SIR G. C. LEWIS
said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for War a question on the subject of the numerical force of troops to be retained in India during the next financial year; and as there appeared to exist some misundertanding as to what had been stated the other evening, perhaps the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would have the kindness to state distinctly to the House, so far as his memory would serve him, what was the present number of troops of all arms in India, and what reduction he contemplated making in the course of the year, inasmuch as the Estimates had no doubt been framed with a view to that prospective reduction. He would also ask whether there was any foundation for the statement which was made on a former 1822 evening as to the head of the Indian Government in India having been required from this side of the water to receive and maintain on the Indian establishment a greater number of troops in Her Majesty's service than was desired for the defence of India and for the preservation of peace during the present year. He thought that everybody must see that, in the present state of the finances of India, it was not desirable that any burden should be imposed on that country which was not necessary for its safety and welfare. He had not himself heard anything that would lead to the belief that such was intended, but an impression of the kind prevailed in certain quarters. It would also be advantageous if the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would state whether if the Indian Government found that they would be able to return a greater number of men to this country than they previously thought would be possible, Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to disembody the militia, or to make other arrangements to receive those additional regiments in this country, or whether it would be necessary to come to the House for further powers.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for War why the report of the last competing examination for Cadetships in the Royal Academy at Woolwich was not published within the usual time after the conclusion of the examination; and why there has not been the usual public notice of the approaching examination? In his opinion one cause of the great success of the examinations at Woolwich was the great publicity connected with them. Of the seven previous examinations the reports had been published within a very short time; but of the examination which was held three months ago there had been no report.
said, he would first reply to the question of the hon. and gallant General the Member for Westminster (Sir De Lacy Evans), with respect to the detachment of the 41st Regiment at Trinidad. The authority by which the troops had been moved from camp to barracks was the local authority on the spot. They were encamped in consequence of the outbreak of fever in September, and were probably sent back to barracks because the fever had ceased to rage. From information he had received that morning it appeared that the troops were now in camp, and therefore he did not know for certain that they had ever been sent back to bar- 1823 racks. He was sure that the hon. and gallant Member would be glad to hear that it appeared from the report which he had received that the fever had entirely ceased, and that the health of the troops was good; though it was thought advisable that they should still remain encamped whilst the barracks were cleansed and whitewashed. The hon. and gallant Member had also alluded to the removal of the detachments from Trinidad, and he could inform him that by the last mail he had sent out through the Colonial Office a discretionary power to the officer in command, if he thought it necessary, to remove the troops. The barracks were as well constructed as they could be; and the mortality during the last ten years had not been greater in Trinidad than might be expected, for the deaths among the Europeans were not more than 4 per cent, whilst in the black regiments the mortality was 3 per cent or more. The right hon. Baronet (Sir George Lewis) had asked what was the present number of troops upon the Indian establishment, and if any of them were to return home during the year. Speaking from memory, as he had had no notice of the question, he should say there were seventy-three regiments of infantry and twelve regiments of cavalry now in India. Before framing the Estimates for the year he had endeavoured to come to an understanding with the Secretary of State for India as to the number of troops that were likely to return home during this year. There was no desire to impose upon the Indian Government any number of troops, and he would have been glad to receive any regiments that could be sent home; but in consequence of the letters of Lord Clyde, in November, in which he said that seven regiments of infantry and one of cavalry were all that could be spared during the next year, the others were left upon the Indian establishment. So far from desiring to impose unnecessary burdens upon the Indian Government, the great difficulty had been to meet their demands. That Government, without any communication from home, had sent out vessels and taken regiments wherever they could get them. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir George Lewis) had also asked him whether, in the event of any additional regiments coming home from India during the next financial year, over and above those which were expected, there would be any objection to receive them in this country, and whether they could be 1824 maintained here by means of disembodying some militia regiments or otherwise without exceeding our present military establishment. In answer to those questions, he could only say that there was not the slightest wish on the part of the Government here to impose upon that of India the necessity of keeping there a single regiment beyond those which they required, and that if they should deem it expedient to send to this country other regiments in addition to the seven which were already under orders for return home, Her Majesty's Ministers would not have the slightest objection, looking to the present state of Europe, to receive them. The Indian Government had sent a requisition to this country for twelve batteries of artillery, and not only had it been there resolved to raise that force, but they had determined to raise twelve European batteries of their own, so that in deciding to comply with their request on that point, Her Majesty's Ministers were only acting in accordance with what they deemed to be the requirements of the Indian service. The order to send out those twelve batteries had, however, since been rescinded. With respect to the question of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell), in reference to the examinations at Woolwich, he could only say that when he had come into office he had promised that two additional examinations should be held there exactly on similar terms as those on which they had previously taken place. In consequence of that promise the Rev. Canon Moseley had been allowed to adjudicate on those examinations as before. The right hon. Gentleman was mistaken in supposing that any greater delay existed in the publication of the reports of the last examination than had occurred on former occasions. In consequence of the illness of one of the examiners, indeed, the report had not been sent in as soon as otherwise would have been the case, but it would be published to-morrow, and a copy of it would be sent to each of those who had presented themselves for examination. The right hon. Gentleman had also asked why the usual public notice had not been given as to the time at which the approaching examination would be held. In reply to that question, he had simply to state that such notice had been duly given in The Gazette on the 15th of March last. It had not been inserted in the various public journals, as had previously been the case, because it would have been charged, for as 1825 an advertisement, and a considerable expense would thus be incurred. A circular had also been printed, and any person requiring a copy might have it.