§ SUPPLY considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £5,708,983, General Staff and Regimental Pay, Allowances and Charges.
said, he rose to make a few remarks on the subject of recruiting for the army. It might appear to some that the question was one of those respecting the discipline of the army with which that House ought not to interfere, but the recruiting for the army was governed by an Act of Parliament, and it was to the effect of that Act he wished to draw attention. He regretted that a Return for which he had moved had not been laid upon the table, because it would have shown whether the alarm which had been expressed with respect to the working of the Limited Enlistment Act was well founded or not. On a previous occasion, the Under Secretary for War had stated that the War Office had no alarm whatever on the subject, because there were only about 4,000 men who would claim discharges on expiration of service during the year. For his own part, however, when he looked at the manner in which it was proposed to meet the requirements of the service, he confessed he felt the greatest possible alarm. If it was necessary in time of peace to reduce the standard of the army by one inch—in other words, if the ten years' service men were to be replaced by recruits of a lower standard—he thought things could not be regarded as in a satisfactory condition. He did not mean to say that good men could not be got at 5ft. 5in.; but his alarm arose from the War Office being obliged in time of peace to resort to a measure which ought to be reserved for some great emergency. Nor did he believe it to be absolutely necessary to reduce the standard at the present moment. Additional men were not wanted for the Artil- 810 lery. Recruiting for that corps might be checked by raising the standard; and then the standard for the line might be kept at 5ft. 6in. But, looking to the inevitable consequences of the Limited Enlistment Act, he should wish to see a more intimate relation established between the militia and the regular army, and he thought it could be established with advantage to both. Hitherto the line alone had derived all the advantage. He well recollected the great benefits which the line derived during the Indian mutiny from the volunteers and the militia; but he wanted to see those advantages increased and made reciprocal. Was it impossible to obtain for the militia the services of those limited service men who, after the expiration of their service, should decline to re-enter the line? By this means the militia would get many good non-commissioned officers, and a reduction could be made in the permanent staff, in the corps of enrolled pensioners, and in that army of reserve of which he never saw anything except in the Estimates. At present, by the Limited Enlistment Act, men for the artillery and the cavalry were enlisted for twelve years, whereas men for the line and for the Guards were enlisted only for ten. He did not see why they should not all be enlisted for twelve years, the men in the line at the expiration of ten years being allowed to commute their two years' remaining service in the regular army for five years' service in the militia. The expenses of recruiting for India were very high. He found, on reference to the Estimates, that although the regular army in India was only one-third of the whole army, the expense of recruiting for that portion was larger than for the remaining two-thirds. That might be because of the great wear and tear of the regiments in India. If so, nothing could be worse than reducing the number of the depots to a hundred men. If a regiment was ordered to India, any man within a year and a half of the expiration of his ten years' term of service was not allowed to go out, because the Indian Government would have to pay his passage there and back. But why should not such a man be passed into a militia regiment? The estimate for furlough pay was £130,000 last year, and for the ensuing year was £137,000. With respect to the capitation rate of £10, he could not help thinking that it would be found, if the matter were strictly examined into, that they had now to pay more than 811 the £10 would cover. With respect to men volunteering in India, he admitted the propriety of offering men who volunteered there from one regiment into another more inducements than the ordinary bounty; but who paid the expense for men who volunteered in India? There was a small sum put down in the Estimates for enlistments in the colonies, but that could not apply to India. He wished to ask, what were the items covered by the capitation rate; and what, after two years' experience, was the opinion of the War Office as to its being sufficient to cover the amount now paid by that department?
thought it extraordinary that the War Department remained ignorant of the fact known to every officer of the army, that there were something like 20,000 men whose period of service expired in each year. They had no right to calculate upon these men re-enlisting, and there was not an officer in the service who would not recommend that the first enlistment should be for twelve years for the line as well as for cavalry and artillery. The suggestion of the right hon. and gallant Member who had just spoken, for securing a more intimate and advantageous relation between the regular army and the militia, was one well worthy of the attention of the Government. It was one of the most important subjects that could engage their consideration. As things stood, a great number of men were discharged from the army, perhaps without a pension, and then spread discontent where they resided. At any rate they were entirely lost to the service. As the ten years' men were not sent out to India with their regiments if they had only a year or two of their term to serve, and as a year or a year and a half was required to make soldiers of them, it was clear that the country enjoyed but a short period of efficient service from them. If these men who could not be sent out to India were transferred to militia regiments, they would improve the efficiency of the militia, and be retained in the service of the country. The capitation rate was, he thought, a very bad bargain for this country. He noticed at page 12 of the Estimates, an item of £44,500 for the clothing of two Indian regiments in China. He wished to have some explanation of that item. The whole of the clothing system was in a most unsatisfactory state. No army in Europe was clothed in so expensive a manner as ours; 812 and no commanding officer could at that moment tell what was the price of a single article of clothing; and the department, though presided over by an officer of great talent for organisation and great experience, was not in the condition it ought to be. He believed that the work would be better done by contract, and that the large Government clothing establishments should only exist as a check to extravagant outlay. He thought it quite practicable to make a large reduction in these Estimates without at all diminishing the efficiency of the army. With reference to the purchase of horses, they would require to alter their system, or the cavalry would soon be dismounted. But he felt it was perfectly useless going over items; they talked there year after year on the subject, but nothing was done.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, that although reduction could not be well looked for that year, he had no doubt that a proper, well conducted inquiry would lead to very considerable economy in the general expenditure on the Army Estimates; but instead of reduction he saw symptoms of their increase. In the observations he was about to make, it might appear that he differed from two axioms laid down by high authorities. The first was that of the right hon. and gallant General opposite (General Peel), that the cost of the army might be taken to be, in round numbers, £100 per man; but he presumed the gallant General did not mean that such was the necessary calculation, but only that of late years it might be accepted as a fact. If they went on as at present, he believed the gallant General would agree with him that the expenditure would not be limited to £100 per man. The second maxim was laid down by the late lamented Secretary of State for War, that there was nothing whatsoever to be gained by a comparison with other services. He could not agree that a careful comparison in particular items between the administration and management of the French army and our own would be altogether futile. The totals were certainly sufficiently striking. The British army might be taken in round numbers to consist of 147,766 men; the number of horses, 13,693, or one horse to every 11 men. The total estimated cost was nearly £15,000,000; but if they deducted Votes 8, 9, 10, and 11, for auxiliary forces, £1,209,509; Vote 14, for fortifications, £73,000; Vote 16, for surveys, £88,345; and Vote 27, for disembodied 813 militia, £31,213 — in all, £1,402,167, they would arrive at the conclusion that £13,442,721 represented the cost of the army, which gave £92 2s. 6d. per man. The total number of men in the French army was 400,000; horses, 85,705, or one horse to 4⅔ men. The total Estimate was 430,260,367f., which was equal to £17,210,414, or about £43 per man. The causes generally assigned for the greater cost of the English troops were:—1st, higher pay and allowances; 2nd, the cost of recruiting as compared to conscription; 3rd, the extra expenses of troops in the colonies; and 4th, the extra cost of transport of troops to and from colonies. He would discuss the first cause, which was the main one, later. The total cost of the recruiting service was £102,471, or very nearly 14s. per man. The French recrutement et réserve was 739,479f., or If. 80c., or 1s. 6d. per man; therefore the extra cost of recruiting was 12s. 6d. per man. The extra cost of our troops in the colonies comprehended, as allowance for high price of provisions and allowance for wives whose husbands were abroad, a sum of £47,000, and extra allowance for China, £49,395. This amounted to 13s. per man. But in the French budget, under the head solde et entretien des troupes, he found allowances special to Africa—namely, allowance to officers entering on campaign and indemnity for campaign rations a sum of 2,822,859f., which was 7f., or 6s. per man. Therefore the extra cost of English troops in the colonies was 7s. per man. Then, as to the extra cost of the transport of troops to and from our colonies, the total English transport service, as given at page 17, was £179,330. To this should be added allowance to discharged soldiers to take them home, £18,000, and travelling-expenses of officers, £7,000, making the whole £188,759, or equal to about £1 8s. per man. The total of the French service de marche was equal to 14s. per man. Therefore the extra cost of English troops was 14s. per man. The amount of excess in the English Estimates, accounted for under these heads, was:—Cost of recruiting, 12s. 6d. per man; troops in colonies, 13s. per man; transport to colonies, 14s. per man—in all, £1 19s. 6d. The cost of the British soldier—namely, £92, might be divided into the heads of the Votes; but this would neither enable them to compare it with the French, nor, in some cases, give an accurate idea. Thus the Vote for regimental pay and allow- 814 ances might give the idea that it meant all that the men received; but, in reality, for this purpose they must add the item, "cost of provisions above amount of stoppages," which came under the Vote for Commissariat, but which was substantially an addition to the men's pay. So also Vote 1, "General Staff," to be compared with French Vote for Etats Majors, must be augmented by 159 generals who came under Vote No. 20, and by the honorary colonels commandant of regiments, because the French Vote comprised all "generals in reserve," and all officers except those serving with their regiments. And the French of "Etats Majors "must be diminished by "Intendance Militaire," which corresponded to part of Vote 18, and by several items which corresponded to parts of our Votes for "manufacturing departments," "works," and "education." The House would understand that he was making a comparison of the items which were common to both services. Thus the expense of the general staff was about the same in each country—£2 a head. Regimental pay and allowances for food cost in England £41 15s. per man, and in France £20. The Commissariat charges were in England £1 1s. per man, and in France 14s. Clothing was a remarkable item, for it could not be said that wo were disadvantageously placed in that respect, and certainly the French soldier was as well clothed as the English; but while the cost of the former was only £2 2s. 6d., the latter cost £4 6s. When the Committee came to discuss those Votes in detail, he would take an opportunity of pointing out the differences of cost with greater minuteness; but he believed one all pervading cause of greater expense here, was to be found in what was called the establishment. He might, however, instance some other difference between the cost of similar items in the two armies. Thus martial law in England cost 6s. per man, and in France only 2s. 6d. But, the cost of medical attendance was more nearly alike, being £1 16s. in the English army, and £1 10s. in the French, proving that on those matters which concerned the well-being and efficiency of the soldier, the French were not behind us. In the article of stores there was a remarkable difference — the cost being in the French army £1 10s. per man, while in the English army it was about £8 10s. The total of the votes would give a sum of £10 10s. per man; but he had made a deduction for 815 the amount supplied to the navy based on a calculation of the late Sir Gr. C. Lewis. Small arms in England cost £1 6s. per man, and in France only 7s. 2d.; while gunpowder which cost us £1 8s. per man, only cost the French 16s., although they were not more sparing of that article than we were. Then came an item of considerable importance. The House would admit that French military education was quite equal to ours, and yet the cost there was 6s. as against £1; 4s. here. Probably if any one was asked what would be the cause of any greater charge for military education in this country as compared with the cost in France, the answer given would be that our young men were more expensively lodged and fed. The fact, however, was, that the cost of living and clothing in the French colleges was as great as it was in England, but the cost of teaching and administration in our military colleges was double that of the French. The administration of the French army cost 4s. 6d. per man, as compared with £1 7s. in England. Rewards and pensions cost us £14 4s., and the French only £6 6s., but he thought we got value for our greater expenditure in that respect. These facts certainly required consideration, for there could be little hope that the cost of the pay of the army would be reduced. On the contrary, it was more probable that it would become politic as well as just to increase the pay as the general prosperity of the country increased, but that fact rendered increased economy in the administration of the army more necessary. The cost of a French army of 400,000 men if paid, lodged, and pensioned as well as the English army, with as costly medical attendance, would be, instead of £17,200,000, as at present, £31,050,000, or an additional cost of £34 12s. 6d. per man. And if to that were added the English rate of clothing, law, stores, education, and administration, the cost of the French army would be £5,350,000 more. On the other hand, if our Estimates were reduced to the French standard, with regard to these items the difference on 147,000 men would be a sum of £1,966,123. Allusion had been made to the charge for horses, and he had found that horses cost as much in France as here; but, while the cost of our staff for purchasing was one-ninth of the whole sum expended, in France it was only one thirty-fifth, although the expenses of maintaining the College of Alfort was included. The cost of the transport service 816 in this country was large, simply because no pains were taken to look clearly into the subject. In one instance 200 men had to be removed from Yarmouth to Deptford, and they were sent by way of London on their return. It was, however, suggested by an officer that the troops should be embarked on board a steamer which would stop opposite the barracks at Deptford, and this course was adopted at a saving of about three-fourths of the expenses which would by the other route have been incurred. A similar case occurred in Ireland, where it was proposed to remove a regiment from a town on the eastern coast to Aldershot by sending them by rail to Dublin, marching across the town, then going by rail to Kingstown, and then by steamer to Liverpool, instead of at once embarking the troops at the port where they were stationed for Liverpool, a plan which was ultimately adopted with much less expense. He also might refer to a case in Ireland where the War authorities paid £500 to obtain lodgings for some of the troops, while within an hour's distance there was an unoccupied barracks. He was not prepared to propose the reduction of any specific Vote, for nothing was easier on the part of Government than to meet such a proposition. If he pointed to any particular clerk as one whose services might be dispensed with, the Government would find no difficulty in proving that that particular clerk was the most important man in the service. The duty of individual Members of the House was to point out the grounds on which reforms should be introduced, but to leave their management to those with whom the responsibility rested. It was by those means that the reduction in the Customs had been effected. The simplest method of accomplishing this end would be through the agency of a great Minister, one sufficiently long at his post to be so thoroughly master of all the details as to resemble Carnot, the organizer of victory. Another would be by means of a Royal Commission, which had produced such valuable results in connection with the Indian army. The last course would be the appointment of a Committee of the House. The last plan, however, he considered to be undesirable, as a Committee of the House was always belligerent, and he did not think any good would result from its inquiry. He believed that the Government would act in the matter if the country, supported by the House, were to call upon them to do so.
said, he wished to call attention to a recent regimental order, which he could only characterize as a piece of contemptible economy. It appeared that the veterinary surgeon at Aldershot, who looked after the horses of the staff and the mounted officers of regiments, had applied for assistance, and that, after a long correspondence, an assistant was granted to him, who was to receive 1s. 1d a day, or £18 5s. a year. They were now dealing with a Vote which amounted in the whole to nearly £6,000,000. The Committee would scarcely credit it, but it, was the fact, that an order was issued for the deduction from the pay of every officer receiving forage at Aldershot, a farthing a week, or a penny a month towards the payment of the salary of £18 5s. of the assistant to the staff veterinary surgeon. He did not know who had suggested that reduction, but whoever the person was, he showed that he might take a first-rate place in a competitive examination on the subject of practical economy. There was also an item of £1,460, allowance to an instructor for the men in cookery. He wished to know whether there were more than one instructor? He would also observe that the hon. Member who had just spoken was in error in attributing the mismanagement he had referred to the negligence of the Horse Guards. The Horse Guards only superintended the discipline of the army, and the facts mentioned by the hon. Member would come within the province allotted to the Secretary for War.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, that having voted the number of men, it was not possible to reduce materially the amount of the Vote; but he could not help thinking that the policy of Her Majesty's Government being to keep the country out of a war, the sum which was now demanded for the army was an extravagant one, and that a much smaller force and a much smaller outlay would be sufficient for the defence of the country. He also wished for some explanation as to the item of £1,435 for the director of gymnastics and fencing, and for sergeant instructors. He saw no necessity for such an expenditure.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he wished to call attention to the inconvenience of discussing so large a Vote as £5,708,000, and to suggest that it should be subdivided. It was utterly impossible for private Members to do more than express their opinions upon the Vote in its present shape. It appeared that the Bri- 818 tish troops in India were 146,700; but according to a marginal note, 1,532 Indian troops had to be added, making a slight increase over the number last year. He wished to know whether the 1,532 were to be considered as British troops, subject to the Mutiny Act.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, he knew no reason why the Vote should always appear in its present gigantic form. It certainly could be more easily discussed in separate items. He was quite prepared to point out how an extensive economy might be practised; and if the noble Lord would turn his attention to the various items he was sure a reduction of £500,000 might be made in the Vote. He regretted very much the intention to make a reduction in the number of the Royal Artillery. The line might, perhaps, be reduced to a small extent, but a reduction of the Royal Artillery affected the most important element in the service; and yet this was, it seemed, to be attempted for the sake of a miserable economy. It required two or three years to make even an intelligent man a good gunner. When the last attempt of this sort was made, many of the men went into the Life Guards; but, of course, the experience they had gained as gunners was not of much use to them as cavalry soldiers. If the noble Lord desired to weed the Artillery he should take care not to lose efficient men. Why was it that our service was deficient in staff knowledge? The fact was that we had not selected a sufficient number of men from the higher ranks to receive instruction in staff experience, but in consequence of the arrangements now being carried out we should have a class of staff officers second to none in Europe. In the Peninsular war, no doubt the staff was equal to all the service it was called to fulfil, but they were placed under the direction of a great captain. The expenditure on that branch of the service might not appear to be useful at the moment, but at a critical moment, and in the present state of Europe no one could tell how soon that time might arrive, its use would be made apparent. The Crimean war was a war of siege and not of campaign, and there was no movement of troops there which could teach a single lesson. He approved very much of the establishment at Aldershot, which was an excellent strategic position, for troops could be transported thence to the most important points on the coast in a few hours, and on that very ground it was singled 819 out by Lord Hardinge. He hoped the Government would keep up that establishment in efficiency; it was an admirable school for the army, and many officers who had visited the continental armies had expressed peculiar admiration of the way in which the troops were moved at Aldershot.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he rose to reply to the questions he had put to him. As he did not then see the right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon in his place, he would defer for a time his reply to the observations of the gallant General, as he hoped to be able in some degree to calm the apprehensions which he entertained in regard to the probable effect of the Limited Enlistment Act. The hon. and gallant Member for Queen's County (Colonel Dunne) asked what was the meaning of the Vote for pay and clothing for certain native Indian troops. The fact was, that the Home Government did not pay the expenses of these regiments in detail. The Indian Government sent in the account and the amount was paid in a lump sum. It had been alleged that the great source of extravagant military expenditure was the establishments. That was a very vague term, but he had a Return of the expenses of what he might call the establishments, and he had ascertained that the commissariat staff eost£l04,000; clothing staff, £24,000; barrack staff, £53,000; purveyor's staff,£28,000; stores, £218,000; War Office and Horse Guards, £202,000; and the chaplains, if they could be included in the list, £50,000, making in all £679,000. That was, no doubt, a large item, but not so great as the sweeping assertions which had been made would lead one to imagine. It was obvious that any reduction in the establishments would not make much impression on the total amount of the Estimates. He should be glad if any hon. Gentleman would inform him whether he had omitted any establishment from his list, and how any diminution could be effected. Reference had also been made to the depôt battalions which had been described as one of the most extravagant parts of our system. It was, no doubt, a question well worthy of discussion, whether some more economical system could not be devised, and he did not know any on which the attention of gallant Members could better be bestowed. He had not, however, as yet heard from them any practical suggestions on the subject, or, indeed, anything more than wide general statements. 820 He concurred in the laudatory remarks on the speech of the hon. Member for Longford, who appeared to have entered deeply into the question of the comparative cost of the French and English armies. That was a subject which had not escaped the attention of the War Office; and he agreed with the hon. Member, that although it did not follow that we could reduce our expenses in the same proportion as the French, a comparison of the accounts of the two armies would disclose where our expenditure was in excess and might lead to useful results. But, as he had said, his noble Friend at the head of the War Office had not overlooked the importance of such an inquiry, and had received valuable assistance in conducting it. However large the cost of our army might be, it would not be difficult to show that the additional expense was to be attributed, not to extravagance, but to causes easily accounted for. With respect to the relative cost of a French and an English soldier, it was very difficult to arrive at an exact comparison, because he believed the French Budget did not include all the expenses which were incurred for the army, and which were embraced in our Estimates. It was necessary to take out of other parts of the French Budget some expenses which were properly chargeable to the army in order to make a fair comparison. The general conclusion at which the War Office had arrived was not very different from that which had already been stated to the Committee. It was that the French soldier cost about £47 18s. 10d. per annum, while the English soldier cost about £91 17s. 2d. In France the expense of the staff, putting together various items scattered through the French Budget, might be stated at £1 12s. 11d. per man, whereas in England it amounted to £2 5s. 7d. The great secret of the higher expenditure in England as compared with that of France was to be found in the fact that not only our soldiers but also all persons connected with the administration of military affairs, were better remunerated for their services than the same class in France. In the French War Office, for example, there were 479 employés, with salaries ranging from £72 to £1,000, There were no fewer than 382 whose salaries did not exceed £144 per annum. He did not know whether any hon. Member was prepared to say that we could find gentlemen capable of performing the responsible duties intrusted to the officials in our War Office for so small an 821 amount of remuneration. He did not believe we could; at any rate, it had hitherto been found impossible to do so. Again, taking the items in the French Budget for pay, allowances, beer and wine, recruiting service, gymnastic and musketry instruction, good conduct money, and other matters, and comparing them with the corresponding items in our Estimates, the result was, that the French soldier cost £18 4s. 10d., and the English soldier £30, It thus appeared that the cost of the English soldier was very nearly double that of the French soldier; and that proportion might he said to run through the whole comparison. Moreover, it ought to be borne in mind that a great part of the administration of the French army was carried out regimentally, and not departmentally, as with us, and hence the charge for actual pay and allowances should be taken at a lower rate as regarded the French army and at a higher rate as regarded the English than appeared on the face of the comparisons laid before the Committee. The hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) had referred to a charge of one farthing per week against infantry officers, and, in connection with it, had accused the Government of practising a miserable economy. It would be found, however, on inquiry, that the charge in question had been in existence for a great many years.
Not with respect to infantry officers. The date of the order applicable to them is the 16th of October last.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the deduction had been made in the case of cavalry officers ever since 1815, and it had only been extended to infantry officers when the latter received the advantages for which it was originally enforced. The hon. and gallant Member had also asked him a question with respect to cooking. In reply, he had to stale that the greater part of the item—£1,460—would go in extra pay to sergeants-instructors, of whom there were now 170, and the number was being increased. A considerable saving had been effected in the article of fuel, chiefly in consequence of the improvements made in cooking, which improvements were mainly due to the exertions of the sergeants instructors. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Henry Willoughby) suggested that the Vote might be very advantageously subdivided, He did not exactly see how. A great many of these items were very small, and they were given in great detail. 822 It would be perfectly competent to more that the Vote be reduced by any one of them, if it was considered desirable; but the great bulk of the Vote was for the pay of the men, and he did not see how that could he advantageously subdivided. The form of the Estimates had been altered only two years ago, Hon. Members were generally agreed that a great improvement had been effected in the form in which the Estimates were now presented to the House; but if it was thought that any real advantage would be obtained by a greater subdivision, he did not suppose there would be any great difficulty in carrying it out. The hon. Member for Lambeth had asked a question about gymnastics. They had taken a very small Vote under that head, but he believed it was the commencement of a system to the army which he thought would be most important. A Committee had inquired into the whole subject of gymnastics as carried out in the armies of other nations, and they had reported that they were of opinion that it would be of immense advantage to the soldier if we had facilities for putting recruits through a regular course of gymnastics as part of their drill. Gymnastics for the amusement of the soldier were, no doubt, beneficial, and they were good in the way of providing a healthy recreation; but what was really required was that the soldier should go through a certain course in proportion to his strength as a part of his drill. It was difficult to estimate the advantage that would be attained by developing the muscles of our troops, and enabling them to undergo hardships to which many now succumbed. He regretted very much he had not been able to lay on the table the Return for which the gallant General (General Peel) had moved, and which he certainly did hope to be able to produce before proceeding with the Estimates. But if that right hon. and gallant General had been present, and he was sorry he was not, he would he was sure have agreed with him, that it was not desirable to postpone the Committee on the Army Estimates until he was able to lay on the table a Return which had been longer in preparation than he anticipated. The fact was, that although it was very easy to tell the number of men enlisted in particular years, it did not at all follow from these numbers that that was the number of men who would be entitled to take their discharge at the end of ten years. For instance, ten years ago, during the Crimean war, a very large number enlisted under the 823 Ten Years Act, but a very large number of these men died in the Crimea; a very large number, when discharged, were re-engaged, and a considerable number had died since then. Therefore, the large number of men enlisted that year did not represent the number of men entitled to take their discharge this year. The right hon. and gallant General said he had felt considerable apprehensions in regard to the number of men taking their discharge this year. Their information was not complete up to the present time, and the only way in which they could estimate the number that would probably be entitled to their discharge would be by considering the effect of the Limited Enlistment Act on previous years. They had Returns of the effect of the Enlistment Act up to the year 1860. Up to that time, 7,335 men had completed their term of service, and were therefore entitled to take their discharge. Of these, 3,845 were re-engaged; leaving 3,490 who were discharged. Of these 3,490, 650 re-enlisted within six months, and the total loss up to 1860 was only 2,340 men. This had been going on three years and a quarter, the annual loss was therefore only 860 men. There was no reason, he was aware of, to suppose that a larger proportion of men were about to take their discharge than in the three first years when the Act came into operation. They might assume that the same proportions would be maintained. It was quite true, as stated by the right hon. and gallant General, that considerable apprehensions were felt by the Commander-in-Chief and the officers of the army as to the number of men the army was likely to lose; but, although they were under some apprehension, the Commander-in-Chief and the Adjutant General had not estimated the number of men who would be entitled to take their discharge this year at more than 10,400. Now, applying the calculations he had just made to that number, the army was not likely to lose more than 4,000, retaining 6,000 of that number in the ranks; 4,000 would be the total loss at all likely to occur in the ensuing year, owing to the operation of the Limited Enlistment Act; and he asked the Committee to consider for a moment the advantages they had up to the present time enjoyed connected with it. By the Returns of 1850, 1851, and 1852, it appeared that the annual deaths in the army were over 29 per 1,000, while according to the same; Returns of 10 years subsequent, 1860, 824 1861, and 1862, the deaths were reduced to 18 per 1,000, showing in the death vacancies of the army a reduction of 11 per thousand. Now, the average number of men serving during the last years was 195,730, and the difference of the two rates of mortality would cause in these numbers an annual saving in death vacancies of 2,200 men. He was quite aware that they could not attribute all that saving to any particular cause. No doubt, the improved sanitary and medical regulations had done something, and he hoped a great deal; but the great bulk of the saving of 2,200 in the death vacancies annually was to be attributed to the fact that in 1860, 1861, and 1862, we had a much younger class of men than in 1850, 1851, and 1852. After our army had suffered great losses in the Crimea and the Indian mutiny, a very large number of young men joined it. Still it was quite evident that the army was to a certain extent composed of younger men, and, therefore, of a class of men less likely to die rapidly. In that view he was borne out by some medical statistics which had been drawn up, from which it appeared that in the army the number of deaths of men under 30 years of age was 7.06 per 1,000, while of men between 30 and 40 it was 15.99 per 1,000. In India the comparison was still more striking, for serving in India and China the mortality of men under 30 was 25.66 per 1,000, and of men between 30 and 40 it was 43.79 per 1,000. It was clear, therefore, that in an army composed of younger men the mortality was less than among older men. Against the loss occcasioned by the discharge of the 10 years' service men, must be set the saving arising from the diminished mortality. As he had before said, some years' further experience of the working of the Act would be necessary to ascertain what were its actual results. When the Legislature passed that Act it must have intended that a certain number of soldiers should take their discharge under it at the expiration of 10 years' service. But, besides the actual gain to the service by the diminished mortality, there were many other ways in which that subject must be regarded. There could be no doubt that men who had served for 10 years in the army must have been improved by the training they had received, and as they would generally remain in the country they might be available for re-enlistment, should an emergency arise. Still, in the uncertainty which ex- 825 isted as to the actual number who would take their discharges, and the certainty that a larger number than hitherto would be entitled to avail themselves of their right, Lord De Grey had had under his consideration a measure which, he hoped, would have the effect of inducing a larger proportion to re-enlist. It was hoped that the necessity for such additional inducement would only be temporary, but it had been decided to offer to the soldier who re-enlisted, not only the bounty which he would now receive, but also an additional £1, which would be the cost of a recruit to replace him. It was also intended to encourage the re-enlistment of soldiers who had taken their discharges, by extending the period of re-enlistment for six months after the discharge to twelve months, and then to allow them to reckon all their past service towards a pension on twenty-one years' service. The right hon. and gallant General (General Peel) had said he thought that alarm must have existed upon the subject, or the authorities would not have been induced to lower the standard in a time of peace. That measure, perhaps, was hardly necessary, and was not caused by the expectation of a greater number of vacancies, but the recruiting was proceeding at a slower rate than was desirable. Much of that slowness was attributable, he believed, to the stringency of the medical regulations, which threw the whole travelling expenses of a recruit rejected by the regimental surgeon upon the surgeon who had originally passed him. The consequence of that regulation was that the surgeons attached to the recruiting staff were over careful in passing recruits, and in order to encourage recruiting so as to obtain the ordinary number, it was intended to relax the regulation he had referred to, and to reduce the standard by one inch. The right hon. and gallant General had alluded to the item of levy money. It must be admitted that that item was not so clearly stated in the Estimates as it might have been. The item was made up in the following manner: — The levy money at home, £32,200, was for 15,000 recruits, and was the real expense of raising that number. The £5,800 for Indian depôts was the same charge for 2,700 men. But the item of £27,000 to make good casualties in India, ought not properly to have been called levy money. Of that amount only £9,000 was really levy money for 4,000 men, but the remaining £18,000 was for the passage of men to India, The 826 gallant General had inquired whether it was intended to pay the extra bounty to men who re-enlisted in India. The fact was, the Indian Government did pay the extra bounty, and it was right they should, as they saved the cost of the passage home of the men who re-enlisted. With respect to the capitation charges, they were, as the gallant General was aware, the result of a comparison of the gross charges paid by the Indian Government with the total number of men stationed in India. That rate would expire in April, 1866, when they could revise it on much more correct data than they had possessed at the time that the rate was first adopted. They sometimes thought at the War Office that they were losing money by it; but he believed that they would find that there had not been much either gained or lost. The explanation of the great increase of furlough pay was that the furlough regular turns for officers only came into force just before the Indian Mutiny. Of course, during the Indian Mutiny, very few of the officers took, advantage of those regulations, and, therefore, it was impossible in the first year to arrive at any correct estimate.
said, he wanted to know whether the supplementary Estimate of £40,000 for the yeomanry, was the exact sum that appeared in the original Estimate. The ground upon which the noble Lord had consented to call out the yeomanry was that the war in New Zealand was nearly at an end, and he should like to hear whether the sum of £40,000 was the saving from that cause.
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, he desired to say a word upon the Limited Enlistment Act. The opening observations of the noble Lord upon that subject had afterwards been materially diluted by the statement, that in consequence of the number of men who might claim their discharge at the end of their period of service, the Secretary for War had thought it necessary to offer inducements to these men beyond those to which they would have been previously entitled. The inducements that would have to be given, would depend very much upon the service on which the men were engaged. One of the objections which he had always entertained to the Act, that it might be the cause of the country being taken by surprise by great numbers of men leaving the army at times when it was very inconvenient to part with them, had, at length, been acknowledged by the Go- 827 vernment. At the close of the Peninsular war a large number of men, whose service had expired, claimed their discharge, and he well remembered being employed for three days in the duty of counting out the bounty monies to the men to induce them to re-enlist, at the rate of £16 16s. per man. He had the honour two or three years ago to be employed as Chairman of the Royal Commission on the subject of recruiting for the army, and after a good deal of information had been obtained, it appeared to the Commissioners that, although there might not be any necessity for repealing the Limited Enlistment Act as it stood, yet inasmuch as a man was, perhaps, in the best of his soldier's life when he could claim his discharge under that Act, there was no reason why those who were willing to enlist for fifteen or sixteen years, should not have the opportunity of doing so. It was a mistake to suppose that men enlisted from a military feeling, or from a fondness for military life; they enlisted, for the most part, under the pressure of private circumstances; and there were very few who cared for what period they were to serve, or to whom it would be any inducement to enter for ten years rather than for fifteen. On the contrary, many were deterred from entering the army, now that the period of service was only ten years, by the fear that at the end of the time they would be thrown upon the world without any means of support. The Government might, without the slightest interference with the Limited Enlistment Act, to which they were very much attached because it was a favourite project of Lord Panmure's, carry out this recommendation of the Commission.
said, that when he found that there was a reduction of only £215,000 upon an expenditure of nearly £15,000,000, and that the supplementary Estimates for the embodied militia amounted to a much larger sum, he thought they could not look with much favour upon the economy of a Government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of which had, the other night, given them so severe a lesson upon the subject, especially when they found that that economy was accompanied by the reduction of 1,500 men belonging to the most valuable portion of the service. In the War Office the increase for clerks was £4,000, and in that monstrous establishment 409 clerks were employed at an average salary of £270 a year. There were 828 two kinds of economy—the one of expenditure and the other of management—and he wished to call the attention of the noble Lord to the advisability of not making the reduction of six men and four horses per troop of cavalry, and he hoped the noble Lord would take the matter into his most serious consideration. If the army really was to be reduced, 816 trained cavalry soldiers and 1,372 artillerymen were not exactly the men who should be selected for that purpose. The proposal only showed that they ought not to have at the War Office men unconnected with the service. The noble Lord would acquit him of any personal allusion, for when they considered the noble Lord's position — when they remembered that, with the whole world at his feet, the noble Lord had renounced the frivolities of life—they could not but regard such a course as being alike honourable to himself and advantageous to the country. He considered, however, that when men who had no practical knowledge came to decide upon such arrangements as the one proposed, they ought to consult those whose professional experience and education would have enabled them to form a trustworthy opinion upon the subject. The reduction of six men and four horses per troop would be most disadvantageous to the efficiency of the cavalry regiments. It might appear anomalous to say that horses were the less important part of a cavalry regiment, and it would have been better to have taken off double the number of horses to the same number of men. At present the strength of a cavalry regiment was 621 men and 400 horses, and yet it was almost impossible—the casualties averaging from 160 to 200 men—on any occasion to mount the whole of the horses. The fewer horses there were, the more they could be attended to, and the better instruction would the men receive. A horse, too, could be purchased at any time, and it would be ready for the ranks in six weeks or two months; but a man could not be replaced under a year and a half. If reduction were essential, it would be better to reduce six horses and four men, but it would be still better to leave the men as they were.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the proportion of men to horses in which the reduction was being made was the proportion previously existing in the cavalry, so that if it were wrong, then it must have been wrong before. He quite admitted that at the War Office they were 829 not always qualified to judge of these matters, but when that was so they sought advice from those at the Horse Guards who were competent to judge. He did not mean to say that the Commander in-Chief or the Adjutant General would recommend the reduction of the army, But, when once that reduction was decided upon, the purely military authorities were consulted as to the best way of carrying it out. In this caso, the Adjutant General, than whom he did not think there could be any better authority, was of opinion that the efficiency of these cavalry regiments was not impaired by the proposed reductions, further, of course, than by the numerical decrease which would take place in their strength. Since the Crimean war, there had been a great change in the organization of our cavalry force, and a considerable increase in the strength of the regiments. Formerly a regiment of cavalry consisted of three squadrons; now it consisted of four. In 1853 the number of privates in the regiment was 304; in 1863 it was 504, and the reduction proposed would bring it down to 456. The force of cavalry was 9,132 in 1853, and in 1863 it was 11,331. He did not think that any just complaint could be made as to the manner in which the reduction was to be effected. With regard to the artillery, it was the fact that in the enormous French army there were no more than 30,000 or 40,000 artillerymen, while in our army there were 20,000.
said, the noble Lord seemed to forget the fortifications, and how they were to be manned.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, he wished to ask the reason for the increase of the Vote for fire brigade, musketry warders, works in the field, &c., from £500 in the last year to £3,700 in the Estimates before them.
THE MARQESS OF HARTINGTON
said, his only explanation was that he supposed the sum taken last year was not found sufficient.
§ Vote agreed to.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £1,319,047, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of
the Commissariat Establishment, Services, and Movement of Troops, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1865, inclusive.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that was one of the Votes alluded to by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, when he stated that the extra cost involved in calling out the Yeomanry would not cause an increase on the total Estimates. The Vote had been reduced by £33,000—a reduction warranted, as the Government thought, by the accounts from New Zealand. That reduction was chiefly in the items for commissariat transport to the colonies, which was taken at a very high rate indeed, because while the army was actively engaged in New Zealand, the cost of transport was enormous. There might be a considerable saving on the Estimates which had reference to war in New Zealand, although the war might not come to a conclusion for some little time. The Estimates were framed on a supposition that the war would continue over the whole of the financial year; and though the war was not yet at an end, there was reason to believe that it would not last for more than a year from the date of the last accounts, which dated hack for a considerable period. The Government had estimated that the war would continue to April, 1865, and its cessation before that period would cause a corresponding decrease in the Estimates.
SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said he wished to ask, what was the reason of the great increase of £46,000 in the cost of forage?
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he thought the item for buildings and incidental expenses connected with the commissariat excessive.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the increase in the item for forage was due to the high price of it in New Zealand. There were commissariat branches in all parts of the world, and the officers had a variety of duties to perform, and the amount referred to by the hon. Member for Lambeth was very reasonable.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, he took the same view. He would also observe that the charge for provisions was very high.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, an explanatory paper had been published on the subject of the increased price of provisions in certain parts.
§ COLONEL BARTTELOT
said, he was quite surprised at the amount charged for forage. How many horses were there in New Zealand?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he could not tell the exact number of horses there, but there could he no doubt that forage was very scarce, as it had been found necessary to send out a certain kind of it from this country.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
urged the Government to prepare an amended Estimate. He believed the cost of the New Zealand war had been much underrated, and at the end of the year it would be found to be nearer a million than half a million.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the original Estimate was framed on the supposition that the war would last for three quarters of a year from that month, but later advices had led them to believe that it would be concluded in a shorter time.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he hoped the Committee would not insist upon reporting Progress. Estimates of future expenses were necessarily conjectural, as were those of savings. The fact simply was that they thought, from the latest advices, that the war would not continue as long as they at first imagined.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the chief reduction was in the item for commissariat transport. There was further a reduction in the cost of forage for the colonies, and also in the charge for provisions.
§ MR. ARTHUR MILLS
said, there would be a difficulty in comparing the items with those of the last and of the next year, if no new Estimate were prepared.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
observed, that there would be a sum total for this year to be set against that for next year.
said, he thought previous notice ought to have been given of the reduction of an Estimate.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
said, that the remark of the noble Viscount opposite, though true as regarded the Appropriation Act and the total amounts, yet, on a comparison of the Estimates of one year with those of another, it was more convenient that they should know what the items were.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again,"—(Mr. Hunt,)—put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (3.) £596,694, Clothing.
said, he had tried for the last three or four years to obtain from the Government the prices at which the army was clothed, but he had never received any satisfactory reply on that point. He believed the reason was that the accounts were not kept as they ought to be. The system of a great central establishment for clothing the army was a very costly one, and that, under the existing system, the clothing for the army cost double what it otherwise would. Mr. Hume used to find fault with the system of Government establishments, and used to protest that, except in special cases, Government should not undertake any manufacture. He wished to know whether the accounts of these establishments were kept on any system, and whether the noble Lord could state the prices of the articles manufactured?
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished for an explanation of the item of £13,000 for the purchase of buildings for inspecting contract clothing. He agreed with the hon. and gallant Member that the cost of clothing the army was excessive, and ought to be diminished.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, he gave a preference to the system of clothing adopted in the French army, where the materials were supplied to the different regiments and manufactured by the men themselves. The result was that the clothes of the French soldier were of better materials than those of our troops—they fitted better, and were supplied at a more economical rate. In the Sanitary Report on the Indian army it was proved that the men suffered very much from the misfits of shoes sent out by the contractors. He would press on the Government the advantage of employ- 833 ing the soldier in his idle hours in some trade. From the Report of the Committee it appeared that all the officers examined were in favour of this except Sir George Brown, who maintained that when the soldier was not on drill he might spend his time in the canteen. Sir George Brown was decidedly opposed to the soldier being employed in trade. [An hon. MEMBER: He said nothing about the canteen.] He said that after drill the soldier should have his time to himself. It would be a great improvement if the clothing were made, as in other armies, by the soldiers themselves. He besought hon. Gentlemen who objected to Government establishments to have a care what they did. It was desirable to keep up a system of promotion in the army, and these central establishments offered to soldiers a sort of promotion to which the degree of their attainments rendered them eligible.
§ MR. CARNEGIE
observed, that when the hon. Member for Longford drew a comparison between the French army and ours, it should be recollected that the French army was raised by conscription and ours by voluntary enlistment. The French army, therefore, had a much larger number of skilled mechanics than our own. He had always found there had been ample employment for all tailors and shoemakers in making alterations and repairs, without setting them to actual making of regimental clothing. If the clothing were attempted to be made in the regimental workshops, he believed it would not be attended with good results. He quite agreed as to the advisability of rewarding efficient non-commissioned officers, but he did not see how the introduction of the system of manufacturing in regiments the clothes to be worn by the soldiers would at all tend to that desirable end.
said, that the duty required from the English soldier was much more than that required from the foreign soldier. He would also observe that if there was one thing more than another which would give offence to officers and soldiers in the army, it would be interfering with the buttons and facings of their uniforms. Civilians had no idea what were the feelings in the army on that subject, and he therefore hoped the day was far distant when the Government would interfere in such matters.
§ SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, he believed it to be the opinion of many French officers that their own system was a bad 834 one. No fewer than 30,000 men were employed in making up clothing and shoes for the French army, and about 1,000 in making caps. These men never took part in action, or left the depots of the different regiments. Was the clothing of our army badly made just then? He did not think so. It was much better made than it used to be when the colonels of regiments had it made up and got a profit by it. Then nearly every suit had to be unmade and made up again in order to fit the men. It would be much better to leave the present system as it was, than attempt to make the clothing and shoes of a regiment by those who ought to be fighting men.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to know whether it would not be more economical to hire buildings for their manufactures than to build great establishments at Pimlico?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
admitted that the sum required for new buildings in Pimlico was very large, but those buildings were finished, and he could not see how it could be more economical to hire buildings when they had got what they wanted. It was said they could not tell the cost of any article; but they knew the cost of materials and the other expenses, and, therefore, they could calculate the cost of the articles made. Since they had manufactured clothing themselves, the cost of that portion which was still got from contractors was materially diminished. In 1859 the contract price of a private's tunic was £1 1s., but in 1863 it was only 16s. 5d., such reduction being caused by the Government competition. Comparisons had been made between the cost of clothing in the English and the French armies; but, even admitting that the French soldier was equally well clothed as our men, it was certain that he did not receive so many articles of clothing, and had to wear them much longer. He really thought the clothing of the English soldier was the point least open to attack.
said, he was surprized to hear complaints of the clothing, as he had thought that if there had been any improvement in any department of the army, it wan in the clothing. When he established the Pimlico manufactory he believed experience would prove what it had done, that by that means army clothing would be produced both better and cheaper. He thought that the Royal Artillery had always made their own clothes. 835 When he filled the position of War Secretary he had caused Returns to be made, showing the expense of the clothing in every regiment in the army, and he should be glad if such a Return were placed before Parliament every year. It would afford much useful information.
said, he believed that the establishment at Pimlico clothed 30,000 men, besides the Irish constabulary and the London police, but he did not think that one establishment would be sufficient to clothe the whole army. Although he did not object to a moderate establishment to operate as a check upon contractors, he deprecated too large an establishment as uselessly expensive.
§ MR. HUNT
said, there appeared to be a reduction in the cost of the clothing. Tunics that formerly were charged a guinea, were now supplied at 16s. 5d. If they had had published the cost of the clothing in 1859 in the present Estimates, they would have been able to have formed some idea whether the new clothing department had had any effect in reducing the expenses in that department.
§ MR. CARNEGIE
said, he wished to call attention to the item with regard to clerks. The military store clerks appeared to have been got rid of and pensioners employed in their stead.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
asked, what was the meaning of the entire abolition of the military store clerks? A number of clerks had been engaged for a considerable time as temporary clerks, but he believed it was the feeling of the late Sir George Lewis and former Secretaries for War, that it was desirable to absorb them as much and as often as possible into permanent clerks. He asked if all the temporary clerks in the department had been so absorbed, or if they had been disposed of in any other way. Temporary clerks, so called, but who had discharged their duties as such for a number of years, and as such they were deserving of much consideration, should be dealt with tenderly.
§ MR. AUGUSTUS SMITH
said, that taking the number of men in the Estimates, and dividing with them the cost of the clothing, it gave a sum somewhat less than £4 for each man. He, however, admitted that that was not a fair way of arriving at the individual cost.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, there had been no alteration in the Pimlico staff. Some of the store clerks had been removed, and absorbed in other de- 836 partments, as vacancies occurred; but he was not aware until that moment, that any of them had been only temporary clerks.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £611,165, Barracks.
asked, to what cause the saving in the use of fuel, referred to in the Vote, was to be attributed?
said, he wished for an explanation of the alteration with regard to the payment of the ranger of the Curragh of Kildare.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that as the Curragh had become a military station, it was thought better to transfer the charges to the military department, instead of continuing them with the office of Woods and Forests. The Curragh, up to that time, had hitherto been held by the Crown at a nominal rent, but now it was proposed to take a lease of the property. In answer to the question of the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North), the saving in the fuel had been effected partly by the use of improved grates in the barracks, and, still more, by better management in the cooking department. The plan of allowing the men a profit upon the price of the fuel burnt under the regulation quantity had in many cases been eminently successful.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the Inspector's (Mr. Marriner's) salary was £150 a year, and his travelling expenses actually expended. Captain Ross, Assistant Quartermaster General at Aldershot, who was not exclusively employed in the cooking department, was included in the general staff, the expense of which, when completed, would be about £1,750.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) £45,433, Divine Service.
§ (6.) £40,549, Martial Law.
§ LORD HOTHAM
said, that although he could count a length of service in the House, only exceeded by that of the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, and, he believed, by that of two other hon. Members, he could truly say he had never risen with so much reluctance as he felt on the present occasion. That reluctance proceeded from many causes, but he would trouble the Committee with, only two—one was, because the question was one of military discipline, and 837 the other, because he had to take exception to the conduct of the two high individuals to whom the Queen, in the exercise of her Prerogative as head of the army, had confided its management, and who it had always been both his desire and his habit to support. He felt, as he always had felt, that except under circumstances of an; extraordinary nature, questions of military discipline were not adapted to the consideration of popular assemblies; but Her Majesty's Government, having asked for a grant of money to cover the expenses of the late court-martial at Aldorshot, had created the necessity for a discussion, which it was impossible to avoid. If any hon. Member were of opinion that the money so asked for had been unnecessarily or wastefully expended, or that in its expenditure the efficiency of the service for which the House was called upon annually to sanction the disbursement of such enormous sums had been injured, it would be his imperative duty to say so. He was glad to be able to say (and this was the only occasion when he would thus express himself) that to Sir Hugh Rose, Sir William Mansfield, and Colonel Crawley, he was a total stranger. He could, therefore, be influenced by no personal feelings in the course he was taking. He wished it also to be borne in mind that he stood there to speak his own sentiments, and not those of any one else. He had been asked by no one to be his mouthpiece, or to say a word on the subject. And, above all, he desired to disclaim all wish to shelter any one from the consequences of his misconduct; for in his (Lord Hotham's) opinion, every soldier should do his duty properly, and if he did it not, he should be compelled to do it, He believed that both the House and the country had great reason to complain of the conduct of the military authorities in withholding information which they must have had in their possession, and which ought, on every principle of justice, to have been published. He did not mean. to impute any intentional error to those high authorities to whom he had already referred, but he believed that they were appalled by the fire of the battery opened upon them by the hon. Gentleman the late Member for Brighton (Mr. Coningham) and others, that they thus became victims to the common misfortune of overanxious and over-sensitive minds, and that they did injustice from the fear of being thought not willing to do justice, and 838 wrong, from the fear of being accused of not doing right. It would be remembered that great excitement prevailed in the country during the last year, in consequence of information which came from India respecting the Mhow Court Martial, and that the subject was brought forward in this House by the hon. Member for Andover (Mr. Dudley Fortescue), on the 5th of June last year. On that occasion, appeals were made by the hon. Gentleman to the sensibilities of every one, and attention was particularly attracted to such sentences as these: —"The prisoners had been confined in a bomb-proof building, unfit for habitation," "more like an oven than a human habitation," that "these facts were not imaginary, but that he had drawn them from documents placed in the hands of the military authorities." The hon. Member also stated that as to the brandy which it was said Sergeant Major Lilley had consumed, "the evidence of the sentries and of the medical officers proved conclusively that there was not the slightest symptom of excess, and that this had been endorsed by His Royal Highness the Commander-in Chief." With regard to the prisoner's quarters, it was now a matter of public notoriety that General Sir William Mansfield, the Commander-in-Chief in Bombay, was at Mhow in March, 1863; and that being so, he must have reported to the military authorities upon what he saw and knew to be the case on the subject, and information supplied by General Mansfield contradictory of the account given by the hon. Member for Andover must have been in possession of the Government at the time. Unless the noble Lord stated, of his own personal knowledge, that no such information was then possessed by the Government, he must be excused for remaining of that opinion. The noble Lord confirmed the greater part of what th hon. Member for Andover had said, and further stated — though his statement, strange to relate, seemed to have made no impression—"that the sergeant major had grossly derogated from his duty in not bringing to the knowledge of his commanding officer what was going forward in the regiment," and he assured the House that, "although he could not produce to them a victim, nothing would induce the Secretary of State to depart a hair's breadth from the strict rules and principles of justice." Soon after, it was announced that Colonel Crawley would be 839 tried by a court-martial; and subsequently, that he would be tried—not in India, but in England. A portion of the press took credit for having caused this change. It was monstrous, said they, that Colonel Crawley should be tried by a court nominated by Sir Hugh Rose, who had approved the proceedings of the court-martial at Mhow; and yet these lovers of justice said it was quite proper that the members of the court should be named by His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, by whom Colonel Crawley had been condemned, in language such as he (Lord Hotham) never remembered being used towards an officer of Colonel Crawley's position, and to which it would be his (Lord Hotham's) duty, before he sat down, to allude. Several inquiries were then made as to the propriety of the course announced. The hon. Member for West Norfolk asked if it was legal, and if legal, whether it did not involve a reflection on, if not an insult to, the officers of the army in India. The hon. and gallant Member for Limerick (Major Gavin) said that he had, not long ago, served in India, and that he considered it as an insult to say that the case could not be tried fairly there. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), with the natural feeling of an ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, asked whether the expenses would not be very great. Of this there was no doubt, as was shown by the Vote of upwards of £18,000, now under consideration. On the 25th of June it was asked by the Member for Brighton, whether a second memorandum, embodying the opinion of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief on the Mhow Court Martial, had not been issued, to which the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) answered in the negative, adding, "no public memorandum at least." Following these inquiries, a right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) said, he wished to know distinctly whether any communication had been addressed to Sir Hugh Rose, through the Adjutant General, the purport of which was to qualify the memorandum issued by the Commander-in-Chief on the 18th of the previous December. And now he (Lord Hotham) came to a point of very serious importance—a point involving not only the proceedings of which he had spoken, but involving the relations of the Government with the House of Commons. In replying to the question of the right hon. Gentleman, the noble Lord stated that if he would put 840 the question on another day he would answer it, but he apprehended that he should be compelled to repeat the answer he had already given, "that there was no public or official memorandum existing on the subject excepting that which had been published." The inquiries made about the second memorandum attracted the attention of the public, and, curiously enough, on the very day when the noble Lord denied the existence of any second memorandum, there appeared in The Times a letter signed "Civilian," in which the writer said—I believe I can assist Mr. Bouverie in describing the document bearing on the Mhow Court Martial which he asks the War Office to produce. Two memoranda, emanating from the Horse Guards, have been read by Colonel Crawley to the assembled officers of the 6th Dragoons. They are, therefore, clearly not private letters, but public documents, which the House of Commons is entitled to see. The first of them is dated December 18, 1862, and has been published; the second, which was communicated by Colonel Crawley to the regiment at Mhow about the end of April or the beginning of May, 1863, is probably the document which Mr. Bouverie wishes to elicit. I have a resumé of it before me. It cannot possibly be identical with the letter dated Horse Guards, February, 1863,' privately sent to the Commander-in-Chief in India by the Duke of Cambridge, which has since been produced, inasmuch as a private document of that nature would certainly not have been formally read to the assembled officers of any regiment.He believed that there was no public office the heads of which were not promptly informed of anything which appeared in the papers affecting or reflecting upon them; and therefore it was impossible to surmise that not one of the numerous gentlemen employed in the War Office had called the noble Lord's attention to that letter, and that he should not have renewed his inquiries whether he had not been misled as to the existence of the document in question. On the 29th of June— four days afterwards — the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bouverie) repeated his inquiry, so worded as apparently to prevent all possibility of mistake. He asked whether any communication or memorandum signed by the Adjutant General has been sent to the Commander-in-Chief in India modifying the opinion on the proceedings of the court-martial at Mhow contained in the memorandum of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, now upon the table of the House, or in any way relating to the same subject. To that inquiry the noble Lord replied—The only document which at all answers the description of it given by my right hon. Friend 841 is a communication or memorandum which was last March forwarded by the Adjutant General to the Commander-in-Chief in India, and which was covered by private letters to Sir William Mansfield and Sir Hugh Rose. The private letters that covered the memorandum were marked 'Private,' and they were addressed, 'My dear Mansfield,' and 'My dear Rose.'… I hope I have made it sufficiently clear to the House that when I stated there was no 'public memorandum' on this subject I was perfectly correct,This question touched very importantly the relations between the House and the Government. It would be recollected that, Government had a great advantage in respect of the production of papers. It was the practice to give implicit credence to the assurance of any Member of the Government in such cases. If a paper were asked for, and the Government said it was prejudicial to the public interest to produce it, then it was taken for granted that the answer was a proper one, and no Member would venture to push his inquiry farther; but it was a matter touching the relations of the House of Commons and the Government if it should turn out, after repeated denials of the existence of a particular paper, that that paper had been in the possession of the Government at the time its existence was denied. With respect to this document nothing further took place until the present Session, when he moved for the production of "any paper or memorandum other than the one previously presented," and the Committee would be surprised to learn that the Return to that Motion was the very identical paper for which the right hon. Member (Mr. E. P, Bouverie) had made such repeated applications last year, and the existence of which was so constantly and perseveringly denied. He could carry the matter a step further, because they now knew that the paper of March the 14th was an answer to a letter of Sir Hugh Rose of the 20th of January, which, as hon. Members would doubtless remember, appeared in the proceedings of the Mhow Court Martial. The importance of the paper was very great, for if it had been produced, the statement of the hon. Member for Andover, as to there never having been any suspicion, either before or during Lilley's confinement, that he had taken spirits, could have been flatly contradicted, It was written in reply to the letter of Sir Hugh Rose, enclosing the addendum of the medical officer of the Inniskilling Dragoons, dated the day after the post mortem examination, which said— 842In addition to my report of yesterday, I have the honour to add that it has been brought to my notice that the deceased was in the habit of drinking a considerable quantity of brandy daily while in arrest, and on inquiry I find this to be true. It is my opinion that this, in conjunction with the other exciting causes before stated, was calculated to increase the predisposition to apoplectic seizure of which he died.Having stated these things, the conclusion which he drew was, that this court-martial need not, ought not, and if the whole truth had been told, would not have taken place in England. The noble Lord would no doubt refer to the excitement which existed, but to this, he (Lord Hotham) would reply, that that excitement was mainly created by the silence of the Government upon these points. If they had told the House and the country what they knew, but what they carefully concealed, he did not believe that there would have been half the excitement, or any of the scandal which they had witnessed during the last twelve months, nor should they have had to pay a Bill of £18,000. But other reasons had been given for holding the court-martial in this country. One was, that "grave charges had been brought against Colonel Crawley in the public press and in Parliament on the authority of persons entitled to confidence." The hon. Member for Andover was entitled to be implicitly believed as to anything which he stated of his own knowledge, but as in this instance he had received his information from others, and as the Government had responsible officers whose reports they had already received, he did not think that that was any reason for departing from the ordinary course. Then it was said, that the refusal to hold the court-martial here would have operated against recruiting, but there might be found in the proceedings of the court-martial at Aldershot ample evidence to set at rest any such apprehension. Again, the Secretary of State for War and the noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) had given as another reason for holding the court-martial in England, that Colonel Crawley had admitted and confessed that he had committed an act of inhumanity. But any one who would take the trouble. of looking at the Mhow Blue Book would see that what Colonel Crawley said was that "if" he had been guilty of the act imputed to him, or had had any knowledge of it, it would have been an act of inhumanity on his part. Was that a reason for holding the court-martial in this country? It was also said that an- 843 other reason was to be found in a letter from Lieutenant Fitzsimon, complaining of Colonel Crawley, which Paymaster Smales had delivered to His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief. It was well known to be one of the first principles of military discipline, that no complaint should be forwarded otherwise than through, and accompanied by, the explanation of the commanding officer. And yet the Commander-in-Chief had received the letter in question from the hands of one, then only known as one just cashiered by the sentence of a court-martial, and had acted upon it without any previous communication with the Commander-in-Chief in India. And this was the more extraordinary, inasmuch as only a year before, on March 18, 1862, His Royal Highness had directed Sir William Mansfield to inform this same officer (Smales) that "he had been guilty of a great error and breach of discipline in forwarding a letter to the Secretary of State for War direct, instead of through his immediate commanding officer." When the court-martial met, Colonel Crawley earnestly prayed that he might be tried on every charge that had been made against him, but his prayer was not granted. Colonel Crawley then appealed again to the Commander-in-Chief, who replied, coldly, that it was not proposed to make any addition to the charges. Colonel Crawley then naturally thought that, at least, he would be allowed to show why he had done certain things of which he had been accused. The prosecutor objected, on the ground —first, that it would be irrelevant to go into these matters, and that if they did "the inquiry would be altogether endless." This was an unfortunate observation to proceed from the prosecutor. What would have been said of the Solicitor General if, when recently prosecuting seven foreigners (of whom five had since been executed) for piracy, he had made use of such language? He would have been execrated from one end of the country to the other; and yet, of what value would Colonel Crawley's life have been to him if he had been convicted of such charges as were brought against him? Then again, as to the prosecutor's reply. How was that to be characterized? He (Lord Hotham) had the advantage of possessing a large acquaintance among lawyers, and he had availed himself of it to ask whether the course pursued at the court-martial on Colonel Crawley would have been tolerated 844 in any court of law. They one and all declared that any attempt on the part of the prosecutor to introduce new matter in the reply would have been instantly stopped, and most probably reprehended, by the bench. What could have been the object of attacking, in the reply, the Commander-in-Chief in India and the Commander of the Forces in Bombay, who were not there to defend themselves, except to make a last expiring attempt to obtain on any terms a conviction, and to make such conviction apply to all that had been said and done against Colonel Crawley? When the result of the court-martial was known, every one expected that the Commander-in-Chief, in announcing it to the army, would deal handsomely with Colonel Crawley. He had been acquitted in the fullest and most honourable manner, without any defence except that which the prosecutor had made for him, and after a trial which would have been stopped in Westminster Hall, at the end of the prosecution, on the ground that there was nothing to go to the jury. He (Lord Hotham) felt sure that the Commander-in-Chief would take a wide and extended view of the whole of the proceedings, from their commencement to their end, and if it appeared that he had previously said against any persons that which they did not deserve, or in favour of others more than they deserved, he would take that opportunity of setting matters right, and putting everything before the army and the country in a way which no one could misunderstand. The object of military, like that of civil, punishment was not vengeance, but to deter others from committing the like offences. If a regiment or its officers were proved to be guilty of extraordinary misconduct, the fact ought to be published to the whole army. If, as in the present case, the commanding officer of a regiment was put on his trial and honourably acquitted, common justice required that the whole army also should be made cognizant of the fact. Cases of this kind were fortunately rare, but there were two which he would mention. In 1814, the commanding officer of the 10th Hussars was brought before a court-martial on the complaint of his officers, and although reprimanded on a point of small importance, the charges substantially failed. The proceedings of the Court being laid before the Prince Regent, he ordered the Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of York, to announce His Royal Highness's opinion on the sub- 845 ject, which was that all the officers should be removed, and that the letter embodying his Royal Highness's commands should not only be read at the head of each regiment, but be entered in its order book. In the case of the 85th Regiment, also, in 1813, there was a solemn adjudication of the Prince Regent to the same effect. Surely, if there had ever been held a court-martial, the result of which ought to have been notified in the most solemn and formal manner, the late court-martial at Aldershot was one. No such notification, however, had been made to the army, nor had any thing appeared but a memorandum published in the newspapers— addressed, apparently, to no one, and remarkable for its deviation from the ordinary course of proceeding in being signed by the Military Secretary; whereas the universal rule was that all letters and orders on the subject of discipline should be signed by the Adjutant General. And when he looked at the contents of this memorandum, he (Lord Hotham) could not help saying that, considering that Colonel Crawley had been fully and honourably acquitted of the charges preferred against him, considering also the character he had received from innumerable witnesses—a character of which any officer might well be proud, it would have been more generous, and certainly more conducive to the good of the service, if instead of speaking of Colonel Crawley in the way he had done, His Royal Highness had seen fit to signify to the army his determination to support him in the exercise of his just authority, and to convey, privately, any further admonition which the case might have seemed to require. But how have matters been left by this memorandum? There remained the recorded and unrevoked opinion of the Commander-in-Chief that the regiment had always been in excellent order until Colonel Crawley took the command of it. The Committee, however, could not have forgotten a question which was put on the court-martial to which the prosecutor objected, and a letter which was asked for by Colonel Crawley, and of which, after two days delay, it was stated that it would be "detrimental to the public service" to admit the production. It was clear, therefore, what were the contents of that document, but in addition to this, it was also clear that His Royal Highness had been misled on this point, inasmuch as it was now matter of general notoriety 846 in India that, from the period of the arrival of the Inniskillings in that country, or shortly after, the state of its officers had been reprobated by Sir Henry Somerset, then Commander-in-Chief in Bombay, and by every, or nearly every, other general officer who had had the regiment under his command. And yet it was left on record that the Commander-in-Chief considered the regiment to have been in perfect order until it got into the hands of Colonel Crawley. And how stood the case as regarded Sir Hugh Rose and Sir William Mansfield? Personal compliments had, indeed, been paid them, and credit for good intentions given; but in no instance that he (Lord Hotham) had been able to discover, had any reliance been placed on their judgment. Sir Hugh Rose had reported, on the authority of Dr. Turnbull, Assistant Surgeon Barnett, and Mrs. Lilley, that the unfortunate Sergeant Major had, during his confinement, drank daily a sufficient quantity of brandy to "compromise" his life; and this was corroborated by two Inspectors General of Hospitals, Dr. Beatson and Dr. Linton. His Royal Highness gave his opinion thatHad Sir Hugh Rose been better acquainted with some of the facts of the Sergeant Major's case, he would have taken a different view of it.And again, His Royal Highness said that "there was no proof that he took brandy to such an extent as to cause his death." Sir William Mansfield had reported that theClandestine, unsoldierlike, and improper proceedings of the three non-commissioned officers might be fairly interpreted by Colonel Crawley into a conspiracy.And Sir Hugh Rose, in a letter dated April 16, 1863, referred toEvidence in proof of a cabal on the part of the three non-commissioned officers having been already forwarded to the Horse Guards.His Royal Highness had given publicly his opinion that there seemed "not to have been a shadow of foundation for a charge of conspiracy." Again, Sir Hugh Rose had reported that Sergeant Major LilleyHad, on more occasions than one, acted with great impropriety, and want of discipline; that he was not by any means the superior non-commissioned officer described by the Commander-in-Chief to have been.And that Sir William Mansfield had stated that he was "a very ill-behaved noncommissioned officer." And that there exists 847An official, recorded, and public proof of his misconduct already forwarded to the Horse Guards.Sir William Mansfield had also reported the use by Sergeant Major Lilley, ofObjectionable and opprobrious language, in presence of other non-commissioned officers, towards Colonel Crawley.That heHoped that there might be some mistake as to the use of those beastly and abominable expressions against his commanding officer, which had been attributed to him.And that he had ordered him to be deprived of his "situation of regimental sergeant major." Of these serious reports, the Commander- in - Chief had taken no other public notice than to say thatThe character of Sergeant Major Lilley for sobriety and good conduct, previous to his arrest, seems to have been undoubted.All these circumstances were well known in the regiment, and every hon. Member could judge what effect was likely to be produced on the minds of the officers, noncommissioned officers, and men, when they found that the Commander-in-Chief had thought them undeserving of notice. But a great question still remained to be considered—namely, on what principles was the army, henceforward, to be governed. If it was to be governed on the principles which had been applied to this case, he (Lord Hotham) had no hesitation in stating that, before many years had elapsed, its discipline would be such as, to quote an expression of the Commander-in-Chief, "to render it worse than useless." An officer who received a commission in the army was bound to devote his best energies of mind and body to the service of his Sovereign, but he had a right to expect something in return. He had a right to expect that a liberal interpretation should be put on his actions — that allowance should be made for the difficulties under which he might be placed, and that he should receive protection and support from the Crown, at all events, until it had been proved that he had been guilty of any crime. That rule had clearly not been acted upon in the case of Colonel Crawley. The Government had had it in their power to protect him from much of the obloquy which had fallen upon him, but they had stood by, and by their silence allowed him to be condemned by public opinion for almost every offence, except cowardice and desertion, of which an officer could be guilty. He (Lord Hotham) need not tell the Committee how much, 848 in military operations, may depend on the exercise of promptitude and vigour in times of emergency. How could they expect officers to act with vigour and decision in such times, if they had to stop and think, not what should be done, but what the hon. Members for Brighton or Andover would say of them, and how much protection or support they would receive from their superiors!
Sir Hugh Rose and Sir W. Mansfield were not "bloated aristocrats;" they had not got to their present high positions by influence or high connections, but as the result of their services in the field. They were officers who had rendered good service to their country at the time when the fate of the Indian Empire hung trembling in the balance, and to whom the country would look in any future war. He (Lord Hotham) took leave to say, that if they had been so utterly deficient in judgment as the orders issued from the Horse Guards had, not unnaturally, led the public to consider them, they ought, long since, to have been recalled. But although the authorities had not thought fit to remove them, they had allowed their representative at the court-martial to discredit the authority and to damage the character of these officers in the estimation of the army and the nation, by perverting their language and misrepresenting their conduct. He entirely agreed with the author of an able pamphlet, to which much reference had been made, in asking whetherIt is in this manner that the authority and influence of Commanders-in-Chief are to be maintained in the eyes of their subordinates, and whether such treatment of such men is compatible with the well-being of the English army, or the safety of the Indian Empire.He (Lord Hotham) was deeply grieved to be compelled to make these observations, but the subject to which they referred was much too important to be allowed to pass unnoticed. What had been done by the Government had created general regret in the army, and it would require a long time, and a very different course of action, to restore to the Executive that confidence in its firmness and in its decisions which it ought to possess, and which had been so rudely and so lamentably shaken by its conduct in this case.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he hastened to dissipate the very natural apprehension of the Committee by stating at the outset that he did not intend to follow the noble Lord through the able but 849 very long statement he had made on the question of the trial of Colonel Crawley. It was with some surprise that he recollected that the noble Lord on a former occasion, when the Amendment was put that it was not expedient to produce any further correspondence on the subject, did not make a point of being present to return a negative to that question. [Lord HOTHAM: I was in my place.] Then he was still more astonished that the noble Lord did not cry "No!" [Lord HOTHAM: Does the noble Lord mean to say I did not?] At any rate, the noble Lord did not call for a division. No one could have assented to the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite without also assenting to the principle he laid down, that such subjects ought not to be discussed in the House. Moreover, the noble Lord had an opportunity of expressing his views, but he made only a short speech, saying, as he understood, that he would not ask for more papers, and that he thought further discussion of the matter unadvisable. [Lord HOTHAM: No, no!] The noble Lord would not make his statement then, but waited for two or three weeks, and then delivered a very long speech, replying to many of the arguments used on the former occasion. What would be said if the hon. Member for Andover (Mr. D. Fortescue) took a week or two to consider the noble Lord's remarks, and then came down and answered them? The noble Lord asserted that the Government, when the subject was first brought before the House, were in the possession of information which ought to have enabled them to refute the great part of the hon. Member for Andover's charges. The other night he stated that the Government and the Horse Guards were no doubt in the possession of evidence which showed that the dwelling in which Sergeant Major Lilley died was one similar to that in which he would have lived if not in confinement. He regretted to find, in regard to his speech last year, that he either omitted to state that to the House, or, at least, that he mentioned it in such a manner that it escaped the notice of the reporters. He certainly never understood that the hon. Member for Andover wished to assert that Sergeant Major Lilley was confined in a black hole, or that the house differed from his ordinary dwelling. He was sorry, however, that he did not put the point to the House with sufficient distinctness last year. That was the only portion of the statement of the hon. Mem- 850 ber for Andover which last June he was in a position to dispute. As to the essential charge against Colonel Crawley, and that on which he was eventually tried—that he caused sentries to be posted in Lilley's quarters so as to render the punishment unnecessarily aggravating and severe—he had not then the materials on which he could contradict it. It was further said that there was a great deal of hesitation and delay about the production of papers. The fact was, that having to deal with such a mass of correspondence, the Government had great difficulty in knowing exactly what were the documents asked for. It had been asserted that it was wrong to give any papers at all; but the Government certainly desired to give only those which would enlighten the House. They were quite aware that the publication of one led to a demand for another, and that, therefore, it was very essential that none should be given except those which were absolutely necessary. As to the memorandum asked for, speaking on the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, he stated he did not know of any memorandum answering the description given of that required, except a private one. He believed that the memorandum asked for in the House was stated very clearly to be one in which the Commander-in-Chief modified the opinion given on the whole case in the first memorandum. His Royal Highness, conscious that he had never materially modified his first opinion, very naturally said he did not know of any memorandum of the kind. [Lord HOTHAM: What is the meaning, then, of the words, "very much modified?"] It was, he owned, unfortunate that these words were ever used, for they had led to great misapprehension. He believed many hon. Members and the public read those words without perusing the rest of the memorandum. The second memorandum modified was the Commander-in-Chief's opinion on Sir Hugh Rose'a remarks; but he did not think any document existed that materially modified his Royal Highness's view of the general merits of the case. As to the letter on which the noble Lord opposite laid so much stress, it was not a memorandum at all. His Royal Highness undoubtedly did not know what was the document which hon. Members wished to obtain when the delay arose as to the production of the memorandum. His Royal Highness, as he had told the House, was most anxious that all he had 851 written to Sir Hugh Rose modifying his opinion should be made known, and that led him to desire that certain passages of the letter referred to should, if possible, he given. The noble Lord was not correct in stating that the court-martial would cost £11,000 more than the House had yet heard of. He did not believe there was any sum including even the Indian allowances for witnesses in this country, of the slightest importance which was not comprised in the account already laid on the table. The noble Lord had complained of the narrow charge upon which Colonel Crawley was tried. Last year it was stated over and over again that Colonel Crawley was not responsible for the arrest. In that respect he was covered by the orders of his superior officer, but it was thought that there were circumstances connected with the manner in which the arrest had been carried out which ought to be made the subject of further investigation. Eventually that investigation assumed the form of a court-martial, and even before Parliament was prorogued last autumn the charges upon which it was intended to try Colonel Crawley were known. The noble Lord had also referred to the fact that the result of the court-martial was not promulgated in a general order. He did not know whether it would have been in accordance with precedent to issue a general order, but, at all events, the Commander-in-Chief had published a document in which the full and complete nature of the acquittal of Colonel Crawley was recorded, in which several hostile witnesses were severely censured, and in which others were subjected to punishment. It was not his intention to follow the noble Lord further. The whole question had already been decided, and he did not think any useful object would be gained by re-opening it.
§ SIR WILLIAM FRASER
said, he wished to call the attention of the Advocate General to what he submitted was the inexpediency of making the colonel of the regiment the prosecutor in the event of a court-martial upon an officer of his regiment. The practice was, in his opinion, most objectionable, as putting, it might be, a distinguished officer in an unpleasant position, and likely to breed ill-feeling in regiments. Supposing that an adjutant was brought before a court-martial and acquitted, how could the business of the regiment be properly carried on with the adjutant in daily communication with his 852 colonel who had tried, without success, to convict him of what had been laid to his charge. He trusted that some other arrangements would be adopted in future.
§ MR. HUNT
said, he thought that the whole question of the administration of military law required investigation. The present system worked well enough in ordinary cases, but, as had recently been proved, it broke down under unusual pressure. The duties of the Judge Advocate, he thought, wanted revision, for it was his duty to advise the prosecutor, whilst, at the same time, he was legal assessor to the tribunal that had to adjudicate on the matter. Surely a person who acted as assessor should not be connected with the prosecution; and probably it would be better to have a legal assessor to give his assistance to the court. It was also desirable that the practice of writing out questions should be done away with, and that witnesses should be subjected, when necessary, to a sharp cross-examination. There was another point as to the assistance given to a prisoner by legal gentlemen. If legal assistance was allowed to be given, why should it not be regularly recognized by the Court? In the case of Colonel Crawley, he was reprimanded by the Court for putting a certain question to; a witness, and he was obliged to explain that the question was not drawn up by him, but was first placed in his hands by the; gentleman who sat next to him—his legal assistant. Then the prisoner had to read a long defence, which was written for him by a legal gentleman the day before; but he did not see why, when the defence was to be made, the legal gentleman should not make his speech as in any other court. He thought the whole question of sufficient importance to be dealt with by a Royal Commission.
§ LORD LOVAINE
observed, that the recent trial had shown the great inconvenience of the present procedure; because words had been placed in the mouth of an officer attributing injustice to one of the highest military authorities in India, and folly to another. With reference to the speech which had been read by the prisoner in this case, that it was quite clear, from a note that subsequently appeared in The Times, it had been sent to that newspaper before it was delivered in court. As published, it contained passages which were omitted when the speech was actually read before the court.
said, he thought that the worst thing that could happen would be the introduction of an extra legal authority into courts-martial. He trusted that the time would never come when regimental or military courts-martial would be conducted by other than the colonel of the regiment; for, however much courts martial were blamed for their decisions, it generally turned out that they had been right after all. He hoped they had heard the last of the court-martial on Colonel Crawley. The continued discussion of the question was calculated to have a very deleterious effect upon the discipline of the army.
said, that when the subject was formerly before the House, he had expressed his opinion that in ordinary cases justice was well administered by courts-martial, but that the legal machinery of the Judge Advocate General's office was not sufficient to conduct such a trial as had lately taken place. At the same time, he could not admit many of the statements which had been made as to the manner in which that trial had been conducted; but that was a subject he would not go into at that time. It might be very easy to say that no legal assistance should be given, but he did not see how it was possible to preclude it. The whole subject of courts-martial was under consideration, and every effort would be made to place it on as sound and satisfactory a basis as possible.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again on Wednesday.