§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."—(Mr. Childers.)
§ COLONEL RUGGLES-BRISE
said, he wished to call attention to a number of details, which showed that the Militia was not prospering under the new system. The experience of the last few years in the county of Essex seemed to show that the Force was not so popular as it used to be, and recruiting had steadily fallen off. The enlistments numbered 411 in 1877, and they had since fallen as low as 220 in one year, and 107 in another. He believed, amongst other causes, this was due to the longer period of prior drill which recruits had now to undergo, and to the fact that they were mixed with the older soldiers at the depôt. The payment of 10s. per recruit having also been stopped, the effect was seen in the diminution of enlistments. The recruits not only lost more time than they formerly did, but since they had been taken out of the hands of the non-commissioned officers they were not so well treated as they used to be. The consequences were seen in applications for discharge, which 626 had risen to 60 in the year. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would follow Lord Cardwell in his treatment of the Militia, and not allow the local element to be disparaged. That element was not as readily forthcoming as it used to be, and the old local character of the Force was, therefore, not being maintained. He would only add that he thought that the commanding officers should have some voice in the selection of the officers of their battalions.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, the present was simply a Consolidation Bill, and he had not, therefore, prepared himself with the necessary material to answer the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member. He was, however, much obliged to the hon. and gallant Member for his suggestions, and they would be considered as far as practicable. The hon. and gallant Member had spoken as to the extent to which colonels of Militia battalions should have a voice in the selection of their officers. It would not be possible to give them the appointment of the officers, but he would be ready to consider whether they should not have some voice in the matter.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.