HL Deb 20 July 1863 vol 172 cc1032-3

said, that in the absence of the noble Duke the Secretary for the Colonies, he would ask his noble Friend the President of the Council the Question of which he had given notice, relative to the formation of a Militia in Canada. He would remind the House that last year the Canadian Legislature rejected the Militia Bill proposed by the Colonial Ministry. After the prorogation of Parliament last year the noble Duke the Secretary for the Colonies wrote an excellent despatch to Lord Monck, the Governor General, stating that it would be useless for England to attempt to defend Canada in the event of attack, unless the Canadians were prepared to defend themselves. Lord Monck replied in a despatch equally satisfactory, but enclosing a report from his new Ministry, in which they spoke of their political liberties being infringed by the formation of a three years' militia, but saying nothing about what they were prepared to do themselves. Lord Monck at the same time forwarded a proposal of his own for raising 50,000 militia at a small expense. He (Lord Lyveden) was satisfied that the people of Canada were thoroughly loyal, but at the same time it was their duty to make provision for their own defence, and not rely upon the mother country in case of war for protection. The noble Lord concluded by asking the Lord President of the Council, Whether any and what steps have been taken to raise a Militia in Canada since the date of the last Despatch of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to Viscount Monck, dated the 30th of December 1862?


said, it was perfectly impossible for the mother country to give any real assistance in the way of colonial defence, unless she was cordially supported by the colonists themselves. He was sorry that he could not give a satisfactory answer to the Question of his noble Friend. The Bill in reference to the militia, which passed the Canadian Parliament in the last Session, was entirely unsatisfactory; but the feeling of the colonists was happily very much in advance of that of the Government of Canada. This was shown by the fact, that whereas the Bill only authorized the raising of 10,000 militia, 25,000 volunteers offered themselves and were accepted, and were now in a state of great efficiency. Indeed, 25,000 more volunteers tendered their services; but their offers were declined by the Colonial Government from what he considered was a false economy. The Colonial Ministry was recently in course of re-organization, and the Parliament would meet in about three weeks. It remained to be seen what measures the Government would propose, and the Parliament would adopt, in reference to this subject.