HC Deb 26 June 1860 vol 159 cc1030-45

I rise to move for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the laws relating to the Militia, which, though not of great scope or force in itself, yet relates to a subject of great interest to the country. The House is aware that for some years past, owing to the continual changes made in the Militia law, the Militia itself is in a very unsatisfactory state. "When I say that, I do not mean that for its numbers it has been inefficient; on the contrary, probably no force, not being a regular force, has ever attained as great efficiency as the Militia under the command of the officers who have the honour to be its leaders. But the strength of the disembodied Militia has fallen signally short of the quota authorized by the law; and, what makes the matter more difficult, is that on paper the force has maintained considerable numbers, who, however, cannot be accounted for, and never appear on parade. In all probability a great number of these men have enlisted in the Line; for it is cheaper for a man to desert and to enlist in the regular army than to pay back by stoppages the bounty which he has received, and frequently men re-enlist in this way two or three times, and so appropriate to themselves several bounties. If the Militia does not produce the number of men that it ought to do, I cannot say that it is from any want of the material from which that force ought to be created. I have here a statement of the number of male adults between the ages of 18 and 45—from 18 to 40 are the usual limits between which men are admitted into the Militia, but men who have served in the army are taken up to 45 years of age. I find that of adult males in England between the ages of 18 and 45 in the year 1800, there were 1,900,000; in 1815, there were 2,329,000; in 1851, 4,167,000; and it has been computed by the Registrar General that, according to the rate at which population has increased, the Census for next year will give us 4,622,000. The small number of 120,000, therefore, is as nothing when compared with the great body of adults of the soldier age which exists in this country. I think we have not to seek far for the cause of the non-attendance of the Militia. I do not wish now to go much into this question, of which the importance is admitted by its frequent discussion in this House; but I have always stated my opinion that the constant embodiments and disembodiments of the Militia have had a very injurious operation on its permanent and substantial character. I will read to the House the successive steps which have been taken in this respect since 1854. In that year there were embodied in the months of May, June, and July, 18 regiments. In December of the same year, and in the months of January, February, and March, 1855, the embodiment of so large a number as 119 regiments took place. From April to July, 1855, 8 additional regiments were embodied. In October, 1855, 1 regiment was disembodied; another in January, 1856; and 113 in the May, June, and July following. In August and September, 1856, 30 other regiments were embodied. In September, 1857, 25 regiments were embodied; in October, 2; and in November, 20. In May and June, 1858, 16 regiments were disembodied, and 2 were embodied. In March, 1859, 4 were disembodied, and in April, 1859, 8 were embodied. The Return does not give any embodiments or disembodiments in the present year.

The opinion which I have always held with regard to a reserve is, that the object should be to secure for its ranks not the same men who would otherwise go into the Line, but a class less likely to leave home, who would be content to serve for short periods during a portion of every year, but who, in case of extremity, would willingly give their whole time to the service of the State. These embodiments have been attended with a very beneficial effect to the State. I cast no blame on any one who embodied those regiments, and I frankly admit that if any one is to blame more than another, it is the man who set the example of those embodiments, by which I mean myself. In 1854, the Militia was called out to a very great extent for the purpose of providing reinforcements for the army in the Crimea, and no doubt it did operate in this way, and many men imbibed a taste for military life, and were induced to join the Line, who otherwise would never have thought of doing so. Calling out the Militia, then, as afterwards during the Indian mutiny, was a matter of policy, the object of which was to tempt men to enter the regular army. Great assistance was rendered to the Line, but it was at the expense of the permanent success of the Militia. I do not know whether it would be wise now to say that we have seen the last of those distant wars that render it alike necessary and safe to injure the Militia for the sake of gaining a more rapid augmentation of our army; but it appears to me that, while every effort should be made to strengthen the Line, care should be taken not to do so at the expense of the Militia, whose success and permanent prosperity have become a very great element in the defence of the country.

There is no doubt that the embodiment of the Militia has driven from its ranks a great number of country gentlemen, and that the connection of a regiment with the county in which it is raised is very much weakened by its being removed for six mouths, or possibly two or three years, to do garrison duty. A friend of mine, who has had great experience in connection with the Militia, writes thus:— If you do not retain the services of the country gentlemen you will have instead of them only a mixture of half-pay officers, used-up Indians, and adventurers, whose sympathies are not with their regiments, and who fail to attract the working classes of the county to the ranks. That is a very strong statement, and strongly worded, but there is truth in it. It is this, that men who are in a position to choose their own profession, and who, if they wanted to enter the army, could have done so, do not like, without any prospect of the honours of the service or the legitimate rank which it confers, to be knocked about in garrison towns for three or four years—a feeling which must tend to sever the connection of the country gentlemen with the different regiments. I give all the more honour and credit to those who, despite these inconveniences, have stood by their corps and served in garrison, and who in time of difficulty have done very great service, not only in this country, but, like some of those whom I see before me, on colonial stations as well. In time of war the argument does not apply; but I think if the country gentlemen had some assurance that they should not be called on to leave home with their regiments to spend some months at Aldershot, at Portsmouth, or elsewhere, they would look on the Militia with different eyes.

Formerly the Militia was considered to be a safe method of soldiering by all those who exercised influence over young men. In peasant families it was thought that if a son or brother went into the army he was gone for ever, whereas they were not sorry to see him engaged in the Militia, by which he was secured from being taken away from home, and was not abstracted altogether from family ties. As long as the Militia remains disembodied that feeling continues; but if it be capriciously embodied I believe these people will be as averse to allow their relatives to become connected with it as with the regular army. Then, again, the system by which these regiments were deprived of their best men by volunteering into the Line of course greatly impaired their efficiency. The men were cajoled by the recruiting sergeants of regular regiments, who attacked and harassed them, and militia officers have described their regiments as being for a certain time turned into a kind of pandemonium; for not only were the men carried off, but discipline was considerably shaken, and the regiments demoralized. Among other evils, the system created alt most a scientific practice of desertion. 14 extended far beyond the Militia, spreading into the Line, where the desertions about two years ago increased to such an alarming extent that the firmest enforcement of military discipline was necessary in order to prevent it. One objection which we should keep in view is to make it well understood by the labouring classes, from whom you draw the Militia, and who look upon embodiment as almost amounting to a breach of faith, that the Militia in future is to be a reserve force, a disembodied force, and that except in case of war or of great emergency they will not be taken out of their respective counties.

A good deal has been said in favour of a local Militia. Now, I have examined the matter, but I confess I do not understand what is the difference between a local and a general Militia. The popular notion is that the local Militia is a force confined to its own county, and that a general Militia force is one each regiment of which may be removed from its county. But, strictly speaking, you can no more by the ordinary law take the general Militia out of their respective counties than a local Militia. At this moment we have an exceptional Act of Parliament enabling the Government to embody the Militia, although the condition which the law held necessary to embodiment does not exist. But, if you maintain a general Militia upon the local principle, you have all the advantages of the local force, with this further advantage—that you have a well-organized force, with a capital corps of officers and a permanent staff. Nothing, therefore, in my opinion can be more unwise than to introduce a local Militia in the place of a general force, which in its natural constitution is local, but which by legislative interference you have chosen to divert from its natural constitution. I come, therefore, to the conclusion that it will not be wise to attempt any change in this respect until you have tried the Militia law as it stands. The one thing the Militia wants is to be let alone. It has a capital constitution; the law on which it is founded is sound and wise; but Parliament under the pressure of a great emergency set it aside. I hope, however, that the House will not be induced to depart from the law, but will give it now, almost for the first time since it was enacted some few years ago, a fair trial.

Let me state now what are the changes in detail and in administration, all of which I think tend to improve the condition and the efficiency of the Militia, and which have been made within the last few months. Last year, shortly after the Report of the Militia Commission was issued, it was my duty to introduce a Bill into Parliament for the purpose of carrying into effect such of their recommendations as I was unable to carry out by means of regulations. Since that time the following changes have been made in consequence of the Commissioners' Report:—In the first place, there were considerable restrictions with regard to the Militia, even under the old law, when embodied from fear of invasion. Thus they could not be moved from England to Ireland except in a certain proportion; they could not be required to remain there beyond a certain time; and great expense was consequently incurred in moving regiments in order to evade these restrictions. They were enacted in times when service in Ireland was not so agreeable as it is now, and they were very wisely removed by Parliament last year, and the Militia was rendered liable, when embodied, to serve in any part of the United Kingdom. Her Majesty was also empowered to accept the voluntary offers of the Militia to serve in the Channel Islands. Power was taken to unite in one battalion the Militia of two or more counties when their respective quotas are too small to be formed into separate regiments. I believe that will greatly tend to the efficiency of the Militia. In Scotland, several counties have been amalgamated, and have then produced powerful battalions; but some have remained unamalgamated, and the result is that you have very small battalions with a staff which would be available for a much larger one, while, militarily speaking, whenever it was necessary to call them out, these battalions would be comparatively useless. Ultimately, when you have consolidated the small battalions, you will gain greater strength at a much less cost, because one colonel and one adjutant will then be sufficient where two are now necessary. Since that power has been given the battalions which have been united in Scotland are, of the Galloway Militia, the Wigtown quota with Ayrshire, and the Kirkcudbright with Dumfries. It has been united under a gallant officer, a Member of this House (Sir James Ferguson), who I regret s not now present, from whom I have always received the greatest support and assistance in matters connected with the Militia, and on whose judgment I am inclined to place great reliance. The amalgamation of the following regiments will also take place:—The Flint and Denbigh will form one infantry corps; the Carmarthen and Pembroke one artillery corps; the Merioneth and Montgomery one infantry corps; and it has also been decided to form the Anglesea and Carnarvon into a rifle corps. The great difficulty in effecting these junctions arises from the existence of local feelings and jealousies, which render it difficult for the force of two counties to fall into one. There is another difficulty with respect to stores, for one county does not like to give up the stores it has got. That, however, may be got over by allowing the regiment to train in two wings, allowing each wing to have its own stores. In Scotland, as far as it has been tried, this amalgamation has answered perfectly.

Then the Secretary for War was authorized to fix the times and places of training and exercise, he of course consulting with the Lords-Lieutenants, and appointing the time which is likely to be least objectionable to the employers of labour. A double object was in view in giving this authority—namely, that there should be first a fixed period to which officers and men should annually look forward; and, secondly, that there should be a simultaneous training, so as to prevent fraudulent enlistment from one regiment to another by men who pocketed the bounty in each case, and made a good thing of it at the public expense. Then, increased rates of pay and lodging allowances were granted to adjutants, and all uncertain and fluctuating allowances have been discontinued. That has had a most excellent effect, because formerly the adjutant was paid in proportion to the number of men he had enrolled, and human ingenuity could not have invented a more certain premium upon indiscriminate enlistment. It was natural, under such circumstances, that any recruit should be acceptable without very much inquiry into his character and antecedents. Put since that change has been made, and since the urgent wishes of the Government have been expressed both to Lords-Lieutenants and the commanding officers of regiments that none but men of known residence and fixed habits should be taken, there has been a marked improvement in the character of the regi- ments generally. I have received communications from magistrates stating that the men formerly brought before them by the militia serjeants were of a very indifferent class, and in some cases spoke a dialect which was not that of the county in which they were enlisting, while the same gentlemen now say that there is a great difference in the men brought before them, and that they evidently belong to the county, and that in many instances their residences are known and their characters ascertained. The change which has taken place is shown also by the training, as far as it has gone. By a Return moved for last year the number present at the training in 1859 was 44,340, and there were 30,557 absentees. That is not the number of the Militia generally, but only of the disembodied as distinguished from the embodied Militia. The number of men returned as having failed to attend was an accumulation of absentees who were retained on the books of the Militia because it was thought that as fast as they were struck off they would be followed by other men, who would perhaps in like manner take the bounty and never appear. These absentees were struck off shortly before the present training, and as far as the training has gone it has been satisfactory. We have received returns from fifty-four regiments, which have trained during the present year, and their respective quotas amount to 48,569 men. I have endeavoured to impress on all those concerned in raising the Militia that the object of the Government is not to have a large force to pay, but that the question is how many they can produce at training, and therefore that it is much better to refuse men than to take doubtful characters. The result has been that, so far as they can be compared with the Returns of last year, the absentees, who then upon the number of regiments trained amounted to 4,707, only number 2,660 for the present year, being a diminution of nearly one-half. The effectives in 1859, taking into account only the regiments I have mentioned, were 19,546, while in 1860, in the same regiments, they were 22,223, so that here also there is a marked improvement, and according to a Return recently presented the total quota of all ranks of the disembodied Militia on the 1st of June was 113,801, and the number of effectives was calculated at 52,899. There is an improvement in the training of this year over that of last by the presence of 6,000 or 7,000 men additional. This certainly is not a very large increase, but we must not expect a great change to be made in a day, for there is no class so slow to receive an impression as the labouring classes from which the recruits are drawn. It will take some time before the labouring classes are brought to believe that the Government do not intend suddenly to embody regiments, and take the men from their homes for months or for years, instead of one month.

Certain additions also have been made, in order to produce greater efficiency in the Staff of the Militia service, in consequence of the Report of the Militia Commission. There have been added to each regiment a quartermaster, additional sergeant, hospital sergeant, drum or bugle major, and two sergeants as instructors of musketry. During the last year the whole of the disembodied as well as the embodied Militia have been armed with the rifle—the Enfield; and on purpose to teach them the proper use of it a number of adjutants have been to Hythe, for the purpose of going through a course of instruction there. They acquired considerable proficiency, but it appears to me that the duties of adjutants of Militia regiments are far too onerous to enable them also to devote time to musketry instruction, and therefore we have sent two sergeants in every regiment to Hythe to obtain the necessary instruction. We have had 94 adjutants and 260 sergeants who have passed through Hythe, and the remaining number to be instructed is only 40 sergeants. Therefore, very nearly the whole number have received instruction. I am glad to be able to state, on the authority of General Hay, that these persons have very well profited by the instruction given; and General Hay bears testimony to the soldier-like appearance and excellent conduct of the sergeants of Militia. I have no doubt that after one or two trainings they will make a remarkable improvement in the musketry practice of the Militia, which, I am sorry to say, is at present as nil, for the men have had no musketry instruction.

It was recommended by the Militia Commission that the promotion of officers, as a general rule, should take place by seniority, and that when a Lord Lieutenant departed from that rule he should assign reasons for so doing. That is a rule which we have adopted with a good deal of hesitation, and it has, no doubt, in many instances, given a good deal of dissatisfaction. It is diffi- cult for the Lord Lieutenant in all cases to say who ought to be promoted. There are, of course, a variety of motives and considerations which ought to influence persona making the selection. You want in the Militia good county connection and military knowledge and efficiency. It is very well when you can combine both, but very often you have to balance the advantage on one side and on the other. You might have to choose between a man of influence who recruits the ranks, and a man of efficiency and skill who gives no help to increase the numbers of the Militia. Therefore, I have thought that every consideration should be given to the difficulties in which Lords-Lieutenant might feel themselves on this subject, and when good reasons have been assigned for departing from the general rule I have thought it right to support them. Then it was recommended that subaltern officers should be, previously to promotion, required to pass a practical examination in their duties. That is a good principle, no doubt, and if always insisted upon would induce officers to learn their drill, and fit themselves for their duties; but the application of it is not easy. Officers on the permanent Staff, adjutants, and so on, have been allowed to send their sons to Sandhurst to obtain the advantages which are attached to officers of their rank. I pass over some minor details, and, with respect to the treatment of deserters, I believe that the application of the law, with severity in some instances, has already been attended with advantage. It must be borne in mind that if men desert for the purpose of entering into the Line, they assume that that is rather a praiseworthy act than otherwise, for they argue that although they take the two bounties, yet they enter in the one case for five years, and in the other for ten. This it is intended to check, as it is important that when men make engagements they should be kept to them. Another change made is not entirely in accordance with the recommendations of the Militia Commission. They recommended that good-conduct pay should be given to men after five years' service; but some difficulty was felt on this point, that the good-conduct pay being only one penny a day while the men were under training, a penny a day for twenty-eight days in the year was scarcely worth their having; and the Government could not go so far as to give the penny a day during the whole year, the greater portion of which the men would be at their own homes. Therefore, we thought it better to give every man re-enrolled 10s. a year in addition to his bounty, and this system, as I understand, is working very well. Free kits are also given to all men who shall hereafter enroll, or who have been enrolled since the last training or since disembodiment, and a portion in money is given to re-enrolled men having a good kit. All school fees are abolished, and an officer is appointed schoolmaster with Is. a day additional. All these things, of course, tend to the advantage of the men and the improvement of their position.

Certain things are to be done by regulation, and by the Bill I have the honour now to submit to the House we want to have the power of uniting maritime counties for the purpose of forming Artillery corps, as has been done in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Thus, when in one county there is not enough men for two battalions, and yet too much for one, the men might be joined with the Artillery corps of a neighbouring county, and become an efficint force. Of course, we should require no different machinery for this than that which we have for the amalgamation of force in other counties. With regard to the union of counties for the purpose of stores, I have attempted to get over the difficulty by applying the same principle as is acted on in reference to county lunatic asylums. Thus, a joint committee of the magistrates of the united counties will be allowed to erect whatever may be necessary to carry the amalgamation into effect, and of deciding where the stores should be built. Then there is a further power with respect to counties recommended by the Militia Commission, which I am sorry does not receive the sanction of my right hon. Friend opposite, but which I think upon the whole will be advantageous to the Militia, the counties, and the Government. It is proposed by the Militia Commission that the Government and the counties should have power to make arrangements for building accommodation for the permanent Staff, the Government paying the counties an annual interest on the outlay. This is, of course, not to be compulsory, but I do not see why any objection need be taken to it. I think the counties, in many instances, will make a good bargain by building themselves the necessary accommodation for the Militia, and the Government will probably not pay more than at present. Power will also be taken to call out the troops for training either on enrolment or some time previously to the general training of the regiments. This provision will, I think, be found to operate beneficially, for there can be no doubt that if you would bring up men for previous training the time of the permanent Staff would be economized, and would be much better employed in being devoted to the regiment in general than to the instruction of particular men. It has been proposed that the men should be brought up for training immediately after enrolment. But I very much doubt the policy of that, because, although the system is proposed as a check against fraudulent enrolment and desertion, I think it will operate rather in a contrary direction. The man who intends to desert will be quite willing to undergo a few days' training for the sake of the expenses which he will get. I also propose to take power in this Bill to increase the Militia of Scotland and Ireland in the same proportion as that in which we have now authority to increase the English Militia in case of invasion. There are in England 80,000 Militia, and we are empowered to raise that number by 40,000; and I would ask the House to enable us, should invasion take place, or imminent danger of it arise, to raise the Scotch and Irish Militias from 5,000 to 10,000, and from 15,000 to 30,000 men respectively, thus making the total force 120,000 in time of peace, and 180,000 in time of war. It was recommended by the Commission that the permanent Staff should be put permanently on embodied pay, but since that recommendation was made the Volunteer movement has undergone rapid progress, and the demand for non-commissioned officers has become so great that it is no easy matter to attract them to the Militia. The Volunteer corps are very naturally eager to receive as much assistance as possible in their drill, and I am sure that nobody who witnessed the spectacle in Hyde Park on Saturday—which seemed to me one of the greatest and most imposing which has taken place in the Metropolis for years—would grudge those corps the aid of those non-commissioned officers by whom they appear to have so well profited. It is, however, important that the Militia force, which is of a permanent nature, should be made as efficient as possible, and I therefore propose to afford the permanent Staff—not by the present Bill, but by the Militia Pay Bill, which will be hereafter introduced—increased pay. There is only one other change which I propose to make, and which will not be effected under the operation of the present Bill, inasmuch as it can be done by regulation. In officering the Militia it is comparatively easy to secure the services of field-officers, captains, and lieutenants, while there is the utmost difficulty in procuring ensigns. When regiments are embodied great efforts to obtain ensigns are made, and the result is that it is found necessary to go below the class from which it is desirable that they should be selected. The consequence is that considerable disappointment is experienced when these ensigns are not promoted to the upper grades in their regiments. You could, of course, get ensigns fast enough in time of war, or in the case of regiments permanently embodied; and what I propose to meet the difficulty with respect to regiments which are disembodied is that, while every existing ensign should retain his position, the vacancies which may in future occur should not be filled up. There are at present sixty-five of these vacancies in the embodied Militia and 601 in the disembodied. The better course to adopt under these circumstances seems to me to be not to fill up those vacancies, but to appoint two extra lieutenants in each regiment to carry the colours. Of course the ensigns at present with their regiments would remain. That subject, however, cannot be dealt with in the present Bill, which is confined to the objects I have stated. Its purpose is very humble; it attempts but little. It does not essay re-organization. It establishes no Prussian or Foreign system in the raising and maintenance of the Militia force. Our duty is, it appears to me, to keep up the traditions of the Militia, and to endeavour, by strict adherence to them, to bring it into a more efficient state. I believe the Militia has been disturbed and upset by constant interference with its arrangement, but if circumstances now allow us to keep it as a reserve and a reserve alone, we shall find the result to be a great increase in efficiency. My object is to keep the Militia in a disembodied state, and to give them the confidence and assurance that they shall remain so except in cases of great emergency. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving for leave to bring in the Bill.


said, he had listened to the speech of his right hon. Friend with much pleasure. There could be no doubt that the reluctance to enter the disembodied Militia to which his right hon. Friend had adverted was in. a great measure owing to the state of uncertainty which for years past had prevailed with respect to the embodiment and disembodiment of the force. In Lancashire, where wages were high, that was particularly the case. In 1852, and during the Russian war, no difficulty in tilling up the ranks of the force had been experienced; but immediately after the conclusion of that war, when the system of disembodiment and re-embodiment came into active operation, the Militia became reduced to nearly one-half its regulated amount. The first step towards re-establishing the Militia ought to be to make it attractive to men of character, and not render the sacrifice involved in quitting their usual occupations too great; and he entirely concurred with his right hon. Friend in the opinion that one of the best modes which could be adopted in order to promote the efficiency of the disembodied Militia was to make the staff as perfect as possible. Indeed, he thought it should be made a sine quâ non that no sergeants should be on the staff who were not competent to instruct the men in the rifle drill as at pre-Bent carried out in the army. He was glad to find that there was to be additional compensation for the staff of the Militia; and while upon that point he might observe that the Committee, in dealing with the question of affording greater accommodation for the staff in the shape of buildings, had deemed it desirable to abstain as far as possible from increasing the county-rate in order to effect that object. His hon. and gallant Friend behind him (Colonel Gilpin) had strongly opposed any such increase, but he was happy to find that the Secretary for War had pointed out that the recommendation of the Commission might be acted upon in such a manner that the repayment of the necessary expenditure would be guaranteed by the Government to the several counties. He would not venture, until he saw it in print, to express an opinion upon the Bill itself; but if, as he supposed, it carried out the recommendations of the Militia Commission, he should give it every support in his power. The Commissioners proposed, with the view of securing greater uniformity of practice in the promotion of officers, that if any Lord Lieutenant of a county did not recommend an officer in the regular routine of the regiment, he should assign his reasons for it. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that that rule should be adopted with considerable modification. Every regiment should be kept as much a county regiment as possible. In 1852 he made an arrangement with his officers to the effect that upon the occurrence of every third vacancy he should be at liberty to advise the Lord Lieutenant to depart from the rule of regular promotion in the regiment for the purpose of introducing some gentleman connected with the county. That arrangement had been carried out without the least dissatisfaction on the part of the officers, and he was persuaded it might be adopted with great advantage elsewhere.


said, he rejoiced that an attempt was about to be made to improve the Militia. The fact that in future the time at which regiments were to be called out for drill was to be determined beforehand would give great satisfaction to both officers and men, and would produce a much better attendance. One of the recommendations of the Militia Commission was to the effect that when a recruit was attested he should be taken at once to head-quarters and trained for twenty-eight days. The Secretary of State said that would increase the expense; but, if so, he thought the system adopted iu many counties should be put in force throughout the country generally—the system, namely, of allowing recruits to assemble for preliminary drill twenty or thirty days before the calling out of the regiment. He was glad that some definite rule was to be adopted with respect to the embodiment and disembodiment of the Militia, and that they were not for the future to be embodied except in the case of an emergency. He hoped that emergency would not arise, but if it did, he hoped that every regiment would have a fair chance of being embodied in its turn, and that no favour or partiality would be shown. The right hon. Gentleman said he could not see the advantage of a local Militia. Well, some seven or eight years ago the existence of the Government was made to depend upon the question as to whether the Militia should be local or general. Most of the regiments of the Line were distinguished by some designation connected with the county in which they were originally raised, and he thought it desirable that militia regiments should give recruits to those regiments that bore the names of their counties, so that a local connection, might be kept up between the Militia and the Line. The proposal to increase the pay of the staff would, be thankfully received by an able and devoted body of men.


said, that he wished to thank the right hon. Gentleman for bringing forward this measure, though he felt that was not a time to enter into a discussion of the details. As, however, he had been pointedly referred to, he might state that he was still of opinion that magistrates were not entitled to use the county money in providing buildings for the Militia upon the plea that they might get some of it back from the Government. The suggestion that recruits should be assembled for preliminary drill before the regular training was an admirable one. He thought there was a great deal of good in the Bill.


said, he hoped the Government would consider the propriety of increasing the pay of the surgeons in Militia regiments.


said, he concurred in the opinion that every regiment should be embodied in its turn, so that nil might have an opportunity of being drilled, and of acquiring a military spirit.

Leave given. Bill to amend the Laws relating to the Militia, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Secretary HERBERT and the JUDGE ADVOCATE.

Bill presented, and read 1° to be read 2° on Monday next, and to be printed (Bill 211.)