HC Deb 24 February 1860 vol 156 cc1699-700

said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether Her Majesty's Government intend to order any Battalions or Regiments of the Volunteer Rifle Corps now formed and in course of formation, during the ensuing summer, to the Camp at Aldershot, or any other encampment, in the same manner and for the same purposes as Regiments of the Line and Militia Regiments have been encamped?


said, he would beg to interpose another question on the same subject before the right hon. Gentleman answered. As the Secretary of State for War had stated that he hoped the Volunteers would become a part of our permanent establishment, and that with the augmentation of batteries those Volunteers would become a substitute for the Royal Artillery, he wanted to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the Articles of War applied to those "parties" as at present enrolled, and whether they were liable to the same military duty and discipline, as regulated the British Army?


said, with regard to the first part of the hon. Baronet's question, that, as it proceeded upon the supposition that he had stated that the time must come when the Volunteers would replace the Royal Artillery, he had no hesitation in sweeping away the whole superstructure, by saying that he had never entertained such an opinion, and therefore never could have made any such statement. [Sir R. PEEL: "You distinctly stated it."] If he had said any such thing he could not conceive how his words could have been so ill put together, as to bear a meaning so opposite to the sense which he entertained of the relative value of the Volunteer Corps and the Royal Artillery. The Volunteers were not under the Articles of War, like the Yeomanry, except when called out for some special purpose. With regard to the possibility or probability of the Volunteer Corps being sent down to Aldershot, like other regiments, he could assure his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. E. James) that the terms on which these troops were engaged, and the intentions with which they were enrolled, were so different from those of the regular troops that he could not imagine that it would enter into the head of any Government to think of ordering them to leave their homes to go down to Aldershot. Indeed, the Government had no such power by Act of Parliament, and certainly they had no intention of asking for the power by any sort of post facto legislation.