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must also dn its duty. Every thing ought to be done that the mind can invent or genius plan. Every officer of consideration in the country Thould be called on to give his opinion; nor Nightly, or in words, but deliberately, and in writing ; and tor such opinion he ought to be responsible. A number of new ideas which no sirgle man could produce, would thus be truck out. I am sorry to be under the necesiıy of thus objecting to the only mode of raising a force which Ministers have proposed; and must enter my protest against it, so far as ir tends to cut up the regular army. Upon the whole it is the most impolitic step that could be taken in the present Situation of the country.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said it was not his intention to follow the right hon. Genileman through the great variety of observations he had thought proper to make; but he would submii it to the candijil judgmeni of ihe House, whether his Majesty's Ministers were liable to the right hon. Gentle. man's charge of bringing forward tardy and ill considered mealures of preparation. It was now only five weeks since his Majeity's mesage had been delivered io the House, and within that period 50,000 men had been voted, and the supplementary militia had been called ont. Therefore he thought Ministers had not preserved that kind of dignified calm which the right hon. Gentleman would ascribe to them. He disclaimed the impuration which the right hon. Gentleman would attach to him and his colleagues, of willing to conceal the aclval fiate of the couniry; and the facts he had ftated relative to the increase of the navy and she calling out of the supplementary militia were fufficient to inew that the affertion of the right hon. Genileman, that Ministers were Secret in their preparations, was quite unfounded. In addition to those faits it was now proposed to raise 50,000 men by ballot, fimiles to the militia, and free from iwo great objections which that right hon. Gentleman himselt had frequently urged against the milisid syltem, namely, that it was to be inore extended in its service, and thai it was to be officered by men of military experience; a circumstance which must secure that discipline which conlliured the life and soul of an army. The proposed force, therefore, was. not liable to the objections which the right hon Gentleman would apply to the militia. Many of the arguments of the sight hon. Gentleman he was ready to adunit were eniiled 10 great weighe; and if it was now a maiter of option whether it was better to have a regular than a militia force, he was
free to say that he would have no difficulty in preferring the former, if in the present circumstances it were practicable to raise such a force by the ordinary means within reasonable lime. The greater part, however, of the objections which the right hon. Gentleman advanced that evening to the milivia system, would have come with more propriety in the course of the discussions which took place last sessions upon ihat subject ; but, though the right hon. Gentleman now thought proper so strongly to urge his opposition to the meaJure before the Committee, because it was founded on the plan of the militia, yet he admitted that the raising of a regular army in lieu of it was quite impracticable. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman's only reason for declining to vote against this measure was, that it was better to have the proposed force than none at all : but the right hon. Gentleman's chief charge against Ministers was, their delay in bringing forward this measure. That delay, however, was designed with this view, that both the regular and supplementary militia should be fully supplied before the balloting necessary for the force now under consideration should commence. Such was the motive which influenced that conduct in Ministers of which the right hon. Gentleman complained, and the rectitude of this molive he submitted to the consideration of the Committee. Ministers had proceeded by a gradual succession of measures 10 provide for the complete resistance of the enemy, and in a way which he trusted would, on the fullest and fairelt review, meet the approbation of the House. As to the righ: hon. Gentleman's revision of the militia fyllem, he would say that this was not the proper time for that discussion ; and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman how he cyuld suppose it possible to recruit a regular army to the number of 50,000 men without resorting to means of compulsion, which he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not himself approve ?
With respect to the danger of the country, he had no hesifation in saying that he never underrated it-neither in public nor private did he ever attempt to disguise it. He felt it to be of that nature which could be contemplated without dismay, but which no rational man could contemplate with indifference. To the right hon. Gentleman's ideas upon the propriety of raising men for the regular army for a limited iime, there were many objections, the force of which he felt, particularly ir consequence of our colonial poffeffions ; for, supposing, men were enlisted for only five or fix years, (and Vol. IV. 1802-3. Mm
he doubted whether recruits in general cared much whether the period was for life or for a limited period) what numerous inconveniences would arise to the service, especially where regiments were stationed in America, the Wett Indies, or any reinote quarter of the empire. Perhaps in the event of a whole regiment being ordered home, or on any expedition, only the skeleton of such regiment would be forthcoming. In fact, he remarked, the system of the right hon. Genileman scarcely ever prevailed in any nation which had colonial poffeßions, and in this country it would be quite ab. surd. Reiurning to the measure before the Committee, and the observation of the right hon. Gentleman, that it would create a difficuliy and impediment, if not an informountable obstacle, in the way of recruiting the army, he would ask of the House to consider its character and object fully, and if any better thould be fuggefted, to prefer it. If any Member could devile a plan for raising a force wishin the proper time by means more effectual and constitutional, hecertainly should embrace it ; but even the right hon. Genileman hiinself admitted that it was impossible. Why then did he oppose it? But his opposition was not quite correctly founded, for his arguments generally applied to extremes. He always dwelt upon comparisons between the regular army and the miliiia, and overlooked that middle course between them which was precisely the description of the force now under consideration ; therefore the right hon. Gentleman's objections did not Atrially apply to this measure. He highly valued the fervices of the regular army, of which the right hon Gentleman had said so much; but however he relied on the aflittance, or upon the zeal and exertions of our other forces, he begged the right hon. Gentleman, the House, and the country to understand, ihar Government did not mean entirely to rely on these means, and that the proposition now before the Commiitee was not the limit of the arrangements in which they meant to confide for the atiainment of those obje&s which induced the commencement of the war; for, independently of the means already referred to, he had no doubt whatever, should circumstances render it necessary, the great body of the population of the country would, upon an appeal from their Sovereign, stand forward in defence of their rights and independence. Upon the prompi assistance of such a voluntary force he confidently reckoned; such a force as must render the country impregnable, and as must convince ihe person who now directs the government of France,
that it would be absurd to speculate upon a successful invation of this country.
Perhaps it is happy for the future interests of this empire that the occasion now offers, of which we should decisively avail ourselves, to thew that any projects of attack upon our finances and independence, such as the French Government seems to entertain, must be vain and futile. The right honourable Gentleman again exhorted the Committee to look at the plan before shem, to suggest any improvements that might occur to them, or a complete substitute, if they could devise it. Without enquiring into the general systems alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman, which it was not now necessary to discuss, he begged the Committee to consider whether the plan submitted to their judgment was or was not fit to be adopted in the present pof. , fure of affairs, and calculated duly to second the other arrangements made to meet the situation of the country. If it was so thought, he begged of Gentlemen to turn in their minds, and to recommend the best means which might occur to thema of rendering it more effectual, and carrying it into complete execution.
Mr. Pitt expressed his fincere concurrence in the last rentiment of his right hon. Friend (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), and his entire approbation of the principle of the plan before the Committee, but that he disapproved of some of its provisions. He wilhed, however, i0 reserve all discussion of the detail for a future opportunity.
Colonel Bufard rose to vindicate the militia, which he could not submit to hear vilified, traduced, and degraded, as it had been by. The right hon, Gentleman on the door. He did not wonder at the language now used by the right hon. Gentleman, for he remembered a circular letter, which had inued from the War Office on a former occasion, in which nut only militia officers, but the officers of the army had been vilified. The letter had issued on the subject of some abuses, and the answer which he had himself, as a militia officer, returned to the commandant of the district, and which he hoped had been returned to the War office, was, thai if any officers were goilty, they ought to be punished, without insulting the whole body indiscriminately. He found the hon. Gentleman had brought the fame sentiments with hiin out of ofa fice, which he had entertained while in office. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that mililia officers were not as capable of eltablishing and maintaining fubordination, as officers of the line; but, he would aik what was more likely M m 2
to promote a due subordination, than soldiers of the militia ; what more capable of animating them to confidence in each other, in the hour of danger? This was the chief excellence of the militia system, and one of the greatett beauties of the English conftitution.' He recollected to have heard that right hon. Gentleman talk much of standing armies as dangerous to the constitution, and of the militia as the constiu. tional force of the kingdom. He had known an instance of riots, where the peasantry had joined the militia, and had been the inftrument of fupprefling the disturbances, on which occasion the thanks of Government had been returned to the people. There was one part of his speech in which every man must agree, that if a French force landed in the country, every man should bear arms.
Colonel Wood strongly recommended the appointment of a permanent military council, in order to direct the conduct of the war. It was to a similar system of management, he believed, the superior plans of the French army, and their signal success during the last war, were to be attributed. He thought it would be wiser to have a large body of marines raised than any other disposeable force that had been suggested.
Mr. Windham said, he could not agree with bis right hon. Friend (Mr. Pitt) that the present was an unfit day to enter into discussions on the subject now bronght forward. On the contrary, he thought it highly proper, even at the outset, for every Gentleman to give his opinion ; because Government would by that means receive the benefit of their suggestions. He could affure the hon. Gentleman who had en. tered into a defence of the militia officers, that he did not in the least degree speak slightingly of that respectable and useful body of men. As to the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he seemed surprised that no plan had been recommended in the room of ihe present. He (Mr. Windham) thought he had spent a considerable deal of time in recommending another plan, which was, that at present men might be raised by ballot, but there should be no fubftitution; or if there were substitutes, that Government should raise them. With respect to the plan for the improvement of the army, he wilhed to see it acted upon at this very moment ; and he thought it could be done without interfering with any other one that might be immediately necessary.
Mr. Pitt disclaimed any intention of conveying an idea that this was not a proper time for the discussion of the measure before the Committee with those who might disapprove