House Of Commons
Friday, August 5, 1859.
MINUTES.]—PUBLIC BILLS.—1° Charitable Trusts Act Continuance; Militia Pay; European Troops (India); Consolidated Fund (Appropriation); Marriages (Lisbon).
2° East India Loan; University and College Estates Act (1858), &c., Amendment; Reserve Force; Corrupt Practices Prevention Act (1854) Continuance; Inclosure Acts Amendment; Stock in Trade Exemption; Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Continuance; Episcopal and Capitular Estates Act Continuance; Inclosure; Sale of Gas.
3° Coinage; Probates and Letters of Administration (Ireland); Police (Counties and Boroughs) Law Amendment; Turnpike Trusts Arrangements; Chief Superintendent, China; Speaker of the Legislative Council (Canada).
Colonel Greville Discharged
The Serjeant-at-Arms, attending this House, informed the House that he had taken Colonel FULKE GEEVILLE into his custody.
said, he was authorized by the hon. Member for Longford to state that he was absent from his place, when the members of the Hull Election Committee were summoned to be sworn, on account of what he conceived to be imperative and urgent public duty; but immediately that the notice of the General Committee on Elections reached to his residence in Ireland, stating that he had been selected as a member of the Hull Election Committee, he started on his return to London for the purpose of performing the duty which had devolved upon him; and on his road he met the Serjeant-at-Arms. He (Mr. FitzGerald) was authorized to say that the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not intend in the slightest degree to neglect his duty as a Member of that House, or to be guilty of any disrespect to the House. He was also requested to state that if any parties had been put to any inconvenience or expense by his absence he very much regretted it.
(Chairman of the General Committee on Elections), said, that all the proceedings taken in this matter were taken in pursuance of the Act of Parliament; none of the steps hitherto adopted could have been avoided; but now further steps to be taken were in the discretion of the House. It was necessary, according to the Act of Parliament, that the hon. and gallant Member should be sworn at the table to serve on the Committee, but it was also in the discretion of the House to instruct Mr. Speaker to censure the hon. and gallant Member, or to take any other course it thought fit. He hoped, however, that the House, after hearing the statement of the right hon. find learned Member for Ennis, would not think it necessary to proceed to any further step. The hon. and gallant Officer must be aware that he had put parties to considerable inconvenience and expense, and it was unnecessary, under the circumstances, to add to the pain he must feel on that account by any censure from Mr. Speaker of the House. He therefore moved that Colonel Greville be discharged from the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms on the payment of the fees.
seconded the Motion.
That Colonel Fulke Greville be discharged out of custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms upon payment of his fees.
(1.)"That a sum, not exceeding £17,000, be granted to Her Majesty, for cleansing the Serpentine River, Hyde Park, in the year ending the 31st day of March 1860."
said, he thought that the Committee, in voting this sum of £17,000 yesterday, came to a conclusion on what he considered very insufficient information. So far as he could understand—for he was not present at the discussion—it was advocated as a cheap plan of carrying out the improvement; but he thought that on the slightest examination it would be found that the sum of £17,000 did not represent the capital required for the purpose. First of all, it would be necessary to put up steam-engines in the neighbourhood of the Albert Gate, which would constitute a great nuisance to the residents near that part of the Park; and it would also he necessary to construct large filtering beds in Kensington Gardens. The expense of drawing up 2,000,000 gallons of water daily and of keeping the filtering beds clean in Hyde Park would amount to £1,200 or £1,500 a year, representing something like a capital of £50,000. He had a very high opinion of Mr. Hawksley, who was very cognizant of hydraulic matters; but as to the opinion of the hon. Member for Whitby (Mr. Stephenson), which was referred to yesterday he should have been much better pleased if that hon. Member had come down to the House and given his opinion from his place. It would have been better to have the hon. Member's opinion at first hand instead of at second hand. He had had as much to do with ornamental water as any man in the kingdom, and he had tried a variety of plans, and even, to a certain extent, the plan now adopted by the Government. He by no means said that it would be an effectual plan, but it would occasion great expense and be a great nuisance. It would be far better to do it effectually and at once, though it might cost a somewhat larger sum. He thought that the First Commissioner of Works should have given the House a little more time to consider this question, and ought not to have precipitated the Vote so much.
said, he still felt that the plan adopted in St. James's Park ought to be pursued in regard to the Serpentine—the bottom should be levelled and pure water pumped in. He thought the report of Mr. Hawksley ought to be submitted to other scientific persons in the kingdom. His right hon. Friend (Mr. FitzRoy) only met one point connected with the matter—namely, the question of cleansing the water; but his right hon. Friend must be aware, from the deputation that waited on him, that there were many other circumstances worthy of consideration. Taking into account the number of persons who bathed in the Serpentine, the condition of the bed of the river was a source of great danger. The holes might be filled up with rubbish, and, if his right hon. Friend did not go so far as to concrete the whole of the bottom, at least he might do something to remedy the mischiefs brought under his consideration by that important deputation. If the bed of the Serpentine were levelled, then the danger of loss of life from bathing would be removed, and the objectionable looking building, the Humane Society House on one of the banks, might he got rid of. It was not for him to say that Mr. Hawksley would turn out to be wrong, but he was glad to find that what he stated yesterday received some support from the hon. Member for Coventry that day. If works of this kind were to be carried out, it was very much better to meet the difficulty boldly than to deal with it in a patch-work and inefficient manner.
said, he was very glad that the House had had an opportunity of hearing the opinion of the hon. Member for Coventry (Sir J. Paxton) on this question, for he believed that there was no one so competent to advise the House in respect to it. He regretted that he likewise was absent from the discussion last night, for he should have liked to have had the opportunity of expressing his opinion, formed from considerable observation on this matter. 1£17,000 might appear a very small sum to spend in dealing with a question like the purification of the Serpentine, but he thought it a very large sum to pay for pouring clean water into a dirty basin. They might go on pumping and filtering for thirty years, but the water would not be clean if pumped into so filthy a receptacle as in its present state the Serpentine was. His conviction was that money spent in this way would be wasted until the Serpentine had been made a proper receptacle for clean water. He did not think that the undertaking involved that detriment to health or those difficulties which some people apprehended, and the only way to proceed was to fill up the inequalities and concrete the bottom. There were millions of firs in the neighbourhood of Bagshot belonging to the Crown, which might be thinned with great advantage, and used with other materials to fill up the holes in the bottom of the Serpentine, exactly in the same way as a road was made. The whole might then be covered over by a bed of concrete. When the bottom of the basin was thus covered then would be the time to pour in clean water. But cleansing the water was only one part of the question. What was also really wanted was, that this large basin might be used by the inhabitants of the metropolis to bathe in and skate on without danger to life, and he thought that this should be effected in a business-like and efficient manner.
said, it was quite evident from the statement of the hon. Member for Coventry that there was a great difference of opinion as to the effect of the proposed proceeding. The hon. Member for Berkshire stated that he did not see what could be the use of pumping clean water into the Serpentine; but perhaps the hon. Member was not aware that it was not to be clean water, but the same water was to be pumped back again and again. To show the danger of the Serpentine in its present state he quoted the following paragraph from Mr. Page's Report to the First Commissioner of Works:—
He looked upon the present as only a half measure; and he believed that it was perfectly impossible for the water of the Serpentine ever to be in a fit state unless the Ranelagh sewer were prevented from flowing into it. He thought it extraordinary that having so beautiful a Park as Hyde Park they should hesitate to vote such a sum of money as would by improving the condition of the Serpentine render it truly worthy of this great metropolis."Having, with the permission of Mr. Hawes, treasurer of the Royal Humane Society, applied to Mr. Williams, the society's superintendent in Hyde Park, for information as to the injurious effects of the depth of mud and of the irregularities in the depth of the water upon the bathers and skaters, I have received from him a communication, in which he states that, within his knowledge, which has extended over the last sixteen years, many lives have been sacrificed in consequence of the irregularities in the depth, especially on the northern side; and that, as thousands of children flock round the margin of the lake during the summer months, although many of them are saved from drowning by the society's boatmen, too many meet with a watery grave; that in consequence of the great quantity of mud in a semifluid state, even athletic and expert swimmers, when seized with cramp (and consequently sinking to the bottom), become entangled in the slimy matter, which so completely fills the mouth, nose, and ears as to render, in many instances, resuscitation impossible; and in those cases where animation is restored the constitution of the rescued person receives a shock from which it never recovers. The following account, furnished to me by Mr. Williams, shows the exact number of casualties from bathing, and the deaths from suicide during the last fifteen years. From this it will be seen that the total number of bathers is estimated at 3,963,689, or on an average 264,206 per annum; and that of the total number of accidents to bathers, 377 in number, 318 were saved, and 29 drowned; and of the total number of suicidal attempts, 273 in number, 185 were saved, and 88 ended fatally."
said, that this question had already been discussed in the Committee of Supply. He had the choice of two plans. One involved almost an unlimited expense with a doubtful result, and he certainly did not feel that he should be justified in proposing that to the House. He did not feel it right to propose a larger expenditure than that which he had proposed in the Vote for carrying out the plan proposed by Mr. Hawksley. The hon. Member for Coventry had over-estimated the expense of the proposed plan, for he understood that the annual expense for the pumping machinery for 200 days in the year would be no more than £200. No doubt it would be for the comfort of the bather that the bottom of the Serpentine should be levelled; but, as he had before said, he did not feel satisfied in proposing another scheme more expensive and doubtful in the result. He thought the Committee of Supply took a wise course in approving the present plan, which he believed would be successful.
Resolution agreed to; as were also the remaining Resolutions.
Reserve Volunteer Force Of Seamen Bill—Committee
Order for Committee read.
, in moving that the House go into Committee on this Bill, said that, as it had been by the courtesy of hon. Gentlemen allowed to be read a second time without discussion, he would take that opportunity of explaining the provisions of the measure. Many hon. Gentlemen might think that at a time when they read in the Moniteur that a general disarmament was about to take place in France, both with regard to sea and land forces, it was somewhat inopportune bring before the House of Commons a measure with the object of strengthening the British navy. In his opinion, however, as a naval man, this was the best opportunity that could be chosen for taking such a course. The object of this Bill was not to immediately increase our fleet, but to provide a militia force for the sea, as we already have on land and a reserve for recruiting our navy. The principle of a militia force was generally adopted in all countries, and it was to him a perfect marvel that a nation which depended so much upon the sea for its security as England scarcely possessed anything in the shape of a naval reserve. It was true that, of late years, the coastguard, which was, as far it went, an efficient reserve force, had been increased, but the number of men belonging to it and disposable as a reserve was less than £4,000. They had, besides, a force called the coast volunteers. Great doubts had been expressed by many persons, and by the Royal Commission which sat last year on the subject of manning the navy, as to the efficiency of that force in the event of an emergency. He was not one of those who entertained such doubts, for he believed that if the services of that force should ever be required, it would be found efficient for the purposes for which it was intended. There was, however, one radical defect connected with that force—namely, that the coast volunteers could not be required to go further than 300 miles from their own coast; and although, therefore, they might be very serviceable for the defence of the coast, they could not be regarded as of any great utility for the general purposes of the navy. The subject of a reserve for the navy had for many years past occupied the attention of eminent men. During the last great maritime war, the odious system of impressment was in full operation; but public opinion was so strougly expressed against that system that it gradually fell into disuse, and during the last three years of the war it was almost entirely ineffective. He had the other night made a somewhat curious statement to the House, which showed that the effect of impressment during the last three years of the war had produced a loss instead of a gain to the navy. There was no doubt that the system of impressment had been abandoned never to be revived; but no substitute had been provided for it, and the successive Boards of Admiralty had applied their attention to the adoption of some means by which, in case of emergency, sufficient reserves might be provided for the navy. Allusion had frequently been made to the admirable French system of the inscription maritime, under which a vast number of seamen could at any moment be rendered available for the navy. So long ago as the year 1824 the late Mr. Hume proposed in that House a Resolution to the effect that the House being well aware of the difficulty of manning the navy in a time of war, and of the evils of forcible impressment of seamen for that purpose, and considering that a time of profound peace will best admit the fullest and fairest examination of that most important subject, would early in the next Session take the subject into consideration, with the view to adopt such regulations as may obviate the existing evils consistently with the efficiency of the navy and the best interests of the country. This like many other proposals of that enlightened man was rejected. Since that time various propositions had been made with reference to this subject. The right hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham) introduced the Seamen's Enlistment and Registration Bill in 1835; and in 1847 the hon. and gallant Member for Southwark (Sir Charles Napier) submitted to the House a Motion for an enlistment of seamen with reference to reserves, which, however, was not adopted. In 1852 the right hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir F. Baring) was so strongly impressed with the necessity of forming a naval reserve that he asked for a Vote for that purpose; but in consequence of a change in the Government that proposal did not receive the sanction of Parliament. In 1852 a Committee was appointed to consider this important question, and it recommended various means of manning the navy, including the adoption of the continuous-service system, the increase of the coastguard, and the enrolment of coast volunteers. In consequence of the recommendations of that Committee the system of continuous service was adopted by Sir James Graham, and although it had since sustained some violent shocks, he believed that if there was no sudden reduction of our naval force it would in time be productive of great advantages. The Royal Commission, on manning the navy, which was appointed last year, in consequence of a Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Southwark had made numerous suggestions for improving the condition of seamen in the navy, and many of their proposals had been carried out by the late and by the present Governments. The recommendation of the Committee that the force of Royal Marines should be increased bad been partially adopted, and he hoped no long time would elapse before their suggestion that a body of seamen should always be kept at the homo ports would also be carried into effect and that their proposal of training ships would be tried. The principal recommendation of the Commissioners was, however, that from 20,000 to 30,000 men should be employed as a reserve force, under the title of Royal Naval Volunteers. The Commissioners proposed that these men should receive a retaining fee of £6 per annum, of which £1 should be deducted and set apart for a pension fund. The Commissioners recommended that at the age of fifty or fifty-five, these men should be entitled to a pension of 6d. a day, and that they should have the option of either receiving that pension or a smaller amount which should be continued to their widows and families. The Bill now before the House was framed upon that suggestion, although in some matters of detail it was not completely in accordance with the recommendations of the Commissioners. The Bill proposed that a number not exceeding 30,000 men should be invited to enrol themselves for a period of five years; that for that term each man should receive £5 per annum; that they should be called out for training for twenty-eight days in the year, and that during that time they should receive non-continuous service pay according to the rating they might hold. It was also proposed that at the expiration of the five years these men should have the option of retiring from the force, or of re-enrolling themselves for a further period of five years. If the country should remain at peace they would each during their five years' service have received a sum of £25, in addition to the month's pay, per annum during their training, and if they were re-enrolled for another period of five years at the expiration of ten years' service they would have received £50 besides the month's pay each year, and be entitled under certain conditions to pensions. Supposing, however, that this country should unhappily be involved in war, it was proposed that by Royal Proclamation these men, however long they had been enrolled, if still in the force, should be at once called upon to enter for active service in the fleet in any part of the world. There would then be a claim upon their services for three years certain; and if at the end of that period war did not cease, power was given by the Bill to require them to serve for two years more, they receiving 2d. a day additional for the last two years, whatever rating they might hold. In the event of war, therefore, the services of these men could be counted upon for a period of five years. There were some details with regard to this subject, especially respecting pensions, which it would be difficult to embody in a legislative measure. The Board of Admiralty had considered very carefully the proposals of the Royal Commission as to the deferred pensions at the age of 50 or 55, and it was thought that under some circumstances it would be a hardship upon seamen if the Government were restricted to the power of granting pensions at those ages. Cases might occur in which seamen had served faithfully during war, and had suffered in health, and, although not eligible for pensions in consequence of wounds, the grant of pensions might be perfectly justifiable. On the other hand, supposing the country to remain at peace, it became a question whether a man who had entered the force at the age of 20 years, and who had served for ten years, should be entitled to claim the same amount of pension as if he bad been engaged in active service before an enemy. It was thought, therefore, that it would be a matter of great difficulty to deal with the question of pensions by an Act of Parliament, and it was considered that the better course would be to leave these details to the regulation of the Admiralty, if the House gave its assent to this Bill. He was bound to tell the House that this was only an experiment. They had no experience to guide them on the subject, and therefore he could not tell the House that he felt confidence that the plan would be perfectly successful. He hoped, however, that it would be successful, and he was sure that was the feeling of the House of Commons and of the public. His opinion was that the best mode of attaining a successful result would be not to tie the hands of the Admiralty too much by Acts of Parliament; but he trusted that by communication with the Board of Trade, with the shipping masters, with the Registrar General of Seamen, and other persons connected with the merchant service, they might be enabled to frame regulations which would induce our merchant seamen to flock to the Royal Naval reserve. He believed that men-of-war's men did not thoroughly understand the merchant sailors. There had been a misunderstanding in the navy with regard to the merchant service; and he knew that merchant seamen had said they would be delighted to serve in the navy if they were satisfied they would be treated in the manner to which they thought themselves entitled. He could only say that the Board of Admiralty desired most ardently to effect a good understanding between the merchant service and the Royal Navy, and to establish between the two services feelings of mutual respect and affection. This Bill was the first endeavour to establish such a good understanding, and if the attempt proved successful they would induce a great number of merchant seamen, during their period of twenty-eight days' training, to see ships of war for themselves; they would find that the men were kindly treated, that they received good food and good pay, and the result would probably be that many of them would be induced to join Her Majesty's service. If this result could be attained, instead of endeavouring to retain men against their will in the Royal Navy, the greatest punishment that could be held out in terrorem would be dismissal from the service. If the House assented to this Bill he believed such regulations might be framed as would induce merchant seamen to come forward as volunteers under this system, and they would thus form an invaluable reserve for the Royal Navy. In the February number of the Revue des Deux Mondes there was a passage in an article attributed to a distinguished naval officer, the Prince de Joinville, to which he might call the attention of the House. The writer said,—
The statement was true. A navy could not be extemporized. It was necessary to have trained seamen; and the state of naval preparation maintained by the French nation enabled them to afford to disarm at once, because they knew perfectly well that within a week their fleet could be manned. He believed that the declared intention of the Emperor of the French to disarm was faithful and honest; but the French, after disarming by their maritime inscription could arm again in a week with the utmost facility. That, however, was not the case with this country, for we had no system of reserves. He thought that this great maritime country ought to be in a position to disarm; but if they allowed their seamen to leave the naval service, they had nothing to fall back upon. If, however, they had a valuable reserve of seamen, they could afford to imitate the example of other nations; and he hoped that if the House assented to this Bill they would before very long be placed in that position."On a vu quelquefois le genie d'un homme improviser une armee, jamais une marine."
said, the problem the Royal Commission on Manning the Navy were required to solve was, how to obtain a reserve sufficient for the emergencies of war at the smallest cost to the country, and with the least disturbance to its industrial resources during peace. He had the misfortune to differ with his colleagues on the Commission, and he thought they had not solved that problem. He thought his colleagues had failed because they had not fairly grappled with the question, what was the reason that the sailors of the merchant service were so unwilling to enter the Royal Navy. According to the estimate of the Commissioners, the cost of the plan they recommended would be £598,881; but he believed that, large as that amount was, it would not suffice to carry out their recommendations. The cost of a coastguard force of 2,000 men was £116,000 a year, while the estimate for 4,000 men as a reserve for the home force in their report was only£132,000; but he thought it would be nearer the mark if it were calculated at £200,000 In 1852 a Committee of naval officers inquired into the best mode of manning the navy, and they recommended increased pay in one shape or the other, which entailed upon the country an expenditure of £150,000 per annum; yet in 1854, two years afterwards, the hon. and gallant Member for Southwark (Sir G. Napier) found great difficulty in manning the Baltic fleet. It appeared, therefore, that this extra expenditure did not enable the country to obtain what it required. All this and even largely increased expenditure would be disbursed in vain unless reforms were made in discipline and drill in the navy. He found that the Admiralty were now paying about £100,000 a year to seamen for provisions which were not consumed because as they alleged the provisions were inferior; but why was not care taken that provisions of inferior quality were not supplied to the men? He believed that the extra drill enforced in some of Her Majesty's ships, and the provisions of the Articles of War, which imposed the penalty of death for nearly every offence enumerated in them, tended to deter merchant seamen from entering the Royal Navy. It was now proposed to form a reserve of seamen to be available in case of emergency; but at this moment they had in the Royal Navy a staff of effective officers barely sufficient for "peace establishment." He would recommend, therefore, that when they were inviting seamen of the merchant service to join their reserve force they should extend the same invitation to the officers of that service. Some slight distinguishing mark—some badge to show that they were officers of the reserve—which would give them a better position in society, especially abroad, would have a far greater effect than any pecuniary inducement in leading a number of the finest young seamen to be found in this country to enter the navy in that capacity. Independently of the services which these young men would be able to render as officers of the reserve he believed they would be found most valuable as recruiting officers for the navy among the body of seamen with whom they were connected. He would recommend, therefore, that this Bill should not be now pressed, but that the whole subject should be reconsidered by the Admiralty; and that before an attempt was made to form a reserve force of seamen the Articles of War should be altered, excessive and unnecessary drill should be abolished, flogging should either be altogether abandoned, or such a punishment should only be inflicted by sentence of court-martial, and along with the reserve of merchant seamen the officers of the merchant service should also be invited to enter that force.
had heard the speech of the noble Lord (Lord C. Paget) with great satisfaction, and his confession, tardy though it was, that the officers of the Navy did not understand the sailors of the merchant service. That was quite true, for only those who had well studied the character of merchant seamen could thoroughly understand the difference between them and seamen of the Royal Navy. He believed, however, that, notwithstanding the great difference which existed between these classes of men, they might be amalgamated in the manner suggested by the noble Lord. There could be no doubt, as the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Lindsay) had said, that in some ships of the navy drill was carried to an excess; but he attributed that to the deficiency of officers, for if an Admiral was in command of a great many ships it was impossible that he could scrutinize minutely the discipline of his fleet. The punishment of death was imposed for nearly every offence mentioned in the Articles of War, at the judgment of a court-martial; but he entertained a strong opinion that the infliction of any punishment under these Articles, except by a court-martial, was illegal. Men were almost always punished without being tried by court-martial, and he remembered many years ago that a sailor, when tied up for punishment, said to his captain, "Why, Sir, I have not been tried;" and the captain's answer was, "A d—d rascal! Give him another dozen!" Such things occurred long ago; but the sailors now read the newspapers; they were better educated than they used to be, and they well understand whether they are properly treated or not. In the East India Company's service, where there are no Articles of War, a seaman who committed an offence was tried by the officers of the ship, who adjudged such punishment as they thought was deserved; and he believed that in only one or two cases had legal proceedings been taken against the captains of the Company's vessels, and that in no case had any damages been awarded by a jury. He concurred in the opinion that corporal punishment should not be entirely abolished, and he believed that if the question were put to any assembly of seamen nine out of ten would admit that without the operation of that punishment the discipline of the navy could not be maintained. In order, however, that it might have a greater appearance of legality in the minds of the seamen it should be inflicted only upon the sentence of a court-martial. It was said that the French were reducing their naval forces; but it had been stated by the right hon. Member for Halifax (Sir Charles Wood) only two years ago, that by conscription and inscription the French had the means of calling 90,000 seamen together. This country was suffering from the paying off of the fleet in 1857, and even with the aid of the bounty it could not now complete the fleet to the same extent as in 1857. There was one part of the plan of the noble Lord to which he had a decided objection, and it was that which proposed to give a pension to the men after ten years' enrolment in time of peace; and as the men would serve only twenty-eight days in each year, they would then be entitled to the same pension for ten months' service as the sailors would receive for ten years. That, he thought, would be certain to create dissatisfaction among the sailors.
explained that he proposed to retain a discretion for the Government in respect of the matter of pensions.
was very glad to learn that such was the case. With the view of making the service more agreeable to seamen, he recommended that endeavours should be made to assimilate as much as possible the discipline of one ship to another, so that a number of little annoyances which the men suffered from a different usage in one ship from that they had been accustomed to in another should cease. He also suggested that it would give great satisfaction if the men were paid once a week, and that there should be better conveniences in certain respects for the men on board, by which their health and comfort would be promoted. If all these evils were remedied there would be no difficulty in manning the navy. The noble Lord spoke of the coast volunteers; but would the House believe that this great maritime country had no registration of the seafaring men existing in England? The 'longshore men in England and Ireland amounted probably to 200,000. There was no registry of them, but they might be registered and called on to serve as well as the volunteers. The sea-fencibles, established during the late war, furnished a large number of seamen, and these were points he recommended to the consideration of the Admiralty. Another question he wished to advert to was the system of "leave." He disapproved keeping the men too much on board ship. They would not learn their drill so quickly if they went on shore, but men were men and they wished to go ashore as well as the officers. He would suggest that the pay of the petty officers should be increased, and if more situations were opened for them this would be something for the seamen to look forward to. It looked as though the Admiralty was at length about to turn over a new leaf in the management of the navy, and he was glad to hear the candid statement which the noble Lord had made.
Before I make any observation on the very important subject under debate, I cannot but express my great regret that the gallant Admiral should have stated that the punishments in the navy are illegal. [Sir CHARLES NAPIER: Illegal in the eyes of the men.] I am glad to hear the gallant Admiral's explanation; from what he said I understood that he concurred in that opinion. I fear others may make the same mistake; and though the gallant Admiral's legal opinion may not have the same value as his naval, yet such a statement, backed by so high an authority, is likely to exercise serious influence on the minds of the sailors. There are also circumstances to which I need not further allude, which would specially counsel prudence at the present moment. I agree with the gallant Admiral and the speakers who have gone before me, that many points in the naval service are capable of improvement; if I do not follow the various suggestions thrown out, it is not because I underrate them. The condition of the seaman has been greatly improved by successive Boards of Admiralty since the peace, but that does not preclude the consideration of further improvement. I feel satisfied that the House will not refuse to vote any sum for the improvement of the condition of our gallant defenders, that the Government may, on proper consideration, feel it right to ask. But improve that condition as you will, the great difficulty will still remain—the manning the navy on the breaking out of a war. You then have to go into a limited market for a large and sudden supply. The number of sailors in peace will be regulated by the wants of the navy and the merchant service. If you suddenly call for a large addition to your naval force, let the navy be as popular as you can make it, you will still find the greatest difficulty in supplying the men. The old remedy was impressment. I am glad to find impressment has of late become less popular among naval officers than it was when it was my duty to consider this question. When I conversed with old officers on the subject I generally found that in their hearts there was a lurking feeling that in a war recourse must be had to impressment. To impressment I entertain strong objection. It is not merely the difficulty which the Commissioners state so strongly in their Reports, I mean the difficulty of enforcing impressment in the present state of public feeling; the system itself has always appeared to me to be remarkably ill-contrived to obtain a constant supply of men for the navy. In an emergency it might answer for the moment. There may be extraordinary cases in which the laws of political economy, as of justice, must be overrode by the necessity of self-preservation. At such a moment it might answer to lay hands on all sailors, as in a besieged town it may be expedient to seize on all provisions or other such articles. But to ensure a permanent supply, impressment is a contrivance rather to drive away than to procure the men you want. The supply of sailors must, after all, he considered in relation to the rules that regulate the supply of other articles. Now, what sane man would adopt such a system if he wished to obtain a steady supply of corn, of horses, of cattle, or any other article. To take it against the will of the owner—to pay for it what you please—to keep it as long as you like—to carry it where it suits you. This would not procure what you want, it would drive it away, as impressment drove your sailors into the American service during the last war. If then impressment must be abandoned, it is the part of prudent men to adopt measures in time of peace to secure a naval reserve. Anaval reserve, Sir, is a measure eminently defensive and peaceful. I am not prepared to adopt, in its extended sense, the adage so commonly quoted now, that being prepared for war is a security for peace. But a naval reserve gives a power of defence without exciting rivalry or irritation. In many cases it would have the most beneficial effect. For instance, when subjects of difference exist which may lead to war. In such circumstances those who are at the head of the Admiralty have a most painful risk to run. On the one hand they feel the expediency of raising men to be prepared for the future; on the other, they feel that these very preparations increase the irritation, and may produce the very evil of war which they are anxious to avoid. Between these counterbalancing dangers the choice is full of anxiety. But with an efficient naval reserve the Government may avoid all unnecessary demonstration, confident that if the necessity arises the men would not he wanting to man the ships that would be required. My gallant Friend, the Secretary of the Admiralty, has mentioned that in the year 1852 I brought forward a proposal for the purpose of creating a naval reserve. It is quite true that in that year I laid upon the table an estimate, accompanied by papers, explaining the scheme. It was in principle similar to the plan now before the House, but of a much less extensive character. Our policy was to go step by step, and to see how far our first attempt succeeded before we went further. The plan was in accordance with the proposal of an excellent officer, Captain Brown. It was to give a retaining fee to 5,000 men, who had already served in the navy, and who should be bound to serve again when called upon. My proposal, Sir, was not fated to succeed. I was removed from office, and my successor the Duke of Northumberland referred the whole subject of manning the navy to a Commission of naval officers, and my plan was sent to them. I may add, to show the insecurity which attends these subjects, that the Commission, composed of officers of high character and standing, reported my plan to be impracticable and set it aside. They recommended the coast volunteers. The late Commission, on the other hand, report that the coast volunteers can not be relied upon as an effective naval reserve, and recommend a reserve formed upon the principle of the plan rejected by their predecessors. Upon the best consideration I have been able to give the subject, I believe that a proposal, such as the one now before the House, is the best adapted to meet the difficulty. No doubt it is an experiment, first, in respect to the number of men that might be procured; and, secondly, whether they would join when called upon. This can only be decided by the experiment being actually tried. Still, looking to the evidence before the Commission, I feel considerable confidence that the experiment would be successful. I am glad it is not incumbered with the system of naval schools recommended by the Commissioners, for I have much doubt how far such a system would answer, and I would suggest to the Admiralty that if on consideration they should be decided to adopt the recommendation, the plan should be at first tried on a small scale. In carrying out this new proposal of a reserve, much must be left to the discretion of the Admiralty, and I trust the House will not bind down the authorities too strictly, but leave them ample room to meet the difficulties which must present themselves in launching a new system. I will now say a few words upon two points recommended in the Report of the Commission. They have proposed to increase the number of the coastguard and of the marines, and they have suggested that the marines should be employed instead of military to garrison the naval ports. I have a very good opinion of the coastguard; even when I was at the Admiralty it was a naval reserve of great value, and since that time, it has been much improved by being placed under the Admiralty, and by being well organized. If a greater force of coastguard is required for revenue purposes, I should not for a moment grudge it. But if not really wanted for the revenue, I doubt the wisdom of increasing the coastguard; keep for the revenue what it requires, liable to be called out in time of need. If additional men are wanted for the defence of the country, either add to your reserve, or to the permanent naval force. So with regard to the marines; no corps is more valuable; but if more marines are required, let them he dedicated to naval and not to military purposes. They will be wanted and he most valuable at the breaking out of a war. If they are employed permanently to garrison your naval ports, you throw an obstacle to their going afloat when they are most required. And now, Sir, you must permit, me to call the attention of the House to a subject connected with our system of manning the navy, on which I am desirous of making some observations, I mean the system of continuous service. This system, Gentlemen know, was recommended by the Commission appointed in 1852. I had the misfortune when the arrangements were made for carrying it into effect, to entertain much doubt of the result. I placed my doubts before my right hon. Friend the Member for Carlisle, then First Lord of the Admiralty; but diffident of my own judgment when opposed to the report of naval officers of high character and experience, and anxious not to throw difficulties in the carrying out of a plan recommended by them as so beneficial to the navy, I did not press my objections in Parliament. Connected with a naval port I have since heard reports which lead me to fear that the system is not working satisfactorily. When the Commission was appointed I was in hopes to find in their Report a full investigation into the results of the continuous-service system and evidence that would satisfy me that my doubts and fears were unfounded. I have been disappointed in both these expectations. The Commissioners, it is true, express a favourable opinion of the system, but I miss a full and searching inquiry. On the other hand, the opinions and facts which turn up in the evidence confirm the impressions I entertained. It may sound an odd question, but it is one which lies at the root of the inquiry. Do you want your navy for peace or for war? If for peace, I admit the continuous-service system may have some advantages; but it is for war you want your navy, and to obtain trained men at the breaking out of a war is your great difficulty. But even in peace I cannot find that the system has fulfilled the expectations held out. The Commissioners indeed say, that with the excellent system of continuous service there will be no difficulty in manning the navy in time of peace. There never has been any such difficulty without that system. The difficulty was to keep within the number of men voted, not to obtain them. For years be-fore 1848 the number of men borne exceeded the Vote, and when I succeeded to office I found it required a firm hand to keep the number within the proper limits. It is true that there were difficulties at particular moments, and in manning ships when first commissioned, and delay and expense were incurred. This evil the continuous-service system was to cure. I have no means of obtaining official information. I have none other than what is derived from the ordinary channels, and I may he in error. But I read and hear of the Marlborough and other ships waiting for a crew, and there would seem to be as many complaints as formerly. But I have an official fact of great weight in accordance with my view. I allude to the late bounty—since the war such a step was never taken. I am not here now to question the judgment of the Admiralty, but it does not speak well for the efficacy of the system when under it recourse is had to this unusual and extreme measure. I must appeal also to the Report of the Commissioners themselves. They recommend that a certain number of men should be kept in the home ports for the purpose of manning ships when first commissioned, and avoiding delay and expense. It is quite clear, then, that the evil exists still—if the continuous service had cured it, as was expected, the Commissioners would never have made this recommendation. There were other advantages expected to follow from the adoption of the continuous service; among the most important were, that the Queen's service would become more popular and that batter men would enter. I wish to inquire, with such information as the Report affords me, how far these expectations have been fulfilled. A great many witnesses were examined before the Commission, and I readily admit that the officers of a higher rank, with two exceptions, were in favour of the system. The first of these exceptions is the gallant Admiral opposite, the Member for Southwark. He grounded his objection on a reason of great weight. He was anxious to bring the Royal and Mercantile Navy into more friendly and closer contact, and he thought that the continuous service tended in the opposite direction and made the division wider. The other exception was Captain Sullivan, an officer of much merit, and whose opinion deserves the more consideration because he was connected with the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, and had more general information than could be obtained on the quarter-deck. Captain Sullivan evidently did not entertain so favourable an opinion of the system as his brother officers. But, Sir, if you wish to get at the feeling of the sailor, there are others to be consulted besides admirals and captains, however distinguished and well informed they may be. Now, before the Commission several warrant officers were called. Mr. Howell, one of them, was the spokesman; he was examined at considerable length and answered with great intelligence. In the course of that examination his opinion of the continuous system was given; it was unfavourable, both as unpopular, and as not obtaining the best men. From this opinion none of the others recorded their dissent. They were not individually examined at length, but expressed generally their agreement with Mr. Howell. But there is some means of testing Mr. Howell's opinion. There is a return attached to the Report of the Commission, showing the number of continuous-service men among the able and ordinary seamen. I find that the number of these men among the able seamen is smaller in proportion than among the ordinary seamen; showing both that the system is less popular among the able than the ordinary seamen, and that it secures a larger proportion of the latter than the former. But this is not all. Sir R. Bromley in his evidence speaks of the large number of desertions, especially, he says, among the continuous-service men. This remarkable observation is not followed up in the Report, not a single question is asked on it by the Commissioners. Left as it is without explanation, it hardly leads us to infer that the system is either popular or obtains the best men, when those who enter under it are especially given to desert. But let me allow, for the sake of argument, that the system has advantages in time of peace. Your difficulty and your aim is to man your navy in time of war; for this object it would be good policy to sacrifice any peace advantages which might interfere with obtaining men when you really want them. Let us, then, consider the old system and the continuous-service scheme in their effects on the breaking out of a war. Under the old system a sailor entered the navy practically for his three or four years. At the expiration of the time the ship was paid off—he was free—he might re-enter the navy if he chose, or he might take a spell in the merchant service. The result was that there was always in the merchant service a floating number of men who had served in the Queen's service, and would at once be fit for a man-of-wars-man. The principle of the continuous service is to retain the same men, and the effect must be that the number of men in the merchant service who had served on board Her Majesty's ships would diminish. To show the effect more clearly, I will put an extreme case, of course an impossible supposition. Supposing the old system to be carried to an extreme and you never reentered a sailor who had once served his three years in a Queen's ship, the ultimate result would be that every sailor in the merchant service would have served in a man-of-war, be trained to the guns, and in case of an emergency be fit for service. Now, act upon the continuous principle to the same extreme—educate your sailor when a boy, keep him in the service when a man, retain him until he is no longer fit for work—you will probably make admirable sailors by your system, but when war breaks out and you require an additional number you will not find in the mercantile marine a man who has served or been trained on board the Queen's ships. This point appears to me of great importance. In case of emergency recourse must be had to the merchant service for manning the navy. But it is not sufficient to get mere sailors. Trained seamen are required; and adverting to the improvement in gunnery, the importance of this is greater than it was formerly, and is daily increasing. Naval officers and gentlemen often talk of the French system, and praise it. It is a compulsory system, and so far not adapted to English feelings. But we, perhaps, may take a lesson from it; in France every seafaring man is liable to serve in the navy seven years. But do the French keep them continuously for the whole seven years, according to our new system? When I was at the Admiralty it was quite the contrary—a man was taken, he served for three years, he was then discharged, and a fresh one taken who was kept in the same way for three years only. I have heard that this practice was complained of as inconvenient, but the result was that when the French Government called out their men there was always among them a considerable number who had served and been trained in a man-of-war. As France did with her navy, Prussia, I believe, does with her army. Every man is liable to serve; he is trained for three years, he is then discharged and a fresh man called out. No doubt such a practice is open to objection. You may be told that it disorganizes the regiments—that you discharge the soldier just as he is at his best—that you have thrown away all the expense of training him: all the arguments so familiar to us as employed in the naval system may be used. There is some truth in many of them. The army itself, in time of peace, may be less perfect, but what is the result? When war breaks out, Prussia has not a mere army, she has a nation of soldiers. I wish I could see some such system in the navy of England—some system by which the Royal and mercantile services should be so interlaced that in case of emergency men might be found in the one capable and trained to perform the duties of the other. I am not here to advise or wish that we should adopt the foreign practices which are inconsistent with our habits and institutions; but at any rate we should not follow a course which is contrary to sound policy, and make the distinction wider between the two services. I fear we are doing so by the continuous-service system. I am aware that I differ from a large number of the higher officers of the navy, but entertaining these opinions, I have felt it my duty to state them to the House for their consideration and judgment.
said, he was glad to see that a measure had been at last introduced for this purpose, and if it was not in its present shape all that could be desired it could easily be made so. The plan was only an experiment; but if it did not succeed they would come to the matter again with the advantage of greater experience. He did not think that the continuous-service system had had a fair trial. No man should be admitted as a continuous-service man who was not an able seaman; whereas they had admitted good men and bad alike. With regard to impressment he thought that the greatest benefit the Commission on Manning the Navy had conferred on the country was in putting an end to that system, which hung as a terror over the minds of seamen. No Government could ever revive that system after the Report of the Commission. India had been brought under the government of this country, and why was it then that no less than 500 men of the naval brigade of Calcutta had been discharged some time ago, and in two or three months after offered a bounty of £5 a man to induce them to reassemble, which object it was impossible to accomplish? He believed that if the Government carried out the recommendations of the Commission most of the grievances of which seamen at present complained would be removed. He would urge on the Government to do away with the hulking system, which led to desertions while the ships were fitting out. He thought that the casks of salt beef ought to be branded so that the date of curing could always be ascertained. Under the old system it was impossible to calculate the degree of senility at which a piece of beef had arrived. The men refused to eat the beef in a particular cask; that cask was handed from ship to ship and descended from father to son, until all trace of the birth and parentage of the beef was entirely lost. Now any one who had ever read even an elementary work on chemistry knew that such stuff was not fit for use; yet so long as it did not get a bad smell it found its way from ship to ship till at such a Resolution as that proposed by the noble Lord was not actually and in terms a Vote of want of confidence, it was so near an approach to such a vote, that hardly any man could consent to support the noble Lord's Motion who would not also assent to a vote of want of confidence. It would not be consistent with his own position and that of more than 300 Gentlemen on that side of the House to adopt what on the hypothesis he was considering was clearly a party vote. But if in its principle and spirit it was a party vote, he might ask, looking at the state of the opposite benches, where was the party that was to support it? Regarding it as a party vote, it was a proposal that ought hardly to be brought forward unless it was to be made the ground of a trial of party strength. Taking the Motion, however, on its merits, it would be inconceivably rash to attempt to lay down the policy which should or should not be followed—not at that moment, but some weeks, perhaps some months, hence, and so to define that policy in total ignorance of the circumstances which might then be existing. The proposal pointed to the future—not to the present; and it was impossible for any man not endowed with the gift of prophecy to say what might be the state of things at the time when it really came into operation. If, indeed, the noble Lord had called on them to act or not to act upon his advice at the present moment, they might say they had such great confidence in his judgment as to determine at once to do what he told them. But when he pointed to the future they could not but feel that when the future came the noble Lord himself might change his views. It was easy to suppose that three weeks hence something might arise to induce the noble Lord himself to consent to go into a Congress; and yet, if he succeeded in carrying that Resolution, he would find himself debarred from doing so by the success of his own Motion. For himself, he was inclined to follow the old-fashioned custom of holding Her Majesty's Ministers answerable for the conduct of public affairs, and therefore he could not refuse to concede to them that power and that latitude of action which were the natural concomitant and the indispensable condition of all true responsibility. But while he could not vote in the affirmative of the Motion, he should also regret if he were obliged to meet it with a direct negative. He went a great way with the noble Lord in deprecating a Congress, ex- cept under circumstances which would make one far more desirable than he now believed it to be. He should therefore be most unwilling to join in any vote which this country or Europe might construe as indicating an inclination to enter a Congress. The objections to such a measure were very strong. The noble Lord said, the state of Italy was calculated to give us great anxiety, and on that account he proposed to do nothing. Now, that very circumstance would be a reason, not perhaps for accepting a Congress, but why one should naturally be proposed by many as a solution of the difficulty in which that part of Europe was placed. In another of the noble Lord's objections, however, he cordially concurred. If England were to join in a Congress under present circumstances, she would be likely to enter it without authority. A Congress of nations was, no doubt, an apt conclusion at the close of a great war. The great Powers which had been engaged in the strife agreed to sheathe the sword and to come to those territorial and other arrangements which were to result from the fortune of war. But England had not been a belligerent, and therefore could not appropriately negotiate the arrangements that were in any sense to be regarded as the termination of a contest in which she never took part. She could not make peace, because she had not been engaged in war; still less could she take part in bestowing the spoils of that war, having had no share in winning them. Those spoils were, by the way, very small, because, after all, the Emperor of the French had gained less territory than King Charles Albert won and lost by the sword in 1848. Another objection to our going into a Congress was this:—English statesmen, as far as he had observed, had not distinguished themselves in the Congresses of Europe. Those Congresses seemed to have been fatal to the reputations of our public men. After the Congress of Vienna all Europe was merry with the singular blunders made by the Marquess of Londonderry. In the Congresses of Laybach and Verona, happily, we took no part. He did not look back with pride or satisfaction to the Congress of Paris in 1856. We never knew what it was that an English statesman would be saying and doing in a Congress. He there spoke and acted sometimes in a most fatal way, and committed the country to a line of policy without having ever taken the opinion of Parliament or the country on the subject. Before the Con- gress of Paris, no man's reputation stood higher than that of the Earl of Clarendon. What did the Earl of Clarendon do in the Congress of Paris? The protocols showed that one day, apropos apparently of nothing, that noble Lord stood up and denounced almost the only free press on the Continent of Europe—namely, that of Belgium, and he also went on to express the honor and indignation with which he regarded a society with a pleasant name—the Marianne Society—which had never before been heard of in England, but which he inveighed against as one of the worst evils then existing in Europe. That kind of language was extremely derogatory to this country, because every man who heard it or read it when it appeared in the protocols, knew that it was put into the mouth of our negotiator by a foreign Power. There were strong objections, then, to our entering into a Congress, though he did not say that they were of such a character that they might not perhaps be out-weighed. The state of Italy must cause great anxiety to all who felt an interest in her happiness. The conduct of the Italians throughout the war had certainly been in all respects most admirable. Their bravery in the field and their moderation and love of order during recent transactions had been beyond all praise; and if there was one man who had gained more glory than another in the late short but bloody war, it was General Garibaldi. It was time for Austria and for Europe to part with the idea that States could be held or partitioned upon a mere possessory title, without reference to the will of the people. The States of Italy had expressed their will with perfect order, yet with calm resolution. Tuscany, Modena, Parma, and the Legations had all evinced a strong determination no longer to be governed by the rulers under whom they previously lived. Were those rulers, he wanted to know, to be forced back on these independent States? If we could be satisfied that the determination of the de facto Governments of Italy would be respected, and that foreign troops would he withdrawn from Italy, and if those terms were adopted as the basis on which a Congress might meet, then, much as he disliked the idea of a Congress, he would not resist the temptation that would in that case be offered, because the main objection to our joining in one—namely, the want of authority on the part of England, would be removed. If it could plainly be seen what the Congress was to do, he would not disapprove of our entering a Congress to settle the details of an arrangement arising out of the basis he had described, and also to arrive at a European solution. The repugnance he had not hesitated to express in regard to a Congress was not founded on any conviction that England ought to stand isolated among the nations of Europe. There was an idea abroad that England was separating herself from the affairs of Europe, and that her power was no longer to be relied upon as an element in the maintenance of the peace of Europe. He could not but think that that impression was owing in great measure to the prominence which had been obtained in this country by what we called the "Peace party," and to the connection of the existence of that sect with the neutrality of England in the late war. He believed that nothing could be more erroneous than to argue upon such a conclusion that England was to become null in the affairs of Europe. The importance of that sect arose from the great ability of the hon. Gentleman who was its chief, and not from the opinions of which he was the advocate or the numbers of those who held them. It was one of the qualities of that gifted man's eloquence that although he compelled many to follow him, he compelled still more to go very strongly against him. In fact, the interest in warlike affairs which now prevailed in the great cities of England had to a great extent been created by that very agitation in favour of peace of which the hon. Gentleman was the distinguished chief. It was a symptom—and by no means an unwholesome one—of English pugnacity. The Emperor Napoleon, he rejoiced to say, was disarming. That was a very happy omen for this country, and he trusted that we should imitate—though, with our humble means, we must follow it at a very respectful distance—the admirable system which the Emperor of the French had perfected, by which a peace establishment could very rapidly be made one of preparation for any emergency. Early in the month of March there was nothing but a peace establishment in France, yet in the month of June the Emperor was able to meet the Austrians at Solferino with one of the greatest and most efficient armies which had ever been seen. There was a cloud hanging over our relations with France, and, strange to say, that cloud had gathered, not in consequence of any act done by the Emperor of the French or by the French Government, but in con- sequence of words that fell from three of the most prominent of our English statesmen. The Emperor Napoleon was not a mere titular sovereign; he was a great commander of men. If they lived 100 years hence instead of to-day, they would be looking back upon the history of 1859 with the deepest interest. They cannot but think and talk of the Emperor of the French. Nay, more, he would go the length of saying that there were very few indeed of our public affairs which they could settle without some reference to the designs of the Emperor Napoleon. They had to take them into consideration in their military arrangements, in their naval arrangements—even in their financial plans they still must bear in view the Emperor Napoleon. He (Mr. Kinglake) was, however, not one of those who would indulge in hostile criticism upon the Emperor of the French. He would not forget that he was our faithful ally in the Crimean war, and that during the Indian mutiny his fidelity to us was never for one moment shaken. Those were circumstances which he never would forget. But the House had been told by the hon. Member for Birmingham, and that language was quoted and endorsed by the two noble Lords below him, that they ought not to indulge in any hostile criticism upon the Emperor of the French; and the hon. Member for Birmingham went so far as to say that if we did so even for a few months more, England would be embroiled in a war with France. Good heavens! what an alternative to propose to a free and spirited nation—enforced silence or war with France. A war with France would be dreadful, but so would be the enforced silence advocated by the hon. Member. If England submitted to such a silence, then, he would say, had commenced the subjugation of England. We would not endure considerations of foreign policy to interfere with the freedom of speech and freedom of action amongst Englishmen at home. That was the principle upon which the late Parliament acted when they overthrew a very popular Minister for pressing the late Conspiracy Bill, and he had no doubt that the existing Parliament would pursue a similar course if the Ministry betrayed any semblance of subserviency to a foreign Power.
Whereupon Previous Question proposed, "That that Question be now put."
Sir, the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, in the begin- ning of his speech, gave, I think, very conclusive reasons against the adoption of the Motion, which has been made by my noble Friend, and he has met that Motion by proposing what is termed the previous question. So far as I am concerned, and I believed so far as my colleagues are concerned, we should have been perfectly willing to deal with the Motion by meeting it with a direct negative; but if it be the pleasure the House to treat it as a Motion which it would be unwise and imprudent under existing circumstances to entertain at all, of course Her Majesty's Government can have no objection to concur in that vote and support the proposition which has been made by the hon. and learned Member, made of his own choice and without concert with Her Majesty's Government. But there have been matters of great interest raised in this discussion, both by the hon. and learned Gentleman and by my noble Friend, who opened the debate, and I am sure my noble Friend will not be supprised that a Motion upon a subject of such immense importance upon the affairs of Europe, challenging the attention of Europe at a period so critical, and aiming, as he himself will be the first to admit, in a peculiar manner at imposing limits upon the free and responsible action of Her Majesty's Ministers, should itself be subjected to some scrutiny. Now, if I read the terms of this Motion of my noble Friend, the first remark, I think, that occurs is, that it is scarcely applicable to the position in which we stand, because that which it condemns, or rather prohibits, is the taking part in any Conference for the purpose of settling the details of a peace the preliminaries of which have been arranged between the Emperor of Austria and the Emperor of the French. But I am not aware of any proposal, of any suggestion, of any idea, or even dream of taking part in a Conference for the purpose of settling details the preliminaries of which have been arranged by the Emperor of Austria and the Emperor of the French. The details of peace, as we all know perfectly well from the public journals, if not otherwise, will be settled by the belligerents themselves; and what will remain to be settled are not merely details for the purpose of giving effect to the resolutions of the belligerents, but other great questions of European policy, vitally affecting the interests and happiness of Italy, stretching beyond the limits of Italy itself, and as well entitled to be termed matters of high and prime Euro- son who has not the means to carry on resistance to a Petition before a Committee of this House. If there is any fault it is in the rules of this House, wherein it is so costly that no man of small means is ever able to sit in this House, provided any person chooses to bring a Petition against him whether rightly or wrongly. Now my means are sufficient to maintain me as a gentleman, but if I have got to spend two or three or four or five thousand pounds to defend my seat by bringing witnesses nearly three hundred miles from their homes, I cannot do it. It is a very expensive thing to take people so far from their homes. If I did as I have been advised by some of my friends to do—resist the Petition by saying that there is not the least charge against me through them (and I know there is not through myself), I should place myself in inextricable difficulties, perhaps, during the rest of my life. If, however, instead of having hundreds a year I had thousands, I would oppose the Petition, and if this House will bear me out in the expense I will proceed with it; but I am not going to ruin all my friends, and those who are dependent upon me. I appreciate the honour of a seat in this House, but not to the ruin of myself, and those with whom I am connected, and it was upon that account, and upon that ground alone, that I acted. First of all I thought they were in joke, because all Petitions are alike; they charge you with bribery, and with everything they can charge you with, like the old lawyers charging everything to be sure of catching something. Now, these Petitions are all so general in their wording that I really thought there was nothing at all in it, till I found that they were persevering with this Petition, and that they were going to persevere with it—this one in particular. I thought nothing at all about it; I thought the Petition would have been withdrawn, but I found it was not to be. In consequence I told Mr. Wyld that I did not intend, and never had intended (and this House must have seen that I never did intend), to defend my seat, for I have never been in any division in this House since that Petition was presented. I did not intend to have anything more to do with it. I fully intended to resign my seat at some future time, if I saw that they were determined to follow up the Petition. Now, I most firmly assert that there was no sort of compromise—corrupt compromise—the only compromise was this (and there was this compromise), that my object was that the petitioners, whoever they were, should come forward and withdraw the Petition, and by withdrawing the Petition withdraw all the charges against me. Now, if I had gone into the case I must have allowed all those charges to remain against me, and must have submitted at all future time to be told that I had not defended my seat because I was afraid to do so. I said I thought the better plan, not knowing that I was offending against the rules of the House, the better plan would be that the petitioners should exonerate me, should withdraw their Petition, and by withdrawing their Petition they would have exonerated me from all charges, and my friends from all charges which were made in that Petition. Under that idea, I said I did not wish any longer to sit in the House, and I should be at any time ready, with the sanction of the House, to do anything that was right and proper. Now, these are all the principles upon which I have acted, and under such circumstances I leave my case in the hands of the House, and I have no doubt that they will feel as I feel that it would not be right for any man to go into a ruinous expense to himself and those about him, although he liked a seat in this House ever so much, in order to retain his seat. I have seen many men, whose names I could mention, who have rued the day when they defended their seats in this House. I do not intend to do it, but if there are any persons who will back me out, whoever they may be, and pay the expense, I will defend my seat.
And then he withdrew.
"That, in the opinion of this House, any Minister would be guilty of a breach of the privileges of this House, who should advise the Crown to confer the Office of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, or of the Manor of East Hendred, or of the Manor of Northstead, or of the Manor of Hempholme, or of Escheator of Munster, upon any person charged with corrupt practices at an Election, and who for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of this House, has entered into an agreement to vacate his Seat, upon the withdrawal of the Petition charging him with such corrupt practices."
called for a division.
Tellers for the Ayes, Mr. Roebuck, and any other Gentleman who will undertake the office.
I will, Sir.
The House divided:—Ayes 30; Noes 214: Majority 184.
Wats And Means—Report
rose to vindicate Scotland from the charges which had been brought against her the other night as constantly attempting to get hold of the public purse. There were some Gentlemen in the House who, whenever a Vote was brought forward for a national benefit, if the locality happened to be in Scotland, denounced it as a Scotch job. That phrase was applied last night to a Vote of£12,000, which was asked for to repair an accident that had befallen a part of the national property—the Crinan Canal—which was a highway through the Highlands, and on that account was objected to, though these same Gentlemen did not hesitate to vote £300,000 for a highway across the Thames in the shape of a bridge in the neighbourhood of this House. These charges were so frequent, and made with so much confidence, that he had taken some trouble to go over the Estimates to find how much of the public money was appropriated to England, Ireland, and Scotland respectively. He found this was more difficult than he had anticipated, from the way in which the Estimates were prepared; but there was one estimate in which the sums were voted separately for each country. For the administration of justice there was voted for England £803,926; for Scotland, £129,188; and for Ireland, £856,283. He thought this was both law and justice enough for Ireland. On the Vote for Education, too, he found the account stood thus:—For England, £384,935; for Scotland, £83,920; and for Ireland, £249,468. With respect, to this last Vote he must state that Scotland never asked for it. His hon. Colleague the Lord Advocate had some years ago brought in a Bill to enable Scotland to provide for its own education out of local rates, and if that Bill had passed, as it did pass this House, the funds of the nation would have been saved this £83,000. There was not a town in the kingdom where education was more ample or more cheap than in Edinburgh, and it was only when this House began with a lavish hand to scatter the money of the country, and, in point of fact, called upon all to come and take it, that parties in Edinburgh pushed in their claim along with the rest, and he believed that the money so squandered did more harm than good. He had a word, however, to say upon another subject. He wished to direct the attention of the Government to the injury sustained by the Industrial Museum of Scotland through a misunderstanding between the Board of Education and the Board of Works. The erection of the museum in question had been decided on about five years ago, and an estimate of £40,000 had been fixed upon for that purpose. At the same time a site had been obtained, but it was not until three years ago that a sum of £10,000 was first set down in the Votes of the House with the view of carrying the object into execution; and then some economical Gentlemen came forward to oppose the Vote on the ground that money was scarce in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Vote was in consequence struck out of the Estimates, The first, which ought to have been the second grant for the museum, was agreed to last year, but the £10,000 which ought to have been voted the year before was withheld. A dispute regarding the plans, however, has sprung up between the Board of Education and the Board of Works, which effectually stopped the progress of the buildings, and the money which ought to have been expended on them was still retained in the Exchequer. This year he expected the Vote would have been again inserted in the Estimates, but he had looked for it in vain. There could be no doubt that the museum would be of great use; it was to include the practical arts, as well as science, and he had no doubt that many hard-headed Scotchmen would issue forth from studying at that museum, who would benefit not Scotland only, but England and Ireland. Some valuable specimens have already been secured for the museum. The extensive collection of that eminent naturalist Professor Edward Forbes have been obtained, and the geological museum of Hugh Miller; but they were all put away in boxes, and were of no benefit whatever till a house was got for their arrangement. But for the dispute between the two Boards to which he had referred they would have had three grants of £10,000 each by this time, the house would have been roofed in, and the people of Scotland might have derived all the education that was possible from the exhibition of these valuable collections in a building where they would be open to public inspection. He therefore begged to move that the Treasury would interfere between these two Boards, and take such steps as that the works may proceed without further delay.
seconded the Motion.
Motion made, and Question proposed,—"That the said Resolutions be now read a second time."
"To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'the Treasury be requested to interfere between the Board of Education and the Office of Works, in order that a proper building may be at length erected for the Industrial Museum of Scotland, on the site which was procured about five years ago,'" instead thereof.
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
said, he would not attempt to follow the hon. Member in the observations he had made touching the proportion of the public expenditure allotted to Scotland, and would confine himself entirely to the substantive matter he had brought before the House. He would assure the hon. Member that no dispute now existed between the Board of Education and the Board of Works. A sum of £10,000 was voted for the Museum the year before last on account of the £40,000, and the delay which had taken place in commencing the works was owing partly to the separation of the plans, and partly to the necessity for procuring additional land. He was happy now to inform the House that the Board of Works and the Council of Education had agreed to have joint plans immediately prepared, and that as soon as they were completed orders would be given to commence the works. He had every reason to believe that they would be commenced with in a very short time.
said, that after the satisfactory answer of the right hon. Gentleman he would withdraw his Motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Question again proposed, "That the said Resolutions be now read a second time."
Burdens On Merchant Shipping
rose to call the attention of the House to the present state of the shipping interest and said, that in so doing he did not intend to occupy the attention of the House at any length, for the Motion, of which he had given notice some time ago, was of too much importance to be discussed at this advanced period of the Session. But the House would perhaps allow him to say a few words in explanation. In March last a Committee was appointed to inquire into the burdens and restrictions on merchant shipping. The Committee consisted of several of the leading Members of the House and the right hon. Gentleman who was now Home Secretary, consented to act as chairman. But the dissolution took place just as they were about to commence their labours, and the Committee, of course, fell to the ground. After the dissolution came the great party struggle, followed by the change of Ministry, so that he had never had an opportunity of renewing the question. He would, therefore, now postpone the question till next Session, when, at an early period, he would move for a Committee. But there were some burdens on the merchant shipping which did not need further inquiry. Three Committees had sat at various times on the question of the light dues—in 1822, in 1833, and in 1845. In the Committee of 1845 a Resolution was moved by the noble Lord now at the head of the Government, and was carried, which recommended that the shipowners should be relieved from the payment of all light dues. The Committee, in fact, acknowledged that it was the proper duty of the nation to light the shores. The Report of the Committee had, however, never been acted upon; but, on the contrary, the shipping interest had been called on to pay £1,250,000 for private lighthouses, saddled on them by the unjust grants of former Governments and former Sovereigns. He wished to ask his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade whether he meant to prepare any measure during the recess for the purpose of relieving the shipping interest of that burden? The next question to which he wished to refer was that of passing tolls. Select Committees of the House had over and over again decided that passing tolls ought to be abolished, because the shipowners by whom they were paid received no equivalent for the charge. Then there was also the question of local charges. It was true that the differences which had arisen out of the large sum paid to the corporation of Liverpool for their municipal purposes in the shape of local charges had in a great degree been settled by a private Bill, but there were other charges of a similar character which still continued to be levied. The town of Newcastle raised in that shape between £18,000 and £19,000 a year, and out of that sum not less than £12,000 were expended in the paving and lighting of the streets. The port of Sunderland, which was perhaps the largest ship-building port in the world, and which had four times more shipping than Newcastle, paid annually to the latter town, in the shape of local dues, a sum of £1,400; and charges of the same kind were levied in Hull, in Bristol, and in other ports. He wished to know whether his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade meant to prepare during the recess Bills for the settlement of these three questions in conformity with the recommendations of Select Committees of the House, and the recorded opinions of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and of other members of Her Majesty's present Ministry. If the right hon. Gentleman would pursue that course it would not be necessary for him (Mr. Lindsay) to embrace in the inquiry which he meant to propose next year those three important questions, and he should be enabled to limit the scope of his investigation to other subjects, such as the duty on marine policies, the timber duties, and other points into which the House had not yet inquired.
begged to make a few observations on a subject of a cognate character to that to which the hon. Member had referred. The House was aware that the Merchant Shipping Act constituted the mercantile marine fund, but probably they were not aware that the accumulations of the fund amounted to £280,000, in Exchequer bills and £82,000 in cash, being a total of £362,000. He apprehended that it was never intended that there should be such a large accumulation, and he wished to ask the President of the Board of Trade what were the intentions of the Government as to disposing of it. The money was derived principally from light dues, ballast rates, fees on masters and mates, and ships' crews engaging and discharging, and fees on the renewal of masters and mates' certificates. The surplus of income over expenditure was in 1854, £180,000; in 1855, £106,000; in 1856. £165,000; in 1857, £85,000; and in 1858, £102,000. He could congratulate Irish and Scotch Members on justice having been done to their respective countries in one particular. The annual expenditure on English lighthouses during the five years was £25,000, on Scotch lighthouses £26,000, and on Irish lighthouses £11,000. The sum expended for life-boats was insignificant, being only £13,360 during the five years. He would suggest that a larger sum should he expended on life-boats and other means for preserving the lives of passengers from the perils of the seas. He wished to know whether that suggestion would be adopted, or whether the amounts received would be diminished. He also hoped that during the recess, the right hon. Gentleman would take into his consideration some mode of disbursing the £360,000 already accumulated, which would be acceptable to the shipping interest.
said, he agreed with the hon. Member for Sunderland in thinking that many of these charges were grievances from which the shipping interest were entitled to relief. He wished, however, to state to the House an important circumstance—namely, that since the repeal of the navigation laws had opened our shipping trade to the world, foreign shipping had increased in a quadruple ratio to British shipping. He thought that might be traced to a distinct and reasonable cause. On an average taken during the years 1844 to 1848, as compared with an average taken of the years 1834 to 1838, the proportion of British shipping had diminished from a per centage of 72 to a per centage of 40; whilst in the same period of time foreign shipping had increased from 88 per cent to 133 per cent. This was a startling fact; for the increase of British shipping had not kept pace with the increase of British commerce. When they spoke of free trade in corn, they meant of course free trade in the importation of corn. But free trade in ships was quite another matter, because ships were employed to trade, not only from, but at foreign ports. Thus British shipping had not yet reaped the full benefit of free trade. On the 15th of February last there were 233 trading vessels in the China seas; of these only 100 were British owned, and of these 100 only twenty-one bore the British flag. At Hong Kong there were eighty-four vessels, of which sixty-nine were lading there. Of these only six carried the British flag. But that was not the whole of the grievance of which the shipping interest had to com- plain. American, French, and Spanish ships could steer for their respective ports without being liable to those discriminating duties which weighed so heavily on British ships. He would take the case of a vessel sailing from New York, and bound for San Francisco. That vessel starting from 40 deg. N. lat. arrived at a point situated 51 deg. S. lat., a run in all of 91 deg., or about 5,000 miles, passing the coasts of Mexico and Brazil, sighting the Falkland Isles, and then rounding Cape Horn, ran a course of 5,000 more in a northern direction until it arrived at San Francisco. The Americans insisted upon calling that voyage a coasting one, and maintained that American ships should monopolize the trade. It was, he considered, high time that the British Government made some protest against that view of the case. It might be said that the trade was small, not exceeding 200,000 tons between New York and San Francisco. But it should not be overlooked that the American rule also applied to the trade between all the intermediate ports, and he had been informed that the rule also applied to goods to be transported across the Isthmus of Panama. The British shipowner, therefore, had not free trade. He would not go into the cases of the shipping interest with relation to that of Spain and France. The claims of the shipowners were not confined to the mere removal of the passing tolls and local dues. They thought Government ought to call upon foreign countries to reciprocate the advantages which they enjoyed in the ports of this country. If ever there was a time when they had a right to make such a demand of Government it was the present, and Government owed it as a duty to them to comply with it. It was only the other day they went into the market against the shipowners, offering a bounty to seamen, and so raising wages, and the shipowners helped them. Now that the shipowners asked for justice, he trusted it would not be refused them.
said, he would not detain the House by entering into a discussion of the question of free trade in its relation to the shipping interest. He would only say that as far as the Government had it in its power to obtain a reciprocity from Foreign States, it would lose no opportunity of doing so. Not that he would be understood as advocating anything approaching to a system of retaliation. All he meant was that the Government would lose no opportunity of promoting the relaxation of those restrictions that acted against England. With these observations he would confine himself to replying to the questions put by the hon. Members for Sunderland and the City of London. With regard to the Select Committee that was appointed at the beginning of this year, but which did not commence its sittings in consequence of the dissolution of Parliament, if the hon. Gentleman thought fit he might move its reappointment, and there would be no objection to it on the part of the Government. Of course, it would be for the House to say whether such an inquiry was requisite. There were three definite questions that had been asked, respecting which the hon. Member inquired whether the Government intended to introduce any Bills. The first of these questions referred to the light dues. These dues stood on quite a different footing to passing tolls and local charges on shipping. Whatever else might be said against light dues, it could not be urged that the money raised by them was not applied for the benefit of the merchant shipping. Formerly they were applied to the payment of the debts of the Trinity-house and charitable pensions granted by that corporation. So applied they were, no doubt, highly objectionable; but they were now applied exclusively to the maintenance of the lighthouses, which were mainly for the benefit of the mercantile shipping of the country. As to the proposal of defraying the expense of the lighthouses out of the public revenue, it was more a question for the Treasury than the Board of Trade; but he doubted if the Chancellor of the Exchequer was prepared to throw so large a sum-£200,000 or £300,000 a year—on the Consolidated Fund, or whether the House would consent to entertain the suggestion. He could not hold out any expectation that the Government would make such a proposal. He must call attention to this fact, that the light dues had been reduced 50 per cent within the last six years. The amount now paid by the shipping interest was very much less than formerly, and the erection of new lighthouses and the additional facilities for navigation provided out of these funds had conferred a very great benefit on the shipping interest. With regard to the two questions of passing tolls and local dues, he supposed that what his hon. Friend meant was, that no charges should be levied upon ships that were not applied to shipping purposes. His hon. Friend, of course, could not mean that the shipping interest was to have every kind of facilities at the public expense, and that no local charges whatever should be levied. Well, passing tolls were no doubt, to some extent, applied to shipping purposes, but he admitted that those tolls had been condemned by the House. The difficulty, however, was how to deal with the two questions of passing tolls and local dues. For his own part, he thought that they ought not to be approached or dealt with in an arbitrary and summary manner, and for this simple reason, that these local dues had arisen from such a variety of circumstances, and there were such a variety of details upon which they rested, and of debts that were contracted upon them, that nothing would be more difficult than to bring in a general Bill which should deal with them by any absolute and invariable rule applicable to all cases. He was quite sure that such a Bill would not be successful. He believed that if any Bill were brought in confined to the local duos of particular towns, or to any charitable dues, it would by the rules of the House have to be treated as a private Bill. But that would be a most objectionable course, because the matter would thus be completely beyond the control of the Government, and to a certain extent beyond the control of the House. The difficulties of a general Bill and of a private Bill being such as he had stated, he thought there was one other course open, and that was to bring in a measure of a flexible character, which should be capable of being applied with justice to the various cases as they arose, the guiding principle being that local dues levied upon shipping should be applied strictly to shipping purposes, but at the same time that the just claims of municipalities and the varions rights of creditors should be properly respected. Such a measure, he thought, would settle the question, and would receive the support of all the corporate bodies in the country interested in this subject. On the part of the Government he was quite willing to Bay that they would give their consideration to a Bill of that sort, and he would probably introduce such a Bill in the next Session. With regard to the surplus of the mercantile marine fund to which the hon. Member for London (Mr. Crawford) had called attention, the statement of the hon. Gentleman was not correct. The annual income of that fund, after certain recent reductions had taken effect, and which had probably escaped the attention of the hon. Member, was £330,000; out of that sum £230,000 was paid for the maintenance of lighthouses, and the payment of that and some other charges left an annual balance of only £10,000. That was not a very large surplus in reference to an income of that magnitude. It was of course perfectly understood that if by an increase of trade the fund should become much larger there would be further reductions, from which the shipping interest would derive benefit, as they had from the reductions which had been already made. The present balance would be applied to a great extent to the paying for seventeen or nineteen new lighthouses that were in process of erection, and there was not at the present moment that opportunity which the hon. Gentleman supposed of making a material reduction of the income of the mercantile marine fund. Should such an opportunity arise, the hon. Gentleman might be assured that he (Mr. M. Gibson) would instantly take advantage of it. In conclusion, the right hon. Gentleman said, he could not hold out much hope that any measure would be passed for the purpose of putting the whole charge and support of the light-houses of the United Kingdom upon the Consolidated Fund.
congratulated the House on the improved spirit in which the question of shipping dues was now approached by the Government. He trusted that the rock on which the Bill of 1856 was wrecked would be carefully avoided, and that no attempt would be made to deal with the matter in an arbitrary spirit. He was quite sure that such a measure as the right hon. Gentleman had indicated would, if founded upon the principles of justice, receive a most careful consideration from the representatives of the different harbours in this country. With reference to the local dues of the Tyne, they were expressly appropriated for Municipal purposes, so that most probably all local matters in that case would be settled by a private Bill.
was understood to express his thanks to his hon. Friend (Mr. Lindsay) for having brought this question before the House, and trusted his hon. Friend would pursue his intention of moving for a Select Committee to inquire into the subject next year.
The Woods And Forests—Foreshores—Observations
rose to call the attention of the House to the question relating to the right of the Crown to the foreshores of the United Kingdom, and the proceedings of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests in. dealing with this kind of property. These were to be found embodied in certain returns made to this House, and the Reports laid annually on the table by those Commissioners. He said that the claim of the Government to the foreshores as the dominion and here-ditament of the Crown rose first to any importance about fifteen years ago, before which time scarcely any more notice was taken of it than was necessary for the protection of the public. The voluminous return made on the Motion of Mr. Cheetham showed that in 1833 the first suit arose in connection with Chester. Ie 1839 there was a suit connected with the Humber; in 1844 the great suit about the conservancy of the Thames. In 1845 there were three suits of this nature; in 1851, one connected with the Mersey; in 1852 and 1854 there were suits connected with the Isle of Man; and in 1855 and 1857 there were several suits in connection with the coast of Scotland. Almost all these suits—though stated in the return to have ended in favour of the Crown—were in reality almost all, more or less, compromised; and he expressed his regret in concurrence with Lord Derby, that those of a more important character—particularly that with the city of London, in respect of the Thames—had been so terminated, preventing thereby any judicial decision upon the subject matter of litigation, from which much public benefit would have resulted. He had quoted the figures to show this notion of right to the shores as the freehold property of the Crown, and of appropriating it, had year by year waxed stronger and grown upon the Woods and Forests, and he would now proceed to show how those who had the management of the subject had dealt with this assumed right. Between 1830 and 1839, there were four sales and nine leases; 1840 and 1849, eighteen sales and twenty-two leases; 1850 and 1858, 117 sales and thirty leases—making in all 139 sales and sixty-one leases, within the limits of that return. These sales had realized the sum of £95,000, and the reserved rental on these leases was £958. So stood the account up to March, 1857, as detailed in the reports of the Woods and Forests; but in the year ending March, 1858, no less than twenty-three sales are recorded, and for a sum of £45,850, making a total with previous receipts of £141 obtained from this newly-claimed species of property. The sales of this one year also show the extent and universality of their operations—one in Carnarvonshire, three in Cheshire, one in Devon, one in Hants, two in Lincoln, two in Norfolk, two in Pembroke, one in York, one in Dumbarton, one in Forfarshire, two in Renfrew, one in Armagh, one in the Downs, one in Limerick, one in the Isle of Man, and one in the Thames. What the nature and extent of like proceedings may have been during the last year there are no means of tracing; the accounts up to March, 1859, having been but just laid on the table, and will probably not be printed and in the hands of Members for a year to come—a delay he much complained of, as it was impossible in consequence to take notice of the proceedings of these Commissioners till it was often too late to check and prevent their wrong doings. This loudly called for correction. The return contained notes stating once and again that this was property which had never been before in lease, or any previous acknowledgment received, or any hope of profit from it, or over which any lights of ownership had been exercised. The authorities who undertook the management of these matters even went so far as to prohibit people from erecting harriers against the inroads of the sea, unless they had acknowledged the right of the Crown by some payment under a lease. Of such, there are several instances recorded in these reports, and it may suffice to quote the reference to one at Dovor, where a lease was granted, it is stated, "for the purpose of empowering the owner of some adjacent premises to protect his property from injury by the inroads of the sea. A new feature is further disclosed in these transactions, namely, the sale of the fundur, or bed of the sea, that portion which is always covered with water, and is below low-water mark. Instances of such sales being included are to be found at Birkenhead and other parts of the coast. Rights of this nature have been very frequently asserted in Cornwall of late years. He wished particularly to call attention to the claims thus put forward by the Duchy on the estuary of the Tamar or Hamoase, which had been much too readily and unaccouutably admitted by the Government departments. Every one knew Keyham Docks, to form which many acres of land had been purchased, and immense sums laid out in the construction of the works and particularly in the basin. Now this basin stretched into and enclosed a large area of the deep water or bed of the estuary. For this the Duchy claimed to be paid as owner, and had been paid as much as £50 per acre for seventy acres, making a sum of £3,500, which the public have had to pay, for what is literally their own property. If such right of sale really exists, there is nothing to prevent the Duchy selling the whole of that great estuary, the Hamoase, where our fleets now ride at anchor. He particularly brought this to the notice of the Secretary of the Admiralty, as also of the Secretary for War, in reference to the powder magazine at Bull Point, the cost for which had figured so largely in both the Navy and Army Estimates, and where a similar payment had been submitted to for the bed of these waters. What he wished for was an explanation by the law officer of the Crown as to what was the right by which portions of the foreshores were sold. Those sales excluded the public from the exercise of their rights of navigation, fishery, &c. &c, without any compensation at all, the purchase-money being simply added to the capital of the Commission of Woods and Forests, a property we have been significantly told more than once, by those who sit on the Treasury bench, the country has but a life interest in. It was said that the Crown had a sort of manorial right over the shore, but if so still the public ought to be considered in the light of occupiers, and if excluded from their rights should have compensation. It frequently happened that the Crown came in and occupied the shore, thus cutting off the sea frontage of the owner of the adjoining land, and this was done without any legal form or process, such as manorial wastes and commons are subject to, by being brought under the direction of the Enclosure Commissioners, whose awards have to be confirmed by a general Act of Parliament. In the borough which he represented (Truro), it had always been supposed that the tidal water there belonged to the corporation, but they were too poor to fight the battle with the Crown, and consequently the other day they were obliged to pay £1,800 for some mud banks which were of no use to the Duchy of Cornwall, and adjoining which they had no property. He was himself trustee for some property in Cornwall, from which a valuable frontage, in the manner which he had described was threatened, might be cut off. If the Crown had this right to the shore, surely they ought to keep up the shore so as not to produce injury to the adjoining property. Assuming the Crown had certain rights over these foreshores, it was clear they had certain obligations also. There was an obligation upon the Crown, according to Lord Coke, to prevent the land adjoining the shore being flooded, but that obligation the Crown neglected. Lord Coke in his Report says—"The King ought of right to save and defend this realm as well against the sea as against enemies, that it should not be drowned or wasted." The obligation, then, rests on the Crown to defend the land round the whole of the coasts, and it is this obligation and not any claim to soil and possession that gives the Crown any jurisdiction in any sense over borders of the sea. His attention had been drawn to this subject by seeing for several successive weeks an advertisement in the Economist newspaper head, "Crown Lands—Hull Citadel." The advertisement went on to describe the property as freehold, comprising sixty acres; thirty-five of them being the Hull citadel and the remaining twenty-five acres were the foreshore of the river Humber, which was covered by the tide at high water, and left dry at low water. Now, he was informed that at certain states of the tide it was necessary for vessels navigating the river to pass over this foreshore, and the public rights would be materially affected by the proposed sale. It was curiously enough described as freehold property; but what he wanted to know was, what was the real nature of the freehold described in the advertisement, what were the obligations attached to it, and what were the public rights connected with it? He would trouble the House with but one instance more as peculiarly illustrative of the mode in which the Woods and Forests were dealing both with this and other public property. The case alluded to was that at Hull, respecting which certain papers had recently been laid before the House. The Hull Citadel had been held by the War Department for three or four hundred years past, and now the Woods and Forests came in and claimed the property, seeking to apply the proceeds of the sale for the benefit of the Crown lands. It was but the other day a noble Lord opposite brought under the consideration of the House, the defences of the Humber, and for which the country will be called on to vote large sums, first for the purchase of land, and next for the erection of fortifications. It is to be hoped the Chancellor of the Exchequer will take care to impound the £100,000 the Woods and Forests are attempting to lay hold of for this property which does not belong to them, and apply this sum towards the erection of the defences of the Humber, in which Hull itself is so deeply interested. He could assure the House very great interest was felt in this matter and very great dissatisfactioe was growing up all over the kingdom both as to the claims made on behalf of the Crown, and the mode in which those claims were dealt with.
thought the House was much indebted to the hon. Gentleman for bringing forward this subject. He could lay it down as a simple proposition which no one could dispute, that if the Crown had certain rights over the foreshore it had also reciprocal obligations. Now, if it claimed the foreshores, a reciprocal duty must clearly be to prevent trespassing upon the foreshore to the injury of the adjoining lands. He was himself the proprietor of lands adjoining the sea-shore. Persons were in the habit of trespassing upon the shore to obtain shingle and ballast, and although by carrying away this ballast they greatly imperilled his property, it was useless to proceed against the trespassers before the magistrates, as they declined to exercise their summary powers where the right to the property was in question. To obviate this difficulty, he had been compelled to pay several hundred pounds to the Woods and Forests for the foreshore, which, except for the purpose of preventing these trespasses, was perfectly worthless to him. One of the tenants of the adjoining proprietor came to him the other day in a state of great alarm, stating that he was afraid a large field of corn was in danger of being carried away by the sea, in consequence of the depredations committed by trespassers. If the Crown claimed the foreshores, it was clearly bound to protect the adjoining property, but the Woods and Forests had refused to maintain a police for the purpose. With a view of showing the absolute necessity of some decision being arrived at, the hon. Member mentioned that a short time ago a very eminent engineer told him that he had been employed by the Board of Admiralty against the Woods and Forests: it surely could not he for the good of the country that such a state of things should continue.
was of opinion that when the matters referred to by the hon. Gentleman came to be considered it would be seen that the Commissioners, who were only trustees for the public, had been merely anxious to do their duty. The charge which had been brought against them by the hon. Member who spoke last was of the most singular description, and only proved that he had taken no pains to inform himself on the subject; for if the hon. Gentleman had reason to complain of any trepassers, and had preferred a complaint to the Woods and Forests Commissioners, it would have been immediately attended to. There was a remarkable case in point upon the records. In May, 1857, a complaint was made to the Commissioners, at the instance of certain landowners in Sussex, of the removal of stones and shingle from the beach, to the injury of their property. He, as Attorney General, recommended that a plaint should be brought by the Commissioners in the County Court; and the result was that the defendants were fined a certain sum in the way of damages, and the practice put a stop to without costing the country a single farthing. If the hon. Member, and any other parties aggrieved, had only followed the same course relief would have been afforded to them, and a recurrence of the inconvenience would have been prevented. But the hon. Gentleman spoke as if it were the duty of Commissioners of Woods and Forests to enclose the sea-shore, and to preserve it from trespassers; that showed how very little the powers of the Crown had been considered. By the law of the country, the whole of the foreshores, the beds of navigable rivers, and the beds and foreshores of estuaries, were vested in the Crown; and it was for the general public advantage that it should be so. It was vested in the Crown in a double sense—first, as regarded the right of property, and then as regarded a right of jurisdiction. It was commonly said that property was vested in the Crown for the good of the public, and that was true of all property given to the Crown; but it was in this sense true of property vested in the Crown, that the Crown could appropriate no part of the country to the prejudice of the subject. The public had a right to a free passage from the shore to the sea, to get into boats, to go out to sea to fish, and to use the shore for ordinary purposes; and the Crown had no right to appropriate any portion of the shore unless it were for the public interest and advantage. Unfortunately, in ancient times, improvident grants had been made of this description of property; and in other respects the rights of the Crown had been so much neglected that proprietors of land along the shore began by a series of encroachments to assume the right of property over the shore itself; and by the lapse of years, and by unrestrained acts of ownership, these rights were so far established that large tracts of property had been taken away from the Crown. And how had those rights been used? It was notorious to all who were acquainted with the subject that when this right of foreshores was vested in individuals, and there happened to be some public measure, such as the formation of a dock or railway, private individuals had the opportunity of pocketing large sums of money, which, if this property had remained in the hands of the Crown, would have gone into the public exchequer. The noble Earl to whom the hon. Gentleman had referred when he last brought forward this subject (the Earl of Derby) had received an amount of several hundreds of thousands of pounds for parting with his rights in this description of property to a public body; and in another case a sum of £90,000 had been claimed in respect of similar rights from the Birkenhead Dock Company. It had been said that disadvantage would result to the public if this property continued to be vested in private individuals who had it in their power to practise petty exactions. He agreed in that opinion, and a public document which he held in his hand afforded a signal example of its truth. The Duchy of Cornwall had granted a lease of the foreshore of the Scilly Islands to an hon. Gentleman who claimed in respect of that lease to be the owner of property which was held only pro bono publico. The ownership of this foreshore appeared to be attended with the most petty gains. For any piece of wreck cast upon the shore the owner obtained from the Receiver of Wrecks sums varying from 6d. up to larger amounts. From he paper to which he had referred it appeared that a topgallantmast belonging to some unfortunate vessel which had remained upon the sand for five or six days, was charged 4d, a wood-stocked anchor 3s., and a balk of timber ten feet long 7s.
denied that this small charge had been made in the light of exaction, but simply with a view of securing the rights of private property from infringement.
said, it was not only for the use of the foreshore but the pier that the charge was expressly made. He found, however, that the charge increased in proportion to the size of the waif. The temporary accommodation of a wood-stocked anchor was set down at 3s., while for a spar measuring 101 feet, as it took up a much greater quantity of the shore, 7s. was charged. This illustrated the necessity of having property vested in public bodies, or the Crown instead of private individuals, The Commissioners of Woods and Forest, were nothing more than trustees for the public, and they had used the right vested in them for the purpose of gaining back for the public property which had been unjustly taken away. An official Return showed that from 1830 to July, 1859, twenty-nine suits had been instituted by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, under the advice of the Attorney General, including the small County Court case of which he had spoken—of these, twenty-two resulted in favour of the Crown, three suits were still pending, two were discontinued, and two resulted in adverse decisions. One of those adverse decisions was a mere opinion of the Court, taken by his own advice, as to the construction of a grant, which the Court considered to be in favour of the right of the individual. These suits had produced to the country a sum of £185,000, and this had resulted entirely from the management of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests and their care in exercising the public duties committed to them. The greater number of these suits were determined before the establishment of the Act which he had had the honour of bringing in to make the Crown amenable to costs in the ordinary way, previous to that period the rule having been for the Crown neither to receive nor to pay costs. The expenses of these twenty-nine suits had therefore been under £15,000; and looking to the magnitude of the suits, one of them having been a suit against the Corporation of London, he thought that an average of £500 each was extremely moderate. But it must not be supposed that if the rights of the Crown were given up for the benefit of the adjoining proprietors, the public would gain any advantage whatever by that. Therefore, in point of fact, although the Commissioners might suggest alterations, it remained with the responsible legal advisers of the Crown alone to decide, and he (the Attorney General) must say, he could not see how these matters could be better provided for than by the mode in which they were now arranged.
thanked the Attorney General for his very satisfactory statement. The Crown had not very long ago taken possession of a portion of the shore on the banks of the Clyde, on which old men past the time of active labour and others were in the habit of catching shell fish and digging for bait, and had let it to a fishmonger at Glasgow for the annual rent of £30, thus depriving these poor people of the means of getting their living. Such a mode of administering Crown property ought not to be encouraged, but he was convinced that if it were administered on the general principle laid down by the Attorney General, it would be most beneficial to the public interests.
Indian Reinforcements—The National Defences
said, that the purport of the Motion which stood in his name was—"That, under present circumstances, it is not necessary or expedient to carry into effect the recent Order for despatching 6,700 Men to India, from the Depots of Regiments serving in India." The late Government gave orders for the despatch of a considerable force of artillery to India six or eight months ago. The matter was brought before the House, and the Government judiciously altered their determination, and did not then send artillery to India. The circumstances of the present case were essentially the same—6,000 or 7,000 men were about to be sent out, and he hoped the Secretary for India would find on consideration that this was not either necessary or advisable to be done. It was said by the Secretary for India that this was the usual season for sending out recruits to India. That might be; but circumstances were not such as to justify such a force being sent out of the country. Both on financial and general grounds such a step would be unwise. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India a night or two ago, said that the finances of India were in an alarming state. This despatch of troops would cost £300,000 at least, and this burden would necessarily fall on the Indian Government. The transmission of each soldier to India cost £15, and you had to add to that the same amount for each man coming home. At the present moment it was stated that 4,000 men were coming home; so that these two forces would cross each other on the sea. In a more important point of view than the financial one he thought he made no undue assertion—it had indeed been repeatedly admitted in discussions in that House—when he said that the military force actually in this country was inadequate. The sending away of these 7,000 men would cause a serious diminution of that force, and this certainly was not a time to diminish it by so large a number. The Indian army was immense—far beyond the present requirements of that country. The recent despatches from India stated that everything was going on satisfactorily. Oude was tranquil, about a thousand forts had been captured from the talookdars and destroyed, a great quantity of cannon, and above a million of small arms taken away from the Natives, and yet you were sending out European troops, while at the same time the Government of India proposed to reduce the Native army by one-fourth. If all this was the case, surely it was not necessary to send reinforcements out of this country. He might be told that he exaggerated the requirements of this country for troops. He did not think so. It was true that intelligence had been received that the French army was to be reduced, and it was satisfactory to learn that such an order had been issued by the French Government; but it was a delusion to suppose that such a disarmament afforded any analogy to a disarmament of the English army and navy, for the disarmament of the French was only a furlough to the men, who were liable to return within a month when required, while the officers and non-commissioned officers remained on the establishment whether in peace or war. It was said that the French disarmament extended to sailors; but there was a curious circumstance, which deserved notice. Hitherto the furlough of sailors allowed them to return to their ships at a month's notice; but now they were required to do so at five days' notice. This looked as if the French Government wished to be prepared to replace their fleet in an effective state with more than usual promptness, if it should deem it expedient. This disarmament of France, therefore, was no such dirarmament as would justify us, if our force was inadequate, in reducing it still more. There were now 100,000 European soldiers in India, and this bore on the subject of the finances of the Indian Government. He had seen a statement in the Bengal journals that "it was not bayonets or artillery that were wanted, but a good system of government." He wished to impress on the House that it was objectionable to send these troops out of this country. It was said that the recent disturbance in the local force in India was an additional reason for sending out more troops from England. The authorities here and in India had mismanaged this matter of the local troops. Forty men of this force were to be brought to courts-martial, and 6,000 or 7,000 of this force were to be discharged. You had a large force in India, double the number that put down the mutiny, and when you found that the Indian Government was reducing their local force it showed that any additional troops were unnecessary.
"To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'under present circumstances, it is not necessary or expedient to carry into effect the recent Order for despatching 6,700 Men to India, from the Depots of Regiments serving in India,'" instead thereof.
, who had a Notice of Motion on the paper, "That in the opinion of the House the military force at present available for service within the United Kingdom is inadequate to existing requirements," said, that as, by the forms of the House he could not make his Motion, he would take advantage of that of his hon. and gallant Friend to make the statement he desired to address to the House on that subject. He would not enter into the question of the general defences of the country, or of the military forces of other nations, or even of what ought to be the number of troops for the defence of this country; he wished to confine himself to the fact of the number of troops which were actually possessed in the United Kingdom at the present moment. He had before him a document, the accuracy of which would not be disputed by the Secretary for War, and he had extracted from it the figures he wished to bring before the House. He would refer to the number of troops in the United Kingdom on the 1st of June in this year. The total number on that day, including militia, was 110,000. He wished to enter into an examination of the actual value of that number of men. Excluding the embodied militia the number was reduced to 86,000; of these 10,000 were officers, sergeants, and drummers; and that reduced the rank and file to 76,000. When a force was of inferior quality you required a larger number of men. Of the 76,000 men nearly one half were under one year's service, and the number under twenty years of age was 28,000. Of the whole number 11,000 were recruits—and you must take the sick at 5,000, absentees at 4,500; making a total of 20,500; leaving fit for duty 55,000. So that you had come down to one half of the original number. Of this force the cavalry were 7,600, the artillery 9,000, the engineers and the medical corps 3,000, making 19,600; so that the regular infantry were reduced to 34,500. Of this number 15,000 belonged to depots principally of the regiments in India. The depots were composed of 24,000 men altogether, and of these 10,000 were under twenty years of age, and 15,000 were under one year's service. This showed what would be the value of these depot troops, and except for the purpose of defending fortified places it would be extremely small. Of the seven battalions of the Guards and the twenty-four regiments of the line, excluding the sick and absentees, the grand total of rank and file was 21,000; to which were to be added officers, sergeants, and drummers, 3,000: making the entire number 24,000. The embodied militia amounted to 23,000, and if the deductions in the regular forces were great, it must also be large from this 23,000 men. Many of the militia regiments were extremely fine battalions, but many of them were not in the highest state of efficiency. If you allowed the defence of Portsmouth, Pembroke, and Plymouth to be committed to the militia and the depot battalions, and took the whole of the regiments of the line in Great Britain available for service in the field, the force of infantry would be 21,000 men, and if you added to these 12,000 or 14,000 militia, you would get a field force amounting to something like 35,000 men. He should no doubt be told that all armies were subject to the deductions which he had pointed out; but in this case they were out of all proportion to the nominal strength of our army. Another point which would probably be urged against him was, that if these statements were true, it was indiscreet to make them. But he differed on that point. These things were well known to everybody but our- selves. Any one who was in the habit of looking at the Daily States of an army might easily come to the same results as he had. Military officers of foreign nations were as able to make these calculations as he was. Every week the stations of our army were published in some of the journals, and for 1s. 6d. any one could get the Army Estimates; and by these means any soldier could make the calculation for himself. The remedy was in the hands of the Government, and if they could get over the financial difficulty—that of getting the money—the expense of putting the matter on a proper footing would be small. Our regimental establishment was large, and 30,000 men could be added to our infantry without the addition of a single officer. More militia regiments ought to be embodied. In any reply to his figures he should like the House to bear in mind that the repetition of the gross totals could not be considered as a refutation of his argument. His figures were correct, and if they showed that our infantry was only 21,000, and that you had only 14,000 out of the 23,000 militia to add to them for the purpose of meeting an enemy in the field, he hoped the House would feel that the military force at present available for service within the United Kingdom was inadequate to existing circumstances.
said, that with reference to the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster, he would say that we had now in India a force most adapted for the defence of this country, and instead of not sending out these 6,000 men to India it would be better to let them go, and bring home some of the fine seasoned men with all the experience of the Crimea and the late war in India upon them. It was a shame that such troops should be allowed to die away from the effects of climate in India. It was best to send out the newly raised men, and bring the seasoned troops home, who would be more available for our defence than militia or newly raised corps.
hoped the Government would send out this force. He could understand that if these men formed one corps, there might be an objection to losing their services; but these men were all driblets from various depôts to fill up some regiments, and enable others to be relieved. Many regiments in India would be rendered inefficient if the usual reliefs were not sent to them, and it would be like a sentence of perpetual banishment if regiments were not brought home. He was afraid that the services of more than 6,700 men would be required in India, according to the reports which had just reached this country. He believed the Secretary of State for India had a Motion, the object of which was to increase the local European force in India; but if what we had heard was true, and one regiment of this force had set the example of intrenching itself in its barracks and electing its own officers, he thought the sooner our own regular soldiers went out there the better. A man who got a European regiment to mutiny must he very clever indeed; but, from inquiries he had made, he believed that the ranks of Indian regiments were filled with broken-down lawyers and men of that description. He meant no disrespect to the learned profession, but troublesome soldiers were always called the "lawyers" of the regiment. There was not a single case of mutiny in a Queen's regiment. Even the outbreak in question could hardly be called a mutiny. It was one of very gross insubordination. The men had shown respect for their officers; but they had a grievance which they insisted on being redressed; but, if proper steps had been taken and they had been told that the case had been settled against them, not by the Attorney or Solicitor General, but by the Adjutant General, they would have manifested a different feeling. It had been admitted by the present Prime Minister that they were entitled to their discharge or some consideration. Every one knew how particular soldiers were in these matters. A man who had enlisted into the 6th regiment knew he could not be obliged to serve in the 5th or any other regiment. In a Queen's regiment things would be explained to the men on their private parades; or if the men fancied they had a grievance an old soldier would go to his captain, and on returning, when asked the result, would probably tell the men, "I don't know what he said, but it's all right," and they would be satisfied. If this had been done here, there would have been no rumpus whatever. With regard to this Indian European Force he could not say much for its internal discipline when such a widespread movement should have taken place, and that not a single Non-Commissioned Officer from the Serjeant-Major to the Lance-Corporal had made his officers acquainted with it, and its being found out was owing to the soldierlike feeling of two private soldiers who had been transferred to the Indian Army from the 9th Lancers, and who gave information of it the moment it came to their knowledge. He understood that the only regiment of that force who stood by their colours, and their officers was the 1st Bengal Fusiliers which had distinguished itself so much at Delhi. With regard to the available force in this country, he thought that his gallant Friend (Colonel P. Herbert) took too gloomy a view. An infantry soldier of a year's standing, so far as fighting was concerned, was an efficient soldier; Waterloo was won by men who had not been more than two or three months in the service. As to the calculations which had been made, he did not see why the sergeants, who were armed like the rest of the men, should be deducted from the available force; and the Military Train Corps, though non-combitant, formed an integral part of our force, and ought to be reckoned with it. Then, again, 5 per cent was the usual allowance made for the sick; and altogether he thought the deductions made were far too many. With regard to the Militia, he was at Aldershot last Saturday, and, as far as the movements of the men went, he defied any one to distinguish Militia from Line regiments. It was impossible to see finer troops, and he hoped the Government would continue to maintain the regiments which were now out. It was not drill or numbers which made a regiment, but the soldierlike feeling and discipline which animated the men. Five hundred men well disciplined were more valuable than 1,000 others. He was glad, therefore, to hear the notice of the Secretary for War that evening for the formation of a reserve corps from men who had been ten years in the service. They would prove a great additional security to the country if they could be got to join this corps. He agreed that no sufficient inducement was proposed; but, as a soldier who entered the army at eighteen would leave it in the prime of life, 20,000 such men would be of the highest value in protecting our shores.
said, he shared in the opinion of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster (Sir De Lacy Evans) that looking to the state of India, and the large European force there, he could not see why such a large number of additional men should be sent out. But he rose to point out to the House that the force which the hon. and gallant Member wished to retain in this country did not belong to the British Government, but to the Government of India. It was natural that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should wish to have as many troops as might be necessary for the defence of the country; but he hoped he would do justice and allow that if this force were made available for the defence of this country its expense should be charged on the revenue of this country instead of that of India. The whole question of the relative expense of troops borne by this country and India deserved considerate revision by the Government. He (Sir Edward Colebrooke) had given notice of his intention to bring in a Bill to extend the power of the Indian Government to increase the local force.
thought it unnecessary for the House, on a simple question of sending draughts to India, to wander into a debate upon Indian finance, upon the organization of the Indian army, or upon the national defences. He agreed with the hon. and gallant Member opposite, the Member for Oxfordshire (Colonel North) that if this were a question of sending regular organized regiments out of this country to India, it would be objectionable. Nothing of the kind was, however, proposed. Whether the force in India was to be reduced or to be kept up at its present amount, it was indispensably necessary to send out these draughts in order to keep up the efficiency of the regiments which were to remain in India; and this was really all it was now proposed to do. Although it might appear that it was a large number of men to send out at one time, it should be observed that they were sent out at this particular time in order that they might arrive in India at a season of the year when they were least likely to be affected by the change of climate, instead of being sent out in driblets all through the year. With regard to the reduction of the force in India, it had been intended to send home ten regiments in the course of this year; but circumstances had occurred which interfered with that measure, and the excitement which had arisen amongst the European troops, though it had been a good deal exaggerated, made it advisable, in the opinion of the Government of India, to retain two or three of the regiments which had been ordered home. One regiment of cavalry, however, and seven regiments of infantry, with a battalion of the military train, had already left India, or were on the point of embarking.
asked how many men were coming home?
could not say exactly the number of men, because they were allowed to volunteer into other regiments remaining in India up to the moment of the departure of their regiments. The regiments coming home were the 9th Lancers, the 10th Foot, the 29th Foot, the 32nd Foot, the 78th Foot, the 84th Foot, the 86th Foot, and the 2nd battalion of the Military Train. The 61st Regiment also, he believed, had actually left, or was on the point of leaving India for the Mauritius.
said, that there were at present 110,000 European troops in India; their cost was enormous, and it would be financially prudent to diminish their numbers as soon as possible. But the main question to be considered now was, whether a certain amount of European troops were more required in India than in this country. If their services were more needed in England than in India, then it would be of the greatest possible advantage for the purpose of the defence of the former, as well with a view to relieving the finances of the latter, that those European regiments which could be spared should be sent home as fast as possible. But he must add that the proposition of the hon. Member to send out to India raw recruits and send acclimatized soldiers back to England, seemed to him somewhat extraordinary. The new-comers in India died off by scores in the first two or three years, and the expense of transport to replace them was very great. But if it be necessary to increase the army in England, it were better to retain the proposed reinforcements of recruits than to order home acclimatized soldiers. With regard to the so-called European mutiny, he could not refrain from remarking that the discontent which had recently arisen among the Company's European troops had, in his opinion, been strengthened by mismanagement, and the display of a great want of tact on the part of the authorities. If they said to the men, "We do not think you are entitled to demand that which you claim; but you have fought gallantly at Delhi, and Cawnpore, and Lucknow, and elsewhere, and we are disposed to deal liberally with you out of admiration for your valour," they would, he thought, have adopted a much wiser course than they had pursued in having recourse to that narrow economy which had led to such unhappy results, and which had been productive of fourfold the expense which a generous policy would have involved.
said, he did not think the question raised by his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Westminster (Sir De L. Evans) was so unimportant as the Secretary of State for India seemed to think. He thought that the attention of the House could not be called too frequently or in terms too strong to the state of insecurity in which this country was now placed, owing to the fact that she possessed no adequate military force at home for her protection. His hon. and gallant Friend had shown that the troops which were now in India were not required there; that they were a great burden to its finances, and that on Imperial grounds the services of an additional number of soldiers were required in Great Britain. The question, in short, which his hon. and gallant Friend's Motion raised, was not whether a certain number of recruits should or should not be sent out to India, but whether a number of seasoned regiments should not be brought home from that country to England. We had at present an army consisting of 110,000 European troops in India; but it must be borne in mind that 30,000 European soldiers had put down the mutiny there when it was at its height, and that therefore we were keeping up in India a larger force than the circumstances of the case demanded, while at home we had a smaller force than the safety of the country justified us in maintaining. This must not be treated as merely a departmental question. In dealing with the subject, there were two questions to be considered—the first being what was the probability of our military force being required for any home exigency; the next whether, if so required, it would be sufficient to meet the exigencies of the nation. In order to furnish an answer to the first of those questions, it would simply be necessary for him to refer to the sentiments of all the Statesmen of the Continent who were most versed in European politics, who were most intimately acquainted with the secret springs of action in the case of cabinets, rulers, and armies, and who, almost without a dissentient voice, stated it to be their belief that the time might not be far distant when England would need the aid of a large army to fight for English liberty upon English soil. The great majority of such men held the occurrence of such a crisis in our history to be not only not improbable, but as being in accordance with present appearances inevitable. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen might cry "Oh, oh!" but nobody who looked closely into the aspect of European politics could fail to be of opinion that the peace of Europe could not for many years to come be maintained unbroken ["Oh, oh!]; or who did not think, if another European war were to take place, it was by no means unlikely that England would find herself compelled to engage in the struggle. And those of our own public men who from their character and the nature of their pursuits were the most disposed to be reserved—diplomatists who were versed in the affairs of the Continent—spoke in terms of warning upon the subject, and, if that warning were not attended to, we might have cause ere long to rue our indifference. But, suppose such an hour of danger were to come, what, he should like to know, would be the position in which we should stand? He was afraid that the hon. and gallant Member for Ludlow (Colonel P. Herbert), who had made so clear a statement, spoke from better information than the hon. and gallant Member for Oxford-shire (Colonel North). But it was not a question of a few more or less troops, or of figures, or returns, but it was the fact that the strongest representations and remonstrances had been addressed to the Government by the highest and most competent authorities on the subject; and they had had as great an amount of concurrent testimony laid officially before them as was ever got together. They were told the other night by the Secretary of State for War that a Military Committee was appointed last year to report confidentially to the Government. It was composed of the highest military authorities. They had given a confidential Report to the Government. The House had never seen that Report, and they were not likely to see it, because every one knew that the Report was of such a character that the Government would hardly feel justified in laying it upon the table. But if that were the case, the Government ought not to hold language at variance with their secret convictions and the official information which they possessed. They ought not to hold language to lull the country into false security, and in reality inconsistent with the evidence in their own possession. The other night, when he made a Motion on the national defences, he was answered in a very frank and manly speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for War. If the subject had been left where that speech left the should have been satisfied, and taken a course more agreeable to the House, by abstaining from a division. But, unfortu- nately, he heard with regret the right hon. Gentleman followed in that discussion by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who made a speech of a different character. The noble Lord began by sneering at "the rifle fever," for having encouraged which his colleague had just taken credit to the Government, and the noble Lord went so far as to tell the House that if there should be a war and a disaster at sea, and the actual landing of a hostile army, the population of the country would be sufficient to annihilate the invaders. He was very sorry to hear that statement from so high an authority, because he was sure that no military man in the country would say that it was founded upon reason, and he was sure that, on further consideration, the noble Lord himself would not be disposed to repeat it. He thought the statement was to be extremely regretted. The forms of the House did not enable him to reply to it; but he gave the only reply which he could give—he entered his protest by dividing on that Motion, and riveting public attention to the speech, as he hoped it would be riveted on every act and word of the Minister on this important and growing question. He felt that if only a partial disaster should occur, if even the smallest injury should be inflicted, a heavy responsibility would rest on those charged with the protection of the country. If that day should come, every word that had been spoken, every act which had been done, every confidential Report which had been submitted to the Government, would rise in judgment against them. It was said by the great Napoleon that an invaded country never wanted men, but it did want soldiers, and that was a complete answer to the statement of those who fancied that an unarmed population was in any degree to be relied upon in a case of urgent necessity. The hon. and gallant Member for Ludlow spoke from official returns, and showed how delusive the statements already submitted to the House were, and that the regular force was not only inadequate, but, in comparison with any force brought against it, almost no force at all. It was impossible to contemplate such a state of things without great disquietude. No one knew how soon an emergency might come. If in July, 1858, any one had told the Emperor of Austria that before July, 1859, a war with France would be begun and ended, he would have been taken for a lunatic. In these days danger came with suddenness and rapidity. Events came quicker and passed away quicker, and it being now a matter of notoriety that the most competent and responsible of our military authorities had laid, before Her Majesty's Government in the strongest manner, repeatedly and urgently, their views of the state of insecurity in which we were, he thought it behoved his hon. and gallant Friend to take this opportunity of impressing upon the Government the duty of strengthening the home force. It was not sufficient that they were sending 7,000 to India, and bringing home 5,000. What he said was that they wanted the 7,000, and they wanted 20,000 or 30,000 more if they could get them from India, and even then they would not have the strength which every man of authority to whom the Government referred for information or advice told them that strength ought to be. Under these circumstances he really felt that these regiments were not required in India. They were required at home, and he hoped the House would take every opportunity of impressing upon the Government the duty of bringing home every single soldier who was not absolutely required in India.
Before I address myself to what fell from the hon. and gallant Officer opposite, let me make some few remarks on the last sentences of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. He gives in his adhesion, after discussion of the Motion, to the wish to stop these draughts and reliefs being sent out to India, because of the danger from attack by foreign Powers at home. What would be the result of stopping these draughts? Do not let the House think that we are sending out trained men with a military organization. These are draughts of young recruits belonging to regiments in India. We want to get whole regiments and battalions sent back to this country. We have seven coming; they are afloat, and one has arrived. But we want many more battalions from India. We are now going upon a system which is wrong, but to which our necessities compel us. In time of profound peace we are bringing our reserves into line and using our embodied militia where we ought to have regular troops. We want to get rid of this state of things. We necessarily press upon the Indian Government to send back regiments as soon as circumstances will allow. They are unwilling to do so. Following the mutiny of the Sepoys there is the mutiny of the Euro- pean local troops, and no doubt great alarm in India, and great unwillingness to send back battalions. If you want to confirm the Indian Government in retaining these battalions you cannot take a surer method than by refusing to send the draughts and reliefs which belong to regiments there; because they naturally say, "We want so many thousand men; if you keep back the draughts and reduce the regiments to skeletons we shall be obliged to keep more battalions to have the same number of men." The result would be, you would have an army in India with a disproportionate number of officers and an insufficient number of men, and an army in England with a vast number of men without a sufficient number of officers. You would produce inefficiency both here and there, make a great disturbance, and defeat the very object which you have in view—namely, to get battalions home to England. With regard to the speech of the gallant Officer opposite, he says, and justly says, that in estimating the value of our forces we must take into consideration that a great many battalions are very young, that there are a vast number of men under twenty, and a vast number under twenty-five. In making that statement he confirms that which I have stated on a former occasion, because I stated the other night that an improved health of the army could not be entirely depended upon, as the army was disproportionately young. But that is a fault which will mend every day. We have newly raised young raw levies; but even young and raw levies as they are, when they arrived at Malta and were seen accidentally by a distinguished and competent judge, he said he could scarcely believe that they were such young battalions, so efficient did they seem to him. Then with the question of the amount of our military force comes the question how armies are to be counted. At one time they were counted by rank and file, and sergeants were not counted, because they did not carry any arms of offence, but only a halberd. But now they are armed; they have a better musket than the men carry, and I confess I do not understand why you throw them out of the account. You may or may not count sergeants. But, then, you must recollect that, comparing man for man and army for army, our own counts by rank and file, -while France, Austria, and I believe Russia, all count all ranks. I confess I think the whole calculation of the gallant Officer rests on very inaccurate conditions. I have stated that I think that hitherto we have been forced into a wrong system. When we get regiments home from India we shall get into a right system. But to say that what you mean by a peace establishment is an army ready at any moment to resist war of which no notice is given, and which may take place any day of the week, is an impossible state of things. Of course, if you take a peace establishment and compare it with a large war establishment, there must be a great disproportion. The gallant Officer says that the country under present circumstances ought to be placed in a state of defence. What are those circumstances? I do not think the circumstances now, compared with those of the past, are such as to justify us in making a violent effort greatly to increase our force. A short time ago there was war in Europe; that was said to be a reason for increasing the army; but now peace has been made, and we are told we ought to increase it because there is peace! I do not say our means of defence are not small; I think we ought to make an effort to improve them. But, again, we are told by a right hon. Gentleman opposite the time is come when we ought to reduce our army; these arguments, then, are matters of opinion, according to the political position hon. Gentlemen take. At any rate, it is not politic to be always challenging invasion, and at the same time to say, "If you do come you will find us totally unprepared." The best course is in time of peace to keep up such a force as can be easily strengthened in the case of an emergency. Let us go on improving our defensive force, for I do not say that our defences are what they ought to be, and I do say that we ought to go on improving them. But do not mislead the public by holding out the notion that this country will ever support a vast war army in time of peace. After all, what is our reserve? Supposing we were under the necessity of arming ourselves, we have a reserve, including the militia, of 65,000 men. This is not a force on paper, but consists of men actually embodied. It is a force strong enough, we are told by good military authorities, to defend all our chief arsenals. It may be a small and young force, but it is certainly an improving one. We have besides 14,000 pensioners. Including seven regiments now on their way from India, we shall have thirty-nine battalions of infantry, seventeen regiments of cavalry, and about 2,800 artillery—in all about 61,000 men. I wish the force were larger; but the way to make it larger is certainly not to retain the draughts due to India. A force of 61,000 men may not be considered a large one, but it is not to be frittered away in the manner the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite has dealt with it. The right hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) has referred to the terms of the confidential report on our means of defence; he says he is not aware of its character, but thinks it must contain some severe truths, as I have not ventured to quote its language. I should have thought that a sufficient reason for not quoting a confidential report is simply because it is confidential; and what is intended to be confidential is not generally made known. The right hon. Gentleman says we hear of certain representations having been made to the Government, and since those representations there has been some augmentation of our military force. I must admit that we seem to be perpetually oscillating between parsimony and the opposite excess when we deal with our military establishment. At one time we give way to an excess of extravagance; when the temporary fit is over there is an inevitable reaction, and the retiring wave leaves us at a lower point than we stood at before we began the spasmodic exertion. This uncertainty, this continual up and down, is exceedingly injurious to the efficiency of the army. I should wish the House to look at this subject calmly and reasonably, and fix as nearly as possible what should he the number of our military establishment, and the Government are now using steady efforts to augment our forces, and hope to do greater service in this way than by these kinds of spasmodic exertions. If, having no offensive intentions against any country, we steadily maintained a force sufficient for our own security, it would be much better than these violent and spasmodic attempts to convert a small army into a large one, and, after a reaction of feeling, disbanding it and reducing it to 40,000 men; though it is a system very difficult to resist in a country governed by a popular assembly. I have no objection to discussion on this subject; the more the public know about it the less they will he affected by unfounded alarms.
, whilst thinking that we ought to avoid doing anything that was calculated to offend a neighbouring Power, was of opinion that it was our duty to place our defences upon an efficient footing. Now, he feared that we had not taken proper means for the defence of the country in the event of danger. It was all very well to say that we must keep as large an array as the resources of the country would admit of; but what we required was the means of expanding that force in the presence of danger, and that at present we did not possess. There were no less than four Bills having reference to the military force on the table that night; but all that would be of no avail unless we had a proper system for organizing our army. He thought the proposed reserve force men would be prevented from entering the militia. He also suggested that the expense incurred for recruiting might be reduced by consolidating the machinery employed for the purpose. The system of warfare had changed very much of late years, especially as to the use of arms of precision. This had been made especially clear in the late war in Italy. But it was nonsense to talk of arming the population, for a sufficiency of arms could not be found; yet the arms of the military force had been brought to such perfection that any force that was not similarly armed would inevitably be cut off and destroyed. Therefore, he thought no man could bring himself to say calmly that he was satisfied with the defences of the country. Every step ought to be taken for putting the population in a state for defending itself; but the Government ought to guard against the raising of small desultory corps, which required a large staff, and frittered away the resources of the country.
said, the House had wandered from the question whether these 6,700 ought to be sent out to India. These men belonged to different corps, and if they were not sent out those corps would be deficient in that number of men. He thought the Secretary for War went too far when he said that sergeants ought to be fighting men, A sergeant's proper duty was to attend to the men who were fighting in the line. A great deal had been said about our defences, and the Secretary for War was about to appoint a Commission to inquire into the state of our fortifications. It was desirable that the House should be informed of the instructions that were to be given to that Commission. He hoped that if the Commission reported in the recess, and the Government approved of their report, immediate steps would be taken by the Government to act upon the report, without waiting for the reassembling of Parliament. If certain works ought, in the opinion of the Commission, to be suspended, he hoped that those works would be instantly suspended, and that on the other hand, if new works were proposed in lieu of works which had been voted for, the Government, if they thought those recommended by the Commission were works of urgency, would take upon themselves to construct them without delay. He very much approved of the proposition to maintain a reserve force of men who had served ten years. He thought such a force would be of a most valuable description.
addressed a few observations to the House which were inaudible.
The hon. Gentleman who spoke last but one (Sir F. Smith) wished to know what were the functions of the Commission which my right hon. Friend has appointed, or is going to appoint. My right hon. Friend, I think, has already explained what are the functions of that Commission. Their duties will be to examine accurately all the plans of works which are yet to be made, to compare them with those works which are already made, and to see what will be the best mode of adapting that which is to be added to that which exists, in order to render as complete as possible with reference to the present system of attack those works which are essential to the defence of the dockyards and establishments of the country. They will not have so much to overhaul the works now in existence as to see in what way those works may be made most effective. I should hardly have risen, however, had it not been to correct a misconception on the part of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Horsman) as to what I said upon a former occasion. I think I understood him as imagining that I had stated the people of this country were themselves able to defend it in case of invasion. I never meant any such thing. I was approving of the riffle corps then in contemplation in the interior of the country, and I said that if we were engaged in war I did not doubt but that the people would exhibit the same spirit which was evinced by a much smaller population during the war which commenced in 1803, when 200,000 or 300,000 volunteers were raised, organized, armed, equipped, and officered, for the defence of the country. I have no doubt such a force, in addition, of course, to the regular army and the militia, would teach any invader a severe lesson. It was not in the least degree as a single means of defence that I adverted to the existence of that volunteer system, but as an addition to the other modes of defence. I may here just remark that the discussions which at different times we have had upon this subject seem to have been influenced by momentary considerations rather than by any permanent settled system. When the Indian mutiny broke out it was urged that we ought to take the guns out of our line-of-battle ships and send them to India as transports for the conveyance of troops. Lately, when discussing the means of defence at home, great stress was laid, and properly so, upon the importance of having a Channel fleet and adequate means of naval defence. There is not much consistency between these two arguments—one urging the Minister to send away all our line-of-battle ships and the other to keep them at home for home defence. I mention this that hon. Gentlemen, when turning their attention to the national defences, should divest their minds of all momentary influences and all considerations of temporary and accidental circumstances, and look calmly at the question as a permanent system. I confess I do not think, although I admit our defensive system is capable of and trust will receive improvement, yet it is not altogether so contemptible as the public seem to imagine. I hold that in the event of war we could put into the field something very little short of 200,000 fighting men. We have the regular force of, I hope, not less than 60,000 men. Then we have the militia, the establishment of which is 120,000, and if that militia he well recruited and supplied, as in the event of emergency I am sure would be the case, I reckon upon 100,000 there. Then we have 14,000 yeomanry, 12,000 or 14,000 pensioners, and then we have those men who have served their ten years, with whom my right hon. Friend the Secretary for War proposes to deal tonight. We have also always at home a certain force of marines, and we could if we chose reorganize our dockyard battalions for the defence of those establishments. Putting all these forces together, I say that an enemy contemplating an attack upon us must reckon upon not less than 200,000 men to resist him. I do not wish to prolong the discussion, but I think my right hon. Friend has shown that these 7,000 men now proposed to be sent out to India are merely recruits to fill up regiments there, and to enable other regiments to return home, and thus strengthen our means of defence at home.
observed, that the House was told that the 7,000 men about to be sent to India would release seven regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and one of military train, which could then return home. It must be remembered that those regiments would come home mere skeletons.
The depots here are in excess of the regimental strength.
said, that might he, but the fact was that the regiments themselves would come home skeletons of regiments with not more than 250 to 300 men in each. He agreed that people were apt to take too gloomy a view of our military means; but, on the other hand, the noble Lord appeared to take too flattering a view, and he (Colonel Dickson) could not see whence the troops enumerated were to be procured upon an emergency. As for the formation of a reserve corps he quite agreed with the hon. and gallant Member for Queen's County (Colonel Dunne), that it was a most ill-advised measure. It was intended to catch the ten years' service men after their periods of service had expired, but those were just the men who were wanted in the militia, and thus having set up an expensive staff to procure men for one service they were about to establish another expensive staff to form an inefficient force. He had been disappointed with the Report of the Militia Commissioners, which did not contain one useful suggestion, and he regretted to hear the Secretary for War express his intention in carrying out future reforms to act upon the suggestions in that Report.
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," put, and agreed to.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Resolutions read 2°, and agreed to.
Reserve Volunteer Force Of Seamen Bill—Committee
Order for Committee read.
House in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
Clause 1, (Power to Admiralty to raise "Royal Naval Volunteers," not to exceed 30,000 men), agreed to.
Clause 2, (Term of Service shall be five years).
thought the words "every fifth years" had better be struck out, and the words "at the expiration of the period of his service" substituted. There was no provision in the Bill, as it stood, for the renewal of the period of five years, and unless the wording of the clause was amended some confusion might arise.
said, he did not think the wording of the clause gave rise to any ambiguity. Every volunteer would have the option of retiring at the end of five years' service, and of renewing his term of service for a similar period if he thoughtproper.
thought it would be un-advisable to make the alteration suggested.
said, that the Act gave the power to enrol the volunteers for five years, and they were to be called out for twenty eight days' training in each year. At the end of five years the men had the option of enrolling themselves for a second period of five years. At the end of which second period they might claim such a pension as might be decided upon.
Clause agreed to, as were Clauses 3 and 4,
said, that by this clause, whenever Her Majesty thought fit to call the volunteers into what was called "actual service," the men were liable to have the term of service extended for a period of five years from the date of being called into actual service. This give the Admiralty an arbitrary power to double the time for which the men entered, which was not likely to draw volunteers into the service. In the case of the naval coast volunteers it was provided that they should not be called out unless in circumstances of "imminent national danger." The militia were not to be called upon unless in case of "war between Her Majesty and some foreign Power." He could not help thinking that if they wanted to induce men to enter they ought to introduce the words "unless in case of war or imminent necessity," so that the men might not imagine they were liable to have their term of service extended indefinitely at the mere pleasure of the Admiralty. There was no doubt of the goodness of the scheme, if they could but get men to enter.
agreed with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman.
said, the men when called out would be on a footing with the seamen serving in the fleet; did the noble Lord by his proposition mean to alter the whole system of the fleet also; and if he did, what would be the advantage of paying men at sea once a week? Unless the noble Lord made the alterations which he had suggested, he would fail to induce the merchant seamen to enter the navy.
hoped care would be taken to let the seamen understand plainly the advantages held out to them, and that for this purpose the utmost publicity should be given to the terms offered.
said, that as by the 13th clause the Admiralty had the fullest power of framing regulations, he thought the House should not commit itself to the details laid down in the Bill, but should leave them to be worked out by the Government.
said, one of the objects of the Bill was to give the men the certainty that they would not be called on to serve beyond a certain period, hence the necessity of the details of which the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets complained.
observed that the hon. Baronet the Member for Portsmouth (Sir James Elphinstone) had advised them not to canvass the Bill very closely, but he confessed that he could not understand it at all. There were so many provisoes in it that all they could tell a man was "you are going into the Queen's service, and you must get out of it as best you can." He complained that the Bill was not clearly drawn, and as men liked to have a definite understanding as to what they were engaging in, and as the success of this measure depended entirely upon its working in the first year, they ought to take great care that it should be so framed that the men could understand it.
said, he could see no reason at all why the men should not be paid weekly when in port.
thought the Bill was a miserably ill-concocted one, and it was impossible to understand it. It was much too long in the first place, and a shorter and more intelligible one would be much more likely to be successful. He was sure that the Admiralty would not get the men for the retaining fee proposed. Looking at the whole Bill, he thought it so mysterious in its provisions that they would get no men to enter the service under it. He advised the withdrawal of the Bill altogether, and draw a new one merely to regulate the raising and management of volunteers for the Sea Service
, to meet the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley), proposed the insertion of words, under which the men would only be called out in the event of a national emergency.
said, from his connection with the Tower Hamlets, he had had many opportunities of conversing with men employed on the Thames, who as a body had it in their power to supply a large volunteer force to the navy, and the impression on his mind was that they would not he induced to volunteer under the provisions of this Bill. He should have been better satisfied if the Bill had been drawn more generally, for he was afraid when it came to be worked, that it would not tempt anything like the requisite number of volunteers.
admitted there were many points in the Bill which had been better left to be dealt with in the regulations that the Admiralty proposed to issue. The measure, however, had been framed principally in accordance with the Act relating to the Coast Volunteer Corps, which had worked extremely well. He submitted to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Henley) that, without a clause of the kind under consideration, the Crown would not be able to avail itself, in the event of an emergency, of the services of men who, when that emergency arose, might have served four years and eleven months, and would be in another month entitled to their discharge.
said, the noble Lord would have to catch his hare before he cooked it. For his part, he was afraid volunteers would not be caught in that sort of drag-net clause.
said, seamen were always suspicious, and he hoped it would be distinctly understood that if those volunteers were called out they would receive their pay weekly, and be allowed to make allotment towards the support of their wives on the very day on which they entered the service, otherwise the poor women would in many instances be forced into the workhouse.
said, the men, when called into active service, would be placed on the same footing as seamen in the fleet.
said, that Clause 13, giving power to the Executive to draw up orders as to all the terms of service, superseded the necessity for those complicated clauses by which it was sought to regulate the terms for these volunteers.
Clause 5, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 amended by the omission of the words "in no case exceed the rate of £5 per annum" agreed to.
Clause 10, (Payment of Pensions).
In reply to Mr. LINDSAY,
stated that it was impossible to fix, with any degree of accuracy, the exact amount that would be annually payable for pensions. None would fall due until after ten years had elapsed, and at the end of that period the increase would be in a progressive ratio: allowing for mortality and withdrawal, it was expected that the amount of pensions annually granted would be about £60,000.
called attention to the fact that the coast volunteers being put into the same situation as the seamen of the navy, by the regulations now existing, if a coast volunteer happened to have a rupture two days after he had joined he might be turned adrift with a gratuity of £6.
said, it was precisely on that account that the Admiralty did not wish to enter more specifically into the subject of those pensions. They desired to leave themselves free to grant such pensions after short periods of service as the circumstances of particular cases might justify. He therefore proposed to omit the first proviso in the clause, in order to enlarge the discretionary power of the Admiralty.
doubted the propriety of expunging the proviso, as the effect of its omission would be to give a statutory authority to the Admiralty to grant pensions without any limit. The question of pensions would require very careful handling in order to do justice between those men who had been in actual service all the time and those who had perhaps never been called out at all. If the proviso were struck out, some words ought to be inserted as a check to guard the interests of the Exchequer. Perhaps the introduction of the qualifying words, "with the consent of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury," would be a sufficient restraint upon the power of the Admiralty.
accepted the suggestion.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses from 11 to 16, inclusive, were agreed to.
suggested its omission. It proposed the imposition of duties upon the masters of merchant vessels, the justice of which was questionable, and provided for penalties upon the non-performance of those duties; this would make the measure extremely unpopular in the merchant service.
made a similar recommendation as to a clause imposing a penalty upon a master who could not account for a volunteer who had deserted.
promised to consider these matters, and said that it was probable these clauses would be struck out on the Report.
Remaining clauses agreed to.
University And College Estates Act (1858) Amendment Bill
Order for Second Reading read.
said, the Bill was one of very great importance, and he trusted it would be postponed until next Session.
suggested, that the Bill should be read a second time in order to affirm its principle; and then that it should be postponed till next Session.
acceded to the suggestion.
Bill read 2°.
Militia Laws Amendment Bill
Order for Committee read.
House in Committee.
said, he had been informed that the officers of those militia regiments which had been called out for twenty-one days' drill had been charged income tax upon their pay. He was afraid that such deductions from the miserable pay of a militia officer would make the service unpopular.
said, that the officers of the Revenue Department had no option but to call upon them to pay the income tax on all their incomes; and neither those officers nor himself had the slightest power to grant exemption or order a remission.
suggested, that the war authorities should carry out a suggestion of great value contained in the Report of the Militia Committee, to secure the best men who had served five years in the militia for the regular force. There were no fewer, he believed than 20,000 who had served their fifth year in the militia, and who might most serviceably be retained for the regular service; though he believed under present regulations they were not likely to be induced to enter the militia again.
Bill passed through Committee.
Bill reported without Amendment.
Corrupt Practices Prevention Act (1854) Continuance Bill
Order for Second Reading read.
In reply to Mr. HOPWOOD,
said, the Act now in force was dependent on the accidental duration of another Parliament, and the object of the present Bill was to continue it for some fixed period next year.
said, the Act had entailed a great amount of inconvenience and trouble, while it had made the fate of candidates before the Election Committee a perfect lottery. He hoped this would be the last Continuance Bill submitted to the House, and that next year the whole subject would undergo consideration.
said, the present law gave satisfaction neither in nor out of the House.
was ready to accede to the appointment of a Select Committee on the subject if the course were considered desirable.
believed that the House would never be thought sincere in its wish for purity at elections until it required from every Member a declaration on oath that he had neither directly nor indirectly incurred other than legitimate expenses.
, while admitting the imperfections in the Bill, believed, nevertheless, that it afforded to candidates a great protection against inordinate expenditure. He concurred with his hon. and learned Friend in the necessity of requiring Members to declare that they had not by themselves or their agents been guilty of bribery.
Bill read 2°.
Sale Of Gas Bill—Second Reading
Order for Second Reading read.
Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time.
objected that the House had not had sufficient time to consider this measure, which was of great importance, and affected all the great gas companies and gas consumers of the whole country. It involved both inspection and taxation. He complained that the promoters of the Bill had sent a circular to his constituents animadverting upon his conduct in objecting to the progress of the Bill on a previous evening at so late a period of the Session, and calling upon them to use their influence to prevent his opposing the Bill further. He moved as an Amendment that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.
Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words, "upon this day three months."
said, that all that could be agreed to by the second reading would be that all gas should be regulated by one uniform standard. Any discussion of detail of what was an important measure might be taken in Committee.
supported the Bill.
approved of the principle of the Bill, but there were objections which might be remedied in Committee.
Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question," put and agreed to.
Main Question put, and agreed to.
Bill read 2°.
Weights And Measures Bill
Order for Committee read.
House in Committee.
explained that the object of it was to provide for re-verifying at certain periods the standard weights and measures kept in the counties and boroughs by comparing them with the original standards kept in the Exchequer. It was suggested, however, that the period should be extended in the case of boroughs from three to five years, and in the case of counties from six to ten years.
agreed to this Amendment.
Bill passed through Committee.
Fireworks Act Amendment Bill
Order read for resuming adjourned Debate on Question [1st August], "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
Question again proposed.
Question put, and agreed to.
House in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
said, that the clause proposed to extend the provisions of the existing law, so as to give power to justices to grant a search warrant to enter any house where fireworks were kept, and, if any fireworks were there found, to destroy them. This was a somewhat arbitrary power, and he was informed by the police authorities that they did not consider it necessary.
explained that the necessity for the Bill had arisen from the accidents which were lately caused in South-wark and Lambeth by the keeping of fireworks in buildings where it was dangerous to have them.
objected to the provisions which authorized the seizing and destroying of fireworks.
wished to strike out the words "or kept for sale."
Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do report progress."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 35; Noes 11: Majority 24.
Committee report progress.
House adjourned at a quarter after Two o'clock.