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fitted for the various purposes of war? No man on such an occafion will grudge to transact his bufiness on foot; your Lordships will be proud to set the example by walking down to this House ; and the sex, I speak it to their hos nour, will on such an occafion be content to stay at home. Do you want ships? Why not hire all the merchantmen and small craft, which can be fpeedily fitted for your purpole ? As to large ships, let our enemies build them, and let us truft to our gallant admirals and the tars of old Eng
you want money? Scruple not the imposition of taxes at this moment. Property is the creature of civil society; the State has a right to all individual property if it is wanted for the general safety ; and as the money, thus raised, will circulate amongst ourselves, wealth may chance to change hands, but the nation will not be impoverished. These or measures such as these, if brought forward with promptitude and executed with vigour, may, when modified by parliamentary wisdom, save the country. I dread the genius, I dread the power, I dread the intrigue of the enemy, and above all, I dread the effect of that political paralysis, with which, by his arms and by his intrigues, he has deadened the activity of every cabinet on the Continent-Yet I firmly rely on the courage, and on the unanimity of this country to repel an invasion. Of this country did I say? I certainly meant to include Ireland in my idea ; the testimony which the yesterday gave us, in his Majesty's message, of her attachment to us, warmed my heart; it put to flight from my imagination the terrors excited by the apprehenfion of an hundred thousand Frenchmen. No personal fervices, no privation of luxuries, no diminution of property ought to be complained of while we are struggling for our existence as a free people. For my own part I had rather live upon oat bread and water, and be shod with the wooden clogs of Westmoreland for the reft of my life, as a free subject of this limnited monarchy, than be pampered with all the delicacies, cockered with all the luxuries of this lux. urious town, as a slave of the French Republic.
The Earl of Darnley made a variety of observations upon the measure under consideration. He condemned a great part of the conduct of Ministers with respect to the volunteer system; yet conceived, that under the present circumstances of the country, the hill contained some beneficial provisions which ought speedily to be carried into effe&. There was little of system, he observed, in the conduct of Ministers
relative relative to the subject in question ; and as to some points, on which the idea of a breach of faith was held forth, he thought it could not well apply, when the many allowances, and the unlimited power of refignation were considered. His Lordship animadverted upon some of the detailed provifions of the bill respecting maintenance and discipline, but observed, there were many important confiderations connected with the bill, which could more regularly be discus. sed in the Committee.
Lord Romney entered into a general defence of the volunteer system, and of the zeal, ardour, and courage of those who composed it. He contended that a force had been raised greater than ever had before been known in this country; and though they certainly had not the discipline of complete regular troops, yet they were a description of force which would enable this country to look with contempt upon the attacks of the enemy. With respect to this bill, he thought it contained many regulations which would tend to improve and meliorate that system; and, therefore, he should give it his entire fupport.
The Duke of Somerset-My Lords, I mean to trouble your Lordships with but very few words upon this question. In giving my vote for the second reading of this bill, I would not be understood to give a full and unqualified approbation to the volunteer system. My reason for wishing that system to be continued is, that it has been carried so far. I should think it dangerous to attempt to change it for any other, at a time when the enemy is so near, and so foon to be expected. As to the expediency of submitting to any burthen, or any measure, however grievous, in preference to falling under French tyranny, I perfe&tly agree with the learned prelate. For me to enter into a discussion of the various topics connected with this question, after so much has been already said upon it, would be to intrude upon your Lordihips' time. My object in rifing, was merely to state
mny reason for aílenting to the second reading of this bill ; · and to restrict, in fome degree, the approbation which I
Thall certainly give, to a continuation of the volunteer system.
The Earl of Fife said, the question then before their LordThips was, that the bill be read a second time. He said that
he could not help observing, there had been great irregularity * in the debate, by almost entirely departing from the question.
He allured :heir Lordships that he mould not take up much of their time. He was too far advanced in life to have any
; .. object
object in speaking, but from public duty. He'would not waste time in complimenting Ministers on the wisdom of their measures, having very little acquaintance with any of them, except from official correspondence, and he did not even know who were their opposers; he role as an old volunteer, feeling it his indispensable duty to do justice to that species of force, which upon every occasion had acted with honour and spirit. He said he could not but regret, that many reflections had been thrown out in speeches and in publications against the volunteer system (which term he Thould use not withstanding it had been disapproved of by a noble Lord), some from ignorance and folly, and others, he was afraid, from worse principles. His Lordship was confident that the most malicious insinuations would not raise a jealousy between the volunteers and regular army; it was their joint honour and interest to support each other. The numerous body of volunteers all over this kingdom, certain. Jy must appear to our enemies a formidable bulwark of defence of our King, our Constilurion, our Religion, and every thing dear to us.--He had great experience last war in raising volunteers in the county where he has the honour to be Lord Lieutenant. He has at this time a very considerable number, and might have had a great many more, had Government accepted of the offers ; and he was proud to say during all that period he never had occasion to make a complaint to the War Office but one, and that was of a captain returning a lieutenant present when absent, and he was superseded. His Lordlhip was of opinion that the volunteers certainly had the power of resigning, but at the same time he was fully convinced that they would never desire to exercise that right so long as their country requiied their services; and he said he should have regretted it extremely had any measure been adopted which should make any alteration in their voluntary and patriotic offers. He was happy to huive this opportunity of complinearing a noble and learned Lord on a decision which had done him great honour and given universal satisfaction. Ar the same time, with all the atiach. ment which his Lordship said he had to the volunteer system, he could never agree to allow the men the power of choosing their own officers : he had heard of the existence of such a practice, but in the part of the country he was connecled with, it had never been heard or thought of ; no practice appeared 10 him to be more dangerous. His Lordship coincided pero fectly in the sentiments so ably stated by a Reverend Prelare, Vol. II. 1803-4.
which it was unnecessary for him to repeat.-He concluded by saying, that there were many clauses in the bill before the House which he highly approved of, and therefore gave it his entire suppori.
Lord Grenville began by expresling his fatisfa&tion that those who found it their duty to oppose the bill, were not now supposed to be eneinies to the volunteer system. It would indeed be Itrange, that those who had used the utmost exerrions io consolidate that system, should for a moment be considered as individuals who wished in to be dissolved, even under the present critical circumstances of the empire. No man, he would aíñrm, could entertain a higher idea than he did of the zeal, the energy and the spirit of the people of Enge land, and no idea could be more monstrous ihan to suppole. that four hundred thousand volunteers, who had stepped forward in defence of the liberties and independence of their country, would not be found capable of the most important services. It was not ihat he doubted of the courage of the volunteers of England, but it was keeping in view, ihat those whom they were to encounier were troops of undoubted courage, and who had enjoyed the advantage of a degree of discipline obiained in not less than iwelve campaigns, in which they were opposed to all the best disciplined troops in Europe. With the knowledge of the enemy to be opposed, it was undoubtedly the duty of Ministers to have directed their principal atiention to that description of force which was to be encountered. In the present bill his Lord'hip de. clared that he saw not the slightest evidence of a regular mi. litary system. Since the commencement of the war, he had hitherto seen no evidence of a system adequate to the crisis in which we were placed, the various parts of which had any reasonable degree of relation or connection. What he had principally to objet to the volunteer system, as it at present food, was, that it had stood in the way of every other de. partinent of the national defence. The recruiting not merely of the regulars, but the filling up of the militia, had been materially affected by the provision which the bill now contained. A noble Lord opposite had stared one fact, which effectually proved the assertion which he had submitted to their Lord'hips' consideration. The fact to which he referred was, that in the county of Kent, at the breaking out of ihe war, there were not more than thirty-seven individuals embodied out of the whole quoia required for that district. Could there, he desired to ask their Lordihips, be a more de
cisive proof of the improvidence and culpable neglect of Ministers? Was ir noi adinilted har the peace was not considered to be lalling? Was it not allowed by Ministers themselves that, during the short interval of peace, the whole conduct of the enemy had been one uniform systein of violence and aggreffion? On whai principle it was, then, that the Ministers disbanded the milizia, or were so backward in reembodying them, he could not prelend to decide. Their conduct in this instance, was hardly reconcilable to any of the ordinary principles of human affairs. It was a lubject of considerable interest to look to the successive measures of Minifters for the defence of the country. The first in any point of view calculated to secure the augmentation of the regular army, was the bill for raising the ariny of reserve. But bow was the operation of this act encouraged by subsequent proc ceedings? The conduct of Ministers was characterised by their usual confusion and irregularity. They immediately introduced the general defence act, and much time was einployed in reducing this measure to any degree of conlltency. Hardly iwo days elapsed, before in iwo or three lines the whole measure is rendered nugatory. Ministers take on themselves to hold forth that voluntary offers of servise, shall be comm:ited for the provisions of the general trains ing act. Not contented with this, they introduce a moit extensive and unparalleled fyftein of exemptions. They. go so far as to introduce into a volunteer bill, provin sions exempting not only from the ballots for the militia and army of reserve, then in existence, but from all ballots which might afterwards be appointed by a folemn acł of the Legislature. What the effect of such a system was, he needed not to enlarge on. It must be obvious to every noble Lord who took the trouble to exercite bis judgment on the subject, that such provinions were utterly incompati, ble with the existence of a regular armv. He delired their Lordships to reflect on what had been done for the military defence of the country fiuce the commencement of the prefent leítion of Parliament.-- About five months had already elapsed, and all that had hitlerto been brought forward to perfect nur inilitary system was, to lay on the table of their Lordihips a bill which he must be forgiven in pronouncing altogether nugatory. It itruck him that the bill was quite inefficient to any great object, not only from the abience of many important provisions, but from the presence of others which were not only useless, but, in his view, highly repre.