§ The Duke of Wellington
did not mean to oppose the Bill, as he felt that it would be useless to send it back to the other House; at the same time he thought that the militia staff ought to be remodelled, and put on an efficient footing, especially considering the good services which they performed in 1830. He was willing to co-operate with his Majesty's Government in forming an efficient permanent system of militia.
The Earl of Westmoreland
opposed the Bill, on the ground that it would lead to the absolute destruction of the militia. He recommended the omission of all the compulsory clauses; leaving it to his Majesty's Ministers to make such reductions as they thought fit. When the proper time arrived, he would move an amendment to that effect.
§ The Duke of Richmond
entirely concurred with what had fallen from the noble 671 Duke (Wellington), whose victorious troops had been frequently recruited from the ranks of the militia. He could only consent to vote for the Bill on the understanding that Ministers would bring in another measure next Session to render the militia effective. If the Government had found that the Colonels of Militia had misconducted themselves in allowing their troops to be used for jobbing purposes, or to remain inefficient, he would advise them to recommend their immediate dismissal to his Majesty.
The Duke of Cumberland
eulogized the Militia, than whom a finer or better regulated body of men never existed. He hoped Government would come forward next year with some measure to re-establish the force.
The Earl of Glengall
hoped the Bill would be withdrawn, and a complete general measure brought in next year.
was of opinion with the noble Duke (Richmond) that the Militia should be made an efficient and an available force.
The Earl of Wicklow
expressed his regret that his Majesty's Ministers should have brought forward, at so late a period of the Session, a measure which would have the effect of discouraging a most useful force.
The Marquess of Salisbury
called upon the noble Lords opposite to state, as the advisers of his Majesty, that they did not intend to destroy the Militia, but to increase its efficiency.
§ Viscount Melbourne
The noble Marquess called upon him to answer the call he pleased to make, and to say so and so which he dictated. He certainly should say nothing of the kind; he had said in the Committee, and he repeated it now, that in his opinion the Militia should be sustained; he had said it should be supported; he had said it should be improved; he had said it should be ameliorated to render it more efficient for its purpose; but he had distinctly said also, that he did not pledge himself to maintain the Militia Staff in the manner in which it had been heretofore maintained in this country. This was consistent with his declaration in that House, that he considered it bad policy that at the end of the war it should have been preserved in the form it had then been, and in which it had ever since remained. The men who were to be discharged without pensions were to receive six months' pay: those who preferred a claim to pensions 672 were to receive three months' pay, which would support them during the consideration of their respective cases; and those who were considered entitled to pensions would, in compliance with the usual mode of proceeding, receive three months' pension in advance.
§ The Bill was read, the clauses agreed to, and the House resumed.