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it would involve a large and indefinite ex- | right hon. and gallant Friend (General pense, although that expense would be les. Peel) said something about amateur resened by being spread over a considerable formers of the army, obviously meaning number of years ; and partly, also, because that this was a subject with which civilians at present, whatever the opinion of the had little business to interfere. Now, I general public may be, military opinion is venture to say, that although those who not ripe upon the question. I do not want have been brought up in a system are pro. to overstate the case, and I fully admit bably the best qualified by experience to that a numerical majority of officers would administer it, they are, as a rule, not the now be opposed to the abolition of the best qualified to judge whether the system purchase system. But in a matter of this itself is one which ought to exist. I speak kind opinions should be weighed as well of officers of the army with all respect, but as counted ; and when I look at the testi- I shall be excused if I do not speak of mony given by such men as Sir Duncan them with higher respect than I should of M.Dougall, Lord West, Sir James Scar- the judges upon the bench. Now, it is lett, General Franks, General Spencer, notorious, that thirty years ago, when there and, above all, by Lord Clyde, all against was an agitation for a reform of our crimipurchase, I must be allowed to doubt whe- nal law, when a man might be hung for ther there is such a preponderance even of stealing above the value of 408., the great military opinion as is sometimes claimed majority of the judges were in favour of in favour of retaining the present system. maintaining the then existing law, and As I have mentioned Lord Clyde, perhaps argued against concessions of which now I may be allowed to point out that, by a no rational man doubts the expediency. I curious accident, he has, in evidence given only mention this in order to show that sis years ago, completely answered one of persons not previously familiarized with a the strongest points made in his speech to system are perhaps the best qualified to night by the right hon. Baronet the Secre- judge as to the policy of retaining it, betary for War.
The right hon. Gentleman, cause they will be likely to form an unarguing against the system of selection, biassed judgment, one not warped by presaid — "What a cruel case it would be, vious liabit or training. The House will when the colonel of a regiment dies, if remember that the system of purchase is after the major has taken the command, unknown in any other army than ours. and months have passed, he is told that in the Indian army it exists, but in a form he can retain the command no longer, and so modified, and so divested of its objec. somebody else is put over his head.” But tionable features, that the two systems does not that happen under the purchase cannot fairly be compared. It is unsystem? Lord Clyde says
known in the navy, in the civil service, “An officer in the 55th had been promoted for and in a large part of our army-in tho service in the field, and had obtained his brevet Artillery and Engineers. Perhaps the majority. He led the assault at Chinkiang-foo, fairest test you can find of its merits, is to and though he became brevet lieutenant colonel
, appeal from those who are accustomed to and was in command of the regiment in the field; it to those among whom it has not been in the presence of the enemy, a young captain who had just come out purchased over his head, introduced, and to ask what would be the and he was obliged to descend to the command of feeling of all or any of these professions a company."
if you were to try to establish it where That shows that the very abuse of which it has not existed before. But, in fact, the right hon. Gentleman speaks as likely I am understating my case. There is to arise under the system which he depre-nothing new in purchase. The system of cates, does actually arise under the present purchasing offices has, at some time, exregulations. As regards military opinion, isted in every European country ; in every I do not think that we are to test it by the European country it has been abandoned ; opinions expressed in this House. It is a it has existed in the civil service of popular belief, and in the main it is true, England, and here, in cvery profession but that the system of purchase unduly favours one, it has been abandoned as incompatible those officers who happen to be men of with the ideas and requirements of modern fortune. Now, that is just the class who times. In the seventeenth century civil are likely to be represented here, and I do offices were purchased in England, and pot think we ought to take their opinion that without secrecy or corruption. In as being an absolutely accurate represen- tlie old monarchy of Franco military, civil, tation of that of the army in general. My land judicial appointments were purchased. It may have been the samo in other coun- such a system as that? I do not wish to tries ; but, under the influence of the ideas exaggerate the grievance; but it seems to that have prevailed during the last seventy me, that as a general rule the officer puryears, the practice has everywhere died chased over is likely to be the best rather out except in the British army. The ori. than the worst, and for this reason, that gin of the practice itself is easy to explain. of two men entering the profession with When offices were more lucrative than they equal talent, ono of whom takes up
his are now, the Government felt a reluctance profession merely as a temporary occupato displace the holders of them summarily; tion, having nothing dependent upon it, and thus, if I may use the term, a sort of while the other feels that not only his tenant-right grew up, and those who suc- chances of distinction, but his very indeceeded to an office paid a compensation for pendence and fortune, depend on success— it. The history of this system of purchase the latter, by no merits of his own, but is that of many other abuses. First, a from the circumstances of his position, is practice is more or less openly connived at ; almost sure to work harder and to prove then it grows into a custom ; and, lastly, the more active and efficient. Then look what has been a general custom grows into at the effect of the system on the officer an institution. Then thcories are invented who purchased. He says, with perfect to defend that institution, which would be truth, that his pay is only a fair income on uvintelligible to its earliest authors. capital laid out, or 5 per cent on an averAnd now let us consider a moment how age on what he has paid.
He may say
he the system works—first, as to the indivi- gives his services to the State without redual officer, and next as to the State. As muneration. And, though the honourable to the individual, I do not see how any one feeling of officers induces them to take can make light of the hardship he must this circumstance very little into considerafeel it to be purchased over. On that point tion, yet it is impossible they should not I will again quote an authority--that of think it something of a hardship if called Lord Clyde. In his evidence before the to perform arduous duties iu time of peace. Commission he says,
If the feeling is not stronger, it is a proof “There is always pain felt if one man gets over that the men are good, not that it is a good the head of another by means of mere money." system. Again, consider what a speculalle stated, too, from his own experience, tive transaction is the purchase of a comthat he was put to great pecuniary in- mission to an officer of small means. At convenience in order not to be passed the best, he sinks half his fortune in a life over by other purchasers. He mentioned annuity. If he dies on service, the whole the case which I quoted just now, of the of the capital is lost to his family. Since major who was purchased over while com- the subject was last discussed in the House manding his regiment in the field. no- it is true there has been some improvement ther case cited in the Report is that of an in the system ; now if an officer is killed officer, who, on the ground of qualification, in action, or dies within six months of a received from the Duke of Wellington, in wound received in action, his family receive the Peninsula, the command of a regiment, the value of his commission. Thus the which lie would have been compelled to grievance has been partially removed ; but decline for want of funds unless other if an officer dies from disease, or the effects officers had combined to make up a purse of climate, there is nothing for his family. for him ; and this happened in time of Thus an officer is not only exposed to the war. Can you have a stronger argument risk of losing his life in the performance of against the necessity of purchase than the his duty, but his family are subjected to a fact that an officer whom the Commander fine because he has been forward to expose in Chief in the field thinks the fittest man his life. And what is the defence made to command a regiment cannot hold that for this system? It is said you get command but for the accidental interfer- younger officers by it. I believe we have ence of his brother officers to help him, and younger officers in the English army than that without that help the command before in any service in Europe. But the real the enemy must have gone to some one reason is, in England a large class of yoning less fit to hold it? Those who have read men enter the army for a few years, not the life of Sir Henry Havelock will re intending to make it the permanent business member his feelings of mortification at of their life ; but attracted by congenial being purchased over three times. Could society, and perhaps by the hope of seeing any one suppose that the army gained by a little service. This class of officers retire
from the army early, but not in conse- | House seriously to recollect what is the
greater part of the speech of the noble officers for their army, may very possibly Lord opposite was upon a question which deprive, and frequently docs deprive, the is not now brought before us—namely, service of men perfectly competent to upon the general question, whether pur command, and who would be most dis. chase is or is not expedient in our army? tinguished in their career ; and therefore Upon that I will say a few words. I there is a great objection to it in practice. quite admit that the English army, and, The principle of selection for the army notwithstanding what my hon, and gal- may be very good as a general principle lant Friend behind me (Colonel Sykes) for a despotic Government. I do not has said, the Indian army, were the only mean to say that it is likely to be better cases in which a system of purchase administered by a despotic Government, prevailed; and, with all deference to him, but that the complaints to which it may I think the system of purchase in the give rise do not find their way so readily army of the East India Company was far to the public ear. But, in a country with more objectionable than the system of a free constitution such as ours, where a purchase in the Queen's army. In the man may say, print, or send for publicaBritish army it is optional with each offi- tion to the newspapers whatever he likes; cer to purchase or not, as his means / where no man is so friendless that he canenable him to decide. In the Indian not get some zealous advocate in this House army it was compulsory upon every offi- to urge his case, to expose to the world the cer to contribute, and every officer who tyrannical prejudice of some higher authodeclined to contribute to a purse to buy rity against him, to institute a comparison out the superior officers, was looked upon between his services and merits and those as a black sheep, and received a civil hint of the person who has been placed over him that he had better retire from the service. -under such circumstances, I am afraid I quite admit, that if the system of pur- that the general principle of selection would chase did not exist in the British army, lead to consequences which would not be no one probably would think of intro- for the advantage of the public service, ducing it. But I do not agree with the and would, indeed, be exceedingly detri. noble Lord, in saying that a thing, which mental to the position and usefulness of would not be thought of originally, might the men in authority by whom the selection not, when established, and when opinions would have to be made. I think what has and habits become attached to it, work been stated by the right hon. and gallant well, although theoretically objectionable. General opposite (General Peel), as to the That, I believe, is the case of the system inconvenience which might arise on a vaof purchase. Then the noble Lord says, cancy happening in a regiment on a foreign what an effect it must have on the station, where no opportunity had been feelings of an officer to be passed over afforded of acquiring distinction, is quite because he is not able to purchase. I unanswerable. The Commander-in-Chief say, in answer, that when a man goes would find an officer belonging to another into a career, knowing what the regula- regiment, whose good fortune it had been tions are, he does not feel so much mor 1 to be at the seat of hostilities, and to distification, when the regulations of that tinguish himself by some brilliant exploit, career apply in bis particular case to his and would send him out to the guard stadetriment, as he would in any other case tion to supersede the major in command, when the detriment brought upon him is who was, in all probability, as brave, as not the result of established well-known judicious, and in every way as competent regulations acting impartially on all, but to perform the duties of the office, and who arises from what he would consider a would, if on the scene of action, havo capricious exercise of power. In other earned as much distinction as the other services, where purchase does not exist, who had been lucky enough to attract pubthe rule of seniority or the rule of selec- lic notice. One can conceive how an officer tion applies. The inconveniences of senior- in the situation of that major, who finds ity are met in the French service by a himself superseded by one whom he does regulation which compels every officer to not think his superior in merit, while he retire at a certain age, that age being in may be his junior in the army, must suffer proportion to the rank which he holds, from a sense of great and unmerited inless for a lieutenant than for a captain, l justice ; and such cases I believe would I hold that it is a regulation very often occur.
therefore of which, although it insures a set of young opinion, that with regard to the Motion of
and so on.
my hon. and gallant Friend the House IIouse to the military appearance which will do right in adopting the proposal of that force was assuming, and which he my right hon. Friend to proceed to the conceived, in common with many others of Orders of the Day. The noble Lord opposite his countrymen, was detrimental to their charged my right hon. Friend (Sir George efficiency as police. The first thing that Lewis) with departing from a Resolution attracted his attention in connection with which had been communicated to the the subject was the enormous increase of House. It was Lord Herbert who came the expense of the force. In 1842, when to the conclusion, on full reflection, that Ireland was in such a state of excitement the Resolution was one which it would not that Earl De Grey might be almost said be advisable to carry out ; and last year to be barricaded in Dublin Castle, the that change, or rather postponement of expense of the Irish constabulary was purpose, was announced to the House. My £433,600, balf of which was borne by right hon. Friend having succeeded to office, the counties. Since that time the whole after deliberate consideration, adopted the of it had been put on the Consolidated view of Lord Herbert, and by that view Fund. In 1858, when that country was the Government is prepared to stand. The again in a state of disturbance, the expense Doble Lord complains that my right hon. of that body was £562,500, the increase Friend is in the position of a man who is being £128,000 ; whereas at present, only unwilling to do anything. There may be four years afterwards, it had increased to cases in which disinclination to do what the enormous extent of £779,860. Nor you are satisfied is a good thing may be an was that the whole of the expense ; for, objectionable quality ; but the disinclination independent of that, there was a large to move forward in order to do that of outlay for barracks, which was charged in which you doubt the propriety, and which the Estimates for the Board of Works, you apprehend may be attended with in- and which, if taken into consideration, convenient results, is a different thing. We would make a very large addition to the know the maxim in dubio siste, and I be- cost of the police force. He thought liere the course followed by my right hon. that at a time when there existed a general Friend is a matter not of censure, but of feeling that the public expenditure was praise.
unduly increasing, the House bad a right Question put, “That the words
to demand the reason for so large an
proposed to be left out stand part of the increase in the expenditure of the Irislı Question."
constabulary. Among other items there The House divided :-Ayes 247 ;
was one of £80,000 for distribution of Noes
the Enfield rifle among the force, and their 62: Majority 185.
instruction in its use. Now, he could not Question again proposed, “That Mr. understand why it was necessary to arm Speaker do now leave the Chair.” a purely constabulary force with that
weapon, which was fit only for military THE IRISH CONSTABULARY.
service. He knew very well that the
noble Lord would say, “If the men are to OBSERVATIONS.
be armed at all, let them be armed with COLONEL DICKSON, in rising to call the best weapon ;” but the most useful and the attention of the Chief Secretary for appropriate weapon for the police was the Ireland to certain murders lately committed short carbine, which was handy to carry, in Ireland, and to move for a Select and did not impede the rapidity of their Committee to inquire into the organization, movements, whereas the Enfield rifle was equipment, and employment of the Irish a most delicate as well as expensive rifle, Constabulary, said, he trusted he should which was peculiarly liable to injury in the not be understood as being influenced in rough work police had sometimes to do, any degree by & spirit of hostility to a besides which it was a gerious inconvebody of men whose conduct and discipline nience to have to carry it in a hand-tohad invariably been above all praise, and hand encounter. If they wished to make who, he believed, under more favourable a standing army out of the police force, circnmstances, would most efficiently per- he could then understand arming them form the important duties for which they with such a weapon, and also sending dewere enrolled. His sole object was to tachments of them for training and instrucdraw the attention of the right hon. tion to Hythe and other military schools ; Baronet the Chief Secretary and the but he contended that in the case of police