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Question

Volume 203: debated on Thursday 28 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Why in the Proclamation of Neutrality issued by Her Majesty on July 19th, whilst the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act forbidding the equipment of vessels for the service of either belligerent are set forth, no special mention is made of the sections of the same Act which prohibit the enlistment of the subjects of the Crown in the naval and military service of the belligerent powers; whether there is any and what reason for departing in that respect from the precedent of the Proclamation of May 13th 1861, in which the provisions against enlistment, as well as those against the equipment of vessels, were set forth at legnth, and the act of enlistment specifically prohibited; and, whether Her Majesty's Government will not deem it expedient to make it clear to the subjects of the Queen, as was done in the Proclamation of 1861, that it is intended to enforce the law against the enlistment of men in as full a manner as against the equipment of vessels? He also wished to know when the amended Foreign Enlistment Act was likely to be introduced?

Sir, the Foreign Enlistment Bill has been introduced, and I hope it will be read a second time to-morrow. As to the other Questions of my hon. and learned Friend, I have to say that the Proclamation of the 19th of July last is precisely the same, with some necessary but trifling alterations, with that issued by the Government of Lord Derby in 1859, and with that issued in 1866—in general terms enforcing neutrality on all the Queen's subjects. It is not to be supposed likely that France and Prussia will enlist British subjects in any considerable numbers. In the Proclamation of 1861, on the breaking out of the American War, it was certainly apprehended that British subjects might extensively enlist, and therefore it was that an addition was made to the ordinary form of Proclamation; but when the new Foreign Enlistment Act becomes law, as I trust it will before long, it will deserve consideration whether another form of Proclamation may not be issued.