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its object; and it was idle, he conceived, respect to the statement of the noble earl, to think of procuring 17,000 men by it. that a French force was now riding triumIn illustrating this position, the noble earl phaut in the West Indies, he had every entered into some detailed considerations reason to believe that a British force was of the measure. What must Bonaparte now there which would effectually prevent think, on seeing us driven to such a shift the former from riding triumphant in the to procure a disposable force to that West Indies, and he could add to this, amount? He deprecated the rejection that every precaution bad been taken by of his right honourable friend's idea in sending additional troops to guard our another plice, of not enlisting the men possessions in that quarter of the world, for life. Adverting to the general mis- He paid some warm compliments to the conduct of ministers, be glanced at the noble earl for his conduct as lord-lieutenant recent Successes of the enemy in the West of a county, in which capacity, although Indies. lle imagined that 40,000 men, administration had not the satisfaction of as the extent of the militia, was as many his support in that house, he did every as could be kept up on true militia princi- thing possible to promote all those ineaples, and he considered what fell from sures which they employed for the benefit the noble secretary as a sort of pledge, of the public service. that such a number of militia forces were Lord Borringdon observed, that the vote to be kept up. There were a zeal and of every noble lord ought to be directed by spirit in the country, if properly directed, the answer which he could give to the adequate to all its exigencies; and an three following questions. First, it might abundant disposable furce was to be obtain- be asked, whether it was not extremely ed, were proper means resorted to. It was desirable, that a large body of well-trained impossible not to perceive that the militia soldiers should at this moment be added officers in general were disgusted with the to our disposable force? If it were admitpresent measure. A great deal of the mi- ted that this was extremely desirable, then litary difficulties, which the country at the next question came to be how this present laboured under, particularly in addition was to be obtained, and what regard to inlisting men, was to be attri-mode could best answer the end in view ? buted to the conduct of the late minister, And in the third place, it was to be connow a member of that house. After the sidered whether the inconveniencies at. treaty at Arniens, had a different line of tending the procuring of this disposable conduct been adopted with respect to the force were so great us to counterbalance militia, its numbers might easily and all the advantages that could be derived cheaply have been completed, and kept from it? That it was necessary, at this up, by means of the numerous discharges moment, to have as large a disposable from the other branches of the national force as possible, few wlio were properly force. With the noble marquis, he gene- sensible of the condition of Europe could rally and strongly disapproved of the deny. It was the opinion of military men, present measure, and censured the policy that if one half of the force now expected as weak and dangerous, which, in the pre- to be raised had co-operated with the sent circumstances of this country, went Austrian army at the battle of Marengo, to diininish her defensive force.
the event of the day would have been The Earl of Buckinghamshire said, the extremely different from what it was. His late administration had found it expedient lordship also adverted to the brave conto increase the militia to the amount at duct of the militia in Egypt. The present which it now stood, and had not the act was the best mode of procuring them that of last session, for gradually reducing could be adopted, and the advantages, he the militia, been passed, he should not was convinced, would far out-balance all have consented to the present measure; the inconveniencies. He concluded,, by that act, however, having passed, the expressing his hearty assent to the measure, only question was, whether the militia but was afraid that it would not produce should be reduced, without the country so great a number as was expected. having the benefit of 17,000 men being Lord Cardor thought that the right hon. added to its disposable force or not. gent. at the head of affairs little underUnder these circumstances, he did not stood the matter, when he thought that hesitate to give his warınest and most he would be able to enlist a force, such as cordial support to the present bill. With the present bill proposed, from the militia into the regular army for life. He would the same support. It had been said, that find that he would procure none but those the officers of the militia alınost universally whose dissolute lives might make it con- were dissatisfied with this measure; and venient or desirable for them to change the decision, at a meeting of 32 officers their situations, or who, induced by the at the St. Alban's, bad been conceived to be bounty, which would enable them to geï the general expression of the opinions of drunk for a few weeks, might enlist with 500 vfficers, who composed that respeca view of afterwards deserting. He could table body. This statement was wholly not forget the shameful scenes which had incorrect, no general conclusions could cccurred when a similar measure was sor- be drawn from such a circumstance; many merly adopted. He recollected, thought officers had already expressed their conhe took no merit to himself from the cir- currence, and it inight be more prudent cumstance, that his regiment was in a if some others, in particular situations, bigher state of discipline than most of the would not be hasty in proclaiming their militia regiments then were. The conse- disapprobation.
| quence was that few of his men volunteered. The Earl of Carnarvon rose and spoke He received a complaint on the subject as follows: If every day did not convince from lord Melville, and he at the time me that public faith and public honesty, stated to that noble lord the real cause of were of little importance in the eyes of the supposed failure on the part of his many statesmen, I should be indeed surregiment. Wishing to avoid the recur-prised at the proposition now under disrence of a similar circumstance, he recol- cussion, when the ministerial breath is lected too that he had applied to the noble scarce cold which held out to the country, earl opposite (Buckinghamshire), and al-before a consenting parliament who though he declined giving him any assu- adopted the pledge, that this system, derance in his official capacity, he gave hin grading. to the militia, and of the highest to understand, as a friend, in the most injustice to those on whom it was an unequal satisfactory terms, that no such measure burthen, should never be again recurred, should again be resorted to. He left it to.. We are, indeed, told that necessity, to those noble lords who formed part both in the management of public affairs, has of the late and present administration, to neither faith, nor honesty, nor law; that reconcile this in the best way they could. the necessity of the existing moment will
The Earl of Westmoreland said, that objec- justify every deviation from the soundesi tions were made, both to the principle of principles of the past. We have been the bill itself, and to the time when it told that though it might be fit and proper, was produced. The first objection was at one time, that the defensive force of grounded on some supposition, that the the country, in the form of a militia, should measure was unconstitutional. It was be augmenter at the expence of the land true, that the term constitutional was ap- oscupier, it was equally tit and proper, at plied with considerable latitude, according another time, that the militia should be to the opinions noble lords entertained of reduced, and converted from an appropublic measures. By the statute 30 Geo. priated to a disposable force. All this, I 11. the militia was to serve 3 years, and am ready to admit, may be in possibility, tben was to be permitted to enter into and in the abstract true, and justifiable by the army, or to engage in any other occu- an imperious necessity; but parliament pation. What then could there be uncon- will, no doubt, expect the clearest proof stitutional so directly opposed to the of the peculiar necessity which is at this feelings of noble lords, as friends to the moment paramount to all other consideraBritish monarchy, if, after a period of 2 tions. Necessity has been, however, truly years, they had the same privilege they called the tyrant's plea; and if parliament would enjoy at the termination of 3 years? is, as it ought to be, a jealous parliament, Much had been objected on the ground of walching with patriotic care over the rights parochial expence; but on a fair calcu- and interests of the people, it will distinlation, by this bill, little or no difference guish between a necessity simply asserted, would be occasioned in that respect: what and that which is distinctly proved. We was thrown upon the parishes in 'the way are told that this measure is no novelty : of ballot, would be counterpoised by the unfortunately it is not; nor is it a novelty, relief given in respect to the families of in the long and changeful history of par17,000 men who would no longer receive liament, delivered down to us stained with
the variation of each soil, and on which he is capable of submitting to such dismotley and disfigured stock we have graceful control I have a right to say, for grafted the more subtle poison of our he himself has told us so by uttering the days, that parliament should, on the bare threat and supposing its successful operaassertion of any of its members, without |tion. [llere lord Westmoreland rose and the slightest proof, acknowledge necessi. said that he meant no threat, but a friendly ties of state unknown to all the world be caution.] Lord Carnarvon continued :sides : but though every species of neglect The noble lord has not by his explanation aud injustice may have its precedent in (I had nearly said letter) made his case the history of parliament, and in the much better. The popularity of a constipractice of ministers, I shall think it iny tutional militia for home defence not exduty to suppose, that parliament does not ceeding 32,000 men, in 1757, induced the therefore mean to sanction neglect or in- land owners to petition for such force, and justice, and that it will not act blindly or to charge themselves with the expence of without proof and conviction of the abso- the levy. The offered establishment was lute necessity. The noble lord who spoke accepted, but it never found favour in the last seems in think that the proof of neces- eyes of ininisters, commanders in chief sity is his assertion of it; he also con- and generals ; they harassed the land occucludes that the present bill is entirely con- piers by the burthen of its augmentation, sonant ll the principles of the militia, and the otficers by its reduction and conbecause the militia, in its original forma- version of the regiments, which they had tiou, was only for a limited period, and formed for the internal defence of the contained a clause by which a rotation of country, into a drill for foreign service. officers and inen were secured to the The military system of this country has çounty : but nothing can be more clear been in a constant state of Auctuation for than the difference between an establish- many years, but more particularly since ment, in which the officers and men of a the late war. This is the only country in county had a rotation of service that gra- Europe that has not a regular, fixed and 'dually inade the whole county fit for its well-known rule by which to arm themdelence, and a premature destruction of selves for offence and defence in time of that defensive force, raised at the expence war.
We have wavered between war miof the land occupiers, which is effected by litias; volunteers of shopkeepers, who this bill. The noble lord who spoke last cannot quit their shops; armies for limited does not, indeed, rely much upon the ar- service, to be afterwards tempted to volun. guments he has used, (and in that Dan teer into unlimited service ; new fangled, not surprised), but he has endeavoured to antiquated, and unpracticable prerogas augment their efficacy by threats. The tives, dragged out of the charnel house of voble lord is a cabinet minister, filling a rotten and decayed usurpation, to bolster high office and a confidential situation ; up a modern system of unconstitutional he assumed tones and gestures which reu- defence, more odious and alarmning than dered the threat intelligible to those who the invasion which it was intended to could scarce conceive its absurdity ; he meet. The constitutional principle of a reminded those who hold the offices of regular army, with the consent of an excounty lieutenants, and command county isting parliaiment, so jealously asserted aud regiments, that great persons have lost preserved at the revolution in the declasuch offices for offensive opinions which ration of rights, and re-echoed annually in they held ; he hinted that the subject was the preamble of the mutiny act, has been delicate, but he advised deliberation and trampled under foot by an incomprehen, caution to those who held these opinions, sible act, known by the name of the parish before they ventured to urge them. This act, which, without raising the men for threat, indecent in itself and disrespectful present use, (in which it has failed), has to the house, as disgraceful to him who inflicted a fatal wound on the constitution, uttered it as offensive to those to whom it by enabling the king, without the future was addressed, can have no other effect consent of parliament, to raise 57,880 men, than to raise the contempı of the last; or 201. per man. to raise them by. At and to convince all those who heard him the hopeless treaty of Amiens, called by thật the noble lord himself is capable of its negociators and panegyrists an expericonforming his opinion to the pleasure of mental peace, and by Spain, in its late those from whom he holds his office; that negotiations, a continuation of the war ;
at this peace, which, according to all opi- ficed the constitution of the country to the nions, gave no hopes of its continuation, little views of the moment, and rendered or removed the fear of war to a great it less the object of love and affection to distance, and of a vigorous, not a languid those who might look with indignation on war, which is a contradiction in terms, the errors and vices of ministers, and with after the full experience of the preceding loyalty and affection on the preserved war in which every trick had been prac- constitutional govt. of the kingdom. Since tised upon, and every shape given to the the peace, the militia has been made a militia ; the practice of recruiting the pretence to raise men on the private purse army from the militia was, on the fullest of the land occupier, without relieving investigation, considered as an error, and him from his share of the public purse, solemnly renounced by govt. before an The learned lord on the woolsack knows assenting parliament; and they considered that when the army of the nation was of it as essential to the defence of the country old drawn from the land tenants of the and to the vigorous disposition of the crown holding by knight's service, such regular force, that the war establishment land occupier was exempted from all talof the militia should be unalienably in- liage or taxes, and was entitled, as of right, creased 20,000 men. On these assurances to a writ of exemption. The land tax has of govt, and pledges from parliament, the of late been made permanent on him; and land occupier acquiesced without a mur- a practice bas, since the last war, been in, mur, and the abated zeal of the patrons of troduced, which, besides an augmented the militia and its officers revived, and the militia to the number of 60,000 men, discipline of the inilitia was again restored. has burthened the private purse of the If this bill should pass, the faith of minis- land occupier, and not the treasury of ters and of parliament is for ever blasted; the nation, to pay the levy of above it will be obvious that pledges are put 31,000 for the army of reserve, and nearly forward to carry a point on public credu- 58,000 permanent force by the parish bili, lity, and not to be kept: their present amounting in the whole to 149,000 men justification cannot save the then adni- not stated by ministers in the army esti, nistration from the imputation of the mates. And let it not be imagined that grossest fraud. It is in vain to say, that the experce falls the less on the land it was just and equitable to hold out an occupier because the overseer of the poor unalienable defensive militia, to be aug- may, if he can, raise the men by the sum mented at the expence of the laud occu- paid to him by the crown; the act will piers, from the prospect of war; that it show that the crown cannot give a sum was just and equitable to raise such force above three fourths of the bounty that shall at their expence on the breaking out of be allowed to raise regular forces, and it the war, and immediately to seduce them is not easy for the overseer to obtain a man from that service for general service out when government offers for the same man of the public purse, leaving the land occu- one-fourth more, But should the crown pier with the expence of that home defence give only 6d. to the overseer, which the of which he is to be plundered. This is king's minister may do, or any sum much a gross fraud and injustice, and has no below three-fourths, as to make it quite termination, for if a change in public af- impossible to obtain a man, the penalty fairs can in so short a time justify such a of 201. per man attaches on the parishes, change in our defence, in as short a time to be paid by a rate from the land occus it inay justify a return to the contrary piers, so that the 55,000 men may be system, and another augmentation may, raised at the will of the crown, at any time, with equal fitness and propriety, be raised and 201. per man, viz. 1,160,0001. The at the renewed expence of the land occu- whole sum raised, or to be raised, from pier. Govt, has the audacity to propose the land occupier's purse, since the peace, to parliament, and to do themselves in amounts to three millions and an balf, be parliament, what nó individual would sides the expences incurred in keeping up venture to do singly, out of parliament, in the force of 149,000 men. This is the rethe private intercourse of life; or if he ward which the land occupiers have repractised such iniquities, he would not be ceived for their generous and voluntary endured in society. Such conduct must levy of 32,000 men out of their private raise universal indignation and a feeling of purse; this is the treatment which they criminality to ministers, who have sacri-haye experienced for renouncing, through teål, their domestic comfort, without pro- the troops embark for Holland, might withfessional views. These acts of hardship out the gift of prophecy, have anticipated and injustice have not even the dirty plea the event of that disgraceful expedition. of economy in obtaining men for general l'he troops in Egypt, which did so inuch service. A short statement will prove this honour to the country, were trained by a beyond doubt: 401. and even 501. has been most able and illustrious officer, now comgiren for raising the war augmentation of mander in chief in Scotland, and by anomilitia. I put that at the low average of ther of extraordinary merit (sir Charles 301. ; less than 121. I have not yet heard Stewart), of whose services the country of, as the intended seduction money, mak-had been deprived by death. This was ing together. 421. for such soldier so ob- not a time, when measures proposed bytained; the present price of army recruit-minisiers could be received with much jug is 161. per man, which deducted from confidence; the misfortunes in the East 421. as before stated, leaves a suplus of 261. Indies were known, and new calamities which is the sum given more than the man awaited us in the West, in consequence of is worth; so that the land occupier is the escape of the Rochefort squadron, charged 261. that the public purse (10 which might be attributed, justly, perhaps, which he also pays) may be spared 41.; to the deficient vigilance of the noble lord and the subjects of Great Britain are plun- (Melville) at the head of the admiralty. dered, that ministers may appear less pro- We should not have had to lament such a fuse in the army estimates. They have mischance, if the gallant and illustrious also another motive, equally criminal, officer, who so lately filled that dignified which has induced the repeated augmen- situation, had still exerted his talents for tation of the militia with a view to its re- the protection and glory of the Britislı duction. No necessity has been shewn for navy. the present bill, and as the persons who Earl Camden supported the bill, on the moved the augmentation concur in the ground that an augmentation of the dispospresent reduction, they must therefore have able force of the country was necessary, to intended to involve a large body of men, which the present measure would esserat the expence of the land owner, in a tially contribute. This was to be effected situation from whence they could be more in a manner as satisfactory as possible to casily seduced than from their domestic the feelings of the militia officers, who homes. These are tricks which may not were a body whom he respected, and who add to the disgrace of a profligate admini- were entitled to the approbation of the stration, but are below the dignity of par-country for their zeal and great exertions. liament, and dangerous to its constitu- The Earl of Romney, after hearing from tional popularity.
all parts of the house the praises of the The Duke of Montrose stated, that he militia and their officers, was much astofelt as a militia officer some regret at per-nished at the reward they were to receive; ceiving the necessity for reducing that the men were to be sent out of their native force, but however partial he was to the country, and the officers, who were all men militia force, he felt also that at the pre- of property, were to be stripped of the sent time the country was more in want of troops they had themselves trained for the Jegular disposable forces. He had heard purpose of defending that property and various schemes suggested, but from the their country. He was decidedly against best attention he had been able to bestow the bill, which went to the destruction of on the subject, he was convinced that by the most constitutional force in this counno other means could a body of twenty or try. The militia, from the time of its intwenty-five thousand troops be added so troduction in 1756, had been gradually tapidly, or with so little inconvenience, to improving in discipline and utility. It had our disposable force. The measure would been officered by some of the most connot diminish our defensive force, for mi- siderable individuals in the kingdom, and nisters were bound upon their responsibi- had far exceeded the expectations of those hty always to keep in the country a sutri- by whom the institution was originally cient number for its defence.
brought forward. He was a friend, as The Earl of Suffolk, both in the regulars, much as any noble lord could be, to the and in the militia, had frequently seen the augmentation of our disposable force; but serious mischief arising from irregularity he could never cousent to this as the mode and disorganization, Those who had seen in which that augirientation could be most