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There is still another source which, though it may not appear so serious as those which have been already mentioned, ought not to be neglected. Upon the supposition of an invasion, it would certainly be of no small importance to form bodies of men, who, from their dexterity in using fire-arms, might be highly useful in harassing the operations of the enemy. The employment of such men for the purpose of defending the country and harassing the enemy, in case of an invasion, must be attended with the most serious and important consequences. Gentlemen will naturally guess that I am now alluding to that description of men called gamekeepers, and to others of the same class. I do most certainly allude to them, for there are many whose personal services would be of the utmost advantage. But I also, and more particularly, allude to those instances where gentlemen are gamekeepers for their own amusement, where they are gamekeepers merely for the satisfaction of being so, not gamekeepers of necessity but of choice; in such cases, there can be no hardship in obliging those gentlemen, if we cannot have their personal services, at least to find a substitute, who may be as well calculated to defend the country as themselves. I do therefore propose, that those persons who shall have taken out licenses to shoot game, or deputations for gamekeepers, shall, within a certain period, be at liberty to return the same if they think proper; but if, after that period, they shall continue their licenses or deputations for gamekeepers, then they shall be obliged to find substitutes. I observe gentlemen smiling at the idea of raising a force by such means, but that smile will be converted into surprise, when they hear that the number of persons who have taken out those licenses are no fewer than 7000. Such a plan cannot be considered as a means of internal defence likely to be approved of by every person in the country.

I have stated to the committee the general outline of the bill. I shall defer saying much more on the subject: it will be more satisfactory to speak particularly when the resolution is

reported to the House, than to enter into any further detail at this moment. The number of cavalry which I propose to raise in the manner I have mentioned will be 20,000; but with respect to whether there must not be some other additional mode adopted, it is impossible to say exactly, from not being able to ascertain with certainty how many persons it may be necessary to exempt, on account of their being in orders, or for other reasons. Thus have I pointed out the means by which I propose to raise 15,000 men, to be divided between the sea and the land service, to raise the supplemental levy of 60,000 for the militia, of which one-sixth part is to be forthwith called out to exercise; to raise 20,000 men by means of persons taking out the licences to shoot game and keep gamekeepers, or on such other persons as may hereafter be deemed necessary. If the propositions I have mentioned should be approved, I should wish the resolutions to be printed, and if immediately, to introduce the bill, to carry it on to a committee, and to fill up the blanks, and then to allow an interval of a week for its discussion, I mention this in order that more time should not be taken up than is absolutely necessary for the due examination of the principles of the bill; since, gentlemen, you cannot but recollect, when you are once satisfied, and have determined upon the propriety of any particular measure, every day, every hour of delay, is attended with additional danger,

I shall now move that the chairman be directed to report to the House, "That it is the opinion of the committee, that a bill should be brought in for raising a certain number of men in the several counties of England, and the several counties, burghs, and stewartries of Scotland, for the service of His Majesty."

A discussion of some length succeeded, in which Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Dundas, and Mr. Fox, severally delivered their sentiments upon the proposed measure.

Mr. PITT spoke in reply:

After what has already been said by my right honourable friend *, I entertain some doubts whether I ought to detain the committee one moment from the unanimous vote which I believe will be given upon the present occasion. I am sure, at least, that it will not be necessary to consume much of your time by replying at length to the short observations of the honourable gentleman †, or to the more detailed remarks in which he has been followed by the right honourable gentleman, upon the same side, as I cannot but regard the declaration with which they prefaced and concluded their animadversions, that they did not mean to oppose the resolutions which I had the honour to propose, as a sufficient answer to the arguments by which it was accompanied. If the right honourable gentleman feels that the declarations of ministers, upon the subject which constitutes the foundation of their present deliberations, are not sufficient to justify the measures which are to be grounded upon it; if he considers their assurances or their representations entitled to no confidence; if he is persuaded that there exists no danger of invasion, against which it is intended to provide; if he is convinced that the objects of the preparations that are to be made are destined to carry on other warlike operations than the plan avows, or are employed as pretexts to cover designs of ambition or of encroachment at home; if he believes that they are intended to prosecute that object of the war which he thinks proper to describe as unjust and diabolical, I would ask, how can he reconcile these principles with the conduct he is to pursue; or, as a public man, upon what public ground he can rest that assent which he has bestowed upon the measures which have been suggested? But while the right honourable gentleman indulged in these animadversions, he knew well that the precautions were demanded by the country as measures of self-defence, from which he could not withhold his concurrence. He demonstrated, by his actions, that he was in reality sensible that the present was not like other wars, undertaken to + Mr. Sheridan. + Mr Fox.

Mr. Dundas.

maintain a point of national honour, or to defend a disputed interest; to support an ally that was attacked, or to guard remote or doubtful dangers; but that it was the first war in which a great and free people, in the prosecution of their commerce and the enjoyment of their prosperity, were called upon for a time to defend the sources from which they flowed, and, in compliance with the good faith which was due to their allies, and urged by a sense of common danger, found themselves compelled to oppose unprovoked aggression, and resist principles hostile to the government and constitution of these kingdoms, and to every regular government in Europe. Why did not the right honourable gentleman follow up his principles, by opposing, likewise, the measures which were proposed to meet this danger, but because he believed that the situation of affairs is such as to require these precautions; and because he must know that a false security could alone present the smallest chance of success in the attempt which has been threatened; because, also, he knew that such was the character of the enemy with whom we had to contend, that they were not so liable to be deterred by the desperate nature of the enterprise, or by a consideration of the number of persons whom its ruin might devote to destruction? Such, I am convinced, were the feelings of the right honourable gentleman upon this occasion, and such are the considerations by which his conduct is explained, although, perhaps, he found it neces sary to colour his assent, and to disguise his conviction, by the invectives he introduced against the last parliament, and against the conduct of administration. Though, however, he reprobated the system and the measures of administration, though he accused the justice and vilified the character of the former parliament, he could not trust the natural conclusion of his own premises. He did not ask if any of the new members, who had so lately come up impregnated with the sense of their electors, or if the old members, who were witnesses of the proceedings, and whose recollection of the last parliament was so recent,

would agree with him in the character which he had ascribed to it. Nor did he venture to make any appeal to ascertain who were those who would concur with him in asserting the principles he had professed. While I reflect upon these circumstances, I feel confident that it will not be incumbent upon me to answer at much length the arguments of the honourable gentlemen on the other side of the House, especially when the objections of the one are answered by the observations adduced by the other.

While the right honourable gentleman professed to agree with every sentiment of his honourable friend +, they materially overthrew each other's reasonings, and every sentence uttered by the right honourable gentleman was confuted by that which preceded it. The internal order of battle seems to have been completely deranged, and the arguments of the honourable gentlemen themselves meet in hostile encounter. The honourable gentleman + wished to impose upon ministers a responsibility for the measures which were founded upon the assertion in His Majesty's speech, because, continued he, this matter rests only upon the information of the speech from the throne, which I must consider as the speech of ministers; and in order to supply the defect of this responsibility which attaches to ministers by the most solemn and formal declaration, the honourable gentleman insists upon receiving satisfaction, and imposing responsibility by a communication less formal and less authentic! The right honourable gentleman, however, proceeded as if ministers were pleading on their responsibility, and then concluded by maintaining that there is no responsibility at all.

The right honourable gentleman is likewise offended with the general argument of the necessity of precaution, which was employed by my right honourable friend ; but his honourable friend + beside him admits, that only general information was to be expected; so that to this argument the right honourable gentleman must lift up his hand and express his disapprobation, as he + Mr. Sheridan. Mr. Dundas.

* Mr. Fox.

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