HC Deb 08 June 1846 vol 87 cc122-3

wished to ask a question of the Secretary at War. It might be in the recollection of the House that, last Session, he had brought forward a Motion concerning limited enlistments; and the Motion now stood on the books, to be made when the Army Estimates were brought forward. He had been much surprised, on Friday last, at reading in the Times, a journal invariably correct in its statements, the following important and new clause under the head of "Mutiny Act," and he begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman if the information thus conveyed was authentic. The clause was Clause 8, as follows:— Are you willing to be attested to serve in the — regiment of — for the period of — [This blank to be filled up by the justice with 7, 14, or 21 years, as the case may be—10, 16, or 24 for cavalry, and 12, 16, or 21 for artillery, if the person is of the age of 18 or upwards; but if under the age of 18 years, then the deficiency between his age and 18 to be added to such 7, 10, 12, 14, 16, 21, and 24, (as the case may be)] years, provided Her Majesty should so long require your service, and also for such further term, not exceeding 12 months, as shall be directed by commanding officers on any foreign station, and not exceeding three years, as shall be directed by any proclamation of Her Majesty; such additional period, in the latter case, to determine whenever six months of continuance in peace, to be reckoned from the ratification of any definitive treaty, shall have elapsed subsequent to the expiration of the said 7, 10, 12, 14, 16, 21, 24, (as the case may be) years? He had read this with extreme pleasure; and he would, if he found it correct, most heartily coincide in the praise given on Saturday in the Times to the right hon. Gentleman for what was termed "the improvement." It was most important that the public should not be misled; and he begged to ask if the statement was to be relied upon that the enlistment of soldiers was, in future, to be for limited periods?


said, the statement was erroneous, and the mistake had, he supposed, originated in the appearance of a clause in the Mutiny Act this year, which had, in fact, been regularly repeated year after year, for a considerable period; but, as a matter of formality, giving the authorities the power at their discretion of permitting limited enlistments. There was, however, no intention at present to alter the practice on the subject.