Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

the companies was to be given to a captain on half-pay; and the senior licutenant was to have the ihird company on condition of railing ihiry men, and the senior enlign to succeed him on raising ten men. The expence of this measure would be about 35,000l. viz. 26,000 for Great Britain, and goool. for Ireland. The greatest part of the expence of these eltimales arose from the milicia, it amounted to a sum of 1,267,000l. for Great Britain, and 480,4971. for Ireland. Contingencies, 13,3451. cloathing, 143,8911. The militia of Great Britain would amount to 60,893, supplementary militia, 24,0co, making (exclusive of officers, non-commis fioned officers, &c.) the number of rank and file above 73,000 men. The militia of Ireland amounted to 18,000 men, making all together above 90,000 men. And he was happy to say, that a very short time indeed would elapse before they were all embodied and fit for service. The additional expence for the supplementary militia, would amount 10 416,000l. the additional expence of the barrack department 15,000l. making the total expence of Great Britain, 2,540,000l. and for Ireland, 570,000l. being all together, 3,110,000l. Having thus stated the general items, he would 1101 irespass at present any longer upon the Committee, buc would be perfectly ready to give any Gentleman every information in his power. He then moved his first resolution.

Mr. Windham declined to enter into any detail of the fee veral items alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman, but took occafion to repeat his objections to the system possued by the present Ministers, and particularly with respect in the miliria. Il seemed to be heir object to pursue quite an course from that which good policy would prescribe. It seemed their resolution to suckle ihe militia, and to dry.murse the army-(a laugh.) He contended, hat as the country was not sufficiently populous to supply both those descriptions of force, that ihe regular army should have the prelesence. Ministers did not appear to him to have duly cunli. dered the nature and character of the war in which the coune try was eogaged, nor to have yet made up their minds as to the plan of operations they ought to pursue. Ei her they had not determined on any plan at all, or that which they adopted was exceedingly fallacious. They were evidently forced into war, and their resolution was scarcely forined when they got into it; therefore they had nor yer prepared their measures. Perhaps they looked upon it as an ordinary war, and that ordinary bulle and activity was sufficient to


meet it-hat it was enough to collect a force without any distinct view to its application, but probably. they had nothing in view beyond mere defence-ihat they looked for some mediation to save the country, and meant again to seek an opportunity of sneaking into peace. Unlels fuch was their intention and hope, he could not conceive the purport of their proceedings. If defence alone was their design, he could not but regret it, for that was a state in which, though we might not lose, we could not gain any thing. Ministers had already, by the peace of Amiens, forfeited the advantages of ten years great exer:ion and glory, and suffered the country to go to lee ward; and by a merely defensive system, were now holding out the deplorable prospect of an indeterminable war, a war in which none of the objects which urged its commencement were in the least degree likely to be attained a war for which there was no precedent in our hiftory, and in which, in fact, we should be only wrestling with destruction, while the feeling and spirit of the country must be waiting away. If defence alone even was intended, he did not think the fort of force proposed to be raised, that which found wisdom would recommend ; for, if invasion should take place, the militia was not the most desirable force to employ--a regular army ought to be met by a regular army-it should be " diamond cut diamond."-The right honourable Gentleman expressed his decided convidion that, unless some very strong measures were immediately taken, nothing effectual could be done. Ministers fhould adopt that vigour in the first instance, to which they must be, ere long, obliged to resort, or the object could not be attained, and the country might be lost. Provisions should be made 16 raise the people en masse, if neceffary; for the period might suddenly come, when, without exertion, our fate would be precarious indeed. This was the more desirable, when it was considered that, unless fomething of a great and extraordinary nature was devised, it would be utterly impossible for us to take any ftep towards restoring that balance of power on the Continent, which it was material for our own safety to seck; and it also behoved us to think very seriously on measures of precaution even at home, when we considered the daring enterprize, the inveterate hoftility, the undisguiled with to destroy us which characterized the government of France. It was come to this with Great Britain, that either the muft ftrengthen herself materially indeed, or Weakeu the enemy contiderably, or the cannot fubtilt. It


[ocr errors]

was the wish of most men during the last war, and, in the opinion of many, it ought to have been the main object of that war, to attack the government of France, and a liinilar plan of policy ought, in his judgnient, to govern Ministers in the present contest; but those right hon. Gentlemen seemed entirely to rely on chances, and mediation, and mere defence: that course was more suitable to their nature and habits; as Mother Cole faid of the Catholic Religion, it was the most comfortable persuasion for one of her calling le general laugh). He confessed he did not see any good that could result from the hope of mediation; when he looked at the iron-bound coaft which the Continent presented to us, not a creek or harbour to receive us, he could not hope for any effectual assistance from thence, however some Gentlemen might talk of such prospects in language rather calculated to unnerve the public mind than to pro- . duee any benefit

. The peace of Amiens had shut out Great Britain from the Continent. The declaration by the advocates of that peace was, that this country could do nothing for the Continent, and therefore would leave it to ftruggle for itself, and upon that ground the peace was concluded. How tben could it be expected that the Continent would now feel any interest in the advancement of a scheme of policy purely confined to British obje&s, for so the last paragraph of his Majefty's declaration defined it; that paragragh, which impressed on the minds of the Con tinent that Great Britain had nothing in view intimately connected with their interests, and that it would be very liable to be abandoned again when any difficulty should arise--when any clamour Thould press to demand 'it. He lamented that Minillers had not couched that declaration ia such terms as might have a tendency to bring with us the. sympathies of the Continent; but their plan of policy, was narrow and selfith, and had been so uniformly-it was such policy that produced the Treaty of Amiens. He was aware that he was called an obftinate finner in continuing to condemu the treaty, and in not acknowledging that it was a fair and just experiment; but he believed that the right hon. Gentleman in the Treasury Bench must now admit that in that experiment he and his colleagues were very much out in their calculations.

He again urged the adoption of a liberal and dignified plan of policy, which should make common cause, not only with the royalists of La Vendee, or any other part of France, but with the patriots of Holland, Switzerland, and Italy. . Vol. IV. 1802-3,



This was the connection which Ministers should study lo cultivate, and if so there would not be niuch reason to fear the Government of France, however apparently formidable, for there was a very material difference between the stiength and durability, between the vigour and longevily of a Government, as well as of an individual. Even in the mo. ment previous to diffolution, the one or the other might be in the plenitude of power. Such, perhaps, was the case with the French Government, and if proper means were taken, he did not fear it ; but he would not rely on chance for the protection of this country; it ftruck him as a pufil. lanimous and retiring conduct in Ministers, to stand back and look so much to hope that something would turn up in their favour. It was also ablurd to indulge tuch fanguine expectations. He was often charged with being too fanguine ; but that charge canie from perfons who would not take the trouble of dillinguishing between the expression of his hopes and his withes. He was never inclined to despair, nor was ever very fanguine in his hopes as to the evenis of war, though he sometimes thought it preferable to peace; hut that was from a conviction that such peace „fforded no ground for hope at all, while war afforded fome; yel if, in the war which accorded with his wishes as necessary, he faw no reason to hope, from the plan pursued, that the security of the country could be improved, he of course would with rather a relapse into peace, with all its ditadvantages, than superadd to iheir disadvantages the calamities of war, and he confessed that he saw not that energy in Ministers which would juftify expectation. If he saw better hopes in war than he did in peace, he would be for war: but he feared he might say with the poet

Creatures that love night, love not such nights as these.” So he might add,

“ People that love wars, love not such wars as these.” He would not, he said, add any thing further on this head; but he thought the army estimates clofely connected with it, and a want of vigour and energy may ruin every measure. They did not juftly appreciate the dangers of the country. They were proceeding by half measures, and perhaps would fo continue until invasion should actually come on them, and then, like the thip in a storm, whole officers 1hould be negligent and incapable, and whose crew should be intoxicaied and inattentive, the state would probably go down. Whereas, it she have a brave and active crew, good officers,


and able pilots, there is every hope and expectation the ship may get safe into port. It seemed to him that we have a crew who make use of language that nobody understands. They talk of the spirit of the country, and that the people will rise to a man; but they do not tell us how they will be officered; and if we have no better pilots than they have hitherto proved themselves, we cannot flatter ourselves with faving our bark. The country he looked upon to be what it ever bad been, and, if its resources were properly called furth, he had no fear; but our present Ministers were men

" Who never set a squadron in the field,
" Nor the division of a battle know,

" More than a spinster.” From such men, therefore, he could have no great reafon to hope extraordinary matters, and he thought it more peculiarly his duty to remind them and the House of the ex. traordinary difficulties we had to encounter. In the high founding words which were so often used by some Gentle. men, he saw no ground for security whatever: any measure of vigorous exertion would afford him much more satisfaction; for, from lofty language which conveyed no distinct meaning, he believed no man could derive the hope of safety. When, then, Gentlemen talked of the people of the country stopping an invading army, he confessed that, though he admired the spirit, and confided in the loyalty of his countrymen as much as any man, he could not help smiling; for where, he would ask, was the precedent of a populace, without discipline or arrangement, oppofing with fuccess the progress of a regular army? An experienced officer would apprehend little from that kind of refiftance; a Turenne, or a Marlborough would laugh at it; and if Ministers were to rely on its power and go on declaiming about it, without taking effective measures of resistance and attack, the country would be without means or minds to meet the dangers which threatened. He said attack; for be muft repeat that he would not be understood to approve of the confinement of our refources to mere defensive operations. That would be to place us in a most unfortunate fituacon indeed; for it must be obvious that the åssailant has al. ways great advantage over the affailed, and the befieger over the befieged. He therefore deprecated the daftardly and imprudent policy of keeping our forces locked up in our own itland, waiting, as it were, until the French should come over to attack us. M.


« ZurückWeiter »