HC Deb 20 March 1804 vol 1 cc951-3
Mr. Secretary Yorke

moved, that the report of the volunteer consolidation bill be taken into further consideration. The report was accordingly taken into consideration, and the clerk proceeded to read over the several amendments and causes, adopted in the Committee, in order to be agreed to by the House.—On the clause respecting the allowances to volunteers on being called out.

Mr. Pill

said, that as the clause stood, the guinea to which each volunteer would be. entitled who came out on permanent pay and duty, was to be placed in the hands of the commanding officer to lay out the whole or part, as he should think tit, for necessaries for the use of such volunteer. Now, when h first took the liberty of suggesting to the House the propriety of improving as rapidly as possible, the discipline of the volunteers, he conceived, that the idea of the House was to hold out to each volunteer distinctly a bounty for so doing. It was agreed, that many must make great sacrifices in coming out upon permanent duty, and he did understand, that the principle of giving a bounty to each individual was acceded to. Bat he could not help thinking, that the bounty being disposed of as provided in the bill, it must operate as an impediment in any encouragement to the volunteers to come out, as the sum to be given would no longer be at the disposal of the individual, nor would he be enabled to provide for his fa- mily out of it during his absence. The money was thus prevented from becoming what it ought to be, a substitute for his earnings during his absence.

Mr. Secretary Yorke

contended, that the guinea ought not to go indiscriminately into the pockets of the volunteers, as, though there might be several industrious men with families, who might wish to appropriate the money to the use of those families, yet there were others who might probably lay it out in procuring those indulgences which were not very consistent with the character of a soldier.

Mr. Kinnaird

denied that this guinea was an inducement to the volunteers to come out, at least in Scotland, because, m fact, they were not paid. He wished to know, whether this guinea was to be paid to them, and if it was, whether it was in the discretion of the commanding officer to lay it out for the men in the purchase of necessaries for them, and he also wished to know, whether that guinea was to be considered as a part of the two guineas which the volunteers were to receive when called out in case of invasion.

Mr. Sturges Bourne

contended, that the guinea allowed ought to be paid directly to the volunteers, as an inducement to them to offer their services for permanent duly. They came out last year because they were told of invasion, but they would not come, out up n the same grounds now when they were told, as they had been in Parliament, that all apprehensions upon that subject was a mere panic, and that the fleet at Boulogne was a Musquito fleet. This guinea ought, therefore, to be given to the men, and even, that would be but a small compensation for the loss of time they would sustain in being absent from their labour for 3 weeks.

Mr. Pitt

said, if he had understood the instruction sent round by the Sec. of State, according to the construction now put upon it, he certainly would not have troubled the House about it, but certainly that was not the way in which it was generally understood. He was perfectly satisfied with the explanation he had heard, and should act accordingly; but he submitted, whether it might not be proper that some means should be taken of informing others who might have understood the instructions as he had done, and who had not the advantage of hearing the explanation which had been given.

Mr. Hiley Addingion

said, that the most advantageous way of laying out this money, would be to purchase great coats, which were in point of fact absolutely necessary. With respect to the price of them, he knew that so far from their costing 23 or 24s. that very good ones might be had for 13s.

Mr. Canning

said, that the guinea which was to be allowed to the volunteers who offered their services for permanent duty, had been very improperly, in his opinion, compared with the marching guinea allowed to the regulars and to the militia. With regard to the latter, when they were ordered to march, it was not optional in them to march or not, they were bound to do it; but the case was very different with regard to the volunteers. You could not compel the volunteers to offer their services for permanent duty, and, therefore, the guinea was given to them as an inducement to them to go out.

General Grosvenor

said, he never was an advocate for this guinea at all; it was one out of two guineas to be allowed in all to the volunteer, and he should vote for its being laid out as proposed by the original clause, and not by that which was proposed by the amendment.

Mr. Fonblanque

thought the commanding officer had full power by the clause to provide the volunteer with what was necessary, but then what was necessary was in a great measure a question of taste. A great coat might appear necessary to one man, while another might prefer a feather. The question here was a question of inducement, what was most likely to call a man into the field before the enemy comes.

For the amendment 39
For the original clause without it 73

The amendments being gone through, the bill was ordered to be read a third time on Thursday.