HC Deb 03 July 1820 vol 2 cc142-3
Mr. Canning

gave notice of his intention on a future day to strike out the clause in the bill relating to the payment of the men. He suggested that any discussion would be more conveniently taken on the third reading.

Mr. Bernal

objected to the bill, as he thought the volunteers to the number of 800 wholly needless.

Mr. Canning

stated the nature of their establishment under the auspices of the East India company, as well as their probable duties in cases of necessity. He also referred to certain pending discussions on the subject, and to the length of time during which the corps had existed.

Mr. Hume

expressed his regret that so strong a disposition prevailed upon all occasions by the civil power to call in the aid of the military. This step had been taken on Friday last within the city of London, when, as far as he could learn, not the slightest necessity existed. This was a most dangerous practice; he hoped that England would not be changed entirely, but that the civil power now, as formerly, would be paramount. On the occasion to which he referred, a legally established body had met for legal purposes, and yet something like an attempt was made to overawe it by the presence of a military force. It was the duty of magistrates upon all occasions, as far as possible, to avoid calling in the aid of the soldiers, and then the civil power would be both obeyed and respected.

Sir W. Curtis

said, that this was the first time he bad heard that any troops had been in the city on Friday last. He had gone through the city and had seen none, and he believed that none had been there.

Mr. Hume

added, that troops were stationed in Holborn, half of which was within and half without the limits of the city.

Mr. Alderman Wood

observed, that he felt called upon to set the House and the country right regarding the soldiery in the city. Certain it was that a considerable body of life-guards had been called out on Friday last, and perhaps their horses heads might be in the city, and their tails out of it: one of them, fully armed, had come to Guildhall for orders; and the lord mayor had avowed that the military were summoned by his orders. It was not easy to see any necessity for such a proceeding, since no breach of the peace had been committed or contemplated: the meeting was most unanimous, and nothing was more unlikely than a disturbance.

The bill was then read a second time.