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Mr. Secretary Yorke admitted the difficulty ftated by the right hon. Gentleman, and thould call the attention of the Houfe to it; but the Chief Secretary of the Lord Lieutenant had brought the bill forward. He had not yet had an opportunity of confidering that fubject, but in a few days he fhould come forward with an amendment to the bill, or a feparate bill for that purpose.
LORD KILWARDEN'S FAMILY.
Mr. George Ponfonby afked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it was intended to take any step towards making provifion for the family of the late Lord Kilwarden. It was now near eight months fince the tragical event happened, by which he was deftroyed. His family were not in affluent circumftances, and the confideration of the manner in which he came to his untimely and lamented fate, and the recollection of his virtues, made this a matter of great concern. He thought that no time fhould be loft in making an adequate provifion for his family; and he was fure every loyal man in the empire would feel the neceffity of this attention on the part of Government.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, that this fubject was one on which his Majefty's Servants had not been inattentive, and he believed the attention of the Houfe would be called to it in the courfe of a few days.
Mr. Pitt gave notice that he fhould, on Thursday next, move for fome information relative to the ftate of the naval defence of this country.
HIS MAJESTY'S HEALTH.
Mr. Grey-I with to fay a very few words, on a fubject which appears to me to be of the utmost importance. The attention of the Houfe has this day been neceffarily called, by witneffing in the Houfe of Lords an inftance of the perfonal exercife of an act of authority from the King. Sir, the inference naturally drawn from that act of authority, fo exercifed, is undoubtedly of the moft fatisfactory nature. It would indeed be completely fatisfactory to me, if I were affured by the right hon. Gentleman oppofite (Mr. Addington), that the act was done in full health, which its publicity indicates, and without which fuch an act of authority ought not to have been exercifed. It would have been fatisfactory to me if there were not fome doubts upon that subject; but under all the circumftances, confidering what we know from public reports, and comparing them with declarations made in that Houfe and other places, there does appear to me to
be fome doubt and myftery upon this tranfaction, which leave on my mind fentiments of confiderable uneafiness and apprehenfion. It would be great relief and fatisfaction to me to have this ferious apprehenfion removed by an explicit declaration from the Minifter; but if not, the Houfe is placed in a new and awful fituation, in which it will be incumbent on us to think what fteps it will be proper for us to take.
No reply was made to Mr. Grey's obfervations.
VOLUNTEER REGULATIONS BILL.
Mr. Secretary Yorke moved the order of the day upon the volunteer bill.
On the claufe for allowing adjutants and quarter-mafters half-pay,
Mr. Whitbread obferved, that there were many perfons who had never been in the regulars, but who, from the excellence of their conduct as adjutants in volunteer corps, were, he thought, equally entitled to half-pay. He was of opinion, that it fhould depend upon the report of the infpecting field officer as to the good difcipline of the corps, whether the adjutant of fuch corps fhould be entitled to fuch pay or not. In the courfe of his fpeech, Mr. Whitbread adverted to an expreffion ufed by Gen. Maitland on a former occafion, that there were not fix good adjutants to be found in the whole army.
Mr. Secretary Yorke faid, it was neceffary to lay down a general principle with refpect to the half-pay to be allowed to adjutants, as otherwife, perfons who acted as adjutants in volunteer corps, and who were wholly incompetent, might become entitled to it, and thus faddle confiderable expence upon the public. To this rule, however, there might be fome exceptions, as, if the infpecting field officer reported the good qualifications of an adjutant, it certainly was intended to reprefent fuch cafe to his Majefty, with a view that fuch adjutant might become entitled to the allowance in queftion.
General Maitland faid, the expreffion he ufed on a former occafion, was not that there were not fix good adjutants to be found in the army, but that there were not fix new adjutants to be found.
Mr. Pitt faid, he agreed in the gencral outline with refpect to adjutants receiving pay. He thought, however, that where there was a difficulty in getting good adjutants, ferjeant-majors from regular troops might be reforted to as adjutants for volunteer corps. He then adverted to, and reVOL. II. 1803-4. D ftated
ftated his former propofition with refpect to transferring officers from the line as field officers in volunteer corps.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, it was the strong difpofition of Minifters to agree to any thing that could tend to improve the difcipline of the volunteer corps, consistent with the nature and principles of their conftitution. It was his opinion that the purpofe of the right hon. Gentleman would be better anfwered by the appointment of infpecting field officers, who were appointed from officers of the line. He objected to the propofition of the right hon. Gentleman for the appointment of field officers to volunteer corps from the line, becaufe the volunteers fhould not be led to fuppofe that it was intended to graft upon the fyftem any thing not congenial to its nature. He knew that a degree of jealoufy had been caufed in fome volunteer corps by the appointment of infpecting field officers, because they were liable to a fort of compulfory infpection by perfons receiving pay. He was convinced, however, of the neceffity of appointing inspecting field officers, and that the volunteers could not be an efficient force without them; but if field officers from the line were introduced into the volunteer corps, it would neceffarily create jealoufy. It had been made part of the propofition, that field officers from the line fhould not be appointed to volunteer corps without the consent of the commanding officers; but this was placing a commanding officer in a fituation of great difficulty and delicacy. If he recommended the appointment of a field officer from the line, it might be confidered as a confeffion of his own infufficiency; whilft, if he refufed to affent to a recommendation of that nature, he might be liable to cenfure: add to this, there were many volunteer corps which already had the benefit of the affiftance of military officers of great ex-perience, either as commandants, or as holding commiffions in fuch corps. At the fame time, it was his wish that it fhould be a part of the inftructions from the commander in chief to the general officers commanding diftricts, to fpare field officers from the regulars, wherever it can be done, in order to perfect the difcipline of the volunteer corps. He repeated, that the object of the right hon. Gentleman was anfwered by the appointment of infpecting field officers, and alfo by the appointment from the line of adjutants and ferjeant-majors.
A. Pitt faid, as to the appointment of infpecting field officers, it was obvious that could not interfere with his propofal of appointing field officers from the line to affift in difciplining
difciplining volunteer corps, as the perfons appointed infpecting officers held the rank of lieutenant colonels; whilft he propofed to appoint perfons, probably captains, from half-pay. At leaft they might try whether any fuch perfons could be obtained; at any rate, the two defcriptions of perfons were wholly diftinct, as no one was appointed an infpecting officer who had not been a field officer in the army, whilft he propofed to take field officers for volunteers from thofe in the line who held fubaltern commiffions. The right hon. Gentleman had faid, that fuch a measure would be likely to create jealoufy: he was forry to hear it, but certainly the appointment of infpecting field officers was not fufficient to render volunteer corps in any degree well difciplined. Some of thefe officers had half a county to attend to, and he would afk, whether they could in that cafe do much more than relate what they had been told by others, with refpect to the difcipline of corps, instead of being intimately acquainted with it themselves. He was now, however, told, that because perfons had been appointed to fee that inftructions had been given to volunteer corps, it was unneceffary to appoint perfons to inftruct them: he could not conceive this to be very conclufive reafoning. He did not believe any jealoufy would be excited by the appointment of field officers of the defcription he had alluded to; it would rather be caufed by the appointing inspecting field officers, who were fuperior to the commanders of the regiments. Add to this, that infpecting field officers were appointed by a compulfory regulation, whilft all he propofed was to provide field officers where it was requested by the commanding officers of corps, therefore there was ftill lefs caufe for jealoufy. Another ground of objection was, that commanding officers would be placed in a fituation of great delicacy; but he did not fee the force of this objection. Suppofe the commanding officer were to recommend the appointment of a field officer from the line to his corps, he would only indicate that he was a man of common fenfe, and that he was more anxious to do his duty than to be actuated by trifling vanity; on the other fide, if be declined fuch accommodation, he might be liable to cenfure for not doing that which he ought to do. As to any objection of economy, the faving which might arife from not purfuing the regulation he propofed, ought not to be put in competition with the advantages which would arise from its adoption. For thefe reafons he was ftill inclined
to perfift in urging the propofition, which he had before
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, that if the defcription of perfons alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman were appointed, they might affume an importance which would be inconfiftent with the general fyftem of the corps. He inftanced the volunteers of Ireland, who had had no fuch officers, and who had difplayed the beft difcipline, as well as the greatcft courage and zeal.
General Tarleton bore teftimony to the excellence of the difcipline of the volunteer corps of Ireland.
General Loftus objected to officers being fent from camps or other military ftations in the hour of danger to difcipline volunteer corps.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer faid, his idea was, that fuch affiftance fhould be at the difcretion of the general of the district.
Mr. Pitt faid, that in the maritime diftricts fuch affiftance might be provided, but with refpect to the corps in the interior, they thould be affifted in difcipline by officers from half-pay.
Mr. W. Dickinson observed, that there must be good officers to make good foldiers. As to economy, it was not a queftion of economizing money, but the blood and lives of the people it was neceffary to have good officers to enfure difcipline, and it was neceffary to have difcipline in order to enfure fuccefs; and he would afk whether defeats were confidered as cheap articles by the prefent Administration? If an enemy were to land, the country might have reafon to curfe fuch parfimony. If the bill now before the House was made any thing of, it would be made fo by the minority, and not by the majority; for if it had paffed as originally brought in, it would have been one of the ftrong inftances of the weak conduct of a feeble Administration.
Mr. Hiley Addington faid, he would leave to the decifion of the Houfe and the public the hon. Gentleman's charge of economy against the prefent Adminiftration. He objected to any meature for the introduction of field officers from the line into volunteer corps, as it would tend to create diffenfions among the officers and privates of thefe corps.
Mr. Windham wifhed to understand precifely the meaning of his right hon. Friend's (Mr. Pitt's) propofition, as he could not confent to rob the line of officers, in order to dif cipline volunteer corps.