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Commons Chamber

Volume 203: debated on Monday 18 July 1870

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House Of Commons

Monday, 18th July, 1870.

MINUTES.]—SELECT COMMITTEE— Report—oor Law (Scotland) [No. 357]; Public Accounts Committee [No. 358]; Registration of Voters in Counties (England and Wales) [No. 360].

SUPPLY— considered in Committee—ARMY ESTIMATES.

Resolutions [July 15] reported—CIVIL SERVICE ESTIMATES.

PUBLIC BILLS— Resolution in Committee—Canada Defences (Guarantee of Loan)* .

Ordered—First Reading—Glebe Loans (Ireland)* [222]; Marriages (Ireland)* [223].

First Reading — Ecclesiastical Dilapidations (No. 2)* [224].

Second Reading — Public Schools Act (1868) Amendment* [200]; National Debt* [213]; Forgery* [214]; Statute Law Revision* [215]; Sewage Utilization Supplemental* [201]; Shannon Navigation* [192]; Exchequer Bonds (£1,300,000)* ; Pedlars' Certificates* [199].

CommitteeReport—Army Enlistment [106]; Gun Licences* [134]; Vestries (Isle of Man)* [198]; Sheriffs (Scotland) Act (1853) Amendment, &c. [191]; Annuity Tax Abolition (Edinburgh and Montrose, &c.) Act (1860) Amendment ( re-comm.)* [208]; Dublin City Voters Disfranchisement* [184]; Local Government Supplemental (No. 2) ( re-comm.)* [212]; Local Government Supplemental (No. 3)* [188]; Drainage and Improvement of Lands; (Ireland) Supplemental (No. 2)* [205]; Pier and Harbour Order Confirmation (No. 3)* [210]; Ecclesiastical Patronage Transfer* [160].

Withdrawn—Savings Banks [15]; Parliamentary Elections* [120]; Mines Regulation and Inspection ( re-comm.)* [104]; Processions; (Ireland)* [170].

Public Prosecutors Bill


said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether, as the Public Prosecutors Bill, which was withdrawn at his suggestion on Friday 8th July, had the support of the Government, and the Treasury had drawn up and agreed to the money provisions to be inserted in it, and as the Bill moreover had been considered and amended by a Select Committee of the House, he will give an assurance that the Government will deal with the question early next Session?

, in reply, said, the hon. Member was, doubtless, aware of the circumstances under which this Bill was withdrawn, and he (Mr. Bruce) was under the impression that it was withdrawn with the full assent of the promoters. He could not pledge the Government to deal with the question next Session, because it had not yet received the consideration it deserved.

France And Prussia—The War—Proclamation Of Neutrality


I beg leave, Sir, to ask the First Lord of the Treasury this Question, of which I have given him private Notice, Whether, having regard to the hostilities now unhappily imminent in Europe, it is the intention of the Government to issue a Proclamation, warning the subjects of the Queen to abstain from all participation in such hostilities, and to observe the Laws now in force for the maintenance of the neutrality of the United Kingdom in time of war; and whether, in accordance with the recommendation of the Royal Commission of 1868, it is the intention of the Government to introduce at once a measure to amend the existing Law, and to strengthen the hands of the Executive Government, in order the better to enable them to enforce its observance?

Sir, it is the intention of the Government at the proper time—and I am afraid I must consider it certain to arrive—to issue a Proclamation of Neutrality to the effect and for the purpose described by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford; but in point of technical regularity the proper moment cannot be said to have arrived until either a declaration of war has been issued, or until actual hostilities have commenced. [Mr. OTWAY at this moment placed a document in the right hon. Gentleman's hands.] At the moment when I am speaking, my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has placed in my hands a telegram which has just been received from Lord Lyons at Paris. He states that the French Minister of Foreign Affairs has informed him that a declaration of war was despatched to Berlin yesterday, and that as soon as he hears of its arrival there it will be communicated to the Prussian Chargé d'Affaires. That being so, the matter has reached the point at which it will be the duty of the Government at the earliest period—probably to-morrow—to issue a Proclamation of Neutrality. With respect to the second Question, it is our duty to introduce at once a measure to amend the existing law, and to strengthen the hands of the Executive Government, in order the better to enforce its observance. The Government have taken into consideration the recommendations of the Royal Commission of 1868, and, without pledging themselves to precise principles, I may say it is their intention to introduce a Bill for the purposes to which my hon. Friend refers—namely, to secure the more complete and effectual fulfilment of all obligations that may be considered to attach to us in any contingency, under the Law of Nations, with respect to ships departing from our ports.

University Tests Bill—Question

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, If the Government see any reasonable prospect of the University Tests Bill being proceeded with this Session, after the decision arrived at in "another place" on Thursday the 14th?

Sir, at the present moment the Government are unable to form a positive opinion; but they do not despair of carrying the Bill through Parliament during the present Session, notwithstanding the effect of a Motion recently carried in the House of Lords. The first conclusion they were inclined to form was that that Motion was fatal to the measure; but from what they have since learnt, they think it their duty to wait a few days before allowing themselves to assume with certainty that that decision must necessarily be fatal to the Bill. Of course, it will be their duty to arrive at their conclusion with a due regard to the substance of the Bill and the object it has in view.

Military Precautions In Ireland


said, he wished to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland a Question, not as it had been mutilated by the printer, but as he gave Notice of it. It was to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether he is aware that the local magistrates of Cookstown, county Tyrone, were consulted as to the necessity of sending troops to that district for the 12th July; whether in spite of the local magistrates having declared it to be quite unnecessary, and that there was not the slightest probability of any disturbance, a force consisting of thirty-four Dragoons from Dundalk, a company of infantry from Armagh, forty-seven constables, and two stipendiary magistrates from the South of Ireland were sent there; and, in addition, the Surgeon of the Scots Greys from Dublin, whose services could not be required, there being some of the best medical men in Ireland in that neighbourhood; and, what expense was entailed on the county by the movement of so large a force?

said, in reply, that his information did not enable him to say whether the local magistrates were consulted upon this matter; but he had no reason to suppose that any expression of opinion such as was referred to in the Question of the hon. and gallant Member was given by them as a body, whatever one or two individuals might have said. The preservation of peace on certain anniversaries in the North of Ireland was sometimes a difficult and responsible duty on the part of; the Irish Government, and on the occasion in question they were fully aware that meetings of one party were announced to take place in the district, Such meetings always involved danger of a collision with another party; but collisions were often prevented by the presence of a sufficient force in the neighbourhood. Of course, if they did not take place it was easy to say that the dispatch of a force was useless; but if, on the other hand, disturbances occurred, the Government would be blamed for not having taken proper precautions. Therefore, they only did their duty by following the course referred to by the hon. and gallant Member. As to the surgeon of the Scots Greys, he knew nothing of him. With respect to the expense of these movements, he was sorry to say that no expense would fall upon the district, but on the country at large; he was afraid the expense would be considerable.

Claims Of Lords Of Manors To Wreck Of The Sea—Question

said, he wished to ask the Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether, in accordance with the promise of Mr. Milner Gibson, when President of that Board, he will lay upon the Table of the House Mr. O'Dowd's general report on the claims of lords of manors and others to wreck of the sea within the United Kingdom?

said, in reply, that the Report was of a confidential nature, and he did not think he would be justified in laying it on the Table.

Navy—Armour Plates—Question

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, whom he was glad to see in his place again, Whether he has placed himself in communication with the War Office with reference to the experiments on Armour Plates carried on by that Department; and, if so, whether he has found that the results obtained by the War Office experiments justify the system adopted by the Admiralty of protecting the sides of Ships with single Plates of great thickness?

In reply, Sir, to my hon. and gallant Friend, I have to say that, after the discussion which he raised in the House during the passing of the Naval Estimates, we communicated with the War Office; and the result is, that in all probability we shall undertake certain experiments as to the comparative advantages of one plate of double thickness and two plates of single thickness, with reference to the 12-inch plates of the Devastation and Fury. The experiments under the War Office are not, in our judgment, conclusive, as iron concrete was interposed between the two plates intended for shields, and that concrete could not be employed on a ship's side.

Parliament—Business On The Paper—Withdrawal Of Bills


In reply to Mr. ASSHETON CROSS ,

said, that, with respect to the Savings Banks Bill, he feared that it would not be possible to obtain a satisfactory discussion of it during the present Session; and it would, therefore, be withdrawn. He would mention two other Bills with respect to which the Government intended to take a similar course. One was the Mines Regulation Bill, which his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department had been anxious to proceed with, but it was not now thought possible to secure for it due attention. The other Bill which would not be proceeded with, though it was one of great importance, was the Parliamentary Elections Bill. The Government entertained the hope, as long as hope could be entertained, of passing that measure, and at one time, when great expedition was made with the Education Bill, it seemed likely that it might be proceeded with; but the great length of time since spent, and not unworthily, on the Education Bill had drawn the House on so late in the Session that all the Government could hope to dispose of before the close of the week was the Education Bill and the Irish Land Bill, making at the same time some progress with Supply. Therefore, at the proper time, the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of the Parliamentary Elections Bill would be discharged.

Navy—Resignation Of Mr Reed


, after congratulating the House on the return of the First Lord of the Admiralty to his place, said, he would beg to ask, Whether he will explain the circumstances connected with the resignation of the Chief Constructor of the Navy?

Sir, I have no objection to give the fullest explanation on the subject, and to avoid mistake I will read the correspondence which has been held. On the 7th instant I received in the country from my Colleague, Sir Spencer Robinson, a letter from Mr. Reed, dated the 1st of July, which had been retained by Sir Spencer, with Mr. Reed's assent, for two or three days. It was in these words—

"I beg leave to place the resignation of my office in your hands for transmission to the First Lord, having accepted a valuable offer which has been made to me by Sir Joseph Whitworth in connection with his large engineering works at Manchester. In taking this deliberate step, which in some respects I take with extreme reluctance, I have no desire to discuss, or even to mention, those circumstances which make the office I have held less desirable than it might otherwise be, especially as they have but little to do with recent incidents, have no special connection with the present Government in particular, and result almost entirely from the very low estimate which all Governments put upon mechanical and scientific skill in this country, as compared with its value in private life. I desire, on the other hand, to say that I have felt, and still feel, the utmost sympathy with those truly great and valuable reforms in Admiralty administration which the present Government has introduced, and with which I have co-operated to the utmost of my ability, and I deeply regret the necessity of separating myself from them. My regret is the less, however, as you have most generously consented to assist the Government in completing them. In resigning, I beg leave to place myself entirely in the hands of your Lordships as to the time of my ceasing from duty; and I shall afterwards, at all times, be most happy to afford any assistance in my power in order to prevent the public service from suffering disadvantage in consequence of my withdrawal. I am most grateful for the very great personal kindness which has at all times been shown me by their Lordships, and I shall never forget the unwearying support which you have for eight years given to my humble efforts to promote efficiency and economy in the construction of Her Majesty's ships. I am particularly obliged to Mr. Childers, the First Lord, for having taken pains to explain to Parliament that the sum of money which has been granted me this year is a tardy payment for designs (involving much expense) prepared several years ago, and I trust it will be understood that I now leave H.M. Service without pension or emolument of any kind, but not without the consciousness that I have most entirely devoted to that service for the last eight years whatever faculty, strength, and energy I may have possessed."
That resignation was accepted on the following day, the 8th instant, in the following words:—
"Sir,—I have received and laid before the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty your letter, addressed to the Controller of the Navy, resigning the office of Chief Constructor. In reply, I am commanded to inform you that my Lords have been pleased to accept your resignation."
On Saturday evening, the 9th, Sir Spencer Robinson received the following telegram from Mr. Reed:—
"If the state of affairs abroad should materially alter my case, I shall feel bound to do my utmost to meet the wishes of the Government. I leave for Blackheath at 3 to-day."
In reply, Sir Spencer asked Mr. Reed if this telegram was to be considered an official communication, and on the 14th received the following lotter:—
"I beg leave to state that my telegram to you of Saturday last was official; that I made it under a sense of public duty; and that I am prepared to abide by it."
This letter was answered on Saturday, on my return to town, in these words—
"Having laid before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty your letter of the 12th instant, referring to your telegram of the 9th instant, both addressed to the Controller of the Navy, and offering your services in consequence of the state of affairs abroad, I am commanded to convey to you the thanks of their Lordships, but to inform you that my Lords do not see occasion to avail themselves of your offer."

said, he wished to know, Whether the £5,000 which had been awarded to Mr. Reed had been partly for old and partly for new services?

said, the whole correspondence on that subject was in print, and on the Table. He had explained it very fully on a former occasion.

State Of The Navy


said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether the Government intend to take any measures to strengthen the Naval Power of the Country, the better to be prepared for any eventuality?

I presume, Sir, I shall have the feeling of the House entirely with me when I say that that is not a Question which I can be expected to answer on the present occasion.

Parliament—Morning Sittings And Evening Counts


said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether the experience of last Friday night does not afford strong ground for making some alteration in the present unfortunate system of Morning Sittings, which enabled any private Member at a few minutes after Nine o'clock to get rid of the business of the evening? It was quite clear that at this season the loss of a night must have a tendency to prolong the Session. During the last 10 years there was only one instance when the Civil Service Estimates were so late in being proceeded with as this Session.

said, he hoped the House would come to no Resolution against Morning Sittings. After considerable experience, he must say nothing facilitated Public Business so much as meeting at 2 o'clock, and he should be glad if the House could always meet at that hour.

said, he thought that after the protracted Sitting on Thursday till half-past 5 on Friday morning the count-out on Friday night was a very natural and legitimate result. To have sat again at 9 o'clock would have been most unreasonable. He thought there was no call whatever to make any alteration in the Rule of the House which enabled any hon. Member to take notice that 40 Members were not present.

I must say I think, under the peculiar circumstances of last Friday, no general inference could be safely drawn against the Rule in question.

Supply—Army Estimates

Resolved, That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee of Supply.

(In the Committee.)

(1.) £412,400, Volunteer Corps.

said, he wished to know, When it would be convenient to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War to state the intentions of the Government with regard to the Volunteer Force?

said, that the Volunteer corps themselves could not be more anxious than the Government were that everything that was possible should be done to promote the continued and increasing prosperity of the Volunteer Service. He would remind the Committee that the Commission which sat on this subject 10 years ago did not recommend that the whole of the expense of this service should be borne by the public. On the contrary, they expressly recommended that a portion of the expenses should be defrayed by private subscription. Since that time, however, there was no doubt that the question had undergone considerable change. As the Committee were aware, a large deputation of Volunteer commanding officers had waited upon his Predecessor in Office, and had asked him to increase the capitation grant by £1. That was declined, and when, on his accession to Office, a similar request was preferred to him, he had also felt bound to refuse it. He was then asked to make an increase of 10s. To that request he was unable to give an affirmative answer; but he had instituted a very careful inquiry as to the real sum at which, as far as they were able to judge, the capitation grant ought to be fixed in order to make it secure the liquidation of all necessary expenses. The examination which he had made had convinced him that to do that it was desirable to make it easy for the Volunteers to earn a capitation grant of £1 15s. instead of £1 10s. But that increase they did not propose to give to the individual private members of the corps. On the contrary, their opinion was that the most desirable thing for them to do was to increase, as far as possible, the efficiency of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Volunteer corps—an opinion in which he believed those hon. Gentlemen connected with the Volunteer Force would concur. They felt that it was desirable that the officers and noncommissioned officers should be better trained to the performance of their military duties, and with that view they proposed that the eight officers and noncommissioned officers in each company should be able to earn an additional £2 10s. each—an amount which would be equal to an additional 5s. capitation grant over the whole of the Force. Those were the views which he entertained, and, if approved by the Committee, he hoped to have an opportunity, shortly after the separation of Parliament, to confer with some of the most experienced officers of the Volunteer Force upon the arrangements necessary to carry the proposal into effect.

said, he hoped that his right hon. Friend (Mr. Cardwell) would remember that, although it was quite right that the officers should have an opportunity of earning more money, there were many officers who occupied rather peculiar positions; and he doubted whether his right hon. Friend's proposal would have the effect his right hon. Friend imagined. In some instances the presence of an officer, though but rarely given, was necessary to the success of a corps, and the time of others, again, was too much absorbed in trade or business to allow of their devoting themselves so assiduously to their duties as would be necessary. He believed it would be found the opinion of the Volunteer officers, whom his right hon. Friend proposed to consult, that the men ought to be allowed to earn an additional capitation grant by their own efficiency.

said, he was sorry that a general debate upon the subject of our Reserved Force had not been raised, and that a legitimate occasion so far as could be seen would not now be offered for such a debate. The statement just made by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Cardwell) with respect to the Volunteer Force had probably taken those hon. Members who were Volunteers somewhat by surprise, and they could not therefore venture to criticize with that freedom and decision which they otherwise would have done the details of a scheme which they now heard for the first time. It appeared to him, however, that the Government had arrived at a solution of the difficulty which would scarcely be satisfactory to the general body of the Volunteer Force. The Committee, of which he had been a Member, had gone into the matter with great care, but none of the recommendations which they had laid before his right hon. Friend had been approved; and as that Committee had been selected with great impartiality and represented all portions of the country, it could hardly be expected that this wholesale rejection of their recommendations would give much satisfaction. He could not refrain from urging upon his right hon. Friend that which he had often urged before—the necessity of giving the officers a little more hold upon their men. Considering that a great deal of the expenses incurred were now borne by the men themselves, it would not well be possible to impose more discipline upon them as matters now stood. He believed, however, that this object might be attained by giving them some trifling exemptions, such as from serving on juries. Until we had a ballot for the Militia, and exemption for those who belonged to any other arm of the service, we should never have a satisfactory Reserve Force.

said, he took the same view as his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Barttelot), that we should do everything in our power to make the men themselves efficient.

said, he held that any extension of power to the officers, such as had been advocated by the noble Lord (Viscount Bury), would be extremely unpopular. He hoped any additional contribution to the Volunteers would be in consideration of their efficiency. There need be no fear, under present circumstances, that the Volunteers would not be anxious to make themselves efficient. He hoped opportunity would be given them of acquiring in large numbers a better knowledge of drill in connection with the Forces of the Line.

Vote agreed to.

(2.) £68,000, Army Reserve Force, (including Enrolled Pensioners).

said, he would beg to ask whether the right hon. Gentleman could give any idea of what the Army Reserve really consisted?

said, the present Vote had nothing to do with the Militia Reserve, which was liable to be called on foreign service, and whose number was complete at 20,000. The latest Returns, with regard to the Army Reserve, showed that the First Class Reserve amounted to 2,108, and the Second Class to 18,507, or a total of 20,615.

Vote agreed to.

(3.) £374,900, Control Establishment, Wages, &c.

(4.) £1,428,300, Provisions, Forage, Fuel, Transport, and other Services.

(5.) £551,300, Clothing Establishments, Services and Supplies.

(6.) £820,400, Supply, Manufacture, and Repair of Warlike and other Stores.

said, the question of which he had given Notice on Vote 15 with regard to ordnance experiments had better be raised on Vote 12, which they now had reached. However, if he received an assurance from his right hon. Friend (Mr. Cardwell), that it was not intended to proceed with the experiments with the Whitworth gun which had been contemplated, and which would re-open the whole controversy, he would not, as he had intended, move to reduce the Vote by £10,000. He held in his hand a correspondence which had passed between a committee which sat at the War Office and the Admiralty since the date of the late discussion, and he was glad to find that the Admiralty, acting under the advice of the War Office, had decided that the point to which he had called attention on that occasion was one well deserving the best consideration. He rejoiced that unnecessary expenditure had been put a stop to; for if it had proceeded, it would have opened the door to a renewal of the whole Whitworth and Armstrong controversy, upon which £94,000 had been already spent.

said, that the correspondence laid before Parliament gave a guarantee that no portion of the Vote for the present year would be expended on the matter.

said, he wished to ask whether there had been any trial of that deadly instrument, the mitrailleuse; and, if so, whether it was to be compared with the field gun? Had not the result been to prove the superiority of the field gun?

said, there had been a trial of two of those instruments—an American and a Belgian. They had both been returned to their inventors for improvements; only one of them had yet come back, but the experiments would be renewed when both were in our possession.

said, he wished to ask a question with respect to the Martini-Henry rifle. It must be clear, if we were taking measures to arm our men with another deadly weapon, that weapon ought to be the very best that could be procured in the world. The question was, whether the Martini-Henry was the very best? Its admirers said that it was; but others said that a better was to be found. The question he had to ask was, to what test the right hon. Gentleman had put the Martini-Henry rifle in order to prove that it was the best weapon; and whether it had been submitted to some person who was competent to give a decided opinion as to its mechanical construction? He had been told it was defective with regard to its lock and breech-loading apparatus. That was a point of the greatest importance to us as a nation. The weapon served out to the British Army ought to stand all the tests that could be applied. He would like to hear that every opportunity had been and was being given to secure that the best arm should be introduced into the service.

said, it was most desirable that the House and the country should be informed what was our exact position with regard to the small arms for the Army. A committee was first appointed by General Peel, and sat for two years at the War Office. It was presided over by Colonel Fletcher, and it recommended the adoption of the Martini-Henry rifle. He was informed that this had been succeeded by another committee, and it was desirable that the House should know something as to its deliberations.

said, the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Colonel Barttelot) had expressed exactly his own (Mr. Cardwell's) feeling—namely, that the very best small-arm should be adopted in the British Army. Colonel Fletcher's committee having reported in favour of the Martini-Henry rifle, a limited number of that arm were made and sent to Wimbledon last year, where they were seen by some of the expert riflemen engaged there. Two hundred were made as soon as the machinery was ready, and were now in the hands of the troops at home and in India. Some of the Reports received concerning them were very favourable. Colonel Fletcher's committee was still sitting, and sifted these Reports. Two distinguished Volunteer officers were members of the committee—the noble Lord the Member for Haddingtonshire (Lord Elcho), and Mr. Ross, the celebrated rifle shot, and they were paying the utmost attention to the question of the lock. They would report finally upon the Martini-Henry rifle, and his desire was that the best possible weapon should be placed in the hands of our troops at no distant period.

said, he wished to know whether the committee had the power of examining into the merits of every other rifle submitted to them?

said, he had placed no limitation upon their powers, and he presumed that the committee would exercise their discretion freely.

said, it was currently reported that in the French service there was a very superior kind of mitrailleuse. He understood that a committee had examined the weapon, but they had not yet reported upon it, and he wished to know how long that committee had been sitting? If they had been sitting some time, he thought it would have been very advantageous to them if they had had some plan of the French pattern of that arm before them.

said, he had received no official Report on the subject, though the French mitrailleuse had been described to him personally. He had no additional information to give beyond that which he had already communicated.

said, the gun-makers and manufacturers of the country complained that the committee sitting at the War Office was not a judicial committee alone, but also a constructive committee, having power to alter and amend the inventions placed before them. The gun trade of the country thought that that was most unfair, for that they, the gunmakers themselves, were quite able to alter and improve their arms. They considered that the committee was reverting to the form of the old Ordnance Committee, and making alterations in the rifles submitted to them for the benefit of those employed by the Government, and not for the general benefit of the country. The trade thought that the committee should be simply and purely a judicial committee. It was said that there was an arm which was superior to the Martini-Henry, and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell) ought to allow the two to be tested together, and reported upon by experienced officers, who had commanded regiments, and who were competent judges of such matters. Our soldiers ought to have the best rifle that could be procured for them, and not one that had been tinkered up.

said, he thought it most undesirable that the committee should be precluded from suggesting any improvement in the rifles laid before them. The object was to get in any way the best rifle that could be obtained, whether as laid before the committee, or as the result of the suggestions of the committee. He could not see that any injury thereby resulted to private manufacturers, and it would be injurious to the public service to silence the men most competent, from their experience, to suggest improvements. As to the mitrailleuse, it appeared to have been tried in Prussia and other countries, and all the inventions were a good deal alike in principle, that adopted by the French not differing materially from the rest. It consisted of a number of rifle barrels fastened together and worked by machinery, which discharged them very rapidly. Though the experiments tried in this country had not been completed, enough was known of the mitrailleuse to show the practical result of using it, and he believed that it would not prove particularly valuable or dangerous.

said, he wished to say one word with regard to the abandonment of the Whitworth gun. His hon. and gallant Friend opposite (Sir John Hay) appeared to assume that the experiments instituted by the Whitworth and Armstrong Gun Committee proved that the Whitworth gun was not a success; but the contrary was the fact. He (Mr. Vivian) had recently read very carefully the experiments made with the Whitworth gun, and the conclusion he came to was that the Whitworth gun had proved itself superior, and very greatly superior, to the other guns which were brought into competition with it. In one instance the committee reported that all the guns were upon an equality; but, with that exception, the Whitworth gun was shown to be superior to all others, and ranges were obtained which were wholly unobtainable by either the breech-loading or the muzzle-loading Armstrong. As to our field artillery, which was in the same condition as in 1865, the breech-loading 12-pounder had proved itself in almost all cases inferior to the muzzle-loading Whitworth and Armstrong, except for boat service, and he could not understand why it was allowed to remain in this inferior state. As to the large guns, the Government had been building 12-inch guns of 25 tons weight; but that weight was not sufficient to allow of the full quantity of powder which a bore of that size would consume being discharged from the gun, and the Government had now adopted the weight suggested by Sir Joseph Whitworth, and all his proportions, in all respects. The superintendent of the manufacturing department at Woolwich had, however, undertaken to produce a gun of the size which should be capable of discharging 120 lb of powder instead of 67 lb; but he thought the arrival at such a result was questionable, considering the metal to be used in the construction of the gun. Sir Joseph Whitworth had succeeded in producing a metal of enormous strength and power, and had satisfied him, and many other hon. Members capable of forming an opinion, that that metal was not liable to the ordinary conditions of steel, in that it would not burst explosively. It was 2½ times stronger than the metal employed by the Government. A great desire existed at the Admiralty to have the metal tested in guns, and it was a great misfortune to the country that that desire had not been carried out, for if it had been it might have carried us a year forward. Personally, he could not appreciate the reasoning of the Professor who advised the War Office that there was no analogy between the explosion of powder in tubes and its explosion in guns. If Sir Joseph Whitworth's gun had been tested we might have been a year more forward than we were. We should have to wait 6 or 12 months for the completion of the Woolwich gun, and if it were not successful we should then only be just where we were at present. The Government had apparently been much influenced by considerations of expense, for while the Whitworth gun would cost something like £6,000, the Woolwich gun would only cost £2,400. But very few of these large guns could be put on board our ships, and only the very best that could be got should be put on board of them. A 25-ton 12-inch gun, consuming 67 lbs. of powder, could scarcely be so good as a 30-ton 12-inch gun consuming 120 lb. of powder. He trusted no time would be lost in completing this Woolwich gun, so that we might see how we stood, for it was doubtful, indeed, whether the right course had been pursued in declining to order one of the Whitworth guns.

said, he would suggest that Sir Joseph Whitworth should make a gun of his new metal and send it down to Shoeburyness, where it could be tried with the others.

I am informed that Sir Joseph Whitworth is willing to do that, and that he has submitted a proposal to the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Horse Guards. Here we are, on the eve of a great European war, and I believe we are unable to play our part in Europe because we have got into such a muddle with our cheap and nasty system. I say it advisedly, we have pared things down to such an extent that you could not put an army of 50,000 men in the field. I agree with what has been said about arming our infantry with the best weapon; but why should not our artillery also be armed with the best weapon? Sir Joseph Whitworth is known to have greater knowledge of gunnery and of the scientific mechanism connected with it than any other man in this kingdom; and this is admitted by all except those who belong to the jealous ranks of what may be called the regular profession. Has he not revolutionized the armament of this country and of the world? Why, then, is his gun not to have a fair trial? I do not profess to have an intimate knowledge of the matter; but I have taken some pains to inform myself; and I believe that it will be found hereafter, when some other nation gets guns of this metal, that we have committed one of our usual blunders of expensive economy.

said, there were two questions involved—one affecting the artillery and the other the metal; but the two were distinct, and ought to be kept distinct, and their separation would save us from difficulty. That the Whitworth metal was not liable to burst was a theory which it was difficult to substantiate. Some experiments had taken place with small tubes of not more than three inches in diameter, but they could afford no fair test, because the explosion of charges in large guns brought into play a certain set of conditions, the cause of which was unknown, and which destroyed the analogy between such an explosion and the explosion of powder in small tubes. Therefore experiments which were satisfactory with small tubes could not be regarded as satisfactory with large ones, and it was on these grounds that the scientific authorities of the War Office had questioned the value of the experiments which had been alluded to. What would be satisfactory would be that Sir Joseph Whitworth's steel should be further tried in order to test whether it was or was not the best metal. It had been tested in the ordinary way and returned as first-class steel. He believed that the reason of the rejection of the metal by the War Office was on account of its not being quite so dense as some others, and therefore presumably not so strong. While the War Office was quite right in not accepting it as being of extraordinary value, it would be as far wrong if it refused to try experiments until the strength and adaptability of the metal had been tested to the entire satisfaction of their professional advisers. An offer, as he understood, had been made to Sir Joseph Whitworth, that he should supply a tube of his metal as a lining for an ordinary gun, to be tested against tubes of the particular class of metal which was now used. It was said that Sir Joseph Whitworth objected to his gun being dealt with on the combination principle; but he (Captain Beaumont) thought that a more satisfactory trial could be obtained in that way than in any other, and that, under the circumstances, the War Office was justified in doubting whether, on the ground of economy, it was right to commit the Government to the cost of constructing a gun of 35 tons.

said, he did not wish to enter upon the merits of the Armstrong or Whitworth gun; but distinguished Prussian and other foreign officers had been heard to say that the English were at present armed with one of the worst guns in the world. With regard to the War Office, he entirely agreed with the remarks of the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Osborne); he believed it was at present in the greatest state of disorder. Two days ago he heard that on the occasion of the "fatal march" a requisition was made for water-bottles; but when the water was served out, every one of the bottles leaked, and the result was that the Commandant at Woolwich relieved the thirsty troops with two barrels of water. He had also been told that there was the greatest difficulty in finding the proper fuses for shells. He only trusted that if England went to war — though he hoped that would not be the case—the country would not be found as unprepared as at the time of the Crimean War. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell) would not be led away by the cry of retrenchment, for those who raised that cry would be the first to turn round on him, if any unforeseen accident occurred. He (Lord Eustace Cecil) had expected that the First Minister of the Crown would have come down that day to say that it was absolutely necessary that some extra Supply should be granted for the Army and Navy. The right hon. Gentleman had not done so; but he (Lord Eustace Cecil) trusted, nevertheless, that no long time would elapse before the country was placed in an efficient state not only of defence, but also of offence, should occasion require.

said, he had heard that the other day nine regiments could muster only 3,000 men on parade. He should be glad to hear that some decision had been come to in regard to the pattern of field artillery. He wished to know whether it was proposed to substitute for the breech-loading Armstrong gun a muzzle-loading gun, stated to be an improvement on the French pattern?

said, the question of fuses was intimately connected with the use of breech-loading or muzzle-loading guns. There was some doubt whether they had acted wisely in using the breech-loader as a field gun. The committee which had been appointed to consider the matter with reference to India had determined to adopt the muzzle-loader; and he had thought it right, therefore, to send down a battery of those guns to Aldershot on trial. Sir Joseph Whitworth had been asked to supply the Government with his metal, for there were two points to be considered. The mode of making the metal might be the best, while the principle on which the guns were constructed might not be the most perfect. The recent investigations with regard to gunpowder, which were extremely curious, had the most important bearing on this question. The Admiralty first desired to have a 35-ton gun. The matter was referred to the Ordnance Council, consisting of a number of most competent men, and the decision of the Council was unanimous.

said, he had asked for a Return some time ago with regard to the expenditure incurred in connection with the Armstrong and Whitworth and other large guns, and also with regard to the small bores, but he had not yet received the Papers. He thought there was much to complain of in respect to the enormous expense the country was put to for the trial of guns, considering the unsatisfactory results which had been obtained. If the Government would offer a handsome premium for the best gun there would no doubt be plenty of manufacturers who would compete for it, and that would be a cheaper and surer way of securing success.

said, he wished to know whether any money was taken in the Estimates for the construction of the Moncrieff gun-carriage, and whether it had yet passed out of the experimental stage? The carriage was accepted as satisfactory, yet only two or three had been manufactured, nor had any experiments been made as to the effect of a shot or a fragment of a shell on them, though their chief virtue was supposed to lie in their defensive power. We were in the position of a man who should buy a horse for use and not ornament, and yet should never take the animal out of the stable.

said, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not be led by anything that had been said about retrenchment in this debate to alter the management of the War Office. He was perfectly satisfied that extravagance did not produce efficiency, and that inefficiency was not the necessary result of economy. He wished to ask how soon the Volunteers would be armed with breechloaders, as he was satisfied that they were depressed by being armed with an obsolete weapon.

said, the store of breech-loaders had been kept low, because he had not yet got the Report upon the Martini-Henry rifle, and it must be obvious to the Committee that it would not be desirable to make a number of breech-loaders until the new pattern had been determined upon. There were at present in stock only 300,000 Sniders, the usual number being 400,000, and, therefore, as soon as he received the Report on the Martini-Henry rifle, he would proceed with the manufacture of the new breech-loaders. With regard to the Moncrieff gun-carriage experiments had been and would be made, and as to the cost of them he apprehended it would be found in the item for wages in the manufacturing department.

Vote agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £700,400, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expenses of the Superintending Establishment of, and Charges for, Works, Buildings, and Repairs, at Home and Abroad, which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1870 to the 31st day of March 1871, inclusive."

said, he wished to call the attention of the Committee to the item of £5,000 for the repair of Knightsbridge Barracks, a work on which it was contemplated to spend £12,000. He asked whether it was wise to spend that large sum of money on a building in such a state of repair? The present Chancellor of the Exchequer was one of a deputation some years ago in reference to the state of the barracks, when he strongly condemned them and said they ought to be removed. When the Committee considered the amount it was proposed to spend on the Prince Consort's Memorial, the Hall of Arts and Sciences, and the South Kensington Museum, they would probably agree with him in thinking that it would not be right to spend £12,000 on those barracks. Believing that £1,000 would be sufficient to provide for all present necessary repairs, he moved to reduce the Vote by £4,000.

said, he understood that the days of Knightsbridge Barracks were numbered, and that that building was to be removed.

said, he would save his noble Friend the necessity of discussing the matter further by consenting to the withdrawal of that item of £5,000.

said, he wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the idea of removing Knightsbridge Barracks had been abandoned?

said, the idea had not been abandoned, for it had not been definitely entertained, and he did not know where else the barracks could be put.

said, he hoped there would be a further explanation on this point, which had caused much public anxiety. While he was in Office the deputation which had been referred to waited on him; after much deliberation he resolved to keep the barracks in their present position; and, indeed, he knew no other place where they could properly be put. The barracks were chiefly objected to by the owners of the houses that had been built in the neighbourhood, and his obvious answer to their arguments was that they had brought their houses to the barracks—to which they could make no reply. By the outlay of a moderate sum the barracks might be made fit for their purpose; but to remove them would be very difficult, and would involve an immense expenditure which he thought was not called for. As the right hon. Gentleman had withdrawn the item for the repair of the barracks, it should be understood whether it was his intention to change the policy of his Predecessor, and side with those whom he might call the enemies of the barracks.

said, he only wished to put himself in precisely the same position as his Predecessor. He did not wish to ask for any money on account of Knightsbridge Barracks, because he had ascertained that this year could be got through without any expenditure on them. With regard to the maintenance or removal of the barracks, he was not prepared to give a positive answer on the subject. He had no other plan, and, therefore, could not say a word in favour of removal; on the other hand, if he knew of any satisfactory plan by which the wishes of the neighbourhood could be met, without inconvenience being given to the public service, he should not think it right to object.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the Item of £5,000, for Knightsbridge Barracks, Alterations, and Repairs, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Secretary Cardwell.)

Question put, and agreed to.

begged to call attention to the amount of £3,000 for providing billiard-rooms, an item of which he did not approve, and which he hoped would not be seen in future Estimates.

said, he wished to ask, whether the Secretary for War had on hand a plan for a model barrack, and whether the time had elapsed during which the right hon. Gentleman felt himself obliged to employ a particular architect? The barrack at Chelsea was a most expensive one, and gave general dissatisfaction.

said, he had not entered upon the consideration of any plan for the new barrack, and was not able to answer the question.

(7.) Original Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.

£695,400, Works and Buildings.

(8.) £139,300, Establishments for Military Education.

(9.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £50,600, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Expense of Sundry Miscellaneous Services, which will come in course of payment from the 1st day of April 1870 to the 31st day of March 1871, inclusive."

said, that one of the items—£2,000 for experiments connected with torpedoes — was very small, and as our fortifications were not in so satisfactory a state as they could have hoped, and as the great importance of torpedoes was now admitted by most military men, especially for defensive purposes, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not neglect the opportunity of developing, as far as possible, that important branch of our defensive works.

said, he fully acknowledged the importance of the Question of torpedoes; but he would remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman that the torpedoes were already provided for under a separate head in the Store Votes. This item was only for experiments, and he had been told upon the best professional authority that the sum was sufficient.

said, he would draw attention to the fact that £5 5s. was put down as the public subscription to each of the following hospitals:—St. George's, Brompton Consumption, Convalescent, and Small Pox. Soldiers derived a great deal of benefit from these institutions, and he must express his regret that the subscription was so paltry in amount.

said, he had only asked for the same amount as had been granted in former years.

said, the sum which was required for an annual governorship in the hospitals in question had probably been fixed on as the amount of subscription, although no doubt it was very small.

said, he hoped the subject would be considered before next Session, and that the subscriptions would be increased.

said, he would not pledge himself to ask for a larger sum next year. But if it appeared that we got more than we could reasonably ask for our subscriptions, he would.

said, he objected to the item of £600 for the salary and travelling expenses of the Inspector under the Contagious Diseases Act. He moved the reduction of the Vote by that amount.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the Item of £600, for Salary and Travelling Expenses of the Inspector under the Contagious Diseases Act, be omitted from the proposed Vote."—(Mr. Miller)

said, the policy of the Act was one thing, and the duty of the Executive to carry the Act into effect was another. While it remained in force the Executive should not be left without the means of defraying the expenses in connection with it. The Inspector was a most meritorious officer.

said, he would remind the Committee that this question had been debated at considerable length when an hon. Member took notice that Strangers were in the Gallery. The question was adjourned till Wednesday next, when a Motion would again be made that strangers be ordered to withdraw. He thought the Vote should be reduced.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

(10.) £27,300, Rewards for Distinguished Services, &c.

(11.) £73,000, Pay of General Officers.

(12.) £598,000, Full Pay of Reduced and Retired Officers and Half Pay.

(13.) £155,300, Widows' Pensions, &c.

(14.) £20,800, Pensions for Wounds.

(15.) £36,000, Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals (in Pension).

said, he desired to learn what decision had been come to with regard to Chelsea Hospital, and whether it had been determined, as reported, that the vacancies which occurred should not be filled up?

said, he wished to ask what attention was to be paid to the recommendations that had been made that the schools of these hospitals should be made instrumental in training and rearing young men for the Army? Some such plan might be adopted with benefit, and he wished, therefore, to know whether the suggestion was under consideration?

, in reply, said, that the subject referred to by the right hon. Baronet had been under the consideration of the Royal Commission on Education, and their Report would, probably, convey the views of the Members upon the subject.

said, in reply to the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Colonel North), he had to state that the Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals had only just been printed, and there had not yet been sufficient time to allow of its being considered.

said, he trusted that it was not, at all events, the intention of the Government to abolish the Chelsea Hospital before the reassembling of Parliament.

Vote agreed to.

(16.) £1,220,100, Out Pensions.

(17.) £148,300, Superannuation Allowances.

(18.) £18,000, Non-effective Services (Militia, Yeomanry Cavalry, and Volunteer Corps).

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow;

Committee to sit again upon Wednesday.

Army Enlistment Bill—Bill 106

( Mr. Secretary Cardwell, Captain Vivian.)


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—

"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."
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—
"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."
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.

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.

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—

"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."
In conclusion, the Commissioners stated—
"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."
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—
"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.]
"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.]
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.

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.

Amendment negatived.

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.

Amendment negatived.

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 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—

"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."
Now there was hardly one military man who agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in this most suicidal proposal.

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.

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.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended to be considered To-morrow.

Gun Licences Bill—Bill 134

( Mr. Dodson, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Stansfeld.)

Committee Progress 23Rd June

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee).

Clause 7 (Penalty for using or carrying gun without licence).

said, with a view to prevent any check being placed on the rifle practice by Volunteers, he would propose as an Amendment in page 2, line 29, after the word "duty," to insert, "or when engaged in target practice."

said, he would propose, on behalf of the Government, that the Committee should allow the Bill to pass through Committee as it stood at present, after accepting the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Southampton (Mr. Russell Gurney), and then on the Report to take the Amendments placed on the Paper in the most convenient order. If the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Essex (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) were carried, he should propose that the servants of an occupier of land having a licence should be exempt from the licence duty. If the Committee allowed the Bill to pass through Committee that night he would be prepared to bring up certain Amendments on the Report.

said, the statement of the right hon. Gentleman was very satisfactory. He would suggest that the Bill should be amended on the Report, by authorizing the owner of land, or the watcher employed by him, to demand the production of the licence.

said, he wished to point out the difficulty of discussing Amendments which were not in print. As far as he could see, the Amendments indicated by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stansfeld) would meet the approval of the majority of the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Thursday.

Savings Banks Bill—Bill 15

( Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Stansfeld.)

Order For Second Reading Discharged

Order for Second Reading read.

moved that the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of this Bill be read and discharged.

said, he was glad to hear that the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of this Bill was to be read and discharged; but he felt bound to remark that this was a Bill which proposed to affect the savings, amounting to £37,000,000, of 1,500,000 depositors, and that the effect of introducing a measure of this kind last year and during the present year had been to cause distrust among persons who were accustomed to deposit their money in savings banks. Many persons had withdrawn money who would otherwise have kept it in the banks, and many persons who would have deposited money had been deterred from placing it in the banks after what had occurred. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that in the course of the year there had been a loss of £125,000 in the amount of interest payable to the depositors, and this loss would fall upon the public. He thought it ought to go forth to the public that the depositors would receive every farthing of their deposits, and that the loss would not in any way fall upon them further than that in future the rate of interest payable to them would be reduced. If the matter were inquired into he should be able to show that this deficiency was occasioned, first, by the action of the Government, and secondly, by what had happened years ago, for which the present depositors should not suffer. He trusted next year that the right hon. Gentleman would not bring forward a Bill of this sort in the first week of the Session only to withdraw it towards its close. He trusted that a Committee would be appointed to inquire into the cause of the deficiency, and whether that deficiency could not be met by any other way than by reducing the amount of the interest.

said, he would not detain the House with any lengthened statement upon this subject. As he had already stated the public had lost £5,000,000 by the savings banks; they were still losing at the rate of £100,000 per annum, and the object of the Bill was to stop that loss by reducing the rate of interest.

Motion agreed to.

Order discharged; Bill withdrawn.


Resolutions [July 15] reported.

explained that when the House was in Committee of Supply the other night, some Votes were taken for higher amounts than had been intended, owing to certain amended Resolutions not having been placed in the Chairman's hand. Those amended Resolutions were rendered necessary in consequence of Votes having been taken on account.

Resolutions read a second time, and amended—

(1.) £75,114, by inserting £66,614; (2.) £2,211, by inserting £1,961; (3.) £13,792, by inserting £12,292; (4.) £9,612, by inserting £8,612; (5.) £15,008, by inserting £13,258; (6.) £8,250, by inserting £7,500; (7.) £28,349, by inserting £25,349; (8.) £32,720, by inserting £28,720; (9.) £10,390, by inserting £8,640; (10.) £30,550, by inserting £27,050; (11.) £12,262, by inserting £10,762; (12.) £26,265, by inserting £23,265; (13.) £16,432, by inserting 14,682; (14.) £170,109, by inserting £153,109; (15.) £17,487, by inserting £15,737; (16.) £3,563, by inserting £3,063 instead thereof.

Resolutions, as amended, agreed to.

Sheriffs (Scotland) Act (1853) Amendment, &C Bill—Bill 191

( The Lord Advocate, Mr. Adam)


Order for Committee read.

said, he wished to call attention to some of the provisions of this Bill—which, he might remark, was not printed and circulated till the 10th of July, and there had consequently been very little time to consider its provisions, which affected the interests of numerous localities in Scotland. The object of the Bill was to unite certain sheriffdoms in Scotland. That object received the approval of the Judicature Commissioners appointed in 1868. So far as this Bill dealt with the sheriffdoms he agreed to its necessity; but the Bill further proceeded to deal with certain questions connected with sheriffs-substitute and sheriff-clerks. He thought they were not at that moment in a position to deal with these latter questions; and in fact he thought it would be necessary to introduce a Bill next Session for the purpose of regulating various matters connected with those officials. He thought, therefore, that these clauses had much better be postponed until they could deal with the whole question as to the forms of procedure and the officers connected with the Sheriff Courts.

said, it had become most important for the Government to consider how the number of sheriffs-principal and substitute might be diminished with advantage to the public service. There were certain vacancies which required to be filled up at once; but with regard to the question of sheriffs-substitute he agreed with the right hon. and learned Member (Mr. Gordon) as to the propriety of that question, which was the more important of the two, being dealt with in another Session. He thought the general question was of too great magnitude to be dealt with at that period of the Session. He quite agreed that the question should be postponed until the Report of the Commission on Scotch Judicature had been made.

said, that this Bill had been kept hanging over them for three months, causing great alarm and agitation; and now that it had been presented they had had only a few days allowed for consideration; and the Report of the Commission on Scotch Law had not yet been made. This had given great offence in Scotland. He hoped the Government would consent to confine legislation to the union of the sheriffships, as to which there was almost universal agreement.

said, he did not concur in the sentiments of alarm of his hon. Friend. A Bill of this kind was absolutely necessary, and this Bill was conceived in a spirit of great boldness. In regard to sheriffs in Scotland many reforms were absolutely required; and this Bill dealt with some of those reforms in a bold and statesmanlike spirit. The provisions objected to were absolutely necessary. If they were to have an alteration in the sheriffs' jurisdiction, they must, of course, also have an alteration in the jurisdiction of the sheriff-substitute.

said, the only objection he had to the Bill was that it did not go quite far enough; but, as he understood, it would carry out almost to their full extent the recommendations of the Law Commissioners.

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 1 struck out.

Clauses 2 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 5 (County of Linlithgow to be united with the county of Mid-Lothian, and the counties of Clackmannan and Kinross to be united with the county of Fife).

said, he had some Amendments to propose to this clause, the general object of which was that certain counties should be united in accordance with the recommendations of the Scotch Law Commissioners. By the first four clauses certain counties were to be united according to their suggestion; but when they came to Clause 5, a different rule applied with regard to Fife, and instead of providing that there should be a separation of the counties of Linlithgow, Clackmannan, and Kinross, as was recommended by the Commissioners, it provided that whenever a vacancy occurred in the office of the sheriff of Linlithgow, Clackmannan, and Kinross, the said counties should be disunited, and Linlithgow added to Mid-Lothian, and Clackmannan and Kinross united to Fife. The object of his Amendment was that Fife should be united to Clackmannan and Kinross, and that Linlithgow should be added to Mid-Lothian. The object of the Commissioners was to save the salary of any sheriffship which should become vacant, which was to be united to another; and that his Amendment proposed to effect. There was no reason that he could see why these counties should be dealt with on a different principle from others.

said, that the union of the counties proposed by the Bill was based upon the recommendation of the Judicature Commission. Their Report was only presented on the 14th of the present month; but having been a member of the Commission, he had an opportunity of knowing what their Report would be, and he had accordingly prepared this Bill in order to put their recommendations in force as soon as possible. In the unions proposed, the Bill did not follow the recommendations of the Commissioners in all respects, but it substantially followed them: it differed in only two particulars. In the first place, the Commissioners recommended that the existing sheriffships of the counties of Banff and Elgin should remain undisturbed; whereas, by a clause in the Bill, it was proposed, that a vacancy occurring in either county, the county of Banff and Kincardine should be annexed to the county of Aberdeen. The other variance was in regard to the counties of Clackmannan and Kinross. The Commissioners recommended that Clackmannan should be united with the county of Fife—a recommendation which was not favourably received by those most interested, and he had accordingly substituted the union proposed in the Bill. However, since the Bill had been introduced, there had been a strong expression of opinion on the part of the inhabitants of Clackmannan in favour of a union with Stirling in preference to a union with Fife. He was disposed to concur in the reasonableness of their desires, and he had accordingly prepared Amendments to effect a union between Clackmannan and Stirling instead of a union with Fife. With regard to the present Amendment, the substance of his right hon. and learned Friend's complaint was that the Government had not appointed to the sheriffship of Fife the gentleman who now held the office of Sheriff of Clackmannan and Kinross. He did not intend to make the slightest reflection on that learned gentleman; but it was one thing to appoint a sheriff to a larger county, and to put under his jurisdiction a smaller county, and another to appoint a man to a small county, and then place a larger under his authority. He did not conceive it to be any disparagement to the learned gentleman who now held the office of sheriff of the smaller counties referred to to say that he was not altogether the person most likely to be selected by the Government for the Sheriffship of Fife. The course proposed was the same as had been adopted when other large and small counties were to be united—for example, Peebles and Linlithgow were to be added to Edinburgh, not Edinburgh to Peebles or Linlithgow to Edinburgh; Bute to Renfrew, not Renfrew to Bute; and Banff to Inverness, not Inverness to Banff. The Government had proposed that the Sheriffdom of Kinross should, on a vacancy occurring, be annexed to the jurisdiction of the Sheriff of Fife, but not that the Sheriffdom of Fife should, in the event of a vacancy, be annexed to the jurisdiction of the Sheriff of Kinross. In proposing that small should be annexed to large counties, instead of large counties to small ones, the Government had followed both the precedent laid down by the only previous Act relating to the amalgamation of sheriffdoms, but also the dictates of reason and good sense. In conclusion, he begged leave to inform his right hon. and learned Friend that before he (Mr. Gordon) saw this Bill the Sheriffdom of Fife was no longer vacant, and that it was not vacant at the present moment.

said, he had listened to his right hon. and learned Friend's speech with very great regret. It was a most unfortunate thing that steps had been taken to fill up a sheriffdom which was the subject of a recommendation on the part of the Commissioners. With reference to the learned gentleman who filled the office of Sheriff of Linlithgow, Clackmannan, and Kinross, he begged it to be distinctly understood that he did not hold one of the smallest sheriffships in Scotland. He occupied the office formerly filled by that renowned lawyer, Lord Moncreiff, the father of the Lord Justice Clerk; and this gentleman had discharged his duties to the entire satisfaction of those under his jurisdiction. What he complained of was that, in attempting to deal with a vacancy which necessarily fell to be dealt with by this Bill, and which admittedly had existed three months, they were told that the vacancy had been filled up, and that, therefore, they could not carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners for effecting economy. Under these circumstances, he submitted that the Amendment ought to receive the sanction of the Committee.

said, the real question seemed to be, whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gordon) or Her Majesty's Government should appoint the Sheriff of Fife. A legal gentleman of high standing had been appointed, and he hoped the Committee would support the decision of the Government.

said, the Lord Advocate overlooked the fact that the combined counties of Linlithgow, Clackmannan, and Kinross formed a large sheriffship, and could not well be classed with the small sheriffships of Peebles or Bute. So far from the sheriff of the combined counties not being eligible for such a county as Fife, it was not long since a sheriff of those counties was removed to the County of Perth, one of the important counties of Scotland. This was not a personal matter—it was one of economy—by reducing the number of sheriffs in accordance with the recommendations of the Royal Commissioners. He could not see why the sheriffship of the combined counties should not embrace Fife, Linlithgow being placed under the Sheriff of Edinburgh as provided, thereby rendering a fresh appointment unnecessary. He trusted the Committee would support the reduction of the sheriffs.

inferred from the announcement that the vacancy was filled that the Amendment must fall to the ground; still he could not allow the discussion to close without bearing testimony to the able and efficient way in which the Member for Linlithgowshire—he meant the Sheriff—had discharged his duties. It by no means followed because a man was sheriff of a small county that he was inefficient, and not fit to hold office in a large county; and, indeed, an instance to the contrary had just been cited. If the vacancy had not been filled up he should have supported the Amendment; but as it had been filled up there was no use in continuing the discussion.

said, he must draw attention to the economy of the Government in regard to Scotland. When there was an opportunity of reducing the number of sheriffs by one, they had taken the opportunity of appointing two instead of one. He regretted exceedingly that the discussion had taken a personal turn. The gentleman referred to had been known to him many years, and he had taken a high position in the Courts of Law.

said, the effect of the Amendment, if carried, would be to revoke the appointment of a sheriff already made by the Crown. In making legal appointments, there was something else besides economy to be considered, and, without disparagement to the Sheriff of Clackmannan and Kinross, they felt it necessary to appoint a younger man to be Sheriff of Fife, and one more fit for the special work to be performed. It was with reference to fitness and not solely to economy, that the appointment was made.

said, it was made about a fortnight ago. The fact of the appointment was made public at the time, and when the hon. Member for Fife (Sir Robert Anstruther) put a Question to him on the subject, he stated in detail the course the Government intended to take not only with respect to Fife, but also as regarded other counties.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 6 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 10 (Union of counties to complete as regards jurisdiction, &c. of sheriff, and powers, privileges, &c. of procurators, clerks, and officers of courts).

, in rising to move the omission of the clause, said, that the powers given by this clause and Clause 12 were so large and indefinite as to cause the greatest alarm in those counties affected as to how they would be carried out. While the reduction of the number of sheriffs was generally approved of, the feeling was equally strong that the rights and privileges of the counties proposed to be united by this Bill should be preserved, as in Clause 4 of the Act passed in 1853, Vict. 16 and 17, c. 92, the insertion of which he proposed to move in the Bill. There would be no objection, he thought, to the united counties being divided into districts, with a resident sheriff-substitute in each county town; and when he mentioned that the criminal business devolving on the sheriff-substitute resident in Stonehaven exceeded that of the same officer in Aberdeen and Peterhead, arising from a large portion of such being-done by the municipal magistrates, of whom there were none in Kincardineshire, and that of the 33 counties in Scotland, 22 had fewer trials with jury than that county, the Committee would see, he hoped, that the residence of the sheriff-substitute should be fixed by statute in such a town, but authorizing him to devote a considerable portion of his time to the judicial business of Aberdeenshire. He might also mention that, in several of our county towns, there were recently erected expensive Court-houses, and there was a society of procurators who had settled on the faith of a continuance of a Court there, and that he trusted that the Committee would not, without full consideration, interfere in any manner with the interests of those gentlemen. There was also no allusion to the Commissary Courts; and it was not stated whether the extended jurisdiction of the sheriff and the privileges of the procurators were to extend to those Courts as well as to those of the sheriff. He had every confidence that the Secretary of State for the Home Department would do nothing to interfere with the convenience of all parties, but endeavour to facilitate the administration of justice; however, the recent economical experiments in the Courts of Justice in England naturally made the public nervous as to leaving such powers, as given by these clauses, in the hands of Government free from all Parliamentary control. This Bill respected the rights of sheriffs, and, by a new clause, the Lord Advocate took powers to give them increased salaries; but while the sheriffs-substitute had to undertake additional work and to accept of a complete change of the conditions under which they accepted office, there was no provision for increase of remuneration to them. It was acknowledged how necessary it was for the general management of our county business that we should have a resident magistrate in each county town. For these reasons, unless the right hon. Gentleman could propose any mode by which the individuality of the counties affected was preserved, and the convenience and interests of the inhabitants protected, he should go to a Division for the rejection of these clauses.

supported the Amendment, not so much because he thought the clause under discussion would confer objectionable powers, as because the clause would, if passed in conjunction with the clause following it, fail altogether to carry out the wishes of the people of Scotland in relation to the subject-matter of the whole Bill. So far the Bill had dealt with a view of the question upon which the people of Scotland were unanimous — namely, the reduction of the number of sheriffs, and grouping certain counties together. But that Bill took care to preserve the individual jurisdiction of the several counties, and the convenience of the public was considered by the sheriffs going to convenient places in each county and holding Courts in such places as were nearest to the persons having causes to be tried. The present proposal would produce an entirely different state of things, and would act in a manner prejudicial to the general body of the suitors; and therefore if the Government thought it necessary to make such a division of counties as was proposed by the clause, they ought to bring in a separate Act of Parliament for the purpose. He should support the proposition to omit the clause.

Amendment proposed, to leave out Clause 10.—( Mr. Dyce Nicol.)

said, the discussion had turned upon the question of the suppression of certain offices, and he had in the abstract no objection to such suppression, so soon as existing life-interests should have come to an end; but he objected to the proposition of the Bill for the reason that it dealt with the question in far too general a way, and would produce many difficulties in its carrying out. He had expected that the hon. and learned Lord Advocate would have inserted some provision in order to have made his clause more generally acceptable. He thought it would be necessary that there should be a special Bill brought in for the purpose of regulating the proceedings before the Sheriff Courts; and it would follow, as a necessary portion of such Bill, that arrangements should be made with regard to the sheriff-clerks, who would be left on the same footing as that upon which they were left by the Bill of 1863. Great difficulties would arise from the appointment of the three sheriff-clerks—for who could tell for which of the amalgamated counties he was to act? He thought that the Committee should agree to the clauses which had been already passed, and refer the other question to future consideration. The power proposed to be given to the Secretary of State was one which he did not think such an officer ought to possess.

thought it would be unwise to stop the Bill at its present stage, as Clause 10, and that which followed, formed, in his opinion, the most valuable part of the Bill.

said, he was not surprised to hear his hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh (Mr. M'Laren) approving this portion of the Bill, for his hon. Friend held rather extraordinary views as to the powers of the Government in general. He thought that this was not the time at which to legislate upon this subject. A Commission, appointed two years ago, had taken most voluminous evidence, and had reported thereon to the House, but the Report had not yet been published; and therefore he thought the Bill—or at least these provisions of the Bill—would have been advantageously left till next year, when public opinion and the opinion of the House would have ripened with regard to it.

said, he had quite failed to find in the observations that had been made any real objection to the clause under discussion. A great deal had been said about certain large powers proposed to be given to the Secretary of State and on the subject of a Bill to be introduced in next Session in order to regulate the procedure in Sheriff Courts; but he begged to say that the Bill conferred no power upon the Government, and did not propose to abolish any office whatsoever. The inconvenience arising from the omission of a similar power from the Act passed about 10 years ago had been greatly felt, and he had therefore prepared this clause. The clause was necessary in the interest of the public, and he hoped the Committee would agree to it.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 11 (Courts to be held, and duties to be discharged by sheriffs.)

moved to insert words to provide that sheriffs, whether appointed before or subsequent to the passing of the Act, should be relieved from the duty of attending sessions. The clause, as it stood, was entirely opposed to the recommendations of the Commission, and he wished to restore it to the form so recommended by removing the necessity on the part of sheriffs to attend who were not counsel practising in the Courts in which, as they now stood, they were compelled to attend. The Report made by the Commission in 1834 was favourable to the view which he took; but, at the same time, he thought the question might well be left to come up in the Bill which must be brought forward very early in order to rearrange and readjust the procedure of the Sheriff Courts.

said, he thought the provision as it stood was a salutary one for the reason that it provided for the cases of sheriffs who were not practising barristers, and did not render it compulsory to attend the Courts or to perform an operation very like a forced march through Westminster Hall during the Whole of the time when the Courts were sitting.

said, it was well known that a large number of sheriffs did not practise at the bar, and therefore he did not think it right they should be compelled to attend Courts.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 12 (Courts to be held and duties to be discharged by sheriffs substitute.)

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 65; Noes 36: Majority 29.

said, he would propose after Clause 6, to insert a new clause (Counties of Wigtown and Kirkcudbright to be united with the County of Dumfries).

Clause brought up and read a first time.

said, he desired to make a suggestion with reference to this clause. At present the counties of Wigtown and Kirkcudbright, in the district of Galloway, formed one sheriffdom, but it was now proposed to unite them with the county of Dumfries in one sheriffdom. He thought a better arrangement might be made by uniting the county of Kirkcudbright to the county of Dumfries, and the county of Wigtown to the county of Ayr. The county of Kirkcudbright and the county of Dumfries had one militia regiment, and they had many other things in common; and the counties of Wigtown and Ayr had also many things in common which Wigtown had not in common with Dumfries. In addition to that he might mention that very recently Her Majesty's Government appointed a noble relative of his to the Lord-Lieutenancy of the county of Ayr, he being already Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Wigtown—the militia regiment, the buildings for the militia, the Lord-Lieutenancy, and various other matters being in common for the two counties. He thought the various local interests would be better considered by uniting Wigtown with Ayr and Kirkcudbright with Dumfries, than by the proposed arrangement which was here suggested. He felt convinced that the best arrangement for public business would be that which he had indicated. Three counties were too much for one sheriff to manage—at election times impossible. It would be inconvenient for him to propose an Amendment to that effect at this stage of the Bill; but if, on further inquiry, the learned Lord Advocate found it convenient and agreeable to make this change, perhaps he would do so on the Report. He believed it would be for the convenience of the inhabitants of that part of the country to make the change.

said, he should be happy to consider the suggestion upon the Report. In the meantime it was proper to state that the union proposed in the clause was that which had been suggested by a Royal Commission.

Remaining clauses agreed to; Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Thursday.

Glebe Loans (Ireland) Bill

On Motion of Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, Bill to amend the Act of the first and second years of the reign of his late Majesty King William the Fourth, chapter thirty-three, in part, and to afford facilities for obtaining Loans for the erection, enlargement, and improvement of Glebe Houses, and for the acquirement of lands for Glebes in Ireland, ordered to be brought in by Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, Mr. STANSFELD, and Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL for IRELAND,

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 222.]

Marriages (Ireland) Bill

On Motion of Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, Bill to provide for the administration of the Law relating to Matrimonial Causes and matters, and to amend the Law relating to Marriages in Ireland, ordered to be brought in by Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE and Mr. SOLICITOR GENERAL for IRELAND.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 223.]

House adjourned at half after Two o'clock.