§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Cardwell.)
§ MR. RYLANDS
, in rising to move, as an Amendment—That, having regard to the advanced period of the Session, and the pressure of important Public Business in which the House is already engaged, it is not expedient to proceed further with the consideration of the Bill,said, the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had stated that it would do away with billeting the Militia, and the impression which he conveyed to the House was, that a very large sum of money was required to build barracks for the Militia. But the right hon. Gentleman had also stated that the Militia were to be placed under canvas during training, so that the amount was not really needed. He (Mr. Rylands) believed that the Bill constituted really a scheme for getting more recruits; and against that he must contend that by means of our present system of recruiting, accompanied by certain modifications which would bring the Auxiliary Forces into active combination with the Line, we should have all that was required for the defence of the country; while it was idle to contemplate, with our small Army, making a foreign port the base 183 of operations for the purpose of coping with the vast Armies of the Continent. He was altogether opposed to the expenditure, enormous as it was, contemplated by the Bill, and he hoped, at all events, that the country would be afforded a longer time to consider the scheme which it involved. The expenditure, as far as he could judge, was wholly unnecessary as securing the objects alleged in its support, and for that reason he should move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "having regard to the advanced period of the Session, and the pressure of important public business in which the House is already engaged, it is not expedient to proceed further with the consideration of this Bill,"—(Mr. Rylands,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, that after the strong expressions of opinion on the part of that House in favour of this measure, he could not think the hon. Member was serious in his opposition to the measure, and should not do more than express a hope that he would not put the House to the trouble of dividing.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
, in supporting the Bill, said, he was anxious to state that in doing so he did not mean to express approval of the policy of the Government, which had withdrawn the troops from the colonies—a policy to which he was strongly opposed.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
commented upon the fact that the Members of Her Majesty's Government had taken so small a part in this discussion. He intended to support the Amendment.
§ MR. W. M. TORRENS
said, he entirely disagreed with the policy of the Government as evinced in dealing with this subject. He believed that the concentration of our forces in this country was a mistaken policy, as it was a craven, a cowardly, and a dastardly desertion of our colonies. If this country was to keep up its position, its flag must be seen all over the world, and our true policy should be to have both a national and Imperial Army, with interchanges of regiments for the colonies, and not to make the country look as if it were a 184 mere fortified workshop or a garrisoned bullion-case. If, however, the Government felt bound to spend this £3,500,090, let them apply it in getting rid of the slums that disgraced our great cities. It was hopeless, however, to expect to be able to reverse the Vote of the preceding evening, and for that reason he would recommend his hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands) not to press his Motion.
§ MR. RYLANDS
, in view of the fact that many hon. Members of his way of thinking in this matter had left the House, in the belief that the Bill would not be taken that night, would not press his Motion to a division, and therefore he begged to withdraw it.
§ MR. WHALLEY
, who spoke amid much interruption, entered his protest against the Bill, which was nothing more than an attempt to make the Mutiny Act perpetual. For the last two centuries we had been notorious for two things—our extravagant expenditure on military matters, and the utter inefficiency of our military system. Englishmen demanded the right to be drilled, and not to be defended by a mercenary Army.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee, and reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.