HC Deb 01 August 1854 vol 135 cc1142-4

Order read, for resuming adjourned Debate on Question [31st July], That the Clause (All persons possessing diplomas, certificates, or qualifications held to qualify such persons to act as Surgeons, or Assistant Surgeons, in the Army, shall be held to be duly qualified to servo as Surgeons, or Assistant Surgeons, in the Militia,) be added to the Bill.

Debate resumed.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause added.

Four other clauses added.


moved the insertion in Clause 2 of a proviso, giving the magistrates of counties the power to add quarters for non-commissioned officers, cells, magazines, &c., to the militia storehouses, in place of the proviso originally contained in the clause, which rendered it compulsory upon the counties to provide these accommodations. The effect of this would be to limit the liability of the counties to what it had been under the former Act, the 42nd Geo. III.


said, he thought the arrangement now proposed a very fair one, as the compulsory obligation was to be restricted to the limit which had been established for the last forty or fifty years, and everything else was to be left to the option of the magistrates at quarter sessions.

Amendment agreed to.


said, he had upon a former occasion stated that it was, in his opinion, competent for a militia court-martial to try a sergeant upon the permanent staff, and to reduce that sergeant to the ranks if they thought the nature of the charge brought against him was such as to justify that course. He had since, however, come to the conclusion that it was extremely doubtful whether such court-martial could break a sergeant of the line who might have entered the militia as a volunteer. The point was one to which he wished that the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War should be directed.


said, that the Act which empowered a militia court-martial to reduce a sergeant to the rank of a private had been passed in the time of George III., when almost the whole of the governing staff consisted of volunteers, who had been promoted from the position of privates, and who might, therefore, by the decision of a court-martial, be reduced to the rank whence they sprung. Under the present system, however, there was a permanent staff, composed of volunteers of the line, who had never been privates in the militia, and therefore some difficulty arose as to the question whether they could be degraded to a rank which they had never held. According to the strict construction of the law, they might perhaps be so reduced, but as a matter of policy he doubted if it would not be more desirable that they should be dismissed the service altogether.


said, that if such a person were guilty of a disgraceful offence, and could not be reduced to the rank of volunteer, all the punishment he could receive was dismissal from the militia regiment. He would retain his rank as sergeant of the line with a pension.

The remaining Amendments were then considered and agreed to, and the Bill ordered to be read a third time on Thursday next.