Sir John Pakington has issued a very unnecessary and very
mis- ehfevous order. It has always been understood that Volunteers were not to be called upon to act against their countrymen, and that if a Home Secretary ordered them out he must obtain a bill of indemnity for himself and them. In a memorandum dated 3rd May, the War Office acknowledges that the civil authority is not entitled to call out the Volunteers, but says they are liable, like all other men, as special constables, and if the riot is very danger- ens they may use their arms and their military organization. In ether weal, though not under military law, on such occasions they may, when need arises, turn out as a regiment, and act as one in repressing the riot. This is precisely the position which of all others involves most danger, for it practically enables the Volun- teers to turn out or not, as they like, while it imposes on their officers little responsibility. They ought either to be required to act as troops ,are, with the same discipline and under the same restrictions,—in which case half of them would resign,—or be left precisely in the position of other citizens, that is, without arms or regular organization. In the very extreme cases in which alone they could be very useful, such as the Chester affair or a military mutiny, the local officials would break the law, and trust to the common sense of Parliament for indemnity.