HL Deb 20 February 1900 vol 79 cc504-51

My Lords, before I venture to adduce arguments in favour of the motion standing in my name on the Paper—namely, "To move to resolve that this House, having heard the proposals of the Government for the strengthening of our military forces and armaments, is of opinion that, inasmuch as our military system rests on the Militia ballot, it is essential, looking to military efficiency and the permanent safety of our country, that the ancient constitutional law of compulsory military service for home defence, and for home defence only, be put in force in such modified form as will effect its purpose without weighing unduly upon the people," I wish to explain to your Lordships that a change has been made in the wording of it. It is a slight change, and the motion as amended will read as follows:— To move to resolve that this House having heard the proposals of the Government for the strengthening of our military forces and armaments, is of opinion that, inasmuch as our military system rests on the Militia ballot, it is essential, looking to the military efficiency and the permanent safety of our country, that the ancient constitutional law of compulsory Military service for homo defence, and for home defence only, be at once so amended that it may be available to be put in force in such modified form as will effect its purpose without weighing unduly upon the people. I have made this alteration on the suggestion of my noble friend Lord North-brook, and I think it will render the resolution more palatable to your Lordships than it might otherwise have been. Having prefaced this much, I would ask your indulgence whilst I advance such reasons as I hope will induce your Lordships to support the motion. I will say a word with reference to the war, and the lessons that we have learnt from it, and endeavour to show how far the Government have profited by those lessons in the proposals they have laid before Parliament. As regards the war, I have very little to say. I have no doubt that before our territory was invaded there may have been doubts in the minds of some people with reference to the manner in which the negotiations were carried on, but the country are united, I am sure, in feeling; that this war, no matter how begun, must be carried to the bitter end, and must be successful. My noble friend near me, Lord Rosebery, struck a fine, noble key note the other night when he said that this war must be carried to a successful issue, for our Imperial character and our Imperial position depended upon it. And when it has been carried to a successful issue hope and trust—and I believe that most of the people of this country hope and trust—that the view taken by the Premier of Canada will be adopted in this country, and that the British flag will float over the whole of South Africa. There is every evidence that this is the view of the people of this country. You see it in divisions in the House of Commons, you see it in elections, you see it in the press, you see it everywhere; and, therefore, one can only hope that the good news which is coming now may be daily repeated, and that the terrible war may soon be brought to a successful termination. Let me now say a word with reference to the lessons that I think the war has taught us. It has taught us the necessity of having mobile troops in the field, the necessity of having a large amount of artillery and mobile big guns of position, and, above all, the necessity of having such a state of things in this country as will give us a reliable reserve of men on whom to trust. It would be foolish for me to enter into the question of the tactics of our officers in South Africa, but I think that any man who reads the papers, any man of sense, must feel that our tactics and training will require to a certain extent to be changed. There are many of your Lordships who, like myself, many years ago took to soldiering, and what was it that we were taught? we were taught that the great thing was to stand elbow to elbow and keep your little finger on the seams of your trousers, and to march past the inspecting officer like a stone wall, and wheel like a five-barred gate. I do not think the Boers were taught much in that direction, and I think it ought to be brought home to all responsible for the training of our soldiers that a soldier is nothing but a man-stalker, and ought to be, like a stalker, trained to take advantage of every bit of ground, to shoot well, and, above all, to spy well. I venture to think that if there had been proper scouting, proper spying of the ground before advances had been made, there would have been less blind blundering than there has been in some directions, and you would not have had your soldiers trapped by the Boers in the manner they have been, and brought up to be slaughtered in shambles formations. These are the things which the war has taught us. It has also taught us that we must have mounted infantry to a larger extent. All eavalry as such should be trained to act, if need be, dismounted, and they would be much more efficient if they carried the long rifle of the infantry of the present day instead of the carbine, which now ranks in efficiency with the cross-bows of Agincourt and Cressy. These are the things which strike a Civilian like myself who is a Volunteer and does in that respect a little soldiering. This war has shown us further our deficiencies in artillery, and, above all, our deficiencies in big guns of position. I do not wish to throw stones, or to say anything disagreeable, but I cannot help saying that, when the Boers are so armed and we find that we are not so armed, there must have been some blind blundering in Pall Mall as well as bad scouting in Natal. The worst of it is that forty years ago we had these big guns of position. I have seen the 40-ponnder Armstrong guns at the reviews we used to have at Brighton. I have seen them drawn by agricultural horses and travel thirty odd miles in the course of the day, plus taking up every position they were ordered to, up hill and down hill, on Brighton downs. How is it we have not got that equipment now? That gun became obsolete. Why? Because of the improvement in the ordinary field artillery. But anyone who looked beyond his nose would have seen that if this gun was of any value we ought certainly to have endeavoured to have had an improved big gun of position to take the place of the 40-pounder of forty years ago. The Boers have done that, but we have not. Therefore I hold—I do not know who it is, whether a civilian or a soldier—that somebody requires to be hanged. I pass to the question of men. What we want is a good reserve of soldiers to stand by us in case of need. Here come in the proposals of the Government. I am glad to see that we are likely to have big guns and artillery, because my noble friend the Secretary of State for War said the other day that it had "struck" the War Office that we were deficient in matériel. I suppose it was Long Tom that struck them. At any rate, they are struck by our want of matériel, and they are going to spend money in additional artillery for the Volunteers. I have no doubt they will apply to Mr. Armstrong, whose managing man, Captain Lloyd, informed me some years ago, in reply to a communication, that there would not be the slightest difficulty in constructing a mobile big gun of position, the equivalent of the 40-pounder Armstrong gun of forty years ago. Indeed, this war has answered that question. So far, good, as regards matériel. But as regards the men, I am bound to say that, with the exception of the proposal of the Government to bribe men who have left the service to come back, there is very little in their proposals which one can view with satisfaction. I think their proposal to buy these men back is a very wise one, and I think they ought to get, if they pay enough, a very reliable body of excellent trained men. The only question will be whether they will get them for the sum they propose. If they do not, it is easy to add to the bribes they hold out. With the exception of their proposal with regard to the guns and taking back old soldiers, I venture to think that the proposals of the Government are wholly unsatisfactory. They are imaginative, they are tentative, and they are conjectural. They are built upon no foundation, they are castles in the air, they are an invitation to certain persons militarily inclined to do much more than they are doing for the public good; and really they constitute an R. S. V. P. invitation to which the Government expect they will have a favourable response. I cannot speak for the Militia, but I can speak for the Volunteers, and I have endeavoured to find out the opinion of Volunteers with regard to the proposal of the Government that Volunteer artillerymen should go into camp for three months in the year, and that the ordinary Volunteer should go into camp for one month. The proposal has been described by Volunteer officers, and by the Volunteer press, as utterly foolish, and the opinion has been expressed that the plan will fail and that the War Office will have to alter it. What I feel so strongly is this, that they are building castles in the air that rest upon no foundation. Is there no foundation on which they could build? Assuredly there is but instead of building on that foundation, what do Governments after Governments do? Why, they annually dig it up by bringing in their Bill which suspends the ballot for the Militia. There can. be no better system for England, I hold, than our military system. Some people seem to doubt this. Your Lordships will recollect that at the time of the seige of Paris General Trochu always said he had a plan; but, good gracious, how many Trochus have you now among you, and every one has a different plan to save conscription and to save the nation! But they will not look at what lies before them, which is the existing military system. What is our present military system? An army raised by voluntary enlistment liable to serve anywhere in or out of the kingdom, and a Militia force for Home Defence raised by compulsion, it being a right in the Crown to call upon every free-born Englishman to stand forth in defence of his fatherland and home. That is the law at the present time; but, as I have said, the law is never enforced. I am convinced of this, my Lords, that if you had this law in force you would have your Army full, no doubt by enlistments at the inducements you offer, and you would have your Militia full, instead of being, as it is, a delusion and a farce. Its normal establishment is 220,000, but it is never within 20,000 or 30,000 of that number. Then you have an Army Militia Reserve, which are taken from these numbers. You have to deduct boys under nineteen—there are many such in the Militia—and I am afraid you have to deduct men who serve in several regiments and go from one to the other. If you deduct also 5 or 6 per cent. for casualties, your Militia—your Army for homedefence—is reduced to something like 50,000 men. Besides this, the 30,000 men who are called the Army Militia Reserve have to be deducted from the Militia, for whenever they are wanted for the Army they are taken from the Militia. When the Army Militia Reserve was originated, I believe the opinion of General Peel was that every man who so enlisted would be a supernumerary and another man might be enlisted in his place. This would prevent the withdrawal from your calcu- lation of this number of men. At present you have your Militia, as I have explained, not what it professes to be. If you had ballot for the Militia you would have your Militia always full, and you could put it at any figure you liked. You could also raise the Militia Reserve of 60,000 men, which by law you are entitled to do, but of which you have never raised a single man; and you would have the further advantage of being able to bring the Volunteers up to a much higher standard of efficiency by making exemptions from the ballot of men serving in some other form, either in the Yeomanry or Volunteers, or, perhaps, voluntarily in the Militia. These are the advantages which would arise from the operation of the ballot. The question is, how could the ballot be used in such a modified form as not to weigh heavily on the people? My belief is that all that would be required would be that once in a man's life, in ordinary times, when he attains the age of 20, the foreign age of service, if he cannot show that he is serving as a Yeoman or as a Volunteer he should be liable to ballot for the Militia. Every man to escape that liability should be bound to serve for three years in the Volunteers or in the Yeomanry, and then for five or seven years in a Volunteer or Yeomanry Reserve. Can anything be lighter than that? I am the chairman of a. local school board, and we have had for many years drill sergeants who teach the boys drill. My noble friend Lord Balfour has issued a most interesting circular in which he expresses a desire that this should he carried further, and that the whole nation should be drilled, not only for their own physical exercise, but for the general good of the nation. What is my suggestion but the climax of this system of training? It is simply that you should force men to go a little further and serve in the Yeomanry or Volunteers, or take their chance once in their life of ballot for the Militia. I have limited the age to one year in a man's life—20; but emergencies may arise when it might be necessary for Her Majesty in Council to extend the power of the Crown to call upon its subjects for service, and increase the age of liability to compulsory service for home defence. At present I think the Militia age is much too extensive, and ought to be limited in the way I have suggested. As to the great difficulty of getting officers, I think that if a man was liable at the age of twenty to serve in one of these three ways, the golden youth of the country would certainly prefer taking a commission in the Yeomanry, the Militia, or the Volunteers, to running their chance of being balloted for the Militia at the age of twenty, and having to serve as privates in that force. That appears to me a simple and powerful argument in favour of the proposal I am about to submit to the House. Consciously or unconsciously, ignorantly or intentionally, there is the greatest possible unfairness in the criticism with regard to the Militia ballot. What I am arguing is that we should put in force the existing law as to home service Eloquent speeches are made against conscription, as if it were the conscription of foreign countries that is proposed. The ballot for the Militia is a totally different thing to conscription—it is the alleviation of conscription. The chance is given to one in ten or one in twenty, as the case may be; nineteen would escape, but the twentieth would be strick It is not proposed that everyone should go through the mill of military service for a certain number of years, and therefore let us hear no more of this word conscription in connection with the ballot for the Militia. It is a fraud on the public—and many of those who thus talk know it to be so—and an endeavour to set the public against what I believe to be absolutely necessary for the strength and safety of the country. There is no greater enemy to conscription as such than the humble individual who is now venturing to address you. I will not ask your Lordships to take my word only in favour of the Militia ballot. I will read the opinions expressed by men who, as Ministers, have been responsible for the safety of their country, to show the value they attach to the Militia ballot. My extracts extend over the whole century. The first I have to quote is Lord Sidmouth, who said in 1807, "Auxiliary means must be resorted to." And he went on to speak of the right of the State to demand the military service of "all or any member of the community for the purpose of domestic defence." In 1860 a Committee was appointed, over which Sir James Graham presided, and Sir James Graham said— The force of the Militia at this moment is 70,000 men, their quota being 120,000, and the ballot has fallen into desuetude. In the event of war, the Queen's Army, the Marines, and Militia must be largely and suddenly augmented. It is a grave question whether reliance can be safely placed in such an emergency, however large may be the bounty, on voluntary enlistment only. If volunteering failed, the danger to the State would be imminent. The Recruiting Commission of 1867 said that— By departing from the compulsory system for the Militia, the recruiting for the Army has been interfered with. Lord Dalhousie pointed to the same thing in 1867. and said— Their Lordships should remember that service in the Militia was compulsory. The power of compelling was not dead, but only dormant; and he was inclined to the opinion that it should no longer remain dormant. He was certain that any Government bold enough to put the compulsory system into operation in place of the voluntary system would find itself supported by the voice of the country and the press. Sir James Scarlett, who commanded the Volunteers at Brighton, said in 1870— I am glad my report [on the Easter Monday Brighton field-day] is favourably received by the Volunteers. I intended to do justice, and no more. I consider the force of the utmost consequence, but it must be backed by the ballot for the Militia to render it really efficient. Now, Members of Parliament think that their constituencies would rise up in judgment against them and turn them out if they were to advocate the ballot. Colonel Anson, V. C., then Member for the Radical constituency of Stafford, said in 1870— The only force we could fallback upon was that old constitutional force, the Militia, and the only means of making it of sufficient strength was the ballot. He advocated, not the Prussian system, but the Prussian principle, which was that the State bad a right to call upon every man to defend the country… He believed that the State had a right to the services of its people, and that it had no right more sacred than that of calling upon the people at large to defend their country. Sir William Mansfield, then commanding in Ireland, was sent for in 1891, and consulted upon this very question of the ballot, and here is what he wrote in a letter to myself— In reply to the inquiry made by you in your note of yesterday—viz., as to whether I think it desirable that the ballot should be applied to the raising of the Militia for the home defence—I beg to intimate a very strong-opinion that some measure, resting on a prin- ciple of national obligation as distinguished from individual option, is demanded to put our forces generally on a sound and secure footing. It is necessary that the Militia and the Line should not compete in the market for the same men, which is now the case under the rule of voluntary enlistment prevailing for the Militia. I have one other quotation which I should like to read. I have to thank my noble friend, Lord Stanmore, for sending me a paper, which I believe has not been published, drawn up by Mr. Sydney Herbert, I suppose, when he was Minister for War. In this paper he speaks very strongly of the ballot, and I find this passage— I have slowly and most unwillingly arrived at the conclusion that our true policy is to return to the old traditional system, and to the practical execution of the law as it now exists. With our jealousy of a standing Army we have never permitted a. conscription he draws a distinction which so many do not now— for the Queen's forces. But time out of mind, we have ruled that all males capable of bearing arms are liable to be called upon for the defence of the country. The ballot is now the law of the land. By merely abstaining from an exceptional proceeding with a view to its suspension the ballot comes into operation. I have no more quotations with regard to what has been said on this point. It may be remarked that these are abstract opinions, that there is nothing concrete about them, that the law has never been. put in force, and so forth. What happened in 1871, when we had Mr. Cardwell as Minister for War? His great Army organisation scheme consisted of three parts—the abolition of purchase, the Army Reserve—which I am happy to say has risen to 80,000 men, all honour to Mr. Cardwell—and, lastly, ballot for the Militia. Mr. Cardwell found that he had so much to do in passing the abolition of purchase and the Army Reserve that he dropped the third part, and we did not hear anything more of it for a great many years. But there you have the principle of the ballot in the most concrete form. It was brought in by the Minister for War in 1871. You may say, "Yes, that is thirty years ago. Nothing has been done since then. Nobody thinks of it now." Don't they? There is a Bill lying on your Lordships' table now, in a comatose state, which was brought in last year by my noble friend, the present Secretary of State for War. The noble Marquess told us that the ballot was a power with which he would not readily part, that it was i necessary for an emergency, that it was out of date and ought to he brought up-to-date, and after a good deal of poking at him we got him to bring in a Bill and lay it upon your Lordships' table. I want him to resuscitate and galvanize that Bill. We tried to induce my noble friend to define "an emergency" for us, but we failed. We looked up Johnson and other dictionaries, and quoted the definition there given of an emergency, but we could not get any definition from my noble friend. I do not know whether my noble friend considers this an emergency, but I read in the newspaper to-day that the word emergency is used in the notice he has issued with a view to the buying of men who have served in the Army and are now in civil life. If he does not think the present state of affairs constitutes an emergency I would invite him to consult my noble friend, Lord Rosebery, on that question. It is because I believe the present is an emergency, because I believe that this emergency can only be met by building on sure and sound foundations, that I venture to urge upon your Lordships the adoption of my resolution. What is to be said against it? We heard the other night from my noble friend the Prime Minister why we are not to have this. I was sitting, as I am very deaf, under him, and in denouncing conscription and all that sort of thing he said: "It is the people's will that you should not have it." I simply put in this little question to my noble friend, "When did you ever consult the people?" How do you know their will? You have never consulted them. From experience I have had at various meetings in London and the provinces, where I have spoken on this question and advocated the Militia ballot for home defence, and home defence only, I declare that the allegation that the British people will not submit to the Militia ballot is a libel on the British nation. What had my noble friend to console us with? British disasters, the Cintra Convention, Walcheren, the muddles at Sevastopol, and, as we had muddled through those, he encouraged us to hope that we should again muddle through our present difficulties. I think that was very cold comfort. We want something more than that to give us confidence and security. we are told that confidence and security can come to us through the Navy. We know that in the world and in all trades there is nothing like leather, and naval men write and speak as if the Navy alone was sufficient to protect the country from all possible invasion or dangers. But, my Lords, that is not the use which I hold the Navy should be put to. I ventured to write a, letter to the papers in which I pointed out how necessary it was that we should make ourselves so strong at home that no foreign nation would any more dream of coming to our shores than a sane man would of putting his head into a seven times heated fiery furnace. Lor writing this I was denounced in the columns of The Times as an "idiot" by a "nothing-like-leather" man, by an anonymous correspondent, "Navalis." He may be the First Lord of the Admiralty, for all I know; or he may be the editor of The Times himself. But whoever the correspondent is, I declined to enter into correspondence with an anonymous person who was so free with his language as to call a well-intentioned man like myself an idiot for proposing, not that which would injure the Navy, but that which would make the Navy ten times more powerful than it would be if a large portion of it was anchored to our shores in order to prevent invasion. You destroy probably a third of the Navy's power by so limiting its operations. The idea that the Navy should thus be in a great measure deprived of its power of offence throughout the world is one of the most absurd ideas that ever entered into man's head. We want to make the Navy far more powerful and far more useful, but that cannot be done by tying it to our shores. There is no man in this country who hates war more than I do, and it is with no wish to extend. Imperialism or to extend our Empire that I have spoken as I have to-night. On the contrary, it is with the view of preserving peace that I advocate the scheme I propose to your Lordships. No maxim is more true than that of Si vis pacem, para bellum, and it is in that sense only that I have spoken. War has great evils, none greater. It brings sorrow and misfortune to many homes, as I fear it has done very largely in the course of this war. But, my Lords, this war has. also its advantages. It has shown how extremely deep in the hearts and souls of the people lies love of country. What can be more patriotic than the way in which Members of your Lordships' House, as well, I believe, as Members of the other House, have gone forth willingly to fight for their country in South Africa? It has also shown us that our soldiers and officers are as daring, as gallant, as brave, its reliable as they were in the brightest page of our military history. It has, moreover, shown how the Irish politician and patriot loves us; at the same time, it has shown us how the Irish soldier and the Irish regiments will fight for their Queen, their country, and the United Kingdom. It has shown us, my Lords, how Continental nations envy, and apparently without reason, hate us. But it has also shown the devotion of our colonies to the mother country, and proves that they are with us one in heart, in soul, and in action in defence of our common country. It is here, I think, that the good of this war mainly comes in. It makes for peace more than anything else that the world should know that there is this heart and soul offensive and defensive alliance and union between the mother country and the colonies. I am going to ask your Lordships to act tonight as you did in 1883. In that year—it was the first year I came to your Lordships' House—I moved the following resolution, which I am sure my noble friend Lord Kimberley will approve of— That, having regard to the present defective military organisation, and to the great importance of the Militia force, it is essential that the Militia be forthwith recruited up to their establishment strength, and that the Militia Reserve should, as intended by its originator, the late General Peel, and as recommended by the Militia Committee of 1877, be borne in excess of the Militia establishment. This resolution, in spite of the opposition of the two front benches—if there is anything really good they always combine against it—was carried. Noble Lords patriotically threw party and personal considerations aside, and voted for what they believed to be simply and solely for the good of the country. I hope your Lordships in the year 1900 will not show yourselves less patriotic or less independent than in the year 1883. One word more as regards myself. The strongest desire I have ever had in public life has been to see my country strong and safe at home, believing that upon that all our prosperity depends. It was that feeling forty years ago made me, like so many others, readily embrace the opportunity given by General Peel, who invited us to volunteer for home defence. We did so because the Government showed by that appeal that they recognised that the country was not in a proper state of defence, the result of neglect, I venture to think, on the part of Her Majesty's Government. We have stuck to it from that time to this. It was prophesied that it would not last, that it would dwindle away, but the force has grown and gone on increasing in numbers and efficiency, and these men who are serving voluntarily without any compulsion have had all sorts of duties put upon them, and now it is proposed that they should go out for three months' training and give up their employment. Her Majesty's Government are trusting to this force, which is only a stopgap and a makeshift, and will not do their duty by bringing into force and into play that law which we put them there to administer for our safety. My feeling is this, that we have long enough played the part of stopgaps, of makeshifts, and of shelter trenches for Secretaries of State for War, the consequence of which is that they have laid this salve to their consciences, that they have this body upon winch they can depend, and that they need not therefore do their duty by bringing into force the existing military law. I think then, and I say it regretfully, that during the last forty years, on the whole, we have done more harm than good, and that the existence of the Volunteer force is a source of chronic danger rather than of safety to the State. I beg to move my resolution.

Moved to resolve: "That this House, having heard the proposals of the Government for the strengthening of our military forces and armaments, is of opinion that, inasmuch as our military system rests on the Militia ballot, it is essential, looking to military efficiency and the permanent safety to our country, that the ancient constitutional low of compulsory military service for home defence, and for home defence only, be at once so amended that it may be available to be put in force in such modified form as will effect its purpose without weighing unduly upon the people."—(The Lord Wemyss, E. Wemyss).


My Lords, there is no one in your Lordships' House who has more right than my noble friend who has just addressed you to bring this question forward. Not only has he taken an active part for many years in the other branch of the Auxiliary forces—namely, the Volunteers—but he has brought the same question before your Lordships on several previous occasions. I am exceedingly glad that, by the modification which my noble friend has made in his motion, I have been able to rise to second it. Your Lordships will see that the motion, as amended, is only to the effect that it is desirable that the law which enables the ballot to be brought into force for the Militia should be put in such a state that it may be workable if necessity should arise. The motion does not express the opinion that the time has now-arrived for that course to be taken; and. for my own part, I could not agree with a motion for the immediate introduction of the ballot for the Militia, because I think it should not be used until it is found from experience that sufficient recruits are not to be obtained by voluntary enlistment. That, then, is the scope of the resolution which my noble friend has moved, and which I ask your Lordships to support. I hope that my noble friend the Secretary of State for War will raise no objection to the passing of the motion. I say this because he has used on former occasions words which are exactly the same as I should use upon this subject, and which seem to me to lead to the passing of a resolution of this kind. My noble friend the mover of it has alluded to the words used by the noble Marquess: but I will read them to your Lordships, because they represent so entirely my own feeling in this matter that if I did not do so I should only express them in worse language. My noble friend said in February 1898— Our military system rests upon the broad principle that the Crown has a right to require every citizen of this country, if necessary, to bear his part in the defence of the United Kingdom. That is a liability which has no doubt remained dormant for a great many years, but it is none the less a real liability, which I trust we shall never allow ourselves to lose sight of. Last year my noble friend the Secretary of State for War again used words to the same effect, and he showed, at considerable length, how inapplicable the law of 1860 respecting the ballot is at the present time, and introduced and explained a Bill, which was read a first time, making those alterations in the law which be considered necessary in order to make it workable. Therefore, my Lords, my noble friend has admitted the principle for which we contend, and, moreover, he has studied the subject and has placed on your Lordships' table a Bill to put the ballot in proper shape. The same opinion as that expressed by my noble friend has been held by his most distinguished predecessors, to whom my noble friend the Earl of Wemyss has alluded. The noble Lord has rightly expressed the opinion of Lord Herbert of Lea and Lord Cardwell, under both of whom I had the honour to serve as Under Secretary. Lord Herbert of Lea himself introduced amendments to the old Militia ballot law, and carried the Act of Parliament of 1860, amending that law. Lord Cardwell entertained the same opinion as that expressed by my noble friend namely, that the ballot for the Militia is a power which should be maintained intact, but should not be exercised unless the necessity called for it, and clauses were introduced by him in the Army Service Bill of 1871 to amend the machinery for the Militia ballot. I ventured to express a hope that ray noble friend the Secretary of State for War will accept this motion, but I am bound to say that I am a little chilled by the manner in which in this House during the present session he has treated the question of compulsory service. He appears to me to have done, if he will allow me to use the word without offence, a very adroit thing. He has mixed up conscription for the Army with ballot for the Militia. I know that few, if any, of your Lordships are prepared to advocate conscription for the Army. Our Army is levied for a service of a different kind to that of the armies of the Continent of Europe, where conscription prevails. It has to go to the ends of the world. We have nothing to complain of with regard to the voluntary system. We have obtained sufficient recruits for our Army with that system, and surely, after the experience of the last, few months, there is no man in this or any other country who will say that our troops raised on the voluntary system have not been a credit to the country and to the traditions of the British Army. We do not want to touch that part of the system. It is the ballot for the Militia that we consider should be put into proper shape, and that is only for service for a short time at home, in defence of our country, for which we are all, by law, liable who have not reached the age at which I am sorry to say I have myself arrived. This system is not confined to this country. I asked the other day what was the state of the law with regard to Canada, and was informed that the Militia system of Canada is based upon compulsory service. It is the same tiling in New Zealand, in Queensland, and I have no doubt it is the same in other Australian colonies. I know it is the same in one of our Crown colonies, namely, Jamaica. Why should we not be prepared, if necessity should arise, to undertake the same sacrifice as our self-governing colonies? I have been trying to consider what reason my noble friend will give for not accepting this motion. Is it that the office over which he presides is overwhelmed with work? I quite agree that it is, and I doubt whether I should have pressed him to take immediate steps in this matter if he had not himself considered it last year in time of quiet and prepared a Bill which he could in a day or two reintroduce into your Lordships" House. Will his answer be that the circumstances are different now to what they were last year? If this was right in 1860, if it was right in 1871, if it was right in 1890,I ask your Lordships why should it not be right in the year 1900? This leads me to consider what is the military condition of the country at the present time. I am not going into the general question which my noble friend has raised regarding the plans of the Government. This is, I take it, a debate with reference to the Militia, and I shall confine my remarks to the condition of the infantry and the Militia. My noble friend explained to us, on the 15th of this month, the condition of the Regular infantry in the United Kingdom at the present time. He stated then that there were only seventeen battalions of the Regular infantry left in the country, and of these battalions eight, as we learn from an Army order issued the other day, have been mobilised for service in South Africa. There will remain, then, only nine battalions of Regular infantry in the United Kingdom; but whether it is nine or whether it is seventeen is a matter of very little consequence. The force is clearly inadequate even in ordinary times, and is utterly inadequate to meet any difficulties that may arise at the present moment. The rest of the infantry in the United Kingdom consist of soldiers who are left behind unable to serve, of recruits, and so on. In fact, as regards the infantry, there is nothing behind those seventeen battalions. All the rest are necessary in order to keep up the drafts for the battalions serving abroad. The fifteen new battalions which my noble friend is engaged in raising cannot be fit for service for a considerable time. My noble friend said in his speech on the 12th instant, and very properly, that his intention was to organise a "mobile" force in this country to be used, if necessary, either for defence at home or to support the Army abroad. After the Division which is now being mobilised leaves these shores the noble Marquess has no resources whatever to fall back upon as regards Infantry, except the Militia. I do not think my noble friend will deny that statement. I am happy to say that he has an excellent force, in many respects, to rely upon. The spirit shown by the Militia cannot be too much praised. Thirty battalions have proceeded to South Africa, or are under orders. Six more are serving in the Mediterranean and elsewhere out of the United Kingdom. I do not agree with my noble friend (Earl of Wemyss) in the least in his statement that our Militia is a delusion and a farce at the present time. On the contrary, I think our Militia has proved that the Duke of Wellington was right when he said in 1852, in the last speech he made in this House, that the Militia would become "an efficient auxiliary force to the Regular Army." My noble friend the Secretary of State for War said the other day that, after deducting the Militia ordered abroad, we have 77,000 Militiamen left in this country. I hope that my noble friend's figures will turn out to be correct, but I have a little doubt on the matter. But, correct or not correct, I venture to think it is a very insufficient force of infantry to have in the United Kingdom. In my humble opinion, the Militia, which is now 30,000 below its complement, not only requires to be recruited up to its establishment, but to be very considerably increased. Well, my Lords, how is this force to be raised? I hold that, in the first instance, it certainly ought to-be raised by voluntary enlistment. All the authorities who have considered the question of the Militia—the Committee, for example, over which the present Lord Derby presided in 1877—have expressed their opinion that in times like this there will no difficulty in getting recruits for the Militia, and, moreover, the same authorities have said that enlistment for the Militia does not interfere with enlistment for the Line. My noble friend, in his speech at the beginning of this session, alluded to several alterations of importance which might make the Militia service more popular. I shall not attempt to go into any details on this occasion. It is not the time to do so. The improvements, I have no doubt, have been carefully considered by my noble friend, and at the proper time I might have some suggestion to make upon them, especially in regard to the Militia reserve, to which my noble friend the Earl of Wemyss has just alluded. But on a matter of detail, I would ask my noble friend the Secretary of State for War whether the Army circular issued this morning, inviting men who have passed through their service in the Army to re-enlist for one year, has been so framed as not to interfere with the present status of the Militia. I have been told, and believe, that many of these men are now serving in the ranks of the Militia. If the proposal of my noble friend is to take these men from the ranks of the Militia, where they afford great stability to the small battalions, and put them into some other force for a year's service, I am afraid that the plan will do more harm than good to the position of the Militia, and if it does harm to the position of the Militia, it certainly injures the infantry force of the country. I have said that in my opinion we should endeavour to raise this force by voluntary enlistment. I would urge upon my noble friend to lose no time in making public the advantages he proposes to hold out to the Militia for the purpose of encouraging recruiting, and I further urge him not to refrain from consulting officers who have served in the Militia before the measures are decided upon in the War Office and published. I am sorry to say that in the measures relating to the auxiliary forces there has been shown in War Office action some want of consultation beforehand, and the suggestion, made, I think, by my noble friend, that officers who have served in the Auxiliary forces should be attached to the staff of the War Office, ought to be carried out with as little delay as possible. I make these observations in no spirit of panic whatever. I take no gloomy view of the situation: in fact, our spirits have been raised by the news which we have received today from Lord Roberts and Sir Redvers Buller. But while we are engaged in a war so far from our shores, with operations in progress extending over a country almost as large as Europe, and with a very moderate force for the work which Lord Roberts has in hand, I hold that it is not right for the Government not to prepare a mobile force of sufficient strength to support Lord Roberts in South Africa. Military men may have opinions, and my noble friend may wish to wait till Lord Roberts asks for more troops; but we who are plain people and look at our maps can see what tremendously long lines of communication Lord Roberts has to protect through a hostile country, and we think that it is the duty of the Government not to wait to be asked, but to give every support which can be given to Lord Roberts. The other night in this House my noble friend the Earl of Rosebery, whom I see here to-night, and my noble friend behind me, the Earl of Kimberley, made some remarks upon the possibilities of the future. I am not going to repeat those remarks. I will only say that Lord Kimberley, in alluding to two matters of which I have some knowledge—namely, the possibilities in India and the possibilities in Egypt-did not say a word more than I feel in regard to both those possibilities. I go a little further, and say that I am not satisfied at the present time with the strength of our forces in Egypt. In view of the strength of our infantry at home, has not the time come when, in my noble friend's own words, we ought to be ready to apply the Ballot Act if we cannot get recruits for the Militia in any other way? These are the words used by my noble friend in, July last year— There is a contingency in which a more numerous Militia would distinctly add to our strength. It might become necessary for us to provide for the safety of these islands during a very severe and protracted crisis during which there had been a serious strain on our military forces, and after we had exhausted all other means of keeping them up to the necessary strength. For an emergency of this kind it does not seem to me unreasonable that we should provide, however remote we may take it to be. Has not this emergency arrived? Have we not exhausted all our Regular military strength in this country, and is this the time for any excuse to be made for not putting the law with regard to the Militia in a proper state? In making these remarks I do so as a cordial supporter of Her Majesty's Government. I do so in no hostile spirit whatever to my noble friend's administration of the War Office. On the contrary, I wish to give to my noble friend, and especially to the military departments under him, every credit. Great credit is due to them for the manner in which they have organised, equipped, and conveyed, with the assistance of the Admiralty, the troops to South Africa; for the manner in which the land transport for that army has been organised; for the manner in which the ammunition has been supplied; and for the manner in which the commissariat and medical departments have been carried on. What a contrast to the state of things at the time of the Crimean War! It reflects great credit not only upon my noble friend, but upon those who preceded him and who organised these departments in the manner in which they have been organised, which has stood the test of war. I trust, my Lords, that my noble friend will accept the motion which has been moved by the noble Earl below the gangway, and I trust, moreover, that he-will take an opportunity at an early date of informing the House and the country what plans he has for the creation of the "mobile" force which he told us he wished to create. I can assure my noble friend that there is anxiety in this House and in the country with respect to these plans, and that the anxiety is shared by a great number of the most sincere friends of Her Majesty's Government.


My Lords, the noble mover of the motion, in the somewhat discursive remarks with which he prefaced it, told your Lordships that one of the lessons which the British Army had to learn from the war now proceeding was that their system of field tactics would require considerable modification. I hope he will forgive me if I say that his own system of field tactics is a little disconcerting. He commenced his statement by informing the House, as I under- stood him, that he desired to change in important essential particulars the terms of the motion of which he had given notice. He went on to toll us that we must mend our ways in regard to artillery, in regard to the introduction of scouting and spying in the Army, in regard to the increase of mounted infantry, and finally in regard to the often discussed question of heavy, but yet mobile, artillery. In regard to the last point the noble Earl told us there had been blundering in Pall Mall, and, in his opinion, some one deserved to be hanged because artillery of this description had not accompanied the Army of Sir George White. Let me repeat what I said the other evening on this subject, and which perhaps failed to attract the attention of the noble Earl. If there has been a blunder in Pall Mall in this matter of heavy guns intended to accompany a field force, there has been, to the best of my belief, blundering in the army administration of every European Power. The Boers have succeeded in bringing 'heavy guns down by rail from Pretoria, and have, no doubt, succeeded in placing them in a position from which they have produced inconvenient results to our troops; but I am not prepared to admit that the experience of the war has yet shown that a 40-pounder gun can be dragged about by a mobile field force in the way I understand the noble. Earl suggests. With regard to the actual motion of the noble Earl, he has changed it; and I am not sure whether we are fully aware of the import of the revised motion. As far as I can make out, the change was an ingenious one, intended to enable members of your Lordships' House who could not have supported the original motion to go into the lobby with the noble Earl. But whatever be the terms of the amended motion there can be no doubt as to the significance of the two speeches to which we have just listened. Both of those speeches, if they meant anything, were an injunction to Her Majesty's Government to drop their own plans, and in lieu of them to have recourse to the Militia ballot.


I said distinctly that I proposed that the enlistment should be voluntary, and I invited the noble Marquess to encourage voluntary enlistment, and only on its failure should we have recourse to the Militia ballot.


Exactly; the sting is in the tail. If voluntary enlistment fails, the noble Earl falls back on the ballot. With regard to the Militia ballot, our opinion is unchanged. We regard it as a valuable reserve of power, with which on no account would any Government be justified in parting. But that that power should be exercised at the present time I do not for a moment admit. As I said just now, the two speeches we have listened to, if they meant anything, meant that that power should be exercised promptly and at once. Both speakers confronted me with some words I used last year in your Lordships' House when discussing this matter, and told me that the very circumstances which I had contemplated had arisen, and therefore, if I valued my own consistency, I should not oppose their motion. My Lords, I adhere to the words I spoke last year. The noble Earl complained of me because I had never given him a definition of what I meant by an emergency. But the noble Earl who seconded the motion quoted from my speech a description—I do not think it was an unfair one—of what I meant by an emergency. I mentioned two contingencies which to my mind created such an emergency. There was, in the first place, a complete failure of the voluntary system both for the Line and the Militia. Now have we had a complete failure of the voluntary system for the Line? I quote the words of the noble earl who seconded the motion. He told us, in terms which I must say I appreciate deeply and sincerely, that he gave us credit for the manner in which we had despatched a large army to South Africa, and the efforts we have made to supply it with transport and equipment. I thank the noble Earl for those words, not only because they sounded agreeably in my cars, but because I know they will give great comfort and encouragement to many of those who, during the last few months, have been sparing of neither their time, trouble, nor health in trying to enable our army in South Africa to do its work. Then, my lords, is it the case that there has been a complete failure of the voluntary system in regard to the Militia? The Militia is below its establishment, and nobody regrets it more than I do. But it has been more or less below its establishment for many years past. We are no worse in that respect than we were last year or the year before. In point of efficiency, I believe, the Militia has never stood higher than it docs at present, and, I heard with pleasure the references which were made to its value as an, adjunct to the Regular Army. Thirty battalions of the Militia are on their way to the seat of war: four other battalions of Militia are holding, or will hold, positions in our colonies or in our fortresses; and after these have gone there will still be 77,000 Militiamen left in this country. I cannot admit that there has been such a complete failure of the voluntary system in regard to the Militia as to justify us in departing from the old lines and working upon those laid down for us by the two noble Earls. The other condition which I laid down, and which was also referred to by the noble Earl below the gangway, was this. I said that it seemed to me "we might resort to the ballot after a protracted crisis, during which there had been a serious drain upon our military forces, and during which we had exhausted all other means of keeping them up to the necessary strength." Whether there has been a crisis or not, I will not pause to inquire. I do not very much like the sound of the word-it has a sound of panic about it—but I will make the noble Earl a present of the word "crisis" But has there been a protracted crisis? This war did not begin until the middle of October, and certainly when I spoke last year of a protracted crisis I had not in my mind one which had only lasted for three or four months. What was the other condition? It was the exhaustion of other means of keeping our forces up to the necessary strength. I do not think we have exhausted those other means. On the contrary, I am here to toll your Lordships that we have other means—means in which our military advisers believe, means which we are confident will suffice to give us the accession of military strength which we require, and while the measures which we desire to adopt would, in our opinion, give us that which we require, we believe that the adoption of the remedy proposed by the noble Earl would altogether fail to do so. In his speech last week the noble Earl below the gangway, Lord Rosebery, distinguished, and I thought very correctly, between two classes of military measures which he regarded as under discussion. He said there were, in the first place, permanent measures involving organic changes in the Army, and measures of that class, he told us, he thought might fairly he reserved for consideration at some other time. The other class consisted of measures suited to the necessity of the moment, which he implored us, in, I was going to say, almost despairing terms, to adopt without a moment's loss of time. I want to know how the enforcement of the Militia ballot would help us to obtain measures of that second class. What is our object? We desire to fill up in the Army the wide gaps which have been created in it by the departure of so many troops to South Africa. we desire to bring rapidly into existence a number of men whom we shall be able to make use of at once, if not for service abroad, at any rate for the defence of these islands. Supposing we adopt the motion of the noble Earl, how much nearer shall we be: to obtaining a large number of men of that class? Let us suppose that this motion is carried, that an Order in Council is issued suspending the operation of the Act of Parliament under which the ballot remains in abeyance, and that the Bill which I introduced last year is: at once passed into law. Would that give you in the near future any number of the men whom you really want? I assume the noble Earl will not invite us to set the machinery of the ballot into force merely for the sake of obtaining the 30,000 men by which the strength of the Militia falls below its establishment. I gather, on the contrary, from his speech that what he desires is to see a very large increase in the strength of the establishment of the Militia. Let us assume that by means of the ballot we desire to raise 100,000 new Militiamen, and let us assume that by showing great energy and expedition we have collected those men within the course of the next two months. What sort of men will these be? They will be the rawest of raw material. You will have no cadres to put them in, and they will have no non-commissioned officers. Some noble Lords referred incredulously to the 110,000 Regulars whom I described as being still in the United Kingdom, The noble Lord said there were a number of recruits and untrained soldiers amongst them. But I would far sooner have those 110,000 men than a mob of 100,000 Militia recruits hurriedly raised under the ballot at a moment like the present. If we are, as I think the noble Earl below the gangway anticipates, liable to be invaded during the summer months, would these men be fit to put into line against an invading army? I say again I infinitely prefer the 215,000 Volunteers, about whom the noble Earl below the gangway was also a little sceptical, and I most certainly prefer those reserve battalions, composed entirely of old and trained soldiers, which we propose to raise under the Royal Warrant which appeared in the newspapers to-day. There is another drawback to the proposal of the noble Earl. The sudden raising of a largo number of Militiamen by a process of that kind would completely disorganise your Militia system. At present the Militia, as noble Lords are aware, is organised under our territorial system, the Militia battalions being,; as a rule, the third and fourth battalions of the territorial Line regiment. But if we are to set to work under the ballot, if we are to require each county or each division to supply its quota of Militiamen, we shall be proceeding upon a strict arithmetical basis. What will be the result? You will find that in the most populous parts of the country you will get a number of militia recruits very much larger than you require; you might get recruits enough to form half a dozen battalions in one of the northern counties; but in. the more thinly populated districts you will find that you will not get enough to fill up the gaps in the ranks of the existing battalions. You would be in this dilemma—that you would either have to swamp some counties with recruits and starve others; or else you would have to do that which I conceive would not be tolerated—you would have to raise men under the ballot in the north of England for service in Militia battalions in the south. I think that would be resented, and not without reason, by all concerned. Lord North-brook told us, and it is quite right that we should not forget it, that the Militia ballot would not give us a single man for service out of this country. Nobody has for a moment suggested compulsion in any form for service beyond the limits of these islands. That is, of course, a point on which we, at any rate, differ from other military Powers. The work of our Army lies in India and the colonies, whereas in their case, being separated from their neighbours only by a land frontier, it is absolutely necessary that they should be in a position to arm the whole of their population in order to resist an invasion by people who are similarly armed. My Lords, I say that the proposal is an inappropriate one for the purpose of the present emergency. But, then, is it established that we shall require the ballot after this war is over as a permanent measure? I venture to express the conviction, which I hold very strongly, that we shall emerge from this war stronger—far stronger—as a military power than when we entered into it—stronger in numbers, stronger in armament, stronger in the knowledge that we can count upon the co-operation of our colonies, and stronger, above all, in experience. Pressure has often been put upon the War Office to attempt what is described as an experimental mobilisation. Well, we have had an experimental mobilisation with a vengeance, and I am convinced that the lessons that we have learned from that experimental mobilisation will be invaluable to the British Army. At any rate, I would venture to suggest that before we talk of having resort to the ballot we should wait until these operations are over and take stock of our resources and of the position in which we stand. We were told by, I think, both noble Lords that it was a great mistake to suppose that compulsory service to the extent they indicated was unpopular with the people of this country. I do not agree with that. It is very easy for us to say we will harden our hearts and face compulsion; but it is not upon your Lordships that the thing will press. I think I am right in saying that every ballot Bill that has ever been put on paper has provided for the immunity of legislators, hereditary or elected. It is upon the other classes of the community that the ballot will press, and to those classes I honestly believe it is deeply and radically unpopular. I feel sure of this, that you must have a clearer case for the necessity of the change than any that has yet been presented to the public. One or two references were made to the military measures which I sketched to the House the other day, and upon which we desire to rely instead of resorting to the step proposed by the noble Earl. I am very glad indeed to notice that the proposal that we should raise a considerable number of Reserve battalions from among our ex-soldiers has been on the whole so well received. Your Lordships now know that we intend to offer a bounty of £22 altogether to men joining these battalions. I am able to say that, in the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief, as these men will, all of them, have undergone a considerable amount of training as soldiers, it will be possible to give them a very liberal allowance of furlough; and I have every hope that the combination of a large bounty and a moderate demand on the men's time will have the effect of filling the ranks of these battalions, and I may, perhaps, be permitted to mention to the House that Her Majesty the Queen has signified her pleasure that these battalions are to be designated as the Royal Reserve battalions of her Army.


Will the noble Marquess answer my question whether these men will be allowed to join these battalions from the Militia?


If the noble Earl will be patient I will come to it. With regard to the Militia, the noble Earl has pressed me to announce as soon as I can the measures upon which we rely for making the Militia more attractive. Permanent measures obviously require a very great deal of close examination, but we wish at once to attract to the ranks of the Militia, just in the same way as we desire to attract to these Reserve battalions, as many men as we can from among ex-Militiamen. We therefore propose to offer a bounty of £ 5 to any ex-Militiaman of good character and possessing the proper physical qualifications who will re-enlist in a Militia battalion, and I trust that step may have the effect of bringing about an increase in the numerical strength of the force. Then the noble Earl called my attention to an important and very difficult point. He asked me whether we would allow ex-soldiers now serving in the Militia to take the bounty to which I referred just now, and go into the Reserve battalions. That is a point which I think will require further examination; for this difficulty confronts you whichever way you attempt to decide it. If you allow these men to leave your Militia battalions and go into the Reserve battalions you certainly rob the Militia of men whom it would be undesirable to lose. On the other hand, if these men see their comrades who have served by their side in the Army and who have not passed into the Militia drawing this large bounty and find that it is not open to them to draw it, there will undoubtedly be considerable dissatisfaction among them. And there is this farther complication. Supposing you were to allow men who are ex-soldiers in the Militia now serving at home to enter the Reserve battalions of the Line, you could not possibly allow ex-soldiers serving in a Militia battalion abroad to leave those battalions in order to join the Reserve battalions. I mention these difficulties because they are really illustrative of the extreme intricacy of these matters and the care which has to be exercised in settling them, so as not to give just cause of complaint. I will mention one little matter with regard to the Yeomanry in answer to a question put to me the other day by Lord Galway. We intend to give an allowance in money to every man in consideration of his bringing a horse for the period of training. We propose to give £ 5. I hope that by the means I have described we shall be able to obtain the number of men we want, and I hope we shall be able to keep up a steady flow of reinforcements to South Africa. I do not see why we should not be able to do so, and I hope we shall be able at the same time to fill up the gaps in the Army at home caused by the outgoing troops. We are, without any special inducements, now taking about 5,000 recruits for the Line per month, and no men are taking their discharge from the colours. The Militia is receiving about 3,300 recruits per month. Besides that, we have those Reserves at homo which I enumerated to your Lordships the other evening, and which I will not again recapitulate. The noble Karl may rest assured that we do not intend to allow the army in South Africa to dwindle for want of suitable reinforcements. The stream has not ceased flowing, and we do not intend that it shall cease. Of this I am convinced, that the proposal which the noble Earl has made to the House, not, perhaps, in his motion, but certainly in his speech, is one which would not be at all helpful to us at the present moment. We are sanguine of being able to obtain what we desire by the means which have been described to your Lordships. We may be accused of being too optimistic. I think it is possible to err in another direction as well. At any rate, I trust that your Lordships will not by your vote this evening insist upon our hurriedly adopting the measure into which the noble Earl desires to press us with, I was going to say, his usual impetuosity.


My Lords, I regret for two reasons that the noble Marquess does not see his way to accept this resolution. My first reason is one of a private character. I am sorry to place myself for a moment in opposition to the noble Marquess, whose administration of his Department has, in my opinion, entitled him and the able officials under him to a far larger measure of credit than they have yet received from the country. I heard with singular pleasure the ungrudging eulogium passed by the noble Earl who seconded the motion, and the approving cheers with which it was received by the House. That eulogium was, in my opinion, well deserved. My second reason for regretting that the noble Marquess has not accepted this motion is biased on public grounds. I came down to this House fully determined to vote against the resolution of the noble Earl. I am as stoutly opposed to the principle of the ballot as the noble Marquess. But I find that there is not one reference to the principle of the ballot in the resolution. If the House passes the resolution it will simply express its opinion that it is desirable that Her Majesty's Government should seek out the best way of enforcing the principle; which enables the State to call on every citizen for the defence of the country in time of emergency. One great lesson that we have learned from the war in which we are engaged is that the burgher principle which enables the State to call upon its people to come to the assistance of the country in time of emergency is the most economical and most effective principle of national defence with which the world is acquainted. I am in favour of that principle being applied to this country, and I shall support the resolution moved by the noble Earl, not because I am in favour of the principle of the ballot, but because I believe it is the first necessary step towards the adoption of the principle which enables the State to call on every one of its citizens in times of emergency to conic with his rifle to the support of the country.


My Lords, the House is placed in an awkward position by the change of language which the noble Earl has introduced in his motion. I conclude that no one pro-poses that the power of the Crown to put in force the ballot for the Militia should be abrogated, and I suppose we should be all agreed that if that power has in any respect become obsolete it should be rendered effective. The resolution of the noble Earl goes no further than that, except in one respect. It inserts, I believe, the words "at once." [The Earl of WEMYSS nodded assent.] I cannot help thinking that is sufficient ground for voting against it. It is not a simple question whether the Militia should be balloted for or not. You must, if you are to discuss this question at all, take a great many other questions into consideration. The noble Lord at the head of the War Office has laid on the table of your Lordships' House a Bill for amending the law with regard to the ballot. I remember hearing his statement with regard to that Bill last year, and I remember thinking at the time how much there was for discussion in it. The whole treatment of the Militia depends upon that. Let me give one instance. Noble Lords have said, and we all agree, that we are not going to send Militiamen abroad if the ballot is introduced. But, rightly or wrongly, you are sending your Militia abroad at the present time. For many years past you have increased the number of Militia battalions sent abroad, and now you are actually sending them to the seat of war, which is almost a totally new departure. I cannot think this is a proper time for discussing the expediency of that policy, but that policy must be discussed, and we must understand whether there are to be two kinds of Militia—a Militia which is to be raised by voluntary enlistment and liable to be asked to go abroad, and a Militia to be raised by ballot and not to go abroad. We want to know these things before we decide that a ballot shall be reorganised. This House has behaved in a very patriotic manner in refusing to embarrass Her Majesty's Government by any discussion of their policy during the present war. I think that conduct on the part of the House will be most warmly supported by the country, but surely, my Lords, all these little questions which are raised, first by one noble Lord and then by another, day after day in this House, have a tendency to harass the Government of this country. It is impossible to help criticising a Govern- ment if you make proposals with regard to their administration, and although I sympathise most entirely with the anxiety which noble Lords have to discuss military matters at this moment, I venture to think the less these questions are brought up now the better. I hope this war, now that it has taken a turn, will not be of long continuance, and I hope that when it is over we shall have an ample opportunity of discussing, down to the very last item, the policy o the Government and the whole of our military system. But I venture to implore noble Lords not to support this or similar resolutions, not because they may or may not be in themselves proper or right, but because this is not the occasion to do it.


My Lords, I confess I regretted very much to hear my noble friend the Secretary of State for War say that he was unable to accept this resolution, and I find it difficult to understand on what ground he can do so without completely stultifying his own action in bringing in a Bill for amending the ballot last year. What is the resolution of my noble friend? It is merely a resolution that the ballot should be at once so amended that it may be available to be put in force in such a modified form as to effect its purpose without unduly weighing on the people. The Secretary of State for War this evening told your Lordships that in the Ballot Act there is a power which no government in its senses would propose to divest itself of. My noble friend knows that that Act in its present form could not be put into force, however necessary. The old Act is unsuitable to modern requirements, and the machinery for putting it into force—namely, through Lord Lieutenants of counties and Deputy Lieutenants, has become inapplicable. I should like to know how, if Her Majesty's Government found it necessary to resort to the ballot, it would be possible for the Ballot Act to be put into operation. The noble Marquess says that we want to substitute the proposal of the ballot for the plan of Her Majesty's Government. I do not think that any one of Your Lordships has the slightest desire to do anything of the kind. Some of us may think that the proposals of Her Majesty's Government are adequate; some may think they are not, and certainly one of those proposals, which met with the greatest amount of approval—the proposal to raise a temporary force for a year out of old soldiers—is, we have been told to-night, open to three very serious difficulties and objections. All this resolution proposes is that if Her Majesty's Government find themselves disappointed, if their hopes are not quite realised and they are unable to fill up the Militia to its proper strength, they shall be able, by amending the Ballot Act, to avail themselves of a power which they admit is a most valuable one. I do not see how, by doing that, we should embarrass the Government in any way. I should have thought it would have strengthened their hands, and I, for one, shall feel it my duty to vote for the resolution.


My Lords, I do not desire to occupy more than a few minutes of your Lordships' time. I should not have risen were it not to support what I thought were the very wise words which fell from the noble Duke opposite. During this great national crisis we have to avoid embarrassing Her Majesty's Government in any unnecessary way, and I do not think that some noble Lords who have spoken have sufficiently remembered that the principle of the ballot—a principle, as it appears to many in the country, implying conscription and compulsion—will raise deep political and other questions which I for one should be extremely sorry to see raised at a time like this. As the noble Marquess said, in reference to the admirable speech of my noble friend Lord Rosebery, there are two measures which we have to consider on this occasion. There is only one that is necessary for action, and that is any measure which will enable the Government promptly to deal with the question of the prosecution of the war in South Africa. I would venture to remind your Lordships that we have a statement from Her Majesty's Government—we discount, perhaps, some of the figures—that they have now 400,000 men at home whom they consider are disposable for home defence. It seems to me that we should exercise all the power and all the influence that we have to impress upon Her Majesty's Government the importance of making that force effective. If the resolution of the noble Karl were passed what would be the effect of it? It certainly would not give us any more able men, drilled and qualified to deal with the present emergency. I am afraid, my Lords, it would have this effect—that a considerable number of men who, by trade and by being fathers of families, and so forth, would object very much to running the risk of the ballot for the Militia, would become Volunteers. That, to my mind, would be a possible and a practical result of any measure of this kind; but do we want to increase at this moment, in order to deal with the present crisis, the number of undrilled men? Why, my Lords, supposing the motion of the noble Earl is carried, and supposing that under that process we get another 100,000 men—


That is not the motion.


May I be allowed to say that no noble Lord exactly understands what the motion is: and for this reason. The noble Earl put the motion on the Paper as it is printed, but, in rising to move it, added certain other words, and it will be admitted that the acoustic properties of this House are not at all remarkable. I have not been able to gather, and I do not believe that any other noble Lord gathers, what really are the precise words of the motion. At any rate, the motion has been amended in order that it may get more votes, but it will not enable us to increase the efficiency of our force at home. If you had this large number of men, where are the arms and where are the officers Whilst recognising the patriotic spirit and intention of the motion, and realising to the full-perhaps we feel it more deeply than some of the members of Her Majesty's Government—that the present crisis is a real crisis, we feel that we have but one course to take, which is to rely upon those who are responsible, and we hope we may bring home to them some sense of their responsibility, for national defence. I am sure it is much more important and practicable to impress upon the Government the importance of making the 400,000 men still at home a really effective force than to pass an abstract resolution which can have no practicable effect, which can give no military assistance in the present emergency, and which can only have the effect of somewhat embarrassing Her Majesty's Government.


My Lords, I have no wish to give a silent vote on an occasion like the present. With regard to the yeomanry, will my noble friend allow me to thank him for his statement in respect to the allowance for horse. I can assure the noble Marquess that he will find the commanding officers of the Yeomanry anxious to help him in making the scheme as great a success as possible, and to offer him any suggestions which they may think will be of benefit to him. Whilst disclaiming any desire to hamper the proposals of the Government. I feel myself compelled to support the resolution of my noble friend. I look upon the question in this light—whether or not there shall be a perfect machinery which can be set to work should an emergency call for it; and when I am told that the noble Marquess brought in a Bill last year to make that machinery perfect, I do not think it is unreasonable that on an occasion like the present we should ask the Government to make it thoroughly perfect. It is not much consolation to be told that because the Militia has been deficient in numbers for many years it should still continue to be deficient.


My Lords. I should like for one moment to amplify the figures which were quoted by my noble friend Lord Northbrook. It will be within the memory of your Lordships that the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War stated that we had 110,000 men at home in the Regular service for present military purposes. He stated that amongst that 110,000 men there were seven cavalry regiments, twenty batteries of artillery, and seventeen battalions of infantry. I know that in Her Majesty's Guards each battalion of infantry is very nearly double at the present moment that of an ordinary battalion on a war footing; that is to say, they have nearly 2,000 men in each battalion. But they are singularly short of officers, and have not sufficient non-commissioned officers to do anything like justice to these 3,000 men. If we take seven as the number of cavalry regiments and give them 500 sabres per cavalry regiment, the total works out at 3,500. If we give the twenty batteries of artillery 130 men each, which is above war strength, it works out at 2,600. Let us take the seventeen battalions of infantry and put them at 2,000 men each; this gives us 34,000 men for the whole seventeen battalions. The reserves, we were informed by the noble Earl, were 12,000. The total comes to 69,000 men, leaving the men at the depot and in the reserve not called out 40,900. I would like to ask the noble Marquess where these men are, because I cannot believe that they are in the depots or in the country. We have heard also from the noble Marquess that there are 70,000 Militiamen left in the country just now. I would like to ask where they are. We all know how short the Militia battalions are. Many of them are not 500 strong, and some of the battalions have not as many as 300. But while the Secretary of State proposes with one hand to augment the Militia, he, with the other hand, proposes to give the men a bounty to induce them to enter other battalions. I think that is robbing Peter to pay Paul.


I expressly said that the matter was an important one and required to be examined.


Yes, but if it is done it puts the whole thing in an impossible position. The noble Earl, in bringing forward this motion, does not desire in any way to do anything to embarrass' Her Majesty's Government, but rather to give them a power which they can use should the necessity call for its exercise, If there is any failure in raising the number of Volunteers provided for under the new scheme of the Government, what is the Secretary of State for War to fall back upon? If the Militia ballot is in force the Government can fall back upon that, and I cannot see what harm its acceptance can do to the Government. The Bill which the noble Marquess brought in last year is a most excellent one in its way, but it does not provide the machinery necessary to make the Act workable. If the machinery of the Act were made workable it would be a powerful weapon in the hands of the Minister for War. I hope the noble Earl will go to a division, and that he will be successful in carrying his motion.


Having considerable knowledge of both Volunteers and Militia, and having, since I left the Army, commanded a Volunteer battalion and for twenty years commanded a Militia battalion, which is now at this moment 900 strong on the Orange River, I cannot conceive why there should be any objection to the motion of my noble friend. We want a really mobile force in this country, and we are told that we should have a large number of raw recruits brought in by means of the ballot. I fail to see the difference between men who come in voluntarily as raw recruits and men who are brought in by ballot. Then we are told that if men are obtained by the ballot they will not be able to be sent abroad. I maintain that if the Militia are inclined to volunteer for active service they will do so whether they come in under the ballot or not. I would remind your Lordships that the armies in the Peninsula were fed by Militia raised by the ballot, and that the Duke of Wellington stated that the battle of Waterloo had been won by the Militia battalions. Those battalions were raised by the ballot, and I think I am not acting wrongly in supporting the noble Earl's motion. What is more, if it had been moved in the terms in which it was first put down I should certainly have supported it. If this is not a time of crisis I should like to know what is. I cannot see why you should not ask the manhood of the country to come forward to defend it. It is said that there are about 40,000,000 inhabitants in these islands. Take 5,000,000 as being the number of men between the ages of twenty and thirty-five who would be eligible for service; 200,000 men out of that number would be only 4 per cent. Is it too much to ask 4 per cent. of the manhood of the country to defend it, or for us to give the Government power to call them out? If you do not secure this power now, how long will it take to get it? I maintain that it is unwise to throw away the present opportunity.


My Lords, I hope that the House is not altogether in the condition of my noble friend Lord Portsmouth, who has no idea what the question is we are asked to vote upon. The original motion was that the ballot should be put in force, but now it has been modified so as to provide that the ancient constitutional law of compulsory military service for homo defence, and for home defence only, "should be at once so amended" that it may be put in force. That question might be argued on different grounds, but I do not propose to consider it. The question is whether the amended motion is one which it would be desirable to pass. It is asked, "What can be the possible harm of doing this? You are taking the same course in respect of the ballot as was taken by the noble Marquess last session when he placed before your Lordships a Bill dealing with the question.' But we are in a different position now; and the real question is, how we can raise a force sufficient for the present emergency. The argument of the noble Marquess opposite is a forcible one, for he said that the passing of the resolution would not assist us in the smallest degree in getting trained troops. Is it expedient, therefore, at the present time to enter on this question of the ballot? The mere question of amending the law, which I think desirable in itself is not alone involved, because a most serious discussion would arise in Parliament on the whole policy of the ballot for the Militia; and I do not think that the moment is opportune for that discussion. There would be two parties in, this matter. There would be those who are deeply impressed with the emergency, and who think that any measure tending towards the increase of our military efficiency ought to be regarded with favour. And there would be another party who would look upon it as a direct incitement to a more warlike policy on the part of this country, and who would oppose it on that ground. It would not on either hand be regarded in its proper light—as a question of improving the position of an old constitutional force which nobody says ought not to be maintained. On previous occasions I have expressed the opinion that we ought to endeavour to improve the efficiency of the Militia; and I am of the same opinion still. But the responsible Government are now proposing measures which they believe will increase the efficiency of the Militia, and though I do not see that this motion could be any embarrassment to the Government, I do not think we shall gain anything by entering upon a discussion of the whole question at the present time. I wish it to be clearly understood that I do not say that with any hostility to the possibility at some future time of having recourse to. the ballot, but so long an interval has occurred since the ballot was put into force that the question cannot be lightly raised. It would not benefit us to raise it at the present time, and though I appreciate very much the view of Lord Northbrook, who has had great experience in this matter, yet, weighing the whole question, I do not feel able to vote for this motion.


My Lords, I am glad to be able to concur entirely with everything which has fallen from the noble Earl who has just sat down. I must also concur with many others who have addressed the House in regard to the extreme inconvenience which is caused by the course which the noble Earl in charge of this motion has thought fit to take. The motion on the Paper is one thing, but that now before the House is quite another, and it seems to me extremely inconvenient and scarcely fair to ask us to discuss a motion which has no reference whatever to the original motion on the Paper. I agree with the noble Earl that in its present form the effect of the motion would be to a great extent, if not entirely, innocuous, if not unmeaning. It merely means that it would be expedient for us to introduce again the Bill which we introduced last year. That is a motion which the Government could hardly look upon as of a hostile character. But what would be the interpretation placed upon our action by the country if that Bill Mere re-introduced at the present time? Last year no one took any notice of the Bill. This year no one would take notice of anything else; and it would be simply trifling on the part of the Government if we were to submit such a measure to Parliament without having a serious intention at an early time of enforcing the principle of the ballot. The noble Earl who submitted the motion paraded again the old familiar arguments which he has frequently before advocated in your Lordships' House, and for which, on former occasions, he has found but little support.


I carried it.


Yes, twenty years ago, in a very small House. He has received larger support on this occasion, for he has been reinforced by a number of the less enthusiastic persons who belong generally to the noble army, recruited from the men in the street and elsewhere, who in any emergency find great comfort in the cry that "something must be done." The noble Earl has repeated the assertion that the ballot for the Militia for home defence is the foundation of our military system, but he has never explained in what sense he makes that assertion, or how compulsory service for the Militia can be the foundation of a system which, in every other respect, rests upon voluntary service. I differ entirely from his assertion. I say that the principle of our military system is voluntary service; and though it has been admitted by the Prime Minister that the power of the ballot is one which it would be unwise to part with, and which conceivably might be put under requisition, and although it might have been expedient, as proposed last year, to put in order the machinery of the ballot, yet I contend that the adoption of the principle of compulsion in such circumstances as exist now, or have done in recent years, does not lie at the foundation of our military system, but is absolutely alien to it. I do not deny the existence of an emergency. We are engaged in a war—a great war—in which the Navy can take no part, and which has rendered necessary the sending out of the country of a very large portion of the Regular troops and their Reserves. That, no doubt, constitutes an emergency, which the Government fully recognises. But I do not think it is an emergency which altogether calls for the passionate—I will not say the almost hysterical—appeals which have been addressed to this House on two occasions by the noble Earl below the gangway. What is the actual nature of this emergency, and what are the demands upon Parliament which it is necessary to make in order to meet it? The noble Earl suggested that it was an emergency which called for the mobilisation of the Fleet. In our opinion, it is not an emergency which calls for such a measure.


What has been done, then, with regard to the Fleet?


We believe that the Fleet in its present condition, and the measures which are in course of being taken, are amply sufficient to meet any calls which may be made on the Fleet either for the defence of our own shores or for the protection of our interests in any part of the world. We believe that, if a state of things were to arise which might render invasion more probable or imperil any of our interests in any part of the world, it is in our power completely to mobilise the Fleet far more rapidly than it would be in the power of any other nation to do so. We do not consider that any such measure as is involved in the expression "mobilisation of the Fleet" is required by the present emergency. But we admit that an emergency exists in the fact that a very large portion of the troops and their Reserves, which are ordinarily in the country, are now engaged in South Africa, and the Government are taking measures to meet it. We propose to make a certain permanent increase in the strength of the Army; and also a temporary increase, and an appeal to the patriotism of those who have served in the Army to come forward for a limited time and join the Reserve battalions. But in the main we place our reliance on those Auxiliary forces which exist for no other purpose than that of giving to us that feeling of security, or as much as possible of that feeling of security, which we enjoy in ordinary times when our Regular troops are at home within our shores. It is said that the Militia is below strength, and therefore that extreme measures must be resorted to to raise it. It comes to this—the fact that we have a deficiency of.30,000 men in the Militia is to be the cause of compelling us to change the basis of our military system from a voluntary to a compulsory one. Have you considered what are the magnificent and generous inducements now held out to the Militiaman, and which have, up to the present time, failed to keep the Militia up to its full strength? You have asked him to give up his employment, or chances of obtaining employment, for the splendid sum of 1s. per day and an annual bounty of £ 1, and you are astonished that these magnificent terms do not keep your Militia full at a period when labour in the labour market is at its very dearest. I would suggest that, before resorting to what may be called panic measures, you should resort to the more simple expedient of offering to your Militiamen greater pecuniary inducements, something more equivalent to the service you demand of them, and not altogether disproportionate to what it is worth in the labour market. If there are objections—and I know there are—to increasing in a moment of excitement and agitation, and perhaps apprehension, the pay of Militiamen, if there are difficulties on account of the numerous questions which have been raised in connection with the whole question of the pay of the Army, then it is very easy, by some addition to the bounty which you give to the Militiaman on his engagement, during the period of his service, and at the completion of his service to raise the remuneration to something not altogether disproportionate to the service which you demand of him. The system of bounty might be tried. I doubt very much if it would be necessary to otter any extravagant bounty. Even under the present system you have plenty of recruits. What you fail to do is to keep them when their six years service is at an end. The Militiaman leaves the service at a time when he is becoming most highly trained, because it is not made-worth his while to continue. Some very moderate inducement to a Militiaman of six years service, who is worth much more to you than when he was a recruit, would probably induce a very large number of these men to continue their service and reengage for the period for which you require them. This system of bounty, so far as I can see, is nothing we need be ashamed of. I may remind your Lordships that the American people in the Civil War, mainly through a system of bounties, raised an army which was counted by hundreds of thousands, as we were reminded by the noble Earl, Lord Rosebery, the other night. I believe it is true that in the United States, as well as in our own country, compulsory service for the Militia is the law of the land, and I believe that during the great Civil War compulsory service in some instances in certain States was resorted to; but I believe also it is true that the great bulk of that enormous Army which was in existence at the close of the Civil War was raised by voluntary enlistment, stimulated, no doubt, by a most liberal system of bounties. I say that until we have tried this experiment, until we have seen whether something may not be effected by the heroic-measure of offering to a Militiaman some pecuniary inducement which is in some degree commensurate with the value of his service, there is no reason whatever why we should think it necessary to resort to that which is no doubt a part of our military system in certain times of emergency, but which, I believe, is alien in spirit to the feelings, desires, and opinions of the groat majority of our fellow-country men.


My Lords, I will not interpose long between your lordship and the division, and I trust I shall not use any language which may be described as hysterical on this occasion, and may subject me to a renewal of such criticisms as have been expressed in another place. I think the noble Duke's colleague in the House of Commons said they were "trembling accents." The alteration of the motion by the noble Earl on the Cross Benches, whose vigorous and eloquent speech, coming from one of his advanced years, charmed us all this evening, has given rise to considerable inconvenience. The noble Earl behind me who complained, I think, had not taken the trouble to make himself master of the alteration. But the inconvenience caused was not accurately described either by the noble Duke or the noble Marquess who spoke from the front Treasury Bench. The inconvenience is simply this—that they had both prepared their speeches for the motion in its first form, and not in the form to which it has been altered. I have had some experience of a feeling of that kind, and I pity them from the bottom of my heart. But I cannot alter things as they are. I cannot ask my noble friend to bring back his motion to its original form, and therefore I can only offer the two Ministers who have spoken an expression of my profound sympathy. There is one other point to which I should like to allude. We have had the pleasure of hearing to-night, for the first time in these discussions, the President of the Ministerial Council of National Defence. I remember well, because I was just then in the pleasant position of leaving office, the loud flourish of trumpets with which that Council of National Defence was announced. It was something which had never happened before in the history of the world. It was meant to reassure the whole British Empire as to our position either for defence or aggression. The position of my noble friend as President of the Privy Council was insufficient to slake his energies, and be was put at the head of what I have ventured to call this bulwark of out-Empire, with results which we know. My noble friend pointed out clearly what are the alternatives, which he thinks are very desirable, to the proposal of the noble Earl. He has said, "Pay as you do in the labour market. Give a bounty at the beginning or at the end"—in the exhilarating profusion of his epithets I forget what his exact plan was. But I ask myself, How is it that the President of the Council of National Defence, aided by the eminent civilians who were good enough to confer with him in that arduous duty, has not produced this plan before. Why, instead of that, they produced in the last session a, Bill for enacting the very ballot for the Militia which now the noble Duke indignantly repudiates. That is a point on which I want explanation; the noble Duke's speech having been framed for a totally different issue, he has omitted to give an explanation. The proposition is a simple one. Last session the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for War came down and asked for the approval of this House for a Bill providing a ballot for the Militia. He then insisted (as far as any one can insist on anything in Parliament) on being invested with that power. Now it is not proposed to invest him with that power, but what is proposed is, that, in the opinion of this House, the Act at present existing should be made so available that, in certain contingencies—not if any noble Lord or official noble Lord desires it, but if the Executive desires it—they shall have the power of putting the ballot into force. What change has occurred since July last year, when the noble Marquess wanted nothing more than to be possessed of that power which he now spurns as though it were something eating into his vitals? For four months we have been in a state of alarming war, with an enemy on our territory, and with liabilities all over the globe, which I referred to the other night, and to which I will not again allude. That is the change which has occurred since the Ballot Bill was introduced by the noble Marquess, In the face of these facts I have no conception of the logic of the Government. I have attempted as assiduously as I could to follow their speeches. I know the difficulties under which those speeches were prepared and delivered. But I would rather move the adjournment of the House that they might prepare speeches more suitable for the occasion than give them my support against the motion.


My Lords, what we have to consider when this motion is put from the woolsack is what the result of it will he if carried. It will he to declare that, in the opinion of this House, we ought to introduce a Bill for effecting a purpose which no one has proved to be possible, in terms which no one has suggested. How much nearer will you be to obtaining the remedy which you desire? I am told my noble friend introduced a Bill last year. Well, as the Bill did not go through Parliament, I presume there were obstacles in the way. We have already heard tonight that that Bill would not put the ballot machinery into motion; there are a great many other things which must be taken into account before the ballot machinery can be worked. I have only to appeal to the noble Earl who sits opposite whether, with his Parliamentary experience, he imagines that any measure of that kind, if anybody could be found to draw it and to introduce it, would have the slightest chance of passing without the most angry and acrimonious debate. Is that desirable just now? It would raise, of course, a great many other questions besides merely the question of the Militia ballot. It would raise the question of having a new military force of a kind to which we are so little accustomed in this country. We should have to ask whether the dangers were really so great. And as we have to do everything in public, we should have to discuss in public the dangers to which, in the view of the noble Earl, we are exposed. Would that be an advantage to the easy conduct of affairs in the peculiar circumstances which now stand before us? And then, supposing that you got such a Bill drawn and introduced, and supposing you were not able to pass it, what would the effect be in other countries? If you make this great, supreme effort to provide yourselves with a kind of defence to which you are not accustomed you should be certain that you will succeed. If you do not you will give an impression of your defencelessness which will add to the many dangers which the noble Earl enumerated the other night. I do not think that that is a prospect which should allure us when we have plenty of difficulties around us, and when we have not the most sym- pathetic judgment from many who criticise us from outside these islands. If you introduce this question of the ballot it cannot remain at the ballot; it must be conscription. You will not stop short of that result, if you once enter upon that course, when you remember that every nation in the Old World except yourselves has adopted conscription. But when you have adopted it you have still several difficulties to surmount. No one seems to have asked himself, or, at least, to have examined with any kind of detail, what kind of reception it will I meet with from the people of this country. This is not a Bill for a simple alteration of your administrative machinery, or the spending of a certain amount of money, or even for asserting some great political principle. This is a Bill which will carry excitement at least, possibly consternation, into every house and every cottage where there is a family in this country. Is that wise? I do not say there is any want of patriotism; the last few months have negatived any such suspicion. But still, if every family is told that on a contingency which is still uncertain depends whether one of their number is to be hurried to the wars, you cannot expect them to hear that information with entire resignation, and you cannot expect that the purport of it will not be exaggerated; that they will not conjure up many dangers that do not exist in reality; that you will not produce an amount, at least, of discontent or, at all events, of excitement very much in excess of the area of the legislative action that you cover. And beyond that, I heard one noble Lord say that if you press the people too [much to go into the Militia they will go into the Volunteers. I suspect they will take a more effective remedy than that. I think they will go over the water into other countries where their own religion, their own language, and, in many cases, their own institutions still prevail, and where there is no ballot to frighten them as to the military duties that would be imposed upon them. There was a curious statement in the newspapers the other day, but I have not been able to trace it home. It was a statement that there was a sudden rush of young men, emigrants, arriving at New York. They were asked why so many people of the same age came at once, and they said, "We understand the ballot for the Militia is going to be intro- duced, and. we wish to get out of the way in time." I think there will be a good deal of that feeling. Yon are wandering on unknown ground, and it will be a terrible disenchantment if yon find that this great remedy in which you believe, this engine, is broken in your hand, and that without any resource beyond you are unable to call together a sufficient force for the defence of the country. I confess I prefer a more cautious way. I prefer the plan of seeing what effect the inducements that we have hitherto used will have in the future. At all events, we do not want to run the risk of awakening emotions to which we are accustomed at a time when it is above all things necessary that the nation should work in harmony. No-body pretends that if you pass this motion, or if you pass the Bill which it represents, it would give you any material assistance in whatever difficulties may surround you now; but, on the other hand, it may raise difficulties which may excite and produce feelings and passions which may be a source of danger at this moment. There is one reflection which I will submit to you. It is quite true that all the other nations of the Old World have adopted, in some form or other, compulsory service; but it is also true that all the other nations of the world have suffered the horrors of invasion. I doubt very much whether you will obtain hearty support for a measure which will press hard upon the liberty of the English people unless some events occur—God grant they may never occur—which will frighten

the people as to the danger of invasion. We might wish it was otherwise. We might wish that the population were so meditative and so far-sighted that they would take precautions before the danger arose, and would undergo great sacrifices and consent to severe restrictions in order that those dangers might never come upon them. We might wish that that would be the case, but you know that that is not the nature of a population who pay little attention to political matters, and are engaged in the pursuit and interests of daily life, and would not weigh the necessity of putting their necks into this heavy yoke until some real danger is upon them. While quite understanding the, course that foreign countries have taken, and quite admitting that there is a certain moral value in conscription, which we cannot deny, and that several foreign nations have been, as it were, compressed into a unity that did not exist before by the existence of this measure, I do not think for the present, so far as our eyes can reach, that that kind of legislation or that species of defence is open to us. But whatever we do, do not let us attempt it until we have very fair certainty of success, because it will produce an amount of division, an amount of panic, and it is possible an amount of sinister pleasure and anticipation on the part of our enemies abroad which will make us regret that we were not content to go on developing that system which has kept us so secure and has served us so well.

On Question, their Lordships divided—Contents, 42; Not-contents, 69.

Bedford, D. Falkland, V. Newton, L.
Somerset, D. Hardinge, V. North, L.
Sutherland, D. Ormonde, L. (M. Ormonde.)
Bateman, L. Raglan, L.
Abercorn, M. (D. Abercorn.) Blythswood, L. Rosebery, L. (E. Rosebery.)
Chemsford, L. Rothschild, L.
Camperdown, E. De L'Isle and Dudley, L. Sackville, L.
Carrington, E. De Saumarez, L. Saltoun, L.
Durham, E. Denman, L. Suffield, L.
Grey, E. Glenesk, L. Torpichen, L.
Hardwicke, E. Headley, L. Wandsworth, L.
Lichfield, E. Kesteven, L. Wemyss, L. (E. Wemyss.)
Lucan, E. Loch, L. [Teller.]
Northbrook, E. [Teller]. Manners of Haddon, L. (M. Granby). Wenlock, L.
Stanhope, E. Worlingham, L. (E. Gosford.)
Temple, E. Monckton, L. (V. Galway.)
Halsbury, E. (L. Chancellor.) Norfolk, D. (E. Marshall.) Lansdowne, M.
Devonshire, D. (L. President.) Fife, D. Ripon, M.
Northumberland, D. Salisbury, M.
Cross, V. (L. Privy Seal.)
Clarendon, E. Addington, L. Lawrence, L.
Coventry, E. Ampthill, L. Monk Bretton, L.
Dartmouth, E. Ashcombe, L. Monkswell, L.
Denbigh, E. Avebury, L. Morris, L.
Doncaster, E. (D. Buccleuch and Queensberry.) Balfour, L. Mount Stephen, L.
Belper, L. Playfair, L.
Egerton, E. Churchill, L. [Teller.] Rathmore, L.
Feversham, E. Clanwilliam, L. (E. Clanwilliam.) Revelstoke, L.
Kimberley, E. Robertson, L.
Leven and Melville, E. Colville of Culross, L. Rowton, L.
Lonsdale, E. Cranworth, L. St. Levan, L.
Morley, E. Crofton, L. Sinclair, L.
Portsmouth, E. Farquhar, L. Somerton, L. (E. Normanton.
Selborne, E. Farrer, L. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E Galloway.)
Shaftesbury, E. Fermanagh, L. (E. Erne.)
Verulam, E. Harris, L. Tollemache, L.
Waldegrave, E. [Teller.] Hatherton, L. Tweedmouth, L.
Heneage, L. Wantage, L.
Cobham, V. Lveagh, L. Windsor, L.
Knutsford, V. James, L. Wynford, L.
Kinnaird, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Chester, L. Bp. Kintore, L. (E. Kintore.)

House adjourned a quarter before Eight of the clock, to Thursday next, half-past Ten of the clock.