Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

opinion respecting an arıned peasantry, he was not at all inclined to dispute it ; but he would ask, huw did the volunteers stand in the way of an armed peasantry? ( A cry of hear ! hear! It did not appear to him that they did. On the conisary, he said that they might be of the highest advantage to prepare, to direct, and to render that peasantry effective. No:hing was more delusive, however, than the affertion, that we had not any means of employing our peasanıry in the event of invasion ; for the fact was, at least in the part

of the country with which he was acquainted, that the name of almost every man who was capable of service was enrolled, and bis part in such a case assigned to him. Some were appointed io be pioneers, fome to be guides, and others to convey provisions, &c. &c. He was confident, from the spirit generally prevailing, that any of those men would be ready, in the hour of necetiity, to fill up any defalcations that might occur in the ranks of the volunteers, or she regular army. From this statement he maintained, that the opinion was incorrect, that our peasantry could not be useful when dan. ger should approach us--that they would not know what to do.

Mr. T. Grenville vindicated himself from the charge of inconsistency which seemed to have been thrown out against him by the learned Gentleman on the Treasury Bench. That he should not have attended all the stages of a measure which struck him to be so radically bad that nothing could be extracted out of it, was perfectly natural. Indeed, the embarrallinent, confusion, and wavering which even the framers of this bill seemed to feel about it, was enough to forbid any dispassionate man from supposing it probable that it would produce the good expected from it by fome Genilemen ; yet as the se framers were determined to press the adoption of this bill, it was desirable to remove the defects pointed out by his honourable Friend (Mr. Fox), and to which no kind of reply had been made, and also to introduce the other amendmenis suggested; therefore he should vole for the motion for recoinmiital.

Mr. Sheridan, in explanation, stared that if any Genicman had a clause to propose which could not be introcuced inio the bill without going into a Committee, he would vote for the motion, but not otherwise.

Colonel Calirajt said, that if the lloose should go into the Coinnillee he would there feel it his duty to propose a clause respecting the grant of addicional pay tville volunteers,

and

and also a further allowance for cloathing. This was a proposition which he thought the hon. Gentleman who spoke Jait would approve of, and which, consistently with his own declaration, would induce him to vote for ihe recommittal of th: bill.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer observed, that the recommital of the bill was not necessary, in order to enable the hon. Gentleman to propose the clause he alluded to, as he might bring it forward in the present sage, and it might afterwards, if adopted, be referred to the confideration of a Committee of Supply.

'The House then proceeded to divide, when there appeared

For proceeding on the report immediately 173
Against it

56

[ocr errors]

Majority 117 Sir 7. Wrottesley, in pursuance of what he had stared, proposed the introduction of a clause in the bill to the following effect: “ That no member of any corps of yeomanry or volunteers who has been enrolled fubfequent to the 22d of June, 1803, thall be entitled to the exemptions under this act, unless he has engaged to march to any part of Great Britain, for the defence of the country in case of invalon, or the appearance of an enemy upon the coast."

This proposition gave rise to a conversation, rather of a defullory and irregular kind.

Mr. Secretary Yorke felt it his duty to oppose such a provision ;

ic was however in subfiance by no means new. An hon. Baronet, now absent, l:ad proposed one nearly 10 a similar effect, which had been very fully discussed, and the House had decided upon it. Added to this, he thought it would involve a serious breach of parliamentary faith. He augured most favourably of the spirit and patriotism of all the volunteers, who would readily come forward in the event of an attack.

Mr. Pilt thought the provision just proposed was not in any degree funilar to that mosed in another stage of the bill by an hon. Baronet, as the former was a clause referring 10 the time of offer of service only, without any reference to ilie extent of the service offered. His sentimenis of these two propositions were materially different: he believed the House had never an idea of holding out encouragements to the extent of those in the bill, to those whose offers were for a li. mited service. He agreed with the right hon. Secretary, that there was little doubt of the eventual conduct of the volunteers in case of an immediate alarm; he thought they would all-manfully come forward with offers of general service. But in framing an act for the regulation of these points, a distinction ihould be made-they should go upon ihe a&ual state of things ; by that means they would in seality know what they had to proceed upon; they would have certainty in the place of conjecture, and the principle of exemptions would be rendered more rational and dittinet. He thought the clause now proposed would be a confiderable improvement in the bill, and as such it should have his support.

Lord Temple observed, that the service was too limited in many instances, but one he thought was particularly confined in its patriotic vote of service, ihat was the Somerset-house corps ; the terms on which it was accepted by Government he understood to be for the defence of Somerset-house only.

Mr. Tierney stated, that whatever inighi have been the original foundation of the corps, it was now very generally understood that the young men had long since agreed to go to any part of the kingdom where their services might be thought necessary. In case of an invasion, he believed the only difficulty would be to keep them within the walls of Somerset House.

Mr. Dent thought that it would have been more regular for such bodies of men as were appointed to defend a particular building, if they had been sworn in as constables. "The right hon, Colonel (Mr. Tierney), he understood, had also the command of a corps in the borough of Southwark. If the service of that corps was limited also, he would be glad to know what the right hon. Gentleman would do with his corps in the borough at the time that he was locked up in Somerset-house for its defence-how would he divide hiin. seif}

Mr. Tierney explained to the House what was the nature of his situation with respect to the Southwark volunteers. He had been first appointed to the command of the Somerset-house volunteers. He had afterwards accepted of the command of the corps in the borough only as a matter of form, that he might have power to allift in its foundation, and whenever his presence was necessary with the Somerset-house corps, he would resign his command in the other. Mr. Sberidan noticed the species of indoor service which

the

the clerks of the Navy Office had voted ; it plainly shewed that they were determined on keeping poflession of Somersethouse as long as they could. In this laudable intention of theirs he had good reason to hope they would not meet with any discouragement from the example of their colonel, as there could not possibly be any doubt of his fincere desire to keep the public office committed to his charge from falling into the hands of any enemy.

Mr. Fox adverted to the original design of Ministers to proportion the number of volunteers by a regular system of fix times the amount of the old militia. That measure would operate very differently in the inland counties from what it would in the counties of Kent, Eflex, &c. The Somerset-house corps he thought it perfectly ridiculous to call volunteers, under such a limited agreement of service, particularly as they were servants of the Crown; he thought that more Chould be expected from their loyalty than a bare defence of the particular building by which they got their bread.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer enumerated several counries in which the return of the volunteers accepted by his Majesty, far exceeded the quota which had been mentioned by an hun. Gentleman opposite him.

Mr. Canning observed, that that was an additional proof, if any could be wanting, of the indecision and inconfitency of his Majesty's present Ministers, as he knew it to be a fact, that the first proportion of 6 to i was rigidly adhered to, until by repeated applications from people in these counties, Ministers were prevailed on to alter the plan they had originally adopted ; but even then the numbers which they accepied of, were considerably short of what might be raised.

After a few other observations, the question was put, and there were For the amendment

37 Against it

79 The report was ordered to be brought up again the next day.

Mr. Pite said that as he understood it was the intention of fome of his Majesty's Ministers to bring forward a measure that would have a limilar tendency to that of which he had given notice, he would, with leave of the House, agree to wait for any reasonable length of time, in order to fee how far their measure would go.

The

The other orders of the day were disposed of, and the House adjourned at half past two in the morning.

HOUSE OF LORDS.

TUESDAY, MARCH 20. The House resolved itself into a Committee of Privileges, and Lord Walfingham having taken the chair, the conlideration of the claim of Lady (Henry) Fitzgerald to the barony of Roos or Ross was resumed, when counsel and evidence were again heard on behalf of the claimant. The further consideration of the case was adjourned till Thursday.

The House then resumed; and the Exchequer bills bill, the neutral ships bill, and a canal bill, were brought up from the Commons. They were severally read a first time.

The bills before the Houle were forwarded in their respective stages: These were chiefly in Committees, through which stage the Irish revenue, the Irish malt duty, the Irish countervailing duties, and the hides and tallow importation bills went, and were afterwards reported to the House, without amendınent.

Some private business was then disposed of, and the House adjou, ned.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

TUESDAY, MARCH 20. The Exchequer bills bill was read a third time and paffed.

Sir Jacob Astley moved for the following accounts, which were leverally ordered :

An account of the quantity of malt exported from Great Britain to Ireland, and from Ireland to Great Britain, for six years, ending the 5th of Jan. 1804, and the duties paid thereon.

An account of the quantity of malt carried coastwise from England to Scotland, and from Scotland to England, for the same period, and the duties paid thereon.

An account of the quantity of beer exported from Great Britain to Ireland, and from Ireland to Great Britain, for the same period, and the duties paid thereon.

An account of the quantity of malt charged with duty in England and Scotland for the same period. Vol. II. 1803-4.

Bb

An

« PoprzedniaDalej »