HL Deb 18 December 1854 vol 136 cc429-61

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, That the Bill be now road 3a.


said, that as the noble Duke (the Duke of Newcastle) had not intimated his intention of proposing any Amendment, it was to be presumed that the Government intended that the Bill should go to the House of Commons as it now stood. That being the case, and as few of their Lordships were present on Saturday, and could not have been expected to be present, it was but right that he should restate what material alterations had been mule in the Bill. Those alterations were entirely confined to the substitution of 110,000 for 15,000 men, and that, no doubt, was a material and valuable concession on the part of the Government; but it was not one which did much credit to the forethought or mature consideration which ought to have characterised the concoction of a Bill of such very great importance—for it appeared to be indifferent to them whether the number of foreigners to be enlisted was to be 10,000 or 15,000. However, so far as that alteration went, it was a great improvement of the but it was the may one. There could be no doubt that, under the second clause as now worded, under the designation of "body of reserve," it was possible foe the Ministry to retain in this country a very large portion of the 10,000 men whom the Crown was to be permitted to have in England. It was a remarkable circumstance that, while it was declared to be the intention of the Government that the reserves of British regiments employed in the Crimea should he established at Malta, or some such station conveniently near to the Crimea, it was also intended that the reserves of the German battalions should be retained in England. That being so, the only reason why such nn arrangement was proposed—why English reserves were sent to the Mediterranean garrisons, while the German reserves were kept in this country—must be that the Government mistrusted those German troops, and would not venture to place them in a Mediterranean garrison. How, then, could they with any degree of security employ those troops in the Crimea against the enemy? Would there not be, he would not say the probability, but a risk, that, having been armed, disciplined, and clothed by this Government, they might transfer their services to the enemy whom they were paid to combat? The noble Duke had just observed that there was insufficient barrack accommodation in this country for the militia—and, if so, where were these German troops to be placed? Were they to be placed in the existing barracks, to the exclusion of the in militia, and thus defer the embodiment of the militia till the German troops were sent off to their regiments abroad? He also wished to draw their Lordships' attention to a point to which he had not previously adverted—the fifth clause. By that clause Her Majesty was empowered to make Supplemental Articles of War, varying from the Articles of War which were applicable to Her Majesty's native forces, and those varied Articles of War were to apply specially to the German or other foreign legion which might be engaged. By the Mutiny Act, the Articles of War were transmitted to the Judges of the superior courts, and they were bound to take judicial notice of them. The Judges would be thus compelled to take judicial notice of two different sets of Articles of War, applicable to two distinct bodies of men. But that inconvenience was nothing compared with that of having in the same army foreign and English troops subject to different Articles of War. The greatest inconvenience would arise in the administration of punishment for offences. The same offence, committed at the same time, by the same persons in company and conspiracy—by a foreigner and an Englishman—would, under different Articles of War, be punished in different modes. It was hardly necessary to say how prejudicially such a circumstance would operate on the troops. He saw the Commander in Chief (Viscount Hardinge) was present, and would like to ask that noble and gallant Lord whether this clause had been submitted to him before being laid before the House? He asked that question because he knew that his noble and gallant Friend, when in India, had perceived the strong inconvenience, if not danger, arising from having different Articles of War for the Native and British troops, and he altered the Articles of War relating to Natives so as to make them in conformity with the articles which governed the Queen's troops. It was true the practice of flogging, retained in our Army, though rarely employed, did not prevail in the German service, which had different punishments, such as the "stick;" but in this country no punishment could be inflicted except by the authority of law, and it was a serious matter if our Articles of War were to be altered, so as to be acceptable to these German troops, and to place them in a different position from Her Majesty's troops. Another question of great importance was, whence were these foreign troops to be obtained? He should rejoice if by any arrangement the King of Hanover might place at the disposal of Her Majesty—becoming a party to the war—those magnificent troops whose assistance in the Peninsular war was admitted by all to be of the greatest possible advantage to us But, though he entertained that opinion with regard to those troops, it was not the same with respect to some of the other German States. Unless he was mistaken, be believed it was the general opinion of officers who had served in the Peninsular war, and were acquainted with the relative qualities of foreign troops, that, however favourably they might regard the conduct of the German Legion composed of subjects of the Sovereign of this country, that favourable opinion by no means extended to the introduction into Her Majesty's service of German and other foreign troops, obtained anyhow, in any place, and from any country, over whom we should have no control beyond the authority exercised under the Articles of War. His opinion of the Bill remained unaltered by anything which he had heard in the course of the debate. He still adhered to the opinion that no troops in the world were equal to British troops. Whatever might be the merits of foreigners or Germans under ordinary circumstances, he did not believe that any German troops could equal British troops under circumstances like those which existed at Inkerman, and which might again exist in the prosecution of the war. A chain cable might be made partly of wrought iron and partly of cast iron, and when painted all its parts look equally well, and it might answer its purpose sufficiently under ordinary circumstances; but when the strain of the storm came, the cable would yield where the links were weakest, and the ship would be lost. So it would be with an unequal line of battle, when equal confidence could not be placed in all the regiments forming it. If one part of the line gave way the position would be endangered, and the greatest possible calamity might ensue. He wished to have the whole British Army formed of wrought iron, and that no part of it should be likely, under any circumstances, to prove weak or unsafe. Every man opposed to the enemy should be one in whom entire confidence could be placed. After all, the great difference which existed between the British and every foreign soldier was one which, he believed, he might allude to without exaggerating the advantages of our constitution—the sentiment of personal dignity which it imparted to every man, however lowly, and which was a sentiment not to be obtained under any other Government of Europe. The British soldier was proud to be an Englishman—he would consider any shrinking from his duty to be dishonour—he felt that he should be hooted by his fellow-townsmen—would be scorned by, the women. Those feelings it was which made them fight so well, and enabled them to beat their enemy. But how different would it be with the foreigners whom they might enlist. Whose opinions would they regard if they disgraced their service? We knew nothing of their history or their feelings. They might desert with impunity in the hour of danger, might disgrace the army to which they were attached, and, returning to their own country, be as much respected as they ever were on the banks of the Oder, the Weser, and the Danube. He had asked, the other night, whether there was an understanding with German Powers? He received no answer; but one ought to be given, and he wished to know the fact. There were but two classes of men from whom recruits could possibly be drawn—because they were to be all trained troops—those who had been discharged from the service and those who were in actual service. Those who had been discharged from the army were absorbed in agriculture and trade, and the chances of our success in recruiting among them were very uncertain. We did not know how we wore to appeal to those men. But it was different with the soldiers now serving, and he wished to know what consideration was to be given to German Princes for selling the services of their subjects? Could any one believe that little German Princes would put themselves to the inconvenience of allowing their subjects to leave their ranks and enlist in foreign armies in preference to their own without some consideration? There must he a "consideration;" and he wished to know what it was. He wished to know, in common sense and common truth, whether there was any difference in fact between the "consideration" we were to give to the little German Princes for selling to us the services of their subjects and the consideration which the buyer of slaves gave to the King of Dahomey for the bodies of his subjects? He did not see how, if they repudiated the detestable practice of slave dealing, the principle could be different on the banks of the Elbe from that which took place on the banks of the Congo. After having insisted upon the abolition of the "detestable traffic," as it had been called, conducted on the coast of Africa, was it to be endured that Parliament should be asked to assent to a Bill for establishing such a traffic in the interior of Germany? If the Princes of Germany joined our alliance, well and good; then we might fairly and honestly assist them with pecuniary aid in bringing their troops into action; but if, on the contrary, they sold the blood of their subjects for money, he saw no difference between them and the lowest and most debased princes on the African coast. He bad not devoted his attention to those studies which had distinguished Her Majesty's Ministers—studies solely devoted to the object of extending the wealth and industrial resources of the country. Admitting the value of those objects, and that it was most desirable, in time of peace, that a very large portion of the attention of Parliament should be bestowed upon them, he had given his attention to what appeared to him an object of greater importance—that of maintaining in security the country of which he was proud to be a citizen, of preserving its strength, and giving it that material security against foreign States which was essential to the conservation of its liberties. One of the wisest of mankind bad declared that one of the most material points in the greatness of a State was the maintenance in it of a body of military men. To the extent to which the present Bill went, it would impair the advantages which, in that respect, this country already possessed. To the extent, to which they paid and trained Germon soldiers instead of Englishmen, and formed them into regiments, they were depriving themselves of the incalculable advantage of having, when peace was coneluded—if that should ever be—in every village throughout the country men who had been trained to, and who had been engaged in war, and who, under the present regulations of the service, would be liable to be called out if the State required their aid. He was satisfied that Her Majesty's Ministers could not have adopted a more imprudent course than that of introducing the principle of employing foreign instead of British soldiers in the prosecution of the war. He said. "instead of British soldiers," because he felt perfectly satisfied that the more easily they obtained foreign recruits, the less trouble would they take to obtain English recruits. He wished to force Her Majesty's Government to place reliance upon the people of England, They had attempted to carry on a war without a reserve, and a campaign without animals, that is, without the means of moving the army—an attempt which necessarily doomed our troops to bloody and fruitless victories, and rendered the honourable and safe peace which had been talked of a thing almost impossible, because, if they continued to act upon these principles, it was contrary to all the theory of war, it was contrary to all the military experience of ages, it was contrary to common sense, to suppose that they would ever obtain that decisive success which could alone lead to a safe and honourable peace. It had been said, however, by a noble Lord (Viscount Palmer- ston) that their reserve was the people of England. He knew not what military knowledge that noble Lord might have acquired, although he was aware that some of the noble Lord's admirers had represented him as a person who was best fitted, by his antecedents and his previous long-acquired knowledge, to conduct the hostilities in which this country was engaged; but he (the Earl of Ellenborough) knew that a reserve in war meant a body of disciplined soldiers, ready at any time to give their assistance to the army in the field. To talk of a reserve existing "in the people of England" was really to treat with contempt the reasoning powers of that people. if that was, however, the feeling of the noble Lord, let him appeal to the people of England, and not to the people of Germany, Now was the time to make that appeal, when the country was represented to be in a condition of great difficulty, entirely owing to the laches of the Government, and to their having neglected the necessary precautions and preparations by which only success in war could be obtained. There was one point upon which he was most anxious to address some observations to their Lordships, and he should not discharge his duty unless he took the earliest convenient opportunity of doing so. He referred to the general conduct of the war. He considered that every military principle had been disregarded in the course of our operations, and that nothing which we had the means of doing had been done for the purpose of oppressing and coercing the enemy; but he did not think the present occasion was one when it would be convenient to enter upon such a discussion, but he would deem it his duty, at the earliest possible period, to state to their Lordships his sense of what had been done, his opinion as to what ought to be done, and his deep apprehension that, unless the war was conducted upon military principles, the failure would be most fatal, and the result would be, not only to disappoint the just expectations of the people, but to bring the greatest calamities upon the country.


said, that, having taken no part in the previous discussion upon this Bill, he might be allowed, now that it had reached almost its last stage in their Lordships' House, to state the grounds on which he would give it his support. He thought that, although the measure was undoubtedly of consider- able importance; very undue importance had, in one sense, been attached to it in consequence of the incredibly exaggerated apprehensions which had been expressed by some noble Lords as to its effect. The noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) had conjured up phantoms which disappeared before the light of investigation, and the more the grounds of those apprehensions which had been expressed were sifted and examined, the more unfounded and absurd would they be found; and when that phantom of fear which he had conjured up came to be analysed—when the light was held to that spectre which the imagination of the noble Earl had created—it would be found to vanish into the air, in the same way in which less accredited spectres usually disappeared. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) was anxious to express his opinions upon the measure with regard especially to those points which had elicited the criticism of the noble Earl. In the first speech made by the noble Earl in opposition to the Bill, he dwelt upon a point on which he had said little to-night—the constitutional objections to which the Bill was open. They had heard somewhat less from the noble Earl to-night as to the constitutional question than they had been accustomed to hear from him on previous occasions. The constitution, he thought, was a horse which the noble Earl found he could not ride, for it had fairly broken down with him. The Bill had unquestionably excited a good deal of apprehension out of doors, because the people did not know the precise nature of the measure, nor what its practical operation would be. But the opponents of the Bill in that House were not similarly ignorant of its real character. He honoured and respected the public out of doors for the jealousy of the measure which they had, not unnaturally, exhibited; but he could not say the same for noble Lords in the House, for they ought to know better. When the people out of doors were told that this was a Bill in the prosecution of the principles of which they would be called upon to part with that constitution for which they were fighting, and told so upon the authority of the noble Earl opposite, and that the duty of carrying out the plans of the Government was to be carried out by Germans engaged for that purpose, they naturally thought the Government were about to do something very dreadful. The noble Earl and the other opponents of the measure seemed, however, to forget that there had been scarcely any period in English history at which great efforts were made when the constitution bad not been violated in some manner or other, but violated with precautions which prevented any mischievous results; that there had been no period, from the wars of the Duke of Marlborough to those of the Duke of Wellington, at which they had not been indebted for their success in every brilliant action and in every successful campaign to the employment of the very means which the noble Earl now so strongly deprecated. Did the Duke of Wellington deprecate the employment of such means? Was he an authority on the subject? Did the Duke of Marlborough deprecate the employment of such means, and was he an authority? It stood to reason that when this country was compelled to take a more prominent part in a great military struggle than its own resources, in some respects, enabled it to support—for, thank God! this never had been a warlike country so far as the maintenance of a great standing army was concerned—the Government should have recourse to those means by which we could best match the power which our adversary could bring against us. He agreed with many of the opinions which had been expressed by the noble Earl on the subject of the war. The noble Earl had, upon various occasions during the last Session, expressed to the House with great eloquence the sense he entertained of the magnitude, the importance, the difficulties, and the possible duration of the war, and he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) had on one of such occasions taken the opportunity of stating that upon every one of those points he entirely concurred with the noble Earl. Whatever might have been the case some months ago, the whole world was now agreed, Parliament was agreed, the public was agreed as to the immense difficulties attending the war and the power of the enemy—too much overlooked at first—with whom this country was contending. They had to cope with an enemy determined in his objects, and having extensive resources at his disposal, and they had to consider how they could meet all the efforts of that enemy for the accomplishment of his ambitious projects. This country had the good fortune to possess a navy which was capable of engaging successfully in a contest with the fleets of its adversary, and by an admirable arrangement our naval forces bad, during the last year, been stationed both in the Baltic mid the Black Sea so as to command and en- tirely to defeat all the efforts of the enemy, compelling him to let his ships rot in port or to be himself the instrument of their destruction by sinking them in front of the forts erected to protect them. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) considered that these successes on the part of the navy were highly creditable to the Board of Admiralty. This country had the advantage of a public credit which enabled it to command to any extent "the sinews of war;" and, although the noble Earl had spoken of commercial pursuits with some contempt, he might remind the noble Earl that it was by the successful pursuit of commerce and a sound political economy that the country was enabled to provide the means for carrying on this great conflict for the maintenance of the national honour. In those respects which he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) had mentioned, this country was more than equal to Russia; but in one respect, as all the world knew, and as Russia herself knew, we were not on an equality with her. Russia possessed a population infinitely larger than that of this country, and she had therefore the means of raising numerous armies without difficulty. Was it not, then, the duty of the Government to direct their attention to this point, and to have recourse to every means by which they might be able to oppose Russia with numbers against numbers? If he were asked by what means they ought to oppose the great warlike Potentate with whom they were contending, he would reply, by all means and every means. They must oppose the enemy by their army, which had been justly described by the noble Earl as almost incomparable for gallantry; but did that army possess numbers equal to the conflict? Would the noble Earl affirm that it did, or did he think that we could at once in this country turn out a body of accomplished soldiers capable of meeting the whole power of Russia? This country had, in every war, shown that it could not pretend to send out an army equal to the armies of some foreign Powers, and it had sought to supply the deficiency in the number of its troops by the best auxiliaries that could be obtained. That course had been taken on former occasions, when the greatest success had attended the British arms, and when no inconvenience had been experienced. But they were now told that, although they thus had in their hands the means of supplying the deficiency which was admitted, it would, in the first place, be highly un- constitutional to avail themselves of such means, and secondly, that it was highly inexpedient to do so. Now, assuming for a moment that it was desirable that they should add to their disposable force some 10,000, or 20,000, or 30,000 efficiently trained troops, what was the objection by which they were to be deterred from availing themselves of such assistance? The objection, when it came to be sifted, had no reference to what these troops were to do abroad, but was founded on the apprehension that Her Majesty Queen Victoria, who was deeply interested in the success of the war against Russia, might, by the advice of Her Ministers, who were also deeply interested in the success of the war, divert those troops from the object for which they were raised, and, making use of certain depôts which in the machinery of the transaction it was necessary to have in different parts of England, might launch them against the population of England, establish some new form of arbitrary and unconstitutional government, and that neither the yeomanry force, nor the people of England, would be able to resist this mighty power, and the liberties of England would be for ever extinguished. This was the apprehension which had alarmed not only the noble Earl, but some others—the apprehension that these foreign troops might be employed to extinguish the liberties of the English people! Why, if such fears were expressed out of doors by any country barber or farmer, he would be laughed at for his apprehensions. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) would be sorry to see the principle of this Bill carried to the extent of employing foreign troops, not only in foreign wars, but also on service at home. There might have been periods of our history when it was necessary to do so; but in these days it would be not only unjustifiable, but outrageous. To show how little constitutional principle had to do with such employment of foreign troops, he might remind their Lordships that in the reign of William III., when no little jealousy of constitutional rights had been excited, the Dutch Guards were retained and paid in England in time of war without any objection. There was certainly jealousy of the employment of such troops during peace; but when they were required during the war the public were very glad to have their services, and no one proposed that they should be dismissed. Apprehension of the employment of foreign troops seemed to have first arisen, not unnaturally, soon after the suc- cession of the House of Hanover, from the suspicion that the German views and sympathies of the Sovereign might induce him to endeavour to enforce principles of government alien to the constitution of this country, and subsequently the employment of foreign troops was prohibited by Parliament. Very shortly afterwards, however, the country was involved in war, when it was engaged in contests which required great military efforts, the necessity of employing foreign troops was felt, the prohibitive enactments were relaxed, and Parliament hastened to sanction the enlistment of foreign auxiliaries. But who, he would ask, adopted the principle of the employment of foreign troops to a greater extent than any other statesman? It was Lord Chatham, the great war Minister; one of those giants—as the noble Earl had described him—who stepped in among a set of ordinary men, and assumed the direction and management of the war. He was aware that the noble Earl had intimated that Chatham had only acted in the matter under the guidance of the Duke of Newcastle of that day, or, at least, had merely adopted the plan in order to please him—it was the Duke of Newcastle who dragged in Lord Chatham, and not Lord Chatham who dragged in the Duke of Newcastle. But what was the result of employing those foreigners in those times? Why, in the brightest pages of the military history of England in the last century every success was obtained with the assistance of foreigners more or less in the pay of England. And what was the great boast of that Minister, Lord Chatham, who was so reverenced by the noble Earl? Why, that he had conquered America in Germany. And how? Why, by the very men whom the noble Earl would now push aside. If they were to adopt the principles now advocated by the noble Earl, and trust to themselves alone, they would expose the inferior force they now possessed to the most cruel, the most intolerable, and the most arduous conflict, and would endanger the character of the British troops by compelling an army not wanting in courage, valour, or discipline, to carry on a contest with an infinitely inferior numerical force. The noble Earl had used another argument which appeared to him (the Marquess of Lansdowne) to be equally fallacious. The Government were desirous of placing in the field, in addition to the army now engaged, a force which would render their troops more equal in point of number to those of the enemy; but the noble Earl stepped forward and said the employment of this additional force would only tend to degrade the British soldier. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) could not understand the meaning of that observation. He should object as strongly as the noble Earl to the permanent incorporation of these troops into the British army; but he could not see how it would be a degradation to the British army to have a well-trained and disciplined force, whether of Germans, Italians, Spanish, or Dutch, fighting gallantly by their side. At this very moment had they not the co-operation of the Turks? Perhaps the auxiliary force employed might be, as remarked by the noble Earl, somewhat inferior to the British troops; but there was no reason why the employment of a somewhat inferior force would be degrading to the British army. [The Earl of ELLENBOROUGH: I never said it would.] The remark had been made in the course of these debates, though perhaps he was in error in attributing it to the noble Earl. But could it be supposed that the employment of foreigners would prevent our soldiers from fighting with satisfaction and confidence in themselves? To go back to one of the most interesting scenes of British history—the battle of Minden, where the valour of our troops raised the British name to the very highest position—they would find that the actual English army engaged was extremely inferior in number to the "mercenaries" as they were now called, who fought side by side with them. But when at the battle of Minden the Enniskillens, the Blues, and the Scotch Greys, and other gallant regiments of cavalry, were permitted to advance—too late perhaps—but when they were permitted to advance at last, not under a pusillanimous but under a brave and talented leader, did they make their celebrated charge in that great conflict with less hope, with less confidence, and with less satisfaction, because they saw associated with them regiments of Germans, Hanoverians, of Hessians, and of other troops? Would the British soldier lose the prestige of his profession, because he saw engaged in the conflict men of other nations? He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) showed no such apprehensions. Her Majesty's Government were now called upon to act in every possible manner and in every possible shape. They felt the importance of bringing every well-trained Englishman into the field, and they also felt the expediency of annexing to our army and placing at the disposal of Her Majesty some of those regiments of other nations whose services might be procured, and who would not object individually or collectively to engage in the war. Was there any reason why such a force should not be engaged? The noble Lord opposite had asked if there was a manufacturer who would admit cast-iron into a work which required to be constructed of wrought iron. That would be perfectly well so long as they could get all they required of wrought iron; but what would be the ingenuity of the manufacturer who, having a vast national machine to bring into play, and to whom it was of the utmost importance to bring it into play at a given moment—what would be his ingenuity when, having first used all the wrought iron he could lay his hands upon, he should hesitate to avail himself of a somewhat inferior material? With respect to the alteration of the Articles of War, he should be glad for their Lordships to hear the opinion of some noble Lord who was more of a military authority than himself. He would, however, remind the noble Earl, that the Act of 1806 expressly enabled His Majesty to do that which Her Majesty would be enabled to do by this Act—namely, to shape the regulations of war in such a manner as to adapt them to the altered circumstances of the case. He trusted that he had now answered all the objections which had been raised to this Bill. Its object was merely to give to Her Majesty a small extension of the prerogative she now enjoyed; it would be of immediate benefit to the service of the country, and would enable the Government in a short time to bring into action against the Emperor of Russia a body of well-disciplined troops, who would, he had no doubt, fight for the cause of England as gallantly and as successfully as the warriors and victors of Alma and inkerman.


My Lords, but for the remarks which have fallen from the noble Marquess I should not have thought it necessary again to trouble your Lordships upon this matter. I must, however, be permitted to say that, notwithstanding the great respect I entertain for the noble Marquess, I cannot but think on the present occasion, in commenting upon the speeches which have been delivered now and upon former occasions by my noble Friend (the Earl of Ellenborough), the noble Marquess has somewhat departed from that courtesy which has generally characterised him. He talks of arguments used in this House by my noble Friend as being positively absurd:—he says my noble Friend has been raising up before the country an idle phantom, and he says that he should entertain respect for an opinion such as that advanced by my noble Friend, were it entertained out of doors; but he can entertain no respect whatever for the expression of such an opinion in this House. Now, my Lords, I must be permitted to say that the noble Marquess, in holding such language—in characterising as absurd the arguments of his opponents, and in declaring that he has no respect for their opinions, because the persons expressing them ought to know better—has somewhat departed from that position which the high character of the noble Marquess has always maintained with those who are Members of this House. Nor do I think the noble Marquess has been exceedingly happy in the ridicule he has sought to throw upon the "constitutional" argument of my noble Friend. He made it a sort of charge against my noble Friend, in the first instance, that upon this occasion we had heard little of the "constitutional" argument; and then he said, that such was the paucity of objections to this Bill, that my noble Friend was unable to make two speeches upon it without of necessity entering into the same arguments and objections. Having first complained that my noble Friend did not lay any stress upon the constitutional argument, he proceeded at once to cast the whole power of his ridicule upon a constitutional argument and a constitutional objection—but which was not in the least like that raised by my noble Friend. Now, with regard to the constitutional objection, my noble Friend did lay considerable stress upon it on former occasions, and, though not repeating them now, I apprehend he would be disposed to lay considerable stress again upon those constitutional grounds of objection—upon the employment of foreign troops in England, and in substitution for and to the exclusion of the troops of this country itself. It was to the employment of a foreign force in this country that the constitutional argument of my noble Friend was altogether addressed. It was not that he apprehended that 8,000 or 10,000 foreigners introduced into England could destroy the liberties of the people or make themselves masters of the country; but what he said was, that it was contrary to the principles upon which this country had proceeded to give to any Government the power of placing any portion of the guardianship of England in Germans, or in the hands of other foreign troops, in substitution or exclusion of the troops of the country itself. And, my Lords, if that be the constitutional doctrine characterised by the noble Marquess as based on absurdity, I humbly beg to take my full share of the absurdity cast upon my noble Friend. It cannot be forgotten—for it has been asserted over and over again—that you did not embody your militia because you had not sufficient barrack accommodation for them; and yet this Bill enacts that you arc to embody, and lodge in this country—I presume in barracks—a large body of foreign troops, for the purpose of drilling and training, and for the purpose also, this Bill now tells us, of forming a permanent depot of reserve:—in other words, you are to have permanently established in this country, or so long as the present war lasts, a considerable body of foreign troops, occupying those barracks which are not sufficiently extensive to enable you to accommodate your own troops, and which, it has been remarked, does away with the argument of embodying and raising troops of your own. My Lords, the constitutional argument of my noble Friend was against the establishment of these troops in the country in substitution for the troops of this country itself; but my noble Friend used another argument with regard to the inexpediency of the adoption or incorporation into the British Army of these foreigners at all. My noble Friend was first of all charged with having said that it was degrading to have these foreign troops serving by the side of British troops; but my noble Friend never made such a remark, nor did any other Member of your Lordships' House. What was said, was a statement made by a noble Friend of mine who is not now in the House, that it was a humiliating and degrading idea to the people of this country that the home forces, at the very outset of war, should be found insufficient to carry it on. And I think that it is a humiliation and degradation to this country to be placed in such a situation. Nobody ever said that it was degrading to the British troops to fight by the side of foreigners, but it is degrading to this country to be obliged to confess that it can only fight its battles with the assistance of foreigners. But, if it be necessary to have these foreign troops—if we are to endure that humiliation—there was no occasion for this Bill, for the purpose of raising these troops—not the least in the world. The necessity that arises for this Bill is that you must drill and train these troops in England; and the necessity of training and drilling them in England arises from the fact that you are now about to levy them, not, as in former times, by the consent and under the authority of their own Sovereigns and as regular forces, but that you are about to levy and bring up from all quarters of the world the refuse of other countries, whom you are to introduce into this country to train and drill by the side of your own army. The noble Marquess says, that in all our wars, from the time of Marlborough downwards, we have been indebted for our successes to the co-operation of the troops of foreign countries; but, I think, if the noble Marquess had followed up the investigation he commenced, he would have found that in almost every instance the troops which we had co-operating with and assisting us fought under the banners or with the sanction of their respective Sovereigns, or they were fighting in a national cause, or in a cause which was to them of national interest. At the battle of Minden, to which the noble Marquess referred, we might be considered not so much the principals as auxiliaries, and the battle of Minden was fought much more as a German than an English cause. We were there associated with German troops, acting under the authority of German Sovereigns or the representatives of German States; but that is not the case of a body of mercenaries collected from various quarters, acting neither with the authority nor under the control of their own Sovereigns, and fighting for a mere pecuniary reward, with no inducement of allegiance or patriotism. I agree with my noble Friend (the Earl of Ellenborough), that those are not the materials which I should like to see placed beside the British soldier, The noble Marquess says he has all along been impressed with the importance and magnitude of the war. I wish he could have impressed the same opinions upon his Colleagues, for then we should have had abundance of the "wrought-iron," without being obliged, at the last moment, to avail ourselves of the services of an inferior material. My noble Friend complains of your employing foreign troops as mere mercenaries in a cause in which they have no national interest. What has been the case in former instances? Take the wars of the Duke of Wellington. No doubt we employed the Spaniards in Spain, the Portuguese in Portugal, and the Germans and Hanoverians for the liberation of Germany; but can any man say that those troops were not acting under the sanction of their own Sovereigns and that they were not fighting for a national cause? In point of fact, with regard to Spain and Portugal, it was the Spanish and Portuguese armies in whose cause we were fighting; and strange, indeed, it would have been if the Duke of Wellington had refused to allow the natives of countries for whom we were fighting to fight upon our side in a cause in which they were most concerned. My Lords, there have been two objections raised to this Bill which I have not yet heard satisfactorily answered. The first is, that it is a non-constitutional principle to admit the drilling and training of foreign bodies in England with a view to their permanently remaining in the country; and the second is that, as a matter of expediency, it is unwise to introduce these foreign troops—first, because, from the manner in which you propose to raise them, the country can have no just confidence in them, because they might betray the trust reposed in them, or not answer your expectations; and next, because, for the paltry purpose of paying a body of some 10,000 or 20,000 Germans, you make a declaration in the face of Parliament and the country which cannot but give the greatest possible discouragement to those efforts which have been making upon the part of the country, which are being made now, and which will continue to be made without stint if you do not discourage them by your own conduct and your own powers. The noble Marquess has left all explanation as to the alteration of the regulations of the army to other and military authorities, and I should follow his example did I not think that a question of considerable importance has been raised by my noble Friend as to the difference in the Articles of War and in the regulations under which different portions of the same army are to be called upon to serve. We have not heard from my noble Friend the Commander in Chief in what respect he conceives it necessary to introduce a difference of practice here, which difference of practice his own experience) when in India, must tell him proved to be so detrimental to the character of the army as to render it necessary for him to take, with regard to the Indian troops, a course which was most unpopular, which went contrary to all their prejudices and feelings, but which course he found it necessary to take, notwithstanding that he ran counter to those feelings and preju- dices, rather than have a different treatment, more especially in the case of punishment, between the European and Native forces. By this Act the British army will still be subject to corporal punishment; but it is admitted that the German troops will not be subjected to corporal punishment, or, at any rate, not to the same corporal punishment as the British soldier. Now, my Lords, can there by possibility be a subject on which the feelings of the army, in England and out of England—and not only of the army but of the whole population—could be more strongly excited than that there should be such a distinction drawn between the troops? My Lords, I cannot conceive—I was going to say, anything more dangerous—but I cannot conceive anything more objectionable than that such a distinction should be drawn, and drawn, mind you, not by the authority of Parliament directly given, but by the authority of the military departments, acting under a general power given them by Parliament, to vary the Articles of War and the regulations of the Army. My Lords, there is another matter I wish to mention, which I do not ring forward as an objection to the Bill, but which is, I think, deserving of the very serious consideration of Her Majesty's Government. You are looking to every quarter from which you can draw troops for the service of the country. You do not want money—you have abundance of money—but you want men. You may have any amount of money provided you choose to avail yourselves of the means at your disposal without adhering to any preposterous principle in reference to obtaining it—but what you most want is men. And have you not a large Native force in India? I believe, as many persons believe, that in this war, especially in the case of irregular cavalry, the services of these troops would be exceedingly efficient, and that we might raise, at no distant period, an almost unlimited force of trained soldiers, who would at the present time be most serviceable. These troops have always fought gallantly, side by side with your own soldiers; and I think it a matter of great importance, and that it would be most valuable for you to obtain the means of introducing into the war a portion of these Indian troops, and of teaching them that the Russians, in the presence of British soldiers, are not to be feared; you will give them a feeling anything but friendly towards the Russians in India, and you will have a force, fight- ing with your own troops, which will be inspired with something akin to a consciousness of fighting for a national cause. I think from that quarter you might derive, and without much delay, very valuable military assistance. Leaving that subject, however, I now wish to ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the course of the war, we are to look for any assistance, any co-operation in men or money, from our great colonial possessions? I have lately read, with very great satisfaction, that the Legislature of Canada have spontaneously voted 20,000l., to be applied in mitigation of the hardships and privations sustained by the troops in the East. I look upon that as an indication of friendly feeling most valuable under present circumstances; but you will observe that it is only an indication of friendly feeling; it is only an indication of sympathy with the cause; it has nothing whatever to do with the feelings of loyalty, allegiance, or of obligation derived from affinity. That sum of 20,000l. (and I do not complain that it was so) was to be divided in equal proportions between ourselves and our allies. I repeat, that I do not at all complain of this;—all I say is, that it is a mere indication of sympathy with the cause, and not of allegiance to the Crown. Now, the North American colonies are at this moment, by the course recently pursued, by the course of legislation which has been adopted towards them in the Imperial Parliament—these provinces, I say, are to all intents and purposes just as independent of this country as Ireland was previous to the Union. They are under the same Sovereign, indeed, but their affairs are conducted by Ministers of their own; they have responsible Government; they are not liable to British debt; they are not liable to the overriding of British law; they are, in point of fact, left wholly and absolutely to administer their own affairs as a friendly country rather than as a colony—as united to this country by the ties of the Crown alone. The same may be said to have been the case with regard to Ireland before the Union, and yet was there ever a war in which England was engaged at that time to which Ireland was not ready to contribute her money and her men for the purpose of carrying on the war in conjunction with this country? I do not say that we can make any such claim upon the colonies of England; and, with regard to many of them, I am ready to admit that the character of the population, and the busy nature of their occupation, render it not very probable that they could render us any support in men. But I do not think that argument applies to the British possessions in North America. I believe that those colonies are enjoying a state of unparalleled prosperity and of great wealth, and that they contain a very considerable amount of, to a certain extent, unabsorbed population. I would, then, willingly entertain the belief that, towards carrying on this war, the North American colonies would gladly contribute in men from their own means and without payment; but if you have the money ready, I am convinced of this, that you would have no difficulty whatever in raising in the North American colonies—and the point, I think, is well worth the consideration of the Government—a certain amount of force to be incorporated in your army, to be commanded by officers now resident in Canada, to be joined to your army—though not as a local corps, for I deprecate the establishment and appointment of local corps as a very inefficient mode of giving reinforcements to your army. It is my firm belief that there is nothing which would gratify these provinces more than to be enabled, I do not say whether wholly at their own expense, or at the expense of this country, to raise some three or four regiments, or possibly more, to be incorporated with the British army, to share in all the services of the British army, and to be in every respect placed upon the footing of the British army. Such regiments, however, should, I think, be subject to this simple difference, which I would leave for the consideration of the Commander in Chief; that that period of service allotted generally to the British army, to be passed within this country, should, as a general course, be assigned to the North American contingent, to be passed by them within the North American provinces; so that, as our troops go to Canada and to New Brunswick, counting this as part of the five years out of fifteen (or whatever the proper term may be of foreign service) so the North American regiments should have their tour of service so arranged that their casual service in this country should reckon as foreign service, and that, keeping up their connection with Canada, they should be permitted to return to Canada for the usual period of home service; but, in all other respects, they should be part and parcel of the British army, united together in British feelings and sympathies, and yet kept closely in connection, not only with our army, but with their own population in the North American colonies. I throw this out for the consideration of the Government, not knowing whether they have taken any steps to act upon it, but deeming it very likely that if they did the result would be satisfactory. Looking to the position of the North American provinces, to their prosperity, to their practical independence, to their entire immunity from the debts and obligations of this country, I think it is not too much to expect that, advanced as they are to this practical independence, they should still be ready to testify their allegiance to the mother country by joining you in carrying on the war—remembering besides that one consequence of that, as of every war, may be that you may be called on to use a large numerical force in defence of your own possessions. I do not bring forward this as a claim upon our colonies; but, I believe, a principle which they will be glad to recognise is that they should be put upon such a footing of military equality with you as that their army should be incorporated with yours; and in that manner—possibly without expense to this country, but certainly if we supply the necessary funds—a valuable body of men may be raised, not only for this occasion but for future service; men who would not be foreigners, inasmuch as they are the subjects of the same Sovereign, and who would be happy to have the opportunity of manifesting their sympathy with this nation and their allegiance to their Sovereign. I have only thrown this subject out for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, for, of course, the passing of this Bill affords no opportunity of incorporating within it any provision of the kind. In regard to this Bill, I have only to say that, retaining all my objections to it—retaining them notwithstanding the speech of the noble Marquess opposite, and, indeed, feeling them confirmed by the line of argument he has taken, which affords, in my opinion, a wholly insufficient answer to the arguments of my noble Friend near me (the Earl of Ellenborough)—I shall content myself, when called upon to say "Aye" or "No" to the third reading of this Bill, with saying "No." Your Lordships have thought fit, though by a narrow majority, to affirm the principle of this Bill, and the Bill is almost wholly one of principle. As far as I am concerned, therefore, I will not give your Lordships the trouble of dividing against the third reading, although, if a division be taken, I must certainly, acting in conformity with my views upon the subject, again say "Not Content."


explained that he had not used the expression "absurd" with reference to any arguments that had fallen from any noble Lord in that House during the discussion of this Bill; and that all he meant to say was, that some of the objections taken to the measure out of doors, by persons not well informed of the reasons which had led the Government to propose it, and of the grounds on which it was proposed, appeared to him absurd.


said, the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) having appealed to him as to the effect of a difference of the regulations of war contemplated by this Bill with regard to the men who would be enlisted under it, he begged to say the cases which the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) had put were not quite parallel. The case to which his noble Friend had alluded, was to an alteration made in the mode by which discipline was maintained among the Sepoys, as compared with the Queen's army. Formerly both the armies had been on the same footing, corporal punishment being inflicted in both cases; but, at a time when it was found that inconvenience resulted from attempting to maintain discipline in the Indian army by corporal punishment, this mode of punishment was suspended by Lord William Bentinck, and offenders ordered to work in the chains on the high road. That was carried into effect for some years; but in time it was found to be so detrimental to the public service, the Sepoys losing caste by this mode of punishment, while corporal punishment entailed no loss of caste, that the Indian authorities were of opinion that the system required alteration. During his service in India the old system was reverted to, the two armies were again put upon the same footing, and the change was found to work advantageously for the whole force. With regard to the employment of a German or other foreign force with a British force, under different systems of punishment, he had to observe that Her Majesty had the power of making any Articles of War She might please without having recourse to Parliament, provided the rules so laid down did not exceed the punishments laid down by the Mutiny Act. Her Majesty could mitigate the severity of the Articles of War, but She could not, without legislative authority, add to their severity. In the Peninsular war, to which repeated reference had been made, the Portuguese troops were under our immediate control; they were subsidised by us, but they were placed under a distinct command and were subject to our Articles of War. The German Legion, on the contrary, formed a portion of our army, and in their case there had been a suspension, and not an abolition, of our system of corporal punishment. With respect to the alleged inconvenience of such an arrangement, he should confess that, in his opinion, that inconvenience might to some extent arise, but he did not anticipate that it could operate prejudicially. The German Legion during the last war was not subject to corporal punishment, and he did not think that punishment would be more required in the new force which might be constituted under this Bill. He confidently hoped that the Militia Bill introduced by his noble Friend opposite (the Earl of Derby) in 1852 would answer and would ultimately provide us with sufficient soldiers; but he believed that the present Bill would be found the readiest mode of attaining an object which they must all desire to secure. He trusted, therefore, that the House would offer no opposition to its immediate enactment.


said, that he did not think his noble and gallant Friend had answered his question. He wanted to know whether a system could be expected to work satisfactorily under which two regiments, the one composed of Englishmen and the other of Germans, but both serving under the same general, should be subject for the same offence to different punishments?


said, that there were instances in which a foreign force had served with our own, subject to a different system regarding punishments, and yet no practical inconvenience was found to result.


Serving under the same general? The German troops would not submit to the punishment inflicted upon English soldiers. They submitted to one which was very likely more severe, but still there was a difference.


said, that, when a very young man, he had the command of a Portuguese regiment, which was brigad- ed with British regiments. On that occasion the British officers punished their men according to the Mutiny Act, and he (Viscount Hardinge) punished the Portuguese under his command by blows with the stick or sword; and yet he had not found that that difference of punishment had been productive of any great inconvenience.


thought the case of the Portuguese soldiers was totally different. Those soldiers in the Peninsular war were in the service of the Portuguese Sovereign; but in the present instance we were to have men in the service of the Queen of England, receiving the Queen's pay, serving under the authority of the Mutiny Act (for they were expressly put under that authority), and yet for these men special Articles of War were to be provided under this clause. The difference was very great. The case was much more analogous to that of the Indian army; and inconvenience having resulted in India from a distinction in the system of punishments there, he thought we had every reason to anticipate a similar inconvenience in this ease. But was there any necessity for this clause? He inferred that the clause was introduced, merely copying the old Act of Parliament, and as a mere adherence to custom. Now, he need not inform their Lordships how entirely changed things were since those days; and he would ask, was it likely that any real inconvenience would arise from subjecting Germans, or Swiss, or any other foreign soldiers, to the same Articles of War, administered in the same spirit as those to which the British soldier was subject? Unless some inconvenience from such a course were pointed out, he thought it would be far wiser to omit this fifth clause; it should not be retained in the Bill for the sake of a mere adherence to bygone custom. He would now add a few words with reference to the Bill itself. On a former evening he had expressed his opinion that the Bill was one which was open to some objection, but, at the same time, he must say it appeared to him that those objections had been greatly exaggerated, and that a tone had been taken upon this subject which showed that noble Lords had allowed their own passions to be excited, and had thus used language tending to excite the passions of others; otherwise he thought that much which had fallen from noble Lords under the influence of excitement would not have been heard; for example, the noble Earl (the Earl of Ellenborough) had to-night declared that he saw no difference between the conduct of a German Prince who allowed his men to fight under foreign banners, and that of an African Prince who sold his subjects into slavery.


I beg pardon. I said those Princes who took money for the service—who received a consideration for it.


would suppose even that the German Princes received "a consideration." Would any man tell him that it was the same thing to take "a consideration" and give permission to your subjects voluntarily, from their own free will, to enlist in an army where they would be well treated—that this was for one moment to be compared with the conduct of an African Prince, who kidnapped his subjects, bound them in chains, and sold them to a foreign slaver with the perfect conviction that they would be carried across the sea and worked to death in four or five years far from their own homes? Could the noble Earl have wished any longer to address himself to the reason of their Lordships or of the country when he used arguments of that kind? He (Earl Grey), at all events, would leave it to their Lordships' reason to compare the two cases. Then, with regard to the constitutional argument, a great deal had been made of that; and, as the Bill was originally drawn, he was bound to admit there was some force in this objection. It was contrary to the spirit of the constitution, that foreign troops should be employed in this country for the sake of maintaining order, and for this obvious reason, that, should the Crown desire to exceed its reasonable powers and enforce its decrees by a military force, we all knew that the British army, formed of our own fellow subjects, would not support or enforce any such acts; whereas it was perfectly conceivable that a foreign force might do so. There was, therefore, originally an objection in principle to the Bill, though practically it was an objection of almost inconceivably small weight, because nobody could believe that the occasion was ever likely to arise. Now, however, that the clause had been so altered as that the keeping of foreign troops in this country was simply limited to the object of disciplining them and forming depôts for service abroad, when the Crown was entirely restricted from making any other use of these troops than that of engaging them in foreign service, this objection—small as it was in the first instance—was now gone altogether, and to speak of this Bill in its present form as unconstitutional, was merely a repetition of that sort of vague language which was so often heard in either House of Parliament, where, if there was a measure to which you wished to give a bad name, while you had no clear or tangible objection to it, you called it "unconstitutional." Then, again, he could not help thinking that the noble Earl opposite had been led away by his eagerness into another very untenable proposition. He had objected to the employment of cast iron in the middle of a chain, declaring that the strength of a chain was the strength of its weakest link; and, therefore, he seemed to deprecate the employment of foreign with British troops, because, he said, "I object to an unequal line of battle." An unequal line of battle! Why, he believed there never yet was any army employed upon any field of battle, on the face of the earth, with regard to which the general did not feel that some regiments were entitled to higher confidence than others. Even among the British forces, some regiments were to be trusted more than others. The Old Guard of Napoleon was only to be employed as a last resource, and that General considered one battalion of those troops equal to three battalions of any others. The noble Earl himself had not stated from his Indian experience that the Sepoys were equal to the British troops, and although, indeed, they were entitled to great credit, still every one was aware that they were far from being equal; but that was not found to be sufficient reason for not employing Native regiments. Again, did the Duke of Wellington exclude all but British troops from his army either in Spain or at Waterloo, lest he should have "an unequal line of battle?" That great man, in one of the last speeches he ever made in their Lordships' House, when he spoke on the Militia Bill, stated that in the Peninsular war he seldom had under his command an army more than one-third of which was composed of British troops upon whom he could firmly rely. It appeared to him, therefore, that the objections to this Bill had been much exaggerated. The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) said that he wished an earlier provision had been made of "wrought iron." He (Earl Grey) quite concurred in the opinion of the noble Earl that more effectual means ought to have been taken to increase the regular British army at an earlier period, and that if that had been done this measure would probably not have been necessary; and he should have been very glad that it should not have been necessary. But, granting that such was the case, were their Lordships, because a mistake might possibly have been made by Her Majesty's Government, to refuse to adopt any means which might be within their power for increasing the army? The noble Earl who began the debate (the Earl of Ellenborough) had dwelt a great deal upon the arduous character of the struggle in which we were engaged:—was not that a reason why we should avail ourselves of assistance from any quarter from which it might be obtainable? He thought that the Government would probably be able under the provisions of that Bill to obtain very useful troops; and he did say that, after such an application had been made to them by Her Majesty's Government, knowing of what character this struggle was likely to be, that that House or the other House would indeed be taking upon itself a most fearful responsibility if it were to refuse to the Government at such a moment, and in such a crisis of the national interests, those means which they conceived necessary to carry out this struggle to the safety and glory of the country. He therefore rejoiced to collect from what had fallen from the noble Earl opposite, that it was not intended again to divide the House upon this Bill, and he trusted it might successfully pass into law.


wished to say one word in reference to what had fallen from the noble Earl. The noble Earl had, in speaking of the troops employed in India, expressed his opinion generally that the Native regiments were inferior to the Queen's troops; but it was his (the Earl of Ellenborough's) opinion that if Native troops were brigaded with English regiments and engaged with them for any considerable period under fire, and officered by English officers in whom they had confidence, and who showed confidence in them, to the extent of their physical strength, the Native regiments would show themselves equal to the Queen's regiments. The 35th Native Regiment served with the 13th Queen's Regiment at Jellalabad, and proved themselves equal to that regiment in courage and devotion, and there were many other instances; and not only that, but in one case a Native regiment marched to an attack, in which it was true they failed, when the European troops had been repulsed.


said, that, as his Friend the noble Marquess near him (the Marquess of Lansdowne) had been charged by the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Derby) with discourtesy for having applied the epithet "absurd" to an argument against which he had been contending, he should like to know whether a similar charge might not be brought, with at least equal justice, against the noble Earl himself, who had characterised the opinion held by the Government upon a certain subject as "debasing" and "degrading." But he had risen principally for the purpose of adverting to another topic. The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Ellen-borough) had overpowered them all the other night by what he said would have been the opinion of the late Sir Robert Peel on this subject. Now, he (Earl Granville) could not help thinking that that was a somewhat strange statement from a noble Earl who had stated, in the course of his evidence before a Committee of that House, that he had made it a point never to consult Sir Robert Peel on any matter connected with the business of his department. It appeared to him (Earl Granville) injudicious in the noble Earl not to hear what his colleague and leader might have to say upon such subjects; but perhaps it was owing to the noble Earl's knowing by intuition what Sir Robert Peel would say that he spared him the trouble of personal communication. But the noble Earl had on the same occasion stated that on every important subject which came under his consideration he took care to consult the Duke of Wellington, and the noble Earl had expressed in eloquent and striking language his high opinion of the character and the intellect of that truly great man. He (Earl Granville) wished, therefore, to read a passage from the speech of the Duke of Wellington on the Militia Bill, in the month of June, 1852, which would, he believed, go far to show that the noble Duke would have given his support to such a measure as that then under their Lordships' consideration. That passage was as follows— Everything has its beginning, and this is a commencement of an organisation of a disciplined militia; in the same way as if you are to have a corps of reserve, you must have a commencement, involving some months for disciplining them before you could have your corps of reserve ready. You must make a beginning here, and see that it will take some months before you can form reserve regiments. The armies of England, who have served the country so well, are your Lordships so mistaken as to suppose that they were ever composed of more than one-third of real British subjects—of natives of this island? No such thing. Look to all your great services. Look at the East Indies. Not more than one-third of the soldiers there are such British soldiers. Look at the Peninsula; not one-third of the men employed there were ever British soldiers. Yet I beg your Lordships to observe what services those soldiers performed. They fought great battles against the finest troops in the world; they went prepared to face everything—aye, and to be successful against everything, or this country would not have borne with them. Not one-third of those armies were British troops, but they were brave troops, and not merely brave—for I believe every man is brave—but well organised troops. Take the battle of Waterloo; look at the number of British troops at that battle. I can tell your Lordships that in that battle there were sixteen battalions of Hanoverian militia, just formed, under the command of a nobleman, late the Hanoverian Ambassador here—Count Kielmansegge—who behaved most admirably; and there were many other foreign troops who nobly aided us in that battle, avowedly the battle of giants; whose operations helped to bring about the victory which was followed by the peace of Europe, that has now lasted for thirty-two or thirty-four years. I say, my Lords, that however much I admire highly-disciplined troops, and most especially British disciplined troops, I tell you you must not suppose that others cannot become so too."—{3 Hansard, cxxij. 730.] He hoped he was not presumptuous in thinking that that extract would afford a better means of judging what the Duke of Wellington would have thought of that Bill than any statement of the noble Earl would serve to show what would have been the opinion of Sir Robert Peel upon the same subject.


said, that there was no kind of analogy between the position of the force which was to be raised under that Bill and the position of the Hanoverian Legion which we had employed during the last war. The Hanoverian Legion was composed of subjects of the British Crown, and they fought in a national cause; and in the case of the Brunswickers and the Dutch troops they fought under the actual command of their own Sovereigns, who were in alliance with us. Again, there was no analogy between the proposed new force and the Portuguese or Spanish troops which had co-operated with our army in the Peninsula, while serving under their own Governments. The foreigners whom we might enlist under this Bill could only be regarded—he did not wish to use the word offensively—as mer- cenaries and as a sort of condottieri. The Members of that (the Opposition) side of the House had been charged with using exaggerated language in combatting the measure, and with spreading abroad exaggerated terrors as to its probable consequences. But if any such exaggeration had been indulged in, either in that House or out of it, the fault was solely attributable to the course which had been pursued by Her Majesty's Government. They had introduced the Bill suddenly, and without the slightest notice, and they wished to pass it through Parliament with a hurry which would leave no opportunity for its mature consideration. The manner in which the Bill had been brought before Parliament was therefore calculated to awaken that suspicion of foreigners which was so deeply seated in the English character, and which, even if it were a prejudice, was calculated, like other national prejudices, to ensure our national strength and promote our national safety. Unless the Government were so unacquainted with the feelings and prejudices of the people of England as to be unfit to govern, they must have known that such a measure as this would excite much opposition; and, surely, if the measure were one of such urgency as Her Majesty's Government believed it to be, they ought to have called Parliament together a month earlier to consider its provisions—for the same necessity which was supposed to exist at the present moment for its enactment must have equally existed a month ago. The Bill had been brought forward not only in a great hurry, but also with a good deal of mystery; and Her Majesty's Ministers had as yet given no reason why they had kept their intentions on the subject so complete a secret, and had not stated who were the soldiers whom they meant to employ under the powers with which they were to be vested. Unless the House of Commons were treated with much more candour, the fears to which reference had been made would be greatly increased. Before he concluded he wished to say a few words with respect to the articles of war. The noble and gallant Commander in Chief (Viscount Hardinge) had alluded to the case of other armies serving with our own, and subject to a wholly different discipline. But those other armies, such, for instance, as the French army in the Crimea, were the subjects of another Sovereign, and were placed under commanders of their own. It appeared to him that the passage from the speech of the Duke of Wellington, quoted by the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville), offered no argument in favour of that Bill, for that passage merely went to show the advantage of a militia force; and his (the Earl of Malmesbury's complaint against Her Majesty's Ministers was that they had not sufficiently relied on the enlargement of a national force of that character.


said, he thought that there was one serious consideration involved in that matter to which no reference had yet been made. It was a question of most serious importance how these troops were to be officered. In the main they must be officered by their own countrymen; and as it was not proposed to give them any half-pay after the conclusion of the war, he was afraid that the advantages offered would not induce any respectable officers to come and command these troops. In the cases of foreign troops employed by us on former occasions they had always been officered by the gentlemen of the countries from which they were drawn. Such would not, he was afraid, be the case in the present instance, and he thought there was danger that the inferiority of the character of the officers might render such a corps as it was proposed to raise rather unmanageable. He believed that they would act wisely if, instead of adopting the policy which it was the object of that measure to carry into effect, they were to follow the advice of the Duke of Wellington, and to strengthen our own militia force.


said, he wished to remind their Lordships that there would be no analogy between the position of the force which would be raised under that Bill and that of the foreigners who had served with the Duke of Wellington, because the latter were either men who continued under the command of their own Sovereigns, or were absolutely incorporated with the British Army. Some of these miscellaneous foreigners formed two battalions of the old 60th Regiment.

Resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read 3a accordingly.

On Question that this Bill do pass,


said, he had no objection to strike out, in accordance with the suggestion of noble Lords opposite, the 5th clause of the Bill. By doing so all question as to the Queen's prerogative in respect to foreign troops would be removed.

Clause struck out; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

House adjourned till To-morrow.