HL Deb 29 April 1869 vol 195 cc1846-7

(The Lord Northbrook.)

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


said, he understood one of the objects of this Bill was to give greater scope to the arrangements with respect to the Militia which had acted so beneficially—namely, placing them in the camp under general officers. He hoped that would be extended wherever practicable, for he was convinced of the necessity of doing everything possible to render the Militia more effective. As to the next point, that relating to officers of the Line and the Militia, he quite approved the provisions of the Bill; but he hoped the measure would be temporary, because he thought the deficiency of officers in Militia regiments was becoming very serious. The Government had done quite right in giving inducements to gentlemen to join the Militia, by the allowance of 4s. a day and honorary rank after a certain number of years' service; but he feared that eventually something further might be necessary to secure that object in the way of giving commissions in the Line, as was done during the Crimean War. Retirement upon half - pay he looked upon as an undoubted been and privilege, and he never had been able to understand why some quid pro quo should not be given, by officers placed upon half-pay in the shape of service with the Reserve Forces. If an additional number of men were to be raised he considered that the Militia regiments ought to be recruited up to their full quota; mere economy upon this point could hardly be regarded as productive of efficiency.


said, that the system of raising men known as General Peel's was not as destructive of the efficient organization of Militia regiments as the plan of volunteering into the Line adopted during the war. He was quite aware of the difficulty of obtaining efficient officers for the Militia. He regarded the proposal to do away with the property qualification of Militia officers as unwise, and injurious in its probable effect; and should be glad if that clause were erased from the Bill. The retiring pension of Militia adjutants, only 6s. a day, after, perhaps, forty years' service in the Line and the Militia, was too small; and an increase in the amount would not only, he suggested, be an act of justice to meritorious officers, but one which, by promoting retirements, would tend to increase the efficiency of the service.


thought that care would have to be taken lest by mixing up two distinct classes of officers some confusion should arise. As regarded the appointment of subalterns, it was quite necessary that something should be done; but it must be borne in mind that slowness of promotion in a local service was a standing difficulty in the way of obtaining the class of officers they desired.

House in Committee.


said, that the necessity for the 1st clause, giving power to place the Militia under the command of general officers of the Army, was generally admitted. The 2nd clause was intended to allow of the employment of officers of the Line in training the Militia, but he thought it would practically be found inexpedient to employ any officer for that purpose higher in rank than lieutenant. The 3rd clause abolished the property qualification for Militia officers, which, he thought, might safely be got rid of. The position of adjutants was under consideration. He believed that, in spite of express regulations to the contrary, adjutants frequently paid money for their appointments, but the Secretary for War had it under his consideration how best to put an end to that practice.

Amendments made: The Report thereof to be received on Monday next; and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 83.)