work, the late Minister of War, although he had strongly condemned, in Parliament, bounty, and abolished it on account of its bad effects on discipline, permitted the Reserve to receive on the first day of each quarter three months' pay in advance, which is the same as bounty, and even worse, as will be shown in its effect on the Reserve soldier. This concession was followed by two others, equally impolitic, to the civil employer and the Reserve man—the first, exemption of the Reserve, as a body, from training, under the Mutiny Act and Articles of War; and the other, exemption of individual Reserve soldiers from training in Government, or responsible employment of a higher class. It is difficult to say which of these two exemptions is the most regretable, in the interests of discipline, military instruction, and the fair and impartial allotment of the soldier's duties, which is one of the most important features of the Queen's Regulations. After this preface, my Lords, I beg to pass to the history of the Reserves of 1867 and 1870. So dominant was the spirit of economy, and so great the hopes of civil employment for the soldiers of the Reserve, that the Government, when they formed the First Class of the Army Reserve in 1867, only gave its men 2d. daily pay each, which is a small fraction of the pay and allowances which they had in their regiments, leaving it to them to obtain the difference by civil employment—that is, wages for work, from the Government downwards to the lowest class of civil employer. This Reserve is erroneously called General Peel's; but that successful Minister of War, who united useful military experience with administrative ability, disapproved the system, and proposed a different one. The responsible military authorities in 1867 fixed the training of the Reserve at 28 days' drill with the Militia, and 12 days under Staff serjeants of pensioners. But this amount of training brought into play the jarring interests which I have mentioned. The civil employer would not take into his service a man whose work was to be interrupted every year by 40 days of military training and duties. And, on the other hand, the Reserve soldier could not live on his daily pay, which was only 2d. The Reserve of 1867 therefore broke down, as will be seen in 1870. The unwillingness of civilians to employ Reserve men is grounded on the strongest of motives—self interest. For, in the first place, there is the inherent disadvantage already alluded to, which, in other words, is simply that the Reserve workman serves two masters—one, himself; the other, the real master, the Reserve soldier's military superior. It is waste of time to add that, as a rule, the civilian must prefer a civilian workman, of whom he is the sole master. In the second place, a call to arms or to training of the Reserve men engaged in the very varied work of this country—from steam, gas, and iron, to agricultural, prison, or railway work—interrupts, and is prejudicial to that order and system which are indispensable for its success. The better the workman, the greater the loss; and an unexperienced substitute may derange or blow up a gas work, let loose convicts, turn a break, or shunt a railway carriage the wrong way. I now beg to adduce difficulties; the Reserve man has to encounter, in obtaining civil employment or work sufficient for a livelihood, much more an equivalent to his liberal, regimental pay and allowances, which cannot amount to less than 2s. 6d. or 3s. a-day. The Reserve soldier starts with a natural difficulty in obtaining such wages by work, or anything like them, for the combatant or enterprizing spirit of the village or manufacturing town, whose distaste for labour has led him to enlist, is not the man to settle down to hard work. But, besides this drawback, he has to struggle with the constant fluctuations of the labour market, bad times, the influence of strikes and trades unions. If he fall sick, and sickness is another and a very serious shortcoming of the First Class Army Reserve, he has no regimental hospital to go to; or, if his work stop, he has to face daily accumulating debt and destitution. It is apposite to state here a few facts as to the absence of organization in the First Class Army Reserve. They are not subject to the provisions of the Mutiny Act and Articles of War, except when called out on emergency and national peril, for training, or exercise, or drill, or aid, to the civil power; they have no regimental or hospital organization; three months' anticipated Reserve pay; and a roving pass from muster day to muster day. They are allowed an uniform, necessaries, and liberal pay, when called out. Anticipated pay, bounty and deferred pay—all three are similar in their effects. Pandora's gift; the lump sum of money in hand—that fatal temptation to the lower classes—the great field of British recruiting—to indulge, to an extent before unknown to them, the popular passion—drink, which the history of our naval and military law proves to be the chief cause of the crimes and misfortunes of these classes. Of the three evils, bounty is the least, because whilst in a voluntary service, such as ours, it is, and always will be, a successful attraction to enlist; the disorders to which it gives rise, because, under the control of regimental authorities, from the lance corporal to the commanding officer, are easier checked and have fewer bad consequences than anticipated pay and deferred pay, which are under no military restraint. It was, therefore, with unaffected regret that officers of experience learnt that deferred pay was to be given, for the sake of not a great economy, in lieu of the soldier's pension, that great incentive to good conduct, which gives the deserving soldier with long service, a happy, because however humble, an independent home amongst kith and kin, and which he values still more because he looks on it as a reward granted him for long and faithful service by a grateful Sovereign and generous country, which saves him from the dependence, the cold comfort, and the isolation of the workhouse. I was instructed, in the spiring of 1870 by the War Office, to state the cause of the collapse of the First Class of the Army Reserve of 1867, arising from the unwillingness of soldiers to enter it—I referred the case, for their opinions, to selected commanding officers of regiments in Ireland. Their report reechoed briefly the causes stated in this speech: insufficient pay of the soldiers of the Reserve, and want of civil employment, to enable them to make up for their insufficient pay by work. I approved this opinion, and submitted it to the Secretary of State for War, who confirmed it, and acknowledged the correctness of the Report as to the two deficiencies which had caused the collapse of the Reserve—too little pay, and want of civil employment—by introducing into the Army Enlistment Act of 1870, which established the First Class Army Reserve, provisions which doubled the pay of its soldiers, and abolished, with the view of rendering Reserve workmen acceptable to the civil employer, the 28 days' training with the Militia, which left it with only 12 days' annual training under Staff serjeants of pensioners. But these concessions did not produce the desired effect, for in 1876 the War Office found it necessary to amplify them, and increase the pay of the Reserve men to 6d., and, at the same time, to further reduce the training to seven days in the year. It is to be regretted that the War Department, in their eagerness to make the system of civil employment Reserves succeed, should not have submitted to Parliament the difficulties which they had encountered in working this, as I have ventured to say, untried theory; more especially as the increase of Reserve pay, and abolition of the training of the Reserve with the Militia, enacted in the Army Enlistment Act of 1870, had not caused the system to work satisfactorily. If Parliament had been consulted, the War Office would not have had recourse to expedients which affected discipline, training, and the rules of the Service. I have some right, my Lords, to make the mention I have done of that regret, because in June, 1871, I expressed in debate "my great regret" that the War Office had in 1870 been silent and kept your Lordships in the dark as to the War Office having, in consequence of a Report from the commanding officers of regiments in Ireland, confirmed by myself, as to the causes of the collapse of the Reserve of 1867, that is—insufficiency of pay and want of civil employment, increased the pay of the Reserve to 4d., which increase they had stated to Parliament, but had been silent as to the reduction of their 28 days training with the Militia, and the difficulties occasioned by civil employment. If your Lordships had been thus made acquainted in 1870 with the inherent difficulties and unfavourable consequences of the civil employment system with consequent curtailment of a great part of the training, you would, with your habitual care for the public interests, have advised the adoption of remedial measures which would not have increased since that time the Army Estimates, whilst they diminished the efficiency of the training of the Reserve and compromised the interests of discipline. And, certainly, my Lords, nothing could prejudice the interests of training and discipline more than the two expedients to reconcile the civil employer to the Reserve workman, and I must observe that curtailment of drill is also agreeable to him. Both of these expedients were resorted to also without being previously communicated to Parliament by the War Office after the concessions of 1870. The first of these two expedients was the misprision by the late Secretary of State for War of his own Regulations of February 9, 1871, that whenever the Reserve was called out for training it was to be under the provisions of the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War. The War Office ignored this Regulation, and allowed the training to be voluntary, that is—at the will of the Reserve soldier. The results of taking out of the hands of the military superiors the duty of instructing the soldiers and leaving it in their hands, a policy unknown in the civilized armies of the world, was a reversal of all the positions of authority and subordination. The general officer commanding in Ireland and other officers in command had to solicit and invite, when they ought to have commanded, the attendance of soldiers at training. The good or unemployed soldier complied; but the one with good employment or the bad soldier, sent excuses or, as Lord Sandhurst said, impertinent refusals; and it was another unfavourable symptom that the Reserve men who attended were in a very small minority. The training was neglected for several years, and the Reserve was untaught in the valuable A B C of the modern art of war—skirmishing with proper precautions—the knowledge and use of ground against the improved arms of the present day—which would have been so useful to them if called to take the field against Continental troops. The unfavourable result of allowing the soldier's knowledge of his duty to be optional with him caused the discontinuance, as I was informed by the Under Secretary of State, when I asked for the defaulters lists of the Reserve of the annual training of the Reserves at their district-place of assembly, under the wholesome influence of military law, where their military spirit was kept up, and acts of undiscipline such as absences were registered and punished—the soldiers equipped in their uniforms were practised in drill and in marching in their new ammunition boots, a military precaution against foot-soreness, which, however little thought of by civilians, has, when neglected, caused disasters ensuing from a tardy march or a delayed concentration. The noble Earl stated that there were no defaulters lists, because the Reserves had not been assembled at their district places for training. The other exemption was of Reserve men with responsible employment of a higher class—generally, Government employment—such as gaols, &c. These exemptions were, I understand, very numerous—I speak under correction, as the War Department has not given me the promised Returns—and so completely freed them from their military duties that they did not even attend the important concentrations of the Second and Fifth Army Corps. This second exemption—I do not know whether it was allowed by the late or present Minister of War—is not so serious as the first; but it is a departure from that equitable distribution of the soldier's duties, which is an essential guarantee of his contentment and discipline. The excusing a comrade and an equal from common duties excites jealousies and unfavourable feelings in a Force. And it is a bad example that military instruction which is an imperative duty, and without which a soldier is useless, should be allowed to be entirely superseded by the duties of civil employment. It is due to the present Secretary of State for War to state here how much the Army is indebted to him for having at the late concentra- tions assembled the First Class Army Reserve at their different destinations tinder the provisions of the Mutiny Act and Articles of War. But even these really fatal exemptions could not render satisfactory the working of the unfortunate system of civil employment, for, as I have stated, the pay in 1876 was raised to 6d., and the 12 days' training reduced to 7. It is remarkable that although such sweeping and numerous concessions were made to the civil employer and the Reserve soldier, not only none were granted to the taxpayer, but each concession to them was accompanied by an additional tax, so that in this year he has to pay treble for a Reserve proportionately diminished in value as his protection in times of great emergency and imminent national peril. I shared the general satisfaction expressed at the creditable and military appearance and set-up of the First Class Army Reserve at the concentrations of the two Army Corps in July last, as well as at their good conduct, their knowledge of elementary drill, and the correctness and steadiness with which they performed the movements; I speak from hearsay. But it is only just to the case to add that these movements were very simple, that a bugle was not heard, skirmishing was not practised, although now, on account of improved arms, so important an instruction. And as regards their conduct it is equally fair to the case to say that is confidently stated that the small percentage of men absent from the Reserve would have been much larger, if old illegal absences struck off the strength of the Reserve had been entered in the state; and no merit can be claimed for men not absenting themselves when they were exempted from all their duties and got all their pay: that at exercises with other troops, commanding officers had been anything but satisfied with their conduct; and that in two instances on the march to and from the July concentrations, parties of the Reserve had misconducted themselves; and certainly Lord Sandhurst's opinion of them when commanding in Ireland was anything but favourable of them. The concentrations were a fête, and cannot be considered as a criterion of the Force. The weather was beautiful; the Reserve men were their new clothes, received extra pay for the concentration; the employers, consider- ing it a holiday, gave their Reserve workmen leave for seven days. Still, they would not give them another day, although it was for the march past. Crowds came from London and all parts to see these gala parades. But it is impossible to blind oneself to the fact that a call to arms of the First Class Army Reserve under very different circumstances would have produced very different results, such as a call in bitter winter weather for aid for an indefinite time to the Civil Power in Ireland or foreign service, with no leave from the civil employer, but, on the contrary, the certainty that they would find their places filled should they return. And I venture to ask, what would be the course pursued by the Reserve soldiers with comfortable homes and well-paid employments, with the prospect of nothing but daily pay, rigid performance of their duties in tents, 12 men to a tent, or a bivouac with all the hardships of a campaign? The most important feature of the concentration of the First Class Army Reserve remains to be told. But before doing so, it is necessary for the better comprehension of the great military question with which it is connected to take a glance at the past—the events and speeches of 1870–71. With reference to those times, the Secretary of State in February, 1871, was pleased to say that— Events had occurred in Europe of so marvellous a character that 'he thought it no exaggeration to say they had no parallel in the records of history or in the fables of Herodotus;' and added that the influence of these events had created the fixed determination in the minds of the British people to place their military establishments on an efficient footing, and to have an Army with Reserves. After reading that speech it will be for your Lordships to judge whether the Militia regiments and their Reserves, so much eulogized by competent judges at the concentrations in July last, are not entitled to less doubtful praise than the noble Viscount bestowed on them at that time; whether the short service, which he said lay at the root of all Army reform and its offspring "a special Reserve" as he called it, for the formation of both of which, he says, he introduced a Bill into Parliament in 1870, have justified the noble Viscount's high eulogium of them and the expectations which he formed of their success; and whether the hope expressed by him has been fulfilled, that he would get, by means of the short service, 9,000 men for the First Class Army Reserve, for which number he had charged in the Army Estimates; and finally, whether he was right in stating that he "considered himself entitled to adhere to and sustain the policy of attenuated regiments in the time of peace." The important feature of the First Class Army Reserve was the misapprehension, I believe, a general one, that that Reserve was a short-service one—whereas on the contrary it was a long-service one and composed of old soldiers, too old some of them for a campaign. The importance of this fact is the consideration to which it gives rise respecting the causes why far from being a short-service Reserve, no short-service men served, notwithstanding the predictions of the noble Viscount which I have quoted, that he could get 9,000 men by means of the short service; and notwithstanding that if the short-service men who had served the three years since 1870, which the 4th paragraph of the Army Enlistment Act of 1870 allowed them to do, for the express purpose of forming a Reserve, which the Preamble of that Bill and the War Minister stated was the object of the Bill—more than 9,000 men would have entered the Reserve by this time. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that these men must have been used for other purposes than that of the Reserves, and that purpose could only have been to fill up the vacancies in regiments embarking for India and abroad, which were below their strength, and to fill up vacancies in them caused by the medical authorities rejecting as unfit for foreign service, on account of their bad physique under age, or other causes required to stay at home. A War Office Return shows that the First Class Army Reserve, the only Army Reserve liable to serve abroad, consisted of long-service men and numbered about 5,300 in July last. The late Minister of War's predictions fell to the ground, therefore, that he would get 9,000 short-service men for the Reserves, who were to make up for his policy of attenuated regiments, to which, on account of the certainty of having the "Special Reserve," he steadily adhered. All the Reports of successive Inspector Generals, however much they may speak in favour of re- cruiting, admit the absence of the men of height and bodily strength who formerly enlisted, and that a great proportion of the recruits of the present day require what is called fattening up for a year or two. It is notorious that the great numbers of the recruits since short service was established are under age. The Artillery Guards who require men of a better physique are short of their strength. Under these circumstances it is clear that short service without pension does not enable recruiting to compete so successfully as formerly in the "labour market." Under the influence of these considerations, I consider it my duty to say that the Government is as little able at the present time to send an Army on foreign service as they were in 1874, when the rights of the Treaty of Paris were surrendered to the illegitimate demands of Russia, which was as much opposed to Treaty as to International Law; that it was at least a satisfaction to know that a surrender of those rights which no Englishman could hear mentioned without a flush of the cheek and a sigh, the friends I had in the late Cabinet had yielded a great British right—which they must have loathed to do as much as their countrymen—through the pressure of the want of military means of going to war should Russia have persisted in her demands, which, however, there is no doubt she never intended to do. I have had the honour to submit to your Lordships the opinion founded on the state of Ireland for centuries, and the want of regimental organization, regular pay, and military control of the First Class Army Reserve, and the numerous causes which I have stated in this speech affecting the efficiency of the Reserves—that they are useless in England, and dangerous in Ireland; which opinion, serious as it is, was not controverted by any Member on either side of your Lordships' House. It would, therefore, be waste of time to enlarge on the subject. As regards India, my Lords, short service is a failure; so say all the best military and financial authorities, and a Committee sat lately on this subject, which proves that Indian feeling, as well as of a great party in this country, on this subject is favourable to the Indian view of the question. It was urged by former Committees that this country was put to a great expense in instructing and preparing troops to serve in India, and that this ought to be a set-off to the great expense which the short service caused to Indian finance. But I cannot think that this reasoning is fair. Great Britain, in common justice for her own credit and interest, is bound not to send a less efficient Army to India than the one she maintains at home. And, even if this were not the case, the very many expenses which India must incur from the great mortality of troops, owing to her tropical climate, and the filling up of death vacancies and sending home invalids and men to replace them, would more than pay the Debt of India to this country.

Moved that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for, Papers showing why the conditions of service in the fifth paragraph of the Regulations for the Discipline and Payment of the Army Reserve, that the provisions of the Mutiny Act and Articles of War should apply to the Force whenever it is called out for training and exercise, were not carried out from 1871 to 2nd March 1876; and for any papers showing how many men of the 1st Class Army Reserve have been invalided.—(The Lord Strathnairn.)


thought when the noble and gallant Lord rose, he was going to express his gratification that his own doleful expectations as to the result of the legislation in connection with the Reserves had not been fulfilled, but he (Viscount Cardwell) had not been gratified in that respect. When the late Government came into office, the principle of a Reserve had indeed been accepted by Parliament, but the number of men enlisted was insignificant. In 1870 the system was adopted of enlisting men for short service, with a view to the formation of an efficient Reserve. The question now therefore was, whether it was best to have a Reserve founded upon the principle of short service in the Line, in combination with civil employment afterwards; and the result of the system was seen exemplified in the case of the Prussian Army. What was the present state of affairs in connection with our own Army? Great facilities had been given by the late, and since extended by the present Government to men to choose whether they would serve for a long period with a pension, or for a short period, with civil employment afterwards. The result was that a very marked and decided preference, and a steadily increasing preference, had been shown for short service in the ranks, with civil employment during the period of service in the Reserve. The noble and gallant Lord said they could not expect to have a Reserve in existence, of course a system which only commenced towards the end of 1870, and required six years of actual service with the colours, as the general rule, could not be expected to have contributed great numbers to the Reserve, in the earlier part of 1876; but the Returns on the Table showed, that at the end of 1875 there had enlisted over 57,000 men for short service, with subsequent civil employment, and there must have been a considerable number added to those figures since that time. The number enlisted now must be considerably over 60,000. This was certainly sufficient proof, that so far as numbers were concerned, the experiment had not failed. He should have thought that the noble and gallant Lord, with his experience, would have remembered what Lord Raglan said when he had less than 10,000 men in the Crimea available to defend the lines, and when the late Duke of Newcastle told him there were 2,000 recruits to send out—"For God's sake do not send them out, as they will only die like flies." What had been the remedy for that state of things? Why, the forming of a good Reserve force such as they had at present in progress, to which no objection could be made, inasmuch as it consisted of men who were inured to service, and who would be perfectly able to take their places beside the Regular troops in the field. The noble and gallant Lord might assert that we had an attenuated first line, but he knew perfectly well that for the purpose of resisting invasion, we never had before anything like so great a Force in the country in time of peace as that which was left by the late Government, and was maintained by the present Government. As to the attenuated front line not being filled up by the Reserve, it should be borne in mind that the Act only passed in 1870, and of course it had not yet produced 60,000, or any large number of men, for the Reserve. There was no enactment that men should go into the Reserve at the end of three years; there was indeed a power to send them into the Reserve at the end of that time, but there was a strong objection taken to acting on it by no one more pertinaciously than by the noble and gallant Lord himself. The late Government did not want to force the system, so they began with six years in the Line and six years in the Reserve, and no large number of three years' men had yet gone into the Reserve. The present Government, however, had allowed men more freely to go into the Reserve than they could do before; but still the period had not come yet for producing any very great effect upon the Reserves. The fruit was upon the tree, and was visible to the eye: but it was not yet gathered, for the simple reason that it was not yet ripe. When the present system was first put in force, it was said that they would not get men to the standards unless they allowed pensions; but he had shown that more than 60,000 had enlisted for short service, and the number who joined was not diminishing, but was increasing year by year. The tendency was constantly increasing to go for a short, instead of a longer period. He should have expected that the noble and gallant Lord would have come forward and said that he had not been a sanguine person, and that he had not thought that such a Reserve as they now had would have been secured, but that, as a patriot and a soldier, he was glad to acknowledge that he had been altogether mistaken, and that they had the prospect of a Reserve of that character. So much then for the experiment as regarded numbers; now, as regarded the efficiency of the men passed into the Reserve, he (Viscount Cardwell) was sorry the noble and gallant Lord had not brought forward the Motion at an earlier period of the Session when the illustrious Duke (the Duke of Cambridge), who had now left the country, could have been present and stated his views on the subject. However, they had before them a General Order of the illustrious Duke which showed conclusively the state of efficiency of the men in the Reserve, and that it was very good. A question was some time ago raised that these men might be compelled to serve with the Militia; but it was found, in answer to a circular which he (Viscount Cardwell) had issued to commanding officers, that that would interfere too much with their civil employments, and consequently it was not pressed. Parliament, therefore, provided, and the authorities now followed, a course in regard to those men which was least likely to interfere with their civil employments. The noble Lord asked why these men had not been compulsorily called out since 1871. The answer was that a very successful trial was made in 1871, and it was proposed as a general rule to use the brigade depôts for the convenient training of the Reserve men in each neighbourhood and in 1872 and 1873 the depôts were not yet built; moreover, wages were very high, and to call the men out to a distance would have involved great loss, for which as they were almost all men of long service there was no sort of reason, but the brigade depôts were now being rapidly completed, and no doubt would be used for all the purposes for which they were designed by Parliament. He was very glad to say that the country had a good prospect of a strong Reserve force. The statistics showed that, and the General Order showed the character and efficiency of the men. He would not follow the remarks of the noble and gallant Lord in regard to the Treaty of 1856, because that matter had very lately been most fully and accurately explained by his noble Friend behind him (Earl Granville). In conclusion, he rejoiced that if ever they were called upon to fight such battles as they had fought a little more than 20 years ago, they would have a Reserve composed of trained men on whom they could rely, and they would not again hear the same despairing cry which they at that time heard from the Commander in Chief of the want of an efficient Reserve. He thanked their Lordships for having allowed him to occupy their time so long so soon after having spoken on the same subject.


said, he was glad that the noble Viscount (Viscount Cardwell) had replied to the speech of the noble and gallant Lord (Lord Strathnairn), which appeared to have been directed chiefly to his action with regard to the system of short service and the Reserves, as anything he himself could say would not come with such force as what fell from the noble Viscount. He ventured, however, to join in the noble Viscount's remonstrance against the course pursued on that occasion by the noble and gallant Lord, and trusted he should not be thought presumptuous in doing so. The subject of short service and the Reserve was not a new one. It had been before the country and before the gallant and noble Lord himself, both in its details and its principles, for now more than five years; and in a Session in which their Lordships' House had certainly not been over-burdened with legislative business, it might, he thought, have been possible for the noble and gallant Lord to have brought forward a Motion, or by some other means to have taken an opportunity of laying his view before their Lordships at an earlier period, instead of waiting till one of the last weeks of the Session, and till the illustrious Duke the Commander-in-Chief had left the country, and many of their Lordships who were interested in that subject had been obliged to leave town. He would not follow the noble and gallant Lord in his general remarks, but would confine himself entirely to the Motion he had put upon the Table. The Motion was one for— Papers showing why the conditions of service in the fifth paragraph of the Regulations for the Discipline and Payment of the Army Reserve, that the provisions of the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War should apply to the Force whenever it is called out for training and exercise, were not carried out from 1871 to 2nd March 1876. The terms of the Motion were not quite accurate. The men who had been asked to volunteer, as had been stated, were under the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War while on service; and therefore the allegation that the regulations of the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War had not been carried out was incorrect. If the noble and gallant Lord would refer to the Appendix to the Returns he would find that when the Reserves were asked to volunteer for service in the Summer Manœuvres they presented themselves in considerable numbers. They were asked to volunteer because the Government did not wish to harass the men by taking them from their civil employments. Nothing had been concealed in the Returns. The War Office did not wish to conceal anything in this matter or in any other. They considered that the response which had been made by those Reserve men who were summoned had afforded a direct, straightforward answer to the question whether men in civil employment would come when they were called on; and although they were not the short service men who had passed six years in the Army, the War Office thought that test sufficient, and he believed that they and the country had reason to congratulate themselves on the result.


, in reply, stated that there was the greatest dis- tinction between the Prussian compulsory Army system and ours, and that while in the Prussian Army there were no boys, ours was filled with them. At the same time, he highly praised the conduct of the military during the Fenian disturbances in Ireland. He contended that the short service system had been a failure.


said, he wished to address a few words to their Lordships in support of the Motion of his noble and gallant Friend (Lord Strathnairn), under whom he had served. It had been his good fortune to survive the campaign in the Crimea 20 years ago, and he could confirm what had been stated by the noble Viscount opposite (Viscount Cardwell) as to Lord Raglan's words, that the second battalion recruits ought not to be sent out to die like flies. He had himself seen them die like flies. When the noble Viscount spoke of 60,000 men having enlisted for short service, his (Lord Dorchester's) reply was that that was a very small and insignificant Reserve force for the protection of the wealth, and treasure, and property of this country. There ought, in truth, to be five times that number. He was sorry that the illustrious Duke was not present, as no doubt he would have explained his views on the system of short service, and whether it would satisfy the wants of the country. No doubt, a certain proportion of men after 20 years' service would not be worth much, but they would be better than "the flies" of two years' service. Nor did he think that the three years' service men would be as good as the 20 years' men, who would die at their posts, and as long as they had a bit of bread would never complain, but would serve with that distinction which had excited the admiration of the French Generals.

On Question? Resolved in the negative.