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Army—The Late Captain Charles Agnew—Compensation For Commission—Questions

Volume 217: debated on Monday 14 July 1873

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asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether, when he refused to grant a sum of money to the representatives of the late Captain Charles Agnew, 16th Lancers, who was murdered at Suez in March last on his way home from India invalided, he was aware that, although no application for leave to retire from Her Majesty's service had been actually made, it was well known to the relatives of the deceased Officer and to others that it was his intention to make such an application; and, if he is not aware of that fact, whether he is willing to receive proof of it, and upon receipt of proof, to reconsider the circumstances of the case, with the view of granting to Captain Agnew's relatives, if possible, the amount, or part of the amount, which would have become his by right, had not his death by assassination prevented him from carrying out his intention to retire from the service, receiving the value of his commission?

I think, Sir, the Question has been framed under a misunderstanding of the extent of my powers and the scope of my duties. Parliament has confided to the Army Purchase Commissioners the duty of indemnifying officers in respect of the commissions they held on the day on which purchase ceased. I apprehend that the commission of Captain Agnew could not have been sold under the purchase system, and, therefore, that the Purchase Commissioners are not empowered to purchase it. It never was the custom, while purchase continued, to move estimates for cases of the kind, and I cannot undertake to create such a precedent in the present instance.