Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

ministers, the honourable dispatch disagree

knew, there were offices which that plan had to go through; offices to which one set of ministers might be more agreeable than another. At all events the dispatch did not entirely depend on his right honourable friend. But this was the way of ministers, they always set up a vague and indefinite cry. Sometimes the church was in danger, sometimes one mode of recruiting was good, sometimes another. But his right honourable friend long ago had felt the unfitness of temporary expedients for permanent cvils. Even in the school of the great founder of expedi. ents (Yir. Pitt), he had not entirely approved of these, but hall only acquiesced in giving them a trial. Ministers talked of emergency, but there was no end of their emergencies; and, instead of having a permanent system to jucet real emergencies, they were always calling out emergencies, and resorting to expedients to inect them. But these expedients could not always answer, and they were attended with this mischief, that they exhausted the coun.

try, and by that means destroyed the materials on which • a permanent ineasure woulil have to work.

Mr. Johnstone supported the clause. The bill propose ed to raise the men necessary to supply a former vote, which amounted to 216,000 men, of which, in point of fact, only 152,000 were in existence; of course the neces.. sity of a measure of this sort could not be questionedd, par. ticularly by those who by their vote of last year recognized the necessity of a supply which was still wanting.

Mr. Wilberforce thought the opposition to this bill one of the extraordinary effects of viewing things through party medium; particularly so far as that opposition was grounded upon the denial that necessity arose out of the present emergency for the increase of our regular army. But much as lo deprecated the langnage of ifiese on one side of the House, who denied the exigency of the present occasion, he deprecatedl still more the object of them on the other side, who by the clanse now under consideration, woulil, he ferred, deprive the system of his right honourable friend (Mr. Wincham) of fair play. As an advocate for tilat system, he wished that it should be left to a free and uninterrupted operation, and therefore he sbould oppose this clausc. lle was very anxious that the princi. ple of the training bill should be put in operation, and if an impedimeist stood in its way through any imperfection in the structure of the present measure, he thought it was

of

of little consequence compared to the object in view, if the House should be obliged to sit a month longer in order to consider of the best means to remcdy that imperfection.

Lord Temple observed that the system of recruiting es. tablished by the last administration, produced 10,074 men from January to October 1806, more than were raised within the same period of 1805 by the additional force act and ordinary recruiting combined, while the desertions in the former period were above 200) less. This statement the noble lord quoted from the papers on the table, which fully shewed the efliciency of that measure, which it was the object of the clause before the Ilouse to destroy by a side wind. Tlie noble lorl adverted to the language of the noble secretary of state (Castlereagh) relative to his régard for the militia, and his former professions of a desire to have the pay of the officers of that body augmented, which professions, however, be had not thought proper to act upon since he came into oltice. Although the principle of the bill was objectionable to the militia officers, the noble lord admitted that in its details it was rendered as agreeable as possible. lle pointed out the unequal pressure of the ballot, which would fall almost entirely on she poor, in consequence of the number and rank of ihe personis exempted from it, particularly through the volunteer institution, and expressed a wish to haye some scttled system established with regard to the militia, in order that all those connected with that hody might clearly understand what was meant to be done with it in future. For its character and purpose had undergone such an alteration of late ycars, that it was now left in a state of complete uncertainty."

Sir J. Seabright, although he approved of the bill, disapproved extremely of the present clause, because he thougly it would interfere with the excellent system of recruiting, established in the last session, and because it would produce discontents in the arny, naturally to be apprehended, from the unequal terins of enlistment. ** Colonel Wood spoke in favour of the clause.

Mr. Il'indham admitted the exigcncy of the present crisis, which he had never been disposed to deny. B'it this he would deny, that the present mcasure was calculat. ed cither to meet the present exigency, or to provide the ineans of permanent security. To the latter, indeed, it

did not pretend. It was one of those temporary expedients, of which the country had seen so much of late years, and to get rid of which altogether was one of the great objects of the last administration. For they did not like expedients of this nature, which afforded no aid for the moment, by any mcans equal to the injury they did to the sources of our future supply. They considered such expedients as mere drams and cordials, which are not only bad omens of the state of those by whom they are employed, but under which the constitution is sure not figuratively, but literally, to sink in the end..

The main question in the bill before the House the right honourable gentleman pointed out to be this: whether the country gained or lost any thing by it? It was a matter of doubt in his mind, whether the proposed transfer from the militia to the regular army would in the present state of the country be of any more consequence to our military strength ihan the transfer of a set of men from one regiment to another, and he was well aware of the loss that would, result from this measure, particularly in its interference with the present system of recruiting. With regard to the merit of this system, which had been so much decried, he would leave it to be determined upon by fair comparison. It was remarkable that when gentlemen, hostile to it, aitempted any comparison, they wished to omit the boys it recruited; forgetting altogether, or wishing to put out of view, the boys raised under the systems with wbich they compared it. But their's were boys of another sort; those who had got into their sccond childhood (a laugh), who neither were nor cver could be fit for the army. The gentlemen on the other side could not surely attempt to put such systems or their produce in competition with the plan of the late administration. If a system of that'nature, if the one before the llouse, for instance, were to run a race with the plan he had the honour to bring forward, the race might be even for a short time, possibly the former might have some advantage, but it would soon stop, while his plan would be still progressive, and the former would as soon overtake it as a tree (a laugh). The right honourable gentleman in aliuding to the volunteers, denied that he had ever ultered any thing with regard to that body, which if fairly represented and rightly understood, could have given offence. At the same time he must eyer pro

test

[ocr errors]

test against ille principle of having so large a proportion of our military population, not actually disposable at the will of the crown, and rendering comparatively useless 50 much of the spirit, zeal and patriotism of the counties. Adverting to the clause immediately under consideration, the right honourable gentleman considered it as the cloven foot of this bill. For though it did not attempt to tear up by the root the plan of the last administration, it proposed to strip off the bark to throw lime into the tree for the purpose of destroying it. But the object was worthy of the gentlemen on the other side. They were adverse to the existence of a measure, which, if allowed to go on without interruption, would have formed a distin, guished record of the judgment of those with whom it ori. ginated, and a standing reproach to those by whom it was opposed.

Lord Castlereagh entered at considerable length into a defence of his military system, and insisted that on a comparison it would be found considerably more productive of immediate benefit to the country than that of the right honourable gentleman. The House then divided, and there were: For the clause

90 Against it

46

50

Majority Mr. Ålderman Shaw brought up a clause to exempt the city of London from any compulsory levy, which was agreed to, and made part of the bill. It was then ordered to be read a third time the next day. .

Upon the consideration of the report of the militia completion bill, Mr. Yorke declared that he thought it to be his duty to oppose the measure, and enter his protest against it. He warmly defended the principles of the army of reserve act.

Lord Castlereagh' maintained that the present measure was fully competent to every object for which it was designed.

Mr. P. Carew declared, that he thought that if the army of reserve had instead of being so called, been called the militia of the United Kingdom, it would have been more popular, and wuld hive obtained more men.

Lord Castlereagh brought up a clause, which was added to the bill, exiending the levy to Scotland. Another

clasue" clause was added, on the motion of Alderman Shaw, ex. empting the city of London from the operation of the 3:11.

Sir Charles Poole brought up a clause to exempt persons in his majesty's dock-yards, and some others, from Compulsory service, Lord Castlereagh opposed it, and the clause was lost. The bill was then ordered to be read a third time the next day.

The report of the Irish militia transfer bill was ordered to be taken into consideration the next day..

The further consideratioa of the report of the Irish dis. arıning bill was ordered for the next day.

The other orders were then disposed of, and the House adjourned.

II O USE OF LORD S.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 4. Several bills on the table were forwarded in their respective stages.

Mr. I lobhouse, and several other meinbers of the House of Cominons, brought up several bills, returned with the amendments of the Lords agreed to, and two other bills, which were read a first time.

The public accountants' interest bill was read a second time, and committed for the next day.

The fort S. George bill passed through a committee with soine verbal amendments, moved by Lord Ilawkes. bury. Report the next day.

Previous to the committal of this bill,

Lord Holland presented a petition from the merchants and inliabitants of Liverpool, against the East ludia bouds bill; his lordship observed, that this petition was signed by 1600 most re pcctable persons, and of course was justly entitled to the best consideration of their loril. ships. At this period of the session it could hardly be expected that a subject of such importance could be gone into; but in another place, to which it was scarcely regalhar 10 allude, he believed it was understood that the affairs of the Ląst ludia company were to be brought under the most mature consideration of Parliainent, early in the Text session, and he should, therefore, content himself, for the prescit, with moving that the petition du lie on the table.

« AnteriorContinuar »