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The Panmure Papers, Vol II

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Chapter XXVIII

April 1857

MILITARY Education and the despatch of the Chinese expedition are the chief interests of this month’s correspondence.

In regard to the former, Panmure submits his proposals for ‘this important design to raise the professional character of Army officers,’ which proposals include the inauguration of a Staff School at Sandhurst, and suggestions for the constitution of the Council of Military Education, of which General Cameron is appointed Vice-President under the Commander-in-Chief. Meanwhile Lord Palmerston expresses himself caustically on the handwriting of officers, and the Duke of Cambridge is anxious to get the Council of Education definitely settled before Parliament meets, ‘so that we may have a good case to go before the House, should any question be put’ (April 30th).

In a letter of April 19th, the Duke seeks to hasten the departure of the remaining regiments destined for India or China; whilst on April 29th he expresses satisfaction that the Cabinet has decided to send four more regiments to India, in addition to those ordered to China.

The appointment of an Under-Secretary to the War Department, and the question of the eligibility of Turks for the Order of the Bath, are also dealt with.

On April 29th Lord Panmure submits the draft of a Royal Commission to inquire into the Medical Administration of the Army.



Military Education.

The Queen returns the memorandum on the Military Education after having affixed her signature to it. She looks forward to an early second step, which will carry out the firm principle agreed upon. The Queen is inclined to concur with Lord Panmure that the Commander-in-Chief should be ostensibly the head of the Board or Council of Education.


April 3, 1857.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to report for Your Majesty’s information the further proceedings which passed yesterday between the Duke of Cambridge and himself with reference to Military Education.

Inauguration of the Staff School.

Subject to Your Majesty’s approval, it appeared advisable at once to initiate the Staff School by enlarging the senior department at Sandhurst to thirty students, and placing a Military Superintendent over it, with an efficient body of Professors to aid him in the instruction of officers for the Staff of the Army. The students are to be admitted by fixing a standard of acquirement, and leaving it to the Commander-in-Chief to select those who come up to that standard for admission into the School.

H.R.H. will submit for Your Majesty’s consideration and approval the draft of a General Order which is to be issued to the Army, informing them of the necessary qualifications which will be required in all officers who seek for service on the Staff after January 1858. 1 Lord Panmure has seen this draft in the rough, and thinks that Your Majesty will approve of it as most creditable to H.R.H.

Proposed constitution of the Board of Education.

It is proposed to constitute the Board of Education by making the Commander-in-Chief ex officio ‘President,’ and the working officer ‘Vice-President’ with two assistants. Major-General Cameron, to whom the Duke of Cambridge looks for assistance as Vice-President, subject to Your Majesty’s approval, will be summoned to give his aid in further details of this important design to raise the professional character of Your Majesty’s officers, and on Monday the consideration of the question will be again resumed, and Lord Panmure feels assured that every discussion will still further practically advance the object in which Your Majesty takes so deep an interest.   .  .  . 



The Queen thanks Lord Panmure for his letter just received reporting the further proceedings respecting the Military Education, and wishes to express her satisfaction at what he has reported.


FOREIGN OFFICE, April 6, 1857.

Grounds of the Queen’s objection to giving the Bath to Turks.

I believe that the Queen objected to giving the Bath to any Turks, from the fear that some Hungarian or Polish refugees under Turkish names might get it; but such an objection seems really to have no force, because if a man has done us real good service he ought to have the Bath whatever be his nationality, and if not, not.


PY., April 7 1857.

Handwriting of Army officers.

This seems to be a very good and satisfactory arrangement; but I would add to the qualifications of an Aide-de-Camp the writing of a good legible hand, with the letters distinctly formed. I am sorry to say that the officers of the Army are apt in general to write like kitchen-maids.


April 19, 1857.

Urges departure of regiments for China or India.

  .  .  .  The more I think of it, the more anxious I feel that the three other regiments destined for China or India should proceed without delay. I have made inquiry and find that they could easily be disembarked and encamped at Point de Galle, where there are abundant supplies and water for the troops. From thence they could be directed upon whatever point might be required, and they could be at hand for any eventuality. We are now in the middle of April, and so the time is fast approaching for their regular embarkation. I hope, therefore, you will at once communicate with the Admiralty about taking up tonnage.   .  .  . 


April 24, 1857.

As to appointment of an Under-Secretary for the War Department.

  .  .  .  Your Majesty has, Lord Panmure presumes, heard from Lord Palmerston that Mr. Fitzroy declines, for family reasons, the acceptance of a post likely to afford him so little relaxation in autumn as the Under-Secretary in this Department. After considering all possible persons who have seats in Parliament, no one presents himself as being sufficiently qualified to transact the business of the Department in the House of Commons, who has ever held office, and, as Lord Panmure is compelled to seek for a new man, he feels that he cannot place confidence in any one with greater prospect of satisfaction than in Mr. Thomas Baring, 2 eldest son of Sir Francis Baring. It is almost unnecessary to inform Your Majesty that, though new to Parliament, Mr. Baring is not new to business, inasmuch as he has been for seven years in different offices, and latterly discharged with very great satisfaction to Sir Charles Wood the duties of his Private Secretary in the Admiralty.

Mr. Baring’s knowledge of military subjects has to be acquired, but he is quick, diligent, and so courteous to those with whom he comes in contact that he will soon make himself master of the details of the Department, and Lord Panmure thinks that he will eventually prove a better representative of the Department in the House of Commons than Mr. Fitzroy.

To a certain extent any new appointment must be a lottery, but should Mr. Baring accept the charge when offered to him, Lord Panmure feels Your Majesty will not be disappointed in the result.


April 25, 1857.

Appointment of Mr. Baring as Under-Secretary.

  .  .  .  The Queen had not heard a syllable from Lord Palmerston about Mr. Fitzroy’s declining the Under-Secretaryship, nor indeed about Mr. Peel’s resignation. She knows nothing of Mr. Baring either privately or publicly, and must therefore take him entirely on trust; but as you vouch for his efficiency for so very important a post, she is ready to sanction his appointment. She trusts that, under the circumstances, Lord Palmerston will give himself some personal attention to the passing the Army Estimates, which otherwise the Queen must fear would run great danger.

The Queen has received the Departmental Returns for the last quarter, and I have carefully studied them. They are very well made out. The fact that Enfield still returned only 112 finished muskets in the quarter surprises me!


April 25, 1857.

Submits instructions drawn up for General Ashburnham.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to transmit to Your Majesty the instructions which have been drawn up for Lieut.-General Ashburnham, and likewise those issued for the guidance of the several departments, Medical, Commissariat, and Financial.

The memorandum defining the relative position of the General and the Admiral is, as nearly as possible, a copy of a similar document issued by the late Duke of Wellington on the occasion of the last war in China.

These papers are meant to be retained by Your Majesty, and Lord Panmure trusts that they will meet with Your Majesty’s approval.


April 25, 1857.

Under-Secretary of the War Department.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to acquaint Your Majesty that, after careful discussion, the Cabinet have come to the conclusion that it will be too great a risk to call upon a new member, entirely unpractised in the House of Commons, to plunge at once into the details of conflict of the Army Estimates. Lord Panmure defers to the opinion of his colleagues without giving up his own as to Mr. Baring’s powers.

Lord Palmerston will now submit to Your Majesty the name of Sir John Ramsden. He was in the late Parliament, and moved the Address in a somewhat remarkable speech, which elicited much praise from competent judges. He made another good speech on the subject of transportation, and is a country gentleman of high character, fortune, and position. He is an agreeable person to work with, and in the dearth of choice may be as good as any.

Lord Panmure will spare no pains to give him a full insight into his work.

In military affairs Lord Palmerston has signified his intention of giving all personal assistance, and Lord Panmure thinks that he will himself introduce the Army Estimates, relying for this Session upon the Under-Secretary of State to fight the details, assisting him when necessary.

Lord Panmure feels naturally most anxious in this state of affairs, but trusts that difficulties will disappear.


BUCKINGHAM PALACE, April 27, 1857.

The Queen has to acknowledge Lord Panmure’s letter of the day before yesterday. She has since heard from Lord Palmerston on the subject of the Under-Secretary for the War Department, and has sanctioned it being offered to Sir J. Ramsden. Whatever Mr. Baring’s merits may be, she thinks that a person accustomed to speaking and to the House of Commons is fitter for such a post than one who is totally new to both.


April 28, 1857.

As to inducements to labourers to settle at Enfield.

I return Colonel Dixon’s letter, and am much pleased to see from it that he has better hopes for the future. Addition and attention to the comforts and well-being of the labourers in cottages, schools, Sunday-schools, playground, free library, savings-bank, etc., would do much to induce the best to come to Enfield, and would be an admirable example generally.


April 29, 1857.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to acquaint Your Majesty that a five brass gun on a suitable carriage has arrived from Turkey in Y.M.S. Sphinx.

A present from the Sultan.

The gun is a present from the Sultan to Your Majesty, in commemoration of the late war, and Lord Panmure would be glad to receive Your Majesty’s commands as to its ‘location.’

The lower end of St. James’s Water, within the railing, occurs to Lord Panmure as a suitable situation. It would not interfere with the Parade, and it would be seen by the public.

Until Your Majesty’s pleasure is known, Lord Panmure has ordered the storekeeper at Portsmouth to take charge of the gun. Its weight will be about two tons, and the carriage three tons. It is about 160 years old.

Lord Panmure has the honour to forward in this box a submission of the name of Admiral Hamelin as a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath. This honour is in exchange for similar rank in the Legion of Honour already bestowed upon Sir James Douglas.


April 29, 1857.

Royal Commission to inquire into Medical Administration of the Army.

Lord Panmure presents his humble duty to Your Majesty, and has the honour to submit to Your Majesty the draft of a Royal Commission to inquire into the Medical Administration of the Army.

Many of the points referred to in this document might be dealt with at once by the hand of authority, subject to Your Majesty’s approval; but they entail expense, and the opinions of such a Commission will weigh more with the House of Commons than any arguments of a Minister in favour of the increased estimate.

The names in the Commission which Your Majesty may not recognise are Dr. Alexander, Sir Thomas Phillips, and Dr. Martin.

Dr. Alexander is in the Army Medical Department, holding the rank of Local Inspector of Hospitals, and signalised himself as being one of the most efficient officers in the Crimea. Sir Thomas Phillips is the legal member, and is the gentleman who so distinguished himself at the Monmouth Riots as to receive his title at Your Majesty’s hands.

Dr. Martin is an eminent surgeon and physician in the retired service of the East India Company, and well acquainted with all the diseases of hot climates.

When Your Majesty has approved of the object and instructions of the Commission, the formal steps will be immediately taken for its issue.


ST JAMES’S PALACE, April 30, 1857.

  .  .  .  There are many subjects that require discussion between us, and none more so than that very abominable case of the Chaplain-General writing directly in his own name to the Times a sort of attack upon what we are doing, though why or wherefore he writes this attack I cannot imagine.

I am also anxious to get the Council of Education definitely settled before Parliament meets, so that we have a good case to go before the House should any question be put.

Four more regiments to be sent to India.

I am very glad the Cabinet have decided to send four more regiments to India, in addition to the four ordered to China. This is as it should be. I sent Yorke to you to-day to make some proposals as to the regiments to be sent. I do hope you will insist on the Admiralty not permitting the Transit to go on to China. She will never get there, and it would be unjustifiable to sacrifice so many most valuable lives.

The letter from Outram 3 is most interesting, and I am much obliged to you for having allowed me to peruse it. It appears to me very fortunate that we have succeeded in making peace with Persia.

Footnotes to Chapter 28

  1. An Order was issued that no officer who had not passed the Staff College should obtain a Staff appointment. This was soon modified in practice.
  2. Afterwards Lord Northbrook and Viceroy of India.
  3. Sir James Outram, lately in command of the Persian expedition.
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