HC Deb 26 April 1852 vol 120 cc1114-85

said, that, previous to the House renewing the discussion on this Bill, he wished to take the opportunity of explaining a statement which he had made to the House on Friday night, which was received with incredulity, as though it were an exaggeration. That statement was, that 500 men had deserted from the regiment of militia to which he had belonged. Since the House last met he had written to the adjutant of the regiment, who had served in it for fifty-five years, and from the reply he had received, he must acknowledge that he had fallen into a very considerable error. He had also stated that 500 men had volunteered from that regiment to the line; but he found that the real number who volunteered out of a battalion of 800 men— whoso enlistment extended over a considerable period of years—was 2,144. The adjutant also told him that instead of 500 having deserted from the regiment, the actual number amounted to 881.

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [23rd April], "That the Bill be now read a Second Time:"—And which Amendment was to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."

Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


said, he had been requested by his constituents to record their strong opinion, that the measure before the House would be one of extreme disadvantage to them. It was not his wish to resume the tone in which the debate had closed on Friday night, as he considered that this question was one of far too great importance to be mixed up with any question of party or party politics of crimination on the one side, or recrimination on the other. He regarded this as a question not if this or that Militia Bill should be passed, but whether the defences of the country were adequate or not. The only reason stated by the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department for the introduction of this Bill was, that the country had been lulled into security by a long period of peace, and that it was now necessary to rouse its military energies; but people out of doors were aware that during many years past they had been paying 12,000,000l. to 15,000,000l. for naval and military establishments, and they were at a loss to know how they could be so Utterly unprepared, after having paid during the last thirty-seven years of European peace upwards of 500,000,000l. for defensive purposes. To the present measure three classes of objectors had been mentioned: first, those who believed the national defences to be sufficient; secondly, those who thought there was no necessity to disturb the whole economical arrangements of the country by introducing such a force; and, thirdly, those who believed that a militia force was the worst means that could be adopted for the defence that was desired. But he thought there was really only one class of objectors, and this comprised nearly all England. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies contented himself with basing the necessity of the Bill on the Duke of Wellington's letter in 1847; but if this were the true ground for proposing it, why had not the measure been prepared in accordance with the recommendations of the letter? The Duke of Wellington stated in that letter that he wished 80,000 men to be enrolled and embodied, whereas the proposition before the House, if he understood it rightly, was that 80,000 men should be merely enrolled, and not embodied. But with reference to the apprehensions so generally felt, one would very much like to know where the danger was to come from? Was it from Prussia, which had but two or three ships of war—from Austria, with its four or five—or from Russia? No reasonable person could suppose that she entertained aggressive designs against this country? No one could imagine that such designs were entertained by Belgium, or by Spain, which had but one ship of the line. Well, then, there was but one country in Europe from which danger could be anticipated, and that country was France. But if that were so, we ought to speak out; if there Were real danger from France, we should know what that danger was. If the French navy was superior to our own, let us put ours in such an efficient condition as would leave us nothing to dread from the attempts of any foreign State. We had always conceded to France military superiority, and have as distinctly asserted for this country maritime supremacy. He believed we had still a decided superiority in our Navy over France; and in our mercantile marine we had a very important element of force, sufficient to guarantee our coasts against invasion by the united navies of the world. The House, in his opinion, could scarcely attach too much value to the mercantile marine of this country as a means of defence. The investigation conducted by the Committee moved for by the hon. Member for Orkney (Mr. Anderson) had proved that our steam marine was as 20 to 1 compared with that of France, and that we could arm such a number of steam vessels as would make it absurd and riduculous for any country to attempt to invade England. It was said that steam navigation had made a bridge from the Continent to this country; but, if so, it should be recollected that that bridge was in our exclusive possession. We had not fewer than 1,300 steam vessels with a tonnage of 300,000 tons, and our sailing vessels had a tonnage of 4,000,000 tons; whereas France had but a tonnage of 700,000 tons, and only one vessel above 800 tons. The subject of the measure could not be regarded as one of pressing importance, each of the political parties into which that House was divided having striven in its turn to defeat the measure presented by the Government of the day. It was remarkable that nearly 800 petitions had been presented against the Bill, and not one in its favour. Nor was it correct to say, as some had done, that the petitions were against the embodiment and not against the enrolment of the militia, for there was only one petition against the embodiment of the militia, with but one signature, and all the rest were specifically against the enrolment. Assuming, however, that the necessity of some measure was made out, his conviction was that we could have no less efficient means of defence than the militia, and none more expensive. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill was, that the establishment of the militia would cost 400,000l.; whereas every one who had inquired into its cost in former days, when it really was established, knew that in 1803 in cost 2,870,000l., and in 1804 more than 6,000,000l. If the case of an attempted invasion should arise, he must confess his conviction that the establishment of volunteers would be a far more efficient mode of increasing our defences, and would interfere less with our social arrangements. But from all he had heard, he had no fear of its being put to the trial, for he had the most unlimited confidence in our maritime superiority over every other nation on the earth. Britannia needs no bulwark, No towers along the steep, Her march is on the mountain wave, Her home is on the deep. Such being his conviction he should oppose the further progress of the Bill.


said, he was anxious to occupy the attention of the House a very few minutes, whilst he stated the grounds on which he should give his vote, and the course he intended to pursue on the question before them. He believed it to be the opinion of the majority of that House, that some measure for the increase of our national defences was necessary. He took that to be generally admitted; and it must be clear to both the House and the country, that knowing the inconvenience at this time of increasing the taxation of the country, and the financial pressure that existed, two Governments would not have proposed an increase in our defences, had they not felt the absolute necessity of such a measure. It was on that ground he had concurred in the former Bill proposed to be brought in by his noble Friend the Member for London. The Administration of which he (Lord Seymour) had formed a part, well considered all the objections that would be brought against the step, on the ground of its inconvenience and unpopularity; but they did think it necessary, even in the face of all those inconveniences, to take on themselves the responsibility of reposing such a measure. His noble Friend's measure having fallen to the ground, a change of Administration subsequently took place, and then came another Bill, under another Government. It could not be supposed that the present Government, knowing the great difficulty into which the question had brought the late Government, and the feeling prevalent in the country against any measure for the enrolment of the militia, or at least for compulsory enlistment, would have brought forward such a Bill, unless they had felt compelled to do so by a sense of responsibility. They had had the opportunity of inquiring into the state of the Army and Navy; they were no party friends of the late Government, and yet they had admitted that the Army and Navy were at present in a very excellent condition. It could not, therefore, be by any improvement in those great establishments that we could expect to supply the deficiencies in our existing defences; we must, therefore, have recourse to some new means, and he wanted to know, if this Bill was to be rejected by the House, what chance there was of any other measure being brought forward. It appeared to him that if this Bill were now rejected, no Government would venture again to bring forward any measure, either for voluntary or compulsory enlistment, seeing that the House had successively rejected both the one principle and the other. In the present Bill both those principles were combined; and he did think that those who intended to support a proposal for either voluntary or compulsory enlistment, ought to vote for the second reading of the Bill. He wanted to know, if this Bill were rejected, what appearance the Government of this country would make before the Governments of Europe. We had had all our public men, the highest authorities in the country, stating that some measure of national defence was necessary, and yet, when they came before the House, they found various parties anxious, not to defeat the enemies of the country, but to defeat the government of the day. That seemed to be the only use made of the occasion by some at least. The course of proceeding upon this subject was anything but calculated to raise the character of representative governments. An attempt was made to persuade the country that no such Bill was required; but could reasonable persons think that our most experienced public men would pass three months of the Session in introducing and discussing such a measure, if they did not believe it to be necessary? It was to be hoped that the country would have a better opinion of our public men, and that they would conclude that there must be some real foundation for the views expressed as to the necessity of the measure, otherwise a different line of conduct would have been followed. The first Bill introduced was, he thought, lost on account of his noble Friend the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), who, with great anxiety and zeal, as he said, to expedite the measure, managed to destroy it. That was quite a disappointment, and arose, no doubt, from that innocent simplicity of mind which, the noble Lord ingenuously informed them the other evening, was the prevailing characteristic of his nature. But now they had another Bill brought before them, and that Bill was to be defeated because his noble Friend the Member for London said he could not allow the second reading to pass. According to his noble Friend's speech it would seem that nothing but a local militia would be advisable. The Government having determined that we were not to have a local militia, and his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) having determined that he would not have a general militia, he supposed the end would be that we were to have no militia at all. They lost the first Bill on account of its title: that which was usually settled the very last thing, was settled in the first instance, and thereby the Bill was lost. If the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton had chosen to be critical on the title of the present Bill, he might certainly have said that the title did not answer to the contents. It was called a Bill to Consolidate and Amend the Laws relating to the Militia; but there was, in fact, no consolidation whatever, as was evident to those who had looked at the Bill. Objections were brought against both features of the Bill, some persons disapproving of voluntary enlistment, and others of compulsory service. Those who objected to compulsory service, declared that it was intended to take all the industrious persons in the country from their work; those who objected to voluntary enlistment, on the other hand, said the effect would be that they would get nothing but the idle and the worthless, who would not work. Now, if we wanted men for a militia, they must be taken either from the idle or the industrious class of the population; he saw no alternative; they must be either idle or industrious—unless we could adopt the course which some African potentate was said to have embraced, of organising a battalion of ladies. His noble Friend (Lord John Russell) objected to the present Bill, because it took persons of the age of thirty-five. But to all the provisions of the Bill they did not pledge themselves by agreeing to the second reading; he believed that, by the undoubted practice of the House, the second reading would only bind them to the general principle of a measure, so that they should have either voluntary or compulsory enlistment. For his part, he should wish to omit from the Bill the provision regarding compulsory enlistment. The Government having stated that they thought they could obtain a sufficient number of men by voluntary enlistment, and there being a strong objection felt throughout the country to any other course, he thought they were bound, in the first instance, to try what voluntary enlistment would do. He should, therefore, propose to strike out the compulsory part of the Bill. His noble Friend, as he (Lord Seymour) understood, had said that he would be ready to vote for 10,000 embodied militia, though he refused his support to this Bill. He (Lord Seymour) must say that, in his mind, 10,000 embodied militia would be more objectionable than 10,000 men added to the standing Army. It appeared to him that an embodied militia would involve all the expense of a standing army, whilst it would be a force that could not, whatever might be the necessity of the case, be sent out of the country. One of the great hardships on our Army being the great amount of foreign service that fell on it, we should have 10,000 men with an amount of pay equal to the standing Army, whilst they would be excused from their share of foreign service; which would be, in his opinion, a very unjust and unwise measure, and most invidious in relation to the regular Army. Another recommendation was to increase our standing Army; but he quite agreed in what his noble Friend the Member for Tiverton said on this point—that we might get such an increase for one year, but would be unable to keep it for more, because there would be constant attacks made in that House, until the Government would be compelled to give way, and the force would, consequently, be reduced, leaving us just as we were before. Considering that we had to maintain forces in all parts of the world, he did not think we should be able to spare much from the Colonial establishments. Having been for three years the Chairman of the Committee which sat to inquire into the establishments of the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, he could say that they had gone into that inquiry most earnestly on all sides, with,- out any consideration of party, but with a strong desire to reduce the military expenditure of the country as far as was practicable. The general conclusion appeared to be, that those establishments could not be much reduced, and that any diminution in the expenditure on account of them would be a work of time. He did not agree with the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies, that no further reductions could be made; but such reductions could only be effected by a complete understanding and co-operation between the Army, Navy, Ordnance, and Treasury departments, which it was very difficult to bring about; and with such understanding, he believed that some reduction might be in time effected. He did not see how, after the declarations made on all sides, he, or any other independent Member of the House, could take upon himself the responsibility of opposing this measure, and thus leaving the country without any additional means of defence. That, however, did not in any way pledge him as to the details. He should vote, therefore, for the second reading, on the clear understanding that, when they came to the Committee, he might move to strike out certain portions of the Bill; and it appeared to him, on looking at the provisions, that its whole details would require considerable amendment.


said, that although reluctant to rise, he felt that he could not remain silent on a subject of which he must necessarily have some practical knowledge, and on which he certainly entertained a very strong feeling. He confessed that he: viewed this measure, as a military man, with very little satisfaction. If he were to consult his own feelings and judgment only, he should be disposed to record his vote against it; but when he reflected that the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, in introducing the measure, gave the House the assurance that Government had most anxiously consulted the highest military authorities of the Kingdom, and that it was on their advice, and after duly weighing the political as well as military bearings of the subject, that this course had been adopted, he felt he must defer to their superior judgment and experience, and he should therefore vote, though reluctantly, for the measure, but qualified by the expression of his own sentiments regarding it. He would not waste the time of the House by making any observations of a speculative kind on the possibilities or pro- babilities of an invasion. It was sufficient for him to know that the late Government, as well as the present, were of opinion that it was absolutely necessary that our national defences should be brought into a more effective condition; and the only question now was in what way that efficiency could be best secured consistently with reasonable economy. In his humble opinion he did not think the present measure would achieve the object. He had not lived in the Army for thirty years without forming what he considered to be a very just estimate of the value of military discipline; he did not mean merely the training of soldiers so as to render them efficient for the purpose of fighting, but the imparting habits of steady and implicit obedience, submission, and subordination to their superiors, so as to ensure that moral control without which an army was useless. This character could not be-given to a force by drilling it for a few weeks of a year. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) stated the other night that 80,000 militia would cost no more than 8,000 regular soldiers, and would be more valuable as a military force. Now, on that point he joined issue with the noble Lord; if he had his choice of the two forces, he should not hesitate to prefer 8,000 or 10,000 regular troops, for the purpose of checking an advancing enemy, to 80,000 half-disciplined and half-trained militia. He believed that number of militia would cost more than 20,000 regular troops; and, if he were not mistaken, a statement had been laid before some Members of the Government within the last two or three days, proving that to be the case. He thought, therefore, it was to be very much regretted that there should be such a strong feeling in the House and the country against any argumentation of the standing Army. He found by the Army Estimates that in Great Britain we had 4,061 cavalry, 4,640 foot guards, 22,890 infantry of the line, besides about 2,000?ecruiting troops and companies of regiments in India, making altogether a force if about 33,600. But though that number appeared disposable, the real strength would be considerably less. Then there were 16,000 pensioners, of whom not more than 5,000 or 6,000 were under the age of forty-five, at which age, it was notorious o military men, soldiers were in general worn out. We were now principally deciding on a military force of 25,000 infantry, of whom, however, about one- fifth would always be found non-effective. Now he thought that was not a satisfactory state of things, and that it was necessary that the strength of our regular troops should be increased. He thought that this would be done most efficiently and economically, so as to meet the requirements of the present crisis, without permanently adding to our standing Army, by recruiting in advance for the years 1853 and 1854. We annually recruited, on an average, about 7,500 men; but he would take 15,000 men this year, and 7,500 next year, suspending recruiting altogether in 1854. The expense of the 15,000 men for the first year would be 320,000l., and of the 7,500 men for the second year 160,000l., so that the expense of adding 15,000 men to the Army would be only 460,000 or 470,000l.; while the expense of the proposed militia was estimated at 400,000l. for the first year, and 200,000l. for each of the succeeding five years; but he believed that it really would cost nearly double that sum. The addition, too, which he proposed to make to the Army would be perfectly disciplined men, who must be much more valuable than any number of untrained and undisciplined militia. If this addition should not be enough, he should recommend the adoption of the proposition of the noble Lord the Member for the city of London (Lord J. Russell), that there should be an embodied militia of 10,000 men. He was sure that if we had a militia force at all, it should be permanently embodied, for if it was not it would be valueless, or might even be mischievous.


said, that if he was called upon to vote upon the principles enunciated by the hon. and gallant Member who had just resumed his seat, he should have no hesitation in coming to that vote, reserving to himself the right of supporting in Committee such modifications of detail as he thought a Bill of this description might require. But he was now called upon to vote for the second reading of a Bill which was called a Militia Bill. Now, such a Bill had hitherto been understood to be a Bill to raise a force entirely by the ballot; the present Bill, however, was for the raising of a subsidiary force—not a militia force—by bounty, in the same manner as the regular Army; and not only so, but it was proposed to give a larger bounty for that force than was now given for the regular troops, in the confidence that persons who had received the bounty of 6l. for being drilled twenty-one days in the first year, would return for drill in the subsequent years. This, in effect, would be to create a competition between the two recruiting parties. In a time of prosperity and full employment, such as the present, it was not easy to obtain recruits for the Army; but if a larger bounty was offered for the militia than for the regular forces, he was sure that difficulty and embarrassment to the public service would inevitably be the result. He begged to disclaim all party feeling in his objections to this measure, but really it appeared to him to be beset with great difficulties. He had, however, great objections to a Militia Bill at all. He thought they should not trouble the country with a measure of this description, which was certainly; against the feeling and spirit of the manufacturing towns, unless the Government could satisfy them that there were no other means of obtaining additional forces for the defence of the country (admitting that such were necessary), or at all events that the proposed means were the most economical to which recourse could be had, Now, he had had some experience with respect to the expense of this kind of force. He remembered, when he was in the War Office, making a calculation from which it appeared that from the peace of 1815 to 1832 the militia staff had cost 6,000,000l. or 7,000,000l., and for that sum the country had never obtained one day of efficient service. He wished to know then, before he consented to the raising of a new militia, how, if an establishment was once set on foot, it was ever to be got rid of. He had never seen this done without entailing an incumbrance on the country, in consequence of the claims of staff officers and others, which, could not be disregarded without great injustice to the individuals engaged in the service. He doubted exceedingly the reality of the alarm that had spread with respect to the danger of foreign invasion. To do the Government justice, he must say that up to the present time there did appear to be, since they had been in office, a perfectly good understanding between this country and the other nations of Europe; and while that existed he did not think that we should have an Algerine attack from, any Power, or that any attack would be made so suddenly that we should not have time to make adequate preparations against it. But at the same time, of course, if he were responsible for the safety of the country, nothing should induce him to do anything which would compromise that safety for one instant. The question was, then, what was the most economical way of adding to the defences of the country? The proposed bounty would amount to 300,000l. to begin with, and then there would be clothing, quarters, and a vast variety of other items. He thought that all the Estimates which had been laid before the House with respect to the cost of the militia force were, and necessarily must be, exceedingly vague and uncertain; and he thought also that if they were to expend the sum which was proposed, the plan of the gallant Officer who had last addressed them would be infinitely better than that contained in the Bill before the House. It was said that if 10,000 men were added to the Army, there was no security that they would not be disbanded, for the sake of economy, in a subsequent year; but what better security was there, that the House might not decline to vote the expense of the militia force? He thought the proposition of his noble Friend the Member for London (Lord J. Russell), to raise an embodied militia of 10,000 men, most objectionable. It had been remarked that our soldiers in time of peace worked harder than the soldiers of any other country in time of war, and that the portion of their time which was spent in the worst climates was greater than that which they spent at home. Why, then, enrol such a militia? Would it not be much better and fairer to the soldiery to increase the regular Army, and so give them longer periods of relief? Such an addition could be made without extra expense for staff, &c, which must be incurred if they raised an entirely new force of militia. Having been a Member of the Committee which sat for three Sessions on our Naval and Military Estimates, he must say that it was the opinion of that Committee, and it was especially his own, that great economy could be effected in our colonial military expenditure. We had for the last ten or fifteen years kept in Canada about double the force that was requisite; and this force was scattered over the country in thirteen or fourteen different stations, more for the sake of doing police duty for the inhabitants, than anything else. Then we had 400,000l. or 500,000l. of ordnance stores there, and a good deal of artillery, spread over many posts, and doing harm rather than good, in consequence of the observation that it provoked. The same thing was the case in the West Indies and elsewhere, and he had hoped that after the sitting of the Committee upon the subject, a great saving might have been effected. Our forces were so scattered that we did not know where to lay our hands upon them; and he thought therefore that concentration of them would be attended with great advantage. If, too, we apprehended danger from the facilities which steam might give an enemy in attacking this country, we should not forget the extent to which it facilitated the movements of our own troops. Great saving would be effected to the country, and great relief would be afforded to our troops, by concentrating within the narrowest possible space the military assistance that we were obliged to afford to our colonies. He thought, too, that we required a much better organisation of our forces in this country quite as much as any addition to them. No one knew what were our existing means of defence. He could not conceive, too, why the most could not be made of the offers of volunteer service as rifle corps, which had been made. He did not mean that we should depend upon them actually to go into the field; but suppose that we were suddenly called upon to concentrate our forces for the sake of defending some particular point, the volunteers would be an admirable force to supply their place for home duty. Suppose that we were compelled to withdraw even the police from their own districts, some preparation should be made for supplying their places. He objected most strongly to having 80,000 partially trained men roaming about the country, after their habits had been unsettled, which would be the case if they adopted this Bill. He had no faith, supposing that we did want additional means of defence, that either the present Bill, or the Militia Bill of the late Government, would have provided it either efficiently or economically. He thought it was very wrong to disturb the country after it had been so long at peace, and when it was unaccustomed to measures of this kind, although he quite admitted that if danger should arise, it would be the duty of the Government not merely to enrol men for this temporary service, but to call the whole of the militia out, as he believed that the Crown had still the power to do. He did not think, however, that sufficient grounds had been stated to justify an addition to our defensive forces, and there- fore, however reluctant he might he to vote against a measure which the Government no doubt believed would be advantageous to the country, he should be compelled to oppose the second reading of the Bill.


said, it seemed to be generally admitted that it was necessary we should have an increase of force in this country of some kind or another—one important proof of which was to be found in the fact that two Governments in succession had brought in Bills for the enrolment of a militia—and, although numerous plans had been mentioned in the course of the debate for the purpose of supplying the acknowledged deficiency in a better manner than by a militia force, he felt bound to conclude that all those plans had been previously under the consideration of both Cabinets, and had been rejected in consequence of some insurmountable defect. The responsible opinions of two Administrations, most solemnly declared to the House of Commons, ought, he thought, to outweigh the suggested doubts of various parties as to the reality of the danger. For his own part, he believed in the possible danger; and he looked with considerable distrust upon that species of argument offered against the proposal of a militia, which went to show that, because no previous modern attempt at the invasion of Great Britain had succeeded, therefore any attempt at any future time must be a failure. But, in consequence of the introduction of steam, the base of operation had been very much enlarged since the late war, and now extended from the harbour of Brest to Boulogne and Calais, and this very much altered the state of affairs. The question as to whether or not our present resources were adequate for our defence was not an abstract question. It was easily settled by reference to the Military Estimates; and those statistics seemed to him to put beyond all manner of doubt the fact that it was necessary to create an entirely new reserve defensive force. It had been stated in previous debates by the hon. Members for Montrose and Lambeth, that we had at our command a force of from 150,000 to 160,000 men for the defence of this country; and on Friday evening last it was stated in broad terms by the hon. and gallant General the Member for Westminster (Sir De L. Evans), that we had a force of from 85,000 to 100,000 men. He thought he (Colonel Lindsay) could show the House that both those statements were perfectly fallacious. It was true that the number of men which the House had voted for the present year amounted to 101,937; but from this number must be deducted 4,519 officers, and 7,237 sergeants and drummers, leaving only 90,181 rank and file. Of these there were—in the Colonies, 38,062; in Ireland, 19,668; leaving, for the defence of the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands, only 32,451. He excluded Ireland from his computation, for this obvious reason, that if an invasion of England were projected, there would doubtless be a simultaneous invasion of Ireland; and hence it would be perfect madness to attempt to withdraw a single man from that country. Now, of the regulars there were in the United Kingdom and Channel Islands 4,801 cavalry, 27,650 infantry, and 9,222 artillery, making in all 41,673. To these there must be added 9,608 pensioners (the remaining pensioners being in Ireland and the colonies), making a total of 51,281. But these were merely paper men, because from every 1,000 men they must deduct, at the very least, 100 for casualties. Deducting, then, 5,120 for sickness, desertion, and the like, this would leave only 46,161 men available for service. Adding to these the dockyard battalions, consisting of 9,442 men, the number would be raised to 55,603. The noble Lord the Member for London, in his computation the other evening, spoke of 41,000 in Great Britain and Ireland; but this did not leave a single man for the garrisons, of which we had six or seven in this country which must be held, and for that duty he (Colonel Lindsay) estimated that not less than 30,000 men would be required, thus leaving only 25,603 men available for field duty, or for the defence of the metropolis, namely, 4,321 cavalry, and 21,281 infantry and artillery. Several hon. Members had included the marines and the coast guard in their calculations; but he deducted these for this reason, that whenever a shot was fired they must go on board the fleet. This deficiency of force being palpable, what the House of Commons had now to decide upon was, how the required increase was to be obtained. Several of the speakers in the debate, and in particular the right hon. Gentleman who had last spoken, had advocated the; recalling to this country of the troops now stationed in several of the colonies. Now, as he regarded it, this question of leaving those of the colonies who possessed repre- sentative institutions to take measures for their own defence, was in itself one of such importance that it could not he adequately considered when thus mixed up with the question of a Militia Bill. That is a question which must he deliberately debated, and decided upon its own merits; and ho would, therefore, in the remarks he had to make, leave the colonial reference altogether out of sight. Another proposal was, that the standing Army be increased. As a soldier, he would say, that although he had the greatest desire to see the Army popular with the country, and not more burdensome than was absolutely necessary, he was much opposed to any plan based upon an increase of the standing Army. The hon. and gallant Member (Sir De L. Evans) who had proposed the Amendment, had expressed an opinion that 20,000 well-trained soldiers were quite equal in the field to 80,000 militia or raw soldiers. But, in this case, what was wanted was not an efficient army, so much as a large numerical force, disposable for garrison purposes. He (Colonel Lindsay) would no doubt prefer to have 20,000 soldiers rather than 80,000 militiamen, if he were in the field, and anticipated a general engagement; but, for merely defensive purposes, as now contemplated, he would prefer a militia to an increase of the standing Army. The expenses of the proposed increase of the standing Army had not, he thought, been sufficiently considered. The cost of the Army, as it now stood, namely, for 101,937 men, for pay and clothing, and deducting the pay of the officers, was about 2,000,000l. Estimating the expenses of a force of 20,000 men in the same proportion, for pay, clothing, and levying, would be 572,6411. But even then they would not be done with the expenses. One of the complaints of the officers of the Army now was, that while compulsory power over the men had been taken from the colonels— which he, for one, was very far from regretting—they had not provided sufficient, though they had provided some, encouragement to the men to conduct themselves well. Ho alluded particularly to the barracks. It was notorious that the barracks were universally too small, and that the men had not sufficient room for comfort in them; and he wanted to know how, with the present accommodation, they were to provide for an extra 20,000? Either the House of Commons would have to consent to the expense of new barracks, or to rendering the rest of the Army un-comfortable and discontented. There were other smaller expenses to be estimated, and these he could not put down at less than an additional 60.000l. or 70,000l. per annum. Such an expense as this, inseparable from the suggested increase of the standing Army, might he agreed to in one Session; but the probability was that it would not be endured for more than the one Session. Then came the question of the volunteers. Both the present and the preceding Governments had been attacked for their indifference to the alleged aid that was to be derived from a volunteer force. He greatly doubted the value of these proffers. He had seen a periodical excitement in this country on the subject of invasion very quickly aroused, and very quickly assuaged. Were an enemy on our shores, he did not doubt at all that the people would rush to arms, and that there would be thousands of volunteers anxious to have their services accepted by the Government. But a volunteer force was a force springing up in an excitement, and could never be relied on as a permanent, enduring force. On this point he would read a significant passage from the letter of the Duke of Wellington to Sir John Burgoyne:— We hear a great deal of the spirit of the people of England, for which no man entertains higher respect than I do. But, unorganised, undisciplined; without systematic subordination established and well understood; this spirit, opposed to the fire of musketry and cannon, and to sabres and bayonets of disciplined troops, would only expose those animated by such spirit to confusion and destruction. Let any man only make the attempt to turn to some use this spirit in a case of partial local disturbance. The want of previous systematic organisation and subordination will prevent him from communicating with more than his own menial servants and dependents; and, while mobs are in movement through the country, the most powerful will find that he can scarcely move from his own door. It had been not very judiciously remarked, that this letter had been written when the Duke of Wellington was in his 77th year, and that had his Grace been younger, he would have been less alarmed. But no one knew better than the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) the untruth of the supposition upon which those remarks upon the Duke of Wellington were founded. The noble Lord could hear testimony that the faculties of the illustrious Duke were in no way impaired, and that during the alarms and excitements of 1848 the noble Lord had received that sagacious counsel from the Duke of Wellington, which was to be expected from a great, an experienced, and an energetic soldier. The opinions of the Duke of Wellington upon the military condition of this country were, therefore, to be received with the deference due to so great a man, whose faculties were in no way enfeebled by age, and who was as competent to direct and lead as he was twenty or thirty years ago. And let it be remembered, these opinions of the Duke of Wellington were not new with him. This was what he had said in one of his despatches to Lord William Bentinck, in December, 1811, speaking of the dependence that was to be placed upon what was called national enthusiasm:— The enthusiasm of the people is very fine, and looks well in print, but I have never know it produce anything but confusion. In France it was power and tyranny, acting through the medium of popular societies, which have ended by overturning Europe and establishing the most powerful and dreadful tyranny that ever existed. In Spain the enthusiasm of the people spent itself in vivas and vain boasting. The notion of its existence prevented even the attempt to discipline the armies; and its existence has been alleged ever since as the excuse for the ignorance of the officers and the indiscipline and constant misbehaviour of the troops. I therefore earnestly recommend you, wherever you go, to trust nothing to the enthusiasm of the people. Give them a strong and a just, and, if possible, a good government; but, above all, a strong one, which shall enforce on them to do their duty by themselves and their country. He (Colonel Lindsay) now came to the Bill before the House. He certainly could not see the precise grounds upon which those who had supported the Bill of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) could oppose this Bill, for it seemed to him that all the objections which they had urged to this Bill were quite applicable to the former measure. The main idea of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) seemed to be that a system based on bounties would result in sending men of bad character into the militia. He (Colonel Lindsay) would assume that this would be the case. But he begged to ask if the system of substitutes, which indirectly and in a worse way would amount to the same thing, could have any different results? He did not, however, believe that this would be the effect, as a rule; and it seemed to him that a system of bounties, such as giving a part of the bounty after their first drill, and the remainder at different periods of their service, never all at one time, would produce good and contented soldiers—the men would be contented, and the service performed. No doubt there were various improvements of detail which might be made in the Bill, and which would be considered when the Bill was in Committee. There was one suggestion which he was anxious to press upon the attention of the Government. It was, whether it was not possible to make the Bill local as far as drill was concerned. Companies, he thought, might be called out within limited districts, and drilled, during the long summer months, every day after their work was over. In that way the pay might be diminished, because the men could continue to earn their full wages. Every two years or so these companies might be congregated for general drill in battalions; and if these companies had at their head old officers of the Army, and were well drilled in companies, he would undertake, without hesitation, to work such companies into battalions in a week or ten days. In conclusion, he begged to say that he would give his vote for the second reading, believing that he could not do otherwise in the face of the recorded opinions of the Government, and of the palpable fact that we were without an adequate available force to meet emergencies which he by no means regarded as impossible.


I think, Sir, it is our duty to support the second reading of the Bill. I think that under any circumstances, when the Executive Government ask the House of Commons to consider dispassionately and carefully a proposal which, on their responsibility, they declare to be necessary in order to preserve the shores of this country from foreign invasion, it is assuming a very solemn responsibility to offer any opposition to that measure. I think so the more decidedly on this occasion, because there has been, as far as I can collect from what I hear, a great concurrence of opinion in the belief that we need to examine our national defences carefully in order to put them in that position in which the Crown and the people of this great Empire have a right to expect our national defences should be placed. Many proposals have been made in the course of the debate, of a very interesting nature, as substitutes for this measure for establishing a militia. It has been proposed to increase our standing Army; and I dare say that the proposal and plan of the hon. and gallant General (General Reid) will receive that attention which, as far as I could form a judgment while listening to him, it so well de- serves. Another proposal is, that we should withdraw a portion of our troops from our colonial possessions to increase for the people of this country to a larger extent the military protection for which they so liberally contribute. I think, Sir, that is a most reasonable proposition, and I hope whatever Government is in power, that reasonable proposition will meet with the consideration it deserves. But it is obvious that it is a work that cannot be accomplished in a day; it is a measure that, in the wisest hands, will occupy time to carry it into effect. It is only reasonable to say to the powerful colonies that you have invested with the privilege of parliamentary government and of legislating for themselves, "that they should take upon themselves a share of the expense incurred for their protection, and relieve this country from the necessity of paying for their defence;" but you cannot say so suddenly, and time is required to carry that plan into effect. I think, Sir, there are reasons irresistible why we should go into a fair consideration of this measure. We are met by an argument, to which great force is attached, and which I hope will receive the consideration of the Government and of the House of Commons in this debate, and that is, there is an impression out of doors and in doors that the question we are debating is this—shall we again subject the country to a system of forced conscription carried on through the instrumentality of the ballot? Now, Sir, I do not believe, after nearly forty years of peace, after more than twenty years of exemption from forced conscription, that we, in a moment of profound peace, shall be able without great difficulty to carry such a project into effect. Mr. Norman, in his powerful pamphlet on taxation, sums up in these words the effects of that system. Speaking of the burdens which press upon France, he says— Crowned by a military conscription, which, besides the other sacrifices imposed by it on the French people, must be regarded as a pecuniary tax of a large, though unascertained, magnitude, England is totally free from a military conscription. If I understand rightly the declaration of the Government in bringing forward this Bill, it is intended mainly, and I hope entirely, to work it out by voluntary enlistment, and I also heard the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston)—a high authority on the question— say that the probability of having recourse to a forced conscription is not great, and that such a proceeding is only intended to be a last resource. In my opinion, Sir, however the country might be induced under the severe exigencies of a foreign invasion to submit to such a measure, there will be no probability of their submitting to it in a time of profound peace, and when there is no danger so imminent as will induce the people to submit to a forced conscription. But because that is the case, why should it prevent us from going into Committee on this Bill? Let me ask the House to consider the step we are about to take. Before we deal with this question, either by accepting or rejecting the new law, we should see how the law stands at present. The 42 Geo. III., cap. 90, is an enduring law, and stands upon your Statute-book; for nearly twenty years the Legislature has dealt with it in this manner—it has passed a law suspending its operation for twelve months, and within that law you have left a power in the Executive Government, which it may exercise by Order in Council, to suspend the suspending law, and to revive the enduring law, the statute of 42 Geo. III. Now, if we defeat this Militia Bill on the second reading, the House of Commons will find itself in this predicament: the Minister may come down and say, "I feel that without a militia the country is not safe from foreign invasion; my predecessor told you the same thing, and therefore you cannot dispute it. You have refused to go with me into an inquiry with respect to the details of the Militia Bill which I have laid upon the table—a Bill which I have told you was virtually intended to substitute voluntary enlistment for compulsory conscription. If you thought that the mitigatory clause was not mitigatory enough, you might move in Committee a more mitigatory clause if you thought proper; but, instead of doing so, you reject my Bill on the second reading. I will not ask you, therefore, for the Annual Suspension Bill, because I don't think the shores of the country safe if we suspend it; therefore I shall put into operation the statute of 42 Geo. III., and shall proceed by compulsory conscription to ballot for the militia. If your constituents don't like it, the responsibility rests with you; you had an opportunity of amending the law, and you rejected it, and therefore I shall not hold myself responsible for the consequences." Believing that will be the effect of thus proceeding, I say we are bound, out of respect for the Crown, acting upon the advice of successive Cabinets, we are bound also from our regard for the safety and liberties of the country, and from our jealousy of compulsory conscription, to adopt the second reading of this Bill. Let us fairly discuss it in Committee—let us consider it in a dispassionate spirit, having no object in view except the public interest, which we are sent here to guard. What is the law that ought to be enforced in England with regard to the militia? I believe, if we are actuated by that spirit, we may establish a mode by which the preliminary arrangements with regard to the militia may at least be made: and as my hon. and gallant Friend who spoke last has said, it is no unimportant point, in a case of sudden alarm, not to have to spend weeks or months in preliminary arrangements, but to have men enrolled, and the necessary preparations made. We may thus get rid of the danger of being obliged to resort to compulsory conscription; and we may place the country in a state in which we can be answerable for its safety. Believing this to be the true state of the case, and the question we have to decide, I cannot reconcile it to my conscience to do otherwise than give my vote for the second reading of this Bill.


begged to call the attention of the House to the great facility which must be afforded by railways for the movement of troops from one locality to another. He understood that the French Government were arranging the construction of a line of railway from Rouen to Caen, and thence 100 miles further to Cherbourg, by means of which troops and military stores could readily be conveyed to the coast. To that enterprise the French Government had given considerable pecuniary aid. There was now in this country a coast line of railway communication extending from the North Foreland, by Brighton and Southampton, to Salisbury, and the communication might be completed to Plymouth, if a projected line of railway from Salisbury to Exeter, a distance of 90 miles, and for which an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1848, was carried out. The landowners along the line were most anxious for its completion, half the required capital was already forthcoming, and if the Government would advance 550,000l. at 3 per cent for thirty years, in order to insure the execution of this railway, he pledged himself to place in the hands of the Chancellor of the Exchequer such securities for repayment as would be perfectly satisfactory to him or to any other Minister of the Crown. If this plan were carried out, troops and stores could, in case of emergency, be conveyed with the greatest readiness from Scotland or the north of England to the western counties.


said, it was generally agreed upon that the defences of this country were not in a satisfactory state. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) said that there were two measures open to the House to adopt: one was an increase of the Standing Army—the other was the calling out of the militia. But he was rather surprised to find it never struck the noble Lord that there was another plan which might be resorted to—namely, an increase to the naval resources of the country. This might be done at one-half the expense of either of the other plans, and would prove much more effective for the object they had in view. The noble Lord spoke of the French being enabled to raise 50,000 or 60,000 men in Cherbourg; but he did not tell the House how these men were to be transported across the Channel. Now there were, no doubt, a great many difficulties in the way of increasing the defences of the country. Every Gentleman who had spoken on the subject appeared to have a favourite nostrum of his own to propose. An hon. Gentleman connected with the railway interest of the country had just proposed his nostrum, which he, no doubt, thought the most valuable that they had as yet considered. Nothing was more ridiculous than to magnify the resources at our command. It was quite as absurd as the panic that had lately ran through the country. The proposition he was about to submit was one that would not cost the country 200,000l. He would only ask the House to vote for the Navy an additional 4,000 men and 1,000 boys. By giving that number, with what the Admiralty had at present, he would undertake to say that they would have a fleet of thirty steamers in the Channel, none of which would be under 900 or 1,000 tons burden, armed with 10-inch guns, the most efficient now in use, at the bow and stern; besides six other steamers of a larger class. These would present a formidable force, before which He would defy any enemy to attempt a surprise. He would tell the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, that it would take fifty or sixty vessels to embark those men he spoke of as being ready for action at Cherbourg, and it would take as many more vessels to protect them in the Channel. They should recollect that they were not talking of the common occurrence of war; but they were to consider how they could best guard against a surprise and an attempt to invade our shores while they were undefended. Consequently, the attempt must be by steamers, and by nothing else. The enemy must get together 90 or 100 steamers before they could dare to venture across the Channel. With such a fleet as he proposed, there was no British officer fit for his situation who would not be able to prevent an enemy attempting a landing on the English shores. He should like to see them attempt to disembark upon our shores in the face of such a force. Firmly and honestly he was convinced that if they would place such a force as he had described in the hands of the Admiralty, they need not fear any surprise, nor even that the coast would be invaded. That force he wished to see kept always at hand, and that no Government should be permitted to leave the country without it. Do that, and the desired end would be attained at a much cheaper rate than it could be by the establishment of the militia, and at a cheaper rate than any force they could hope to raise by the present Bill. Having said this much, it was now his duty to declare that he should vote against the measure before the House. In doing so, however, he was aware he should he taunted by hon. Gentlemen opposite that he had voted for the Bill of the noble Lord late at the head of the Government. But he would beg the House to remember that circumstances were now changed, and so changed that he believed hon. Members opposite would be inclined to admit them as a valid argument. Hon. Members of the Government said that, notwithstanding what their principles might be, they would abide by the decision of the country at the approaching elections. Up to the period when the noble Lord's Bill met with the fate it did at the hands of this House, he was not aware of any certainty of his own constituents who had presented petitions against the Bill. But since the measure of Her Majesty's present Ministers had been under consideration, the table of the House had been nightly covered with petititions against it, and his own constituents alone had presented no less than eight. In opposing the Bill, therefore, he was only following the example of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and bowing to the will of the country. He was not certain whether the militia of 1745 was enrolled or embodied; but ho found a very curious document, which showed the prevailing opinion of the gentlemen, or rather the soldiers, of the Army of that day as to the companions with whom they were supposed to have to meet the enemy. In an order, dated October 25, 1745, issued from the War Office, and addressed to that distinguished corps, the Coldstream Guards, their attention was called to a review of the militia about to take place, and they were requested not to laugh or make game of any of the men under review on that occasion. In conclusion, he begged to assure the Government that, if they would endeavour to persuade the House that the plan he (Admiral Berkeley) had suggested, was the really national, constitutional, most proper, and wisest mode of raising a force to defend the Channel, they might rely upon having his support in the task of carrying it into effect.


said, that as he chanced to be the only Member of the present Board of Admiralty in the House, he had to ask its indulgence whilst he addressed to it a few observations relative to the present Bill. It was admitted on all hands that the defences of the country were not in either a satisfactory or safe state—indeed, they had had that admission on Friday night from the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), though, strangely enough, the noble Lord adduced that fact as a reason for not supporting the Bill. It appeared to him (Captain Duncombe), therefore, that the noble Lord, when in power, had proposed and supported a Militia Bill from a sense of duty; but that he now opposed it for the sake of party. Still, however that might be, he could have wished that the noble Lord—powerful as he was both in this House and in the country—had not, for the moment, at all events, obtruded party principles into the consideration of a measure like this, but have left it to be calmly and dispassionately considered in Committee. He believed that by following the two pilot balloons, which the noble Lord sent up in the early part of Friday evening, he would soon find himself in shoal water. And he (Captain Duncombe) was sorry to observe that the hon. and gallant Member for Gloucester (Admiral Berkeley) was going to shape his course in the same manner; though none could be less desirous than the hon. and gallant Admiral to get into sheal water. Many persons say they had a right to look to the Navy to protect our shores, and that before an invading force had an opportunity of landing, the Navy should be held responsible for mating mincemeat of them. To this he was quite inclined to agree, provided we had at the present moment a powerful and an efficient Navy at our disposal. That our Navy was efficient, he admitted; but that it could efficiently perform all the duties which were required of it in protecting our commerce and suppressing piracy in various parts of the world, and at the same time afford a powerful and an efficient defence for the country—that he was not prepared to admit. Neither could he subscribe to the doctrine put forward by the hon. and gallant Admiral on a recent occasion with reference to the possibility of lining the Channel with powerful war steamers at signal distances from one another. But even admitting that we could find the vessels, he (Captain Duncombe) doubted very much if we could find the seamen to man them. He regretted very much that the hon. and gallant Admiral, who had been so recently connected with the naval affairs of the country, had not left as a legacy to his successors in office the 4,000 men and the 1,000 boys of whom he had spoken, instead of that crude and ill-digested measure, a naval reserve; for he (Captain Duncombe) foresaw great difficulty in carrying out the one, but none in carrying out the other. He had merely to say that in supporting a Militia Bill at the present time, he considered, however much he might prefer having a large and efficient Navy at our call, that the question of economy at the present moment must necessarily enter into their calculations, and he believed they could get a much larger force, and at a much less expense, by adopting the present Militia Bill. It was because that was his conviction that he had ventured to address the House for as many half minutes as he had sat years in it.


said, he could not record his vote on this question without taking into consideration the peculiar circumstances under which this Bill came before the House. He found this Bill brought under the notice of the House by a Government lately established in office, and shortly about to "appeal to the Country" at a general election. He found the Government pressing that measure forward, knowing as they did that it was not popular in the country, and he thought it was the especial duty of every hon. Member to give that question his fairest possible consideration, and to say whether or no the cause in which the Government bad run the chance of incurring that unpopularity was just in itself, and demanded the sympathy of the House. In the early part of this Session a Bill was brought under the attention of the House of a very similar nature, and he could not conceive how it would be consistent with duty, if hon. Members, whose intention it was to support that former Bill, refused their consent to the consideration of the principle of the one now before the House. With respect to details, it seemed to him those of the present Bill were rather to the advantage of the present Government than otherwise. It was impossible to deny that the Bill of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) was much more stringent than this and much more likely to occasion discomfort and annoyance to the people. The grounds on which he was disposed to support the creation of a militia force in this country, would not be that he feared any immediate invasion of our shores, because it was certain such a force would be totally inefficient to repel such an invasion, but by reasons of a larger range. He believed that the progress of events in Europe since 1815 had tended by no means to the security of this country, but rather to endanger its position. He found that on all those points on which England was likely to come into controversy and difference with foreign powers, those difficulties had increased rather than diminished. Up to a very late period an ion-partial observer might consider the affairs of Europe as tending to peace and the consolidation of the peace of Europe. He must have found constitutional government established in Spain, Portugal, and Belgium, especially by the intervention of this country, and especially by the energy of the Minister of that time directing its Foreign Affairs. But he found at the same time the extravagant hopes of the Liberal party, leading, as was natural, to reaction, now tending to the establishments pf absolute Governments throughout the whole of Europe; and he believed the essential tendency of those Governments was hostility to England and her constitutional institutions. He believed, therefore, that the prospects of this country in its relation to foreign Powers could not be considered on the whole as satisfactory, and that we were acting wisely, without any great expense or without greatly interfering with the pursuits of the people, m laying the grounds for establishing throughout this country such a permanent force as might act when necessary as a military reserve, and at the same time in some degree increase the confidence of the people, by infusing into their minds the consciousness that any one man might be called on at the risk of his life to defend his home and his country. He believed that the country would be more efficiently served by 80,000 militiamen than an addition of 8,000 to the regular forces; and he thought that the expense of this plan would be found to be less than that of adding permanently 8,000 men to our Army. He thought it his duty, therefore, to support this Bill, although he was perfectly well aware it was accompanied by some unpopularity in the country; but he hoped that unpopularity merely attached itself to the novelty of the question. When they found in the great American Republic, where men counted their minutes as worth so many dollars, that a Militia Law had been in operation for years, and working with perfect success, he could not suppose such an institution would work with less advantage in England. The evils incident to a militia system seemed to him to be very unnecessarily exaggerated; when it was stated that they were most probably collecting together a certain number of men of an extremely bad character, he really should wish to learn whether in that case they might not by their exertions and example make those men better than they found them. He believed, too, the effect of raising in some degree a military spirit among young men, especially in manufacturing towns, would be anything rather than injurious to them in a bodily or mental point of view; and he could not but regret that the Government of the country had given every kind of check to the rifle clubs which had but recently been established, more especially as the present measure was introduced with a view of giving encouragement to the principle of voluntary enlistment. He thought the peculiar recommendation of this Bill was its having recourse, in a great measure, to voluntary enlistment. He believed the whole matter would turn out to be extremely novel in practice, and possibly be attended with consequences which neither the Government nor anybody else could anticipate. He believed, therefore, they were discharging their very best duty to the country in accepting this Bill, con- forming as it did in principle with that of the former Government, and not placing their individual responsibility against the opinions of both Governments as to the necessity and wisdom of such a measure.


said, he abhorred inconsistency as much as any man, but could not see the consistency of the argument that those who voted for allowing the Bill of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) to be brought in, or for a first reading, ought to vote for the second reading of this Bill. He was sorry to hear his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool (Mr. Cardwell) make use of a great argumentum in terrorem in reference to this question. The hon. Gentleman said, if the second reading of this Bill was rejected, he should look for par4 to the Government coming down to the House and proposing the continuance of the existing Militia Laws, and demanding that the ballot should be had recourse to, throughout the country. But he (Mr. Bernal) thought the Government would pause before they entered upon a step which at the present moment would be so exceedingly unpopular. What were the arguments that were adduced in favour of the principle for which they were now contending? He would beg to remind hon. Gentlemen that the second reading of the Bill was now proposed, when they were either to assent to or dissent from the principle of a Militia Bill. It was said by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Pontefract (Mr. M. Milnes), that the whole of the Governments of Europe were combined against us. Was that an illusion, or was it a romance? For his part, he was bound to think it was both. A very short time had elapsed since they were assured by Her Majesty, in the Speech from the Throne at the opening of Parliament, that the most amicable relations existed between Continental Governments and the Government of this country. If that was true, what became of the argument in behalf of raising 80,000 militiamen? With respect to professional arguments, he was disposed to coincide with the hon. and gallant Member for Windsor (General Reid). He saw a great many hon. Gentlemen before him who were well informed of the technical merits of this question; and he would ask, could they expect a body of men in eighteen or twenty-one days to be trained so sufficiently as to be of any essential service in defending the country against an invasion? For himself, he conceived it impossible for any man in that short time to do more than learn to shoulder his arms and acquire the goose step. To him it appeared a manifest delusion to suppose that men taken from every village in the country, from the manufacturing town, and from our highways and byways, could be drilled in twenty-one days, then set loose throughout the whole of England, and perhaps the United Kingdom, and then be called on to demonstrate that they had not lost anything of that great efficiency which they attained in their first year's drill. How long did it take to drill men for the guards? How long do the recruits for the guards remain under drill, at Croydon, before joining their respective battalions? And who were the men they were going to take for the militia? Did they suppose they were men of highly refined and honourable sentiment? He himself feared that every soldier, whatever might be his gallantry—and he would never for a moment underrate that gallantry—was more or less open to the argumentum ad crumenam, as to the services he rendered his country in any part of the world. It occurred to him also that too little had been said in the course of the debate as to the demoralisation of the population which a militia scheme involved. He could not conceive that a number of young men from the rank in life in which they would be obtained, who would be tempted to congregate in beershops in all the balloting localities and towns in the country, could escape contamination from some of their companions, and that there would not be the greatest probability of their spreading that contamination in the localities to which they would return after their twenty-one days' service had expired. For his part, he thought if we had the enemy at our doors thundering for admission, there was a spirit in the Anglo-Saxon which would induce him to come forward eagerly and efficiently to defend the institutions of his country, and his family and hearth, from assault or invasion. If the danger was so imminent as it was thought to be, he did not think the proposal for levying a great number of men either under the Bill of the noble Lord lately at the head of the Government, or that of the present Government, afforded a proper safeguard against a hostile invasion from the other side of the Channel. In the late war a force guarded our coasts, which, whatever might have been the objections against it, he thought was a useful one in many respects. He believed they were called the Sea Fencibles, men who were trained to the use of great guns, and who were merely armed with long pikes in defence of those guns; and he thought, to some extent some hybrid force of that kind, as he might call it, might be trained for the defence of our coasts. Volunteers again, would, for certain purposes, be efficient troops. For one, having considered the principle of this Bill, he did not feel himself justified in supporting the second reading, because he opposed the principle, whether voluntary or by compulsion, of raising a force of 80,000 men as a militia, at this particular juncture.


said, the hon. Member who last spoke had told the House that he did not for a moment doubt, that if an invasion of this country took place, there would be men enough found ready, willing, and able to defend its shores. He (Mr. Deedes) had an equal confidence with the hon. Gentleman in the readiness, willingness, and gallantry of his countrymen; but he had every reason to believe, and history confirmed the belief, that those good qualities which they possessed would be made more valuable if they had the advantage of some military training and discipline. He believed that one of the main advantages of this Bill would be, that it would to a great extent drive away from the minds of the people of the Continent the idea of invading England, because it would show them that we were prepared to meet them, and that would be a great step gained towards preventing the possibility of an invasion. He observed that the tone of the debate this evening had differed very materially from that of Friday night. On Friday the objections to the; measure of the Government were very varied in their character, generally small in their matter, and did not present any real or substantial opposition to the principle of the Bill. In the first place, they had the hon. and gallant General (Sir De L. Evans) telling the House that he had no objection to the principle of the Bill; that he admitted it was necessary to do something with the view of putting the country into a proper state of defence; but then, he added, he did not think the measure of the Government would accomplish that object. On the present occasion no one had ventured to offer any real and substantial opposition to the principle of the' Bill; hon. Gentlemen had confined themselves simply to objecting to its details With respect to what had been said as to the number of petitions presented against the measure, they should remember that the question touched the pocket of John Bull, and the argumentum ad pocket was one on which they should not always implicitly rely; for on such a point the mass were likely to take the most shortsighted view of their true interests; every man preferred keeping his half-crown to paying-it over to the State. One word as to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had seconded the Amendment (Mr. Rich). That hon. Gentleman at first relied for the defence of the country on a reserve force of pensioners, then he shifted his reliance to the Navy, and subsequently to the rural police. Independently of the inconsistency of such a mode of argument, the hon. Gentleman ought to have remembered that in times of difficulty the rural police would be required for the preservation of peace and the protection of property in the rural districts, and would not be available for repelling an invasion. Besides, it had not been said how the charge of such a force was to be defrayed, for if they were to be supported out of the local rates, for a national purpose, it would be manifestly unjust towards the local ratepayer. The hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel) who, strange to say, opposed the measure on the ground that he did not think the militia would prove an efficient force, yet quoted an instance strongly against his own argument, for he admitted that in Switzerland, when a force somewhat similar was brought into action, that they had done all that country required of them, and then, like peaceful and good citizens, returned to their homes. Much had been said upon the character of the men that would be employed; but he did not think the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord J. Russell), or any other Member, had attempted to suggest any provision by which 'the militia force might be culled out of particular classes of the community. He must say that he heard with surprise the declaration of the noble Lord lately—that after what passed upon a former occasion, the noble Lord was, nevertheless, determined to oppose this Bill. Upon looking calmly at every word the noble Lord uttered on Friday evening, he could not say that he found one sentence there against this measure which might not have been just as applicable to his own. He did not presume to impugn the character or motives of the noble Lord. The country would, however, form its judgment, and set a just value upon his conduct. A grave ques- tion arose, namely, what was to be done for the country if this Bill fell to the ground? The present and the late Government had deemed it essential to put the country into a better state of defence. Were they now to leave it undefended? Were we to cast aside precaution, and to neglect to prepare ourselves for the hour of danger? He felt much pleased at what had fallen from his hon. and gallant Friend (General Reid), and thought it well worthy of the attention of the House, as the most unexceptionable mode of increasing the standing Army. His plan would bring about an efficient force—a force which would be, so to speak, self-dissolving—passing away each year, and its expense diminishing. But if the Government should not be allowed to proceed with this Bill, he hoped they would take so serious a view of the position they occupied, and entertain so full a sense of their duty, that those motives would alone compel them to bring forward some measure for the improvement of our national defences. He would ask the Government and the House, in such case, to consider some such proposition as that put forward by his hon. and gallant Friend, and the establishment of volunteer corps upon such a basis in different parts of the United Kingdom, including Ireland, as might be available in case of attack or invasion.


said, the interest taken in the Bill by those whom he represented must be his excuse for offering the few observations which he felt it his duty to address to the House. The measure, he could assure hon. Gentlemen opposite, was viewed as one of no ordinary importance in the manufacturing districts of the country, and more particularly amongst the great, industrial community in the Manchester district. He would, in the first place, beg to call the attention of the hon. and learned Attorney General to the manner in which the Bill was presented to the House; and he would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether it ought to have come before them in such a form? In the 28th Clause he found that all persons chosen to serve under the Bill were to be subjected to all the provisions of the Act of the 46th of Geo. III., c. 90, and to all the Acts amending that Act now in force. But how was the public mind or Members of Parliament to carry all those innumerable provisions in all those various Acts so as to know the scope and meaning of the measure they were to obey? Were they sure that all these provisions were suited to the circumstances of the present day? He found in one of those Acts, the 42nd of Geo. III., the preamble of the Bill set forth that it would greatly tend to the public convenience if the whole of the Statutes on the subject were comprised in one Act of Parliament. Would it not be equally desirable now that all the provisions bearing on the proposed militia should be comprised in one Act? He hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would explain why on this occasion they had not departed from the custom which was beginning to prevail, namely, of consolidating all the law on one particular subject into one Act, so that men might be able to find out what was the law, and how to regulate their conduct. Mr. Baron Parke, in delivering judgment in a case in February last, "Hart v. the Eastern Union Railway Company," said, "There is no small difficulty in construing an Act made up from different parts of other Acts, partly repealed and partly not." If the learned Judge, with all the Acts before him, and with his habit of construing Acts of Parliament, felt it a difficulty to ascertain the law under these circumstances, what could Members of that House feel in a similar position; and what, indeed, must the industrious classes of this country feel, when they were called upon to find out what was the law to which they were subject, dispersed as it was throughout so many old laws, many of which were at this day but as a dead letter? This was a preliminary objection to the Bill, but it was a valid one. If the Militia Bill was proper to be passed, they ought to have introduced it in a better form, and one more in accordance with the practice of these days. He (Mr. M. Gibson) had given notice of an Amendment that the Bill should be postponed to another Parliament. When they were at the close of a Parliament—when a speedy dissolution was announced by the Ministers of the Crown—when it had been promised that the new Parliament should assemble in the present year—when these things were known with as much certainty as much matters could be, it certainly did appear to him more reasonable and respectful to the country that, when they were departing from a policy of more than thirty years' duration, and were going to resuscitate a force which had been discontinued for nearly half a century—discontinued, too, because it was so unpopular as not to be bearable any longer—it did appear to him more reasonable that they should have the advantage of a general election, and should know that whatever was done by a-future Parliament, would at least have the consent of the country. It was, he must say, a most unconstitutional mode which had been adopted. He had been Surprised to hear an hon. Member say that there were some questions on which they ought to legislate without the opinion of the country. He (Mr. M. Gibson) thought that they were to be governed by public opinion. If their laws were to be in accordance with the opinion of an intelligent community, he could see no reason why they should not postpone the measure to another Parliament. Did the Government wish to steal a march upon the country? Did they fear that if they appealed to the people they would return Members pledged t6 vote against the Bill? If such was to be the course of the Government, they might depend upon its causing a feeling of the most sincere disapprobation on the part of the country. He (Mr. M. Gibson) admitted that there had been a panic. It was a very promising panic; but he had observed that whenever a panic had been—however artistically—got up, it seldom lasted long enough for effecting the object in view. There had been some apprehension some time ago, but that apprehension had How very materially subsided. They were told that distinguished Ministers on both sides, and high authorities, were agreed on the subject; but that had very little weight with him, because they had agreed before, and then dropped the measure. The Conservative Administration of 1846 had introduced such a measure; but the moment the country get scent of it, there was such an opposition that they dropped it as they would a hot iron. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) attempted the same policy in 1848, but he was also obliged to drop his Bill; and, what was more, he set to work immediately afterwards to reduce the regular forces. The agreement, then, of eminent politicians on the subject, carried no weight with him. It seemed that there was a Militia Bill laid up in some pigeon-hole in the Home Office, and as soon as a panic could be got up, out it came; but as soon as it appeared, the country showed its displeasure, and in went the Militia Bill back to its pigeon-hole once more. He would not himself undertake to prophesy, for prophecies were always dangerous things, but he had reason to believe that even if the Government did carry the second read- ing of the Bill, there was no very serious intention of proceeding with the measure. If they attempted to force it upon the country, they would find that it would lead to most painful consequences, and that it would be calculated to create great dissatisfaction and discontent of the people. The hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) had talked in a very Mother-Shipton style about destiny, and, delivering himself in the most oracular manner, proceeded to deal out to them the solemn warnings contained in the Duke of Wellington's letter of 1847—a production which was much laughed at at the time. But when hon. Gentlemen spoke to them of the Duke of Wellington's advice, why did they not themselves act upon that advice? So far from doing so, they brought in a measure totally distinct from that which was contemplated by the Duke of Wellington, who required a force ready at hand when needed, and not the militia which they proposed. He had heard with regret the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) speaking with painful accuracy of the construction of railways to Cherbourg and other ports, by which troops could be conveyed from various parts of the country to the water's edge, and put on board steamers at once, to be landed with the utmost speed on the shores of this country. But those railways were not yet made; and though all that the noble Lord spoke as probable might be so, and was so, the question really was, was it becoming or prudent in men in the position of the noble Lord and of Members of that House to be always imputing secret and unworthy designs to a great neighbouring friendly nation? Ought they to be constantly dealing out those stupid inuendoes against a neighbouring Power, for the purpose of obtaining an increase of our own forces? What should we think if, in the senate of some friendly country, persons were always imputing nefarious designs and intentions to us? He was convinced that it would create anything but friendliness, and would rather foster feelings of retaliation. We always did understand a great deal more about what was good for France, than they did themselves; and we always knew better what was going on in that country than the 36,000,000 of the French people did themselves. It was quite certain that the less we meddled with their institutions, and discussed and expatiated on the forms of government suited for the French people, the better it would be for Europe generally. He would take the liberty of answering the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) by a speech of his own on our relations with France, on the Motion of the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden), for the settlement of international disputes by arbitration. The noble Lord, then Foreign Minister, said he adopted the spirit of the Motion and of the speech of his hon. Friend, though he would not agree to have a positive Resolution of the House of Commons forced upon him. After complimenting his hon. Friend on the excellent tendency of his speech, and the beneficial effect which such views must have on the feelings of different nations towards each other, the noble Lord, on the 17th June, 1851, said— I do not wish to exaggerate the relative means of France for attack, as compared with England, and still less do I wish to imply that the continuance of these or any other works of the same kind on the part of the French Government and people is to be considered by this country as an indication of any existing hostile feeling on the part of France. I entirely disclaim any such belief on my own part. I am convinced that the greater intercourse which has taken place of late years between the people of the two countries has dispelled many prejudices, and has removed many foolish hostile feelings which have long survived the causes that gave them rise. It is one of the most gratifying circumstances of the times in which we live to see two great nations, situated close to each other, each gifted by nature with various qualities entitling them to the esteem, to the friendship, and I will say to the admiration, of each other, capable of rendering each other the most important services, capable also—if actuated by fatal passions—of inflicting upon each other the greatest calamities—it is most gratifying to see that every day, every month, and every year brings these two nations into more general and friendly contact, and that feelings of mutual friendship and esteem are rapidly succeeding those antiquated notions of national antipathy of which I trust there will very soon remain no trace except the records which former histories may contain."— [3 Hansard, cxvii. 936.] If this were so, why did we constantly strive and strain every nerve to revive and resuscitate these antiquated national antipathies? A course more unpatriotic could not be taken by any Member of that House. Where were the facts at present calling for an increase of our forces? The hon. and gallant General (Sir De L. Evans) who moved the Amendment had stated that we had in the United Kingdom 67,000 men—infantry, cavalry, and artillery—exclusive of pensioners, dockyard battalions, and other kinds of force, which undoubtedly would be available in a moment of emergency. What was our position in 1803, when everybody knew that a war was inevitable—for every one felt that the peace of Amiens would be but of short duration. In those days of excitement, at the opening of that year, the land forces of all arms employed in Great Britain only amounted to 66,574—infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The English Ambassador had been insulted in Paris; he had returned to England; the whole community knew that war was inevitable; and yet it was not till a week after Lord Whitworth left Paris, and when the war was certain, that a Bill was introduced into the House of Commons by the Secretary at War for calling out the regular militia. The Bill quickly passed through all its stages; and a vast military movement began throughout the country. We did very well then; but where was the necessity for dealing with our military defences in the same spirit as they were dealt with at that eventful period? The forces in France were as great as they are now; the resumption of that war was but the continuation of the revolutionary war of 1792 that commenced in like manner. Were there any symptoms of an increase of armed forces abroad, beyond ordinary times, which should induce us to make any change in our policy? He would deal with this subject as founded on facts, and not wander into the regions of fancy, and imagine all kinds of remote and improbable contingencies. What were the facts? He understood that the President of France had addressed a letter to the other European Powers, declaring the most pacific intention, and that he had no wish whatever to disturb existing territorial arrangements. Did the dimunition of the national guard in France look like a desire to employ their regular army in other countries? There was not more than ordinary activity in the French navy. But if we adopted this regular militia force, which the late Home Secretary had very truly called an offensive force—if we took a step which we had never taken unless we meant to set free our regular Army to be sent to carry on a campaign abroad—would not that tend to prevent, in France and other countries, the reduction of armaments, which it was confidently reported was likely to take place? It was hinted that there would probably be a considerable reduction in the French army: then why should we let loose all these feelings of jealousy, alarm, and unfounded apprehension? Show the people of England that this country was in danger, and he would undertake to say, they would do as they had done before—that they would give the Executive the means of maintaining the independence of the country, and that there would be no reluctance in providing the forces necessary for the safety of the country. But the people of England knew there was a danger of another kind, which had never been mentioned in these debates. Admitting that invasions and wars were possible, there was another possibility; if they gave the Executive a larger disposable military power than the circumstances of the country required, who knew what might be the tone assumed by that Executive in its foreign relations? Give the Executive the power of garrisoning the United Kingdom with a militia force, and who knew, when they felt that they had some 30,000 or 40,000 disposable soldiers, whom they could send here or there campaigning, whether they might not assume a tone in dealing with foreign countries that might bring about the very war we were so anxious to avoid? The danger he thus suggested was shown to be reasonable, because we had taken the course of interference in former times. Facts, history, and experience showed that it was dangerous to entrust the Executive of England with too large a military power; and there were no facts or experience to show that, without cause, England had ever been surprised by a sudden invasion from some friendly Power. It was extremely doubtful how this policy of ours might be viewed by foreign nations. He entirely agreed with the late Home Secretary in considering a regular militia an offensive force. Three or four years ago he was at Cherbourg; it was during the time of the Provisional Government in France; and he had the greatest difficulty in persuading a Frenchman that England was not likely to interfere with the Government of France, and perhaps land troops on the continent of Europe. He said—"Don't tell me. There are two things which England will never do: England will never repeal her Navigation Laws, and England will never cease to interfere with the internal government of the different countries of Europe; and my belief is that all this fuss which is being made in England about an invasion of England by the French is nothing but a plan for getting the English people into a proper state of hatred of France, to put them, as it may be termed, into fighting condition, in order that the English Government may be enabled to pursue the policy it has pursued in olden times, that of endeavouring to interfere with and dictate upon the affairs of Europe." He had told his friend that he was completely mistaken; that England would repeal her Navigation Laws, and would desist from that fatal policy of interference which had been the cause of so many disasters. Thus it was not only in this country that invasions were dreaded; and when Frenchmen saw these preparations, and connected them with our conduct in former times, they might have their alarms and jealousies Awakened, as they were awakened in the rural districts of this country. It had been said, that after a long peace, it was necessary to do something to awaken the martial spirit of this country—that we had gone back in military feeling, had become effeminate and enervated by the long peace, and that if some powerful country were to interfere with us, we might perhaps have to submit to great indignities and humiliations; and, therefore, it was proposed to call out the militia. On this Subject he would read an extract from Sir J. Mackintosh, who said— A free nation, like ours, full of activity and boldness, and yet full of order, has all the elements and habits of an Army prepared by the happy frame of its society. We require no military establishments to nurse our martial spirit. It is our distinction that we hare ever proved ourselves in time of need a nation of warriors, and that we never have been a people of soldiers. It is no refinement to say, that the national courage and intellect have acted with more vigour on the approach of hostility, because we are not teazed and worried into petty activity, because a proud and serious people have not been degraded in their own eyes, by acting their awkward part in holiday parade." "Freemen are brave because they rely on themselves. Liberty is our national point of honour. The pride of liberty is the spring of our national courage. The independent spirit, the high feeling of personal dignity, and the consequent sensibility to national honour, the true sources of that valour for which this nation has been renowned for ages, have been in a great measure created and preserved by their being accustomed to trust to themselves for defence against invasion from abroad, or tyranny, at home. If they lean on an Army for safety, they will soon look to it with awe, and thus gradually lose those sentiments of self-respect and self-dependence, that pride of liberty, which are the peculiar and the most solid defences of this country. With regard to the panic, he would take leave to add to the valuable quotation given by the bon. Baronet the Member for Tam- worth, from that distinguished statesman, the late Sir Robert Peel, the opinion which he had expressed in reference to the panic of 1848; and he would apply it also to the panic of 1852, seeing that the circumstances pretty nearly resembled one another. Sir Robert Peel, on the 22nd of February, 1848, when they had got over the militia fit, said— After the panic which prevailed in this country about a month since, I am glad to find the tide has ebbed so fast, and that the alarm on the subject of invasion has visibly abated. I was afraid the Government might have been unduly influenced by that alarm; and I am relieved I when I learn that it is not intended to make any increase in the military or naval force."— [3 Hansard, xcvi. 1073.] He believed that if that lamented and distinguished statesman were amongst us now, he would have delivered a somewhat similar opinion. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London, when Prime Minister of the country, with all the responsibility of that station upon him, also said— I have heard much—perhaps more than the public have heard—of the insufficiency of our forces, and that we had never made any preparation for sudden hostilities. Now, I wished to show that, so far from this being the case, that we had already made the very preparations which persons wished us to make; that we had year after year been increasing our forces; that we were therefore in a situation of as great strength as we were required to be; and that we had nothing to fear from a sudden outbreak of hostilities, however unexpected it might be. Now, if he were told he must bow to the authority of distinguished men, he would ask for some authority who had been decently consistent on this question. What were they told to-night? A late Lord of the Admiralty (Admiral Berkeley), said he did not want any additional military forces at all: he would make invasion impossible with an addition of 4,000 men and 1,000 boys to the naval force. A gallant General near him doubted extremely whether there was any necessity for any increase of our forces at all. Though it might be said to be presumptuous for an independent Member of Parliament to form an opinion on this question of national defences, yet when great authorities contradicted one another, and were disputing as to the nature of the danger they apprehended, and the kind of force necessary to meet that danger, it was extremely difficult for an independent Member, like himself, who had to give an account to his constituents, to do otherwise than judge for himself. He should be glad to shelter himself under some distinguished authority; but on whom was he to rely? One right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ellice), who had formerly been a Member of the late Government, said, they knew nothing of their defences—they ought to have an inquiry before they legislated at all. A more confused mess, and a more unsatisfactory position for the war party to be in —if he might be allowed to use the term, as those who acted with him were called the party of peace—a more unsatisfactory, a more melancholy and humiliating position, it was difficult to conceive; and it was one which deprived them of all legitimate authority in the formation of his opinion. Adverting to the merits of the plan, what was it proposed to do? The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) said, that when the militiamen had been got together with a bounty of 6l. a head, he had, in the simplicity of his nature, such confidence in the people of England, that he had no doubt they would all make their appearance a second time when called upon. He (Mr. M. Gibson) admired the generous, confiding spirit which the noble Lord displayed, but he could not coincide with it. If this were true, what was the use of being so particular about the Mutiny Act? The Army might be allowed to go and amuse themselves for two or three months, after they had enlisted and taken the oaths. No doubt their feelings of patriotism would bring them all back. But how account for the statement of the hon. Member for West Kent (Mr. L. Hodges), of 800 desertions from one militia regiment? If these men would run the risk of the severe punishment of the martial law to get away from their service, was it to be supposed that they would make their appearance when wanted? During ten years, the deserters from the Army, with all the fearful consequences hanging over them, had been no less than 53,000 men. Many might enter the militia with a good resolve to come again; but after undergoing the tedious and vexatious process of discipline, it was very doubtful whether they would not be absent upon a second call. To rely on their coming again was not wise. If a Member of the Peace Society had said this, he would have been told he was a dreamer, a Utopian, and had too much confidence in the people. He doubted whether, in the manufacturing districts, they would get the bounty men. There was general employment, and the men could earn wages higher than this bounty, large as it was, and then it would be necessary to have recourse to the ballot, which was no less than a conscription for compulsory military service. They were going to take young men from the loom, from the workshop, from their various employments, and drill them in some country town for a month. Suppose a man was superintending a steam-engine; the works could not be stopped while he was absent, and was it certain that he would be restored to the position which he had been compelled to relinquish? What was then to become of his wife and family? Was there any provision to be made for their support? Were the wife and family to be put on the Poor Rates, and so to add to those burdens upon land of which we heard so much? If there was a case for compulsory serving in the militia, there was equally a case for forcible impressment in the Navy, or any other extreme measure of that kind. There was a very different state of feeling prevailing now to that which prevailed in the time of George III., to which the framers of this Bill would have us go back. The ballot would probably reach a great many who would have religious feelings on this question, and some, perhaps, would refuse to serve at all. Were those men to be sent to gaol? The Duke of Wellington had said on one occasion that persons who had honest scruples about religion had no business in the army. The ballot, however, would make no discrimination, and the bounty-men, who would probably be persons who, either from loss of character, or from other causes, were out of employment, would be associated with young men piously brought up—perhaps Sunday school teachers—and they would all be billeted together in some beershop or public-house. It was impossible to conceive a proceeding more at variance with the feelings of the people of this country, and, unless some better plan than this could be suggested, the Government had better defer their measure until they had submitted it to more mature deliberation. He should be glad to know, also, whether the publicans, at whose houses the militiamen were, he presumed, to be billeted, for he had not heard that new barracks were to be erected, should not be considered in the matter, as they would be called on to supply these men at a considerable loss. In every point of view he looked upon this measure— though it might have been adapted to the less advanced times of George III.—as by no means adapted to the times of Queen Victoria. Reference had been made to the American militia; but the right hon. Secretary for the Colonies was mistaken as to the militia law of that country being so stringent or so compulsory as he supposed. It was nothing but a muster of the ablebodied inhabitants; there was no ballot—practically, no compulsion; for no one need go who would pay an inconsiderable fine—75 cents. Their militia was only a muster for three, and not consecutive, days in the year—one in spring, one in the middle of the year, and one in autumn, so as to interfere least with the general business of the country. Any one who was earning more than he thought it worth while to sacrifice, might, by paying a very small fine, avoid going altogether. In the six New England States, this militia had been positively laughed out of existence, and could hardly be said to exist at all. Even the army of the United States was only 9,000 men, spread over that immense continent from California to Maine. A gentleman who had lived in the United States many years, and travelled in almost all parts of the country, said he had never seen a soldier in the United States uniform, and could not tell what it was. He (Mr. M. Gibson) did not believe the militia there had any uniform. He would read what had occurred in reference to this United States militia. Some years back the Secretary at War had addressed to some of the most respectable militia officers in the United States a circular containing a number of questions relating to military affairs. One was—"From your experience are frequent musters advantageous to the great body of the militia?" The following answers were returned:— Pennsylvania. — General Cadwallader: I do not consider frequent musters as advantageous to the great body of the militia. No correct instruction is received at such musters, and their effect on the morals of the people is positively injurious. Colonel Watmonk: Nothing can be more entirely inefficient than the militia under the existing organisation. Attend a militia muster under its most favourable circumstances, in a retired country situation, and riot, drunkenness, and every species of immorality, are the order of the day. Colonel Williams: All the musters at which I have been present, so far from being advantageous, were always scenes of the lowest and most destructive dissipation, where nothing was to be acquired but the most pernicious habits. Our militia are worse than useless. General Cooke: They are, instead of schools of practice, schools of insubordination and vice, where the first and simplest duties of a soldier are rarely, if ever, taught. General Harwood, Maryland: My experience of musters is considerable, having attended them as commander of the 22nd Regt. for many years, and I am decidedly of opinion that they are disadvantageous to the militia. They tend to corrupt the morals of the people, and no information can be derived at them. He (Mr. M. Gibson) had felt it his duty to express himself strongly on this subject, because 13,000 or 14,000 young men would be drawn from South Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, the seats of our cotton and woollen manufactures; and it would be no small disturbance to the industry of the country to make such an inroad amongst their most vigorous and able young men, and no light injustice to the men to be compelled to forego the large earnings they were now receiving in their respective employments. He hoped this measure might be defeated; and, as he did not wish to be misunderstood, in the present position of this country, and in the present state of their relations with foreign States, he did not think that it was necessary to add at all to our present military force, and, if it were, the last mode which he should be willing to adopt was the plan that had been suggested by Her Majesty's Government.


said, he apprehended that they were now assembled for the purpose of discussing the principle of a militia as an element of a peace establishment. He thought he might consider that among the various opponents of the present measure, those Gentlemen who had brought forward a substitute for a militia, or rather alternative plans in lieu of a militia, as admitting, like himself, that the present state of the country's defences were not satisfactory, and that some additional steps for the protection of the Realm were required. Others there were who, like the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, took higher ground—more distinct, but not more difficult to grapple with. That right hon. Gentleman said, "I am for no militia—I am for no alternative—I am far no increase of our force, because our present force is ample, and because there is every prospect of the continuance of permanent peace, and no apprehension of external danger." Then again the right hon. Gentleman looked upon the militia as an aggressive force, and stated that all the Bills for the enrolment of a militia had been introduced with a view to an aggressive war. He (Mr. S. Herbert), on the contrary, looked upon the militia as essentially a part of a peace establishment. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of former Militia Bills as having been passed in a time of war; his (Mr. S. Herbert's) recollection, if it did not greatly deceive him, told him that the first Militia Bill of the modern type was passed in 1786, a period not of war, but in a time of peace, and just after the conclusion of the American war. And the Militia Bill of the 42nd George III., c. 90, of which the right hon. Gentleman had said so much, was it passed in view or in anticipation of war? No; it was passed in 1802, just after the peace of Amiens. Therefore, past precedents as to the time of passing Militia Acts did not confirm the right hon. Gentleman's views, that a Militia Law was never passed except in a time of warfare, or for the purposes of war. But, now, he must refer to a speech which he heard on Friday night With great pleasure—for it indicated considerable talent —from the hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel). The hon. Baronet said there were three ways by which persons in a private station might judge of the necessity of having recourse to defensive measures. The first was the sensitive ramifications of commerce which ran through the world, and Which vibrate to the slightest touch of danger; then there was the press, which was better instructed and gave more rapid information than could be obtained through the regular official channels; and, lastly, they had skilled and able men as diplomatists, whose watchful vigilance it was impossible to escape. With respect to the first, he (Mr. S. Herbert) doubted very much whether commerce would give any very safe indication of peace or war. Commerce was ever blind to the future. It hoped to the very last moment. It would not contemplate a loss; and because the removal of the capital employed would be a loss, it continued to hope. And what was the proof? In all wars, unless those which had been preceded by long intricate negotiations, what interest had suffered first and most? Why, the commercial interest. Embargoes were laid upon the vessels in the ports of the hostile nations, occasioning the deepest losses to those engaged in commercial transactions. Well, then, commerce, in his opinion, could not be trusted to give safe indications of peace or war. He then came to the press. The press was to give them warning when danger was at hand. But if this was the case, had the country not had warning enough in all conscience. In his opinion they had too much of it, because he thought the tone of hostile criticism which had been adopted with respect to the domestic affairs of a neighbouring country, had been unfounded and extremely injudicious. He thought it injudicious, because every nation was the best judge of its own affairs. It was for a nation to decide upon what form of government suited it best. Whether it was absolute or democratic, it was nothing to them; and so long as it was tolerated by the people themselves, they ought to respect it. There was nothing a nation so much reseated as this interference of a foreign press in matters which only concerned themselves. It even enlisted their sympathies in favour of that which they would have otherwise rejected. They did not desire any meddling With that which it was their province to chastise where there was guilt; and provided they tolerated a particular form of government, what right had this country to object? Much evil, he thought, had been done not only in a neighbouring country, but throughout Europe, in that way. The French nation might have reasons that operated with them, with which we did not sympathise. But there was no reason to doubt that the French nation were Contented with their form of government, and with the person who filled the highest office in it. With regard to diplomacy, he attached more importance to its agency than that of the others. Governments were responsible for the safety of the country, and that responsibility weighed most heavily upon them. Any failure upon their part would be severely visited by the country. It was natural, then, that the agents of diplomacy should keep a watchful eye upon all that was passing around them. But when two Governments in succession told them that there was danger—and they were the most competent judges as to what danger threatened—he must say that he listened with great respect to their opinion. When, therefore, they called upon the House to frame a Militia Bill, he was not willing to take upon himself the responsibility of refusing his assent to such a measure. The noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), who was not then in this place, spoke of the difference made in their insular position by steam. It was obvious to every Gentleman, that before the agency of steam was employed, so long as the wind blew from the west, which it did for three parts of the year— [A laugh.] It was unfortunate to make that observation now, but, as the east wind had lasted only a third of the year, he was still safe in his assertion that we had westerly winds for the remaining two-thirds of the year, and so long as those westerly winds lasted, every man who was charged in any degree with the safety of the country could sleep in peace. But those times had gone by. Well, then, they had a Navy which was acknowledged to be pre-eminent in the world. The French had a navy—he was not going to make any comparison with the naval power of that country as compared with this from any apprehension of hostilities with that country; but he merely took the next country, which was next to us geographically, and the most important in the European scale, and he said that France had a navy which was inferior in amount, in number, and perhaps in skill to ours, but which had the advantage of far greater concentration. Our Navy was scattered all over the world; while France, possessing few foreign dependencies, had most of her fleet congregated in her Channel ports, or in the Mediterranean, which was to them a home station. France, also, enjoyed great means of communication, not only by sea but overland between her arsenals, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic; and the House should recollect that the quarter from whence an invading force may be anticipated, might be considerably less distant than those stations on our coast where our defensive troops would be stationed. Our Navy was, he believed, truly said to be in a greater state of efficiency than was ever before known. He perfectly agreed in that opinion. But the Navy was only the first line of defence, and if it were broken through, we ought to consider what was best to be done to compensate for that disaster. A return moved for by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), which had appeared in the Times, had been a good deal used in the debate, but it seemed to him (Mr. S. Herbert) calculated to give a very false impression of the amount of available force at the present moment. The hon. Member moved for this return to suit his own views, and, in order to give the largest forte that could be shown; he had, therefore, moved for a return of the force of all ranks upon full pay, which was given as 61,000; and with the artillery, 7,000, made in all 68,000. This, however, was not the usual way of moving for Military Returns. The hon. Member ought not to have moved for the whole number receiving full pay, but for the number of rank and file available. A very considerable number ought therefore to be deducted from that force. They should also make a very considerable reduction in the item of pensioners. The number of pensioners set down in the return was 16,000, only 9,000 of whom were in England, the others were in Ireland and Scotland. The volunteers and yeomanry amounted to 14,000. The marines ashore were calculated at 5,000 men; but the moment they had a war, what became of the 5,000 marines ashore? Why they immediately became 5,000 marines afloat, for upon these men they depended to man the steamers. The coast guard were calculated at 5,000, but they also would be used, if at all, afloat. When, too, did a country most want the sinews of war and a large revenue? Why, when there was an apprehension of invasion; and he should like to ask the Chairman of the Customs' Committee whether a vessel with a cargo of tobacco, with a duty of 800 per cent, might be trusted to land her cargo at one of Her Majesty's quays if the 5,000 coast guards were taken for a defensive force? The dockyard battalions was estimated at 5,000 men, trained to the use of guns, but in time of war not one of them could be spared. Every man of them would be required almost night and day on the ship's sides. There was then left the Irish constabulary, amounting to 10,000 men. He would only ask whether it was the opinion of Gentlemen that such was the state of Ireland, and such the difference between a state of war and of peace, that such a force as this, necessary in time of peace, would become unnecessary in war? It was necessary that they should show this before they could withdraw them. He thought, also, that the 7,500 men who acted as police in London, would find it necessary, no matter what was the alarm, to remain at their beats. He did not know why parish constables and gamekeepers were not included by the hon. Member in this return, for they would be just as useful, and they would be just as likely to get them. The whole aggregate of the return amounts to 130,000 men; if, then, they deducted the last five items, amounting to 32,000, it would leave a balance of 98,000, from which, if they deducted one-seventh for casualties, they would have a force of 84,000. But he wished to know what was the real force at their disposal. The army at home, rank and file, including artillery, and sappers and miners, amounted to 66,618, from which they should deduct the force in Ireland, amounting to 21,208 men, leaving a balance of 45,410. He deducted the troops in Ireland because he was speaking of the force absolutely available in case of hostilities. But they should further deduct from the whole of this force one-seventh for casualties, servants, packmen, deserters, &c. He had consulted some experienced officers. Some had put it as low as one-eighth; some had put it as high as one-fifth; but he understood that in all past wars one-seventh was the number generally deducted. If they made, then, this deduction of one-seventh, they would have a force left of 38,923. Deduct for the Channel Islands, which the instant there was an alarm would require, in addition to their militia, regular infantry—Jersey, 1,500; Guernsey, 1,500; Alderney, 2,000; making altogether 5,000 men. This would reduce your force of 38,923 to 33,923. But in order to arrive at the amount of their infantry force, they should deduct for cavalry, 5,000; for horse artillery, 700; which, with the deductions of one-seventh would leave an infantry force of 29,037 men; add 8,304 pensioners in England, and the force would then amount to 37,341 men. From this they should deduct the infantry and artillery required for arsenals and forts. For London, the Thames, Sheerness, Chatham, Woolwich, Tilbury, Purfleet, and Deptford, 10,000; Dover, 2,000; Portsmouth, 5,000; Plymouth, 5,000; Pembroke, which was not fortified, and where there was no defence for the dockyard, 3,000; amounting altogether to 25,000 men. These numbers were given to him as the lowest necessary for the defence of those places, but the Duke of Wellington put these garrisons at 30,000. This was leaving the available force for the field only 12,341 men. Add cavalry and horse artillery, 4,886, leaving as your real available force only 17,227 men. Now, this was not a force in a high state of efficiency, ready to march in every direction; a great deal of it was made up of depôts of regiments, the greater portion of which were serving in India and the colonies, bodies not much accustomed to act together; therefore they must make this allowance, that it was not a picked force of efficient men. They should recollect also that to bring this force together they must denude every portion of Great Britain of the troops usually maintained in time of peace. Now, in large populous districts, on the breaking out of war, trade was checked, foreign orders did not come in, employment was stopped, and the price of food also rose. In such a case there were likely to be disturbances; but by withdrawing the troops they incurred a great risk; and how were they to supply the deficiency? To meet the deficiency, the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) proposed, among other things, an augmentation of the pensioners; but he believed they were labouring under a delusion if they expected good and efficient service from that quarter. The introduction of the ten years' service would greatly reduce the number of pensioners. The late Secretary at War, now Lord Panmure, when proposing that measure, instanced as one of the advantages of the short-service system, that the number of pensioners would dwindle away, and that considerable economy would thus be effected—so that it might fairly be expected the number of pensioners available for service would annually become less. The noble Lord also said, that he would not object to a force of 10,000 men embodied as a militia. But there would be this disadvantage attaching to this force of 10,000 men, that they, being guaranteed against foreign service, would be unable to relieve your already overwrought garrisons in your colonies. And as this force would be selected by ballot, they would have in operation all the disadvantages which applied to compulsory service; and they would propose to inflict upon the people all the hardships of a time of war in a time of peace, when they were not necessary. Then it was proposed to have an augmentation of the Army. There was a school in that House which objected to such a system. However this was, at all events, certain, that a degree of unanimity was evinced in favour of a standing Army which he had never witnessed before. But there were several difficulties in his mind to an augmentation of the standing Army. It was said that a regular soldier was better than a militiaman. But a regular soldier cost ten times as much as a militiaman. The question therefore was, what is the number of regulars you can afford to keep for the same outlay as your militia force would require, and what is the proportionate value they will have? 10,000 or 12,000 regulars will cost as much as 80,000 militiamen. He assumed that the bounty would be about 5l. per head over the five years when he made this calculation. The question they had to consider was, what was the best and the cheapest kind of peace establishment?—which was most capable of being enlarged in war? 80,000 men were required, and the question was, which is easiest, to raise some force of 12,000 regulars to 80,000, or convert your 80,000 militiamen into soldiers? In the years 1845 and 1846, when Lord Hardinge fought his great battles in India, and when the East India Company were enlisting as rapidly as they could, during that period, from the 1st of January to the 31st of December, the largest number raised was 22,000 men. At that rate, they would be three years getting up their force to the required number. Everything in this question would depend upon the value of militiamen, and their capability of being trained into regular soldiers. Reference had been made to the opinion of General Cadwallader; but the opinions quoted as his had little to do with the subject they were now discussing, for no one pretended that one day's training could make a soldier. But the question as regarded the militia was not one of speculation with them, for they had the experience of past results to guide them. Before referring to these, however, he begged to say that he had no prejudice against a standing army on the ground of its being unconstitutional. That time had gone by. Neither had he any peculiar affection for a militia, though he should like to see it established as a sort of army of reserve. Was the militia a useless force during the late war? Did it or did it not contribute to the efficiency of the regular Army? From first to last 100,000 men volunteered from the militia into the line. In 1813 no fewer than 19,000 men went over from the militia into the line. At Albuera, at Badajoz, in Portugal, in Egypt, they covered the ground and acted with their choicest troops. And had it not been proved that our military system derived great advantage from the militia? They were found of the greatest assistance. Later, again, take the instance of Waterloo: it would surprise the House if they inquired how our forces were composed there. At Waterloo we had but 18,000 infantry of the line, and a majority of those were militiamen who had volunteered into the line. There was the German Legion certainly, than whom no finer troops existed; but the Hanoverians and the Brunswickers were militiamen. Well, then, let them not say that a militia was a useless force. Those who opposed the Bill spoke of the militia in two different ways. One party said that they were about to turn dangerous citizens into trained soldiers; the other, that it would be useless to call them soldiers. Now, he took it that they were either trained or not; if the latter, they were not dangerous, but if they were trained they could not be useless. With reference to the particular measure before them, he greatly regretted that this Bill did not consolidate the law respecting the militia, and he thought there were several points in which it could be materially improved. His impression was, that if they did not ask for too many men in the first instance, they might get the force required entirely from volunteers. They had experience from the past. In 1809, in 1810, and in 1812 and 1813, the militia was raised by bounty. The hon. Member for Manchester said that those were the dark ages of George III., and that we did not take the same interest in the national welfare of the country now, But 1831 was not in the dark ages, and yet Colonel Wood, well known to that House, raised in that year 1,100 men from Middlesex entirely by bounty, and without ballot. He (Mr. S. Herbert) did not see, therefore, why there should not be as great facility in raising these men now as then. In considering this question they ought not to overlook the great reason why they could maintain the militia when they could not an increase of the regular Army. He saw it lately stated with great force in the press, that the chief difficulties as regarded the standing Army were difficulties arising from the constitution of the House of Commons. In that House they had got into the habit of not speaking the truth on these subjects. They did not tell the country what it wanted; they did not claim from it the sacrifices that were required, because to do so would produce unpopularity. This was neither right nor necessary. Often and often they had seen that when popular opposition to such reasonable demands was, strenuously resisted, it died away. He remembered well the desperate opposition of the hon. Member for Finsbury to the Bill for enrolling the pensioners —how, night after night, they had divisions against what they were told was a most dangerous and unconstitutional measure. But that Bill had been carried into effect with complete success, and it was acknowledged even by its opponents to have been attended with none of the ill effects which they had predicted. He must say, however, that he did not expect to see any great augmentation of their defences, and for this they were themselves very much to blame. They had got into a groove in these matters which they were not likely to leave. It was much easier to carry out economy by striking off a number of men in the gross, than by searching into troublesome details, though by the latter method economy might be more effectually practised without reducing efficiency. It was of no use to tell him there was this objection and that objection to the militia. There was no system that could be devised that would not have its disadvantages; but the question was, in what scheme did the balance of advantages lie? He confessed, for his part, without giving any opinion as to the details of the Bill before them, but hoping that it would be carried out by voluntary enlistment, which he greatly preferred, that to the principle of that Bill he gave his cordial support. He looked upon it, in fact, as an insurance upon property, an insurance upon industry, an insurance upon honour, and, in short, an insurance upon everything that involved our national welfare. If we were unwilling to defend these blessings, we did not deserve to enjoy them. When a nation enjoyed great wealth, it brought with it the love of luxuries, and all the comforts of life, and these became so much necessities that it was found difficult to sacrifice them. But it would be a disgrace to this country, and a stigma on our civilisation, if we allowed those luxurious habits to interfere with our duty to our country, and our readiness to maintain the freedom of our institutions, and the religion that we professed; and if we showed an unwillingness to make these efforts, at some inconvenience, to place the country in such a state of defence as would secure it from the possibility of an attempt at foreign irruption. He hoped they would not be like the people mentioned in holy writ, who lived carelessly, who lived securely and quietly, but their land was good, the invader was tempted, and in the midst of their security those men were put to the sword. They had by these discussions advertised their position. They had proclaimed through the mouths of two Governments the necessity of defence, and, having so done, if they now fell back without making an attempt to remedy the evils they had themselves not only admitted but proclaimed, they would be guilty of treason to the welfare of the State.


said, he had listened to the able and eloquent speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had last spoken, but he wished he had explained to the House what was the species of danger which they were called on to guard against. It was out of the question to believe that the French could ever meditate the conquest of England, with the view of permanently settling themselves in it. The danger apprehended, therefore, was some sort of incursion for the purpose of mischief and plunder. Every man would admit that we should take steps to guard the country against such a danger; and the question was whether a militia force was the one best calculated to meet the emergency. His own opinion was rather in favour of increasing the regular Army; but as no proposal of that kind had been made, and, not wishing to throw obstacles in the way of the present measure, he should not refuse giving it his humble support.


entreated the indulgence of the House whilst he explained the vote he was about to give. He was one of those who thought that it was wise that they should take precautions in the present state of Europe for the protection of the country. He agreed in the principle of more adequate protection to the country, whether propounded by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), whether propounded by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Walpole), or whether propounded by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston). But he totally disagreed with them all as to the necessity of calling out the militia, because he disbelieved in its furnishing the protection required. He knew it was a measure received with alarm and jealousy by a very large part of the community. He knew that the people would infinitely prefer to pay for an increase of the regular Army than to pay for calling out a force op which no dependence could be placed. He was satisfied it would be more agreeable to the majority of the people to increase the Army, to man the Navy, to send out their numerous ships, and, instead of calling out the militia, to rely on those voluntary forces which would be forthcoming if Government were pleased to give them any encouragement. He also objected to calling out the militia, upon social and moral grounds. He conceived that if they took a man from his usual occupation at the barn's door or the plough's tail, they changed his ideas, they changed the colour of his mind; they placed him in a new situation under strict discipline, and then, his own master, they returned him with a distaste for his former avocations, and most probably not only totally unfitted him for the situation which he before held, but they made him a very bad character. He had heard magistrates, upon the last disembodiment of the militia, complain grievously of the great increase of crime amongst that class of persons. Now he contended that they had, at least, a right to a well-appointed army and a well-appointed navy, and to expect that both would have the best equipments, and would not be sent out totally unprepared for the services they had to undertake. Yet such had been the case, and he complained that the Executive had sent their brave men into the field under more disadvantageous circumstances than any other troops in Europe. As regarded the Navy, it had been said that it was far superior to the French navy. He knew that the seamen were made of far superior stuff to the French, but he was unaware that any proof existed that their Navy was at all more efficient than the French navy; and he was at a loss to know how it could be proved that they were on an equal footing with them. They could not disguise from themselves that their steam navy was in a far more inefficient state. They could not disguise from themselves that that branch of the service had been a failure. They could not conceal from themselves that when a steam man-of-war was ordered to sail from a port to some foreign station, two to one she put back to some port in England, totally disabled from the deficiency of her machinery. How often had that been been the case? Upon a question of national defences, that was a point they had a right to look to, and he trusted the right hon. Gentlemen opposite (now that they had entered office for the first time, and now that they had the great advantage of an Admiralty with a noble Duke at the head of it experienced in naval affairs, and, for once, not a civilian), would effect great improvements in that branch of the service. What had occurred lately in India and at the Cape of Good Hope showed the necessity of some little further preparation as regarded their Army. Surely the Executive had been to blame in sending out their gallant men, such as those brilliant examples of discipline on board the unfortunate Birkenhead, dressed like targets, in red and white, and armed with useless muskets, to be shot down by savages without the means of resistance from the deficiency of their weapons. Surely those things demanded the attention of the House and of the country. He had said that he thought their voluntary forces ought to be increased, and encouragement given to the volunteer corps to meet together, and acquire a knowledge of the modern rifle. He believed such a force, with a small increase of the Army, would altogether supersede the necessity of the militia. One suggestion more. He thought their gallant yeomanry should be dismounted from their horses and enrolled as rifle corps. They would then be of some service. They need not be ashamed to wear the green—that colour in which their ancestors so distinguished themselves when the yeomanry of England were the best soldiers in Europe, and when the common form of commendation was, "It was well and yeomanly done." Let them be clothed in Lincoln green if they would, and let them be headed by noblemen and gentlemen of the land, and a more effective body of riflemen than the tenantry of the great estates and the yeomanry, now perfectly useless in a military point of view, could not be found.


was of opinion that the militia would at the present time be the best organised and least expensive force. Therefore he should support the Bill.


said, as the representative of a manufacturing town, he was desirous of expressing his opinion on the question before the House. Two points presented themselves for consideration— first, was there a necessity for increasing the national defences; and, secondly, if the necessity existed, what was the best mode of effecting that increase? Great unanimity of opinion prevailed with respect to the first point. Until a very recent period he thought the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell) shared in that opinion. The Members of the present Government were of that opinion. They thought, as he understood, that there was an immediate necessity for adding to our defences—that there was something abroad which rendered it necessary for us to take immediate steps for that purpose; and that, too, he imagined, had been the opinion of the noble Lord the Member for London, when he proposed his Militia Bill. The noble Lord, however, left office, and now, when another Militia Bill was proposed by the present Government, he found the noble Lord modifying his preconceived opinion, and to have come to the conclusion, that whatever might be the necessity for measures of defence, that necessity was not immediate. He (Mr. Roebuck) believed that there was a vague manner of talking about that question. He wanted to know out of what that necessity arose? How was it that all of them, with the exception of the Members of one particular school, when talking together in private upon that subject, spoke only of one people, and pointed only at one man. The French were the people—the President of France was the man. We knew that there unfortunately existed in the minds of the French people a feeling of jealousy regarding this country, which a bad man might take advantage of, and we all knew that the bad man was now in power. [An expression of dissent.] It was all very well to say "No," but that was not what we said to one another in private. Away with pretences! We all knew that there was a man now in power in France who had arrived at the possession of power by breaking through all the sanctions by which men were ordinarily bound. We knew that he could only retain possession of power by pandering to the prejudices of his countrymen, and we knew that one of the strongest of those prejudices was, unfortunately, that to which he had referred, namely, a jealousy of this country. He had a large army, and on that army depended his power. Upon that army his power rested; and we all felt, and he dared any one to deny it, that his popularity with the army might be indefinitely increased by undertaking the invasion of England. It was absurd not to speak the truth. This, then, was the difficulty before us. The noble Lord the Member for London did not state this difficulty when he brought forward his Militia Bill; but did he not mean it? Was it not also meant by those who had brought forward the present Militia Bill? We had no fear of invasion before 1848; we had no fear before the President possessed himself of supreme power. [Mr. M. GIBSON said, that a Militia Bill had been introduced before that period.] Why should the right hon. Gentleman interrupt him? He had listened to him with the utmost patience. Let the right hon. Gentleman imitate his patience. To please the right hon. Gentleman he would put the case hypothetically. Supposing, then, that a bad man were in possession of power in France; supposing, then, that he had an army of 500,000 men within twenty miles of our coast—supposing that he ruled over a people jealous of our country, and burning with desire to avenge past reverses—supposing they had arrived at a period of the world when the means of military aggression had been immeasurably increased—then came the question, what were they to do under those circumstances? Allusions had been made to the events of the year 1804. There was then, as the ruler of France, a man with a mind gigantic almost beyond conception—the first general the world ever knew, commanding an army whose exploits had never been surpassed. But let them recollect that it was the mere accident of Villeneuve not being bold enough to cross the Channel that prevented Napoleon landing in England. That wag a point which was not to be dealt with, lightly. He assembled an army of 60,000 men on the French coast, and could have embarked them in his flotilla in twenty minutes. To the completion of his design only twenty-four hours' command of the Channel was necessary. There were there the man and the army; but the twenty-four hours' command of the Channel was wanting. Now there were the man and the army, and—owing to the application of steam to the purposes of marine—the twenty-four hours' command of the Channel was no longer indispensable. Persons talked about the doctrines of peace, and pamphlets were sent to him by the score, informing him that he ought on all occasions to act in accordance with those doctrines. Now, he wished to know what prevented, his being knocked down and robbed as he walked the streets? Was he indebted for his safety to the influence of gospel truth, or the dread of the police? It was his belief that peace was promoted by making it exceedingly dangerous for any one to attack us. Only that morning he had been favoured with a peace offering in the form of a pamphlet, in which the writer gravely recommended that in the event of the French invading this country we should quietly submit to the infliction, in the assurance that at the end of three or four years our invaders would become ashamed of their conduct, retire, and make us a liberal compensation for the injury done to us! This was the sort of stuff which the hon. Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cobden) patronised so much. The writer of the pamphlet carried his peace doctrine to the full extent; and his consistency in that respect contrasted favourably with the half-and-half betwixt-and-between policy of other peace advocates. Mankind was still governed by the same passions which had always influenced them; and it behoved us to be on our guard, instead of allowing ourselves to be lulled into a false security. England, rich almost beyond imagining, offered powerful temptations to other nations. It was not his wish to doubt the goodness of human nature, but, referring to history, he found that every nation rich and tempting, but weak, had succumbed to an invader. He wanted to see our great and civilised country carrying out its peaceful mission; but at the same time saying to all nations of the earth, "Touch me, if you dare!" So well prepared, so well guarded against the possibility of attack, that no man, no body of men, would venture to intrude on our shores. Only conceive what would be the consequence, not merely to England, but to mankind at large, of the occupation of London but for twelve hours by an invading force. Don't tell him this was not likely to happen. Let him call to the recollection of the House, that London was the only capital in Europe in which French armies had not planted themselves. Those armies had roamed through Europe, checked only, first by frost, and secondly by England; and let the House be well assured that France had not forgotten this latter check, but was, on the contrary, now more than ever eager to have their revenge. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Gentlemen might affect to scout this statement; but there was not a man there who heard it that did not in his heart believe it. Yes, there was danger, and great danger, aye, and immediate danger; and speaking, not as an individual, but as a man interested in the destinies of humanity, as a friend of the people, he called upon the Parliament to strengthen England, not for the purpose af aggressive warfare, but of national defence. The question was, how could this best be done; how could the manifest danger be most effectually provided against? Did he agree with the noble Lord the Member for London that a militia was the best mode? No. In his belief the best mode would be, first, to make our present Navy and Army properly available. As it was, the large body of that Navy were, he believed, cruising about in the Mediterranean. What did it do there? That was one thing he wanted particularly to know. The French, it was Said, wanted to make the Mediterranean a French lake; but this was no answer to the question. What was the great bulk of our naval establishment doing in the Mediterranean? No doubt, again, the Mediterranean was an exceedingly pleasant cruising ground; but that was no reason why, in the danger which the noble Lord had allowed, and the Government proclaimed by their Bill, the great mass of our Navy should be cruising there. Why was not that Navy, or most part of it, in the Channel? That was the first question. The next question was, why were our Colonies so governed that we must have so large a proportion of our military establishments abroad? Let these two questions be answered, as essential preliminaries to the solution of the main question—what is best to be done to avert the admitted danger? In his opinion, fighting being very much like any other business, he who was bred to it fought best. He had no faith in the military capacity of what was called a militia. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell), when he introduced the first Militia Bill, observed that the art of war, like almost every other art, was now wonderfully improved; and undoubtedly there never was such a marked distinction between the rabble and an army as there was now. Therefore, if danger, threatened us, and our defences were to be strengthened, the first thing to be done, after taking care that the power we already had was properly employed, was to increase our national Army. It was said there was danger to the State from a standing Army. Now, taking France, for example, he believed that the army of France expressed, at this moment, the opinion of France, and that the Government now established in France was exactly what the French people wanted. So have an army in England fairly composed, as an English army should be, and he, for one, should have no fear for the liberties of England. On the other hand, it was said that the best way would be to have a militia; and the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston), in his highly artistic speech the other night, asserted, despite of his long experience of human nature, and in the simplicity of his heart, that there was such a wonderful degree of virtue in mankind, and more especially in English kind, that militiamen, once enrolled, would be, for the far greater part, found when and where they were wanted. Now, did the noble Lord really think this? Did he really believe that the people who would be brought together under the Militia Bill, for a bounty of say 6l., would be, as a class, people who would be found when wanted? The noble Lord might, under the immediate influence of some singular sentimentality, have thought this when he said it, but it was very questionable whether there were twenty other men in the House to agree with him. If the militiamen contemplated were not men who would be forthcoming when wanted, where was the use of a militia? Now, let him suggest his plan, Let there be an addition made to the standing Army of some 10,000 or 12,000 men, to form skeleton regiments: this done, upon the least manifestation of invasion, these skeleton regiments could with facility be filled up, and you would have at once an addition to your effective Army of 100,000 men. Multitudes of men had proposed to enrol themselves as volunteers why had not the offer been accepted? Where would have been the danger from such men as those? In employing them, it could not be said that you were putting muskets or rifles into the hands of the rabble, for the persons who came forward and proposed to form rifle clubs were persons who had their own rifles, and who had more or less of leisure, and who were willing to apply a portion of that leisure to the competent acquisition of military training and knowledge. You would have had 100,000 of these men under arms if you had chosen to meet their proffers. For all the reasons he had stated, he could not support this Bill. There was danger, and immediate danger, no doubt; but the proposed militia was not the best mode of meeting it; on the contrary, it would do far more mischief than good.


Sir, I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just addressed the House, that there are two objections raised to this measure, one of which has been argued more faintly, while the other has been argued much more boldly; but both of them, I think, most unsuccessfully. In the first place, it has been denied that there is any necessity for such a measure as this, in order that you may put this great Kingdom in a proper state of defence; and, secondly, it is contended, that, even assuming such a necessity to exist, this is not the mode nor is this the time in which that object can be best accomplished. Now I think the necessity is proved; not, indeed, because there is in a neighbouring country the assumed possibility, if not probability, according to the hon. and learned Gentleman, of direct invasion upon us; for the hon. and learned Gentleman will recollect that the first time the militia was proposed was long before the present President of France had been placed in the position which he now occupies; it was proposed in 1846 by the Government of Sir Robert Peel, and again by the Government of the noble Lord opposite in 1847 and 1848; and it is therefore idle to contend that this measure is now brought forward in the fear of any particular circumstances which are peculiarly applicable to this particular period. How, then, is the necessity proved? First of all, we hare the highest military authorities in the country declaring that something must be done to put the country in a better state of defence; secondly, we have the fact, that two successive Governments have upon mature consideration felt it to be their imperative duty to see that this is done in some way or other by some means more effective than any at present existing; and, thirdly, we have the fact so forcibly urged on more than one occasion in the course of the debate by the noble Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) that the invention and improvement of steam navigation has rendered incursion at least, if not invasion, so much more practicable than it ever was before, that I venture to affirm, no navy, however numerous and powerful, could be certain, at all times, and under all circumstances, to secure us from such incursion or invasion, without the thoroughly effective co-operation of a competent force to cover us on shore. Such are the facts which prove the necessity of the measure we propose now as to the mode by which it can be met. It was said, by the hon. and gallant Officer who moved the Amendment upon the Motion, that the necessity can be met, either by concentrating our forces at home, or, if more be required, by withdrawing our troops, or a great portion of them, away from the colonies. Sir, I think both these propositions have been met in the course of the debate. I own I am surprised that any officer, much less one of the great experience of the hon. and gallant General, should take the view that he has adopted. I should not be surprised if a mere civilian had started the idea that you might put upon paper 60,000 men, and plant them to meet 60,000 men landed on our shores, and say we will see whether these men will not be ready to defend our homes. I think that if the emergency should arise, it will be found that you cannot denude Ireland any more than you can strip the colonies of their troops. You are bound to protect that country as well as this. The 20,000 men in Ireland must remain there. The 5,000 men of the coast guard, as has been well shown by the right hon Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. S. Herbert) to-night, must protect our revenue in war as well as in peace. [Sir DE L. EVANS: I said nothing about them.] Well, then, it was the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment. And surely, again, the hon. and gallant Member cannot seriously mean that the 10,000 men of the dockyard battalions are to be withdrawn from the points which so peculiarly require their protection? No; with all due deference to the hon. and gallant Officer, I adhere to the statements which I made in proposing the measure; statements which are under rather than over the mark; and I repeat, emphatically, the opinion which I expressed that to meet such a danger as that suggested, we should not be prepared with an effective force of as many as 25,000 men. The hon. and gallant Member says we can withdraw troops from the colonies; but I contend that we should be no more justified in leaving these extremities of the empire undefended, than we should be in leaving Ireland undefended. If, however, I were to discuss that question on its merits, I might say, looking at the 40,000 men in your colonial possessions, and seeing where they are distributed, it would be difficult to put your finger on any one colony from which you could draw any large number of men. To some of the colonies your countrymen have gone out as emigrants, and you are bound to protect them. In some you are in the midst of foreigners, more or less opposed to you, and you cannot leave those colonies without protection; and some are bounded by large and powerful countries, and you cannot and ought not to leave them defenceless. But you will find a great part of your possessions, coming under the head of colonial possessions, are military stations and maritime outposts, such as Gibraltar, Malta, the Ionian Islands, the Cape of Good Hope, Bermuda, Labuan, &c, and if you withdraw your troops from them, you might as well give up the whole of your colonial possessions. Now, I think I have shown the House the necessity which justifies the present measure; and I think, too, I have shown that you cannot meet that necessity either by a redistribution or concentration of forces, or by the withdrawal of your troops from the colonies. Something has been said by an hon. Gentleman opposite, about the best way of providing for these matters, namely, by encouraging commerce, and promoting the arts of peace. Why, we are for peace, if we can only have it; and here, again, I say with the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), that the best way to maintain peace is always to be prepared to meet those who would invade it. There is no other way in which you can maintain it; and as for those who think the contrary, perhaps I may remind them of the quaint and appropriate phrase of an ancient author, who said he would wish no harm to those who would take away from men all power of self-preservation, and who would leave mankind as defenceless in the world as when they first came into it; but if he were to wish them harm he could not wish them greater than this, that, when attacked, they should feel the full force of their own doctrine. Let me now address myself to the next point, namely, assuming the necessity of providing for defence, what are the best means, as the right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice) said early this evening, by which you can best provide for that defence? Now, several means had been suggested by different Gentlemen. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) suggested an increase of the Navy; others have suggested an increase of the Army; and the hon. Member who seconded the Amendment suggested a large addition to our pensioners. An hon. and gallant General suggested the encouragement of volunteers; and the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) would still go back to his local militia. I will say a few words oh each of these points. With respect to the increase of our Navy— [Mr. ROEBUCK: I said I wished to see an increase of the Army.] If the hon. and learned Member did not mean the Navy, I will not discuss that point, as I wish to compress my observations within the smallest possible space, and I will proceed to the suggestion for an increase of the Army. I think that proposition has been answered over and over again. Suppose we had come down to the House and asked to add 20,000 men to our Army, what would have been said of us? You would have said, "Here is a constitutional Ministry increasing the standing Army! Here are people wishing to assert military power in this country!" That is the way in which we should have been met; and we should have been taunted with proposing an increase of the Army instead of a militia, not because you desired the one, but wished to oppose the other. If, however, the question is to be seriously argued, I see two objections to the mode of defending the country by increasing the Army, which are quite unanswerable. The first is, that if you go on increasing the Army, other countries will do the same. They will make preparations to meet your preparations, and so you will go on, each increasing the force to such an extent against the other, that these preparations would become an incumbrance to the country instead of a defence. But there is another objection still stronger. The House of Commons will not quietly submit for many years, and I think rightly, to a large increase of the regular Army, unless it can be shown that such increase is wanted for a permanent purpose and for daily use; and not, as the militia is required for, to meet an emergency, which might not rise for many months or years. It was well observed by the late Sir Robert Peel, that this House is constantly in the habit of having hot fits and cold fits, as regards its expenditure. When under the influence of the hot fit, the House is then liberal to an extreme; but some pressure is applied to the House, and then comes a cold fit, and a rage for economy, amounting even to parsimony, rapidly follows. That is not the way in which a great country like this ought to be governed; and, if you want a force to protect you, you ought to be sure that that force will be ready and at hand in case an emergency should arise which requires and justifies you in calling it out. It; may be said that the militia will not furnish you with a body of men which you may rely on as a trained and disciplined army. True it will not; but that is not the object of the militia. The object of a militia is to have a body of men partly trained, drilled, and equipped for duty, and knowing their posts in case danger arises. These are grounds which justify a militia as contradistinguished from those which justify an increase in the regular Army. The next point to which I shall refer is the suggestion for a large addition of the pensioners, suggested by the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Amendment (Mr. Rich). We were told that we have 60,000 and odd pensioners in Great Britain and Ireland. It is true enough that in Great Britain you have 43,000 pensioners, but what is their age? The pensioners are men who become pensioners in consequence of some bodily infirmity, and are mostly mutilated with wounds. But what is the age of these men on whom you are told to rely? Out of the 43,000 in Great Britain, not 1,860 are under the age of forty-six years: all the rest are above that age, and above the are of seventy years there are 4,800. That is a force you can not have recourse to for the defence of the country, not would it be fair to those pensioners to draw them away from distant parts of the country, with their weight of years upon them, to defend you from aggression, when you have the opportunity of calling upon younger and abler men for the service.


said, he was anxious to explain, that in the proposal he made, he referred to drawing pensioners, not from the existing body, but from the Army, according to modifications which he explained at the time.


I shall now proceed to the proposition which has been suggested with regard to volunteers. The main, object which you ought to have in view with reference to the defence of the country, is to obtain a force which you can permanently rely on. You ought to be able to secure to yourselves a body of men for the whole period during which they should be trained and disciplined; otherwise, when the time came, and their services were required, instead of having them so trained and disciplined, you would find that yet would only have recourse to a fluctuating body of men who had not served in the same ranks, or under the same commanders. You could not have men properly trained and disciplined under the volunteer system; because, at any time, according to the very principle upon which they enlist, the men may go away when they please from the service. You may rely on them as long as their enthusiasm was excited by the sense of immediate danger; but when that passed away, I will not say their patriotism would pass away, but the necessity of continuing to volunteer their services would be felt to be gone, and, consequently, if they returned, as they probably would in the course of time, you could not rely on such a body as a permanent force. It is always, a popular topic to talk of the spirit and enthusiasm of the people, and to say that on those you can rely against any enemy who should be bold enough to invade our shores. We all agree in that; but let the House remember the words of the Duke of Wellington, contained in that celebrated letter which has already been alluded to in the course of this debate:— We hear a great deal of the spirit of the people of England, for which no man entertains a higher respect than I do. But, unorganised, undisciplined, without systematic subordination established and well understood, this spirit, opposed to the fire of musketry and cannon, and to sabres and bayonets of disciplined troops, would only expose those animated by such spirit to confusion and destruction. These are words which we ought not to forget. Having then disposed of these propositions, I shall now approach the last proposition made by the noble Lord opposite, which was to have his own plan of a local militia again. Now, the noble Lord will forgive me for saying that I think he has rather too highly coloured his own plan, and put our plan too much in the shade. He said that our plan was oppressive and severe, and that the men would not be a well-disciplined body, as they would be by his own plan, for by that plan he would provide men of spirit, courage, and moral energy. By our plan he said the men would be nothing but mercenaries, and they would take the bounty, and then make their way to the United States. That is the colouring put on our plan when the noble Lord painted the picture so highly. I am sorry to be compelled to do away with the impression which the noble Lord's statement was calculated to make, but which is not borne out by a careful comparison of the two measures. First, with regard to the comparative severity of these two plans. By the noble Lord's plan every man was to be drawn by ballot unless a sufficient number of volunteers offered their services by the bribe of having to serve three years instead of four. But by our plan the men are not to be drawn by ballot; they are invited to offer their services as volunteers in consideration of a bounty. Therefore, I think that the noble Lord's plan is more severe than ours. This, however, is not all. By the noble Lord's plan, the men were to be drawn from a limited number—for the first year, from between the ages of twenty to twenty-three, and in succeeding years from between the ages of twenty and twenty-one. Now, by our plan, if you go to the ballot, which possibly may not be needed, you are to draw the men from an extended area, from between the years of eighteen and thirty-five; and it requires little reasoning to show that the pressure on a small base must be greater than on a more extended one. Then, with respect to training and discipline, I own I was so astonished at what the noble Lord said, that I referred to Hansard to see whether or not I had forgotten what had fallen from him; and I found that, by the noble Lord's plan, the men were to be drilled for twenty-eight days in the first year, and fourteen days in the next. By our plan the men are ordinarily to be trained for twenty-one days in every year, and, upon a necessity, for seven weeks; but there is this provision, which greatly mitigates that arrangement, namely, that in case the training may not be necessary, or in case there should be a great demand for labour, then the drill in any year may be reduced to three days. I think that shows that our plan is not quite so severe. Now as to the moral character, energy, and courage of the men. The noble Lord said that the men raised under the present Bill would be individuals of a restless spirit and of a vagabond character; but I should like to know how the noble Lord by his plan would get those men of high courage and moral character of whom he spoke. The noble Lord proposed to cast lots for them; but the lot might fall on the weak as well as the strong, and on the immoral as well as the moral; and I cannot conceive what reason there is for supposing that you would always obtain by the ballot men of high courage and moral character. I do believe that the probability is, that the men who would offer their services according to our plan would be enterprising men, and, if you take proper guarantees that you do not have men who would take the bounty and then cheat you, you would probably obtain a better class of men than those for whom lots are cast. But there has been some mistake upon this part of the measure, which renders it necessary for me to make one observation. It has been said over and over again in this debate, and out of this House, "You are throwing away 5l. or 6l. on a man who would be a mere restless spirit about the country, and who would be very willing to take your money, but you would have no security that he would appear again when his services were required." Those who make that statement ought to have read and considered our Bill a little more carefully. They will find that the bounty to volunteers is to be subject to regulations and provisions imposed by the Secretary at War; that the names of persons so volunteering, and their places of residence, are to be given to and pre- served by the deputy-lieutenants and commanding officers, and by them transmitted to the clerk of the peace for the county; and that the Secretary at War has the power of prescribing the mode in which these bounties are to be paid, whether by prepayments or postpayments—or whether by annual instalments or monthly allowances. That will all be left to the Executive Government, so that the Government may not be imposed upon. I hope I have now dispossessed the minds of any hon. Gentlemen who were going away with the impression that the bounty was to be thrown into the hands of mere mercenaries, who would not be forthcoming when required. But I must add this more. It would be a great reflection oh this country to suppose that 80,000 men would come to the Government and accept the bounty of 4l., 5l., or 6l. a man, merely for the purpose of going away with it; and I was suprised to find that argument used most prominently by those who call themselves the exponents of the sentiments and feelings of the popular party. I do not think the men would be such scamps. Nor do I think you believe it yourselves, but you use that argument as you have used many others, merely because you have not a better one against the Bill. I think I have now established the necessity of some such measure as this, and that the other propositions offered to the House are not so good as that which we have suggested, and that ours will be both popular with the country, and effectual for the purpose. And I am not speaking here entirely without authority, for, within a week after this plan was proposed, I received a letter from the adjutant of a militia regiment, saying that seventy men in the county of Suffolk had offered themselves as volunteers; and that no doubt the regiment could be filled up in a fortnight. I have heard the same thing of the midland counties; and I believe that if this Bill is allowed to pass into a law, you will find that, instead of having that oppressive ballot which has been spoken of at public meetings as the object of the Government measure, you need not have recourse to it at all. Even if the number is not filled up in the first year, there is no compulsion by this Bill to resort to the ballot; and, although there is a permissive power to the Queen in Council to direct it, there is little danger that it would be exercised. There is only one other observation I wish to make. It was said by the right hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M. Gibson) that this is not the time for such a Bill as this. I ask you what you would have said to us if we had not brought forward this Bill, and any misfortune had befallen this country? You had passed a resolution that the laws relating to the local militia should be amended. If we had not brought in this Bill, and war was to be declared in any possible contingency, you would have blamed us, and justly so, for not having made any provision against it, and you would have said that we as Ministers deserved to be impeached. You have no right, therefore, to blame us for bringing in this Bill, or to say that this is not the best time for its introduction. But I will give you another reason why this is the best time for bringing in this measure; and in doing so I must advert to an observation made by the hon. Member for Liver-pool (Mr. Cardwell). Sir, I do not agree with him as to the full extent of danger consequent upon the refusal of this Bill. I do not say that because you rejected this Bill you would have to put the Militia Law into operation by means of the ballot, With all its rigours. But, I do Say that if ah emergency should arise which required you to add to the force of the country, the Government that might be in power, whether the present Government, of the Government of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell), or any other Government, it would be bound to suspend the suspending law relating to the militia, and to put that law at once in force in order to obtain a sufficient number of men to defend the country. Then do not say that this is an oppressive law. It is a mitigated law. The language of mitigation runs throughout it from the first section to the last, and I defy you to find a single severe clause in it. Every clause is a mitigating clause. If that be so, I leave the measure with some degree of confidence to the judgment of the House and of the country. I think I have shown you there is a necessity for some increase of the national defences. I believe I have proved to you that the other modes suggested are not so good, nor near so good, as that we have proposed; and I am confident you will find that if you reject it, the occasion might arise upon which you might have to put your militia law into force with all the rigour and severity of the ballot; but that if you accept it—improve it if you will in Committee—you are mitigating and alle- viating the rigours of that law, instead of enforcing them unduly on the people, he-cause, by your legislation, you are proceeding on this principle of voluntary enlistment and voluntary service, and you are not having recourse to forced conscription, which, by some contingency, you might be compelled to adopt.


said, he was aware he had no right to reply, but there were some explanations which he would make on other stages of the Bill.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 315; Noes 165:—Majority 150.

List of AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Campbell, hon. W.
Anson, Visct. Campbell, Sir A. I.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Cardwell, E.
Archdall, Capt. M. Carew, W. H. P.
Arkwright, G. Carter, J. B.
Bagot, hon. W. Castlereagh, Visct.
Bailey, C. Cayley, E. S.
Bailey, J. Chandos, Marq. of
Baillie, H. J. Chaplin, W. J.
Baird, J. Charteris, hon. F.
Baldock, E. H. Chatterton, Col.
Baldwin, C. B. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Bankes, rt. hon. G. Child, S.
Baring, H. B. Childers, J. W.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T. Cholmeley, Sir M.
Baring, T. Christopher, rt. hon. R. A
Barrington, Visct. Christy, S.
Barrow, W. H. Clements, hon. C. S.
Beckett, W. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bell, M. Clive, hon. R. H.
Benbow, J. Clive, H. B.
Bennet, P. Cobbold, J. C.
Bentinck, Lord H. Cochrane, A. D.R.W.B
Beresford, rt. hon. W. Cocks, T. S.
Bernard, Visct. Codrington, Sir W.
Best, J. Coke, hon. E. K.
Blackstone, W. S. Coles, H. B.
Blandford, Marq. of Collins, T.
Boldero, H. G. Colvile, C. R.
Booker, T. W. Conolly, T.
Booth, Sir R. G. Copeland, Ald.
Bowles, Adm. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Bramston, T. W. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Bremridge, R. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Cubitt, Ald.
Brisco, M. Currie, H.
Broadwood, H. Davies, D. A. S.
Brocklehurst, J. Deedes, W.
Brooke, Lord Denison, E.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Denison, J. E.
Bruce, Lord E. Dick, Q.
Bruce, C. L. C. Disraeli, rt. hon. B.
Buck, L. W. Dodd, G.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Douro, Marq. of
Buller, Sir J. Y. Drax, J. S. W. S. E.
Bunbury, W. M. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Burghley, Lord Drummond, H.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B
Burroughes, H. N. Duncombe, hon. A.
Butler, P. S. Duncombe, hon. O.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Duncombe, hon. W. E.
Cabbell, B. B. Dunne, Col.
Du Pre, C. G. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
East, Sir J. B. Jones, Capt.
Edwards, H. Kelly, Sir F.
Egerton, Sir P. Knight, F. W.
Egerton, W. T. Knightley, Sir C.
Emlyn, Visct. Knox, Col.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Knox, hon. W. S.
Euston, Earl of Lacy, H. C.
Evelyn, W. J. Langton, W. H. P. G.
Farnham, E. B. Lascelles, hon. E.
Farrer, J. Legh, G. C.
Fellowes, E. Lemon, Sir C.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Lennard, T. B.
Filmer, Sir E. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Floyer, J. Leslie, C. P.
Forbes, W. Lewisham, Visct.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Fortescue, C. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Fox, R. M. Lockhart, W.
Fox, S. W. L. Long, W.
Freestun, Col. Lopes, Sir R.
Freshfield, J. W. Lowther, hon. Col.
Frewen, C. H. Lowther, H.
Fuller, A. E. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Galway, Visct. Mahon, Visct.
Gaskell, J. M. Manners, Lord C. S.
Gilpin, Col. Manners, Lord G.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Manners, Lord J.
Goddard, A. L. March, Earl of
Gooch, Sir E. S. Martin, C. W.
Gore, W. O. Masterman, J.
Gore, W. R. O. Maunsell, T. P.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Granby, Marq. of Meux, Sir H.
Greenall, G. Miles, P. W. S.
Greene, T. Miles, W.
Grogan, E. Milnes, R. M.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Moody, C. A.
Guernsey, Lord Morgan, O.
Gwyn, H. Mullings, J. R.
Hale, R. B. Naas, Lord
Halford, Sir H. Napier, J.
Hall, Col. Neeld, J.
Hallewell, E. G. Neeld, J.
Halsey, T. P. Newdegate, C. N.
Hamilton, G. A. Newport, Visct.
Hamilton, J. H. Noel, hon. G.J.
Hamilton, Lord C. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Harcourt, G. G. O'Brien, Sir L.
Hardinge, hon. C. S. O'Connell, M. J.
Harris, hon. Capt. O'Ferrall, rt. hon. R. M.
Hayes, Sir E. Ossulston, Lord
Heathcote, Sir G. J. Owen, Sir J.
Heneage, G. H. W. Packe, C. W.
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.
Herbert, H. A. Palmer, R.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Palmer, R.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Palmerston, Visct.
Hervey, Lord A. Peel, Sir R.
Hildyard, R. C. Peel, Col.
Hildyard, T. B. T. Pennant, hon. Col.
Hill, Lord E. Pinney, W.
Hodgson, W. N. Plowden, W. H. C.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Portal, M.
Hope, Sir J. Powlett, Lord W.
Hope, H. T. Prime, R.
Hotham, Lord Pugh, D.
Hudson, G. Pusey, P.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Reid, Gen.
Jermyn, Earl Repton, G. W. J.
Jocelyn, Visct. Richards, R.
Johnstone, J. Rushout, Capt.
Sandars, G. Verner, Sir W.
Sandars, J. Verney, Sir H.
Scott, hon. F. Vesey, hon. T.
Seymer, H. K. Villiers, Visct.
Seymour, Lord Villiers, hon. F. W.C.
Shelburne, Earl of Vivian, J. H.
Sibthorp, Col. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Sidney, Ald. Waddington, D.
Slaney, R. A. Waddington, H. S.
Somerton, Visct. Wall, C. B.
Sotheron, T. H. S. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Spooner, R. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Stafford, A. Wegg-Prosser, F. R.
Stanford, J. F. Welby, G. E.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Wellesley, Lord C.
Stevenson, R. West, F. R.
Stuart, H. Westhead, J. P. B.
Stuart, J. Whiteside, J.
Sturt, H. G. Whitmore, T. C.
Sutton, J. H. M. Wigram, L. T.
Talbot, C. R. M. Williams, T. P.
Taylor, Col. Willyams, H.
Tenison, E. K. Williamson, Sir H.
Tennent, Sir J. E. Willoughby, Sir H.
Thesiger, Sir F. Worcester, Marq. of
Thompson, Ald. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. Wrightson, W. B.
Tollemache, J. Wynn, H. W. W.
Townley, J. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Townley, R. G. Wyvill, M.
Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Tufnell, rt. hon. H. TELLERS.
Tyler, Sir G. Bateson, T.
Tyrell, Sir J. T. Lennox, Lord H.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Crowder, R. B.
Adair, H. E. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Adair, R. A. S. Dawes, E.
Aglionby, H. A. D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T.
Alcock, T. Divett, E.
Anderson, A. Duff, G. S.
Anson, hon. Gen. Duff, J.
Anstey, T. C. Duncan, Visct.
Armstrong, Sir A. Duncan, G.
Armstrong, R. B. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Bell, J. Ellis, J.
Berkeley, Adm. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Evans, J.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Evans, W.
Bernal, R. Ewart, W.
Bethell, R. Fergus, J.
Birch, Sir T. B. Ferguson, Col.
Blair, S. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Boyle, hon. Col. Fordyce, A. D.
Bright, J. Forster, M.
Brockman, E. D. Fox, W. J.
Brotherton, J. Geach, C.
Brown, H. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Brown, W. Glyn, G. C.
Bunbury, E. H. Grenfell, C. P.
Caulfield, J. M. Grenfell, C. W.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Grey, R.W.
Cavendish, W. G. Hall, Sir B.
Clay, J. Hanmer, Sir J.
Clay, Sir W. Hardcastle, J. A.
Cobden, R. Harris, R.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Hastie, A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Cowan, C. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Craig, Sir W. G. Headlam, T. E.
Heneage, E. Ponsonby, hn. C. F. A.C,
Henry, A. Ricardo, J. L.
Heywood, J. Ricardo, O.
Heyworth, L. Rice, E. R.
Hill, Lord M. Robartes, T. J, A.
Hindley, C. Roebuck, J. A,
Hobhouse, T. B. Romilly, Col.
Hodges, T. L. Romilly, Sir J.
Hodges, T. T. Russell, Lord J.
Horsman, E. Russell, hon. E. S.
Howard, Lord E. Russell, F. C. H.
Hume, J. Salwey, Col.
Humphery, Ald. Scholefleld, W.
Hutchins, E. J. Scobell, Capt.
Hutt, W. Scrope, G. P.
Jackson, W. Seymour, H. D.
Kershaw, J. Shafto, R. D.
King, hon. P. J. L. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Smith, J. A.
Langston, J. H. Smith, J. B.
Locke, J. Smyth, hon. G.
Loveden, P. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
Lushington, C. Spearman, H. J.
Mackinnon, W. A. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Mangles, R. D. Strickland, Sir G.
Marshall, J. G. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Martin, J. Stewart, Adm.
Melgund, Visct. Stuart, Lord D.
Milligan, R. Tancred, H. W.
Milner, W. M. E. Thicknesse, R. A.
Milton, Visct. Thompson, Col.
Mitchell, T. A. Thornely, T.
Moffatt, G. Townshend, Capt.
Molesworth, Sir W. Trevor, hon. T.
Moncreiff, J. Villiers, hon. C.
Morris, D. Wakley, T.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Walmsley, Sir J.
Mowatt, F. Watkins, Col, L.
Murphy, F. S. Wilcox, B. M.
Norreys, Lord Williams, J.
Ord, W. Williams, W.
Paget, Lord G. Wilson, J.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Wilson, M.
Peel, F. Wood, Sir W. P.
Peto, S. M. TELLERS.
Philips, Sir G. R. Rich, H.
Pigott, F. Evans, Sir De L.
Pilkington, J.

Main Question put, and agreed to:— Bill read 2°, and committed for Monday next.