Bill considered in Committee.
(In the Committee.)
On Motion, "That the Preamble be postponed,"
, in rising to move that the Chairman do now leave the Chair, said, he would acknowledge that such a Motion was unusual, and that the ordinary course would be to move the rejection of the Bill on the second reading. But the momentous events now occurring on the Continent fully justified him, as he maintained, in the course he now proposed to adopt. The events which had occurred since the second reading of the Bill rendered it, as he thought, desirable that the House should have an opportunity of considering and of stating its opinion whether it was desirable to experimentalize with our Army at a time when two of the greatest military Powers in Europe were actually engaged in war, and when it was impossible to tell whether we ourselves might not soon be drawn into the struggle. He was not without hope that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell) would withdraw a measure which he (Major Dickson) could not help regarding as ill-considered and fatal in its character. He said "fatal" because he believed that if they passed this Bill in its present shape they would destroy that which always had been, as far as its numbers went, the finest Army in the world by legislation which was purely theoretical, and which was opposed to all our experience in the past. That it was an experiment they must all agree, and that it would be fatal to the efficiency of the service he would in a few words endeavour to show to the Committee. If they passed this Bill it must necessarily exclude old soldiers from the ranks. We were making a very great sacrifice for a doubtful result, and indeed no result could compensate for that sacrifice. Many hon. Members, perhaps, supposed that by means of this Bill they would create an Array of Reserve equal in efficiency to the present Standing Army. He cautioned them against such an idea. As far as the cavalry and artillery were concerned, an Army of Reserve was preposterous. It would take a number of years to make a recruit a good horse soldier, and constant drill to keep him in a state of perfection. And if after three years' service they were to send a man to pursue his calling, as a shoemaker for example, was it to be supposed, on being summoned back after two or three years, he would make a useful horse soldier? Not at all, for the probability was that he would be able neither to ride nor to use his sword. Indeed, these Reserve men, when recalled to the ranks, would be little better than recruits, and in some respects they would be worse, because they would have lost the essential quality of ready unquestioning obedience. An infantry soldier might be made to march well in a couple of years; but there were other qualities which could not be attained with limited service—confidence in their officers and in each other, the habit of ready unquestioning obedience, and that esprit de corps which had always been a distinguishing feature in the regiments of the English Army. His noble Friend (Lord Eustace Cecil) had put upon the Paper an Amendment to the effect that no recruit should be enlisted under 20 years of age, and if the Bill was to become law such an Amendment would be quite justified, for else our Army would be composed of men not only young in service, but young in years. On the second reading of the Bill he cautioned the House not to place too much reliance on young soldiers, and compared the conduct of the old regiments in the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny with that of the new. The right hon. Gentleman replied that the Battle of Waterloo had been won by young soldiers; but his hon. Friend (Mr. Scourfield) came to his assistance by stating that the Duke of Wellington had said that if he had his old soldiers he would have won the battle by 2 o'clock. Indeed, had not the Prussians come up in the nick of time, the history of the world might have been changed. It should not be overlooked that under this Bill the non-commissioned officers must be selected from inexperienced soldiers. And what would be the effect on drummers, trumpeters, farriers, saddlers, shoemakers, &c.? As soon as they became skilful they would leave. He had listened in vain for any practical argument in favour of this Bill. It had always seemed to him that reformers of the English Army were apt to shut their eyes to the merits, and to see only the defects of our Army, while in Continental Armies they saw nothing but what was good. They were, therefore, in favour of remodelling our Army according to Continental ideas. But it must strike everyone that any such attempt would be futile unless we went to the root of the Continental system and adopted conscription. But when the right hon. Gentleman took the difference of habits and customs into account, and reflected how impossible it was by legislation to alter the character of a people, he must be convinced that any attempt to introduce conscription into this country would be a failure. If the Secretary of State was going to take Prussia as his model, it was to be hoped he had some better reason than that the Prussians had beaten the Austrians in the late war. If the statements he (Major Dickson) had heard were true, he should be sorry indeed that English regiments should ever take the field in the condition in which some of the Prussian regiments took it during the last campaign. He had been told, upon good authority, that many of the Prussian infantry regiments were neither more nor less than undisciplined mobs; and had it not been for three circumstances, he believed the Prussians would have met with a disastrous defeat. He was not now alluding to the needle gun, which, of course, gave Prussia great advantage. But the facts were, the cream of the Austrian Army was engaged in the south, a large proportion of the Army in the north were composed of Italian troops, who would either not fight at all or were half-hearted in the cause; and, worse than all, the Austrian commanders, instead of attacking the Prussians, executed day after day a series of disastrous retreats; and any military man well knew that constant retreating, while it demoralized and disheartened one's own troops, gave their opponents a courage which they would not otherwise possess. If the right hon. Gentleman took the Prussian Army for his model, he must consider that every male in Prussia had to take service, and therefore if he intended to Prussianize our Army, he must go much further than was now proposed. The Belgian Army was more like what our own army would be under this Bill. In that Army, which was founded on conscription, the men enlisted for eight years, of which they served one-third in the ranks and two-thirds in the Army of Reserve. And what was the result? One scarcely ever saw in Belgium a soldier with hair upon his face; the Army was composed of boys staggering under the weight of their arms, ammunition, and accoutrements. Why not go to France and see what was done there? The French authorities did everything in their power to keep the old soldiers in the ranks. Associations had been formed in France to aid in procuring substitutes for those who did not wish to serve, but upon whom the conscription had fallen; but the Government had taken these associations into their own hands, had fixed the price of the substitutes, and where did they go to look for them? To the ranks of the Army; and they applied the money they received for the substitutes to the relief of old soldiers. As this country could maintain only a small Standing Army, it was the duty of the Secretary of State to see that it was as near perfection as drill and discipline could make it, so that when we had recruits the Standing Army might be the leaven to leaven the whole. But if they passed this Bill the Army would be composed of men young in service and young in years, in whom the Reserve men could feel no confidence, and for whom they could have no respect. He valued an Army of Reserve, but not if it were obtained by sacrificing the efficiency of the regular Army. He need not say that he opposed this measure in no party spirit. He opposed it because this was a dangerous time to experimentalize with our Army, and because he believed the Bill would strike a fatal blow at the efficiency of our Army. With a great respect for the abilities of the right hon. Gentleman, he felt that no statesmanship, however brilliant, and no abilities would, without practical knowledge, fit any man to be Commander-in-Chief of our Army, and the Secretary of State for War was now little else. Theoretical legislation never had produced, and never would produce, efficiency in any Army; and for these reasons he moved that the Chairman do now leave the Chair.
said, that he doubted whether the great Duke had ever fixed the exact moment at which he might, under particular conditions, have won the Battle of Waterloo. With reference to the statement of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Major Dickson) as to substitutes in France, the system he described had been given up by the Government, and two years ago, when money was wanted, the funds thereby obtained were absorbed for other purposes. As to the Bill, one misapprehension ran through the whole argument of the hon. and gallant Member. He assumed that the scope of the Bill was to substitute universally a three years' service for the Army instead of the present term of enlistment. But that was not the proposal or the object of the Bill. The old term of enlistment was 21 years; this was reduced to 12 years, without any of the ill effects which at that time were predicted, and the object of the Bill was, at the discretion of the military authorities, and in such cases as they thought desirable, to allow a number of men to leave the Army who had served a minimum term of three years. But it was anticipated that a considerable number of men might serve for 21 years, or even for life, and provision was made in the Bill for such cases. The three years' service was not compulsory or universal; it was optional, and by no means universal. Then, the hon. and gallant Member said it was no use to have any but old soldiers. No doubt, in a battalion during war, it was desirable that a considerable number of men should have seen service; but some of the regiments which behaved best at the Alma contained hardly a man who had been under fire at all. Three years were sufficient to drill and train an infantry soldier, and these men, mixed up with older hands, would form the best material for an Array in the field. Then the hon. and gallant Member said that after one or two years of civil life a three years' soldier would be hardly any better than a raw recruit; but the experience of France and Austria did not confirm this opinion. The best soldiers in France were those who had been dismissed on unlimited furloughs but who were now hurrying to their regiments as fast as they could. In France, a law had been passed allowing a short enlistment for the term of the war alone, and with such an example, he thought that, so far from diminishing our military strength, a short term of service would rather increase it. He had frequently expressed the opinion that the only effective way in which we could provide an effective Army of Reserve for England would be to introduce a system by which there should be in the country a large number of men who had been trained to military service, and who, whether they were receiving a retaining fee or not, would be impelled by patriotism, in case of emergency, to return to the ranks and give us the benefit of their experience. He trusted that the Committee would not accept the proposal of the hon. and gallant Gentleman.
said, they were asked, as it were, to stand godfathers to a Bill for which they were responsible when passed into law; and as the name which they were called upon to give it did not represent all the principles upon which the actual enlistment into the Army was to be based, and as they were asked to legislate upon some of those unknown principles, under the title of "Army Enlistment," which had been established since the second reading of the Bill, he would take the opportunity, with the indulgence of the Committee, of remarking upon the unfair position in which those hon. Members who took an interest in Army matters were placed. He considered that the title of the Bill was intended to embrace a great deal more, in connection with what was called Army Reform, than it had presented to the Members of the House of Commons, owing to the alterations which had been recently made in the Royal Warrant of 1866–7, of which the House knew nothing officially. He considered, therefore, that the Committee would be discussing the various clauses under a great disadvantage, unless further information and explanation were given by the Secretary of State. It appeared to him that the provisions of the Bill, as they then stood, were rendered vague and incomplete in consequence of the appearance of a Royal Warrant, dated 2nd June, 1870, which he held in his hand—a Warrant which had been issued since the second reading of the Bill, and which, owing to its date, must have been previously decided upon by the Government, and which, therefore, ought, in justice to hon. Members, to have been announced before the second reading, so as to have put them in possession of the intentions of the Government. That was a document which, he ventured to say, not half-a-dozen hon. Members had ever heard of, and much less seen — a document which would materially affect the future enlistment of the Army—a Warrant which cancelled Article 779 in the Warrant of 1866–7, but of which no one had any official information. What did the Warrant say? It said—
Then came a long string of no less than six classes relating to good conduct pay; but, as they were made up to a period of 28 years service—which was 16 years beyond the term of service laid down by the Bill—they were not in harmony with the intended conditions of service as laid down for the Army, and they were, to a certain extent, superfluous, and could have no application, as far as the rank and file were concerned. To explain. He would take the scales as far as the 12 years, which was, according to previous explanation by the Secretary of State, to be the extent of a soldier's service. They said—"VICTORIA R., Whereas we deem it expedient to shorten the periods hereafter necessary to entitle the soldiers of our Army to the various rates of good conduct pay, and to abolish the additional pay of 1d. a day now granted to men alter the completion of their first term of limited service."
Now, the following comparison, he said, would show what a different position the soldier who enlisted under this Act would be in, from what he had hitherto been in. He then compared the amount of money actually receivable by a soldier during 21 years under the provisions and regulations in force previous to the Royal Warrant of the 2nd June, 1870, exclusive of regimental pay and beer-money, which were as follows: — Regulations previous to 2nd June, 1870—bounty on joining, £1; bounty on re-engagement after 8 years, £1; extra penny a day on re-engagement after 8 years' service for 13 years, £19 15s. 5d., exclusive of good conduct pay and pension on discharge — total £21 15s. 5d. On Warrant of 2nd June, 1870, up to 12 years, inclusive—bounty, nil; good conduct pay after the second year's service for 4 years, £6 1s. 8d.; which completed 6 years with the standards; total, £6 1s. 8d—and which showed a decrease in receipt of £15 13s. 9d. But, in the event of a man serving the whole of the 12 years with the standards, or being, as a matter of course, allowed the option of re-engaging, he ought at the end of his service, provided his character was invariably good, to have received 2d. a day for the last six years of his enlistment, which would amount to £18 5s., and a total of £24 6s. 8d.—a sum which many would never obtain, owing to the stringent rule as to regimental offence which, although prejudicial to them financially, ought not, as a matter of course, to stamp them as bad characters. Now, he considered this raised a question of serious importance, for under this new scheme a man might have served six years and never have received good conduct pay—a circumstance which would tell more against him as a first Army Reserve man, on making application for civil employment, than even a bad discharge would tell against a civilian who had been turned off by his employer, thereby considerably diminishing the soldier's chance of civil employment. Now, to show the difference between the old and the intended now system. On the existing system a soldier who had served 21 years received £21 15s. 5d. for bounty and re-engagement pay, and if he had been free from regimental offence he also received good conduct pay after 3, 8, and 13 years from 1d. to 3d. a day, to the amount of £59 6s. 3d., and he also received a pension on discharge which at the lowest rate of 8d. a day, and supposing he lived to the moderate age of 60, would amount to £255 10s., and to a sum total of £336 11s. 8d., and he thought no one could say that the British soldier was over paid, considering the price of labour and the service which he rendered to his country; whereas, on the new system about to be established, and backed up by the Warrant of the 2nd of June, the soldier could only have received a total of £24 6s. 8d. good conduct pay, up to 12 years' service—the maximum period of his enrolment—and that with the best of characters, and not a farthing more, because he was to be deprived of the option of continuing in the service, if he wished it, and thereby ensuring his livelihood as a soldier. But if he were to have the exclusive option of re-engaging continuously up to 21 years—that was for nine years more after his first enrolment had expired—and with the prospect of a pension on discharge, to which he would be fairly entitled, he would have received, for good conduct pay, £69 19s. 2d., and for pension, if he lived to 60, at 8d, a day, £225 10s., making a total of £325 9s. 2d. But as that was not the intention of the Bill or the Warrant, as far as the rank and file were concerned, the scale had no application after 12 years with the standards, and it was quite illusory. There was another important alteration contained in the Royal Warrant of the 2nd June, which decreed that the additional pay of 1d. a day granted by the Warrant of 29th June, 1867, should not be issued to any man who should re-engage more than three months after the date of receipt of the new Warrant in the district or command in which he should be serving; so that the conditions upon which all those men had been serving were to be abolished, and only three months' law given from the 2nd of June to qualify for re-engagement; so that if a man had served seven years and eight months, he would lose the 1d. a day, which his comrade, who had served one month more, would receive. That was clearly unjust. It was all very well to say that the men who were sent into the First Army Reserve would get 4d. a day; but that was merely the price of military bondage, in the shape of a retaining fee for future service if necessary. According to the provisions of the Bill and of the Royal Warrant, the Army would no longer be looked upon as an honourable profession or of prospective interest, because its compulsory short service would deprive it of its character as a profession. These considerations, he thought, would have the effect of deterring young men from enlisting; and, under all the circumstances, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would agree to postpone the further consideration of the Bill until its scope was more generally understood."That a soldier after having served two years, provided his name had not been entered in the Regimental Defaulters' Book for two years immediately preceding his claim, would receive 1d. a day with one good conduct badge, and that after he had served six years, and having uninterruptedly been in the receipt of 1d. a day for two years immediately preceding his claim, he would receive 2d. a day with two good conduct badges."
said, he thought that the Secretary of State for War must admit that the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Dover (Major Dickson) was conceived in an admirable spirit and expressed in moderate terms. Some nights ago, he (Viscount Bury) expressed the opinion that this was not a proper time to enter upon a very material and radical change in the constitution of our Army. Since then the state of things which he had in contemplation when he made that remark had arisen, and Europe was now in a state of war. It was all very well for hon. Gentlemen to say that England would throughout the struggle maintain her neutrality; but he must say that to anyone who studied the signs of the times the possibility of England being able to maintain strict neutrality during the whole of the war now commencing must appear as at least a matter of speculation. They had heard of announcements on the part of one Great Power and another that they would remain neutral so long as Prussia and France were alone engaged in the struggle; but they also learned from apparently authentic statements in the newspapers that if other events arose, and other Powers were drawn into the quarrel, Russia would not be content to look on and be neutral. They had also heard of a message addressed by France to Belgium for the purpose of ascertaining whether Belgium was prepared to defend her frontier against attack by Prussia, and of the spirited reply made by the King of the Belgians to the question addressed by France as to the defence of the frontier; but no one could fail to see that, regard being had to our treaty obligations with Belgium, we were in a position which, in a probable contingency, might cause our neutrality to be seriously imperilled. Under these circumstances, hon. Members felt themselves to a great extent tongue-tied, as a single heedless word might produce great difficulties, and, therefore, he repeated that it was not desirable that this House should be compelled to go into the discussion of various questions which the measure would involve. He yielded to no one in his admiration for the abilities of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War, or in the recognition of the right hon. Gentleman's thorough mastery of the details of his Department; but he could not believe that this Short Enlistment Bill would be a good thing for the Army. Those who knew anything about the service were aware that it took three years to make a man an efficient soldier, and yet just at the expiration of that time it was now proposed to part with him. It was said that the man would be relegated to the Army of Reserve until he was wanted for future service; but there was good reason to believe that if the man found civil employment to suit him he would not return to the standards, or if he did come back, it would be as unwillingly as a conscript entered a Continental army. He agreed with the hon. Member for Abingdon (Colonel Lindsay), that the Bill might operate unjustly with regard to many soldiers, for if a man, however excellent he might be in all other respects, failed to observe all the strict regulations of military discipline, he would be debarred from obtaining civil employment. He would not go so far as the hon. and gallant Member for Dover; he did not find fault with the Bill root and branch; but he thought they ought to have a very full exposition of the reasons which induced the right hon. Gentleman to propose this great change. The introduction of the Royal Warrant to which allusion had been made had taken away the additional 1d. a-day on re-enlistment, and he disbelieved in their power to attract as many men as this system would require; for the Bill would have the effect of causing a compulsory retirement. He trusted, his right hon. Friend would give good reasons for opposing the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Dover. At present he (Viscount Bury) saw no alternative but to support it.
said, he quite agreed that his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Dover (Major Dickson) had introduced this subject in a tone and manner which entitled it to the favourable consideration of the Government and of the House. But he did not rise to enter into any discussion of the principle of the Bill. When his right hon. Friend (Mr. Cardwell) brought forward this subject, in the speech in which he moved the Army Estimates, he, following him, stated that when he held the Office of Secretary of State for War he was frequently pressed by military authorities of very great weight to consider the question of diminishing the time of service in the Army, and he proceeded to state that he should be perfectly willing to give a fair consideration to the Bill to be introduced. That Bill was now before them; and if they proceeded with the Committee, he should have abundant opportunity of considering, as the different clauses came before them, what was the principle of the Bill, and how far it was likely to conduce to the improvement of the Army. He would rather address himself to what fell from, his hon and gallant Friend the Member for Dover and his noble Friend (Viscount Bury) with regard to the moment when they were called on to discuss the Bill. Whatever might be the merits of the question of short service of the Army they must all be aware that it was one on which high military authorities were very much divided. Many thought short enlistment would be an improvement; others, entitled to the greatest weight, thought it dangerous; he must therefore appeal to his right hon. Friend, whether it would be prudent, at the present moment to embark on a change which certainly was not necessary. Our Army had always maintained the highest character. It was a fact that could not be disputed — the Army of England, for its numbers, had always been one of the most efficient in the world. He willingly admitted that was no reason why they should refrain from improvement where improvement could be effected. It was no reason why they should abstain from experimental changes; but he could not help hoping the Government would think that when war had so suddenly broken out, and when they knew not from day to day what events might arise, that was not a moment for commencing unnecessary experiments which might have a tendency to cause alarm and shake public confidence in our military system. He should reserve himself with regard to the clauses of the Bill till they came before them in regular order. He had no intention of dissuading the right hon. Gentleman from trying an experiment of this kind when, hereafter, a favourable moment presented itself; but he very much doubted whether the present was an opportunity that he could avail himself of.
Sir, I admit the justice of the appeal made to me by my right hon. Friend who preceded me in Office (Sir John Pakington). I admit also that the Motion was made in the most friendly terms, and that every proposal I have made since I came into Office has been considered by him with the most perfect candour and fairness. Still, I must say that this is not a right Motion. In the first place, it is brought forward without Notice, and if Notice had been given that we were going to discuss the principle of the Bill on the present occasion, I think there would probably have been a much larger attendance of hon. Members. In consequence of the pressure of other business at the time of the second reading, I only gave a short explanation of the object of the measure, and I do not think the Committee fully appreciate what the Bill is. It has been spoken of as a revolutionary change in the system of the Army, but, in point of fact, it is not a revolutionary change at all. Indeed, I should be the last man to propose a revolutionary change in a system so complicated as that of the British Army. Again, it has been stated that I am necessarily a mere theorist because I have no practical acquaintance with military matters. I may remark, however, that I have the means of obtaining the best military information, and, certainly, I have not proceeded with this Bill without getting all the information I could. If you pass this Bill you will not take away from the Government or from the military authorities one single power they now possess, nor will you strike a blow at the present system of recruiting for the Army. Let this be distinctly understood. You are invited to give them additional power, and to enable them to attract to the standards a class of men who will not now join them. Then, as to the time, I must say that if there could be one moment more opportune than another for making the experiment it would be a time of emergency. The Bill, however, was introduced at the beginning of the Session, and, I introduced it then because I thought it would work beneficially for the Army and for the whole community; for everything that tends to make the Army more popular, and to create a good feeling between it and the community at large cannot fail to be beneficial to both. No time would be better for trying such an experiment as the present, when additional powers for recruiting may possibly be wanted. It has been said that short-time men would be less valuable than those enlisted for a longer period. But what possible effect can short enlistment have upon the Army in the case of men who are to be the subjects of this Act of Parliament? It may bring you, and I hope it will, an additional number of men willing to join your standards, but the period when they leave the standards will be six years hence. They cannot possibly affect you by withdrawing, because this will not happen until six years hence. With respect to the three years' term, I have repeatedly stated that that was the minimum; my object is to place the men for six years in the Army, and for another six years in the Reserve. Then we have heard a great deal about old soldiers. No man has said more than I have in favour of old soldiers. I have quoted the remarkable words of the Duke of Wellington, but what did the Duke say? Did he say they were to be all old soldiers? On the contrary, what he said was that the old soldier was to be the hinge and pivot of the Army, and that when you had a certain number of old soldiers in the Army it was wonderful what the young men would do side by side with them. The object of the Bill is, that while you maintain intact all the power of recruiting that you possess, and while you do not weaken the Army one iota or impair its efficiency, you introduce an entirety new element which we hope will be most efficacious. Now, I trust I shall not lose the vote of any hon. Member at this time who would have been ready to support it at another. If this were a hazardous experiment, I should be unwilling to try it at any time; I, however, believe it to be an experiment which will add greatly to the power of those engaged in recruiting the Army. Other countries have conscription and less of foreign service, and do not have to contend with our high rate of wages in civil employment. We have no conscription. God forbid that we ever should! We have a very extensive foreign service and the highest rate of wages of any country in Europe, and that places great difficulties in our way. We wish to avail ourselves of the willing services of every man whom we can induce to join. It has been said that you will get only unwilling men, who, when they get into the Reserve, will not return to the standards. But does not the noble Lord (Viscount Bury), who uses that argument, perceive that if the argument has any force it must have far greater force in the case of a man who is invited to join the Army for a long period? How many men will say—"I will join the Army for six years, with the prospect of a regular yearly allowance for six years more," who would not join for 12 years' continual service; and how many men in times when the military spirit is excited would enlist for the shorter period who could not bring themselves to think of the longer? This provision will be adding considerably to the power of those who have to call for troops for the Army. I need not enter into the questions which have been raised about the long period of service; I have explained that this is not a Bill for the three years' service, but for six years. I shall, however, be able to show, when I come to the clause, that it would be more convenient to make a minimum of three years in certain cases than to limit the authorities to six years. Considering the obstacles which I have mentioned as being in the way of enlistment in this country, it is desirable that Parliament should interpose no other obstacles, but should make the system as elastic as possible. We wish the service to offer attractions to men of every disposition as regards time. An hon. Member (Mr. O'Reilly) has spoken of this Bill as if it were designed to enlist men for 12 years, and in discussing the Royal Warrant, which I think he cannot clearly comprehend, he spoke as if the Bill were intended to limit enlistment for 12 years. It is no such thing. This Bill contemplates that if a man is enlisted for six years it shall be possible for him to agree to go on for 12, and, after that, for nine more, making 21 years, and even beyond that if he should have become a valuable non-commissioned officer. In short, the general principle of the Bill is not to try experiments with those things which exist, but to add to what we now have increased powers. I trust the hon. Member (Major Dickson) will, under these circumstances, allow me to proceed and not press a Motion which I fully admit was justified by the haste with which the Bill was read a second time.
said, that the Bill was evidently based upon a fallacy which seemed to have taken strong hold of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell), and that was that by merely reducing the number of years a better class of men would be induced to join. But when the present high rate of wages among labourers was taken into account it would be seen that it it was absurd to suppose 1s. 2d. per day would obtain a better class of men for six years than 1s. 2d. per day did now. Six years' enlistment at 1s. 2d. per day would not draw men earning 16s. and 18s. a-week on railways or under commercial firms. His objections to the Bill, however, were expressed in an Amendment he had placed on the Paper, and he supported the Motion of his hon. Friend (Major Dickson), in the hope that the Government would be induced to withdraw the Bill in order that it might be amended in many respects. He was not opposed to a great part of the Bill; he was anxious for an Army of Reserve, but was at issue with his right hon. Friend as to the means by which it should be obtained. He would enlist for 12 years, as at present, but give power in the Bill to discharge any man at any time within the period without being obliged to give a reason for dismissal. Those men who were discharged at the end of six or seven years, as was most convenient, could be invited to join the Army of Reserve with 4d. per day pay. If a man declined, a recruit would fill his place; and the result would be that a number of men having had the advantage of six years' training would be scattered about the country. He was afraid that the provisions of this Bill would not be fully understood by the recruits, and that at the expiration of the six years' service they would think that they had been entrapped into serving in the Army Reserve. He was glad that the right hon. Gentlemen had conceded so much as to lengthen the period of enlistment from three years to six. The hon. Member for Longford (Mr. O'Reilly) unintentionally fell into an error when he stated that at the present moment the French soldiers were enlisted for the term of the war, which was not likely to be as long as three years. The real fact was, that French soldiers who had served their time were re-enlisted for three years or for the term of the war. An allusion had been made to an observation of the Duke of Wellington respecting the troops at Waterloo. Now, a relative of his had met the Duke at dinner in the company of Canning, who questioned him very much upon the Battle of Waterloo and his other principal battles, and more particularly with regard to what he would have done had he had his old Peninsular soldiers with him at the former battle, and the Duke's reply was, that in that case the battle would not have lasted six hours, but that then it would not have been the Battle of Waterloo, and that it would not have had the decisive effect it had. The Duke's opinion of the Army at Waterloo was that it was the worst that he had ever commanded, it being chiefly composed of young untrained recruits, a large number of whom were their militia uniform.
said, he was cordially in favour of the principle of the Bill as far as it proposed to shorten the period of enlistment and to popularize the Army. He must, however, on Clause 4, move to amend the measure by leaving out in page 1, line 25, the words, "Army service," and substituting there for the words, "the infantry or five years in the cavalry, seven in the artillery, and ten in the engineers." The object of the Bill was to leave the number of cadres of regiments untouched and to give the Secretary of State for War the means of filling them up when necessary with a number of trained men. The question before the country was, whether they would prefer to be defended by a small number of perfectly trained men, or by a still smaller number of perfectly trained men and a large number of those who were in a manner leavened with military training. He thought three years was quite sufficient time to make a substantially good infantry soldier—that was, at least four-fifths of the soldier's education would be acquired in that time. The American soldiers in two years and a-half were transformed from the raw recruits who captured Fort Sumter without losing a drop of blood—except in the case of two men, who were killed by the fireworks celebrating the event — into the disciplined veterans who poured out whole holocausts of blood at Gettysburg. It was said by military critics that the chief cause of the success of the Prussian forces was that they were formed under the principle embodied in this Bill, which would be tested in the approaching campaign. The French system was rather the other way. He thought it would be well if the whole of our Reserves were made to pass through the Army, which would afford them the best military training school possible.
said, with respect to the observation of the Duke of Wellington, to which he had made an allusion, the accuracy of which had been impugned by the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Mr. O'Reilly), he had referred to the Letters of Sir George C. Lewis in the Library, and had found therein this statement—
"I have often heard my father quote a remark of the Duke of Wellington, that if he had had his Peninsular regiments at Waterloo the battle would not have lasted till two o'clock. I think he said this to my father or in his presence."
said, he regretted to hear from the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Cardwell) that he was about to part with the powers of enlistment he had hitherto possessed.
What I intended to state, was that every power of enlistment that we had under the old system would remain. There is nothing in the Bill which repeals one of those powers. All that the measure proposes to do is to give us additional powers.
said, he had looked in vain for the word "pension" in the Bill.
That is because it does not repeal any part of the old law which gives pensions.
said, he was anxious to know what, under the circumstances, would be the position of recruits under the new law with respect to pensions. Of course, they could not break faith with those who enlisted before it was passed. He wanted to know whether those who enlisted under the new Bill would be entitled to pensions? [Mr. CARDWELL: Certainly.] He was for seeing in our Army the professional soldier—the man who made a military life his calling, and who followed the fortunes of his regiment wherever it might go. It was admitted that it took three years to make a soldier. Why, then, were we to get rid of him the moment he was made? Everyone knew that the country was put to a great expense before the recruit was of the slightest use. It was to the esprit which long association with a regiment gave men that their officers had to trust in the hour of the greatest danger, and it was it which carried regiments through almost impossible difficulties. His right hon. Friend the Secretary for War had alluded to the strength of foreign armies. The power of those armies afforded an argument against reducing the strength of our Army, and yet we had dismissed no fewer than 20,000 men from it within the last 15 months. In "another place" the Under Secretary for War had stated that there were 61 regiments at home now, whereas there had been only 46 at home in 1868. There was this, however, to be said on the other side, that in the 46 regiments of 1868 there were some 13,100 more men than in the 61 regiments of the present day, because there were 950 in each battalion at home in 1868, while there were only 500 in each battalion at home now. [Mr. CARDWELL: No!] He contended he was right in his estimate. It had been already stated in debate that nine regiments at Aldershot last week produced less than 3,000 men; and some months ago he stated that out of a battalion of 500 men 150 had to be deducted for orderlies, sick, officers' servants, band, &c., and that at a time, when they did not know where to turn for men. In 1854, at the time of the breaking out of the Crimean War, the strength of the Army was 124,801 men. There were serving in the ranks 122,464, leaving a deficit of 2,337 men. The following year they were increased to 189,956, but only 143,298 were serving in the field, leaving a deficit of 46,658. In 1856 the Army was increased to 205,808, and there were serving in the ranks 155,406, men, leaving a deficit of 50,402 men. He would trouble the House with an extract from the Report of the Recruiting Commission of 1867, which was presided over by the Earl of Dalhousie. It was in these terms—
In conclusion, the Commissioners stated—"Recent events, however, have taught us that we must not rely in future on having time for preparation. Wars will be sudden in their commencement and short in their duration, and woe to that country which is unprepared to defend itself against any contingency that may arise, or combination which may be formed against it."
He would now direct the attention of the Committee to some remarks made by a man whose opinion carried weight with that House, and whose loss to the House and the country they all deplored. He meant Lord Herbert of Lea. In a speech delivered by him in the House of Commons on the 12th of December, 1854, Mr. Sidney Herbert used this language—"Having thus given our opinion on the different points referred to us, in conclusion we must observe that we are perfectly aware that our suggestions, if acted upon will tend to increase the cost of the Army. But, when we consider the vast interests at stake, and the immense amount of wealth and property accumulated throughout the country as well as in our large cities, we cannot believe that the nation will hesitate in paying what, after all, will amount to a very trifling rate of insurance; and by maintaining the peace establishment of the Army in a sound and satisfactory condition, and having in its support a well disciplined Reserve, we may thus arrive at a military organization such as shall give confidence to the country, and enable all your Majesty's subjects to prosecute without distraction those duties and pursuits in which they may be engaged."
Again—"But, I ask, on whom rests the responsibility that England, at the commencement of a war, must make small wars? Why is it? It has been the fault of every Parliament; we have always had the same stereotyped system of economy in military affairs. I am speaking the whole plain truth in this matter. I am as much to blame as any one. I have held for some years the responsible situation of Secretary of War, and I know what have been my own shortcomings in this respect; but this too I know, that whenever I have brought forward, as I have done, what are called Peace Estimates, I have constantly been met with Motions for large reductions. I say, therefore, that it has been the fault of all parties, all Administrations, every Parliament; I am afraid I cannot give my assent to any exception, however eager I may be to do so; I have seen Administrations formed of various parties—I have seen them taking different courses on almost every conceivable subject, but on one they have agreed, and that has been the one to which I have alluded—one of improvident economy. What has been the result? At the commencement of the war we had to make means, and to create an Army and to use it at the same time."—[3 Hansard, cxxxvi. 136.]
What would be our position if we were dragged into the war just commenced? This country was always ungrateful to its public men in times of trouble, and the first victim of their ingratitude would be his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War. Could anything have been more atrocious than the conduct pursued towards the late Duke of Newcastle at the time of the difficulties in the Crimea? He was made responsible for everything that had occurred, though, as shown by Lord Herbert, it was owing to the penurious course taken during successive years by the House of Commons. You might drill a man in three months, but it was the disciplined mind that made the soldier a man who could not only judge for himself, but obey the order of his commander. In Hyde Park the Volunteers moved with great precision; but they had never done outpost duty or mounted guard. He hoped the House and the country would recognize the necessity of maintaining an Army of trained soldiers."We could not get a man of those regiments which the right hon. Baronet says ought to have been sent out; and he must recollect that we cannot create an Army; we must get the men first, then make them into soldiers by drilling them and instructing them in the skilful use of their weapon; for nothing will be so injurious to the reputation of our Army as sending men into the field inefficient for their duty."—[Ibid 152.]
said, he would not follow his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel North) into the discussion of topics which he thought hardly germane to the matter in hand. [Colonel NORTH said the subject was recruiting.] The more the country stood in need of recruits the greater the urgency for passing this Bill; but he wished to say that the distribution of troops, under the Estimates of the present year, gave a larger number of regular troops in this country than the distribution of 1868. When the regiments coming, and already on their way, from the Colonies arrived home there would be a larger force in this country than we had in 1868; and taking into account our Reserves available for home and foreign service, there would be a larger force available for active service than there had been in any year since 1816, except the year succeeding the last year of the Crimean War.
said, that it was quite right the country should know what our available force amounted to in case of any unforeseen contingency arising. According to the disposition of troops given in the Army List for July, we had at home 37 battalions of the Line, and six of the Guards, and three regiments of Cavalry; and taking the strength of the battalions of the Line at 400, that of the battalions of the Guards at 600, and that of the Cavalry regiments at 250, we had about 18,400 men of the Line and the Guards, and 3,500 Cavalry for garrison and field duty at home in case of invasion.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Twelve years the limit of enlistment).
said, he had given Notice of an Amendment—namely, in page 1, line 14, after "service," to insert, "Provided always, That no person shall be enlisted as a soldier until he has attained the age of twenty." We had suffered very much, indeed, from having young soldiers in our ranks, and as this was a Bill really limiting the term for the enlistment of the soldier, it was right to provide that the State should have the advantage of his services in the prime of youth. The result of enlisting mere boys and sending them out for service during the Crimean War was that they filled the hospitals and cost the country much money. Again, much of the success of Prussia in 1866 was due to the fact of her soldiers being older than those of Austria. It might be said that his Amendment would limit our choice of men in case of emergency. To a certain extent it would do so; but it was a question whether it would not be far better, as a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, to pay a large bounty and so secure a man of more mature age than to enlist a more boy, who simply sickened in the service and became a burden on the country. Another reason in favour of his Amendment was that the Militia and the Line now entered into competition with each other, the age for enlistment in both branches of the service being the same. His view was that the Militia was the real Reserve Force of the country, and it would be far better if young men enlisted in it at 18 or 19, and that afterwards they should be drafted, if necessary, into the Line. If the Secretary of State for War would give him an assurance that he would take care that no soldier should leave this country before he was 20 years of age, he would not press the Amendment which he now proposed.
said, the object of the Bill was to set men at liberty for civil life at an early period, and it would be quite inconsistent with that object to enact that no recruit should be enlisted under the age of 20. The limitation proposed by the noble Lord was not supported either by the opinion of military authorities or by the Report of the Recruiting Commission. If they adopted the age of 20, they would be obliged to take as recruits young men who had tried some other employment and had failed, or, perhaps, lost their character. As to sending recruits on service abroad, no doubt it was desirable that they should not go to India, for example, too young; and by the working of the double battalion system it was sought to obviate that evil as far as possible. He could not, however, engage to limit the power of recruiting in the way suggested by the noble Lord.
said, he hoped that the noble Lord (Lord Eustace Cecil) would not press his Amendment to a Division. Having, unfortunately, in this country no conscription, we were not able to take our men when we chose, but rather when we could get them. A large number of men entered at 18 years; and, indeed, it was remarkable how frequently the age of 17 years and nine months occurred, 18 being the time from which service for pensions dated. If the limit were raised to 20 years the only difference would be that it would lead to a little harder swearing.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 (Terms of enlistment).
said, he had an Amendment to propose—namely, in line 19, to leave out from "and for the residue" to the end of the clause. He desired to give the Secretary of State for War every facility for forming his Army of Reserve, if he would form it, in the way that was not likely to create suspicion among the young men who entered the service. If the right hon. Gentleman would enlist them for 12 years, reserving to himself the right to discharge them after any period of service, they would perfectly understand it. But many of them being uneducated, or but slightly educated, if asked to enlist for 12 years, six years to be passed in the Army of Service and six years in the Army of Reserve, he was afraid that many a man who was turned out at the end of six years' service, with no choice in the matter, would think he had been entrapped into a second engagement, and thus a feeling of dissatisfaction would be excited.
said, the Amendment really struck at the root of the whole Bill. He did not think the recruit was an ignoramus who could not make an intelligent bargain, and the object of the Government was to get men who were quite capable of understanding the contract into which they entered. It used to be the notion that they could not trust a recruit without an escort, but now they gave him a railway ticket and told him to go to his regiment; and last year out of 8,182 men only seven acted in a manner not to justify this confidence. The great inducement these men would have to join our standards was the engagement that at the end of six years' service they would have 4d. per day to pay their rent or meet any other expense to which they were put.
said, he hoped his right hon. and gallant Friend would not press his Motion to a Division.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 (Change of service).
said, he considered this the most important clause in the Bill. It gave power to the Secretary of State to discharge soldiers at the end of three years' service. That would be just when they were becoming of service. The right hon. Gentleman thought by this Bill to improve the Army from the better class of recruits he would obtain. He (Colonel Barttelot) believed that was a great mistake. The men enlisted for three years would come in as amateurs, whose object would be to retire as soon as possible into private life; and when in private life and married, and with good and remunerative situations, how could it be expected that they could be got at any time they were required? He was expressing the opinion of most commanding officers, and he would venture to say that the opinion of his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief was opposed to that of the right hon. Gentleman on this matter. They wanted men who would take up the Army as a profession; but the Bill would bring into the Army a lot of young men who would afterwards return to private life, and who, from their short service, would have no attachment for their regiment, and who, if again called upon to serve, would have no knowledge of, and consequently no confidence in, their officers. The right hon. Gentleman might have shoals of recruits; but what would be the condition of their regiments? They would not have the same class of fighting men they now had. He wanted to have some definite time named, and that the Secretary of State should not have the power to enlist men for the Army as he pleased for three or six years. He begged to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice, and to state that he should divide the Committee on this Amendment.
Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 24, to leave out the word "three," in order to insert the word "five."—( Colonel Barttelot.)
said, he very much doubted the prudence of retaining the term "three." He understood his right hon. Friend intended practically to extend the period of enlistment to six years. [Mr. CARDWELL: Generally.] Then he had great confidence in the good old rule—"Always say what you mean and mean what you say." If his right hon. Friend meant "six," why did he say "three?" It was this clause which led him (Sir John Pakington) to think it would be more prudent in the present state of Europe if the Bill were not pressed.
said, he would explain the motive of this clause. It was not a clause which enabled the Secretary of State for War to enlist or engage. That power was given by the 3rd clause. The clause they were now considering simply enabled a variation to be made by mutual consent in the terms of engagement. He proposed to put in the clause the minimum of three years, but that was not at all inconsistent with the general intention of making the service six years—it might be inconvenient to take all recruits for six years. If a regiment were going to India, for instance, in four or five years it might be extremely convenient to recruit it for the short period of three years and afterwards a second time with special reference to India; or, to take another case, suppose, after a war, as at the end of the Crimean War, there was a great call for the reduction of Estimates, and it became necessary to reduce the Army—if a great number of men were suddenly discharged, they would retire under a sense of injustice and hardship at being dismissed after they had given their best services during the war. This clause would give the opportunity of offering to all who chose to accept the pay and advantages of the Reserve.
said, he thought there could not be a great objection to our young recruits going out to India for the full term of their service, because it was proved that that class of men were far more likely to live in India than men of a more advanced age.
said, he must oppose the clause. He submitted whether the second paragraph in the 7th clause did not cover any doubts as to regiments going to India, and, therefore, whether it was not possible that the first service at least should be of a definite duration.
said, it was quite possible that the transfer of men to home regiments might make those regiments in excess of the establishment strength.
said, he would ask whether that difficulty was not met by any provision giving the Secretary of State power to transfer from regiments which were in excess to regiments which were not? He was of opinion that there would be much dissatisfaction amongst the men, if, having enlisted for a certain period, they were sent to the Reserve before the expiration of such period.
said, it might be very much better for the public service to transfer the men to the Reserve rather than to regiments. He was anxious, by recruiting new men, to keep up the regimental spirit.
said, he thought it right that the men should thoroughly understand everything that appeared on the face of their enlistment. If they were shown an Act of Parliament which said that at the end of three years they were to be dismissed, but it was really intended that that should not be done till they had served six years, it would be better to say at once that the service should be for six years. The more he saw of the Bill, and the more he heard his right hon. Friend's (Mr. Cardwell's) explanation, the more he was convinced that the period stated in the Bill was all the time for which they could retain the services of these men. If a man was to enlist at nineteen, to remain in the ranks for six years, and if he was then sent into the Reserve, he would go into business, take a shop, and marry, and they could not without hardship bring him back again. He had married a wife, and so he would not come. They might as well make him a present of the 4d. a day, for they never could get him back.
said, the soldier would enlist for 12 years, and the recruiting officer would tell him how many he was to serve under the standard, and that at the end of the period of four, five, or sis years, as it might be, he would go into the Reserve. If hon. Gentlemen would be good enough to read the second paragraph of the 3rd clause, they would find that the portion of the period for which he was to serve under the standards was to be fixed from time to time by the Secretary of State, and specified in the attestation paper, so that there could be no doubt on the recruit's mind as to the terms of the service. His noble Friend (Viscount Bury) had said that the man would open a shop and many, and could not be got back. But the Reserve soldier would be liable to the same provisions as the pensioner—he would have to attend drill, and show himself at certain times to the military authorities in order to claim his 4d. a day; besides which if he did not attend he would be tried for desertion.
said, he wished to know whether the recruit would be able to read in the attestation paper that if he did not come up again he would be tried for desertion.
said, he had intended to vote for the clause until he heard the speeches in support of it; but he would now vote for the Amendment of his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Barttelot). He had much experience of India, and he believed that nothing would be more fatal to our power in that country than to send out young recruits there in the way now proposed.
said, the Bill gave power to the Secretary of State to apportion the recruits to the Indian regiments in such a way that the regiments should not contain too many young soldiers.
said, it appeared that the position that a boon was offered to the recruit was abandoned, for the hon. and gallant Member for Truro (Captain Vivian) trusted rather to the policeman. He was afraid if the action of the policeman was invoked, it would make these men anti-recruiting agents for the rest of their lives.
said, he would ask what objection any man could have to getting 4d. a day for really doing nothing, unless under certain circumstances which they all hoped would not occur—except to show himself and to parade at certain periods?
said, he thought it quite certain, if the right hon. Gentleman was confident the recruit would think this a boon, he would not require him to accept it six years in advance.
said, the universal presumption of every contract was that it was for the benefit of both parties to it. But he had never heard before that there should be no laws for the enforcement of the contract.
said, that the recruit was very much like the Irish tenant; he was not a fit person to contract. When a man had been a year or two in the service he knew how to look after his own interests; but it was not fair to enlist him with all the pains and penalties attached without putting it into his attestation paper. The hon. Member for Truro (Captain Vivian) had proved that this provision would not only do a great deal of harm to the Army, but would take in the recruit, who would be subject to such regulations as might be made from time to time by the Secretary of State. He was quite sure the present Secretary of State would do nothing unfair; but future Secretaries of State might think it necessary to reduce the Army in a hurry, and thus get rid of all the engagements they might have entered into.
said, he regarded the Bill as likely to ruin our prestige in India.
said, he thought the terms upon which the soldier was to be enlisted should be clearly understood. It would be much more simple to put in six years at once. A Bill could not be very clear or simple which required so many explanations from two Members of the Government.
said, he would remark that this short service would entail additional expense.
Question put, "That the word 'three' stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided:—
The Tellers being come to the Table, Colonel Barttelot, one of the Tellers for the Noes, stated that Mr. Matthews, the Member for Dungarvan, had not voted.
Whereupon the Chairman directed the honourable Member for Dungarvan to come to the Table, and asked him if he had heard the Question put; and the honourable Member having stated that he had heard the Question put, and declared himself with the Noes, the Chairman desired his vote to be added to the Noes.
The Tellers accordingly declared the Numbers, Ayes 122; Noes 56: Majority 66.
said, he would beg leave to move, in page 1, line 25, to leave out "Army service" and insert "the infantry, or five years in the cavalry, artillery, and engineers." He should like to have some assurance as regarded those three branches of the service, because if the large numbers of men who were engaged in them were liable to be sent home after the expiration of three years, it would be a perfect farce. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell) would state distinctly that he did not intend to touch those branches.
Amendment proposed, in line 25, to leave out the words "Army service," in order to insert the words "the infantry, or five years in the cavalry, artillery, and engineers."—( Colonel Barttelot.)
said, he had on the Paper another Amendment, to leave out "Army service" and insert "the infantry, or five years in the cavalry, seven in the artillery, and ten in the engineers." He would state the duties of those branches in order to show that if the term of three years was right as regarded the infantry it must be wrong with respect to the others.
said, he must point out that there was already an Amendment before the Committee.
said, he hoped that the hon. and gallant Member for Sussex (Colonel Barttelot) would not press his Amendment.
said, he was exceedingly sorry the right hon. Gentleman had not thought fit to give way on the point. He believed the Amendment to be a sound and honest one, and he should certainly persist in it.
said, he wished to know whether the opinion of any cavalry officer had been taken on the subject.
said he might mention the case of the 11th Regiment, which had served under the late Lord Cardigan, which had practically to be remounted after its return from India, and which yet at the end of 12 months was reported fit for duty.
said, he had often heard Lord Cardigan say that it required three years to make a cavalry soldier, but that he preferred five.
said, he had heard Lord Clyde, speaking of the 9th Lancers, as it filed past him, say that people had abused him for not risking his soldiers; but if he had allowed that regiment to be cut up it would have taken seven years before it could be replaced. In that opinion he concurred, and he should therefore support the Amendment.
said, he believed that all the commanding officers of cavalry but one were in favour of his proposal.
said, the hon. and gallant Member for Truro (Captain Vivian) had mentioned, in support of his view, the name of an officer who was not alive, and who could not contradict the statement which he had made.
Question put, "That the words 'Army service' stand part of the Clause."
The Committee divided:—Ayes 111; Noes 85: Majority 26.
said, he must quote the opinion of a predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sidney Herbert), who, in 1856, said—
Now there was hardly one military man who agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in this most suicidal proposal."The efficiency of the Army is at stake, and in any change such as I have to make, we ought to be careful to have the assent of the great body of the profession."
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 (In imminent national danger, Her Majesty may continue soldiers in Army service).
said, he would suggest that every soldier on discharge should be able to go away with a little money in his pocket, and with this view the right hon. Gentleman might arrange to give the men a small gratuity.
said, that suggestion should be considered.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 6 (Enlistment for general service).
said, this clause would strike a deadly blow at our regimental system, which had never yet failed.
said, the enlistment would first be for general service, and the military authorities would afterwards be empowered to post the recruit to a particular regiment. The principle existed already under the 10th section of the present Army Enlistment Act, and the Recruiting Commission were of opinion that as many men as possible should be recruited for general service. In a subsequent clause, however, he allowed men to be recruited for particular regiments.
said, the Bill entirely ignored the regimental system, and men thus recruited would have little interest in the service.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to.
Clause 9 (Re-engagement of soldiers).
said, he would propose to insert in line 3, after "any soldier," the words "not under the rank of full corporal." This limitation would enable the Secretary of State to relieve the country from a great part of the heavy burden in respect of pensions to discharged soldiers, which now amounted to £1,200,000. He did not propose to affect men who had been wounded, or re-engaged men after 12 years' service in the time of war.
said, he thought the restriction proposed would be too severe.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Remaining clauses agreed to.
Bill reported; as amended to be considered To-morrow.