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the Government or the country. I own, Şir, that, at the present moment, I approve the system of this bill, by which you are to get a large force; but in doing that, my opinion is, that you ouglit pot to wait for too much instruction. in such a case, a great deal of instruction is not necessary, Perhaps I may be told, these are not soldiers. Be it so; I am not attempting to give you soldiers, but armed citizens men, whose bosoms glow with the love of their country, and their connexions; and who, in defence of there, would be as ready and willing to fight an enemy as the best disciplined soldiers in the world. I cannot bring myself to agree with the sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman on the same bench with me, relative to the existing danger of an invasion, I mention this with considerable deference, for I consider him as half a military man.--/On some motion of surprise being expressed, Mr. Fox said) I declare I do: I know the right hon. Gentleman has paid particular attention to the army, and read very deeply on the subject; but still I do not scruple to say, that I think there is far less probability in this invasion than he does, and than many others do. The right hon. Gentleman may say to me, what signifies your opinion, you know noihing of the matter. Yet, Sir, my opinions are not formed on my own judgment alone; I have advised and consulted with others, who I thought were capable of fully understanding the subject ; and it has been on their opinion, as much, or perhaps more than my own, that I think on that subject in the manner I have already mentioned. I by no means consider an invasion as impossible that, I am sure, would be going infinitely too far; but as to the probability, I must differ very widely. As to the observations made by the right hon. Gentleman under the gallery (Mr. Pitt) as to the consequences of an invasion, should it prove successful, I can by no means subscribe to them. If I were to know that I was to be sent to the West Indies, and there sold as a slave, I thould not thir:k it worth my while, when any particular person was about to purchase me, to enquire wheiher he was a good tempered man, or what were the leading fealures of his disposition. So in the case of an invasion, it would be matter of equal indifference, who was the ruling power in France under whose direction the invasion might iake place; nor do I think that it is of any essential con. sequence whatever. I ain one of those who are willing to go to the greatest lengths in the supposition, that the people of this country will defend it to the last extremiiy. When
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the noble Lord talks of one acre of English ground being only left in our poffeffion, I certainly look upon that as a figuie of oratory: but I will adınit, sharif the enemy gain Porila mouth, Piymouth, Chatham, and even London itself, that (oratory quite out of the question) the people of this country would fight to the utmost stretch to regain those places, and would never suffer an invading enemy to continue long in poffesion of them. The landing of the French must certainly be confidered as a moft mischievous event, and from which the greatest inconvenience could not fail 10 be felt. If they get to London, great and extensive would be the mis. chief indeed. But there were three things, which our duty to our country most energetically pointed out to'us: first, by our naval force to prevent this mischief, by impeding their landing ; fecondly, to stop their progress; and, thirdly, to preverit their getting back again. As to the present measure, I do not by any means approve of the right hon Gentleman's idea of ranging the people under different classes. Why not make it conlist of one class, who would voluntarily bind themselves to go? Ti is a measure that would be well worth the sial. I think the people ought 10 be called on for that purpose, and in that manner; and if that is done, I have no couby, but the numbers would be more extensive than at prefent any opinion can be formed of. I his bill is intended to strengthen the prerogative. In the name of Heaven, Sir, why has it not beert thought of before? Ministers must have foreseen the danger of an invasion from the moment they made a rupture of the negotiations wiih France; yet the present measure has never been mentioned between the 8th of March and the 18th of July. This is somewhat late. His Majesty's servants must have known the danger of an invalion long ago; they could not suppose the French were arming in Holland in order to attack Ja naica, or any of our diftant East or West India poffeflions. They must have been senlible ihat the great danger from any arınament of the enemy, must be by a blow aimed against this country itself; and invasion alone was what they had 10 dread and 10 counteract. If this is the peculiar weapon by which to relift invasion, why apply all the other weapons hrift? In answer to all those observarions of the same kind which have fallen froin the right hon. Gentleman, it has been asked • Why not call for inquiry?' The answer is extremely obvious. The jime of those inqniries must depend on minute and particular circumstances. If the right hon. Gentleman on the same bench with me (Mr. Windham) had called for inquiry, the , cry would immediately have been- Inquiry!!! What, you call for inquiry ? - You, who think the French are already at our doors ;' And every idea of inquiry would be scouted at as un seasonable, and as interrupting the measures of his Majesty's Ministers at such an awful crisis as the present. It inight then be asked, what could be the motive of the right hon. Gentleman for making such obfervations? It was extremely obvious; it was to find fault with, and reprehend Ministers for the delay which they had been guilty of; and. certainly, if no other good should arise from it, it would at least have this effect, that it would put them on their guard, and make them more cautious in future of being guilty of fuch tardiness.
There is one point, Sir, which has been mentioned, which I beg leave to observe upon, and that is, the danger of arming the people in general. I am convinced, that the present ineasure cannot be attended with any danger of that kind. Those who thought they had reason to be disconiented with the Government of this country, for many unconstitutional acts which it had been guilty of, and who boldly spoke their sentiments on those various occasions, as they severally arose, now when the danger of a French invasion threatens them, will he united as one inan in defence of their country. To thew confidence in the way, is to draw forih zeal. If you apply to the people for voluntary efforts, I have not the smallett doubt, but you will meet with the most extensive success; and you will have a large army of armed citizens, ready and willing to march whenever commanded, and to whatever place, cheerfully to meet and bravely to fight the enemy. But if the bill is to operate in a similar manner to those parfed for raising the regular army and the army of reserve, and as a means of recruiting thosc, I very much fear it will not be efficacious."
The Chancellor of ihe Ercbequer said, I thall detain the House, Sir, but a few minutes. 11 gives me the greatest satisfaction to find there has been no oppofition to the morion of my right hon. friend. Every Member who has delivered his sentiments on the subject has given the measure his unqualified approbation : and the only difference seems to be as to the voluntary efforts. My right hon. friend, in opening his proposition, has said, that the prerogative of the Crown was undoubled; he was, however, desirous, that Parliainent Thould interfere so far as to make the power of the preroga. sive efficacious, and not have to resort to the low and forinal
proceedings proceedings of the law courts, in which alone a punifhment could be awarded for not obeying the fummons of the Crown. The bill provided, however, that if any diftri&t Mould give voluntary affistance, such district should be relieved. claré I do not like the word relieved any more than the sight hon. Gentleman (Mr. Fox), but that may be modified in the passage of the bill through the House. Government has been arraigned, Sir, in two or three instances, for the tardiness with which they have brought forward the several measures in defence of the kingdom; and the right hon. Gentleman has, amongst the rest, observed, that his Majesty's melTage was delivered on the 8th of March, and that it is now the 18th of July before the present meafure is introduced; but, Sir, I can appeal to the House that Ministers have not been cardy in all ihat time. ' When that message was brought down to the House, it was pending a very delicate negoriation, during which, armainents were carrying on in the ports of France, not to any very great extent indeed, but large enough to call forth caution on the part of Ministers. The meilage produced the immediate calling forth of the militia. After that, in a very thort time, the fupplementary militia was ordered to be embodied; and directly afterwards, the army of reserve was provided. "Volunteer corps have alto been known to have offered, whose numbers in Great Britain alone, amounted to upwards of 60,000 men; and now on the heels of all, the present measure is brought forward: so that I am confident there is no real ground for acculing Ministers of cardiness and unnecelsary delay. 'There is one point, Sir, 10'which I must beg leave to offer a few observations, and that is what has been insinuated as to the danger of arming so great a' number of the people. I know, Sir, there have been periods when there were persons in this couniry who would have overturned its moit excellent Conftitution, but, thank God, those times are palled; and I do not believe there ever was a minule when the people were more universally fatisfied with their Government, or more unanimous in their determination to support and defend it; and it is with some degree of pride I can say, that the chief cause of this is the so much reprobased arcáty of peace.
There had for some time prevailed an opinion, though an unjust one, that the war might have been sooner terminated; but though that was not the case, the obtainment of peace gave the people time to reflect; and now, though it is so fuon renewed, every one is fenfible of its injustice on the part of the enemy, and the whole peoplo are ready to join heart and hand in defence of their king and country, and to die, if necessary, rather than become the Daves of an invading and insolent foe. I know, Sir, it was necessary for the security of the kingdom to continue for some time the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and some others, which the neceffity of the times had produced; but I know that to the peace we owe ihe restoration of those vajuable bulwarks of ihe Constitution, and they are not ainongit the least of its bleflings. I have the satisfaction to reflect, that in adopting this measure it will be found one that is singularly adapted to the genius and sentiments of the people, as it makes with them a common cause; and their zeal, enthusiasm, and love of their country, are too well known. to doubt for a moment of their most active and vigorous exertions in defence of their common rights :and coinmon country. My right hon. friend proposes, with permission of the House, to bring in the bill, to have it read a first and second time, and then to be printed, and a day fixed for taking the report ins) confideration,
Di. Laurence coniended, that the terms of the late peace had humbled the pride and depressed the spirits of the country, and, had it not been for the rumour of an invasion, it would have been no easy inatter to revive them. The accounts received from France gave room to imagine that a spirit had been raised there on which but feeble symptoms were yet to be discovered among us. Such a spirit, no doubt, did exilt in this country; but it differed from that which animated the enemy-theirs was a restless, turbulent spirit, ours was steady, solid, and persevering; our situation, no doubt, was such that we should be found equal to and worthy of ourselves; but nothing, however, hould be omited and left untried 10 rouse our energies, and rally every man round the Mtandard of the country. The learned Gentleman concluded by expressing a fear thai, Thould ever the British laurel wither and die, it thould die at the top.
Sir James Pulieney had always been of opinion that a segular force 'was absolutely necessary for the defence of the country, but at the same time he was equally forward to afferi thai, luch was the spirit of the country, That no real apprehenfion Mhould be entertained from an invalien. In his mind the result of such an attempt could not but prove useful and honourable to ihe country.
As to volunteer corps, he hojed that fome provision might be introduced into the bill