§ SUPPLY—ARMY ESTIMATES—considered in Committee:—
§ (In the Committee.)
(1.) Original Question again proposed,
That a sum not exceeding £5,434,567, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the General Staff, and Regimental Pay, Allowances, and Charges of Her Majesty's Land Forces at Home and Abroad exclusive of India, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31at day of March 1866, inclusive.
who had a Notice on the paper to move—That the present allowance of one shilling a day increase of pay to lieutenants of seven years' standing be extended to all subalterns of seven years service in the army,said, that by the rules of the service the seven years' standing of a lieutenant entitled him to an additional 1s. per diem to his original pay of 6s. 6d., thus making his pay 7s. 6d. But if an ensign should be twenty years in that position it would not count for anything if he should not become a lieutenant. There was one ensign who had been in the service ten years, another had served nine years, and another seven, and there was a total of 100 cornets and ensigns who had completed their fifth year. The ensign of ten years' standing, if made a lieutenant to-morrow, would not receive the additional 1s. pay until after serving seven years as a lieutenant, and he was of opinion, considering the duties they had to perform in all parts of the world, that all subalterns ought to receive an additional 1s. of pay after a service of seven years. The cavalry lieutenant, no matter how long he might have served, never received an addition of pay. Another great grievance in respect to the cavalry had reference to the adjutant's pay. The adjutant of a cavalry regiment received l1s. 6d. a day, out of which he had to purchase two chargers and pay 1S. 5d. a day for their forage. Thus he received only 10s. 1d. a day. An adjutant of an infantry regiment received 3s. 6d. a day besides his pay as lieutenant, which latter amounted to 6s. 6c?., making a total of 10s. a day. The adjutant of an infantry regiment also received an allowance in lieu of forage. There were other differences in favour of the infantry lieutenant, and he, therefore, hoped that some satisfactory explanation might be given of the difference in the allowances to the two classes of officers. The hon. and gallant Gentleman next adverted to the pay 1956 of privates, which was 1s. a day, and 1d. for beer money, being 1s. 1d. in all, besides free kits, trowsers, and other things on enlistment. From that sum was taken at once 8½d. a day for rations, extra messing (tea, coffee, vegetables), and washing. Beer was to be put down at 1d. These made 9½d. together, and left the soldier 3½d. a day out of 1s. 1d., and out of this he had to pay for barrack damages, washing sheets, hair cutting, and keeping up his kit. Another most serious item was known by the name of hospital stoppages, perfectly ruinous to married soldiers. After the free kit was worn out the soldier had to provide himself with foragecap, shell-jackets, three shirts, razors, shoe and cloth brushes, mits, soap, sponge, and havresack. No allowance was made for the great increase in the price of articles at the present day. In 1862 the soldier paid for a cotton shirt 2s. 10d.; in 1863 he paid 2s. l1d.; in 1864 3s. 2ld., and in the present year 4s. 3¼., and yet there had been no addition to the soldier's pay. The Secretary for the Navy told the House the other night that there had been an increase of pay in the navy amounting to nearly £250,000. The police of London had also received a considerable addition of pay, and the Government would commit a great error if they shut their eyes to the fact that sooner or later they must increase the pay of the soldier; for the salaries of servants, labourers, and of every class were becoming higher. A labourer in his county received 1s. 8d. a day, besides assistance, and during harvest time the pay was generally doubled and beer allowed. The labourer's children were able to go bird-keeping, for which they got 4d. or 5d?. a day. Besides all that, there was scarcely a parish in the country districts in which there was not a private charity from which, and from their garden plots and clubs, labourers received relief of one description or another if they had large families and little means. In fact, when the cases of the soldier and labourer were compared, it was impossible to say that the soldier was at all adequately paid. He was sorry that by the rules of the House he could not bring forward the question of increase of pay to the subalterns of the army in the shape of a Motion, but, considering the great expense to which young officers were put, he hoped the matter would be taken into consideration by the proper authorities. Last year a great fire broke out in the neighbourhood of Aldershot, and some troops were sent to the spot and were 1957 occupied there three or four days. The officers applied for some extra pay for the service performed and for the destruction of their clothing. The men received 9d. a day, which was a most miserable sum, considering the damage to their various articles, but no attention whatever was paid to the request of the officers.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, that in answer to a question which he had put to him on a former occasion, the noble Marquess had stated that he found on inquiry that no orders had been given a great number of years back by the authorities either of the Horse Guards or the Commander-in-Chief's Department with regard to the exclusion of Roman Catholics from any branch of the service. He was convinced that in making that statement the noble Marquess made it frankly, sincerely, and without any reservation. But within twenty-four hours afterwards it came to his knowledge that while the noble Marquess's statement, made on the authority of the officials of those two offices, was literally and perfectly correct, yet that such orders had been issued and acted on by the heads of departments in the army, without the sanction of the highest authority, distinctly excluding Roman Catholics from certain branches of the service. He would rather refrain from expressing his sentiments upon such orders thirty-five years after the emancipation of the Catholics; but he trusted the noble Marquess would be able to give them an assurance from the highest authorities who commanded the army, that adequate measures would be taken to prevent such orders being given by subordinate officials without the consent of the Commander-in-Chief or the Secretary of War.
§ MR. PERCY WYNDHAM
said, he rose according to notice, to ask the Under Secretary of State for War, whether it would not facilitate recruiting for the Army, if appointments in the Civil Service up to the value of 25s. per week were thrown open to those soldiers, who, after eighteen years' service with good character, chose to qualify themselves for the above appointments. He must observe that while the price of every description of labour had greatly increased within the last few years, the pay and prospects of the soldier remained precisely the same. That state of things, of course, operated adversely upon the recruiting of the army, a point upon which he would not now enter, as it had lately been gone into fully. He was quite content to accept the admission that re- 1958 cruiting was not proceeding as satisfactorily as could be wished. But he might remark that the army was constantly losing the services of its best men after, comparatively speaking, a very few years. With regard to the ten years' men, when the first period under the new Act expired, there was great apprehension as to so many well-trained soldiers leaving the army. That feeling was somewhat allayed by the discovery that a great number of them re-enlisted. But subsequent experience showed that it was all the worst men who had re-enlisted, whereas all the best had gone, and easily found employment elsewhere; so great a value did employers attach to men who, to their other qualifications, added that of previous service with good character in the army. But the case was still worse when they came to the noncommissioned officers. He was informed that there was hardly a young non-commissioned officer of about thirty who could not obtain a situation worth 25s. per week; and consequently men of that class were very often lost to the service, on whom the officers had so much to depend for maintaining the discipline and efficiency of the army. He was sure, therefore, the noble Lord would agree with him that if any means could be devised for retaining these men in the service, it would be most desirable to adopt them. He was glad to learn from the noble Lord the other night, that the Government had in contemplation some mode of holding out other inducements to non-commissioned officers besides the remote chance of becoming quartermasters. He thought it would be very advisable to throw open to soldiers of eighteen years' good service, and who chose to qualify themselves for them, appointments in the Government offices up to the value of 25s. per week. He did not wish to insinuate that these appointments ought to be given exclusively to soldiers. On the contrary, he would have soldiers go through the same test as other candidates for such situations. The test might even he heightened if it was deemed expedient; but he said that that test once passed, then, cateris paribus, a soldier ought always to be preferred to a civilian. As to the fitness of soldiers for such employments, he appealed to the experience of those who knew how they discharged the duties of porters, messengers, and similar functions. Supposing that they had enlisted at between eighteen and twenty-two, the most usual age, they would not be more than thirty-six or forty 1959 when they came to their new vocation—a time of life which surely could not be regarded as too advanced. He was aware that there was one obstacle in the way of the change he suggested—namely, that these appointments were usually looked upon as part of the patronage in the gift of the Government. There might, he knew, be some difficulty on the eve of a general election in giving up that patronage; but, the change once made, he did not think it would afterwards be regretted by any one. The hon. Member for Cork had spoken depreciatingly of this kind of patronage, and said he could get no one to take the places in the Post Office sent to him by Government to dispose of; but, for himself, he felt convinced that if appointments of this kind were given to deserving soldiers the change would be appreciated by the army, and he trusted that the Government would not refuse it a trial.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
believed that the proposal of the hon. Member who had just sat down would offer a great encouragement to the soldier to behave well. He recollected an occasion when a vacancy occurred in the portership of Chelsea Hospital, and the Governor asked the Paymaster General to appoint a soldier, but the reply of the latter was that the place was part of his patronage, and he gave it to his own butler. Now, that he thought was a great shame, for the men of the army had a just claim to such a vacancy. Lord Llanover, when at the head of the Office of Works, set an example in this matter, for which great credit, and the thanks of all interested in the soldier's welfare, were due to him. He began the system of giving the offices in his patronage to deserving old soldiers; and many of the men now employed as park-keepers, who had medals on their breasts testifying that they had served their country well, owed their appointments to that nobleman. That system might beneficially be carried much further, because there were many offices at the disposal of the Government which might be perfectly well filled by meritorious soldiers and sailors. The hon. and gallant Member opposite (Colonel North) had referred to the increased pay granted to the navy to the amount of a quarter of a million; and he might also have added the advantage given to the sailor who had his rations found him, and might save the whole of his pay, whereas the soldier had to bear the expense of his own food. Moreover, without depreciating the services of our 1960 sailors, the soldier was exposed to much greater privation, danger in various forms, and ought at least to be treated as liberally by his country. Men who served in the army often lost their health, and also their lives, from the entire want of those sanitary arrangements, that good food, and all those comforts which the sailors of the navy generally carried about with them, wherever their ships went. He wished to direct the noble Lord's attention to the leave of absence of officers of the Indian army. As soon as an officer put his foot on board a ship for England he lost his Indian pay. It was natural that when the voyage home occupied two or three months an Indian officer should be debarred from coming home, but why should this regulation exist when he would spend three or four months with his friends upon a six months' leave? The revocation of this prohibition would be felt as an enormous boon by officers serving in India. In his opinion neither officers nor men should be kept in unhealthy climates more than seven or eight years. Even if it were necessary to retain a regiment in India for ten or twelve years, the individual soldiers should be allowed to come home on six months' leave in seven or eight years. It was said that transports were to be built by the Government for the conveyance of troops, and he did not know why the navy should object to have a few soldiers on board a Queen's ship. He wished also to point out the practice that existed in India of delaying to pay soldiers according to their rank. The commanding officer of a regiment in India had lately found it necessary to appoint ten acting sergeants, yet they would not be paid as sergeants until the discharge of the others was notified to the authorities at home. If a soldier were promoted to be corporal or sergeant, and did the duty, why should he not receive the pay at once without waiting for the notification of the discharge of his predecessor at home, often six or eight months?
said, that he entirely agreed with his hon. Friend (Colonel North) in the remarks he had made. He was glad to see two or three reductions in the Vote, which had all been from time to time recommended by that (the Opposition) side of the House. The reduction of the depot battalions, for example, must be gratifying to every soldier. He was glad likewise to see that the Estimates for the movement of troops was reduced this year from £70,000 to £50,000. 1961 Every military man who looked at the condition of the soldier and the little inducement held out to recruiting felt apprehensive with respect both to the number and quality of our recruits. It was only in the War Office that no anxiety existed. He had recently an opportunity of learning the opinion of many officers on this subject, and he believed that apprehension with regard to the future prospects of the service were entertained everywhere except at the War Office. It might not be possible to give a large increase of pay to our soldiers, but there were many economical reforms that would cost little, yet would do a great deal of good, by holding out additional advantages to those who wished to enter the service. The Government, for instance, from a mistaken economy, withheld from the non-commissioned officer the good conduct pay, which, as his service increased, was granted to the private, while it substituted a commuted allowance of 2d. a day additional to the former pay of non-commissioned officers. The latter might receive an addition of 5d. per day to his pay if he remained long enough in the army; and why, he would ask, should the non-commissioned officer be restricted to a commuted allowance of 2d. a day, and not receive the additions which he merited by service and good conduct? In fact, it was a premium to good men not to become noncommissioned officers, while it was the obvious advantage to the service to hold out such advantages that every soldier should strive for promotion. He believed the whole sum saved in this way was not more than £25,000 a year. Every soldier was aware of the difficulty of inducing the ten years' men to re-enlist. He would add his voice to those who recommended that a soldier should receive a higher rate of pay during his second period of service. If the War Office would take a few general officers and commanding officer of regiments, and be guided by the advice of a Board so formed, means would be found and suggested by experienced men, which enabled the country to obtain the service of these men without any large addition to the Estimates. He was informed that for a sum of £10 many of the cavalry soldiers now in India and entitled to their discharge could be retained in the service. For want of this outlay the country was put to the expense of £26 passage-money home, and an equal sum for passage out, on his return, 1962 if he enlisted in England. The soldier came to England, received bounty-money, and re-enlisted in a regiment for India. Thus, rather than pay £10 in India, the Government thus incurred an expense of £52, besides the bounty-money. He observed that while those serious questions affecting the recruiting of the army were neglected, instructions were issued from the War Office on the most trivial subjects, as for the due transfer of keleidoscopes and magic-lantern slides from one regiment to another. These were puerilities that proceeded from civilians, and not soldiers. He regretted to say, and it was well known that one cause of the difficulty of procuring men was the unfair practices that prevailed in granting pensions to soldiers—every evasion was practised in regard to the payment of pensions. It was with a feeling of disgust that he read the other day in one of the newspapers of a poor man—Corporal Hackett—who had committed suicide. He had been corpora] in the 60th regiment, and had two clasps, and had recently been discharged. His conduct had been so meritorious that he had been by his officers, recommended to a Colonel Beresford (a Colonel of Volunteers he believed), who had obtained for him some employment at a wharf. He had contracted bad health in India, and a pension had been given him of only 7d. a day, and, to make it worse, that was only a pension for three years. Of course he could not say that the smallness of the pension caused his death by inducing him to commit suicide, but he must have felt the injustice with which he was treated, and every man in the House must condemn it. He (Colonel Dunne) knew a man who had been in the West Indies with the 19th regiment, and came home with heart disease; yet he only had a small pension for a year, and consequently was forced to go to work, and he dropped down dead. He also knew a man who was twice wounded in the Crimea, and who got bronchitis; but he was refused a pension upon the ground that he had the seeds of the disease when he enlisted. He had heard of a man who had a good character, and who had been wounded, getting one of these temporary pensions, and afterwards walking about the streets of Limerick where he acted, as stated by a gallant Friend opposite, as a warning to people not to enlist. A sum of £4,400 was granted yearly for rewards for good conduct, but the £400, which was not drawn in consequence of a portion of the 1963 army being in India, and was paid there, was disposed of he knew not how, but at least was not expended in rewards to the army at home or in the Colonies, although actually voted for that purpose. Surely this is a paltry and injudicious saving, for such things acted powerfully upon soldiers. He was quite certain they would get recruits if they would only keep faith with the soldier. The hon. Member for Cumberland had made a suggestion, which he hoped would be carried out as far as possible. The late Secretary of State for War had paid great attention to the health of the army; but what was the present state of things? Not long ago in Bermuda yell wfeer brokeut. It had done so in 1853, and then certain recommendations of a sanitary kind were made; but on the second visitation it was found that not one of the precautions necessary had been carried into effect. The hospital was perfectly unfit for the reception of the troops. The precautions recommended would have saved the troops; but the sanitary condition of Bermuda was just as bad as its defence. He observed a Vote for the payment of a person to revise the mass of orders and regulations issued at various times to our army, and he thought it very important that the Code of Military regulations should be digested and cleared of all contradictory orders from the time of William III. downwards, so that there should be but one code of military law; but he did not understand why that duty should have been intrusted to a gentleman who, certainly, was a very successful novelist, but of whose business qualities the only proof afforded was that he had been secretary to some association of needleworkers. He thought the matter should have been intrusted to military men, a Board for the purpose should have been formed of officers thoroughly conversant with the details of the service, of experienced clerks from the different War Departments, and of army agents. These regulations comprised details on every possible subject, from the pay of a soldier to the conduct of troops on board ship, and to those of the army in the field, no civilian could ever understand them; and the appointment should have been made for the advantage of the public service, and not for the purpose of jobbery. Efficiency he held, as regarded the army, was much better than mere money; but what money was granted by Parliament should be well applied.
§ MR. POLLARD - URQUHART
said, that he could corroborate the statement which had been made as to the inconvenience suffered by officers from India in not being allowed to land at Constantinople for fear of infringing the regulations. He hoped the arrangements would be revised with a view of securing greater comfort. He thought what had been said by his hon. and gallant Friend behind him (Sir Harry Verney) well entitled to the attention of the War Office. He also hoped the Government would favourably consider the suggestions which had been made for a slight increase in the pay of subalterns after a certain number of years' service.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that he thought the noble Lord the Under Secretary for War must have a very good memory, or must be very careful in his note-taking, to be able to recollect all the questions which were asked of him, and he suggested that questions should not be cumulative, but each be answered as it was put. He was not quite sure, that the noble Lord had answered two questions he had formerly put to him—first, in reference to the balance of £533,433 of extra receipts that ought to be deducted from the general Estimate of the year; and secondly, with regard to the proportion of officers to men in weak as well as in strong regiments, and whether in the reduction of men, a ratio ought not to be preserved in putting officers on half pay. He thought the pay of subaltern officers insufficient. Unless an officer had means of his own he could not support himself with that respectability that every officer in the army was expected to sustain. The pay of officers in the British army was, indeed, higher than that of officers in the French army; but in this country everything was higher in price. It was very desirable with respect to filling up vacancies in the European troops in India that a considerable amount of bounty money should be paid as an inducement to re-enlist rather than allow acclimatized men to leave the army. Such men could go through another ten years of service vigorously.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the answer which it had been suggested that he should give to the observations of the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North)—namely, that the allowance to officers of seven years' 1965 standing in the infantry but not in the cavalry formed part of a system for which it would be difficult to give any other reason than that it had always existed, was not exactly the reply which he was about to make. He found that the pay both of infantry and cavalry soldiers had received successive modifications since 1797. Originally the pay of cavalry soldiers was considerably higher, but in 1806 various alterations were made with a view of more nearly assimilating the pay of both branches of the service, and allowances were made to infantry officers including the 1s. per day to lieutenants of more than seven years' standing, which were deliberately withheld from the cavalry. There was obviously some difficulty in answering the appeal of the hon. and gallant Member, because it was impossible to contend that the rate of pay received by subalterns in the British army was liberal. Still, it must be recollected that there were few, if any, professions in which a young man was able to make a good living, and that there were other things, such as social position, excitement, prospects of honour and distinction, which, irrespective of pay, made the position of an officer greatly sought after. He should be very unwilling to lay too much stress on the argument he was about to use, knowing that officers were attracted to the army by motives much higher than those of pay, but still it could not be denied that any Government would lay itself open to very severe observation which proposed to raise the pay of officers at a time when the supply of good officers was quite equal to all the requirements of the service. It was scarcely worth while, he thought, to discuss the minute differences of pay between various branches of the service, bearing in mind that when alterations were recently made in the cavalry, those alterations tended not to the improvement of pay, but to the reduction of the price of commissions, by which means, as Lord Herbert anticipated, a class of men with moderate means, who before had been deterred by the expensive mode of living kept up in the cavalry, were attracted to that service, and no difficulty was now felt in obtaining a supply of excellent officers for the cavalry any more than for the infantry regiments. It must be remembered that if some ranks in the cavalry did not enjoy allowances which were granted to the infantry, they possessed some compensating advantage in 1966 the fact that promotion, generally speaking, was quicker in the cavalry. So with the adjutant. In the cavalry, unlike the infantry, he was not forced to burden himself with extra expense in obtaining his rank, being entitled to keep two horses in virtue of the commissions previously held by him. As to the observations of the hon. Member for Cumberland (Mr. Percy Wyndham), he had stated the other night what it was the wish and intention of the War Department to do with regard to the employment of pensioners and non-commissioned officers. They had already introduced a considerable number of them into their own office, but the change was one which must be carried out very gradually. Some of these new clerks had been employed to some extent in the civil branches of the War Department, and, as far as the experiment had been tried, he believed it had worked very successfully. It was the wish of the Department to employ as many men as possible belonging to the army, with a view not only of encouraging a most deserving class of non-commissioned officers, but also because it was believed that it would be more economical to employ them than a number of highly paid establishment clerks. The experiment would be fairly tried, but he could not promise the House that any great number would be suddenly appointed. It would give his noble Friend (Earl de Grey and Ripon) and himself great pleasure if other public offices could be induced to follow the example of the War Office, and employ military men; but it was hardly a matter upon which any pressure could be exercised, because, however desirable it might be to employ soldiers in such positions, there were, of course, a great many other persons deserving of employment, and no general rule could be laid down on the subject. At the War Office and at the Horse Guards he had already stated that, as far as was consistent with the interests of the public service, a preference would be given to military candidates. The hon. Member for Buckingham (Sir Harry Verney) had referred to several points connected with the army in India, especially as regarded leave of absence. Those observations ought properly to be addressed to the India Office, because directly a regiment reached India the War Department, as far as financial 1967 matters were concerned, ceased to have anything to do with it. The hon. and gallant Member for Queen's County (Colonel Dunne) stated that money would be saved if soldiers could be induced to re-enlist out there by the offer of a higher bounty. As a matter of fact, a very high rate of bounty was offered both in India and the colonies to soldiers about to return home, with a view of inducing them to re-enlist out there. It was quite possible that the offer of a still higher rate of bounty might induce men to re-enlist in greater numbers, but on this point the Indian Government must be assumed to be the best judges. For the granting of pensions, the War Department was in no way responsible. That duty, he thought wisely, had been separated from the administration of the army, and intrusted to the Chelsea Commissioners, who acted independently of any Government or Government Department, their business being simply to interpret the different warrants under which pensions were granted; and, as far as he was aware, they did so in a fair, if not a liberal spirit. The gravest assertion which he had heard made that evening was the one made by the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Dunne),—namely, that in spite of the severe yellow fever which at one time raged at Bermuda, no precautions had been taken to guard against its return. He was quite aware of the fact that yellow fever had again broken out, but he heard for the first time that it was in consequence of the neglect of proper precautions.
in explanation, said, that it was not "in consequence" of the neglect of precautions, but because the precautions taken were insufficient.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he had never heard before that any precautions recommended at Bermuda had been neglected, and hoped the hon. and gallant Gentleman would point out any shortcomings which there might have been in this respect. For, however anxious the late Lord Herbert might have been on the subject, his noble Friend now at the head of the War Department would yield to none in his anxiety to enforce sanitary regulations in the widest sense. With regard to the appointment of a gentleman for revising the military regulations to which the hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Dunne) had referred, the only regulations now under revision were those referring to the finances of the War Office, 1968 which related to the pay of the army, and were to be found in warrants which had been issued during a great many years. These had formed so complicated a mass of instructions and regulations as to be almost unintelligible to anybody but the clerks in the War Office who had spent their lives in the study of them. It seemed to the Government that the great object to be attained was to put these regulations into the simplest form, in order to avoid, as far as possible, any mistakes or misinterpretations which might be made in reading them, and the Government thought that no person was so likely to put these instructions into an intelligible form as a gentleman of legal education. The hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Dunne) said the appointment ought to have been given to an officer, but the education of an officer, of all persons in the world, would the least fit him for such a task. The duties of an officer consisted of superintending his regiment and in studying military affairs, and were not connected with the payments and allowances to the army. It might be said that there were many clerks in the War Office competent for the task. There were many clerks in the War Office who could make the regulations intelligible to those who knew the objects, but the desire was to make them intelligible to anyone who took up the book, and to enable the military man at once to see what allowances he was entitled to, if any. That seemed to him (the noble Marquess) a task that could be performed by no one but an intelligent and able lawyer, who, from his education and previous training, was the fittest person to codify them. At least, it would be performed better by such a person than either an officer or a clerk at the War Office. The codified regulations had not yet been published, but he was in hopes that when they were it would be seen that the appointment which had been made was not a bad one, and that the regulations would prove of great convenience to the army, as well as be the means by which a great amount of labour would be saved in the War Office. It had been stated that this was a permanent appointment, but he (the noble Marquess) need scarcely assure the House that that was not the fact. Mr. Hughes had been employed as any lawyer might be, for a particular undertaking, and when the work was completed his duties would cease at the War Office. The hon. and gallant Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes) had 1969 stated that be had not answered the question put to him the other night as to a certain discrepancy in the Estimates. The statements in the Estimates showed only those sums which passed into the Exchequer through the books of the War Office, and the capitation grant was paid direct to the Exchequer, and therefore both sums did not appear in the account given in the Estimates. With regard to the reduction of officers which an hon. Member had referred to, the Government did not think it desirable to make any reduction. In reference to the question of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly), he could only repeat the answer which he gave the other night, and which, to the best of his information, was perfectly correct. No orders were ever given from the War Office or the Horse Guards limiting the recruiting for the Royal Artillery to any class of Her Majesty's subjects throughout the country. If the hon. Member would put him in possession of the facts which had come to his knowledge, he (the noble Marquess) should think it his duty to institute an immediate inquiry, in order to ascertain who had taken upon himself a responsibility which he was not warranted in doing by any order from the War Office.
said, the different financial allowances were known to all the officers. He gave credit to the noble Lord for simplifying the regulations, but not for the choice of the person to perform the task. A lawyer did not know so much of military finance as a clerk in the War Office, or as an officer who spent half his life in studying the matter. He would ask the noble Lord whether there had been any recent order by which adjutants of infantry were to be also instructors of musketry in cavalry, and that without any additional pay?
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, the circumstances to which he had alluded were simply these. In 1855 the Earl of Donoughraore commanded a regiment of Tipperary Artillery (the Earl himself was his authority for the statement), and it would be in the recollection of many present that that regiment was remarkable for the good conduct of the men—so much so that at one period it was contemplated to enrol the whole regiment as a body of the Royal Artillery. That proposal first met with the approbation of His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, but it was thought there would be a difficulty in getting the officers to go along with the men. It would be seen, however, that there were other motives at 1970 work. In 1855 the officer charged in Ireland with the duty of superintending the whole recruiting for the Royal Artillery came to the head-quarters of the Tipperary regiment to beg for recruits for the Royal Artillery; but having learnt in a conversation with the noble Earl in command that the regiment consisted almost entirely of Roman Catholics, the recruiting officer said he was very much surprised that he should be sent to ask for recruits from that regiment, as he had strict orders from the officers in command of the Royal Artillery not to take a larger proportion of Roman Catholic recruits than one in six, and he was consequently every day rejecting eligible recruits. Earl Donoughmore was struck with such a monstrous statement, and his first exclamation was that if that were the case he did not think he would be justified in allowing his men to volunteer for the Royal Artillery, unless they did it with the knowledge of this circumstance. Owing to the remonstrance of the officer, however, and the anxiety to get volunteers, the noble Earl, actuated by a patriotism which did him honour, especially when contrasted with the sectarian bigotry of the Royal Artillery authorities, thought the crisis of a great war was not the moment for discussing such differences as these, and he reserved to himself the right of bringing this matter forward at a later period, and at the same time took the precaution that if his men volunteered into the Royal Artillery they should be kept together and treated in such a way that their religion would not be greatly interfered with by the rules of the army. The noble Earl allowed the volunteering to go on, and a very considerable number were enrolled in the Royal Artillery. He was in a position, if necessary, to give the name of the officer who made this statement. He thought these facts clearly proved what he had stated—that such orders were given and acted upon. And if these orders were not given by the authorities commanding the Royal Artillery, he thought the House would feel, and the country would feel, that it was absolutely necessary they should know on whose responsibility such orders were given, and whether they could be given and acted upon again. Another reason which induced the Earl of Donoughmore not to bring the subject forward at the time was that he felt, and naturally so, that the professional prospects of the officer who made the statement might be injured. He might also state that the 1971 same principle was acted upon in the Royal Artillery to the present day, as was shown by the fact that in volunteering a short time ago from the Foot to the Royal Horse Artillery all the volunteers who were Roman Catholics were rejected. That such was the case he was ready to prove, and to mention time and place if necessary. It was very curious to trace the origin of that peculiar prejudice in the artillery service. He had been told that long ago—? prior to the period of Roman Catholic emancipation—the idea was that although Catholics were admitted to the service they should not be admitted to rifle corps. There were then only two corps armed with the rifle, the 58th regiment and the Rifle Brigade; and possibly it was thought that if all the Roman Catholics turned out, armed only with smooth-bores, the rifle regiments might be able to put them down. In the year 1858, when every regiment in the service was armed with the rifle, that religious exclusiveness was in force to a considerable extent with regard to what were still called rifle corps. He would, he might add, refrain from making any comments on the facts which he had stated. He could scarcely trust himself to do so. He hardly knew how to characterize a course of proceeding which, thirty years after the passing of the Emancipation Act, had for its object the exclusion of any class of Her Majesty's subjects from Her Majesty's service. Emancipation had freed the higher classes of Roman Catholics from almost all the disabilities under which they laboured, and he had yet to learn that it would be regarded by that House as sound policy to shut out their poorer fellow-countrymen from the objects of an honourable ambition. He, however, entertained the utmost confidence that the matter would be fully investigated by the War Department, and that a full explanation of the circumstances would be given as the noble Lord had promised.
said, that the answer which had been given by the noble Lord to the two questions which he had put to him was anything but satisfactory. There was no satisfactory explanation of why lieutenants of cavalry were deprived of an increase of pay after seven years, in the reason that in the year 1806 some grievous injustice was done to the cavalry. Then he asked why it was that the cavalry adjutant had not the same pay as the infantry adjutant. It was said that while the infantry adjutant had only one horse, 1972 the cavalry adjutant had two; but he (Colonel North) could not understand how that accounted for the inconsistency. As to there being no difficulty in getting officers, he could only say that he recollected when he had made a similar remark to one holding a very high office his reply was, "There are a great crop of fools growing up in the country."
§ MR. COGAN
said, that he thought the Committee must have been very much startled by the revelations which had been made by his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly), and had no doubt that the impression which they would produce in the country would be very great, There were very few hon. Members, he believed, who could have supposed it possible that any subordinate officer in the army would have ventured, against the authority of the Horse Guards, to take a step such as his hon. Friend had described, calculated as it was to cause not only dissatisfaction, but disaffection. Great credit was, he thought, due to the noble Earl (the Earl of Donoughmore) who had enabled his hon. and gallant Friend to bring the matter before the House; and he must say that the dissension which such a state of things was likely to produce among our own population appeared to him to be a far more fertile source of national weakness and danger than that possibility of an American war which had so recently formed the subject of discussion. He had no doubt, however, that, in the hands of the War Office, the grievance complained of would be inquired into, and a remedy provided. The case demanded that there should be a searching investigation, and that the severest censure should be passed upon the officer, whoever he was, who had presumed to draw distinctions so invidious between Her Majesty's subiects
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, it appeared to him very strange that the existence of such a state of things as this in the army should be unknown to the headquarters of the Royal Artillery and to the noble Lord; and it was still more strange that the noble Lord should be still uninformed, upon this second occasion, as to the existence of this alleged practice. He further wished to ask the noble Lord for information as to the expired service men in India, and whether the noble Lord would lay on the table a statement of the number of time-expired men during the last year in India; of the number who 1973 had taken advantage of the discharge, and had received their passage money; and of the number now in this country. He wished also to ask why it was that a paper similar to that which had, under the authority of an Act of Parliament, been presented with regard to the Naval Estimates, contrasting the actual expenditure for the service with the amount voted, and containing other valuable information, did not accompany the Army Estimates.
said, it would, of course, be perfectly superfluous to state after what the noble Marquess had said that there could be no doubt of his ignorance of what had taken place. At the same time he might add that certain allegations had come to his own knowledge which, although he could not follow them up completely, still led him to the conclusion that such orders as those referred to had been at least indirectly issued in some quarter. He trusted steps would be taken to inquire into the subject.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
repeated that he had made inquiries at the Horse Guards and at the War Office, and had ascertained that no such orders had been issued from either of those Departments. He would, however, again assure the Committee that a thorough investigation into the circumstances mentioned should be instituted, and inquiries as to whether any officers of the Royal Artillery had taken upon themselves to do what had not been authorized at head-quarters. A Return of the number of time-expired men who had taken their discharge in India and the colonies had been moved for by the hon. and gallant Member for Oxfordshire, and would be presented as early as possible. The other paper to which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. H. Seymour) had referred was being prepared, and he would lay it on the table when it was completed.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
suggested that it would be more convenient that this account should be produced before the discussion of the Army Estimates commenced.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
admitted that that would be convenient, but considerable time must necessarily be occupied in making up the accounts.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ (2.) £1,205,800, Commissariat Establishment, Services, and Movement of Troops.1974
§ (3.) £574,256, Clothing Etablishments, Services, and Supplies.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that he wished to inquire how much of the clothing of the army was obtained from the establishment at Pimlico, and how much was supplied by contract. He also desired an explanation of a note stating that the clothing of the Irish constabulary was provided for by the Government clothing establishment.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the information as to the quantity of clothing supplied by the establishment at Pimlico and obtained by contract, desired by the right hon. Gentleman, was, for the first time, contained in the appendix. The reason for the Vote as to the clothing of the Irish constabulary was that the contracts for the supply of such clothing were managed by the establishment at Pimlico.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, that the appendix showed only an expenditure of £44,783 upon tunics supplied by contract, which could hardly be correct.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (4.) £609,900, Barrack Establishments, Services, and Supplies.
§ (5.) £44,335, Divine Service.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, that he wished to ask whether that sum included the charge for Roman Catholic and Presbyterian services?
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £26,300, Martial Law.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, that he wished to ask the noble Marquess the Under Secretary whether the Queen's regulations were observed with equal strictness in all branches of the service, for instance, in the Guards as well as in the line; and also whether any Report had been made to him of commanding officers having used ungentlemanly language in addressing their men. It was not necessary for him to go into particulars, but he could, if it was needed, give instances, in which not only during actual operations, when it might be pardoned, but in time of peace, general officers had employed language which they ought not to have used towards their equals, still less towards their inferiors, who could not reply.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the Queen's regulations applied equally to all corps in Her Majesty's service, and, as far as he was aware, were equally observed by all. No instance of the use of bad language by commanding officers had ever come to his knowledge, nor, unless it had been made the subject of a court-martial or a court of inquiry, would such a complaint come under the consideration of the Secretary of State for War. The Commander-in-Chief was responsible for the discipline of the army, and all such cases should be referred to, and would be disposed of by him.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, that it was that of which he complained. He had repeatedly heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) say that the Secretary of State for War was responsible for everything that took place in the army; and he therefore looked to the noble Marquess the Under Secretary to give him a satisfactory reply upon every subject connected with our military forces. The Committee was now asked to vote a sum for the administration of martial law, and he was given to understand that that law was often violated by those who ought to set a better example.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, it was impossible to reply to statements so general as those made by the hon. Baronet. If the hon. Baronet would state publicly or to him in private what particular cause of complaint he had it should be inquired into.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, he would give the noble Lord an instance in private. He would not do so publicly, as such a course would tend to the injury of the army.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
said, that being connected with the army he thought it incumbent upon him to state that no language could be more unexceptionable than that heard at the mess. [Sir JOHN TRELAWNY: I did not refer to the mess.] The same observation would apply to the treatment which officers extended to the men under their command. Of course, exceptional instances would always occur, as they did in all positions of life, but, as a rule, no class of society was more exempt from the charge made by the hon. Baronet than were the officers of the army.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (7.) £246,544, Army Medical Establishment, Service, and Supplies.1976
§ (8.) £786,400, Disembodied Militia.
said, he wished to call attention to the alteration that had been made this year for calling out the disembodied regiments of militia. Last year the noncommissioned officers were called out for twenty-eight days first for training, then the recruits were called out for fourteen days, and the rest of the regiment for twenty-one days. That was a very good arrangement, but this year the recruits were only to be called out for seven days only before the regiment. This alteration had the effect of drawing the attention of the adjutant and non-commissioned officers from the recruits to the rest of the regiment before the former were equal to the duties expected of them. The drill of a militia regiment he thought of less importance than its organization. He was glad to see that the War Office had shown a great desire to improve militia regiments, and with regard to the slight increase of expense he thought the money might be spent with greater advantage if the War Office had increased the number of staff Serjeants than by increasing the number of days for calling out the regiments. The extra seven days would cost nearly £500, whereas ten staff Serjeants might be appointed who would be of greater use in keeping the regiment in a better state. He approved of their reducing the strength of the regiment to 500 men rather than making them 700 or 900 strong. He hoped the noble Lord would next year go back to the fourteen days' drill of the recruits, because increasing the staff Serjeants would be more conducive to the efficiency of the service.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE
said, he was informed that adjutants of militia and Volunteer regiments had been in the habit of purchasing and letting their appointments for sums varying from £2,000 to £3,000, and he was desirous of knowing whether any measure had been adopted to put a stop to such a practice.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the alterations with regard to the drill of the militia referred to by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Dickson), had been made solely upon the recommendation of the militia officers. It was stated that the reduction which had been made in the amount of drill had proved very injurious to the training and discipline of the various corps, especially where they had to go through a certain amount of musketry practice. Almost all of the 1977 commanding officers were of opinion that the seven days' extra training was of the greatest advantage to the men. The hon. and gallant Member (Colonel Dickson) had agreeably surprised him by stating that drill was soon learnt, as such was not the view usually taken by hon. Members sitting near that hon. and gallant Member. He learnt from the Reports of the Inspector General of Militia, and of the various officers in the Line who had inspected these militia regiments, that a great deal had been done in the way of training them, and he believed that many of those regiments had attained such a state of efficiency, not only in point of numbers, but in point of drill, that they would be available in case of necessity. He agreed with the hon. and gallant Member that a fortnight's preliminary drill for recruits would be most desirable and would be of great service, and although it could not be given them this year, with a week's more training of the whole regiment on account of the great expense to the public, he hoped next year the proposition would be carried out. In reply to the hon. and learned Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) he was sorry to say he was aware that in some instances large sums had been given by militia and Volunteer adjutants for their appointments. It was a practice not only not sanctioned by the authority of the War Office but exceedingly injurious and in direct contravention of regulations and of military law. Last year the War Office issued a circular to all the lord-lieutenants directing them when vacancies were to be filled up to call upon the commanding officers to assure them that the new adjutant was not recommended by the retiring officer. This was all they could do, as transactions of this kind might be so managed as to make it almost impossible to prove them. If the commanding officers did their duty in selecting proper men to fill the office of adjutant the object of any illegal bargain between the incoming and the retiring officers would in all probability be frustrated.
§ SIR JOHN TRELAWNY
said, he thought the remedy was not so hopeless as the noble Lord appeared to imagine. He thought the remedy was by the War Department keeping a list of persons competent to fill the post of adjutant in a regiment, and when the recommendation of the lord-lieutenant was sent up, for the War Office to select the first man on the list. There could be no doubt that the 1978 system would continue, unless some effective check, similar to that he suggested, was adopted.
said, he considered it would be impossible to stop the sale of the commission, and this was a warning to those who talked so much to that House about stopping the sale of commissions. The practice had notoriously been winked at for years. He, therefore, complained of the War Office issuing the circular referred to by the noble Lord. Everything was worth just what it would fetch, and if it was worth anything somebody would find means to purchase it. The remedy proposed by the hon. Baronet would not stop the practice complained of, and it would throw an unjust amount of ill feeling on the officer who attempted to stop it. It would be unjust to those officers who had purchased if they were now to turn round and stop the system. It was a system plausible to argue upon, but it was not so easy to stop. It should have been done leng before this—in fact, it was now too late to attempt it.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, the Volunteer force was yet young, and he trusted the practice, if it existed at all, would be discouraged in every possible way by the War Office. As it was at present quite exceptional it might easily be put an end to. The fact was that the adjutant held a post of so much importance to the commanding officers that the selection ought to rest with the latter, and if they took sufficient care in their selection the practice might be stopped. He trusted the War Office would not adopt the suggestion of the hon. Baronet (Sir John Trelawny). When once appointed there was no getting rid of him. Like taking a wife, it was for better or worse, except that in the latter case there was the Divorce Court. You could get rid of your wife if you disagreed, but you could not get rid of your adjutant. The whole conduct, well-being, and efficiency of a regiment depended upon the adjutant. The commanding officer had to rely almost entirely upon him, and it was quite right that commanding officers should be allowed time to look out for the best man, and obtain, if possible, one who perfectly suited them.
said that the whole matter ought to be left to the discretion of the commanding officer. The purchase and sale of adjutancies was a most mischievous practice; and he had done everything in his power to prevent it. But it 1979 was a practice which had crept in, and the reason was that the War Office sold commissions of deceased officers itself; and the crime, the vice, or the folly of the practice was by their connivance at least.
§ MR. C. P. GRENFELL
said, hon. Gentlemen seemed to be unaware that these appointments were in the hands of lord-lieutenants, and he believed that all lord-lieutenants who had set their faces against the purchase of adjutancies in the militia, had been able to put a stop to the practice. He did not believe that the War Office had in any way connived at the practice. He believed that the sales took place with the permission of the commanding officers, who in this way got rid of adjutants who displeased them.
said, he could not see what lord-lieutenants had to do with the matter, if the person interested gave his undertaking that, neither directly nor indirectly, had he received any money consideration. A friend had consulted him as to what he should do in relation to a change of this kind, and all he (Colonel North) told him was to read his certificate, which declared that neither directly or indirectly had money passed, and if after reading that, he chose to take money he was not a fit associate for any gentleman.
§ MR. BASS
said, he wished to observe that while in the army a regular purchase system prevailed, yet in the militia and Volunteers such a system ought to be unknown. He regretted that the noble Lord (Lord Elcho) had pledged himself that the sale of adjutancies did not take place in the Volunteer corps. Although both buyer and seller declared upon their honour that they had not been parlies to any sale or purchase, yet it was a fact that such things did occur. It appeared, therefore, that there was a conventional mode of getting rid of a sense of honour, and it would be well for the noble Marquess to consider by what means he could render such gentlemen conscious of a sense of honour and duty in that direction.
said, that upon referring to the portion of the Army List devoted to the militia, he found a note that all appointments to second-lieutenancies and ensigncies were suspended, and that vacancies were shown by stars. Upon further examination, he found that in some regiments there were hardly anything but stars. He would wish the noble Marquess to state the number of vacancies among the officers of militia regiments. Any re- 1980 giment which was without a sufficient number of officers could not be said to be in a satisfactory state. It was just the opposite to the principle which prevailed in Canada, where it was said there were no men, but a sufficient number of persons were qualifying themselves for officers. Perhaps the noble Marquess would state why the suspension of appointments had taken place.
said, that being in command of a militia regiment, he could speak upon the point referred to by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. In his regiment until lately he had but two subalterns, but within the last week or two he had succeeded in getting three more officers. The cause of the difficulty was that no young man would enter as an officer into the militia unless he had a certain amount of fortune. That difficulty was not confined to Ireland, but was equally felt in this country. In reply to the hon. Gentleman he begged to say that these appointments did not rest with the lord-lieutenants, but with the War Departmant.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he admitted that there were many vacancies for subalterns in the militia. The lord-lieutenants gave various explanations of the cause, but probably the main cause was that stated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite that a certain amount of private fortune was necessary. Something also was due to the great competition for commissions in the Volunteer service, which had no doubt diminished the supply for the militia service. The fact that those numerous vacancies in the militia existed was to be regretted, because he agreed with the right hon, and gallant General that a corps could not be in a satisfactory state without a proper complement of subalterns.
§ Vote agreed to.
(9.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum not exceeding £91,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the yeomanry which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1866, inclusive.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, that he wished to ask, whether the War Department intended to consider the necessity of making such changes in the Yeomanry as would make them fit to act as an auxiliary cavalry force to the Volunteers and the militia. Some changes were necessary in drill, in 1981 arms, and even in dress. The Yeomanry j was an expensive force. The drill was not sufficient to make the force equal to mounted riflemen, even if their arms were such as to justify such an expectation, which they were not, as with the carbines now in use it was almost impossible to hit any object. It was a subject that deserved the consideration of the War Department.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, that last Session they were told by the noble Lord, that as this force was totally unnecessary for the defence of the country they would not be called out for the annual training. Accordingly last year no Vote was proposed in the Estimate for the expense of the usual week's drill of the Yeomanry; a Motion was made on the subject by the hon. and gallant Member for Beverley (Colonel Edwards), but the House affirmed the decision of the Government. A fortnight afterwards a deputation of Yeomanry colonels waited on the noble Lord at the head of the Government and pressed him to reconsider his determination. The noble Lord told them that, in consequence of the New Zealand war being brought to a conclusion, he should consent to the Yeomanry being called out as usual, and a supplementary Estimate was brought in for that purpose. It was rather a singular reason to allege for a warlike demonstration that war was at an end. He (Mr. Lawson) hoped the war in New Zealand was now really drawing to a close; and following the noble Viscount's argument, that was a sufficient reason why the House should now refuse to vote this sum for these antiquated and rather clumsy warriors. He, therefore, moved that the Vote be reduced to the sum of £43,117, which was as nearly as he could make out the cost of the week's permanent drill.
Whereupon, Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum not exceeding £47,897, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Yeomanry, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1866, inclusive."—(Mr. Lawson.)
THE MARCHESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that he thought the hon. Gentleman had not quite correctly stated the circumstances under which it had been proposed last year to omit this Vote. It was then said that although it was desirable that the Yeomanry force should be annually trained, still it was considered that as a matter of economy and without any loss of efficiency they might permit the training to 1982 be suspended for a year, in which, like the last, we were incurring a large expenditure for the war in New Zealand. However, after a very close division, and after hearing the representations of Yeomanry officers, the noble Lord at the head of the Government did think, considering that the accounts from New Zealand then appeared more favourable than the reality subsequently turned out to be, that he might consent to insert the Vote. It was anticipated then that ample provision had been made for the New Zealand war, though he was afraid it would be seen when the statement of excesses and deficiencies was laid before the House that the Votes had been exhausted. He did not understand the ground on which the hon. Member proposed to strike out the sum, as the hon. Gentleman had not stated any peculiar circumstances which should lead to the Yeomanry not being called out this year. If he thought the Yeomanry clumsy or useless, he ought to have moved to omit the Vote altogether; but he had not given any reason why the training of the Yeomanry should be omitted this year any more than any other. With regard to the suggestion of the hon. Member for Poole, the War Office had not lately had under its consideration any proposal for changing the character of the Yeomanry force. The whole subject of the constitution and organization of the Yeomanry force had been considered two or three years ago, and the necessary improvements had been proposed. The Yeomanry force was essentially a cavalry force. The men composing it were not of the character of mounted rifle corps, and probably it would not be beneficial or agreeable to their feelings if an attempt were made to transmute them into mounted rifle corps.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that he thought there was a great deal in the suggestion of the hon. Member for Poole, which did not go to convert the Yeomanry into mounted rifles, but to make such changes in their drill as would make them more efficient. In Hampshire, a cavalry corps had been raised by Colonel Bower, which he believed was regarded by Colonel M'Murdo as one of the most efficient forces ever raised, though he believed it comprised only two troops. Colonel M'Murdo had recently told him that he regretted there were not more corps drilled on the same principle, and that he had seen in France three cavalry corps which had been drilled on the model of Colonel 1983 Bower's corps, entirely from the circumstance of their manoeuvres at one of the Brighton field days having been remarked by some French officers who were present. The subject was certainly worth the consideration of the Government.
§ MR. LAWSON
said, in merely proposing the omission of the item and not of the whole Vote, he was following the example of the Government, who last year made the same Motion, and supported it by excellent speeches, which had induced him now to take the same course. If there had been any chance of success he should have been very glad to move the omission of the whole Vote. The next question was not whether they were useful or not, but whether the Yeomanry were wanted for the defence of the country.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, that the noble Marquess had not answered his question about the improved arms—rifle carbines—for the Yeomanry.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he believed that some of the Yeomanry regiments were already supplied with improved carbines. The whole of the regular cavalry were not yet supplied with them; but as the arming of the cavalry proceeded, no doubt improved carbines would be issued to the Yeomanry.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (10.) £334,900, Volunteers.
said, he hoped that some arrangement would be made by which non-commissioned officers going into the militia would have the same advantages as those who went into the Volunteers.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, a circular was issued early this year by which both services were put upon the same footing in this respect.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (11.) £46,000, Enrolled Pensioners and Army Reserve Force.
said, he wished to ask a question respecting the mysterious item relating to the Army Reserve Force. The number of enrolled pensioners was gradually falling off. But where were these army reserves? Who ever saw them? Under what terms were they enlisted? What were their numbers? They were 1984 told in the explanation of the Vote that they were gradually increasing. This was the very class of men whose services he should wish to see attached to the militia. He wished to know whether this Army Reserve Force was to be kept up as a separate body.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the force was scattered all over the country, perhaps not more than ten or a dozen in any one place. The men were called out for drill ten days in the year, and perhaps there were from 1,000 to 1,500 of them. He quite admitted that the Act under which the service was raised was practically a failure, and he did not think the force was of much value. It was impossible to disband the men who already had been enrolled, but it was the intention of his noble Friend the Secretary for War (Earl de Grey) to inquire into the subject this year, when considering other subjects, including that of recruiting, and if some arrangement could not be made to render the Army Reserve system more successful after this year it would be abandoned altogether—that was as far as any increase of the force. The men were drilled by a regimental staff officer, so that there was no charge, therefore, for a staff force
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, he wished to ask for some information as regarded the number of enrolled pensioners and the number of the Volunteers, which were not stated in the Estimate.
said, that the number of the Army Reserve this year appeared to be the same as it was last. There must be some casualties, and he should like to know whether any addition had been made to the force by recruits since last year.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, he saw there had been some slight addition to the force since last year. He had omitted to mention the number of the Volunteers, and thought it might be satisfactory to the House to know them as compared with last year. On the 1st of December, 1864, the number of enrolled Volunteers was 170,615, as against 162,935 on the 1st of December, 1863. On the I st of last December the number of efficient Volunteers was 124,181, as against 113,522 on the 1st of December in the previous year. And what was still more 1985 satisfactory, the number who had qualified themselves for the additional 10.s. a year was 62,497 on the 1st of last December, as against 47,872 on the 1st of December, 1863. He thought that these figures showed a very considerable increase in the numbers, and a very gratifying progress in the efficiency of the Volunteer force.
said, he wished to ask for some explanation with respect to the appointment as lieutenant-colonels of the Volunteer force of a number of railway engineers and railway managers. He presumed that the object of the Government in those appointments was to have the services of the navvies in case they might be required, and to obtain facilities for the transport of troops in case of hostile invasion; but no communication on the subject had taken place between the Government and the railway boards, and the gentlemen who were to be appointed lieutenant-colonels had no power of themselves to render the assistance that he supposed was required of them.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the gentlemen alluded to were to form an engineer corps and to fill the same position in respect of the Volunteers, as the officers of the Engineers did in respect of the army, and the object of the Government was to have their services in case of emergency. No doubt the very eminent engineers and contractors connected with the railways might render very important service in the construction of works and lines of railway, and in affording assistance to the military authorities in the transport of troops. Only lieutenant-colonels and majors would be appointed in the first instance; but if the plan worked well the appointments might be extended to the rank of captain, and privates would perhaps be enrolled to serve under them, if it were found that corps could be raised composed exclusively of persons connected with railways.
said, that the noble Marquess had not referred to the appointment of railway managers as lieutenant colonels. What be wished to point out was that the Government had not consulted the railway authorities, who alone could afford them the assistance that might be desirable.
§ Vote agreed to.1986
(12.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £972,900, be granted to Her Majesty to defray the Charge of the Manufacturing Departments, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1866, inclusive.
§ SIR MORTON PETO
said, that on the night the Army Estimates were introduced the noble Marquess the Under Secretary of State for War referred to a statement of his in connection with the Navy Estimates. He wished to set himself right with reference to it. That statement had reference to the cost of the armament for the new forts. He made it after as careful an inquiry as it was possible for him to have instituted, and he still believed that it would be borne out by the facts. He was sure the Committee would feel with him that it was most important that such a statement should not be made by a Member of that House without a most careful inquiry. He had stated that the 1,944 guns composing the armaments required for the several forts would cost £17,000,000. The noble Marquess had since stated that they would cost only £3,000,000, and he now asked the noble Marquess upon what calculations this Estimate was founded?
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that he would explain the basis of his Estimate. The hon. Member for Finsbury had stated that 1,944 guns would be required, and he would take those figures as correct. But of that number only about 1,200 would be required for sea defences. The remainder would be for land defences, and would be chiefly provided from the stock of guns already in existence, because, for land defences it was not necessary to have the guns of such large calibre and such great weight as those to be used against iron-plated ships. Of the 1,200 guns for sea defences, some would be 7-inch guns of 140 cwt. There would be a few positions in which 22-ton guns would be required; but, as he had stated in an earlier part of the evening, there would be only very few positions in which such a weight would be wanted. The 12-ton gun had proved itself capable of piercing with a steel shot any iron plate we knew of as being used on a vessel. The greater number of the guns would most probably be guns of from 9 tons to 12 tons weight; but, taking a 12-ton gun as representing the average armament for sea defences, the cost according to present prices— £100 per ton—would be for 1,200 guns 1987 £1,440,000. It was, however, probable, if certain experiments at present in progress should turn out to be successful, that this amount would be reduced to but little more than one-half that sum. With regard to ammunition, the hon. Member for Finsbury was no doubt correct in saying that 200 rounds per gun was the ordinary supply; but it did not by any means follow that the 200 rounds of shot need be all of steel shot, because batteries in the position of those on which the armaments were to be placed would have to act against other ships besides iron-plated vessels. It is believed that not more than half the number of rounds of shot per gun need be of steel. The price of steel shot might hereafter be reduced; but taking it at the present rate the cost per round of ammunition for a 12-ton with steel projectiles would not exceed £10 per round. At this rate the cost of the ammunition for 1,200 guns would be £1,200,000, which added to £1,440,000, the probable cost of the guns, made £2,640,000. The gun carriages and traversing platforms at £100 a piece would cost in addition £120,000, which, added to the £2,640,000, gave a total of £2,760,000. That sum comprised only what was necessary for the sea defences. The armaments for the tend defences might to a great extent be composed of our cast-iron guns and the 110-pounders already in our possession.
§ SIR MORTON PETO
said, he found allocated to the forts at Spithead in the Report of the Commission, and the plans formed in consequence, 915 guns; at the Needles, 81; at the Isle of Wight, 71; at Plymouth, 262; Pembroke entrance, 43; Portsmouth, 200; the entrance of the Thames, 110; the Medway, 172; Dover, 45; and Cork, 45 —in all 1,944. The number in France was 2,044. He would take the average cost of these 1,944 guns at £4,066 per gun, the size being 9-inch bore, ll-inch, and 15-inch, and the cost obtained from manufacturers of the highest standing who had supplied not only our Government, but the most important Governments on the continent. Hon. Members must be aware that the cost of the gun depended very much upon its size, and he had made his calculation upon the assumption that of these 9-inch, 11-inch, and 15-inch guns, there would be one-third of each kind. It would be remembered that, with regard to these Spithead forts, for which nearly 1,000 guns would be requisite, he had originally moved that 1988 the decision upon them be deferred, and so important was the matter considered that it was deferred for a year. It was when they came to the discussion again that the House, upon the earnest recommendation of the Premier, and the statement by the Secretary to the Admiralty on the part of the Government that they had at last discovered a gun of so great a calibre that even at the distance of the 2,000 yards, which separated the forts from each other, a ship, though iron-clad, could not by possibility pass under such guns and escape, that the construction of the forts was sanctioned by the House. He thought, therefore, he was justified in taking it for granted that large guns would be mounted upon these forts, that it was intended to make their armaments effective, and that the noble Lord would never propose that these forts should be erected at Spithead, at the entrance to the Thames, and other places, unless the guns should be effective for the purpose for which they were built. He had taken pains to ascertain what other Governments were doing in this respect, and he found that the Russian Government was ordering guns for forts placed in a similar position. He would now tell the Committee that he held in his hand information which could not be gainsaid, because he had it direct from the manufacturers for that Government themselves. One manufacturer was at the present time making 220 guns for the entrance of their harbours, and their size was 8-inch, 9-inch, and 11-inch. Those guns were bored, but they were not rifled, and the average price was £3,525 per gun. He did not believe that any guns could be constructed of a kind to be used in such a position unless they wereeither entirely of steel, or their inner case of steel. And now with reference to the price of ammunition, &c. He found that the guns would throw steel projectiles of 5001b., 6001b., and 7001b. The average would therefore be 6001b. The cost of this 6001b. steel projectile would be £16 10s. The charge of powder, according to the proportion generally used, would be 1201b. for a 600-pounder, and its cost would be £3 10*., taking the cost of powder at 7d. the pound. Then, taking cartridge cases, patent wads, tubes, &c, at 30s., the entire cost would be £20 per round. Now, taking the cost of our 1,944 guns at what the Russian Government paid for theirs, £3,525 each, the total cost would be £6,852,600. Then 100 steel shot of 6001b., 100 ditto shell at £20 per round— 1989 200 rounds and equipments — would cost £7,776,000, making a total for guns, ammunition, &c, of £14,628,600. Now, he was sure the Committee would feel that he had not been very far wrong in his previous Estimate of £17,000,000, which was based on calculation for larger guns, if the Russian Government were ordering such guns as he had described. It was too much to say that the defences at Portsmouth were land defences in any sense of the word. There were positions in the Isle of Wight in which it might be possible to say that the guns there were land defence guns. What those at Freshwater Bay were intended to be he could not tell. He could not say for what purpose they were ever placed there. He had taken guns of the smaller as well as the larger calibre into account, and had also taken it for granted that if we were voting money for sea defences we were not to have them less effective than the Russian Government at the present time. He was prepared to give the data to the noble Lord, and he hoped that the Committee would feel that he was justified in the statement which he had made the other evening.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, he wished to inquire how it was that the Government asked in so vague a manner for large sums for guns and small arms. Unless their calculations were based upon the fact that the army would require so many cannon, naming weight and size, and so many thousand stands of small arms, naming rifles, bayonets, and swords, they were proceeding only on guess work. A sum of £93,000, deducting the value of materials in hand, was asked for guns. Well, then, how many were required, what were the guns to weigh, and what would be the cost of the metal? They had not a word of such information. If they had contracts for these things, they should see their way, they should know that they would have to pay a certain sum according to the contract price. The French Estimates showed these details. They contracted for all the arms for their 400,000 men, and he supposed the French were not armed in a manner inferior to ourselves. The same was done with reference to their large guns. Unless he obtained some explanation from the noble Lord, he should move the omission of £93,000 for the gun factories.
said, he should oppose the Amendment, and assured the House that not only was £93,000 required for the Royal Gun Factory, but much more.
called the hon. Member to order, ruling that he could only speak on the item "materials for gun factories," upon which an Amendment for its omission had been moved.
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, that upon an item in the Vote for the gun factory there appeared to have been nearly £58,000 more upon the Estimate than had been expended, and he wished to know what assurance they had that they were not now required to vote a larger sum than was required. He thought they were really proceeding in the dark with the Votes, as they bad no such paper as that to which he had already alluded showing the differences between the Estimate and the actual expenditure. It would be thought more satisfactory to the Committee, if, before they again met, they should have some paper placed in their hands showing some reason for those extraordinary discrepancies between the Estimate and expenditure.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, he wished to appeal to the Chairman to know whether, the total of the Vote having been the subject of discussion, he was out of order in referring to the remarks of his hon. Friend (Sir Morton Peto) respecting the Spithead forts.
said, that if the Amendment had been for the reduction of the total Vote, the hon. Member would have been in order in speaking upon the whole Vote; but as the Amendment was only for a reduction on a particular item, hon. Gentlemen must confine their remarks to that item until the Amendment was disposed of.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, it was true that the French Estimates professed to show the exact number of guns, small arms, swords, and other warlike stores which were to be procured by the money voted in each year; but he did 1991 not think that the French Chambers obtained any great amount of information from this statement; because on reference to the Estimates for successive years he found that the number of guns and arms of all sorts procured always remained at exactly the same figure and price, whereas the audited accounts showed that these figures were not correct in any way whatever. No doubt it was the fact that the Estimates were prepared by the heads of the manufacturing department upon the basis of a certain number of arms which it was proposed to manufacture. But it had never been the practice to adhere very closely either to the number or the description of these arms; and at this moment, when all these points were so unsettled, it was more than ever difficult to bind themselves at the beginning of the year to manufacture a particular kind and number of guns during the year. Such an Estimate, if laid before the House, would either compel the authorities to adhere to a particular kind of gun, although some more useful kind might afterwards have been invented, or else the information would be of little use. Perhaps in future years, when this branch of the Estimates rested on a more certain basis, further information might be given to the Committee, but in no case would it be possible to give an Estimate which should not be departed from without great inconvenience to the public service. Moreover, it had always been thought objectionable to publish in this manner the exact number of arms which they proposed to manufacture. It would be inconvenient to do so on account of the knowledge that would thereby be afforded to foreign countries, and in many instances it would be inconvenient also that it should be known by the privat trade that the Government intended to manufacture a certain quantity and description of arms themselves, leaving the rest to be contracted for. The matter should be investigated, and, if possible, some kind of appendix, such as that suggested by the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Henry Seymour), should be prepared for the information of the House. As it was necessary to limit themselves to the item of the gun factory, he would take another opportunity of replying upon the general Vote.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that as he did not desire to restrict the discussion he should withdraw his Amendment.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.1992
said, he had complimented the noble Marqeuss on the general clearness and fulness of the Estimates, but here there seemed to be a falling off in this respect, because while formerly it used to show what proportion of arms was intended for the naval and what for the military service, this was now no longer the ease. They never gave the exact number of guns; but the practice had been to give the amount for the navy and the amount for the army. He begged to ask the noble Marquess for some explanation as to certain Votes on page 7. The first matter he wished to have some explanation on was with reference to the laboratory at Devonport. He wished to know whether it was intended to transfer the stores at Devonport from the charge of an artillery officer to the Store Department. If so, such transfer would be in opposition to two Minutes of the War Office, strongly recommending that the stores should be under the charge of an artillery officer.
§ MR. WATKIN
said, he wished to observe that the noble Lord who represented the War Department stated that the cost of arming the forts would be £3,000,000, while the hon. Member for Finsbury said it would be £17,000,000, and had brought forward a calculation based on the proceedings of the Government of Russia to show that it could not be less than £14,000,000. The number of guns to be placed in the forts was 1,944, and the noble Lord stated that he had in stock 744 of the guns, thereby reducing the number wanted to 1,200. But the Committee would like to know where these 744 guns were, what was their calibre, whether they were of iron or steel, and whether they could be had without being paid for. The noble Lord, having reduced the number of guns to 1,200, assumed that they were to be only 12-ton guns; but when the fortifications were first voted the assumption was that they were to be armed with ordnance equal to any that could be placed in position by any Government with which England might have to compete. The hon. Member for Finsbury referred to the example of Russia, and told the Committee that 1,944 guns such as he described would cost a certain sum. The hon. Member also took the service of ammunition for each gun at 200 rounds, and it was to be supposed that no Government preparing for defence would make an estimate for a less service of ammunition, Were they, 1993 then—in order that the Budget might answer to certain calculations —to delude themselves into the notion that £3,000,000 only would be required? The hon. Member's calculation appeared to be correct, and he hoped the noble Marquess would give some explanation.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he fancied that the battle of the guns was likely to be as remarkable as the battle of the gauges, and though he abstained from taking part in it, yet he was prepared to believe, from what he knew of the management of the War Department with respect to small arms, that its management with respect to big guns could not be satisfactory. If he thought he should meet with any support he would move that the Vote in regard to the manufacture of small arms should be omitted, not as not being necessary, but as not being properly spent by the Government. A Committee was appointed in 1862, and they reported that of three descriptions of small arms one was superior, and yet the Government had gone on manufacturing those arms which the Committee rejected. Now that was not the way to go on, and if it were pursued by any firm or person in this country they or he would soon become bankrupt. He believed that the officers employed by the Government were very efficient men, but he could not understand why the Government persisted in manufacturing an arm which was considered inferior to other arms, and he thought that they had a right to ask whether it was intended to continue the manufacture of the rejected arm, or to adopt the arm recommended by the Committee appointed by the Government? The noble Marquess said, as he understood, that the Government had gone on manufacturing the arm which had been condemned because the best description of breech-loader had not been discovered. But surely it would be wiser to make rifles of the best pattern known than to go on making more of a rejected pattern. If it was a question of increased cost, he could understand the course taken by the Government, but no outlay would be required for new machinery. Last year the Secretary of State said that it was perfectly competent for Mr. Lancaster, whose patent had expired, to apply for a renewal, to which no opposition would be offered by the Secretary for War, and it was only the other day that it was represented that whenever the Government made use of any patent they would make a fair bargain with the 1994 patentee; but in spite of these assurances the Attorney General was instructed to resist the renewal of the patent, and the Government put the patentee to an expenditure of £700 or £800 in costs, for the sake of saving 1s. royalty per barrel. This was not the way to encourage inventions for the public good. If the Reports of Committees, costing the country £7,000 or £8,000 a year, were to be treated as mere waste paper it would be better to strike the Votes for those Committees out of the Estimates. For the sake of saving 1s. per barrel royalty it was hardly worth while to break faith with Mr. Lancaster or with statements made in that House. Being Chairman of the National Rifle Association, his attention had been called to the various descriptions of small arms, and at competitions at Wimbledon, as the mass of Volunteers were armed with the Government rifle, the Council were obliged to exclude the use of the Lancaster and fine groove rifles from competition with the Enfield rifle, on account of their superiority to it as arms of precision. The experience of that Association in its competitions at Wimbledon was thus found to corroborate the decision of the Select Committee, condemning the one arm and recommending the manufacture of the other. His only desire was to see the public money spent on a good arm instead of on a bad one.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that seeing there was a change in the statement of the account of manufacturing there, he wished to know the total of the number of guns produced at the Enfield factory last year, and also whether the Government contemplated to increase the weight or the strength of the barrel of the Enfield rifle.
THE MARQUBSS OF HARTINGTON
said, the hon. Member for Finsbury appeared to base his calculations on the number of guns required being 1,944. If he would refer to the Report of the Commission he would find that 900 of the heaviest guns was the total number recommended by the Commissioners. From that number would be supplied the guns intended for Portsmouth and its defences. Therefore, a very considerable quantity of guns for the land defences was comprised in that number. He could not state exactly how many guns would be mounted on the Spithead forts, but certainly in comparison with the whole 900 the number would be very small. Those forts would doubtless have to be armed with the very heaviest arm we could 1995 make, and some of them would require 20 or 22-ton guns. The hon. Member based his calculations entirely on what he said the Russian Government had done in that matter, but it did not necessarily follow that we should have to pay as large a sum as Russia for guns. Still, it was quite possible that our guns might be more expensive than he anticipated, and undoubtedly it would be so if it was found necessary to adopt the Whitworth or any other more costly arm than they were now manufacturing. But, as he had previously stated, he believed we had now got a very good gun, and certainly in comparison with others it was not a dear gun. The 12-ton gun was capable of piercing an iron-clad vessel, and he did not know why we should in ordinary cases have a larger gun than one that was found sufficient for the purpose. He believed that about 1,200 naval guns would be required at an average of not more than 12 tons. The 7-ton was also capable of piercing an iron-clad. With regard to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Watkin), he thought that for land defences, our stock of cast-iron guns would, in many positions, be perfectly sufficient. We had a considerable number of 110, 40, and 70-pouu-ders, which were very good for many purposes, and it was not at all probable that it would be requisite to manufacture a large number of guns for land defences. Probably, Captain Palliser would be able to furnish at a cheap rate a gun of sufficient power for all land defence. As to ammunition, he had not stated that it was intended to supply only 100 rounds for the guns, but that it would probably not be necessary to supply more than 100 rounds of steel shot for each. They did not give any statement this year respecting the sums to be expended on labour and materials at Enfield, because they had not been able to base their calculations upon a certain number of arms which they proposed to manufacture. With respect to Enfield rifles, they really did not yet know what it was they were likely to manufacture during that year. The Report of the Committee on the Enfield and breech-loader had only just been received, and it was not yet decided whether the whole or the greater part of the force at the Enfield factory should be employed in the conversion of the Enfield or the manufacture of some other arm. It had, therefore, been thought best to ask the House for a round sum for the manufacture of whatever might be undertaken. 1996 £10,000 more was asked than the sum asked last year, because there would probably be a conversion of arms on a large scale, or perhaps they would have to manufacture a new breech-loading arm, which would, no doubt, be more expensive than a muzzle-loading one. The noble Lord (Lord Elcho) asked why they had not adopted the Lancaster system of rifling for the Enfield arm, and what they intended to do this year. The fact was that since the debate of last year, and since the decision had been come to to adopt as soon as possible a breech-loading arm for the army, a very small quantity of rifles had been manufactured at Enfield, and their manufacture would be discontinued altogether at the earliest period. When it was clear that a breech-loader of some description was desirable, it became advisable to refrain from the manufacture of muzzle-loading arms. They had, therefore, confined themselves principally to manufacturing the breech-loading carbine for the cavalry, the pattern of which had been approved, and also a certain number of smooth-bore guns for the Indian Government. They proposed this year to go on manufacturing breech-loading carbines for the cavalry, and if that did not give sufficient employment to their hands till the conversion of the muzzle-loaders commenced, they would continue to manufacture other arms which it was not necessary should be of a breech-loading character. With regard to the Lancaster breech-loader, he regretted that the noble Lord had not given him notice of his intention to bring forward that subject, because he did not recollect the circumstances under which the Government opposed the renewal of Mr. Lancaster's patent. He was under the impression that it would not be necessary to oppose the renewal of his patent, and was surprised to learn that it had been opposed. He would, however, be happy to explain those circumstances to the noble Lord if he would give a notice relating to that question for a future day. He hoped that the noble Lord and the House would not object to vote this sum of money on the faith that the Government would as soon as possible proceed with the conversion of the muzzle-loading into the breech-loading weapons. The factories at Devonport and Portsmouth were not intended for the manufacture of new stores, which was confined to Woolwich, but for the repairs of stores. It had been represented that these repairs were conducted 1997 at a greater cost than if they took place at Woolwich, and an inquiry was going on to see whether one system was more economical and efficient than the other.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he wished that the noble Lord would tell the House the number of Enfield rifles made during the last year, and the rate at which they were now being made. Last year the noble Lord said 1,000 a week were being made there, of which 700 were the three-grooved long Enfield pattern. He was afraid this condemned article was being manufactured at the rate of 700 a week. Since the Report of the Committee in 1862 not fewer than 100,000 had been made sufficient to arm all the troops in the service; and if the Government succeeded in converting it into a breech-loader, they would be converting an inferior arm instead of that recommended by their own Committee.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the noble Lord talked of the Enfield rifle being a "condemned arm," but, although the Lancaster rifle might be superior, the Committee of 1862 reported that the Enfield rifle was still a better arm than that supplied to any troops in the world. At many ranges of firing the difference between the Enfield and other rifles was scarcely perceptible, He could not give the noble Lord the exact numbers, but he believed that the number of Enfields made during the past year did not exceed 20,000, and that no rifle of that pattern was being manufactured at present. The factory were engaged in making either Mr. Westley Richard's breech-loading carbine or the artillery carbine.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, that when he used the term "condemned arm," he used it as compared with other arms in their own service. He admitted that our troops were better armed than any other troops in the world, but the Committee upon four points, including precision when clean, precision when foul, and simplicity of management, reported in favour of the weapon which the Government would not make. What he complained of was that the Government persistently manufactured the least good of the three arms adopted in the service.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, that it appeared to him that the Enfield factory was getting into this position—that they were keeping up a large staff whilst the Committee were deliberating upon the kind of arm that should be adopted. He did not wish to hurry any immature conclusion 1998 upon the matter; but it appeared to him that the Committee had lost time. Would the noble Lord lay on the table a Return of the number of arms of all kinds made at the Enfield factory during the past year? He would add that he did not think the Enfield rifle deserved to be called a "condemned arm." It had a fault—a want of sufficient strength of metal in the barrel. But he believed the Enfield rifle to be the best arm in general use in any army in the world. He would ask whether that had been considered, because whatever arm they were about to adopt that fault should be avoided—and he trusted that this defect would be amended in the new breechloader.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, he wished to ask when the promised Report of the Rifle Brigade experiments with the Whitworth rifle would be laid before the House. The House ought also to have the papers connected with the renewal of the patent for the Lancaster rifle, in order to see if the patentee had been fairly dealt with.
§ MR. LIDDELL
said, he wished to know whether tenders had been received for the conversion of the Enfield into a breechloader, what system of conversion had been decided upon, and the names of the firm whose tender had been accepted?
§ MR. HENRY SEYMOUR
said, he had not understood the remarks of his noble Friend (Lord Elcho) to be condemnatory of the Enfield rifle. His noble Friend had only stated that the rifle in use was the least perfect of the three patterns in the service, and that the Government had, notwithstanding, persisted in making 100,000 of them.
said, there was all the difference in the world between a small arm that was the best weapon of war and an instrument for merely throwing projectiles accurately. He feared that the Lancaster rifle might not wear, and that it would not do for long and heavy work. A strong and coarse weapon was wanted for the soldier in active service.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that the number manufactured of the Enfield rifle would best be seen when the Enfield balance-sheet was laid on the table, and could not be shown accurately before. As to the strength of the barrel of the Enfield, the Committee had been engaged in experiments and investigations as to the qualities most to be desired in a military weapon, and no doubt additional strength of barrel was considered very important. 1999 The question was, could that additional strength be had, preserving the length of the arm, except by adopting some smaller bore? He could not give an answer at present to his hon. Friend (Mr. Kinnaird) whether the correspondence relative to the Lancaster patent would be produced. With reference to the question of the hon. Member for Poole (Mr. Seymour), he thought every step in this matter had been taken with as much rapidity as possible. The Report of the Committee recommending the adopting of a breech-loader was received in July last. There were several proposals to alter the Enfield rifle. It was necessary to consult the trade on the subject, and there was a competition for the best plan of conversion. The manufacturers required some time to submit their plans. Then they required some time to alter the rifles that were given to them, and after that it was necessary that experiments should be made to test them. No greater expedition could be used in this matter consistent with obtaining satisfactory results.
§ MR. SURTEES
said, I wish to ask the noble Lord the Under Secretary for War whether the report is true that a considerable number of carbines, of the Westley Richard's pattern are about to be issued to the cavalry, and, if so, whether they will require capping; because, if such should be the case, I consider it will be a very great defect.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, that in the Westley Richards and carbines the percussion arrangement was separate from the ammunition.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ (13.) £485,000, Warlike Stores also agreed to.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, that the Chairman do now report progress put, and agreed to.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he wished to express a hope that when the next Vote was taken detailed explanations would be given by the noble Lord as to the fortifications proposed to be constructed in Canada, and the number of men required for them. At present they knew nothing about these fortifications, or where they were proposed to be constructed. The Report they had before them was of a useless character. When we made our own coast preparations 2000 there was information, but here there was none. They should have some sketch of what the Government intended to do; and he hoped the noble Lord would be prepared, when the House again went into Committee, to give full information.
§ LORD ELCHO
said, he had been about to make a similar request. Great interest was felt in the question, and he hoped the noble Viscount at the head of the Government would see that this, perhaps the most important qustion that would be brought before them this Session, was discussed at an early hour, when there was full attendance of Members, and not during the dinner hour.
§ SIR MORTON PETO
suggested that a special day should be fixed for the discussion. The question was one affecting the public mind very much.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
We propose to go on with the Array Estimates on Thursday next, and this Vote will be the first taken. The hour at which the discussion will come on is not altogether within the control of the Government. It depends a good deal on those hon. Members who have preliminary Motions. I hope, however, that a general understanding may be come to, and that the House will at an early hour go into Committee.
§ MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
said, he wished to know whether Colonel Jervois's Report would be produced. At present they had only his covering letter enclosing his Report. He presumed that the production of the plans proposed for the fortifications would be inexpedient.
THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON
said, the Government had been already found fault with for giving so much information, although he did not think any harm had been done; for there was really nothing in the printed Report of Colonel Jervois that the Americans were not already fully acquainted with. But the Report now alluded to was certainly of a perfectly confidential nature, and it would be very unwise to produce it. It was not intended to lay upon the table any other Report than that already produced, which contained the substance of the recommendations on which the Government intended to act.
§ MR. SEYMOUR FITZGERALD
said, he thought it would have been much better for the Government to lay on the table a short statement of those fortifications which they considered necessary, instead of entering into all the reasons why they 2001 considered them to be necessary—details which had excited a good deal of distrust here, and probably a good deal of discouragement at the other side of the water.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;
§ Committee to sit again on Wednesday.