HC Deb 05 April 1852 vol 120 cc683-4

said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department. The right hon. Gentleman had given notice on Friday night, that if the House should agree to the second reading of the Militia Bill, he would move in Committee the insertion of a clause providing that any person who should have served in the militia for two years should be entitled to be registered, and to vote for the county in which he resided. The question he had to ask of the right hon. Gentleman was, whether he contemplated the extension of a similar privilege to any other branch of Her Majesty's military service?


Sir, with reference to the notice I gave the other night I have to observe that I intended to take the earliest opportunity to-day, even although the hon. and gallant Colonel had not put his question, of stating that I thought that notice had been given too hastily. The proposition originated with myself, and I thought it would have been a good proposition for three purposes, namely, first, that it might induce respectable persons to volunteer for the militia; secondly, that it might ensure a continuous residence on the part of the volunteers, so that they might be ascertained from year to year; and, thirdly, that it might hold out a reward for public services rendered by them in volunteering to enter the militia. But since I gave that notice, I have had an opportunity of consulting more fully with all my Colleagues; and they think there are so many difficulties, and so many objections to the plan which I proposed, that, as I said before, I had intended to take the earliest opportunity of stating to the House, as I now state, that I do not intend to press that notice if the Militia Bill should go into Committee. Perhaps I may add, in answer to the particular question put by the hon. and gallant Member, that even if I thought it right to press that Motion, I should have contended—as I certainly do contend—that there is very little, if any, analogy between a force raised in the shape of a militia, consisting chiefly of civilians, and soldiers or sailors in the Army or Navy, who continue permanently under the control of their officers.

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