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noble Secretary of State, after wbich he referred to ihe fate of the country with regard to its internal strength in the reign of Elizabeth, when an invasion was threatened by means of the Spanish Armada, and the different periods when there existed a danger of invasion, particularly after the expulsion of the Suarts, at the different periods of 1713, 1742, and 1745. He entered into a warm panegyric of the sytem of the militia, a futtem to the operation of which, he said, his family owed the throne-he stated the great increase that had been made to the militia in The course of the war, which commenced in the year 1783; it was no less an addition Than from 32,000 to 114,000. He expressed his fatissaclion at the increased strength of the country. He said, he should always be atached to the militia system, and he trusted, that in recruiting the militia, reference would be had to that portion of the itrength of the country which was to be found in the Highlands of Scotland. It was a part of the country in which the men were particularly qualified for foldiers. Thinking, as he did, the present measure could not obtain his support. He had no wish or de fire to oppose his Ma. jesty's Ministers, for he was of opinion, that had his Majesty's Ministers broke off the negotiation founer, they would have dune an improper act: but having ai lengih broken it off, and commenced war, it was their duty to have advised offenfive and not defensive measures. He believed no country ever went to war with so much unanimity, and it was therefore the duty of his Majesty's Ministers to recommend strong measures. He should wish to propose to raise 40,000 men for England, and 8,coo men for Scotland: if the population of that country would admit of more, he would have more failed: 18,000 men were as much as Ireland could afford. Considering the present situation of Europe ; considering the conduct of that inadly ambitious tyrant, the Corsican harlequin of mischief, he saw nothing that ought to excite alarm. He was not afraid of him, or any attempi he had it in his power to make; he would find those who were ready to meel him, if he ventured to come here. He wilhed to raise 43,000 men thronghout the United Kingdom for general ser. vice, to go north, fouth, east, and west, and to be officerer by his Maj«fly's officers only; he would have them raised under the promise that they should be discharged at the end of the war.
He also proposed that they should have his Ma. jefty's bounty the same as other soldiers; that they should be occasionally replaced, and be liable to lerve in America, the
East or West Indies, or any part of Europe, where theit service might be necessary. The force now to be raised, it was true, amounted to 50,000 men ; but these, he contended, would not be so efficient as 40,000 to go all over the world. He was desirous of having an offensive force, and not merely a defensive one. His Royal Highness faid, he was ar no cime disposed 10 support motions for the production of papers, but he could wish to move for an account, shewing the amount of the existing naval force of france and Spain. He should rejoice to see the whole force of France and Spain venture out. Sure he was it would never find its way back, but would be brought into the ports of Great Britain. He observed, that while France was governed by an ambitious man, the plan of an invasion of this country might be attempted; it therefore became us to be fully prepared; and thinking the measure proposed inadequate, he felt it his duty to oppose ir.
Earl Grosvenor observed, that it was desirable every degree of exertion possible should be made. He was happy to find there was that vigour in the measures of his Majesty's Minif. ters which he always expected from them. The only doubt feemed to him to be with regard to the application of the force to be raised. The noble Secretary of State had given merely the outline of his plan. He hoped care would be taken, when the bill was brought forward, that there should be no impediments with respect to recruiting for the line. The mode of raising these 50,000 men was by the systein which had been adopted for the last fifty years. Their Lord.. fhips would observe, that the persons ballotted for the militia were represented by others. This struck him as a defect in the militia system If it was a defect, it was necessary to conSider what other mode could be adopted. The other that presented itself was, that those ballotted for should be obliged io serve personally. To this there were objections ; it approached too much to the system adopted in France, and besides was not according to the general principles of the militia system. Another was, that they thould serve unless they could find substitutes for a given sum, such as would not interfere with raising troops of the line. This he threw ovi, that his Majesty's Ministers might turn the subject in their minds. He undoubtedly rejoiced that this propofition had been made, because, conducted as he had no doubi the force to be raised would be, it must be more efficient than if VOL. IV. 1802-3.
the defence of the country was intrusted to volunteers. No one was more disposed than himself to do justice to the zeal and bravery evinced by the volunteers in the course of the lalt war, but it must be evident to every one, it was imporo, fible, with regard to them, that such a system of discipline could be carried into effect, as would render their services efficient to meet the exigencies of the country.
The Earl of Carnarvon said, It is difficult, without a fuller detail of the plan opened by the noble Secretary, to enter at large inio the projected system of defence, though I ceriainly have strong objections. The outline, however, his been sufficiently ma ked to render it imposible to let it pass with out some observation, left silence Mould be in erpreted into acquiescence, whillt I feel it my duty to resist the principles from whence it flows, and any plan derived from luch a source in every fiage in which it shall present itself. The illustrious person in the seat below me has truly observed, that this system of defence is objectionable, for the very reason that it is a syfem of defence simply, and on that accoun: not calculated, according to the King's message, to prosecute the war with vigour: the objection is most forcible, and of the utmost importance; for a greater folly cannot be committed than to press into a war for any reason, and prepare only for defence; in this objection I entirely concur with the illustrious person ; nor is the objection lessened by the intended reservation to the men raised by the proposed ballot, that they may at iheir pleasure enlist from the stipulated defena sive, into the regular unlimited service. This reservarion. in the very act that creates the limited service is an acknowledgment of its efficacy, admi's the want of what is called a disposeable force without providing for it ; leaving it to chance, and to a double enlistment, which is a gross waste of the public resources, first by the plunder of the ballotted man who individually pays for his home defence and is deprived of it, and by ihe second purchase of the same recruit from one public service to another. The illustrious person also said, that we are not at war specifically for Malia, but for the insupportable insults and ambitious encroachments of France: I must in this take the liberty to differ in opinion, though indeed, by the fingular management of his Majesty's Ministers, cvery man avoids the ministerial reason for the war, and adopts some cause in his own opinion more adequate and justifiable ; but no man who has read the negotia
tions on the table can disguise to himself, that if ten years lease (as a noble Earl termed it in a former debate) of Malta and the reversion of Lampedora had been conceded to the ul. tiinarum of Ministers, we should not now be at war; they leave us indeed to fight in imagination for any of the insults or encroachments we please ; but when we have. bled and paid for our own imaginary wars, they will, if they act up to their own sense of their duty and of the public interest, make peace when the objects of their war are obtained. Whether the cause for which they have plunged the country into war is an adequate cause, or wheiher the insults and encroachments which Ministers, by concessions, submiffions, and feeble remonstrances, have encouraged, are better grounds, is not a matter at present of ma erial discussion ; the last is certainly not the war which Ministers, under his Majesty's prerogative, have engaged us in. But whatever may be the cause of the war, we must be the victims if we do not prepare to prosecute it with vigour; instead of which, the noble Secretary has opened his plan of defence, which is highly objectionable in its limited object, and in its source is an unjust and oppreslive levy by requisition, falling unequally, cruelly burihensome on some individuals, and exempting large classes, equally, or more able to take their thare of the public busthens. A ballot is a tax to raise money under the pretence of raising men; it is calculated only to discharge the public purse from the expence of the levy, and throw it on any individual, rich or poor, without any confideration of justice, without attention to any principle of equitable distribution of public burihens, according to the abilities to bear them ; it is a tax founded on no sound principle of taxation. The pretence is, that men, not money, is fought; this is a fraudulent artifice. A ballot has no pecu. liar advantages in railing men; on the contrary, it is not in any view comparable for that purpose to the old mode of raising recruits by what the illustrious person who lately (poke, calls the King's bouniy. Is in the scarcity of men which has forced Governinent to this mode, which, contrary to their wish, involves an unjust tax? The scarcity equally exiits to the foriner, if it in fait exists, norwic standing the increased population. The farmes can no more find the non-existing man than Government can; but it will be said, I suppose, that the ballotted man, who would not be tempted to become a recruit and serve in the ranks, from caly fortune and repugnant habits of life, will, by a ballot, be forced to serve himself if no substitute can be found, and the scarcity will by this means be removed. Do the authors of this plan mean seriously, or expect, that men whom education, fortune, and habit in lite, render unfit for the ftation, will submit to serve in the ranks and do the duty of a comxnon soldier, mixed with them, liable to the same realment of every fort, and subject to the sanie coercion? If they do expect this, they will involve the country in the utmost confulion, in the most difficult and preming moments ; for no legislative authority, or common course of legal coercion, can produce such submission; men may be compelled by a fine to purchase a substitute, if he is to be found within the amount of the fine : this I have heard called a voluntary tax, because cholen by the party in preference to a greater evil imposed. Money extorted by the pistol of a highwayman is as voluntary. The argument is insult added to the oppreilion : a greater evil redeemable by a fine, is a tax.(and meant as fuch) enforced by a heavy penal coercion; it is a tax in intention as well as effect, and the most oppreffive because the inost unequal that can be deviled: ii is a tax which ought to be levied in proportion to the pecuniary abilities of the country at large, without partial exemptions; it is a lax which does not affect the wealthy body of the clergy; it seach's no property poffefTed by persons above 45 and under 15; it exempts the universities, women, and all peifons, whom the ballot, under the presence of raising soldiers, does not subject to the pecuniary fine ; to those who are 100 poor 10 pay the fine, it is a mere press warrant, except, perhaps, that The parith may, as in the militia ballot (to which the noble Secretary affimilares ii) be called upon to give a pecuniary gratification to such paupers as are drawn, in which case the operation of the tax is more extensively unjust and unequal ; for then not only the above list of cxemptions from the bal. lot, but the list of exemptions from the payment of this pe. cuniary gratification, is most oppressively increased, as it includes all the monied interests of the kingdom, stock-holders, merchants, tradesmen, placemen, pensioners, and the numetous classes of wealthy persons who have escaped the operalion of ihe poor rates.
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