§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a." —(The Earl of Derby.)
§ VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH
pointed out that, under one of the provisions of the Bill, the sentences passed on soldiers and sailors by courts martial in the Colonies might be altered and reduced at the pleasure of the Secretary of State. He did not object to such a power being vested in the hands of the present Secretary of State for the Colonies; but persons might be appointed to the Office who entertained peculiar views concerning military and naval discipline, and he should object to their having power to interfere with the sentences of courts martial without first referring to the First Lord of the Admiralty or to the military authorities.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
said, he was glad that the Bill had been scrutinized by the noble Viscount with such minute care. He thought, however, that the danger apprehended by the noble Viscount was of an imaginary kind. No doubt, the Bill conferred upon the Secretary of State the power to alter and shorten sentences in the case of a prisoner being removed from one Colony to another; but the object was not to lessen the punishment, but to prevent its being aggravated in consequence of the prisoner's removal. In regard to the removal of naval or military prisoners, the Colonial Secretary would, doubtless, in all cases consult the naval or military authorities as a matter of course.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read 3a accordingly; Amendments made; Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.