Obrazy na stronie

nures, and authority of Parliament. It muft be observable, that if any prerogative can be inferred from these Itatótes, the statute should not be capable of being expounded any other way, but by the fuppofition of such a prerogative, namely, that of calling all men out of their counties on the appearance of a foreign enemy, without affent of Parliament; but this ftatuie is perfe&ly intelligible, and applicable to the military tenures known and acknowledged to exist at the time, and therefore this act cannot presume any such prerogative. No man is so little read in the history of this country, as not to know that, from the conquest, the land was divided into 60,000 knights' fees, productive of 60,000 men, for 40 days military service, at the King's pleasure ; and that this large military force continuerl in strict pra&ical use by personal service, until Henry the Second's iime, when a relax. ation of personal service began to insinuate itself, and the introduction of substituted service, and gradually a commutation by escuage certain by agreement, and uncertain when no such agreement was made, took place; and that the last gave occasion to great oppression by the claim of unlimited penalties, which rose to so great a grievance, that in King John's time it was reprobated by Magna Charta in the words, if I remember right, “ Nullum scutagium ponatur in regno noftro nifi per commune confilium regni," So circumstanced the tenures with their services or escuage continued till their abolition by the 12th Charles II. and the establidhment of an extensive militia under Lords Lieutenants of counties and their respe&ive deputies, and that this continued until the existence of the present militia, with the occasional introduction of a more regular and permanent army. In all this period, nothing like the prerogative asserted has been acknowledged. The preamble of the 12th of Charles II. which reprobates the assumption of the command of the militia by Parliament in the preceding reign, and declares the King's right to command all forces raised, does not insinuate the power of raifing such force by the King's prerogative on any occasion. I am at a loss on this view of the military history to trace any ground on which such a prerogative can have taken root; but I am sure that the acts can be explained by reference to the facts known from history, without having recourse to an uncertain prerogative. The learned Lord is certainly more conversant in the channels through which information of this nature can be traced than I am,


and he has been more successful in finding the commission of array which he has cited, which he says palled the Legisature -in the 5th of Henry IV. No such ftatute appears on the statute book, though (on finding an assertion of such a commission) I have searched for it. The commission of array, in whatever words it may be couched, would not be convincing to my mind, as I am well aware that the times were productive of incroachments of that fort. The act of ift Edward III. chap. 9th, states, that commillions have been awarded to cer. tain people of thires, to prepare men of arms, &c. and enacts that it shall be done fo no more. The act of the ist Edward III. chap. 15th, states, that by evil counsellors the King had bound people by writing, to raise armed men, and forbids it. Frequent attempts to raise an army by commission may have been inade, and perhaps submitted to at times, and at times reprobated. With respect to that to which the noble Lord has alluded, and which I have not seen, I can only observe, that by his own account of il, it must have derived its authority from Parliament, and not from prerogative. The execution of the ordinances of Parliament is always intrusted to the King; and it appears also on the face of ihe statement, that this commission in Parliament the 5th of Henry IV. was only the year following the act of 4th Henry IV. cited by me, which as distinctly as words can convey their meaning, declares “that no man thall be constrained to find men of arms, hoblers, (horsemen) or archers, others than those who hold by fuch services, if not by common affent and grant of Parliament." The coin million cannot therefore be supposed to contradi&t the parliamentary do&trine of the year before, and its being contained in an act of Parliament, is a proof that it was in conformity to the do&rine of the preceding year, and derived its authority from Parliament, and not from prerogative.

Lords Morton and Hobart called the noble Earl to order ; to which he replied, that if he had been called to order sooner, he Thould have insisted on his right to put the House into a Comminee, which the standing orders of the House permitted him to do, but that he had nearly finished all he had wished to say, and Mould not trouble the House further.

The clerk read the order, which was as the noble Earl had Ilated.

Lord King delivered his sentiments generally upon the meafure before the House, and censured the conduct of Ministers Nn 2


with respect to the volunteers. The bill itself he regarded as a mass of incongruiry and absurdities, wh ch he thought to be the general character of all the measures adopted by Ministers upon the subject. The point of view in which the bill was that night held out, was by no means a fair one ; the injurious effects of the measure, as at present conftitu' ed, were kept out of sight; it had the effect of counteracting, not only the regular army, but the militia force, and the army of reserve: this was principally done by means of the exemptions; the militia, and the army of reserve also, in a great degree, counteracted each other. In proof of the volunteer system materially affecting the recruiting service, he referred to the ltate of recruiting in those parts of the kingdom where the volunteers were proportionably the most numerous, as in Keni, Surrey, and the metropolis. With respect to the bill, he repeated, it was a mass of incongruity-every separate part was jarring one with the other, and the whole was in the teeth of every systematic regulation.

Lord Boringdon faid that he would give no opinion as to the legal point at issue between the noble Earl and the noble and learned Lord, relative to the asserted right of the King to call for the military service of all his subjects in case of invafion. He did not know that Ministers had put forth this right at the end of the latt session, with a view to compel men to enter into the volunteer service ; but he could confirm from his own observation the statement of the noble Earl, that such in many cases was the effect of that doctrine. He differed materially in opinion from the noble Lord who spuke first as to the present efficiency of the volunteers, and as to the danger which might be apprehended from the volunteers being disposed to disband themselves in case of a protracted contest. The dangers to be incurred in such a contest would, he thought, arise from the character and complexion of his Majesty's present Government, and not from any want of patriotism or perseverance on the part of the volunteers, whose conduct was beyond all praife. He thought the prefent bill wholly inadequate to the circumstances of the country, and to the evils which it pretended to remedy : nevertheless he should not oppose it, as it contained Tome provisions which must have a salutary operation : the provirion giving the same allowance to the families of volunteers on service, as was given to thofe of militiamen, and that which gave to the commanding officer a control over his men at drill, deserved commendation, and no time should be loft in carrying them into effect. After the numberless blunders and contradictions of his Majesty's Ministers in carrying this system into effect during last year, no great hope could be entertained, that a bill containing in it as little as the present bill could ensure us from further diffculties.


The Bishop of Landaff spoke as follows :-My Lords, I have no intention of troubling your Lordships at great length; I have little, or to speak more properly, I have no military knowledge ; but I love my country, and I cannot see it tottering on the extremeft verge of destruction, without uttering a cry however faint, without stretching out an arm however feeble, to prevent its fall. The die, my Lords, is in the air, may God direct its fall in our favour ! The die is in the air which, by its fall, will indicate the ruin of Bo11aparle or of Britain; which will indicate the consequent reduclion of France within its ancient limits; or the consequent reduction of all the states of Europe under the military yoke of the French Republic. To avert this catastrophe from ourfelves requires, not so much, I think, the co-operation of certain individuals, however honourable in principle, however eminent in ability, (and no one thinks of their honour or of their ability more respectably than I do) but this co-operation is not so much required in the prefent circumstances of the country, as an entire, cordial, disinterefted concurrence of all the talents in the empire. I am far from insinuating, my Lords, that those who may thus co-operate are influenced by any felfith views, by any ambitious prospects of place or power; no, on my conscience I am of opinion, that their primary object is the salvation of the country. Nor, on the other hand, do I take upon me to impute to the Adminiftration, what has been so abundantly laid to their charge, inability-I at least have no public document, no private knowledge of thein, which enables me to form a proper judgment. But if they have been guilty of mistakes, surely the novelty and unparalleled difficulty of their fituation will with many, at least it will with me, plead their excuse.—With respect to the volunteer bill now before the House, this is not the time to enter into any difcuffion of its several provisions ; nor is it now a question to be debated, whether the volunteer fyftem is the best possible fyftem which could have been devited for the defence of the country--it is the fyftem which has been adopted, so it cannot now he abandoned with fafetv. I own I have always considered it as a system most noble in its principle; most difficult in its execution ; and most fuccess ful, I trust it will be found, in its operation. No country in the world has ever given a stronger proof of the patriotism of its inhabitants, than the volunteers of Great Britain have given. They confift not of an indebted, discontented, miler, able rabble of the country, but of men of rank, of men of letters, of men of property, of respectable yeomen, tradefmen, manufacturers, of all descriptions of reputable persons, from the peer to the peasant, from the enlightened statesman to the political peruser of a weekly newspaper or monthly magazine-all are animated with an ardent zeal to defend their country. And why, my Lords, are they all animated with this zeal? because all know that there is not now, nor ever was a country on the globe, in which all enjoy, in their several stations, the various bleffings of civi. lized society, so securely and so abundantly as every indivi. dual enjoys in this. This is the knowledge which has excited and carried to an unexampled height the spirit of volunteering. This spirit is not a vain, frivolous, holiday kind of fpirit delighted with military parade—it is not a four, faucy, capricious fpirit, disdaining reproof, regulation, and reftraint--No, it is a manly spirit of enlightened patriotism, which is fenfible that to produce its proper effe&t it stands in need of, and ought to submit to instruction, discipline and direction. But supposing the volunteer syftem to be brought by the wisdom of your Lordships and the other House of Parliament, united with that of his Majesty's Ministers, to the utmost degree of perfe&ion of which it is capable, another question presents itself, --is it sufficient for our protection? I am not able to answer this question, nor, so precarious are the events of war, is any man able to answer it with cer. tainty ; but fuppofing that it is not sufficient, what need is there for our despair? There are abundant resources to supply the deficiency of the volunteer system. Do you want arms? Why not put all the gunsmiths, sword cutlers, and blacksmiths in the empire into requisition, till you have procured all the muskets, fwords, and pikes, which are wanted? Do you want men? Why not call out (for I am clearly of opinion that the King has a right to call out) every man in the country, not already enrolled in its defence, and capable of bearing arms, putting into the hands of these men the arms which you shall have prepared ? Do you want horses? Why not put in requisition every coach and saddle horfe in the empire, to be trained and

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