§ House in Committee.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
Mr. Massey, although we make annually a constitutional protest against the institution of a standing army—although we annually recite in our Mutiny Act that it is contrary to the liberties of this country to maintain a standing army without the consent of Parliament, still I think that this protest must be considered as a constitutional fiction, and that we must regard an army as belonging to the permanent institutions of the country, not less than the navy, or the machinery for the collection of the revenue. It is, indeed, true that the existence of our army is dependent upon the annual vote of Parliament; but no one doubts that this vote will be cheerfully given, no one wishes that the continuity of the army—I mean that system of organization and discipline which can be attained only when the army is maintained in a permanent form—should be destroyed. It is, moreover, true, not only that we have a standing army in substance, but that it is one of the most expensive of the institutions which we maintain. For I find that, taking the total expenditure of the country at its present amount—about £70,000,000 per annum, of which sum £26,200,000 may be 955 referred to the payment of the interest on the National Debt—the cost of the army alone amounts to £15,302,000; and taken together with the militia, to £16,250,000: leaving for all the other branches of expenditure the sum of £27,550,000. So that the expense of our army and militia is about £16,000,000, as compared with £27,000,000, the remainder of our total expenditure, minus the interest on the National Debt. The Committee will therefore perceive that in voting the Army Estimates they deal with a very large portion of the expenditure of the country which is within the control of the House of Commons. It is quite true, as my hon. Friend (Mr. Williams) has already pointed out, that this expenditure has increased of late years; and in moving the first Vote of the Estimates now on the table—the Vote embracing the number of men required, and therefore substantially determining the character of the whole Estimate—it will be my endeavour to furnish the Committee, so far as I am able, with an answer to these questions:—"Why have Army Estimates increased of late years? and why have they reached the sum of £15,302,000, which is the amount to which it is my duty to ask the Committee to assent in the present Session: Now, I can, I think, without occupying to any unreasonable length the time of hon. Members, supply them with an answer to those questions; and I hope I may be able to do so without troubling them with any great amount of details or figures, which are, I am aware, always distasteful within these walls.
In order to make the point with which I propose to deal clear, I will ask the permission of the Committee to go so far back as the year 1789—the year in which the great French Revolution broke out. In that year the total number of men voted for the British and Irish establishments—the two establishments were then separate—was 43,395; while the total sum voted for the Army, the Ordnance, and the Commissariat was £2,981,000—that is to say, £2,428,000 for Great Britain and £553,000 for Ireland. Not quite £3,000,000, therefore, was the entire amount of our expenditure for military purposes in the first year of the French Revolution. Well, as the Committee is aware, we embarked shortly after in a great war which lusted many years; on which the existence of this nation depended; which was prosecuted 956 on a gigantic scale against the power of Napoleon, both by land and sea; and which rendered it necessary that our military organization should be developed to the utmost, and that every nerve of the country should be strained for the purpose of increasing our army to the highest point which its finances could bear. Now, I am anxious to call the attention of the Committee to the effect which the existence of war has upon the numbers and expense of the army. In the year 1819 the number of men in the army had risen to 88,682. That is to say, the number of men had risen to about double since 1789. The total amount of the Estimates in the year 1819 for the army, including the Ordnance and Commissariat, was £10,035,127; so that the number of men in the army had increased from 43,000 in 1789 in consequence of this great war to 88,000 in 1819, and the military expenditure from about 3,000,000 to about £10,000,000. In that position our army remained without any material alteration till 1852. Before referring more particularly to that year, I may perhaps be allowed to give a correct statement to the Committee of the Votes for the army, including all the items, for the year 1832. In 1832 the number of men voted for the army was 97,949; the total amount of the Estimate was £8,399,700: so that, as you will perceive, there was no material difference between this year and the year 1819. I now come to the year with which I propose to institute a comparison—the year almost immediately preceding the Crimean war—the year 1852–3. In that year the number of men asked for was 119,519; and the total estimate for the army, including the Ordnance and Commissariat, was £9,021,394. I wish the Committee to observe that in consequence of the French war, which began in 1793 and ended in 1815, our military expenditure underwent a great increase, and thence remained tolerably stationary till the year preceding the Crimean war. There is no doubt that the deficiencies of our military system, as disclosed by the events of those wars, led to a considerable increase in the amount of our army, and in the expense of our establishments. This is shown by a comparison of the number of men to be voted in the present year, 145,450, and the amount of money, £15,302,870, with the figures which I have stated for the year almost immediately preceding the Crimean war.
957 The lesson, then, I think, which this comparison teaches, is, that as the French war brought about a great development of our military system, showed the deficiencies under which our army then laboured, and, as a consequence, caused a great increase in the charge for the army; so the Crimean war produced similar results, and has led to a permanent increase in the cost of our military system, both by making a permanent addition to the strength of the army and also by rendering necessary certain improvements intended to provide for the efficiency of the army, to which I shall call attention. There is, however, another circumstance to which I must advert in accounting for the increase in our military system since the commencement of the Crimean war—the change that has taken place in the political institutions of France. All persons, I think, who are conversant with the sentiments of those who occupied a prominent place in public affairs during the first fifteen years of this century will admit the predominant object of their policy to have been, so long as they exercised any control over the affairs of the State, to promote the maintenance of peace. They had lived through a period of most disastrous warfare, and the great object of all the Statesmen of that generation, both in this country and on the Continent, was to multiply and strengthen the securities for peace, and to contribute to its permanence. Since that time, however, a generation has grown up which has no personal recollection of the wars of the French Revolution and the Empire. Moreover, the re stored dynasty of France was from its origin naturally attached to a pacific policy. Its members owed their throne to the assistance of the other Powers of Europe; its security was to be found, to a great, extent, in the support of the rest of Europe; and the last thing that was to be expected from the restored Bourbon dynasty was that it should revive the wars of the French Empire. But as soon as a Bonaparte dynasty was restored in France, the ideas of the Empire naturally revived. I do not for a moment doubt that the policy of the present Emperor, as far as that policy depends upon his own independent wishes and his own individual opinion, is essentially a pacific policy, and that he is well inclined to maintain a cordial understanding with this country. But it is to be remembered that he lives in the midst of a population governed by opinions 958 which the restoration of his dynasty has set in motion; that such books as the history of M. Thiers naturally have great influence in that country, and that the idea of restoring the natural boundaries of France as they existed under the Revolution, and as the Empire found them, may not unnaturally be pressed with great force upon the Imperial mind. My own belief is that we have nothing to fear from ill-feeling on the part of the Emperor of the French towards this country. On the contrary, my conviction is that we have every reason to expect from him good wishes and cordial relations with this country. Rut we must bear in mind the opinions and circumstances by which he is surrounded, and prudent statesmen must guard against possible dangers, which must be admitted to be not without foundation. Looking to the alterations in the state of Europe, and looking at the great extension which our military system received during the Crimean war, I find an explanation of the increase which has taken place in our military establishments. I think the Committee when they come to examine the details of these Estimates—large, no doubt, as the sums which compose them are—will not come to the conclusion that they are larger than the interests of the country demand.
Having attempted to explain the general foundation of these large Estimates, I will now proceed to show that there are certain circumstances which make their apparent amount larger than their real amount. In the first place, there have been some charges brought into these Estimates for the first time. For the first time the charges for the Indian depots and recruiting for the Indian army appear in these Estimates. Therefore, that increase is apparent and not real. The total amount of repayments, which are estimated to be received during the year from the Indian Government—it is only an estimated amount, we do not know the exact figures—is nearly a million, or £985,500. A part of that sum has been previously set off in the shape of repayments for non-effective services; but the whole of the repayments for the effective service, which are estimated to amount to about £780,000, appear for the: first time as a set-off against, this sum. If from the total of £15,302,000 you deduct £7: 50,000, the expense in India for the first time introduced, it leaves a real amount of £14,572,000. That sum, the Committee 959 will perceive, is rather less than the Estimates of last year, without the Supplementary Estimate, and considerably less than the expenditure of the last year upon the two Estimates combined. But to make the comparison fair, I must allow about £500,000 for additional expenses in Canada, which will have to be incurred in consequence of the recent expedition, which are included in these Estimates, and which will not come in course of payment before the 1st of April. In addition to that, there is a sum of £170,000 for New Zealand, not included in last year's Estimate, and there will be about £50,000 for China, which last year was included in the Vote of Credit. If we make allowance for the repayments by India and deduct the extraordinary expenses for New Zealand, Canada, and China, these Estimates exhibit, in fact, a reduction upon those of last year of about £650,000. Therefore, although, no doubt, these Estimates are large and exhibit a considerable increase as compared with those of the year immediately preceding the Crimean war, yet they are not by any means extravagant Estimates as compared with those of last year; and, in fact, after making the allowances I have mentioned, we have a reduction of about £650,000.
Now, Sir, having explained the financial part of the case, I will state what is the number of men proposed. In the first place, I will explain the present distribution of the army. It is material that the Committee should know how our army is distributed, because much depends upon that distribution. Our army is essentially unlike the armies of Continental States, which have no foreign possessions; for a large part of it is permanently abroad, and the wear and tear thereby created is very considerable. Instead of comparing our army with that of Prussia, for instance, it would be fairer to compare our Militia with the Prussian army, because it is not subject to the destructive influences upon health which are necessarily entailed by services performed and hardships endured in the East and West Indies, succeeded by a removal to North America, and the vicissitudes of climate to which our regular troops are exposed. There is also another important consideration to be borne in mind. The number of men may appear very considerable, but a large proportion is always abroad, and, therefore, the number of men in the United Kingdom is much less than might be expected from the large 960 numerical amount of our army. The number of men of all arms in the United Kingdom proposed for the year 1862–3 is 81,614, and including the Indian depots 89,238. The number of men in Europe forming our Mediterranean garrisons is 17,008; in Asia, excluding India, 8,185; in our African possessions, including the islands, 7,233; in America, 24,389 (that is larger than usual in consequence of the forces recently sent out); in Australia, without New Zealand, there are 1,234 men; in New Zealand, 3,965; and in India, 75,899—but this number will shortly be reduced. The total number of men, therefore, including India and the Staff, is 228,973. The Committee will immediately see, from the large number of stations in which our army is distributed, how great is the difficulty in making any considerable reduction in the number of men. We propose this year, in consequence of some additions to our settlements upon the coast of Africa, to add a fourth "West India regiment. The manner in which this addition has been made is this:—The three West India regiments already in existence have been reduced from ten to eight companies each, and the additional cost of the new arrangement is not considerable; in fact, it is an economical arrangement, although it does produce some increase in the Estimates and in the number of men. But, inasmuch as it is proposed to reduce the army, as recruiting has been stopped since last autumn, except for a short time during the alarm of war, and has now ceased, the number of men will be diminished, and the Committee will see that the total number of men proposed this year is less than the number proposed last year. There is one part of the Estimates which may excite some remark, and that is the increased expense for the Staff. I dare say many hon. Gentlemen will say, "Oh, this is a proof of the improper influence of the Horse Guards, who are always wishing to increase the Staff." I think I can satisfy the Committee that there has been no real increase in the Staff, with the exception of a small addition made to the medical staff for the Canadian reinforcements. It was thought desirable to send out to our North American colonies some additional medical officers, whose services might prove useful to our troops in the unfortunate event of war occurring. There were, therefore, 10 officers added to the medical staff. That 961 is the whole of the actual increase to the Staff; the rest of the apparent increase, as I will explain to the Committee, is merely nominal—230 officers have been transferred from Vote 7 to the Military Store Staff. Formerly the Store officers had not commissions; but now they have military commissions, and are staff officer who appear on the list. Then there are 64 officers, non-commissioned officers, and men belonging to the School of Gunnery, whose regimental pay used to be included under Vote 2; there is no difference, in their pay now, and as they were previously provided for, there is no difference in the Estimate. Then there are 164 officers, non-commissioned officers and men belonging to the Schools of Musketry, whose pay is taken under Vote 15, but the numbers have not hitherto been included in Vote 1. Next there are 45 officers, noncommissioned officers and men of the cadet company. There is then an addition of 152 officers, non-commissioned officers, and men on the staff of depôt battalions, hitherto provided for by the Indian estimates. Hitherto provision in the Army Estimates has been made only for the depôts of regiments on the British establishment: bin in consequence of the depôts of the Indian establishment being brought into the Estimates it is necessary to include these officers. These together make an aggregate of 665, but I deduct 65 who were formerly included regimentally, although not in the staff, leaving a total of 600. The Committee will therefore see that, though this increase appears very formidable, it is nothing more than a question of account, and constitutes no real addition.
I have already stated that the increase to our present Estimates since what I may call the pre-Crimean period, may be taken in round numbers as an addition to the strength of the army of about 25,000 men, and au additional cost in money of about £5,000,000 sterling. I compute that about half of that increase of £5,000,000 is due to the increase of the strength of the army. If you were to reduce your force by 25,000, you might produce a saving of about £2,500,000. But beyond this £2,500,000, there is an increase of an equal amount since the Crimean war which is still unaccounted for. It is my business, therefore, to account for that increase. The cause of it is to be found in the additional expense which has been incurred since that period for the improved armament of the army, for the 962 augmentation in the provision of stores and munitions of war of all kinds necessary for the efficiency of our troops, and also for the increased outlay in promoting the health, comfort, and efficiency of the private soldier. I believe that under these heads we may divide all the sources of the recent increase in our military expenditure. In the first place, it is not the fact that any increase has been made in the pay of the army. Upon a comparison of the pay of some of the principal branches of the service as it was in 1853–4 with that of the present year it will be seen—confining ourselves to the first Vote for pay and money allowances—that there is scarcely any difference since 1853–4. I will give the Committee a comparative statement, taking the total number of men and dividing the first Vote by that number, The pay and allowances per head in 1853–4 was—Life Guards and Horse Guards, £57 12s. 3d.; whereas in the present year they are to have £58 9s. 4d. per head. The, Cavalry of the Line received in 1853–4 £42 10s. 4d., and in 1862–3 they will receive £33 0s. 11d. The Toot Guards in 1853–4 received £36 7s. 3d., against £32 16s. 2d. only in the present year. The Infantry of the Line in 1853–4 received £26 12s. 5d. per head against £27 1s. 11d. this year. These figures, I think, conclusively show that, whatever may be the increase of expenditure, there has been little or no increase in the pay and allowances of the Army. But, though that is the case, the condition of the Army on the whole has, nevertheless, been improved, as I will shortly prove to the Committee. One cause, as I have already slated, of the increased expenditure has been the new establishments of different kinds connected with the Army. In the first place, since the Crimean war the military train—an entirely new body, for the transport of baggage and provisions—has been created, as have also an army hospital corps and a Commissariat staff corps—both of them totally new establishments; while a great addition has, likewise, been made to the Commissariat and Medical Staff Officers. The Purveyor's department, too, has been almost entirely organized since that date. These are important branches of the Army, tending materially to promote its efficiency when in the field, but, of course, adding to its expense. They are not of a nature to attract much public attention but, nevertheless, are eminently serviceable when the unfortunate necessity of a recourse to 963 war arises. Another new source of expenditure which has been opened since that time is the creation of camps of instruction at Aldershot, Shorncliffe, Colchester, and the Curragh, and the formation of schools of musketry at Hythe and Fleetwood, and a school of gunnery at Shoeburyness. The cost of the establishment of these camps and schools of instruction, excluding that at Shoeburyness, has been upwards of £1,000,000 sterling, and their annual cost must be taken at least at £100,000. I believe that all military authorities are united in the opinion that the existence of these camps of instruction adds greatly to the efficiency of our army and to the facilities for training it in time of peace so as to be ready for service in time of war, which, let me observe, is, after all, the great object of a military system. Your object is, that when war breaks out you should not be found unprepared; that you should not be driven to those expedients which we see attended with so much public inconvenience, and which have also entailed an enormous expense upon a kindred State across the Atlantic, when it has been called upon suddenly to make vast military preparations. In addition to our camps and schools of musketry I have to mention the manufacturing departments, which have now attained a very great extension. I do not know whether many Members of this Committee are acquainted with the establishments at Woolwich; but hon. Gentlemen who are conversant with them must, I think, be persuaded of the immense power which these establishments confer on the country of making preparations to be useful in time of need, and will appreciate the enormous facilities they afford for producing a great amount of serviceable stores at a short notice. Besides the factories at Woolwich we have the small-arms department at Enfield, the clothing branch at Pimlico, and some other minor establishments to which it is not necessary now more particularly to refer. These manufactories are conducted on a scale far exceeding that of private manufacturers. At Woolwich there are at present steam-engines furnishing altogether about 7,000 horse-power; and the number of workmen and mechanics ordinarily employed is no less than 10,000. I must say that, although I entered the department without any prejudice in favour of Government manufactories, my experience has convinced me not only of the great effi- 964 ciency of the system as at present conducted under the War Office, but, upon the whole, of its economy. There is no doubt that by means of Government manufactories you can always be certain of the result, which never can be the case where the articles are furnished by contractors; and, after a careful investigation of the relative cost, my belief is that their economy is quite equal to their efficiency. I do not say that the system of employing contractors should be altogether discarded, because it is useful for the guidance of the Government itself that a partial supply from private manufacturers should be kept up as a check on their own establishments. A mixed system is, therefore, desirable; but I repeat my firm belief, that the great works now carried on at Woolwich are no less economical than they are efficient, and that if you wish to have a resource upon which you can rely under all circumstances, a large proportion of your work must be done in the Government factories. Another great addition to the cost of our military system lies in the change of small-arms which has been going forward of late years, and which is not yet completed. The whole of our army has, in fact, been re-armed of late years. The old musket has been discarded, and the Enfield rifle substituted. We have, moreover, furnished Enfield rifles to the Volunteers and Militia, and recently we sent out a considerable number to Canada. This change has not been effected without considerable expense, and, as the process is still going forward, the expense has not yet been completed. In addition to this new supply of small-arms there has been a complete change in our system of iron ordnance. We have to a very great extent introduced the Armstrong gun. We have supplied our garrisons in the Mediterranean, and to a certain extent garrisons in other parts of the world, with that arm; we are gradually supplying the fortifications of this country with the same important engine; and our field artillery has been entirely put in possession of it. Considering the great expense of these new weapons, I think the Committee will see that the operations I have detailed furnish to a considerable extent an explanation of the increased cost of the Army Estimates. There is another point which is often lost sight of when we compare the Army with the Navy Estimates. When Gentlemen complain of the great amount of the Army Estimates, and point out that the 965 Admiralty is much more moderate in its demands than the War Office, it must be remembered that the War Department is at present a composite Department, embracing the duties of the former Board of Ordnance, and charged with the manufacture of guns as well for the navy as for the army. These warlike stores are furnished to the Admiralty on their requisition, and no part of the cost of those articles appears in the Navy Estimates. If the Committee will refer to Vote 11 they will see the warlike stores for the navy put down at £801,309, to which must be added £221, 976 for wages, making a total of £1,024,285. Guns, gun-carriages, ammunition, small-arms and ammunition, rifles, swords, cutlasses, and boarding pikes—all these articles are furnished to the navy by the War Department. In order, therefore, to arrive at the precise expenses of the navy as compared with the army, you ought to deduct £1,000,000 from the Army Estimates and add that amount to the Navy Estimates. I have not the least objection to the present system of keeping the accounts or of furnishing the navy; I do not complain of the existing practice or wish to see it altered; I am merely anxious that the Committee should truly understand the nature of the expenditure. Then there has been of late a great increase in the charge for gunpowder. As everybody knows, gunpowder is rather an expensive material to burn, and the quantity of gunpowder yearly consumed in infantry practice—which is entirely new—is very large. A great consumption also takes place in experimenting with large guns at Shoeburyness. A day or two ago experiments were tried with Sir William Armstrong's new 300-pounder. I do not know what each explosion cost, but I am aware that in the aggregate it reaches a very large amount. Volunteers are also supplied with ammunition by the War Department, and of course all these items inflate the charge for gunpowder. The Committee, probably, will not wish me to go through the details of this Vote; but I may mention that there is also an increase for timber and miscellaneous items, in consequence of the multiplication of stores which modern science has suggested for the use of our army, and which we must provide for our soldiers if we would place them on a footing of equality with other armies, with which we may have to contend. And here let me remark that 966 military science, though invaluable by reason of the discoveries which it makes for perfecting the mechanism of war, nevertheless entails very heavy expenses on the Government, which is forced to follow all the changes of weapons, and adopt all the latest improvements in gunnery, fortification, and the different other branches of military art. As soon as one improvement has been introduced, it is superseded by another, which the Government is pressed to adopt. At this moment there is a large body of persons who think that the Enfield rifle ought to be discarded, and the Whitworth, or some other rifle, substituted. Everybody must feel that so expensive a question ought not lightly to be entered on; but even greater expense would have to be encountered if the progress of military science should threaten to put our army on a footing of decided inferiority by the adoption of some new and improved arm. Consequently, the Government has often to make a choice between incurring great expense and the possible disapprobation of the House, or allowing the army to remain in a state of inferiority to others.
I believe I have now put the Committee in possession of the general outlines of the increased expenditure upon those branches which are intended to increase the efficiency of our army as an engine of warfare. But many improvements have also been introduced with a view to ameliorate the social, moral, and sanitary condition of the private soldier. In the first place, much expenditure has been incurred for the sake of enlarging and improving barracks, and in giving effect to various recommendations of this House with respect to barracks themselves and the hospitals connected with them. I am happy to say that these efforts have not been unattended with important results, as will appear from authentic returns of the mortality in the service. These have been prepared by Dr. Gibson, the Director General of the Medical Department; and I believe they are perfectly authentic, though it certainly is difficult to believe that so great a change can have taken place in a limited period. It is possible that the greater youth of some portions of the army may to a certain extent affect the returns; but I believe the difference is mainly to be explained by improvements in the sanitary conditions under which they are now called on to servo. The return is confined to troops 967 serving in the United Kingdom, and gives the average annual results of two several periods. During the first period of observation, the years 1830–6, the number of deaths per 1,000 for the Household Cavalry, in the course of each year was 14; in the last period of observation, the years 1859–60, the mortality was only 6 per 1,000. In the cavalry of the Line, for the first period the mortality was 15 per 1,000; last year it was only 7 per 1,000. In the Royal Artillery, for the years 1830–6 the deaths were at the rate of 15 per 1,000; in 1859–60 they were only 6 per 1,000. The mortality in the Toot Guards was, in the same manner, 21 per 1,000 in the former period, and 9 per 1,000 in the latter. For infantry of the Line, the first period of observation having been 1836–46, the deaths decreased from 18 per 1,000 to 9; in 1859–60. I have similar returns from the colonies. The two periods of observation are 1837–56, and 1859–60. For the first period there died at Gibraltar 13 per 1,000; for the last 9. At Malta the diminution was from 18 to 14 per 1,000; in the Ionian Islands, from 16 to 10; in Bermuda, from 35 to 11; in Canada, from 17 to 10; in Jamaica, from 60 to 17; at Ceylon, from 39 to 27. I have other returns from other colonies. I believe they are authentic, and certainly they show that a very considerable amelioration has been effected in the sanitary condition of the soldiers through the increased efficiency of the medical department. These results are very encouraging for future attempts in the same line of improvement. Then there has been an increase of expenditure, not only for hospitals and barracks, but also for hospital furniture. Also, in consequence of a recommendation of the Royal Commission, there is a considerable addition to the charge for clothing. The clothing has been improved, and that, of course, will lead to the increased comfort and health of the troops. The stoppages for bread and meat during illness have been abolished, while there is an additional charge for light and fuel in hospitals. Generally speaking, it may be said that all the medical departments of the army have been increased. The staff has been enlarged, and consequently there is an additional expenditure. The good-conduct pay has likewise been increased, the period of service after which a soldier is entitled to good-conduct pay has been 968 diminished from five years to three; and that, also, has brought an additional charge on the Estimates. Then there has been an increased allowance to the married soldiers, and more advantages have been given to soldiers of that class. I may say, in regard to the wives of soldiers, who generally received a ration of provisions when they accompanied their husbands to the colonies, that the married soldiers were not accompanied by their wives in the expeditions to China and Canada; in the former case because of the distance and other circumstances, and in the latter because of the cold; but an allowance has been made to the women to make up for the loss which they sustained; and I think the Committee will be of opinion that this allowance is a fair and proper charge. I may mention some other matters which have tended to the improvement of the troops. One is the establishment of permanent chaplaincies. Previously to two years ago there were no permanent chaplains attached to the regiments. There are now permanent chaplains of the three denominations—the Established Church, the Roman Catholic, and the Presbyterians. Some expense has also been incurred in assisting Soldiers' Institutes.
The items that I have gone through will substantiate what I have already stated—namely, that a great increase in the expenditure of the army has taken place of late years—partly for providing arms, munitions, and other warlike stores, but also for providing those improvements which will tend to the increased comfort and health of the soldier. Putting those two branches of expenditure together, I think the House will easily understand how the two millions and a half to which I alluded has been spent. The increase is made up of heads which though, when taken separately, are not of large amounts, are, nevertheless, very onerous when taken as a series of additional charges.
Besides those causes of expense, I may mention the Volunteer force which has grown up within the last few years, and for which a Vote is taken in these Estimates. The expense of this force is not, however, merely that which is put down under the head to which I refer, because the Volunteers are supplied with arms and ammunition, and expense is thereby thrown on the War Department. Moreover, there is the correspondence connected with the Volunteer force, which is considerable, and 969 necessitates an increase in the establishment of the War Office. In alluding to these matters, I wish to guard myself against saying anything that would seem to throw a doubt on the public utility of the Volunteers, or that would indicate any want of gratitude for the service which they have rendered to the country; but in going through the different items of the increased expenditure it is necessary that I should call attention to the Volunteers.
I believe, Sir, I have now touched on the principal Votes. I will merely state with regard to the Vote for the scientific branches, that when it is moved, I will give some explanation; but in reference to what took place last year, I am desirous of observing that the Government do not require that any person entering the army should pass through Sandhurst, except those who are to receive commissions without purchase. The Committee are aware that a considerable number of non-purchase regiments have been added to the Indian army—nine infantry and three cavalry regiments. Provision has to be made for the whole of the officers who are to receive commissions in those regiments. Therefore, it is necessary to propose an additional Vote for Sandhurst College; but it is not intended to make any change, except to require that persons obtaining commissions in non-purchasing regiments should pass a year at Sandhurst. When the Votes are moved, there will be an opportunity for hon. Gentlemen to ask for explanations; but whatever objections may be made, or whatever explanations asked as to particular points, I trust it may be considered that these Estimates rest on the solid foundations of economy and public usefulness, and that they are not, in fact, excessive when properly understood. The Committee will see that there has been a considerable reduction on the Estimates of last year, and that our army charges could not be further reduced with a due regard to our national defences, and to the position which this country ought to occupy.
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 145,450, exclusive of the Men employed in Her Majesty's Indian Possessions, Commissioned, and Non-Commissioned Officers included, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1863, inclusive.
§ COLONEL SYKES
asked, why so many 970 as 318 officers were maintained at the depots of regiments serving in India, now that the number of men had been so greatly reduced?
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
asked, why no decision had yet been come to by the Indian Government as to the strength of the artillery force to be maintained in India, and also why the number of horses was not stated in the Estimate r
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, that the Staff establishment for the Indian depots was no doubt large, but it was a matter of arrangement between the War Office and the Indian Department. As to the artillery, the Exchequer had its limits, which could not be exceeded, and it was not thought expedient to increase the artillery force, though no doubt it was a very valuable arm of the service.
said, that at first sight it appeared that in these Estimates the rate of £100 per man, which he last year stated to be about the cost of the army, had been exceeded; but if the Indian depots, which were for the first time included in these Estimates, were added to the home establishment, the whole number of men to be voted was 153,074, which, at £100 per man, gave a sum of £15,307,400; the amount asked for by the Estimates was £15,302,870, showing that his rule of allowing £100 per man was pretty correct. He regretted that the Estimates did not contain a regular debtor and creditor account of the dealings of the manufacturing establishments. Their cost was given, but there was no account of what they produced. The right hon. Baronet had taken credit for service performed under these Estimates for the Navy, but he had omitted to mention that the cost of some services performed for the Army, such as transport, &c, was defrayed out of the Naval Estimates. He wished to know whether the new system, that the Indian Government should makes its payment direct to the War Office had come into operation, and what sums had been received on that account? In comparing the Estimates for the present with those of former years, it ought not to be forgotten, that while some years ago the number of men voted was never raised, it was now often exceeded.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, the new arrangement for the repayment of monies by the Indian Government was made during last Session after the Estimates 971 were voted; therefore, it was not possible to make any other arrangement for this year; nevertheless, a new mode of payment was introduced, and with regard to the effective services it was made a matter of account between the "War Department and the India Department. The money was paid over directly to the "War Department under the authority of the Treasury. The present India establishment was rather under 80,000 men.
§ In answer to an hon. MEMBER,
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, that the muster-roll of the army in India was taken every month, and that the twelfth part of £10, the annual sum charged for each man against the Indian Government, or 16s. 8d. was paid to the War Office for every man who was on the list.
§ MR. W. EWART
wished to know why gardens should not be allowed at the camps, as at the camp of the French army at Châlons? He thought that reading rooms and gymnasiums should be established generally, as at Canterbury and other places, which had produced the best possible effect on the men stationed there.
SIR GEOEGE LEWIS
said, he had already stated that one of the causes of the increase of expenditure of late years was the establishment of soldiers' institutes. If his hon. Friend turned to pages 134–5 in the Estimates, he would see that provision was made in many cases for barrack libraries, reading rooms, and similar institutions. He (Sir George Lewis) had also made a small provision in the present Estimate for instructing the soldiers at Aldershot in trades, which he understood was practised to a considerable extent in the French camps, and with great benefit. If the experiment turned out successful, it would lead to an extension to other camps. He desired to state, with regard to hospital stoppages, that they were not quite abolished, and what he meant to say was that they had been considerably reduced.
§ In reply to Captain JERVIS,
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he felt strongly disposed to propose a reduction of the force asked in this Vote, but he was aware he should receive no support from the Committee. The standing army and the auxiliary forces of different kinds, and the army in our various dependencies, 972 were in the aggregate equal to the army of almost any military Power on the Continent. It was quite a new thing for England to have such a large standing army.
said, if our army had only to defend England, the hon. Member might have cause to complain; but he should remember that it was sent to America and every other part of the worlds and that being so, it was not to be compared with other armies.
asked, whether the capitation tax of £10 per man to be paid by the Indian Government, was a permanent or annual calculation?
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
replied, that although it was in fact an annual arrangement, it would be continued for another year. Practically it was intended to continue for five years and then to be revised.
§ COLONEL SYKES
inquired, whether 83,523 was the told force on the East Indian establishment, including all the depots in Great Britain?
§ COLONEL STUART
asked, what were the hospital stoppages, and whether in future any religious books would be supplied to the army? Last year £3,000 was taken in the Estimates for the purpose; but this year the sum had been struck out of them.
SIR GEOEGE LEWIS
said, he could not at present give any explanation in regard to the supply of Bibles to the array, but he would do so on the Report. With regard to the stoppages, the supposition formerly was that the fixed sum of 10d. would cover the whole expense incurred in hospital, but that sum was far from covering the entire cost at present. Nevertheless that sum would not be increased, and therefore, virtually, a large remission had been made upon the stoppages.
said, he really wished that his hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth, had moved the reduction of this Vote by 10,000 men. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that £5,000,000 was formerly the total sum required for the army, and that subsequently to the French war £10,000,000 was required. After the Crimean war the sum needed was £15,000,000, and he supposed if they had been so unfortunate as to have gone to war with America, according to the law of arithmetical progression supported by the right hon. Gentleman, £20,000,000 973 would have been demanded for a normal peace establishment. The Committee ought to protest against Estimates of such portentous magnitude, and consider whether the time had not arrived when they ought to be diminished. We had indulged in self-exultation at the wonderful strength we had attained in this country. We had now 150,000 Volunteers ready for service, and still a vote of 145,450 men was asked in these Estimates. If any hon. member of greater experience would move a reduction of 10,000 men, he would second the motion. ["Move, move."] Well, then, he begged to move it. It was not the first time that he had received encouragement from hon. and gallant Members opposite to go into the lobby, and he now gave them an opportunity of dividing with him. He would move that the number of men be reduced by 10,000.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding 135,450, exclusive of the Men employed in Her Majesty's Indian Possessions, Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers included, be maintained for the Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1863, inclusive.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 11; Noes 139: Majority 128.
§ MR. G. W. HOPE
said, that as there was to be an additional West India regiment, he wished to remind the Secretary of State that the Committee on Colonial Military Expenditure had evidence before them of the great superiority of the African over the West Indian blacks. Could the right hon. Gentleman state where the regiment was to be raised?
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, that the arrangements for the formation of the new regiment were not sufficiently forward to enable him at that moment to answer the question. It rested upon the Commander-in-Chief and the Colonial Secretary. When possessed of the information required, he would communicate it to the House. An hon. Member (Colonel Stuart) had put a question to him with reference to the supply of Bibles to the army, as he found that the item had been struck out in the Estimates. The supply was not to be discontinued, as was apprehended by the hon. Gentleman, but by a change of ar- 974 rangement the supply would in future be made from the Stationery Office, and the expense would not be included in the Army Estimates.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
wished to know what security the Committee would have, when they bad voted the men, that the number would not be exceeded? Last Session he had shown that an increase had taken place in the number of men over the number voted. The number voted was 146,044, but the actual number on the 1st of June was 152,235. If the Committee would refer to a return which had been published on this subject, they would find that in every mouth from May to November a much larger number of men had been kept up than had been voted by Parliament. Would the right hon. Gentleman state how the consequent increase of pay and allowances was provided for?
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, that the practice of the War Office had been to regard the number of men voted, not as a maximum number for any time during the year, but for an average upon the whole year. They therefore considered, that if they made the average correct for the whole year, the Vote of the House had been complied with. In the earlier months of the year the number of men had exceeded the number voted by the House, but it was at the same time intended that in the later months the number should be by a corresponding amount beneath the number voted for the year. It so happened that the alarm of war supervened, and from this cause the number voted for the whole year might to some extent have been exceeded. If the calculations had not been defeated by that accident, the numbers voted by Parliament would have been strictly complied with. There was no chance of there being any excess this year, as recruiting had been stopped, and the army was undergoing diminution.
MR. T. G. BARING
said, the same question was put at the end of last Session, and he then endeavoured to explain the circumstances. By a Return presented last February, the number on the British establishment appeared to be in excess of the number voted by Parliament. But the number included the recruits which the Government of India required for the new brigades of artillery, and some men 975 retained in China beyond the number anticipated. The number of men demanded by the India Office for the new brigades of artillery was 4,000. More than 1,000 had been sent out, and 3,000 were in training. The pay of these men was of course chargeable against India. If those deductions were made from the Return of the 1st of November, the number voted would be more than the number borne; and, in saying that, he deducted 1,500 men, the pay of whom was not voted, the rest of the sum deducted under the head of "wanted to complete," represented the pay stopped from men being in prison and other reasons. Since the commencement of the year recruiting had stopped, and whereas more than 1,000 were recruited monthly in 1860–1, in no month of the year 1861–2 up to the difficulty with America did the recruits, cavalry and infantry, exceed 410 a month. In one month it was as low as 129.
MR. T. G. BARING
said, there was a special arrangement with the Indian Government that the expenses of the recruits for the new batteries should be paid for by India.
said, as far as he could understand the explanation given, there appeared on the face of the paper an excess of several thousands, to continue up to a given day in November. The question then came to this—the men being actually there, how were they to be made to appear not to be there? The hon. Gentleman said that a certain number of them were in gaol.
MR. T. G. BARING
begged the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. He simply stated that under the ordinary regulations of the service pay was not issued to the men when in gaol.
The hon. Gentleman stated that 1,500 men of Her Majesty's army were in gaol. If they were not in gaol, he supposed there would be no deductions made. Did the hon. Gentleman mean to say that this number of men who were in gaol were in excess of the average number in the army who were usually in that position? He also wished to know if the body of 4,000 men to be recruited for the artillery service in India were included in 976 the return of British troops; and, if so, who paid for them? Was the money to be paid into the English Exchequer? The question of excess had been bandied about for the last twelve months. First one answer was given, then another; but they had never been able to get at the rights of the matter. There could be no doubt there was an excess, and the simplest course was to say so at once.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, with regard to the portion of the troops in India referred to, they were a separate establishment. They were the Royal Artillery, but to be used for special purposes—namely, to take the place of the Native Artillery, who were to be discontinued. A special arrangement had been made with the Indian Government that a certain number of men for that object, for whom India was to pay, was to be raised. It was not right to employ to a large extent the Native Artillery.
It appeared, then, that during the course of the present financial year the Indian Government was to pay not only so much per head for all the troops in India, but the additional expense of these 4,000 artillery troops.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, for general service. The new batteries would be formed out of the remains of the local Artillery, and the men to be sent out in substitution of Natives.
§ SIR CHARLES WOOD
said, that in due time they would be relieved and be liable to serve in England or anywhere else
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £5,355,596, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Pay and Allowances of Her Majesty's Land Forces, at Home and Abroad, exclusive of India, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1863, inclusive.
, in pursuance of notice, rose to move the redaction of the Vote by £1,038 14s. 7d., the amount of the 977 pay and allowances to the Major General commanding the Brigade of Guards in London. The hon. and gallant Member said, he had no intention of attacking the Guards; on the contrary, he believed the real enemies of that force were those who opposed a similar Motion last year, when the Vote was only carried by three in a small House; but one of the three had spoken in favour of the abolition of the Major General of the Guards, The appointment in the first instance was devised in order to make a place for a noble Lord on his return from the Crimea. It was held by him for five years, and during those five years little was said against it; but that term came to an end last year, when the matter was broached in that House, and he thought there was a strong feeling against the item. The noble Lord at the head of the Government said that he thought the proposed change would tend to improve the efficiency of the Guards; and, referring to his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wigan (General Lindsay), said they ought to give weight to the opinion of an hon. and gallant Gentleman who was animated by no other wish than the good of the service. But he would quote from Hansard what another hon. and gallant Member said—He (General Upton) was of opinion that, as far as the discipline of the Guards was concerned, that officer was not required. The Guards got on quite as well before the appointment of a Major General as it did afterwards."—[3 Hansard, clxii., 754.]He did not know exactly what duties the Major General had taken upon himself, because, as the duties were always performed by the Colonels, if he took them the Colonel would have nothing to do. He might have made work for himself. He had the power, certainly, to approve of Courts Martial; but he was told that, when the Major General was absent, that duty was performed by the Colonels. The Brigadier General of the Guards received Major General's pay, whereas a Major General at Aldershot received only Brigadier General's pay. Although he had spent his life in the Line, he had no jealousy of the Guards; but he thought it only fair to assert that the Line Generals were as fit to take the command of the Guards as the Generals of the Guards were to take that of the Line. He understood that the General who had been sent out to command the Guards in 978 Canada was also Inspector General of Militia in this country. That officer could not discharge the duties of both appointments; but when he found the duty in Canada irksome, he would probably come home, and take up his appointment in thin country. If a General was required for the London district, he thought, whether a Guardsman or Lineman, he ought to command all the troops in the district. The appointment rested with the Commander-in-Chief, who ought to be able to appoint any person he thought fit. He would ever be found supporting the true interests of the Guards. He was sure all would concur with him that the Queen ought to have her Guards, and he therefore meant no disrespect to the Throne in moving the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £1,038 for pay and allowances to the Major General commanding the Brigade of Guards in London.
§ GENERAL UPTON
admitted, that he still retained the opinion that the office was not necessary for the discipline of the Guards; but when the appointment was first made, persons high in authority said it was for the purpose of relieving the Adjutant General of a variety of business which was imposed on him. That was his justification for not voting against the continuance of this command. He thought the country might be very well served by this new officer, if they extended to him further duties, from which, he was credibly informed, the Adjutant General would be happy to be relieved.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that he bad observed that the cost of the Staff this year was upwards of £14,600 more than that of last year.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, the hon. and gallant Gentleman who had moved the reduction of the Vote called the appointment "a job," and stated that the position had been created for a noble Lord who had formerly served in the Guards. Of course it was very easy, when a person was appointed to a new office, to say that the office was made for the individual. But Lord Rokeby was not now Brigadier General of the Guards, but General Crawford; and if the office had been created simply for Lord Rokeby, he presumed it would have been abolished when he vacated the office. At all events, the question was whether there existed any public ground for the appointment? He (Sir George Lewis) had no reason to believe that the office had been created for the individual.
979 He believed that the authorities of the day became aware of the defective organization of the Guards, and that the office in question was created for very sufficient reasons—to remedy this evil. Seven battalions of Guards constituted a brigade, but up to the appointment of this officer they had never been inspected, except by regimental or battalion officers; and it was thought advisable to give a unity of character to the force by having an officer to inspect them as a whole. He understood from very competent authorities that prior to the creation of this officer the discipline of the Guards was in a very backward state, that subsequently great improvements had been produced, and that it would be a decided change for the worse to abolish the command. There were many duties of inspection which could not be adequately performed according to the plans which had been previously pursued. The Committee were hardly aware of the system which had been in operation. There used to be an officer who was called a field officer in waiting; the office was held only for a month, and was taken successively by the seven lieutenant colonels of the seven battalions of the Guards and the three regimental colonels. Now, the Committee would see that a more imperfect system of inspection could not exist, because officers of different ages, views, and experience, month after month, succeeded to the command, and held the chief superintendence of the battalions. It was to put an end to this very imperfect system that the office in question was created; it was created quite deliberately, and upon the recommendation of the most experienced military men. The Committee would see it was essentially a matter of military discipline. He could not himself form any opinion on the subject. He could only take the opinions of others more competent to judge, and he was sure that the system had been eminently beneficial to the Guards. He trusted, therefore, the Committee would not be led away by the arguments of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but would defer to the authority of experienced military officers, and retain in the Vote the sum which it was proposed to strike out.
said, he had had the honour of serving under both systems, and he was bound to say that he considered the appointment as an improvement. He could not, however, agree with the Secretary of State with regard to what had occurred 980 before the institution of the office. Ha did not think that the system was so defective as to require a general officer to be put over the Guards for the purpose of bringing them to a superior state of discipline. The actual command used to be in the hands of the Adjutant General, who did duty as General Officer commanding; but in progress of time the business of the army became so enormous that the Adjutant General had very little time to conduct such inspection as ought to take place; and the appointment of a Major General had been brought about by military authority for the better organization of the system. He trusted that the Committee would agree to the Vote.
said, he did not concur in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that the discipline of the Guards was such as required this general officer to be placed over them. At the same time, he did not see why the same rule should not apply to the Guards as to other corps, and therefore he could not support the Amendment, though he thought it would be better if the command of the General in question were to extend to the whole London district, and indeed he did exercise a command over the 3rd Line Regiment now in the Tower.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
thought, that the hon. and gallant Gentleman was under a mistake when he imagined that his right hon. Friend (Sir George Lewis) had spoken disparagingly of the discipline of the Guards before the appointment under discussion was made. His right hon. Friend only stated what had been confirmed by military authorities in that House, that the appointment was a great improvement in organization. Everybody knew—and this might be stated without offence to other branches of the service—that no body of troops were more efficient, and more distinguished for service in action and discipline at home, than the division of the Guards. That body of men was most exemplary in every respect; but it had this defect, if so it might be called, that there did not exist that unity of system with respect to all matters of internal economy which was so important and necessary, and which was secured by the appointment of a General to superintend the whole division, and who had made an improvement in what was excellent before. He hoped, therefore, that the testimony borne by hon. and gallant Gentlemen acquainted with the organization of the 981 Guards, who stated that the organization, though excellent, might be improved, like all other human things, would induce the Committee to agree to the original proposition.
Motion made, and Question put,
That a sum, not exceeding £5,354,558, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Pay and Allowances of Her Majesty's Land Forces, at Home and Abroad, exclusive of India, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1868, inclusive.
§ The Committee divided;—Ayes 65; Noes 115: Majority 50.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £706,892, Miscellaneous Charges, Land Forces at Home and Abroad, exclusive of India.
asked, whether the men had any share in the increase of £7,000 under the head of "Field Allowances?"
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, they were allowances made under the authority of a Royal warrant to officers serving in the field.
§ SIR JAMES FERGUSSON
drew the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the stoppages under which the troops already in Canada had been placed for their winter clothing. The first cost of it varied from £l 18s. to £2 5s.; towards which the Government contributed 30s., with 5s. a year for keeping it in order. These allowances were obviously too little, the 5s. hardly sufficing to keep the winter boots in good order. The men sent out in the winter had been very liberally dealt with, and he hoped that those who had been despatched in the autumn would be treated in the same manner.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
said, the disposition of the War Department was to deal liberally with the troops. He could not say that his attention had been called to this particular stoppage; but he would make further inquiry, and if it still existed, he would take care the matter should be considered.
§ In answer to a question by Colonel STUART,
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
explained that the item of £3,000 for religions books, included in the Army Estimates for last year, did not appear in these Estimates for this year, as the books would in future he supplied by the Stationery Office. The item would appear in the Miscellaneous Estimates, which were not yet printed.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
drew attention to the increase in the hospital expenses for the item of medicines and surgical instruments: the increase was from £15,000 to £40,000 for the next year.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
noticed the high price that appeared to be paid for the horses purchased for the Household Cavalry.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ [The next Vote on the Estimates as printed is "Vote 4. Embodied Militia. Nil." The Vote for Volunteer Corps is therefore No. 5. of the printed Estimates, and No. 4. on the Votes and Proceedings.]
§ (4.) £211,667 Volunteer Corps.
§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
wished for some explanation of this Vote, which had increased to its present amount from £163,276.
said, they had been told that this would be an inexpensive force; but the expenses were increasing from year to year. The expenses for powder were increased, and additional clerks were employed in the War Office, so that the whole of the expenses of the Volunteers were not set forth in this Vote. If this charge were to be increased year alter year, it would be a matter for the consideration of the House whether it would not he better to lay out the money on troops that would be efficient for every purpose. He never thought it likely that the services of the Volunteers would be required, and the chance of their being called upon was now more remote than ever, He had no doubt that, under able officers, the Volunteers would do their duty, and prove able assistants to the militia and regular troops.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
called attention to a charge of £3 per head per annum for clothing to yeoman cavalry, and as they were called out only for a week or fortnight that appeared to him to be an extraordinary charge.
MR. HARVEY LEWIS
observed, that in the total sum to be voted for Volunteers £88,779 was put down for the Yeomanry Cavalry. The Vote now before the Committee amounted to upwards of £211,000, but the Volunteers did not receive more than £122,887. He found that the yeomanry cost £6 5s. per head, whereas the Volunteers did not cost more than 16s. per head. Besides, if we enjoyed peace at this moment we owed it in a great measure to the Volunteer movement.
§ MAJOR EDWARDS
appreciated too highly the inestimable services the Volunteers had already rendered to their country to say one word in their disparagement. On the contrary, so much was he impressed with the value of the force in a national point of view, that he attributed in a great measure to its existence their present peaceful relations with the other Powers of Europe. He maintained that England was under the deepest obligation to that fine body of men who had volunteered their services in defence of their Queen and country in the hour of need, and the obligation was universally acknowledged. On the other hand, he trusted the services of the Yeomanry were equally appreciated, and that no hon. Member would intentionally disparage that force. It was certainly true, as the hon. Member for Marylebone had stated, that the Yeomanry cost £6 5s. per head, whilst the Volunteers did not cost: more than 16s.; but considering the expenses to which the former were put, in the purchase and keep of their horses, he contended that they were in fact much more inadequately remunerated than the Riflemen who had no such expenses to incur. He, therefore, could not consent to compliment that force at the expense of the Yeomanry. Sixteen thousand mounted men, whose services had already so frequently been acknowledged in that House, and who were at all times prepared to support the Queen's troops, in the support and maintenance of order, if once disbanded could not readily be recruited, and the time might arrive when their services might be required.
LORD ADOLPHUS VANE TEMPEST
said, he had recently received a circular giving an account of a great meeting held in Glasgow to solicit from Government some additional assistance for the Volunteers. The Glasgow Volunteers made out a very strong case, and he hoped Ministers would give a favourable consideration to their representations. He thought it would be well if a capitation grant of so much per head were given to the Volunteer corps, the amount to be awarded after an annual inspection.
§ MR. SELWYN
suggested, that in future the charge for the Volunteers should be separated from that for the Yeomanry, for the two forces were not identical in character. It appeared to him that the 984 Volunteers were treated in a very niggardly spirit. Of the £130,000 granted to them £50,000 Was voted for adjutants, and £40,000 for sergeant-instructors. The latter sum should not be charged against the Volunteers, for it was the price paid by the Government for the retention in its service of a most efficient body of men. Many of them obtained their discharge from the army while in the prime of life, and their employment with the Volunteers was an appropriate reward for their past services, and also kept them in practice and ready for any national emergency, when, as recent events had proved, the services of such men were most essential. He believed the present number of sergeant-instructors was quite insufficient, and hoped the grant under that head would be increased. He also thought the Government should afford to the rifle corps a certain number of experienced buglers, and should assist them in obtaining land for proper and convenient ranges. Ministers might accomplish the latter object by taking up and completing the measure which he had himself introduced at the request of the late Lord Herbert, but which, from various causes, was passed in a very imperfect state. The Volunteers had not asked for any grant of public money for this purpose, but only for similar powers to those already granted to many other public bodies. They were willing that those powers should be subject to the previous consent of some competent local authority, and of the War Office, and to the sanction of Parliament; but they wished to be able to obtain land, without being obliged to go before that most expensive, uncertain, and unsatisfactory tribunal, a Committee of either House of Parliament. Such powers, if given, would be seldom exercised, but their existence would prevent exorbitant demands being made, and a great boon would thus be conferred on rifle corps, and great facilities would be procured for Her Majesty's regular forces, and especially for the militia regiments, which in several instances had been obliged to obtain a loan from the Volunteers of their rifle ranges. He trusted that the Vote, instead of being diminished, would he increased—not, however, by a capitation grant, but in the way he had mentioned.
§ MR. BUXTON
said, he could bear his testimony strongly to the truth of the statement made by the hon. Member for Marylebone (Mr. H. Lewis), that very 985 great difficulty existed in obtaining funds for establishing and maintaining proper butts for rifle practice; and the Volunteers justly felt that while they made such sacrifices of time and labour, and continued steadily at drill, they should not be called on also to contribute large sums of money for such purposes. The Volunteer force had done much to increase our sense of security at home and our prestige in foreign countries, and he feared the corps would dwindle away if something were not done to meet the demands which were now made upon their own resources, by means not of charitable contributions, but by a national Vote.
§ LORD LOVAINE
was understood to ask for detailed information as to the exact numbers of the Volunteer corps, if it could be supplied from official sources.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
Materials do exist of giving the information pointed out by the noble Lord, and if he is desirous of obtaining it in the form of a return, I will take care that he is furnished with the best information the War Office can supply. With regard to this Vote, the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Selwyn) says it is inconvenient to combine the Yeomanry and the Volunteers in one Vote; but such has been the practice, and it is always better to keep Votes in the same form, unless some strong reason is given to the contrary, because comparison is thus more easy. The reason for the combination is that the Yeomanry is simply a Volunteer force, and, upon the whole, it seems desirable to take the two Votes together. Unless you wish to abolish the Yeomanry altogether, I do not know that it could be more economically conducted than it is at this moment. With regard to the Volunteers, two courses of objection have been taken. Some think the cost too high, others that it is not sufficiently high. As to those who think the cost too much, I have to state that the increase is not considerable, and it is entirely owing to certain additional charges introduced in consequence very much of the discussions that took place last Session. There is an addition on the Staff in the number of sergeant-instructors for drilling the Volunteer corps, and the increase on the various heads is so moderate that I thing the Committee will have no difficulty in agreeing to it. But then it is also said that there ought to be a capitation for the Volunteer corps, and that, 986 unless something additional is done by Government, great danger exists that their ranks will be thinned in the course of the present year. I have already stated that this sum of £120,000 does not exactly measure the amount granted for the sustentation of this force. I fully recognise the advantage they have conferred on the country, the great loyalty by which they are animated, and the personal sacrifices which they have cheerfully undertaken; but I hesitate to recommend the Committee to make any additional contribution towards the maintenance of the force beyond what is included in this Vote, because it is desirable always to mark clearly the distinction between a Volunteer and a Militia force. There was another point mentioned by the hon. and learned Gentleman—for giving facilities of acquiring ranges for rifle shooting for the use of Volunteers. My attention has not been particularly drawn to the Bill of which the hon. and learned Gentleman spoke; but I will undertake to examine the details, and, if I think it desirable, a measure of the sort suggested shall be submitted to Parliament this Session.
§ MAJOR EDWARDS
bad not the most remote idea that the Volunteer Vote could have come on this evening, and this no doubt was the reason why so few members of that force were present to take part in this discussion. He could only say that the reduction of the pay of Yeomanry officers, when on Permanent Duty, to the level of the privates had caused the greatest dissatisfaction—not so much as a matter of £ s. d., but because (as the natural inference) their services were undervalued by the Government, and the paltry saving to the country in last year's Estimates of £3,500 per annum did not warrant such a step. As a contingent to the Regular Army, the Yeomanry were perfectly distinct from the Volunteers—being liable for duty at any moment, in aid of the civil power, as well as for other purposes, and subject when on duty to the provisions of the Mutiny Act. As to the Volunteers, it was high time something should be done by the Government, if they were to be maintained on their present tooting, either by a capitation grant or in some other way. The clothing of those men who had served three years was already worn out, and it could hardly be expected that the officers should be at the sole expense of replacing it. Under the circumstances he was quite prepared 987 to support a Vote for any sum of money that might have been proposed for such a purpose by the Secretary at War, and he felt much disappointment at no such proposition appearing in the Estimates.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, the Volunteer force did certainly look for encouraging treatment and mention from the Government and the House. He did not ask for any capitation grant; but they might have some help—for example, in providing butts.
thought that the arrangement entered into last year with regard to the Yeomanry was fair and satisfactory, and that the sum granted by the Government was amply sufficient for all purposes. The Yeomanry officers, also, thought it would ill become them to ask for this pay when the officers of Volunteer corps were serving gratuitously, and making such sacrifices besides. It was hard, however, that Adjutants of the Yeomanry force should be entitled to no retiring allowances in case the corps broke up of its own accord.
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
feared that unless some assistance in the refitment of Volunteers, when the present uniform was worn out the numbers would fall off for want of means. He did not think that any addition should be made to the Vote, or that the Volunteers should be paid; but he would suggest that in future years some assistance might be given in refitting the men, upon the principle of paying only for results, and only granting such an allowance in the case of effectives, say, at the end of three years' service.
LORD ADOLPHUS VANE TEMPEST
said, he did not wish to advocate that payments should be made to Volunteers, but that some assistance should be given to them in respect to their clothing and accoutrements. It had become now extremely difficult to maintain the force. The novelty of the thing was passing, the excitement was lessening, and, as the time for getting new uniforms came on, they looked for some assistance. He was quite willing that the assistance should be on results.
§ LORD FERMOY
said, he was an advocate for economy, but he must say he could not understand why they strained at the Volunteer gnat after having swallowed the expensive camel of the regular service. He thought the Government should contribute something to the rifle ranges and butts. The expense of this 988 would not be much, and the ground could be used for the practice of the Militia, who, if they were to be made efficient, should have the opportunity of practising with the improved rifle. Did Government mean to give the cloth to the Volunteers? If something were not done in the way of encouragement, the force would very soon melt away. He should always be ready to vote in favour of rifle ranges.
§ MAJOR BARTTELOT
suggested that the Government should supply drill-instructors to the various corps, and that the cloth for the uniforms should also be given once in four years.
§ MR. BUCHANAN
bore testimony to the general prevalence of the feeling among Volunteer officers and others, that unless something were speedily done by the Government to aid the force, a large diminution in its numbers must be expected to take place.
MR. H. A. BRUCE
called attention to the sum of £3,000 for the payment of clerks of the lieutenancy, who were amply remunerated by the Volunteers.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee to sit again on Wednesday.