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been made to me by a noble lord opposite," consideration of the King's German Lewho wished the business to be postponed, on "gion having so frequently distinguished grounds which appeared reasonable, I ac-" themselves against the enemy, and parquiesced in that wish, and the matter has "ticularly upon the occasion of the recent stood over from the early day of the ses- "victory obtained near Salamanca, his sion which I first fixed upon till the pre-." royal highness the Prince Regent is sent time. But if the papers, Sir, for" pleased, in the name, and on the behalf which I shall now move, are refused, I" of his Majesty, to command, that the shall have reason to regret my ac- "officers who are now serving with temquiescence, for there are several persons "6 porary rank in the several regiments of now unavoidably absent who would have" that corps, shall have permanent rank in supported my motion, if brought forward" the British army, from the date of their on the day originally fixed; and I shall respective commissions."-I will not have reason to impute to the noble lord, call this, Sir, an infraction in the law, for as a motive for delay, merely the wish to happily the law will be found to offer a resist me by a greater majority than he resistance too strong to be borne down by could have presented without it. I trust it; but it certainly is an attempt to vioand believe, however, that the delay was late the law, an attempt to give duration not requested with this view; but for the to the services of officers beyond the limits sufficient reasons then assigned by the assigned to them by an express act of par. noble lord. It will be in the recollection liament-an attempt to put them on an of several members present who belonged equality, in point of permanency, with to the former parliament, that in the the officers of the British army. The law course of last session I called the attention limits the duration of the services of the of the House to the infraction of the law German Legion to the period of the war of the land, which was committed by the and twelve months after, but it would seem introduction of foreign officers into native to be the intent of this Order in defiance of regiments; it will be also recollected, the statute to render the existence of that that the consequence of the motion I then corps permanent. It is possible, Sir, that made was the production of returns which, the Order in question may receive a difthough regular in their form, were im- ferent interpretation from that which I perfect in their essence: as they included give it, from the noble lord opposite; only the foreign officers on home service, and, therefore, in order that I may not ocand did not embrace those employed cupy the attention of the House needabroad; the reason assigned for the im-lessly, before I proceed further, I shall beg perfection being, that it was found impos- leave to ask the noble lord whether I have sible to ascertain, within the time speci- correctly understood the drift of the Orfied, the number of officers of the de- der, for without some explanation on that scription in question who were engaged head, I might found argument on what in the latter service. In consequence of would possibly turn out to be a complete this defect, one of my objects to night is, misconception. to obtain the information I then sought to a greater extent than I could then obtain it, to ascertain the total number of foreign officers who have been introduced into our native corps, and also to ascertain the number of such officers employed upon the staff; for the House will bear in mind, that it has been provided by an express statute, that even the officers of the 60th regiment, who are chiefly foreigners, shall not be capable of holding staff employ-invidious sense) all the advantages enjoyed ments. The circumstance, Sir, upon which by British officers? Are they, by virtue I grounded my notice of motion was, an of it, to be rendered not removable from Order which issued from the Horse- the service at a particular time? Are they Guards in August last, and which I deem to be entitled to half-pay? it necessary to read to the House, as it appeared in the Gazette on the 18th of that month. It is as follows:-" War-Office, “August 18, 1812.-MEMORANDUM, In
Lord Palmerston begged the noble lord would repeat his construction of the words of the Order.
Lord Folkestone proceeded. I am sorry I have not been fortunate enough to make myself understood to the noble lord; but to be as plain as I can, my object is to know, whether the Order be intended to give to the foreign officers foisted into our service (I do not use the expression in an
Lord Palmerston. They are not meant to have any privileges or advantages in the service which may militate against the law. It was neither the intention, nor
can it be the effect of the Order to give the officers of the German Legion any privileges or advantages inconsistent with the provisions of the Act under which they were serving.
in the name and on behalf of his Majesty, has been pleased to confer permanent rank on the officers of the German Legion, who had hitherto only enjoyed temporary rank. Why, Sir, none of them had any thing but temporary rank. The corps itself is but temporary; and here, Sir, I shall take the opportunity of stating a curious fact connected with the present subject, and which will show how unreasonable it would be to grant that privi. lege to the officers of the German Legion which I was led to apprehend had been granted to them. It is a rule in the service, that even natives who enter it as officers in any but the lowest rank, cannot be promoted or have more than temporary rank, and sir Thomas Graham, who lately received the thanks of this House, having entered the service as a colonel, is a memorable instance of the truth of this fact. Officers of this description receive no promotion, but remain in the situation in which they first enter the service. Now, Sir, there surely seems to be no good reason why foreigners should enjoy privileges from which his Majesty's subjects are themselves debarred; but that would be the case if the German officers were to have permanent rank. These people came over here in great numbers in the year 1804; it was a sufficient evil that they were then promoted, one made a colonel, and another a lieutenant-colonel, with temporary rank, because they were barons and counts, and highly connected, but now they are advancing to shoulder British general officers, who have risen progressively to their
Lord Folkestone resumed. If that be the case, then the law is altogether nugatory; it is a mere nothing: but the terms in which it is couched are manifestly inconsistent with the explanation given by the noble lord. As I before stated, the Order could not, if it were meant to do so, impugn the Act of Settlement, and overstep that act by which the German Legion was embodied; but unquestionably the manner in which it was worded was extremely repugnant to the spirit of that act; and for this, since the noble lord has dissipated my apprehensions of an injury to the constitution being meditated, I can only account by supposing, that the dictionary referred to at the War-office affords a greater variety of meanings to ordinary terms than any thesaurus of the language in common use. According to the explanation given by the noble lord, it might be supposed, that the ministers at the War-office considered the meaning of the words temporary' and 'permanent' to be the same, but until the War-office could transform the English language as they had transformed the English army, the true sense would be perfectly obvious to every man who had sense to comprehend any thing. It appears, then, Sir, by his statement, that here is an advantage and no advantage; a boon is granted to the officers of the German Legion, and the reason assigned for it is, their distinguished and meritorious conduct when brought to act against the enemy." In consideration," says the Gazette," of the King's German Legion having so frequently distinguished themselves against the enemy, particularly in the recent battle of Salamanca!"-And this is certainly what would justify a boon of no ordinary mag-be nitude; yet when this mighty reward comes to be examined it turns out to be one of a most unsubstantial nature; one with which, if the officers of the German Legion be satisfied, we cannot sufficiently admire their moderation. The noble lord would answer, perhaps, with equal intelligibility, that this was meant as a reward for meritorious service, but what boon was it to tell a man that something should be bestowed upon him, which, from a positive enactment, could never be realized? The Order states, that his Royal Highness,
k, out of employment, to be invested with the command of garrisons and districts, even in this our native land, and it would be rather too much to add to it by now giving them an advantage which a Briton entering the service of his sovereign, under the same circumstances, is rendered incapable of enjoying; it would
violating, moreover, if not the letter, certainly the spirit of the Act by which he is so incapacitated. On what principle could this be attempted? One of then had actually the command of a district-how was this innovation defended by his Majesty's ministers, in the teeth of the Act of Settlement and of that by which they were embodied. But let us contrast with a little attention the words of the Order with what has been said by the noble lord. Does there not seem to be a strange inconsistency, resulting from such a contrast; the Order
says, that the German officers shall have permanent rank in the British army; the Act of Settlement says, that they shall not have more than temporary rank, and the noble lord says, that the Order and the Act are not in the least at variance. Was it that at the War-office, not being able to comprehend their own Order, they were actually incompetent to understand the obvious wording of an act of parliament? Did they make any nice distinction between what they might call temporarily permanent,' and 'permanently temporary?' Let others solve this difficulty as they may; for my part I cannot, by any effort of mine, comprehend what the nature of this permanent-temporary rank is, or how these conflicting terms can be brought into such close alliance. And let me observe, Sir, that there is no explanation in the Order of this language. If this permanent rank were confined to the German Legion, no person could object to it; for, as the German Legion itself is only temporary, it could only be temporary also.-But the Order expresses, "c permanent rank in the British army;" which does not stand on a temporary basis, as the officers are not liable to be dismissed like those of the German Legion, and are also legally entitled to half-pay. Most assuredly an explanation is desirable, if it were only to prevent those who are not so well versed in the bearing of adjectives as the scholars of the War-office, from supposing that Order was either framed by very ignorant persons, or with a view to entrap the unwary Germans (equally ignorant with themselves of the English language) and make them combat with greater zeal, inspired by gratitude for advantages they were never to enjoy. However this may be, Sir, I am happy at having obtained an assurance from the noble lord that no infraction of the law is intended; for, to my certain knowledge, the apprehension that such was the intention, has created much disturbance and uneasiness in the army, which of course will now subside: and is it any wonder that it should have galled most British officers' feelings, who after having spent the greater part of their lives and wasted their fortunes in the service of their country, find the privilege of leading her gallant bands to victory, that privilege, the hope of enjoying which had sweetened so many hours of toil and danger, suddenly wrested from their grasp in favour of persons only just entered the service, and natives of a foreign land?-The
noble lord concluded by stating, that in consequence of the explanation which had been given of the Order, he would change the nature of his motion. The motion which he originally intended to have made was merely for papers: but he would with the leave of the House submit a motion, which should extort from the War-office such an interpretation of the Order, such an exposition of their own meaning, as to convince the officers of the British army, that they would not receive that injury and insult, which they at present believed was intended, and would undeceive the German Legion as to the boon which they supposed had been bestowed upon them.-[His lordship here consulted with the gentlemen about him.]
He then stated that he was not prepared to submit the motion, to which he had alluded, that evening, and it was suggested, by several of his friends, that the best way would be, as a ground-work for his ultimate object, to confine himself to a part of his original motion, which he would do. His lordship then moved-"That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, that he will be graciously pleased to order that there be laid before the House copies of all Orders issued from the War-office, respecting the rank of the officers serving in the King's German Legion."
Lord Palmerston said, if the laconic extheplanation he had been permitted to give, had so far altered the view which the noble lord had taken of the subject, as to cause him to vary, in a considerable degree, the course he at first intended to pursue, he could not help flattering himself, that if he had been suffered to answer the noble lord's speech, before he made it, or rather, to have explained the terms of the Order, he might have spared him some trouble, though the House would have been thereby deprived of the advantage of listening to his eloquence and his humour. This speech was entirely grounded upon misconception. He ap prehended the difference between him and the noble lord arose from a source which often occasioned disagreement-it proceeded from a mere dissimilarity of opinion as to the meaning of certain words, which could very readily be rectified. Here there was a misconception of the word' permanent,' not unnatural with those who were not acquainted with the technical terms of the British army, a knowledge of which was sufficient to settle the
whole question. The words temporary and permanent were only used to point out different ranks, contra-distinguished in one respect, but not in others, which might be applied in the ordinary acceptation of the words. Permanent rank was that which was common to every officer in the British army-temporary rank varied from it, and was conferred on those who raised men, or performed other services, for the purpose of obtaining high commissions, without proceeding by the previous steps to promotion, and were precluded from precedence and command, except in the particular corps in which the rank was obtained. It did not, generally, confer promotion in the brevet of the army, nor did it, as it ceased with the reduction of the corps in which it was given, entitle the person holding it to half-pay. So far the noble lord might be well-founded in his construction of the Order; for, if there were no act of parliament, it would be giving them a more durable situation than if they possessed merely temporary rank. But the House must be aware, as well as those who framed the Order, and those to whom it was addressed, that it was so construed with reference to the act of parliament, by which the German Legion was embodied and retained in the service. The Order now in question implied nothing contrary to the law; neither did it apply to all the officers in the German Legion, but only to those of superior rank. It was by no means correct to say, that all the officers in our foreign corps had only temporary rank. Such as were appointed in the commencement were certainly in that predicament; but as vacancies occurred they were filled up by persons upon whom permanent rank was conferred, and who were placed in every respect on a footing with their brother officers.-Many of our foreign corps were in fact brought into service, complete established corps. The Germans however were not so, but the officers and privates were for the most part individuals who had been in th Hanoverian service, and it was deemed necessary that they should be united-it was considered, however, equally necessary that the officers should hold the same regimental rank in the new corps, which they held previously when in the German service. But the analogy of our service had been preserved: the first officers had only temporary rank: but the whole of the corps were not serving with tempo
rary rank. The noble lord, however, seemed to think, that all the officers of the German Legion possessed only temporary rank at the time the Order was issued; but if he looked to the Army List, he would see that not merely in the German Legion, but in all the foreign corps, though the generals and colonels had only temporary rank, yet all those officers who had been promoted as vacancies arose, were appointed with the ordinary rank of the army-so that it must at once be seen that this Order did not apply to all ranks, but to those who, having perhaps had an opportunity of being more particularly useful to the service, were selected as worthy of extraordinary approbation. If the noble lord asked, as it was a fair question and the drift of his argument went that way, whether, these foreign officers acting under laws which declared their services of a temporary nature, it was intended that they should possess rank longer than the law specified? To this he must answer, certainly not; and, as he said before, the Order must be construed with reference to the act. What did the act do? It authorised the king to grant commissions and letters of service to foreigners; and did not say, that they should be different from those held by British officers. The law authorised commissions to be generally granted-and whether they were called temporary or permanent, they must be guided ultimately by the act of parliament. With this reference it would be seen that the existence of their commissions would cease with that of the corps to which they belonged. Neither did the Order entitle them to halfpay; nor did it interfere in the least degree with the interests of the British officers in our service. The act under which the German Legion was organised directed that when German officers should serve along with British, that officer should take the precedency whose commission was of the oldest date, but in no degree did it tend to violate the law, because it gave German officers no one advantage in rank, promotion, or duration of service. Then it might be asked, what would be the effect of those commissions on other points, and what benefit would the German officers derive from this Order? This advantage only did they derive from the Order, that, at the period when their commissions should cease, their rank having been the common permanent rank of the army, their names would still be
printed in the Army List, as an honourable | reward was not, and could not be deemed remembrance of the services they had a trifle; it was in truth most gratifying to done the country, and they would con- their feelings and welcome to their amtinue to bear the rank to which their bition. Those who were acquainted from merits so unquestionably entitled them. previous unhappy experience with the Now, if this permanent rank did not vio- sentiments of the noble lord on the sublate the law or the constitution, by giving ject of the employment of foreigners for to those officers a greater hold on the ser- our own and the defence of our allies, vice than they before possessed, could the would be aware that to carry this motion noble lord contend that it interfered with was not so much his object, as at the comthe rights of British officers? As to the mencement of a new parliament to make complaint, that they sometimes command- a sort of declaration that his opinions were ed native officers, it should be recollected unaltered, and that he intended to conthat the act under which they served au- tinue the same road he had pursued during thorised the formation of articles of war the last parliament. If he thought that for their government; and one of these their employment was improper, all he gave to the senior officer of a detachment, wished was, that those who entertained a the command of the whole, for the be- different sentiment should be admitted to nefit of the service, and as was usual have as much love for, and as correct views in the army in general. Those who of the constitution as their opponents.-He were acquainted with the practice of the knew that many had an objection to emarmy were perfectly aware that the of- ploying foreign soldiers on constitutional ficers of the German Legion had uniformly principles. He thought, however, that taken precedence according to the date of those who considered the circumstances of their commission, just as if they held the times, as well as the constitution of permanent rank. From all this it ap- the country, would not object to their peared, that the Order did not inter- being employed at present. If any man fere with the regular army, or with the would look at the map of Europe, and see act of parliament. The officers of the what a portion of its population the enemy Legion had always been put in brevet as had forced into hostility against this permanent, so that, in point of fact, the country, if he were also to consider the Order, so far from enabling them to limited population of these two islands, shoulder out British officers, gave them and the extensive colonies we had to deno advantage with regard to prece- fend, and the navy we had to support, it dence, or promotion, which they did appeared to him hardly possible that such not possess when they first embarked a man could now adhere to the idea of not in the service. But, it would be said, if employing foreigners in our service. this Order did not give any advantage, for Looking at the present state of the world, what purpose was it issued ?-and on this and viewing the countless hosts that were point the noble lord was very satirical, arrayed against Great Britain, single observing with great severity on the igno-handed, it seemed to him the height of rance of those connected with the War- absurdity to make such an objection. Beoffice, whom he seemed to think unac- cause our having swept the seas of our quainted with their own language. But enemies, and because our small but galhe would tell the noble lord, that the lant armies had hitherto stood undaunted Order which was issued by the Com- and unbroken before the overwhelming mander-in-chief, was intended, and was forces of France and all her dependent so understood by the officers themselves, states, was it to be urged that we were, to pay a well-merited compliment to a unaided and unsupported, capable of susvery deserving body of men, who had sig-taining for ever so unequal a contest? nalized themselves not only in one action That our foreign corps, and particularly but throughout the whole campaign. the German Legion, merited all the reSome hon. gentlemen might think it a wards that could be bestowed upon them, boon not worth having, but he was sure no man, let him belong to what party he that those who best knew their pure and might, would deny. Surely it would not honourable feelings, were convinced that be said, that the individuals now alluded it was most gratifying to them. What to were objects of censure or distrust. He they acquired was honour, the end and would beg the House to consider, who aim of a soldier; that for which he fought they were? They were not adventurers and died. To the German Legion such a intruding themselves into the service of (VOL. XXIV.)