Abbildungen der Seite

them. This Committee hould be composed of the most experienced and skilful officers ; and military men should be invited to give their advice and opinion, wiih regard to military operations. It was owing, in a great measure, to Committees of this kind, that France had gained such astonithing successes during the late war. The Committee laid down the plan for the General, and said to himn-" There is what you are to do, and it must be done.” This took away all responsibility from the general, with regard to the manner in which he was to exercise his discretion, and obliged hiin to make the most incommon efforis, in order to accomplish what he was ordered to do. These Committees were not composed of military men; but they had a clear and accurate knowledge of the state of the country, and of what mi. litary men ought to do. Their Lord ships mult recollect, lhat the operations in La Vendée were dire aed by Carnot, and that ihey were planned by Hoche, who was at that iime a serjeant of grenadiers. It was unnecessary for him to observe what the success of these operations was : but the example was sufficient to enforce his argument. He would ask, what the consequence might have been, if General Hoche had landed with his 25.000 men in Ireland ? He believed the consequence would have been, in all probability, the total lofs of that country to Great Britain

About this part of the noble Earl's speech

The Lord Chancellor rose, he said, to speak to a question of order. He hoped the noble Earl would excuse him for the interruption, as he could assure him, that what he was about to submit to the House, was no way connected with any part of the noble Earl's speech. The circumstance to which he meant to call their Lordfhips' attention was one which, for the first time, was communicated to him on that day; it was, that persons were then below at the bar of that House, taking notes of their Lordships' proceedings. He withed to make it known, that if a practice so directly contrary to the standing orders of the House was pursued, he would move to have the House cleared of all strangers, and then he would call their Lordships to decide, whether that practice was to be permitted or not. His Lordship at the same time looking and pointing towards the bar, observed, thai the persons 10 whoin he alluded were not unknown to him.

[There was one Gentleman at this time, and only one, taking noies of the Earl of Suffolk's speech ; and when the Wher of the Black Rou desired himn to withdraw from the

houlę, that

3 Hz

house, he refused to do fo, and persilied in taking noies. The Usher of the Black Rod then communicated this circumftance to the Chancellor; and that probably gave rise to the observations made by his Lord thip. We did not observe that this gentleman afterwards continued to take notes. 1

The Earl of Suff-lk resumed his speech : He said, there was another material point which his Majefty's Ministers ought to attend to, and that was, to encrease the cavalry : it was a force which would be of the utmost importance in case the enemy made a landing. It could act in every field into which the enemy might enter; and such was the nature of this country, that such entrance would be attended with difficulty, as almost every field was surrounded by a kind of for. tification. It was also extremely necessary that the soldiers thould be continually firing at marks. From a false species of economy, the soldiers, during the last war, were never supplied with a sufficiency of gunpowder. As a military man, he would say, that soldiers ought to be allowed a profusion of it, in order that they might be continually firing His Lord'hip then entered into several military deiails, with regard to the dir. cipline of soldiers : and then lamented that the spirit of the country did not appear to be sufficiently alive to a sense of its dangers, or sufficiently roused to repel them; and for that reason it was incumbcnt on every Member of that Houle, and on every gentleman of landed properiy, to go to his county, and, by his example and admonition, to raise up the fpirit of his tenants and neighbours, and point out to them the neceflity of coming forward in defence of the nation at large. Let the people know what they mult expect from a successful invasion on the part of France; let the miseries of Holland, Switzerland, and other countries on the continent, which France had conquered and pillaged, be pointed out ; and at the same liine let the people of England be assured, ihere was. no country on earth against which France entertained lo great an animosity as this; and that no country would suffer more in case of an invasion. His Lordship concluded with obferving, that he could not let the prefeni bill pass without making those observations, and throwing out those hints to Ministers.

Lord Clifton (Earl of Darnley) rose, not, he assured the learned Lord on the woolfack, to revenge himself upon him, tor having interrupted himn the preceding evening no means intended to detain their Lordships long, but there were some funtiments impresled upon his or ind fo ftiongly. that he could not but anxiously wish to take that opportunity of staring them to their Lord'hips, and would promise to do so as shortly as he was able. Posibly the noble and learned Lord had interrupted him on a principle of modesty, under an apprehension that he was about to pass a panegyric on his Majesty's present Minitters, but such had not been his intention. He had no particular predile&tion for his Majesty's Ministers, nor any desire to over-rate their abilities. He thought abler men might have been found ; but from many votes of that, and the other House of Parliament on different parts of their conduct, it was evident that they had the confidence of Parliament, and it was clear, that they also had the confidence of their Sovereign; he had no right, therefore, to conclude, that they had not likewise the confidence of the country; and he felt, under these particular circumstances of the inoment, it was his dury, as it was that of every man who could do it with a safe conscience, to afford ihem every siapport and aslistance in his power. With regard to the present bill, he thought it a wife and efficient measure, and he approved of it the more, because, in his conscience, he believed it to be the only pra&ticable mode of suddenly raising a numerous body of forces for the internal defence of the kingdom. He trusted it would be found 10 be a most useful bill, and the effect extremely beneficial to the public service. His Lordship said, he could not but regret, that, day after day, they heard from military characters of great authority, that the country could not be saved by regular forces, at the very time, and in the very breath, that these high milijary authorities individually confessed, that recruits for regiments of the line were not to be had. It was become a practice to bow implicitly to such doctrines, and to consider sich subjects as fit to be debated by Ministers and military men' only. Upon this principle he supposed, Quod medicorum eft, promitrúnt medici; tractant fabrilia fabri. He certainly was neither medicus nor faber; neither a Minister, nor a military man, but still he thought himself as inuch entiiled to discuss the object of the present bill, and all that related to the defence of the country, as any other description of men, whether political or military ; and he could not think that the sort of argitments we had frequently heard, of the nature to which he alluded, were more likely to cxcite to despondency, than 10 soufe ihe general spirit of the people. What was it but ieling them that the country must be loft, because we had not fu large a disposable force as might be wished for? Nay, in the manner of liating their arguments, these great military characters very incautiously acted, because what fell from such high authority could not but make a deep impression without doors, and inuit tend to create dilinay and distrust in the people as to their security and safety. A noble Lord had the other night, in that House, publicly avowed, that there was to his knowledge one brigade, consisting of four battalions, in a state of the most shameful incompletion. He thought such a declaration mischievous to the last degrec; he did not mean to charge the noble Lord with having made, it with any mischievous design; he knew that he made it with the best possible motive, and with a view to rouse the ener, gies of the people, and prompt them to exertion ; but he must contend that it was more likely to damp their spirit and depress iheir ardour, by diminishing their confidence in the Government of the couniry. He had hoped that his Majelly's Ministers would have inttantly risen and contradi&ted the fabi; and if it thould have happened that a single brigade was in such a iniferable ftuation, that Ministers would have a ffured the llouse that the barialions of that brigade would shortly be completed. Indeed they might, with great truth, have stated, that the other regiments of the line were complete, and they had it in their power to have fated several; for ina Itance, the guards, the cavalry, and various other corps.He admitted, that if the regiments of the line could be completed, it would be most desirable. But so far was he from thinking, that only ihe regulars could save the country, that he felt confident that the country would be saved, even if the present bill did not país, though he thought it perfectly wise in Ministers to have brought it forward, and he would be the last man living to protract its pulling by any unnecesfary argument. He mult, however, be permitted io say, that he had not the smallest apprehensions of the want of energy, either in Government, or of fpirit in the people. Put a sword into an Englishman's hand, and he would feel like an Englithuan, and fight in an undaunted manner, when he feels that he is fighting to repel a daring and infolent invader. The whole country would, he had no doubt, rise and join such an enemy as was likely to be oppołed to us; let no man, iherefore, despair, or droop for a moment. Let him but exert himself in the common cause, in proportion as the exigency of the circumstance might require, and we might be ailured of defending not only every part of the country, bit of pupishing, in the most exemplary manner, the despot who dared attempt to land an army on our Thores. His Lordship faid, that teeling as he did, he could not but reprobate, in the strongest terms, a speech delivered in another place, by a military character ;, and which parliamentary forms forbad hiin, in a more than general way, to allude to. In that speech it had been thrown out, that we were vulnerable in various points, and that the enemy might, in the many attemp:s he might be expected to make, possibly succeed in one or other. He could not give credit to the possibility of the enemy's landing any where; a country united and prepared as we were, need not expect an attempt to invade us ; nor could our coasts be approached in any part without the usmost danger, and almost certainty of failure of success to the enemy. So far was he from coinciding in the childish apprehensions, which the speech, 10 which he alluded, expressed, that he would, for the sake of argument, admit for a moment, that the enemy did effect a landing; nay, more, that he made his way, in spite of all our forces and all our endeavours; that he reached this rich and luxurious metropolis, laid it in alhes, put a momentary end to trade and commerce, inade bankrupis of all wealthy Jews and brokers in 'Change, 'and annihilated the three per cents. ftill he would not abandon himself to despair, and think the cause a lost cause. He should, even then, feel hope, from a consciousness that there remained much worth fighting for, and that the spirit of the people would still exert itself, and with renewed energy and undaunted valor pursue the foe, till they drove him out of their country. I promised you, my Lords, at my opening, said his Lordship, that I would not derain you long, and I will keep

He by


I will only add, Let us hear no more then of these arguments of our weakness, these proclamations of alarm and terror. Let no man assume a daftardly feeling, but face the danger, which, not withstanding what I have faid, I by no means despise or underrate. It is great and urgent, most undoubtedly, but meet it like men, and have nothing to apprehend. Be but true to yourselves, and you are invincible: shrink from the danger like trembling cowards, and you are ruined !

The questionwas then put, and the bill passed with amend. ments.

SCOTCH ARMY OF RESERVE. The Scotch additional force bill was then committed, report received, and the bill ordered to be read a third time the next day.


my word.


« ZurückWeiter »