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Offers had been made; but in what instances; other than those already made; or how far they might be received er rejected, could not, at the time parliament adjourned, be possibly in the contemplation of ministers. As to the last point, on which the right hon. gentleman had delivered his sentiments with so much vehemence and acrimony, relative to the contempt thrown upon parliament, and the breach of the constitution, he begged leave to draw a very different conclusion. The American war was a constitutional war; it was a popular war; and the offers made to the crown, and accepted of, were perfectly constitutional. The right of the supreme legislature was denied; arms had been taken up by our rebellious subjects in America, in maintenance of this denial; a very loyal part of his Majesty's subjects had expressed their abhorrence of such an unnatural rebellion ; and had, in proof of those sentiments, offered their persons and their purses in support of the constitutional rights of this country. Mr. Burke took notice of the zeal of the noble lord, and the warmth of his bosom for the public weal. He supposed it to be that zeal, warmth, and ardour, that had induced him to assist, if not to devise, the raising of men without the knowledge of parliament, and by that means acting unconstitutionally for the good of his country. He remembered that the noble lord voted for an adjournment of parliament for six weeks, for two several reasons; the one, to give him an opportunity of digesting an equitable plan of conciliation, founded on concession; and the other, to guard him from being shot through and through with the long arrows of militant opposition. It had turned out, he said, however, that another more substantial reason existed for the adjournment of parliament—not of contriving propositions of peace, but of securing force towards war, in an illegal, unconstitutional, and extravagant way. He observed on the present crisis of Great Britain, that it was lamentable in the extreme. He said, he had the same day examined the state of our funds, and found that the 3 per cents consolidated stood at 714; and he begged leave to contrast that with the state of the same fund in January, 1760, the fifth year of a war with the united House of Bourbon, when they were 79. In the latter instance they were 79, when we had funded 23 million; and in the first they are 71, when we have
funded 5 million, He continued to observe on the present mode of raising supplies, that he would consider its propriety in two separate points of view; first, whether it was in respect of expence the most oeconomical; and secondly, whether it was in respect of strength the most effectual. He considered the first expence of raising a regiment to be about 5,000l. So much we receive, supposing that the supplies flow from the voluntary gift of the subscribers. They are embodied in separate corps, habited, maintained for the war, discharged, and placed upon the half-pay list, all which, calculating the amount of half-pay at ten years purchase, would cost us 30,000l. so that we in reality receive 60,000l. as there are 16 regiments offered, to pay 480,000l. That this is oeconomy worthy the people who contrived it he was well convinced; the offer received was a seeming advantage, but an actual loss; for where there was ever occasion for multiplying the supplies granted by parliament, it was most oeconomical to raise them in separate corps, while the battalions already raised want more than one half of their war establishments, as it brings a double charge of officers both on full and half-pay, which charge constitutes the expence, amounting, as he said before, to 30,000/. for each 5,000l. So far as to the oeconomy. As to the efficacy, he would only observe, that in our former wars, it was held prudent and expedient to advance the battalions from their peace to their war establishment, which was nearly double, mingling thereby the new with the veteran troops, and adding to the strength of the one the experience of the other. This, he said, was the practice of former times; it was so done last war, and, as we were crowned with conquest, he would not believe that it was wrong, nor would he adopt any other mode in preference to it. He observed, ironically, that of all the expedients used by a skilful ministry towards redeeming public credit, none was ever more truly deserving of attention, or more worthy of applause, than the present. A charitable subscription was begun for the relief of the distressed American prisoners, and the ministry nobly caught at the contrivance, envied the small contributions made to relieve the distress themselves had occasioned, and opened the strings and the mouth of a subscription-bag for the treasury. Convinced as they were, that the country would no longer be induced by interest, to hazard their money in subscribing towards loans, secured by government, they applied to their benevolence, and, like a beggar asking a boon, received charitable donations from the pity-disposed people of this country. He said the noble lord in the blue ribbon reminded him of Pericles, who exhausted with misfortune, wasted with disease, and lingering with pain, walked abroad, bedecked with amulets, charms, and faws of old women. The loan now unfilled and unpaid, was his disease; and the charitable contributions of his friends were his amulets and charms. He was ready to grant, that voluntary donations might be fairly interpreted, as proofs of a people's affection, but they were no less so of their real poverty. Private and public life exhibited pregnant proofs, that solicitations on one hand, or benevolences on the other, were the common effects of pride, poverty and pity. Persons might be mean from choice, maked from madness; but rags discovered an involuntary madness, or a poverty willing to be concealed. It was true, that France, during the late war, in the midst of her national distresses, was assisted by the people, who delivered their plate for the public service. This was a glorious instance of national patriotism, but it was likewise a proof of national poverty. The mention of the last war must recal to the minds of every person present, the most disagreeable and humiliating ideas, and fill the House, as well as nation, with regret. He then contrasted the state of this country at present, and at the period alluded to, in the most striking point of view; and said, what added a particular aggravation to the nature of our misfortunes was, that every wicked, weak, or blundering measure was sanctioned under the name of the constitution ; every thing that was transacted in parliament, cabinet, or elsewhere, was sheltered under that venerable name. The use this word was lately employed in, brought to his recollection, Dean Swift's application of Whitshed, a prostitute Irish crown lawyer's motto on his coach, “libertas et natale solum,” which would be applied by every man according to his own ideas, or as his interests led him. Just so with the noble lord; the idea annexed to the word “ constitution’ by him was very different to its true import in a limited monarchy. He might mention it as often as he pleased, and ring the changes upon constitution, constitutional, &c. but he might as well vainly ex
pect that his garter would preserve him from the gout, or his ribbon expel a fever, as to imagine, that to prostitute the word constitution, would prevent an investigation into his conduct at some future period. Mr. Dunning, whatever the noble lord might think, by no means approved of the Highlands of Scotland and the towns of Manchester and Liverpool taking the lead. When the nation, about two years since, were as busy in manufacturing addresses, as they are now in promoting subscriptions, he considered it as ominous that Manchester was the first addresser; and he looked upon it equally ominous now, that she was the first subscriber. He censured the conduct of the committee at the London Tavern, very severely, for the advertisements put forth by them, as both illegal and unconstitutional. He was certain that many displayed their names in the list, who were actuated by no such motive.” It could not in its nature be voluntary. Men who lay under obligations to government, were compelled to this ostentation of gratitude, and their adherents, in their turn, made a virtue of necessity ; so that nothing could be fairly inferred from it concerning the inclinations of the people, or their acquiescence with government. He was not disposed to the invidious task of discriminating in a public catalogue, between the deserving and the undeserving; but he could perceive, from the list of subscribers, that though the sagacity of some might be confided in, their establishing themselves into a committee, and being thereby in an important national concern, a substitute for parliament, was an act that they were not qualified to exert. He therefore was led to propose an amendment in the terms of this subscription, and that for the future, when such proposals should be made, they should be required to say, “for such uses as the parliament ... think fit,” and not as a committee should please to direct. Colonel Barré proposed an amendment to the motion, and required that the uses for which the different corps had been raised, should be particularly specified. It was very necessary that parliament should know the peculiar purposes and destinations of all the different bodies of men that were levied under their sanction. This Amendment being complied with, the motion was carried. Mr. For observed, that it were happy for the ministry if the House could forget
the last war, and the bright lustre the British arms had acquired by it: that it were well for their reputation, if the world could lose the recollection of the glorious successes that crowned the enterprises of Great Britain during that period; to the end that the contrast of the present disgraces might not strike the nation so strongly, and render the contrivers of the measures which occasioned them, the execration of the people. The views of the ministry in oil. out in such pompous colours the proffered aid of several individuals, were specious andimposing; they wished to impress the people at large with the idea, that their measures were F. constitutional, or they would not ave met with such general support from the nation. For his part, he could not be deceived in that particular, as he knew the offers of support came from men of such a description, as would be no credit to administration. Scotland and Manchester very readily concurred to strengthen the hands of ministers, who were pursuing measures so conformable to their own sentiments, and to maintain a government so exactly similar to that of their darling king, James 2, a government which was pursuing the steps that lost that prince his crown. [Here some gentlemen called him to order, as they conceived that he was drawing a parallel between the present King's reign and that of king James; Mr. Fox, however, qualified what he had said, and went on..] He added, that Scotland and Manchester were so accustomed to disgrace, that it was no wonder if they pocketed instances of dishonour, and sat down contented with infamy; but as he knew Britain in general possessed other sentiments, and would not continue in the delusion which had brought disgrace upon her arms, annihilated one army, and dishonoured another, but would investigate the cause of our misfortunes to the fountain-head, from whence the calamities of the war and of this campaign in particular had originated. By this means they might be able to discover the men who had done all this, and who had brought disgrace upon their country as far as lay in their power; although at the same time he owned no ministers had it much in their power to degrade this country, since a change of men wiped off the disgrace. To this end, he said, he renewed a motion which he had made before the recess. He said, it was impossible, that 10,000 men could be lost,
no unforeseen or extraordinary accident happening; if there was not a fault some where, in the plan, the execution, or both. That this fault could be found out only, by an enquiry into the instructions given to general Burgoyne; that therefore as he hoped the gentlemen in administration had given no advice or instructions, which could not bear the test of parliamentary enquiry, as he flattered himself, that the motion he was about to make would not meet their opposition. It were needless to have a o: if it could not call for information, and punish delinquents. He then moved, “That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he will be graciously leased to give directions, that there be aid before this House, copies of all instructions and other papers, relative to the expedition from Canada, under lieut. general Burgoyne; and also copies of such parts of . instructions given to general sir William Howe, as relate to any intended co-operation with lieut. general Burgoyne.” Col. Luttrell attacked Mr. Fox for the general national censure he had thrown out against Scotland, and accused him of having declared in his own presence, that he would speak treason, when and where he pleased. But this accusation relative to a private conversation drew a general murmur of disapprobation from the House. Lord North said, that if the hon. gentleman had not spoke treason, he had gone very near it. King James had been dethroned for endeavouring to subvert the laws, overturn the constitution, and reign without a parliament. The present King, on the contrary, was contending to establish the power of parliament, and enforce the laws of the count It was the duty of parliament to enquire into the conduct of ministers; to turn out such as had acted wrong ; and to keep out such as would wish to act wrong. When the names of the subscribers should be made public, it would then appear that there were men who had been always sincerely attached to the Brunswick family; and that though it had been otherwise, it would be ungenerous and impolitic to impute the faults of the arent to the children. As well might imself and the hon. member be called Tories, as the ancestors of both had been of that description of men. As to the proposed enquiry, he had not the least objection to it; he only found fault with the time of moving for it in the absence of lord G. Germain. He would therefore recommend it to the hon. member to suspend his motion till Tuesday next. Mr. For rose to explain the imputation of meaning something treasonable by his allusion to the government of king James. This he would maintain, that whosoever attempted to act contrary to the constitution, could be no friend to it; that an attempt to tax three million of people, without their own consent, was unconstitutional; and that as king James had been deposed for exercising power not his own, so this country had been deposed from its natural dominion over America for usurping a power denied by the constitution. As for the motion, he would not have it thought that he wanted to take any advantage of the noble lord’s absence, and was willing to withdraw his motion for that evening, and make it on Tuesday.
Debate in the Lords "on the Earl of Abingdon’s Motion respecting the Legality of raising Troops by private Aids without Consent of Parliament.] - Jan. 23. The Earl of Abingdon said: Having a motion of very great importance to make, I think it necessary to apprize your lordships of it. I am greatly alarmed at the spirit that is gone abroad, and at the countenance given to that spirit, of raising, out of the medium of parliament, armies in Great Britain, by personal interest and private subscriptions.
F. is therefore my intention, in the course of a few days, to move, that a day be appointed for summoning the Judges to attend this House, in order that their Opinions may be taken upon this matter. At present, I conceive it to be not only repugnant to the principles of the constitution, but expressly against the letter of the law. Perhaps I am mistaken; if I am, and this mode of arming the nation be right, I too will exert my interest for the o of raising a regiment; not, my
ords, to go to America, to be hazarded, perhaps devoted, but to remain in England to assist in protecting our liberties. If I am not mistaken, I shall trust that these violent measures will be immediately suppressed. He then moved that their lordships be summoned on the 27th instant; which was agreed to.
Jan. 27. The Earl of Abingdom. Being now assembled, in consequence of the notice I gave your lordships of my intention to make a motion to this House, I think, that the high importance of the motion itself,
will render any support my abilities can give it useless and unnecessary. It is sufficient for me, that I feel myself actuated by an honest zeal (for honest I will call it) for the salvation of my country, in these times of the most dangerous experiments; it is to your lordships’ better understandings, that I must submit. On this ground then, my lords, and because I hold it to be the privilege of every noble lord to call for the advice of the judges in point of law, I shall presume to move, “That a day be fixed for summoning the Judges to attend this House, in order to take their opinions upon the present mode of raising Troops, without the authority of parliament.” The Lord Chancellor objected on several grounds, to the informality of the motion. He said, no instance was recorded in parliament of any such motion being received. That the judges had no voice in that House, nor were ever present in debate; nor at any other time, in the manner now attempted, unless specially called upon. That when they were called upon, it was to decide upon matters of mere law, and upon questions previously framed ; which questions were supposed to arise from facts already proved to the satisfaction of the House. Was that the case now 2 Was there any fact whatever stated to the House, on which a question of law could arise 2 Not one, nor one even suggested. On this ground of informality, he contended that the motion was highly improper; nor could it be entertained for an instant conformably to the established usage of parliament. His lordship then said the annual Act passed every session, called the Mutiny Act, became necessary; because in time of peace, no standing army could be kept up within the kingdom, without the consent of parliament. The last Act empowered his Majesty to raise 20,000 men. In that view of the question, if it should come out in proof, which was a fact within his own knowledge, that including the levies made during the recess, the whole of the troops within the kingdom did not amount to 20,000 men; then the measure, to which the motion was directed, was perfectly justifiable; for the Mutiny Act had been literally and rigidly complied with. Besides, though the matter had not been just as he stated it, the House could not properly take cognizance of the affair. He understood, a noble lord in the other House who presided over the war department, had already delivered in estimates of troops proposed to be raised;
therefore, though the number should ex- , sultation, and advice, was an act little ceed 20,000 men, the embodying and re. short of superseding its authority, and gimenting of them would not take place stripping it of its rights. till the measure had received a parliamen- The Earl of Effingham disapproved of tary/ sanction. If recruiting parties had withdrawing the motion; said he would been out, or men had been proposed to be be better pleased to meet the negative diraised, it was usual every day; prepara- rectly, than have the question, after full tions in the recruiting service were neces- notice given, postponed. If administrasary, because it was not the very instant tion meant to oppose it, they, it might be men were wanted for actual service that presumed, would not change their intenthey were recruited. He concluded with tions, in the space of a few days. His saying, that the Bill of Rights declared, lordship being reminded, that the motion that to keep a standing army within the was already withdrawn, insisted neverthekingdom, in time of peace, was contrary | less, as a peer of parliament, on his right to law; but the present not being a time to give his sentiments upon every quesof peace, that provision did not apply. tion introduced into that House. He wished the noble earl would withdraw The Duke of Richmond declared, that his motion.
the judges were the attendants of the Lord Camden said, the motion well de- House, and entered into an investigation served their lordships' most serious atten- of the different import of the word ' attion, as it was, in point of constitutional tendance,' distinguished from the word effect, of a most serious and important assistance, as used in the Journals of the nature. He begged leave to lay in his House ; deducing from thence, an arguclaim thus early, to be understood that ment, that the judges, to whom the word the question did not lie within the very attendance' was always applied, in strict narrow limits which had been assigned to compliance with their duty, should give it by the noble lord on the woolsack. It daily attendance; but on account of their seemed to him most materially to affect other important avocations, that attend. the privileges of parliament. He had not ance was excused, and they were never yet digested his thoughts on the subject, expected to be present, unless specially but from its naked appearance and the summoned. His grace contended, that a arguments which came in support of it motion for the attendance of the judges, from the woolsack, the consequence of by any noble lord in his place, was a mothose arguments would lead, in his opinion, tion granted as a matter of course comto the utter subversion of the constitution. prized within the standing order of the On that ground, he could venture, in the House ; and that it was contrary to parlia. first instance, to pledge himseli, that he mentary customs to refuse it. With rewould prove that no such power, under gard to the present motion, it was highly any pretence, could be exercised, without necessary that the judges' opinions should the previous consent of parliament. But be had. Government was flattered, asif there could, it would be the most irre- sisted, and supported by Jacobites, Tories, fragable argument with their lordships, he and Highlanders, who were now raising presumed, to do everything which de large levies of men, for the support of pended upon them, to apply a speedy and measures, which had proved to be exceedeffectual remedy. He further contended, ingly injurious to the interest and honour that the question was of the first magni of Great Britain : that this was a new and tude, and called for the most ample and a very alarming case; that therefore it was solemn discussion. The measure of raising well worth the enquiry of their lordships, troops, without the consent, and during and if found to be illegal, deserved their the sitting of parliament, was not only most pointed and severe censure. illegal, and unconstitutional, but a high The Earl of Sufi Ik argued, that from violation of the fundamental privileges of what he knew of the present state of the parliament. . To judge of the necessities army, and the necessity for having as of the state, in point of measures offen. / many men as could possibly be collected, sive or defensive, and to make provisions for the public service, the summoning the accordingly, was of the very essence of judges, for the purposes declared in the parliament; to take any measure there. | motion, would not appear expedient at fore, while tlfe, parliament was in being, this moment; and that he, for one, should and of course in an active, and not passive put his negative upon it. state, without previous information, con The Earl of Shelburne said, the national [VOL. XIX.]