Mr. Secretary Windham
moved the order of the day for the 2d reading of the repealing the Additional Force act
Sir James Pulteney
rose to oppose the bill. He did not object to it from a principle of opposition to his majesty's ministers, but from the real convictions of his own mind; and whether connected or unconnected with ministers, he should have felt it his duty to have pursued precisely the same course, as if it was avowedly the object of this bill to make way for the adoption of another measure to which his dislike was equally strong. His reason for opposing the repeal of the Additional Force act proceeded from two distinct grounds: namely, the great military principle, and what he should call the civil or minor principle. The military principle was that by which men were to be enlisted for the service, first, for a limited term of 5 years, and afterwards, if they should choose it, in a second battalion, with additional bounty for general service, without limitation of time or place. This he considered as a principle perfectly consistent with the spirit and objects of military service. The second principle, or that of raising men by the influence or authority of the parish officers, he considered much less important, and, for argument sake, he was willing to give it up, as wholly inadequate to any eligible or permanent purpose; but for maintenance of the first principle, he was not only disposed, but ready to contend. In the first place, he thought it rather extraordinary that the rt. hon. gent. should propose the repeal of a bill, the leading principle of which was to give the recruit an option of enlisting either for limited or general service; and this at the very time when he avowed his intention, under this proposed modification, to adopt that principle as one of his indispensible propositions. But though the bill now proposed to be repealed gave to the recruit an option for the limitation of his services to time and place, the latter he thought the still stronger inducement, and that which, if any thing could more strongly than another reconcile the recruit to enlistment it was this. Yet it was found by experience, that in point of fact this option had no material influence whatever in preventing men who enlisted for limited service, to extend the term afterwards by enlisting for general service, and for life. In fact, the military principle of the present bill was such as to adapt itself to any mind, whether 962 disposed for limited or general service, and it was with a view to the attainment of numbers, that it embraced both principles: so that it must answer every object proposed by any plan in the contemplation of the rt. hon. gent. as yet explained to the house: From the papers upon the table, the fact was evident, that the men who, under this bill, had enlisted for limited service, afterwards cheerfully offered themselves for general service, without any limitation, in the proportion of 17 to 20, and would have entered in a much larger proportion had it been allowed by government. It had been reported by officers of experience, that in many of the battalions entered for limited service, they could have enlisted every man for general service, had it been permitted by government: and in one place the whole body of 350 men enlisted at once for general service, with the exception of one man, whom the officer dissuaded, as he had 11 children. One of the principle arguments against raising men in this way was, that it cost double bounty. He would admit the bounty was something higher for general than for limited service; but if for the difference of 6 guineas per man, men were to be enlisted for life and general service, instead of temporary and local service, the difference would not exceed 120,000l.; and this was a sum Which, in these times, it would be false economy to save, by foregoing so important an advantage to the service. But economy was not the principle upon which the plan of the rt. hon. gent. was opposed to this bill. It was said that by his plan, the men would be raised sooner than for general and unlimited service. He saw not, however, any great difference whether the men were raised in 3 months or in 6, if they were but obtained; and it was obvious from what had already been proved, that the difference between limited end general service had not such an effect in promoting or discouraging enlistment, as the rt. hon. gent. professed to think. He could not, therefore, discover any superiority in the plan he proposed, that could induce him to relinquish principle, the advantages of which had been already so long, so uniformly, and so recently experienced. The observations he had already made were probably sufficient to prove, that the plan of the rt. hon. gent. had no advantages that could Warrant the repeal of the present bill, or entitle that plan to a preference. But he begged leave now to offer a few observations upon its disadvantages: in doing which he 963 should confine himself to the regulations proposed by the rt. hon. gent. himself. And first, as to his proposition for enlisting men for a limited term of 7 years, and discharging them at the expiration of that term, even in the Midst of war. In support of this principle the rt. hon. gent. had stated the opinion of 14 military officers of experience, of whom, he said, 6 were for, and 6 against the principle, and 2 had given no decisive opinion whatever. Now, with deference to the rt. hon. gent., the fact was not precisely so, if he himself was rightly informed; for the question upon which the opinions of these officers were thus divided, was the general principle of enlisting men for limited instead of perpetual service: but on the subject of dismissing the soldier in the midst of a war, at the end of 7 years, or enlisting him upon any such condition, 11 out of 13 Were decidedly against it, and and 2 others, who had declared no opinion, might be fairly supposed to be against the principle also. He understood, indeed, that the military opinions of high authority, of no less a person than the great lord Cornwallis, and another experienced officer, were in favour of it for home service, and in times of profound peace. But with respect to foreign service, and times of war, the general opinion of military men was decidedly against it. The rt. hon. gent., in support of his principle, had pleaded the uniform usage of foreign services on the continent, and said, that until of very late years it was the uniform practice of all Europe. The rt. hon. gent., to be sure, had not relied much upon this argument; but he should himself be glad to learn in what service of Europe such a principle had obtained. In fact, it never had been the usage of any of the continental services, to enlist men for a limited term of service Without annexing the condition of during the war. It certainly was not the usage of the British service, nor was it the principle of the Hanoverian service, where the men were enlisted in the same manner as in England. It was never the usage of any military nation in Europe: and even in the French conscriptions, where the service was nominally limited to 5 years, the conditional duration of the war was also stipulated. As to the other objects proposed by the plan, particularly that of obtaining soldiers of a superior character, he could not perceive any very prominent advantage. Discipline was the great and most desirable object, that men of the meanest capacity generally 964 learned in a short time, so as to enable them to practise all the manœuvres necessary in the field. He begged also to ask, whether it was probable that the way to attach a soldier to the service, or to good discipline, was to teach him to look forward perpetually to the termination of 2 or 3 years, which would free him from all subjection to the authority of his officers? He should ask also, whether the telling a soldier, that his profession was a bad mode of obtaining a livelihood, was a promising way to induce him to prefer or remain in the service, without perpetually looking forward to other views, or the imaginary comforts of other occupations? or whether a soldier on foreign service, looking anxious forward to the termination of a short period, which must restore him to his native country, and his family, was more likely to sustain fatigues and hardships, or encounter dangers, and reconcile him to all the vicissitudes of a soldier's fortune, than if he had assumed the profession for life, and was conscious that, thought he might escape one danger to-day, he might fall on the morrow? As to the argument, that soldier were difficult to be raised because labour was highly paid for in this country, he thought the remedy by no means a good one to meet the disease; for if a soldier is to be told that his trade is a bad one, his reasoning will be, "then, why exercise it it all?" It was said, those men would enlist again at the termination of their period, or would again be forthcoming on the commencement of a new war. Great numbers of men would undoubtedly be enlisted on such an occasion particularly in the first or second year, but he believed that amongst them would be very few who were discharged after 7 years service. The country did not seem to him in a state that could call for a measure so new and extraordinary; and circumstanced as we now stand, surely no measure could be more improper than a proposition to discharge from the service, and even in the midst of a war, or on the eve of a most important emergency, the most valuable class of men in the service, who had been rendered good soldier by 7 years service, in which they had been seasoned in various climates, and inured to all the habits of military life. With respect to foreign service, especially as we had garrisons of high importance in different parts of the world, and possibly might always have them, it might not be at all times in our power to anticipate, by fresh troops, the discharge of 965 men in those garrisons, whose period of service might be expired. Would it then be prudent to enable one quarter, or one half of the men in such garrisons, and under such circumstances, to demand their discharge, and perhaps at a moment the most charge, and perphaps at a moment the most critical and precarious? One argument more in favour of the project was suggested, that all the men would re-enlist, but this he conceived to be merely ideal; for men taught in the very outset, and during the limited period of their services, that they might be able to get their livelihood better in some other way, would naturally be anxious to quit that service on the expiration of the term for which they were engaged. It would be impossible to attach men to a mode of life which they were told was to continue but for a short time. It was impossible also, that officers should not be extremely anxious to retain those men whom they had with so much care and attention trained to a knowledge of their duty; and surely it was infinitely better for the service, that the men should depend upon the officers than the officers upon the men. This was felt even in the militia, where the term of service was only for a limited term of 5 years, and the officers felt much disgust at being deprived of the disciplined flower of their regiments; and even in that branch of our defence, it had been found necessary to include the term during the war in the period of service. Upon the whole, then, conceiving the bill now proposed to be repealed, to be superior, in many respects, to the plan proposed for adoption in its place, he should not consent to its repeal, at least before the plan of the rt. hon. gent. came first before the house, and was subjected to some modifications which might render it less objectionable. But until that plan or one of a superior construction, was ready for adoption, to part with that now in operation, and which gave to the country all advantages of enlisment, both for general and limited service, would, in his opinion, be extremely imprudent and improper; and therefore he should resist the motion.
§ Mr. Mainwaring ,
in a maiden speech, apologized for presuming to obtrude himself upon the House before so many other gentlemen infinitely more competent than he could pretend to be; but having pledged himself to express his opinion upon the subject, and feeling that, in an advanced stage of the debate, and after the delivery of abler opinions, and the display of so much powerful elo- 966 quence, he should have little chance in claiming any share of attention to his humble sentiments, he felt it necessary to rise thus early, and hoped for the indulgence of the house. He did not feel it necessary to examine very minutely the structure and machinery of the component parts of the bill proposed to be repealed; nor did he feel the present a fit opportunity for discussing the merits or another measure proposed in lieu of it. But he should have thought it more adviseable for the right hon. gent. to have waited until he had matured the plan in his contemplation before he had proposed the repeal. However, as there was a very principal part of the bill to which he had insurmountable objections, and as he felt himself forced reluctantly to vote against it, he rose to give the reason which influenced him to that vote, the necessity of which he regretted, because, if those who brought forward the present proposition should succeed that night, it would encourage them to triumph in having got rid this bill, merely to make room for another, the principles of which, so far as he had heard them explained, he by no means approved. His leading objections to the existing bill were, first, that it imposed upon churchwardens a species of duty wholly incompatible with their functions. Another objection he had to the bill was, that it was a measure of partial, and, in many cases, of oppressive taxation. It might be said that it was a measure of public defence, and that all measures of defence were necessarily measures of taxation; true but not of partial taxation, for a general advantage; for as the benefit of the defence was universal to the country, so also should be the principle of the taxation in support of it. The burthen should be equally divided in the same proportion, and under the same system of finance, as the other general taxes of the country brought forward every year, and not suffered to fall most heavily, as this certainly did, upon classes and individuals least able to bear it Of this truth of this observation, it was his misfortune to have had much melancholy ground of observations, and perhaps it might be necessary to state some local circumstances, for the clearer illustration of his remark. The bill at first avowed for its object a burthen upon the population of the country at large; but where it could not be productive in raising the men, then it became operative in the way of taxation. But unfortunately it was not in the most populous parishes that the means of payment were most easy; conse- 967 quently the heavier burthen fell upon the most numerous and the most indigent classes; and as the poor's rates formed the basis upon which the tax was assessed, it was not upon the splendid palace, or the wealthy and titled occupant, that the chief onus fell, upon the industrious, and often distressed tradesmen. In the parish of St. Mary-lebonne, for instance, amongst the lord'y palaces and gorgeous squares, inhabited by persons of the first rank and fortune, the tax was only about 4d. in the pound. It was the same in the vicinity of Hanover-square; while in the parish of St. Giles the rate was 12d. in the pound, and it increased as it advanced eastward to 2s. 3d. and even 4s. in the pound. The basis, therefore, was obviously an unjust one, and the operation of the tax, comparing the means of those on whom it was laid, most partial and oppressive. It might be alleged, that where the population was so numerous, the facility of raising the men was the greater, and the parish officers deserved to be fined for their negligence. To this he would answer, the facility was not as stated: and the churchwardens, at least in the county of Middlesex, were obliged to submit to the tax as from the only alternative, and the easiest mode left them. Having said thus much against the bill now proposed to be repealed, he fully agreed with the hon. baronet who preceded him, in the propriety of not abandoning a system of enlistment that had been found so productive for a project yet untried. He perfectly agreed in the trite, though vulgar adage of "leave well alone," for the attempt to improve it might have the contrary effect. The right hon. gent. he was convinced, in speaking of the feelings and sentiments of common soldiers, spoke of them rather as what they ought to be, than as what they really were. They were, he believed, a class of mankind rather acmated by the impulse of the moment, than by any views to remoter considerations, and by no means as men of the refined feeling or sentiments which the right hon. gent. appeared to consider them as possessed of. Having thus expressed his general sentiments, he concluded by declaring, that he should vote for the repeal of the bill, so far, at least, as it was calculated to oppress parishes and their churchwardens.
§ Mr. Canning
rose and spoke as follows:—I gave way, sir, with the greatest satisfaction to the hon. gent. who opened this debate; because in the very extraordinary situation in which the house is at present plac- 968 ed;—called upon as we are to discuss questions, not immediately perhaps within our province or capacity, questions of a purely military nature;—and having been dented by his majesty's ministers those lights which are to be derived from the opinions of high military authorities;—it is certainly very desirable that we should avail ourselves to the utmost of whatever professional knowledge and experience we happen to possess among ourselves; and it is peculiarly fortunate that we do possess, in the person of the hon. gent. and others, a degree of that knowledge and experience sufficient to enlighten and direct our decisions. If sir, from this feeling I gave way to the hon. gent. with satisfaction, that satisfaction certainly has not been diminished by finding in his judgment and authority the confirmation of those opinions which the best attention that I could bestow upon the subject, and the best inquiries that I have had an opportunity of making, had led me to form and to bring down to this house, subject to be corrected here by fuller discussion, and better information. —I am not sorry to have been preceded also by the hon. gent. who has just sat down: for though, from what fell from that hon. gent. towards the middle of his speech, I understand that I shall not have his support in the vote of this night, yet both the beginning and conclusion of that speech shewed, that the hon. gent concurs with me in his general principles, and that it is solely from local circumstances that I must on the present occasion, be deprived of that hon. gent's. support I agree that in populous towns, and particularly in the capital, it is extremely difficult to fix on any measure of the kind which may not seem to be oppressive, and to bear unequally on different parishes; nor am I inclined to deny that this inconvenience has been felt in the Additional Force bill. If the question now before the house were not for the repeal, but for the alteration and amendment of the act in question, the hon. gent. would not find in me any reluctance to enter fully and impartially with him into the examination of all the difficulties which may have been felt, and all the hardships which may have been suffered, under the provisions of the act, as it at present stands. He would, I think, be satisfied with my earnest desire to make every change and modification in them which might render them more easily practicable, and less harsh to the local interests, or feelings, of any portion of the community. But I submit that the true view of the question now before the house, is that the hon. 969 general, who opened the debate, has taken of it. It is not whether the Additional Force act shall be altered or modified. It is not merely whether the provisions and enactments of that act shall be altogether repealed. It is whether by the repeal of the principle upon which that act rests, and upon which rest also all the other measures by Which we have hitherto been in the habit of providing for the internal military defence of the country, we shall this night take the first step towards a complete change in the whole of our military system. This is as it strikes me, the real question upon which we have to deliberate: and a more awful and momentous one was never submitted to the deliberation of the house of Commons.—I know it will be attempted to be contended on the other side, that we are bound to confine our attention to this individual act, and not to look any farther before us. But I desire no better answer to such an argument, than the conduct of the right hon. secretary himself. If he had been of the opinion that the act should have been repealed without any substitute, if he had thought it unfit to continue at all on the statute-book, why did he allow weeks and months of this session to pass before he moved for the repeal of this individual measure? Why was he so long in coming forward with the present bill? and why, if this repeal, and his own subsequent measures, were in his own view altogether unconnected, did he think it necessary to wait until he had developed his plan, and stated what he had to propose in its room, before he moved for the repeal of the Additional Force act? This I say not as a matter of blame, but as an argument arising from the conduct the right hon. gent. himself, to shew that the two questions are intimately connected, and that we are not now fairly to be told that this is a motion on which it is proper that the after-part of the right hon. gent's proposition should be thrown out of consideration.—It is upon the ground that I found the amendment which I shall take the liberty of submitting to the house; and for which I do really think not only that the house in general, (who having heard the right hon. secretary's statement of his plans, must be aware that that measure, which is now immediately before them is the very last and least considerable part of what they have to look for at his lands); but that even the hon. gent. himself (Mr. Mainwaring) who is so decided an enemy to the Additional Force bill, as it at present operates; May vote, with perfect propriety and consis- 970 tency. I shall not ask of the house to negative the repeal of that bill, much less shall I ask of them to determine upon retaining it with all its existing inconveniences and imperfections, whatever they may be. But I shall intreat of them not to decide precipitately and in considerately to repeal and do away for ever, not this or that clause of a bill, or this or that modification of the principle on which it is founded; but the very principle itself, the very foundation of this, and every other measure, by which the military establishments of this country have been sustained at a height adequate to its necessities. I shall intreat of them not to decide upon this repeal, without having previously considered and ascertained what measures of security, what plan, with a rational prospect of efficiency and success, they are likely to see substituted in the room of what is proposed to be destroyed. With this view, I shall propose to the house to defer the vote upon the second reading of the bill now before them, for such a time only as may give the right hon. gent. sufficient opportunity to develope those plans of reform, and regeneration, which he opened to us generally on the former night; and the first statement of which, I am sure, has created impressions rather of alarm and anxiety; that of that undoubting confidence, which should induce us to forego whatever security we now possess, in order to trust entirely to what the rt. hon. gent. may provide for us hereafter.—I say, sir, that the effect of the present measure, as proposed by the rt. hon. gent., and as coupled with the system which he has projected, is to repeal not the enactments of this particular bill, the Additional Force bill, only, but the principle on which that, and every other measure of our home defence, is founded, that principle of compulsory service, which has in all times been found necessary, in some shape and degree or other, to the maintenance of the military establishments, not of this country only but of every country in the world.—Indeed the rt. hon. gent. himself makes no secret of his own views upon this subject. He told us plainly at the outset of his statement, that the compulsory principle might work well enough in despotic states, where the government was enabled at once to lay its hand upon the people: but that in countries like this, where personal freedom and civil liberty were established, where even the necessities of the state were not allowed to overbear the consideration due to the protection of the individual, —here, where com- 971 pulsion must be modified by law, the operation of that principle became so indirect and circuitous, there was so much lost by the friction of the machinery, that the result, was scarcely worth the trouble. He would therefore have none of it. He would do it away altogether. He would trust Wholly to voluntary enrolment. He would have nothing else to fill and to keep up the whole of our military establishment. And in this great change the house is called upon by its vote this night to sanction and assist the rt. hon. gent's. projects.—It is some consolation to find that the rt. hon. gent., after all the lamentable descriptions which he has been in the habit of giving of the dilapidated state of our military establishments, does think this a time, of sufficient leisure and security, to entertain an experiment upon so large a scale and of such doubtful consequences. This he surely would. not do, if he were not satisfied that we are at least protected against any immediate danger. He does not himself propose or promise any very sudden effect from the adoption of his plans. The improvements are to be gradual, the advantages remote. But how, sir, if while we are waiting for those remote advantages, in contemplation of which we shall have thrown away the sure and tried in measure, which we have already in our possession, any sudden emergency should arise to call for an immediate and rapid augmentation of our military force? I do not Mean the emergency of an invasion: that I know the rt. hon. gent. will tell us, he has provided for in another part of his plan, (how effectually, and with what consistency with his general and favourite principle, is matter for separate consideration), but such an emergency as the beginning of a war as the beginning of the present war, or instance, when our establishments were low, (and that they were still lower was not the fault of one of the rt. hon. secretaries opposite (Mr. Fox), who contended strenuously for their further diminution), what, I say, will be the situation of the country, if after the abandonment of its present system, and before the complete development and success of the system of the rt. hon. gent. any exertion of such a nature should become necessary? At the beginning of this war we raised not much less than 80, or 100,000 men by the operation of the ballot. The ballot has its evils; granted: but we must have the men. And the problem which the rt. hon. gent. has to solve, if he does his duty, is not the getting 972 rid of grievances only, but the getting rid of them without impairing the safety of the country. He tells us confidently his plans will do this: give them time, and they will work to this end. But of this the house ought to he well convinced, before it consents to adopt them, or at least before it consents to make Way for them by a sacrifice of every thing which is now established. The rt. hon. gent. is bound therefore not only to assert, but to prove, and the house is bound to wait for the proof, that his plan are thus all sufficient. Nay, if he were to shew to demonstration that the chances of success were as 99 out of a 100 in his favour, the house, in my opinion, would not be justified in accepting his plans, and placing their entire and exclusive reliance upon them, unless the rt. hon. gent. had also shewn with the same certainty, how that hundredth chance, if it should turn up against us, was to be provided for.—Even if it were possible, (which I doubt), and probable, (which it certainly has not been shewn to be), that the military service of this country could be carried on wholly on the rt. hon. gent's. principle, yet surely one might well question the wisdom of a public declaration, and a legislative enactment of so great and hazardous an innovation; one might well question the policy of holding out to general detestation all those modes by which the ranks of our home-service have hitherto been filled, and to which, after they have been thus proscribed, who shall guarantee us against the necessity of recurring? And with what an addition, with what an unnecessary and gratuitous addition of hazard and difficulty should we, under such circumstances, be obliged to recur to them.— Undoubtedly, in applying to a free country the principle of compulsory service, some of the difficulties which the rt. hon. gent. describes as attendant upon its operation and impeding is effect, have been, and, I trust, will always be, experienced. I trust they always will, because I prefer that compromise in favour of freedom, to the more direct and effectual operation which the rt. hon. gent. describes as taking place in despotic countries, and to which I very much apprehend it is the tendency of that rt. hon. gent's. plans, (if we trust to them exclusively, and if they fail), to drive us at some moment when we may be least prepared for it.— But the principle itself has been admitted in all states, and under all constitutions. It has been acted upon in this country in all times, and even in good times, with much greater strictness and severity than is now in 973 any man's contemplation, or, greater perhaps than would now easily be borne. If any exception has been taken to the manner in which this principle is laid down in the levyen-masse bill, which passed at the beginning of the present war, (and some such exception I known has been taken by the rt. hon. secretary, (Mr. Fox), the application of that objection I have always understood to be, not to the general principle, which is this, "that the sovereign power of the state has a right to avail itself in time of "public danger of the services of all its "subjects," but to an imputed want of care to guard against the capricious exercise of this undoubted right, against oppressive partiality, or individual selection. But the right itself is generally recognised. It is recognised by the rt. hon. gent. himself, to its very fullest extent, in that part of his plan which relates to the training of the country; wherein with an inconsistency, of which I shall have something more to say by and by, he carries his compulsion to an infinitely greater height than it is now carried in any of the institutions which he proposes to abolish; and to obtain a lesser degree of service. In recognising the right, however parliament has not been less careful to modify the exercise of it, and accordingly in all the establishments of this country which are founded upon this principle we find modifications, which go to reconcile, as much as possible, the effectual advantage of the principle itself feelings, and even the prejudices of a free people.—The first modification which a direct call upon the population of the country admits, is that of selection by lot, instead of by the arbitrary choice of government and this is still farther mitigated by the permission to the individual upon whom the lot may fall, to provide a substitute. Upon this modification stands the militia.—A still more modified compulsion is, where the call is made not upon the individual, but upon a district; leaving to the district itself to provide the man: and this modification is still further softened, by permission to commute the finding a man for a fine. This is the very lowest modification of which the compulsory principle is capable: and this is that modification of it, which the house is desired to abolish specifically by the repeal of the Additional Force bill.—Of all these modifications there is not one that finds favour in the eyes of the rt. hon. gent. He is for abolishing them all, as useless, operose, and ineffective. He is for abandoning and proscribing 974 the, principle itself at the very moment When he himself is about to re-enact that principle into a mode infinitely more severe, and to an extent infinitely greater, than has ever hitherto been practised.—In proscribing the principle, it appeared manifest to all who heard the rt. hon. gent's. statement that he must necessarily include the militia in the same demolition with the Additional Forte. So it struck me in the very outset of his speech, and I was not disappointed. The militia is to share the same fate; for the ballot, it appears, is to cease at the end of the war, and then they are to be recruited by bounty. You may call them what you please, militia, or any thing else: but they will no longer be a militia, in the genuine sense and spirit of that institution; for the main characteristics of the militia, its Connection with the property of country, its local distinction will be entirely lost. Upon, this part of his plan, indeed the rt. hon. gent. has not been very explicit. But it is plain that there is no possible project by which the character of the militia can be preserved, according to the principle on which its constitution is now proposed to be altered By whom henceforth is the militia to be recruited By the crown? If by the crown, then it becomes, to all intents and purposes, as much in the, power of the crown as the regular army, with this disadvantage, that it is not equally efficient in a military point of view. Is it to be recruited by the county? In that case, it becomes a measure exactly similar to that which we are now called Upon to repeal. The difference of parish recruiting and county recruiting is the only difference between the two; and those who have been so lavish of their ridicule upon the employment of those unapt instruments, the parish officers, for carrying the levy under the Additional Force act into effect, will find it difficult to shew how the civil agent of the county, employed to fill the ranks of the county militia, will be better qualified for his duty. And as to the other objections to the parish levy, the burden, the fine the taxation in lieu of military force they will be precisely the same in: regard to the militia levy, unless there is to be no enforcement whatever upon the county to do its duty; and then it would beta much shorter way to give up the militia altogether, without such enforcement who will give themselves any trouble about levying it at all?—I well remember that at the time when the Additional Force bill was first debated in this 975 house, a speech' of great strength and impression was made against it by an hon. gent. much conversant in militia subjects, (colonel Mitford, see v. 2, p. 580) on this very ground, that the force to be raised tinder the act would be an additional weapon in the hands of the crown; that being levied upon the country, it would partake in that respect of the nature of the militia, but without its constitutional character; while being officered by the crown, it would in that respect resemble the regular army, but without its serviceableness and general utility. Little did that hon. gent. then think that in describing this new force as an anomaly not to be endured in the constitution, he was discussing very nearly what the militia itself would be brought to be, when those with whom he voted on that occason should have the power of moulding it according to their pleasure. And the respectable country gentlemen who joined with him in objecting to the establishment of a force at the disposal of the crown, were they prepared to hear, as the favourite and only project of those who were ultimately to relieve them from that grievance, of the proscription of the very principle upon which all the force, not the immediately connected with the crown, is levied, and of the substitution of nothing but an augmented regular army in its room?—That the regular army must be augmented in proportion as all other subsidiary force is done away, is not necessary to he argued: or that the levy of that subsidiary force does in fact increase the amount of the disposable regular army, by taking upon itself a great share in the defence of the country, and setting Pro tanto the regular army free. It this way that the principle of compulsion, as applied to our home levy, is itself a recruiter of the regular army; a more effectual recruiter, I believe, than if it were applied directly to the regular army itself, which, I need hardly say, has not been in my contemplation, in any thing which I have taken the liberty to suggest to the house, to dissuade them from agreeing to abandon that principle; and which, if it ever should conic to be matter of necessity in this country, (which God forbid!) that necessity can arise only from an improvident abandonment of the principle now, and the failure of all those plans by which the rt. hon. gent. fancifully persuades himself, (but will, I trust, not succeed in persuading the house), that we might do very well without it. Then, indeed, we should be left without any (other resource; and it is to avoid the hazard 976 of this necessity, that I would, if possible, induce the house to pause before they say that there shall be no compulsion; and would impress upon them the propriety of waiting till they fully understand the substitute which is to be proposed, and till they have had an opportunity of trying it for a length of time, proportioned to the magnitude of the interests which it puts to hazard.—Nor is it, however, in this indirect and collateral way only that the measure, the repeal of which is now proposed to you, contributes to what is stated to be the main object of all the rt. hon. gent's. views, the augmentation of the regular army. The measure has another character. It procures supplies for the regular army directly. On this point I might refer, with confidence, to the papers on the table. This act, while a notice of repeal has been hanging over it, is producing men at the rate of 16 or 18,000 men in the year. Any support of a bill for its repeal, then, comes with a very bad grace from those who approved of it when it only produced at the rate of 8 or 9,000 in the year. The supply which it at present affords is equal to the whole casualties of the army, leaving all that is supplied by the regular army recruiting, (which, be it observed, has not beep diminished by the operation of this bill) as so much clear gain.—If, then, the rt. hon. gent. is determined to abolish this and the ballot for the militia, he must be understood as undertaking to supply these 18,000 men: to make up the whole of the militia at the beginning of a war; to keep up the recruiting of the regular army as it is at present; and to supply all vacancies that may occur in. any and all of these establishments. If this, then, is what the rt. hon. gent. promises to do, it is so gigantic a promise, that the house ought certainly to know how it is to be fulfilled before they part with the measures which are now in force.—The charm which is to effect all this is an alteration in the term of service: which will, in itself obviously produce an additional demand upon the rt. hon. gent., by an additional number of vacancies to be supplied; of which, however, he seems himself so sensible, that he resolves to avoid at least that increase of his difficulties, by deferring the operation of his own principle; so that, according to all human calculation, the effects of it shall not be felt in his own time. —With respect to this question of changing the term of enlistment, I must, in the first place, take the liberty of protesting against the house of commons being .called upon to 977 discuss it at all; I think it would have been much more wisely done not to have provoked debate upon it here. If the limitation of the term of service be intended as a boon to the army, I think it ought to have come to them from the crown; from that branch of the government to which the superintendance of the regular army belongs. I do not like the notion of parliament interfering with offers of kindness, and canvassing for popularity with the army of the crown. In measures which require our aid in point of pecuniary supply, undoubtedly we are at liberty to discuss the propriety of the expenditure, and to refuse to make good what we may think inexpedient or unnecessary. The alterations, therefore, in the Chelsea pension, and other additional comforts and allowances to the soldier, may he fitly stated to us for that purpose at a proper time. But even they, though we may approve of them, ought not to originate with us. No man but must approve of any thing that is likely to contribute to the increased comfort of the soldier; but I do not like the appearance of taking more merit to ourselves than we deserve; of talking of the hardships, the virtues, and the deserved remunerations of our army, as if now, for the first time, their case was taken into consideration, as if there were not abundant instances, during late years, under the management, and at the suggestion of those whose peculiar duty it is to watch over the army, and particularly of the illustrious personage who fills the situation of commander in chief, in which the advantages of the soldier have been consulted and promoted, his situation ameliorated, and his means of happiness and comfort enlarged—without all the noise and ostentation with which the rt. hon. gent. now brings forward his plans of improvement, and announces them as if they were the very first of their kind. I should have been glad to see the same noiseless course followed on this occasion. It is better for the discipline of the army. It is more conformable to the practice of the constitution.—If any doubts were entertained, even by the rt. hon. gent himself, of the propriety and efficacy of his plan, what could be less desirable than the public discussion of it here? But here it is, and therefore discuss it we must, with such lights as we have within these walls and in ourselves: for the rt. hon. gent. has deprived us of all other lights, though no exertion has been wanting on the part of the gentlemen on this side of the house to procure them.— But it is said now, that though we have not 978 the opinion of officers of the army to guide us, those principles of the right hon. gent's. plan lie deep in human nature; and that therefore they who have a general knowledge of human nature must be competent to discuss it. We must do, sir, as well as we can; and first, therefore, we may perhaps venture to suggest with respect to this plan, (what would be generally true with respect to any other great plan of extensive reform and untried experiment), that though it might perhaps be prudently tried under certain circumstances, and with certain limitations, yet that doubts may reasonably be entertained, whether it ought, therefore to he held out as the pervading principle of our whole military establishment, and not only as that, but as the only system on which we are in future to depend for supplying the army? Ought it not to he first tried upon a small scale, at d then sanctioned when the result is found to be favourable? If it might be tried in peace, ought it therefore to be attempted in time of war? If it might be attempted when our military establishment was low ought it therefore to be adopted when that establishment is at its utmost height? Ought it to be put in force when every circumstance is against it, when no necessity calls for it, then its trial must he hazardous, and when its failure may be ruin?—The first argument in its favour, that it is the practice of foreign powers, has been sufficiently answered by the hon. gen. (Sir J. Pultency) behind me. It is not the practice of foreign powers. But even if it were, yet I should contend that it would not therefore necessarily apply to this country. If you could despotically compel the people to enter into the service in as great numbers and in any manner you pleased, then indeed you might. safely admit of this modification; but as the act of entering into the regular army must here be voluntary, that totally alters the. case. So far as the principle is acted upon by foreign powers, so fair at least do we act upon it already We adopt limitation of time, and not of time only, but limitation of space also, as the just mitigation of compulsory service: but we do not think it a necessary condition of voluntary enlistment. Where we compel service, as in the militia, as in the additional force, time and space are limited: the regular army no man enters but by his own will, and there, in principle, the limitation is not necessary. I say it is lot necessary in principle. I do not pretend to affirm that it may not therefore be expedient to try it; though there our experience 979 is rather against us; for if that service where the limitation both of time and space, does sot fill by voluntary enrolments, what right have we to presume that the single limitation will be more effectual? But I wish to guard against being misunderstood: I do not. say that this measure ought not to be tried: I do not say that; what I say is, that the nature of the service ought not to be so completely changed, as that what has been hitherto the general rule should now become the exception, while what it may be very fit to try only as an exception is to become the general rule.—A noble friend of mine, who sits near me, (Lord De Blaquiere) mentioned in a former .debate the achievements of a regiment raised for a limited period of service, under his own command. He himself had great share in raising it, and, no doubt, transfused into it a great part of the spirit which it displayed. But this was merely an exception to the general rule; and the fact is, that this regiment afterwards enlisted in America for unlimited service. I do not object to such partials of the experiment as this; far from it; they may be productive of good; they may possibly procure the services of men who would not otherwise serve at all— who may be actuated by a desire of that particular description of service for which our other establishments do not make provision; and as I have not, like the rt. hon. gent. an abhorrence of variety of services, I see no objection to trying all. What I object to is the risking every thing upon one; and that one yet untried, except in partial instances; I object to abolishing or discrediting all that now exists in order to make room for the trial of this experiment; I object to the laying it down as a general system, which is to be left to our posterity, upon whom the mischiefs of its failure may fall, while they are deprived of the benefits of the existing regulations.—This, sir is the view which I should take of the hon. gent's. proposition, if we were now in a state of peace, and were about to revise our military establishments for the purpose of correction and improvement. But it is an old military maxim, "not to manœuvre too much in the face of" an enemy?" and I must ask what part of our military establishment, what set of men with muskets in their hands, have not been taught, by the agitation of this question, to consider whether they exist in a proper shape, or whether they ought to exist at all? The Volunteer is made to doubt whether he shall best serve his country by continuing with his corps, or by resigning; the militia is taught 980 to look to its dissolution; and the regular army finds that its lot arid condition become the subject of parliamentary discussion,— and this at a moment when every eye ought to be directed to the enemy, and every thought employed upon the means of effectually opposing him. [hear! hear;]—I must ask, sir, where is the excuse for a minister who brings forward such a question at such a time? Perhaps he has the best authorities for it out of doors; authorities so strung that he could no longer hesitate. He, however, withholds those authorities from us He tells us, indeed, that the balance of authorities is in favour of his proposition; but this statement I must be allowed to doubt till I have an opportunity of comparing it with the fact I do not doubt of the rt. hon. gent's own persuasion that he estimates and states this balance correctly; but I doubt his judgment upon a point on which it is so evidently biassed. I have learnt something, however, of these authorities: some are for the measure with particular modifications; some, for instance, are for it with the provision that the services should at all events be continued during the war; some that the experiment shall not be begun in the time of war; but I wish to learn whether any of these authorities are for the measure precisely as the rt. hon. gent. was proposed it? Whether any of them are for it to its full extent, and under all circumstances? I doubt very much if the rt. hon. gent. has more than one authority for it in this way, that of the hon. officer behind him (colonel Craufurd), whom I am glad to see in his place, as I had heard it rumoured that he had accepted a situation in the rt. hon. gent's. office,. which would have deprived this house of the benefit of his presence and advice. —If, then, there is nothing in the force of authorities out of this house that can have forced the rt. hon. gent. forward with this proposition has there been any thing in the discussion within this house peculiarly to incite him to bring it before us, at this time? The rt. hon. gent. told us that Abe house will rind nothing in his plan but that is founded on principles which he has often stated here; and he might have added, nothing but what the house had often negatived. [a laugh.] A motion was made for the repeal of the bill last year; the house voted against it. The rt. hon. gent. himself moved for a committee to examine into the state of the army the house voted against this top; and now he comes to the house, and says, "I give you nothing but what you voted 981 "against when I proposed it last year. Now I am a minister, to the right about presently, and vote for it. A mode of address certainly not very conciliatory, savouring a little of the tone of those governments where affairs are carried on without much" friction," and therefore I suppose, considered as fit for the adoption of a strong administration! But sir, if the rt. hon. gent. is so anxious to maintain his own. consistency, parliament has surely some little right to think of their's; and under such circumstances, the house ought surely to pause a little before it undoes all its former votes on this subject.—In voting for the proposition which I mean to submit to the house, they will not be required to vote against the principle of service for a limited period. All that I want is to postpone the repeal of this act, involving, as that repeal would do, a renunciation of our established system, until we shall have had an opportunity of discussing fully, and judging fairly, the expediency and efficacy of the system which is. to be substituted for it. I do not object to the fitness of having this measure tried; but doubting much its capability to sustain the load which the rt. hon. gent. proposes. to lay upon it, (and if it cannot sustain that load, however good the thing may be in itself, his case is not made out,)—I conjure the house not to recede from all their former votes, from all their recorded opinions, from the established practice of the country, to risk the safety of the state upon a wild and untried theory, which has only the rt. hon. gent's dictum to vouch for its success. —When the rt. hon. gent. talks of this measure as an improvement in the condition of the army, I answer, that I would oppose no improvements; that the army has, on many. occasions, very properly experienced the beneficence of government; that it was not forgotten under the administration of my rt. hon. friend. But when he represents it as an improvement of such value and extent as of itself to insure a constant supply of recruits, more than equal to the increased demand which it will itself occasion, and of recruits of an infinitely better description than are now to be had, I confess I much doubt whether this statement is not a little exaggerated. I apprehend that the very best description of soldiers are those which are recruited from among the peasantry: now, if the mere physical advantages of the soldier's condition over the peasant's, are sufficient to induce the latter to enlist, I really do not see that any thing the rt. hon. gent. proposes to add to that difference can materially in- 982 crease its operation. Food and raiment, and lodging, and fire, and moderate labour, and care, in sickness, are the essential points in which the situation of one man can, physically speaking, be made materially preferable to that of another; and this distinction, I apprehend, exists already in a sufficient degree between the soldier and the peasant to give you whatever fair chance may arise from a comparison of the two situations. But there is, it seems, in the notion of service for life, something so revolting, something so terrifying in the very sound, that it is of itself sufficient to deter the young recruit from enlisting. In the sound, perhaps, there may; and it requires but little reflection to discover at once the in correctness of the expression, and the extravagancy of the inference which is drawn from it. Service for life, we well know, means in fact no more than service during the military age; during that period of a man's life which, whatever be the original choice, destination, or necessity that determines his pursuit or occupation, must infallibly be devoted to that pursuit, and at the end of which period alone he can look for retirement or release. And if, at the end of that period, he is ensured a competency proportioned to his station in life, it cannot be denied, that the profession which affords that assurance, is at least not inferior in its attractions and advantages to any other which is open to the same rank or class in society.—And here, sir, I must take the liberty of observing; that the rt. hon. gent's. plan is in a great measure inconsistent with itself, inasmuch as at the same time that he holds out enlistment for a limited period as the main inducement to fill the ranks of the army, he calculates upon no advantage being taken of that limitation, when the period of it arrives. If this calculation be well founded, the success in one respect must, as it appears to me, destroy the inducement in the other. I shell better explain this by reference to another plan which I have lately seen in a well-known periodical paper (Cobbett's Register) which professes the same object as that of the rt. hon. gent., but I think better proportions its means to the .end. Both plans are for multiplying enlistments, by shortening the term of service; but the plan to which I refer proposes to accomplish of this object by dismissing the men at the end of their period, whereas the rt. hon gent. would do it by retaining them. That plan proposes that all its rewards for military service should consist in immunities in civi1 life to be enjoyed by the soldier upon his re- 983 tirement; the rt. hon. gent's rewards are purely military. In pursuance of that plan, the men would, after their first period of service, be thrown back into the bosom of the country, carrying with them, into their respective societies, the influence of their spirit, and the inducement of their example and might thus gradually contribute to militarize the, general character of the nation. But according to the rt. hon. gent's. plan of retaining all that he acquires, it is manifest that these advantages of influence and example would be lost. The countryman would hear indeed of the theory of dismission, but when he sees no instances of it in practice, when en he sees vestigia nulla restiosum, there t will at least be wanting one great encouragement. The utmost that can be hoped by the rt. hon. gent: is, that the good soldier shall remain, and that the indifferent soldier only will avail himself of the expiration of his period; but of the advantage of his exertions, and the effect of his example in procuring recruits, no very sanguine expectation can be reasonably entertained. So far therefore, as the rt. hon. gent's plan differs from that to which I allude, it seems to me to differ for the worse.—But estimating as highly as the rt. hon. gent. himself can desire, the advantage of the additional inducement (be it what it may) arising from limitation of service, has the rt. hon. gent. fairly balanced the disadvantages and difficulties which attend the execution of his plan, or at least must attend its establishment as the general rule of the service? Some of these diffculties are undoubtedly too obvious to have escaped the rt. hon. gent's. observation, he has himself anticipated them, and suggested the only remedies which he could devise. It was obvious that to dismiss men on foreign service might be attended with inconvenience; rt. hon. gent. therefore proposes power to the commanding officer of retaining them for 6 months after the expiration of the term, a contrivance of no very deep research, nor of any very striking efficacy; since, at the end of the 6 months, precisely the same difficulty will recur. It was obvious that in sending a regiment upon foreign service, it might be necessary to consider whether any, and what part of the men, were entitled, or would soon become entitled, to their discharge. The rt. hon. gent's. remedy for this is to draft such men into other regiments; a remedy, the suggestion of which from him,did, I confess, particularly astonish me; as of all the bad practices 984 which he has repeatedly stated as necessary to be removed for the preservation of the army, the practice of drafting is that which has been most loudly and vehemently condemned. Ballot is, we all know, a sufficiently odious word in the rt. hon. gent's. conception: but long before ballot became the object of his hostility, draft has been completely run down.—Gentlemen who are inclined to undervalue the difficulties which would arise on foreign service, from the expiration of short enlistments, may perhaps, however, allow some weight to a practical authority on the subject, I mean that of general Washington. In a life of that eminent person, which has been lately published, in this country, and which suppose is in every body's hands, we find him pin constant correspondence with the Congress upon the wretched condition of his army, and uniformly attributing the difficulties which he meets with to the miserable policy of short enlistments, expirable during the war; in one of his letters he expresses himself thus: "To one who has been a witness to the evils brought upon us by short enlistments, the system appears to have been pernicious beyond description, and a crowd of motives present themselves to dictate a change. It may easily be shown that all the misfortunes we have met with in the military line are to be attributed to this cause. Had we formed a permanent army in the beginning, which by the continuance of the same men in the service would be capable of discipline, we never should have had to retreat, with a handful of men, across the Delaware. Had we kept a permanent army an foot, he says in another part, the enemy would have had nothing to hope for, and would "in all probability have listened to terms long since. I am aware that the enlistments here spoken of were annual: but in principle the same objections apply to any period by which discharges may be claimed of right, during the continuance of war. Besides, gentlemen must not forget, that after the expiration of the first period, whatever it may be, the difficulties will occur annually. According to the plan of the rt. hon. gent., those who are enlisted this year, will be entitled to theirs discharge 7 years hence, those enlisted next year 8 years hence, and so on: and it is no great consolation under the mischiefs of the system, that they will not begin to be experienced while the rt. hon. gent. is in office to correct them.—if this plan is full of 985 difficulties in respect to, an army, in general; has the rt. hon gent. considered with what peculiar force those difficulties apply to an army, destined, as the army of this country must, be to protect and garrison many distant possession? May not reinforcements in consequence of expiring services, be wanted in time of war, when they cannot easily be sent? may not the garrisons of our colonies he almost emptied at the time when an attack is expected It is no answer to these questions to say, that in such cases the spirit of a British soldier would not permit him to abandon his post, or to prefer his private claims in opposition to the service of his country. If the rule is established it ought to be so, with a determination to adhere to it: violated once upon a great necessity, it might next be violated upon a smaller, until the frequency of the eases of exception may bring your good faith into suspicion. A rule which you find established it may sometimes be necessary to break through; but it is surely idle to establish the rule with a view to its necessary violation. I know no other solution of these difficulties, unless it be one, which I do riot suspect the rt. hon. gent. of being prepared to adopt, from Brissot, or some other equally distinguished founder of the French republic: "Perish our colonies, rather than one" of our principles!"—But the general answer which the rt. hon. gent. gives to all these difficulties, is, that he speculates upon re-enlistment: and this seems to be the part of his plan on which he prides himself the most; though this part I think is not with out its difficulties also. The danger of in I discipline, and the inconveniencies attending a canvas among the men; for the 6 months immediately preceding the period at which they would be entitled to their discharge, and the effect of these things upon each regiment, and upon the service in general, are subjects upon which the hon. general behind me has already given the house an opinion of much greater authority than mine, and upon which it cannot be necessary or agreeable. to enlarge. —The rt. hon. gent. however assures us, that his re-enlistment is to be very different indeed from the modes of enlistment now practised with respect to the army, and is to be free from all the objections which he has so repeatedly mentioned as belonging to that practice, and which it is indeed one of the main objects of his reform to do away. It is his purpose to get rid of all the hand and delusion, and cajolery, which he apprehends are view employed against the too credulous recruit: will not have an unfair advantage taken of 986 his ,unguarded: hours. He will. permit no arts to, delude the judgment or mislead the imagination. If a man is found in ill-humour, or in high spirits, if he is in,debt, or in a scrape, or in love, or in drink, nothing, according to the rt. hon. gent's. principles, can he so abhorrent from what ought to be the practice of a liberal recruiting serjeant, as to apply himself to any one of these accidental varieties of temper or situation. When in sober judgment, in the cool hour of undisturbed reflection, and of .perfect contentment with all around him, the recruit is in a state to listen to the still small voice of reason, when the serjeant lays before him not the glories and the triumphs only, but the toils, the difficulties, and the casualties of military life, and when, upon this statement, the choice is deliberately. made, then the rt. hon. gent. allows;that the recruit has been fairly dealt with. The theory is a very beautiful one, but I doubt whether when it is acted upon, the returns of the recruiting service will be quite so large as at present. I am apprehensive that, it we discountenance an application to all human motives, all human action must cease.—These however, sir, are the evils of original enlistment; we now come to the rt. hon. gent's. re-enlistment, after the first peril of service is over. He has not told us whether he intends to give a new bounty; if so, woe to the discipline if the regiment so long as that bounty is in a course of expenditure! But I acknowledge that I rather understood him not to in end to give a bounty: and in that case comes he rt. hon. gent's. master-piece; in that case he result of his deep knowledge and study of human nature is brought. to light! The rt. hon. gent. dives deep into the recesses of he human heart, to discover that temptation which after 7 years experience of military hardships, is likely to overbalance in the hind of the soldier all the allurements of retirement, safety, and repose. The rt. hon. gent. dived so deep that he was long mat of sight, and when we almost began to dispair of his re-appearance, we behold him merging above the surface with a pot of ale in his hand! A pot of ale per week is that upon which the rt. hon. gent. thinks he may entirely rely, for securing to the army those services which it is the essence of his plan to release.—If, sir, the rt. hon. gent. is so satisfied of the perfection of his projects, if he is confident that the advantages which he Proposes will not be counterbalanced by any of the inconveniencies which we apprehend, if he thinks the indefinite. enlistments so ,serous and unreasonable, and service for a 987 limited period so certain a remedy and so safe a practice; I, cannot forbear expressing my surprise, that he should not think of applying. this change to the existing regular army. He has expressly told us that it is not his intention to do so; and he tells us in defence of this seeming inconsistency, that the existing army having entered into a contract for indefinite service, has no claim to release or mitigation. I confess, sir, I cannot entirely agree with the rt. hon. gent. in his construction of this contract. I doubt whether in fair construction, he who enters in a state of life which may subject him to many contingent hardships, does not become entitled to. any contingent advantages which may belong to it. But, be this: as it may, I am very' sure that the rt. hon. gent. is the last person who could consistently hold the existing army to is own construction of the contract. He who contends that enlistment, hitherto has been a trade of trick on one side, and delusion on the other; he, who considers these tricks and delusions as one main ground for an alteration of system, cannot surely mean to exclude from the benefit of that alteration, the very case which has given rise to it, and when he has applied a remedy to the grievance, refuse it to those, and to those only, who are the individuals aggrieved.— The rt. hon. gent. has another answer and a better: "To extend this indulgence to the present army would be attended with considerable inconvenience to the public service." I accept this answer on this part of the rt. hon. gent's. plan, and I must beg leave to. apply it to almost every other. If it would be attended with considerable public inconvenience to limit the service of the existing army, is there no inconvenience in recruiting that army with men on a different term of service? Is there no danger of jealousy and discontent? If you make discharges claim able in time of war, how is .war to be carried on? If to be claimed in time of peace, at least the temptation will be considerably diminished. If you lengthen the period, you impair your principle: If yore shorten it, you hazard perpetual fluctuation and confusion. By the rt. hon. gent's. own confession, you cannot apply it to the existing army with. safety: can you refuse it to them without danger? After all, can you hope to maintain your land-service on a principle which, if you attempted, to apply it to the favourite service of the country, would infallibly leave you without a navy?, I will not push this contrast farther, but 988 every reflecting mind will supply the considerations which I think it best to pass over in silence.—In short, in whatever point of view I look at the rt. hon. gent's. plan, I see nothing but inconvenience and embarrassment. I do trust he will yet reflect before. he puts it into execution. I have heard of a person, who, describing his own progress in some of the new-invented modes of agriculture, said of one of them, that "he had read himself into its;and worked himself out of it." The rt hon. gent. I apprehend, has read or reasoned himself into this system of experiments; I do trust that he will pause while there is yet time, and before he is worked out of it at the expence of public danger and confusion. I do trust at least that the house will recollect the interest which the country has at stake, and that they will not suffer the rt. hon. gent. to hazard it wantonly, rashly, and unnecessarily, at a moment the most critical, and the most urgent. Let the rt. hon. gent. try the experiment, if he will, upon a small scale; let him raise distinct corps, as has been done before, as was done with respect to those regiments which we have been told of towards the close. of the American war. But let not the house be called upon to sanction this partial experiment as the general principles upon which the British service is henceforth to stand: before you know that it will succeed at all and while you yourselves confess, that the whole existing army: must remain an exception to it.—The rt. hon, gent. has extolled in the highest terms the advantages of a large regular army. On that subject undoubtedly there can been difference of opinion. But without carrying to too great an excess a veneration for the establishments and opinions of our ancestors, we may be permitted to doubt the propriety of carrying the regular army to. an unlimited extent, without any check or balance in the other parts of the military system of the country. Upon emergencies, our regular army may safely be augmented to any point to which we can conveniently. carry it: but it has always hitherto happened fortunately at least if it has not been contrived wisely, that the other descriptions of cur force have grown with it in the same proportion.—The rt. hon. gent, is endeavouring to lay the foundation of a large regular army, while he is: sapping all the other establishments which ought constitutionally to accompany it. The rt. hon. gent. may perhaps tell me that the checks and balances to which I allude, are mere crea- 989 tures of the imagination; for that it is utterly improbable that our militia or volunteers should in any instance be drawn out against the line. God forbid they should! But, look, sir, at the analogy of our civil constitution; what is it but a system of mutual checks and balances, which have a sure though silent operation on each other? When foreigners are told of the power of this branch of the legislature, or of the power of that branch, of the prerogative of the crown, and the privileges of they imagine, amidst such conflicting authorities the wok of government and legislation must be at a stand: on the contrary, we know that it is carried on the more smoothly for this opposition of powers, and that the mutual consciousness of each other's strength preserves all parties within bound: and. contributes to the security of the whole. The very stillness of the balance is a proof of its stability.—Such is likewise the operation of checks upon .sir standing army. Nor have there been wanting instances, even in times which are in the remembrance of us all, when the regular army alone would have been adequate to preserve the tranquillity of the country; when to have been dependant upon it alone would have been hazardous in the extreme. This is a subject of infinite importance in a constitutional point of view; it is a subject of infinite delicacy also: and if I feel it to be so at this moment, while we are yet in possession if all those securities which it is the rt. hon. gent's. object to destroy, I cannot help apprehending, that some ten years hence perhaps, when the rt. hon. gent's. system shall have had its hill effect; and shall have left no other military force in the country than an huge unbalanced standing army, a member of parliament .may rise in this house to deliver his opinions upon subjects in which the army is concerned, with very different feelings from those with which I now address you. —For the first time since the Revolution, parliament has this year voted the supplies for the army. before the army estimates, were presented. Having so far foregone the jealousy which ought to characterise our proceedings, we are hound to be the more cautious in considering what sort of army is: to be raised and maintained by these supplies: particularly we are bound to take care that we do not Sutler the principles of the constitution, and the practical security of Cur liberties, to be brought into unnecessary: danger. I do maintain that such is the endency of the it. hon. gent's. system. The militia itself, if it is to be raised accord 990 ing to the new mode proposed by the rt. hon. gent., and to be raised by the crown, will be liable, in a great degree, to the same constitutional objections which apply to a standing army, though without producing to the country the same advantages: This, and the standing army itself, will be the whole that the rt. hon. gent. proposes to leave us. Against a regular army. so constituted, I doubt whether the mutiny bill itself would be the same security that we have hitherto found it. The mutiny bill is annual, and recognises no term of service. But if the rt. hon. gent's system takes effect, if we consent to raise the soldier's pay at the end of a certain number of years, and to give him certain other specified advantages the end of another specified period, and make this the condition of his original enlistment, I confess I doubt, how far, when, by serving a portion of that time he shall have acquired a vested right in these contingent advantages, it will be competent for this house to cut short his service by a premature dismissal. The rt. hon. gent. may perhaps see some solution to this difficulty, if it has ever occurred to him: but it is at least a difficulty gratuitously incurred, and better avoided.—Sir, I think we should have been justified from the statement of the principle on which the rt. hon. gent. proposed the repeal of the additional force act, and upon which he professes to act in his plan, for the alteration of the militia system, as well as for the recruiting of the army, from the preference which he has manifested throughout, for voluntary over compulsory service, in concluding that there was at least one military institution in the country which he must regard with admiration. If the rt. hon. gent. had read in ancient history, that the whole population of a country, of a great commercial nation like this, a Tyre, or a Carthage, had suddenly quitted their accustomed habits, and had voluntarily assumed a martial appearance, and subjected themselves to military discipline, he would have spoken of such an event with enthusiasm. But realities do not suit the rt. hon. gent. Distant phantoms alone can interest his feelings. At the very time when it is said by France, when the schools of Talleyrand and Hanterive are labouring to persuade the nations of Europe, that the people of this country, gorged with wealth, and sunk in the low pursuits of gain, are altogether insensible to honour, and incapable of exertion; that the flesh has so tar overgrown the sinew, that there is neither strength nor 991 spirit retraining among them; at that very moment have they given the lie to these assertions, and proved themselves alive to every generous and patriotic sentiment. Whatever it may appear in the rt. hon. gent's. eyes, as to the military use or disadvantage of such an effort, it cannot be denied that upon the Continent at least the volunteers had given confidence to our friends, and lowered the tone of our enemies; that in whatever part of Europe this sudden rush to arms was known, the opinion there instantly prevailed, that our danger was dispelled, that England was saved. It is surely not our business, it is not the province and duty of a minister of this country, to endeavour to lower this confidence, and to re-animate the hopes of our opponent. But the rt. hon. gent. looks at these events if not with a prejudiced, at least with too impartial an eye; and what he would have hailed with rapture in the history of a distant period, and described in a learned language, brought near to his eye in action, and exemplified in the plain instance of ;his own country, fills him With disgust. He sees with no complacency these belli simulacra exhibited among persons whose every day habits are known and familiar to him. He has no reliance on their military prowess. He even fears that the assumption of the soldier by the citizen has polluted and degraded the military character. The rt. hon. gent., I know, defends himself against the charge of having uttered any personal reflections against the volunteers, of having suffered his rooted dislike of the system to betray him into any harsh language against individuals. To be sure sir, it would be but An inadequate reward for the exertions of any individual that he should not have been reviled; and yet that even this has not been the lot of every one of them, I could easily call to the recollection of the House, by reminding them of an occasion on which one most meritorious individual (Mr. Birch) was mentioned in the most unbecoming manner; whose only fault was, that abandoning all his former habits, he had come forward at a period of danger in a way which seemed to him best calculated to do service to his country, and to meet the call of the government. This attack certainly was not made by the rt. hon. gent. himself, but by a honourable Colonel (Col. Craufurd) who was generally understood to be, the most intimate partner of his military counsels and opinions.—Sir, I cannot agree with the rt. hon. gent. that regular armies are the sole champions on which countries 992 must depend for their existence; that this champion once defeated the country must fall. The rt. hon. gent. instances the surrender of Ulm, and the battle of Austerlitz; he tells us that the French force marched from Ulm to the Inn, through an unresisting population, and that Vienna fell without a blow, But I would ask that rt. hon. gent. if there had been between U1m and the Inn, or between the Inn and Vienna, 400,000, volunteers, or the militia, of which this country can boast, would the conquest of that capital have been then so easy? or would it, in all probability, have been effected at all? (hear! hear!) I can therefore, see no cause for stating, that the very existence of the country depends on the regular army alone.—With respect to the other doctrine which the rt. hon. gent. holds in disparagement of the, volunteers, that the union of the civil and military characters has disgraced the latter, my opinion is directly the reverse. I consider this union as not only peculiarly honourable to the general character of this country, but as analogous to its constitution. When it is explained to foreigners that so great a portion of the distributive justice of the country is administered by men not in the profession of the law, but by magistrates, who lend their services to the public for this purpose, they are astonished at a practice so different from that which obtains on the continent. No one I believe, however, will venture to assert that the profession of the law in Great Britain Is contaminated by this practice; or that the dignity of those who fill the high magistracies of the country is in any degree impaired by this voluntary association, in some of its duties, of men who, neither are, nor pretend to be, their rivals for honour or renown. In like manner with respect to the volunteers —who has contended?—no man has contended or argued, —that the Volunteers are or can be, or need be, equal to the regular army;—nor do I so understand the reports on the table, which state that they are competent to "act With the line." All that is contended for is, that they are in such a state of discipline as to aid, and not disconcert, the regular army; to communicate strength to them, and not weakness and confusion. I heartily wish, sir, that the same words, with the same limitations, and the same justice,may be some time hence applied to the rt. hon. gent's. mass!!!—The rt. hon. gent. seems to have set out with a determination of reversing not the principles of his predecessors, but the application of them. Where 993 compulsion has been used, "here," says he "we must have voluntary service;" and where voluntary service has been established, he thinks compulsion the only course to pursue. The rt. hon. gent, is going to propose a compulsion more violent than the country .has ever experienced, by calling out his mass; and this after the services of so many volunteers have .been tendered and accepted. I confess I entertain strong doubts whether the rt. hon. gen. is warranted in this project; whether after the country has, under the option given by the original levy-en-masse bill, redeemed itself from the compulsory training by furnishing more, much more, than the stipulated proportion of volunteers, it is fair and just on the part of the government to propose returning the volunteers upon their lends, and calling for the literal execution of the service in lieu of which they had been accepted. It is for rt. hon. gent. to explain why he prefers the mode of proceeding Which creates the greatest compulsion, and produces the least service; but it behoves the house to take care that they do not countenance an injustice.—To obtain the levy of this mass, recourse is to be had to ballot — ballot, which the rt. hon. gent. has held up so frequently to abhorrence and derision! But no matter. The rt. hon. gent. has a notable expedient in this ballot for keeping up the volunteers. He is no enemy, not he, to the volunteer establishment, which, on the contrary, he wishes to keep up, and to keep up by his ballot. How? The rt. hon. gent. cannot mean to subject to the ballot, volunteers who may have exercised their right of quitting the corps to which they belonged. The ballot is for the purpose of training men loosely; an individual who, has been for some time in a volunteer corps, cannot by any means be supposed to stand in need of any training of this description. How therefore, can the rt, hon. gent. expect to maintain the volunteers by the operation of the ballot? If it is indeed intended to subject those who have quitted, or may quit their corps, to the ballot, this appears to me to be so gross an act of injustice, that unless some other gentlemen, better qualified, shall do so, I shall myself propose a clause to prevent it.—With regard to this mass, several questions arise, which no doubt the rt. hon. gent. will some time or other, think it fit to answer. How are they to be trained? how combined? and whither are they to go? To find officers for the purpose of training shot be so easy as the rt. hon. gent. imagines The militia upon which he appeared to reckon, 994 certainly cannot spare them. The very fault of the militia, is that it is itself imperfectly officered at present. The officers of the second battalions have been mentioned for that purpose: but of the 57 second battalions, 30 are 300 strong, and want all their own officers; and the remaining 27, which are not filled up to: that amount, are officered only in proportion to the amount to which they are filled. But supposing them trained, what is then to become of them? are they to be ticketed and labelled, and laid by for use? under whose custody and superintendance? who is to be answerable for their forthcoming? how will it be possible to keep a register of 200,000 names a year, which in six years will amount to 1,200,000, so as to enable government to lay their hands upon them, immediately on their being wanted? The nature and the object of their training are likewise to. be matters of consideration. If they are to be employed in annoying the enemy from over hedges and behind ditches, a mining would be required very different from that which the rt. hon. gent. seems to have in contemplation; and not only officers to instruct them, but commanders under whom they may rally in the day of action. But if, as has been stated by the rt. hon. gent. they are to he taken into the ranks of the regular army, I wish to know whether there is a single commanding officer, who having hist two hundred men, would not much rather go into battle again with his shattered battalions as they were, than see them filled up with men who, from their inadequate discipline, must create the utmost confusion? The house must well remember the obloquy that was cast on the pleasure of drafting from the militia to regular regiments, when the expedition to Holland took. place;—yet how infinitely superior must the militia-man be to the, peasant, who should only have been trained for 26 days in the year! And this suggests another consideration; the kind of encouragement which is to be held out to the individuals who compose the mass. I have no doubt that they will act bravely; every Englishman does so but certainly, it is not very alluring to say to there—" You, will never be called "on, until a vacancy occurs:" in other words, "until the man is shot, whose place you are to, supply." These men, too, are not to be regimentally clothed; so that as soon as they enter the ranks, they will probably meet with a proclamation from the enemy, that all men taken in arms; arid not regularly soldiers, should undergo military 995 execution. It is not likely after every allowance has been made for their Courage, that these men could display any great zeal under such circumstances; or at least that the full benefit can be derived from their constitutional bravery and spirit, Which under better regulation might reasonaby be expected from them.—Compare, now, the object proposed by this training With the volunteers. Compare at the same time, the expence;—since the rt. hon. gent. has thought fit to make that a matter of complaint against the volunteers. The rt. hon. gent. stated the expence of the volunteers, since their institution, at the round sum of ten millions;—half of which, however, he allowed, has been Contributed by the volunteers themselves. The remaining half is about 1,500,000l. more than the papers upon the table show to have been issued by government; but say that. each of your 3 or 400,000 volunteers has cost the state from 4l. to 4l. 10s. a man.—Grant that this large sum has been laid out in the, disciplining of the volunteers, a sum nearly equal according to the rt. hon. gent's statement. to one year's receipt of the income tax, are the advantages accruing from that system to be hastily abandoned;—to give place to a system of loose and inefficient training, which will be an annual expence to the country of 260,000l. for the 26 days pay alone;—without reckoning arms, accoutrements, officers, registers, and every other consequent expenditure? Then as to the comparative use of the two species of force. The volunteers might make a stand, and would, in defence of the capital—the service of the rt. hon. gent's favourite troops, of his veterans of six-and-twenty sabbaths, is to begin when London has been lost. The rt. hon. gent. must have found in his office a plan for collecting a very considerable force, no less than 185,000 volunteers, at any time round London in 4 days, well armed, clothed, and fit for immediate service; and yet to this he prefers his mass, which is only to act, after London is destroyed, and thus serve as a kind of post obit on the metropolis.—I thought that it had been agreed on all hands, that of numerical force the country possessed enough, and that the only difference existed as to its nature and distribution. The rt. hon. gent. in particular has declaimed so loudly against nothing as against the too great variety of force; his remedy for this evil is to divide the regular army into two distinct classes, to serve on two different terms of service, and to add. to our irregular 996 force this non-descript species of 26 days training. Nor is this the only instance in Which the rt. hon. gent. acts in direct opposition to his own avowed objects; and does precisely the thing which he sets out with a professed determination to avoid—The rt. hon. gent. has told us that we should find in his plan, the application of all the principles which he has at different times, Stated to the house. I have already had occasion to consider this declaration in one point of view; as evincing the degre of respect which the rt. hon. gent. entertains for out former decisions. But it is not to be denied that he might have told us, with equal truth, that we should find in his plan the contradiction of all the principles which he has at different times stated; a recommendation which the house would have been bound to receive with more complacency than the other. Fortunately, sir, the rt. hon. gent. among his other splendid and eminent qualifications, as a debater in this house, has one, which renders it easier with respect to him, than to any other person, to retrace the course of his arguments on the different subjects which come before us. It was said of some ancient orator, I think of Pericles; that he "left a sting in the ears of his au "ditors." The rt. 'hon. gent. has a similar faculty. Whatever argument he sustains, he has such a happy talent of marking his way by whimsical analogies and fanciful illustrations, that after his arguments themselves are forgotten, the, remembrance of those illustrations easily recalls them to the mind. I shall be enabled by a few of these illustrations to recall to the recollection of the house the principles maintained by the rt. hon. gent. in the course of his opposition to the plans of his predecessors, and to exhibit these very principles, scattered through different parts of the plan which the rt. hon. gent. has himself proposed for our adoption. Ballot, we all know, was the most odious of all grievances—the most intolerable. Accordingly a countryman, hit by the ballot, was, in the rt. hon. gent's imagination, like a stricken deer," haret "lateriel lethalis arundo," he was like David Simple, looking about for a true friend. Concurrent recruiting—the recruiting for two different services, the limited and unlimited, with two proportionate bounties, —Was another of the rt. hon. gent's. aversions. This was precisely like the man who had two cats, a great cat and a little cat; and who must needs cut two holes in the bottom of his study door, one to admit the 997 great cat, the other to admit the little one Nothing could be more absurd! Except indeed, the recruiting from one Service to another, from the limited to the unlimited; and this the rt. hon. gent. absolutely overwhelmed with similitudes. It was like decanting; it was like double distillation; it was like a pump; it was like capillary tubes; it was like a reservoir; it was like a cow's stomach; it was like the lobby of the House of Commons. Now, Sir, nothing, as I have said, can be more happy than these illustrations: they are very useful too, as they afford a due through the variety of the rt. hon. gent. conceptions;—not a due, like that of old, by which the rt. hon. gent. might be able to find his way back out of his own labyrinth: but rather like that of the fair Rosamond, by which his pursuers are enabled to follow him into it. Strange as it may seem, therefore, when we follow the rt. hon. gent. into all the recess and intricacies of his plan, we find him employed in putting together all the old exploded contrivances of his predecessors. Who could have thought that these heterogeneous materials, on which he has exhausted all his pleasantry, the stricken deer, and David Simple, and the cat and the Kitten, and the decanter, and the still, and the pump and reservoir, and the capillary tubes, and the cow's stomach, and the lobby of the lobby of the House of Commons—that all these would after all, be found in the philosophical apparatus with which the rt. hon. gent. himself is to exhibit his own military experiments!—Yet so it is. The ballot he proposes, it is true, to abolish in the militia: but he establishes it for his trained mass, in a tenfold proportion and accompanied; as usual, by its old friend, fine. The concurrent recruiting he proposes, to introduce into the English militia: the transfusion, or double enlistment, be continues where he finds it, in the Irish: contradicting in this manner, every principle which he has himself promulgated, and adopting every practise which he has himself condemned. — I am far from contenting, however, that by this contradiction of himself alone, the rt. hon. gent. has necessarily precluded himself from forming a good plan. I contend on other grounds, that he has nor formed one; and on these grounds I contend that he has viciousness of the principles of those which he proposes to abolish. I contend, therefore, that the question which the House has to decide to night, so far as the additional force bill is concerned, is purely 998 a question of comparison,—of comparison between two modes of applying the some principle, that which already exists and which has been found good for something at least, and that which the rt. hon. gent. purposes to propose, and which promises nothing salutary, and nothing useful. It is not a question simply, whether the additional force bill shall be repealed and its principle altogether got rid of,—for the principle after all the rt. hon. gent. promises to reenact;—but whether we shall gratify him by giving up a measure altogether, which a little alteration may make unobjectionable, and then trust to such hopes as he has given us for a perfect system to be produced hereafter. That any thing which ha has yet opened deserves that name, the most sanguine of his admires cannot contend or believe.—But even if the Additional Force act had failed of its effect as completely as the rt. hon. gent. contends, which (I deny) let the rt. hon. gent. moderate his imaginary triumph, and before he congratulates himself on having done that which has great predecessor failed in accomplishing, on having bent the Ulyssean bow, which had foiled the strength of that mighty master; let him consider a little whether the objects which they undertook to accomplish were precisely the same. Otherwise I imagine the comparison cannot be fairly instituted, nor the merit of the rt. hon. gent. success, or rather the demerit of his failure, as compared with that of my late rt. hon. gent. friend, satisfactorily ascertained. My rt. hon. friend, like the rt. hon. gent. was desirous of maintaining and supplying a considerable regular army; but he considered this as a task to be performed within certain limits, which the rt. hon. gent. disregards, —within the limits, of the British constitution. My rt. hon friend thought it his duty to raise as large an efficient military force as could be raised, without endangering the principles of our ancestors, and the liberties of the country. If he felt that he was the minister of a great empire, called upon to provide for its security, and to perfect its military system; he felt also that he was the minister of a free government, and that in all his endeavours to that end, he must have respect to the rights, to the feelings, and to the habits of the people. If the rt. hon. gent. has been able to free himself from all those awkward embarrassing prejudices, and to get rid of the "friction" which they necessarily occasion, if he has persuaded himself that the only problem which he had to solve, was the raising a 999 great regular army, without reference to the dangers and the mischiefs to Which a great regular army is liable,—he certainly set himself a much easier; task, though I do not think that he is much the nearer to the performance of it. That his plan for raising an army, simply and by itself considered, and granting him as the foundation of its success the destruction of every other force, and the disregard of every constitutinal principle:— that, even so it should succeed, is I think, utterly hopeless and incredible:—but if it was to succeed, what is it that we should gain? what is to be the perfect produce of all the rt. hon. gent's. plans, the ultimate object of all his wishes? a large regular army to be sure,—but a regular army with all the civil disadvantages belonging to that constitution, but without its military perfection; an army permanent in peace, but dissoluble in war; with consistency enough to be formidable to liberty, but so fragile as to be liable to crumble under our feet in the hour of danger.—Such is not the military plan which would have contented my rt. hon. friend. I am persuaded it is not that which will content the house or the country. My rt. hon. friend could hear unmoved the repeated taunts of the rt. hon. gent.—for I would ask the rt. hon. gent. what term of reproach, what expression of contumely and contempt he has spared, what epithet of folly and fatuity he has not applied to my rt. hon. friend for the imputed failure of his plan of military improvement? This failure was sufficient, in the rt. hon. gent's contemplation, to counterbalance all the merits of my rt. hon. friend, all the services rendered to his country during an administration of 18 years, during 8 of which he had the advantage of the rt. hon. gent's. co-operation! I might now retaliate upon the rt. hon. gent. for a failure more complete, a more ridiculous contrast of big promises with inadequate results, surely was never presented to the world. But I restrain myself. My rt. hon. friend, while he agreed with the rt. hon. gent, as to the advantage of a large disposable force, never was infatuated, like him, to the degree of thinking that a hug unbalanced regular army, carried to an unlimited amount, was more necessary to our safety and power, than consistent with the spirit of our constitution. He felt it no reproach, that after all one exertion we were not yet, nor were likely to be, the first military power in the world He knew well, that being the first naval power, and founding on that distinction our claim to the first 1000 rank among nations; that being the first commercial, the first manufacturing and one of the first agricultural countries in the world, it was not to be wondered at, that with a population comparatively so limited as our's we were not also a military power, to the same extent with the great military powers of the Continent. But he felt that it would have been a reproach to us as a nation, that it would have been a reproach to every class of the community, if it could have been imputed to us, that while the limits of cur population, and the diversity of our pursuits and occupations necessarily prevented the raising and maintaining a regular army on the same scale as the great powers of the Continent; if those same causes had prevented us from providing effectually for the defence of the country; and providing for it is such exertions as should at the same time render disposable, in a great degree, whatever regular force it is in our power or our policy to raise. With these sentiments he cherished, and would have continued to cherish and uphold, all those institutions which either springing voluntarily of the bosom of the country, or produced by a mild and understood process of necessary compulsion, (a compulsion, Mitigated to the utmost degree that is compatible with the attainment of the object) form an efficient resource for the internal defence of the kingdom; and at the same time, retain some sympathy with the habits and feelings of civil life. And he would, I ant confident, his opposed a project for destroying or disheartening and discountenancing all those institutions) and relying exclusively on the army of the ere n.—The rt. hon. gent. proceeds on a different principle. He thinks we can never have regular army enough. He thinks we need have nothing but regular army or if he admits, willingly, into his plan tiny ether species of force, it is only as subsidiary to the regular army. He looks for that subsidiary force, not in the voluntary exertions of the higher and middling classes of society, but in the compulsory training of the lower; he would disarm the property of the country, rind train the rabble. much as his object is, I do not think his plan is adequate to effect it. The first question to be decided is, whether his plan will produce an army at all: and the second, whether if it does, it would be such an army as the House could regard without jealousy. I think the rt. hon. gent. has not established either point satisfactorily I think he has not shown that be can 1001 keep up force enough of the only description which he professes to think worth having. And I think that that description of force, however valuable, is not that to which alone, unbalanced, uncontrouled, the country can safely be entrusted.—Sir, I am far from wishing that a measure should be fastened on the country, which the government are determined not to carry into effect; but I certainly wish that the house should, by their vote, show that they do not think the rt. hon. gent's. plan all-sufficient as a substitute for our present system, unless it shall be very considerably altered from What it has been stated by him. Sir, I would myself be the first to move that the Additional Force act should be referred to a committee for the purpose of adding to what is defective, and correcting what is erroneous; and I would even after that willingly abandon it altogether, if it were found inferior to the amended plan of the rt. hon. gent. But my object is, to gain time to institute this comparison: my object is, not to part precipitately with what we have, until we are better satisfied of the advantages of what is intended to be proposed to us, and I shall therefore move. That for the word "now," in the original motion, be substituted the words "this day three weeks."
§ Mr. Wilberforce
complimented the rt. hon. gent. on the very extraordinary talents which lie had just displayed. He thought, however, that to the question before the house, viz. whether the Additional Force act should, or should not be repealed, he had said but little. To this point, therefore, he should confine his own observations. As an independent member of parliament, unconnected with any party, he felt it his duty to vote for the repeal of the bill, because he thought it vicious in its principle, and impotent in its operation. On this subject he had obtained information from those who were better qualified to judge of it than himself. Those whose knowledge enabled them to make an accurate estimate of its merits; those even who originally were prepossessed in its favour, now declared that the bill had been utterly unproductive. He had applied to several of the most experienced magistrates in the East Riding and the West Riding of Yorkshire. The former was thinly inhabited, the latter was very populous;. they were therefore under different, and indeed opposite circumstances, yet similar answers had been returned from both districts. In the East Riding he had been told that not one man was obtained; in the West Riding, that it had completely failed. He subse- 1002 quently heard, that in the North Riding also not a single individual had been procured by the operation of the act. He had afterwards written to a friend of his, a very active magistrate in Somersetshire. From him he learned, that in the Bath district, which ought to have produced 54 men, not a single man had been raised. It was true that this total failure did not every where take place; but one of the strongest objections which he entertained against the act, was, that it depended for its efficiency upon its infringement, that was, that where men had been raised at all, they had not been locally raised by parishes, as it was the intention of the act to ordain, but by the ordinary method of recruiting. On all these just and solid grounds he thought that it ought to be repealed. From the king experience which he had of the conduct of the illustrious character who was the author of this bill, he was convinced, that had he lived he voids have been the first person to propose at least a substantial alteration in it, if not a total repeal of it. It was one characteristic of that great man, well deserving of admiration, that although he frequently in the formation of his measures, trusted solely to the resources of his own capacious mind, Upheld by the dignity of conscious rectitude; yet, that when he was convinced that these measures were erroneous, he abandoned them, regardless of the accusations which were directed against him of inconstancy end inconsistency, and readily adopted others of a different description. It was this that rendered him one of the safest ministers that this country ever saw; and the real confidence that be thus acquired amply repaid him for the humiliation, if it might be so termed, which a retrograde motion seemed in the first instance to incur. Returning to the question before the house, he declared, that in his opinion the bill called on men to furnish what it was impossible they could furnish. That the measure had been highly serviceable, as having afforded much useful information, and many valuable hints, no one could deny. It had thrown a strong light on the best mode of procedure. He concurred with the rt. hon. gent. who bad just sat down, on the danger to the constitution which attended the introduction or formation of a large standing army, got he did not think that that rt. hon. gent. had stated the argument fairly. Let it be remembered that the Levy en Masse, however slight might be its training, would in time , accustom the whole population of the country to arms, and they would thus be enabled to 1003 withstand a regular upon it. Besides the number, who according to the rt. hon secretary's plan, must, after the expiration 7 years from the present time, go out of the regular army annually, would by mixing with the people, very, considerably increase their strength, He could not but be of opinion, that we were too much disposed to think ourselves a military nation and to depart from our true and proper character by which we had attained to our present greatness. He thought we ought to endeavour to preserve no more of the military character, than what was sufficient to enable us to maintain a respectable rank among the nations of Europe. There are other ways in which we could occasionally assist our Continental Allies, besides that of sending them large bodies of troops. Above all let us not think of rivalling the French as a military people. Some parts of the plan proposed by the rt. hon. sectretary, he highly dissapproved. He different widely from, him about the Volunteers. He trusted that he would consider this part of Subject with fairness, and not allow himself to be so bigotted to his own opinion, as to refuse to listen to any qualification of a system which certainly in itself possessed many advantages. In several instances the Volunteers had shewn the most praiseworthy spirit and alacrity. On an alarm being accidentally given on the coast in the North Riding of Yorkshire, all the Volunteers in the West Riding were called out. The utmost promptitude was displayed, and on occasion did such numbers attend their posts in so short a time, scarcely a man being wanted. When the rt. hon. secretary allowed, that the levy en masse would serve to recruit the ranks of the regular army, he would scarcely contend, that the Volunteers would not be much better qualified for that purpose.
§ Mr. Long
said, that when in opening a new plan, the rt. hon. secretary, had joined with his other propositions, one for the repeal of this act, he must consider those propositions as connected with this subject. The object proposed was an increase of the military force, in which all agreed. This he would effect, by additional honours and distinctions, and by an increase of pay; but his principle expedient was that of enlisting for a limited time. The recommendation of this practice from the customs of other countries was not sufficient. Our colonial system of itself furnished a strong objection. The nature of our situation was widely different from that of those upon the conti- 1004 nent, where this practice prevailed. There was every reason against the repeal from considering that the numbers raised went on in an increasing ratio. If the agents under the bill did pot at first perfectly understand it, they had received instructions and experience on that head. He was ready to allow, that the author of the bill, were he living, would have made sonic substantial alterations in it, of which he thought it susceptible. But if he refused to repeal it when it produced only at the rate of 9,000 men a year, could it be supposed that he would give it up, now that it was daily more operative? Some who objected to the hill at first, had afterwards opposed its repeal last year. Did they then expect such Success as it had met with? How could they pretend to consistency, if they voted against it now? I le then animadverted on the conduct of the rt. hon. gent. towards the volunteers, and expressed his desire to hear what, his sentiments now were respecting them. He had, indeed, altered his tone, and he hoped he would have manliness enough to avow a change in his opinions, if any such had taken place. He thought he had undervalued the Volunteers. Upon the August allowances 16 or 18 Volunteers might be maintained by government at the expense of a single foot soldier, and was not that an economical provision of public force for home defence? In the trained men the rt. hon. gent. would find much difficulty. He seemed to think there was no degree between a regular army and a trained mass. This he thought a great mistake. The ballot for the militia was to be. dropped. What other mode could be adopted of equal efficacy for raising men at the beginning of a war? Look at the year 1803, when 125,000 men were raised through the operation of the ballot. It was certainly once the intention of his rt. hon. friend deceased, to whose fame nothing he could say could add, and from whose lustre nothing the rt. hen. gent. could say, could detract, to try the scheme of limited service in part; but not to rest upon it. But the information he received from various quarters, altered his mind upon that subject, He recollected, when the events of the French Revolution had given rise to inquiries into the theory of the foundation of all governments, that a motion laud been made in that house for a Reform of tide Representation of the People, and that the rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) had observed on the occasion, " What! will you repair your 1005 "house whilst the hurricane is raging about you? He should apply the rt. hon. gent's. maxim to himself and ask, "What! will you new model the structure of you army, whilst the hurricane is still raging about you?" If the ballot should be ore given up, it could at afterwards be resorted to with effect; and if the plane of the rt. hon. gent. should fail, the failure would endanger the vital interests, nay the existence of the country.
§ Mr. Hawthorne
said, that feeling himself in the predicament stated by the rt. gent. (Mr. Long), who had just sat down of having originally voted against this measure, and afterwards opposed its repeal, he was desirous of trespassing Upon the house as shortly as possible, in order to, state the grounds upon which he should now support this motion for the second reading of the bill.—He agreed with the rt. hon. gent., that they all had but one common object, that of providing for the augmentation of the army, and it was because this law had ,completely failed to accomplish that. object. That he now voted for its repeal —In order to bring this question fairly before the house, he should endeavour to spew what this measure had proposed to accomplish, and what had been accomplished the means which the law provided for carrying it into effect, and the means which had been actually employed in its execution. It was in the first place proposed to raise a limited force, which whilst it provided for home defence, would set at liberty equivalent proportion of unlimited or disposable force 2dly, To Make this limited force a source of additional supply to the regular army, in aid of ordinary recruiting. And, 3dly, To accomplish this, not only without interfering with the recruiting of the disposable force, but to remove the obstacles and impediments that had hitherto obstructed that service, by reason of the competition between those recruiting for the limited force, and those recruiting for the disposable force, and to keep the recruiting of the two species of force entirely distinct.—To effect this, the recruiting for the limited force, was to be carried on by the parish officer with a limited bounty, aided, in case of his failure, by the regimental recruiter, for a limited bounty likewise, thus extending itself, as stated by an hon. gent. (Mr. Wilberforce), over the Whole surface of the country but in order to prevent competition with each other, or with the disposable force, being restricted within certain pre- 1006 scribed limits, and it was proposed to give an additional bounty, to induce men already enlisted with the force, to volunteer into the line —Before he entered upon this part of the subject he thought it highly material to call the attention of the house, to the state of our military force at different periods, in order that we might judge of to effects of those exertions which had been, made at various times to augment the army, and that he should here follow the statement made on former occasion, by the noble lord (Castlereagh) opposite to him. The noble lord had compared the gross force of the army as it stood on the 1st of Jan., 1806, and on the 1st of Jan., 1804, stating the gross force, on the 1st of Jan., 1806, to be 267,000 men, rank and File; and on the 1st of Jan., 1804, 234,000 men, making an increase of 33,000 men; whereas he found the gross force to be on the 1st of Jan. 1806, only 259,952, and on the 1st of Jan., 1804, 236,033, making an increase of 23,919, instead of 33,000, and giving him, just ground to quarrel with the accuracy of the noble lord (Here lord C. said across the house, that he had taken the force as stood on the 1st of March, 1806) Mr. Hawthorne maintained; that such had been the noble lord's statements; but if he understood that the noble lord intended to compare the force, as it stood on the 1st of March, and not on the 1st of Jan., he ,should not pursue that comparison any further; but he confessed his surprise at hearing the noble lord take, any credit for the augmentation, which appeared to have taken place between the 1st of Jan. and the 1st of March, 1806, which was chiefly confined to the German legion, not derived from any exertion's of the administration, but from the result of that most unfortunate expedition to the continent. But he should now proceed to compare the force as it stood on the 1st of July; 18O4, and 1st of Jan., 18O4, and again complained of the noble lord, for taking the force as it stood on the 1st of Jan., instead of 1st of July, 1804; as the noble lord Must have surely recollected, that the hon. gent., now no more, was not then in office, and that he did not come into office, until the end of May, from which time, until July, he had not attempted or proposed any one single measure for, augmenting the army, except the Parish Bill, which passed on the 29th of June; whilst the measures of the preceding administration were in full force and vigour, and continued to operate with such effect, that 1007 he might be justified in taking the force as it stood on the 1st of Jan., 1805, and placing it, with the exception of the produce of the additional force, which would not be much relied on, to the credit of that government; but he was not desirous of pressing gentlemen too closely, and should therefore take the gross force of the army on the 1st of July, 1804, as the state in which it was left by the administration that preceded the last. The gross force on the 1st of Jan., 1806, was 259,952, and on the first of July, 1804, was 246,419, being an increase, in 18 months, of only 13,533; whereas, taking it as it stood on the 1st of Jan., 1804, would give the noble lord 10,306 in favour of the last administration, but at the expense of the former, of which the noble lord was equally a distinguished member. But even of this 13,533, the last administration were only entitled to credit for so much as had been produced by the additional force, it being the only measure proposed or adopted by them with a view of augmenting the army.—The disposable force, on the 1st of Jan.,1806, was 161,541, and on the 1st of July,1804, 125,000: being an increase of 36,541, which since the actual addition to our army only amounted to 13,533, required to be accounted for, and which appeared to have arisen partly from an obvious measure, requiring no great ability, that of transferring a part of the gross force from one service to another; he therefore found that this increase of 36,541 disposable force, was composed of volunteers from the militia into the line, 14,685; volunteers from the army of reserve (the measure of the former administration), about 6000; and from the additional force, between its commencement and the 31st of Jan., 1806, 3,154, making together 23,839. The remainder, which he had not the means of specifically accounting for, must be placed to the account of Irish levies, the foreign corps, the. augmentation of the cavalry (also measures of the former government), and ordinary recruiting; 3,154 men alone, being to be placed to the credit of the last administration, resulting from this their only contrivance for augmenting the army. But having seen, that in 18 months, ending the 1st of Jan., 1806, the gross force had only increased by 13,533, it was only common justice, to compare the gross force as it stood on the 1st of Jan., 1803, and on the 1st July, 1804, being likewise a period of 18 months; and he found, that the gross force was, on the 1st July, 1804, 246,410, and on the 1st of 1008 Jan., 1803, 104,911; making an increase of 141,508 in 18 months, and for which he claimed credit on account of the uncommon exertions of the former administration, giving to the last all the benefit of the augmentation of 13,538, on the 1st of Jan, 1806: though as he had already stated, it was more than they were justly entitled to.—Having made these statements, he proceeded to examine the subject more immediately before the house, By the several acts for raising the Additional Force, it was proposed to raise, in the united kingdom, a number of men, equal to the deficiencies of the army of reserve, and likewise to raise a number of men in G. Britain equal to the deficiencies of the supplementary militia; these deficiencies were to be raised immediately; and in addition thereto, it was proposed to raise in the united kingdom, in the year ending 1st Oct., 1805, 14,800 men, making in the whole 41,415 men, to be raised on or before the 1st of Oct., 1805, from which, deducting the additional 14,800, made the deficiencies of the army of reserve and the militia amount to 28,490. He should now examine what had been done towards raising this force; and it appeared by the returns on the table, that the gross number raised by parishes and regiments amounted, on the 14th of March, 1800, to 12,925, which was not one-third of the whole which ought to have been raised on 1st Oct., 1805, and leaving a deficiency of 28,490; and this giving credit for those raised by regimental recruiting, which was only to take place on the failure of the parish officers to produce their quota, and did not require the law to give it any effect. Of these 12,925, there were raised by parish officers 8,975, being something better than one-fifth of the whole.—Of the whole number England and Wales were to have raised 27,995, of which the parishes and regiments had only raised 6,997, not one-fourth of their proportion, and the parishes only 3,327, not one-seventh of their proportion, leaving a total deficiency against England and Wales, on 14th March, 1806, 20,998. With reference, therefore, to the total to be raised, there appeared to be a complete failure.—But though it might be considered as too muck to demand the whole amount of 41,415, yet surely there was reason to require a number equal to the deficiencies of the army of reserve and militia, especially as the latter could have been easily filled up by the ballot. These deficiencies amounted to 26,615, to be immediately completed 1009 but the gross number raised by parishes and regiments, as before 12,925, was not one-half; and 8,925 raised by the parishes, or nominally so, was about one-third; and in England and Wales, the 3,927 nominally raised by the parishes, was only a little more than one-half of the estimated deficiencies of the supplementary militia. Here, also, he contended, there was a complete failure. But there was another point of view in which he had a right to consider this measure, namely, with reference to those which it superseded. The house would recollect, that it was proposed to augment the Irish militia 10,000 men, which by accepting their voluntary offers to the same amount, of transferring their services to this country, world have augmented the domestic force 10,000 men, and set at liberty a proportionate number of disposable there; but by, this measure we had only got in the whole, 8,712 effective men, on the 31st of Jan, 1806, from which, deducting those who have volunteered, 3,817, which, in this view, were to be left out of the question, left, of limited force, 4,895, not one-half of the proposed augmentation of Irish militia, nor near one-third of the Irish militia, and the deficiencies of the supplementary militia, making together 17,000 men, and which could have been raised, without any difficulty, in a very few months. — The measure had equally failed in furnishing that immediate augmentation of the disposable force which the state of the domestic defence (then allowed on all hands to be complete) enabled the then government principally to turn its attention to. The total force at home, the 1st of July, 1804, was 181,569, a greater force of this description than we have been in possession of at any other period of our history; and of which 28,890 of the regular army was stationed in Ireland, far exceeding any force that country ever had, either before or since, for its protection. The force at home, 1st March, 1806, amounted to 172,677, being 8,892 less than on 1st July, 1804. On the 1st of Oct., 1805, the additional force had added by volunteers to the disposable force 4,176, not being one-third of 14.800, the number proposed to be annually gained, and including 2,732 from the army of reserve, which to this purpose was to be considered as additional force!!—With reference to the increase of disposable force, it had likewise I failed on comparison with the measures it I superseded. The house would recollect, that it was proposed at that time to raise 20 1010 regiments, for 4 of Which letters of service were afterwards issued; and it appeared by returns before the house, that in about 12 weeks 3,400 men were raised on account of these new levies; whereas, on the 14th of March, 1806, the volunteers from the additional force only amounted to 3,817, onefifth of the rejected plan, raising in me quarter of a year within a few hundreds as many men as had been done by the whole of that measure, in 1 year and 3 quarters, by which it had been superseded. —Having thus fairly examined this measure, he thought himself warranted in declaring, that it had totally, absolutely, and completely failed in all its parts. It had, however, been said, that the measure had been more productive lately; but it was material to enquire how it became so, the means made use of to make it so, and the effects upon other branches of the public service; whether the modes by which this increase had been procured were legitimate or illegitimate. What were these modes? By crimps, by high bounties, and by breach of the law, in extending the recruiting districts beyond the limits prescribed. By means most illegitimate, consolidating and splicing together the two bounties given each for its own peculiar purpose, and legal when so applied, and using them, if not strictly illegally, yet certainly contrary to the principles of the measure, to defraud the disposable of those men who, had not such means been resorted to, would have been procured by ordinary recruiting: and, by all these means, raising up a competition against the recruiting for the disposable force; and which, if not speedily done away, would end in its total destruction. This increased produce commenced with lord Hawkesbury's letter of the 16th of Sept., 1805, to which, and his letter of the 31st Dec., 1805, with their enclosures, he now referred; and demonstrated from them, that government had abandoned their original intentions of employing parish officers, and gave their sanction to the substitution of crimps in their place, to each of whom 21. 12s. 6d. was to be given per man. This direction was directly followed up by the orders issued by the inspector-general, which no less distinctly recommended the pointing out of the double bounty to be trios obtained for unlimited service.—Mr. H. here entered into a detailed examination of the reports from the inspecting field officers, and the lord lieutenants, from which he read extracts, aid on which he grounded some 1011 strong observations. The letters to which he principally adverted, were Mr. Poole's letters to lord Bulkeley; Mr. Marie's letters to, the clerk of the general meeting for Lancashire; and the letters from lieut,-col. Clay, lieut.-col. Maclean, and col, Robertson; captains Carrol, Dickens, and Fearon, &c. to the inspector-general.—From these documents it appeared: 1st, that the employment of crimps was expressly recommended, and carried into effect; 2dly, that the extension of the recruiting limits was expressly encouraged, and acted upon, in direct violation of the act of parliament ally, that the success of the measure was confined to manufacturing districts, and that it failed in agricultural and maritime counties; 4thly, that the double bounty was expressly held out as an inducement to enter in the first instance; and 5thly, that injury Was done to regular recruiting by the competition between the two services.—Mr. H. then proceeded to make several calculations shewing the effects of this measure on ordinary recruiting, and said he should take the period of 6 months of ordinary recruiting, commencing 1st Feb., and ending the 1st Aug., 1803, and which immediately preceded the vigorous operations of the army of reserve act, and should compare that period with 5 subsequent periods of 6 Months each, ending 1st Feb., 1806; not because this 1st period was the best period of ordinary recruiting in the returns then before the house, for even it was considerably embarrassed by the ballot for the militia, which was then proceeding, and had actually raised for that service within the period 58,000 men; but because it immediately preceded the 12 months during which the ballot for the army of reserve and for the militia was carrying on with the greatest vigour, the effect of which, and of its suspension upon the recruiting service, would be thereby the more distinctly seen. The first period of 6 months, from the 1st Feb. to the 1st Aug., 1803, produced 6,538 men. The second period, from the 1st Aug., 1803, to the 1st of Feb., 1804, produced 4,504, being a decrease of 2,034. The third period, from 1st Feb. to 1st Aug., 1804, produced 3,749, being 2,789 less than the first period. In the course of these 12 months upwards of 70,000 men had been raised for the army of reserve and the militia, and in the 18 months 130,000. The fourth, period, from the 1st Aug., 1804, to 1st. Feb., 1805, the army of reserve act being suspended, and the militia 1012 nearly complete, ordinary recruiting produced 5,949, being only 589 less than the first period. The fifth period, from the 1st Feb. to the 1st Aug., 1805, the measure now under consideration not having begun to operate with any vigour, produced 6,698, being 160 men more than the 1st period. But as soon as the parish officers commenced acting upon lord Hawkesbury's letter of the 16th Sep., 1805, its effects were; immediately felt by the recruiting service, which from the 1st Aug., 1805, to the 1st Feb., 1806, produced only 4,869, being 1,669 less than the first period and 1,829 less than the period immediately preceding. He then stated, that from 15th June, 1805 to 31st Jan., 1806, 2,505 men. had volunteered from the additional force, being at the rate of 75¾ men per week, and for six months 1,969, and only 140 men more than sufficient to supply the deficiency of ordinary recruiting in the last period of six months. And supposing that each man who volunteered received ten guineas, this gain of 140 men would have cost the public the enormous sum of 84 guineas per man, without referring to other expenses attending the execution of the measure, or to the inconvenience, the injustice, and the oppression resulting from its partial operation, to counterbalance which no advantages had been gained. He should state this in another point of view, and compare 7 months of ordinary recruiting, from 1st Feb. to 1st Sept. 1805, with 7 months from 1st Sept. 1805 to 1st April, 1806, from which it would appear that the first 7 months had produced 7,482, and the last 7 months only 5,744, being a decrease of 1,738; and comparing the last 7 months with a period of corresponding months in the years 1804 and 1805, it would appear that the 7 corresponding months from the 1st Sept. 1804 to the 1st April, 1805 produced 7,477, making a, decrease of 1,733, in the 7 months from 1st Sept., 1805 to 1st,April, 1806, being 5 less than taking it successively. It appeared by the returns on the table, that the first three months of ordinary recruiting, in the year 1805, had produced 3,562, and the first three months in 1806 only 2,517, being a decrease on three months of 1,045, and per year of 4,180; whereas the volunteering for the first three months of 1806, had produced 661, which per year would be 2,644 being 1,536 short of supplying the deficiency in the ordinary recruiting. From these considerations he contended; that the house must make up its naiad either to abandon 1013 this measure, or abandon the ordinary recruiting, which must, from a perseverance in this, be entirely ruined He could not agree that there was any better prospect success from its increased produce recently; on the contrary, when the means used to effect that increase were considered, he was Confident that its continuance would only Occasion greater embarrassment; and haying proved that the measure had utterly failed in every thing it had proposed, he should give his vote for its immediate repeal, without any view to the substitution of any other in its place.
Mr. Lascelles ,
as he differed from his hon colleague (Mr. Wilberforce) in the vote he meant to give, thought it, necessary to state his reasons for voting as he should do on this occasion. He agreed, however, with his hon. colleague, that the then could not be raised as the act directs. Yet he should not vote for its repeal, because the rt. hon. gent. had brought forward the measures for its repeal in conjunction with other measures, Until he should be able to judge of those other measures. The question was not, whether this bill was to he continued, bill whether the house should give it up before they knew what was to be substituted for it. For his own part, he should not agree to give up any measure that produced any supply to the military force of the country for any theories of any rt. hon. gent. He did not mean to anticipate what might be the measures to be produced by the rt. hon. gent., but should say, that from his opening statement of them, they appeared to him extremely disgusting to the Volunteers, and extremely ineffectual as to the training of the Levy en Masse. If the bill proposed to be repealed had not produced,then, it certainly had not produced agitation, ferment, and apprehension in every part of the Country.
concurred in opinion with the last speaker; but, from the low tone iii which his lordship spoke, we could not collect his arguments.
§ Mr. G. Vansittart
conceived the question before the house to be simply this; whether, for the purpose of raising men for the army, parish officers should be preferred to recruiting officers? and also, whether the, parishes should he subject to a penalty of 20l. for not raising men whom it was out of their power to procure? There was no degree of necessity which could warrant such a measure, so oppressive was it in its operation; and yet he was persuaded that more men could be had from the regular recruiting. In the 1014 county which he had the honour to represent (Berkshire), it was found quite impossible to procure the quota required by the act under consideration. Indeed, only in men had been Obtained altogether. The parishes had, in Consequence, been assessed to the amount of 6,6201. and no less than. 4000l. had been actually paid. Would then the rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Canning) propose to release other counties which had not yet furnished their quotas or paid the penalties? and if be would, be could not conceive upon what principle of equity the penalties paid by Berkshire should not be refunded.
§ Mr. Spencer Stanhope
had certainly many objections to the bill, the repeal of which had been moved; but still he would contend, that it had not had fair play. As to the other topics that were to follow, in consequence of the general plan of the rt. hon. gent., he should have thought that. rt. hon. gent. the last man to propose a limited service. How often had he declared against the ill effects of such a system, as manifest in the militia. In short, he thought the plan in contemplation went to tamper with, the militia, to tamper with the levy eat masse, to tamper with the Volunteers, and with the whole of the existing military establishment. With respect to the Volunteers, he thought it would be a gross violation of the public faith, more especially after the solemn vote of thanks which had passed that house in their favour.
§ Mr. R. Thornton
supported the original motion, although he was formerly an advocate for the bill which it proposed to repeal; but he was disappointed in effects promised from it. Some men were no doubt raised be it, but the means adopted were extremely exceptionable. From inquiry he learnt that the expedient resorted to in several parishes for procuring men was this; the men not being raised in due time, the parish officers levied the 20l. penalty, out of which they took so much as, added to the sum allowed by government for each man, actually made up a bounty of 271. The balance of the penalty was used in the same way, and thus by high bounties the men recently raised were induced to enlist.
said, he disapproved of every limb of the Minerva which had lately sprung from the rt. hon. secretary's brain, and hoped it would prove equally objectionable to the house. The rt. hon. gent. would base the country to rely altogether on a standing army, but he deprecated the idea. The battles alluded to by rt. hon. gent. on a 1015 former evening (Marengo and Austerlitz), decided, no doubt, the fate of a nation. But why? Because that nation relied altogether on a standing army, and because the people could not be trusted with arms But it would be a libel on the people of England to suppose that a very different result would not take place in this country, even were the standing army extinguished, provided our gallant Volunteers were under the direction of able officers. He could not but remark, that the rt. hon. gent., in an exposition of his new system, had conveyed a pretty strong libel upon the Militia and Volunteers of the country. He here reiterated several of the rt. hon. gent's expressions on that occasion, and expressed a hope that he would not persist in the intention he had announced, of drawing the coats of volunteers form their shoulders, and clothing them in carters' frocks. It was not upon a regular army that a nation ought to be taught to depend, as, in that case, the people became supine, indifferent to every thing martial, and regardless of the means for their own defence.
§ Lord De Blaquiere
did not think it fair to consider the Additional Force act as an abstract proposition. Its repeal made part of the system of the rt. hon. gent. who presided over the war department, and it was not possible to discuss it without adverting to his plan. The impression upon his mind was, that the rt. hon. gent. wished to lower the volunteer system from what he stated in his opening speech. There might be defects in that system, but he would not consent to part with it, until the rt. hon. gent. came forward with something in its place. The objections to the allowance of rank he could not consider as unfounded. It was certainly a privilege which had been profusely bestowed. It put him in mind of What took place in Ireland formerly under the old militia, of which there was a corps in the county of Cork, consisting of only 20 men, and in which there were lieut. colonels. He gave his support to the amendment.
§ Mr. Sturges Bourne
was not surprised that the gentlemen who supported the bill, wished to confine the discussion to it, and wave the consideration of the other ports of the new system. They were aware that much prejudice against the act which it was proposed to repeal, existed both in and out of that house, and they resolved to rely rather upon the objections to the bill than upon the merits of their own plan. He complained, that in a particular county, Berks, 1016 which had been forward in petitioning against the act, the magistrates had not done their duty; and in support of his assertion, he read a letter which had been laid on the table from the inspecting officer of that district. He deprecated any alteration in the Volunteer system, and particularly the discontinuance of the permanent duty, to which he attributed the scanty returns of that force now before the house. One fort, night's permanent duty he had the authority of experienced military men for declaring, would do more towards the improvement of their discipline, than the 25 days proposed by the rt. hon. gent. He was unwilling to give op the bill without seeing a sufficient substitute.
Mr. C. Dundas
vindicated the conduct of the magistrates and parish officers of Berkshire, who could not, he contended, succeed in raising the men required, unless they violated the provisions of the act under consideration, both with regard to the bounty, and to the space presented. The hon. gent. observed that the execution of the act was quite impracticable. He remembered a letter to have been sent by the secretary of state to the lord sent of Berkshire, requiring him to assemble the parish officers of the county, and to call upon them to execute the act. But the answer of the lord lieut. very properly was to this requisition, that he had no power to call the parish officers together, or to enforce the execution of the act. And in point of fact, no such power did or does exist. From this instance it would be seen what provisions the authors of this law had made for its enforcement, and what knowledge they must have possessed of the details necessary to the promotion of that object—After a few words from lord Stanley, generals Norton and Mr. Golding, the house divided on Mr. Canning's amendment, Ayes 235, Noes 119, Majority 116.
Before strangers were re-admitted, a conversation commenced on the future progress of the hill. It appeared that Mr. Windham had enquired on what day it would be convenient for the gentlemen on the opposite side to go into the committee?
expressed his determination to oppose the bill in every stage of it. He felt it to be his duty to embrace every opportunity of discussing the new military philosophy proposed by the rt. hon. gent. He would not go into the question at so late an hour. As to the manner in which it was argued by his rt. hon. friend (Mr. Canning), he was persuaded a very large proportion of 1017 the members present would agree with him that it was the only way in which it should be argued.
Mr. Secretary Fox
said, he thought he now understood the rt. hon. gent. (alluding, we understand, to something said by Mr. Canning, while strangers were excluded). Every man to be sure, might choose his own way of discussing a proposition, so those who opposed the bill brought in by his rt. hon. friend might wish to avoid entering into the merits or defects of the act it was intended to repeal; but, for his part, he would not discuss other measures while a particular bill was under consideration. He was not indeed surprised that they should abandon the defence of their favourite Additional Force act, and endeavour to fasten upon the other parts of the plan proposed by his rt. hon. friend. The rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Calming) had displayed no little share of dexterity in evading tile discussion of the only question which was before the house. He would admit that his speech was a most able one, but still it appeared to him to have one defect, and that was, that no part of it was directed to the consideration of the act it was proposed to repeal. He would be as ready to meet the rt. hon. gent. on that subject, as he would on the other parts of the plan, when they should be regularly submitted to the house.
§ Mr. Canning
could not conceive why the rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) should think it extraordinary that the system which he produced in an elaborate speech of 4 hours should be discussed. For what purpose did he bring it forward, if it was not intended that it should be considered by every man in the country? Was a system over which the whole nation was lamenting, which had filled with alarm and dismay every man in it, to be passed over in silence? If a man proposed a series of resolutions, and concluded a 4 hours' speech with moving the first of them, were you to be debarred from considering the whole? The rt. hon. gent. was much mistaken, if he supposed then was any shyness on that side to encounter his system, than which there could be no thing more preposterous and absurd; a system calculated to shake the whole of our military establishment, to produce dissatisfaction in the army, and to make it daub of the propriety of its existence. A system—(Here there was a cry of order from lord Temple) Mr. Canning wished the noble lore to state his reasons for calling him to order.
—The rt. hon. gent. has 1018 called on me to state why I called him to order. I did so because I conceived the language he employed not fit to be attributed to a proposition brought forward by any member of this house, much less to a member of his majesty's government.
§ Mr. Canning.
—I trust, Mr. Speaker, we are not come to those times when a strong government, which shall he unable to answer an argument, shall be able to put it down. I trust, sir, that we are not to have silence imposed upon us in this house. I do hope that the noble lord, and those who are connected with him in his majesty's govt. will not deprive us of the liberty of speech; that we shall be allowed the freedom of discussing their measures. I do hope that the noble lord does not mean to have recourse to a plan of which I have formerly heard. It was once observed to Mr. Burke, by a member of this house, that he was surprised ministers, instead of debating, did not try the effect of silence in that house; to which he answered "that they had tried it, and "they found it would not do." So I will tell the noble lord. Why did his rt. hon. friend bring forward his plan before the recess, if he does not mean to proceed with it immediately? Does he mean that it should go forward, or does he not?. I think I have a right to ask that question.
§ Mr. Windham
did not think the mariner in which he was questioned entitled to an answer. He was however fully prepared to assure the house, that no change had taken place in his mind respecting the measures which were connected with the motion the house had decided on, and he should bring them forward when they were its their due state of preparation.
conceived the statement of the rt, hon. gent. opposite to him (Mr. Canning) to he of a most mischievous tendency, and he thought he ought to have been stopped before.
said, that nothing was more distant from his intention than any such reproof. He meant that the rt. hon. gent. ought to have been sooner stopped by some other member, for that. his language was calculated to produce discontent in the army.
§ Mr. Perceval
asked, was the country now in a situation that deprived members of that house from stating what they conceived might be the mischievous consequences of 1019 any measure? Should the measure to be brought forward have the effect of creating disquiet, and perhaps mutiny, was not; member of that house at liberty to urge as an argument against it, that it was of a nature to produce such effects? The measure was yet only in the shape of a project or proposition, and so long his rt. hon. friend was perfectly at liberty to inveigh against its pernicious consequences; should it pass into law, he would know how to respect it.
§ Mr. Sheridan
said, that the question was taken up in a tone and manner neither suited to the house, nor to the subject under discussion. His rt. hon. friend had been called to order. He should riot now say that he was disorderly; but he would say, that the language used by him was unsuitable and unseemly. It declared no less than that the measures proposed by his rt. hon. friend were of a nature to shake the security of our military system, and make them doubt the propriety of their existence. Such language was a double libel, a libel upon the army, whom it supposed capable of doubting of their due existence, and a libel on the house, that it was supposed to have entertained any thing that could have such a tendency.
§ Mr. Canning
declared that as long as he bad the honor of a seat in that house, he should speak his sentiments freely and openly, and not be deterred by the noble lord, or any other person, even a minister, from performing what he conceived to be his duty.
wished to know when it was intended to go into a committee on the bill. After some conversation between the noble lord, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Windham, it was agreed that the bill should be committed on Tuesday next.—Adjourned at 2 o'clock.