HL Deb 11 July 1867 vol 188 cc1385-8

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


, in moving the third reading of this Bill, said, that as the House had sanctioned it in all its former stages, he should not deem it necessary to depart from the silence he had scarcely broken on it, if it were not that a noble Duke upon the other side (the Duke of Buckingham) had declared himself as likely to oppose it. The opposition of the noble Duke, however, he had reason to suppose, was not the opposition of the Government. What doubts or difficulties had occurred to the noble Duke as to the Bill, he (Lord Campbell) felt unable to conjecture. It might, however, be imagined that it was not called for by existing inconveniences. He would, therefore, assure the House that existing inconveniences alone had induced him to bring it forward. In the 46th Middlesex, with which he was connected, for the last three years the Adjutant had been exposed to the necessity of serving upon juries. At one time the late Sir John Shelley, the commander of the corps, questioning the right of the authorities to summon him, ordered him not to attend at Westminster but to perform his regimental duties. By disobeying such an order he would have become liable to a court martial; and by fulfilling it he incurred the risk of a considerable fine. In the present year the Adjutant had been repeatedly compelled to go to Westminster and to remain there. A few weeks ago he was detained during the whole of the day, on which the regiment paraded in the evening, and was only enabled by a good deal of activity to reach his house and join the battalion in uniform. The same circumstances might arise in any corps of the metropolis or elsewhere if the Adjutant was an householder. The noble Duke might think perhaps that the law, as it stood, would guard against the evil. He (Lord Campbell) had received professional assistance on that question, and felt no doubt that in order to meet the case the law required to be amended. The magistrates in petty sessions had maintained the liability of Adjutants in Volunteer corps. The only exemption by which they could be sheltered was that of officers on full pay in the Royal army; they were on full pay, but they had left the Royal army, and it was clear, at least from the facts he had adduced, that the authorities of Middlesex were guided by that doctrine. As regards the policy of the exemption he proposed, it hardly stood in need of vindication. Adjutants in Volunteer corps received the pay of captains—a sum he believed of £300 a year. It was absurd to suppose that the public intended to defraud itself, and to grant a considerable salary with one hand, while it obstructed the performance of the duties for which that salary was given with the other. In the series of exemptions which existed and which were founded upon two Acts of Parliament, many would be found which the public had not by any means so clear an interest in granting. Exemptions were given to apothecaries, sergeants-at-law, and others whose occupation was indirectly useful to society, but who were not among the paid and thus acknowledged servants of the country. Even the exemption of regimental officers in the Royal army on full pay, which came nearest in its character to that which the Bill demanded, would hardly stand on a foundation of necessity so valid. If an Adjutant of Infantry in the Line or in the Guards was withdrawn from his duty that he might serve upon a jury several lieutenants would be qualified if not ambitious to replace him. In a Volunteer corps from its nature the remaining officers were all engaged in civil occupations, and if the Adjutant was forcibly withdrawn the loss was utterly irreparable; drill could not go on, and all the operations of the regiment were suspended. Nor would the evil be restricted to some fixed portion of the year as it would in the case of the militia or yeomanry. When the exemptions were created there was no such office in the country as that of Adjutants in Volunteer corps holding their commissions from the Crown, and receiving salaries in order that their whole time might be devoted to the regiment which they served in. The case was new and wanted legislation to provide for it. Their Lordships, he trusted therefore would see no reason to depart from that favourable judgment of the Bill, which, on all the previous stages, they had intimated.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a."—(The Lord Campbell.)


opposed the Bill, which had passed through its previous stages without discussion or explanation, because he thought it unwise to extend to Adjutants of Volunteers the exemption from serving on juries. Adjutants of yeomanry and militia regiments were liable to serve, although from being on active duty at the training, which occupied twenty or thirty days in the year, they would occasionally be exposed to far greater inconvenience than Adjutants of Volunteers. There was no analogy between the case of these Adjutants and officers on full pay in the army and navy, because the latter might at any moment be summoned to leave the country; while Adjutants of Volunteers were always resident in the town or county to which their corps belonged. He, therefore, moved that the Bill be read a third time that day three months.

Amendment moved to leave out ("now") and insert ("this Day Three Months.")—(The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos.)


said, that the reasons urged by the noble Duke were insufficient to warrant their Lordships in rejecting a Bill which would enable officers who were paid by the country to render more efficient service. Adjutants in the yeomanry and militia had no duties to perform in connection with their regiments except during the time of training, while with the Adjutants of Volunteers a constant attention was requisite.


supported the Bill.


said, it was evident the noble Duke had no objection to the Bill upon its merits, but only thought it a disparagement to the militia and the yeomanry that no exemption should be given to their Adjutants, if the exemption was created for Adjutants of Volunteer corps. As far as he (Lord Campbell) was concerned, he would not hesitate to say that clauses, to meet the wishes of the noble Duke, might be inserted in the other House of Parliament. As there was not a shadow of argument against the Bill, he hoped, that after this assurance, the noble Duke would not insist upon dividing.

On Question, That ("now") stand Part of the Motion? their Lordships divided:—Contents 6; Not-Contents 18: Majority 12.

Denbigh, E. [Teller.] Monson, L.
Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)
Sidmouth, V.
Stratheden, L. [Teller.]
Denman, L.
Chelmsford, L. (L. Chancellor.) Malmesbury, E.
Nelson, E.
Romney, E.
Beaufort, D.
Buckingham and Chandos, D. [Teller.] Bagot, L.
Colonsay, L.
Marlborough, D. Colville of Culross, L.
Cranworth, L.
Exeter, M. Redesdale, L.
Silchester, L. (E. Longford.)
Belmore, E.
Derby, E. Southampton, L. [Teller.]
Devon, E.

Resolved in the Negative; and Bill to be read 3a on this Day Three Months.