Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

uniform. He could not bot think that the adoption of a similar practice now would be productive of the most beneficial effects in keeping alive that ardour which, fortunately for the country, had now began to kindle in every loya! heart. Even if it had no other effect but to point our those who were lukewarın and disaffected at this moment, when the loyalty of all was put to the test, he thought that it might be productive of infinite advantage. As to the space where volunteer affociations were to be trained, he begged leave to offer a very few words It was his gpinion that the places allotted for ihis purpofe should, in the first instance, be as secluded as possible. Till a certain degree of progress was made in discipline, it was in every point of view desirable to be separated from the observation of a promiscuous multitude. He needed not to remind the House that there were many individuals to whoin, under such circumstances, the ftare of a vulgar multitude would produce the moft unpleasant fensations. There were men who would much more cheerfully expose themselves to the shot of the enemy than encounter the derision of motley spectators. He was at alt times happy to hear of any facilities being given for this reparate exercise. He mentioned, to the honour of his Grace the Duke of Portland, that he had given up the space before his house for the use of a volunteer associacion. There was another place, called, he believed, Lord's Cricket Ground, hired for a similar purpose at an enormous expence, and at the same rime unattended with the advantages of privacy. He was informed that the owners of this place, after exacting this inordinate price, were in the habit of admirting boys and other idle spectators, at the rate of sixpence. He felt indignant at fuch unjust and exorbitant extortion, and he did not think that Government would be stepping beyond the bounds of their just authority, if they insisted on the proprietors of such grounds giving ihem up for the use of volunteer associations on receiving a fair and reasonable compensation, These were the general points to which he wished io call the attention of the House. "Before he sat down he begged teave to advert to some other confiderations connected, though not in so intimate a manner, with the fubject immediately before the House. No man had seen with greater pleasure than he had, the noble, patriotic generous donations of which the gentlemen at Lloyd's coffee-house had set fo illustrious an ex ample in the city. He confessed that, liberal as the subscription already.was, it was with surprise that he still observed

the

[ocr errors]

the absence of several clailes of the community which he expected to have seen be first on the list. He had no wish to say any thing harsh respecting the noble and honourable perfons of whom those classes were composed. Though they had not yet come forward with their contributions, he had no doubt that they would not be deficient in devotion to their country at this trying m ment, and that, though they had 'not taken the lead, they would not thew themselves deficient in generosity in so sacred a cause. When he looked to the amount of the fund at this moment, and when he considered how much greater it might eventually become by the contributions of those classes to which he had referred, much as he admired the object to which it was originally appropriated, he could not help thinking that it might admit of a more ex. tended application. Though originally designed solely for the humane and generous purpose of affording aid to the wives, to the orphans, and the relatives of those who perished while fighting iheir country's battles, it did appear to him that lo large a fund, instead of remaining now unapplied, might, to a certain extent, be employed in contributing to the dire& service of ihe country. Rewards might be offered to those who were now willing to volunteer the performance of important national services, and who might be deterred merely by the consideration that in their absence their families would remain without a provision. He did not mean to press this subject further at present, but thought it his duty to throw out these hints for the consideration of those to whom was committed the management and appropriation of the fund. He would, he hoped, be forgiven if he alluded to another source of aslistance, the beneficial effeds of which had been so liberally experienced during the last war. He meant to allude to the patriotic contributions of our fair countrywomen. In such a contest as this in which we were now engaged, involving the preservation of all the charities and all the endearments of domestic life, he could not allow himself to believe that they would be backward in the display of their patriotism. To their other charms he was confident they would add the charm of love to their country and their homes. The hon. Gentleman having gone through these topics, proceeded to advert to the descriprion of the force, to the individuals composing which his vote of thanks would be addressed. On this part of the subject he had no sort of deSire to enter into any military details. He was no military man, and professed no power to give the House information

OD

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

on the subject. In the course of many discussions which had lately taken place, it had, however, frequently occurred to him that many of these details might have been very well [pared, whether proceeding from military or unmilitary Members of the House. He mult, in the face of authorities deservedly high in a military point of view, be permitted to say that, as a conftirutional Member of Parliament, he thought the force which was now formed for the defence of the country one in which he felt himself fully warranted in placing the amplest confidence. Military men were too apt io view every object with what they were pleased to call a military eye; but with all their minuteness of observation they were very apt to overlook one little fortress, which he Thould never cease to think of the highest importance, and that was the fortress of the conititution. If he were asked, whether he did not think a hundred thousand regular troops a more effectual body for the defence of the country than an equal number of militia, volunteers, and yeomanry, he certainly could have no difficulty in giving his answer. Un. doubtedly, for every military purpose, such a regular force was superior. He would maintain, however, that in addilion to a regular army of a certain magnitude, a force, conlisting of militia, volunteers, and yeomanry, was a forcę more suited to the habits, to the circumstances, to the constie tutional liberties of this country. In saying this he did not speak of an army for the purpose of carrying on a continental war, but; a force such as it behoved us to keep up when the neceflity of cultivating military habits was more imperiously imposed on us by the ambition and the malignity of a foreign enemy, whom nothing could satisfy short of our destruction. He liked the force the better, because it was of a diversified character. In the first instance the preference was given to the regular troops; the militia, the volunteer corps, and the yeomanry succeeded in their claims to distinction. There was in such a force a connection which must ever make it formidable to a foreign enemy. There was in its compofie tions a facility for separation, which, in a constitutional view, he thould always regard with satisfaction. Great stand, ing armies, however disciplined and powerful, were not to be implicitly trusted. He might refer to numerous exam. ples in proof of this position. A most striking instance oco. curred in the army of France. Never was there an army better disciplined, more brave, or apparently more dependent on the throne ; but that very army thus constituted, and on

which every possible reliance was placed, in the course of a very few hours suffered the monarchy to be overturned, and the revolution to triumph. In making this allusion, it was the farthest in the world from his intention to impeach the loyalty of our regular army. On the contrary, he believed that no body of men were ever animated with truer or more affectionate attachment to their sovereign. He adınired, however, the present constitution of our military force, as being exempted from the inconveniencies and the evils which altached to a certain degree to all standing, exclusive, permanent, armies. By such a constitution, the strength and effciency of the whole was confirmed and consolidated. He liked the present atitude of the country, whether we looked forward to the continuance of war or to the conclusion of peace. On the subject of peace he should just say one word. He should be the ready advocate of peace, if it could tained on terms consistent with the national honour and safety. This, however, he would distinctly fay, and he was fure that he spoke the language of his Majesty's Ministers when he made ihe declaration, That no peace could be formed, no negociation could be listened to, no offer for negociation could be accepted, while there was a hostile army in any part of the united empire. If he had supposed it possible for Minifters to have entertained contrary sentiments, he should have felt it his dury to have broughı forward a distinct proposition, that the Minister who (hould listen to fo disgraceful a propofition, would deserve to be impeached, and to lose his head as the punilhment of his infamy. He stated it diftinétly, therefore, as what he conceived was the unalterable resolution of Ministers, that no proposal for peace should be entertained, while a single French soldier had a footing on British ground. (This sentiment was universally applauded). The hon. Gentle. man, after this patriotic effufon, went on to recommend unanimity on this interesting occasion. He did not call on Gentlemen to give up their opinions. He did not with by any means to dictate to them the course of political condu& which they were to pursue. Within the walls of that House every man had a fair right fully and unequivocally to declare his opinions on public affairs. He might be permitted, however, to entreat of Gentlemen, that as the perind of their separation was now at hand, they would not vlter such sentiments out of dooss; that they would not resort 10 any meafures which could damp the increasing ardour and energy of the country ; that they would not lend the fanction of their names to sentiinents which coming from unauthorized sources, had never been received with any portion of favour. Ail that he asked of them was, to suspend their political animofities for a moment; noi to represent the servants of the Crown as weak and inefficient, at a moment when confidence in their exertions was so neceflary to the salvation of the country; not to wałte that time, and those talenis in party spirit and intrigue,' which might be so much more worihily employed in performing the sublime and aniinated duties of patriotism. This was a moment which called on every honeft inan to unite heart and hand in support of all that is dear to us as a great and free people, against the greatelt danger with which we were ever threatened. It was not, furely, asking too much of honourable Genilemen, to ask them, during the short recess of Parliament, to suspend all pursuits, to relinquith all pursuits of secondary importance, and to think only of the great cause which interested all minds and attracied all hearts. Surely their party spirit was not so violent, their hoftility to Minilters was not so virulent as at all to come in competition with the great object of fav. ing the country, which ihey uniformly declared was the first object of their regard. In that thort interval, properly em. ployed, much important service might be rendered to the country. Much might be done in giving a proper direction to that spirit of patriotism which now fortunately pervaded every part of the empire. Let but this small sacrifice be made to patriotism, and when they once more assembled in that House, they night again resume their favourite pur uits, under ihe pleading consciousness, that they had contributed their efforts to the general safety, that the patriotism of the people at large had at length secured us against enemies, however malignant, and dangers however formidable. The hon. Gentleman, in conclusion, declined occupying the time of the House, by any arguments in support of his motion, The zeal, the fortitude, the promptitude, with which the volunteer associations had obeyed the call of their country in the hour of her danger, could never be sufficiently adinired. He would not expatiate on their conduct, he would leave ir without comment to the honest unbiassed feelings of the House He then moved,

Tular the ihanks of this House be given to the volun. teer and yeomanry corps, for the zeal and promptitude with which they alfoeiated for the defence of the country, in this important and dangerous crisis.”

He

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »