HL Deb 17 June 1852 vol 122 cc835-7

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved—"That the House do now resolve itself into Committee."

On Question, Resolved in the Affrmative.

House in Committee accordingly.

Clause 1 to 5 agreed to.

On the 6th Clause,


expressed an opinion that a more ample security for the due discharge of these duties would be afforded if the appointment of sergeants rested with the Horse Guards, instead of with Her Majesty, as was proposed by the clause.


said, he had not before had an opportunity of expressing his opinion upon the Bill; he would therefore take this opportunity of remarking that, when the Marquess of Lansdowne, on a previous evening, complained that the time for drilling was insufficient, he (the Duke of Richmond) entirely agreed with him that fifty-six days would not be sufficient time for making men fit for the line; but, at the same time, he would be very much ashamed of himself, in the regiment which he commanded, if he could not make men sufficient in that time to serve behind stone walls. There was a class of young men who had obtained their discharge from the line, but who did not like the situation of railway guard, and who ruined themselves if they opened a public-house—these men would be delighted to come into the militia regiments, and would form excellent lance-sergeants and lance-corporals. He was very glad to hear that it was intended by the Bill to introduce those who had been officers in the army and the Indian service as majors and captains of the militia, for, besides the justice that was thus done to the officers, the men would be more likely to follow them than those whom they had known as only country gentlemen. But when some said the mi- litia would be of no use, he would take them even in Sussex, which was the county, if an invasion took place, that would be invaded, and he would ask whether, when it was necessary to obstruct the roads, to blow down bridges, and to raise defences, the militia would not cover the labourers when engaged in these occupations? Yet he could have no hesitation in confessing that were he to be the Chasseur Britan-nique in Sussex, he would much rather be at the head of a regiment of the line or the Guards than lead a regiment of militia; but old as he was, he believed they would teach the Chasseurs de Vincennes, were they to come into Sussex, the lesson which they had taught the Imperial Guard at Waterloo. People who laughed at invasion, if they had only seen the horrors of war, would be too happy to pay a small insurance for their safety. He had no amendment to propose on this clause—he preferred it should stand as it was; but whatever change they might make in it affecting the Lords Lieutenant, he begged, for himself and the rest of them, they would not give them more patronage. For, having something to do with the Sussex Light Infantry Militia, he had received seventy letters—including three Baronets among the writers—in regard to the adjutancy, which he was sorry on that account to say was vacant.


observed the appointment of adjutants was always vested in the Crown.


in answer to a noble Lord, explained that the drilling of the militiamen would be managed by sergeants of the line, who would be lent for the purpose from their respective regiments, to which they would return at the end of the twenty-one days, so that their military efficiency would always be maintained. If any of these sergeants gave such satisfaction to the colonels of militia regiments, as, in the event of the regiments being embodied, to make it desired that they should be attached to them, every facility for such an arrangement would be afforded by the Horse Guards. At the same time, in order that no discouragement might be given to the militia, the Bill would allow of the appointment to such office of militiamen properly qualified.

Clause agreed to; as also Clauses 7 to 24.

On Clause 25,


moved an Amendment that the period of training in each year should be twenty-eight instead of twenty-one days.


said, that by the next clause Her Majesty, with the advice of Her Privy Council, might extend or reduce the period, so that the whole training in each year should not exceed fifty-six, nor be loss than three days.


had had a great deal to do in his earlier life with the training of Portuguese soldiers, and it was never found necessary to take more than thirty days before sending a recruit into the ranks, where he made a very good soldier. A friend of his in the Guards had assured him that his regiment used only to take thirty-five days; now, indeed, it being a period of peace, they took about sixty-five, because, having time to spare, it was not thought right to make the recruit perform the London duty till he was more completely drilled; but a soldier might be perfectly well trained for infantry purposes in thirty-five days.


having suggested a more extended drill than that provided for in the Bill,


would wish to call the attention of their Lordships to the fact, that the House of Commons had assented to the proposed period of training, and that any increase would of necessity involve a certain expense, which would make an addition to the estimates, and there would be an additional pressure on the country. The House of Commons had at first agreed to a period of twenty-one days, and had then assented to the power given to Her Majesty, with the advice of Her Privy Council, to extend the period to fifty-six, or decrease it to three days. He quite agreed with the noble Lord that a better soldier could be made in twenty-eight than in twenty-one days; hut at the same time he thought it well that their Lordships should sanction the clause as agreed to by the House of Commons.

Amendment withdrawn; Clause agreed to.

Other Amendments made. The Report thereof to be received To-morrow.