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The Panmure Papers, Vol II

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Chapter XXV

January 1857

IN the correspondence for this month the Queen discusses with Lord Panmure the proposed establishment of the War Office for 1857, the clothing of the Army, the Quarterly Reports on progress of Fortifications and Barracks at home and abroad, the distribution of the Military Estimates, the new small-arms factory at Enfield, recommendations for the Order of the Bath, and the disposal of Russian trophies. (Letters of January 17th, 19th, 20th, 21st.) Lord Panmure addresses Lord Palmerston on the subject of Military Education, and submits a scheme for reducing his Estimates. The Duke of Cambridge expresses his satisfaction that Cavalry regiments in India are to be kept at their old establishment of 700 sabres, and Lord Palmerston criticises, by the light of a conversation with Miss Nightingale, the plan of the Hospital in course of construction at Netley, Lord Panmure replying to said criticism. The reduction of regiments of the Line is stated to be for the present suspended; and, in pursuance of the ‘Lorcha Arrow incident’ of the preceding autumn, a despatch of troops from India to China is ordered.


WINDSOR CASTLE, January 8, 1857.

The Queen returns the report of the Solicitor of the War Department on the purchases at Gosport, which she thinks quite satisfactory. She trusts, however, that Lord Panmure will urge the Lawyer not to lose any time in the negotiations, which lawyers in general very frequently do.


January 15, 1857.

Expresses satisfaction at the keeping up of Cavalry in India.

I have received your two letters and, in reply to the last, I can only express my satisfaction that we are to be permitted to retain the old establishment of 700 sabres for the Cavalry in India. I am confident that this is the best establishment we could have, and seeing the distance these regiments are from home, and the large amount of territory to be defended and protected, beside the constant preparation for war of some sort or other in India, I think the Court of Directors have come to a very wise determination.   .  .  .  I shall desire the Adjutant-General to make up the two Cavalry regiments intended for India to 700 sabres.


BROADLANDS, January 17, 1857.

The Queen desires that, before Lefroy’s appointment as Inspector of Military Education is completed, there should be a meeting, on the subject of Educational Arrangements, between the Prince, the Duke of Cambridge, you and me, and I have told her that this shall be done. This seems the best way of finally settling these matters.

Miss Nightingale and the plans for Netley Hospital.

I had the other day a long conversation with Miss Nightingale about the proposed arrangements of the Military Hospital now building at Netley, and I am bound to say that she has left on my mind at present a conviction that the plan is fundamentally wrong, and that it would be better to pull down and rebuild all that has been built there than to finish it upon the present plan. She brought hither the ground-plan and elevation of the proposed Netley Hospital and the ground-plan of the last new Military Hospital at Paris, which she says has been adopted as the model for the Hospital at Aldershot.

It seems to me that at Netley all consideration of what would best tend to the comfort and recovery of patients has been sacrificed to the vanity of the architect, whose sole object has been to make a building which should cut a dash when looked at from the Southampton River. This might be vastly well for the glory of the architect, and for the gratification of the ladies and gentlemen who go yachting on the Solent, or who fill the passage steamers between Southampton and the Isle of Wight. But when we are laying out a very large sum of money to build a Hospital to hold a thousand invalids, surely the first and main purpose kept in view ought to be to make a building which should to the greatest possible degree be calculated to promote the cure and recovery of patients. The general and leading faults of the Netley plan are that the wards look to the north-east and into a confined courtyard, instead of being turned towards the sun, and opening into free space; that they have no cross ventilation, and that they all open into one long passage, which would serve as a conduit-pipe to carry the bad air of the wards from one end of the building to the other. The Paris plan is free from these faults, and seems to me far better calculated to the restoration of health. Miss Nightingale explained to me why three stories are in her opinion objectionable. She said that the bad air and exhalations from the two lower stories could not well be prevented from getting into the upper one, and that if the Hospital were built on the French plan of separate blocks the greater height of the three stories would keep light and air from those below.

This matter seems to me to be one of the greatest importance, and the lives of thousands of our soldiers may depend upon the nature of the arrangements we are now making.

If we were building a temporary hospital for a purpose, it would not so much signify, but as this building is to last for a century, and is to be filled by hundreds at a time, any sacrifice of money in correcting errors in its intended construction would be better than a deliberate perseverance in arrangements demonstrated to be bad. Pray, therefore, for the present stop all further progress in the work till the matter can be duly considered.

These warlike operations in Persia and China may require that we should send reinforcements to India and China; 1 it would be well therefore to suspend for the present the discharge of any men who are fit for service.


January 17, 1857.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to transmit to Your Majesty the Quarterly Reports up to the end of the year.

Lateness of Reports on Fortifications and Barracks.

The only observations which Lord Panmure has to make are, first, to draw Your Majesty’s attention to the absence of the Quarterly Reports of the progress of Fortifications and Barracks at home, and to the fact that the report of progress abroad is a quarter in arrear. Sir J. Burgoyne 2 states that he finds it extremely difficult to furnish these home reports as correctly as is desirable for a month after the expiration of the quarter, and those from abroad must always be a quarter in arrear. Lord Panmure has agreed to this arrangement, and will insist on its being punctually observed.

The factory at Enfield requires some additional machinery before it can begin to turn out perfected arms of its own manufacture, but the store of small-arms from the contractors is steadily and satisfactorily increasing.

Lord Panmure has the honour to transmit to Your Majesty a rough statement of the probable distribution of the Military Estimates, which, though not quite correct, will give Your Majesty a general view of the manner in which the whole amount of the vote is proposed to be apportioned.

Lord Panmure further transmits to Your Majesty a list of all the Russian guns, etc., received at the Royal Arsenal. Suggestions are made for the disposal of many of these trophies, but Lord Panmure does not at present propose to Your Majesty to give any sanction to them.

The Cabinet is of opinion that small numbers of iron ordnance may be granted to such cities or towns in Great Britain and Ireland as have proper public places to put them in, and make application for them, and to this extent Lord Panmure craves Your Majesty’s concurrence.

The four bells already appropriated are the two selected by your Majesty, and those of which Your Majesty was graciously pleased to sanction the appropriation by the late Lord Hardinge and Lord Panmure.


January 17, 1857.

Recommendations for the Order of the Bath.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to submit for Your Majesty’s approval the names of two officers for the third class of the Bath, which H.R.H. the Commander-in-Chief has forwarded with a pressing recommendation. Lord Panmure would also humbly submit the name of Captain Gordon, who had the charge of the multifarious stores of the Army at Balaclava, as a candidate for the Civil C.B. Lord Panmure forwards Captain Gordon’s own statement of his services, and Sir W. Codrington’s letter in forwarding them, in order that Your Majesty may form a judgment on the case.

There is one more case, which Lord Panmure, after much consideration, thinks it right to lay before Your Majesty for consideration. It is that of Major-General Vivian. This officer has gained no rank by his service in the East. He was Major-General when appointed to the Turkish Contingent. This large force, consisting of 20,000, was of all arms. Major-General Vivian organised and trained, and, by his prudent management, reconciled the Turk to the rule of his English officer. With his force he held Kertch, which he entrenched and fortified, and while senior officer in command, he had under him a body of Your Majesty’s troops, as also of those of the Emperor of the French. His conduct in the responsible position which he held received, as it merited, the approbation of Your Majesty’s Government, and Lord Panmure humbly submits that it will not only be conferring honour upon a meritorious officer, but likewise be a gracious compliment to the Turkish Contingent, if Your Majesty will consent to confer upon Major-General Vivian the second class of the Military Order of the Bath.


WINDSOR CASTLE, January 19, 1857.

The Queen sanctions the proposed addition to the Bath, but regrets that this distinction should have been conferred now in two instances where it has not been earned in the field, as it must lessen the value of the Order.


WINDSOR CASTLE, January 19, 1857.

The Queen has received Lord Panmure’s letter of the 17th with the quarterly returns.

Remarks on Departmental Returns.

She was glad to find them so much earlier this time, and quite approves the plan of the Barrack and Fortification Departments sending in their report, one month after the expiration of the quarter for the works at home, and one quarter later for those abroad; but she trusts that they will then be punctual. The Queen hopes that Enfield may soon be in a state to be able to turn out entire arms; would Lord Panmure let her know when this is expected?

In the return of small-arms in store, and ordnance stores generally, she thinks that it would be a great improvement if one column were added at the end, showing the comparative state with either the preceding quarter, or the same quarter of the preceding year. This is done with the Revenue Returns of the Treasury, and affords important points of comparison. Perhaps it might be added also to the factory returns.

The Queen has perused the rough statement of the distribution of the Army Estimates. Does ‘Land Forces,’ for which five and a half million are set down, include the Militia? The Queen finds this force alluded to nowhere.

Estimate for Army clothing.

She thinks the clothing of the Army set down at too low a figure; it would not give more than £5 a man on the proposed strength of the Army, for which he can hardly be efficiently clad for a year. Are accoutrements included in this sum also? They are not referred to anywhere else. The Army has been so ill-clothed that it would be a pity to make the first estimate under the new arrangement so low as to make it impossible ever to improve; it will be easy to cut it down another year, if found possible, but very difficult to raise it hereafter.

Distribution of ordnance.

The Queen sanctions Lord Panmure’s proposal to give some of the small iron ordnance to different towns applying for them, and having room to contain them.

The bells might be distributed between the Tower of London, Edinburgh, and Dublin, and some of the bronze ordnance might be so distributed also; Plymouth, Portsmouth, Chatham, and Dover Castle might also contain some. Perhaps Lord Panmure will have a list made out accordingly.


WAR OFFICE, January 19, 1857.

Army Education.

I have done nothing in regard to Colonel Lefroy’s appointment as Director of Education, in consequence of the Queen’s observations upon it; and until some definite arrangement is arrived at on the whole of the difficult question of Army Education, I have left matters exactly as they stand at present. I am in communication with the Duke of Cambridge and Mr. Gleig upon the subject, and I hope to arrive at a conclusion satisfactory to Her Majesty and such as can be defended in Parliament. I see the reasonableness of giving the Commander-in-Chief a large measure of control over the officers who administer the system, and my only difficulty is to preserve a controlling power in the Executive Government, who must be responsible to Parliament for the money placed at their disposal for this important object.

With respect to the Hospital in Southampton Water, I must see you before I can carry into effect your instructions to stop all further progress — in fact, it will require very serious consideration, as such a step would involve us in great difficulties, as it would entail a rupture of all our extensive contracts, not to mention the reflections which it must cast on all concerned in the planning of those designs on which we are working.

Netley Hospital.

Miss Nightingale’s objections apply to the site as well as to the whole fabric. Now the site was selected after much consideration, and after inspection by Military and Medical Officers. The plans were prepared with great care, and, I think, not until we had sent our Officer abroad to see the best hospitals on the Continent. Of this, however, I will assure myself before we meet. Many of Miss Nightingale’s suggestions in the report signed by herself and Dr. Sutherland can be carried out by alterations, but the total abandonment of the plan will, as I said before, be a most serious affair.


You may remember that the last decision of the Cabinet was to reduce seven thousand men of the Army below what I was prepared to submit to Parliament as the establishment for the ensuing year, and, before that is reversed, I think that we had better discuss the question again on our first meeting. I will give the Commander-in-Chief a hint not to carry on his discharges till he hears from me again, but as the Estimates are all prepared on the lower Establishment, and as I have already officially announced to him the strength of the Army for 1857-58, if any increase is to be made it must be done without delay.

I may inform you that four regiments of Infantry and two of Cavalry are under orders for India. Two of the Infantry regiments are for reliefs, which in emergency can be left in India for another year, and the other two to replace that number of regiments which we abstained from sending out during the war. The Cavalry regiments (700 sabres each) are for relief also, and the regiments coming home may also be detained should the war with Persia render this necessary.


January 20, 1857.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty. He has signified to Sir J. Burgoyne Your Majesty’s approval of the future arrangement for forwarding the Quarterly Reports of Fortifications and Barracks at home and abroad, and impressed on him Your Majesty’s expectation of punctuality.

To Your Majesty’s question as to the time when Enfield will turn out complete arms, Lord Panmure will send Your Majesty an answer from Lieutenant-Colonel Dixon, who is down at Enfield, and who has been desired to furnish the requisite information.

The comparative columns required by Your Majesty in the returns from Enfield and the Arsenal have been ordered. The same system may hereafter be adopted with respect to stores, but at present they are too scattered.

In reference to Your Majesty’s remarks upon the Land Force Vote, Lord Panmure has the honour to inform Your Majesty that this vote only includes the Militia when in an embodied state and under the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. In its disembodied state, the Militia forms the subject of a distinct estimate, which is generally submitted later in the session.

Clothing of the Army.

In reply to Your Majesty’s observation on the clothing rate, Lord Panmure thinks he can best answer them by asking Your Majesty to look at the enclosed paper, which is the estimate prepared in the Clothing Department, and shows precisely the manner in which the whole sum is distributed. The accoutrements are provided for in the vote for stores.

Lord Panmure can confidently assure Your Majesty, in the first place, that no restrictions have been placed on the Clothing Department in framing their estimate, and that Your Majesty’s Army will appear a very different body in the clothing which this estimate is calculated to provide than they have hitherto done. The sum voted in 1853-54 was, for 114,395 men, £302,787, giving an average of £2, 13s. a man. The present vote gives an average of nearly £5 a man.   .  .  . 

Distribution of trophies.

With reference to the distribution of the remaining trophies, Lord Panmure regrets to say that the remaining bells are small and, some of them, a good deal bruised, and would answer no useful purpose anywhere except to exhibit as curiosities. As Your Majesty suggests, the Armoury at the Tower, that at Edinburgh Castle, and some similar military depôt at Dublin will be the fittest places for them. Lord Panmure will duly attend to Your Majesty’s views as to the brass ordnance, and have lists made out for their distribution to the different forts of importance.

As it will be necessary to fix the establishment of the War Office for 1857 at the next Council, Lord Panmure transmits it to Your Majesty, with some observations on a separate sheet, in order to obtain Your Majesty’s approval.


January 20, 1857.

Proposed establishment of the War Office for ensuing year.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to submit for Your Majesty’s approval the proposed establishment of the War Office for 1857.

The financial arrangements have received the sanction of the Treasury, and, on receiving that of Your Majesty, will be finally submitted for Your Majesty’s approval in an Order in Council.

There are two alterations in the list now submitted. The officer denominated in the former list as ‘Comptroller of Army Finance,’ and on whom the duties of the Deputy Secretary at War will fall, is now proposed to be called Assistant Under-Secretary, for which there is a precedent in the Colonial Office, and under which appellation he may, in case of the absence from sickness or necessity, do the duties temporarily of an Under-Secretary of State.

The other alteration consists in the omission of a ‘Director-General of Education.’

In compliance with and submission to Your Majesty’s views on this important subject, Lord Panmure leaves this appointment open until the question is more ripe and the future system of education both of the officers and non-commissioned officers and men is finally resolved upon. In the meantime the Chaplain-General remains, as he always has been, Inspector-General of Schools.

Lord Panmure cannot conceal from Your Majesty that it will be no easy task to invent a scheme in which the responsibility of the Secretary of State, the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, and the civil and military elements of education and examination shall be harmoniously blended. It is to be hoped that the difficulties will disappear soon, and Lord Panmure will take care to have a margin in the vote for Education and Science in the Estimates which shall leave no financial difficulty in the way.

Secretary of State,£5000
Under-Secretary of State,2000
Assistant Under-Secretary,1500
Secretary for Military Correspondence,1000
Chief Clerk,1200
Private Secretary to Secretary of State,300
2 Private Secretaries to Under-Secretary of State,    
     each £150,300
Inspector-General of Fortifications,1500
    and two Deputy do., each at £800,1600
2 Assistant do., each at £500,1000
Director-General of Artillery,1000
Director-General of Army Medical Department,1200
Military Superintendent of Pensions,1000
Assistant do. do.,300
Chaplain-General and Director of Schools,950
Director of Stores and Clothing,1200
Assistant do. do.,800
Director of Contracts,1500
        “        Commissariat,1200
    with a personal allowance of300

Examiner, First Clerk, £800 to £1000, increasing £25 per annum.
15 Clerks, 1st Class, 1st Section,.£670 to £800, increasing £20 per annum.
33 Clerks, 1st Class, 2nd Section, £520 to £650, increasing £20 per annum.
78 Clerks, 2nd Class, £315 to £500, increasing £15 per annum.
217 Clerks, 3rd Class, £100 to £300, increasing £10 per annum.
Surveyor, £450 to £600, increasing £20 per annum.
Deputy Surveyor, £250 to £350, increasing £10 per annum.

Two draughtsmen{ 1, £400 to £500, increasing £20 per annum.
1, £250 to £400, increasing £20 per annum.

Compiler of Statistics, £220 to £300, increasing £10 per annum.
Office-Keeper, £150, and after 6 years’ service, £200.
Housekeeper, £200.
13 Messengers, 1st Class, £100 to £120, increasing £5 per annum.
13 Messengers, 2nd Class, £90 to £100, increasing £2, 10s. per annum.
13 Messengers, 3rd Class, £80 to £90, increasing £2, 10s per annum.
5 Queen’s Messengers.


WINDSOR CASTLE, January 21, 1857.

The Queen has received Lord Panmure’s communication of yesterday. She returns the Report of the Clothing Department, which has quite satisfied her. The Queen has looked over the proposed establishment of the War Department, which appears to her a great improvement upon that of 1855 and 1856. She has not yet signed it, as she wishes to remark that the title ‘Military Secretary’ for the new office is likely to lead to confusion, as there is already an officer generally known by that designation in the Commander-in-Chiefs office, and it may also mislead the public to believe that there are two officers appointed to do the same work. Perhaps the designation ‘Secretary for Military Correspondence,’ 3 or one like that, might be substituted.

The Queen returns the paper with the view of Lord Panmure making the alteration which he thinks best.


January 22, 1857.

War Department affairs.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to acknowledge Your Majesty’s letter.

Lord Panmure admits at once the justice of Your Majesty’s remarks upon the title of ‘Military Secretary,’ and adopts that suggested by Your Majesty as a great improvement.

Lord Panmure is informed by Lieut.-Colonel Dixon that his machinery is now nearly complete for all parts of the new arm of pattern 1853, and he relies confidently upon presenting finished arms by the 1st February.

At the meeting of the Cabinet yesterday it was resolved to suspend for the present the reduction of regiments of the Line, except where invalids and extreme cases of lost character may be found.   .  .  . 


January 31, 1857.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to transmit to Your Majesty the quarterly returns of the Fortifications and Barrack Branch of the War Department.

Lord Panmure has given Lord Palmerston a paper showing the comparative strength of the Army in the years 1853-54, and that proposed for 1857-58. Also a statement of the expenditure for military purposes in the latter year. These papers will be communicated to Your Majesty by Lord Palmerston; they do not include the force in India, which consists of 24 regiments of 1000 rank and file each, 4 regiments of Cavalry of 700, all ranks, each.

Appointment of a Secretary for Military Correspondence.

Your Majesty having approved of the new establishment of the War Office, it will be finally submitted to Your Majesty in Council on Monday. In that establishment Your Majesty has sanctioned a Secretary for Military Correspondence, and Lord Panmure, having consulted with Lord Palmerston, humbly submits the name of Sir Henry Storks as the officer best qualified for this responsible position. The manner in which Sir Henry Storks discharged his duties at Scutari, where he exhibited, not only capacity for command, but power of administration of no ordinary character, justifies Lord Panmure in selecting him for this office.

Despatch of troops to Hong-Kong.

The Cabinet came to the resolution to-day of sending orders to the Governor-General of India to despatch a regiment of British troops to Hong-Kong from such part of India as it can be most conveniently spared. This will render necessary the immediate departure for India of two regiments of the force destined for that country, and Lord Panmure has communicated with His Royal Highness, the Commander-in-Chief, on the subject. A ship has been taken up to convey munitions of war to Hong-Kong and the fleets before Canton, and it is proposed to send in her a small reinforcement of Artillery-men.

Footnotes to Chapter 25

  1. In consequence of the ‘Lorcha Arrow affair,’ October 8th, 1856.
  2. Inspector-General of Fortifications.
  3. This was adopted.
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