9 In 1861 a case arose in which the Dutch government claimed the military service of Daniel Swan, a British subject born in Scotland of British parents and subsequently domiciled in the Netherlands.

It appeared that the existing Dutch law was in favor of the claim of the Dutch government; but a clause was proposed to be added to a militia bill then before the State’s General which, if liberally construed, would suffice to provide for the exemption thereafter of British subjects similarly situated.

10 The clause introduced into the militia bill by the Second Chamber of the States General was as follows: “A foreigner shall not be considered an inhabitant if he belongs to a State where a Dutch subject is not liable to compulsory military service, or where the principle of reciprocity is received with respect to liability for service.”

11 Some doubt having been expressed whether, under this clause, British subjects were exempt, the Dutch Government addressed a note to Sir A. Buchanan on the 26th of April, 1861: “Il a été décidé qu’aussi longtemps que les sujets Néerlandais éstablis dans la Grande Bretagne, qui ne sont pas naturalisés sujets Britanniques, y seront effectivement exempts du service militaire, soit en vertu de la coȗtume on des dispositions administratives, soit en vertu d’actes législatifs spéciaux, les sujets de Sa Majesté [Page 1343] Britannique jouiront, également dang le Royaume des Pays Bas à partir de la mise en vigueur de la dite nouvelle loi, du bénéfice de la disposition de l’Article 15, qui exempte, à titre de réciprocité, les étrangers établis dans le Royaume de l’obligation de satisfaire à la militaire.”

A clause was at the same time introduced into the militia bill, exempting from the conscription the absent sons of residents who were not Netherlands subjects, thereby preventing the recurrence of a case like that of Swan.

1 In the instructions addressed to Sir A. Buchanan, Lord John Russell observed: “There is no practical liability imposed on aliens in England to serve in the militia, inasmuch as the militia ballot is not in fact resorted to; even their theoretical liability thereto is a matter not free from legal doubt; and they are under no liability at all to compulsory military service in the army.’”2

  1. Sir A. Buchanan, Nos. 19, 23, 31, 32, and 33.
  2. To Sir A. Buchanan, No. 34; July 13, 1861.
  3. Sir A, Buchanan, No. 77; August 28, 1861.
  4. Sir A. Buchanan, No. 34; July 13, 1861.
  5. To Sir A. Buchanan, No. 18; July 29, 1861.