Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

exemptions, voluntarily acquiesce in the operation of this tax, fo circumstanced? No person will, I am sure, affert it; but it is wished that it thould pass unobserved that it is a pecuniary levy, and be supposed a levy of men from the necessity of getting men speedily. If expedition in raising the men is ite motive, fine instead of serving, defeats the purpose, and forced service in the ranks, of all classes, is impracticable ; and I wilh the reason for supposing a ballot the most expeditious mode of getting men was stated-it is certainly past my comprehension. The delay in forming the plan, which has waited the whole space between the King's melsage till the present moment ; ihe production and discussion of the bill in both houses before it passes, the preparation for the ballot, the ballot and appeals, must all produce a necessary loss of time, before the farmer, the agent of the gentleman, of the tradesman, &c. on whom the ballot falls, begins his attempt to recruit. The recruiting serjeant would have begun on ihe King's message of expected war; but let the farmer, 'parish officer, or gentleman's agent, start at the Same moment with recruiting serjeants, does any noble Lord really persuade himself that this last class of people are better calculated for the purpose of tempring recruits to the service than a serjeant? The theatre of the ferjeant is the alehouse ; his dress, figure, the story of the deeds he had done, of his successful amours, work powerfully on all the paflions of youth, aided by liquor, and the ferjeant has no competitor in his object : the other recruiting class is not the alehouse associate of the man he is to tempı; he has neither the seducing dress and improved figure, nor can he raise the tempting image of prosperous heroism and gallantry; he cannot be supposed to have equal means to allure, and he has in every corner of the market a competitor in his distressed neighbour. The recruit foon finds that he is bid for, and withholds himself for a higher price. In the ferjeant's negotiation money is not the object; for that is fixed, and the inclination for the service is alone to be excited; but it any perfon could suppose that the farmer and serjeant with equallevy money, hadequal talents for the business, ihe farmer inuit make up for the long lost time, before the ballot has called him into action ; so that the ferjeant has, under these circumftances, greatly the advantage in speedily completing his levy of men. But admitting his superior skill and address, which cannot be doubted, the expedition with which he will have com


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

pleted his levy will bear no comparison with the flower progress of any other man; and no imaginary advantage can be fupposed in the balloted man, if the farmer's fine and the recruiting serjeant's bounty is the same. But, instead of specific fines, the farmer, the opulent tradesman, and gentleinan are to be dragged from their domestic occupations, 10 endure the unaccustomed feverities of service in the ranks; unless they can oo any terms find a substirute within a limited time, it reverts to the case of an oppressive tax enforced by torture. Ministers feem ignorant of ihe principle of laxation, or ihat the resources of the country, which they have so often in their mouths, lay in the equitable distribution of the burthens of the statc, in proportion to the abilities of each person to bear them. Where these equitable rules are observed, the country may deteft the rulers who involve them in the hard neceflity of diminishing their comforts; but if they felt perfect justice and equality in the distribution of the burthens, they would acquiesce with more readiness and patriotism in the neceslities of the times; but called upon with molt palpable and obvious contempt of every equitable principle; as when an unequal levy of money is called a levy of men ; a land 1ax, 10 avoid its opprellive and partial weight, and to cast a veil on the breach of faith io Scoilaud, is called an income tax; or a gross act of public bankrupicy is to be sanctified by the equitable name of an equal tax on income, whilst the commercial interests escape through channels art. fully provided by themselves. When Ministers, unfit for their larions, harass the country with these absurd projects, The interests of the nation must suffer, and discontents, and probably resistance to their measures, may arise when nothing but unapimity ought to prevail. Indeed, from the observarions which my mind has been led ro on the conduct of his Majesty's Ministers in the negotiation of the Treaty of Ainiens, and on all their subsequent administration of the public interests 10 this moment, it seems that inuch more danger is to be apprehended to the nation, from those in whole hands the direction of the public interests is placed, than from the rancour, malevolence, and power of the enemy who asuils us.

The Earl of Suffolk said, he was perfe&tly sensible that at the priseni crili. men must be railed: whether the present mode of railing them was the buít, he did not know. What


he rose to state was, merely as a military man, his opinion as to the application of the force to be raised.

First of all, he wished to ask wherber his Majesty's Ministers had any military plan. A Roman general was never sent to command a province, without having a military plan with him, containing the roads, rivers, and bridges. He was confident every thing had been done by his Majesty's Ministers that ought to have been done ; but he withed to know whether their plan embraced the whole country, and whether it embraced Ireland. It ought to go to the whole extent of the country. He had proposed five years ago, that there should be a military survey of the country, and that 20,000 men should be raised and placed in the centre of the country. He was of opinion, à force should be alleinbled, which, by means of carriages, might be at any point of attack in 30 hours. If this plan was adopted, we might always have a greater force than France could bring together at any one time. He had stated, that plans should be arranged for enabling Lords Lieutenants to raise iroops, and that an efficieni Deputy Licutenant should be appointed, who should give orders for every ihing necessary to be done. His Lordship observed, that the accidents of war were not in our power, Providence directed them ; but it was our duty to adopt the best means in our power. He hoped there would be an arıny of reserve commanded by an officer of whom the country had an high opicion. He would name that officer -it was Lord Grey. He knew he might be trusted with the command of the army of reserve. He could name another noble Lord near him (Moira) whose military conduct equally qualified him. It was a reflection on the country not to make use of the talents of such men.

He could mention another gallant officer who had saved the country by gaining possession of Egypt from the French. His Majesty's Ministers, since the peace, had been tearing the laureis from his brows; they had not given him any separate command.

Earl Grosvenor called the noble Lord to order. He did not think it regular, when the object of their Lordships' discusfie.n was to send up an address to his Majesty, for any noble Lord to enter inio the merits of


other of ihe conduct of his Majesty's Ministers.

The Duke of Clu-ence defended the line of argument which had been adopied by the noble Lord; and said, that, if his speech had been irregular, the mode of arguing which



had been used by himself in addresting their Lordships, previously on the subject, in every word which he uttered must have been irregular also. · Lord Suffolk observed, that he knew the propriety of the different rules which had been adopied by their Lordihips, as points of order, and was as ready to comply with them, as any noble Lord in that House. He had often been called to order, but had not ever but once been proved to be out of order.

Earl Grosvenor appealed to the Chancellor.

The Lord Chancellor observed, that in point of fact not one of their Lordthips had spoken ftri&ly to order. The propofirion was to address his Majesty for his gracious message, and give him an assurance that efficacious means would be taken to support him in the measures recommended for the security of the kingdom and the prosecution of the war. The noble Secretary of State, who moved it, was rather out of order in Italing what the plan was, but he thought he Thould have deserved animadverlion if he had interrupted him. The course adopted by the noble Mover had led to a discussion, to limit which was beyond his power.

Lord Car;sfort expressed his surprise at what had just fallen from the noble and learned Lord, and from the noble Earl who first started the subjeci of order. The noble Secretary of S:ate had stated the outline of a plan proposed to be adop!ed, in conformity to the sentiments expressed in the meliage ; and be thought it was perfectly competent to every noble Lord to deliver his approbation or disapprobation of that plan, without being liable to the charge of being either irregular or out of order; and he conceived their Lordships being told fo was an infringement on the privileges of the House, and of the freedom of debate.

The Lord Chancellor again left the woollack, and denied that in any thing that he had faid, he had infringed in the smallest degree the privileges of the House. The noble Earl had been called to order, and, in his opinion, very properly, for having deviated from the question immediately before the I louse, which he again in Gited was folely relative to the address, and that the dilcutiion with regard to the plan irself, ought not regularly to take place till the day appointed for the confideration of the fanie.

The Duke of Clarence declared the great dcference he paid in the opinions of the learned Lord on the woollack, but


read that part of his Majesty's message which expresses a wish that their Lordships would concert measures for the defence and security of the united kingdom," and observed that the noble Lord was only following up the desire expressed in his Majesty's molt gracious communication, by pointing out what means appeared to him inost likely to carry the object of the message into execution.

Lord Carlife said, that as to the point of order, he should say nothing, but he thought that any noble Lord rising in his place, in that House, and giving his opinion, as to what general or generals should he appointed to commands, was certainly an interference with the prerogative of the Crown, in whom was vested the sole power of making such appointmenis, either in case of peace or war.

The Earl of Suffolk said, he would go to another point. He then mentioned the great utility of the marines, a corps that would be of the inost essential service both at sea and on Ihore. He recommended Government to employ as many of them as possible. In the conclusion he approved of the address, because no man could object to thanking his Majesty for his gracious message, and additional forces must be raised.

The Earl of Moira spoke next.-In answer to the flattering compliments which the partiality of a noble Friend of mine (Lord Suffolk) has induced him to bestow upon me, I have only to say, my Lords, that I am perfectly satisfied with whatever destination my Sovereign has been graciously pleased to allot to me, and that were his Majesty to call upon me to serve in the ranks as a private, I should in that subordinate ftation on theath my sword with the same cheerful alacrity and ardent zeal as if I were called to the chief command of the most numerous and gallant army. While, however, I feel eager to express these sentiments, and to second with my beft en leavours whatever plan may be proposed for a vigorous and effe&ual defence of the country, I cannot forbear faying, that as to the turn which the debate has taken, I do not ima. gine that there is any thing irregular in what has been observed by my noble Friend (Lord Suffolk). The object of his Majesty's message, now under the confideration of your Lordships, is the most effectual mode to be adopted to prepare the defence and establifh the security of the country; and on this subjeđ it calls for the sentiments and advice of your Lordships. In order, therefore, to chalk out that line of defence which it may be most expedient to pursue, it is doubtless of Yol. IV. 1802 3. Hh


« ZurückWeiter »