THE EARL OF SANDWICH
asked the Under Secretary for War, When it was proposed to assemble the English Militia? This was usually done in the spring, and both the men and their employers were anxious to know what arrangement would be made? He had, however, heard a rumour that some of the regiments would be called out in September; this he hoped was incorrect, the harvest being the very worst time which could be selected, as farm labourers were then receiving double wages, and would incur a serious loss if then diverted from their usual vocations. He would also ask, with reference to the discussion on Tuesday night, whether it was true that the General in command of the district had ordered the assembling of the Cornish Militia regiment without reference to the Lord Lieutenant of the county? Now, though a Lord Lieutenant might be deprived of his functions by the Crown, he surely could not be superseded by a mere regulation of the War Office.
§ LORD NORTHBROOK
replied that he might rather address the Question to the noble Earl, for, with reference to the Hunts Militia, the War Office were waiting to hear from the General Officer of the district what date was proposed by the noble Earl himself. Probably through some accident the General Officer had not yet received any communication from the noble Earl, who was both Lord Lieutenant of the county and lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, on the subject. The rule of the War Office was that the General Officers should arrange with Lords Lieutenant the times and places advisable for the assembling of Militia regiments, and submit this to the Secretary of State. A Lord Lieutenant, therefore, could not be superseded in the matter, for his concurrence was necessary. There was no intention of compelling any regiment to assemble in 981 the autumn, instead of the spring; but, with a view to assembling a considerable force at Aldershot to practice manœuvres on a larger scale than usual, circulars had been addressed to a certain number of regiments, asking whether it would be convenient for them to assemble in the middle of September, after harvest. Some had replied in the affirmative. It rested with the commanding officers whether particular regiments could conveniently assemble in the autumn.
THE EARL OF SANDWICH
explained that he had received no communication from the War Office on the subject. He hoped the letter had not got into the pigeon-hole mentioned by a noble Earl (the Earl of Lauderdale) last night as the depository of an important report.