Page images
[ocr errors]

the country in another capacity; well known, that from Pevensey to but he felt himself compelled, by his Dungeness, a man of war might an. daty, to support the motion of Mr. chor close to the shore. He thought Pitt.

it would be absurd, all at once, to Mr. Sheridan did not consider give up that species of naval force that hearsay evidence, from officers which had been so long our pride who were on shore, and unemploy- and glory, and substitute another, ed, was evidence sufficient to rest a which all naval men thought lightly serious accusation against lord St. of. It was said, that the right ho. Vincent. He never knew any per. nourable gentleman gave, about six son for whom every body profest so months ago, at a volunteer dinner, much respect, and who was, at the the following sentiment: “ The vo. same time, so much aspersed as that lunteers of England, and may we nobleman, The grounds, however, soon have a mecting with the enemy of the respect which was profest on our own shores.” This senti. were notorious to all the world; ment might be much assisted, in the whereas, the grounds upon which he execution, by substituting the ho. was aspersed remained still in dark, nourable gentleman's farourite gun. ness. He should not vote for a boats, for our ships of the line and scrap of paper to found an enquiry frigates. Forinerly the character of on, when he was convinced that the noble lord was attacked only by there was no necessity for such en. disappointed and fraudulent conquiry. This was the first time he tractors. Such enemies as those he had ever opposed an enquiry ; but despised ; but, high as was the auhe was convinced that there were no thority of the mover, he trusted facts to warrant it, or to account that the character of the noble lord for the great change of opinion in stood too high, in the estimation of the right honourable gentleman the country, to be hurt by mere as(Mr. Pitt) since the time when he sertions or opinions, from whatever bestowed the warmest panegyric quarter they might proceed. upon the noble lord. He saw no good Mr. Fox, at the same time that purpose that it could answer, at pre- he professed to feel as much respect sent, to institute a comparison be- as any man for the professional chatween lord St. Vincent and lord racter of lord St. Vincent, consi. Spenser. As to the number of gun- dered, that the best way that he could boats that the honourable mover shew that respect, was to vote for stated to have been very suddenly the present enquiry. He imagined, equipped, during the last war, they that the result of such a proceeding were of such a quality, that naval would be, to clear the character of men despised them, and thought them lord St. Vincent from all kind of good for nothing, and the greater censure or suspicion. lle was not part of them were sold for almost no: surprised at the course which minis. thing, when the war was over. Such ters had taken, in resisting the engun-boats as those would be injuri. quiry. They had wished to put the ous to the service, by requiring men character of lord St. Vincent on a which could be much better employ- level with their own, and to set a ed. Men of war and frigates were precedent for resisting other enqui. better even for defence; for it was ries. For lord St. Vincent he not

E 3


[ocr errors]

only felt a high respect, but a strong last, to claim a strong personal friend personal friendship. He considered ship with almost every person of disthe battle that he had to fight against tinguished character ; but he took a the corruptions and abuses of the mode of shewing that friendship, naval departments, was full as ardu- which was directly the reverse of ous, if not as brilliant, as the cele- what was practised by other peobrated battle from which he took ple. When the thanks of the his title. He considered, that it was house was once moved for lord the merit of the noble lord in this Cornwallis, he opposed it, on the contest, against corruption, which ground of personal friendship, and had excited so much obloquy. As now, when an enquiry was moved, to the officers from whom an ho which implied suspicion of the connourable gentleman (Mr. Wilber. duct of lord $t. Vincent, he supforce) obtained his information, he ported it on the same ground! As should have no objection to their for himself, out of personal friendtestimony, if they delivered it at ship to the noble lord, and a proper the bar of the house, as the house, regard for his character, he should in that case, would know how to oppose the enquiry, for which no appreciate it. He thought, that the ground had been stated. As to right honourable mover had made those gun-boats built in the last war, out little or no casc. It was not most of them were found to be ut. enough to state the number of ships terly unserviceable, and could not of a certain description, built at go, without danger, from Plymouth such a period; it was also neces- to the Eddystone Light-house; and sary to consider the circumstances as to annoying the enemy with small which called for those exertions. It craft, it was perfectly ascertained, was also necessary to consider the that, from the shallowness of their glaval administration generally, as coast, and their numerous batteries, an entire system, and not separate. it was impossible to prevent their ly, in every part. It was often ne. flotilla from creeping along their cessary to sacrifice an object of in own shores. ferior consequence, for another of Mr. G. Ponsonby, after highly greater importance; and, he be- complimenting Mr. Fox, on the lieved, that species of defence, on warmth and steadiness of his frienda which the right honourable gentle. ships, observed, thata charge against man so much insisted, the flotilla, him on that ground, could not come was precisely that description of with less propriety from any quarforce which could be the best spared. ter than from the chancellor of the He considered the motives of minis exchequer. If that right honour. ters, in resisting the enquiry, to be able gentleman would turn his head, merely from a wish, on some future and look behind him, he would see day, to screen themselves by that a gentleman (Mr. Pitt) who, perprecedent. He, therefore, led both haps, would not be able to compliby private friendship and public du ment him on the steadiness of his ty, would rote for the enquiry. friendships and attachments. It was

The Chancellor of the Exchequer allowed, that Ireland was one of the noticed it, as a cominon practice of most vulnerable parts of the emthe honourable gentleman whospoke pire, and, for its defence, it was ne


ceired under the present naval ad. and Mr. Fonblanque also support. Majority against the motion 71 able reply. He considered, that to refuse those papers for which he had of the day, for taking into further

Urs to have large ships, and there moved, would be the way to throw the right honourable gentleman's doubts and suspicions on the conall craft would be of no use. It duct of the first lord of the admiwould be recollected too, that, dur- ralty; and, to refuse them, on the te that adpiinistration which he ground of danger in granting them, (Nr. Pitt) praised so much, a French would throw a doubt on the tet, with a largcarmy under Hache, strength and security of the nation bat bain serenteen days unmolested itself. It would be a most dangere of the coast of Ireland, and nothing ous degree of confidence indeed, to bet the winds prevented them from repose in the admiralty, at such an saking good their landing. important crisis, if it were to be Jr. Sturgess Bourne, and sir W. said, that parliament, which had Elord

, supported the motion. voted such a liberal expenditure on Mr. Tyrwhit Jones defended the account of the navy, ought not to condeat of the admiralty, and of enquire how that department was the administration in general. He administered, although the very ex. considered the motion of Mr. Pittistence of the country might depend ä inconsistent with his former upon the investigation. He did not speaches, and that he had now in the least wish to excite alarm, or thrown away 56 the camphor bug,"* apprehension; but he wished to reand welcomed opposition.

move the deception of a false secu. Captain Markham insisted, that rity, which was, of all things, the Nr. Tierney was correct in his most dangerous. He considered, satement of the number of men, that while France had been making without twice counting the marines. the most gigantic and unremitting He contended, that the ships built efforts, our ministers had absolutely in the king's yards were every way done nothing. In speaking of the better than those built in the mere attack from "Mr. Sheridan, he exchant yards, and more wholesome cited much mirth, by comparing for the sailors to live in. He thought that gentleman to a wandering light; it would have been very improper a meteor, that was sometimes seen for the admiralty to have followed at one side of the house, and some. the example of Bonaparte, in build- times on the other ; which had then ng a number of vessels of green concentrated his rays against him ; hood, which are always leaky and but in whose blazing face he could

look without fear or terror. Sir W. Curtis bore testimony to

After a few words from Sir W. the protection which commerce re- Pulteney, the question was put.

For the motion
Against it

201 Alr. Courtenay, Mr. Burroughs,

On the 19th of March, Mr. Se. oli. Pitt made a very long and cretary Yorke, after a few prelimi.

nary observations, moved the order

[ocr errors]

uw holesome.



ed the enquiry


E 4
Aluding to the declaration of Mrs. Lee, on the trial of the Gardons. tine

Chronicle, p. 572


consideration the report on the vo- present bill. He thought ministers apti? Junteer consolidation bill.

had done every thing to check and as the rol General Tarleton said, it had been damp the ardour of the volunteers, mixt da long. his opinion, that it was abso. and nothing to assist it. As to the TK. lutely necessary for this country, to power of resignation, the chancel- man. keep up a large military establish- lor of the exchequer, as usual, had at the ment. He thought the volunteers no opinion; he consulted the ate the might do well to repel a sudden in- torney general, whose opinion was a codica vasion; but that they could not be wrong one and that opinion ministersity depended upon for the permanent immediately circulated through the girect defence of the country. He men- country, with uncommon diligence. sedenie tioned some strong instances of in. After the court of king's bench had dont subordination, which came to his decided that the opinion was a wrong 2 vers of knowledge.

one, then, and not before, they ration The proviso, which prevented said they did not mean to act upon le dor any volunteer from the power of it! When the insignificance of the resigning, who belonged to a corps present bill was considered, people's lif the 6 that had offered its services durs would be apt to suppose, that the ing the war," was omitted in the story of invasion was a mere inven. amended bill, on the motion of Mr. tion of ministers, and, that if they die besi Cartwright.

really believed it, they would have After some conversation, in which taken some measures to recruit their several members took a share, the regular army. Although he him. Speaker put the question on the se self did not believe the danger so cond reading of the amendments. great as was represented, yet, when

Mr. Fox opposed the second read. he compared the danger with the ing, not that he wished to throw preparations for defence, it was out the bill; he only wished that it enough to make him tremble. He should be re-committed. Without had, however, such confidence in adverting to the volunteer system, the spirit of the country, that he it appeared to him that ministers firmly trusted, that, in spite of all had thought of no other ; and, al. the opposition it met, it would rise tho' parliament had been sitting for superior, not only to the efforts of four months, the bill before the house the enemy, but even to the weakwas the only measure ministers had ness, the incapacity, and imbecility taken for the defence of the coun. of the present ministers. try: and what was there to be seen The Attorney General was against in this bill? No steps had been the re-commitment of the bill, on taken to recruit the army, but every the ground of its having been so thing had been rested on the volun- often discussed. teers. In fact, the chief merit of Dr. Lawrence, and sir John this bill was, that it did nothing ! Wrottesley, were for its being reHe so far liked the volunteer sys." committed. tem, that he approved of the cou. Mr. Pitt owned, that the present rage, zeal, and spirit of those men hill came very far short of his exwho composed it; but he defied any pectations, or what he conceived to body to say, that that courage and be the just expectation of the counzeal would be at all assisted by the try. He hardly saw any advantage


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a and

so le derived from it, except from that those who took so many the cause encouraging the volun. months to prepare a bill like the

els to go upon permanent duty; present, would not be disposed to but, however, such as it was, he listen favourably to those who IF 30 necessity for its re-committal. should tell them, that they had been

Mr. Sheridan was against the re- proceeding all the time upon false cosmittal, as he thought the bill principles. No man wished more nad been very sufficiently discussed. ardently than himself, to see the

Mr. Windham thought it would military system of the country put se impossible to form a correct opi- on such a permanent footing as nion of the merits or demerits of would give the nation that sort of the volunteer system, without ex- tranquillity, which arises from consmining all the other parts of the scious strength. Our regular army, grand system of our national de. which should be the grand foundaince

, in order to see how those tion of our military strength, is parts were combined together. prevented from receiving its natural

The rast importance of the sub. increase, by the bounties and injest appeared to him to consist in ducements, that are given to men this, that it was not relied upon as

not to enlist in it. In the militia a temporary expedient, but as a 15 guineas, and in the army of repermanent system: and that the ar serve 30 guineas, are given to a man soment, which had been hitherto so to enlist for 5 years, for Jimited auck pressed, would apply still service, and their families are pro. stronger in future ; namely, “ that vided for during his absence; wherehe had gone too far to recede.” as 8 or 10 guineas was all that was Mr. T. Grenville was for recom- given for enlisting for life in the rezitting the bill, as he considered, gular army, and there was no prothat there were so many, and such vision for the families of regular garing defects in it, as could be soldiers ! Hc thought it also very udly remedied in the committee.

unwise to extend the militia system Aster a few words from the so far beyond its institution. As chancellor of the exchequer, and to the volunteer system, he highly some other gentlemen, the house disapproved of it, as it excluded

the greater part of the flower and For the re-committal 56 the strength of the country, and Against it ....... 173 formed a sort of privileged body,

which was odious to the poorer Maj. againt the re-committal 117

classes, even on account of the exr. secretary Yorke moved the emptions which they claimed. The third reading of the bill on the 22d basis of a permanent defence of

the country, should be as extensive Colonel Crawford found himself as its population. We were always again under the painful necessity of told, that the volunteer system was expressing his dis-approbation of a very delicate machine, but the the volunteer system, and, indeed, machine to be depended on in war, of all the measures which ministers ought not to be of very delicate had taken for the military defence construction, but of rougher mateof the country. He was aware, rials, that could endure a shock.



of March.

« PreviousContinue »