HC Deb 21 January 1807 vol 8 cc472-512

Lord Castlereagh, before the order of the day should be proceeded upon, wished for some explanation on a point very material to the discussion. The right hon. secretary opposite, on opening his military plan last year, had stated, that it was not intended to apply to the men then serving, the system of discharges at the end of 7 and 14 years; but that the men who were entitled by having served so long, were to have the increased proportion of pay and allowance. In a subsequent discussion the right hon. gentleman had stated, that it was intended to discharge the men who had served 21 years, with full pensions. He wished to know whether this intention had been carried into effect? Whether the men who had served 21 years were discharged, or still retained in service; if they were retained in service, whether it was voluntary; and if it was voluntary, whether they had the increased advantages of pay and allowances; and also, it they had been discharged, whether they had the full pensions?

Mr. Secretary Windham

said, it had been in contemplation at the period alluded to by the noble lord, to discharge with full pensions the men who had served 21 years. His own opinion as to the propriety of that proceeding was still the same. But it was a point that rested with the discretion of his majesty's government generally; and which had not yet been decided upon. The men who had served that period of time had not demanded their discharges, they of course remained still in the service, having all the advantages of pay and allowances which the vote of last session granted.

On the motion of the secretary at war, the house went into a committee of supply, to which were referred the Army Estimates, presented by him, on the 14th instant, and the Estimates of the Barrack Department, and the commissariat, presented by Mr. Vansittart on the 14th inst.

The Secretary at War

said, that as the estimates he had to move were, with very few exceptions, made conformable to those of the last year, it would not be necessary for him to trespass upon the house, at any considerable length. The estimates now before the committee were classed under 26 heads; namely,

£. s. d.
1. Guards, Garrisons, &c 113795 4051623 0 6
2. Forces in the Plantations, &c 79158 2609143 13 9
3. India Forces 25115 582397 0 0
4. Troops and Companies for recruiting ditto 437 25214 10 0
5. Recruiting, and Contingencies ——— 227249 0 10
6. General and staff Officers ——— 190529 17 6
7. Embodied Militia and Fencible Infantry 94202 2493644 7 5
8. Contingencies for ditto ——— 62153 17 0
9. Clothing for ditto 157227 16 4
10. Full Pay to Supernumerary Officers ——— 34418 11 0
11. Public Departments ——— 221200 18 5
12. Allowance to Innkeepers, &c ——— 467273 3 11
13. Half Pay and Allowances ——— 192515 2 11
14. Ditto American Forces 44000 0 0
15. Ditto Scotch Brigade ——— 750 0 0
16. In - Pensioners of Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals ——— 50597 19 9
17. Out-Pensioners of ditto ——— 355785 7 8
18. Widows' Pensions ——— 43258 7 6
19. Volunteer Corps ——— 1490301 4 8
20. Foreign Corps 21473 832540 19 9
21. Royal Military College ——— 22175 5 10
22. Royal Military Asylum ——— 21227 8 4
23. Allowances to Retired and Officiating Chaplains — #x2014;— 18208 15 11
24. Hospital Expences (Ireland) ——— 18461 10 10
25. Barrack Department (ditto.) ——— 469450 12 6
26. Compassionate List. ——— 12000 0 0
——— ——— ———
334180 14743348 12 4
Deduct the India Forces 25115 582397 0 0
——— ——— ———
TOTAL 309065 14160951 12 4
——— ——— ———

In the multiplicity of services comprehended in the estimates, some variations in the charges must of course occasionally occur. But the variation upon the whole was small. The difference was, in point of number of men, 5284, and in point of charge 9,176l. There was thus an excess in this year, but still there was a nearer coincidence than in any other two years. It was only where the variation was considerable, that he should take any particular notice of it, leaving the less material points to be explained afterwards. If any gentlemen should wish for particular information about them. The scale of the establishment was nearly the same as in the last year, being at the rate of 800. men a regiment for cavalry; and of battalions of 1200 men, 1000, 800, 600, or 400, for the infantry, according to the actual strength of the corps, as nearly as it could be estimated. He should consider the two first estimates, that of Guards and Garrisons, and that of the plantations together, as comprising the whole of the regular army at home and abroad. On this item there was an increase of 241,537l. This was a considerable increase, but it was owing principally to the addition to the establishment of one new regiment of foot, the 101st, which was the only one of the Irish regiments, ordered to be raised some time since, that had been completed. There were also six garrison battalions, composed of the men raised under the Defence act, who had not volunteered for general service. Gentlemen were aware that no further proceedings were to be had under the defence act after the last year. These battalions were instituted to receive the men from the second battalions, who would engage for home service only. There were besides ten veteran battalions, the corps for garrison service in Canada, and the corps called the royal African, part of which was in Africa, and the other part in the West Indies; and to the latter part of which an addition of two companies was made. There were also 11 companies of Sicilian troops attached to the regiments at present in Sicily, and commanded by British officers. It was expected, naturally, that the raising of this force would attach the natives of Sicily to the British standard, and that it would render their aid and their services available, in the best possible manner. There was an increase of the staff officers for foreign service, which had naturally arisen front the expeditions that had been sent out. There was an increase in the commissariat from the same cause; and there was an additional charge of 110,000l. for the increased pay and allowances voted in the last year. The total amount of the increase in all the items was 439,732l. The amount of decrease which was to be deducted, was composed of the 25th dragoons in India, and the royal waggon train reduced to 4 companies, and 7 battalions of infantry; the reductions on which amounted altogether to 81,771l. There was, besides, a saving of 30,000l. in the transport of troops from the Irish establishment. When the amount of these articles of decrease was deducted, there would remain a balance of increase of 241,537l. The next branch of the estimates was the Public Departments, in which there was an increase of 44,222l. Of this 40,000l. had arisen on account of the auditor of the exchequer, for exchequer bills, to make good a deficiency of 20,000l. from the last year, and the remainder for the current service. The charge of a number of offices had been taken from the extraordinaries of the army, and included in these estimates, on the principle that it was desirable to reduce to the certainty of estimate, every thing of which an estimate could be formed. Of these offices, that of the commander-in-chief amounted to 7,560l. In addition to this, there was the charge of the quarter-master-general's department; that of the adjutant-general, the inspector-general of recruits, the army medical-board, the office of the judge-advocate-general, and the comptroller of the army accounts, making altogether 44,222l. The next increase arose from the arrangements adopted in the last session, with respect to the out-pensioners of Chelsea. The amount of this increase was considerable; it was 114,171l. The next estimate was one in which several debates had taken place, the Volunteer corps. The gentleman would, he was sure, hear with pleasure, that under this head, there was a saving of 248,000l. but for the circumstance of its having become necessary to keep the corps, in certain parts of Ireland, on permanent duty for four months, instead of one, as had been calculated. This prolongation of permanent duty had caused a diminution of the saving to the amount of 119,000l. There was another item which produced a decrease of charge in this department, though not to the public; he meant the transfer of the artillery of the German legion to the ordnance department. The decrease produced in the department of the secretary at war by this transfer, was 153,658l. There was one estimate of charge in the paper now before the house, which was entirely new. It was the Compassionate List, for which no actual provision had ever before been made by parliament. For several years it had rested upon an imaginary fund, savings upon the half-pay, which did not exist. It was now judged proper to state the exigency to parliament, and to require a distinct provision. It was impossible to confine the subject of this charge within a particular estimate. It was taken at 12,000l. If it should exceed that, the deficiency would be made good afterwards. The utmost that was given to any one person, was 20l a year. He would not detain the house with going further into the detail of the items, but would content himself with stating that he was ready to give the fullest information that any gentleman could require upon any point. The present estimates had been formed with the utmost attention to public economy, as would appear to every gentleman on investigation. With a view to a better insight into this point, he thought it would be better to separate the consideration of the additional pay and allowances, and to compare the expences of the last and the present year, as if that addition had not in fact taken place. The total amount of the estimates of the last year, exclusive of the additional Pay, was 13,936,321l. The total amount of the estimates of this year, exclusive of the additional pay, was 13,710,951l. affording a difference in favour of this year of 225,399l. But there was a drawback to be made from this saving, in consequence of certain charges which were withdrawn from the war office, and provided for elsewhere, to the amount of 120,000l. On the whole view of the estimate, there was ground for congratulating the country on an augmentation of the number of forces, and a decrease of the expense of the establishment, of 150,000l. The additional expenses upon the whole, inclusive of the additional pay, were but 451,000l. On the full consideration of the estimates, he was of opinion the hon. gent. (Mr. Johnstone) who had the other night given notice of a charge against ministers, for waste of the public money, would be very much at a loss for any foundation in the military departments. In 1806, when the present ministers had first come into office, if they had proceeded according to the system before acted upon, without any reformation, the total charge would have amounted to no less than 14,800,000l. He did not mean to state that his majesty's late ministers would have come to parliament for that sum, but that they must have asked for that sum according to the former scale, unless certain reductions, of which he was not aware, should have taken place. Thus there would have been, according to the old scale, an additional charge of 640,000l. exclusive of the additional pay and allowances; but with the additional pay and allowances, of 800,000l. There were only two or three other points upon which he would have to claim the indulgence of that house. The general training he should leave to his right hon. friend (Mr. Windham) who had formed the plan, and to whose department it belonged. He should, therefore, content himself with stating, that the returns had been made, and that every thing was ready for carrying it into execution, whenever his majesty's ministers should think fit. The next point was that of the volunteers, and it was matter of satisfaction to him to state, as he was sure it would be to every gentleman in the house to hear, that all the gloomy apprehensions that had been formed, and all the dire predictions that had been put forth of the whole dissolution of that respectable body, in consequence of the reductions made in its expenditure in the last session, had been completely falsified in the event. During the agitation of the public mind, and of the volunteers, which had been produced by misrepresentation and studious irritation, while the subject was under discussion, some symptoms of disinclination to further service might have appeared. But on better consideration, and better understanding, these ill-advised discontents subsided, and the same order, for the service of the country remained, without any material defalcation in point of numbers. By the papers on the table it appeared, that the diminution in the effective strength of the volunteers was very inconsiderable. But he would state the amount of the establishment rather than the effective, as that would afford the fairest means of judging of the extent of the operation of the late regulations. At the present moment, the apprehensions of invasion, that had called forth and stimulated the volunteers, had subsided, and some relaxation of activity may have arisen in consequence; but there was no doubt that this highly estimable description of the public force would again display its characteristic zeal and spirit, if a renewal of the enemy's menaces should call for a similar ardour and energy. (Hear! hear! from the opposition bench.) The hon. gentlemen opposite seemed to triumph in this testimony to the merit of the volunteers, as if it was a sort of inconsistency in his majesty's present servants. But the present ministers had found fault, not with the volunteers themselves, but with the manner in which the hon. gentlemen opposite had organized them. Certainly the present ministers had never been guilty of uttering any charge so disrespectful, as that so pertinaciously upheld by the hon. gentlemen opposite, that the volunteers would disband themselves, in the event of any reduction of their pay or allowances. He was confident that the volunteers were still actuated by the same steady attachment to the cause of their country, and equally ready to expose their lives for its defence, though their pay was diminished. He thought the proper way of judging this point was, to take the amount of the establishment, which would best shew the numbers that had disbanded themselves, from dissatisfaction with the new arrangement. The whole number that had retired from this cause, was 11,486. The number that remained on service was 363,400. The next point was the alteration in the system of recruiting; a point which had been discussed more than any other. The explanation of what had taken place on this head belonged, more properly, perhaps, to a person much more able than he: but in consideration of the anxiety the house naturally felt upon it, he thought it right to say something with respect to it here. It would be remembered by many gentlemen; that so long as 12 years ago, he had urged the propriety of adopting a measure of this kind for the amelioration of the army. It Would be remembered also, that he never expected, from the adoption of it, any sudden effect, but rather a gradual amelioration in the recruiting of the army, leading finally to the most beneficial effects. He was of opinion that the measure, so far as it had now been tried, gave full appearance of the benefits he had anticipated, and he was satisfied that while it continued to be tried, it would be found more beneficial every year. It was no argument against the permanent benefit, that no rapid improvement had yet been felt. It was not till last October that the measure had been regularly carried into effect. Consequently there had not been a fair trial in the last year. It would, perhaps, be taking too much credit to this measure to impute to it the whole of the improvement in the recruiting department that had taken place since October; but it was certain that it had been eminently successful in the two great objects of Obtaining a greater number of men at a lower bounty. It had also been eminently successful in another great and beneficial point of view, the diminution of desertion. These great advantages were conspicuous in the short period of the last year, in which the new system had been acted upon; and if it had been tried in the other 8 months of the year, he was certain the beneficial effects of it would have been conspicuous. These were the only topics he felt it his duty to notice. If any gentleman required further explanations, he Would most readily give them. He concluded with moving the first Resolution, "That 113,795 effective men, commis sioned and non-commissioned officers included, be employed in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from the 25th of Dec. 1806, to the 24th of Dec. 1807." On the question being put,

Lord Castlereagh

rose. He said he had listened with great attention to the statement of the right hon. gent., and though he did not mean to enter into the items, he confessed, he certainly felt considerable difficulty in entering into this discussion, from the circumstance of the estimates not being printed, and still more from the want of any distinct specification, as to a great part of the expence, that had arisen out of the new measures adopted in the last session. It was difficult to come prepared to state an opinion generally upon a large branch of the public expenditure, when a great part of the expenditure of that branch remained wholly unexplained. He thought parliament was unnecessarily subjected to this difficulty, and that a more full explanation might have been afforded before the estimates were called for. He had imagined that when parliament was called together at a period so unusual, and so inconsistent With the habits of the country, some measure connected with the paramount interests of the people must have been the motive. Nothing, however, had yet been submitted to parliament, but the ordinary routine business, except merely the negotiation papers. And he was of opinion that the discussion of that subject, too, might better have been postponed till a period more congenial to the parliamentary practice of business, and more likely to be accompanied with a full attendance of members. Such a postponement would have suited a subject involving so materially the character and conduct of ministers, and the honour and interest of the country; and it would have been more becoming than the unnecessary precipitation with which the papers had been forced upon the consideration of parliament. The right hon. gent. who had opened this debate, was not in the immediate councils of his majesty; but he held a high and responsible situation, and ought, therefore, to be able to assign sufficient grounds for the manner in which he acted. In the last year, the right hon. gent. had brought forward the Army Estimates four times, instead of one, in order to allow time to mature the arrangements which were then under contemplation. He wished to know why the same space might not be now al- lowed for the completion and elucidation of arrangement, and what occasion there was for the present unexplained precipitancy? There was on the notice book, an intimation from the right hon. gent. at the head of the admiralty, that he meant on Friday to move for 10,000 additional seamen. He did not suppose that he should resist the motion; but he thought it would have been better to complete the arrangement for the year before any yearly estimates were submitted, rather than to come forward with an imperfect estimate in the first instance, and a supplementary estimate after. He was sorry to see the house called upon by the present proposition to sanction by implication the new military measures, the charges for which were included in the vote without any explanation as to their effect, or their distinct expence. He, for one, thought that system could not possibly be persevered in. It was particularly improper to call on a new parliament at the close of the Christmas holidays, when members were not in full attendance, to approve those measures, without a full explanation of their effect, and a distinct specification of the expence. This precipitancy was the less excusable, as there would have been no difficulty to vote any necessary sum on account, in order to allow time to place the whole subject, in all its branches, fully under the view of the house. The right hon. gent. had made his statement with great candour; but he had, in his opinion, taken too narrow a view of the subject; and much of the last part of what the right hon. gent. had said, made him sorry that the custom of building upon establishments had been resorted to. The effective force on foot should be looked to, and then it would be to be considered whether ministers had an army adequate to the expence to which they put the country; and whether there was any reason to hope for a force sufficient to consume what parliament was called upon to vote. This boasted national saving of 240,000l., always excepting the new expenditure, was an economy upon establishment alone, and not upon the effective force serving against the enemy. He should be extremely glad to see in his majesty's ministers any indications of vigour which would justify him in looking forward to the efficient expenditure of a great part of their supplies, which could not possibly be expended in the present state of the army. He was sure the right hon. gent. opposite had too much fairness to arrogate credit for economy upon the comparative establishments, taken at different times, and under different circumstances. Though the right hon. gent. was not in the cabinet, he ought to be able to state fully the grounds of any vote he proposed. The right hon. gent. ought to ground the vote, not on the estimate, but on the effective. Upon reference to the estimates, the gross number of men was 334,180. From this was to be deducted the number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers and privates, who amounted, in the proportion of about one-eighth, to about 41,095, leaving 293,400. This was the estimate of establishment; but, looking to the effective, there was a further deduction to be made for a deficiency of 37,000, which would reduce the actual force to 260,555. He was always desirous to vote supplies to the full extent in which they could be made use of for the benefit of the country; but he thought it too much to ask funds for 37,000 men, who were not in existence, nor likely to be so. If his majesty's ministers could shew any probability that in any part of the year these 37,000 men would be in service, he would readily grant the vote; but, if there were no prospect of that, though he held it to be the duty of the house to grant the fullest supplies that could be made use of for the benefit of the country, he could not in any case think it warrantable to grant a supply of this amount, without any prospect that it would be used. The total absence of ground for the demand was enough to render it indispensable with him to refuse the grant, however unwilling he was to do so. It was the duty of ministers to adopt measures calculated to carry the effective strength of the army to the height at which it ought to be; for in all the discussions this subject had undergone, in all the diversity of opinions as to the means, this one principle, at least, was universally agreed upon, that the effective strength of the regular army ought to be carried considerably beyond its present amount. Nothing had occurred since the agitation of military subjects in that house, in March last, to induce any wish to diminish the force of the country. If our operations could not be directed towards the Continent, our troops might be employed in maritime attacks. It was true, that in March last the French armies were on the borders of Hungary, and that now they were on the banks of the Vistula; but this was not a circumstance which should lead us to be remiss in our exertions. If the internal security of the country were a matter of concern to the right hon. gent. opposite, (and that right hon. gent. had formerly expressed himself very gloomily on that subject,) he wished him to consider in what situation Great Britain might be placed, if the French emperor, having obtained his object in Poland, was enabled, either by peace or by war, to liberate his army from that country. Prussia had been moved from the military map of Europe.—The power of the enemy would envelope us from the Baltic to the extremity of Europe. If, therefore, at the period to which he had alluded, the right hon. gent. agreed that great exertions were necessary, every thing that had since happened, every thing that was now happening, should prompt him to increase those exertions. To what had the late ministers pledged themselves on this subject? Not merely to a general augmentation of our military strength; they had specifically stated the manner in which that strength should be effectually increased. When he had himself declared it necessary (at the time when he had the honour of a seat on the opposite bench) to add 20 or 25 thousand men to our army,the right hon. gent. ran before him on that subject. And when that right hon. gent. came into power, his determination appeared to keep pace with his former opinion, and he expressed his sanguine expectations of obtaining an army, great as the important crisis in which we were now placed, demanded. The late right hon. secretary for the war department, had also gone so far as to express indignation at the limits which he (lord Castlereagh) had proposed to set to the augmentation, and spurned the idea of any bounds to it. He had called on the country to rouse from the slumber in which it had so long been sunk, and endeavour to regain its ancient military character.—Under all these sanctions, he was justified in contending, that it was the general opinion that the national interests imperatively required a great augmentation of the army, and that no means should be left untried to accomplish this important object. The country had a right to expect the accomplishment of this object from his majesty's present ministers. Above all, they had a right to expect it from the right hon. secretary for the war department, who, both in the late adminis- tration, and in that of lord Sidmouth, had said that those administrations should be disgraced and degraded for the inefficiency of their military measures. He had contended that they should be successively displaced. For what?—To make room for a government having his countenance, and in whom the empire could repose with confidence their trust of forming an army adequate to the interests of this country, and the situation of Europe. What had been the increase of our military strength? He would compare it with the right hon. gent.'s idea of the increase necessary; he would compare the right hon. gent. with himself; he would compare his administration with the administrations that had incurred his pointed censures. Our effective military strength, rank and file, on the 1st of March, 1805, (when the change of government took place,) was 248,782; (by some error in the papers laid on the table, it was stated, at 249,627; but the former was the correct number;) on the 1st of January, 1806, our effective military strength, rank and file, was 254,665, being an increase of about 5000. Our regular army at the former period was 173,600; at the latter period, 178,500, being an increase of between 4 and 5 thousand. Now, if this increase were compared with the impressions which his majesty's ministers had declared that they felt of the necessity of a considerable augmentation, it would evince a most miserable failure; but, on looking at the recruiting account, the subject would appear in a still worse light. It would be seen that, between January and June 1806, 5,834 men had been raised by the operation of Mr. Pitt's bill, the Additional Defence act; 3,600 had been raised by it between the 1st of March and the 24th of June, during the time when it was languishing and dying away under the threats of destruction announced against it by his majesty's ministers. It was, nevertheless, evident that, but for the operation of that bill, the actual state of the army would not have been increased one man since parliament last deliberated on the subject, and since the present government came into power. Had it not been for this bill, and the recruiting from the Irish militia (which produced 3000 men), the right hon. gent. would have met parliament under the degraded and melancholy stigma not only of having neglected to increase our army, but of having suffered it to be wasted under circumstances which called upon the country for greater military exertions than it had ever heretofore made. On the casualties also which, he had last session stated, and he feared too justly stated, must amount on the average to 15,000 a year, it was to be observed that, owing probably to his majesty's ministers having so entirely engrossed themselves with the negociation with France, they seemed until lately to have divested their minds of every idea of carrying on offensive operations against the enemy, no military effort had been made, consequently the number of casualties had been less; but we must expect that in 86,000 troops now employed in Foreign service, the number of casualties would considerably ncrease. It was impossible to suppose, that they would be exempt from the natural consequences of battle. Nothing could be farther from his mind than to press an invidious comparison between the right hen. gent. and other individuals; but he trusted that the comparison which he had made, would have a tendency to rouse that right hon. gent.'s exertions, and thus prove advantageous both to the country and to his own character. Did the right hon. gent. recollect the declaration which he made at the opening of the last session of parliament, that such were the military necessities of the country, that not an hour should be lost to repair the evils with which we were threatened? Let him look at the growth of the regular army under former administrations, and compare it with the growth under the present administration; and the comparison might suggest to him a little distrust of his own ability for military arrangements, and a great deal of forbearance from the remark on the ability of others. Examine the increase of the regular army, from the 1st of July, 1803, to the 1st of July, 1804, during the administration of lord Sidmouth, an administration so ninth vilified by the right hon. gent.! On the 1st of July, 1803, the regular army amounted to 99,342 men; on the 1st of July, 1804, it amounted to 140,119 men, being an increase in one year, of 40,777 men. But the right hon. gent.'s magazine of military sarcasms was not exhausted during the administration of lord Sidmouth—He continued to vent his reproaches on the administration by which it was succeeded. That administration continued in office until the beginning of February 1806. He had before stated, that, on the 1st of July, 1804, the regular force amounted to 140,119 men; on the 1st of March, 1806, (the nearest period to which the accounts were made up,) it amounted to 173,600 men, making an increase, in twenty months, of 33,481 men. Let the country compare this with the increase under the right hon. gent.'s management, from the middle of February to the present moment, of between 4 and 5 thousand men! an increase too, for which he was totally indebted to the expiring efforts of the Additional Defence act.—But he owned, that when he heard the right hon. gent. talking, in a strain of romantic enthusiasm, of carrying the military glory of Britain to a higher pitch than it had hitherto attained, he anticipated the consequences that had ensued. The right hon. gent. had been perpetually telling the late administration, "take away your acts; take away your useless machinery; and I'll be bound to get you a better army than you ever had before" Had he done so?—He would proceed to examine the numbers raised by ordinary recruiting. It would be found, that the produce of 1804 and 1805 had not differed materially from the average of former years. Calculating the annual produce of the ordinary recruiting under the right hon. gent.'s management, at the rate of the month of December last, which was the highest in point of number, and, including a regiment of 658 men, which ought not to be taken into the account, as they were raised under the operation of the measures of a former administration, it would be found not to exceed 11,800 men. The numbers raised in 1805 by the ordinary recruiting (when the Additional Defence act was operating against it) was 11,677: so that, excluding the regiment which he had mentioned, the ordinary recruiting at present was less productive than in 1805, notwithstanding all the embarrassments to which it had then been subject. It did not appear therefore, that one man more had enlisted from the temptation of the right hon. gent.'s system, and he could not but be convinced that what the country had paid to make this unsuccessful attempt, was but the earnest of future more extravagant and more hopeless disbursements. In the year 1805, the actual number of men that was obtained for the army by the ordinary recruiting, was 11,677; by the Additional Defence bill, 8,388; by the enlistments from the British militia, 8963; by the enlistments from the Irish militia, 4617; making a gross increase of above 33,000 men, exclusive of above 9,000 obtained by foreign levies.—After deducting the casualties, the net increase might be estimated, in that single year, at above 21,000 men; while the whole amount under the right hon. gent.'s system, with all his wonderful vigour and exertion, and calculated in the most favourable manner, did not exceed between 13 and 14 thousand! After he had thus shewn that the experiment had fundamentally failed, he wished that the comparison of expence between the right hon. gent.'s system and those which preceded it, would afford consolation: but the reverse was the case. At the outset of the business, the right hon. gent. stated, that he conceived, out of the new experiment, an expence of 450,000l. would immediately arise. He (lord Castlereagh) had calculated it at 493,000l. When the estimates were printed, it would be found to be more. This was the first visible effect of an experiment which had not produced a single additional man to the army! But this was not the only new expence originating in this measure. Two-thirds of the increase of expence in the navy estimates might justly be attributed to it; for there could be no doubt that it was the right hon. gent.'s military plan which prompted the noble lord at the head of the admiralty, during the last session of parliament, to propose an augmentation in the pay of the petty officers in his majesty's navy; an augmentation which, he allowed, became necessary, in consequence of that plan, but which certainly increased the annual expenditure of the country, during the war, on this point alone, to between 7 and 800,000l. The right hon. gent. would perhaps say, that the house ought not to pronounce maturely on an experiment of this nature. He would be the last man to urge the hasty abandonment of a military measure, if any hope remained of its success; if any argument could be adduced in its favour, or if the situation of the country was such as to render it eligible to devote an additional period to its trial. He (lord Castlereagh) had twice pressed the house to continue a military measure which they were called upon by the gentleman opposite to repeal: but this he did on very different grounds from those on which the present system rested. In March 1805, when the repeal of the Additional Defence bill was proposed, at a time when the bill yielded at the rate of 9,000 men a year, without the slightest injury to the ordinary recruit- ing, and subsequently, when it produced 300 men a week, and when thus producing at the rate of 16,000 men a year, he had called on parliament not to abandon it. Had the right hon. gent. proposed some auxiliary measure which afforded to the country the probability of giving to it the amount of force which it wanted, while the experiment of his new system was trying, he might perhaps have been induced to accede to the continuation of that experiment. But the right hon. gent. in answer to a question which he had put to him, on a recent evening, had distinctly disclaimed the supposition, that any such auxiliary measure was in the contemplation of his majesty's ministers. Had such a measure been proposed, he should not have been so completely justified as he now felt himself to be, in opposing a system which was not only immediately injurious, but prospectively destructive to the British army. It was for the present parliament to consider whether they would, for the first time, make themselves parties to this new system of expence and ruin. For his own part, he felt he abandoned his public duty, if he did not candidly state to the house that, strong as his impression was of the mischief, disadvantages, and dangers arising out of the measure of last year, it was nothing, compared with that which he felt in considering the effect which the new code contained in his majesty's warrant of the 7th day of October, for the regulation of the army, and which had been laid on the table of the house of commons during the present session, was calculated to produce. It was with considerable regret that he had heard the right hon. gent. during the last session declare,that he had made his mind completely up on all the points of his plan; yet this warrant shewed that he had not ventured to execute what he had stated it was his intention to execute. Of this he certainly did not complain. But it shewed conclusively, a distrust on the part of the right hon. gent. on the very outset of his system; which he must have considered likely to fail, or he would not have disappointed the expectations of the soldiers of 21 years' service. When he had stated to the right hon. gent. that the annual number of these amounted to 5 or 6 thousand men, and that his measure in this respect was likely to counteract itself, he listened to those statements with unbending firmness: but when he came to carry the measure into execution, he dreaded the con- sequences, and altered his resolution.—But there were other points in this code of regulations which had caused the apprehensions of danger in his mind to swell into the utmost magnitude: he pledged himself to bring this subject before the house in a detailed discussion, although he had not determined whether to avail himself of the introduction of the Mutiny bill for that purpose, or to move a specific resolution on those points, which, in his opinion, seemed likely to involve the country in fundamental military ruin. In candour to the right hon. gent. he would state three or four of the leading points to which he objected. The first (which was towards the close of the warrant), went to the complete subversion of the situation of a soldier, as it had hitherto existed in the British army, and to the total destruction of all order and subordination. The right hon. gent. had placed the claim of the soldier to a pension on a legal right, and not on the recommendation of his superior officer, on which alone it could with safety rest. These pensions were from 6d. to 1s. 6d. a day; and it was true, a discretionary power was vested in the Board of Kilmainham, as to the individual amount. But the warrant went on to declare, that no non-commissioned officer or soldier should be allowed to claim of right any such pension, whose disability arose from vice or misconduct. It followed, therefore, that every one who was not discharged from the consequences of vice or misconduct, had a claim which a court of justice must confirm; and this without any limitation of time, without any consideration whether he had served 2 days or 21 years. What the effect of pensions granted by right, and not on the recommendation of his superior officer, would have on the mind of the soldier, and what effect the disbursements of such large sums would have on the finances of the country, it was unnecessary for him to point out.—The next objectionable point in the Warrant arose out of the answer to the question proposed that night by him to the right hon. gent. The right hon. gent. stated that none of the soldiers who had served 21 years had beer discharged, but that he considered them as entitled to all the advantages of his measure. By that measure, a soldier who had served 21 years, was entitled to retire on a pension of 1s. a day, or 18l. 5s. a year. If he remained in the service, he was to receive an addition to his pay, of a halfpenny a day, or 15s. a year; and another addition of a halfpenny a day, on every succeeding year in which he might choose to continue in the army. Now, it would he found that the men who had served 21 years, were generally under 50 years of age. If, therefore, they continued in the army, it was probable that on the average they might do so for 17 years. The first additional 15s. to their yearly pay would therefore be worth between 12l. and 13l. sterling. The next year's 15s. would be only fractionally less valuable, and so on. The effect of this system would be to crush the country with the enormous expence, unless it was arrested by the hand of parliament. Let the house also consider the effect of this system of pensions on the men sent early in life to the East and West Indies: it ordained, that the soldier who had served 14 years in India, should be entitled to his discharge, and the same pensions as the man who had served 21 years in other circumstances. The climate of the East-Indies was healthy. Suppose that a soldier went out at 18 years of age. At 32, according to the right hon. gent.'s view of the subject, he would become a veteran, and be entitled to retire on a pension of 18l. 5s. which, on the average, he would probably receive for 28 years. Now, he would put it to the house, how it was possible, under such a system, to contend with the evils by which we were threatened? He would trace the operation one step farther. A great number of these men would stay in the army, suppose for 8 additional years; he would then be entitled to an accumulated pension of 27l.7s. 6d.; and the probable duration of his life, being 22 years, a bounty to the amount of that sum of 27l. 7s. 6d. would thus be given on every year that he had served. But he wished to know what would be the situation of the right hon. gent. when he came to disband tile army, or to reduce it to the peace establishment? Did he consider the nature of the discretion which he would then be called upon to exercise? He would have three classes into which to distribute his discharges; but how, without saddling the country with an expense which it was not equal to pay, could he avoid making his discharges out of the first class, and yet, by doing that, he would discharge the flower of the army. Among the regulations of the Warrant, it was stated, that those who were discharged should receive their, pensions; but that they should be bound to obey the directions of Chelsea hospital, and come to serve in the veteran battalions when they were called up on. In the course of a few years, however, these veteran battalions would be composed of men in the prime of life, and possessing a complete knowledge of their profession. How could government then avoid considering those battalions as most fit for active service, for foreign service and more particularly for West-India service, for which they were peculiarly fitted? And thus, all the motives held out, and by which men were to be seduced into the army, would cease to operate. He repeated, that he was little disposed to consider the situation of this country in a gloomy point of view. He had great confidence in its strength; he had great confidence in its resources; and he was happy to find that the gentlemen opposite began think with him on this latter subject. But if ever there was a moment in the history of any country in which pecuniary economy was more indispensably necessary than in any other, this was the moment, and Great Britain the country. The right hon, gent., he was sorry to observe, had shewn himself indifferent, not only to the economy of money, but also to the economy of time. Adverting to the capture of Buenos Ayres, he expressed his anxiety to know why so long a period had been suffered to elapse before the reinforcements had been sent to secure the possession of that valuable province? Early in June, government received advises from St. Helena, that the expedition had touched there, on its way from the Cape. He was convinced that within ten days of the time, when those advices were received, three regiments of infantry might have sailed; and, Whether the place was tenable or not, it would not have embarrassed his majesty's service to have sent that reinforcement, as it was necessary that troops should go to India: unless they sent a letter of recall to the forces at Buenos Ayres, ministers had no option but to send a reinforcement. Instead of doing this in the middle of June, they did not send a man until October; that was, until lord Lauderdale's return to this country: thus plainly skewing that his motions were the governing principles of their actions, and evincing a culpable neglect of their duty, by abstaining from a vigorous exercise of the power and resources of the country entrusted to them, at the moment when energy would have been particularly serviceable. His lordship concluded by declaring, that he should not oppose the passing of the resolution, but that he had deemed himself bound to state to the house, what he thought of the present military establishment of the country, and the dreadful evils which, he was convinced, would result from a perseverance in the right hon. gent.'s military plans.

Mr. Secretary Windham ,

in rising to reply to the speech of the noble lord, felt that there were many of his charges which it was impossible for him to retaliate. Two hours ago he was ready to remove that part of the noble lord's accusation, which reproached him with taciturnity; and certainly the mass a extraneous matter which the noble lord had introduced into his speech, had increased the subject of reproach; because, it was impossible for him to follow the noble lord through the whole of his arguments. From all that had been said by him in former debates, he did not conceive that it would be necessary for him to express himself much at length, and should therefore in this instance adhere to taciturnity by being as brief as possible. It would generally seem, that one long speed imposed the necessity of another nearly as long to answer it: but here the noble lord had imposed upon him the taciturnity he complained of, because he was not at that late hour so much to consider the time that might be spent in a reply, as the time that remained to be spent. When he had opened his measure in detail to the house, he had been obliged to do so in a speech or considerable length, a thing to which he always felt a reluctance, but the noble lord's incidental speech of three hours kept that in countenance. The noble lord had only touched lightly upon the topics which he had intimated his intention of discussing more at length on some future day. In replying to what had been said incidentally by the noble lord, he should first recur to that which was still fresh in the recollection of the house, and which the noble lord had no right to advert to, because it did not belong to the question before the committee. He should refer to that point as a specimen of the noble lord's reasoning. It would make the house distrust similar assertions which the noble lord might again make the foundation of the most extraordinary conclusions. The no- ble lord had set out with a fact which was not founded. He had stated, that his majesty's ministers had received the accounts of the destination of the expedition to Buenos Ayres, from St. Helena, early in the month of June, and then he went on to argue what great things might have been done if ministers had acted in the manner he would have pointed out. In answer to this argument he should first say, that it was not early in the month, as the noble lord stated, but it was upon the 24th of June that government received this information, and it certainly was a piece of information that nobody could have expected them to anticipate. The noble lord might speak of preparing expeditions, and sending them to sea in 10 days, but it must be recollected that the 3 regiments he spoke of must go over in ships, and that those ships must have ample stores and provisions on board, and be vessels proper to send troops in to such a distance. If the expedition was only across the channel, there were plenty of vessels that might have been easily got ready for that purpose; but when it was recollected that they were to cross the Atlantic, to look for another expedition; and if they could not find it, or should discover that it had been unsuccessful, to recross it again, to look for a place of safety; it would not be supposed that such a description of ships could be got ready and fitted out in so short a time. The noble lord would perhaps have sent them over in air-balloons, or some such other expeditious mode of conveyance. The noble lord was equally incorrect in this statement about the passage of the Narcissus: he had placed the capture of Buenos Ayres at the end of the month of July, instead of the beginning of it, and had made the Narcissus arrive in England at the beginning of the month of September, instead of the end. He believed it would be found, upon examination, that the Narcissus was 8 weeks on her passage, instead of 5; and, as she was a single frigate, a good sailer, and coming with good news (which would induce the captain not to make any deviation in his course), it was not probable that any force could by possibility have been sent from England, which could have arrived there before the 12th of August, if it was to be believed that the place was then retaken. These were tolerable specimens of the sort of facts upon which the noble lord grounded his reasoning.—The noble lord had, however, dwelt at very great length on the details of the expence of the new system, and upon this expence he founded his principal objections to it; but the noble lord had certainly forgot, that most of the gentlemen in that house had heard him before speak at great length upon that subject, but with very little success; for after arguing at great length, that the expence of raising men by that means would be ruinous, he, in the very same breath, contended, that no men would be raised by it. This was a circumstance which was certainly fresh in the recollection of many gentlemen in that house. He had often heard it said, that there was nothing so fallacious as an account; he thought that he might also say, there was nothing more fallacious than a calculation. He therefore should not follow the noble lord in all his calculations; he should content himself with shewing the fallacy of the basis upon which the noble lord had formed his calculation. He began by reckoning the life of a soldier discharged from service, and who had encountered hardships, and the variety of climates, to be worth 21 years, according to the calculation of the insurance offices for the lives of those who had lived at home and in a different manner. If the house would but grant the noble lord his basis, his arguments and his calculations might be very well; but when the basis was removed as fallacious, they must fall with it. In arguing about the expences of the new system, the gentlemen on the other side always appeared to consider, that this increase of expence had been merely adopted for the purpose of obtaining recruits; he, however, had always stated that it was a bare act of justice due to the brave men who had spent their lives in the service of the country. Expence, however, was merely a relative term, and must be considered in relation to the object of it. A hundred pounds might be a great deal for one object, and a hundred thousand nothing for another object. The argument of expence, however, did not appear to have so much weight with the gentlemen on the other side when it was connected with the Volunteer establishment, which was a greater favourite with them, from supposing that it was one of their own measures. No reduction had been proposed in the number of the Volunteers, but merely in certain expences, which were exorbitantly extravagant. The great body of the volunteers must have themselves perceived the extravagance of the former expences, as a number of favourite corps had been given large extra allowances superior to what were given to the volunteers in general. The striking off these extra allowances to favourite corps of volunteers was a saving to the public of between 3 and 400,000l.; but the same gentlemen that so violently opposed this diminution of expence, now, when it came to be a question about granting some increase of allowance to men who had devoted their lives and impaired their constitutions in the service of their country, wished to dole out that pittance with a niggardly hand, and made it a matter of reproach against him that he had brought forward the measure. He should not, however, fear the reproaches which he might meet with on this score; but was willing to come with the scroll of the objects and of the expence, and appear before the tribunal of the world and of posterity to answer for their reproach. He would present it, with the utmost confidence that it would meet with their approbation; and it would be the pride of his life to suppose that he had been instrumental in increasing the comforts of those to whom the nation was so much indebted. He should not envy the noble lord and the gentlemen on the other side, if they could bring forward their schemes and calculations to prove how our brave soldiers could be starved at a much cheaper rate than they could be maintained. The provisions given to the soldiers upon their discharge, had not before been increased since the time of Charles II. and when it was considered that money had been so much depreciated in value since that period, he would ask, why were the defenders of the country by land or by sea to be the only class of those who serve her who are to have no increase of allowance upon that account, or no share in the bounty of the nation? The calculation of the amount of those sums was not of nearly so much consequence as the great question, Whether it was too much to give for the services that were done? If it were allowed that the sum was not in itself too great, it could not be fairly argued that the country was not in a state to be able to give its brave defenders a fair and just reward for their services. In considering the class of men that would probably be induced to enter into the army by those regulations, the noble lord began by a very odd and whimsical sort of argument. He had said that this system would only operate on the bargain-making part of society; that is, on thoughtful and considerate men, who looked somewhat to futurity. It therefore appeared that the noble lord thought that the most valuable class was the thoughtless, the imprudent, and those who were easy to be acted upon by the arts of crimps, or the immediate temptation of a high bounty. In this opinion he must, however, beg leave to differ totally from the noble lord: he considered the high bounties both injurious to the men, who received them for the purposes of debauchery, and still more injurious to the discipline of the army. He also considered, that nothing could be more desirable than to get into the army that thoughtful, considerate, and undebauched class of men, which the noble lord appeared to set so little value on. He therefore thought the expence of the system was not more than was necessary for the objects it had in view, which were; first, to give an adequate reward and relief to those soldiers that should be disabled or discharged, after having served their appointed time of service; and, secondly, as a means to bring a supply of the most valuable men on the best terms. As to what had been stated, that the measure had failed, he must absolutely deny it. Since it had been in force, it had raised nearly double the number of men that had been raised during a corresponding period of the last year, and with a reduction of five guineas in the bounty: so that when the expence of the system was talked of, it must be recollected, that it had already operated a reduction of five guineas in the bounty, and he hoped that it would proceed by a gradual reduction, to take away the bounties altogether, and leave the advantages of the service as the principal inducement to entering into it. There was no reason, however, why some condition might not be annexed to the grant, so that the men who received these advantages might be forthcoming when their services were wanted. In that case, it would not be necessary to look for a number of raw recruits when we wanted our armies to be increased. We might have soldiers constantly enrolled, who could instantly be brought into the ranks, when wanted, in the same manner as the sailors in France had been kept by the registry. As to the arguments of the noble lord, on the general inefficacy of the plan, he thought that he might spare himself the trouble of answering those ob- servations at any length, by merely taking away the foundation upon which they rested: he would shew that the basis of them was no better than the basis of his argument respecting Buenos Ayres. He had, in perfect conformity with the opinion of that great man (Mr. Fox), of whom he could never think without sentiments of the utmost kindness and respect, thought it necessary, that, in the present situation of the world, when we might look to a state of warfare in which the country might have to contend for its safety and its existence, its military means should be increased. He did not mean a mere temporary addition to our army, or a forcing the military means of the country beyond their natural power, but a positive increase to those means and to that power. This was a difference, that the noble lord had not perceived, when he contrasted the strictures he had made on some of the military measures of his predecessors, with the arguments that he had urged in support of the present system. In those strictures he was only arguing on the propriety or impropriety of What he conceived to be mere temporary measures, whose object was to procure an immediate addition to the number of the army. The system, however, which he had introduced, was never stated by him to have for its object any temporary addition, but as likely, to afford a permanent increase. He had even not appeared so sanguine about its immediate operation, as many of those who supported it; and he would now say, that the operation of it hitherto had been much greater than he had stated or calculated. In speaking of the Army of Reserve, he considered it as only a temporary measure, and the event shewed it was no more, for that measure died of itself, but not until it had produced a considerable temporary supply to the army. Of all temporary measures which had been proposed, he certainly considered the Army of Reserve to be the best, as it produced above 40,000 men; but when it had done that, it could go no farther. The next measure which was proposed, and which he considered as Merely a temporary measure, was the Additional Force act; and this was brought forward with such great promise, that it was the principal ground of removing the former administration. If he had made many strictures on this measure, it was because it appeared to him impossible that it could ever be the means of obtaining what if professed,—a perma- nent supply for the regular army. He now thought that it had completely failed in every object it proposed; for if, from the addition which took place in the army during the late administration of two years, there were to be deducted those men who entered from the Army of Reserve, and the 13,000 men who entered from the militia (which was only changing the existing force from one hand into the other), and if it were not also for allowing officers to raise corps for rank, which was generally allowed to be time very worst way of raising men, the actual increase would be found to be very small indeed. This last mode of raising men, he certainly should not approve of. Some of those measures might have been useful as mere temporary measures. They were like a dram given to the country, which for the moment might increase its power, but which would be followed by greater languor and debility. The measure which he proposed, had for its object not a mere temporary increase of numbers, but a permanent increase of the power and military means of the country. It was not a measure of that class which the noble lord seemed so much to approve of; his object was, Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem; at least as far as lay in his power. The means that he had proposed for effecting this object were, first, to make the service as desirable as possible to those who were embarked in it; and, secondly, to let it be as generally known to the people as possible, what superior advantages and comforts were in future to be given to those who should enter into the army. But if hereafter, it should be judged necessary to resort to any sort of compulsory measures, even then the advantages of the present system would be felt, and would make the compulsion much lighter; for it could not be doubted, but that it would be much easier to procure substitutes, if the service was made desirable, than if it was not. The measures already adopted were perfectly compatible with any measure that it might hereafter be necessary to adopt; and, if even another Army of Reserve were to be raised, the good effects of this system would operate upon that, as well as upon any other compulsory mode that could be adopted. Whatever else parliament might resolve to do, they would find the benefit of what was already done. It must be in the recollection of the house, that he never stated the measure as likely to produce any powerful immediate effect in increasing the army, but he had considered it as a system which, beginning with little, would constantly increase in its operation, and, in time, materially increase the military strength and means of the country. When he was charged with delay in the execution of the system, he would at least say, that if he was to be justly charged with such delay, that fault was his and not the fault of the system. He might say, as the man who used to sell game when he was at college did, when told that his game smelt badly, "It is not the birds," replied he, "that smell bad, it is I that have a bad smell" He should say in the same manner, if he had kept the measure too long unexecuted, the fault must be personal to him, and not it the measure. If the measure had not already made greater progress in its operation, he supposed it must be in a great measure owing to the unenlightened state of that part of the community on whom it was to act. Although the members of that house, and gentlemen of their class of life might be perfectly well informed of all that was done in parliament, yet the great mass of the people knew very little about the matter. He would venture to say, that great majority of the people did not know at this moment, who was First Lord of the Treasury, or who was the Secretary at War. This was proved to him by his daily receiving letters, upon the supposition that he still held a situation which he had relinquished many years ago. That the progress of the effects of this measure, therefore, were slow, he admitted, and all he thought it necessary to say on that point was, that it was not so slow as he suppose it would be. He considered, that part the operation of the bill had been retarded by the circumstance of the measure taking effect at a time which was intermediate between the payments made at Chelsea. When, upon the next payment, the additional allowances shall be actually received, then it would be made much more generally known to the public than it was at present: they then would see that government was in earnest in what it had promised, and would think much more of what they saw had taken place than they would of a mere act of parliament. The pensioners were dispersed over the country; and though they might have heard of the intentions respecting them, they might have said, "What signifies your acts of parliament?" But now they now could say, "Here we have it," and this was what would afford inducement to others to enter the service. The right hon. secretary then proceeded to state, that he could now speak much more positively as to the good effects of the measure. It was rather whimsical, however, to hear the noble lord represent, that the experiment had failed, because it had not immediately produced a greater number of men than it professed to raise, when it was recollected that the noble lord had always contended, that the Additional Force act had not failed, although it produced nothing near the number of men that it was calculated as likely to produce. It was calculated, that from the 1st of July, 1804, to the 1st of October, 1805, it was to have produced 40 or 50,000 men, besides the 15,000 that was necessary to supply the casualties: for this additional force was to supply all the deficiencies in the army of reserve and militia, the casualties of the army, and yield besides, an increase of 15,000 men to the army; but instead of doing this, it did not produce more than 15,000 men during the two years of that administration, which was a number not even sufficient to supply the casualties. This, then indeed, was a complete failure, as it proved itself to be utterly inadequate to the object which was proposed. He never, however, contended that it was impossible to raise men under it, for he knew that if they were determined to raise men at any pecuniary expence, and at any expence of the morals of the people, the thing was to be done. If they chose to make the parishes liable to penalties to the amount of 4 or 500,000l. if they did not raise the men, by even giving 50 guineas a man for them, certainly they mast raise some men. If the parish officers could be induced to spend so much money, and to practise all the corruption and arts of common crimps, in addition to the abuse of their own power as church-wardens and overseers of the poor, certainly there must be some men raised. The regular recruiting service was, however, most materially injured by the means taken to carry that bill into effect; and if it had been possible for the bill to have succeeded to the extent at first calculated, after it had filled up the deficiencies in the Army of Reserve and Militia, it would after that have only yielded 9000 men yearly, which would not have supplied even the casualties. If, therefore, that bill had succeeded, it would have been but a temporary measure. Besides, it contained in itself the seeds of its own destruction. The great benefit of the present system was, that it would provide for the progressive supply of the army. This progression made him prefer it to any measure that would have a sudden or violent operation, because the state of the army was such, being 12,000 stronger than at the beginning of last year, as not to require such measures. For this state of the army, or the measures that had produced it, he did not take any great credit to himself. The statements of the noble lord appeared to him to be founded on fallacious grounds respecting the success of the recruiting during the last year. He had himself a statement to make on this head, which was founded on accounts that the house could rely upon. They were the accounts from the office of the Inspector-General of Recruits. All the accounts of this office were kept with the greatest regularity, and all the business of the recruiting of the kingdom was carried on through this office, and by the Inspectors of Recruits in the different districts. By a comparison of these accounts with the accounts of correspondent periods of former years, he found that there was a growing increase, small at first, but at length amounting to an excess in the proportion of two to one. If the noble lord should object to this comparison, because the Parish bill obstructed the recruiting in a former year, then that would be an admission that he had never before made, it having always been stated that the Parish bill did not interfere with the ordinary recruiting. If the noble lord should not so object, then the conclusion was inevitable that the present was the better mode of recruiting. But, then, the hon, gentlemen opposite might say, that this mode of recruiting did not produce as much as the other two, and he should not say that it had. But it produced in the proportion of two to one more than the ordinary recruiting, and the desertion was considerably diminished. Besides, under the Parish bill, men above the standard age, and three inches below the standard size, were received. At present, no men would be received under 5 feet 5 inches. The increase in the recruiting had been progressive, but in the last few weeks it had exceeded the produce of the Parish bill and ordinary recruiting in the correspondent period of last year. There was to that advantage to be added, the amount of the recruiting at head-quarters, which had been finally extinguished by the Parish bill, and of which no returns had been yet procured. He was not aware of any other observation of the noble lord, to which it was at that time necessary for him to advert. Many, he was sure, were worthy of remark, but other opportunities would occur for that purpose. As to the circumstance of the men being entitled of right to the allowance, it had been thought proper that men, who had spent their lives and constitutions in the service of their country, should not be left to the caprice of commanding officers, as to their title to their reward, after a service of 14 or 21 years. The noble lord had observed, that a man who might be disabled after two or three years service, would be entitled to his pension, but if disabled in the service, he would ask why he should not? He invited the hon. gentlemen opposite to go into the proofs of the statements he had made, because the more they should be enquired into, the more they would be found correct.

Mr. Perceval

said, that there were some remarks made by the right hon. gent. to which he should slightly advert, others to which he should reply more fully, and some matters he should notice that had not been treated as fit for the attention of the committee. The observations of his noble friend (lord Castlereagh) seemed to have been wholly misunderstood; the anachronism complained of had nothing to do with the argument; the charge against ministers was distinctly this, that they had taken no means whatever to secure the acquisition of Buenos Ayres until they had intelligence of its re-capture. The right hon. gent. affirmed that there was hardly any thing more fallacious than calculation. This opinion he (Mr. Perceval) supposed was the reason why he never indulged the house with his estimates; and from the same motive it was that the noble lord's computations remained uncontradicted; or perhaps it might be, that the arithmetical view given of the subject was unanswerable, and the right hon. gent. prudently declined making an attempt in which he could not succeed. The misfortune was, that when the right hon. gent. did try his hand at calculation, he was always erroneous. Such was his representation with regard to the bounty, which he said had been reduced 5 guineas. The truth was, that on the former plan, for 21 guineas a man was procured for life, and on the present, for 17l. a service of only 7 years was obtained. Thus for the trifling difference of 5l. 1s. three times the duration of service was acquired. The right hon. gent. told the committee that the Defence act had failed in every particular; yet the fact was, that at the very time it as abrogated, it supplied annually 15,000 men. Now it was admitted that the measure would produce men, yet the objection of the right hon, gent., which was yet ringing in his (Mr. Perceval's) ears, before was, that it would supply money, and not men. Another concession was, much in the same style, directed to the Army of Reserve act: he (Mr. P.) could only understand this as an offer of friendship to his right hon. friend who proposed it, and he would not complain that any civility should be so properly applied. The right hon. gent. was accustomed to assert, right no defence was competent but the regular army, and not a moment should be lost in augmenting it. The committee had now heard from him, that these measures were abundantly conducive to this object; but they had not learnt from the same authority, why they were precipitately abandoned. So much for the consistency of the right hon. gent. The right hon. the secretary at war mentioned the Training bill, the situation of the Volunteers, and the progress in the new mode of recruiting. On the first he observed that nothing was to be said, and as the right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) was unluckily of the same opinion, nothing had been said upon it. A measure surely upon which nothing can be said, might certainly be denominated a failing project. So little had also been said on the condition of the Volunteers, that the right hon. gent. might as well have been silent on that subject also. It was asserted that there had been only a trifling reduction in the number of the Volunteers, and yet the computation was professedly made, not from the effective returns, but from the nominal establishment. How was it possible that the Volunteers should not be diminished, when those entering after the 24th of June last were to receive no pay at all? Under this circumstance a deficiency was a necessary consequence; and the wisdom of ministers had proposed to supply this by the Training bill, which it now appeared was wholly inoperative. Then, as to the recruiting, the facts stated by the right hon. gent. were entirely different from those which were to be collected from the papers on the table. He might have an accurate account in his pocket, but it would have been more respectful if he had submitted it to the examination of the house. The right hon. the secretary at war had said, that the new mode of recruiting could not be deemed to have commenced until Oct. and Nov. last, and in the former month 1156, in the latter 1064 men were obtained, or in the total 2220. Such it appeared in the two favoured months, and in the same of last year no fewer men than 3103 had been acquired, being an excess of 883 men. Such were the advantages of this boasted system. Yet it was not the fair way to govern the estimate by the most favoured periods. In Feb. of last year, 1282 were added, being above 100 more than were produced by the ordinary recruiting; and by the other mode which was described as suspended, no fewer than 830 were supplied. In the next month the number was 1312, an excess of 200 upon the new way, and further from Mr. Pitt's bill 891; in April 1088, and in May 1100; and these were four months of last year, by the regular recruiting under Mr. Pitt's bill, when more men were obtained than in the favoured months of the new mode; yet this was the scheme by which double the supply was stated to be obtained, not indeed by the accounts on the table of the house, but by other estimates, in the pocket of the right hon. gent. Thus on the Training bill nothing was to be said; regarding the Volunteers, there was exposed what was worse than nothing; and the last object, the recruiting, had completely disappointed the expectations of its supporters. The right hon. gent. indulged himself in frequent appeals to the committee. It was true, that such addresses had a certain influence on candid minds; but he should recollect that these expedients might be carried too far, and even to an extent that neither the house nor the public would patiently bear. On the present plan, the Chelsea allowance, which had so long been the reward of long service and indigent merit, was to be given to those not entitled to such remuneration. He (Mr. Perceval) was very apprehensive that such prodigality would be injurious to military discipline. He could not help lamenting that his majesty had been advised to give directions, on the subject of the recruiting, contrary to the established law of the land. The cavalry were now raised for 7 years, and the artillery for five years, but this was not the law. For the former 12 years, for the latter 7, was the oath of service required, and it was not decent that ministers should anticipate the decisions of parliament, and undertake for such alterations in the term of the service. Then the wording of the conditions on which the service was to be obtained, was careless and inaccurate. If a man obtained the bounty, and it afterwards appeared he was subject to sudden paroxysms, or any disorder that rendered him unfit for duty, he was to be allowed to retire with all the benefits of long service; such were to be the fruits of his own fraud. The correction of this palpable error should not be long delayed. As he should have other opportunities of commenting on the general topics of this debate, he should not, at this time, trespass further on the indulgence of the committee.

Lord Howick

said, that after the able Statement of his right hon. friend (Mr. Windham), he should not have occasion to enter much at length into the subject. He would first advert to an objection which had lately been often started, and as often, he trusted, satisfactorily answered. Ministers were accused of not having resorted to the necessary means for the protection of Buenos Ayres. The answer given to this charge was, that no supplies could have arrived in time to prevent the re-capture, if, indeed, that unfortunate event had happened; and this was the only proper reply to such an accusation. The noble lord (Castlereagh) asserted, that such supplies would have arrived sufficiently early, allowing 10 days for the sailing of the transports, after intelligence of the capture by his majesty's arms had been obtained. Was the noble lord serious in representing, that 10 days were a sufficient time for such an undertaking; to prepare an expedition to a distant part of the globe, with the uncertainty that after its arrival the troops could even land there, and might probably have to proceed to some other settlement yet more remote? Did the noble lord recollect, that for such a project there could have been no anterior preparation? And could he imagine that 10 days were enough to provide and dismiss this effectual aid? While the noble lord supposed it to be no easy matter to cross the Atlantic with all this host of war in ten days, did he remember, that with him it occupied as many months to fit out an expedition to cross the British Channel, with long notice of the plan, and with the most urgent. necessity for its precipitate adoption? Both the noble lord and the learned gent. had declared that no steps had been taken whatever to secure this important acquisition of British courage. His (lord Howick's) answer to this was, a positive denial of the neglect so charged upon ministers. The moment the capture was made known here, supplies were provided to support it. A line-of-battle ship started with the first fair wind for that purpose, and troops were ready to depart at the time the report of the capture was received, and they actually set sail in October; yet he would not conceal that a pressing emergency arose to lead to the change in the destination of that force. He had explained thus much on this subject, because it was one on which gentlemen might reasonably expect some explanation, although it had been unnecessarily introduced into the present debate. The hon. and learned gent. enquired, what had been done by his majesty's servants, alter all the expectations they had raised by their magnificent exhibitions of future successes? "Compare," said he, "what you have done with what we had promised; we engaged to supply 25 or 26,000 men under the former mode of recruiting." It was discreet, both in the hon. and learned gent. and in the noble lord to confine themselves to what they had promised, and not to diverge to what they had performed. But even with this prudent limitation to their promises, they might have proceeded much further, and have told the committee that they had promised 40,000 men. Why did not they advance a few steps onward? Here again they conducted themselves with prudence; they knew the fact would be contrasted with the promise, and that the disproportion between 15 or 16,000, and 40,000 men, would be too considerable. Attending, then, to this inequality between the assurances given and the event, he could entertain no very sanguine hopes of what these gentlemen would have done, had they the most favourable opportunity both of multiplying their promises and their exertions. The noble lord had dwelt much in complimentary observations on one of the administrations of which he was a member. Certainly, it did make considerable additions to the effective force; and its measures had a much more beneficial operation than he (lord H) had expected. Thus much it was fair to state. What was the result? It would be seen by the accounts, that in January 1803, about 95 or 96,000 men was the amount of the public force. On the 1st of July, 1804, it consisted of 230,759 men, and 6,000 artillery; constituting an augmentation of 140,000 men. No doubt could be entertained that the army of reserve act, as well as the regulations of the militia, were calculated to raise a large additional force; the objections were that the means were oppressive, and that the effect was not permanent. When the army of reserve act was put in activity, he (lord Howick) was in the country, and he had that experience of its operation which led him to wish that the experiment would never be again tried unless in circumstances of the most pressing necessity; yet he would not say, that the occasion on which resort had been had to the measure, was of sufficient urgency to justify its application. Thus, then, were added 140,000 men to the national force for limited service. The noble lord, emboldened by this success, became a little incautious, and asked, what was done in the next administration? To which (fond always of having "Two Strings to his Bow") he also belonged. At that time 33,000 men were added to the army. In this confident appeal, it would have been satisfactory if the noble lord had been able to shew, that this accession was derived from the politic measures of his administration. The first step was to abandon the project of the supplementary militia; and the whole increase was to be attributed to five sources of supply: 1. The militia. 2. The army of reserve act. 3. Raising for rank. 4. The admission of boys into the army. 5. The foreign corps. The last was principally derived from the German legion; however the foreigners amounted to 8000, and 13000 volunteered from the militia. In July 1804, the increase was 140,000, and the total force 245,090. On Jan. 18, it was 258,000, and the increase only 29,172. The militia was then reduced 16,000, leaving the augmentation of the regulars and artillery at 13,185 men. To these add 8000 for the accession between the 1st of January and the 6th of March, and the increase would be 21,000. But the fair comparison was not to be made in this way: it should be confined to the native regular army, exclusive of the artillery, and comprising troops both for limited and unlimited service. In July 1804, they were 122,691; in March following, 142,700 being an excess of 20,000, of which 6600 were cavalry and 13,400 infantry. Taking, then, the final result of the measures of the last administration, the whole number raised was 5222, of which 3422 were procured for rank, and 1073 were mere boys; leaving only 707 men as the produce of their boasted exertions, which could possibly be considered a beneficial acquisition to the army. Let these vain and illusive attempts be compared, not with the promises, but with the advantageous effects of the measures of his right hon. friend, and he could entertain no fear that the consequence would meet the wishes a every friend to the military strength of the country. The hon. and learned gent. loudly complained that his right hon. friend had changed his opinion: before, the Additional Force bill was to raise money, now it was to raise men. No doubt it was for this duplex object. If you had the men from the parochial districts, the force was augmented; if you had not the men, the money was obtained. Such a plan was, in the sequel, found to be destructive of the regular recruiting; and, if men were procured by it, they were either boys, or men deficient in stature, and of course not suited to the public service. With these objections to it, the scheme had been very properly abandoned. In this situation of things it was, that the prudent expedients of his right hon. friend were resorted to, which have attracted so violent an opposition from the noble lord (Castlereagh). Whatever assistance the noble lord should require from the papers, with ministers to assist him in detecting their errors, should be supplied; but he (lord H) must protest against the charge, so frequently repeated, that his right hon. friend had at any time declared, that any sudden and extensive addition to the public force could by such means be acquired. He could confidently appeal to every gentleman who heard his right hon. friend, that no such pretensions were made; on the contrary, it was urged, that all that could be expected from the measure was a gradual and progressive improvement, derived principally from the amelioration of the condition of the army, and from the conviction in the public mind, of the increased respectability of our military establishments. After this explanation, he hoped he should hear no more of any precipitate effects, and that debates in that house would not be needlessly protracted by calling for elucidations of subjects which had been so often discussed. How, then, did the real question before the committee actually stand? An opportunity of Comparison could only at present be afforded from the 20th of October; as the regulations were pursued, more means would be supplied. The hon. and learned gent. had talked of February, March, and April, and many other periods, but no comparison could be made, as the information before the committee was limited to October. Availing himself, then, of all the intelligence received on the subject, the relative effect appeared thus: the regular recruiting in 1805, from the 20th of October to the 15th of the present month, produced 1208 men; under the new measures, 2155 in the same interval were obtained, yielding an addition of 947 men. But the learned gent. said, that this was an unfair comparison, because the recruiting, at the former period was obstructed by the Parish bill. It would be in the recollection of many gentlemen, that the hon. and learned gent. had before said, that there could exist no such obstruction. He (lord H.) could not avoid complimenting the hon. and learned gent. on this unexpected and happy exercise of his discernment; he would, for the sake of further illustration, next advert to a time when, from the great scarcity of the means of subsistence, the recruiting service was conducted with unusual success; he meant in the year 1800. Even then, only 1878 men were raised, leaving a surplus of 277 in favour of the present time. Was it not under such circumstances correct to say, that the plan was progressively improving in its effects, and that, at least as far as it had operated, it had fully answered what had been predicted of the result? But it was said, that now the purchase was a purchase of service for only seven years, then it was for life. No doubt the proper allowance should be made for any reduction in the term of duty; and on the contrary side were to be placed, the other facilities in and of the service, and the enrolling at reduced bounties. Again, his right hon. friend asserted, that a superior order of men was obtained, and, what was most material, that the number of desertions was greatly reduced. It was yet more satisfactory, that the diminution of these desertions was applicable to the time between the enlisting and joining the respective corps, which was a convincing proof of the amelioration both of the condition of the army, and of the members who compose it. At a former time, out of 1,878 recruits, it was found, one in ten, or about 188, had deserted; in 1805, out of 1,208, there were 174 deserters, or one in seven; now, out of 2,155, only 155, or one in 13. This was no trifling recommendation of the plan of his right hon. friend. The opponents to it however asserted, that if their two projects of recruiting were taken collectively, then the advantage was in favour of the former methods. But it should be recollected that, under the Additional Force act, age and height were disregarded. Yet, notwithstanding this, including only the last 2 weeks, there was an excess in favour of the new scheme; in one the number was 221, in the other 225 men. With all these facts pressing on the attention of the committee, he trusted they would concur with him that there was an evident improvement, and that the means were fully competent to the end proposed. Only 3 months had been allowed for this experiment, and the result was obvious; in the case of the Parish bill, nearly two years had been allowed to try its efficacy, and it remained still unproductive. It was not surprising then, that he should be sanguine as to the result, but he would not admit his good opinion of the measure to conceal from him any of its defects. If it were the fact, that the pensions and emoluments might be obtained by persons without the performance of the duties which should entitle them to such rewards, he should have no difficulty in admitting that such a pernicious circumstance should not be allowed, and some provision should be made to prevent it. But was it perfectly clear that this was the fact? The learned gent. said, that by fraud a man might obtain these advantages. Was he a lawyer, instructed in all the erudition of his profession? and was it necessary to inform him, that by the laws of England no man can sustain any demand founded upon a fraud. The hon. and learned gent. supposed a case where a man inlisted when he was subjected to fits or sudden derangement. Did not that learned gent. know the form of the oath administered, and that perjury must be perpetrated to procure admission under such circumstances? and, indeed, there were prosecutions grounded on this violation of moral and religious duty. The hon. and learned gentleman further com- plained, that the Training bill had not, on the present occasion, been made a subject of discussion. If it were intended to examine this act, it would be easy to bring the matter before the house, but when the Army Estimates were under deliberation, it seemed improper to blend with that enquiry, what was so foreign and irrelevant. He should in this respect certainly follow the example of his right hon. friend, except by making a single remark upon it, that fit measures were taken to carry it into effect, and he entertained no doubt of its salutary operation.

Sir John Doyle

said, it was his intention to have delivered his sentiments on the present subject, but at that hour, after the very ample explanations which had been made by the noble lord and the right hon. gentleman, he should be ashamed to trespass on the time of the house; and, as he understood a further discussion would take place on the subject, he would reserve himself for that occasion.

Mr. Johnstone

begged leave to correct an error, which the secretary at war had fallen into in the course of his speech. The right hon. gent. had said, that he had pledged himself to make a charge against his majesty's ministers. He certainly wished to see how far the pledges made by those ministers had been fulfilled, or had, or had not been released. He did not pledge himself to make such a charge, but he professed an anxiety to examine the papers, and see how far those who had been so willing to bring forward charges of want of economy against former ministers, had themselves acted upon that principle.

The Secretary at War

replied, that it would appear, from the papers before the house, that since the present ministers came into office, they had uniformly observed the strictest economy.—After some conversation between Mr. Windham, sir J. Doyle, lord Castlereagh, and Mr. Rose, upon the subject of whether the returns from the inspector-general's or the adjutant-general's department, were the most correct to go by, upon the future discussion of this question, the original resolution was read and agreed to, without further opposition.

Lord Henry Petty

then rose, and having apologised fur troubling the house at that late hour, observed, that as some of the present estimates came more particularly within the department of the treasury, it was necessary for him to detain the house for a few moments. The estimates he alluded to were those of the Commissariat and barrack departments, the first of which could not be included in the army extraordinaries, and therefore stood in a separate estimate. The sum to be voted under this head was the same as last year, amounting to 841,526l; 50,000l. of which sum was to defray the expenses of the royal military canals. This was the last issue to be made for that purpose, consequently, a very great reduction would take place in that expenditure. The only additional sum for the barrack department which he meant to nerve for, was 57,000l. for erecting and completing new works. At the same time, he observed, that it was not the intention of government to undertake any more new works, but such as were found to be absolutely necessary. The barracks at Portsmouth were the principal object of this grant; they were considered as essentially necessary, and, it was possible, might not cost more than 47,000l., for although, technically speaking, they were denominated new works, yet they were in a considerable state of forwardness. He had the satisfaction to state, that, the year before last, the expences of that department amounted to 1,100,000l. which had been reduced to 550,000l. and there would this year be a further saving of 50,000l. The resolutions were then read and agreed to.—Adjourned.