§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third Time."
§ MR. RICH
said: Before entering on the discussion of this Bill, I beg for a very few moments to refer to the charge of inconsistency which it has been attempted to affix on those who having voted for the introduction of the Local Militia Bill of my noble Friend the Member for the City of London, have found it their duty to vote not against the introduction, but against the second reading of 145 the General Militia Bill. Sir, with regard to this Militia measure, there are four parties. There are those who are opposed to all Militia Bills, or to all additional means of national defence. They, most consistently, have opposed both Bills. Secondly, there are those who may lean to a local or to a general Militia Bill, but who, willing to entertain the general consideration of our defences—being desirous of seeing some additional military force organised—have consistently enough supported the entertainment of both measures, hoping that they might be altered in Committee according to their several views; and it is now for them to decide whether the present Bill in its amended shape answers their expectations of national defence. There is a third party, who have considered a Local Militia Bill to be founded on principles "so essentially vicious and false," that they have been compelled to adopt the very unusual course of practically refusing to allow a Government to lay upon the table of this House their measures for the defence of the country. This party consisted mainly of hon. Gentlemen opposite; of almost every Member of the Cabinet; indeed of almost every Member of the present Government having seats in this House. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke and voted on the occasion; so also, the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, the introducer of this measure. There is a fourth party, who have supported a Local Militia measure, considering it capable of popular organisation, but who, looking upon a general Militia measure in a time of peace as mischievous and oppressive, have opposed its second reading. Now, Sir, the same broad distinction of "vicious principles;"—"very essential difference"—I quote the words as stated in February—between the two systems, which may justify the very unusual procedure of the present Government in having practically resisted even the introduction of the Local Militia Bill of their predecessors, must at least, stand in equal stead those members and supporters of the late Government who in May and June oppose, as they in February opposed, the principle of a general Militia Bill. Sir, I am almost ashamed of having occupied these few moments with a deduction so plain and self-evident; but such a ready, and, if I may so say, so unfair a use of this charge of inconsistency, was made in the early stage of this discussion 146 by those very persons—by the Colonial Secretary for instance—who thereby laid themselves most bare to the counter charge, that I, who, for one, do value a character for rational consistency, have ventured to occupy the time of the House with these few unvarnished facts. And now, without one word of comment or recrimination, I proceed to the business before us. That consists, first, in a very brief survey of the grounds alleged for the present measure; secondly, of the substitutes or alternatives that have been suggested for it; thirdly, of the results to be expected from the measure itself; and, fourthly, the consequences that might result from its rejection.
The general grounds may he soon despatched. They were originally laid upon the urgency of some vague imminent danger—more than half denied by words, but more than half implied by inuendo—and upon the Ministerial assertion that we could not bring into the field, after denuding our arsenals, our depots, and our capital, 25,000 men. Both of these pleas have vanished under the hammer of discussion. The vague imminent peril, never strongly asserted, has been utterly abandoned, both in word and in deed. I say emphatically "in deed." For the Government has refused the offers that were made to them by the Amendments of 50 and 90 days' drill, which would have rendered their militiamen to a certain extent effective; whereas the present measure only proposes to form a force that will hardly be collected before Christmas; that will not then have half its numbers; and those numbers then not even versed in the mysteries of the goose step. These are admissions that you contemplate no urgency, no proximate call, for the application of your force. Then the 25,000 men have been shown to be 65,000, including 5,000 marines on shore. Attempts indeed were made during the discussion to exclude the marines ashore from all consideration, upon the singular plea that in the event of an invasion they would be wanted on board of our ships. But if the enemy were once landed, common prudence would counsel the disembarking of whatever marines were already afloat, rather than sending the 5,000 ashore far away from the scene of action. If London were menaced by an hostile army in Kent, it would be a sorry manoeuivre to embark our marines at Woolwich for the augmentation of a fleet off Cherbourg that had already let an enemy 147 slip by. But it is to be remembered that the Ministerial plan made no reservation for necessary garrisons and all the long array of abatements by which the analytical ingenuity of some right hon. Gentlemen left us with almost no army at all. The Ministerial statement expressly excluded these garrisons,&c—I will read it, if you like—leaving their defence, with that of the metropolis, and the Queen's palaces, to pensioners and police. True, it excluded Ireland also. But no one during the debate has seriously endeavoured to sustain so invidious and insulting, so repealing an exclusion. Ireland is as much part and parcel of this country, as much bound to defend and be defended, as Yorkshire, Middlesex, or Scotland. At the time of the disturbances in the manufacturing districts in 1841, Ireland supplied regiments to Lancashire; and, still more, if those districts were invaded, would she lend her helping hand. Of course it is impossible to foresee under what peculiar circumstances an invasion or an attack on this country might take place; one cannot say how Ireland or Scotland or Yorkshire might then stand; but as a general rule we are bound to assume that they would all equally and mutually defend one another. The exclusion of all consideration of the troops in Ireland seems to me to involve a flat insult to the loyalty of that country. We are bound to consider our troops in Scotland, England, and Ireland, as our home troops; and while the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, without misgiving, left our arsenals, our manufacturing districts, London, and Her Majesty's palaces, to the protection of pensioners and police, he surely might have remembered that like pensioners reside and are enrolled also in Ireland, which has the further defence not of unarmed policemen, but of 12,000 admirably-constituted and well-armed constabulary, and which render the regular forces of Ireland greatly more available than those of England.
Undoubtedly the disposability of these troops offers a wide field for speculation, as well as for grave consideration; but it has been made needlessly wide by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen travelling out of its precincts—by arguing as if we had to guard against a vast and comprehensive scheme of invasion, which would necessarily demand such a long and extensive preparation as could not fail to give us time and warning enough 148 to make corresponding preparations for defence. Then, undoubtedly, some such dispositions of our forces and garrisons as have been sketched, would be necessary; but such an invasion as that is palpably not the subject under consideration. Therefore, all the right hon. Secretary's phantom garrisons of 10,000 men in one direction—men here, and 5,000 men there, are beside the present question, and serve only to mystify and mislead. It is not against a comprehensive invasion, with long trains of battering artillery, that we are called upon to arm. It is against a sudden and vigorous assault, when at the unexpected outbreak of a war we might find ourselves in a state of laxity or weakness; and when once the assault was made, it would be an act of folly or of cowardice to shut up two-thirds of our regulars in garrison. It is from the heedless or wilful confounding of these two very distinct modes of attack and defence—a comprehensive invasion or a sudden assault—that the seeming contradictory statements of our forces have arisen. These discussions, then, have cleared the question: all urgency has been abandoned; Ireland is reunited to us, and instead of a bare handful of 25,000 men, we find we may safely rely on from 65,000 to 70,000 regular cavalry, infantry, artillery, engineers, and marines; together with a reserve of some 50,000 pensioners, dockyard battalions, &c. which render these troops more disposable, and of which I shall presently speak.
Yet still Her Majesty's Ministers say our forces are insufficient, and they ask for such reinforcements as may render them more formidable and more fully disposable. This request has been heard with respect and attention. It may suit the purposes of those who seek to cry down all reasonable discussion respecting a measure branching out, as this does, into so many civil and financial, as well as military considerations, to assert that all those who do not support it are recklessly leaving this country open to danger and insult. Sir, the only reply that one can condescend to make to such imputations, is a mere short recapitulation of the additional or substitutional means of defence that have been submitted. In the first place, there has been offered to you a local militia resembling more nearly the old constitutional force of the country, than your English general militia. That you flatly refused. Many propositions from both 149 sides of the House have called upon you to encourage and organise the voluntary spirit of the country—to patronise rifle artillery, and light infantry, as well as your present mounted yeomanry volunteers. To this you have turned a deaf ear. In accordance with the principle that has trained and organised our dockyard bat talions, you have been requested to extend the numbers of your police, and to train them, and other local forces, to the use of arms and military exercises. This, also, you have not heeded. Yet allow me to say that these suggestions offer means quite as comprehensive, more national, more cheap, more spontaneous, more effective, and a more ready at hand organisation than that which is now before us. Yet still I admit they are but subsidiary means. The gallant Gentleman the Member for Westminster has pointed out to you, and others who followed him have shown, how you might withdraw from several of your colonies a considerable amount of artillery and infantry, and thereby increase your home forces at no additional expense. Almost every military officer—I believe I may say every military officer—who has spoken in this debate, has avowed or admitted that an increase to your regular forces of 10,000, 15,000, or 20,000 men would be infinitely preferable to your proposed militia; and there are very few reflecting civilians who have not concurred in this opinion. But nearly all have also intimated a fear that the additional charge to the country for supporting such an increase to the Army, would become so irksome that it would be almost hopeless permanently to maintain it, combined as it would be with the just jealousy that exists in this country against a large standing Army. But, Sir, there are other obvious, simple, and beneficial means by which an equivalent to these 10,000 or 20,000 regular troops might be obtained at little or no real permanent cost to the country, and which, when once obtained, could not, by any economical fit, be dismissed and done away with. You would be secure of them for the next twenty years, and might annually replenish vacancies, and increase their numbers. I beg pardon of the House for saying so; but it seems to me almost infatuation, when seeking to strengthen your military power, that instead of looking to your vigorous, well-disciplined, and easily-recruited Army for its supply, you should weakly, mischievously, extravagantly turn right round about and 150 think of hiring by the piecework a multitude of armed labourers and artisans to do that—it might be the most critical duty that can fall to man, but with which they are necessarily, totally, and entirely unacquainted, and in which you yourselves declare you will not afford them sufficient time and occasion for instruction. Why, Sir, if the danger be as real as it is stated to be, such conduct is near akin to that madness which we are told is inflicted on persons or communities marked for ruin. If you really want an additional military force, why will you not seek it where it is most quickly and best to be found—in your Army? Why will you not have an army of reserve; or, rather, why will you not extend and consolidate your present army of reserve? for you already have one. Your retiring pensioner system and pensioner battalions constitute an army of reserve, which requires only a little expanding and remodelling to render highly effective. You know that, by your existing regulations, after twenty-one or twenty-four years' service, as the case may be, your well-conducted soldier is entitled to a pension of 1s. a day, subject to being enrolled and called out, as he now is, for occasional or emergent service. The slightest reflection will tell you that half this pension for half this period of service would scarcely add to the public charge; and it is notorious that if such an offer of 6d. a day for ten or twelve years' service, were made to men of good character, with like conditions of reserved service, it would gladly be accepted. It is known that there are from 30,000 to 40,000 men in the Army who have served above ten years. But estimating for the present only from those at home, or in our less distant colonies, and who have served from ten to fifteen years, you might forthwith select and form into reserve battalions some 10,000 of these best soldiers, ranging from twenty-eight to thirty-five years of age. This would be a substantial commencement of a reserve force. The gap in the standing Army would forthwith be filled up by recruits, and each successive year would yield its supply of ten or twelve years' service men to fill up vacancies and increase the numbers of this efficient army of reserve. And the only answer to this plain proposition is, that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War says, "Oh, you would be robbing the Army of its best soldiers." Sir, there is either danger to be apprehended from a foreign assault, or 151 there is not. If there be not, then the whole of the present measure falls to the ground—it has not a leg to stand upon. But if there he danger, then I stand here to learn how the experienced soldier of good character, who, by virtue of that experience and good character, is retained at home in an army of reserve, ready, at four-and-twenty hours' warning, to come forth in his country's defence in the crisis of her greatest danger, can, by any process of reasoning, be said to be stolen from the Army. Why, Sir, he is retained in the Army for the most precious, the most important service that mortal man can render—the defence of his native soil. By his small retiring pension he is effectually retained in the Army for all emergencies, while having honourably fulfilled his twelve years' active service, he is restored to civil life, with a retaining compensation. It is thus that the reward for past services becomes also the guarantee for the finding and the fitness of the instrument of future contingent service. This is, therefore, no robbery of the Army, but the very best means of extending and multiplying its powers and resources. It is making a small army render in peace the service of a large one, and that by the humane and provident means of the pensioner system. A moment's reflection must tell not only every soldier, but every civilian, that the true way to obtain a really efficient reserve or latent military force in a country, is to pass a certain amount of its population, more or less rapidly, through the ranks of the active Army; and that the best way to reward good conduct in that Army, and to secure the finding of the reserve men, is to give them small retiring and retaining pensions. With our redundant and martial population, and with the greatly amended and amending treatment of our soldiers, there is no difficulty in finding recruits. But with the expectation of a small pension after twelve years' service, the Army would probably become so popular that that most desirable object—making dismissal a punishment instead of a boon, would be attained, Still, while many would be glad to marry, and retire thus early on the smaller pension to their early homes and avocations, others, with an acquired affection for a soldier's life, would continue on for their full twenty-one years' service, and its maximum pension. There would thus still be retained in all regiments a considerable number of old and experienced soldiers—a great advantage I 152 fully admit, and enhanced by the fact of this being voluntary; whereas now, all are constrained to continue to serve their full time, in default of which they forfeit all claims to any pension whatever. But, by establishing the two periods of service, and the two pensions, the double advantage would be gained of having a body of willing young men for your army of reserve, and a body of willing old soldiers for your standing Army. Some regulations would be necessary for the rate of pay if called out for any service longer than that of mere drill. It is clearly just that while the soldier's pension is thus treated as a retaining fee, no officer should be allowed to retire on half-pay, under a specified age, without also being attached to the army of reserve. But these are mere questions of detail. That on which I wish to fix attention is, that by this system of half service and half pension we might within this year, and without difficulty or permanently increased expense, obtain 10,000 or 12,000 excellent soldiers of from thirty to thirty-two years of age; and further, that we might thus in a few years augment our reserve force to almost any amount—to the amount of one-half or two-thirds of our whole standing Army. After fifty years of age the men might receive a small additional pension, and be enrolled for ten years longer in garrison battalions, never to be called out except in cases of urgency. Some 10,000 of the more ablebodied of our already enrolled pensioners who are under fifty should be drafted into the army of reserve, and those between fifty and sixty would pass into the garrison battalions. Thus the name of pensioner, which carries with it the impression of something worn out, would cease.
Let not hon. Gentlemen think that I am exaggerating when I rate the reserve force so highly. Our Army now consists of 140,000 to 150,000 men of all ranks: if these be renewed every twelfth year (or, making allowance for those soldiers who may choose to serve out their twenty-one years), we may say every fifteenth year, then it is clear that 140,000 or 150,000 must pass through our ranks during that time. But if a deduction of one-half of these be made for deaths, disabilities, and discharges, there will still remain for those twelve years some 70,000 or 80,000 between the ages of twenty and forty-five, available for an army of reserve, and which, mark you, would cost barely any- 153 thing more than the mere fifty shillings per annum for accoutrements and enrolling. Now I beg to ask among the most fervent admirers of the measure before the House, whether these 80,000 prime soldiers, costing less than 200,000l. a year, would not be twenty times more valuable in every respect than your 80,000 militiamen, costing at least 300,000l. a year? But as this army of reserve would be composed entirely of prime solders, it would probably not be necessary to drill them every year, and they might therefore he divided into two corps, to be drilled alternate years, whereby their cost would be considerably reduced, and the 80,000 army of reserve would not cost half of the expense of your 80,000 militiamen. And here I might leave the case. I might ask which you will have—80,000 prime soldiers for 150,000l. a year, or 80,000 no soldiers at all for double the money? That is the question. Have I exaggerated? Have I misstated? Can you pick a hole in my argument? Perhaps you may say, "True, but we want our men for defensive operations now; and you have shown us only how we may have them twelve or fifteen years hence." In the first place, you have not got your 80,000 militiamen yet—I doubt whether you will ever get them, and if you do, that you will maintain them. You may succeed this year with your bounty, and the novelty of the thing; but next year, when the main pull comes, you will be obliged to have recourse to your ballot—to apply the screw, when its head will fly off. At all events you say you will he satisfied with 30,000 or 40,000 this year. Now I have shown you that you may have 10,000 or 12,000 prime soldiers from your standing Army for an army of reserve, as soon as, or sooner, than you can get out and drill your militiamen. But by offering a small pension as a condition of enrolment to already discharged soldiers of good character, and of ten years and upwards service, you might speedily enrol some 4,000 or 5,000 of the good soldiers of this class who are scattered about the country. You may add to these 10,000 or 12,000 of the most ablebodied of your first-class pensioners under fifty years of ago, always at hand, and thus at once place your reserve force at 25,000 soldiers, with whom not one of you can venture to compare the 30,000 or 40,000 undrilled bounty-men. Next year, and each successive year, would bring 6,000 or 8,000 ten years' service 154 men to the ranks of this army of reserve; and as its numbers rose, you would despatch volunteer battalions of it to some of your more important colonies, who would gladly receive and bear the enrolling and other charges of these most valuable military colonists, while you at home would retain a useful control over them by the payment of their pensions. I speak not from hypothesis, but from fact, for this has already occurred in Australia, the Cape, and your North American Colonies. The gradual increase of your army of reserve would thus enable you to withdraw some of your active troops from those colonies, and so lead to a safe reduction of your standing Army. This is an obvious and important recommendation of my scheme, but of which yours is utterly devoid.
But independent of these general reasons for operating on your Army for the creation of a reserve force, you must remember that in 1847 you passed the Ten Years' Service Act; and it is highly expedient, if not absolutely necessary, that you should soon take efficient steps for retaining the services, either in the regular Army, or in an army of reserve, of these series of men whose terms of enrolment will commence expiring in 1857, 1888, &c. All these reasons, then, press upon you for organising an army of reserve from your Army—it lies under your hand waiting for development—it is capable of enormous expansion and varied application, and at little or no cost—-and would be ready to start into action at a moment's call.
These, then, are some of the substitutes or alternatives which we offer you; but instead of this you say, let us revert to our old constitutional force of a general militia, which you tell us is a step in the right direction. 1s it so, and is your proposed measure a revival of the old national militia system? That was essentially local in its organisation: the men and officers were of the county or shire; they were only temporarily embodied even during war, and were exercised within their own shires; their duties were essentially local: all extra-provincial or general service in other parts of the kingdom were exceptional. The progress of the late war forced on various modifications, which, before its close, changed the character of the militia into that of a second or home army. The consequence was, that in 1808 its 155 former place was actually filled up by the local militia, which was then organised out of the volunteers which 1793 and 1804 called forth; and thus the local militia, which embodied all ranks around their own homes, is the lineal representative of the old militia force of the country. But your militia scheme, taking up the altered general militia of the war, now seeks to effect still further changes, and is about to lay the basis for a permanent home army. It is to be distinct from and totally disconnected in its formation from the regular Army, This is an innovation of which the country should be aware, and should have time to guard against. It was hardly perceptible at first, but its features have crept out under discussion. All local interests and distinctions are abandoned or overridden. The special quotas for the counties are given up; the county or local qualifications are made personal, or surrendered to half-pay officers. County drills may be changed to district or general drills; in fact, little remains but the mere name and inefficiency of militia, and that too, we are told, is to be revived next year.
Now let us ascertain what will be the efficiency of this new domestic Home-Office army, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us will be cheap, popular, and effective. There are two means of aiding a regular army in case of invasion: first, by reinforcements of regular troops; secondly, by the subordinate co-operation of irregular or half-formed troops, gathered from a general volunteering, a local militia, or other imperfect organisation of a population hitherto unaccustomed to arms. Both these resources are highly useful—both necessary; but they are essentially distinct. The one immediately joins and gives strength to an army, and affords time for the organisation and discipline of the other. Now, one of my principal objections to the present measure is, that it neutralises and confounds these two essential resources, which are valuable mainly by being kept distinct. Your ballot and your bounty will paralyse, degrade, and interfere with the volunteering and patriotic principle of the one; and your broken and imperfect organisation can never reach the military requirements of the other. You assert that it will be an army of reserve. I fear that it will be like the rest of your measures—no better than a miserable compromise. For what are the requirements of an army of reserve, capable of aid- 156 ing us in the event of a sudden invasion? What are those requirements? First, that its men and officers should be essentially soldiers, capable of instantly entering on garrison and field duties as seconds to the regular Army; secondly, that they should certainly be found, and easily be assembled; thirdly, that the force should be permanently sustained, and therefore popular and cheap in its working; fourthly, that it should be allied with, and in harmonious feeling with the Army. Now, Sir, without encumbering the argument with any minor considerations, I ask whether these are not the obvious and essential requirements of a force which should aid our Army in the repulse of the sudden and desperate assault of a disciplined enemy? Now, let us apply these tests to the reserve force you propose: would the men and officers be in harmony with the Army? What would they have in common? Nothing but their red coats, and the irritating fact of having received a much higher bounty for infinitely less hard and less long service. Is it likely to be permanent? Ask your present militia system, that has been a dead or unenforced piece of parchment for thirty years, costing the country more than three millions for no one semblance of service, I will not say rendered, but renderable, during all that long period. Is it likely to be popular with the ballot stamped and rivetted upon it, being, as you admit, its very backbone, and without which you tell us it could not exist? What say the 1,370 petitions against, and one only for it? But, unpopular and inoperative, will the 300,000l. annual expense stand the shock of the economic votes of the next Parliament? Will this convulsive act of a Provisional Government in a dying Parliament be respected? Your measure, therefore, stands little chance of permanence. But will your men be certainly found and easily collected? What hold have you on them? If you could draw your general militia, as you might have drawn your local militia, from a localised resident population, such fulfilment would probably have taken place; but you have inserted a clause admitting quotas from proximate or distant counties. This, in combination with your bounty and substitute money, will obviously attract the unsettled vagrant class; and, without any harsh disparagement of the general mass composing this class, it is obvious that the temptation of poverty, their unsettled habits of life, and faci- 157 lities for evasion and concealment, will cause numbers every year to disappear from your muster-roll. The absurd checks which you have proposed and withdrawn, show plainly that you fear this; while the obvious but necessary feebleness show clearly how unavailing they will be. Let those who have declaimed so lustily upon the fidelity with which your militiamen will return to their annual drilling, explain the necessity for the stern precautions which are taken in your Army and Navy against the desertion of those who come from this very class which will feed your militia. And how will it feed it, if it feed it at all? Why, plainly, its voracious grasp of 80,000 men in two years will be satisfied only at the cost of the necessary recruiting supply of your Army, your Navy, and marines. Your checks on evasion are mere cobwebs. You have no other valid security for the forthcoming of your militiaman to his annual drill, than the offer of some 20s. annual bounty, in addition to 1s. a day pay—offering, in fact, lower wages, including his incidental expenses, than even a Dorsetshire labourer now gets, and yet which you dream will tempt men from employment in a remote part of the kingdom. If this be your sole slender expedient for coaxing your vagrant militiaman to his drill, what security have you, during the forty-nine weeks' intervals of his drills, for knowing where to find him? None whatever. Thus, then, you offer a most slender security for the annual reappearance of your men, and no security at all of speedily finding and assembling them on emergencies. But when, following Mrs. Glasse's advice, you have first caught your man, and dressed him, will he in truth be a soldier? When will he be a soldier? Never. Every one in this House, either directly or indirectly, has declared so. Never; that is, not until you give him such a course of drilling and acting in concert with other troops. as by your Bill, and the very condition of the force, you cannot possibly bestow, What has your Chancellor of the Exchequer said on this subject? He told you on the 6th May, taking the common-sense view of the question, it was madness or misrepresentation to assert that those militiamen would cope with the legions of Algiers or of the Caucasus. True enough, too true; for it is precisely just such legions as those that they would have to contend with; and yet we are told by the leader, in this House, of the Government, proposing 158 this measure—that it was madness or misrepresentation to assert that they could do so. Will the Chancellor of the Exchequer say the same of your regular Army, and of the reserved force of regulars propose to append to them? Will he not say rather, and think it foul scorn to imagine for a moment, that such a force would not be, as it has ever been, competent to meet successfully any legions, come they from the north, south, east, or west, that might be brought against them? By these tests then, and by your leader's own surrender of the case, I ask you to weigh the two measures. On the one hand, you may have at almost no additional expense, and with no interference with civil rights, a force that may commence at 20,000 or 28,000 men, and may expand to 70,000 or 100,000 men, all capable, in concert with your active Army, of meeting any known troops in the world; and, on the other hand, you may collect at considerable expense, by a bounty injurious to the recruiting of our Army, and at considerable interference with civil rights, a force commencing at 30,000 or 40,000, and which by the menace or the infliction of the ballot—that is, by conscription—you, or some reckless Ministry, may augment to double or treble that number, but over which you can have little or no hold, and which your Chancellor of the Exchequer tells you will be of no real use whatever. Of what avail, then, is your measure? Why, the same right hon. Gentleman tells you his 80,000 militiamen would render your regular Army more freely disposable. What a monstrous, cumbrous, and irksome machinery for how simple an end—an end, too, already accomplished! Are we to tempt or to drag 80,000 or even 120,000 untrained or half-and-half trained agricultural labourers and town artisans from their homes and their occupations, their ploughs and their looms, to attempt, behind walls and houses and ramparts, to do very imperfectly that which 30,000 or 40,000 already trained dockyard and reserved battalions can now do much more effectually, and whose number, if need be, could be greatly and cheaply increased by the occasional training of the police, and other local and responsible forces? The right hon. Member for Manchester has well and most truly said, that if an attack really took place, every soldier and every policeman would be available, for the people of every town and hamlet would take their places and do their duty. It is monstrous, therefore, to ask the country to 159 undergo all the expense and vexation of a general arming for the sake of superseding our infinitely preferable and already established dockyard and garrison battalions. If your militia is to be of any use in supplying the supposed gap in our defences by the asserted smallness of our Army, it must be fit suddenly to join and aid that Army in repulsing a desperate and disciplined enemy. If it be not fit for that, it is fit for nothing that cannot be done by a given number of men, at a tithe of the cost and care. But, confessedly, it will not be fit for such service. Your own leader says, it would be absurd to expect it should cope on any short warning with an invader. That word "short" involves the whole question, for, manifestly, if it be not ready in a short time, it will not be ready in sufficient time.
I ask the House, therefore, whether we are taking, as has been alleged, a step in the right direction, by authorising the creation of an irksome expensive force, admitted beforehand to be inadequate to the service required? Is it not our duty to postpone the consideration of these defensive measures, that we are told will be no defence at all?—what will be the mischief, what the consequences? It is better to do something, anything—no matter what—than nothing. Let us beware, lest by hurrying into the wrong, we thereby indispose the country from hereafter adopting the right, course. It is now universally admitted that there is no ostensible cause whatever for urgency. The debate and discussion have, though in some respects painful, done much good: they have thrown light on the question, they have cleared away many delusions, false alarms, and false expectations, and suggested many valuable resources. We begin to see how we stand; for though we may have been amused, if not instructed, by the poetical invention by a Member of Her Majesty's Government of a net of French railways connecting the Mediterranean and the Channel, and on which soldiers and sailors, if not three-deckers, were to be wafted, as by a magician's wand, from Algiers and Toulon to Cherbourg and Brest; and, though we may have stared at the stupendous arch with which, with no compliment to our Navy, we were told steam had bridged the British Channel; and though we may have been bewildered with the ingenious dissolving views, by which our home forces narrowly escaped being reduced to minus quantity: yet through all these and other 160 mists and feints of debating ingenuity, there has stood out largely, plainly, and in-controvertibly proved by official documents, and by indisputable Parliamentary Estimates, the one decisive fact—no matter how disposed or disposable—that we actually have at this very moment nearly 70,000 regular troops, cavalry, infantry, artillery, and marines ashore, within the three Kingdoms; that behind these regulars, and capable of setting them free for an emergency, we have of dockyard battalions and first and second class pensioners a garrison force of nearly 40,000; that, independent of these 100,000 men, there are yeomanry, armed and amiable constabulary amongst a thronging and valiant population, all girded in and fenced by a Navy that has never been baffled or discomfited, and which the Prime Minister told you, on his accession to office, was in the highest state of organisation, and which the responsible authorities in this House have admitted to be easily reinforceable by the 1,300 mercantile steamers of our various home ports, all capable of bearing guns, and fed from a mercantile marine, counting 230,000 sailors. Behind these forces we may sleep in peace, reject this Bill, and meditate upon a better. I have no intention to blame Her Majesty's Government for having brought their measure forward in such a hurry: no special blame attaches to them, for they could not well avoid it. They were compelled by political circumstances, new to office, surrounded by innumerable difficulties, and on the eve of a dissolution. As yet only provisional in their existence, with no time for information, counsel, or reflection, it would have been a miracle if they had brought forward a good and efficient measure: they themselves admit that it is only a half measure, an experiment, and that it must be revised in the new Parliament. I repeat, therefore, that in condemning and opposing this Bill, I attach no blame to the Government for its inefficiency. Why will they therefore force it on a reluctant House, and remonstrating country? They may fancy it a nice point of party tactics; but the case is far different with the various independent Members and independent sections into which this House is divided. They who consider that our national defences are incomplete, and require revision, are bound to pause at the last stage, and to ask themselves whether this measure will really add to those defences; whether it 161 will not rather obstruct better measures. Others have gone into this inquiry with a frank and candid spirit, but with little or no previous information, and with no official documents or data on which to rely and deliberate. I ask them, have they risen from this discussion with any appetite for this Bill? I believe no one in dividual member has during all these protracted debates attempted to point out the efficiency and peculiar applicability of the present measure to the end proposed There have been retorts and rejoinders, disquisitions upon peace and war, upon the desirableness of increasing our regular Army and our Navy, and upon the amount and disposability of our forces; but not one word has been uttered to show how the services of these proposed militiamen would be available in the hour of sudden danger, On the contrary, almost every speaker in support of the measure has indirectly condemned it by declaring how much preferable would be an augmentation, even a small augmentation, of our Army and Navy. Sir, they have been shown how they may have a reinforcement of almost any amount of regular troops in an army of reserve, at almost no cost, and with no danger of disbandment.
Let hon. Gentlemen who are anxious that something should be done, be satisfied that this question of our national defences has been brought so prominently before the country and the world, that it cannot rest where it is, but is sure of being resumed and solved in the next Parliament. The only consideration now is how it should be best accomplished. Before we blindly rush upon a remedy, why should there not be appointed during the summer a commission of our most eminent military, naval, and official men? Is it not desirable that the various requirements and political and financial bearings of this great question, should be calmly and thoroughly sifted? There are many deep subjects for their grave consideration. The present is at best a mere one-sided, isolated measure; but from the combined deliberations of an adequate commission, we might with justice expect to learn whether a broader basis might not be formed, by an extensive application of the system of reserve forces, for the development and maintenance of our naval and military establishments; whether the appliances of modern art and science, more especially in respect to locomotion, might not be more broadly 162 extended to them; and whether such development and more extensive application of science between the two services might not effect their more intimate co-operation and multiplied strength, more especially in defensive operations; whether advantage should not be taken of the electric telegraph, and of the great junctions of our railways, and more intimate connexions with the coast, and of our arsenals and military stations. These professional subjects might be directed by sound, political, financial, and diplomatic considerations. Would not the measure of a Government prepared during a recess, and resulting from a patient study of the collected information and deliberate report of such a Commission, carry more weight, and be likely to conduce infinitely more to the permanent and sound defence of this country, than the necessarily harsh and undigested measure now before us? There can be no doubt of it. Why, then, are we to take this plunge in the dark? Why such haste to fetter our future proceedings? Let us, therefore, postpone the measure. It will be no triumph to any Opposition, no real defeat of the Government, to defer it to a more fitting time and tribunal—from a dying to a living Parliament—from a provisional to an established Government. We all know the number and remarkable unanimity of public petitions against this measure. This under any circumstances ought to have much weight; but now, when we are on the very brink of a dissolution—of returning to our constituents the powers with which they have clothed us—is it decent, is it becoming, to slam our half-unhinged doors in their faces, and tell them we will legislate in their very despite? For these reasons, and because I sincerely desire a wise revision and adjustment of our national defences, I ask you to pause and give time for calmer deliberation, for a constitutional appeal to your country's opinion, and for the collected information and confidential counsel of your most eminent public men. You may refuse this; you may disregard time, circumstance, and counsel, and you may carry your Bill; but if you do, I fear that while it may delude with a false show of vigour, it will in no degree add to our substantial defences, and after a few years of vexation, expense, and inefficiency, will fall into the disuse and contempt of its predecessor—that old deerepid general Militia Bill which you will 163 thus mischievously revive. I am ashamed of having detained the House so long when there are so many here much more capable of discussing this question; but I will now gladly give place to them by moving that this Bill be read a third time this day three months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day three months."
§ MR. MACKINNON
Sir, it is a singular fact, that upwards of two centuries ago a Motion was made in the House of Commons (in 1642), much resembling the present. It was moved in the Long Parliament to this effect: "That this House should consider the condition of the Militia of the kingdom, that such force or army could be drawn together for the defence of the kingdom if it should be invaded;" which was opposed by Mr. Hyde, who said, "There never yet appeared any defect in power, and we might reasonably expect the same security in future." Now, therefore, it appears that even 200 years ago, the same apprehension of invasion existed: in fact, this dread of invasion seems to have been a sort of monomania in the English people for several centuries. The real question seems to be, Does greater danger now exist of our being invaded since the use of steamboats and railways than formerly? The answer is, that no doubt exists that the embarkation of troops, and the assembling of them at any given spot, is more easy now than formerly; it is also apparent that steam vessels can convey troops with greater celerity and certainty than when sailing vessels were in use: so far, therefore, facilities are given to an aggressive power. At the same time, however, greater facilities for defence are found in the country attacked, if possessed of similar means for defence, particularly if they have a superior naval force. The defensive squadron can always meet its opponents; and whatever part of the coast is threatened with disembarkation by foreign troops, can in a few hours be defended by all the disposable military force within 100 miles of the spot. It appears, therefore, that in the present day, the means of defence are increased in a greater proportion than the means of attack. It has, I believe, been stated by the highest military authority in this country that the nation possessed of railway communication may save half its military 164 force, so that 10,000 men will answer the purpose of double that number, by the celerity of their reaching any given spot when required. It does not appear to me that the militia force would be of much service in case of a sudden invasion. Let us suppose that 40,000 men were embarked at Cherbourg, and, as it is asserted, they might (which, however, I deem impossible) be landed in, say, three or four days on the English coast, of what use would the militia be, if not ready and embodied for service? Look at the time required to embody these 80,000 men, to call the officers and men together, to give them their arms, clothing, and accoutrements: by the time all this was done, the invading force, if not opposed by other means, might march over England. If, therefore, your militia is not organised, it is useless on a sudden emergency; if organised and ready, you are keeping 80,000 men at an immense expense, and probably for no purpose whatever. There appears to me to exist a great inconsistency in the Executive Government. Volunteer rifle corps, composed of persons who have a stake in the community, and are therefore attached to our institutions, who would form a very powerful and efficient force, are discouraged, and prevented from forming themselves into either companies or regiments, and yet you are anxious to give power and to teach the use of arms to 80,000 men who have nothing to lose, and who are probably, in great part, persons of idle and often of dissolute habits. One would think the revolution of 1830, in France, and the subsequent one of 1848, would show you the danger of teaching the use of arms to a set of men whose poverty whispers they have nothing to lose, and whose love of money tells them they have much to gain by any convulsion. Entertaining, as I do, a perfect conviction that you are incurring a great and useless expense in the formation of a militia, in time of profound peace; that you are thereby encouraging in the community idle and dissolute habits, injurious to the morality of the people; that this Bill is decidedly not a popular measure in the country; that no possible harm could arise if you postponed the consideration of it to a new Parliament—I shall vote against the measure. If you are sincere in your apprehensions of an invasion, and are anxious for means of defence, increase your Army or your naval forces to a certain extent; 165 particularly depend on the latter, which has for centuries defended you from all foreign attacks, and will, I trust and fervently hope, keep you safe from all external danger for centuries to come.
§ LORD HARRY VANE
said, he thought that this measure was very unpopular; but if the safety of the country required such a measure, its unpopularity was no argument against it. Looking at the course that had been pursued by different Governments with regard to the question of a militia—by the Government of Sir Robert Peel—by the Government of the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell), who actually brought forward a proposition similar in its effect though differing in its details—and by the present Government; and when the responsible Executive declared that such a measure was necessary—he did not feel justified as a Member of the Legislature in rejecting the measure which Her Majesty's Ministers pressed upon the House for the purpose. He was not, however, satisfied with the Bill, as he thought it was not sufficient for the purposes for which it was intended. If there were any alternative proposition, he should vote in favour of that alternative; but he was unable to vote against the only measure that had been laid before the House. On these grounds he should think it his duty to support the third reading. He did not think the regular forces of the country were sufficient for any emergency which might arise. He regretted that the Government had not yielded to the wishes of the country, and struck out the clauses relating to the ballot; and it was his intention to vote for the omission of those clauses; but at present he should give a reluctant vote in favour of the third reading of the Bill.
§ MR. MACGREGOR
could distinctly state that public opinion out of doors was against the Bill; and he could not but wonder at the hardihood of Her Majesty's Ministers in going to the country after passing a measure so unpopular. He would assure that House that out of doors no fear of an invasion existed. He would take, as an instance, London; and the proof of his assertion would be found in the fact that the funds were, above par, and that at this moment enormous sums were being transmitted to France for investment, as he could state on authority, in the public works of that country. Never, did he believe, was there a period in history in which France was more desirous of being at peace with 166 this country than the present. The President well knew that nothing would so endanger the stability of his power as a rupture with England; and the policy of the other three great Powers had, especially since the death of Prince Schwarzenberg, been a policy of peace and of compact defence, not against the French President, but against the eventualities of another revolution. In such a state of things, he thought a more impolitic measure had never been introduced into the House. He would maintain that the whole press of this country was opposed to the Bill, although not opposed to an efficient measure for our national defence. In place of this Bill, he would advise an addition to our marine force, which would be a hundred times more efficient than a force composed of bad soldiers and worse citizens. It would be impossible to bring the Bill into operation for a considerable time after the meeting of the next Parliament; and therefore he would call on the Government to abandon the present measure, and to mature a plan which could be fairly considered next Session. Entertaining these opinions, he would vote for the Amendment.
intended to vote against the third reading; and would press upon the House to reject the Bill, on the grounds that it was ineffectual, and was open to the most grave objections. He was willing to admit that the Government had some excuse in the public clamour and in the act of their predecessors; and that they had, in their difficulty, endeavoured to make their Bill as unobjectionable as they could; but that was only a reason why, looking at this Bill, he thought that no measure of the kind ought to be brought forward. In the first place, it was not based on the true principle of a militia. It was based rather on the principle of a regular force than on that of a militia. The measure of the noble Lord the Member for London was based more on the principle of a militia; but he should also have opposed that measure, although, for reasons quite distinct from those which induced him to vote against this Bill. He would admit that there was some argument for increasing our means of defence, in the improvement of modern science, and in the increased facilities of transit; he did not believe that there was any hostile feeling to us on the part of France; and if such feeling did exist, this measure was so inefficient to meet it, that it was a mere waste of money. His objection to that part of the Bill which 167 related to the voluntary system, and raising men by means of bounties, was, that it was a plan for raising a regular force in a most uneconomical and inefficient manner. The effect of the measure would be to render all Militia Bills for ever unpopular with the country. The Bill would give no satisfaction to the country; it would prove offensive to the feelings of the community, and its existence would only throw greater difficulties in the way of producing a really efficient measure in time of need. With respect to the compulsory clauses, he thought a plan could not have been suggested more likely to render unpopular the idea of service in the militia. There was great injustice in the clauses relating to the ballot; as the wealthiest classes, for instance, the House of Peers and the Members of the Universities, were exempted from their operation. He should, therefore, give his determined opposition to the Bill.
§ MR. EWART
said, the strong and paramount objection to this measure in his opinion was, that, though introduced by the Government, it bore upon it the stamp of insufficiency. If the Government could show that further defences were required for the safety of the country let them come forward and make out their case, and the House would afford ample means for them. If an accession to the Army were required, it would be granted, and that would be a course worthy of the country. He would add to the artillery—a branch which he believed would be the great arm in modern warfare. For himself, he believed that some means of defence might be necessary. He was satisfied, considering the advance which science had made of late years, and its application to military purposes, that any future war that might arise would be of such a gigantic character as to throw all past wars into the shade; and really when he heard of such a ridiculous measure as the present being devised to meet the possibility of such, he was reminded of the old lady in the farce, who, on having an insult offered to her, exclaimed—"I would advise you to take care, I have two cousins who are colonels in the militia." He objected to this measure further, that it was not worthy of the times in which they lived. Adam Smith had, in considering the question of national defences, expressed a decided hostility to the militia, which he said Was only the resource of barbarous countries, and that the more civilised men be- 168 came, the less capable were they either of attack or defence by a militia. Since the time of Adam Smith the nation had become more civilised, and the principle of division of labour had been carried to a still greater extent, so that his objection applied now in still greater force. He also objected to the Bill because it contained within itself two other Acts—the 42nd of Geo. III. and the Mutiny Act—by which two obnoxious provisions were thrust upon the Militia—the flogging of the men, and their being billeted upon licensed victuallers. Another reason for opposing the Bill was, that the opinion of military foreigners was against such a means of defence. In the foreign correspondence of the newspapers the other day, the opinion of both Austrian and Russian Generals was cited against the efficiency of a militia force as a means of protection. But he need not go abroad for the opinions of foreign military men—there was not a military authority in this country that he had conversed with, from Sir Howard Douglas to authorities sitting on the other side of the House, who did not confess that in their secret opinion this was an idle measure, and that it would realise the description which Dryden gave of the militia in his day:—The country rings around with loud alarms,And now in fields the rude militia swarms,Mouths without hands maintained at vast expense,In peace a charge, in war a weak defence.Stout once a month they march a blustering band,And ever, but in times of need, at hand.This was the morn when issuing on the guard,Drawn up in rank and file they stood preparedOf securing arms to make a short essay,Then hasten to be drunk—the business of the day.Conceiving, therefore, that this measure would be only the semblance, and not the reality of a defence, he should cordially vote against its third reading.
§ SIR HARRY VERNEY
supported the Bill, which he was the more inclined to do after the explanations which from time to time had been tendered from the Ministerial benches, and especially from the Home Secretary, as to the precautions that were to be adopted with regard to the force. He thought that the Bill would be useful as a means of training the population to arms, which was one of the most satisfactory measures of national defence that could be adopted. He trusted that every care would be taken to enforce such regulations as would prevent the admission 169 of persons of bad character into the force But, in addition to the militia, other considerations had been suggested, which he thought were well worthy of the attention of Government. Among these he thought the suggestion of a small increase to the Army was one of great importance—particularly an addition to the rifle corps, which was a force that required some time to train, while in the time of danger it was most efficient. He would also remark that along the whole of the southern coast an efficient means of protection had been provided during the last war in the erection of Martello towers, and he thought that those towers should be now put in a state of defence, their batteries manned with swivel guns, and housed over, while a few chosen men were appointed to occupy them. This might be done at a very small expense. Then he would recommend that more attention should be paid to our marine. He was surprised to see the efficiency in which the French Government had placed their navy, though they had no commerce to protect, or at least in comparison with England. He thought that seeing such exertions made by Prance for the increase of their naval force, the Government of this country ought to be upon its guard. We had great means of defence available to this country in its mercantile steam force; each vessel might be made to carry one or more swivel guns; and this species of defence would be applicable to all the harbours on the coasts. He had no desire to provoke hostilities with France; on the contrary, he concurred with an hon. Gentleman who spoke early in the debate, that it was not for the interest either of the French nation or the French President to go to war with this country; and he was satisfied that so long as England and France were united, they would be the arbiters of peace or war throughout the world. But with reference to this militia question he would observe that even if the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) and his friends were correct in their anticipations of peace, still no harm would be done by this Bill beyond the expense that was incurred. Whereas, supposing these gentlemen to be mistaken—supposing the late and the present Governments to be right—and supposing the Duke of Wellington—the most pacific statesman as well as the most successful general this country ever possessed—to be correct in his anticipations, then this measure would conduce 170 to the safety of the country. So long as we were assailable, it was the imperative duty of Government to bring forward such measures as they thought necessary for the security of the country; and to neglect to do so would expose them to national infamy. There was one proposition which was thrown out in a former debate by the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Mr. Cobden); he said that this question of national defences ought to be referred to a Select Committee. He (Sir H. Verney) earnestly hoped that this suggestion would not be lost sight of by the Government, and he had that confidence in the candour of the honourable Member for the West Biding, that if he were convinced the country was not now in a proper state of defence, he was satisfied the hon. Gentleman would be the first to come forward and propose additional measures of protection. Upon the whole, though this Bill was not in every respect what he could wish it to he, yet as he believed that the country required defence, and as this was the only proposition for that purpose before them, he would cordially support it.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
said, that as he had never offered any vexatious opposition to this Bill, and had opposed it only by a. silent vote, he hoped that, before the measure was finally passed into law, he might be allowed to say a few-words on the subject. For the last five hours hon. Gentlemen had risen to record their opinions against the principle of the Bill; but they had been unsuccessful in obtaining any response from the Government bench; and the hon. and gallant Member for Bedford (Sir H. Verney) seemed to have taken upon himself the defence of the Bill, and the responsibility of passing it into law. He (Mr. B. Osborne) must say, that if there were no other reasons for the measure than those that had been adduced by the hon. Baronet, then the dislike with which the country now regarded the measure, was not likely to be lessened in future. He had never heard a more warlike speech expressed in blander terms than that which was just concluded by the hon. Baronet. Not content with voting for the third reading of this Bill, the hon. Gentleman called upon the Ministers to put the Martello towers in order—to produce the swivel guns that had been laid up since the last war, and then they might laugh to scorn a French invasion. He (Mr. B. Osborne) must say, that he believed no money had been more completely thrown 171 away than that expended in the construction of the Martello towers. He had been obliged to refer to what was said by the hon. Member for Bedford for want of any other arguments in favour of the measure; and, whatever objections he might have to the principle of this Bill, he would confess at once that he did not found those objections on the views and principles of the Peace party in or out of that House; but, at the same time, he hoped he would never be found to undervalue the exertions or to impeach the motives of that truly benevolent body of men. It was very easy to deride the efforts and to laugh at the theories of those men; but he would remind hon. Gentlemen that what they thought so novel and enthusiastic, the products of a distempered imagination, were promoted by some of the wisest and greatest men of ancient times; by no less a person than Plato, and, passing by the Divine Founder of our religion, and coming down to later times, they found that sovereigns like Henry IV. of France, and our own Elizabeth, had formed a plan of general pacification on the same principles; and coming down to a still later period, the great Spanish statesman Alberoni declared that such a scheme was not unworthy of his consideration. Far from depreciating the efforts or the motives of men who not only preached but practised the principles of general benevolence and good will, he concurred with them in opinion that, whoever reviewed the history of our past Continental wars would come to be of opinion with a popular writer, that taxes had been raised not to carry on wars, but that wars had been raised to carry on taxes; and he believed the large majority of that House would not dispute the proposition that the greatest glory of war was only an occasion of taxation, and that the most expensive luxury of the day was a successful general. But at the same time he drew a material distinction between armies raised for the purposes of foreign aggression, and armies for the purpose of home defence; and he would submit to those Gentlemen—if there were any such—who doubted the lawfulness of defensive war, that in the Utopia of the learned and pious Sir Thomas More, though he depicted a society in all the enjoyment of perennial happiness, detesting war, despising glory, and prohibiting alike lawyers and soldiers, neither allowing Martello towers, nor briefs in Chancery; yet even he did not debar the natives of his Happy Island from the use of arms, 172 when their liberties were attacked; but they were allowed to fight in defence of their laws and institutions. Now, he could not imagine that anybody, either in that House or out of it, would be more Utopian than the Utopians themselves. He must say, for himself, that he could not look upon the present state of the Continent of Europe with satisfaction, filled as it was with gigantic armies and with reactionary rulers at the head of these armies; and that the Parliament of this country was fully justified in reviewing the capabilities of the defences of this country, and putting them into the most efficient state. It might he very well, though he could hardly follow the hon. Baronet the Member for Bedford through his medley of Martello towers, rifles, and Louis Napoleon, it might be very well for the hon. Baronet to say that he had confidence in Louis Napoleon. He (Mr. B. Osborne) did not wish to say anything that would trench upon the feelings of the most fastidious Frenchman, but he could not say that he shared in the hon. Baronet's confidence. He thought it was natural that a man who had been raised to power by the military order, should act in accordance with military prejudices. And after all, what did the hon. Gentleman say? I have confidence in Louis Napoleon; but for all that double your Army—increase your rifle corps—man your Martello towers—get ready your swivel guns—but still I have great confidence in Louis Napoleon. It was better to say at once they had no confidence in Louis Napoleon, and they had no right to have confidence in him. He was surprised that no hon. Gentleman had ever quoted in the House the revelation which was made by M. Thiers in the Chamber of Deputies in 1851, which told heavily against Louis Napolecm, and which would amply justify the Government in seeing that the defences that they had—and which he maintained were amply sufficient—were put in a most efficient state. On the 17th of January, 1851, M. Thiers told the French Chamber that in an interview he had with Louis Napoleon, the President said that it was necessary to occupy the public mind in France, and that to do that it would be necessary to undertake some great enterprise abroad which would captivate the attention of the masses, and attach them to the Government. He thought Government must be blinded indeed, if, after that, they did not take every precaution to put the defences of the country in the 173 most efficient state consistent with the large sums of money they voted for that purpose. But in granting that, he thought that Ministers were hound to supply fuller and greater information as to the state of the defences, and of the condition of the Army. Had any statement of that kind been made to the House? They had from year to year enormous estimates submitted, and yet no satisfactory account was ever given of the manner in which the money was laid out. He was prepared to say, that the sums annually voted were quite enough for national defence, without either militia, Martello towers, or riflemen. We might take a lesson from the way in which the French estimates were prepared in 1848, from which it would appear that in one sense the old proverb was true, and that one Englishman was still worth two Frenchmen, for an English soldier was just double the cost of a French soldier. He had the French estimates in his hand, and he would read one or two extracts from them to show that our service was managed in the most extravagant and reckless way, and that we should do well if we took a leaf out of our next neighbour's book. The English Army consisted of 113,287 men, and it cost 9,337,000l. or 82l. 8s. 4d. a soldier. The French Army in 1848 was composed of 338,653 men, and cost 12,183,000l., or 41l. 12s. 8d. per man. But he would go further. What was the number of generals in the English service? We had no less than 117 generals for an Army of 113,287 men, while the French Army, which in 1848 was treble, and was now quadruple the amount of our force, had but eight marshals and 143 general officers. He would take also the staff of the two armies, and compare the proportionate expense incurred. In the English Army the charge for the effective service was 3,270,000l., or about 38¼ per cent upon a total expenditure of 9,337,000l., while the French staff cost but 2,260,000l., which was a charge rather under 19 per cent on an expenditure of 12,183,000l. When, therefore, hon. Gentlemen talked of the country not being in a proper state of defence, he would advise them to look a little into these French estimates; and the House would bear in mind that in this comparison no account whatever was taken of the dead weight. He found also that the French soldiers, being clothed on a system of open contracts, were clothed at 12s. a head less than our own soldiers, though their uniforms were furnished in a 174 country which ought to be the cheapest country in the world for woollen clothing. Another thing which he found was this—that in the French Army, trebling our own in amount, military justice was administered at a cost of 8,000l., while in the English Army it cost 32,000l. When it was known that the French Army was kept in the highest state of discipline and efficiency, at one half of the cost of the British Army, it was clear that there was something amiss in the conduct of our departments. There must be something wrong in all this. There must be some great waste somewhere. The money which the House of Commons voted annually for military purposes could not be laid out to the best advantage, or else why was so great a difference observable in the French estimates and our own? It was true that we spent but 22,000l. in powder, while the French outlay for that article quadrupled that amount; and the French soldier was armed with the Minié rifle, and equipped with every improvement suggested by modern military science, while the English soldier was only supplied with the miserable musket. He repeated that it was evident that something wrong was going on, and that the House ought, before they agreed to the third reading of the Bill, to insist on some better information being given on the subject of military expenditure than had been afforded. He thought that if an intelligent foreigner had come into the House during the debate on the introduction of the Bill, he would have been rather surprised to see the Home Secretary, who was very skilful, no doubt, in the conduct of a Chancery suit, coming forward to propose that 50,000 men should be raised to form a militia. What could the right hon. Gentleman a Chancery Barrister and Home Secretary know about military matters? In saying this, he did not attribute any blame to the Minister of the day; what he found fault with was the system. He thought these matters ought to be in the hands of a War Minister, who ought to be able to explain to the House the condition of the Army, and the nature and extent of our resources. The consequence of the present system was, that the House was about to pass a Bill in a panic, which no one in his heart believed to be of any service, and which the majority of military men, and all civilians, with some few exceptions, believed to be inefficient for its purpose. He said, "with some few exceptions," because he had perceived to-day in the papers an address from the right hon. 175 Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to his constituents in Buckinghamshire—the confiding farmers who believed in him. The right hon. Gentleman recounted in an address those rapid acts of statesmanship for which he wished his Government to go down to the admiration of posterity. The right hon. Gentleman plumed himself on one "as a measure of internal defence, which it is believed"—the right hon. Gentleman did not state his own opinion on the subject—"will soon prove both popular, economical, and efficient." He (Mr. B. Osborne) would take leave to parody the words of the right hon. Gentleman, and to assert his belief that this "internal defence" would soon become an internal complaint, which would prove neither economical nor beneficial. He was very much mistaken if even the confiding farmers of Buckinghamshire did not ask the right hon. Gentleman some more questions about the origin of this Bill. He was rather surprised to find that the right hon. Gentleman should have assumed the parentage of this measure; but he was prepared to prove that he was only its putative father, and that he really had nothing to do with such a miserable abortion. He could prove that the idea was taken by the Home Secretary from a pamphlet written in 1848, by Mr. Frederick Hill, inspector of prisons, under the title of An Economical Defence of England from Internal Tumult and Foreign Aggression—but with the omission of some of its most useful suggestions, an omission which would remind the House of two tolerably well-known lines:—Quern recitas mens est, O Fidelline, libellus,Sed male cum recitas, incipit esse tuus.Every hon. Member recollected the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman made to give militiamen a vote after two years' service; and they also remembered the most sudden fit of Parliamentary repentance on record, when the right hon. Gentleman came down to the House on the following Monday, and said that he did not mean to give them a vote. There was a great variety of opinion about this movement. Some said that the tendencies of the right hon. Gentleman were democratic; others, that the proposal was a joke of Lord Derby's. But it was no joke at all. He believed that the Government had deliberately weighed the proposal, but it was none of their thunder. He knew where the right hon. Gentleman stole it from. He took it from a speech of Mr. Windham's in 1805, who 176 proposed to induce soldiers to enlist by giving their sergeants a right to shoot game. This Bill bore on its face the marks of hasty compilation. It was a piece of political patchwork, not intended for the defence of the country, but for the political exigencies of a Ministry in its last moments. The country did not want it, it had no belief in it, and, what was more, it would be of no use to the country. There was a perfect apathy about it out of doors, and no one out of the House talked about Martello towers. But then it was said, "Let us have an army of reserve." The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that it was enough to put a man in a red coat, and make him shoulder a musket, to make him a soldier. He should have supposed that he had read Mr. Windham with sufficient attention to satisfy himself that mere numbers were not a sufficient defence of a country. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to raise the militia by giving a bounty, which it was clear would operate most unequally in different parts of the country. In the rural districts it would deprive the farmers of a great deal of labour, probably when they most wanted it; while in the manufacturing districts, where the bounty would be of no avail, the Government must resort to the ballot—a proceeding contrary to the "genius of the epoch," which no statesmen ought to disregard. With regard, however, to this army of reserve, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department told the House with considerable aplomb and confidence, that he proposed to make them efficient soldiers by drilling them for twenty-one days. He was really quite astonished at the simplicity of the right hon. Gentleman. Where had he been living all his life? Had his briefs been so numerous in the Court of Chancery that he knew nothing of the organisation of arms? He defied Her Majesty's Ministers themselves, though he admitted they were active recruits, to acquire a knowledge of their profession in twenty-one days. He admitted that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had shown much skill in performing a rather difficult evolution—namely, changing front in the presence of his adversary. He admitted also that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was very skilful in light-infantry movements, and that he had shown that he knew how to advance and retreat in the budget. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home 177 Department was rather slow in his movements, but no doubt he would soon improve; and as for the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, he was an old soldier, who would serve under any officer, and give fire anywhere. But for all, he denied that twenty-one days were sufficient to impart any other military training than the rudiments of the goosestep. This organised force, therefore, would not even be valuable as an "organised hypocrisy;" they would know the worth of it on the other side of the Channel, and put it down as a paper army, and it would be more likely to invite an invasion than to repel it. The right hon. Gentleman went on to propose that after five years' service the militiamen should become émérités, and fall back into the reserve. Was it not clear, then, that the House was presiding at the creation of an irregular horde, who would be more dangerous to their countrymen than to anybody else? Mr. Pitt had been put forward as an advocate for a militia force; but Mr. Pitt's opinion was that the militia should be brigaded, and have a regular staff. But the Government were afraid to ask the country for that. He would remind them that. when a Gentleman who resembled in his amiability and general want of understanding on these points the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department proposed that the militia should be drilled for twenty days, Mr. Pitt said he would ask any thinking man whether it was possible to teach them their regimental duty in that time? He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control (Mr. Herries), who might have heard Mr. Pitt speak, whether he thought it possible that an efficient soldier could be formed in twenty-one days? He was astonished that the Chancellor of the Exchequer should have sought to imitate, not Mr. Pitt, but Pompey the Great, who vainly boasted that he could raise legions by stamping with his foot. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to imagine that he could act as Pompey thought he could; but he (Mr. Osborne) cautioned him that he was more likely to fall to the level of the famous hero in the farce, and that when he had got his 50,000 men he would have to say. "Begone, brave army, don't kick up a row." The whole Bill was in his eyes a miserable abortion; but one clause in it was so obnoxious, that he thought Her Majesty's Ministers, who on the eve of a general election might be anxious for some 178 little popularity, and to consider "the genius of the epoch," would do well not to exempt Peers from the ballot. The exemption was an insult to the aristocracy, because, whatever their faults might be, they had never shrunk from coming forward in the defence of their country; and, therefore, on the part of the House of Lords, he almost felt inclined to resent this insult upon them. Hon. Gentlemen who had spoken in favour of the Bill had appealed to the example set by the American militia in the war of independence; but the Americans achieved their independence not by their militia, but by our mistakes. No man ever made greater complaints, or entertained a greater contempt for the militia, than Washington, In 1776 Washington said—It takes two or three months to bring new men acquainted with their duty; it takes a longer time to bring people of the temper and genius of these into such a subordinate way of thinking as is necessary for a soldier.In September, 1776, after the battle of Brooklyn, Washington, writing to the President, said—Our situation is truly distressing…The militia, instead of calling forth their utmost efforts, are dismayed, intractable, and impatient to return. Great numbers of them have gone off, almost by whole regiments. With the deepest concern, I am obliged to confess my want of confidence in the generality.Again, in December of the same year, Washington, in a letter to his brother, said—If every nerve be not strained, the game is pretty well up, owing in great measure to the insidious arts of the enemy, but principally to the ruinous policy of short enlistments, and placing too great a dependence on the militia.Hon. Gentlemen pointed also to the French National Guard as an instance of what a militia could do; but what did General de Grammont say? He stated that on the 28th of June, 1848, out of 237,000 National Guards of Paris, only 8,000 men could be prevailed upon to muster for the defence of the institutions of the country. He hoped the House would not be led away—not by any eloquence which had been delivered that evening, but—by any fear of danger, to agree to the third reading of this Bill. They were about to do the most inconsistent thing in the world, for they were about to pass a Bill at the instigation of Ministers, in whom no one had any confidence on the Opposition side of the House, and, he believed, very few on the other. He called upon the reasonable portion of 179 the House to pause before it gave its assent to the Bill. If protection for the nation were wanted, it could most readily he obtained from the "wooden walls" of England," and from giving full scope to the development of volunteer rifle corps. He called upon the House, in the words of a late Minister, to pause, lest, while they were taking precautions against a French army, they fell victims to a designing Ministry; and, in conclusion, he called upon the House not to agree to a measure which had been brought forward in the hurried scramble of a party to power, and which had been discussed in the panic of an expiring Parliament.
The SOLICITOR GENERAL
said, there were two questions for the consideration of the House: first, whether in the present state of the country and of Europe it was necessary to strengthen our national defences; and, next, was the militia the fittest means of so strengthening those defences? The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had referred to the authority of Mr. Pitt and other eminent persons in support of his views; but if the House were to regard authority in the matter, the Bill before the House would not stand without support, for the great Soldier who commanded our Army, and the distinguished General now at the head of the Ordnance Department, concurred with every statesman of the day that at the present time it was essentially necessary to add to our national defences, and that it was by a militia that that addition should be supplied. By the Ministry of the late Sir Robert Peel the necessity was recognised, and instructions were given to prepare a Bill on the subject; and the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) at the head of the late Government thought it necessary to introduce a Bill which, though different from the measure of the present Government in some of its details, distinctly acknowledged the principle of an increase of our defensive force by means of a militia; and it could not be denied that the time had arrived when it was the common duty of Government to bring forward a measure for that purpose. But hon. Gentlemen had that night directed their opposition, not so much against an increase of their defensive force, as against the present measure, and they argued in favour of an increase of the regular Army in preference to a militia. He could understand their argument if the increased defences were asked for after a sudden emergency, 180 or after a declaration of war from France; but at the present time, if the proposal to increase the regular Army had come from Her Majesty's Government, it would have been met by a storm of opposition from the very Members who now brought it forward as a counter proposition. From the Revolution the constitution and legislation of this country had been directed against any increase in the standing Army; and yet it was from those who boasted that they represented the Whigs of 1688 that the argument first came, that if the country was to be defended it should be by an increase of the regular Army. He could not help expressing his surprise at such inconsistency. How long did they think, if such an increase in the standing Army were granted, it would be maintained? In case of the danger occurring which was so justly apprehended, it was on a force like the militia they must rely to man their forts and garrison their towns while the regular Army was in the field. As to the hon. Gentleman's (Mr. B. Osborne's) allusion to the Navy, he must observe that while admitting the great advantage of an efficient Navy, that various casualties, such as adverse winds, orders misunderstood, and various other circumstances, might arise in the critical juncture to expose their shores to hostile incursions, and in such a case the advantage of an organised military defence with the limits of the Kingdom were abundantly obvious. He trusted the amicable relations which now subsisted between us and foreign countries would long continue; but he asked the House to pass this Bill, on the plain principle that the best means of preventing an attempt at invasion was to show foreign countries we were prepared to meet it.
§ MR. PETO
was sure that not a man in the House felt he. could rely on the proposed force with confidence. While talking of the means of invasion which had sprung up recently, they forgot that they had also obtained new means of defence. They could speak to their allies, to Vienna or to the sister country, in one day, and bring all their friends to assist them in case of danger. It could not be denied that the Government were by this measure disturbing the industry of the country. It was an attempt at a species of defence which was calculated to alienate the feelings of the people; while, at the same time, it was a measure that must prove utterly inefficient in the event of an actual invasion. There existed throughout the 181 country an intensity of feeling against the measure, of which the Government appeared to be but little conscious, and he thought that if there were any real danger, the most politic course would be to augment the Army and Navy.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 220; Noes 148: Majority 72.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Davies, D. A. S.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Deedes, W.|
|Arkwright, G.||Denison, E.|
|Bagge, W.||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Bailey, C.||Dod, J. W.|
|Bailey, J.||Drumlanrig, Visct.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Duckworth, Sir J. T. B|
|Baird, J.||Duncombe, hon. A.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Duncombe, hon. W. E.|
|Baldwin, C. B.||Dunne, Col.|
|Bankes, rt. hon. G.||Du Pre, C. G.|
|Baring, T.||Edwards, H.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Emlyn, Visct.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Euston, Earl of|
|Beckett, W.||Evelyn, W. J.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Beresford, rt. hon. W.||Farrer, J.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Fellowes, E.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Floyer, J.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Forbes, W.|
|Bremridge, R.||Forester, rt. hon. Col.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Fox, R. M.|
|Broadwood, H.||Fox, S. W. L.|
|Brooke, Lord||Freestun, Col.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Freshfield, J. W.|
|Buck, L. W.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Burghley, Lord||Gilpin, Col.|
|Btirrell, Sir C. M.||Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Butler, P. S.||Gooch, Sir E. S.|
|Butt, I.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Campbell, hon. W.||Granger, T. C.|
|Campbell, Sir A. I.||Greenall, G.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Greene, T.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Grogan, E.|
|Chandos, Marq. of||Guernsey, Lord|
|Charteris, hon. F.||Gwyn, H.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Hale, R. B.|
|Child, S.||Halford, Sir H.|
|Childers, J. W.||Hall, Col.|
|Christopher, rt. hn. R. A.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Christy, S.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Clinton, Lord C. P.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Clive, H. B.||Hardinge, hon. C. S.|
|Cobbold. J. C.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Heard, J. I.|
|Coke, hon. E. K.||Heathcote, Sir G. J.|
|Coles, H. B.||Heneage, G. H. W.|
|Collins, T.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Colvile, C. R.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Herries, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Cotton, hon. W. H. S.||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Cubitt, Ald.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Currie, H.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Hill, Lord E.||Pennant, hon. Col.|
|Hope, Sir J.||Portal, M.|
|Hotham, Lord||Prime, R.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Pugh, D.|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||Renton, J. C.|
|Johnstone, J.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Rushout, Capt.|
|Tones, Capt.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Jones, D.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Kelly, Sir F.||Seymour, Lord|
|Knightley, Sir C.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Knox, Col.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Knox, hon. W. S.||Somerton, Visct.|
|Langton, W. G.||Spooner, R.|
|Legh, G. C.||Stafford, A.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Lennard, T. B.||Stanley, E.|
|Lennox, Lord A. G.||Stanley, Lord|
|Leslie, C. P.||Staunton, Sir G. T.|
|Lewisham, Visct.||Stuart, H.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col.||Stuart, J.|
|Lockhart, A. E.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Lockhart, W.||Tennent, Sir J. E.|
|Long, W.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.||Townley, R. G.|
|Lygon, hon. Gen.||Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Macnaghten, Sir E.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Mandeville, Visct.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Manners, Lord C. S.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Manners, Lord J.||Verner, Sir W.|
|March, Earl of||Verney, Sir H.|
|Masterman, J.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Matheson, Col.||Villiers, Visct.|
|Maunsell, T. P.||Villiers, hon. F. W. C.|
|Miles, W.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Moody, C. A.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Morgan, 0.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Walter, J.|
|Mundy, W.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Mure, Col.||Wegg-Prosser, F. R.|
|Naas, Lord||Welby, G. E.|
|Napier, rt. hon. J.||West, F. R.|
|Neeld, J.||Whiteside, J.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Williams, T. P.|
|Newport, Visct.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Packe, C. W.||Wynn, H. W. W.|
|Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Patten, J. W.||Lennox, Lord H.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Brown, W.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Bunbury, E. H.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Carter, S.|
|Alcock, T.||Cavendish, hon. C. C.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Cavendish, hon. G. H.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Cavendish, W. G.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Clay, J.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Clay, Sir W.|
|Bass, M. T.||Cobden, R.|
|, Bell, J.||Cockburn, Sir A. J. E.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Cogan, W. H. F.|
|Bernal, R.||Colebrooke, Sir T. E.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Collins, W.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Crawford. W. S.|
|Bright, J.||Crowder, R. B.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Currie, R.|
|Brotherton, J.||Dalrymple, J.|
|Brown, H.||Dawes, E.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Melgund, Visct.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T.||Milligan, R.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Milner, W. M. E.|
|Duff, J.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Moffatt, G.|
|Duncan, Visct.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|Duncan, G.||Morris, D.|
|Duncombe, T.||Mowatt, F.|
|Ellice, rt. hon. E.||Norreys, Lord|
|Ellice, E.||Ord, W.|
|Ellis, J.||Osborne, R.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Parker, J.|
|Evans, Sir D. L.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Evans, J.||Peel, F.|
|Ewart, W.||Perfect, R.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Peto, S. M.|
|Forster, M.||Pigott, F.|
|Fox, W. J.||Pilkington, J.|
|Geach, C.||Pinney, W.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Rice, E. R.|
|Greene, J.||Robartes, T. J. A.|
|Grenfell, C. P.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Grenfell, C. W.||Sadleir, J.|
|Grey, R. W.||Salwey, Col|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Scholefield, W.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Scobell, Capt.|
|Hallyburton, Lord J. F.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Scully, F.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Scully, V.|
|Hastie, A.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Hastie, A.||Smith, J. B.|
|Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.||Smythe, hon. G.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Stansfield, W. R. C.|
|Henry, A.||Strikland, Sir G.|
|Heywood J.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Heyworth, L.||Stewart, Adm.|
|Higgins, G. G. O.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Hindley, C.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Thompson, Col.|
|Hodges, T. T.||Thompson, G.|
|Horsman, E.||Thornely, T.|
|Hudson, G.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Humphery, Ald.||Trevor, hon. T.|
|Hutchins, E. J.||Tufnell, rt. hon. H.|
|Hutt, W.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Jackson, W.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Keogh, W.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Kershaw, J.||Williams, J.|
|King, hon. P. J. L.||Williams, W.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Langston, J. H.||Wilson, J.|
|Lushington, G.||Wilson, M.|
|Macgregor, J.||Wood, Sir W. P.|
|Mangles, R. D.|
|Marshall, J. G.||TELLERS.|
|Marshall, W.||Rich, H.|
|Martin, J.||Mackinnon, W. A.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 3°.
§ MR. THORNELY
then moved that the following proviso be added to Clause 18, which provided, that where men could not be raised by voluntary enlistment, Her Majesty in Council may order a ballot, namely—No member of the Senate of the University of London, nor any examiner, professor, tutor, or lecturer of the said University, or of any college, school, or institution connected with the said 184 University under the provisions of any charter thereof; nor any student of any such college, school, or institution, duly matriculated in the said University, and actually receiving education in any of the said colleges, schools, or institutions; nor any resident member of the University of Durham, shall be liable to serve or provide a substitute for the militia.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, if they exempted the Universities of London and Durham, they ought likewise to extend the exemption to the members and students residing at St. David's College, Lampeter, and he begged to move accordingly.
§ MR. BRIGHT
thought that the Owen's College, Manchester, which was in many respects a kindred institution to those which it was sought to exempt from the operation of the clause, ought also to be included within the exemption. There was also a large college in the neighbourhood of Manchester, intended for the education of ministers of the Independent body of Nonconformists, as well as several others in different parts of the kingdom. He could not discover any reason why those colleges embraced in the proviso of the hon. Member (Mr. Thornely) should be exempted, and why other colleges of much the same character should be differently treated, especially those where young men were being trained to the Christian ministry.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, that the so-called College of St. Bees was rather a school than a college. With respect to the colleges referred to by the hon. Member for Manchester, they would be exempted in virtue of their connexion with London University.
§ Amendments agreed to.
§ MR. W. WILLIAMS
moved to leave out from the word "enrolled" to the word "whenever" in Clause 18. [Several VOICES: Clause 16.] It was Clause 16 in the original Bill, but it was Clause 18 in the amended Bill. The clause would establish a system of conscription, which ought not to be endured by the people of this country.
§ Amendment proposed, in p. 6, 1. 33, to leave out from the word "enrolled," to the word "whenever," in p. 7, 1. 6.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. WALPOLE
reminded the House that the clause had been amply debated in 185 Committee, and a division taken upon it. He put it to the hon. Gentleman, therefore, whether it was worth his while to put the House to the trouble of again dividing upon it. He begged further to remark that in the clause as it stood there was nothing of a compulsory nature—there was nothing which made it obligatory upon the Executive Government to put the ballot in force in case the system of voluntary enlistment should fail. It was a mere permissive clause, enabling the Crown to put the ballot in force in case of necessity. If they left out the clause, they must also leave out the proviso at the end of another clause, which restrained the Government from putting in operation the statute of George III., and that would leave the Government, not with the power merely, but actually under the obligation, to put the ballot in operation, in case they failed to raise the required number of volunteers. He believed, therefore, that the Bill, as it stood, was much more likely to carry out the object in view by leaving a permissive power to Government, than if they compelled them to have recourse to the ballot.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 187; Noes 142: Majority 45.
§ On the Motion of Sir DE L. EVANS,
The following proviso was agreed to at the end of the 34th Clause:—
Provided always that, notwithstanding anything herein contained, the provisions contained in the Act of the 44th year of King George III., chap. 55, entitled An Act to consolidate and amend the provisions of several Acts relating to corps of yeomanry and volunteers of Great Britain, and to make regulations relating thereto, shall continue in force, so far as the same applies to the enrolment of corps of yeomanry and volunteers, and the exemptions to which such corps are entitled by virtue of the last mentioned Act.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
then moved a proviso to Clause 35, to the effect that the ballot should not be resorted to except in time of war, or when the danger of an invasion was imminent.
To add the words,' Provided always, notwithstanding anything herein contained, or contained in any former Act, that it shall not be lawful to order men to be balloted for the Militia, unless in time of actual war, or imminent danger thereof.'
§ MR. WALPOLE
objected to the proviso. This question had, he thought been finally settled by the division which had just taken place.
§ MR. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
said, though the last division had been upon Clause 18, it appeared upon the notice-paper as on Clause 16, and he was sure many hon. Gentlemen had voted under the impression that they were voting on the 16th Clause, which related to the administration of oaths to volunteers. He did not think, therefore, that that division afforded a fair test of the feeling of the House, and he requested the hon. and gallant Member to press his Amendment to a division.
§ MR. TENNYSON D'EYNCOURT
supported the Amendment. The Bill as it stood made the ballot possible at any time and under any circumstances; which was repugnant to the genius of the British constitution and to the age in which we lived. The Amendment, if agreed to, would impose an important and salutary check. He hoped the hon. and gallant Member would take the sense of the House upon the Amendment.
§ MR. GOULBURN
asked the House to consider what would be the effect of the proviso proposed. He understood it was an Amendment to Clause 35; and, that being the case, the effect would be to exclude the miners of Cornwall from the ballot, while the ballot was rendered applicable to every other class of men in the country, He hoped the House would negative the proposition.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 82; Noes 178: Majority 96.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Duncan, Visct.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Duncan, G.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Duncombe, T.|
|Alcock, T.||Evans, J.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Ewart, W.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Fox, W. J.|
|Bell, J.||Geach, C.|
|Bernal, R.||Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Greene, J.|
|Bright, J.||Grenfell, C. P.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Brotherton, J.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Brown, H.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Hastie, A.|
|Carter, S.||Hastie, A.|
|Clay, J.||Heywood, J.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Heyworth, L.|
|Cobden, R.||Hindley, C.|
|Cogan, W. H. F.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Jackson, W.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Keogh, W.|
|Dawes, E.||Kershaw, J.|
|Duff, J.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Macgregor, J.||Scholefield, W.|
|Mangles, R. D,||Scobell, Capt.|
|Marshall, J. G.||Smith, J. B.|
|Marshall, W.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Martin, J.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Matheson, Col.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Melgund, Visct.||Thompson, Col.|
|Milligan, R.||Thompson, G.|
|Moffatt, G.||Thornely, T.|
|Morris, D.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.||Wilcox, B. M.|
|Mowatt, F.||Williams, J.|
|O'Brien, Sir T.||Williams, W.|
|Osborne, R. B.||Wilson, M.|
|Pechell, Sir G. B.||Wyld, J.|
|Peto, S. M.|
|Rice, E. R.||Evans, Sir De L.|
|Salwey, Col.||D' Eyncourt, T.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Davies, D. A. S.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Deedes, W.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Arkwright, G.||Dod, J. W.|
|Bagge, W.||Duckworth Sir J. T. B.|
|Bailey, C.||Duncombe, hon. A.|
|Bailey, J.||Duncombe, hon. W. E.|
|Saillie, H. J.||Dunne, Col.|
|Baird, J.||Du Pre, C. G.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Baldwin, C. B.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Bankes, rt. hon. G.||Fellowes, E.|
|Baring, T.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Barrow, W. H.||Floyer, J.|
|Beckett, W.||Forbes, W.|
|Bonnet, P.||Forester, rt. hon. Col.|
|Beresford, rt. hon. W.||Fos, S. W. L.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Freestun, Col.|
|Booker, T. W.||Freshfield, J. W.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Bremridge, R.||Gilpin, Col.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.|
|Broadwood, H.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Brooke, Lord||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Grogan, E.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Guernsey, Lord|
|Burghley, Lord||Gwyn, H.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Hale, R. B.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Halford, Sir H.|
|Butler, P. S.||Hall, Col.|
|Butt, I.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Campbell, Sir A. I.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Chandos, Marq. of||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Hardinge, hon. C. S.|
|Childers, J. W.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Christopher, rt. hn. R. A.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Christy, S.||Heard, J. I.|
|Clinton, Lord C. P.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Clive, H. B.||Herries, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Cooks, T. S.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Hill, Lord E.|
|Coles, H. B.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Collins, T.||Hotham, Lord|
|Colvile, C. R.||Hutt, W.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Cotton, hon. W. H. S.||Johnstone, J.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Jones, Capt.||Somerton, Visct.|
|Kelly, Sir F.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Knox, Col.||Spooner, R.|
|Knox, hon. W. S.||Stafford, A.|
|Langton, W. G.||Stanley, E.|
|Legh, G. C.||Stanley, Lord|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Stuart, H.|
|Leslie, C. P.||Stuart, J.|
|Lewisham, Visct.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Littleton, hon. E. R.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Lockhart, W.||Tennent, Sir J. E.|
|Long, W.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.||Trevor, hon. T.|
|Lygon, hon. Gen.||Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Mandeville, Visct.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|Manners, Lord C. S.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Manners, Lord J.||Verner, Sir W.|
|March, Earl of||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Maunsell, T. P.||Villiers, Visct.|
|Miles, W.||Villiers, hon. F. W. C.|
|Moody, C. A.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Morgan, O.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Mundy, W.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Naas, Lord||Wegg-Prosser, F. R.|
|Napier, rt. hon. J.||Welby, G. E.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Newport, Visct.||West, F. R.|
|Packe, C. W.||Whiteside, J.|
|Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.||Williams, T. P.|
|Palmer, R.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Palmer, R.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Wynn, H. W. W.|
|Pennant, hon. Col.||York, hon. E. T.|
|Portal, M.||Young, Sir J.|
|Scott, hon. F.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Seymer, H. K.||Lennox, Lord H.|
§ Bill passed.