HL Deb 27 April 1882 vol 268 cc1555-6

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, its object was to enable those soldiers who had become liable to imprisonment, if asked to say that they would rather submit to being flogged, that they should have the option. It was known to their Lordships that at Petty Sesssions defendants had the choice of being tried summarily, or being sent to the Quarter Sessions for trial there. The convicted soldier would have an option, as was the case where a fine was imposed, with the alternative of imprisonment, notwithstanding the words'' other than flogging" in Clause 4 of the Army Act, 1881. The Bill would enable the administrators of the Act of 1882 to sentence any convicted soldier to a punishment according to rules made by the Secretary of State for War, coupled with the choice, instead of imprisonment or hard labour, of the punishment of more or fewer lashes, according to the gravity of his offence and the sentence passed upon him, such lashes, in every respect, to be in accordance with his act, and never exceeding 25 lashes. When he was at Eton he was promised £50 a-year from his father for every year in which he should escape flogging; but though he was seven years there, and during half of the last year, from being in the sixth form, no longer liable to be flogged, yet he never escaped corporal punishment for a whole year. He (Lord Denman) did not consider this punishment a disgrace to school boys; but he recollected, with disgust, seeing a soldier for theft receive 300 lashes in Windsor, in 1823, and afterwards saw the same man in the ranks of the Grenadier Guards, with his coat turned, as the completion of his sentence. For his own part, when he was a boy he would sooner have endured the pain of the extraction of a double tooth than the agony of a flogging. He believed the reduction of the amount of corporal punishment to be most salutary, and that if this Bill became law it would have a beneficial effect. He had received little encouragement; but if the Bill were read a second time he would appoint the Committee for Monday next.

Moved,"That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Denman


said, that, on the part of the Government, he could not assent to the second reading of the Bill. He would remind their Lordships that the question of the abolition of flogging in the Army was fully discussed recently, both in their Lordships' House and in "another place," and he could not consent to the re-opening of the controversy. If the Bill were passed, it would be attended with great inconvenience, and he hoped the House would not entertain the proposal of the noble Lord.

On question, resolved in the negative.

House adjourned at a quarter past Four o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter past Ten o'clock.