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Motion For A Select Committee

Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1870

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, in rising to move for a Select Committee to inquire into the hardships inflicted on the Colonels of the British Army in consequence of their supersession by the Colonels of the Indian Army, said, that after the Royal Commission of 1862 reported on the subject of Colonels in the Indian Army, and the Warrant being issued thereupon, many Petitions were presented to the House complaining of grievances, among others of that of which the House had heard to-night. A Royal Commission, of which Lord Cranborne was Chairman, was appointed to consider the subject, and the result was an alteration by which colonels of the Indian Army were now about to supersede 260 older colonels of the British Army. The latter had just reason to complain; and, although they had not taken any steps of their own accord to force their claims upon the attention of the House of Commons or the public, their grievance was not the less great. The effect of the warrant which was issued was foreseen by Sir William Mansfield, who pointed out the injustice that would be inflicted, and urged that some steps should be taken to obviate the evils that would ensue. A protest coming from so distinguished an officer was worthy of consideration, but it did not meet with attention, for the India Office took a year to think about the matter, and then wrote that the subject was one which should be submitted to the War Office and the Horse Guards. A correspondence ensued between the Departments which extended over two years, and when the present Secretary for War took Office a Committee was appointed, who reported that it was advisable to promote 45 colonels to the rank of major-general; but as that step would cost money the recommendation was not carried out. The colonels felt it to be a great injustice that their claims should be ignored on that account, especially when they had contributed to the reserve fund, £570,000 of which had been appropriated by the Treasury. He had received communications from nearly all the colonels of the British Army who were now in England, and they all expressed dissatisfaction with the measures which had been proposed. He therefore moved the appointment of a Select Committee.

seconded the Motion. He disclaimed any idea of it being an attack upon the present Government; they had only inherited a difficulty from their Predecessors. All that was asked for was that promotion should be dealt out equally to every branch of the service.

said, as the Motion involved no foregone conclusion, he would assent to it. He believed, however, it would be found that the origin of the evil complained of was as far back as 1854, and that the evil itself was connected with proceedings that had taken place in Parliament.

thanked the Secretary of State for the kindness he had shown throughout the whole proceedings.

Motion agreed to.

Select Committee appointed, "to inquire into complaints of hardships urged on behalf of the Colonels of the British Army in consequence of their supersession by the Colonels of the Indian Army."—(Major Anson.)
And, on July 6, Committee nominated as follows:—Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, Sir PERCY HERBERT, Mr. GRANT DUFF, Sir JOHN HAY, Mr. BRAND, Sir RAINALD KNIGHTLEY, Mr. KIRKMAN HODOSON, Mr. CLAY, Mr. SCLAIER- BOOTH, Sir EDWARD COLEBROOKE, Mr. GOLDNEY, Sir CHARLES WINGFIELD, Mr. BOURKE, Mr. WEST, and Major ANSON:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Five to be the quorum.