Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).
implying that I have departed from the customs of Her Majesty's service. Permit me to say, I have rightly adhered to the custom prevailing since 1878 (though I have dilfered in applying as citizen), a custom which has on other occasions been recognized in words of loyalty, love and encouragement to the principle of Canadians seeking service in the Imperial army.
In 1878, an officer high in authority in Canada, a then deputy adjutant general, volunteered in his military capacity direct to the Imperial government to raise a Canadian corps. He was courteously thanked and encouraged by the home authorities. On subsequent occasions others made direct application, and I never learned of but one instance before where the procedure was questioned, and that only questioned before action. A Halifax officer made direct application, not as a citizen as I did, but officially as a militia officer of Canada, to enrol a corps for the Imperial service. My information is that, the right hon. the present Secretary of State for the Colonies at first deemed the proper course of the application to have been through the Canadian government and His Excellency, it being an official military application. The decision, as I am informed, was that while a Canadian officer, yet the gentleman had the same rights as any English, Scotch or Irish subject in the empire, that any one in Great Britain could volunteer to the right hon. the Secretary of State for War, or to him for the colonies and not through the Home Secretary, so in case of the Halifax officer, it was not deemed necessary for him to apply through the Canadian government and His Excellency. Such is my information from very high sources, and it has the advantage of seeming sensible.
Further, I have on two former occasions made direct application (after finding previous official offers had been suppressed by the then General Officers Commanding), each time as on this occasion as citizen, viz., not signing myself officially, merely stating my qualifications and Canadian positions ; and in each instance I was thanked most courteously by the. Secretary of State for War. The procedure was not in even the slightest called in question or deemed irregular. Therefore, the custom is all in favour of mjr action.
Furthermore, I fail to find in the laws and customs of the Canadian constitution anything against my acting as I did, and I respectfully ask to have pointed out the authority which any one in connection with the government of Canada has for catechising me as officer of the militia of Canada for my legal, loyal and honourable conduct as citizen of the British Empire.
May I also inquire, for my information and guidance, to have the authority quoted which permits the General Officer Commanding, as officer directly under the Minister of Militia, to receive and transmit as General Officer Commanding, commands from His Excellency? As citizen and as militia officer, I have ever understood the law and custom of the constitution to require commands in the militia to emanate from the Minister of Militia, directed, it may be, by order in council. Further, where is the authority for communications from His Excellency to come through the General Officer Commanding instead of the Secretary of State?
Therefore, while I am determined to obey those in authority in militia affairs, be the command right or wrong, yet I am equally desirous of becoming familiar with the laws and customs bearing on those matters. May I respectfully Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).
request that you will be so good as to quote me the authority-
(a) Which forbids me as citizen of the British Empire, though an officer of the Canadian militia, from offering to the British government to enrol a corps for the Imperial service, especially when I had concurrently made an official military application through my district officer commanding to the same effect.
(b) Which authorizes my being reprimanded as militia officer for my honourable act as citizen of the British Empire.
(c) Which permits the General Officer Commanding to receive and transmit any commands from His Excellency without its being an order in council, and then only by order of the Minister of Militia.
(d) Which, enacts that I as militia officer am deprived of any privilege enjoyed by any other citizen of Canada, not a militiaman.
(e) Which sanctions the notion that honour-i able and loyal acts of one as citizen of Canada
who chances to be a militia officer can possibly be subject to the militia authorities just as if the person were in the permanent service.
(f) Which allows an acknowledgment from the light hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies to me to be forwarded through the General Officer Commanding without the order of the Minister of Militia; and
(g) Which recommends such an acknowledgment to be embodied in the same letter as one calling upon me to give reasons for my conduct and in another paragraph making assertions not consistent with the facts.
Inasmuch as the letter was doubtless dictated without a correct knowledge of the facts of the case, or of the law and custom of the Canadian constitution. I shall be glad to return it if desired; otherwise I must respectfully ask permission, in the absence of authority being shown in support of the position therein taken, to use the letter to test the matter further.
I have the honour to be, sir,
Your obedient servant,
SAM. HUGHES. Lt.-Col.,
C.O. 45th ' Victoria ' Batt.
Later on, the general points out that I had disobeyed the command of His Excellency, and which command, I say with all due deference, His Excellency had no more right to give than that child there.
I have already referred to the action of the British government in relation to the com- [DOT] mander-in-chief ; an officer who holds a much higher position than does the general officer commanding in this country. In reply to that letter I wrote asserting my rights as a citizen. I find a letter from Col. Foster, written to me direct, in which he views the situation and states :
September ID, 1899. Lieut.-Col. S. Hughes, M.P.,
Commanding 45th Battalion,
Dear Colonel Hughes,-Your long official letter of 2nd September regarding your application to raise a Canadian regiment for Imperial service abroad, has reached headquarters and awraits the return of the Major General Commanding next week.
I am writing privately to you to ask if you will not take advantage of the delay before your letter must be laid before the General, to with-
draw it, which X would earnestly ask you to do before the General has to take official notice : of it. You will remember that in the case of i a former letter of a similar description you wero good enough to allow me to have a long talk with you about it, after which you withdrew it as likely to cause friction and lead to no good t result, I "was much relieved by your decision in that case, and I cannot help hoping that on reconsideration you will perhaps allow me to ] persuade you to take the same action with regard to the present letter. Of course as a citizen you are at liberty to express your views in any way you like and on any subject, but as officer commanding a battalion, it would, 1 am sure, be quite impossible for any general to overlook the character of your letter, which from a military point of view could only be considered as inconsistent with discipline.
There is no one who has a better appreciation of your value and good points as a commanding officer and as a soldier than the General and myselfj and in writing to you privately I am. believe me, entirely actuated by a wish to prevent trouble arising in connection with a matter as to which you have received the appreciation of Mr. Chamberlain, His Excellency and the General. It would seem an infinite pity if the loyalty and patriotism you have shown in your offer should only result in making your military position here untenable, and I sincerely hope that you will not hastily decide to reject my friendly suggestion. Before answering this letter, I would ask you to carefully and patiently consider it. It is indeed prompted only by very friendly feelings, and I trust you will receive it in the spirit in which it is written.
Believe me, dear Colonel Hughes,
Yours very sincerely,