rose to make his promised motion, and spoke as follows:—Sir, 650 Before I enter upon the discussion of the topics connected with the motion of which I have given notice, it is perhaps natural for me to say a few words respecting the time at which it is introduced: and certainly, sir, I do feel that I should have great reason to apologize to the house, if I was conscious that any neglect or remissness on my part had been the cause of postponing to so late a period of the session, the discussion of subject, which, in my opinion, is, beyond all others, the most important that it is possible for parliament to deliberate upon. But, sir, I am not conscious, and I hope the house will acquit me of any such culpable neglect. My absence from parliament in the earlier part of the session was occasioned by a circumstance which, if I was to explain it, the house I trust would have the good nature to admit as a sufficient excuse. After my return, I lost no time in giving notice of this motion, and in calling for the papers that appeared necessary to the investigation of the subject. The production of these papers has been attended with delays far beyond what I had any reason to expect. Some of them, which were not printed till Monday, were then found to be incorrect; and other necessary documents were not laid on the table till the day before yesterday. Without, therefore, imputing blame to others, I have a right to assert that none can be attributed to me. But although I am conscious that the very long delays and frequent postponements of this motion have not been occasioned by any fault or neglect of mine, I do not the less sincerely lament them: for even if my first object, namely, a committee of the whole house to examine into the state of our military establishments, should now be attained, it could hardly be expected that, without protracting the session far beyond its expected duration, it should immediately produce the whole of those beneficial consequences which might have been expected from it at an earlier period of the year. Many important reforms and improvements might, however, be introduced into our military system even during the present year, without any materially inconvenient protraction of the session; although to remove all the defects which I think I see in it, and to introduce all the improvements which appear to me to be necessary, would certainly be a work of considerable time, and one that would require all the collective wisdom of the house. The house indeed has lately been told, though I own it was rather in a sneering manner, by a right hon. gent. on the opposite side, that from me they might expect this 651 day to have detailed to them a military system so complete, and so perfect in all its parts, that this great question, which has so long engaged their most anxious attention and solicitude, would now he set at rest for ever, and that from henceforward it would never again become necessary for them to take it into consideration. But the house, I imagine, does not expect quite so much; and I certainly am not, and never have been actuated by any such presump[...]uous, self-sufficient estimate of my own abilities; never less than on the present occasion. Whatever diffidence I may have felt when a sense of duty has induced me to take a part in former debates, I to-day feel a more than ordinary distrust of my ability to acquit myself, with any degree of credit, of the task which I have undertaken. I wish, however, not to be misunderstood as to the causes of this diffidence; and I beg to assure the gentlemen opposite to me, that no part of it arises from any idea of its being difficult to point out the defects of our present military system, and the glaring absurdities of that part of it in particular, of which his majesty's present chancellor of the exchequer is the author. The latter would indeed be a degree of modesty far beyond any to which; in repelling the charge of presumption, I shall pretend to lay claim. But I do feel the greatest possible diffidence, when I consider that the subject which I am about to discuss, has at no very great distance of time been twice brought forward, nearly in a similar manner, by two of the most distinguished members of this house;—at the close of the last session by an hon. gentleman (Mr. Fox) whose talents and abilities may he considered as the brightest ornament of his country, and in the present session by my right hon. friend (Mr. Windham) whose great and cultivated genius, amidst the multifarious objects which it embraces, has in a very peculiar degree, been directed to the investigation of our military system, and of whom I can say with sincerity, that of all those who have spoken, written, or with whom I have conversed upon the subject, he is the man whose ideas are, in my opinion, the most just, the most accurate, and the most profound. To follow such men as these, even at this distance of time, I feel indeed, a great disadvantage to myself personally; but there is another of a more serious nature under which I now labour, and which I sincerely deplore, being a disadvantage not affecting me only, but the cause in which I am engaged. What I mean is, that the war having now gone on so long without our having yet experienced any of 652 those disasters which have been foretold as the probable and natural consequence of out defective military system, mens' minds have become tired of contemplating the nature and tendency of a contest hitherto so barren of events, and the public is less alive than I could wish to see it, to the real situation of the country, and to the dangers with which we are menaced;—dangers, which have rapidly encreased under the right hon. gent. and his colleagues, and the reality of which, will, I fear, he too fully proved by experience, if we do not speedily adopt some more effectual means of averting them.—But, sir, if on the one hand I come to this discussion under considerable disadvantages, on the other hand I have reason to congratulate myself on the singular good fortune, that in proving that which I am most deeply impressed with, namely, the defectiveness and inefficacy of the right hon. gent. (Mr. Pitt's) military administration, I shall at the same time prove to the house that my motion is entitled to his support: and I confess, sir, that what I am mainly anxious to establish is, that the right hon. gent. consistently with the principles on which he acted 12 months ago, is absolutely bound to assent to this motion; for if I can establish that point, the reasonableness of my proposition will then stand upon grounds far stronger than any arguments that I can adduce, namely, upon the united authorities of those two distinguished members on this side, who formerly made similar motions, and of the right hon. gent. who has so great an influence on the other side of the house. My anxious desire to succeed in my present motion, will therefore induce me to go into some details (I hope not very tedious ones) in order to shew that the present state of the army, as compared with the situation of the country, and the circumstances of the war, renders the interference of the wisdom of parliament, for the purpose of improving our military system, far more necessary now, than it was at the time when that rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Pitt) so strenuously supported the motion of the hon. gent. below me (Mr. Fox.) In order to shew that the rt. hon. gent. is bound to give me at least an equal degree of support on the present occasion, it is necessary that I should enter into an examination of the changes that have in the mean time taken place in the general relative situation of the contending powers: And in pursuing this enquiry, it will be natural for me to make some remarks upon those parts of the right hon. gent.'s administration which are connected with, or have tended to produce these changes; beginning 653 with that class of his measures which has had the effect of adding to the physical force and active hostility of the enemy, and then proceeding to those, if any, by which he has encreased our own means of effective or defensive war. The object and the result of this investigation will be to prove that the situation of the country is more dangerous and critical now, than it was at that time when the right hon. gent. voted and spoke in support of a motion for a committee of the whole house to enquire into the state and adequacy of our military force. In making out this case, I shall as much as possible abstain from all disputable assertions and vague conjectures of what may be the precise nature of the enemy's designs, chiefly confining myself to incontrovertible statements of his augmented means of giving effect to a system of general and active hostility: and from this statement it will appear that cur situation is infinitely worse than it was twelve months ago, both in consequence of the very disproportionate encrease which has taken place in the forces of the contending powers, and also in consequence of the distribution and use which has been made of these forces on either side. The house will probably anticipate me in stating that the first great object to be adverted to in this comparison, is, the war with Spain. Respecting the justice of it, I shall say nothing, as that would be, in a great measure, foreign to my argument; but it is perfectly relevant, and closely connected with my present purpose, to say a few words respecting its policy or expediency, and the consequences which it has produced. For if the consequence of it has been that the enemy's strength has, within the last year, been augmented in a far greater proportion than ours, then it must naturally follow that our military force is, in a greater degree, inadequate to the general purposes of -the contest in which we are engaged than it was last year; and consequently that a parliamentary enquiry into the causes of that inadequacy and the means of correcting it is more necessary now than it was then. This must be equally admitted to he the fact, even if it should be contended that the Spanish war was inevitable, though the obligation on the right hon. gent. will of course he still stronger, if it should appear that, by a different line of conduct, he might have avoided it. I am desirous of touching upon this part of the subject as cursorily as possible; yet, in talking of the effects and consequences of the Spanish war, one cannot help saying a few words respecting the extraordinary and disgraceful circumstances which immediately 654 preceded it: the former have indeed, in no inconsiderable degree, arisen out of the latter; and, on the whole, they so naturally connect themselves in one's mind, that it is extremely difficult to argue from the one without slightly noticing the other. I will admit that the Spanish government has given us sufficient grounds for declaring war, if we thought it our interest to do so: I will admit, too, that there appeared to be a great probability that they would he forced into a rupture with us, whenever France should deem it to be, on the whole, materially advantageous to her, and should not find herself restrained by any important considerations from insisting upon it: under these circumstances it was necessary for us to prepare ourselves for the event; but, situated as we were, it was at the same time in the highest degree incumbent upon his majesty's ministers to endeavour, as long as it should he possible, without dishonour, to persevere in such a system of moderation and forbearance as should make it difficult for the enemy to find a suitable occasion for the rupture. And I really believe, that, if we had abstained from that insulting and imperious conduct, and from those outrages and disgraceful acts which were. the forerunners of the declaration of war, if we had conducted ourselves with the moderation due to a brave and honourable, but unfortunate nation, the war might at least have been deferred:—The French and the Spanish governments might then have doubted, whether the Spanish nation, afflicted as it had been, and still was, by the hand of Providence, labouring as it still was under the dreadful calamities of that pestilential disease which has committed such ravages in that unfortunate country, and of scarcity amounting almost to famine, I say, sir, the government of France and of Spain might have doubted, whether under these circumstances the Spanish nation would have submitted to having the additional calamity of war wantonly forced upon them, without any aggression from us, or any possibility for their government to justify the measure as necessary for the preservation either of their interests or their honour. Thus, by pursuing a judicious and moderate conduct, we should have had good reason to hope that the period of a rupture with Spain would at least have been deferred; and his majesty's ministers, who contend (whether justly or not is immaterial to this view of the subject) that both our navy and army are in a state of progressive encrease, must surely admit, that, situated as we were, delay was advantageous. But even supposing 655 the war could not have been either avoided or postponed; even supposing that nothing could have prevented France from making use of the ports, the arsenals, and the ships of Spain; yet there is one most powerful element of war, which, without the aid of his majesty's ministers, France could not have obtained, I mean the hearts of the people. Force might have added another nation lo the list of cur enemies, but it would have been an unwilling enemy, breathing more hostility against France who had driven them into the war, than against us who had done them no injury and offered them no insult: whereas now, if there remains a single spark of Castilian honour and pride in their breasts, they must burn with the desire of revenging the insults and outrages which on our part preceded the declaration of war. And, sir, I think it will scarcely be urged that this difference in the feelings of the Spanish nation, respecting the cause which has involved them in hostilities with us, I think, I say, that this difference of feeling will not be considered as a trifling or unimportant feature in the war, by those at least from whom on the occasion of our last rupture with France, we heard so much of the great advantage resulting from the experimental peace of Amiens, the advantage, namely, that from the proved impossibility of peace without dishonour, government now had the hearts of the people with them in this new war. That advantage the Spanish government now has, and for that advantage they may thank the right hon. gentleman. But is this all? no sir; not only have we roused the active hostility-of a high-minded nation, but we have forfeited the good opinion of those who were our friends. Such are the effects of that narrow and disgraceful policy which dictated the order for the attack of the Spanish frigates. Bur, sir, although in speaking of the Spanish war it was impossible for me not to notice the circumstances which preceded it, and the manner in which it was commenced; yet, with the view in which 1 have introduced this subject, the main- question undoubtedly is, whether our situation is better or worse than it was before that war was undertaken. In order to shew the house that the right hon. gent. opposite to me (Mr. Pitt) is bound in consistency to assent to my present proposal, I am endeavouring to prove that, since the time when he so strenuously recommended a similar enquiry, the necessity for it has greatly encreased. This position I am desirous of supporting in the most plain, simple, and indisputable manner, namely, by 656 proving that, during that period, the enemy's forces have been augmented in a far greater proportion than our own; that the latter are consequently more inadequate to the services likely to be required of them than they were when he thought the interference of parliament necessary to enquire into the state of our military establishments; and that the Spanish war in which he so precipitately engaged is one great cause of this en-crease of our difficulties and dangers. The question, therefore, on which we are at issue in this part of the discussion, is, are we in a better or worse situation than we were before we went to war with Spain? His majesty's ministers say the former. They contend that the actual and effective powers of our enemy has been rather crippled and diminished than encreased by the Spanish war: because, say they, Spain was supplying France with immense sums of money; we consider this pecuniary supply as the most efficient aid which she could give her ally in the present contest; and therefore, rather than suffer this to go on, we had better be at open war with Spain, and endeavour to intercept the supplies which enable her to pay these subsidies to France. This is their opinion, recorded in their official correspondence with our minister at Madrid. Now, sir, to decide whether the aggregate sum of the efficient powers of our enemy has been encreased or diminished by the declaration of open war between this country and Spain, we must examine two questions on the solution of which or either of them will depend that of the principal question, namely, 1st, Is there any certainty of our preventing these arrivals of treasure from America; or any so great probability of it as to amount, in point of expediency, to a justifiable cause of war. idly, Are these supplies so necessary to our enemies in the present war, that without them Spain can do nothing, and the exertions of France will be very materially lessened?Why, sir, as to the question whether we can prevent, during war, the remittances of bullion from America to Spain, I shall not enter into a train of vague conjecture; but if were to judge from what is passing every day, I must think that, whilst the enemy's fleets or squadrons, whether of twenty ships of the line or of two, appear to go in and out of port, to and from the West Indies, in short, very nearly where they please, there seems to be no such very great probability that the squadrons bringing home treasure should be so frequently intercepted; at least I am at a loss to know how we can calculate upon it with such a degree of confidence as to justify 657 our grounding the policy of a war with Spain upon that probability. And as to the second question, namely, whether the intercepting this treasure, if we are fortunate enough to do so, will materially cripple the exertions of France and anninilate these of Spain, I should also say, that what has happened since our disgraceful seizure of the treasure ships by surprise does not justify any such opinion. As yet I think we have no proof that the powers of the French government to put its navy into a state of activity have been paralyzed by this pecuniary disappointment; and with respect to Spain, there certainly appears to have been a considerable degree of activity on her part, in equipping her squadrons for sea. Indeed the supposition on which his majesty's ministers have acted, that the emperor of the French, though possessing the whole resources of France, Flanders, Holland, part of Germany, and, we may almost say, the whole of Italy, should be prevented by the occasional capture of the Spanish galleons, from prosecuting the war with vigour, appears to me, I confess, to be a most egregious absurdity, and I do not think that any rational man would be convinced of its being otherwise, by any of the pamphlets or writings of those ingenious gentlemen who have amused their readers with similar predictions ever since the commencement of the war that followed the French revolution. But, unless their present predictions should prove to be better founded than the former, they must admit, that whatever exertions Spin shall make must be considered as an actual and positive encrease of the aggregate sum of the real efficient powers of the enemy against whom we have to contend. The French government, indeed, which is perhaps as well able to judge of the sufficiency and probable duration of its own pecuniary resources as even our present ministers themselves, does not appear to be regulated in its conduct by any such estimate of its means, as that which forms the only ground of policy on which his majesty 's ministers have plunged us into the war with Spain. For the very circumstance, that the Spaniards are actually fitting out their navy, does, in my opinion, amount to a proof that the government of France foresees no impediment (arising from want of money) to continuing its own exertions in the naval department on as large a scale as was before intended. For they well know that, the number of ships being equal, a naval force, composed entirely of French, must be far more efficient for their purposes than a combined one of 658 French and Spanish: and, therefore, if they had not the pecuniary means sufficient for their own marine, they would prefer receiving from Spain the money she is now expending in her arsenals, instead of the ships for the equipment of which it is expended. Spain must acquiesce in the wishes of France, and France prefers the ships to the money; which is a proof that the former are truly an augmentation of her mass of the means and elements of war.—It is therefore, I think, sufficiently, manifest, that France, whilst she has acquired the accession of the whole navy of Spain, has not been deprived of any thing that was indispensably necessary to her own naval exertions on the greatest scale that she ever had in view; and I shall now shortly compare the augmentation of force which has thus taken place on the side of the enemy with that which, during the same period, has been effected in our own. It has been said, by an hon. gent. (Mr. Grey) in a former debate, that, cut of about sixty sail of the line which Spain possesses, we may reckon about twenty-five of them to he in a state tit to go to sea. This statement appears to me to be moderate, and. it was not by any means treated as an exaggerated one by gentlemen who took a part in that debate. I may therefore, without fear of contradiction, adopt this as the measure of the addition made to the navies of our enemies, and shall have no great difficulty in shewing that no proportionate augmentation has been effected in our own. But before I enter into these details I beg leave to state one general principle,which, if just, will further illustrate the truth of my assertion that our situation is more critical, and the necessity of a parliamentary enquiry into the present state and probable means of augmenting our military forces, greater now than it was at the time when the right hon. gent. (Mr. Pitt) so strenuously supported it.—general principle which I allude to, and which undoubtedly ought to have had considerable weight with his majesty's ministers, is this, namely, that if, in a war like the present, any considerable increase takes place in the enemy's navy, even although accompanied by a proportionate increase of our own, the war becomes more dangerous to us than it was before. For in the general plan of operations of such a war as this is, our navy most be considered as a purely defensive weapon, whilst his is an offensive one: the object of his navy is to bring his armies into action, whilst the chief employment of ours is to attempt to intercept them in their passage from their own ports to the points of attack and, as 659 this species of defence is admitted to he precarious, every multiplication of the chances of such a war, that is to say, every extension of the scale on which it is carried on, is to our disadvantage. Therefore, although, if the increase of the navies of the contending powers had been proportionate, it might perhaps have been said that we were as superior to the enemy at sea, and as capable of frustrating his designs, as we were before; yet this would be true only on the supposition of its being a part of the enemy's plans, or a necessary prelude to his ulterior operations, that the fleets should come into contact with each other. If we bear in mind the nature of the war, we shall come to no such conclusion. If we consider the extreme uncertainty of naval blockades in general, we must admit, as a demonstrable truth, that, the number of ports containing squadrons ready to convey the enemy's armies on offensive expeditions being increased; the probability of the escape of some of these squadrons (even although a suitable squadron of ours be allotted to the blockade of each) must he proportionably greater; or, on the other hand, that, the. number of ships in any one or more of the blockaded ports being increased, the mischief to be apprehended from it, although watched by a proportionately reinforced squadron, will also be greater, because, whilst the uncertainty of the blockade remains the same in either case, the consequence of the escape of the larger squadron, if it does get out,. will of course be much more serious. And therefore I say, that whilst the general aspect of the war continues to be on our part purely defensive, it is demonstrated that every increase of the enemy's navy, although accompanied by a proportionate increase of ours, is nevertheless disadvantageous to us, because it affords him more numerous chances and increased means of bringing his land forces into action, and lays us open to more frequent and more powerful attacks than we were before exposed to.—But if upon general principles it be true, that every extension of the scale of the present war, although mutual and proportionate, must multiply our dangers, render our navy less adequate to our defence, and require a very great increase of our land forces also, how much more strongly must this be the case in the present instance, when the augmentation of our naval means has borne no sort of proportion to that of the enemy? I have already noticed that in a former debate it appeared to be admitted on all sides of the house to be a moderate statement, that in consequence of the Spanish war France had gained not less than 25 sail of the 660 line: what the increase of ours has been in the same time I am enabled to state with indisputable accuracy, because my information is derived from the official returns lately presented to the house. In stating the result of these returns, I shall confine myself to large ships only; for without discussing the advantage of employing a greater number than we formerly had, of small vessels to. act against the French flotilla in the narrow seas, it will of course be admitted that, as a counterpoise to the Spanish navy, nothing but a proportionate increase of large ships can be of any avail. With respect to the latter then it appears, from the above-mentioned official documents, that in the last twelve months there has been an addition of 6 to the number of line of battle ships in commission, and a decrease of five 50-gun ships; so that the actual increase in ships above the rate of frigates has been only one, whilst the enemy has received an accession of 25 sail of Spanish line of battle ships, exclusive of the augmentation which we may suppose to have taken place in the same period in the French and Dutch marines.—I shall now proceed to examine whether, during the right hon. gent.'s administration, our land forces have been augmented in such a degree, as to compensate for the advantage which the enemy has gained in the naval branch, and to place us in a state of security greater or even equal to that which we were in when he thought them so inadequate as to call for a parliamentary enquiry. But before T proceed. to state the result of the official reunites from which I shall endeavour to draw this comparison, I must observe that I am obliged to make it in a manner more favourable to the right hon. gent. than he in truth is entitled to. What I mean is, that, there being no return before us of the state of the land forces at the rime of his coming into office, I am obliged to take its amount as it stood on the returns of the 1st. January, 1804, whereas the commencement of the right hon. gent.'s administration (immediately previous to which he had voted for an enquiry similar to that which I now propose) did not take place till about five months subsequent to that date; and if in the whole of the 17 months intervening between the 1st. Jan. 1804, and the 1st. June, 1805, there appears to have been an increase of force, it is to be presumed that a part of it was effected during the five months preceding his return to office. But not having it in my power to ascertain with precision the real difference between the amount of the various descriptions of land force as they stand now and as they did stand 661 when he thought them so inadequate, I shall deal handsomely by him, and give him credit for more than he is entitled to, namely, for the whole of the difference that appears between the oldest and the most recent of the returns upon the table, between that of the 1st of Jan. 1804, and that of 1st of June, I805.—In drawing the comparison of the actual state and relative adequacy of our land forces at these two periods, I shall review the subject under the two great divisions of forces at home and abroad; and the result of this inquiry will I think amount to an absolute demonstation, that in every respect, and in every quarter of the globe, we are weaker and more exposed to danger now, than we were when the present chancellor of the exchequer came into office. In the first place, let us consider our situation abroad. From the returns that have been presented to us it appears, that the number of troops on foreign stations on the 1st of Jan. 1804 amounted to 46,698, and on the 1st of June, 1805, to 65,358. I must however beg the house to recollect that yesterday evening I discovered upon enquiry, that in the latter number are included 2,000 recruits, belonging to regiments on foreign stations, who are now in the army depot, in the Isle of Wight, and that this description of men was not included in the return of the 1st of Jan. 1804; so that the real amount of forces now abroad is 63,358, and the increase since Jan. 1804, is 16,660.—It must however be remarked that in this number of 16,660, is included an increase of 1,792 Ceylon native troops. How, far these people may be useful for the internal police of the island I know not, but it would be perfectly absurd and ridiculous to consider them as a really efficient military reinforcement; and therefore, if we wish to investigate the truth and to draw a fair comparison of our situation at the above mentioned periods, it is necessary to deduct these miserable Ceylonese from the difference of gross numbers that appears on the returns of the army, which would reduce the increase of force abroad to 14,868.—I shall hereafter make some further remarks on the composition and distribution of this reinforcement, but will first examine what is the amount of troops that the enemy has sent abroad during the same period, as far as we are enabled to estimate it with any degree of probable accuracy.—In the first place, we know that the first squadron which sailed from Rochefort to the West-Indies, consisted of 6 sail of the line, and some frigates, and we may, without any exaggeration, compute the land forces embarked in this squadron at 3000 men. At 662 the same rate we may reckon that the combined Toulon and Cadiz fleet, of 18 sail of the line, and 5 frigates, carried out 8 or 9000 men; and that the second Rochefort squadron, of 3 sail of the line, besides frigates, had 1500 men on board. Thus it appears, that, exclusive of what may have gone out in single ships, and small detachments that may have escaped without notice, the enemy has within the last six months probably detached about 13,000 men to foreign stations; whilst the increase of our forces abroad since the 1st of Jan. 1804, after deducting the trash of Ceylonese native troops, amounts to 14,868. But, will any man pretend to say, that our foreign settlements are as secure as they were last year? Is there any man in this house or in the country who thinks so? I believe not; but if there was one, who, considering merely the apparent numerical addition to ours and the enemy's troops serving abroad generally, should be inclined to infer from thence that the danger to our foreign possessions has not increased, I should think that a very little inquiry into the details, a very little attention to the nature and distribution of the respective reinforcements would suffice to prevent his coming to so erroneous a conclusion. Of the nature and distribution of cars I can speak. with certainty: what has become of the greater part of those which the enemy has detached, God only knows; his majesty's ministers I believe are as ignorant upon that subject as myself; but I am sure that I am not singular in presuming that, when they do turn up, they will he found to have been disposed of in a manner which affords them a chance of acting with effect against possessions of great importance; whilst a very considerable proportion of ours (of our reinforcements I mean) are of such a sort or so distributed as to afford no hope of their being found within reach of counteracting the designs of the enemy. One part of them consists of troops locked up for mere defensive purposes, in places which, but for the Spanish war, would not have been exposed to attack, and which, therefore, are certainly not more secure now than they were before; so that the troops sent to them cannot be said to have added any thing to that degree of strength (whatever it was) that we enjoyed last year. Another part consists of an augmentation of local troops in remote settlements, which certainly are not at present in the contemplation of the enemy; and a third part, of troops sent on an expedition, by which they are placed in a situation where there appears little chance of their effecting any important of- 663 fensive operation, and where they are certainly lost as to any purpose of preventing the blow which the enemy may he supposed to have in contemplation; for, although we know not where that blow willbe aimed, yet we are very sure it will not be in the Mediterranean.—Of the first description, is an addition of the 1,639 men to the garrison of Gibraltar; for, will any man pretend to say, that, with this addition, that fortress is more secure, or as much so now, as it was before the Spanish war? certainly not. Gibraltar, with a garrison of 3,500, whilst we were at peace with Spain, was as secure as it is with 5000, now that we are at war with that poster; that is to say, it was as secure last year as it is at present; and the 1,639 men lately sent thither must therefore he put out of the account, in comparing the different degrees of danger or security of our foreign possession at those two periods.—The second description of troops which should be deducted from the gross amount of the encrease of forces abroad, consists of an addition of about 1,300 men to the fencible and local corps in Nova Scotia, the Bermudas, New Brunswick, and other settlements which are not at all in the view of the enemy: and these two numbers, of 1,639 and 1,300, being deducted from 14,868, reduces to 11,900 the amount of those reinforcements, which can be considered as influencing the real strength and security of our foreign possessions, or as being applicable to counteract the enemy's projects against them.—There is still, however, a third class of these reinforcements, which, as I have before mentioned, are placed in a situation where, in my opinion, they, for the present at least, will have no influence on the operations of the war, either offensively or defensively: I mean the expedition under sir James Craig, This I probably do not overrate, in stating it at between four and five thousand men; a more injudicious, or a more unfortunate disposition of which force could not possibly have been made under the present circumstances. It was not wanted for defensive purposes in that quarter; it is too small for offensive ones of any importance; and if, as I have heard it conjectured, the taking of Minorca with a view to facilitating the blockade. of Toulon was the object, to carry that intention into effect now, would, with a view to the present state of the war, be rather out of season; it would be shutting the stable door after the horse was out. What other offensive operation of any importance such a force as this can undertake there, I cannot guess; what purposes of defence they can be 664 applied to, which can make the posts which we occupy in the Mediterranean more secure than they were last year, I know not: and that they are totally out of the way of coming to the aid of those other foreign possessions that are menaced by the powerful armaments which have lately been sent abroad by the enemy, every one must admit. Therefore, in drawing this sort of general comparison between the different degrees of danger or security of our foreign possessions at the present moment, and at the period immediately preceding the right hon. gent 's return to office, (when he voted for a motion similar to mine) it is fair to deduct these 4,500 men, employed under Sir James Craig, from the amount of those reinforcements that are to be brought into account against the detachments made by the enemy; which would reduce the former to something less than 7,500, whilst the latter, as I have before stared, mat, on a moderate computation, be reckoned at 13,000.—but this is not all:—It is not merely in this point of view that we are to consider the increase of danger abroad. It is not merely that we have only an increase of 7,500 to set off against the enemy's increase of 13,000; but the question again occurs, where are ours,. and where are his?—Ours are scattered throughout the vast extent of our East and West India possessions, whilst his are for the most part united, and, if gone to the West Indies, will not find the most valuable of our islands capable of resisting are attack of so large a force.—Under all these circumstances and considering the subject in every point of view, the must conclude that our affairs abroad are in a much worse state than they were last year, when the right hon. gent. thought the situation of the country such as to make it necessary for parliament to enquire into the means of rendering our military force more adequate to the exigencies of the war.—But, if the danger has encreased abroad, let it not he supposed that it is diminished at home. From every circumstance of our situation, and all that has passed within these last twelve months, I am warranted in asserting the contrary: and even independant of every other consideration, it is evident that the attempt to avert or to repair the mischief with which we are menaced out of Europe, must in its immediate consequences end to a diminution of our security at home, unless accompanied by some effectual measures for adding to the general mass of our military strength. Every operation of this sort must necessarily have that effect; and, as government has not proposed any means for procuring to the army 665 such a permanent supply as shall enable it to bear these drafts, we shall shortly find ourselves with a greatly diminished force at home, whilst that species of danger against which this force was to protect us, I mean the danger of the invasion of England or Ireland will consequently have encreased.—And here I cannot avoid saving a few words Upon the question of invasion generally. I was one of those who at the commencement of the war thought it very probable: I had strong opinions upon the subject; I took frequent opportunities of expressing them in this house; and I feel no reason whatever to regret the part I then acted. but on the contrary I look hack upon it with great satisfaction. I confess, however, that I was mistaken in my conjecture, for it could only be conjecture, of the enemy's intentions. I thought that an enemy so enterprizing, having an immense army completely ready for the field, and plenty of excellent transports in Holland, Flanders, &c. at command, would have risked the attempt before we had time to equip and to man our dismantled fleet, to recruit our disbanded army, and to manufacture the arms which our insufficient arsenals could not supply to that mass of the people who were willing to come forward in defence of the country. I thought the enemy would have attempted to decide the war by a sudden attack partaking of the nature of a surprise; and I am happy that I was mistaken.— The enemy having decided upon a different mode of proceeding, it then became evident that considerable length of time would be necessary for him to make his preparations for this more systematic and more regular species of attack.—These preparations have at different and no very remote periods been described in the strongest possible terms, by the right hon. gentleman now at the head of administration, as being immense in their extent, most formidable in their nature, and so advanced in their progress to maturity as to require the most no remitting vigilance and the utmost degree of exertion on our part. In his majesty's speech too at the opening of the present session, which we of course, consider as proceeding from that right hon. gentleman, we were told, and from what is daily passing we are convinced, that these preparations have ever since been industriously carried on; and there does not appear to he any better reason now, than there was at any former period, for supposing, that such vast and expensive equipments are intended for nothing more, than to amuse the people of France or to alarm us. I am also sure that there is no 666 other reason for supposing the danger of invasion to be less than it was before he came into office; for in Europe, as well as out of it, the enemy's means of offence have encreased in a greater proportion than our means of defence. I am therefore sorry to find that the idea of invasion is now pretty generally treated with levity; and I was seriously concerned a few days ago, when I heard a noble lord (Castlereagh) who is a cabinet minister, give it as his opinion that the war had now in a great measure changed its character, and that the enemy, who for a considerable time had appeared to have lost sight of the colonies, seemed now to be directing his principal elf-arts towards then. If the noble lord meant, that whilst the pressure had encreased abroad it had been lightened at home, in that opinion I hope that he stands alone in the cabinet. It he only meant to say that it had now become necessary for us to hare a larger force than before to protect our colonies, I perfectly agree with him; but if his meaning was, as it appeared to me to be, that we may a without risk obtain those reinforcements abroad by a diminution of that force which was before. deemed necessary for our defence at home, I trust and hope that he does not find any of his colleagues of the same opinion. It the force we had in Europe last year was not mare than was requisite, it must now be two small: for, whilst the enemy's general means of offence have encreased, I can discover nothing in the actual stare of the war which should induce us to suppose, that if he ever seriously entertained the project of invasion, he has now relinquished it. The mariner in which he is now conducting his operations does not appear to me to be inconsistant with the supposition that his ultimate views are still chiefly directed to and mainly intent upon the execution of that great enterprize. The expeditions which he is sending out to the attack of our colonies may be considered, not only in the light of independent operations highly important in themselves, but also perhaps as powerful diversions in favour of an intended attack upon great Britain and. Ireland, to which they not improbably may he the prelude. I say, sir, that if these expeditions are conducted with tolerable skill and vigour, they afford the enemy a double chance of success, either of which is sufficient to justify the enterprize; first, the chance of striking a blow abroad Coat will do us great, perhaps irreparable mischief, and secondly, combined with this, the further chance of drawing to a great distance from home a considerable part of our naval forces and of our regular army. The for- 667 mer, supposing them even to have taken the right direction in pursuit of his expedition, may not be recalled in time to assist in frustrating his ulterior designs; and the latter, on our present system, we have little hopes of replacing bet in a great length of time. Whilst we were indulging, as the noble lord seemed to do, in the idea that the project of invasion was given up, might it not happen that the enemy, after drawing a great part of our naval force in an uncertain pursuit of his expeditions, after establishing a dangerous war in our colonies, after landing for instance (as he probably may do long before our squadrons reach the West indies) 10 or r 12,000 men in Jamaica, where we have only between 3 and 4,000 troops to oppose him,—might it not happen, I say, that his fleet, quitting those seas as soon as the troops and stores were landed, should disappear before ours arrived there? and, whilst our admiral remained for a time uncertain of their subsequent rout, and in that uncertainty unwilling to quit the theatre of so important a contest, and to abandon Jamaica to its fate, is it not probable, nay in such a case, is it not almost certain, that the enemy would arrive again in the European seas long before our squadron that had gone in pursuit of him, perhaps even before it had quitted the West Indies, involved, as I suppose them in an arduous state of warfare? After what we have seen, can we say that all this is an exagerated supposition? why should they not effect their landing in Jamaica before the arrival of a fleet that left Europe nearly five weeks after them? why should not a large fleet get back to a port in Europe as well as the Rochefort squadron? but if the former of these events takes place, namely, the landing of 10,000 men in Jamaica, the enemy will have succeeded, either,in capturing that island, or at least in establishing in it a war, of which the ultimate issue will at best be precarious, but of which the enevitable consequences would be infinite mischief to the island, the suspension (perhaps for many years after the enemy's expulsion from it) of the greater part of the advantages which we derive from that important colony, and a fatal drain of men from our regular army now at home: and therefore the probality of this first success as an independant operation is, under the present circumstances, in itself quite sufficient to account for his having determined on this active employment of a part of his force, whilst in the mean time the equipment of the Spanish navy, the augmentation of the French, and the other preparations for the invasion of Great Britain and Ireland are uninterruptedly carried on: and if, com- 668 bined with this first success, namely, the landing of such a force in Jamaica, the second supposition, namely, the safe return of these fleets, like the former, to Europe, should also be realised, it will then he found that, besides the advantage of having established a destructive war in the West Indies, which would probably terminate in the destruction for many years of the colony more important, to our commercial greatness perhaps than any that we possess, he would also have brought about, in our relative situations at home, a change highly advantageous to his further designs; our three in Europe being greatly weakened, whilst his remained undiminished, for the detaching to or even 20,000 men to the colonies cannot be considered as any diminution of the military force of the French in Europe, since their government has the power of replacing them and augmenting its army at pleasure. But this is not all; I will go further, and however extravagant the idea, which I am going to state may appear to some, I am not afraid of stating it as one deserving of the serious attention of government: what I mean is, that if we were for an instant thrown off our guard at home in consequence of these distant attacks, the enemy's fleets, after landing as I have supposed their troops in Jamaica, or other valuable foreign possessions, might unexpectedly make their appearance in such a situation as to gain a temporary superiority in the narrow seas, take possession of the anchorage of the downs, and bring over that immense army, which if in possession of that anchorage for a few days only, they would have ample means of transporting across the channel. A right hon. gent (the secretary at war) smiles I perceive, and probably considers this idea as very absurd. He may sneer at it if he pleases, but I hope that those near him who are in the cabinet, do not treat it with quite so much contempt. If the idea in itself is an absurdity, it is not altogether one of my own invention; for I happen to know from perfectly good authority that a similar project was entertained in the American war, and was actually proposed, as one that he was desirous of acting upon, by a French officer of reputation, then in a high responsible situation, I mean the marquis de Bouillé. I have good reason. to state possitively, that previous to admiral Rodney's falling in with count de Grasse's fleet, the marquis de Bouillé proposed to the admiral to depart suddenly from the West Indies, to return straight to Europe, and to enter the channel (which they would then have commanded for a time, as they did at another period of the war) for the purpose 669 of bringing over to England the army which was assembled on the coast of Normandy. This project, I am fully persuaded, was seriously entertained; and if it was then thought practicable by an officer of repute, as M. de Bouillé was, why should a similar idea be treated as too extravagant for serious consideration, now that the enemy possesses means, such as France never before possessed, of taking advantage of a temporary superiority in the narrow seas?—for again I say, let it be recollected that the anchorage of the Downs and the Streights being for a very few days only in possession of the enemy, would suffice to enable their flotillas to effect the disembarkation of an immense army on our coasts. But its whatever degree this idea may or may not be thought deserving attention, yet I think that the general reasoning must he admitted to be just, by which I have attempted to shew that. the operations that are now going on abroad are by no means inconsistent with a perseverance in the ulterior designs of invasion which the enemy has hitherto been supposed to entertain, and that distant operations of this sort and magnitude, exclusive of the mischief which may immediately result from them to our colonies, commerce, and finances, may be considered as having a direct tendency to facilitate that ultimate enterprize, by the certainty of greatly weakening the regular part of our home defensive army, and by the probable chance of leading our fleets astray. At all events, I shall presently prove beyond all possibility of dispute, that since the present chancellor of the exchequer came into office, the enemy's means of attacking us in Europe, as well as out of it, have been added to in a tench greater proportion than our means of defence. For, setting aside the idea of the sudden return of the squadrons which they have since sent to the West Indies, yet the accession of that part of the Spanish navy now in Europe which is capable of going to sea, is more than equal to double the number of French ships now abroad; so that (exclusive of the addition that may have been made to the French and Dutch fleets and flotillas in another year of preparation) the combined fleets at this moment fit for sea in Europe, are actually 14. or 15 sail of the line more numerous than they were last year; whilst we, to supply the place of the large squadrons that we have since that time detached to the West Indies, &c, have only added one to the number of ships in commission above the rate of frigates.—Let us now enquire whether the exertions that have been made to strengthen our land forces at 670 home, have been such as to counterbalance this disadvantage. In comparing the official returns which have been presented to the house at different periods, I find, that on the rut of January, 1804, the gross amount of cavalry and infantry of all descriptions, including militia, was 220,418, of which 46,698 were abroad: on the 1st of June, 1805, the gross amount. of cavalry, infantry, and militia of all descriptions, was 232,642, of which 63,358 were abroad: so that the numbers at home in the first period were 173,720, and in the second period 162,284, being a diminution in the latter of 4,436, and thus whilst, as I have before proved, the enemy's means of attacking us in Europe have received a most powerful augmentation, ours, instead of encreasing, have actually diminished.—From all that I have said, it is, I think, abundantly clear, that whether with a view to our situation at home or abroad,. whatever reason there was for a parliamentary enquiry last year, when the right hon. gent. so strenuously supported it, that reason now exists in a still stronger degree; and I am therefore entitled to his assent to the resolutions, which I shall presently propose.—The first of these resolutions is 'That it is highly expedient that the regular army should be kept up as nearly as possible complete to the establishment which has been provided for by parliament.' This is a proposition which, in whatever light it be considered, seems to admit of no possibility of dispute If it be considered as expressive of an opinion that the number of men voted, in the army estimates of the present year was not greater than the exigencies of the war and the present state of Europe, render it, expedient for us to keep on foot, in support of my proposition as relating to that specific amount of force, I have the authority of ministers and of parliament; for upon what grounds did the former propose, or the latter adopt, estimates for such an establishment, unless it was thought both expedient and practicable to keep it up. The amount of the sums voted and provided for by parliament for army services, is nearly 2,000,0001. sterling greater than it need have been, if there had been no necessity or intention of encreasing our effective force beyond its present amount. A great part of this sum, I mean that which was allotted for the daily pay of. private soldiers who are not effective, will of course be accounted for; and therefore, although it must be admitted, that to allot to any branch of the public service so much larger a sum than is requisite, must be liable to many objections; yet I allow, that in this 671 respect, namely, in what relates to the daily pay of the private soldiers, there is no actual loss to the public. In other respects however, there is a very considerable loss: for it must be observed, that the full establishment of officers and non-commissioned officers is always paid as complete, although the number of privates he (as at present) miserably deficient; and the number and consequent expence of the former is therefore much greater in proportion to that of the latter, than it ought to be, and would he if the establishment and the effective strength of the army were not so widely different in amount. This is one source cat unnecessary expense arising out of that difference; and another is, that although the sum voted for the daily pay of the privates is expended only for such as are effective, yet the sums voted for the cloathing, agency, &c. of each complete regiment is actually paid in full, without any reference whatever to the real number of men to he cloathed: So that in proportion as the effective strength of the regiment is below the establishment, the profits to the colonel, and unnecessary expence to the public is encreased. With a view to economy, therefore, it is clear, that as a general principle it is at all times desirable that the establishment provided by parliament should not greatly exceed the effective strength of the army: and with particular reference to the present time, to the actual state of this country and of Europe, and the nature of the contest in which we find ourselves engaged. it must be admitted to be in the highest degree expedient and necessary, that the effective strength of the army should be nearly equal to the numbers that were this year voted. It is therefore incumbent on his majesty's ministers to shew us the means by which they expect to make good the deficiency; or rather I should say that, seeing the enormous amount of this deficiency, and the experienced inefficacy of all the measures which his majesty's ministers have adopted for making it good, it is become the duty of parliament to investigate a subject of such importance. What the deficiency is, and what the progress made by the present administration towards the completion of the army, will appear from the statements contained in the subsequent resolutions: which statements are accurately extracted from the official returns now in possession of the members of this house. The second resolution that I have to propose therefore is, 'That from the returns lately presented to this house, it appears that on the 1st of the present month, there was a deficiency of 672 45,134 men in his majesty's regular British cavalry and infan[...]ry, and of 4,212 in the foreign cores; amounting together to 49,346 men wanting to complete the regular army.'—In the next resolution, which contains a statement of the progress that we are making towards the completion of the army, I have confined my view to that part of it only which consists of British troops; because the recruiting of the foreign corps is so uncertain, that it is impossible from an average of the last 12 or 18 months, to judge of what may happen in the ensuing. the third resolution, therefore, is, That, from the returns presented to this house of the effective strength of his majesty 's forces, on the 1st of January, 1804, and the 1st of June, 1805, it appears that, at the former period, the total amount of regular British cavalry and infantry was 122,700 men (including 1,000 recruits at the army depot who were omitted in the said returns) and at the latter period 137,345, being an increase of 14,645 men; but that this was in part occasioned by he enlistment of 8,963 men from the militia,—so that the actual increase arising from any means that can be considered as permanent, was not more than 5,682 men in 17 months, which is at the rate of about 4,000 men per annum, being something less than one-eleventh part of the present deficiency.' But if we go a little further into detail, we shall find, that of this small encrease of the army which has been effected in the last 17 months, a very small proportion only has taken place in that part of it which is of the greatest importance. The infantry constitutes the main force of every army; it is that to which every military man, in enquiring into the strength of an army, first directs his attention; it is that which is necessary upon all occasions. But if this is the case with respect to, armies in general, it is still more strongly so with respect to ours in particular, on account of the great number of our foreign possessions, in which infantry alone is employed. It is therefore interesting to consider this branch of our military force separately; and with that view I have drawn up time following resolutions, namely, 'That on the 1st of January, 1804, the whole infantry of the regular army, amounted to 119,523 men (including the recruits at the army depot who were omitted in the said return) and that of this number 12,900 or thereabouts consisted of foreign corps; so that the British infantry at that time amounted to 106,623 men.'—'That on the 1st of June, 1805, the whole infantry of the regular army amounted to 137,213, including about 673 20,178 belonging to foreign corns (of whom 5,401 consisted of Ceylon Native troops.) That the whole amount of British infantry at that time was therefore 117,035, being 10,402 more than on the 1st of January, 1804 But, as in this increase are included 8,963 men enlisted from the militia, it appears that the whole increase of British infantry arising from any means that can be considered as permanent, has not exceeded 1,439 man in 17 months; which is at the rate of 1015 men, or about one 36th part of the present deficiency, in 12 months."— This, sir, is an accurate statement of the present situation of our army. A right hon. gent. (the secretary at war) may shake his head, as I perceive he does; but I defy him to prove the smallest inaccuracy in any part of my statement, unless indeed he shall again acknowledge that the returns which he has presented are not correct. If the returns are correct, my statements are so likewise; this can be examined into in the committee, and there I defy that hon. gent. to point out the most trifling circumstance, or a single figure in which my resolutions are not supported by the documents on the table:—at all events what I now propose are mere resolutions, which as we know from recent experience, it would he easy to rescind.—In the mean time, I will pledge myself to prove from the papers on the table, that in that part of the public force which it is most essential to keep on a high footing, the infantry I mean, the increase in 12 months has nor exceeded one 36th part of the deficiency; and that even the increase consists chiefly, it nor entirely, of an augmentation of the number of officers, occasioned by the formation of new battalions, of which I shall speak hereafter. So that as far as relates to the operations of any permanent source of supply, it has absolutely stood still; I say permanent, for the recruiting from the militia, though I greatly approve, and have frequently urged the having recourse to it, is one which his majesty's ministers, unless they abandon the principles on which they carried that measure into effect, cannot consider as a permanent resource; and it is in itself no real augmentation of our military force. The number of men actually raised by all the other various modes of recruiting the regular infantry, whether for general cr limited service, has barely kept pace with the casualties; and that too, let it be observed, during a period which, excepting in the East Indies, has been a period rather of a preparation for war, than of actual war. The army has enjoyed all the general advantages of a state 674 of war for recruiting; all the benefit too, if there be any, of all the measures which the right hon. gent. (Mr. Pitt) and his colleagues have been able to devise; and, excepting the East Indies, it has suffered none of thole losses which we must look to in the continuation of the contest; and yet, taking the cavalry and infantry jointly, the excess of the recruits over the casualties, even including the great encrease of officers, has been only one-11th part of the deficiency; and. the infantry, which wants near 40,000 men of its compliment, has absolutely stood still. But if this has been the case in the last 17 months, a period so barren of military events, is it not probable, nay, is it not certain, that in the progress of the war (which cannot continue to be quite so quiet) the army will progressively decline, in proportion as the exigencies of the war encrease? Must not this be the natural consequence of our continuing to place our reliance on measures, so futile as those which his majesty's ministers have hitherto had recourse to? Upon these grounds it is, sir, that after exhibiting as I have done in the former resolutions, the discouraging results of the returns upon tire table, I shall proceed to propose the following resolutions, namely. "That, considering the small progress made towards compleating the army during a period, excepting in the East Indies, very link loss has been sustained in consequence of military operations; and, considering the nature of the contest in which we are engaged, this house is of opinion, that it is necessary to have recourse to some more efficacious system, for the supply. of the army, than that which has been hitherto pursued." And "That, as it does not appear that his majesty's ministers have any intention of proposing any new measure with a view to the furthering of the recruiting service, or to the improvement of our military system, this house do therefore resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, in order to deliberate upon those highly important subjects."—Now, sir, I am really at a loss to know upon what grounds it is that the right hon. gent. and his friends who voted with him for a similar enquiry last year, can resist it now. The plea then was, that our military force, particularly the army, was inadequate to the exigencies of the war, and that the system of the late administration afforded no prospect of augmenting it. The exigencies of the war have, since that tine, increased in a very alarming degree, whilst all the right hen, gentleman's beasted plans and projects 675 for the augmentation of the army have utterly and entirely failed.—Both the amount and distribution of the enemy's forces are much more menacing now than they were last year. Abroad, our most valuable possessions, which last year were in a state of security, are now confessedly exposed to imminent danger: at home, the enemy's means of offence have powerfully increased, whilst our means of defence, so far from keeping pace with him, have positively diminished. Last year the enemy's naval force, in the number of ships of the line, was to ours only as two to three; the numbers now are nearly, if not quite equal. Our military force at home, which last year was thought barely sufficient for defence against the lesser danger, is now not only proportionably; smaller, (with reference, I mean, to the great increase of the enemy's means), but it is actually and positively diminished: it is threatened, too, with a still further reduction, by the large detachments which are now and long have been embarked at Cork, and are apparently kept in readiness to sail for the support or recovery of our colonies, where there is every appearance of the commencement of operations, which, if they should continue, would (as we know from experience) prove a dreadful drain to the flower of our army, whatever, in other respects, their ultimate issue might be. Looking, therefore, at the present state of our affairs as compared with the past, it is manifest that the public force is now infinitely more inadequate to the services required of it than it was when the. right hon. gent. voted for the enquiry which I now propose: and as to the future, what possible ground is there for hoping that the state of our army will improve, or that, when the war becomes active, it will not rapidly fall off? The right hon. gent. in answer to a question which I put to him before I gave notice of my present motion, declared that he had no new measures to propose; and,judging of the probable future results of his present system by the ample trial it has already had, what can we expect from it? what, I say, has hitherto been the result of all his boasted plans for the supply of the army? Is it not proved in the manner of all others the most indisputable, namely, by a comparison of the official returns of the effective strength of the army at different dates? is it not proved, I say, that, during a period in which we have had no loss of men by military operations, excepting in the East Indies only, the infantry, which wants nearly 40,000 men of its compliment, has absolutely gained nothing?that the casualties 676 have at least equalled the number of men raised by all the multifarious modes of recruiting,—parish officers and all? And let it be remarked, too, that a great proportion of the men that have been raised consists of new levies, which, before he came into office, had been set on foot by his predecessors.—And has he not, as his last resource, been obliged to have recourse to recruiting the army from the militia;—from that militia which we have so often heard him declare ought to be held sacred, and which, before his ardent hopes of the wonderful effects of his famous parish bill, were disappointed, he would not upon any account consent to touch? What reason, then, resulting from a comparison of our present state with that in which he last year voted for an enquiry—what reason resulting from any hope of the future that can reasonably be grounded upon the experience of the past, will any man, who did vote for that enquiry then, assign for resisting it now? I really can conceive none, excepting, indeed, one, which the right hon. gent. himself will hardly avow, and which some of his colleagues would scarcely carry their complaisance to him so far as to concur in if he did, namely, that he is prime minister now, and that he was not in that situation then. But whatever a few of his friends may feel, the majority of the house, I trust, will not carry so far their blind confidence in a minister under whose management the country has been brought into a situation, beyond all comparison worse than it was at that time, when he himself declared it to be the duty of parliament to enquire into the state of the public force, and investigate the means of improving it.—But, sir, it may perhaps be asked of me, what, if the house adopted my motion, I should have to propose to the committee to do, with a view to remedy the evils of which I complain? Sir, I do not know that it is incumbent on me to propose any thing. I have attempted to prove, that our present system is defective, inefficacious, and requires revision. If I have established that, as I think I have, then I have done enough to justify my motion, and I might, without impropriety perhaps, leave the rest to the wisdom of the house. I believe, indeed, that it is almost impossible to put a stop all at once to the various had consequences that have resulted from the system which has for some time past been pursued; and certainly I do not pretend to effect so much. But a change is absolutely necessary; immediate benefits, of great magnitude and importance, would result from such improvements in our military system as I should propose to the 677 committee to adopt at once; and the rest would follow.—I shall therefore briefly state the outlines of what I would now propose; but must previously apprise the house, that these suggestions, although in my opinion of infinite importance, are no longer new. The subject has been so often discussed; I have myself so frequently delivered my opinions upon it in the house; my tight hon. friend (Mr. Windham) above all, has treated it in so masterly a manner, that little more is left for me now, than either to repeat myself, or imperfectly to recapitulate what he at various times has so forcibly urged. But the subject is one of such transcendant importance to the glory, the welfare, and the safety of the state, that I shall venture to trespass a little longer on the patience of the house.—If, then, we do go into a committee, the first thing that I would propose to it to do, would be, to undo 'all that tie right hon. gent. (Mr. Pitt) has done; namely, to repeal at once the whole of his Parish Bill; and if I obtained from the committee no more than this, I should congratulate myself on having rendered an essential service to the country, and on having removed one of the numerous obstacles which stand in the way of our getting such an army wove might, and ought to possess. What," will it be said, would you at once destroy that beautiful system, from which, in the eloquent description that was given of it by its author, we were taught to expect such happy results? Have you no consideration for those sixty battalions, who so tenderly sympathize, with your favourite regular army?"— None at all, sir.—Nothing less than the immediate destruction of the whole fabric would satisfy me. At the time of the introduction of that bill, I urged my objections to its being passed into a law; and the sooner it is expunged from the statutes the better. For really, sir, the general principles of it are so absurd, that I cannot imagine how a man of that right hon. gentleman's abilities could ever have conceived such a scheme. He says, that before he came into office, his objection was, not so much that the gross amount of our force was insufficient, as that too small a proportion of it was disposeable. Now, what are the means by which he sets about to remedy this defect? Why by an attempt to double the amount of in,-disposable force; for, if his plan succeeded, if the sixty battalions which he has set on foot at an enormous and altogether useless expence had been filled, we should, including militia, have 440,000 men engaged for home service only. Is it possible to conceive a more preposterous mode of setting about to 678 obtain a disposeable army? Is it not evident to every man of common sense that this enormous home army must absorb the greater part of the men who would otherwise go into the regiments of the line? for this home army holds out to them not only all the general inducements to enlist which the regular army can offer, but also many very important and weighty advantages which are peculiar to it, and which the latter does not possess. For, if we consider for a moment what are the circumstances or dispositions, which induce men to enlist as private soldiers, we shall he convinced that either temporary distress, or an inclination to an idle and vagrant life mixed with a desire of figuring in a gay and splendid military dress, are. amongst the most frequent and powerful; and all these operate as much in favour of the home army as of the regiments of the line; in addition to which, the former can offer as good pay and a much higher bounty to a man for five years service at home, than the latter can give to induce him to bind himself for life to serve in all parts of the world. It is therefore evident, that great numbers of men, who would go into the regular army if they had no other opportunity of gratifying those propensities which induce them to make trial of a military life; especially if they could engage in it for a limited term of years, will now prefer those branches of the service in which all those propensities are equally gratified, in which they will at the end of live years have the option of remaining or changing their situation if they do not like it, and in which they are not exposed to he sent to those climates, the fatal effects of which are so universally known and dreaded: and thus it must he evident to every man of common sense, that the more you extend this receptacle, the home army, the more you obstruct the recruiting of the regular army, which, if it was differently constituted as to the duration of service, and had not to combat such a competition as you now raise against it, would probably he filled without difficulty.—From these considerations I am justified, first, in assuming that all the men whom you draw into the home army, are, in fact, diverted from the regulars; and secondly, in deriving that any men are obtained, either by this or other such schemes, who might not, by a more judicious management, have been obtained for general service for a limited time. This is the main objection to all establishments of this sort generally: and as to this particular scheme of the right hon. gent. it is, from beginning to end, fraught with absurdities and defects peculiarly its 679 own. What can be more absurd, or if not altogether nugatory, what more mischievous, than the idea of employing the parish officers as recruiting serjeants? and yet this is the grand merit of the bill; it is, to use an expression of my right hon. friend (Mr. Windham) the sole invention for which this patent was taken our. I have heard the right hon. gent. the author of this bill, describe, in general terms, the manifold advantages of this invention; but I confess I am still quite ignorant how it is to operate; and I entreat of him to condescend, for once, to lay aside that eloquence which he can so readily apply to every occasion, but which may sometimes tend rather to dazzle than instruct an ordinary understanding, in the investigation of a subject so plain as this; I would entreat of him, I say, to condescend for once to tell me, in plain language, how it is that these parish officers are to perform the task which he has assigned to them. Would he have them do what all other recruiters, in all countries, are obliged to do—would he have them pass whole days and nights in the ale houses drinking with the lads whom they wish to cajole into the service? Is this the way in which he would wish the parish officers to pass their time? and yet all this is in:et:sorry to recruiting. And if they did spend their time in this way, could they succeed as well as common recruiting serjeants? A glowing description, given over the bowl, of all the pleasures, the adventures, the glories of campaign, coming from the mouth of a man who is supposed to have experienced them, raises the wonder of many a country lad, and excites in him an admiration of this serjeant, whom he believes to have performed his share of these heroic deeds: but, how would all this sound in the mouth of a peaceful church-warden? In short, if parish officers are to set about recruiting in the ordinary way, they must begin by leading as idle and as dissipated a life as recruiting serjeants do; and after all, they will but awkwardly attempt that which the other can perform with much more effect and address. And what extraordinary means have the former, which the latter do net possess?—As to influence, and the power of persuading men to go into the army, it is impassible they can have any. But it will perhaps be said, "no matter whether you can conceive the mean by which they are to raise men, the fact is they do raise them." If this was really the case, still I should repeat, for the same reasons which I before assigned, that these very men might, by a more judicious management, have been procured for the regular regiments of the 680 line: but the true state of the case is, that the parish officers have not raised any men; and those which are returned as such, have in fact been procured by enormous high bounties paid by the parishes to crimps, and other professional recruiters. In the abstract of all the men raised under that act, which, in consequence of a motion of mine, has been presented to this house, it is stated that 3,999 had been raised by the parishes: and what particularly struck me, is, that of 2,498 men stated to have been obtained in Ireland, 2,292 are said to have been procured in that manner. My curiosity being excited by this apparent activity and success of the Irish parish officers, I mentioned it to a member for one of the Irish counties, who assured me that, during the recess, he had taken a very active part in carrying the act into effect in his country, but that not a single man had been raised by the parishes in any other way than that which I have mentioned, namely, by contracting with professional recruiters; and that this was the case in all the other counties. It is therefore clear that this bill, as was predicted, has operated merely as a very partial and unjust method of raising money, and has been wholly ineffectual as a measure for obtaining any men who could not otherwise have been procured; whilst the manner in which this call upon the parishes is made, has at the same time been the cause of continuing, those enormous bounties which the Army of Reserve Act had given rise to, and the abolition of which the right hon. gent. when he came into office, professed to be one of the great objects he had in view. For every man raised by the parishes under this act, they receive 141 from government: for every man of their quota that they fail to raise, they are fined 201.: it is therefore clearly their interest to give any bounty short of 341. rather than suffer the fine: for if they give 331. bounty, 141. of which is repaid to them by government, the man costs them only 191. whereas, if they had not procured him, they would have been fined 201. A further bounty of ten guineas is allowed to such men as shall volunteer from the limited service to the regiments of the line; and therefore every man who comes into the latter through the medium of this parish army, may be computed to have cost the country 431. in bounty only. Under these circumstances, it is to be presumed that men, who have determined on going into the army, will, instead of taking the direct road, have sense and patience enough just to look in upon the parish army in their way, and take its bounty along with them; 681 and then we are told wonders of the effects of this system of drawing men on by degrees to that, which if it had been proposed to them all at close they would have been afraid of venturing upon.—Another very serious consequence of this bill, to which I wish to draw the attention of the house, is the enormous and worse than useless expence which, exclusive of these high bounties, has been occasioned by the measures which government have adopted for the purpose of carrying this system into effect. There are at present no lest than 59 batallions, all complete in officers, allotted for the reception of these men. Nineteen of these batallions it appears were originally formed for. the purpose of receiving the men raised under the army of reserve act of 1803, and were afterwards allotted for the reception of the men to he raised under this permanent additional force act, as it is called. Not content with this number, which might have been deemed at least sufficient untill the experiment had been tried, the right hon. gent. in his eagerness to provide room for the hosts that were to be poured in by his recruiting parish officers, did at one stroke create 40 new batallions, at an enormous and totally useless expence to the public, and to the great detriment of the army, which could not fail to be considerably deteriorated by such an unnatural promotion of officers, and by the call that was also made on it to furnish non commissioned officers for these new batallions. The expence of 59 batallions in ply of officers, agency, allowance made to the colonels for cloathing men who do not exist, and other regimental allowances,totally independant of the pay and cloathing of the effective men, amounts to upwards of 400,0001. per annum, every farthing of which would have been saved to the public if since the commencement of the war, government had gone upon 'the plan of not raising new regiments till the old ones were pretty nearly completed. But even admitting, which I do not, the policy of having some batallions of this sort, were not the 19 which the right hon. gent. found when he came into office sufficient?—sufficient for every useful purpose, even in this point of view, they certainly were, as appears by-the returns;—quite sufficient to receive a larger number of men than has been raised under this act, in addition to what they before contained. But they were not sufficient to display in all its force the beautiful theory of the right hon. gentleman's new tangled military system; since a prominent feature of that system is, that every regiment of the line shall have its fellow batallion in this new home army; and for this 682 sole purpose 40 new batallions were created, the expence of which in the pay of officers, agency, allowance for cloathing, &c. amounts to about 350,000l. per annum over and above what would have been required for the pay and cloathing of all the men raised under this act, if they had been put into the 19 batallions that previously existed for limited service. And as the total number of effective men raised under this act, as stated in the returns, does not exceed 4,500, they have cost about 801. per man in one year, exclusive of their pay and cloathing, and of the enormous bounties.—Considering this measure, therefore, in every point of view, its expence to the public, its inefficacy as a measure for raising men, its oppressive and unjust operation as a tax, and the injurious competition raised by it against the regular recruiting, I should feel that I had done the country and the army an essential service if, in the committee which I propose, it should be resolved to repeal that act.—After I had got rid of the right hon. gentleman's parish bill, and before I proceeded to the investigation of the means of improving the constitution of the regular army itself, I should be desirous of pruning some other branches of our military system, by which it is overshadowed; and with this view I should direct the attention of the committee to the Volunteer establishment, of which the right hon. gent. is so zealous an admirer, but which I have always thought the most absurd system that was ever imagined by any government for the defence and security of a great empire. I do not mean to say that we ought to trust to our regular army only; I am very far indeed from estimating lightly the advantages to be derived from the exertions of a great proportion of the people properly and judiciously prepared to co-operate with the army for the defence of their country; I have always carried my ideas of the value of such co-operation as far as any man of some experience and observation in military affairs can reasonably do; but my opinion is, that all establishments of this sort should be made entirely subordinate to the regular army, that they should be so modelled and aranged that they could at no time and in no way interfere or come in competition with it, that their whole tendency should be to support and strengthen it. This is not the occasion to enter into any detailed explanation of the manner in which I should wish to constitute these subsidiary branches of the public force: nor am I so sanguine as to suppose that we could in the short remainder of the present session, completely digest and establish such a system as I allude 683 to; but some of the defects of the Volunteer system are so glaring as to deserve our immediate consideration. And first, I must mention that abominable prostitution of military honours, titles, and distinctions, which have been so indiscriminately and profusely lavished upon men of all ranks and descriptions. The absurdity and mischievous tendency of it has at different times been most forcibly illustrated by my right hon. friend (Mr. Windham), and I have never missed an opportunity of expressing my disgust at it; but I cannot let it pass without again reprobating it, as it deserves to be. What indeed can be so disgusting, what so likely to lessen the respect for the military profession, and what therefore more impolitic in the present times in particular, than this mockery? Military titles were valued once as an honourable distinction in society. Old and meritorious officers, after long and hard services, were gratified and rewarded by obtaining the title of colonel. What must the disgust and mortification be now, at seeing persons who never quitted the safe and peaceful walks of civil life, assuming those titles which formerly pointed them out as men who had devoted themselves to the honourable profession of arms, and which were almost the only reward for the services they had rendered to their country? But are the titles all? No, sir, the real rank and command annexed to those titles has also been wantonly bestowed upon the officers of the volunteers;. and if the country was to be invaded to-morrow, every lieutenant-colonel of his majesty's regular army would be exposed to find himself and his regiment too, placed in a situation equally humiliating to the army and dangerous to the service; that is to say, in tie situation of being absolutely tinder the command of a colonel of volunteers. Whatever the civil occupation of the latter, and however respectable their station in civil life, and the professions in the exercise of which they employ themselves may be, they can have no right to the titles and powers of military rank; and perhaps therefore, with respect to the general principle of their unfitness for military command, this can make but little difference: yet I cannot help particularising one instance of the manner in which this rank has been bestowed, because it is so ludicrous, as to afford a happy illustration of the absurdity of the system that is acted upon. It is only with this view that I am induced to mention it; and in doing so I trust that I shall not speak of the individual in question in any way that can be considered as taking an unfair 684 advantage of my situation as a member of parliament. Nothing can be further from my intentions: it is the thing and not the man I wish to hold up to ridicule. From all that I have heard, I believe him to be a worthy good sort of a man, and of an education superior to what people in his situation generally possess: and I cannot conceive that he or any decent tradesman can have so little sense as to be ashamed of the appellation that belongs to the trade which he industriously, honestly, and openly exercises in one of the most public streets of the metropolis. But would it be believed, sir, in any country in the world, or can it be heard without indignation in this, that his majesty's ministers, abusing the well-known devotion of the army to the will of its sovereign, should require of it to hear without a murmur, that an officer, w ho, after 20 or 30 years of military service in all parts of the world, has at length obtained the rank of a lieut. colonel, should, if called our upon actual service in Great Britain, be exposed to the degradation of being commanded by a pastry-cook—a retailer of tarts and cheesecakes? He may he a roost worthy man; every body knows that he is an excellent pastry-cook; and his puffs and patties are as good as it is possible to make; but is it not too absurd for credibility, that the vender of them should be a colonel? It is impossible, not to laugh when one thinks of it; but it is also impossible not to feel indignant at this degradation of the military profession. The pastry-cook may be perfectly justified in accepting the rank; but what must we think of the government that bestows it? and how is it possible that the military profession should long he respected, that military honors should be valued, or that the true military spirit should be cherished in a country, where, by the acts of the government itself, the arms' is thus degraded? Consider too the immediate and practical consequences that may result from it, if the country was invaded. It is no exaggeration to say that his majesty's officers, aye, his majesty's regiments too, may be commanded by this man in the day of battle, or by others, who, however superior to him in rank in civil life, must be equally unfit to exercise this military command over the officers of the army. If the Volunteers are mixed with the king's troops, as seems to be the intention of government (and as indeed in some way or other they must he) and the general officers commanding a brigade or detachment are killed or wounded, the command would in most cases devolve on a volunteer colonel; for almost all the regiments of the line are 685 commanded by lieutenant-colonels, whilst many of the volunteer corps have full colonels at their head, who by an act of parliament are entitled to rank above all lieutenant-colonels of the army. I did, in the committee upon that bill, oppose as much as lay in my power, the adoption of the clause containing so monstrous an absurdity; but my voice did not prevail. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Pitt) who attended so minutely to every clause and every stage of that bill, saw no objection to conferring this rank on volunteer officers; and I presume that in his, opinion, the hardships which entitle them to that rank (for which we must toil so long) are undergone,—the experience which fits them to command us, is acquired by that species of volunteer service called permanent duty. The importance which the right hon. gent. seems to attach to this permanent duty, appears to me quite curious, One must suppose that in his opinion, the volunteers, by passing a fortnight in making merry and carousing in some village a few miles distant from their homes, (to the great inconvenience of the country, and neglect of their own business and useful occupations) do really acquire a very great portion of the military character and habits, and fitness for war. Nay, I remember that at the close of the last session, when the right hon. gent. was reproached for not having performed any of his mighty promises of improvement in our military force, he actually did very gravely and seriously state to the house, that the strength and security of the country had, since he came into office, been greatly encreased by the circumstance of I don't know how many thousands of the volunteers having been a whole fortnight upon this said permanent duty. For my own part I confess that I am disgusted when I see the soldiers dress, and the pomp and splendour of military parade, which formerly excited animating feelings, to which ideas of military glory associated themselves, and the exclusive possession of which was of no inconsiderable importance to raise in the country a certain feeling of respect for the army, and to facilitate its recruiting,—I say, sir, I cannot help feeling some degree of disgust when I see all this displayed in every street in the town, with a magnificence that quite eclipses the regular army, by men, whose only experience of the military life consists in having passed a fortnight on what is ridiculously called permanent duty.—There are many other parts of this volunteer system, which, as well as the rank of the officers, call aloud for remedy; and the house should 686 consider, that whatever difficulty may exist in applying it now, will be encreased by delay. The longer the evils are allowed to exist, the deeper root will they take in the country, and the more difficult will it be to eradicate them. I shall not, however, dwell any longer upon this part of the subject, but shall pass to that which more immediately relates to the regular army itself: and I feel confident, that if the army was reinstated in the exclusive possession of all those advantages, honours, and distinctions that peculiarly belong to the military profession, if the defects of its own internal constitution were remedied, if the conditions which may he supposed to render men averse from entering into in were changed, and if the competition now raised against it by other branches of the public force were completely abolished and done away,—I feel confident, I say, that under these circumstances, we should not find it difficult to procure an army adequate to the exigencies of the state.—In the changes and improvements which I have to suggest in the internal constitution of the army, I can add little to what appears to have been urged by my right hon. friend (Mr. Windham) in the speech with which he introduced a motion which he made at the commencement of the session, when I was not here. I perfectly agree with him, and I have always thought that the first thing to be done, with a view. to removing one of the principal obstacles to the recruiting it, would be the enlistment for a term of years instead of for life. The advantage and propriety of this change, which has been so often recommended, particularly by my right hon. friend, seemed last year to be recognized and admitted by so large a proportion of the house, that his majesty's ministers found it necessary to assure the house that they would take it into their most serious consideration. They afterwards stated that they had done so; but that they had found so many objections started by high military authorities, as to induce them to give it up.—I cannot however say, that they have treated the house wth great respect; for they have never told us who those high military authorities were, nor what were the reasons which they assigned in support of their opinion. For my own part, I do not consider this as a question upon which the house ought blindly to defer to any military authority whatsoever, because I do not consider it as a purely military question: nay, there are some points of view in which I think that the gentlemen composing this house, from the very circumstance of their nal being military men, are fitter 687 judges than those who have passed all their lives in the army, and who, therefore, have less opportunity of observing and becoming familiar with the feelings and prejudices of the people and peasantry of this country. The question of the policy of this change, with a view to facilitating the keeping up of the army, divides itself into two branches; first, the consideration of the proportion in which it is probable that the number of recruits would be encreased by lessening the dislike that men now have to entering into the service; and secondly, the probable loss that the army would annually sustain in consequence of the discharge of men whose term of service had expired. With respect to the latter, it happens, fortunately for the investigation of the subject, that there has long existed a considerable body of English troops, I mean the East India company's European troops, in which the soldiers have been enlisted for a term of years much shorter than any that has ever been proposed for the king's army, and in which; both from the shortness of the term, namely, 5 years, as well as from their being constantly stationed abroad, all the principal inconveniencies that seem to deter government from adopting the proposed change, must have been felt in full force. Thus we have an easy and sure means of trying this part of the subject by the test of experience; and yet it appears, that until I lately moved for a return of the number of men annually lost to the company's army in consequence of the term of service having expired, his majesty's ministers had never thought of making so obvious an enquiry: and I am therefore inclined to suspect, that they have never very seriously turned their thoughts to the investigation of the subject. These returns have not indeed been made up in the manner that I had required;—the men who returned from India in consequence of the expiration of their term, not being distinguished (as my motion specified) from these who were sent home in consequence of age, wounds, or other causes that rendered them unfit for active service: but I know from the experience of several years residence in that country, that very few men indeed quit India at the expiration of their first engagement, and that the annual loss of men occasioned by this mode of enlistment, is extremely trifling. It is not therefore upon this part of the subject that we are called upon blindly to defer to military authorities, since, by referring with more accuracy to the returns of the East India company's army, and also perhaps to other documents that shew the average duration of a 688 soldier's service in his majesty's army, we may form our judgment of the probable annual loss that would result from the proposed regulation, upon that which is better than vague opinion, namely, upon past experience.—With respect to the other consideration, I mean the encreased facility of procuring recruits, I cannot conceive how there can be two opinions, It cannot, I think, he doubted, that there are many men, who, though they might be inclined to try the experiment of a military life for a few years, at the end of which they should have an opportunity of quitting it if thee pleased,. are however deterred from binding themselves to it for life. It is now looked upon as "the bourne from which no traveller returns;" or, if here and there a solider does return to the place of his nativity, he comes back crippled or an invalid, worn out and covered with infirmities that render hint unfit for all enjoyment of life. In how different a light would the service appear to the people of the country, how different a picture would it exhibit, if this change, that has been so frequently proposed, was to be adopted, and was accompanied by other provisions for rendering the situation of a retired soldier an enviable condition. The men who quitted the army at the expiration of their service would then in fact be more effectual recruiters than it is possible to procure by any other means. The comfortable situation of a certain number of these men dispersed throughout the country, would hold out a pleasing and encouraging prospect to those to whom they should recommend to follow their example. And, sir, if the prospect of advantage to the army from the proposed change is so great, must it not be a great satisfaction to parliament to find itself authorized in sound policy and wisdom to adopt a practice so much more consistent with humanity, and so much more congenial to the spirit of our constitution? Is it fitting that without some plea of strong necessity we should suffer that a man, because in a moment of thoughtlessness, caprice, or perhaps temporary distress, he enters into the army, should be deprived for life of the liberties and rights which the people of this country enjoy under that happy constitution, which we prize as so great a blessing?—and not only men who have come to the years of discretion, but lads of an age when by law they would be incapable of making any disposition of property, nay even boys of 12 or 13 years of age, are permitted to surrender for life, all those advantages of which as yet they cannot know 689 the value. In every point of view, therefore t his question deserves to be seriously entertained and enquired into by this house, who I maintain are perfectly competent to fora an accurate judgment upon. it, in all its bearings.—Another alteration which appear to me to be very necessary, with a view to diminishing the aversion which the people now have to, entering into the army, and which might, I am confident, be made without prejudice to its discipline, relates to the frequency of corporal punishments. It is, I am aware, a subject that requires being mentioned with delicacy and caution; but having been before introduced by my right hon. friend, there can be no impropriety in my noticing it, and the less, as I have little more to say than merely to state my entire concurrence in all that I understand him to have said upon that occasion. I am fully convinced that, by a judicious revision of our military law, the frequency of these sanguinary punishments might be mitigated, and commuted for others of a less revolting nature, but equally effectual and sufficient for many of those offences which now expose a man to this severe and ignominious mode of punishment. When I say this, I beg that I may not be understood as reflecting in the smallest degree upon the conduct of regimental courts martial, by whose sentence they are inflicted. It is the law and the practice that has arisen out of it, that I find fault with, and not the conduct of those by whom it is administered. The frequency of these punishments must necessarily operate in a considerable degree to deter men from subjecting themselves to martial law.—Another subject, which I should earnestly recommend to the attention of the committee, is, the situation of the officers of the army. It would well become not only the liberality and justice, but also the wisdom, of parliament, to consider of the means of providing for them in a manner more adequate to the station which, not merely their own comfort, but the respectability of the army, and consequently the good of the state, requires that they should maintain in society. The pay of a subaltern of infantry is little more than what a livery servant costs his master; and when they arrive at the rank of captain, a rank which many do not get beyond under twenty-five years hard service, and which, as it can easily be proved by the most simple calculation, the majority never get beyond at all, when they do arrive at that rank, their pay does not exceed 180 to 2001. per annum.—The king of Prussia, who, by the wisdom of his military institutions, raised 690 his army to a state of excellence that was rivalled by no other, and by that means raise his country to a rank which it otherwise never would have held amongst the powers of Europe,—that great man, wisely considering that no state can have a good army in which it is not respected, and that, in order to render it a respected and desirable profession it is necessary to hold out the prospect of a comfortable remuneration for their service to those who devoted themselves to it,—considering, too, that this prospect would be too distant, if confined, as it is with us, to the possession of a regiment, which few can aspire to, determined to make the situation of his captains a comfortable one, and such as to enable them to hold a respectable situation in society, that being the rank which every officer was sure of attaining in a reasonable time: and accordingly, when I was in Prussia, upwards of twenty years ago, the pay of a captain in the army was very near 3001. per annum; which, considering the cheapness of the country, and the advantage of never changing their quarters in time of peace, enabled them to enjoy a considerable proportion of the comforts of life.—The pay of the officers of our army was perhaps tolerably adequate when it was first established; but every body knows and feels the enormous increase in the price of every article of necessary expence. Upon this principle, the pay of other servants of the state has, in many instances been increased: upon this principle the minister, last sessions, proposed, and parliament readily consented to an increased allowance for the civil list: and why, then, should those, noon whose courage and zeal in the service of their country, its welfare, its security, and its greatness depends, those who pass great part of their lives in exposing themselves not only to all the hazards of war, but also to the baneful influence of unhealthy climates, for the defence of possessions from whence you derive so much of your wealth, why should they be neglected, and allowed to linger on in a state of penury, not less disadvantageous to the service, perhaps, than distressing to themselves? The pay of the soldiers has been increased: upon what policy did government act when they bestowed upon their wants that degree of consideration which they withhold from their officers? It is a subject, which, however ineffectual my exertions may be, I shall never cease to press upon the consideration of the house, until a suitable provision is made for them.—There are many other points to which, if we went into the committee, I might be desirous of calling its attention, but which I shall not 691 detain the house with noticing at present;—one only excepted, upon which I cannot help taking this opportunity of expressing my opinion, it being one in which I also feel a lively interest, and respecting which I refrained from troubling the house upon a late occasion, when it was introduced with so much force and feeling by an hon. gent. (Mr. Fox,) when he made a motion for taking a more general view of the situation of that description of persons to whom I allude, I mean the Roman Catholics. The policy of admitting them fully into the military service, is a question which I think might very well be entertained by the house, independantly of their other claims, for the whole of which, however, to the fullest extent that they have ever urged them, I am glad of every opportunity of professing my- self a warm advocate. What I now mention may, however, in the mean time, be made a subject of separate consideration; and I am convinced that the granting it would be attended with the best consequences to the state. By laying open the military career to them in the service of their own sovereign and country, you would bring into the army a set of men who have furnished many of the most distinguished officers to the armies of other powers, to which they are driven, by being excluded from our's. It may be said, indeed, that they are now allowed to serve in his majesty's army;—but how, and on what conditions, are they admitted into the service? Why, on the condition that they are never to exercise the command annexed to the rank which every officer, who is of the stuff of which good officers are made, looks forward to as the means of acquiring that reputation, the love of which is the predominant motive to treat actions. A catholic may indeed attain the rank of a general officer; but, as the law now stands, he never can be employed as such. How, then, can you expect that they should prefer the service of a country who treats them in this manner, to that of other countries where the highest military rank and the actual command of armies is open to them. A very large proportion of the best officers of the Austrian army have long been furnished from Ireland; and so far were they from being deprived of their due share of those high distinguished stations to which every good officer looks forward, and, without looking forward to which he will never rise above mediocrity of merit, I say, so far were they from being deprived in that service of their due share of those honours which are denied to them in their own country, that, on the contrary, Maria The- 692 resa's armies were, on more than one occasion, commanded by men born, or immediately descended, from natives of his majesty's dominions. If they had the same encouragement here, they would undoubtedly prefer the service of their own sovereign; and it is natural to suppose, that, by the introduction of a proper proportion of Catholic officers into the army, the lower orders of the people of Ireland, of that persuasion, would be more favourably disposed towards the service, and that the recruiting would be greatly facilitated.—There arc some other points, sir, to which, in a committee, I should think it my duty to endeavour to draw their attention; though I shall not now trespass any further on the indulgence and patience of the house. But, before I make my motion, I must again observe, that if the accuracy of any of the detailed statements of numbers contained in the resolutions he disputed, I hope that this difference will he considered rather as a motive for the further investigation, than for the immediate rejection of my propositions: and I pledge myself to prove that they are accurately made out from the documents on the table.—After again expressing his regret at the very late period of the session to which his motion had been postponed, in consequence of the long delays that he had not foreseen, and could not prevent, in the production of the documents on which it was founded, the honourable officer concluded by moving his first resolution.
observed, that the hon. col. in the outset of his speech, seemed very sanguine that he should he able to convince the house of the expediency of appointing a committee on the subject of his resolutions; and then stated, as the first remedy which he should propose in the committee, for the evils of which he complained, the undoing of that which parliament had been doing for the last two years, having himself but little to offer in substitution, and being willing to defer the introduction of that little till next session! He rather thought that on these grounds the hon. col. would be disappointed in his expectations. Did he imagine that his right. hon. friend (the chancellor of the exchequer) was ready to go into a committee at all times because there was one period in which he deemed it expedient to do so? the hon. col. should recollect, that the same. proposition had been agitated in an early part of the present session, end that neither his right hon. friend, nor the house, at that time, deemed it expedient to go into such a committee, and he did not believe that what the hon. col. had this evening urged, would 693 hold out a sufficient inducement to them to acceed to that, which on the occasion he alluded to, they had most decidedly rejected. Putting out of his view the early part of the hon. colonel's speech, in which he had travelled so far out of his way to censure the conduct of government in the rupture with Spain, and to state the injurious consequences of that rupture to Great Britain, he would confine himself to the subject immediately before the house, namely, the present military state of the country. There was one fact, which the hon. col. himself could not dispute, and on which he could not help congratulating the house. Parliament had certainly adopted a system in the additional force bill, which, although it might not have been productive to the full extent that was expected by his right hon. friend who introduced it, yet as far as it went, was not only compatable with the recruiting service, but since the existence of which the recruiting for the regular army had been constantly and progressively improving. Though the hon. colonel might impeach the details (which had already been discussed so largely) he could not contend that a system which produced under every disadvantage, nine or ten thousand men in the year, was an unimportant one. He had asserted that the increase had not exceeded 4,000 men in the year; but the papers on the table confuted his statements. In the four first months of this year the army had experienced an increase of 7,500 men; calculating in that proportion for the remaining eight months, the number would be 15,000, making in the whole between 22 and 23,000 men, instead of 4,000 and this without including the transfers from the militia. But the hon. colonel seemed to think that the measure which he suggested, of enlisting men for a term of years instead of for life, might without delay be adopted, and by improving the character augment the numbers of our army; and he insinuated blame against ministers for not having attended to this subject. Now, the fact was, that they had given it the most anxious and painful attention, and the great difference of opinion that prevailed not only among them, but among men of the highest military authority, justified them in not coming to parliament to propose such an alteration. In his own mind, he thought few more men would be obtained by this new inducement, and he was confirmed in this opinion by the fact, that when it was proposed to the Irish militia to inlist into the regulars, a bounty of ten guineas being offered for limited service, and 12 guineas for unlimited service, out of 9,000, only 250 694 took the to guineas, for limited service, and the remainder were induced, by the trifling addition of two guineas, to inlist for unlimited service. The hon. col. complained of the heavy expence of the second battalions; but these were of infinite service. From them the first battalions were most easily supplied, as was clearly evinced in the regiments lately sent out to the East Indies, which were immediately compleated to their full compliment of 1000 men from the numbers of volunteers who crowded from the second battalions. Another benefit attending these second battalions was, that in case of invasion (the danger of which he had never asserted to be at an end) the number of experienced officers in the midst of the country, ready to take charge of the volunteers or armed peasantry would be a circumstance of incalculable advantage. With regard to the difficiencies at present existing in the regular army, it was evident that all armies raised as those of Great Britain were by voluntary enlistment and not by conscription, must he occasionally short; but owing to the supernumeraries not having been accounted for in the papers on the table, he rather thought that they staved the deficiencies as greater than they really were. The regular army was at present greater than it ever was in this country of that army the disposeable force was larger; of that disposeable force the infantry, and particularly the British infantry, were more numerous, independant of a volunteer force exceeding 400,000 men, which, whatever the hon. colonel might think of them, were in a state of spirit and determination which would render them formidable to any enemy that should dare to attack them. Compare our gross force with the highest point to which it reacted in 1802, and it would be found to exceed that number by 5,100 men. Compare our present regular army with that existing on the 1st of January, 1804: at that period it consisted of 150,500 men, it now amounted to 179,100, making an increase in the last 18 months of 28,600 men. Of that number the disposable force was on the 1st of January, 1804, 122,700; it was now 161,300. being an increase of 38,600; of the disposable force, the infantry (which had been contended, and, fairly contended, to be of the most moment) was on the 1st of January 1804, 90,500, it was now 121,700, being an increase of 31,200 in the regular disposeable infantry, during the last 18 months. The number of foreign troops was pretty much the same at each period, the increase being nearly exclusively in British infantry. The hon. colonel 695 did not seem to attach so much consequence to the foreign troops in our pay as they deserved. Even the native troops in Ceylon were by no means contemptible; the Sepoy's had frequently shown themselves formidable. But what could the hon. colonel say against the Hanoverian troops, or those other continental regiments,who fighting undergen. Stuart in Egypt, had abundantly proved their bravery and discipline? It was impossible for him, consistantly with his duty, to say any thing on the expedition that had been sent up the Mediterranean, except to express his surprise that the hon. colonel, in total ignorance of all the facts which had induced government to fit out that expedition, should take upon him unequivocally to condemn it. The hon. colonel's statements of the general distribution and amount of our force in our foreign possessions was erroneous. In the accounts of June 1805 the artillery were nor included, but he compared them with those of January 1804, in which they were included. The actual return of the troops now serving abroad was 69,300 men; in Jan. 1804. they consisted only of 49,000 men, so that the actual increase of the number of troops serving abroad was not 16,000 as stated by the hon. colonel, but 20300.—With respect to the general deficiences at home, the hon. col. had truly stated them at 4,000; but was this surprising, when we had detached such numbers abroad? Besides, examine the comparitive quality of the force in Great Britain now, and that in January 1804. Whether we looked to the regular army, the militia, or the volunteers, no man of a candid mind but must admit, that so far from the means of defence which the country possessed being weaker at the present moment than they were at that period, they were much more powerful, and afforded much greater security; and although he would not say that the danger of invasion was entirely gone by, he would certainly say, adverting to our naval and military force, that the danger was not near so considerable as it was at the period alluded to. The hon. colonel was of opinion that such were our military deficiencies, that we could not avail ourselves of any opening that might offer itself for operations on the continent; but should any opportunity really occur, arising from the efforts of those great powers who alone were able to combat the gigantic strength of France, a great part of our disposeable force might be detached to act in co-operation with them, leaving the country under the protection of the militia, the volunteers, and the remainder of the' regular army, who would be 696 amply sufficient for its defence, secured as it would he from any danger of invasion, by the necessity which the enemy would feel to direct his exclusive attention to those parts of his own empire in which he was attacked. Admitting that our force, high as it now stands, does not stand so high as it could be wished, what could be more expedient than to permit the continuation of those measures, by which it had been so rapidly and material! increased? The bill introduced by his right hon. friend, had, under the most disadvantageous circumstances, produced above 10,000 men in the year. If the general and regular recruiting should go no higher than it had hitherto done, it would cover the casualties, and the operation of the additional force bill would be a net addition to our strength; but there was every reason to expect, that the ordinary recruiting would rise much above the standard of last year. What it exceeded that standard so much would still be added to our force. It was impossible there-sore, with justice, to contend that this system was had or inadequate to the wants of the country. The hon. colonel talked of new schemes; of these we had no practical experience, but we had practical experience of his right hon. friend's system, and he earnestly dissuaded the house from tampering with that system or setting the question once more afloat. On a revision of the whole of the circumstances of the case, in comparing our present strength with our former, he saw no ground of charge against government; but, on the contrary, it appeared to him, that they had done their duty, and acted on a system, which, without being injurious to other parts of the service, had very considerably extended the military strength of the country. Feeling, therefore, that there was nothing to warrant the going into a committee for the purpose of undoing that which in his opinion had been so well done, he should move the order of the day.
§ Mr. Fuller
wished to ask hon. gentlemen what they were afraid of, with 600,000 armed men at their back? He could not conceive how gentlemen could talk in such a manner. He had seen the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer's corps, the Cinque Ports, and he bore testimony to their spirit and discipline. He had assured general Johnston he would take an opportunity of mentioning it to parliament; these were, most of them, laborious men, and went through manoeuvres, for a whole day, as well as any troops, and walked upwards of 18 miles home at night. He would ask then, 697 what men could do more? he was a colonel of volunteers himself; he had been once in the cavalry, and one thing or other for five and twenty years; he was, to be sure, but a bad orator, but he knew gentlemen who were good orators and no soldiers.—The hon. gent. alluded to the hon. colonel's animadversions on the appointment of Mr Birch, the pastry cook, to head a regiment of the London volunteers. Mr Birch was a man of good character; he was an excellent citizen, and perhaps as able an orator as the hon. colonel himself. The history of France afforded many instances of men like him rising to military rank from obscurity. What was Moreau himself? he was once a lawyer, and afterwards a great general.
§ Sir fames Pulteney
entered into a comparison of the merits of the enlistment for life and the enlistment for limited service. The latter had been tried in thee American war, and had failed. It was again on trial in the additional defence bill, which was said by the hon. colonel to have failed too, and yet he wished the house to go into a committee for the purpose of submitting a plan, which at the same time he asserted had just been unsuccessful. The fact was, there was no disposition in those people who determined to become soldiers, to prefer enlisting for a limited time to enlisting for life; no good effect was produced by holding out that boon, but the inconveniences attending it were numerous. To the system of inlisting men for limited service in the army of reserve, he had been a warm friend, and he contended that there was no better mode of recruiting the regular army, than first to permit men to enter in that manner for limited service. Of that army which originally consisted of 40,000 only 17,000 remained; the others had enlisted into the regular army.
§ General Norton
explained some of the military details, defended the conduct of government, and particularly contended that no unnecessary expences had been incurred by them in the prosecution of their plans. He did not see any necessity for going into a committee on any of the points suggested by the honourable mover.
§ Sir William Erskine,
said, that he had laid his mind to the subject of devising what might be the best mode for recruiting the army from the first moment he went into it. The result of all his deliberation was, that no efficacious means could he devised in which force was not in some shape employed. He should be sorry to dwell on the dark side of the subject. But he had not yet seen any country which was not obliged, sooner or 698 later, to have recourse to compulsion. France had adopted that system before the revolution, and there was not a country on the continent in which it was not practised to a greater or lesser extent. How was it to be supposed, then, that in this flourishing country, considering the great competition which manufactures and agriculture presented, our army could be kept up, without at length resorting to a similar expedient? Enlisting men for a limited period, had already, in some instances, been tried, and had not answered the purpose, nor did he think it ever could. The best means of raising men, was to interest as many as possible in the raising of them. On what other principle was it that the ballot had been found so effectual, but from the circumstance of every person feeling himself interested in the business? As to the volunteer system, he differed widely in his opinion of it, from the hon. mover; nor did he think that any officer in the army would feel hurt at seeing officers of volunteers. For his own part, it gave him pleasure to see men active in the service of their country, and exposing themselves to inconvenience without the prospect of any recompence. No other country had ever displayed equal spirit as this country had done in its voluntary exertions; and he conceived the volunteer system as being at this -moment the sheet anchor of the state.
§ Mr Wortley Stuart
wished to know why because a man in his private capacity was a pastry cook, he was incompetent in his military character to command officers of inferior rank? How was it to be avoided? where there were a number of men, there must he subordination in rank. He saw no reason for jealousy in the regular army at the manner in which volunteer officers were promoted to rank, nor did he see how that system could be avoided. He should not be ashamed to take the command of a company of volunteers any more than of the best regulars in the service, so well did they conduct themselves in general.
§ Mr. Windham
could not conceive how it was possible for any man to figure to himself that men could be procured for life with equal ease as they might be had for a limited number of years. In the one view it must be obvious to the person enlisting that he had an option; in the other, that he had none. It would be always in his power to change his service for a limited number of years, to a more extended service; but he could not, vice versa, change a service tor into one of a shorter endurance. It was not in nature, therefore, that he should not like the one be 699 ter than the other. Such, likewise, was the system in every other kingdom in Europe. It was a system of economy, as well as the only probable one which promised to be effectual. The price at which men could be obtained would be so much less, as amply to compensate the loss of more frequent recruitings, or rather those increased provision; for soldiers, as would engage most at the expiration. of their term to enter afresh. The honourable. member then proceeded to take a view of the different descriptions of force at present in the service of this country, and contended, that by the diversity jumble was occasioned, which made it difficult, if not impossible, to come at the actual statements; as the apparent increases were not in reality so, but were transfers from one part of our force to another. He particularly dwelt on the immense promises, but trifling effects, produced by Mr. Pitt's bill, Now it was admitted, even by the noble lord who had spoken to-night, that it had completely failed, and he contented himself with arguing, that, at all events, it could do no harm. This was a dreadful falling off from what was at first professed. Yet still the noble lord, averse even now to give up the bill, begs hard for a little longer trial. He shews what it produced during the last week, and calculating on a similar number yet for every week of the year, again argues that it has not had a sufficient trial. This reminded him of an apothecary whom he once knew, and of whom it used to be observed, that whenever any of his medicines was complained of by a patient, as not agreeing with him, he never failed to exclaim "try it again." It had hen said, that the greater slumber of persons were interested in the recruiting the better it would go on, and that on this principle the bill was good for something, as it set 20,000 recruiters at work all at once. But it must be remembered, at the same time, that these men were not limited in the bounty; they might extend it to any sum not exceeding 341. a man; and therefore, instead of talking of these parish officers as 20,000 assistants, (or whatever the number was added, to the ordinary recruiters,) it was more just to describe them as 20,000 additional competitors in the market.
The Secretary at War
assured the house that he would not long detain them from the question which they seemed so anxious to come to, but he was sure they would feel it was the bounden duty of his; situation not to stiffer a misrepresented statement of our real disposable force to pass unanswered, and to impose upon the he use and the country, and 700 in doing so he would he studiously short and concise. The hon. member who spoke last (Mr. Windham) complained that there was no distinct account of the increase of British infantry, but that all was so blended and confused with foreign corps, that no precise idea could be formed of what he regarded,as our real and material strength. I beg his attention then while I state, that not a man of Maltese or Ceylonese, not a man of Brunswick or Canadian fencibles abroad, or of the German legion at home, but the actual return of British infantry, such as they were at the beginning of this year, and such as they are at the moment I speak. The state of the army, exclusive of foreign and provincial corps, en the first of January 1805, was, cavalry 21,223, infantry 103,670, making 124,893, of which, the limited service was 20,747, having a disposable force of 104,146. On the 1st of June 1805, it was, cavalry 21,760, infantry 115,486, making 137,246, of which the limited service was 17,865; leaving a disposable force of 119,381.—Will gentlemen then still contend that the British army has not been materially increased? But, says the hon. gentleman, all that can be now said by the noble lord (Castlereagh) is, that the additional force act can do no harm. No such thing was said: he said it did no harm to the recruiting service, of which I will in a moment convince you. The effect of the bill has been to raise in all 5,596 men. Lost by casualties 1,167, making 4,429; and in the last four months it has produced to the British army 3,140 effective, being at the rate of more than 9,000 men a year, exclusive of casualties; nor has it injured the recruiting service, which is in a state of unexampled increase, producing for the last four months 4,650 men, far exceeding, as appears by the papers upon your table, the produce of any former period; and, allowing for all casualties at home and abroad, it appears clear that you are gaining at the rate of 3,753 men in four months, that is 11,274 actual addition to the effectual strength of the British army in the course of the year. But we are told, that recruiting for a term of years is the only resource, and it is so because it has been successfully adopted on the continent. Is it necessary to tell the house how little our situation corresponds with that of other countries? Take hut one consideration, you have 74 batallions on foreign service; suppose this new system, so plausible in theory, were adopted, and that 8 years was the period of service, you must then have 9,000 men of returning, and as many of a relieving, force, yearly afloat 701 Would not this of itself, to say nothing of the expence, create a doubt, and induce the house to pause ere they adopt an untried scheme, and which, if once adopted, cannot be abandoned, in place of one which from experience we know to have been prosperous and successful?
made a short reply.—He disclaimed any idea of saving any thing against the volunteers themselves, but contended that government had placed them in an absurd situation. The system by which they were managed was in his opinion ridiculous. As to the gentleman of whom he had already spoken as illustrating the principle by volunteer officers had rank over those who had seen the service of 25 or 30, or perhaps 40 years, and which must have an unfavourable effect in the minds of such officers, he had no towards that gentleman; he believed he was a very good character; he had a better education than pastry-cooks might be expected to have in general. No doubt he was a fit person to know how soups might be well made, but he had no hesitation in saying that he should feel his pride hurt in being told that such a person, however respectable in private life, was to command him in a military character. There was a great deal of difference of opinion between him and the noble lord on the subject of our military to stern, and that he took to he a very good reason for going into a committee for the purpose of seeing who was right.—The motion was then put, and negatived without a division.—Adjourned.