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vants and apprentices. Ministers, in his opinion, had done nothing to improve the volunteer system laid down by the late Ministers.

Sir J. Iraitesley was for the recommitment. He inti. mared a wish to move for the introduction of a clause into the bill, for the better regulation of the number of days alJolied to drill in corps in the country. He adverted io the number of volunteers in the metropolis and its vicinity; their number, he understood, was nearly 32,000, but out of that number, if he was rightly informed, nearly the half had engaged only to extend their services to the vicinity of the capital, even in case of invalion. It was his object that a clause should be introduced, taking away the exemptions from those whose services were thus limited.

Mr. Ald. Combe wilhed to explain to the hon. Baronet who had just sat down, the nature of the service of that part of the volunteer force in and about the metropolis, which the city of London had furnished, amounting to about 12,000 men. It had been understood as the undoubted presogative of the Crown, that in case of actual invasion, or the appearance of the cneiny upon the coast, his Majesty had the right to call forth the services of every man in the kingdom. The magistrates of the city adopting that principle, had recommended it to their fellow citizens to associate themselves for the purpose of learning the military exercise, and alifting the civil power in case of iumult or insurrection, thinking it would be a mockery to make an offer of services which, at a fit feason, his Majesty could coinmand; and he was quite sure, that in the whole number, there was not one man who did not coasider himself liable, in case of inva. fion, to be put under the command of a general officer, and marched to any part of the kingdom. There was one other matter respecting the volunteers of the city, which he wished to state to the House, which was this, that no one could doubt that their offers of service arose from a pure patriotic public spirit, because as, by their charters, they were exempt from those military duties to which other parts of England are liable, they had no occasion 10 seek refuge from the baliots.

Mr. Pitt obferved, that under the present circumstances, he Mould vote against recommitting the bill. With respect to the just expectations of the public from the measure, how far is conferred those fair benefits they were entiled to, he liad already stated his opinion, he therefore should not irou


ble the House with a repetition of it. The measure under consideration left many deficiencies in the system; there was not a proper degree of encouragement held out with respect to the important point of discipline; neither was there a sufficient number of days allowed for the purpose; and even when they had assembled, the means of instruction were not adequately afforded. At the same time, he was of opinion that the bill, with reference to the confideration of immediate danger, had one beneficial fealure in the inducement it held 10.corps to come immediately forward upon permanent duty, with a view to the improvement of discipline, in its holding out a bouniy; but even this, he feared, was in a degree that would not be sufficient for the purpose: it was, however, under the present circumstances, and as far as it went, a valuable and important consideration, and should be an inducement to the House to pass it without delay; he meant, with a reference to the expectation of a speedy invafion, against which they could not too soon be prepared. Though he could not avoid lamenting the imperfections of the bill, yet containing the provision he had alluded to, it fhould speedily be passed. There was another clause in the bill, which he thought ''kely to be of beneficial consequence, that which went to prevent the arrests of commanding officers while on service. With respect to the remaining parts of the bill, it was little more than a regulation of conveniency, by consolidating into one, what before had been scattered into two or three different acts. He was impressed with the conviction of speedily passing this bill, or that noihing in fact would have hitherto been done; it Mhould be acted upon as soon as possible. With respect to the proposal of recommitting the bill, he saw no prospect of great or subftantial improvement which could be derived from such a proceeding. In regard to the subject of apprentices, the leave of absence, and certain other points on which fome Atress had been laid, he thought the bill was not liable to any ferious objections on those heads. There were other topics upon which objections had been urged, but if there could not be effectually discussed upon the report, it would certainly be a reason for recommitting the bill, and he felt the importance of these points as much as any other person could do.

Mr. Sheridan was of opinion that whatever idea was en. tertained of the military lyftem of the country, this was not the moment for such a discuslion. If Gentlemen thought this a matter fit for inquiry, they might move for a Commit.

Vol. 11. 1803-4.

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tee on the subject, and the difcuffion might regularly take place. At present the question was extremely limple. It was merely whether certain ainendments, the proprie:y of which was not denied even by the framers of the bill, should be introduced on the report or in a Committee for that specific purpose. For some time past he had, confiltently with a principle which three years ago he had stared in that House, felt it his duty to absent himself from his attendance in Parliament, and he had consequently not been present at the different discussions which had taken place on the previous stages of the bill. This, however, he knew, that the bill had already been in three Commitees, and the queftion came to be, Mould it go to a fourth Commitice to receive new amendments and improvements? If it was true, what was stated by an hon. and learned Genilenan (Dr. Lau. sence), that the bill as a whole had not before the Commitee, this would be the strongest argument which he had heard for the recomıniiment. If a right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Pitt) would rise and state that he had new clauses to propose in the Commitiee, or if any other hon. Genileman would make a similar declararion, he should certainly vote for the recommitment. Independent of such a declaration he rcally had heard no ground laid against proceeding to the contderation of the report. He was the more inclined 10 this opinion from seeing the candid desire of his Majesty's Ministers to make every fair concellion (here there was a general laugh). He thought the question quite important, and that the time of the House would be much more usefully employed in proceeding to the discussion of the report.

Mr. Pili, in explanation, stated, that he had been milunderstood by the hon. Member. He seemed to conceive that he was for the recommitment of ihe bill, whereas he was againit it. Whatever the principle of the hon. Gentleman's absence was, if he had been in his place he would have seen that ine clauses which he wished to introduce, were not now wanting from any deficiency on his part in proposing them, but from his inability to persuade the House to adopt them.

Mr: 11 indhan rose, he said, to trespass on the attention of the House but for a few moments, alihough before he came down to his place that day he meant to enter very much at lengih into the meriis and sendency of the volunteer system, and particularly to reprobate two clauses which had found their way into the bill under consideration, and which excit. ed his altonithinent in common with that of every man who valued good faith and justice towards the volunteers. Those clauses, however, having been abandoned by the framers of the bill, and the discussion having taken a turn extremely fingular in this page of the proceeding, à discullion which would more properly belong to a Coinmittee, he felt that he could not enter upon the consideration of the general measure without great disadvantages. He therefore waved for the present the full delivery of his opinions upon the subject, the more particularly as he could not bit observe that the attention of the House was nearly exhausted. He, however, could not forbear to say, in contradiction to the sentimenis of the learned Gentleman on the Treasury Bench, that he cona ceived it quite impoflible to investigate the merits of the voluna teer systein, which comprehended above three fourths of the public force, without also taking a view of the other means of our defence, 10 ascertain how far those means were core respondent to each other, and calculated to act cificaciously together. This was a question, in his judgment, of infinite importance, and demanding the molt attentive inquiry, inasmuch as it was the commencement of a system, the effects of which would grow on us every day, for the more we advanced in such a Gruation, the more difficuli it would be to change; and, therefore, the farther we proceeded, the stronger would the argument become which was relied upon so much that night, namely, ihat we had gone too far to recede. {For this reason it was his anxious desire, that we (hould stop, as soon as possible, the progress of a system so defective, so radically inelhcient. When arguing against this system, he withed to correct an error that seemed to prevail in the minds of some Gontlemen, that he and others whicined with him meant that the volunteers should be disbanded. Nothing could be more erroneous ihan this idea, for on the contrary, the principal objections which he and the Gentlemen with whom he adied had to this measure, and which he hoped would not be confidered inconfifteni, were there, that it would produce the diffolution of the greater part of the volunieers, Shile it would go to render the volunieer sy em permanent. - With respect to the motion immediately be ore the lirufe, he would admit the juítce of the sum ik, thal new clauses mighi be proposed and adopted without recomnoining the bill; but yet he was for going into the Comunistec, od for this plain reason, ihal a Committee was the natural and proA a 2


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per place to discuss such clauses. An hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheridan ad urged that it was unnecessary to go into the Com as Ministers bad manifested such candour as left

doubt of their readiness to accede to any necessary amendment that might be proposed in this stage of the bill, and ihe hon. Gentleman had taken occasion to observe, that it was

wonder that candour in a Minister should excite surprise in the House, as the quality was rather new ; but nigh' it not be the case, as he suspected it was, that the fusprisc which the hon. Gentleman perceived in the House, did not arise from the circumstance thai candour was a new qua. liry in a Minister, but that such a compliment from such a quarter was new ? not the fact stated, but the stater provoked the general Emile upon which the hon. Gentleman had remarked. The hon Gentleman, however, had probably experienced such candour in his Majesty's Ministers, in return for the candour which he had shewn toward them for some time back, as justified, in his mind, the compliments he appeared so strongly disposed to pay them. Reverting to the motion before the House, Mr. Windham stared, that in order that the imperfections of the measure might as far as pollible be diminished, he would vote for the recommittal.

Colonel Bastard mainiained that the volunteer system did not militare so much as its adversaries asserted against the progress of the ballot for the militia, &c. As a proof of this, he stated that in the militia of the county to which he belonged (Devon), where volunteer corps were very numerous, The regiment of militia was not only complete, but had many supernumeraries, although not more than ten guineas bounty had ever been given ; and he was confident that if any men were wanting for that body, they could be had from among the volunteers themselves, whose spirit, zeal, and military habiis naturally disposed them to enter, if necessary, into regular military service. With respect to the efficacy of the volunteers for the defence of the couniry, he referred to the speech of that gallant officer, that high mi-. litary authorily, Earl Moira, wo declared at the Highland Society a few days fince, that with the volunteer force of Scotland, combined with the few regular troops in that country, he would undertake to defend it against any allack of the enemy. This opinion, with that ot many other general officers of high character, was quite sufficient to satisfy his mind of the fallacy of the objections fo often urged against the utility and itrength of the volunteers. As lo ihe


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