§ VISCOUNT ENFIELD
said, he rose to call attention to the services of the troops engaged in the late New Zealand War. In so doing he was conscious that the recollection of these services had been to a great effaced by the Abyssinian campaign, to the troops engaged in which the House had yesterday paid a graceful and grateful compliment. The war in New Zealand might be traced back to the campaigns of 1845 and 1846, but the principle interest attached of course to those commenced in the Waikato districts in 1863, and ending in the submission of their hostile tribes in 1866. The late war in New Zealand was, to some extent, unpopular in this country, and might have been impolitic. It certainly was very costly, but he would not discuss those questions. A soldier or sailor had nothing to do with politics; his duty was to go where he was sent, and to fight when he was ordered, and if he did his duty well; he was entitled to his reward. Everyone would admit that the troops went through all the hardships and vicissitudes of a well-fought campaign. It was frequently urged that the medal should be granted only for services against a foreign enemy, but this rule had been departed from in some no table instances—such as the Indian Mutiny and the Kaffir War; the latter especially bearing a great analogy to the New Zealand campaign. In the case of the superior I officers engaged in New Zealand recognition had been made of their services to the following extent:—Two Generals had been made Knights Commanders of the Bath; 641 fourteen officers of the two services of the r respective ranks of Colonel, Major and Captain had been made Commanders of the Bath; twenty-one brevet promotions had been given to officers, and seven had been decorated with the Victoria Cross. The non-commissioned officers and privates, however, had only been rewarded to the following extent:—Four non-commissioned officers had received the Victoria Cross, as also did one blue-jacket and a drummer. Five distinguished-conduct medals had been issued to the soldiers, and three commissions had been given from the ranks. The nature, however, of these rewards proved that the war had been considered a serious and severe one; the Maori race, one of the most formidable subject to British authority, fighting with all those local advantages which made them doubly dangerous. The forces engaged consisted of portions of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, and Military Train; the 1st Battalion 12th Foot, 2nd Battalion 14th Foot, 2nd Battalion 18th Foot, the 40th Regiment, 43rd Regiment, 50th Regiment, 57th Regiment, 65th Regiment, 68th Regiment, and 70th Regiment. To those were added 300 men of the Royal Naval Brigade, and some colonial forces, comprising Forest Rangers, Bush Rangers, and Native troops. To his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Truro (Captain Vivian) he was indebted for some very useful details of the campaigns, from which he had been enabled to ascertain that the number of skirmishes and engagements were fifteen in all. The number of troops employed were—of land forces about 9,000 men; and of the Naval Brigade 300 men and officers. The total of killed and wounded, he regretted to say, was 688, of whom 18 officers were killed, 56 wounded, and 15 died subsequently of wounds received before the enemy. The Naval Brigade lost—in killed 6 officers and 14 men, and in wounded 8 officers and 32 men, making a total loss of 60. The New Zealand War was one in which the troops met with most harrassing duties, repeated ambuscades, and perpetual fighting either on u small or a large scale. They had no "loot" to look forward to and no prize-money to receive. There was none of the usual romance and excitement of war, but they did their duty with resolute bravery. He might state that he had no connection either privately or officially with either branch of the service engaged in that war. He would not move any Resolution on the subject, believing that such a course might 642 be unconstitutional and impolitic; but he trusted the day would be far distant when an independent Member of Parliament would hesitate to say a word in his place in behalf of the services of English soldiers and sailors who had been by ill-luck or inadvertence overlooked or neglected. The noble Viscount in conclusion, asked the Secretary of State for War whether a medal would be issued to the soldiers and sailors who had been engaged in the New Zealand War?
§ COLONEL NORTH
said, he rose with great pleasure to support the noble Viscount's request. None could have brought the subject forward with greater ability or effect than the noble Viscount, the eldest son of one of our most distinguished officers. His noble Friend had rather under-stated than over-stated the number of casualties in the New Zealand War, and the ability and zeal of the gallant men engaged in it. Those men had gone through greater fatigues, with less excitement to carry them forward, than soldiers engaged in campaigns of greater magnitude. It was often so of little wars. A friend of his who had been engaged in the Kaffir and Crimean Wars had declared the hardships of the former far more severe than those of the latter. He trusted, therefore, the Secretary for War would recommend Her Majesty to bestow some mark of distinction upon the men engaged in New Zealand, in acknowledgment of their faithful services to their Queen and country.
§ LOUD EUSTACE CECIL
said, he thought that this was a real question of hardship, and he feared that we had not been in the habit of rewarding our troops in the way they had a right to expect. He was quite sure if this subject were considered by the House justice would be done. After all, a bit of metal or a ribbon was not of much intrinsic value, but in the eyes of the soldier and his family it was viewed with much pride, as a certificate that he had deserved well of his country. He hoped that no petty notions of economy would stand in the way of those decorations being granted to a number of gallant men who had done great service to their country. They had just spent £5,000,000 on the Abyssinian War, and he hoped they would not refuse few hundreds for the purpose of giving these men their well-earned decorations.
said, he felt in rather a curious position as a supporter of this re- 643 quest since he was neither soldier nor soldier's friend; but he added his voice to that of the noble Viscount on the principle that we are bound in common justice adequately to reward those whom we employ. He had friends in New Zealand, and he knew the sense they entertained of the services rendered by the soldiers. Those occupying a high position had been rewarded, and perhaps not too highly; but he knew that many of them felt that they had I been rewarded for acts which they could not have performed except by the aid of those men whose claims had been so ably advocated by his noble Friend.
§ MR. DISRAELI
I regret very much my right hon. Friend the Secretary for War is not present, because he would speak with more authority than I can on this subject; what are the reasons of his absence at this particular hour—whether he is at New Zealand or not—I will not now inquire. But in considering this question I am sure the House will in candour remember that the New Zealand War was originated and conducted to a conclusion not under the present Government, and that therefore we are not responsible for any neglect of the troops engaged, or for any deficiency of feeling in the matter of recognizing the very great things those troops accomplished. Regarding these very severe colonial struggles, which perhaps too frequently occur, we must always remember that the merits of those engaged are not to be estimated merely by the result of the operations. Those who are engaged in a great European struggle or Imperial war have that excitement to sustain them which is produced by a consciousness of the considerable circumstances with which they are connected, and the public recognition of their services in the journals of Europe. A soldier engaged under such circumstances is sustained by the feeling that an admiring world and a grateful country are applauding his deeds, and will offer him the tribute of reward and praise, and this he feels is some compensation for the great hazards and endurance he is called on to undergo. But not less heroic qualities are requisite in connection with these more obscure encounters, and I think it was very wise on the part of the Government to recognize the conduct of the troops engaged in the campaigns of the Kaffir War. The noble Viscount who introduced this question, with that propriety which always characterizes his proceedings in this House, has called our attention to the ample recogni 644 tion of the services of the officers, but we must remember that this is not the age in which we should forget the qualities of the men. Only yesterday the House, in the most generous spirit of appreciation, publicly acknowledged how grateful this great country is to the soldiers and sailors engaged in the Abyssinian Expedition; and certainly, in the case of the; New Zealand War, I am sure it is not conducive to the honour of the country or the satisfaction of any subject of the Queen—and it cannot, I am sure, accord with the feeling of the Sovereign herself—that the services of those engaged in this prolonged struggle should not be recognized in the manner in which I am sure every generous and patriotic man would desire. I can, therefore, assure the noble Viscount, while reminding him that the present Government are in no way responsible for any neglect hitherto, that we will give the most candid consideration to the subject, and I am sure the ultimate decision arrived at will become the dignity and honour and good feeling of the country.