THE EARL OF GALLOWAY
, in rising to call attention to the speech made at the Mansion House on the 8th instant by the Secretary of State for War, and to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, Whether it is not a fact that the standard of height for recruits is lower than it has ever been previously, and whether there is any prospect of its being raised again; also to inquire whether the permission to Militia regiments to enrol over the prescribed ratio of 25 per cent in the Militia Reserve is general; and, whether it is intended to revert to the old System of having preliminary drill for recruits immediately before the training of each Militia regiment at head-quarters, and to permit ten shillings upon enrolment being given once more instead of the pound for being trained in barracks upon the driblet system which has proved so injurious to recruiting in agricultural districts? said, when the matter was last referred to in that House, the noble Earl opposite the Under Secretary of State for War (the Earl of Morley) indulged in lamentations with regard to the falling-off in recruiting last year; but in the recent speech at the Mansion House it was stated that there was no further reason for continued lamentations, because, up to the present time, there had been 5,000 more recruits raised during the last six months than there were in the corresponding six months of last year, and he then alluded to this being due to the "elasticity of our system," He (the Earl of Galloway) was at a loss to understand what that meant, and should like some explanation.
THE EARL OF MORLEY
, in reply, said, he would try to answer the Questions of the noble Earl as well as he could. The first Question was, whether it was not a fact that the standard of height for recruits was lower than it had ever been previously? His (the Earl of Morley's) answer was in the negative. In 1858–9 the standard was 5 feet 3 inches; it was now 5 feet 4 inches. But discretion had been given to commanding officers and medical officers to accept men below 5 feet 4 inches, and above 5 feet 3 inches, if they were 452 likely to turn out good soldiers. That was very different to lowering the standard. The next question was, whether there was any prospect of the standard being raised? That was a question of the future which he could not enter upon, as he did not think it would be prudent for him to indulge in conjectures upon it. The third Question was, whether the permission to Militia regiments to enrol over the prescribed ratio of 25 per cent in the Militia Reserve was general? It was found that the total Militia Reserve was not entirely up to the standard, although it was considerably higher than it was when he last had the honour of remarking on the subject. The number of the Militia Reserve was only 1,000 below its standard; and when it was found to be below the Establishment, permission was given by the War Office to the Colonels to enlist a number of men over the quota of 25 per cent. It was not the intention of the Secretary of State for War, as had been suggested by the noble Earl on the Cross Benches (the Earl of Wemyss), to have the Militia Reserve as supernumerary to the Forces. The fourth Question put by the noble Earl was, whether it was intended to revert to the old system of having preliminary drill for recruits immediately before the training of each Militia regiment at head-quarters? He had already explained fully the system they proposed to adopt, which gave the recruit an option in that matter. The Regulations on the subject were now ready, and would be published almost immediately; and he thought they would give the noble Earl all the information he desired. It was not intended to give 10s. on enrolment to Militia recruits. The noble Earl appeared to consider the present system very unpopular. Now, it was a remarkable fact that during the present year, up to the 1st of August, there were no fewer than 23,500 Militia recruits as against 16,500 last year.
§ THE EARL OF WEMYSS
asked whether it would not be desirable, in asking men to re-engage at the termination of the short-service period, to pay them at least a portion of their deferred pay?
THE EARL OF MORLEY
, in reply, said, that the object with which deferred pay was instituted was to enable men, on leaving the Colours, to have a certain sum of money to give them a 453 start in civil life, or help them to tide over the interval until they obtained employment. To give the men deferred pay, and then allow them to go on for pension, seemed to him to be little short of an absurdity.