HC Deb 15 March 1809 vol 13 cc538-9
Lord Castlereagh,

pursuant to notice, rose for leave to bring in a Bill to complete to its full number the Militia of Great Britain. He said he felt it unnecessary to go then into any minute detail. He should therefore only possess the house of the object of his Bill: it was to replace the number of Militiamen rendered defective by the operation of the Bill of last Session, for allowing the soldiers of the Militia to volunteer into the line. The number already so transferred was about 23,000, and what he proposed was to raise in their place a number of men equal to one half of the whole quota for the country, namely, 24,000 men, within twelve months, from an early day to be named in the Bill. Eight months to be allowed for raising the men by bounties of 10 guineas per man, to be paid by the public; but at the end of that time, if the whole should not be raised, then a Bal- lot to take place in the usual way for raising the remainder, with an allowance to each balloted man of 10 guineas towards the bounty of a Substitute, if he should not wish to serve in person. At the same time, a privilege was to be allowed to his majesty, in case of any menace of danger to the country, to direct that the ballot might proceed without delay. In the interim, he should propose that an advance be made of about two guineas per man, towards the expences of carrying on the recruiting service. He had no doubt that a considerable number of men might be raised in this way, and he hoped, in a manner satisfactory to the country, as there was no pressing necessity at present to expedite the raising of the public force, and as the mode would be less onerous upon individuals. He by no means, however, wished to have it understood that the principle of baliot was to be laid aside, although he conceived it was desirable not to resort to it without urgent necessity.

Earl Temple

said, it was not his intention to enter at present into this subject, while a business of so great importance was before the house. He wished, however, that an option should be afforded to his majesty of completing the Militia not only in case of an emergency, but at any time, he might think proper.

After some short observations from lord Milton, Mr. Shaw Lefevre, colonel Bastard, col. Frankland, and Mr. Calcraft, leave was given to bring in the Bill. Lord Castlereagh presented it accordingly. It was read the first time, and ordered for the second reading on Monday next.