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Supply—Army Estimates

Volume 203: debated on Tuesday 2 August 1870

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SUPPLY— considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

(2.) £2,000,000, Expenses beyond Grants, Naval and Military Services, including Cost of further number of Land Forces.

(3.) Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a sum, not exceeding £217,300, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge for the Salaries and Miscellaneous Expenses of the War Office, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1871."

said, he must express his disappointment at the fact that in recasting a Vote, which was originally £222,000, the Government had not been able to save more than 2 per cent, notwithstanding the recommendations of Lord Northbrook's Committee. He would move the reduction of the Vote by £1,768 on the item of £2,200 for the Salary of the Commander in Chief; £256 on the item of £1,000 for the Military Secretary; and £300 on the item of £365 for the Private Secretary.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That the Item of £4,000, for the Salary of the Officer Commanding in Chief be reduced by the sum of £1,768."—(Mr. Anderson.)

said, he thought the hon. Member surely could not have road the Vote, or he would not have described the reduction as only 2 per cent. In reality a reduction had been effected of £58,872 in respect of the salaries of 169 officers. The benefit of this might not be evident immediately, because they had regard to existing interests; but he might state that out of the 169 officers they proposed ultimately to reduce, there were already 79 vacancies. In effecting a measure of disestablishment and disendowment such as this was, existing interests must be borne in mind, and the Government had not made a sudden and sweeping reduction without some consideration for the gentlemen who now held the offices in question. This was not the first occasion on which the hon. Gentleman had brought forward the subject of the Commander in Chief, and at an earlier part of the Session he (Mr. Cardwell) had shown that the result of carrying out the hon. Gentleman's views would be that many eminent officers would cease to occupy their present-positions.

said, that Cabinet Ministers had their Private Secretaries; and he did not see any cause, therefore, why the Commander in Chief should not enjoy the advantage of the services of a Private Secretary. He observed that the grant to the Permanent Secretary was reduced from £2,000 to £1,500. He was sorry that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Anderson) had not taken the trouble to master this subject, though, as a civilian, he could hardly do so.

said, he believed that the office of Field Marshal Commanding in Chief had never been filled with greater ability and zeal than at the present time. The question was whether the services of so distinguished an officer as the Commander in Chief—looking, too, at the high social position which such an official must occupy, were over remunerated by such a salary. He thought it could hardly be said that £4,000 a year was too much.

said, that this was a question of plurality of offices, because the Commander in Chief was also paid as the colonel of one, if not of two regiments; and he (Mr. M. Chambers) thought that in time of peace colonels might be dispensed with.

said, he would suggest that the pay of officers of the Army should be put upon the same footing as the pay of officers of the Navy.

Question put, and negatived.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

said, he wished for some explanation with respect to the Department of the Inspector General of Fortifications and the Director of Works.

said, that the hon. Gentleman was right in his presumption respecting the Inspector General of Fortifications. It was considered sufficient to have one Deputy Inspector permanently on the Estimates. Pending the completion of the Loan Works, Colonel Jervois would retain office, but be paid from the Loan Fund.