HC Deb 03 April 1806 vol 6 cc652-722
Mr. Windham rose

and spoke as follows:—Sir; the measures which I am about to propose are little more than the application of those general principles, which I have frequently had occasion to urge to the house, when questions connected with the state of our Military Establishments have made the subject of its deliberations. The knowledge that such ideas existed in the minds of many of my hon. colleagues, as well as of myself, naturally produced an opinion, that some change conformably to these ideas was likely to be the consequence of our appointment to office. And, so far, the expectation was reasonable and just. But, when it was further supposed, that this change was to be immediate, that our appointment to office, and the adoption of measures meant as a permanent foundation for our Military Establishments, was to be one and the same thing, such an expectation was neither warranted by any thing said by myself or by any of my hon. friends, either subsequently to our coming into office or previous to it, nor countenanced, in any degree, by the nature of the proceeding itself.—For, since what we proposed had more for its object to place the service on a right footing in future, than to devise expedients for meeting the present danger, the measures in view were precisely of that sort in which care was of more consequence than time; in which it was more expedient that whatever was done should be done rightly, than that it should be done speedily.—it is surprising therefore, that the hon. gentlemen opposite do not see, that in calling so loudly for new measures, they are pronouncing a condemnation on those heretofore taken; that in carrying so high their expectations of change, when no change was announced from this side of the house, they betray a conviction that things had been left in a state in which change was absolutely necessary. I have said, and say still, that the Military Establishments of the Country are on a false and vicious state, that they stand on a footing on which they cannot stand long; but I have never said, that they could not stand for an instant; that something must be done, no matter what, or the fabric must fall to the ground. It is the hon. gentlemen who are talking this language. There is an expression known in the army, applicable to what happens sometimes under an unlucky field-officer, and is called "clubbing the battalion," by which is meant, throwing the battalion into such complete confusion, so mixing the front with the rear, the flanks with the centre, the right with the left, the grand divisions with the sub-divisions, that it is impossible for the most skilful adjutant or major, by any series of words of command, to bring it again into order. The hon. gentlemen seem to flatter themselves, and certainly not without reason, that under this head, as well as under many others, they have completely "clubbed the battalion," and then they stand by, grinning and rubbing their hands, exulting in the confusion they have made, and calling triumphantly upon their successors to shew what they can do, in putting things to rights again.—Sir; this task I am now to attempt, in that part of the affairs of the country which relates to its Military Establishments. I am to state to the house, those measures, by which his majesty's servants are endeavouring to provide a permanent security against those permanent dangers, by which the existence of the country is threatened: for we have gone on too long in thinking only of the exigency of the moment, in supposing that our task was done when he had staved off the danger for the present year, though at the price of exhausting the resources and weakening the defences of the country, for years to come.—The first object that a person engaging in such a task must have to look to, though it may seem superfluous and almost pedantic, formally to lay down the position, is an Army: by which I mean, a class of men set apart from the general mass of the community, trained to particular uses, formed to peculiar notions, governed by peculiar laws, marked by particular distinctions; who live in bodies by themselves, not fixed to any certain spot, nor bound by any settled employment; who "neither toil nor spin;" whose home is their regiment; whose sole profession and duty it is to encounter and destroy the enemies of their country wherever they are to be met with, and who in consideration of their performing that duty, and the better to enable them to perform it, receive a stipend from the state, exempting them from the necessity of seeking a provision in any other mode of life. I do not mean to say, that Great Britain has not at this time, as it has had at all others, a class of men answering to this description; that the men of this class are not as excellent in their kind as at any former period; and that the amount of their number is not great as compared with any thing but the exigency of the times. I do not mean to assert either, that we are not, in our language, ready enough to confess their importance, and to declare, that in all the steps we take, we have for our chief object the increase and improvement of this description of men: but, what I do mean to say is, that our conduct in this respect is at variance with our professions, as our language is, at different times, at variance with itself. Of all the measures connected with military objects, in which the house has been employed for years, what is the number that have even had in view the improvement of the regular army, and how much fewer are those, which can fairly pretend to have been conducive to that end? Though the Army, it was said, was finally to be benefited, the first object of the measure has always been, not to create an Army, but a substitute for an Army; and, in the course of this, we have so filled our minds with levies in mass, armed citizens, armed nations, and other ideas of that sort, that the very first conception and notion of an Army appear to be altogether forgotten. We seem to suppose, that whenever we have got a set of men together, no matter on what principle combined, have put them in a certain dress, ranged them in a certain order, and taught them certain exercises, that, as far as that number goes, we have created an Army; which is about as wise, as what we see of children in their sports, who, when they have fixed a piece of stick in the ground, fancy they have planted a tree. What is wanting in either case, is the vital principle. We perceive this in the case of the children, but never suspect that the same is true of our own attempts, when we suppose that we can create armies without danger and without discipline. Danger and discipline are the very sap and juices out of which all that has life and action must spring: it is from them alone must arise the real military character; as from the military character must proceed all that can really constitute an Army. How danger must operate to this end, is obvious to every one; but it would not be difficult to shew, that discipline is equally necessary, and that all the high military virtues, whose characteristic is courage, grow, like flowers out of dung, from a principle that is founded in fear. There must be some extraordinary property in armies, that can enable them to produce effects so far beyond the natural powers of their numbers. I wish the house to recollect how little, at all times, the fate of nations, when contending against each other, has been decided by any thing but the operations of their armies. The times are past, or, rather, never existed but among rude and uncultivated nations, when one country contended against another by the ge- neral strength of its population, when the strength of the army was the mere amount of the physical force and courage of the individuals who composed it. Nations now, and in every more improved state of society, even before the great revolution produced in the world by the invention of gunpowder, were brought to act upon each other only by the intervention of their armies. The armies are the champions on each side, to which the countries severally commit their quarrel; and when the champion falls, the cause is lost. The parties are heard only by their counsel. In how many instances has it ever happened, that when the army was defeated, the contest was restored by an insurrection of the people at large? This notion, therefore, of a levy in mass, so far as experience has hitherto gone, would seem to be one to which it would be wholly unsafe to trust. The people in mass are like metal in the ore:—and as all the iron that ever came from a Swedish mine would never hew a block, or divide a plank, till it was wrought and fashioned into the shape of a hatchet, or a saw, so the strength of a people can never, perhaps, be made capable of producing much effect in war, till it is extracted partially, and moulded into that factitious and highly polished instrument, called an Army. The only instance in modern times, that would seem to contradict this opinion, is America. But America was enabled to resist by its distance, and by its vastness. The arm of this country could act but feebly, when stretched across the Atlantic; and the forces that arrived there were dispersed and lost in the immense expanse which they had to occupy. There was an ocean of three thousand miles in front, and a continent of boundless extent behind. America is therefore hardly an instance. In the cases that are properly instances, in what manner have things happened? The latest experience is the most decisive. What are the two events, which more perhaps than any other two, have decided the fate of the present world? The battles of Marengo and Austerlitz. Yet, what were these events, except as marking the power of armies, compared with the consequences which they severally produced? What were the numbers concerned, the space occupied, the time employed, the lives lost on those days, compared with the states and kingdoms whose fate was then decided? Why were the millions of people composing those states to receive their doom from the issue of a combat between a few thousands on the plains of Austerlitz or Marengo? Yet such was the fact. The battle is lost, and Europe submits instantly to the will of the conqueror.—But it is not merely that the fact is so; our own opinions are in perfect conformity to this fact, whenever we reason upon the affairs, not of our own, but of any other country. When the emperors of France and Germany drew forth their armies lately to their respective frontiers, what did we ever expect was to stop the progress of either army, but the army opposed to it? Why, in fact, were the armies drawn out at all, if to stop the progress of an army the population of a country could be sufficient? When general Mack was defeated, we looked to nothing but the Russians. No one ever dreamt, that if they likewise were defeated, or withdrawn, that Buonaparté was not to proceed to Vienna, with as little trouble, and in as short a time, as was necessary to march that distance. Yet, it was not because there did not exist in those countries a brave and warlike people animated by the usual feelings of men attached to their prince, and loving their ancient institutions, and abhorring the idea of a foreign yoke. All these there were; yet of five and twenty millions of loyal subjects, by whom the emperor boasted to be surrounded, not five-and-twenty perhaps were found, by whom the smallest resistance was attempted, when once the armies were overthrown. If ever there was a country calculated to be defended by its inhabitants; if ever there were inhabitants qualified to defend a country, it was Swisserland, and the Swiss. The country was a succession of passes, where an handful of men might defend themselves, one should suppose, against thousands: the inhabitants were a nation of warriors; strong in limb, stout in heart, whose courage in Europe was proverbial; who had all seen service, and who were attached, beyond measure, to their native soil. Yet, without any falling off, perhaps, from their ancient character, how little were these people able to do, even in defence of such a country, against the force and skill, and active powers of a regular army!—The case may possibly be widely different here. I hope, and trust, it will be so. I am willing to push as far as any body the hopes to be entertained from the zeal, the energy, the patriotism, the intelligence, the creative talents, the enterprising spirit, the high mind, and determi- ned valour, of the inhabitants of these islands; but, though I will hope every thing from these qualities, and do feel sanguine that the hope will not be disappointed, I will not, when I can avoid it, make them part of my calculation. And here it is whimsical to observe, that while certain gentlemen are charging me as indulging my fancy, and dealing in theoretical opinions, it is they themselves, if their modesty would suffer them to perceive it, who are the real theorists, and who, like the gentleman in the French comedy, are talking prose without knowing any thing of the matter. Their opinions are, I trust, perfectly well founded; but still, as leading to conclusions different from those which experience has hitherto taught, they are no more than theory; whilst I, whom they accuse as theoretical, am keeping close in my conduct, whatever I may do in my hopes, to the dull and beaten road of experience.—In the mean time the facts and reflections above set forth, the object of which is to recall to gentlemen's minds the importance of regular armies, will not be deemed superfluous or misplaced, if we either consider the system which has been pursued by the country for some years past, or turn our thoughts at once to the result, namely, the very important, and, as some may think, very alarming fact, that of the regular forces, (as it is now the fashion to call them) to which the defence of this country must be entrusted in case of invasion, not less than one hundred thousand are composed of troops, who, by the very tenure of their service, can have never seen a battle, till they come to fight that first (and perhaps last) battle, (against troops, too, such as they will have to contend with), which must be decisive, probably of the fate of the country.— Assuming, then, the importance of regular armies, which no one denies, but which every one seems disposed to forget, the next enquiry is,—how they are to be obtained? that is to say, in the present instance, how we are to insure to the country, what, for many years, unquestionably, it has never had,—a constant and permanent source of recruiting adequate to the supply of its regular forces?—The nature of things here yields us but the option of one of two modes; force or choice. In most of the countries of Europe, the nature of the government admits of a recurrence to the former of these modes; and, undoubtedly, whenever that is the case, where the power of the government is such, that persons acting in its behalf, have no more to do than to go forth among the artisans and the peasantry, taking with them the standard they mean to observe of age and size, and selecting, of those who are found to answer it, as many as will suit their purpose, there can be no process so easy, so effectual, so certain; but, unluckily for the present object, though happily for every other, this is a process to which this country cannot resort. It is not that the abstract right is wanting; there must be in every country a supreme power, and, in theory, nothing can limit what is supreme; but practically, the exercise of this power is so fettered and controlled, the measures of force which we can employ are so confined to legal forms, so abridged, restricted, constrained, and modified, that the effect is reduced to almost nothing; the machine is stopt by its friction.—But, it is not merely on the score of Inefficacy that measures of this sort are objectionable. The force of free countries, while it is inefficacious often in respect to its object, is ten times more efficacious than that of the most arbitrary, with respect to the severity of its operation. A purely arbitrary power is, by its nature, a discretionary one; and discretion, when vested in proper hands, and where no temptation exists to the abuse of it, is the best and mildest of all rules. A German prince, or Russian nobleman, who had his subjects or vassals before him, could dispense with the man to whom service was a hardship, and say to another, to whom it might be no burthen at all, you shall serve in his room. But the law can make no such distinctions, can have no such feelings; it must take whatever comes before it, without considering the hardship it inflicts, or whether it is operating upon a live subject or a dead. It works like a machine, like a mill, and would grind the miller, if he should happen to fall in, with as little compunction as it would the corn.—These are, speaking generally, the objections to the use of coercive means, in a country like this. But, after all, our measures of force, as applied to military service, are measures of force, only in name. We force nothing but the money. That we can do; we can make the men pay; but the service is at last performed by the man who engages voluntarily. The real character, therefore, of our measures of compulsory service, is only that of a tax, and of the worst of all taxes, that of a tax by lot. Let a tax be imposed equally, so as to bear in its due proportion upon all parts of the community, and there is nothing hardly which a country like this cannot sustain. One may venture to say, that if a tax of a million could be laid on in the course of a night, without any notice from discussions in this house or otherwise, and with the art possessed by a late great financier, whose race is run, or by that of my noble friend, whose star is now beaming above the horizon, and rising, I trust, to equal glory, the country might never discover that any new burthen was imposed upon them. Some might conceive, perhaps, that they felt a little heavier; as men do in different states of the atmosphere; but having no barometer to ascertain the fact, they would ascribe the opinion to fancy, and think no more of it. Were this million, however, instead of being dispersed in the way which I have supposed, divided into 20,000 shares of 50l. each, or even into 50,000 shares of 20l. each, and levied on those who might be selected for that purpose, and on many of whom it must fall by lot, it is easy to see what calamity it must produce; that it might crush some one at every step it took; would draw blood at almost every stroke.—Nothing therefore can be either so false in principle, or so oppressive in practice, as what we entitle measures of compulsory service, and which so many, without consideration, are perpetually calling for. We hear every day that the crisis of the country demands sacrifices, that half measures will not do, that we must have something strong. These calls come, I am afraid, in general from those, who hope after all, that the strength of the measure will not fall upon them. Let us settle our minds distinctly upon the subject. Do we mean a conscription, which, proceeding by ballot, (the only mode I presume we think of) shall be conclusive as to the person on whom the lot and compel him, whoever he may be, to serve for a limited term as a soldier? If we do, the hardship will be found to be such as no country could endure. If we do not, if we mean that he shall be at liberty to commute his service, then he either commutes it for a fixed fine, which brings us to the sort of tax, which has been just spoken of, or for a substitute, and then we instantly run up the bounty to an amount which, besides being a tax, and a tax still more heavy, makes it impossible in future to supply the army by any other means.— We have, in fact, had experience of these measures; and the effect of the trial, though necessary perhaps at the time, and certainly productive of much immediate advantage, does not encourage a repetition of the attempt. If a conscription is proposed, numbers are instantly ready to declare in its favour; but, if you only change the name, and ask whether we shall renew the act for the army of reserve, however productive that measure was, raising certainly a greater number of men than has been raised before or since the same time, the feeling is instantly reversed, and we declare decidedly against any measure of the sort.—I will not pretend to say, that no such measure can at any time be resorted to. It is impossible to say, to what the exigencies of the times and the necessity of the state may drive us. But of this I am sure, that without a more urgent necessity than exists at this moment, meatures so oppressive in their immediate effects, and so injurious in their lasting consequences, should not be resorted to, till is was seen that milder and more legitimate methods were incapable of succeeding.—These methods are many of them so obvious and simple, that it seems to be matter of no small surprise, if in all this time we should never have thought of having recourse to them. If our army is to be composed of men who enter voluntarily, in what possible way can we hope to fill it but by bringing the service to a state in which it may be an object of their choice? Our attempt, on the contrary, seems for many years to have been to induce men to engage in a service which is not the object of their choice. Can it be surprising that we should have failed? We complain that the part of our population willing to engage in military service, upon the terms on which it is now offered, is not sufficiently numerous to furnish the supply required. The answer is, if you cannot change the state of your population, change the state of your service; improve it till it becomes an object to greater numbers than are at present inclined to engage in it. Without this, our means of recruiting must, for a part of it, be mere deception and artifice. We are in the state of men selling wares inferior in value to the price we ask for them; and, accordingly, are perpetually saying, that none but the ignorant and the thoughtless will ever be tempted to become buyers. To such a pass has this got, that of late years one of our chief resources has been by recruiting boys. Men grown up, with all the grossness, and ignorance, and consequent want of consideration incident to the lower classes, are too wary to accept our offers: we must add to the thoughtlessness arising from situation, the weakness and improvidence of youth. Why this, unless the trade of a soldier is incapable of such improvement as may bring it into competition with a sufficient portion of the trades and callings in lower life?—Nothing can shew more the false state into which our system of recruiting is fallen, than the practice, now so long familiar to us as to be received as a matter of course, of engaging men to serve by bounties. We forget that this was not always so; that within the memory of many of us, so late as within at few years of the breaking out of the American war, the idea of bounty, properly speaking, was unknown. A guinea to provide the recruits with necessaries, and a crown to drink the king's health, was all that was given upon enlistment. The service itself was the bounty. Whatever is added, shews decisively, that the service does not stand upon its true footing; and the amount of the bounty, bating the change in the value of money, would be the measure of the deviation, if it was not that by our injudicious methods and the competition that has been thus excited, we have raised these bounties beyond their natural amount. All that is given by government to induce any man to enter the service, is a confession that the pay and condition of a soldier is not what it used to be, a real equivalent, in the estimation of the man entering, for the value of his service. We are paying a man to accept what we offer: we are buying the buyer.—Never, therefore, can the system of supplying the Army be considered as resting upon its proper basis, till the necessity of bounty shall have ceased; and till the trade and calling of a soldier shall be brought to the state of other trades and callings, for entering into which no man receives a premium, but where, on the contrary, a premium is often paid for permission to enter. Such a change cannot be brought about at once. When things have long gone on in an improper channel, time must be required to turn them. But this must be the end aimed at, and I know not what there is to prevent its being ultimately attained.—Two things are necessary: the first and most important is, that the condition of service should be such, as that a sufficient portion of your population, knowing what it is, should consider it as an eligible calling;—that there should exist, at all times, dispersed in the community, a sufficient number of individuals, if they can but be found out, to whom the life and condition of a soldier, such as it may be Made, with all its advantages and all its disadvantages, should, instead of a hardship, be considered as preferable to the conditions and callings in which they must otherwise have to seek a livelihood. Without this, the supply of the Army by voluntary enlistment is impossible: it must be by force or fraud; or, what is much the same thing, by bribing men to do, through the influence of some sudden temptation, or momentary passion, what they will be ready to destroy themselves for having done the moment after. But supposing the state of the service to be such as is here described, something yet remains to be done, namely, to make the fact generally known and understood among those with whom it is to operate. It is not sufficient that your wares are good, that they are worth the price you ask, you must have them properly advertised; you must expose them in proper situations; must shew them advantageously in your shop-windows; must carry them to the proper fairs and markets. If you put your shop in a back street, or if you do not have your advertisers, your clickers or barkers, or whatever they are called, there your goods may lay. If you have your recruiting officers in the Isle of Wight, you cannot expect a young lad to walk from Cumberland or Yorkshire in order to offer his services to them. You must act upon the same plan they do at wakes or fairs; you must place your goods in situations where they are most conspicuous.—The hon. gentlemen opposite me will, perhaps, say this is what is done in order to carry into effect the Additional Force bill; that bills art posted up in shops and markets, inviting recruits to enter. This is what I call in unfair trade, carried on by persons unfit to be employed or trusted, and what I by no means wish to recommend.—We now come to the application of the principle I am inculcating; and, first, what can be done to put the service on the best possible footing. The first plan that naturally strikes the mind is to raise your pay.—If you could raise the pay to 5s. a day, you would never want soldiers; but, besides the objection to the expence, there is another which necessarily confines you within a more mo- derate limit. You cannot increase the pay to such an extent, without rendering the Army licentious; and in proportion as an army is licentious, severity of discipline must be necessarily resorted to, and that severity would have the effect of deterring persons from entering. You are therefore, with regard to the pay, confined to narrow limits; for you cannot, as I have already said, have an army without discipline. It is also to be recollected, that military service is not a mode of life favourable to longevity; but, notwithstanding, this consideration, recommendations in its favour are not wanting. There is an invincible sense of dignity in the profession of arms, which makes men assume it in spite of all the inconveniences attached to it. The service is one with regard to which you can reward men by distinctions. You have certainly invaded those distinctions, and, as far as you could in that respect, have done the service a material and almost an irreparable injury. Though you cannot increase the pay; though you cannot take from the service those measures of discipline which deter the indolent from entering; yet you have left sufficient means of encouragement to make the Army infinitely beyond what it is at present. Under the head of encouragements may be enumerated, provisions for old age; provisions for persons disabled, which may be increased ad libitum; various distinctions which government has the means of distributing, not in the way of pay. They have the means of giving whatever advantages they may choose, suited to the rank, situation, and condition of the party, There is one great head of encouragement to the service, which the system I propose admits of. It is one by which I think the temptation to enter will be increased to a prodigious extent, without any prejudice to the service, and very little inconvenience to the soldier. It is a measure which has been supported by many of the first authorities in the country. I mean that change of condition which will place our regular troops on the same footing with those of every other power on the continent. I propose that, instead of general service for life, they should be enlisted to serve for a term of years. This is time system of service in all the states of Europe except our own. I say of Europe, though a large proportion of our own force, the 100,000 men to which I before alluded, are engaged for a limited term. Those gentlemen, who cal- culated on those troops, as equal, or nearly equal to regular troops, cannot consistently make any objection to this alteration. It would be rather strange if they should contend that such a change in the term of service will destroy the character of an army. I admit there will be a difference, but that difference will arise not from limitation of service but from limitation of place, which gives them different officers who never can have acted in times of danger. That this change will have the effect of inducing men to enter, is so clear, so certain, so totally incontrovertible, that it is unnecessary to urge it. Undoubtedly a man would prefer having an option rather than no option. This is one of those things which no evidence can over-rule. When I hear it said that corps of different durations of service will obtain men at the same price, I reply, that the argument may be met by the fact that corps of the same duration of service give different prices. Strange as it may seem, there are men who appear to like 5 guineas as well as 10. I cannot account for this, though I know it is so. A man may be in doubt, and half a guinea may make the difference; when, if he hesitated longer, he might obtain the larger sum. I see bodies rise in the air, though I know there is a principle of gravitation which carries them downwards. I must know that men, generally speaking, do like 10 guineas better than 5, but I find some acting otherwise. I see some men take the lesser sum when they might get the greater. Therefore upon this part of the subject I shall dwell no longer.—Another principle which I propose is, not so much the introduction of a change, as with a view to do away a restriction injurious to the service. This principle, if adopted, must have the effect of tilling the armies, and providing a supply for them equal to the necessities of any emergency. On this subject I know that I am opposed by many high and respectable military authorities, but I know also that I am supported by others as high and as respectable. If I pause on the subject, it is because of its magnitude, and not because I feel the smallest doubt of the value or the rectitude of the principle.—The first consideration is, what we see in all the services of Europe.—Do we think, that in the armies of foreign powers the sort of soldiers' character we admire does not exist as high a degree of perfection as in our own army or navy? Then am I to be told that what will do on the continent for all nations, and for different operations, will not do for us? I see great distinctions in national character among ourselves; but it would be against all presumption to say, that we England, Ireland, and Scotland, should differ so from the Continent, that what produces an effect on them should produce none upon us. This is so much against all presumption, that it would be impossible to adopt any supposition so perfectly gratuitous. The military service continues the same up to the very last period of its duration. It is not a thing that ends gradually at the end of 7 or 8 years: the power of controul is the same. It is as strong when it ceases, as at any former period. Why should we suppose that will happen here which we know has not happened elsewhere? And here I must take notice of the 100,000 men before adverted to. Will any one say, that the corps raised for limited service are not in the same state of discipline as any other regular troops? Turn to your head of service in the Indian armies. Are not the armies of India in high estimation though all raised for limited service? The principle I am contending for is, then, on the one side so uncontradicted by experience, as far as we can trace it by any authority, that I must say, fearful as I should be of making any change or innovation, I have never been able to persuade myself that there is any foundation for the apprehensions entertained upon the subject, and that if we suffer ourselves to be stopped upon considerations so perfectly gratuitous, there is nothing which might not be stopped. The same objections would apply to any other species of improvement that can be proposed.—Another mode of inducing men to enter is certainly open to us. It is by introducing a series of rewards; a part of discipline you have too much neglected. The less you require of the severity of discipline, the more will men be induced to enter the service. There is nothing which has done more harm than severity of discipline, and its relaxation will of course reconcile people to the army. I would not here be understood to mean that corporal punishment should be wholly done away; for there are some men of high and turbulent spirits who must be kept down by the fear of it; but the discipline, may be rendered infinitely less rigorous. By this means, a better description of men will be induced to enter the army, and the better the men you get, the less necessity will there be for severe punish- ments. Therefore, with respect to discipline, my own opinion is that to temper it would tend to the improvement of the army.—There is another, and a very material effect it would have: it would lessen Desertion. I would ask gentlemen on the other side, whether they do not know that the Desertion under their bill, the Additional Force Art, has amounted to more than one fifth? Of 13,000 men raised by it, I believe it will be found that 2800 have deserted. What has been the desertion with regard to the general service of the army? We know that the vicious system which led to our buying men by high bounties, has been as wasteful to the funds of the public as injurious to the service. We know that high bounties, combined with other bad regulations, have tended to produce Desertion. There is another objection urged against this change, which applies to this country more than to any other, because of our foreign and colonial service. I shall not be the person to say that it is not a consideration which ought to weigh of itself, and that in adopting the measure, the objection ought not to be provided against; but it is so distant and especially with respect to a plan intended for permanency, that it is hardly worth attending to. The objection may be reduced to so narrow a compass, as to have hardly any effect. Expedients may be adopted within certain limits, by which the colonial service will not receive the least injury. Additional allowances may be granted to colonial services; application of the men already enlisted; additional advantages in various respects; all these collectively will be so far found to narrow the objection, as that the value of it cannot be set against the advantages in other respects. It is in that way only I dwell on the circumstance. The inconvenience cannot be felt for a number of years to come. Unquestionably, if there were any of our distant possessions to which this objection could apply, it would be those in the East Indies. Now, we know that all the armies of the East-India company are recruited for a term of years, and for a very short term too. I have heard it said, that the East-India company did not keep faith with their troops, and I once was of opinion that there was some foundation for the assertion; but I am now persuaded by what I have learnt from an authority on which I can rely, that my opinion was erroneous. I am convinced, that had the East-India company done otherwise than they did, their recruiting could not have gone on. I am assured, on the authority of an officer of high rank, that they were scrupulous and exact to a degree, as to providing for the men's return whose terms were expired, and that they sent them home with the accommodation of the company's own ships, which was the best accommodation they could have. Therefore there was nothing that the men could complain of. This is a most powerful and authority; for if you can with no inconvenience carry on the service by enlisting for a term of years in so distant a colony, you can surely do so here. Among the remedies, would be the establishment of that branch of the army which has been approved by the highest authority; I mean the Second Battalions.—If I were asked what I would do with the men whose terms of service were near expiring, I should say, put them into the second battalions. It is curious to observe how carelessly many plans are objected to: for among many well-written opinions drawn up with much care and industry by persons who are supposed to be best acquainted with the subject, one is the immense expence that will consequently attend the having so often to renew the bounties. This is to suppose, what I think will not be the case, that the bounties will continue as they are at present. It does not follow that they are to be always the same, though the reduction cannot take place all at once. If the system I propose is persevered in, I am convinced the bounties will be reduced to nothing. It is urged that if limited service is adopted, we must be losing constantly a number of men at the expiration of the term of their service; that is, if you enlist for 8 years, you must, at time end of 8 years, lose an 8th of your army. Such a calculation might do, supposing that none of the men were to die, but delivered up their services at the end of their time. But you cannot make the calculation as you would with reference to annuities or leases. The fact is, the number of people you would lose that way, would be very inconsiderable. Many would not be alive, but would be replaced by others, and many would have received encouragement in the way of promotion which would attach them by interest to the service, and others would, from having become habituated to a military life, not be disposed to claim their discharge. With respect to men on foreign service in the East and West Indies, I am aware I am not at liberty to argue as to the number who would claim to be discharged. It may be said at the same time, that this circumstance may give rise to competition amongst regiments who would wish to have those men at the expiration of their service. I do not apprehend any thing of this kind; but if it were possible even to happen, the remedy for it is obvious and easy. If a soldier should have a strong desire, at the expiration of his term of service in one regiment, to go to another regiment, I do not see why this desire may not be gratified, on certain terms. If, from any circumstance, he should so much prefer another regiment as to be content to purchase the exchange with the loss of three years' service out of seven, I should consider it hard to prevent him. It will be sufficient for the sake of discipline, that there should be this considerable discouragement to the changing his regiment, at the expiration of his term.—I have been urged by the calls of the right hon. gent. opposite to bring forward the measure this day before the minute details of it are in every instance completely arranged. It is not however very material whether those details are brought forward to-day or a few days later, as the holidays will afford gentlemen a convenient opportunity of considering the particulars of a subject, of which every body knows a little and nobody knows much. With respect to Desertion, I think there night be a power vested in courts martial to restore the unfortunate persons who may have transgressed, perhaps from intoxication, if not to a whole, at least to a part of what they would be entitled to at the regular expiration of their term. It would be cruel to deprive a poor man of those privileges and rewards to which by service he was entitled, because in a moment of inadvertency or intoxication he had been prevailed upon by others or felt an inclination to desert. This must produce a gradual effect upon the army. It is certain that desertion prevails even in the most limited service: but to say that the prevalence of desertion would not be counteracted by the prospect of release at a certain time, is to argue against the first principle of human nature. But then, it may be started as an objection to this, that men desert from corps whose services are limited, as well as they do from those of a different description. Certainly they do so, but I still contend that they desert in the one case when they would not in the other. I might here use the same argument as in the cases of high and low bounties. The truth is, that these things happen often by chance, or from circumstances, independent of bounty or term of service. Men desert when they see others deserting around them, from the influence of bad example or persuasion, and a variety of other causes. But still here I must look at the general principle which must influence the mind in a greater or less degree.—It is also urged, that those who enter into the service are, for the greater part, thoughtless, inconsiderate, and often unprincipled men, who never look to distant advantages of any kind whatever. I will not deny, but that, in a great degree, it is so; and that is one of the principal defects I complain of in our present system. But the great benefit which may be fairly expected from a measure of the sort now proposed, is, that it will introduce a new and better description of persons into the army, not altogether so thoughtless nor so inconsiderate, but who are attracted by the advantages that the military service holds out.—I may be told that to hold out to a young lad the prospect of an advantage at the end of 7 or 14 years, is to hold out an advantage that will have no weight with him. Certainly, it may have no weight as applied by the young man directly to himself; but, when he sees the influence it has on those around him, he cannot fail to be equally influenced by it himself. He will perhaps converse with his uncle Tom, who, 14 years before, had gone for a soldier. He will see him, after completing his terms, enjoying in full health and vigour, with constitution unimpaired and in the prime of life, the honourable allowance granted by his country in reward of his services: while some other relation, perhaps his father, who remained at home, is reduced to poverty and want, and wringing a scanty pittance from the parish. An example such as this, in his own family, cannot tail to induce a young man, more than any profound calculation, to prefer the military life; for it is not so much from individual judgement as from the estimation in which the service is held by others, that it derives its principal attractions.—As to the period of service, that may be varied as may be deemed most conducive to the object proposed, namely, the supplying and augmenting the regular army. The inclination of my mind is, that 7 years is the properest term. Seven years is a term familiar to this country, and no- thing more than the generality of all apprenticeships to trades. I think it is also such a term as will combine that mixture of the service of the man, which the army would require, with the attractions, that will be necessary to induce him to enter it. After the first period of 7 years, I should propose that the soldier should have the privilege of his discharge, and all the advantages which are at present enjoyed by those who have served in the militia, such as the right of exercising his trade in any place where he may choose to settle. These should be all the advantages for the first period.—If the soldier should wish to renew his engagement for a second term of 7 years, I should then propose that in addition to these, he should have a small increase of pay, not so large as to do any injury to the service, and yet sufficient to form a mark of distinction. For this purpose, six-pence a week will, I think, be enough.—For the third period, it might be proper to have a farther increase of pay. But, reverting to the second period (on the suggestion of a friend near me); with regard to the second period, the soldier will again have a right to his discharge. I am speaking here of the infantry. For the cavalry, different terms may be fixed, perhaps 10 years for the first term, 6 for the second, and 5 for the last, as more time is necessary for training the cavalry, and still more for training the artillery. At the end of the second period it is the inclination of my mind, that the man should have a pension for life, At that time, undoubtedly, he might be perfectly entire and fit for further service, full of health and strength, and in the prime of life; but still, by going home in this, condition, and holding out to all around him an instance of the advantages offered by the service, he would perhaps be of no less advantage, probably he might be of more, than if he had continued to serve for the third period. Invaluable as it would be to retain a soldier of this description in the service, it is infinitely more valuable that he should go back into the community, and exhibit a beneficial example in the enjoyment of the merited bounty of the county. The sum may be hereafter regulated. Whether any service should be required of them, and whether they should be at the option of the Chelsea board for home service in the garrison battalions, I shall leave to be hereafter determined.—For the third period I should propose an increase of pay of one shilling per week, for they would then be soldiers fully tried and worthy of having the highest confidence placed in them. At the end of the 21 years it is fit that they should retire with the full allowance of Chelsea, such as it has been settled by the late government and the commander-in-chief for those who have distinguished themselves in particular places, or have undergone particular services; such as those who have lost their sight in Egypt. By judicious regulations this allowance might be raised to a shilling a day. The men who shall entitle themselves to this allowance, shall be free from all further service in garrison battalions, or in any other line: and if they carry off robustness of frame and strength of constitution, so much the better. After being so long employed in the service of his country, it would be but fair to exempt the soldier from further service of any kind, and to allow him to return to the bosom of his friends and relations. The more capable he is of enjoying the reward of his services, the more striking his useful and honourable example will be. He may still promote the advantage of his little family by some trade or calling, and contribute essentially, by example, to spread a martial spirit throughout his neighbourhood. One thing I omitted to mention, and that is, the inconveniences that may be supposed to result from these regulations with respect to the Colonial service. In order to remedy or prevent any such inconveniences, a power may be vested in the commander of a regiment, or in him who may have the chief command on the station, to discharge the men at the end of their several periods as the case then may be, with this proviso, that in case of actual war they should be empowered to prolong the service of those whose term shall have expired, for six months, and no longer; at the end of which time they shall at all events be entitled to their discharge, be treated as the East-India company treat the troops in their service; that is, they shall be sent home at the expence of government with every possible accommodation.—These are the principal changes I propose to make in the condition of the soldier, and from these I look forward to the most beneficial effects. There are many subordinate changes, which I consider not so much matter of legislative provision as of military regulation, and which I conceive may be left with confidence to the illustrious personage at the head of the army.—There are many other provisions that may be calculated to raise the estimation in which the service is held, which may contribute to raise the consequence of the officers, and through them that of the men. These, however, I shall omit for the present; first, because it is not necessary to state them, and, secondly, because as they may be of a delicate nature, it may be improper to enter upon them till they can be mentioned in detail. Among these, however, I may certainly state the allowance to officers' widows, which I wish to make somewhat more than it is at present; the allowances now are so scanty, that the dispensation of them is really heart-breaking to those employed on that painful duty.—The principle of recruiting for a term of years, will of itself go far towards filling up the Army. To place the character of a soldier in a state that its own attractions may operate as a bounty, ought to be the great object of our consideration. We must increase and add to that respect which, amidst a thousand disadvantages, still renders the trade of a soldier attractive. Before I proceed further, I beg leave to observe, with respect to the cavalry and artillery, that the terms of service should be five, six, and ten years. This difference arises chiefly from the length of time, necessary for training and disciplining the cavalry and artillery in the first instance. These things will certainly operate in a considerable degree, generally and individually, on the recruiting service; but I despair of succeeding to the full extent required, until the Army is rendered worthy the attention of the lower orders, as a trade as beneficial in itself as others, and more respectable than many. Under the present circumstances, I cannot think of putting the Army on such a footing as would attract numbers by ordinary recruiting, but, in my opinion, the Army may be increased, and a quantum sufficit of men procured without much difficulty. With these observations, I leave this, which is the most material part of the subject.—(here Mr. Yorke asked, what was to be done with the present Army?) On a subject so complicated, one is apt to forget many things. It is asked, what I mean to do with the Army now existing? To this I answer, that in strict justice and in equity we can do nothing. The men who have already formed the regular service, have done so on certain conditions, and can have no ground of complaint, provided those conditions are fulfilled. We see men entering into the army of reserve, without producing any discontent or desertion in the troops of the line though the service of the former is limited, and their bounties are excessively high.—It might be supposed, that the regular army would expect similar advantages, or be dissatisfied, yet we know that no envy or discontent prevails on that account. In the American war, the Fencible regiments received higher bounties for limited service, than others did for unlimited, and yet there was no complaint on the part of the latter. The same case occurs in every war, and as no discontent has ever been shown on this more obvious ground, it is not to be expected that any will be shewn with regard to the different length of the term of service. But though in justice and in equity the Army now in existence is entitled to no additional advantages, yet it may be, no doubt, expedient to extend to it some of the benefits of these changes. And first, I propose to make a great increase in the Chelsea allowance, to which I mean to make an immediate and considerable augmentation: The lowest class of pensioners to be entitled to 6d. the next 9d. and the third to 1s. per day. This advance I should wish to take place immediately; from motives as well of just consideration of past services, as of policy to give immediate effect to the influence of the example. It will demonstrate to the men the concern which the country takes in their welfare, and will hold out an inducement for others to embark in the military profession. If this be done, and in my opinion, it ought to be done immediately, every man in the Army will see that he has a chance, however distant the period, of partaking in what the bounty of the nation has provided for its defenders, when they shall have merited the rewards from their long services. No man of those now in the service will be entitled to his release till after the expiration of 21 years; but all those who have now served 7 years and less than 14, will be immediately put upon the list of the 6d. a week additional pay; and all those who have served 14 years and upwards, will be entitled to 1s. a week additional pay. This is all that I shall do with regard to the Army which already exists; and it is to be regarded as a liberal boon, to which they could have no right by the conditions of their engagement.—Having answered the right hon. gent. (Mr. Yorke) as to the Army now in existence, I shall next proceed to that great branch of political science which circumstances, and the nature of the times have forced on our consideration; namely, what is to be done with that part of your population which does not exist in the shape of an Army? I am well aware of what weight, properly speaking, the physical force of a country is capable. But, it must be admitted, that the real military force has had an almost exclusive sway in determining the fate of nations. In modern history, there is scarcely a single instance of the mere population of a country assisting materially in its defence, except in the case of America; which, indeed, can scarcely be called an exception, for it must be recollected, that their success arose more from the great distance of America and its vast extent, than from any force which the American people could immediately bring against our army. It is evident that at a distance of more than 3000 miles, and across the Atlantic Ocean, the power of this country could not bear with full force upon the population of America; and, besides, from the vast extent of the country, the people could always retire from our armies, and by that means they were enabled to protract the war until habits perfectly military were acquired.—The instance of America will not, however, at all apply to Europe; certainly not to this country, where the population is cooped up within narrow limits, where they have no countries to retreat to, and where, consequently, they would soon be obliged to come to close contest. But although we cannot calculate on making exactly the same use of our population that the Americans did, yet it becomes a question of the most serious importance, how we are to derive the greatest possible advantage from it; how we can best bring it to bear against an invading army? I am confident, that if ever the contest should be brought to an issue, the people of this country would prove that they would not fall a sacrifice without a struggle, to an invading enemy. But, the question is here, what can be got from the loose part of your population in aid of the regular military force? and care must be taken, that what is got in aid of the regular force should not tend to weaken it. With respect to this point, different persons have entertained different opinions at different times. My opinions are, with a few alterations arising from circumstances, that is, mutatis mutandis, the same as before, and those opinions will be so found in the only records which we have of our proceedings, and which in the present instance, are at least more accurate than usual. I am ready to allow that the errors that have been fallen into on this subject in the first instance, might be in some instances the necessary result of the novelty of the case, and the difficulties in which it was involved. Nay, I am also ready to allow, that those who now have to improve and re-model our Military Establishments have the advantage of their experience, but, on the other hand, I have also to complain, that unfortunately they have not a clear, unincumbered ground to enter upon, and which circumstance cannot fail to add considerably to the difficulties they have to encounter. Perhaps their predecessors were obliged, at the sudden commencement of the war, to run into voluntary efforts from the pressing urgency of the occasion. For myself, my idea was, that every thing that was the most simple and obvious, should have been preferred to what was most complex and intricate. The situation of the country then was, that hearing of the great preparations made by the enemy to invade it, there was a unanimous spirit to resist the threatened invasion, and to frustrate the attempt of time enemy. The people were alarmed, but in no degree dispirited. As to their feelings, they might be said to be "trepidi, non pavidi." There was a general ardour and zeal, and a strong wish to be serviceable, if only the means of being so were pointed out to them. In these circumstances, when others were speaking of compulsory service, I expressed my opinion, that when there was so much zeal and alacrity in the country, it would be far better first to try what could be done by voluntary service. Indeed the difficulties of carrying the compulsory enactments of the Levy en Masse act into force, were such, that it appeared to me much better first to try what voluntary service would do, Although that suggestion did not originally come from we, it certainly was not then in my contemplation that this voluntary spirit was to be employed in such a manner as it has been in the Volunteer corps which were afterwards formed. I saw that the spirit of the people was then at such a pitch, that they appeared only to demand of government, or of the house, "Tell us what we are to do to be useful to the country," Under these circumstances, it was my firm opinion, that the people should have immediately been allowed an opportunity of training themselves, under the instruction of officers from the regular army appointed for that purpose. I thought there should have been depots of arms in every dis- trict and, as I might say, shops of military instruction opened all over the country. Besides the assistance of the regular officers, I conceived that the zeal of the gentlemen of the country might assist powerfully in training the people to arms, both by their own example, and by giving small prizes for firing at marks. All this could have been done with infinitely less trouble, and infinitely less expence, than have been bestowed on the Volunteer system. At the same time I thought it was proper, that there should be armed associations of the better sort of people, entirely at their own expence; but it was not upon such armed associations that I conceived the country should principally rely in aid of its standing army. What I considered as much more likely to be effectual, was the mass of the people of the country trained to firing, with the neighbouring gentlemen, and military officers ready to combine them in whatever manner they could prove most destructive to the enemy. Although I did not rely on such a force, for giving battle to an invading army, yet I thought they might be brought into action in such a manner, as would fret, harass, and wear down an enemy. Independent of the mischief that I conceived they would do in action, I relied upon such a force as this, as one that was likely to afford an inexhaustible fund to recruit from.—Such were my ideas at the commencement of the present war, of the manner in which the zeal and spirit of the people might have been rendered most useful in the defence of the country. As an experiment, nothing could have been cheaper, for there would have been no occasion for all those distinctions and military trappings which formed so considerable a part of the expence of the Volunteer system, as it was afterwards established. Instead, however, of the system which I proposed, the country from one end to the other was all thrown into Volunteer Corps. This mistake was not the fault of the people, but of the government. The desire of the nation was, "Tell us what we are to do?" but when nobody told them, it was highly natural for the people, when left to themselves, to say, "Let us imitate the soldiers, and dress ourselves, and train ourselves as they do; let us learn the manœuvres they practise." After the Volunteer corps were so formed, the great man (Mr. Pitt), whose opinions were always to be heard with deference, maintained, that those corps might, with care and instruc- tion, be brought into the shape of a regular army, and act as regular troops. Whether the institution of the Volunteer corps had first taken place, and this opinion of their efficacy followed, or whether the institution was framed on any pre-conceived opinion, that they would arrive at such a state of discipline, is a point which I shall not pretend to determine. It, however, always appeared to me, that it was a most impracticable project to attempt to bring those masses of men, who had neither the habits nor the feelings of soldiers, who were not inured to hardship, or accustomed to military discipline and subordination, to act either with regulars or directly against a regular enemy. That right hon. gent. (Mr. Pitt), in speaking of what he expected from the Volunteer force, said, they would be able "to push the invaders into the sea." This was an expression winch I am persuaded proceeded more from his heart than his judgment, and might have proved fatal to the country. It was, however, a most dangerous error in judgment to suppose, that, because a body of men appeared well to the eye, or made a tolerable show upon a parade, that they were, on that account, to be relied on as effective soldiers; and I am much surprised indeed at the number of inspecting officers who have returned those corps as fit to act with regular troops. In my judgment, it would have been impossible they could ever have acted with a regular army, because, being officered in the manner they are, the regular army never could place that implicit confidence in them, which is absolutely necessary to make one species of troops act effectually with others of a different kind. The Volunteers might be well trained, they might be good soldiers, they might positively know themselves to be so, but then it was also necessary that the commanders of the regular army should be equally sensible of this also: Scire tuum nihil est, nisi te scire hoc sciat alter. If ever we attempted to do this, and put them to act with the regular army, I fear the fate of the country would be decided; for I cannot possibly conceive, that the enemy would desire any thing better than that the country should trust its defence to the Volunteer corps. If the Volunteers were to be opposed to the attack of a regular invading army, it is impossible not to suppose that many must fall, though many would do their duty. A man may be in himself fully capable of doing what is right, but he may be infected with the bad example of those about him. As for courage, or confidence, it is well known, that in an army it is not sufficient to have confidence in oneself, it is also necessary to have confidence in one's neighbours. It is like the defence of a long line, which, if broken through in any point, the valour with which other points are defended will be of little consequence. If a regular regiment were to come into action, it cannot be supposed that their confidence would be the same if they were flanked by a corps of Volunteers, as it would be if they saw on their flank, the 14th, the 28th, the 17th, the 42d, or any of those brave and well tried regiments that have distinguished themselves in the service of their country. I do not, however, deny that essential services may be derived from the Volunteers, even under the present system. In the first place, they are enrolled, and I consider the very circumstance of enrolment as a great foundation of strength, because in that they have given a pledge to their country, and to each other, that they are to be found whenever their attendance shall be absolutely necessary. In the second place, they have been trained, and even in the manner they have been trained, many of them may, in time, be made extremely useful under the direction of an able general. They must, however, purge off a great deal of their grosser stuff, before they can well be brought into action. There are many individuals who entered into those corps from the best of motives, and from the most laudable intentions to serve their country, but whose age, whose constitutions, and whose habits of life, render them altogether unfit for the active duties of real service against an enemy. My general objections to the present mode of dividing the country into Volunteer corps, were, first, the immense expence of the system on its present foundation; and secondly, I conceived it intercepted and locked up in corps, which could not be brought against an enemy, men who by another distribution might be brought against them in the regular army. I therefore thought that the system was like throwing good money after bad, and that it never could succeed. I wished, however, that there should be many voluntary associations of the better sort of people, armed and disciplined at their own expence; but as to the great mass of the people, artisans and peasants, I did not wish that they should be locked up in those corps, but would rather have had them loose, so that they might be attached to others of greater consequence. The mass of the people I wished to see loosely trained, and only so far as to be able soon to take their place as recruits in the ranks of the regular army. A training of that description would also have been sufficient to make them very formidable to an enemy, as an armed peasanty, under the direction of intelligent officers; and in either of those ways I thought they would contribute much more to the defence and security of the country, than by their being placed in Volunteer corps. This was my view of the matter; but the system that has been followed, goes to include all volunteer exertions in Volunteer corps. The first objection made, most probably will be, that the expence of such a system will be too heavy. Granting, for argument-sake, the truth of the objection, what is the expence compared to the preservation of the independence of the country? But, it is idle to talk of the expences which new-modelling the military system will create, compared with that of maintaining only the Volunteer Establishment. It is a fact that during the three years and a half that this system has existed, it has cost government no less than five millions sterling in allowances to the Volunteers. The expence that the Volunteers have themselves gone to, and the various subscriptions and contributions that have been made in aid of the system, amount to at least as much more. I am stating it below the mark, when I say, that the security which the country has derived from the Volunteers for the last three years and a half has been purchased at the enormous expence of above ten millions sterling, besides the depriving our more efficient descriptions of force of many men who would otherwise have entered into them. The expence of the Volunteers then has been nearly equal to the whole of the Property Tax for a year. Great as this expence is, had it produced as much security as could have been procured for time same money in any, other way, there would now be no occasion to attempt to change it. In considering, however, the best way of deriving advantage from the assistance of the population of the country, without citing the example of the Tyrolean peasantry, or the peasantry of any other country, I conceive the general question to be, whether it is better that the mass of the people should be loose and unat- tached, but under the idea of their being liable to be attached, if necessary, to any corps that his majesty, in the exercise of his royal prerogative, may think most proper, or whether they should he put into Volunteer corps under the idea that they are not to be attached to any other body? I again repeat that my wish was, that the Volunteer corps should consist of a higher class of life, of a better condition, of such a description as it would not be proper to mix with soldiers of the line, and whom no one would wish to see obliged to serve in the condition of a common soldier in a regular regiment, but that the great body of the peasantry, that description of men from whom the regular army ought to be recruited, should not be shut up in those Volunteer Corps. Could I realize my wish to see the great mass of the population of the country so far trained, as to be able, either to act as an armed peasantry, or to recruit immediately whatever losses the regular army might receive in action, then, indeed, I should consider the country as invincible. Should its armies receive a check, it could immediately repair the disaster, and would rise like Antæus, when flung to the earth, with redoubled vigour. The certainty of immediately repairing our losses, while the invaders could not repair theirs, would inevitably turn the victory in our favour. Suppose five regular regiments were to lose 1000 men in a battle with the enemy, I contend that those regiments would be much stronger if they were filled up with recruits such as I have described, than if a regiment consisting of 1000 men were to come up to their support in their skeleton state. These are the ideas that govern me, and on which a wise and permanent system may be established gradually, for I am no friend to sudden change; the Volunteers may gradually be brought to the state described in 1798, in a letter of lord Grenville to the lords lieutenants of counties: I mean, that state which would give the country, men of a better condition, and supported at their own expence. In order to effect this purpose, there would he no necessity for any violent measures or severe compulsion. I should propose a very different course from what has been hitherto adopted: instead of requiring a rigid discipline from the people, I should propose that sort of training which will be very easy for them to acquire, and which will answer all the purposes I have stated. Now, to bring things to this state, the first object is, to reduce the scarcely tolerable expence of the Volunteer system. No longer looking to the Volunteers for assistance in the field to the regular force of the Army, I shall propose to relax their discipline, and retrench their allowance. I shall leave their allowances infinitely above what they ought to be, though much below what they now are. Now, upon this plan of refusing pay to the Volunteers, leaving them at the same time some privileges, I am aware, that the effect will he a very considerable reduction of that force. I do not wish to do this suddenly, till some other force can be provided in its stead; but, the reduction of the Volunteers is not like the reduction of a regular regiment. When you reduce a regular regiment, it is annihilated; but when you reduce a Volunteer Corps, you have the men on the spot still, and however valuable they may be, that value is not reduced. But at the same time, out of regard to the public feeling, and to other circumstances, it may not be desirable to reduce these corps suddenly, but this, however, is not to prevent the reduction of the great expence in maintaining them. For if these expences were to continue, they would rise much higher than they have hitherto done, because the subscription funds are gone, and the corps must lean more and more on the government, as is generally the case when government enters into partnership with any private bodies or individuals. Government must at last be at the whole expence, because their funds were not, perhaps, regarded by the Volunteers themselves as a permanent resource; and if the Volunteers were to continue as they are at present, the expence of the next 3 years and a half would be double what it was in the former period. Now, looking to this situation of the Volunteers, that they should be liable to serve at their own expence, and that the rest of the people should be loosely trained, the lessening of the expence may be the means of the reduction of the Volunteers, and putting things on the footing on which I wish to see them placed. Why, then, this brings us to the question of training; and once indeed such a system of volunteering as I propose, and the training of the mass of the population, might have gone on side by side; but since the present system has been established, the training cannot be voluntarily conducted, and the only alternative is to have recourse to compulsion. All, therefore, that can be done in this case is to make the compulsion as light as possible. (A cry of hear! hear!) The gentlemen on the other side may cry hear! hear! but they may be assured that I do not like this one jot the better for coming from their shop. While they were on the treasury side of the house, they may remember how many compulsory acts they passed, how the whole smithry was at work, how they laboured about the armour of Mars like a set of Cyclops, more blind than their one-eyed brethren, till they locked the country in armour, so cumbrous and clumsy that it was unable to stir hand or foot— For never did the Cyclops' hammers fall, On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterne, With greater force. I can assure the gentlemen, that my fetters shall not be like theirs. It is one of the advantages of my plan, that it can be easily got rid of. The compulsion that I propose, goes merely to the point of training, and that at their own homes, and only for the space of one year; and the discipline necessary to enforce this training, shall be made as mild and as voluntary as possible. It may be said, that I here follow the steps of the right hon. gent. over the way (Mr. Yorke), and that I tread on old foundations. The basis of the scheme which I am proposing is undoubtedly the same with that act which pretty nearly fits the present building; I mean the Levy en Masse act. I partly blamed that act and partly approved of it. That act says, that the people shall be compellable to train as an intermediate duty, and compellable to serve in case of invasion. I so far approve of it now, and I approved of it then. I concurred in the commutation for voluntary service, though that afterward took a wrong shape. My plan will give a preference to voluntary training, but with a power of resorting to compulsion if necessary. It will also go to assert the king's prerogative right to every man's service in case of invasion. It will exclude the exceptionable part of that act, the training of all classes together. This objection was one of my reasons for preferring voluntary service to the Levy en Masse, though that voluntary service soon after took a false shape. The first part of the reduction I shall propose in the Volunteer expences, will be a change of the June allowances to the August allowances; of a training of 85 days, to a training of 26 days. The total reduction that will be thus made, on the estimate of this year, which is 1,479,000l. exclusive. of cloathing, which is 347,000l., will be 807,000l. The allowance to the yeomanry will also be considerably reduced. The reduction of the officers' pay, in the substitution of the August establishment, will be 210,000l. A reduction of the allowances and pay to drill serjeants, the present number of whom is far beyond what is necessary, will amount to 54,700l. Under the head of Permanent Duty, a reduction of no less than 300,000l. may be made. It is the unanimous opinion of persons conversant in military affairs, that the expence of the inspecting field-officers may be spared, and that their duty may be as well executed by the lords lieutenants, or the civil officers under them. This will yield a saving of 35,000l. To all which are to be added, the payments by the receivers general for marching guineas amounting to 198,000l. making a total reduction of 807,700l. These reductions which are of considerable importance, I propose without any hostility whatever to the Volunteers, but, to begin that retrenchment of expence, which would soon become enormous from the constitution and nature of the Volunteer system at present, and with a view to the necessary improvement of the military state of the country. The Volunteer bodies will still be preserved, at least with regard to all who serve without any idea of what is to be got. The continuance of the system will afford a more desirable mode for training to those who may be unwilling to be trained in the mass, and this opportunity will be to them a sufficient reward. With respect to Volunteers who may henceforth enter, government will not allow any thing but arms. With regard to those now established, it is but equitable they should be exempt from the immediate operation of the new system, but I wish it to be understood, that though they may receive pay and clothing this year, government do not engage to provide it in the next. Nothing in future shall exempt any man from the general training, but his becoming a Volunteer at his own expence, the advantage of which will be that he can train himself if he chooses, and fight if occasion require it, in the corps to which he shall belong, instead of being liable to fall in among the regulars. With respect to the mode of compulsion, if compulsion should be necessary to carry the training into effect, selections may be made of that portion of the mass trained in every year, for the training of the whole would be, if not impracticable, at least inconvenient: for, out of the immense mass of general population, some selection must be made; and for the purpose of making this selection, I know of no way more preferable than to do it by the way of Lot, a term which I prefer to the odious one of Ballot. This is unavoidable. Suppose you have 200,000 to train, if you cannot take the whole of your proportion, why then there is no other way to choose than by the ballot. That species of lot familiarly called Ballot, seems to me to be the most convenient. I would have the people divided into three classes, between the age of 16 and 40. The first class to comprehend all from 16 to 24; the second from 24 to 32; and the third all from 32 to 40. I should propose that a discretionary power should be vested in the crown to call out such classes as from the emergency of the case might to the government appear proper, and in such parts of the kingdom, as it should find necessary, according to the imminence of the danger. The act I should think ought to be annual, that whatever errors should be found in it, they might be speedily remedied. As a farther mitigation of the compulsion, I would still follow the steps of the right hon. gent., and if any should voluntarily offer themselves to be trained, the operation of the ballot should be so far diminished. The number of days for training I should limit to 26, with an allowance of no more than a shilling each time, as a compensation for their half-day's work. Voluntary trainings are to be accepted at the discretion of the officers, and to go in diminution of the ballot. I do not mean to propose that there should be any particular cloth or dress, or that the men should be embodied; but it will be left to the power of the crown to collect them together in some town or place, in 14 days, for the purpose of more speedy training, and those who absent themselves from training on any other ground, than that of their belonging to Volunteer Corps, to pay a small fine. The training I wish to be performed by detachments of militia, and of the regulars now nominally connected with the counties. By this they will gain a real connection, which will enable them to recruit much better, than by means of parish officers. They will exert themselves in the training, in the hope of afterwards getting the men in their own regiments. I shall also beg leave to propose, by way of mitigation of the act of training, that if a sufficient num- ber of persons volunteer for training, the act shall not be carried into effect, and also that if the whole number required should not volunteer, yet that a diminution of the number liable to training under the act, shall be allowed in proportion to the number who volunteered themselves. The plan I propose, will employ to advantage the officers appointed to the 57 battalions, before a man was raised, and who stood waiting and gaping for them like oysters at ebb tide. But the officers who have been appointed to these battalions with such inconvenience to the service, cannot be sent adrift without hardship. The officers of these skeleton battalions will now be turned into good pasture and have an opportunity of getting some flesh on their bones. The bill which professed to create the 57 battalions, has not had the effect of raising them. All that has been done by the Additional Defence bill has been, at the very utmost, to supply about 9000 men to the line. All that can be expected from it, if it was to continue in full vigour, is a supply of as many every year, and that in a very bad way.—With regard to the Militia, though in its original constitution it cannot be ranked under the head of the regular army, yet, it is now carried to such perfection that it must be considered as our army for home defence, and as fully adequate to that object. The Militia may now be considered as part of the regular army, and for home service is certainly equal to any part of our force, with the single exception, that it never has seen actual service, and if it should have to meet the enemy's attack on British ground, the battle in which it would have to fight for the existence of the country would be the first it would have seen. With respect to the militia, I shall not therefore meddle with it any farther than to continue the suspension already existing, and instead of raising men by ballot, to raise them by the mode of recruiting at a limited bounty. Whether at a future period it may not be politic to diminish this department of our military establishment, will be a tit subject for subsequent consideration; but I would certainly recommend recruiting for this service on the scheme projected in Ireland, and at a limited bounty. A measure has been suggested, which has at last been settled, at least by a sort of common consent, that the Irish militia should be permitted to enlist in the line; this I am disposed to promote, by some regular and permanent arrangement, if, in conjunction with the Irish government, the plan should be approved of.—I must again shortly revert to the Volunteers; for in the great variety of matter to which my attention has been necessarily directed, I have found it difficult to assign to every observation its exact place. With regard to the Volunteers, the allowance for clothing may continue for one year more; but I wish it to be clearly understood that there is no engagement whatever on the part of government, that this is to continue for the next year. There is one other topic which I had almost forgot, and that is the rank granted to the Volunteer officers. There never was, such monstrous injustice done to any body of men, as has been done to the regular army in granting rank to the Volunteer officers. If the officers of the line are not to have command in their own peculiar province, in God's name where are they? To what new state of humiliation are they to be next exposed? What should we think of such a proceeding in other cases? What would the learned gent. over the way (Mr. Perceval) say to one who should take precedence of him at the bar, merely because he had a larger fortune, and, perhaps, when he had no fortune at all? If we do not give officers these distinctions, what are we to give them? Their pay is certainly not profuse, nor have they much in their profession to recommend it, except the honours attached to it. There never was such an outrage as that offered to the regular officers. What would the hon. officer opposite (general Tarleton) think, if a man in a red coat were, addressing him, to say, he was the son of a nobleman having rank in a Volunteer corps, and therefore expected he (the general) should bow to his opinion on military affairs? Is a young lieutenant, whose parents may happen to possess abundance of wealth, to be permitted to say to his superior officers, "I will buy you all out, and take the command of the regiment?" Is the sensibility of the regular army to be so severely wounded? and what, I ask, is the advantage to be gained by this violation of individual honour? Is a gentleman, who has distinguished himself in the most dangerous services, to be placed under the controul of a man utterly ignorant of the duties of the profession of arms, and who has experienced none of the perils and suffering to which that honourable occupation is exposed? In future I would recommend that no Volunteer should hold a higher rank than that of captain; that is, that no officer of the line of a higher rank than that of captain, nor any captain commanding a corps, shall be commanded by an officer of Volunteers.—These, sir, are the principles from the adoption of which I look for a permanent and great supply to the regular army. On the other hand, our population will be prepared to harass the enemy on his march, and nearly every individual of the country will he prepared to fill the station of the man who shall fall, at least he will be so far trained as to make a soldier in a very little time. This measure, if authority were wanting to recommend it, is calculated to do what was recommended by the eminent statesman we have lost. It is calculated to obtain that point most desirable for the country—to get our whole population gradually into that trained state, in which every one would be capable of being made a complete soldier in a very short time and with very little trouble. The measure I propose, will give one general training. It will give it with very little trouble, and without taking the men from their homes. It will give it by portions without much expence, and commutable for voluntary service in a corps. It is to be but an annual measure, in order that the opportunity of revision and amendment may recur as often as possible. Compulsion will have no place in the system, unless it should become indispensable. As to the operation of the measure; so little do I look to it for immediate effect, that I expect the seed will be some time in the ground before it shews a blade. I promise no rapid growth. I do not profess to be able instantly to remedy the evil. When things have been so long going wrong, it is unfair to expect a nostrum that shall without delay cure the disorder. The number to be raised under the Levy en Masse will, I should conceive, be about 200,000 men; with regard to the bounties, I do not conceive that an immediate operation ought, under the present circumstances, to be expected, but, they will, in the language of ?Change, be "looking down." I trust the measure will tend to reduce the present exorbitant bounties. I do not mean to state that the measure now proposed is one of more confidence than others, but I hope it will wear well. I have now, sir, only to return my thanks to the house for the indulgence afforded me during the long time I have trespassed on its attention, and shall conclude by moving, for leave to bring in a bill to repeal the act passed in the 44th of his majesty, called the Additional Force bill. The question being put,

Lord Castlereagh rose

and spoke as follows:—Sir; however widely I may differ in opinion from the right hon. gentleman, in most of the positions and conclusions which he has laid down, it is not my intention to resist the introduction of any of those bills of which he has given notice, and which are calculated to develope the system which he has this night opened to the house; neither is it my intention at present to follow him through the details of his long and elaborate statement. Future opportunities will be afforded, better adapted for such discussions. It is impossible, however, upon a subject of such importance, more especially after the manner in which it has been treated by the right hon. gentleman, to suffer the present question to be put, without troubling the house with some general observations on the outline of the proposed alterations in the military system of the country.—The declaration with which the right hon. gent. commenced his speech, viz. that the state in which he found the military establishment, on coming into office, was such as to leave him no other alternative but to occupy himself with its immediate revision, has left me no other choice but to intrude myself on the attention of the house; and as an aggravation of this provocation, he has chosen to attribute the surprize expressed by several of my hon. friends near me, as well as myself, on more than one occasion, at the yet unexplained and unintelligible delay which has occurred in the production of his scheme, to a consciousness on our part that the military defence of the country was left by the late government in a state so defective, as to demand, not only a systematic but an immediate reform. So thoroughly convinced am I that the assumption on which the right hon. gent. proceeds is wholly destitute of foundation, that I must beg leave briefly to state to the house what the actual state of the military establishments was when they passed into the hands of the new government. Having preceded the right hon. gent. in the situation he now fills, and having under the superintendance and guidance of my late right hon. friend latterly administered the war department of the government, I feel it due not only to myself but to the house, to bring before them such a statement of the actual situation in which we left the public force, as may enable them to judge as well of the truth of the charge which the right hon. gent. has ventured to make, as of the necessity or expediency of the change which he has thought fit to propose. I am additionally impelled to do so from the anxious desire I must feel to discharge what appears to me a duty to my late right hon. friend. To no subject had his attention and exertions been more anxiously directed during the latter years of his public life, than to the formation of an improved military system, adapted to the exigencies of the times in which we live. It is impossible I should not feel an attempt to depreciate and unjustly to degrade every thing he had done with this view, as a heavy censure against his government, and a most injurious reflection upon his memory. In this, as in every leading feature of his political life, his fame will, I am sure, be found inseparably interwoven with the best interests of his country; it will be impossible for the right hon. gent. to wound the former without exposing the latter; and I am convinced, more especially on a subject which for such a space of time continued to occupy the undivided attention of his unerring mind, that I shall also best discharge my public duty by yielding to the desire I personally feel to have his exertions in the public service fairly understood, and appreciated by the house. In discussing this question, there are some general principles upon which it will be impossible, I apprehend, even for the right hon. gent. and myself to differ. It cannot but be considered as a serious misfortune for any country to find itself compelled to undertake a fundamental revision of any of its leading establishments. If this remark is generally true, it is not less true with respect to its military establishment, and at no time so peculiarly true as in the midst of war, and possibly at the eve of a contest to be maintained on our own ground with a formidable enemy for the existence of the country The house must feel that in no slight case ought parliament to be called on at such a moment to bring into doubt and question every part of its military system, to paralyze the exertions of some of the main branches of our public force, as well as the Measures already approved and adopted by parliament for the increase of the army. During the protracted period which such a discussion must necessarily occupy, and the doubts it must occasion, can the house, or the right hon. gent. expect that the same energy and spirit will pervade the public force? The army impatiently waiting to know the extent of the indulgences which are hereafter to attach to the profession of a soldier (an expectation hazardous to excite, in proportion as it is difficult to satisfy); the militia, to know the extent of the right hon. gent.'s designs for reducing a force, he has hitherto rather tolerated than approved; the volunteers, whether they are to be doomed to a lingering or an immediate dissolution? In the midst of such a complicated and extensive enquiry, can the right hon. gent. or his majesty's other ministers, be equally qualified to discharge their many other pressing duties? Occupied as his mind has been for the two last months in projects of reform, the right hon. gent. may possibly have forgot that he had any other enemy to contend with than the opposers of his military schemes, or that he had any army within his grasp, which could be turned to the annoyance of our real enemy. I press these considerations to shew that parliament, before it enters upon a task in many respects both difficult and perilous, should require those who propose it to make out to their satisfaction a case, if not of inevitable necessity, at least of strong and evident expediency, before they call for their interposition to the extent claimed. The right hon. gent. in opening the question to the house, has been wholly silent on the present actual amount and composition of the army. He has been as little explicit in stating to the house the points in which he considered it to be inadequate, and the extent to which he proposes to carry it. He has, however, generally laid down the expediency of endeavouring to obtain some considerable increase of that force: in this principle I cordially agree with him. The right hon. gent. has not denied that the quality of the regular army, so far as it goes, is unexceptionable on this highly-gratifying consideration; it is certainly only to discharge a debt of justice to the illustrious personage who now presides, so much to his own honour, over that army to bear testimony to the zeal and indefatigable exertions with which he has, for a series of years past, followed up its improvement. At no period of our history has the science, uniformity, and discipline of the army, been comparable to what it now is; and I am sure I speak the sentiments of the profession at large when I assert, that to the present commander-in-chief the British army is indebted for more solid improvement than to any, or I might say to all those who have preceded him in that distinguished trust. But to return to the present state of the army in point of numbers, and that the house may fairly estimate the merits of that system, by the operation of which it has been brought to its present standard, I am desirous of comparing the amount and composition of the army as it stood on the 1st of Jan. 1804, being the half-yearly period in the papers on the table, which immediately preceded on the table, which immediately preceded Mr. Pitt's last return to government, with that of the army as it now stands. I select those periods, not to disparage in any degree the meritorious exertions of those who preceded him in office, whose measures for the increase and improvement of the army I shall always contend were highly vigorous and productive, but as forming the best criterion by which the effect of that system, which it is now proposed to explode and abrogate, can best be judged of. Including militia and artillery, the gross strength of the army at home and abroad stood as follows in effective rank and file:

1st Jan. 1804, 234,005
1st March 1806, 257,554
Increase 33,549
The regular army, including artillery, as distinguished front the militia:
1st Jan. 1804, 148,486
1st March 1806, 192,372
Increase 43,886
The regular army disposable for general service:
1st Jan. 1804, 115,947
lst March 1806, 165,790
Increase 49,843
This statement, I trust, will establish to the satisfaction of the house the important increase in gross strength which our army has received during the best two years—they will likewise observe, whilst the numbers of the militia have been reduced, that the relative strength of the regular army has been advanced, and that the increase in the disposable branch of the regular army has been still more marked, being not less than 49,843 men, or neatly that of one-half. Whilst I concur with right hon. gent. in deeming a further augmentation of our force necessary under the present circumstances of the country, comparing the present amount with that at which it formerly stood when at the highest, it is impossible for the right hon. gent. to depreciate either the high condition of our existing establishment, or the system by which it has been so rapidly augmented and improved.
1st Jan. 1802, 242,440
1st March 1806, 267,554
Present army more than at any

former period,


Such being the actual strength and composition of the army, the next point to be ascertained is the annual waste to which the army may be deemed subject, and the presumable supply of recruits which may be reckoned on for filling up the casualties therein, and carrying the army forward to a still higher standard. Excluding the militia from our consideration in this view of the subject, and confining it to the regular army alone, by the returns before the house, it appears, that independent of any considerable loss of men sustained in the field, the annual average of deaths, desertions, and discharges, for the last six years, may be stated at about 15,000 men on our present numbers; upon a like average of years, the ordinary recruiting in Europe for the regular army, exclusive of any extraordinary measures of supply, such as the reserve and additional force acts, has hardly ever sufficed to cover the actual waste of the army, independent of the augmented loss which may be expected, should any active operations on an extended scale be undertaken. We must therefore submit to have our army remain stationary, if not fall back in point of numbers, unless we avail ourselves of some extraordinary means of procuring a supply of men over and above what ordinary recruiting has yet been found to furnish, which has continued for several years past to produce not more than from 11 to 14 thousand men a year, exclusive of foreign recruiting, little apparently affected by the operation of the several measures of competition and high bounties, however much its success, according to all just reasoning, ought to have been influenced by these causes.—Before I state the resources on which his majesty's late ministers relied for an augmentation of the army, it may be right to mention, that it was not intended, at least for the present, to propose to parliament to vote the army on a higher establishment in point of numbers than it was taken at ill the last year, but it was their sanguine expectation, that in the course of the next year they would be able to add not less than 25,000 men to its effective strength, by which the present deficiencies of 43,000 men would be reduced more nearly to that amount, which must always be expected to exist, for obvious reasons, in the establishments of all armies.—Their chief reliance for effecting this important object was on the additional force act, under an improved management; which bill it is now intended to repeal without substituting any visible measure whatever of supply in its place. An augmentation of about 8,000 men to the Irish militia was some time since ordered, and is in progress of levy, coupled with an arrangement to be submitted to parliament, by which we had every prospect of procuring for the line a supply annually of about 4,000 men, to be replaced on their volunteering from the militia regiments at the public expence. I am rejoiced that it is the intention of the right hon. gent., however little I could have expected it from his past sentiments, upon rendering the militia auxiliary to the augmentation of the regular army, not to throw out of his hands this valuable, though, in comparison with our wants, very limited resource. But the main expectation of the late government for augmenting the army, rested on the bill in question, which gentlemen on the other side, from its augmented produce, will find it difficult any longer to denominate inefficient. It will be for the house seriously to weigh hereafter, when the information is printed and laid before them, what the value of that measure really is, in prospect as a supply to time army, if steadily fostered and supported, and I trust they will coolly compare even its present very imperfect produce with any thing that can be hoped for from the merely speculative substitute on which the right hon. gent. builds for replacing it, viz. his proposition for altering the term of the soldier's service, accompanied with measures for the improvement of his condition. The bill in question has hitherto been tried under every possible disadvantage. The house will shortly have before them a most valuable body of information on this subject, in the reports from the several inspecting field-officers who have completed a progress through the several counties. I shall only at present request the pointed attention of the house to these reports, formed upon a personal communication with all the parish-officers of the kingdom, and stating upon their authorities the causes which have hitherto impeded the execution of the act, the impediments that yet stand in the way of its execution, and the hopes that may fairly be entertained, with due pains, that the measure may be rendered adequate to all its objects. I shall only now generally state, that previous to the adoption of this inspection through a great proportion of the kingdom, the parish-officers were supine, and wholly ignorant of their duty, or of the provisions of the act; in many places they had imagined government would be better pleased to receive fines than men; they had understood the men were to be raised at the expence of the parishes, and not of the treasury; And that upon the whole it was better to pay the penalty of twenty pounds at once, and be released from all further claims, than to pay a bounty of twelve guineas for a recruit, and to remain answerable for replacing him in case he deserted. The house will be informed of the disposition generally shewn by the parish-officers to profit by the information thus given them, and they will observe from the time this inspection took place, to the present time, being a period of not more than ten weeks, that the bill has produced above 300 men a week, although the prospect of its repeal has been counteracting its operation during the whole of that period.—I only wish the house to consider, if, under so defective a management, this bill has already furnished the army with about 13,000 men, and is now steadily producing at the rate of above 16,000 men a year, what might not be hoped for from it, when, instead of being hardly yet put into force in one half of the counties in the kingdom, it shall be gradually brought into general operation? I must also request, that as a measure of pressure in point of charge on the country, the house will only compare its effects with either the militia or the army of reserve, and advert particularly to the fact, that differing from all other measures for obtaining men, by due exertion, the districts may discharge themselves, by finding the men, free from all expence whatever.—On the increased and increasing produce of this bill, with some slight alterations, which experience had suggested for its improvement, we confidently relied for the increase of the regular army, and the extension of the disposable branch of it; these alterations were few and simple, principally the opening to the parishes a larger district for the levy of their men, accompanied by a regulation, by which the parish officer should be enabled, if the recruit chose at once to take the higher bounty, and engage for general, rather than limited service, to engage him accordingly, being themselves of course entitled to the increased reward to which those levying men for general service are now entitled. This, coupled with some diminution of the bounty on the transfer from limited to unlimited service, diminishing thereby the temptation to persons meaning ultimately to enter for general service, passing intermediately through the limited service, and allowing the parishes three months instead of one to produce their men, before the penalties attached, it was conceived would facilitate the parishes in raising their quotas without encroaching on the general recruiting of the army, or inducing those to enter into the limited service, who could be induced by the higher bounty at once to engage for general service. With these and some other alterations, calculated to improve the operation of the measure, it was the intention of my late right hon. friend to rest satisfied during the war; had he lived to conduct the public affairs till a peace, it certainly was in his contemplation then to revise the system generally, and to make it more applicable to one of its main objects, namely, the preserving at all times that portion of the army for limited service in such a state, in time of peace, though disbanded, as to afford an immediate resource to the country at the very outset of any future war. Peace he considered as the first moment which could justify any fundamental change in a system, which had proved itself so mainly adequate, and there was nothing he more seriously deprecated than extensive alterations or further experiments during the war.—The right hon. gentleman proceeding on the opposite principle, seems determined to leave nothing untouched; the form, shape, or extent of every branch of the service is to undergo revision, and to be subjected to change. To the large supply of men rapidly wanted for the extension of our present force; to the chasm which is already occasioned in the army by inevitable casualties liable to be much increased, should the troops be more employed in the field, he has thought fit to add the progressive defalcation which must be occasioned by suffering the militia to waste down to the very low establishment of thirty thousand men, being eighteen thousand for England alone below its present standard; he also desires now to lay the foundation of a heavy annual loss of strength, which must be occasioned hereafter in the army, when the measure for limiting the term of service shall begin to operate; and what does he propose to cover or counteract this obvious and formidable sacrifice of force? absolutely nothing but his speculative assurance that more recruits will be obtained under his new system, although no change in the mode of recruiting is spoken of; and upon this ground alone, the solidity of which I shall hereafter examine, he calls upon parliament, in the midst of war, to give up a present annual supply of sixteen thousand men, capable of considerable extension, and to concur with him in adopting innovations the most serious in the constitution of the army.—To the principle of improving the condition of the soldier distinct from the proposed change in the terms of his enlistment, if applied with prudence, I am far from having any objection. So far as we can, within the limits of a rational œconomy, ameliorate the condition of the soldier, and more particularly if we can, without immediate prejudice to his discipline, hold out to him rewards to increase in proportion as his length of faithful service may add to his claim upon the liberality of the country; I am of opinion that the scheme is wise in itself, and may be productive of some good, though I conceive the right hon. gent. is disposed to expect much more from its immediate effect, in inducing men to enter into the army, than either the value of the temptation, or the remoteness of its operation, will in any degree warrant. Whatever may be, however, its effects, it is unobjectionable in principle: but I must beg the house to recollect, that it is quite as applicable to an army enlisted as ours now is, as if the proposed change had been effected, and that sit is in no degree requisite to alter the term of service of the soldier in order to give operation to this part of the plan; on the contrary, I conceive it might be added with some effect as a further temptation to men to enter into the army.—The alteration of the term of the soldier's enlistment is a very different question, and perhaps amongst the most serious and delicate in its bearings, which parliament has ever been called on to discuss; it is impossible not to feel it to be the more critical, as it is one of those great changes of system, which once made, especially on the principles contended for, cannot be undone. Urged as this measure has frequently been by several of those who support it, particularly by the right hon. gent. (Mr. Fox), on grounds connected with the individual freedom of the subject, I fear it is precisely one of those steps, from which, if taken in error, we cannot recede: and I do therefore hope, whatever may have been the sanction given to this scheme by individual opinions of great authority, that the house will cautiously weigh the grounds on which it is urged and the effects to be expected from it, before they commit themselves to so serious, and, in my judgment, so fatal an innovation in the constitution of the British army. I own, much as I look with apprehension to the introduction of this vital change into the service, my objections are infinitely increased if the right hon. gent. should persist in excluding the existing army from its application, whatever may be the precise terms of their present contract, where a great change is to be wrought in the situation of a soldier, as it is described, though I think untruly, as redeeming him from a sort of bondage. Every wise principle of liberality and policy requires, that the principle should be applied, under proper qualifications, to those who have the additional claim upon our favour, of not having been held back by any consideration of a personal nature from engaging in the service of their country. Can the right hon. gent. mean to act towards the British army on principles of less liberality than the Austrian government did in the year 1802, on a similar occasion, towards the Austrian army? It surely cannot be wise to suffer distinctions to remain, capable of being represented as invidious, and which might have a tendency to introduce discontent and dissatisfaction into an army less subordinate and obedient than ours is. It is said, different corps in the army have at all times served on different conditions and terms of service. True it is that different regiments have; but I believe the men within the same regiment never have, without the most serious inconvenience. But this cannot be looked on as any ordinary change, or made on any ordinary considerations. It is intended as a great moral change in the soldier's situation, and to be held out to the country as such. Surely then, if it is fit to be acted upon at all, it ought to be made at least progressively to attach to all those who are not in the service.—Before I proceed to state my reasons for being of opinion that the proposed change, so far from furnishing an adequate, or even an increased, supply of men to meet our numerous wants, will only add an additional impediment to our getting men. I wish to enter my protest against the accuracy of that description of the soldier's present condition which states it to be an engagement for life. It is true his discharge is not demandable of right, and his engagement is to serve his king as long as his majesty may deem his services necessary for the public safety. But, on the other hand, every man entering into the army knows, that this engagement is so qualified by the practice and nature of the service, as to render it at least highly probable, that he may obtain his discharge, if he wishes it, at a much earlier period than the close of life—he knows that after 20 or 25 years service, a discharge, entitling him to a pension, is in practice never refused—he knows that in a peace a considerable reduction in the army must take place, and that he has a fair chance, if he desires it, of being indulged with his discharge—he knows, in time of peace, when recruits are easily obtained at a bounty of three guineas, either by procuring a man to serve in his room, or even as an indulgence, that his discharge may be without difficulty obtained. It is therefore at least an exaggeration to speak of it as binding a man of necessity without mitigation for the entire of his life. But here it may be material to mark the change which may be produced in the essential character of the soldier if this plan be adopted, by habituating his mind to dwell constantly on a separation, at the end of a given period, from his profession, and a return to his family, or on a new bargain then to be made. At present nothing can be more perfect than the character of our regular soldier—he is brave, contented, and enterprising; why should we be ingenious in discovering grievances, which he does not complain of? But to consider what the effect of this regulation may be in filling the ranks of the army, it appears most extraordinary to me how it should have occurred to the right hon. gent. as likely to operate successfully. For the last three years our endeavours have been directed, whilst a superior encouragement was held out to persons entering for general service, to obtain the utmost number of men possible for limited service in the regular army; this was first attempted in the army of reserve under all the impulse of ballot and high bounties, and latterly under the Additional Force act. If then we have failed in obtaining an adequate supply of men, even for a service hinted both in time and space, how can we expect by taking away one of these limitations, and only enlisting men for general service, coupled with a period by two years more extended in point of time, obtain a greater or even so great a supply of men?—If the present defect of our army was, that we had not a sufficiency of force liable to be detached abroad, I could then perfectly understand the policy, even at some loss of men, of throwing the entire of our exertion into the levy of that description of force: but whilst we have 165,000 men capable of being detached on foreign service, and our means of sending them is only limited by the necessity of not weakening ourselves too much at home, why should we desist from raising that description of force which is most easily obtained; which, being regular, is equal to any army, which, with the exception of its officers, has not seen service; and which will at once liberate for offensive operations a corresponding proportion of the army?—It appearing then to me almost a matter of demonstration, except so far as the regulation for the improvement of a soldier's condition may counteract the effect, (an arrangement which I have before stated to be as applicable to the army in its present state) that the scheme intended, must have a tendency to diminish, rather than increase, our supply of recruits generally. I wish to state the very serious effect the alterations of the soldier's term of service must have, either in producing, when it comes fairly into operation, a large annual waste on the army, in addition to what now occurs, or to occasion, at certain periods, a still more alarming deficiency.— The right hon. gent. has chosen to encounter the former difficulty by permitting the soldier to claim his discharge even in war, that is, within six months after the expiration of any period, rather than hold him, as the militia are now held, to serve to the end of the war. By this means he endeavours to avoid, perhaps, the more serious danger to which the country might find itself exposed at the end of a war, by being left as completely without an army, as it usually is without a militia, but with this important distinction, that whilst it is sure of obtaining a new militia by ballot in short space of tune, it is by no means sure of obtaining a regular army by voluntary inlistments within any period that is compatible with the public safety. With this danger staring him in the face, the right hon. gent. is obliged to incur all the inconvenience of a declining army in the midst of war; all the difficulties of sending men home from our distant possessions to be discharged, and of relieving them at great inconvenience to the public service, and the not less serious evil of having the good faith of government towards the soldier brought into discredit, if all this perplexed operation cannot be regularly and immediately carried into execution during hostilities.—What the inconvenience of the soldiers being entitled to their discharge at the end of each period during a war, is likely to prove upon experience, may best be judged of by recollecting how embarrassing this system was, some years back, found to be in the militia, notwithstanding the great comparative facility of dismissing and replacing the men, when serving at home. This led to the adoption both of an extension of the period of service and the continuance of the inlistment during the war; the perpetual fluctuation of the militia was thus avoided, but the consequence upon a peace, notwithstanding the law enjoins, that a proposition to re-inlist for a further term shall be made to each man previous to his being disembodied has been found to be, that but a small proportion of the men re-engage, and that the regiments are principally composed, when re-assembled, of untrained recruits.—The small proportion of the men re-inlisting in the militia, I apprehend, on an average, not exceeding from a sixth to an eighth of the whole, leads to another very serious view of this question. It is probable that soldiers, when stationed abroad, being at the moment removed from their homes, and from domestic impressions, may re-inlist in greater numbers; but presuming that the option will not in any case be put to the men, which I think it cannot possibly be, consistent with the professed principles of the plan, till towards the close of the period, I see no reason to suppose that the soldiers belonging to the regular army stationed at home, will not be nearly as prone to take their discharges rather than re-inlist, as the substitutes in the militia are found to be, who at present compose nine-tenths of that force. If then to the existing casualties of the army this heavy annual drain be added, and if we also consider, that we want at this moment not less than 25,000 men as an augmentation to our present army, and shall have gradually to replace with a regular army the 18,000 militia, which are to be permitted to fall off; is it not idle to face such a demand without any one substantial substitute for that, which it is now proposed shall be relinquished?—lf the proposal of the right hon. gent. is not sustainable in argument, I apprehend it is as little warranted in fair analogy by the existing practice of any other great European military power—the general plan of military service in Prussia does not countenance it—that of Russia affords us little sanction—it is true Austria, after the treaty of Campo Formi, passed an ordinance that such a system should take effect from a period then some years remote. It certainly was not in force in the Austrian army in its best days, nor do I believe it has as yet been acted upon; and we certainly know that no such regulation at present prevails in the French army. The only precedent at all in point that I have heard of, is that of Old France during the monarchy. The French army, I have understood, was then kept up by voluntary inlistment, and the soldiers were inrolled for a term of years, more extended, however, than that now proposed. But I must beg to protest against France, even at that time, being considered as in any degree a parallel case. Her population, in proportion to those serving in her army and navy, was nearly double what ours is. Her people were poor, little industrious, and prone to a military life. She had comparatively few colonies to protect, and a considerable colonial army in existence, to whom the regulation in question did not apply. Her army in peace and in war was more equal in numbers than ours is; in short, she had none of the difficulties to contend with in raising and supplying her army which we have, and in that, as in all despotic governments, the experiment might more safely be made, as the sovereign had always the power of military conscription, either actually in operation to fill up the deficiencies in the public force, or the right to recur to it if necessary.—So far as a precedent for it has been attempted to be found in any part of the practice of this country, the reference has rather been unfortunate, if it was meant to prove thereby that the ranks of the army would be immediately filled by the adopting of such inducement. It certainly is true, that the East-India company were, for a number of years, in the habit of levying men to serve in their European regiments abroad for the term of seven years; but it is not less true, although service in the East Indies is generally popular, that as an inducement it did not in this instance operate to fill their battalions; on the contrary, they were always peculiarly weak in numbers, and inefficient, and were nearly all reduced, expressly on this account, during lord Cornwallis's first government in India.—The advantages which the right hon. gent. wishes to derive from it as counteracting desertion, seem to me also very much exaggerated, if not wholly unfounded. In part of his argument, though with a different view, he adverted to the great number of desertions which had taken place in the men raised under the Additional Force act; yet these are men raised for limited service. If the returns are examined, above one-fourth of the whole desertions of the army will be found to have taken place from amongst the men raised for limited service, although the total numbers of that description of force do not compose above one-eighth of the whole regular army. I do not quote this fact with a view of maintaining that the men being engaged for a term of years disposes them the more to desert; all I contend is, that it does not materially prevent them; and I believe it will be found that desertion is always most frequent amongst new levies, whatever may be their engagement: and in this respect the right hon. gent.'s system will rather tend to multiply desertions, by materially increasing in the army the number of recruits in proportion to the old seasoned soldiers, who seldom are found to desert.—Upon the whole of this part of the, plan, I see nothing but hazard and inconvenience. The right hon. gent. may perhaps comfort himself with the reflection that the evils predicted cannot be felt in his day, and he may leave the future war-minister, seven years hence, to provide as he can against the effects of this fatal redemption of his own pledges; but in the view of parliament this will afford but poor consolation, if the principles of weakness and decay are thereby to be deeply implanted in the constitution of the army. I am sure it cannot fail to weigh on the judgment of the house, that all the first impressions of my late right hon. friend (Mr. Pitt) were strongly in favour of the inlistment for a term of years, yet he never felt himself justified in acting upon them, his sentiments to this effect were, it will be recollected, distinctly stated to the house, and he pledged himself to have the subject fully considered. The written opinions of the most experienced officers in the army were accordingly obtained; and upon the fullest consideration of the whole of the subject, divided as these authorities were upon it, Mr. Pitt apprized the house, towards the close of the last session, that he did not feel himself warranted in proposing the measure for adoption. I certainly have the means of knowing, that his matured persuasion was, that so long as our regular army presented, as it does at present, to those who prefer limited service, a facility of entering for such, that the more general change could not possibly give us many additional men, whilst the execution of the measure might be attended with considerable complexity and inconvenience, and that his final determination was taken not to propose to parliament this change in our military system.—A few words, sir, before I close, on the volunteers and the proposed conscription, under the Levy en Masse act. I much lament that the right hon. gent. has not been more candid and explicit on this part of his plan. I certainly am not disposed to object to any prudent retrenchment which can now be made in the volunteer expenditure, and see no reason why the corps first raised and authorised to parade 80 days in the year, having already attained considerable perfection in discipline, may not be reduced to the general level of other corps in the numbers of their days of exercise. Neither should I object, as far as the same can be done without breaking in upon the assurance given by his majesty to the several counties that the defence act would not he put in force so long as their quota of volunteers was kept complete, to the training a proportion of class-men so as to be designated and ready to join the ranks of the regular army in case of invasion; but I cannot accept this species of array as a substitute, either for the volunteers or the regular army, and although they might prove, in the event of a protracted campaign in these islands a valuable source of supply to the latter, yet they cannot enable us to dispense with the permanent employment of a single regular soldier. The fate of London, in case of invasion, must be decided long before these scattered fragments can be collected or incorporated with the army, and the scale of our defence must be kept up altogether independent of this resource.—What I do complain of is, that the right hon. gent. has not adopted towards the volunteers a more manly line of conduct, and one more consonant to what their past merits entitle them to claim at his hands. I cannot but consider, from every thing that has been stated, and the right hon. gent.'s known and declared sentiments on the volunteer institution itself, that his decided purpose is indirectly and gradually to get rid of them; he has told us he means to deprive them of all the principal means by which discipline and regularity are now preserved amongst that body; that he means to loosen and relax their discipline, not to preserve or improve it. Can it be supposed, or expected, that the volunteers, whatever may be their zeal, if they are to be stript of every thing which is calculated to mark the interest which the legislature takes in their conservation and improvement, will long continue to exist as it were merely by sufferance, in a state of neglect and decay, which can neither be productive of this honour to themselves or service to their country, which they have hitherto been in the habit of contemplating as the gratifying result of their exertions and sacrifices.—Remembering the bitter and deliberate invectives repeatedly uttered by the right hon. gent. against the volunteer system, not less pointed against their military constitution, than their general tendency to render every thing internal less secure, I did hope, hearing it rumoured that the institution was yet to survive his return to office, that I should have had to congratulate the hon. gent. on again fairly making a sacrifice of his past opinion to those of his colleagues in the government. But it appears to me that he is proceeding on a less open, but not on a less effectual course, to execute his former purposes. I do trust, however, the house will reject this most equivocal and unbecoming line of policy towards a body of men who have such claims on the public gratitude, and that they will either support the volunteers in an efficient and honourable shape, or if they think they can replace them by any other description of force more likely, in proportion to the charge, to protect the country, that they will, in a direct and manly manner, return them their thanks for their past services, and at once release them from their engagements. From most of the leading features of the right hon. gent.'s schemes, for the reasons stated, I have no hesitation in expressing my most pointed dissent. I consider some of them as feeble and inefficient, and others as likely to prove injurious, if not fatal, to the best interests of the army. Were his plan even preferable in some respects to what now exists, I should deem it both unwise and unsafe to select the present moment for introducing so extensive a change; but where the innovations appear pregnant with danger in themselves, and in their nature hardly reparable if once made; where the whole proceeds upon a scheme of destroying what is now efficient, upon slight grounds of objection, without any attempts at substitution in its room, I cannot hesitate in deeming it my duty to resist, as far as depends on me, so dangerous an attempt; and here I cannot hesitate to express my confident persuasion, had his majesty's late ministers remained in power, that they would have been at present occupied in directing the powerful army, which the country actually possesses, against the enemy's most vulnerable points, instead of wasting their own time, and that of the house, in unnecessary and hazardous experiments on the constitution of the public force.—I shall close what I have felt it my duty to offer to the consideration of the house in the present important question, by shortly referring to what fell from me on a former night's debate, with respect to the state and condition in which the government, in all its leading branches, has passed into the hands of his majesty's present servants. The indignant manner in which the right hon. gent., at the outset of his speech, supported by his colleagues, seemed to refer to what then passed, makes me the more desirous of repeating it, as not inapplicable to the present discussion: I certainly was not then, nor am I now, disposed either to undervalue or to disguise the many and serious difficulties time government have to struggle against, or, more especially in their external relations, reduced as the greater part of the continent now is, under the absolute power of France; and no one can feel more desirous than myself, of strengthening their hands to the utmost, that they may be enabled the better to bear up against these difficulties; but I must contend that, with respect to all the main and leading features which constitute internal strength, and afford the best means of successfully prosecuting the war to an honourable conclusion, no administration ever found themselves, on their coming into office, in a more commanding situation. The noble lord (lord H. Petty) has found a revenue highly and progressively productive. Public credit, such as to enable him to borrow for the service of the year on terms highly advantageous to the public; and the general prosperity of the country, such as to admit of his adopting the manly resolution of raising a large additional proportion of the supplies within the year. The noble lord (lord Howick) has found a navy, on the numbers and efficiency of which it is as little necessary for me to comment, as upon their late unrivalled achievements. The right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) has found an army exceeding by 25,000 men the greatest army the country ever before possessed, and of a description which qualifies them to fulfil every wish their sovereign can form with respect to their exertions, if their character and constitution is not broken down by inconsiderate and speculative innovations, I again repeat, that the government has great difficulties to surmount, but they arise from causes which my late right hon. friend, and those who acted with him, had neither the power nor the means to regulate or controul. Whatever was immediately under his own guidance has been successfully conducted; and I do not hesitate to assert that on all the essential points above alluded to, viz. the finances, the navy, and the army, compared with the difficulties and embarrassments under which they are disposed to represent themselves as taking the government, the present administration may be considered as on a Bed of Roses. I trust the house will pointedly discourage any attempt to tamper with our establishments at such a crisis, which require nothing but time and perseverance to render them equal to any purpose we can have in view. No case calling for any fundamental change has yet been made out, and until such necessity shall be made more evident, every consideration forbids the entering upon so hazardous an experiment.

Mr. Secretary Fox

spoke in substance as follows:— rise, sir, to make a few observations on what has fallen from the noble lord, and which appears to me so extraordinary that I could not have imagined that any human nerves were sufficient to enable any one gravely to make such assertions as he has hazarded. He has told us that the country is now placed in such a state of proud splendour and universal prosperity, as never had been handed over by any ministry to their successors. Gracious God! and in what does this prosperity, of which he boasts, consist? Undoubtedly the navy, by the most unparalleled gallantry, and the most wonderful success, even beyond human calculation, is in a state in which the task of my right hon, friend near me (Mr. Grey) is comparatively easy. But may it not he questioned whether all the merit is due to the last board? nay, whether with a reference to the future supply and maintenance of the navy, every thing is quite so meritorious as the noble lord asserts? But of the splendid victories achieved, is the whole credit to be concentrated in the last 18 months? Is none due to that Board of Admiralty, at which lord St. Vincent presided; none due to those who selected and appointed those officers? The noble lord, indeed, defended lord St. Vincent too; but it cannot be denied that many of his friends entertained against that gallant officer as strong prejudices as ever existed in the minds of men. But, after mentioning the navy, I do not know that there is a single point on which I can subscribe to the noble lord's representation of the state of the country. Is it in the finances that we are to seek for the proofs? Because the last administration laid very heavy burthens on the public, did that facilitate the laying on of those new burthens, which my noble friend near me found it his duty to propose? It is true we have 43 millions of revenue; but is it very consolatory that we have an expenditure of forty-three millions? Is there no relation between those objects? Or is it a proof of prosperity that our taxes are enormous, though they are borne with cheerfulness, because they may be necessary? Does the noble lord appeal to Ireland as that with the state of which there is every reason to he proud? Is India in the best possible state, quite prosperous and tranquil? Where then is the "Bed of Roses" to which we have succeeded? Really it is insulting, to tell me, I am on a bed of roses, when I feel myself torn and stung by brambles and nettles, whichever way I turn. But, as far as regards this country itself, we are in a state of prosperity. But surely, you ought to consider the difficulties arising from other countries, as making part of our situation. The noble lord must admit, that, to use the phrase of one of his colleagues, "the Continent is not in a very satisfactory state." The noble lord, however, tells us, that having succeeded to such an excellent state of things, it must be our own fault if we do not carry on affairs well. Does the noble lord then think, that there is a rational prospect either of an honourable and satisfactory peace; or, that we possess the means of so carrying on the war as to compel our enemy to agree to peace; or, that we have the prospect of weakening and reducing his power? If the noble lord thinks these matters easy, I should be very happy to have his advice on the subject. Whether the last campaign was wisely conducted on our part; whether the exertions made and the concert effected were such as could attend a fair chance of success; I do not at present discuss; but surely the events of that campaign were such, as by no means to facilitate our efforts, and lighten our task. Unless, like the Parish bill, the good effects of the late campaign are not to be apparent for a long time, I must confess, that I see nothing in it that is not disastrous to the country, and embarrassing to the government. Nay, I would ask the noble lord, whether the communication of Papers by himself and his colleagues has not added to our difficulties? If he doubts it, let him come to my office, and I will show him documents from different ministers, which will prove how much that has contributed to our embarrassments. But the noble lord does not think proper to come to our offices; and here I cannot help saying, that his declining to come, is in some respects criminal. He talked as if it had been the intention of the late ministers to have made an attack on some of the enemy's vulnerable points. In taking credit for the success of such a project, I must confess the noble lord seemed to boast rather too much of what might have been the event. But he spoke as if something particular had been in view. If there was, I do thank that it was the noble lord's duty to tell the king's government where the enemy's vulnerable points were. It has ever been my practice, if I had any information, to give it, whoever were ministers, that it might be acted upon if useful; and I confess I should have expected the noble lord to have done so. We certainly should be glad to know what vulnerable points the noble lord believes could be attacked with success. If, however, he means only that they would have made some diversion, I am not so sorry that the noble lord withheld his advice. After what they did last campaign, when two armies were sent to different quarters, where they were of no use, and where they never made any diversion of the enemy's forces, I have very little hopes that the noble lord would have given us much instruction as to useful diversions now. I trust, however, that though the noble lord has told us that we have only to leave things as they are, that we have only to maintain the prosperity we found, the house will have the candour to judge of us by our conduct, and will bear in mind the difficulties we have to encounter in the relative situation of the country to our enemy, that most important of all considerations. The noble lord, indeed, though he has talked so much of complication, seems to have an understanding so formed as to be utterly incapable of conceiving any relation between objects. He saw nothing but a large revenue, but saw nothing of the large debt. He talks of a large army, but he does not consider that our enemy has an army, a very large army. Surely it is not enough to tell us of an army larger than in queen Anne's time, or even in the American war, when the relative state of circumstances is so wonderfully changed. I might then quit this part of the subject by saying, that the state of the country is almost in every point directly the reverse of that described by the noble lord; but I would beg leave to ask him, whether that most prosperous state of the country had all arisen between May 1804, and Feb. 6th, 1806? The noble lord himself may claim the merit of the prosperity of both. But will some of those very near him (Messrs. Cannning, Rose, &c.) agree as to the proud situation of the country in May 1804? Nay, would not the assertion have appeared strange to that right hon. person on whose memory the noble lord has frequently drawn this evening? Was it prosperous in 1804? and what is the difference in the increase of the army since then? Some 20,000 or 30,000 men, perhaps. With respect to the parish bill, the very circumstance mentioned by the noble lord, as to its not being executed, appears to me decisive of its being a miserably bad measure. The noble lord ascribes its non-execution to the ignorance of the parish officers. But in truth it was not the ignorance of the parish officers. I know that, in the part of the country where I live, within five miles of the commander-in-chief, the bill has never been acted upon: and it is ridiculous to say, that it was solely from the ignorance of its object. The truth is, the bill was found to be absurd and imprac- ticable, and therefore it was not executed. —To come now, however, to the principal point in my right hon. friend's plan; the enlisting for a limited time. The noble lord observes upon this, that though the late Mr. Pitt was at first captivated with the idea, he was induced, upon mature consideration, to abandon it. Really I do not know what use the noble lord is to make of the opinions of that right hon. person, if he is to be the administrator of them. I have read of Mark Anthony giving out memorandums and scraps of Julius Cæsar's; and I remember that considerable doubts were entertained of the truth of such vouchers of Cæsar's sentiments. All I know is, that I never heard that right hon. gent. say in parliament, that he had changed his views on the subject; nay, I have heard accounts very different indeed from those of the noble lord. For myself, I always have been, and still continue, a warm friend to the principle of enlisting for a limited Lime. The noble lord observing on my right hon. friend's argument, that this would facilitate the recruiting, thinks proper to allude to something he supposes me to have said respecting the hardship or bondage of the situation of men engaging in a service for life. I remember, indeed, that I said on a former occasion, that I considered such a system as unsuitable to the genius of this constitution, and that in addition to the object of policy, it would be an additional argument with me, that we should get rid of what appeared to me desirable to change. We must submit to many things in themselves unpleasant, because we cannot help them; but, surely, when humanity and constitutional principle coincide with true policy, it will be an additional inducement to every honourable mind, to rectify what is amiss. The noble lord, however, seems determined to have "two strings to his bow" in argument as well as in every thing else; and, to say the truth, he has sometimes three or four. He foresees great danger in the plan proposed, and says that mutinies may perhaps arise. This, indeed, is no bad hint; but let that pass. While the old soldiers, on one view of his argument, may perhaps mutiny, because they do not obtain the right of discharge the new will have, he shews in another, that no such danger exists, because, in fact, if not in right, the soldiers can obtain their discharge, so can have, no reason to be offended with the privilege granted to others. Thus the noble lord, with one of his argu- ments answers the other, without at all answering that of my right hon friend, as to the beneficial tendency of enlisting for a limited time, as an inducement for men to enter. But he says this is all theory. What the noble lord means by theory, I cannot tell; but I see very well, not only that the proposed regulation has a tendency to remove an objection to the service, but that it has been adopted, in practice for that end. In part of the Prussian army, contrary to the broad assertion of the noble lord, it was the custom to enter for a limited term. It was said, indeed that Frederick the Great was not very scrupulous in executing the contract, though it was clear what was considered the tendency of the regulation; and I am convinced, that, with a government like this, scrupulous in its faith, the regulation would most powerfully operate as an inducement to the service. Besides, the noble lord is mistaken in his statement. All the troops of the continent were not engaged for life. Those of the elector of Hanover were for a limited service. The German corps in our own service are all for a limited time, even the 60th regiment. As to the case of the East-India company, put by the noble lord, it proves too much; for it is absurd to say, that men will enlist more willingly for life than for a limited time.—Now with respect to the Volunteers, the noble lord says, he remembers my right hon. friend baying, on former occasions, said so and so of the Volunteers; but I fear the noble lord only remembers his own misrepresentations of what was said. As soon as the noble lord got up, I anticipated what we have heard; day by day, week after week, year after year, the same eternal repetition of the same confuted misrepresentation. Indeed he has repeated this so often, that I verily believe he has brought himself to imagine that his own answers to my right hon. friend were really the arguments used by the latter. My right hon. friend stated distinctly, that finding the volunteers established, and so far useful, he would propose to keep them up as far as they were capable of being advantageously employed. Aye, but says the noble lord, he abused the Volunteer system 2 or 3 years ago. I really do not remember what my right hon. friend said when the establishment of the Volunteers was first proposed, but he has said tonight that it is a different thing to demolish what you find set up, and to disapprove a particular system. But the noble lord says, why don't you tell the Volunteers a once that you mean to get rid of them. The best reason in the world for not doing so, is because no such thing is intended. But that must be intended, because their discipline is to be so relaxed! Yet the noble lord himself thinks the same degree of discipline no longer necessary. The noble lord, however, complains of the confusion of my right hon. friend's ideas on the subject, and a more extraordinary complaint I never heard; for, besides that the speech of my right hon. friend was one of the most eloquent ever delivered in parliament, it was so perfectly perspicuous in every statement, that it was impossible, to mistake the meaning of it. If my right hon. friend's speech was the labyrinth, and the noble lord's the strait road, I must have very erroneous ideas, indeed, of the qualities of a strait road and a labyrinth. But what was the proposal of my right hon. friend? Was it not to retain, as Volunteers, those of a superior class, those able to defray their own expences, while those who could not were to be subject to the general training; and this was the principle which seemed universally agreed upon, when the Levy en Masse act was first considered, and it was thought an objection to that measure that all classes should be blended without distinction? Now, what is the proposal of my right hon. friend as to the general training? It is to invite, or compel, a certain portion of the whole population to be trained 26 times, each person having one shilling for his trouble each time, so that if the training happened on a Sunday, it would be so much gain. Those, however, who chose to defray their own expences as Volunteers, are not to be compelled to be trained.—The noble lord however asks, how will you put all those men so trained? into the ranks to defend London? I answer no, because the thing must be impossible; and I apprehend that in the neighbourhood of London, a sufficient number of trained men would be found to annoy the enemy, or fill up our own ranks, without calling up those from the distant counties. The effect of the training would be to give us a greater number of men, better fit than they would otherwise have been, to recruit the regiments, or to contribute in other ways to harass the enemy. But again comes the old argument which I have often heard with sentiments the very reverse of respect. It is said, but could these men defend London? Could they stop the enemy before they reached Chatham? Should the enemy land on our shores, we ought doubtless to fight every inch of ground, but are we to act as if that were all, and as if the whole were lost it the first stand were not successful? We must provide, however, not only to withstand the enemy vigorously in their first progress, but to have all the means of maintaining the contest with them in the worst event.—Nay, I am convinced that the English people would, on, such an occasion, display an energy, perseverance, and fortitude, surpassing what any nation on the continent has shewn. They are in a different situation, to be sure. They are unaccustomed to the presence of an enemy in their country, and could not bear it patiently: they feel every motive of attachment to their country and their constitution. They are unshaken in their affection to their government by those changes of master and of companion, which tend to unhinge every principle of allegiance, and they would therefore, I am convinced, give a new example of constancy, and would shew that the fate of their country did not depend on the event of a single battle. Even if the first advantages were gained by the enemy, they would find hundreds of thousands, nay, perhaps millions, of Englishmen determined to maintain their liberty and independence. That the enemy would be best resisted by an armed and trained peasantry, capable of harassing their progress or of serving as recruits to the regular army, I am perfectly satisfied, and I am convinced they would do it far better than any number of Volunteers on the present system. Indeed the employment of the Volunteers as regiments and as reinforcements, would be full of danger, and no friend to the Volunteers would advise the experiment to be tried.— It is alledged, however, that no immediate increase of the army will result from this measure, because it substitutes nothing. But in truth, the merit of the plan is, that it proposes no complicated machinery to produce an effect, which will be gained by the simple mode of recruiting. All the schemes adopted for raising men have, as far as they have been successful, only de frauded the ordinary system of recruiting, and that with a great expence, and no in considerable oppression. Is it nothing, that the market will again be left open to the government as the only recruitor? I do not altogether blame former minister for the experiments tried. At the beginning of the war a general apprehension was entertained that an invasion would immediately be attempted, and it may have appeared necessary to augment the army, even at the risk of encroaching upon the future supply. But the noble lord says, this is all theory, and that no more men will be obtained. Now, I should, think, however, that the theory which tells me that you have the best chance of being cheaply provided when you are the only bidder, is preferable to the noble lord's practical argument, that the more competitors you let in to the market, the more recruits you are likely to obtain, and at a small bounty. The noble lord tells us, too, that it was the intention of the late Mr. Pitt to make an addition of 20 or 25 thousand men to the army. And in fact, I have no doubt, that my right hon. friend will propose, not only to leave no deficiency in the effective force already considered proper to be kept up, but will suggest any further increase that may appear necessary.—It ought to be remembered that, with the exception of Russia, a power, however, whose alliance, desirable and important as it is, must be confessed to be too remote for producing a decisive impression on the Continent, we have no ally whatever of any consequence willing to fight for us. Such is the prosperous situation the noble lord describes. When this is considered, and the state of the Continent is taken into view, it must be allowed that it is time to think of increasing our Army. Both for the purpose of war, and what must be the establishment of any peace likely to be obtained, it is proper that the subject of the army should be maturely weighed. Indeed, by the circumstances of Europe, I am ready to confess that I have been weaned from the opinions I formerly held with respect to the force that might suffice in time of peace; nor do I consider this as any inconsistency, because I see no rational prospect of any peace that would exempt us from the necessity of watchful preparation and powerful establishments. The subject of the army, therefore, must come before us in different shapes, and it presents itself in different views. If we cannot obtain a safe and honourable peace, of which it is impossible, in the actual state of affairs, to be sanguine; and if we do not obtain, in carrying on the war, that species of success hardly to be calculated upon, we must be reduced to that state which I, for one, cannot contemplate without apprehension, that of being, with respect to Europe, the "Britannos toto orbe divisos," and be left to our own resources and our own colonial connexions, or be compelled to cultivate a system the most uphill, the most difficult, and the most perplexed, particularly after the ill success of our late Continental measures, which it is possible to conceive. Yet, perhaps, upon the whole, I am more inclined to the latter system, difficult and unpromising as it is. But it we do resolve to engage in that arduous and difficult struggle, demanding every effort and every exertion, or indeed whatever other system we resolve to act upon, a large army is indispensible. Even while foreign powers court our money, they feel a degradation in accepting it, and they do not view us in a favourable light under such a connection. But, whether we can have an army adequate to home defence and to foreign operations, may be doubtful. Yet I will say, that while we take due precautions for home defence, by training the population to arms, the true policy of the country is to rise superior to the panic of invasion, and to shew that our force and our courage are not to be confined at home.—Our enemy shews us, that by disregarding the danger of particular points, and by directing his forces where the occasion demands them, he has been able to spread his dominion, and to subdue his opponents. If that system to which I have alluded were to be adopted, a great army must necessarily be maintained. In England and Scotland, I am confident, the plan proposed will have the most powerful effect on the recruiting service; and, if measures could be adopted for completely conciliating the people of Ireland, it would present a nursery of brave and excellent soldiers, more faithful in proportion to its population, than any prince in, Europe possesses.

Mr. Yorke

admitted that there were difficulties with which the present administration had certainly to struggle, or any administration in their circumstances. But making allowances for those difficulties, that great man who had been mentioned, had left them in a situation that did him the highest honour. He applauded in high terms the impressive and powerful peroration the right hon. gent. had just made, with which he agreed most cordially. Finding ourselves deserted after all the great exertions we had made, it did riot become us to waste our time in little idle disputes, but to make every effort to be ready to meet our enemy, whose great object was our destruction. He assented most cordially to every proposition for putting the army on a proper and respectable establishment, but differed in several points from the right hon. gent. who had submitted this proposition to the house. He hoped this difference of opinion on his part would not be attributed to any desire to oppose the present administration. He was of opinion, in the present circumstances of the country, that all party feelings should be laid aside, and no systematic opposition entered into, unless it should be found that ministers were betraying their trust and abusing the confidence of the nation. But it was the duty of every member in that house to take care that the declining years of a beloved sovereign should descend to the grave in peace. Any change in our military establishment, he thought, had better be postponed till a time of peace. It was like quitting a good position on the eve of battle in quest of another, by which we exposed ourselves to inevitable defeat. We had already, he thought, a large army, and the means also in operation that were likely to increase it. He should at present only make a few observations upon the different heads into which the right hon. gent. appeared to have divided his speech, viz. the repeal of the Additional Force bill; 2dly, the regulation of the Army; and 3dly, the regulation of the Volunteer system, and the improvements of the Levy en Masse. With respect to the first of these he confessed that he himself had at first opposed that additional force bill, from the idea of its being an innovation, but now since it appeared to have been the means of producing men, and likely to be still further beneficial in being productive of a regular supply to the army, he should hesitate very much before he should vote for the repeal of such an act. It most undoubtedly ought not to be repealed merely upon prejudices taken up at the outset of the plan. The number of men produced within the few last months operated very greatly in its favour, and tended to show the absurdity of repealing an act previously to proposing any substitute in its stead. It had been found that by common recruiting the deficiences in the army could not at present be filled up. The right hon. gent. had in his speech taken notice of the circumstance that the trifling bounty of one guinea or two guineas being sufficient to procure men for the army in the reign of king William, and in the time of king George II.; but he wished him to advert to the extreme difference of those times from the present, and the number of men actually required for the services of the state. When the French fleet came up to Dungeness, in the year 1744, the total amount of the army to defend the country was only 19,000; a circumstance which might still be in the recollection of many gentlemen at this present day. It was impossible now to think of keeping up an army upon the principles adopted in the reign of George the second; and such being the case, it served no end to advert to what could not possibly be effected at that distant period. As to the proposed mode of recruiting for limited service, he did not think that it would have the effect of even increasing the first levy, and far less would it tend to retain the men in the second instance. This had been a constant complaint in regard to the army of Reserve, and the same thing would undoubtedly occur in the present instance. It had been already found that desertion took place more frequently in the limited, than in the unlimited service. The army of this country might be said to be always an annual army, from the circumstance of that house enjoying a privilege, which he hoped they would never be deprived of, that of voting a sum annually for its maintenance. Men could not, therefore, be said, to be enlisting for life, when it appeared that they thus only enlisted for the particular length of time during which their services might be required. By the present practice in the army (a practice which did not appear on this occasion to have been adverted to), no man was retained in it above 24 years. This was an imitation of the custom of the ancient Romans, whose soldiers, after having served 20 years, procured what was denominated a remissio, and were afterwards transferred, to another description of service. He had not the smallest objection to this custom being, strictly attended to, and enforced; but he should be extremely sorry indeed, to find a new system, not likely to produce any good effect, introduced. This was running the risk of altering the army in the most irregular manner. What constituted the superiority of the regular army? It was the feeling which the men had of their being soldiers, and kept on a different footing from those who were raised on a different plan. He warned the house to pause before they attempted to introduce such a dangerous innovation, and to reflect upon what might probably be the consequence in regard to the navy of Great Britain. He was not at all aware that some regulations would not become necessary, in order to ascertain a specified term of service for sailors and marines, men who might be said at present to be engaged in an unlimited species of service. He most sincerely hoped that ministers would not encumber themselves with any opinions which they might have formerly uttered in that house, when they in their own consciences were, he believed, convinced that their plans would not be successful. If we were to keep up our army even in time of peace to the amount of 150,000 men, we might reasonably suppose that between 50 and 60 thousand men would be found necessary for our colonies, for garrisons, and for reliefs, &c. This would be keeping up a larger army than would otherwise be necessary, and that principally for the purpose of relieving those men whose time was expired. It had been found by the experience we have already had in the militia, that no sooner was a man's time expired, than he retired from the service with the utmost eagerness. He saw no occasion for our imitating the custom of other countries who stood in situations entirely different from ours. He agreed with the right hon. gent. in adopting some plans for bettering the condition of the army, but he could not help thinking that every one of the regulations now proposed might with equal propriety be applied to the army, as it at present stood. He also approved of making use of the Levy en Masse bill, but united in thinking that it would require same amendments. With respect to the rank of volunteer officers, he might also agree with the right hon. gent. that it might have been prudent to make some further regulations, had they been adopted from the commencement of their institution; but he recollected that in the year 1794, when that right hon. gent. was secretary at war, he did not get up in his place to oppose the measures which were then adopted. The right hon. gent. concluded with stating, that he had a great many other observations to make against the proposed measures, which, on account of the lateness of the hour, he would defer till a future opportunity.

General Norton

said, that it fell to his lot to command a second battalion raised by the former act; and from an account of the state of that battalion, he could show that out of 755 rank and file, 681 men had offered themselves for general service. He therefore was led to believe, that the bill alluded to had actually proved very efficient.

Sir James Pulteney

objected to the whole outline of the plan brought forward by the right hon. secretary, as it tended to a diminution of the regular force of the country. It went to repeal the Additional Force act, an act by which greater encouragement was actually held out, by specifying not only a limited time, but even a limited place of service, while the scheme proposed only related to a limitation of the time. He thought that the character of the British soldier would be materially injured by the change proposed. The motives which generally led men to encounter dangers would be greatly lessened, by enabling them to leave the service and return to live with their families and friends, and it was natural to suppose that the national character would gradually decline. This was not the practice of any great military nation in Europe. He thought that the Volunteers, who had already incurred many heavy expences, ought to be continued on their present establishment. He disapproved of the plan of an armed peasantry.

General Tarleton

also objected to the proposed mode of recruiting, as it went evidently to demolish a great part of the army as already established, and to do away the Volunteer force, without substituting any other eligible mode. He had in his pocket the clearest proof of the efficacy of the Additional Force act. He was convinced that the finest recruits had been raised by that act. He could not help observing, that several of the lords lieutenants of counties appeared to have been remiss in their exertions in raising the men; but from this obloquy he might venture to exempt the county of Lancashire, to which he belonged. In the county of Devon there had been 35 men raised, in Surrey 539, in Essex 89, and in the county of Berks only 35. Such statements showed the disparity of exertions used to fulfil the object in view. He acknowledged that there were many officers who did approve of the limited species of service, and that he had formerly approved of it, but now, since he understood the matter, he had seen the propriety of encouraging a difference of opinion. Considering our insular situation and numerous colonies, it was absolutely necessary that we should abide by the regulations formerly adopted, in regard to the Army. He found that most of the officers of experience and skill, whom he had consulted, were perfectly adverse to the system. He disapproved highly of encroaching upon the Volunteer system. No less than 300,000 men had voluntarily come forward, and had already proved themselves extremely serviceable to the country, and were by this change totally unfixed and unhinged. Was this a proper time for such dangerous experiments, when the enemy might attempt invasion during the course of the summer? The hon. general then spoke in high terms of the efficiency of the Volunteers, many of whom he had had the honour of commanding. He denied that the Levy en Masse would be the means of recruiting the army.

Sir W. W. Wynne

said, that he was ready to prove that every man that had been raised for Denbighshire, was procured by means of a crimp. Lancashire, therefore, taking that fact and the statement of the hon. general together, had almost all the honour of carrying into effect the provisions of the Defence act.

Mr. Langham

said a few words in favour of the bill.

Lord Temple

observed, that charges against officers in a most respectable and highly honourable situation should not be lightly made. An hon. gen. (Tarleton) had accused some of the most highly confidential officers under government with thwarting the intentions of his majesty's ministers, whom it was their duty to support; he had, in fact, impeached them with a sort of under-handed work which thwarted the designs of the legislature for the defence of the country.

General Tarleton ,

in explanation, said that he did not intend to accuse any lord lieutenant of thwarting the intentions of government.

Colonel Craufurd

said, he would not then enter into a detailed statement of his sentiments with respect to the plan now submitted to the house. He could not for a moment, however, suppose that the right hon. secretary of state (Mr. Windham) had ever entertained the strange idea that seemed to be attributed to him, of suffering men to ask for their discharge, neither could he suppose that the right hon. secretary entertained so mean an idea of the character of a soldier as to imagine that he could think of asking for his discharge, while his brothers in arms had military duty to perform.

Mr. C. Dundas

stated the causes of the petition from Berkshire, for the repeal of the Additional Force bill, and maintained that the principle of that bill was impracticable.

Sir W. Young,

alluding to what had fallen from an hon. general, spoke in justification of the conduct of the lords lieutenants of counties in regard to their exertions under the Additional Force act.

Colonel Graham

said, he thought the limited service would operate as a great inducement to men continuing in the army, and would be the means of preventing desertion, which had now become too frequent.

Mr. Huddlestone

professed himself friendly to the principle of limited service.—Leave was then given to bring in a bill to repeal the Additional Force bill. At 2 o'clock the house adjourned to Monday the 14th instant.

Back to