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There was another species of de- tainly added nothing to their milia fence, which had been almost en- tary improvement, and was only ina tirely neglected, he meant fortifica. tended as a means of continuing the tions. The great objection that he volunteer system; but, while this had to the volunteer system, „was, clause gave men to the volunteers, that, by the confession of ministers it withdrew them from other serthemselves, it did not include one. vices. lle felt convinced, that the fourth of that class which princi- country would have been in a pally formed the strength of a na- greater state of security, if none of tion, He then argued, at great those volunteer bills had passed. length, on the importance of hav. He neither considered that the ima ing as large a regular army as pos- provement of the volunteer system, sible, and of employing, as irregue was the best measure for the prelars, the armed peasantry of the sent desence of the country, nor country, instead of a volunteer that the present bill was likely to force.
increase the force of the volunteer After a cousiderable cry of ques. establishment. Zeal was not a printion, question,
ciple which could be altogether deMr. Windham rose, and said he pended on. A permanent system was not surprised at the anxiety of must be founded on interest and ministers to get rid of the business. scar; there must be inducements on Perhaps, by their not attempting the one side, and penalties on the to answer what had fallen froin his other. lle must still continue to honourable friend, (colonel Craw. think, that it was extremely dangeford) they might mean to imply, rous to leave large bodies of armed that there was nothing new in the men on foot, that were not subject arguments that he had adduced. It to military law. The volunteers might be true, that those arguments had already so far shewn their were not altogether new; but it was strength, as to gain a complete tri. equally true, that they had never umph over ministers, who appeared been refuted. As this was, per- not to venture to stir a step without haps, the last time that the subject taking their opinions. The treawould come before the house, he sury bench appeared to think, that could not avoid taking the oppor- the best way of silencing a member, tunity of protesting against the was to excite a popular clamour principle of it, as one which might against him, but, that should never lead to our utter ruin. He utterly prevent him from delivering his opidenied, that the danger we had novv nions. The exemptions had already to provide against, was merely of a made the army of reserve stop temporary nature, and to be guard- 14,000 short of the number it ed against by temporary expedients. was originally intended. The ad. lle considered it as a great and in- vantage of those exemptions was so creasing danger, which could only great, when it was considered what be eflectuaily averted by a perman classes of men the ballot usually fell nent, well-organised system of mili. on, that it was a power too great tary defence. The most impore to lodge in the hands of the indivi. tant clause of this bill, the giving duals, or committees, who managed exempíions to the volunteers, cer the volunteer corps. The injustice
med hardship that were produced by found fault with the militia, and yet, there exemptions, was very great when he was secretary at war, he upon those who were not fortunate carried it to a much higher pitch nough to enjoy them. He did not than it is at present. He now saceite, that, even if the whole found fault with the volunteers, Tatunteer force were to be dissolved and yet it was under his administrathe next day, that any very serious tion that the volunteer system was zichief would result from it. The introduced. He found fault with we nen would remain in the coun. it now, as injuring the regular army, try, and the same zeal and ability and yet it was a fact, that the reberre it, although it might be di- gular army had increased faster rected in another channel. He since the commencement of the prethought there was no example in sent war, than at any former pe. history to justify the experiment of riod. Although the right honour. temging the volunteers to fight able gentleman had a poor opinion. aust regular troops. The king- of the efficacy of the volunteers, dem was once conquered by a si. yet, in opposition to his mere asmilar experiment under Harold. sertion, there was the decided opiThe Vendean peasants never did nion of lord Moira, lord Cathcart, figút regular battles against the ene- and general Simcoe. He consider97, except in one or two instances, ed the allusion, which the right hon. therein they were completely de- gentleman had made to the Venizted
. They were obliged to let deans, as particularly unfavourable their towns and villages be burnt. to his own argument, as those lhe did not suppose that any species troops bore the nearest possible reof irregular troops could ever pre. semblance, or rather wore the mo. tend to engage in pitched battles del of that force, he so much recomwith regulars ; he thought, how. mended, armed peasantry. fier
, that a numerous and well-or. There was no experience, or no ganised irregular army would be a sound reasoning, to induce a prepowerful auxiliary to a large regular ference of an armed peasantry to farce. The volanteers of France, such a body as our volunteers. Hho fought at Jemappe, were rais- There had been already more re. ed on a footing totally different. cruits raised for the regular army, He considered the entire system as
than were raised for the seven first barren moor, from which it was years of the last war, under an adde to expect a good crop, and ministration that the right honour. which it was ridiculous to resort to, able gentleman so properly extolled. Then we had such an abundant As to irregularities committed by
till as the regular army. volunteers, it was impossible that He, therefore, decidedly protested there should not be some where the
body was so numerous; but, it The Chancellor of the Exchequer must be recollected, that the period considered, that this strain of argu- when dissatisfaction was at the highment
, from the right honourable est, was, when a number of offers gentleman who spoke last, was en
had been rejected. He thanked tirely inconsistent with his former God, that we had now a numerous bentiments and conduct. He now regular army, a numerous militia,
against the whole system.
and 400,000 volunteers. These, might do very well in poetry, yo combined, made one of the most in the common occurrences of lit powerful armies that had ever been every one would prefer a perst raised for the defence of this, or who knew something of his trad any other country:
to one who was ignorant of its fir Mr. Fox said, that the right hor. 'principles. He thought the volu. gentleman (Mr. Addington) had con. teers might be extremely useful in Heppo pletely misunderstood the argument desultory warfare, but did not cor of Mr. Windham. That gentleman sider them as proper troops to I had never asserted that the volunteers opposed to an enemy immediatelia were raised merely by the inducc. upon his landing. ment of exemptions : he had con General Loftus approved of the same tended, on the contrary, that we idea of blending the volunteers int would have a sufficient number of the regular army, and placing the volunteers without the exemption under the command of general of a and that they were therefore unre. cers. He was glad to find that get cessary. As for the raw troops, vernment had resolved, in case is which took the field in the begii- invasion, to drive the cattle from the ning of the war, between Fran e sea coasts. He remembered, whes its and Austria, they did not fight well: he served under lord Jlowe, in Ame 20,000 of them ran away from 1500 rica, this was a policy which was buat Austrians, and then murdered their uniforınly followed by the Americo own general (Dillon). Their next ex. cans, and it prevented his majestyle ploit was to make another of their army from penetrating to any disa ring generals (Biron) a prisoner. The tance into that country. same troops, however, after they Mr. C. Wynne took notice of the jo had seen some service, sought very small proportion of the volunteers well. lle did not recollect a single who knew any thing of ball firing. instance in history, where raw troops
The bill was then past through the had been, in the first instance, suc.
the commons, and ordered to the cessfully opposed to regulars. The lords; and was discussed in that great reason which induced him to house, for the first time, on the 27th prefer an armed peasantry to the of March : upon the question for the volunteers, was, that instead of second reading, 400,000, it would form a force con Lord Hawkesbury, in introducsisting of two millions.
ing the bill, stated the principle Sir James Pulteney said, that when upon which the volunteer system the defence act was introduced, he was founded, and the ancient and was the first who strongly urged the undoubted prerogative of the crown advantages of an armed peasantry. to call out all the liege subjects of He regretted that his advice was the realm, in case of invasion, or not followed at that time, but still any strong appearance thereof.it was necessary to make the most It was from that prerogative of the of the system we had got. Not. crown whence the defence act withstanding the maxim,
sprung, and it was from the defence « A little learning is a dangerous
act that the present volunteer system
He agreed perfectly
Grenville, on a former night of that of the defence act; the lata, namely, that the volunteers ought ter was hurried through the house only to be employed as an auxiliary in two days, and set out with asor subsidiary force, assisting the re- 'serting that his majesty possessed & gular army, He was now proud to prerogative of placing all his liege say, that there was in the united subjects in the ranks of the army, kingdom an army of troops of the whenever the country was in a cria line and militia amounting to 180,000 tical situation. By that law, the men, which was more by 40,000 prince of Wales, if he did not hapthan we bad in 1801, when we had pen to be a colonel of a regiment, many foreign colonies to garrison. might be compelled to serve as a In addition to which, he should state, private soldier, and would be liable distinctly, that the effective volun- to the punishment of the halbards, teer force, in Great Britain only, for any military offence. The preamounted to 330,000 men, as ap- rogative that was thus stated, was peared by the returns of the in. most monstrous and unconstituti. specting officers. He should allow, onal. He thought the present bill that if the object of the enemy were quite as absurd, although less of. the final subjugation of the kingdom, fensive, he should therefore oppose an armed peasantry might be the most it. effectual means of frustrating the Lord Ellenborough insisted that attempt; but, as he could never the crown did possess that prerogasuppose the enemy could expect to tive from the earliest times : he keep a permanent footing in the produced a copy of the commission country, and that their plan of in- of array passed in the reign of Henry vasion would have for its object, the fourth, which expressly recogthe doing the greatest possible quan- nized that prerogative, and which tity of mischief, in the shortest sir Edward Coke declared to be the time, he thought an invasion of such law of the land in his time; and it a description could be better resist. had certainly never been altered ed by volunteers having some dis- since, either directly or by implicacipline, than by an armed peasantry tion. He saw nothing monstrous that had none. He trusted that the in the prerogative of requiring the principle of the bill would be gene. assistance of every man in cases of rally approved of, whatever objec. great emergency. This was a pretions might be found to particular rogative which, according to Vattel, clauses. Dlany persons thought the was inherent in those who exercis. volunteer system had within itself ed the powers of the executive go. the principles of its own dissolution. vernment in every state. lle felt too much confidence in the Lord King denied that the king spirit of the country to suppose so;
ever did or could possess the prerobut should it turn out to be the gative that was asserted. It was a case, it would become the duty of monstrotis doctrine, worthy of the ministers to advise his majesty to most jacobine period of the French recur to the provisions of the gene revolution. He disapproved of the ral defence act.
bill, and of the volunteer system. Lord Caernarron disapproved of The regular army and the army of the principle of this bill, as he did reserve were in opposition to each
other, and the volunteer system him to accept the commission was in opposition to both.
lieutenant colonel of a volunte The Bishop of Landaff thought corps. the volunteer system noble in its Lord Grenville professed to fe principle; and he trusted it would as high a respect as any man for ti be successful in its effects. The vo. courage and zeal of the volunteer lunteer army was composed of all In the present circumstances of th ranks, and contained whatever was country, no one could entertain tł respectable in society. The ques- idea of disbanding 400,000 volur tion was not now upon the princi. tary defenders of the country, o ple, for that had been adopted. It deny that they might render im por was upon a bill which proposed for tant service. When it was, how its object the improvement of the ever, considered that those troop volunteer system. He thought, in which threatened to invade us wer times like the present, the govern- also of undisputed courage, ment had not only a right to call had gained great military experienc upon the services of every man, but during twelve campaigus that the that every coach or saddle horse in had fought against the best disci the kingdom should be put in re- plined troops in Europe: he though quisition, if necessary. He declar. it was evident that ministers hac ed that, for his part, he should pre- been shamefully negligent, in nou fer living on oaten bread and water, providing a sufficient force of thai to enjoying every luxury which af. description which was proper for fluence could purchase in a subju- combating such troops. He consi. gated country, that had the misfor dered that the regular army had tune to groan under French domi. been sacrificed for establishments of nation.
less importance, and every measure Lord Darnley thought it improper which had been taken for increasing to apply the word system to such a it was thwarted and counteracted, mass of incongruous regulations as by the effect of the exemptions given ministers had made respecting the to the volunteers. When the noble volunteers. He saw nothing in them secretary (lord Hawksbury) talked but the incapacity and inconsistency of the number of our army, he of those who framed them.
should have distinguished what por. Lord Fife supported the bill, and tion of it was militia. As to the spoke highly of the efficiency of the army of reserve, it could be only volunteers.
considered a depót for recruits at Lord Romney thought that if the present; and it was hardly fair to day of trial should come, the volun. reckon those that have been so reteers would be found equal to en cently balloted for that corps, as counter the troops of France; they regular troops. lle could not agree ought most certainly to be superior with a learned lord (lord Ellen. to the forced conscripts in the French borough), that the crown had the army. He wished to see officers prerogative of ordering the subjects that had seen service mix more a. of the realın on military duty, with. mong them. General Harris (who out the sanction of parliament. — commanded at the taking of Serin. This formed the most tyrannical gupatam) had not thought it beneath feature of the French government,