Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ileman in that part of the country where he came from, who, being asked as to what he meant to subscribe, desired them to retrain from pressing the question: he could name no particular amount, but he would vest bis whole estate and all his affers in the hands of any respectable Commissioners, to be used as they might think proper between him and his country; and, when the danger was over, he had no doubt that such honourable men would reiurn him the surplus. This was becoming the ancient character of Englithmen, and would be found sufficient to free the nation from the imputation of a shop-keeping spirit, which had been thrown on them by the French. He concluded with expressing his most hearly approbation of that part of Mr. Sheridan's speech which declares a reliance on the conduct of Ministers, that no peace Thould ever be made while there remained a single Frenchman in a hostile situation on the English fhore.

Mr. Archdale combated the arguments of Mr. W. in a few words as to his most ítriking poinis. He thought that it would have been much better if the right hon. Genileman was a little more willy, or else thai he did not al. teinpt to be witty at all; for by the sudden ebullition of his fancy, he was frequently wrong, and might be always fairly supposed to fall short of what he himself had intended. He thought that it was a consideration of no inirinsic worin, whether a force was to be denominated masculine, feminine, or neuter. The idea of satisfying the lieutenants of the militia, and the other officers, the country gentlemen in general, the stockholders, and the monied intereit, might be burlesqued, but he wished that every gentleman when in office would endeavour to reconcile the minds of all descriptions of people in the same manner as he had described. With all the novelty of invasion and rebellion, with all the novelty of the particular circumstances of the times, he hoped that the Sellion would not be suffered to close wiihout every man being reconciled and united in the general idea of doing what they could for the benefit of the country. He hoped that no Gentleman in that House or in the country would ever experience or see troubles in any degree similar to those which he liad seen and felt. For that reason, as well as his general reliance on the conduct of the present Ministers, and for the reasons so powerfully urged by the honourable mover, he should feel hinself bound to support the motion.

Mr. Francis said, Mr. Speaker, the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, concluded his speech with a comparison which does not seem to me to resemble the case: He says that if the owner of a house and the father of a family were 10 inform his children that the house was on fire and in great danger of being consumed, it would be abfurd and unnatural for them in reiurn to say that they must take four and twenty hours to consider whether or no they should help to extinguish the fire. Now, Sir, if it were evident thai an address to the throne was very like a water engine, and if an act of Parliament were equivalent to a great supply of water, I should agree with him in thinking that any part of the family who selused to work the engine, or to provide the water, would not only be very undutiful, but very gieat fools into the bargain. Until that propofition is made out, the honourable Gentleman's allusion will not go far in fupport of his argument. On the prefent occafion I can affure my hon. Friend near me (Mr. Sheridan) that I have no thought of abuling the right and privilege which belong to me as a Member of Parliament, to enter, if I think fit, into the discullion of any subject that comes regularly and properly under my consideration in that character; bui much less am I dilposed 10 surrender such a right and privilege to the admonition we have received from hiin to refrain from arguments and debates on military subjects. In a parliamentary fenfe, right and duty are relative ideas. The duty gives the right, and the sight indicates the duty. According to the occafion 1 hall at all times exercise iny right to the best of iny judgment, even on military questions coming in a parliamentary way before me. And I am perfe&tly Ture my hon. Friend will act in the same manner when the case requires it, notwithstanding his present exhortation to the contrary. I do not mean to oppo'e ihe inotion, though I think it liable to many confiderations which ought to have been previously weighed. The motion being once made, they come 100 Jate. The purpose for which I have risen is to express to my hon. Friend the very great pleasure with which I heard the conclufion of his speech, not for the value, the wisdom, or the neceility of the advice contained in it, though I do not mean to atfirm that such advice may not be valuable, wise, or neceflary, or that, coming irom him, it has not the advaniage of novelıy; bue for another reason. He says, " On this day at leall, let us be united; on this occasion let cordiality prevail among us; and when we quit the House let us agree to leave all party spirit behind us, all animofities, all facrious opposition to Governmen!, &c. as we do our bars

on

on the benches; and the rather, as we may be sure that these articles will be kept very safe, and delivered to us undiminished whenever we meet again within these walls ;" with many other seniimenis of the same fort, to which I am not able to do justice. I must tell my honourable Friend, however, that with respect to me at lealt, his good advice is fuperfluous. I have no animoliy to his Majelty's Ministers collectively, or personally to any of them; and with respect to some of them, very much the contrary. Consequently I have no feeling of that kind 10 deposit here, or to carry with me into the country. I thall go out of this House with my har on my head, and no animoliy to any man in my heart. When heard my hon. Friend, in the conclusion of his speech, engage himself and exhort others with so much warmth to support the present Government by all possible exertions in the couniry, the inference that immediately occurred to me, and which gave me very great pleasure was, that since the last debate on military subjeås, my hon. Friend must have received some satisfaction from his Majesty's Ministers on iwo points of very great importance and interest in his judgment and feeling, as well as mine, on which at that time, certainly all satisfaction was withheld. For otherwise I cannot bring myself to think it possible that Ministers would have had all that cordial support and approbation which he has given them this night, and promised them hereafter. The first of the objects I allude to is the appointa inent of a military council, in favour of which he divided and spoke with great force. Undoubtedly he would not have done so, if he had not thought it what I do, a measure of confiderable importance to the country. The other related to a subject of personal attachment and affection to the illuscrious person concerned, as well as of judgment and opinion for the public service. I shall not now enter into the ineriis of a question on which it is impossible we should differ. He did not take part in it that night, but I have no doubt of his sentiments. If on these two points I had the same alfurance, which I conclude my hon. Friend has had, that a satisfactory course would be taken, he would find me ready, not perhaps to go all the lengths that he does, but as far as I can in conscience and with honour, and without the finallest mixture of any opposite difpofition, to give credit and support 10 Ministers wherever I have an opportunity as well as in this House. Vol. IV. 1802-3.

5 ML

Colonel

Colonel Crawfurd was of opinion that the House was about to bestow that reward on the volunteers, by a vote of Thanks, to which they would be entitled if they had saved the state. The volunteers had undoubtedly come forward with zeal and promptitude; but in that they had only discharged a necessary duty to the state, and a duty which they owed 10 their wives and families, for whose protection they were enrolling themselves against the greatest misery and oppression that could befal a people. He therefore should say, that the thanks of the House inould be reserved until they should have some opportunity of meriting them, though no man, either in or out of the House, thought more highly of the spirit and courage of the people than he did. While Parliament was deliberating on ihe question of voting its thanks to a body of men, who performed but their duty in coming forward or the present occafion, and on the discharge of which their iaterest, their honour, and their security

depended, an action of extraordinary gallantry had taken place, which perhaps was not of sufficient magnitude to merit the inanks of Parliament. He alluded to the capture of St. Lucia by General Grinfield, and he thought it would have a bad effect to accede to the present motion, if the gallant troops engaged in that expedition were to be passed unnoticed. He thought also that it would have

very

bad effect on the volunteers who had bravely rescued Dublin from the horrors of a brutal and ferocious banditii, to vote ihe thanks of the House in men who had come forward in their own defence against the greatest calamity that could befal a nation (its subjugation by a French force), as from a sense of public duty, while such gallan: behaviour was suffered to remain unrequited. Having said this, he repeated again, that he thoughi as highly as any man of the spirit and valour of the volunteers.

As an hon. Friend had alluded to German lactics on a former occasion, and another allusion had been made ihat night to the German eye,

be felt it necessary, while on his legs, to make some observations on the subject. He had never laid, that German were superior to English troops ; and ihough, from his having palled the early part of his life, where he had an opportunity of learning the German taftics, he may have been partial to it, he was, from additional experience, convinced that it was ero roneous. He should much rather see the infantry of the English army in the state in which it had been after the American war, tha trained after the German system, wh ch he thought was carried to too great an extent. The great King of

Prulia,

the army.

Pruflia, who had invented that system, Irad accommodated it to the extensive plains of Silesia and Saxony, and from that single circumstance it must appear manifestly inapplicable to , the local situation of the country. Having raid ihus much, he hoped he thould never again hear himlelt filed ihe a.lvocate ot German ladlics. Many Genilemen who heard hiin, had ben wi nellis of brilliant actions and inilitary operations in Flanders, and were perha is as inuch dilposed o be partial 10 Fleinish as he was to German cctics. He had on a former occasion sta'td, that a great sexular force was neceflar, and all Thai he had since heard on the subject hall not is.duced iim in alter his opinion. But he could not help ady riing to an obferva ion of the hon. Gentleman who opened the debats, that a regular army was more likely to be corrupied than any orier. He begged the House to recollect what the covery owed 15

When the navy was in a st le of muliny, when the jacobins had employed every effort to seduce the army, and had on the same day le:circular leriers to all the regiments, informing them tha: the others had rise : again! the Government; when these leiters had been given by the guards to their officers, the army hart proved is self incorruptible, and 10 it is the countiy indebied friis preservation and security. He did not jullify the arniy from any personal feelings, but from a sense of that obligation which every imparlial Member would adınit the country wed to the army. Yet he was convinced that a large irregular force would be of the highest confequence to the defence of the kingdom. The House had been several times cleared while he was on former occasions speaking, but no expression bad ever tallen from him of so delicate a nature, or folkeir to be injurious to the country by its publication to the enemy, as a piper, wlich he had seen from high authorily, in the Morning P fi of that day, a leries from the Secrc:ary 7. State o ihe Lord Licutenant of ihe county of Suffex. In this, it was thared, that i wenty five firelocks could only be ifllied for each hundred men, which proved that training, not arming as the object. When he had laed, ihat initiere were not a sufe ficiency of arms to furnih he ivhole bomber, the principal gunsmiths of all parts of the kingdom should be employed in making them ; it wa: irealed a dinicul la observat in, and he now repeated, that if his Majeily's Miniters had omiited 10 give fuch directions, they had bun guilty of a criminal neglect of a most important dury. ric ihould likewife have more confidence in the irregular force, it it should

undergo

5 M 2

« ZurückWeiter »