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men. The war appeared to be on in Egypt, it would have been posour side purely defensive. Amidst sible to have infused the same spirit the dangers of this country, it was into a great mass of our population, a melaneholy circumstance, that no and that the regular army ought to man knew whether we had an ex have been considerably increased. ecutive government or not: he con He considered, that, instead of a decluded by desending the right of finite number of privileged volunvolunteers to recommend their own teers, the whole active population officers.
of the country ought to be in arms. Colonel Crawford opposed the e contended that the French levy, speaker's leaving the chair. He which assisted at the battie of Je. was sure, that if parliament were to mappe, were very different from our pass this bill, ministers would con. volunteers. He thought the strongest strue it into an acquiescence in their illustration of the comparative mesystem of defence. When he con- rits of the two systems, was to be sidered the formidable attack with soen in the Vendean war, where a which this country was threatened, mere armed peasantry often defeat. and the powerful means it possesso ed armies of national guards, which ed, (if these means had not been did resemble our volunteers. One shackled and repressed by the imbe- great advantage of an armed peacility of ministers), he thought the santry over the volunteer system, house ought to be occupied by more would be, that they would be three serious discussion, than about this or four times more numerous; their insignificant bill. He did not abso. dress would not be expensive, por lutely fear that the country would their instruction difficult. In fact, be conquered, for, notwithstanding the present tactique, which was bor. the faults of ministers, he trusted it rowed from the Prussian school, would defend itself. It would, although very fit for the great plains however, be disgraceful for the na that armies could act on in Germation to be always merely on the de- ny, was totally unfit to be practised fensive. The present bill was too in this conntry, in real action. He contemptible to build any thing then took a general view of the great upon. He considered, that conduct of government since the war, since the very commencement of the as far as it related to the means of war, the affairs of the country had providing for the national defence, been grossly mismanaged ; and, if a in which he went over very nearly day was to be appointed for a dis the same grounds as had before cussion of that subject, he would been urged by Mr. Windham. engage to prove it. He believed, General Maitland was sorry to that the naval defence of our coul- perceive the view the honourable try had been miserably neglected, colonel had taken of the subject. and he never heard a weaker de When he spoke of the armies of fence than had been set up by lord France, and their leader, he had Castiereaghi, in support of the admi- given them the most unqualified ralty. He thought that beginning praise for their military talents, but the war with an army so excellent when he spoke of the armies of his in spirit, who proudly recollected own country, he seemed to forget the recent glory of the British arms that we had regulars and militia,
who were equal to any French sol. naval preparations of defence were diers, and that our volunteers were not adequate to the object. The animated with a spirit far superior enemy had now ships of the line to what could be expected from equal if not superior in number to French or Italian conscripts. lle those that were blockading them, thought it was impossible for the and they had at least 500 gun-boats, ingenuity of the French to contrive while we had not more than twenty any thing which would be so effec- to oppose them. If proper atten. tual to animate the spirit of their 'tion had been paid, we might by troops, as the publication of many this time have had as many gun-boats of the speeches that were made in as the enemy.* that house. As to the charge so Captain Markham (a lord of the often urged of the exemptions hurt. allmiralty (said he should not boast ing the recruiting service, he thought of his experience, but the experi. it a mere assertion, which was con. ence of his colleague, sir Thomas tradicted by the fact. The value Trowbridge, was well known. Не of the exemption was no more than should be glad to know where the. the price paid to insure against serve honourable admiral's(admiral Berkeing, and the expence of becoming a ley) foreign service had been? He volunteer was far more than this in. thought the idea most ridiculous of surance price. As to the objection attacking the enemy's flotilla with of their being clothed and disciplin- small craft. The whole coast from ed like regulars, he should answer, Boulogne to Cape Grisnez was pro. that the system of a “smock-frock técted by formidable batteries; and army” had been tried in America, where our frigates could not go in which appeared to be peculiarly a. safety; he could not see that small dapted to it, but the Americans craft would have better luck. were soon tired of it, and found it Colonel Eyre defended, with great was better to make use of regular warmth, the system that government troops.
had adopted.' He thought it owing Admiral Berkeley could not per- to the vigor of his majesty's counceive how the administration of the cils and the energy of the volunteers, admiralty could fairly be introduced that the enemy had not ventured to in a discussion on the volunteer sys- carry into execution his menaced tem. He felt a great degree of invasion. friendship for the noble lord (earl Mr. Fuller approved of the vo. St. Vincent) at the head of that de- lunteer system ; but, as he thought partment, but he was convinced, it very well as it was, he should that, during his sickness, he had oppose this bill, which did not aptrusted the business to very unskil pear to him as likely to make it any ful and inexperienced hands. The better.
* On the morning after this debate, there appeared, in a print entirely devoted to administration, a most scandalous and defamatory libel upon admiral Berkeley, for which he prosecuted the editor and publishers, and gained a verdict for 10001. damages, and costs of suit. For a more particular account of which, vide Curonicle, p. 396.
Mr. For denied that any party
Juminous manner. If the volun had hesitated to give their best as. teer system was praised, as givin, sistance to the government. The an army of 400,000 men, he shoul people had every where shewed say that an armed peasantry woul their zeal for the defence of the furnish an army of two millions, tha country; and if their ardour had would require less drilling and bt heen damped, it was by ministers. more effective. As to the drilling Persons who were supposed to be the volunteers received, it put him long to the same political party, as he in mind of the line in Pope; did, were as zealous as others. He should only instance the case of the
" A little learning is a dangerous duke of Northumberland, who rais.
thing." ed and clothed, at his own expence,
Nr. Fox then argued with con. a body of 1500 volunteers. There siderable force on the superiority of was every where a perfect union for an armed peasantry, over such a the country and the government, system as that of the volunteers. but he believed there was nearly as
Mr. Pitt agreed in the general general a union of opinion against principle laid down by Mr. Fox, his majesty's ministers. The go- that having provided against the vernment had, by their mismanage- immediate danger, every effort ought ment, brought the country almost to be used to render our defensive to the brink of destruction, and system permanent. He hoped, howtherefore they might, in some de- cver, that the danger of the coungree, claim the merit of bringing try would cease with the present about this union; and this was the war, and that we would not lightly only way in which they had raised consent to make a peace with France the public spirit. An opinion scen- without adequate security for the ed to be suggested by an honour future. The system of France was able general, (general Maitland,) now different from what it had ever that military matters ought not to been at former periods, and must be discussed in that house; but left be met by corresponding exertions entirely to the consideration of oili. on the part of this country: howcers of experience. This was an
ever painful those exertions might opinion to which he should never be, they were inseparable from subscribe. As to fit experience, those days in which it had pleased however, no one could deny the ex Providence to cast our existence.perience of his honourable friend Altholigh he did not consider that (colouel Crawford); and it could the volunteer system had arrived at never be allowed, that not only the any thing like perfection, yet he monopoly of military power, but approved the principles of it, and of military knowledge also, should supposed that, by some regulations, be allowed to remain exclusively with which were not difficult to point the persons of the highest rank in out, it might be made a foundation the army. He thought the honour. of perinanent security. The volun. able colonel conveyed as much pro. teer spirit had risen principally from fessional information as ever he had the opinion of a pressing danger : heard in any speech, and that it was if that opinion was removed, the ef. exprest in the most perspicuous and fect might also cease.
& spontaneous zeal of the people about the volunteer system, had had hitherto made legislative pro- been confirmed by such a respecta-' suas almost unnecessary, and had ble military authority as that of his interacted the errors of the exe. honourable friend (colonel Crawcative government, yet the time ford). He well knew that it would right come, when it would be ne not be safe suddenly to disband a cessary to adopt other measures for considerable number of those who the defence of the country. The are now armed for the defence of hade en masse bill, which might be the country. What he wished to out in force the moment the num- have done was, that the volunteers ber of volunteers was below that should be put again upon the footwhich had been fixed as an equiva- ing they formerly were, of a serlent for it, would be a foundation vice free from any degree of comfor permanent defence. Mr. Pitt pulsion, but, at the same time, dethen went into a full comparison vested of any other inducement but between the volunteer system, and what sprang from zeal and patriota that suggested on the other side, of ism ; in such a case, the volunteer de armed peasantry. He did not spirit would not operate to the inconsider that the latter system would jury of a force more valuable than be adequate to stop such an army itself. It was in consequence of as it must be supposed would be the exemptions given to volunteers, employed on the invasion. As to that the army of reserve, which was the peasants in la Vendée, they were intended to produce 50,000 men, lat by officers of great experience, stopped at 36,000, and could get ad were stimulated to the gallant no further. Without wishing again resistance they made by the atro. to repeat the comparison that had dibus cruelty' of their oppressors, been so often made between the who were desolating the country, volunteers and an armed peasantry, and massacring its inhabitants. if, he agreed with the honourable cohowever
, the enemy should land in lonel in thinking it not only useless, this country, they would doubtless but dangerous, to attempt to train, push direcily for the metropolis, as regulars, men who can never and the peasants of Kent or Sussex assist an army but by acting as ir. would have nothing to stimulate regulars. them to such terrible sacrifices as those
After a few observations froin of la Vendée were obliged to make: Mr. Dent, the house went into a beither did the example of America committee on the bill, and having at all apply, for in that immense made some progress, postponed the country the irregular force could further consideration of it in comalways retreat in security, and had mittee until the 2nd of March. abundance of time to acquire mili
On the 1st of March lord llawks. tary discipline, whereas, in this bury, in the house of lords, moved country, the most incalculable mis. for the second reading of the Irish chiefs might result from not being bank restriction bill, on a future able to oppose the enemy effica. day,
Lord King rose to demand insorMr. Windham felt proud that the mation on a subject of the utmost opinions he had formerly delivered importance: he alluded to the state
ciously at their landing.
of his majesty's health. He wished silence of the fifth physician gave to know whether that was true, reason to doubt that the medical which had been stated in another men were agreed on the subject. · place, that there was no necessary Lord Fitzwilliam thought the an. suspension of the royal functions ?", swer given by ministers was too geThe house had hitherto no informa neral, and wished for one more extion on the subject, except from plicit. the bulletins of the physicians ; The Lord Chancellor perfectly which were by no means satisfac- coincided with, and confirmed, the tory, especially when it was con- statement of lord Hawksbury, as sidered, that there was a fifth per- to his majesty's convalescence. son of the medical profession who Lord Caernarvon thought it im. attended his majesty, and whose proper to think so much of personal name was never subscribed to those delicacy, at a period of national bulletins.
danger like the present. He thought Lord Hawksbury expressly stated that ministers should not presume that there did exist no necessary to exercise any part of the royal suspension of his majesty's royal functions ; he, therefore, wished to functions or authorities.
know from them, whether they had Lord Grenville trusted that minis, the usual access to his majesty, or ters were so far sensible of the great any actual knowledge of the state responsibility under which they act. of his hcalth ? He had often heard ed, as not to bring forward any the term “ responsibility” used, but measure of importance, or give it he thought it was of very little the royal sanction, until it had that conseqnence, compared to the naperfect consent on the part of his tional security. majesty, which alone could give it After a short conversation, in any value in the eyes of the nation. which ministers asserted that no furUpon a former occasion it had been ther communication was necessary, considered, what was the point of the house adjourned. convalescence which made the in On the 2nd of March Mr. secre. terference of the legislature unne. tary Yorke stated to the committee cessary, and then it was decided, of the whole house of commons upthat it was when his majesty could on the vlounteer consolidation act, come to the parliament, and per- the outlines of his plan, with resonally discharge his royal functionis. spect to his granting exemptions to He hoped that no false delicacy had those volunteers only who should dictated the declaration that had have attended a certain number of been made, and that ministers re- days on parade. le disapproved collected that they had a duty to the Mr. Pitt's plan of attaching to them public as well as to their sovereign. a number of regular officers on per
Lord King declared himself not manent pay, as he considered that satisfied, as the opinion of the fifth such a measure would be far too physician had not been laid before expensive. He also doubted the the public.
possibility of requiring an attendance Lord Hawsbury insisted that he of so many days, as that right ho. had made his statement on sufficient nourable gentleman had suggested. authority.
Mr. Pitt suggested that an express Lord Carlisle considered that the clause should be inserted in the bill,