Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

necessity that your Lordships enter into the particulars of the plan proposed. Without taking these particulars into confideration, it must be impoffible for your Lordships to return ariy thing like a satisfactory answer in the proposed address to his Majesty. It is by no means indeed my intention to make any objection to it, for I perfectly agree with my learned and noble Friend on the woolfack, that it is impossible for the House not to concur in it. Neither am l'inclined to ohject to the measure which his Majesty's Miniiters intend to propose, for I conceive it to be the duty of every individual, 'at a crisis like the present, to exert every effort to smooth away the difficulties that may Nand in the way of the executive power, and to furnith them with every possible allistance in giving a prudent and energetic direction to the resources of the country. In that view, my Lords, I am thoroughly convinced that the hands of Ministers should be left unshackled, and their power wholly uncontrouled ; for more danger might be apprehended from larating them in the plan they laid down, than benefit could be derived from projecting a better plan, which could only protract the execution of the former. There is not a moinent to be loft, and what I inoft anxiously apprehend is, that the noble Secretary (Lord Hobarı) is not sufficiently aware of the expedition and dispatch which should be used in giving effect to his Majesty's most gracious message. I thould be forry indeed, my Lords, to stoop to any thing so mean as the misrepresentation of what was advanced by the noble Secretary of State, in order to ground an arguinent upon that misrepresentation ; but to ime ke seemed to have said, that he looked forward to future parliamentary discussion with a view to improve and mature the plan, of which at present he had only sketched the outline. To such procrastination, under such circumstances, I cannot bring myself to affent. There is not an hour, not a moment to be lost.. While your Lordihips are debating the enemy is acting; while we are devising plans of defence, they are executing means of attack; while we are idly preluding in a war of words, they will come on us in a war of action; they will surprize us unprepared, and overpower us flumbering at our fire-lides.

Occupat incautun, patriafque obtruncat adaras. On the activity of Ministers it is not in my power to be. stow any high-strained panegyric. On the 8ih of March they brought down a meisage from his Majesty, intimating The hostile projects of France, and they have since laid upon your Lordihips' table papers, which amply unfold the se

peated

peated insults and injuries which have been offered to this counisy by that power. If their feelings were at such these provoca , tions, as no doubt those of your Lord thips and the country, must be, must they not have foreseen that war was inevitable? must they not, and have they not, conjectured that, event, from the very consequences of the meflage which they then delivered, and from the character, with which they do not profess themselves to be unacquainted, of the person who now holds the helin of French affairs ? All this, my Lords, they must have been thoroughly acquainted with in the month of March, yet it is late in the month of June before they come forward to propose measures of security; and even when they are thus late in proposing them, they would fill advise protracting their execution, in the hopes of their being improved by parliamentary discussion. This surely is not the way of meeting such an enemy as that with whom we have to coniend.

Under that impression, my Lords, it cannot be my wish to enter into any detailed cxamination of the measure now brought forward: my anxious wilh is, that every possible means of defence may be immediately resorted to; and I cannot but parlake in the apprehensions of the illustrious person (the Duke of Clarence) who has so ably discussed the question before your Lordships, that the measure in agitation will not prove adequate to the emergency in which the country is now placed : it should open a wider view, a broader scene of a&ion; it Thould look to other points than those of mere internal defence. Dreadful, indeed, is the fcourge of. an hostile force invading our native soil, but next to it is the march of an hostile army pervading the bofum of a friendly counlry. The enemy who thus threatens or ravages whac we are most virally interelted in, we should endeavour to embarrass and annoy at every possible poini-we hould, more especially endeavour to alfail hiin where every feeling groans under his tyranny, and pants to be rescued from such servile subjugation. Since I last had the honour to address your Lordships on this topic, evenis have occurred closely connected with rheobject of his Majesty's message, and which must fiill come more nearly home in the feelings of your

LordThips. Since that period his Majesty's patrimonial possessions have been wrested from his paternal care in and even snould England be looked upon as disconnected with Hanover, still thould its lars he deeply lamenied. How much more Thould H.ha

ic

[ocr errors]

it affed us when all its relations are duly considered, mote especially when we behold the noble example of disinterestedness thus set to us by his Majesty, who fo cheerfully refigns himself to the facrifice of his personal interest, when he fees The interests of Britons endangered, as they now undoubtedly are? But it were a fatal error to suppose that the interefts of this country were not connected with ibose of Hanover ! If we are to lock unconcerned on the face of that country, in what light shall other countries be disposed to consider usi Can Europe any longer look with confidence to the broad shield of British prote&ion? This was a point on which we are most essentially concerned ; it is one on which your Lordships cannot bestow too much attention. Let your Lordships but consult the map, and you must quickly perceive in what ftuation we are placed. With the poflellion of the coasts of Holland and Hanover, how can we now possibly Come upon the back of the enemy? It muft therefore be no light charge against Ministers that they have lost such a point ; that they have deprived themselves of fuch a guard, and disarmed themselves of means fo material to the termination of the war.

As to the cause of the war, I must agree, my Lords, with the illustrious perfon who could not permit himself to believe that it was the poffeffion of Malta. It has indeed astonished me not a little that Ministers should have held it forth in that thape. In their general convi&tion the real cause of the war was, no doubt, the impossibility of continuing to submit to the injuries and insults of the French Government. Tamely to persevere in such a state of peace would be nothing short of inevitable ruin. We may have attempted incautiously to sumber under its shade ; but it has proved to be the Thade of a poisonous tree, the droppings from which have blittered us into sense. But now that we seemed to awake to our situation, what was proposed? A defensive, a merely defensive war! . From such a war could any success be rationally expected? What could be the effe&t of such a war but to wrap up the fpirit and energies of the country in the night-gown and flippers of routine? Were we not threatened with a danger of a nature and inagnitude that never before hung over this na, riop: How was it to be warded off? By vigilance, by promptitude, by decision. Yes; rise, rise, my country! rise, for you mot perish!-- You have, no doubt, my Lords, the feelings of Britons; but you must inspire them into others. blood continues to flow in our veins, but its influence must vibrate through the heart of the nation. No measure can be too vigorous to repel the giant mischief i hat affails us. For my part, my Lords, I must again repeat it, I am as proud to enter the ranks as a private, as to march at the head of an army. No personal feelings can be now indulged. The common danger calls for common exertion. By that alone can we repel it; and can we indeed continue to thrink and Mudder under the Thade of a colossus that deprives us of the light of heaven, and of the cheering inAuence of the fun? In vain would we look to Austria, to Rullia : : no; our security must be in our own spirit, our safety in our own strength. Did we not become timely aware of our danger, we might again have become the dupes of a miferable accommodation. But Providence seems to have at length opened the eves of Ministers, and snatched us from the gulf of irretrievable ruin, to which the acceptance of che enerny's terms would have hurled us. What have we now to look to but to measure the strength of thai enemy, and to prepare adequate powers to resist him. ' Relift him! no; we must cruth him, or we perish. For that purpose there is no facrifice or privation for which we must noi be prepared ; our purses and persons must be at the disposal of the country

mult

Let us but hope that the hands th:1 are to wield our strength, may know how to guide iis energies, and where to point its exertions. To the plan proposed I thall offer no objections; convinced, my Lords, that objectionable as it may be, it is wiser and more expedient to put it into immediate execution, than to lose time in devising a better, the operation of which must be deferred. In prosecuting, the measure now proposed, experience may suggest amendments; but no time is to be lost. As to the point of order, I am glad, my Lords, that it has not been so Itrictly adhered to as a noble Earl seemed to desire: if any irregularity has occurred, I own I rejoice in what has been called disorder ; it has suggested much to my thoughts; and I trust it has not suggested less to the minds of Ministers. But there are but trivial differences; and I trust all attention to them will be lost in the general eagerness to act with one heart and hand to meet a danger such as the country has had never before to encounter

Lord Nliulgrave rose, and began by complimenting the noble Lord who had just sat down, on the patriotic seniiments which he had just delivered— sentiments which did the noble Lord great honour, and could not fail, being so well

fimed, to produce the most useful and advantageous effect on the people at large. His Lordship faid, he agreed with the noble Lord in almost every word ihat he uttered. He should likewise vote for the address, though he did not quite approve of the intention of carrying his Majesty's message into effect, in the manner, the outline of which, his noble Friend, the noble Secretary of State, had opened to the House. If he understood him correctly, the 'inen raised by ballot were to be a: liberty to enlist inio the regular army, whenever they Thought proper. Such a measure would disgust the officers who were in command the iroops to be raised; for what. officer would be pleased to be expused to having one of his privates come up to him with his arms a.kimbo, and say ; “ I shall list in the army to.morrow?"

Lord Hobart spoke to order. His noble Friend had milunderstood him; he had only said, there was no clause of prohibition put into the bill to prevent the men from enlisting

Lord Julgrave resumed his speech, and expressed his unqualified approbation of this measure, becausc forty thousand men thus raised will enable an equal number of the troops of the line to act offensively; they will be an annoyance to the enemy whenever it thall please the Government in furtherance of its designs to employ them in active and offensive fervice; but without such a plan, the regular force to this amount would be confined to our shores, and be in a great measure useless. And why should they be restricted at such a time--or why should their proud spirit be represled? He well knew the feelings and sentiments of an Englich soldier, and he would advise to have them called forth-they were there : “ Tell me what I ain to do. -Define my duty. I regard not the difficulties that are to be encountered let me but know wha: I am to do, and my life shall be sacrificed, or the object shall be accomplished.” But, if he thinks vou trifle with him, or mean io impose on 'him, in vain will you hope for cordial or efficient exertion. He strongly reprobated the delicacy that may be felt with regard to persons who may be ballotted to serve in the cause of their country, and consequently in their own. It would be asked, Will you force there persons to serve if they cannot provide substitutes? Yes. When the country is in danger, ir is incumbent on all descriprions to come forward at the silk even of life, and crush ihe audacious foeDulce et decorum eji pro patria mori.

« ZurückWeiter »