HC Deb 07 May 1878 vol 239 cc1519-21

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the Indian Government has voted money for the conveyance of Native troops to British possessions in Europe; if not, out of what funds the expenses of such troops have been provided; and whether the Government intend to propose a Supplementary Vote to supply such funds; and, if so, how soon the Vote will be proposed?


Sir, I observe that, besides the Question of the hon. Member, there are two others on the Paper, both of which relate to the same subject. To a certain extent, I answered some portions of them yesterday by anticipation, and, perhaps, I may take this opportunity of supplementing what I then stated. The Indian Government has, for the moment, provided what is necessary for the fitting out of the expedition and the payment of the troops; and, as soon as we are in a position to do so, we shall be prepared to submit a Supplementary Estimate to the House to repay the whole of that expenditure, and to make such further provision as may be necessary for the support and pay of those troops. I am not at the present moment able to say how soon we can do that, but there shall be no unnecessary delay, and I hope it will be very shortly. The hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) asks under what Act or Articles of War the Native troops of India now serve, and whether they might serve in Europe, or the United Kingdom, or the Channel Islands? I gave a very brief answer last night, but I may now say that the Native troops of India serve under the Mutiny Act and the Articles of War passed by the Government of India. The authority under which the Indian Government proceeded in passing that Act, and in framing those Articles, is the Imperial Statute the 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 25, which has been confirmed and kept alive since the transfer of the Government from the East India Company to the Crown by the Act 24 & 25 Vict. c. 67, s. 22, and which makes such Articles of War binding upon the Native troops who are under them, "wheresoever they may be serving." The Native soldier's oath binds him to go wherever he is ordered, by sea or land, and to obey all commands of the officers set over him. He may, therefore, be called on to serve in any part of Europe, as well as any other part of the world, and to serve under Indian Articles of War. But, as I stated last night, the settlement of the Bill of Rights and the provisions of 1 William and Mary, prevent his being brought into the United Kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with the consent of Parliament.


Will the right hon. Gentleman state whether they can be called upon to serve in the Channel Islands, although not in the United Kingdom?


Yes; I believe they can be called upon to serve in the Channel Islands.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a Question, with the view of clearing up a point of difficulty which has arisen out of his remarks yesterday. The right hon. Gentleman stated that the transfer of the troops from India was simply a transfer from one part of Her Majesty's Dominions to another; and now I beg to ask, If he will state for what part of Her Majesty's Dominions the Force is destined?



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